Category Archives: Technology

New MacBook – its turning into an iPad!

keyboardIt was the Apple ‘Spring Forward’ event the other day and Apple announced a few things. As expected, there was more on the Apple Watch.  They also announced a new Macbook, which is just called MacBook. Its not a Pro or Air but kind of sits in-between.

However, I just don’t get why they would release it. Its all thin, light and portable – just like the MacBook Air. So why would people now buy the MacBook Air now?? Its actually like an iPad in a way with it being so thin and having just one port – but more of that in a bit. Here are my other thoughts:

  • The first is about how it only has ONE USB-C port. This is a new port which can be used for everything – whether its power or data.  Like the rest of the features of the MacBook, its clearly thinking about the travel, being portable and how the world is more wireless etc. But its not “that wireless” yet. How many people have devices to connect to a computer which are USB-C?? I bet most people just have things which are normal USB.  Your thumb drive, external hard drive. Or maybe you want to plug in something else like an SD card. It will mean you will have to carry with you loads of adapters and that means more money for Apple! (A display adapter cost $80!).
  • Also, with just the one USB-C port, there is no display output. For this you will definitely need an adapter (to HDMI, VGA etc). And what if you forgot the adapter, you could be at an important meeting and can’t connect it to a display. You’d have to do something like email it to someone – not ideal! And with one output, you have to potentially decide on whether you want power, hard drive, maybe even a USB mouse/keyboard. You could be running out of power but need to plug in a thumb drive but you can’t do both!
  • batteryIts got a Retina Display (unlike the Air) but its got a mobile processor. A mobile processor?? (And one of the lowest Core M processors in the range at that).
  • Has a lower quality camera – a 480p camera?! Even the iPad has a 720p camera!
  • The new keyboard with the butterfly keyboard and the Force Touch do sound impressive. Also how they have the layered battery – thats cool. And of course, it looks amazing.

 

HTC One annoyances

I was getting “bored” of the iPhone so decided to move to Android and get a HTC One (Red). However, since getting it I had a few “issues” with it. In the end I went back to Apple and got an iPhone 5s! Here was what I didn’t like about the HTC One (some specific to the phone, some Android I think??):

  • Camera isn’t very good in low light and dealing with different light
  • Data – seems to struggle to get on the Internet. Many times it says its offline
  • Battery – hard to say but may not be as good as iPhone
  • Cant click on top “bar” to jump up to top of page
  • Typing – I kept making mistakes. Probably just me though!
  • Some of the apps, with it being a large screen, should really have the “submit/save” button at the bottom of the screen. Not at the top. E.g. Expense manager
  • Evernote – kept getting errors. Not saving.
  • Words with friends – so slow loading games.
  • Syncing – HTC sync manager doesn’t see phone. When it does, its not as “good” – bit slow. Not as easy to manage photos. If wirelessly sync music, doesn’t update playlists.
  • Mail app doesn’t show conversation
  • Gmail app keeps drafts
  • Checking into things in FourSquare – share on Twitter. Kept asking me to log in when in gym. Didn’t seem to “remember” my login.
  • Not very responsive sometimes – when in browser, clicking address bar

However, I did like how it looked – with the large screen and the red colour – I got the Red version from Phones 4U.

Upgraded Macbook Pro with SSD (and bye bye to DVD drive)

I have been wanting to upgrade my Macbook Pro with an SSD drive for awhile. My Macbook has been feeling slow for awhile – even when I cleared out hard disk space. Maybe it just needed a fresh install of OSX??

Anyway, I did some research on SSDs and which was best, fastest, good value etc. I ended up buying the Samsung 840 SSD. I did a speed test before installing it and done one since and its of course much faster. The read speed is about 10 times the speed.

At the same time, I decided to get a hard drive caddy and replace the DVD drive with the original HDD. Likely many people, I hardly ever use the DVD drive now. (And I have the option to use buy a DVD enclosure for the DVD drive I am taking out of the Mac – apparently they cost less than £10).

SSD Drive

As well as the SSD drive, I also bought a hard drive caddy. I decided to replace the DVD drive with the original HDD drive. Since the SSD drive was 250Gb and smaller than original drive, could have done with more space. I have an external HD which I store movies etc but its nice to have stuff on the actual machine. I have lots of photos too and rather have them “with me” – my photos folder totals about 80Gb – that does include videos taken with camera/iPhone so probably several gig.

