Tag Archives: iOS

Resistance is futile. Confessions of an Apple Watch owner.

Stephen's Apple Watch

A few days ago, I got the email I’d been waiting for months to receive.

It said, “your apple watch has arrived.”

I was in Bermuda at the time, installing a music library in Marcus Samuelsson’s eponymous restaurant, Marcus‘ at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, so my glee was tempered by distance.

But over the next few days, I fantasized non-stop about how amazing my life was about to become.

My watch and I were about to become the best of friends.

I knew, I just knew, that my Apple Watch was a game changer and my life was going to be infinitely richer as a result.

But as I headed into Manhattan on a dreary Monday morning, I started to have misgivings.

Would I become one of those people constantly checking their wrist, desperate to see the source of the latest ping or buzz?

Was I trading up to yet another useless gadget full of sound and fury, yet signifying nothing?

My Shakespeare folks will appreciate that.

I digress.

We’re already a tethered society.

We can’t seem to put our phones down.

Every ten seconds we’re reading our emails, responding to texts, checking Facebook or engaged in some other inane activity involving a mobile device.

And that’s with a device we can put down.

What happens with that device is inextricably tied to our person?

What then?

I can’t help but think of the Borg.

The cybernetic beings from the Delta Quadrant that assimilated their victims, making them part of a collective or hive mind.

You know, the big cube thing from Star Trek, The Next Generation.

the-borg

Each cyborg (hence “Borg”) was a undifferentiated part of the whole, sharing their thoughts and sensory input with them.

When you were captured by the Borg, they didn’t kill you.

Mechanical components were added to your anatomy, stripping you of your humanity and making you a part of the collective.

Hence “assimilated.”

I know I’m probably being dramatic, but this thought keeps popping into my head: “Resistance is futile.You will be assimilated.”

I mean, sure, the Apple Watch can collect data on its wearer.

And it can share that data with Apple or the app developer, which then knows information about the wearer, but that’s not so bad. Is it?

Wait a minute…

Am I being assimilated?

Is resistance futile?

Once I put on the watch, is there no turning back?

Only time will tell.

Four days in, and I’m fighting the good fight.

I do not automatically look at my wrist whenever a haptic alert beckons.

I shall not fall prey to your Siren song Apple Watch! Damn you to hell!

But resist as I may, I can already feel the endorphin rush whenever my wrist buzzes.

Each vibration draws me further down the rabbit hole.

And once I glance at her, even for a moment, I’m infatuated.

“Her?” It’s a fucking watch! WTF is the matter with me?!!

I mean really. I’ve only really checked out a few functions.

Like the activity monitor, which I clowned, is actually quite useful.

activity monitor

After plugging in your gender, age, height and weight, you can set daily fitness goals, and the watch will prompt you to stand, or exercise in order to keep you on track.

Yesterday, I hit my fitness goal of burning 720 calories. I actually burned 932 by walking 7.5 miles, exercising for 75 minutes and standing for sixty seconds once every hour for twelve hours.

I’m pretty awesome, says my watch.

Or the Remote app, which lets you control your other iOS devices when you’re on the same wi-fi network.

Last night, I got in four episodes of Game of Thrones on HBO Go on Apple TV, all controlled through my handy dandy Apple Watch.

game-of-thrones-hbo-go

Or Chat, which lets you read and respond to text messages right from your wrist.

I’ve had numerous chat conversations without typing a single character.

I just speak into my watch, Dick Tracy style, and my words magically appear on the screen.

And I can choose to send my voice memo or the text equivalent.

dick-tracy

I can even send emojis to spice things up a bit.

Wait…have I already been assimilated?

Nah!

Just taking it for a test drive so that I can tell all of you.

Yeah. That’s the ticket!

Anywho, I have not (yet) been assimilated, although I suspect it’s not far off….

Damn Apple!

Haven’t had enough of my ramblings? Check out my video review of the Apple Watch below!

