What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Your iPad is not a video camera. Just because it has that capability doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to whip out your tablet computer and start swinging it around trying to catch the perfect shot. They make small hand held devices specifically for that purpose. In a pinch, catching a quick video clip with your phone is even a perfectly acceptable solution in most cases. The only things that really happen when you hoist your iPad over your head to catch that unmissable moment are: 1) You get bad quality video and audio recording of an event that’s allegedly important to you; 2) People behind you can’t see what’s going on; and 3 (and I can’t stress this one enough) You look like a total douchenozzle. It’s still a relatively free country and I can’t stop you from doing it, but you just shouldn’t want to.

2. I’m not a wizard. As I’ve stated previously and often, I can do it all, but I cannot do it all at once. I like to think that’s more a simple function of the linear nature of time rather than a personal failing on my part. You, of course, are free to disagree with that assessment. With that being said, one of the things you need to know is if you give me something to do, then tell me that I am required to go sit in a four hour long meeting, the thing you wanted me to get done will not be complete 30 minutes after the end of that meeting. I’m many things, but a wizard is not one of them. That’s a sad state of affairs, but it’s unfortunately true. I would love to be all things to all people, but so long as I continue to be given the opportunity to spend half the day in meetings that preclude doing any actual productive work, I’m afraid that’s just not going to be possible. The decisions about where I go or what I’m focused on are largely out of my own control, so sorry I’m not sorry.

3. Climbing over people in the middle of a ceremony is not acceptable. If you arrive late to a ceremony or event and things are already underway when you wander in, there really are only two acceptable courses of action: 1) Stand quietly in the back and wait for an intermission or other pause in the action to take your seat; 2) Find an open seat somewhere on the periphery and put your ass in it. What you shouldn’t do is show up two thirds the way through the event and climb over top of people who have been sitting respectfully like decent fucking human beings to get to a spot “your people” have been “saving” for you since twenty minutes before things started. What you really, really shouldn’t do is then climb back out over top of these same people after your special snowflake has been recognized and interrupt everyone within earshot for the second time in ten minutes. You my dear, inconsiderate woman, like your friend with the iPad, are a total douchenozzle.

First impressions of a Watch…

If you’re on the fence about ordering an Apple Watch, a word of advice – don’t do it. I think it’s going to be one of those things you either love or hate and if you’re not chomping at the bit to have one on your wrist, the price of entry probably doesn’t justify the functionality you’re going to get from the device.

If you do think you want one, if you like having tech to fiddle with incessantly, or if you’re just trying to cram as much data as possible into your head all day, Apple Watch might just be for you. Other than getting s42sg-sbbk-sel_GEO_USuse to something other than my old, trusty Swiss Army watch strapped around my wrist, I can say definitively after three days that this new piece and I will get along just fine. It was touch and go there in the beginning. There is a seriously steep learning curve that goes along with it, but after some fits and starts and a lot of tweaking to get the settings “just so,” I have no regrets.

Some things I’ve noticed:

1. It’s heavy. That is to say even with the sports band the stainless Watch is heavier than the watch it’s replacing. With today as the first day I’ve had it on nonstop from morning to night, my left arm feels something between tired and numb. I have to think that by the end of the week I won’t even notice it.

2. Settings are important. If you get a lot of notifications pushed to your phone, you’re going to want to clean house a bit once you get your Watch. Having your wrist vibrate every 30 seconds isn’t value added (to me). However, now that I’m just getting notified about breaking news, calls, emails, and texts as they come in it feels like something worth having.

3. The battery is surprisingly good, but you have to remember to plug it in. I could probably get two full work days out of a single charge, but if I were demanding a lot of notifications, or initiating a lot of calls or messages from my arm, I’m sure battery life would suffer correspondingly. Mercifully the battery at least charges quickly.

4. The app store is still a little thin. It has the basics – a few news sites, Insta, Twitter, some games, calculators – but it’s going to take the 3rd party developers some time to figure out how to get the most out of this wearable piece of screen real estate.

