Posts Tagged ‘iphone’

Writing on my iOS devices

The last couple of blog posts have been written on my iPhone. Before that (and this) was composed on my iPad.

Sure, adding links seems to be quite difficult. Alt/Mac+Tab is generally quite handy when it comes to sitting by my laptop.

The new workflow feels very much like writing on Facebook. I just write. Let the words flow. It doesn’t matter where I am, I take it all like it’s being a status update. And then when I hit publish, I come back to it later on my laptop (the reality is that I sync it with MarsEdit and edit on the desktop client) to add relevant links.

This kind of method probably works well when I’m not doing a technical blog post, but something that resembles a status update or a story.

I still have to work out how to automatically post the posts to Twitter, and if possible post to Facebook as a status update (I recall that we could sync Notes back in the day, but that feature was removed). I’m thinking either the body makes it, or the first 2 paragraphs or I make use of excerpts wisely.

It’s not that writing on a laptop is a bad idea. It’s just that when I’m on my laptop, I’m usually online and have other work to do: emails, terminal, etc. I’ve used my iOS devices mainly for consumption of content (WSJ, NYT, FT, New Yorker, The Economist, Instapaper, Kindle, NewsBlur) — but with a lot of dead time, it’s not a bad device to also be a device to create, to some extent.

The WordPress apps are pretty good. They don’t handle images well, i.e. They don’t resize them to be sensible for web. Plus I very much like my images to also be on Flickr (I can live without that though). But posting 3MB photos in the main body just seems silly.

I’m sure I can eventually improve this workflow by posting items as a draft first, so they don’t reach the public till the links are added. It’s all an experiment, but I’m already liking the new additional ways to push content to this site.

A new phone, new for 9 months?

Apple is right. What sucks is that they make you wait one whole quarter before you get the new iPhone. So you really only have it as a “new phone” for 3 quarters. A mere 9 months.

Official Apple Store Malaysia - Buy the new iPad and MacBook Pro with Retina display, iPhone, iPod, and More - Apple Store (Malaysia)

I remember similar priced smartphones, like the Nokia Communicator, be the device to have for up to 36 months. When was the last time your iPhone device lasted for 36 months? Software wise, it usually does well though (kudos Apple, you didn’t screw up like the iPad). When was the last time you used a similar priced Android phone for 36 months?

The iPhone 5

I have been asked numerous times in the last few days: what do you think of the new iPhone 5? Will you recommend me to buy it?

Go, whet your appetite at the official iPhone page. It has a great design (thinner, lighter), it’s the same width but taller (4 inches now), comes with an awesome camera, has better battery life & comes with LTE connectivity. The feature list is impressive as are the tech specs.

Am I going to buy it? No, I’m happy with last year’s model. (ok, a little older – I’m using an iPhone 4 personally). It is a pity that I can no longer link to the site made by gina trapani & anil dash.

If you need to buy a new phone, my suggestion is of course to get the best & latest model, and that is the iPhone 5. If however your older iPhone 4S or 4 is working, I think my arguments work on why you don’t quite need to migrate yet. Put it plain & simple: the iPhone 4 I carry in my pocket “just works”. I have a mophie juice pack to extend its battery life. I have invested in the dock ecosystem tremendously (chargers for an office, two homes, as well as the travel kit; devices like a Withings BP-800 Blood Pressure Monitor, a whole lot more like music docks & those pesky things called in-car audio systems).

I wrote about the dock ecosystem a while back and Apple has decided to upgrade this, i.e. now with a Lighting connector. One has to buy a Lightning to 30-pin adapter. I understand that it was probably impossible to get the design to become much thinner, but we’re in a dilemma situation now especially when many people have i-devices, including an iPad. Gone is the ease of use of just having similar chargers. This transition period is going to be tough. Also, some countries get the adapter included for free, while others are forced to pay USD$30 for it.

Apple has decided to use a nano SIM (i.e. something smaller than a micro-SIM). People are still getting used to micro-SIM’s, and my travel kit even has a SIM cutter, because when you travel its pretty hard to find prepaid services that offer micro-SIM cards. Its impossible to cut a micro-SIM to a nano-SIM, so telcos have to support it by default. Apple doesn’t care so much about this because in their launch market (the USA), they have AT&T giving you international data roaming plans that don’t cost an arm & a leg. I have to pay anywhere between USD$12-19 to have data roaming per day.