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Filed under Apple Watch, iPhone

Bitmoji makes texting fun. And slightly annoying.

bitmoji

Do you remember those cartoons that starting appearing in folks’ feeds a while ago?

They featured custom avatars that looked eerily like your friends?

Well that was Bitstrips.

Bitstrips is a web and mobile application that lets users create cartoons of themselves and their friends, which can be shared over social media

They were created by a Canadian company, which also created Bitmoji, which brings your customized avatar to the world of emojis.

Technically, Bitmoji is a keyboard with customized emoji, and it’s available for both iOS and Android devices.

When you download the app, it walks you through the process of building a custom avatar, letting you select everything from hair style, skin color and eyebrow shape, to facial hair and clothing.

avatar Stephen

Once you’ve created your avatar, it builds your emoji library, setting you up for some pure hilarity.

If you’re inside the app, you can select an emoji and share it with your friends or social network with a simple click.

Bitmoji’s keyboard lets you spice up texts to your friends by placing their emojis right into your messages.

Instead of a simple lol, you can use your Bitmoji lol emoji complete with your cross-eyed avatar.

I don't know why they had to make my eyes all googley.

I don’t know why they had to make my eyes all googley.

Find something particularly funny and want to ROFL? Bitmoji’s got an emoji of your avatar literally rolling on the floor laughing.

ROFL

There’s a Bitmoji emoji for virtually every common texting emotion you want to express – and then some.

But this is where things get a little inconvenient.

Ordinarily, when you’re texting, you just enter text, select the emoji keyboard, pick your emoji, switch back to the text keyboard and keep typing.

Unfortunately, unlike other keyboard-based emoji, where you can simply select the emoji and it appears in-line, Bitmoji’s emoji’s are “copied and pasted.”

Yes. You read that right: copied and pasted.

Although Bitmoji has it’s own qwerty keyboard, the buttons are small, and it’s not particularly user-friendly.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it’s a little difficult to find the emoji you want to use.

There are seven different selections arranged in some non-intuitive and seemingly random order.

Making matters worse, there are a bunch of what I’d call “useless” emoji.

G’Day Mate, for example, is one. The emoji is your avatar in a kangaroo’s pouch.

Why am I in a kangaroo's pouch? Anyone?

Why am I in a kangaroo’s pouch? Anyone?

Now, if I were in the Australian outback, or had recently watched Crocodile Dundee, then maybe.

And that’s not the only one.

There’s another called “Hey, hey, hey,” and a third which can only be described as disturbing.

This is something straight out of a cartoon nightmare.

This is something straight out of a cartoon nightmare.

It features your emoji in greyscale, arms akimbo, in what appears to be a bikini.

Both male and female emojis appear in this fashion – why? I have no idea.

Why do I have boobs?

Why do I have boobs?

IMG_2584

In fact, there are a number of polymorphic emoji, bearing female bits, which is a problem if you didn’t intend to create a transgender avatar of yourself.

Problems aside, Bitmoji’s app is great if you spend a lot of time texting and want to spice up your virtual communications a tad.

It is a massive time waster, though, so exercise discretion.

 

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Five tips to make your app idea a reality

apps-image

If you didn’t know, I’m the go-to guy when it comes to web, mobile web, social media and apps, in my network.

Cats who know me, know that I’m all tech’d out, so my advice is solicited fairly frequently.

Last night was no exception.

You see, I got a call from a friend who was interested in building an app.

They actually sent me a text and then followed it up with a call – as if the distinction makes a different.

What do you care?

Just recount the story already fool!

Anywho, my friend is a member of the PTA where our kids attend school, and had (what she thought) was a great idea for an app that could be used as a fundraiser.

I listened patiently, as she rattled off her pie-in-the-sky idea.

I say ‘pie-in-the-sky’ because most ideas are just that: ideas.

Very few folks take the necessary steps to turn an idea into reality.

And since I didn’t want my friend wasting her time (and mine) pursuing a pipe dream, I got to the nitties.

