Disappointing & Curious Apple Music Event

September 2, 2010

The Apple Event yesterday was a little disappointing and left me puzzled as to the changes made and products introduced.

1) going back a step with the design of the shuffle was a good move. It now looks like an iPod (not a cigarette lighter or USB key) and that’s where it should stay. They could have cut the price further.

2) iPod nano. Does anyone remember when it was the best portable music player in the world? Adding video 2 years ago wasn’t necessary. Adding a video camera (and no photo camera) wasn’t necessary. And now the loss of the iconic click wheel? Feels like last years shuffle all over again.

The nano should be what everyone wants it to be – a MUSIC player. Adding radio was good. It needs wi-fi. It needs 32Gb. It needs the iTunes Music Store. It needs improved sound reproduction and earphones. It needs to be a close-your-eyes-and-listen device. It needs to be a better nano.

The new nano should have been introduced as a new product – mini-touch or something.

3) iPod touch. Ok, we can buy an iPad with or without 3G. We should be able to buy an iPhone with 3G (iPhone4) or without 3G (iPod touch). That’s what I was expecting.

In the end – that’s not what we got. We got some of the iphone4 in an iphone3GS. Doesn’t make sense. Especially a sub-standard camera. Not sure if it got a radio – if it did/already had then why don’t I have one on my iphone4?

On the plus side though is the addition of FaceTime. Not the facility itself – more the addition of a microphone. Couple that with multiple-tasking and you now have a wi-fi skype phone. Phone companies will be pissed off.

4) AppleTV. I have an AppleTV. The new one looks like a hard drive – without a hard drive. I think it’s a great idea – but I’m glad I have a hard drive on mine. If Internet connection goes down I still have content.

Should a current appletv owner be annoyed? Not as annoyed as a current iPad owner……..

5) iOS4. The biggest news – especially for current iPad owners. iOS4.1 will see FaceTime on an iPod touch. November will see iOS4.2 for iPad – without FaceTime? Really? I don’t think that will last long.

So November (or more likely January) will see a new FaceTime capable iPad. If you bought 1st generation without cameras or mic – you will be FAR more annoyed than 1st Gen iPhone owners.

6) iTunes 9.X – yes I know it’s iTunes 10 – but does a new logo and a new bulletin board constitute a new point release these days?

Initial Thoughts on the iPad

January 28, 2010

Reading all of the coverage of the lauch of the iPad, I was amazed by my own feeling of indifference on the product.

It is so different to my excitement when the iPhone was launched. it took me 18 months to buy an iPhone in Ireland – but 19 months on and I can’t see myself buying another phone other than an iPhone. Ever. I used to carry a 5th Gen Video iPod and a Nokia 6310. I needed an iPhone. I wanted an iPhone. I had to have an iPhone. I use it constantly.

I just don’t need/want/have to get an iPad. No camera. Not enough space (16Gb? I have a USB key that holds 16Gb). No iChat. No iPhoto, yet it has iWork? No wireless mouse capabilities and yet a keyboard dock is available.

But most importantly, I have an iPhone. it does everything I need a mobile communications device to do. Ignore the cool factor – does the iPad replace it? does it fit in your pocket? I carry a laptop and an iPhone to work – I’m not carrying a third device.

The iPad also worries me slightly. I’ve noticed my iPhone 3G has gotten a little less responsive with every new version of the iPhone OS I have installed. How will it handle the iPad version of the OS? Worrying.

Also, buried in the sub text was an admission of a mistake by Jobs. the iPad will be unlocked. The iPhone should never have been locked to a provider either – it only hindered sales of the iPhone. They’ll not make the same mistake again.

I get the feeling that I’ll not be alone with these opinions. Granted I haven’t held one yet. I just thought that Apples next step would have seen a trimmed Macbook Air with Leopard fill the gap (500€-800€) the ipad is supposed to fill.

Apple’s favourite mistake.

XPages File Resources

August 4, 2009

WordPress will not allow me to upload a domino template to the blog – so if anyone requires the resources required for the XPages introduction tutorial, just send me an email (barryhughes1@gmail.com).

XPages …. about time!

August 4, 2009

I’m finally getting back into my quest for Xpages knowledge and making some progress. I’m planning to do the Lotus R8.5 update exam by the end of september.

However, to do this I need to start somewhere and if you’re a Lotus Notes developer and want to get into it the best place to start is with the Domino Designer wiki introduction to Xpages.

This covers all of the agenda from the Xpages intro sessions I attended last year and are very well written.

It requires you to have certain design elements available – which you can’t find on the wiki, but do not fear I will post up a template with these elements included later this evening.

I’m also planning my first Xpages application. There is a product in it I reckon – I’ll let you know when I have something to show.

A Music Video

July 10, 2009

I played music with a very very good friend of mine in Wexford – a genuis by the name of Ronan Mythen. He even played a song or two with me that I wrote. This is one of those songs.

Another very very good friend of mine – another genius by the name of Ciaran O’Sullivan – created a video for the song recently. Made me take out the guitar….

On Holiday….

April 16, 2009

A couple of thoughts that occurred during a recent family holiday to Spain.

1) you are NOT 100% sure of beach weather in Marbella.

2) baby changing units must NEVER be built in the ladies toilets only.

3) Data roaming on the iphone is switched off automatically. This has probably saved me millions.

4) You can live without Twitter and facebook. Kind of.

5) you can DEFINITELY live without a laptop – but not an iPhone.

