Cincinnati Photo Walk – October 2013

I had one of those rare occasions where I could hop in the car and disappear for the day and visit my family in Cincinnati.  Met up with my Sister for a local’s tour of the regentrification project occurring in Over The Rhine (OTR).  Local’s always give the best tours and like to share what they love about their city.  Today was no exception as we proceeded to eat, walk, shop, and admire the surroundings.

Having just received a 64GB iPhone 5s it was time to put it through its paces and see how it worked as an everyday point and shoot.  So far I’m pretty happy with the results, especially the low light capabilities.

2013-10-12 17.23.49

iTunes Radio vs. PandoraOne

51zcTEnZ6ZL._SL500_AA300_.pngAs a followup to my iOS7 First Look I thought I’d post my impressions of iTunes radio and how it compares against PandoraOne.   This review will focus on the pay versions of these two products.  Why pay?  No ads to interrupt things, simple as that.

My initial thought was iTunes radio would end up putting Pandora out of business but after a week of comparison I’m starting to change my mind.

I’m a subscriber to the iTunes Match service that, in a nutshell, makes most of your music library available in the cloud and accessible from any iOS device or computer running iTunes.  I say most of your music because if the track is not available on iTunes it’s not going to be available in iTunes Match.  I have several spoken audio tracks that don’t qualify but it’s stuff I would not want to listen to most times anyway.

radio_1xFor $25 a year this is a great way to access your music no matter where you’re at.  An added bonus allows iTunesMatch subscribers to get commercial-free access to iTunes Radio.  Sounds like a win-win, right?

While iTunes Radio has similar functionality and a yearly subscription is half the cost of PandoraOne there are some differences…

iTunes Radioitunes_radio_-600x300

Pros:

  • $25 year (included with iTunes Match)
  • Easy access to purchase the song
  • Seems to have more variety in the playlists
  • Wish list for future purchases
  • Apple TV Integration
  • You can share and email stations to friends

Cons:

  • Multiple clicks to favorite a track
  • Same skip limit as PanrodaOne (6 per hour)
  • Audio Quality is a little muddy (this can be subjective)
  • Clunky interface
  • Does not always play right away (buffer seems smaller than Pandora too)
  • Must run iTunes
  • Stations based on artist very rarely play the artist

Pandora OnePandora1

Pros:

  • Easier to Favorite Songs
  • Audio quality is clearer
  • Lyrics & artist’s biography
  • Stand-alone desktop application

Cons:

  • $48 a year
  • Seems to repeat “liked” songs more (this could be both a Pro & a Con)

In conclusion at this time I still think PandoraOne is a better product.  It does cost more so if that’s an issue iTunes Radio is still a good product (and iTunes Match is worth the cost in my opinion), it’s just not a polished product.  If Apple continues to evolve as they have in the past iTunes radio could truly become a Pandora killer in the not-so-distant future.

Have you done your own comparison between iTunes Radio & your favorite streaming music app?  Tell us about it in the comments section below!

First Impressions – iOS7

It’s been a few days since Apple released their latest mobile operating system and now that the dust has settled I thought I’d post some of my first impressions about iOS7.  This is not a complete review, of which you can find all over the web by better writers than myself, it’s just a summary of my initial thoughts after using it for a few days.

Dynamic-TypeiOS 7 was unveiled at last Septembers World Wide Developers Conference and has been eagerly anticipated ever since.  With this new OS Apple has introduced a new look and feel which gives new life to some of their older devices (iPhone 4 and above is supported).  Visually everything seems somewhat flat and less cartoonish.  The typography used throughout (mostly Helvetica Neue Ultra Light) is clean and easily legible, although I did need to bump up the font size a touch to help with my aging eyes.

We all have our likes/dislikes with various products.  I’m going to focus more on what I don’t like about iOS7 (it’s a pretty short list).

Dislikes:

  • Smaller folder screens
    • You can only have 9 icons on a screen vs 12 in iOS6 (but you CAN have more than one page!)
  • Takes up more storage
    • 3.1GB needed to upgrade and you only get 2.8GB back
  • Parallax Effect
    • Not very smooth on the iPhone 4S or iPad 4th Gen, I ended up turning it off
  • No AirDrop on pre iPhone 5 devices
    • I was really looking forward to this feature but DeskConnect provides an alternative
  • No weather app for iPad
    • Plenty of 3rd party options but it’s odd not to have it on the Notification Screen
  • Spotlight
    • Only searches local data, no more Web or Wikipedia searches

With the negatives out of the way there are PLENTY of things to like about iOS7.

Likes:ios-7

  • Fresh new look
  • Bug fixes
  • Control Center
  • iTunes Radio
  • Slide anywhere to unlock
  • Multi-page folders
  • Safari Improvements
  • Camera improvements
  • Photo Collections
  • App Switching
  • iMessage Timestamps
  • Siri Improvements

Overall iOS7 introduces a lot of new and updated features.  I’m not sure where Apple is going to go from here but I think we have a few years before we’re going to see anything truly unique and revolutionary.  I have an iPhone 5s on order & I’m looking forward to seeing how some of the restricted features work on it (AirDrop, new camera, etc.).  I’ll be sure to post an initial look at the 5s once I get it in my hands & have some time to put it through the paces.

U.S. Chemical Weapons Stockpile and Destruction Sites

While Catching up on my Conspiracy Theory blogs I came across the following videos showing how the U.S. is still in the process of destroying its chemical weapon stockpile from the 50’s.  It’s interesting to see how the two locations are using different processes to accomplish the same task.  With all the Syria talk in the news its interesting to see that the U.S. still has these types of banned weapons available should they choose to use them.  Although I would not put a lot of faith in a 60-year-old munition even working.