Do you have your idea written down?

What are the basic features and functions of your app?

Will it be a native app, pull in mobile web pages or is it a hybrid?

Do you have a mock-up, wireframes or drawing which models your app?

How is the data being managed?

What’s your back end?

iOS, Android or both?

Is this something you’re planning on putting into the App Store, or will it be distributed privately?

Is it going to be a free or premium app?

What’s your timeline?

And the coup de grace…

Do you have a budget?

Now a lesser man (or woman) would have been flummoxed by my barrage of questions.

But old girl hung in like a trooper.

Although she didn’t have a written plan, wireframes or a mock (it came to her as she was driving through Colonial Williamsburg with her kids) she did have many of the answers I needed to vet her idea.

And as I walked her through the various things she need to do to get her app off the ground, it dawned on me that most people don’t know what it really takes to create an app.

So rather than allow you folks to live in ignorance, I’ve decided to outline the top five things you need to do to build an app.

1. Write your idea down.

I don’t know why people think that writing their ideas down isn’t important.

There’s nothing worse than listening to someone blabber about their unformed idea for an app. If you’re serious about building an app, and you want serious advice about it’s feasibility, then take the time to outline exactly what it is you want to build.

While it’s good to be able to articulate your idea orally, this isn’t Shark Tank. Folks are going to want to be able to work from a document and not from your oral pitch.

More importantly, by writing it down, you can see whether you’ve covered all your bases. By listing out what the app does, how it works, etc., you can determine whether your idea is fully formed (or not) and what you’ve still got to work on to make it complete.

2. Sketch it out.

I can’t stress the importance of visualization when it comes to building your app. Sure, you’re no Picasso. But you’re also not going to be showing your sketches at the MOMA, so get over yourself.

Sketching out our app is a simple way for you to render your app in a way that lets you map out landing pages, button placement, navigation elements, even ad space.

When you sketch out your idea, you form an appreciation for the spacial considerations you’ve got to take into account when you’re developing anything for mobile. It will help you focus on the absolutely essential elements of your app, which need the real estate, versus the wants, which will invariably  make your app look messy or cluttered.

3. Understand your data.

When you’re developing an app, you’ve got to figure out what information you need from your users or what information you’re planning on sharing with your users.

Where is it going to be stored? How is it going to be accessed? Do I need an API? What about web services? What information exists natively (versus information sitting on the web)?

Regardless of the answer to these question, having a complete (or at least well-formed) understanding of what’s happening with your data is crucial to getting it built.

4. Define the user experience.

What your app is going to do, how it’s going to function and the set of features available, are all parts of defining the user experience.

Focusing on features, flow and function, will help you understand your app and move it from concept to reality.

5. Set a budget.

Regardless of how outlandish or reasonable your app idea is, it’s going to require some moolah to get it developed. If you’re a developer and know how to code for iOS and Android devices – well bully for you. Everyone else, you’re going to have to pay someone to develop your app for you. And it’s going to cost you something.

Now you can go the offshore route and build your app on the cheap. This invariably translates into many sleepless nights working with your foreign (=basic mastery of the English language) development team, potential delays and cost overruns. But when you’re paying in rubles or rupees can you really complain? No.

Or you can go the domestic route and pay market rates. This means lighter pockets, but the ability to work directly with your development team and give/get feedback in real time.  Whichever way you go, you’ve got to plan on setting money aside (or raising money) to get your app built. Starting the process off with money in the bank or a clear idea of what you’re prepared to spend, helps move things from idea to reality.

So the next time you think you’ve got an idea for the next killer app, don’t just talk about it, be about it!

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When you’re amazing it shows. Ode to a professional gangsta.

You're packin' a mean piece o' steel, Mister.

You’re packin’ a mean piece o’ steel, Mister.

I know when you read the title of this post, you thought, “Oh here he goes again!”

And on a normal day you’d be right.

I would absolutely be talking about me.

