Tag Archives: Google Maps

Six day review. The iPhone 5 is really just okay.

I wanted this post to be an effusive endorsement of the latest iteration of the iPhone.

I would love to be able to deflate Samsung Galaxy SIII users with a glowing review of my most recent gadget acquisition.

To prattle on about this amazing feature or that.

But six days into stepping up to the iPhone 5, my opinion of it is decidedly….nyah.

“Nyah” is the sound you make when asked about something that is neither good, nor bad.

It is typically accompanied by a non-committal shrugging of the shoulders, and perhaps a slight cocking of the head.

It is by no means an endorsement.

But let’s examine the five reasons the iPhone 5 gets a ‘nyah’ from me to date.

1. Maps to nowhere.

There was much ado over the replacement of Google Maps (good) with Apple’s map offering (bad).

In the days immediately after the iOS 6 and iPhone 5 releases, the blog and Twittersphere were ablaze with sharp criticism of the map, which many complained led you effing nowhere.

Not one to take criticism at face value, without testing myself, I didn’t jump into the fray. I hadn’t upgraded nor did I have the 5.

But yesterday, using Apple’s native map to find a Radio Shack on a major roadway, was an absolute fail. Even though the pin drop showed the proper address, where the pin was located AND the directions to the location it subsequently provided, Apple’s map still had me literally driving in circles like an a**hole.

2. That damn microphone button!

I text a lot.  In the past five years since the iPhone’s debut, I’ve used the keyboard thousands of times. I’m familiar with the layout and have long since compensated for the fact that I suffer from ‘fat finger syndrome’.

Imagine my dismay, if you will, the first time I tried to get to the number keys and saw a purple voice recording screen pop up where my keyboard has once been.

Flummoxed, I quickly hit “Done” and watched as three purple dots appeared next to the text I had been typing.

WTF?!

Who designed that? Helen Keller?

I’m not really happy that I’ll need more fat finger typing classes to acclimate myself to the new layout.

3. Longer battery my behind.

I hate longer battery life claims because they’re just not true.

They never are.

Sure, in the lab, with a bunch of geeks staring endlessly at a pristine phone, untouched and unused, you can eke out 250 hours stand-by.

Perhaps, with a passive user making few a calls, sending a few texts and checking emails sporadically, you might get 80 hours talk time.

But in the real world, that’s baloney.

If you’re a power smart phone user, than that 250 hours of stand-by is meaningless because you never put your phone down.

I go hard and when you smoke test the iPhone 5 in real world conditions, that 80 hours of talk time is pure fantasy.

I can’t even make it through the morning without having to re-up and charge this bad boy.

I dare say that I’m recharging the 5 three times more frequently than I did the 4.

You see, boys and girls, significantly reduced battery life is the price we pay for our shiny new phone and all these wonderful features.

4. It’s buggy when charging.

If you’re like me, sometimes you can’t wait for your phone to recharge to use it.

So you work tethered to an outlet.

You just do you thing, while your phone sucks in precious watts with no problems.

Right?

WRONG!!

With the iPhone 5, I’ve experienced dropped calls, inoperable functions, frozen screens, ghost button presses.

You name it, I’ve experienced it.

It’s virtually impossible to use your iPhone 5 while charging at the same time.

It probably has something to do with the new-tangled 8 pin connector.

But whatever the cause, it sucks that I’m losing productivity while (repeatedly) charging my phone.

Massive boo considering how much more often I find myself having to charge the damn thing.

5. Passbook fail.

I think that apps should be purely intuitive.

I think every user application should be – but I digress.

You shouldn’t need to watch a tutorial or ‘read this first’ to use a thing.

It should be designed thoroughly ‘plug n play’.

Apple has always been the embodiment of this principle for me.

So it’s with great chagrin that I talk about Passbook, which is really a huge disappointment.

Intended as a one-stop-shop for one’s loyalty accounts, all Passbook did for me was add a buttload of new apps to my iPhone.

It didn’t consolidate them in one place…in say…oh, maybe the PASSBOOK APP?!

No, it scattered them about.

I was so shook by the sudden appearance of loyalty account apps on my phone after using Passbook, that I Googled “how does Passbook work” to figure out what, if anything, I was doing wrong.

Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who was bewildered by Passbook’s supposed utility.

It should be called FAILbook.

Summing it all up.

I know I’ve only criticized the 5, but I do expect more from the brand leader in the smart phone space.

Sure, there are some good things about it:

  • It looks beautiful.
  • It’s faster.
  • It’s lighter.
  • Larger screen.

