Posts for Tag: iphone

Siri is pretty damn cool … Once you get over how foolish you look talking to yourself

I love the new iPhone 4S. Super fast and extremely responsive when navigating through apps, browsing, games, etc. Of course, Siri is the huge new feature on the phone and it pretty much works as advertised. I give it a B+ so far but know that it will get better over time. Having to connect to the network to use Siri is a little annoying but it's manageable. And certain voice commands don't work too well like asking it to play certain podcasts that have similar names to songs in your library will more often trigger the playing of the song. For things like setting reminders, calendar meetings, initiating phone calls and having it read/reply/send text messages, it's amazing - to the point where my preferred method of doing these tasks is now via voice. It actually is faster and more efficient. One place it is perfect for is when driving. I've carried on full text conversations with people without missing a beat. Of course, you have to deal with the "looking crazy talking to yourself" issue. Still haven't quite crossed that hurdle yet so when I'm in the office or a public place, I go back to finger inputs. But the dream of Star Trek computer will one day be realized...

iPhone 4S launch had no lines ... Good thing?

I picked up an iPhone 4S yesterday (launch date). It's a great phone that's broken a ton of sales records but that's not the interesting part. I dropped by the Emeryville Apple Store at around 2:45pm and there were only five people in line. Got my phone in 15 minutes. At last year's iPhone 4 launch I came at around the same time and waited in line for four hours. Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining. It's just odd that a phone that obliterated sales records didn't have an accompanying crush of folks showing up at the stores. Could it be that most folks got it via preorder? Or maybe Apple got their act together and actually produced more phones at launch. Not sure but perhaps the Apple propaganda machine is running a little differently these days. Maybe Tim Cook is more interested in selling as many phones as possible and not how they are sold. I wonder if the mystique is wearing off and Apple will just make and market good products minus the buzz. If so, Apple may be falling back to just being any other consumer electronics company instead of the one people insanely love.

How Mark Ruffalo and coffee showed me the value of Twitter over Google

I went to grab a coffee this afternoon at Blue Bottle in Oakland and the barista let me know a celeb was in the area - Mark Ruffalo. I have no real opinion about him as an actor. I think I've seen two movies he was in and thought he didn't add nor took away from my enjoyment of said movies. However, I'm always curious when movies or TV shows shoot in Oakland (Moneyball, Matrix Reloaded, etc) so I went to rusty-trusty Google and typed in "Mark Ruffalo Oakland". Nothing remotely relevant came up. Tried a few variations, adjusted some search parameters (only searches within 24 hours - one week) but still nothing that explains why Mark Ruffalo was in Oakland. I then popped over to Twitter and typed in the same keywords "Mark Ruffalo" and got these results:

As you can see, the 5th result down mentioned Mark Ruffalo and Sungevity, a solar startup down the street. Clicked on the link and BAM!, Mark Ruffalo sitting in a Tesla Roadster wearing a Sungevity hat. Looks like he was in the area not to shoot a movie but to pop into Sungevity for something or other.

This brings up my second instance where Twitter succeeded where Google (and other methods) failed to solve a problem/query. Over the July 4th holiday, I wanted to know if Blue Bottle was open on Monday, the 4th. Calling their number didn't help because it was a standard phone greeting offering hours of service during normal weeks but not holidays. Same for their website and any search I did about Blue Bottle and the 4th of July yielded no mention of hours. I then went over to Twitter and found Blue Bottle's account and BAM!, there you go.

Now these are just two specific instances and of course, I still do most of my general search on Google but it's been a long time since I last found the answer to a query outside of Google. It's a death by a thousand cuts for them as Facebook, Twitter, and others start chipping away at their defenses. Google looked unassailable, much like Microsoft 10-15 years ago. Today, there's only one product of Microsoft's that I use, Office. I've switched from Windows to Mac for my hardware, Windows Mobile to iPhone for my cell, and even Exchange to Google Apps for my businesses. The endless cycle of rise and fall in tech is unrelenting and no one is immune.

Beware of speed loss tether-ers...

I'm sitting at the cafe (which doesn't have WIFI) and doing some work. For instances like this, I use a non-sanctioned tethering app - HandyLight (one of the best $0.99 apps ever). Don't bother looking for it - Apple yanked the app on July 20, 2010. It takes a few semi-complicated steps to get everything setup but once you've gone through it a few times, it takes less than 30 seconds to tether your iPhone to your laptop. One thing I did notice was that things seemed to be slower than usual when surfing on my tethered laptop. I did a quick speed test and noticed that the download speed on my tethered laptop was almost 33% slower than directly to the iPhone itself. Upload speed was almost 40% slower. Not sure if the physics behind tethering means there will always be this speed degradation no matter what method you use - sanctioned or unsanctioned. If so, the value proposition of paying $20 EXTRA a month to tether your laptop to your iPhone seems much less appealing.