Heaping mounds upon mounds of praise on myself, crowing about how great I am at everything I do, and how the world hangs on my every word.

But today, not so much.

You see, today I’m going to heap praise on someone whom I consider a professional gangsta.

Who, I might add, bullied me into even writing this post.

Listen to me when I talk, y’all.

G.A.N.G.S.T.A.

Her name is Dianne Ramlochan.

And she’s not to be trifled with.

In the almost two years that I’ve known her, she has impressed me as one singularly bent on getting her way.

It’s her way or the highway.

Perhaps it’s the only child thing.

Who knows.

But whatever Dianne wants, Dianne gets.

Case in point, I don’t usually “friend” co-workers and professional colleagues on Facebook.

I like to keep my virtual personal world separated from my real professional one. Ya’ dig?

We can be LinkedIn, and you may get a trickle of the virtual real me from the incomprehensibly-difficult-to-disconnect Facebook/LinkedIn nexus.

Can someone pleeeeaaassssseee tell me how to decouple this bullshit?

But by and large, you’re not peepin’ my personal shit online unless you’re digging.

Somehow, though, Ms. Ramlochan managed to Jedi mind trick me into waiving that work-professional life separation.

Don’t you know I friended this heifer?

And she’s following me on Twitter.

She famously quips about how if ever she can’t reach me at my desk via landline, email, mobile phone or text, she’ll “tweet” me.

Tweet me?

How are you going to be tweeting your project manager?

Have you ever heard of anything so ludicrous?

But that’s this chick.

To her credit, when I met her, she had just been hired to the team of one of the illest executive dudes I’ve come across to date.

No nonsense Anthony McLoughlin.

This dude was like Miles Finch from Elf – except a lil’ taller.

Point was, you didn’t eff with Anthony.

If you did, it was your ass.

And D worked for this dude.

Trial by fire is all I can say.

But then Anthony left for the West Coast, and Ms. Ramlochan inherited his fiefdom of projects, vendors and responsibilities.

And turned us all into her vassals.

20140228-172129.jpg

What it felt like to work for Dianne.

Overnight, we went from watching Dianne do all Anthony’s dirty work, to having to do Dianne’s dirty work.

I still get cold chills thinking about the day Dianne took over…

Homegirl is relentless.

RELENTLESS.

She had one word you never wanted to see come across your email.

“Unacceptable.”

That’s all she’d say.

Unacceptable this.

Unacceptable that.

Unacceptable the other.

Unacceptable, and cats would gets to steppin’!

Chills.

But we worked it out.

And in the process, she pushed through a few apps, next gen mobile web, iPad kiosk update, a couple of mobile web and app-specific pilots, and a tablet web project.

She had help, of course (=your’s truly), but it all went down under her watchful eye.

And now, she’s leaving the nest – where she truly learned to abuse fly – to new shores.

Those of Saks Fifth Avenue – heaven protect you (said in a whisper).

To leave a wake of psychologically traumatized victims forge new trails.

Anywho, on the last day of our professional lives together, I bid her adieu in the best way I know how.

Memorialized in my blog.

There, D. I’ve made you famous.

PS Congratulations on your new job!

<

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Filed under branding, digital advocacy, technology, work

Will Beats Music ‘beat’ the streaming music competition? Not with their technology they won’t.

UPDATE: I’ve reviewed the Beats app and you can check it out here.

Beats Music iOS

There’s a new player in the streaming music game, Beats Music.

Yes, Beats as in “Beats By Dre.”

Now at this point, I’d be telling you all about the ‘test drive’ I took of the app, and my general impressions.

But noooo. Beats Music isn’t that simple.

You see, I downloaded the app today, but getting up and running was anything but straightforward.

At the signup page, there were two options: “Sign Up” and “Log In.”

Beats Music Sign Up

I hit “Sign Up” as the service is new and I didn’t think I could use my MOG account.

After completing a few fields, I got a “Registration is Processing” alert.

Beats Music Registration is Processing

Processing? Am I being vetted?