6) the packaging on Lays Salt n Vinegar crisps look remarkably similar to Walkers cheese and onion (luckily I like both – but that first mouthful….)

7) wandering around shopping malls you can see the recession has hit here too.

8) it’s great to hear business news from the balanced and informed BBC World and CNN. They are using the words ‘hope’, ‘encouraging’, ‘signs’ AND ‘recovery’.

9) No-one in the media here has even mentioned Ireland, it’s public finances, Irish corporate greed, how spectacular the Irish ‘economic crash’ is, or advised the viewer to steer clear of us at all!

10) The yellow and blue interior design of the ryanair plane can cause headaches. Real ones.

11) SKY+ is the absolute BEST!!!

Digital Media

February 13, 2009

I love movies. I also have my favourite tv shows (another blog on that sometime). I do a LOT of commuting. I LOVE my iPhone as a way to watch my films & tv shows on the go.

Since totally above board legal downloading of content is virtually impossible in Ireland, I rip DVDs into AVI format and store them. I then make mp4 copies of these when I need them and delete these mp4s afterward.

This is SUCH a pain.

If there are legal reasons for no movies/tv shows on the Irish iTunes store/any other store then fine. Can’t be done ATM ( wish Apple and the EU would get something sorted soon).

My question is why a digital copy is not included on all DVDs? I know it is on some – but very few.

And why doesn’t Apple/Pixar/Disney have them at the very least. They championed this at WWDC 08. I expected my copy of WALL.E to have one, but no.

Until they clean up their act on this the illegal services will get more and more popular – and less revenue will come in for the movie distributors.

Doesn’t make sense in a recession does it?

Great Deal For Golfers

February 12, 2009

I am recommending all golfers to check out http://www.greenfree.co.uk/gm to get a great deal on green fees.

On the site you can buy vouchers that entitle 2 people can play golf for the price of 1 – and you can buy up to 6 such vouchers for £17.80 (for the lot) and get 2 more free.

The offer applies to many golf courses in Ireland and the UK. Haven;t seen many of the really famous ones, but a lot of regional ones are participating.

I look for courses in Leinster and found a few I know well – including Dundalk Golf Club in Blackrock (2 miles down the road … woo-hoo!). Arklow, Coollatin and Mount Wolseley are also there – I have played these and recommend them all.

My own golf club Courtown is NOT on the list – which is a shame as it is a course that has greatly improved over the last decade.

March 2009′s ‘Golf Monthly’ magazine has a free voucher.

Laser Eyes….

February 12, 2009

I wore glasses for 10 years. I developed what my optican described as ‘Student eye sight’ while at university. Too much looking and reading up close – couldn’t see faraway things clearly or at all.

Reading overhead projectors, reading road signs, even seeing the golf/hurling/any ball was very difficult -and at times impossible. Glasses solved this, but I played a bit of football and I grew to hate contact lenses.

So after much wiping/losing/getting pissed off of glasses I decided on laser surgery a month before my son Darragh was born – May 2008.

I was anxious, but I couldn’t praise the guys at optilase enough. No pressure, appointment dates and times to suit (even weekends), and a very relaxing experience in terms of the operation itself.

As for the operation I had no need for any worries. It all felt like going to the dentist – except with the comfort of going to the hairdressers. I won’t describe the procedure here (feel free to mail me if you’re really interested) except it was short, pain-free and was like someone washing your eyes and looking into a light for about 20 seconds.

The recovery demands a bit of discipline. LOTS of eyesrops – I didn’t know there so many types! -and a 4 hour period of eye closure on the day. I feel asleep; job done.

I haven’t missed wearing glasses, having fogged up glasses, losing my glasses or my optician at all.

And I can see the golf ball landing now – believe me that helps.

Cost me €2800. I claimed back 42% tax on that. I had the more expensive laser treatment ( worth it) and had the LASEK method of surgery.

Optilase are now offering all private health insurance customers a grand off.

Highly recommended.

Economics 101

February 6, 2009

As a Commerce graduate, I have been dismayed by the recent actions/inactions of companies and governments. The subsqent over-the-top media reaction has only accelerated the economic slowdown.

I studied Commerce in university. Economics was one of those business subjects that I HAD to study but never became one I loved. For me it was always the study of the obvious; a practice of making assumptions in order to track economic activity. Enterprise, innovation, that get-up-off your ass and get on with it attitude -economists and accountants don’t know what these really are – they are unknowns in their precious models. I liked IT and marketing – I felt positive after studying them.

So when a company like Sony ( for example) announce that they’re about to make their first loss and therefore have to cut jobs, I fail to see how that helps them sell more goods and generate future profit. They are making losses because consumers are frightened of losing jobs and saving their money instead of buying that LCD or VIAO. Accountants & economistd advising to shed jobs and cut costs does not guarantee sales or profit next year – lowered prices, quality products, new innovative sales techniques and conveying a positive consumer-focussed attitude does that. Apple are brilliant at this (maybe not the lower price bit though).

Recently a real estate company in Wexford introduced an amazing idea. They introduced a scheme on a new estate where potential buyers could rent houses for 4 years. They then had the option of buying them at the current low prices after the 4 years AND the rent paid was offset against the purchase price. The estate sold out as if the recession never happened. No jobs lost. No tears. Genius.

A lesson for all companies in the current climate. Losses happen with minimum effort – profits come from pushing on, innovating and not cutting the very people and resources that can help create the recovery.

Obvious.


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