5. It’s networked. That’s the real asset for the Watch. In some cases it’s also an Achilles heel… especially when you’re required from time to time to show up at locations that don’t welcome stray electronic devices with open arms. If you happen to work all day in a place like that, it’s probably best to stick with analog technology. Since it’s not a full time issue for me, I’ll just have to remember to take the thing off (and secure it) before wandering into those parts of the building.

If you’re hoping the Watch will replace your iPhone or iPad, you’re going to be disappointed. It’s not and it wasn’t designed to. It was designed as an add on for one or both of those devices. Ultimately it’s a software based watch with some neat notification functionality built in. It’s enough to give you a glance at the news, switch up the song selection, and let you know if someone is tweeting, but it’s not a phone on your wrist – not yet anyway – but I think it’s pretty clear that’s the direction Apple wants to go in their pursuit of lighter and thinner.

It’s a watch – with some extra functionality built in. Once you take control over the settings it does most of what it was built to do remarkably well – not a surprise given it’s source. Ask me a month from now and I’ll bet it’s another device I’d be hard pressed to live without.

I wonder when I can start looking (and budgeting) for v2.0 to make an appearance…

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Standards. As a matter of principle, I never hold anyone to a higher standard than I hold myself. By the same token I don’t hold them to a lower one either. I’m many things but I do my best to avoid having hypocrite show up on that list – especially when it’s no harder a matter than maintaining just a little bit of consistency. Jaded as I am, though, I still find I can be surprised when people seem to behave with no sense of personal standards at all. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely sure whether it bothers me more that they do it or that I care.

2. Low Expectations. The high point of this week at the office was the arrival and unboxing of a new industrial strength shredder. I’m not even making that up. Given the volume of paper we push a heavy duty shredder isn’t a luxury item. It’s damned near an essential. An essential that we haven’t had for the last quarter of a year. It makes me a little sad to find my expectations of what constitutes a “good day” have been lowered so far that being able to turn PowerPoints into confetti now falls near the very top of the list.

3. Apple. I found myself reading through the initial reports from this afternoon’s Apple product rollout and rather than finding myself in need of selling a kidney for some new tech, I found myself mostly shrugging with something that approximated indifference. The latest iteration of iPad lacked something of the wow factor of a truly new product. The new iMac looks well enough kitted up, but not nearly enough to get me to drop $3K+ on on a desktop computer. There was nothing there that will find me leaping from bed at 3AM to make sure my pre-order is in. I know that every new product update can’t be a show stopper, but I’d have appreciated a little bit of “wow” when it comes time to deliver what should be iconic product offerings.

Upgrade me…

I’ve given up on try talking myself out of having the latest, greatest iteration of Apple’s phones and tablets. That sooner rather than later I’ll end up with one of the two new iPads announced this afternoon is a foregone conclusion. Now it’s a simple question of which one I’ll bring home with me.

I’ve really come to like the size of the current Mini as opposed to the “full sized” original iPads. My only disappointment from my Mini is the non-retina display. It’s been sort of like going back to standard definition television after watching everything in HD. Sure, you can do it and it’s perfectly serviceable, but it’s well off the mark from being optimal. The new Mini resolves that issue and adds a whole lot of added horsepower to boot. Of course with the new full sized model being a slimmed down version of its former self, it’s a tossup which one is going to end up being my go-to tablet for the next year.

The only thing I know for sure is after last month’s fiasco of waking long before the crack of dawn and standing in line for four hours to be met with “sorry, sold out.” I won’t be lining up for this launch. I don’t mind standing in line when I know I’m going to have something to show for the trouble, but with Apple product launches I no longer have that old warm fuzzy that they’re going to fill their own supply chain first before making units available for other retailers. Whenever they can ship it to me from China is just going to have to be fast enough this time around.