So I took the other route and hit “Log In”.

What’s the harm right?

There was an option to login using either Facebook or Twitter.

Beats Music Log In Facebook or Twitter

I selected Facebook and after a few more pre-populated data entry fields, I got to a “You’re Almost Ready” screen, which I took to mean that I was almost done.

But noooo. Beats Music isn’t that simple.

When I hit “Submit” the screen kinda acted like it wanted to go on to the next step, but stalled.

I tried to click submit several times and several times the app almost did something, and then gave up.

Eventually, I got a “We’re Having Connection Problems.” message and gave up.

Beats Music We're Having Connection Problems.

So I can’t tell you whether Beats Music is any good or not.

But if you look at their website, it’s awesome.

Beats Music Site

It’s only logical that Dr. Dre brings his storied music brand to the streaming music arena.

Who better to help you curate the music thats playing on your Beats By Dre headphones than Dre himself?

Now I have no idea if Dr. Dre actually has anything to do with the introduction of Beats Music, but who cares?

Beats Music is actually a collaboration by Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine and Trent Reznor.

The fact is that you now have (yet) another streaming service for your iOS or Android device.

If Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio, et als aren’t doing it for you, theres a new player ready to disappoint!

And I say disappoint because unlike the other players, who offer ad-free and ad-supported versions of their streaming services, Beats Music has only one speed: premium.

That’s right. Beats Music is a pay to play stream service.

After the seven day trial expires, you’re going to have to fork over $9.99 a month for the privilege of spotty streaming service.

I’m sure it will be great to listen to a stream without those damned commercial interruptions.

That’s because one of Beats Music’s selling points is it’s music curation.

Unlike radio, whose music is determined by some music programmer, or most other streaming services, whose playlists are determined by some algorithm, Beats Music’s titles are curated by real people.

Allegedly, Beats Music employs a bunch of so-called ‘music experts’ to curate it’s playlists, which should mean a better listening experience.

That should be a welcome change to folks who don’t want bots telling them what to listen to.

I’d much rather have my music choices picked by a music nerd than a bot any day!

More important than the human music selection of Beats Music, is the heavy brand recognition that they’ve already built up.

If I had to put up money on who was going to come out on top of the whole steaming music competition, I’d have to go with the guys who have already proven themselves at getting folks ot part with their cash for substandard shit.

If you’re going to part ways with several hundred dollars for a pair of booty ‘branded’ headphones, it’s not a stretch that you’ll part with a few buck a month to listen to a ‘branded’ stream.

Now, I’ve yet to check out whether Beats Music is materially different from other streaming services, in terms of content.

I can say that Beats Music SUCKS in terms of technology because the damn thing doesn’t even work.

Perhaps the demand is so great that their servers are down – yeah that’s the ticket – and they’re overwhelmed with traffic.

Perhaps I will get an email and my registration will go through – one day.

Or perhaps not and I’ll be ignorant of Beats Music forever.

But if this snafu is illustrative of what the rest of the Beats Music experience is like – I’ll keep my $10, thank you very much.

Note to self: update this post if you do get an update from Beats Music.

 

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Filed under apps, branding, iPhone, mobile

Infographic: Android may grow, but Apple makes dough.

Apple vs. AndroidIn the war for mobile dominance, there are only two acknowledged players: Apple and Android.

Where once Apple held unchallenged dominion in the smartphone market, Android, led primarily by Samsung, has made slow but steady progress through the years.

Apple is no longer the only horse in the race, and there are serious rivalries in play.

And it’s not just Apple’s mobile phones that are being challenged.

The highly innovative iPad, which revolutionized the tablet market, must fend off the forays of the Kindles, Nintendo, et als, who are all vying for that lucrative tablet market.

What’s at stake in this rivalry is more than just eyeballs.

A smartphone or tablet gives their manufacturers a means through which they can push content.

The devices people rock drives commerce.

It’s a means to an end.