No one knows if one of the major complaints about the iPhone is fixed – the dodgy home button. I know many iPhone users whom have owned a second phone turn on the accessibility functionality just so that they don’t have to press the home button. This is a workaround and does not work as expected. It is a disappointment for such a costly device that such things do not stand the test of time.

A lot of people sell the idea that its great to watch videos & movies on your iPhone. I’m sure many people do that, but I don’t. I watch movies on my iPad quite happily when mobile. Or on my huge LCD television when I’m home :-)

It comes with LTE. I’m sure LTE is meant to be awesome (in fact, I’ve use it regularly in South Korea, and it is fast, real fast), but my home carriers don’t support it yet. And it likely that by the time there is widespread support throughout the whole of Malaysia (heck, its still difficult to get reliable 3G access in the whole country if you step out of the Klang Valley) there will be a next generation iPhone, which is something I might pick up.

The camera on my iPhone 4 is sufficient. The camera on the 4S is awesome. And I bet the camera on the 5 will do wonders with easy panaromas, quicker photo capture, etc. It probably means I will find less need to carry a point & shoot, but this alone is not a good reason to upgrade.

I doubt that there will be much software that doesn’t run on the iPhone 4. iOS 6 will run on the iPhone 4. Apple continues to sell the iPhone 4, so it will be supported

So, am I compelled to upgrade? No. But if anything happened to my dear iPhone 4, I might consider the iPhone 5. Or with my investment in the dock connector ecosystem, I might just get an iPhone 4S :-) Happy not to be giving into the consumption economy!

iPhone dock connector

The iPhone dock connector is awesome. There are plenty of devices for it. Its what I would consider ubiquitous today.

I visit many hotels and one of the things that I totally enjoy is the fact that I can dock my iPhone and it automatically charges it. Sometimes I play music. Sometimes I’ve seen it at the back of the telephone, and the whole idea is to provide charging only. It means I carry one charger less.

The charger itself has changed over time. When I first interfaced with it, it connected to my computer using Firewire (from the days of the first generation iPod). Then it moved to USB. To the device, they had little push-in buttons. Now its just push in or pull out. 

Throughout all this though, the form factor has remained the same. Which is why there are so many devices for charging, playing music, interfacing to blood pressure monitors, and lots more. The device ecosystem is huge.

Changing it now without compatibility is going to be a real bummer. Lets hope Apple is smart about this. Optimize it, maybe. But make sure it “just works”.

iOS Cards

I travel a lot and one of the things I do when I visit a city is find a postcard, grab a stamp, and get writing to send Sara a postcard from abroad. All this does take time, effort, sometimes the card doesn’t arrive, etc. I’ve been wondering when I could just take a photo on my iPhone and have that mailed to her instead.

On my iPhone there is a folder called Postcards with apps like: Popcarte, Holiday Card, SnapShot Postcard, postcard by concierge.com (this is a Conde Nast app), postagram. Some of these send physical cards for a buck or so, and some just send them via email. I’ve spent some time studying if this idea is viable and I’ve always thought that local printing makes sense. Stamps might be important too…

Apple just killed them all with Cards. Printed on cotton paper, and will cost USD$2.99 within the USA and USD$4.99 for the rest of the world. All billed to your AppStore/iTunes account. So no mucking with creating a new account, getting your credit card, etc.

The idea is brilliant. The camera in the iPhone is awesome. I take more photos with it now than any other camera. And the phone is always with me.

So there, Apple’s new iOS 5 killed a bunch of apps (cue… RIP October 12 2011). And I’m glad I didn’t hack on this idea. Guess the local stamps go the way of the dodo, and I might embrace spending five bucks the next time I’m somewhere. Now to guarantee the cards actually arrive…

MoSync 2.4 pre-beta available with some juicy new features

I was rather thrilled this past week to note that the team at MoSync have released 2.4-pre-beta, with support for not only Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7, but also Apple Mac OS X 10.6. Goodbye Windows virtual machine, and hello native Mac app.

Check out the release notes, and you’ll also see some very interesting tid-bits. The largest request that I seem to hear from users is that they would like to target the iOS platforms. Apple iOS devices seem ubiquitous these days, and MoSync is now filling the gap. The highlights:

There’s also improved documentation, with example applications. Check out btServer (makes use of the Bluetooth features) and MapDemo (good example with various map sources).

While there are no binaries for Linux users, there is a guide on how to build MoSync using Ubuntu. I’ve not tried it recently, and the guide is a bit dated, but I expect it to work without too many issues.


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