But the rest of the things Apple touted about it: better camera, improved Siri, more microphones, etc, don’t really add value to the average user at the end of the day.

In conclusion children, the iPhone 5 is a bigger, but not necessarily better phone.

If you must have one (Angelou) then buy it because you want it.

Don’t buy it with the expectation that it will change your world, because it won’t.

At the end of the day, it’s just a phone.

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Filed under iPhone, mobile, opinion, technology

Apple vs Google. Round 2

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If you’ve been following the simmering battle between Apple and Google, you might have noticed Apple’s first volley.

Not too long ago, Apple announced that they were ditching Google Maps, which is called up by virtually every app on an iOS device that uses location, in favor of their own mapping program.

The much anticipated release of iOS 6 will include this little switcharoo.

And just like that, Google will be erased from several million devices.

More recently, though, Apple announced that it was eliminating YouTube from its devices as well.

And while the rationale for maps (Apple switching to its own map program) seemed like a logical business move, the removal of the YouTube app seems much more….calculated.

In fact, the move seems to support what many see as an active strategy to decouple Google from Apple entirely.

The debate between these titans smacks of the acrimonious relationship between Adobe and Apple, which resulted in Adobe’s permanent banishment from Apple’s coveted walled garden.

More importantly, it signals the drawing of the proverbial line in the sand, with Apple squaring off against Google in what is sure to be a heated battle.

If you’re a disciple of Apple, as I am, you already know that YouTube on Apple sucks.

I never, ever use it.

But that’s besides the point.

The real point is that removing YouTube begs the question: what’s Apple going to replace it with.

Apple has been buying up innovative little shops left and right.

And while I don’t recall a user-generated streaming video service being among them, it’s entirely possible that Apple has something up their secretive little sleeves.

Anyway, we’ll just have to stay tuned…

Perhaps iPhone 5 is really going to knock our socks off.

And Apple will change the game…

Again.

Round two goes to Apple.

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Filed under apps, iPhone, mobile, opinion, technology

Enough with the Acronyms! Plain English please.

Enough with the jargon. Plain English please!

The other day while giving a presentation, the client asked, “what does RAID mean?

We had been talking about servers, storage and protocols for preserving and backing up data – not roach spray.

And RAID had been introduced because it would continue to function even if one of the drives were damaged or inoperable.

Eventually, we explained that RAID was an acronym, which stood for “redundant array of independent disks.”

It’s a form of storage technology that combines several drives into a single unit, making it robust and reliable (and relatively inexpensive as servers go).

Reflecting on that meeting, I was struck by the frequency with which we tech types use acronyms as if they were common parlance.

The reality is that there is so much alphabet soup out there, that it’s difficult for techies to keep up, much less lay folk.

So today’s class will focus on defining some of these acronyms, and building your technical lexicon.

I’m sure you’re familiar with SMS (short messaging service), MMS (multimedia messaging service), DRM (digital rights management), CPM (cost per thousand impressions), yada yada.

Here are four terms you may not know, but should.

LBSlocation based services.

Tech speak: LBS is an information or entertainment service, accessible with mobile devices through a mobile network which uses information on the geographical position of the device. We are the Borg. You will be assimilated.

The Borg can use LBS to find you.

Plain English: LBS is a system which lets you send and receive information from your mobile phone, based on where you happen to be at the moment. Common uses of LBS include finding the nearest ATM machine (BoA), tracking a package (Fedex) or locating a specific destination (Google Maps).

NFCnear field communication.

Tech speak: NFC is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity.

Plain English: NFC is technology that makes life easier and more convenient for people by allow them to make transactions, exchange digital content, and connect to electronic devices with a touch. Common uses of NFC include opening a car with your phone (ZipCar) or exchanging contact information (Bump).

APIapplication programming interface.

Tech speak: API is a source code-based specification intended to be used as an interface by software components to communicate with each other.

Plain English: An API is a way of putting data into and getting data out of a system, without having to manually type that data in yourself. APIs are simple tools developers create to help other developers make the most effective and efficient use of their code. Many mobile apps out today employ APIs which let you register or log in using your Facebook or Twitter credentials.

GUIgraphical user interface.

Tech speak: GUI is a type of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices with images rather than text commands.

Plain English: A GUI makes it easier for people to learn, use and implement, through the use of icons, graphics, and menus. Think Apple.

So the next time you hear a techie waxing eloquently in technical jargon, you no longer have to nod your head knowingly (while totally ignorant to what’s actually being said).

You can jump in that convo and throw a few around your damn self!

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Filed under digital advocacy, opinion, technology