Resource constrained…

Everything in life more or less comes down to a competition between wants, needs, and the resources to make those things reality. Needs are fairly basic – those things we must have to sustain life. Wants are more problematic in that the more we have, the more we tend to want. Resources, of course, are very nearly always constrained in one way or another. Having spent six days sitting at home over the previous month and a half when I would have otherwise been working, the constraints are a little tighter now than usual. That’s a shame, because we’re ramping up to that time of year when the wants start following an upward trend. Put another way, it’s the time of year when Apple starts rolling out it’s new mobile toys.

Over the next two months, the boys and girls in Cupertino are set to roll out new versions of the iPhone, iPad, and several varieties of actual computers. Given that I’m currently limping along with a 2008 model MacBookPro, upgrading that really should be my first priority. Of all the machines in the house, it’s the real workhorse and takes the lion’s share of abuse in blogging and general writing. Now that the battery issue is resolved, my iPhone is working well enough and could easily last another year in service. The iPad mini gets its share of daily use, too, but basic web browsing doesn’t exactly tax its considerable abilities. It really should be the last thing I’m looking at replacing right now.

When it comes to new toys, of course, logic and service life remaining don’t exactly play a role in my analysis. It’s almost a mortal lock that I’ll be up in the wee hours of a morning soon after September 10th ordering a new phone on its first day of availability. If I have to make a case for needing a new one, I can always fall back on the fact that the old, standard 8GB of mobile storage isn’t what it use to be. Which is both true and sad all at the same time. I’m a little more hesitant about replacing the iPad at this point. If there isn’t a true retina screen built into the mini this time around, I think I can justify waiting for the next generation in my own mind. Without some exceptional change, a two year replacement on tablets almost feels reasonable. As far as getting over the hump and bringing a new laptop into the family, well, it’s probably going to remain in the easy to justify but unlikely to happen column this time around.

Funny how I can justify a new phone every year in my own mind, but not a laptop unless there is literally smoke poring out of the back of it. Stupid resource constraints always forcing me into the fun decision instead of the responsible one.

Mini…

So it seems that Apple is going to go ahead an announce the iPad Mini next week. Between now and then I’ll be doing my best to convince myself that trading in a six month old full sized iPad for a smaller version is a bad idea. I’m serious this time. Unless there are some pretty damned compelling features, I’m most likely going to be sitting this one out… although I won’t lie, it would be nice to have all my i-devices using a standard power source again. Keeping up with the old 30-pin docking cord and the new lightning cord has been a legitimate hassle, but I’m not sure it’s been enough of a hassle to justify switching devices in the middle of the product cycle. Even so, I’ll be watching next week’s media event with some serious interest.

Complicating matters even more, is the notion I’ve been kicking around of retiring my original Kindle keyboard e-reader in favor of the new Paperwhite model. I love reading on the Kindle. It does one thing and it does that one thing incredibly well. Even though Kindlem, to me, is a better reading exoerience, I default to the iPad for reading at night for the simple reason that it doesn’t require keeping a light on to do it. The front-lit Paperwhite appears to be the solution to needing either a backlit screen or an external light source at night. I’d really like to give it a test drive for a few nights and see how it handles. Sometimes I think it’s a real pity that there’s so much amazing tech on the market right now and so few hours in which to play with it all… but usually I just lump it into the category called “Awesome.”

It’s not a fad…

When I walked into the Toyota dealership’s waiting room this morning I took a quick lookie-loo at the dozen or so people sitting there trying not to make eye contact with one another. I’ve known for years that I’d be more or less lost without my iPad, but what I saw in that room legitimately surprised me. I counted two laptops, five iPads, one Kindle Fire, one Nook, one Android tablet of unspecified origin, one old guy reading an actual dead tree newspaper, and one lone soul actually watching whatever Saturday morning kid’s drivel they were showing on television. So out of a dozen people, eight were fully engaged with their tablets. Two years ago sitting in another Toyota dealership waiting for my truck my iPad was a curiosity and garnered plenty of questions. This morning, they were the rule rather than the exception. And that’s when I became well and truly convinced that the tablets aren’t going to be an electronic fad, but a legitimate way of the future.