I also bought some tools from eBay – small Phillips (size #00) screwdriver and a Torx T6 screwdriver. I thought I may already have them but not quite the right size.

Anyway, the SSD drive arrived a couple days after ordering along with the tools so I installed that – very simple. Watched a YouTube video as a guide.

Luckily I was prepared and did my research and downloaded the latest firmware for the SSD. By default, OSX does not support it. Anyway, after installing SSD, I powered Mac. Thought it would asks for something but it just showed some question mark symbol.

I rebooted but this type pressed the Option key. Can’t remember exact message but I put in the DVD with the firmware. It did its thing and then I went to Disk Utility to format the drive.

I then installed a clean copy of Mountain Lion (which I had copied a bootable version of on to a flash key) and then restored from backup on TimeMachine.

Bye Bye DVD drive

The hard drive caddy arrived the next day.  Watched a video on YouTube on how to do it and its a bit more complicated than changing the HDD for an SSD. There was the potential for things to go all wrong if I pulled on wires or cables but was all OK. That was until I had to remove a screw for the DVD drive. It was in a slightly awkward place and the screw seems to be stuck. It probably didn’t help that the screwdriver I bought from eBay was probably a cheap thing. I tried various things but by now was starting to scrap away at the screw and then would be been “screwed” (pun fail – sorry). I ended up popping out and buying a “proper” screwdriver. It didnt work at first, which was a bit worrying. I read online about a technique to get stuck screws out including ones which had been ‘damaged’ was to use a rubberband between the screw and screwdriver – so it could help grib the screw. Tried this but not too sure if it helped.

By now I was wondering what to do. Didn’t want to break something so thought about just giving up. And gave it a final go. Put the screwdriver into the screw carefully, made sure it was right in the grooves, pushed down firmly and turned the screwdriver slowly. It was then it started to turn. Maybe the rubberband technique thing managed to loosen it a bit, who knows. Anyway, unscrewed it and then continued with the steps and replaced the DVD drive with the HDD.

It was slightly tricky putting in the caddy with a couple wires I was worried about snapping/breaking but all OK in the end. Put the lid back on, and then powered up.

Now have a nice fast Mac with plenty of hard disk space 🙂

(Although saying that, not sure if its a coincidence or anything to do with the SSD or the HDD or something I have “done” but occasionally the mouse gets a bit sluggish. Also, it feels like the Mac is very warm. Maybe my apartment is quite warm and thats a factor but the left hand side of Mac is really warm. Anyway….)

WWDC 2013

It was the start of the WWDC on Monday and as always, it was the keynote address on the first day.

I thought it was a very important WWDC for Apple. Its was actually quite a while since the last one. Also, in the last 18 months or so, things had changed. Android and Windows phones had gained ground and had released some good phones. Apple had released things which didn’t really go down well. The main one being the Apple Maps – and basically how they were not that good.

Anyway, being an owner of Apple products, I was looking forward to see what they would release. I will be due for a new phone in December so was hoping the new iOS would be a big change. It was also certain it would with Jony Ive taking over the design but you never know.

Anyway, as always, the WWDC and keynote started with Tim Cook basically going on about how great Apple are (and other companies not as good) and basically just kissing their own ass. Personally, I just don’t think Tim Cook is that good at presenting.

The first thing – after talking about new stores and how many people use Apple products – we had a demo from a company called Anki. Clever AI stuff – although there was a bit of a technical hiccup but thankfully for them it was fixed.

Mavericks

The first actual Apple product talked about was OSX. Tim Cook introduced Craig Federighi on to the stage. First thing revealed was the new name. The previous 9 versions (inc. Mountain Lion) has been called after different types of cats. Apple had “run out” so they changed the theme – next version will be called Mavericks. An area in California. Areas in California will replace the cat naming thing. Craig did joke that next version would be called Sea Lion – I was kind of disappointed he was joking! I did joke that the next versions of OSX would be called: Goose, Iceman, Viper etc. (A special version for older woman called Cougar maybe??).

I was impressed with some of the new features in the new OSX  such as App Nap, Compressed Memory and Timer Coalescing. The main 3 features it talked about like tagging, tabs in Finder and Multiply Display support. Not sure if I would use tags, I already use Xtra Finder which provides tabs (as well as putting folders to the top) and although I use an external display, I was quite happy with how it worked.

