6-hours With an iPhone 6…

…and so far I like it!

apple-iphone-6Quick review now & I’ll probably do a more in-depth one in a few weeks.

It’s larger than the 5s it’s replacing and about as big as I’m willing to go with a phone.  NO WAY was I going to even think about the 6 Plus.  The Apple leather case is a great addition that gives enough grip to keep me from dropping the phone every time I pick it up but not so much that you can’t easily slip it into your pocket.

119The release of iOS8 has caused just about every application I use to issue an update (or two) & that seems like all I’ve done is update apps this afternoon.   I still have a few that are crashing (like DropBox) & I’m hoping the next update will resolve that.

I’m fortunate that my employer pays for me to get the latest and greatest gadgets to help test before we deploy to 300+ engineers who have no patience for things that don’t work (the way they want them to).  If you have an iPhone 4/4s/5 it’s worth considering an upgrade.  If you’re already using a 5s you’re not going to see that much of a difference (yet).  I’m very excited to see how the mobile pay application works once it comes online in October.  And I’ll have to admit the watch look pretty damn interesting too.

From a Cell phone!

So I’m doing a little work after hours and away from home (too many distractions).  As I continue to test OS X Yosemite and iOS8 I decided to try using my iPhone 5s as a hot spot.

Screenshot 2014-07-28 19.21.51

Wow!  I though things were cruising right along but I had NO IDEA I was getting this kinds of speeds.  I normally use a dedicated Verizon Hot Spot but it kind of seems pointless if I can get this kind of Internet bandwidth from my cell phone.

This is better that I’m getting at home from U-Verse and paying $56 a month for…

Yes, I can hear you now Paul, loud and clear!

 

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!

Every Day Carry – P-7 Suspension Clip

TEC-Accessories-P7

The P-7 Suspension Clip by TEC Accessories is one of those EDC accessories that makes a lot of sense once you see how well it works.  I try to keep a small key chain but even what I carry can be a little bulky in some situations.  The P-7 helps keep your keys and accessories from bunching up in the bottom of your pants pocket.

slide_pocketclip_4b

By clipping the P-7 to the edge of your pocket the keys can hang vertically and all but disappear.  It also keeps your keys from falling out of your pocket accidentally.

 

When I received the P-7 in the mail it was even smaller than I expected and adds very little bulk to your key chain once installed.  The clip is very sturdy and all but impossible to bend during normal use.

If you have more items on your key chain than you want, and hate the way it gathers at the bottom of your pocket, give the P-7 a try!

823379

 

 

Apple Style With Windows Functionality

I’ll admit I’m starting to get a case of Apple Fever.  After moving to an iPhone from the long favored Blackberry and actually finding a way to integrate an iPad into my daily routine I’m taking the next step…  I’ve purchased a MacBook Pro.

This is not just any MacBook, this is the 13″ model with the *new* retina display, 8GB of memory and a roomy 256GB Solid State Hard Drive.  Having used a 12.1″ Lenovo Thinkpad for the past 4 years the 13″ display on the MacBook seems a lot larger and the resolution (and clarity) of the retina display is nothing short of amazing.

The overall design of the Apple MacBook Pro is very nice.  Machined from a solid block of aluminum this thing is as solid as it gets.  No plastic to flex or creak and no flimsy screen to move around.  I’ve never felt a laptop as well-built as this is.

I mention Windows Functionality in the title of this post.  That’s possible because of a virtualization application called Parallels which allow you to run Windows applications right alongside the Macintosh apps.  It’s pretty much seamless and, so far, it just works.

I’m still in the “getting to know you” stages of the Macbook but I really like what I see so far.  Time will tell if this becomes my primary platform or if the limitations push me back to the world of Windows.  There are enough differences in how the two systems work that it’s going to take some time for the Apple Operating System to become second nature like Windows has become.

After I take this thing on an extended test drive I’ll go into more detail and post a more thorough review.  Stay tuned…

 

Need a Little Light?

Light is something we all need.  Whether naturally or artificially generated light is necessary for humans to discern distance, color and motion.  For years I’ve carried some form of light or another, normally in the form of a small flashlight on my key chain.

My key chain light of choice for the past 10 years was a Photon light.  Small, inexpensive and very durable the Photon has been useful in countless situations throughout the years.  Recently while reading the Every Day Carry blog I stumbled upon a new light that I just had to try.

The Streamlight Nano has some pretty impressive specs:

  • Up to 8 hrs. run time
  • Machined aircraft-grade aluminum with anodized finish
  • Powered by 4 alkaline button cells (included)
  • 100,000 hr. lifetime high-intensity LED
  • LED available in white (10 lumens)
  • 1.47″ x .51″
  • .36 oz.

But I think the most impressive spec is the price!  This light can be purchased for less than $10 on Amazon and it’s worth every penny.

Now 10 lumens does not seem like a lot of light, especially when compared to other lights like the $40 Quark Mini 123 which can pump out 180 lumens, but it’s perfect for everyday tasks like looking under a desk, or simple task lighting.  I’ve used it for lighting up a dark hallway and changing the air filter on my car at night.  The tiny size all but guarantees it’s going to be with me at all times.

Top – Surefire 6Z
Middle – Quark MiNi 123
Bottom – Streamlight Nano

Operation is simple.  Twist on, twist off.  That’s all there is to it.  No special functions or flashing patterns with this one.  Compared to the Surefire 6Z and Quark Mini the Streamlight is practically non-existent.

The unit comes with button cell batteries (4 of them) as well as a split ring and spring-loaded clip.  Once installed on a key chain it’s not even noticeable.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive key chain light that really performs I recommend you check out the Streamlight Nano.  If you do, leave a comment below and let me know how you like it!

 

 

Leatherman Micra Revisit

I posted back in 2011 about my all time favorite Every day Carry (EDC) item the Leatherman Micra.  Well, I finally misplaced mine & thinking it would eventually show up I held off on buying a replacement.  After a little more than a month I had to break down and buy another one.

Amazing how you become so accustomed to having something with you at all times and really missing it when you don’t.  Ordered it from Amazon and had it in just a few days.  SO glad I replaced it.  I’m impressed that after over 15-years of these things being made the new one is EXACTLY like the old one.  That’s pretty unusual these days when it seems like there are differences in products even after only a few months.  Welcome back my old friend, I’ll be sure to keep a better eye on you then I did your sibling.

 

Keeping the Web in Your Pocket

As much as I read online you would think I’d already be using an online clipboard but the usefulness was lost on me until about three weeks ago.  Pocket (formerly Read-it-Later) is changing the way I collect and process online content.

Adding a simple bookmark to your browser allows you to take the article you’re reading on the screen and transform it into a very readable (i.e. NO ADS!) format you can take with you anywhere.  Just launch the app on your phone and once downloaded you can get access to the information without any kind of network connection.

Tired of reading on the small screen?  Visit the Pocket website and read on your computer.  Pocket is cross-platform and integrated into a lot of applications (like Twitter for iPhone) where it will grab a link and process it for later reading.  Finally you can email any link to [email protected] and have it processed that way.

Definitely a great way to grab content for later consumption.  The only drawback I’ve found so far is I have a LOT more to read and it’s getting hard to keep caught up!