Apple Maps looks nice and integrates nice with Calendars etc. However, if the maps are rubbish in Apple Maps (like on iOS devices) then it won’t be good. Its very clever when you add event to calendar and then it shows map, weather and consider the travel time.

Overall I was impressed though and Craig Federighi was excellent. He was by far the best presenter in the keynote and was funny.

Sexy Mac Pro

After Craig, Philip Schiller came on to take about the Mac. The Macbook Air sounds impressive with its improved battery life. The 13″ one has a 12 hour battery life. He then showed the new Mac Pro. The spec was incredible and it looks sexy – although you could say it kind of looks like a shiny black bin!

Next main thing to talk about was iWork. You can now use it online, within a browser. That means you can now use iWorks on a PC. I don’t use iWorks so doesn’t effect me.

iOS7

Finally, the new version of iOS was talked about. iOS7. As everyone expected, it was a different look and much more flat. Personally, I was not that keen on the pastel colours. Some of the icons do look really nice but some, like the Safari icon and Notes icon I think look horrible.

I do like how iOS7 is “layered” so you can see behind icons and see the wallpaper. Some of the Apple apps do look nice, some look “too simple/flat”. Its about time the multitasking was improved. Now with “Control Center” there is less reason to use something like SBSettings – although still think of 1 or 2 reasons will would need it.

Overall, I was impressed with what was shown at the WWDC and looking forward to autumn when the new iOS and OSX are released.

PS – WTF was that standing ovation after the video about iOS7?!?! LOL. Apple fanboys.

 

12 apps of Christmas – overall a bit rubbish!

So the 12 apps of Christmas for 2010 has finished and I have been disappointed. There have been some rubbish things! I guess I can’t complain too much since its completely free.

Having a look at last years free apps, I think 2009 was a better selection.

Here is last years free apps:

  • Snow Patrol ‘An Olive Grove Facing The Sea’ (Song)
  • Alan Partridge ‘Knowing Me, Knowing Yule’ (TV Show)
  • JLS ‘Everybody In Love’ (Music Video)
  • Trivial Pursuit (iPhone Game)
  • Robbie Williams ‘Morning Sun – Live in Berlin’ (Music Video)
  • Lesbian Vampire Killers (Film)
  • Outnumbered Series 1 Episode 1 (TV Show)
  • Labyrinth (iPhone Game)
  • Leona Lewis ‘Happy’ (Music Video)
  • Peter And The Wolf (Film)
  • Let’s Golf (iPhone Game)
  • Foo Fighters ‘Wheels’ (Music Video)

I still have the Trivial Pursuit and Let’s Golf game. I played the Labyrinth game for awhile after getting it. The selection of songs/music videos was better too I think. There were some crap things though including the movie Lesbian Vampire Killers and Alan Partridge is ages old – although many people think its a “classic” – I just think its alright.

This year the free apps were:

  • Day 1: Cheryl Cole – Promise This (Song & Video Bundle)
  • Day 2: Father Ted – Christmas Special (TV Episode)
  • Day 3: Duran Duran – From Mediterranea With Love EP (Song Bundle)
  • Day 4: Fishing Kings (iPhone/iPad Game)
  • Day 5: Life of Pi – Yann Martell (iBook)
  • Day 6: Michael Bublé – A Holiday Gift For You EP (Song Bundle)
  • Day 7: Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times (Movie)
  • Day 8: Broken Sword – Shadow Of The Templars (iPhone/iPad Game)
  • Day 9: Kings Of Leon – Radioactive/Arizona (Song & Video Bundle)
  • Day 10: Doctor Who – The End Of Time Pt.1 (TV Episode)
  • Day 11: Mirror’s Edge (iPhone/iPad Game)
  • Day 12: David Guetta (Music Video Bundle)

I suppose if your a fan of Duran Duran/Michael Buble/Father Ted then you would think its a better selection than me. I tried the Fishing Kings game – rubbish. Broken Sword – boring, Doctor Who – only the 1st part, 2nd part isnt free! Mirror’s Edge is alright. Usually cost £2.99 and it looks quite nice when playing it on the iPad.

Overall its been a bit rubbish but I guess its free. Just not as good as last year!