A quick glance at any quarterly Nielsen or ComScore report will tell you why.

Mobile is big business.

Ad, app and device revenues in mobile are in the billions of dollars annually.

That’s billions with a “B.”

Rather than prattle on about the stats, I’ve created a handy-dandy infographic.

This snapshot looks at the Apple Android rivalry in terms of device shipments, app downloads, mobile gaming, gaming revenue and Black Friday revenue.

Apple vs Android Infographic

For the most part, the information is gleaned from reports from Q3 2013, but I’m curious to see what 2013 year end stats look like.

The main takeaway (at least for me) is that while Android’s numbers are growing, by leaps and bounds, the money – the REAL money – is being made by Apple.

I’m not counting Android out, by a long shot, but they’ve got a ways to go before they’re a challenge to Apple’s dominance.

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iOS 7 is the most unstable, unreliable OS ever. #iOS7sucksballs

The white screen of death.

The white screen of death.

Yeah, I said it.

iOS 7 is unquestionably the most unstable, unreliable, defect ridden OS (operating system) that Apple has ever released.

I wish I were simply going for dramatic effect, as I am prone to do.

But I’m not.

Unfortunately (for Apple and Apple users) I’m serious.

Since I’ve had the iPhone 5s, which came preloaded with this garbage, and since I stepped up to iOS 7 on my iPad 2, I’ve experience more crashes than I care to mention.

Even though I’ve meticulously kept up with all updates, my devices seem to crash frequently.

I’m rocking 7.0.4, but I might as well be on a Windows phone for the frequency with which I find myself staring at the white screen of death.

It got so bad that I started keeping a crash log detailing the dates, times and activities I was engaged in.

To date, I’ve recorded several (although I’ve experience many more), to wit:

  • 11/24 @ 7:03 pm Facebook app crashed on iPhone
  • 11/26 @ 11:37 am Chat crashed on iPad
  • 11/26 @ 7:59 am Kindle app crashed (switching between Kindle and Chat)
  • 12/13 @ 6:16 pm MyTix app crashed on iPhone
  • 1/2 @ 10:48 am iTunes crashed on iPhone

I was just going to record these crashes for internal use with my team, but as I was tapping out a post in WordPress on my iPad, it crashed.

When I opened OmniFocus on my iPhone to add it to my crash log, the iPhone crashed too.

Back to back crashes on two different devices within seconds of each other.

I can’t make this shit up.

I was hot.

I started to post a tirade, blasting Apple’s latest OS as a drug-induced, hippie-hued useless waste of time.

But cooler heads prevailed, and I paused.

What would that get me (aside from jeers, cheers and a round of applause from jaded Android uses)?

Instead, I’ve decided to do an informal survey, asking folks about their experiences with iOS 7 to see if my experience is anomalous or par for the course.

I’m posing the following questions to Apple users and will post the results of my survey in a subsequent post.





Remember to click “Vote” after each question to have your answer tallied.

Your opinion matters, so please take the time to complete the poll, comment here, on Facebook or wherever you encounter this post/poll.

If you don’t answer the poll here, you can tag your responses with the hashtag #ios7sucksballs to be included in the survey.

My blog is so popular that WordPress will likely crash from the overwhelming traffic, so if you re trying to leave a comment with your responses, but are unable to do so due to system constraints, please try again later.

Now I don’t want to be a complaining complainatron, so here’s a link to an article from Digital Trends, with solutions to some of the more common problems with iOS 7.

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Filed under iPad, iPhone, opinion

Google Now and Siri. Friends or Enemies? Frenemies.

There can only be one!

There can only be one!

Didja hear?

Google Now is now available on iOS!

Aren’t you glad?

No?

Are you saying you’re not up on Google Now?

Google’s version of the personal assistant.

Well let me disabuse you of your ignorance.

About a year ago, when Google introduced it’s intelligent personal assistant for Android , many prognosticated the end of Siri.

Although Google Now wasn’t available for iOS, it was compelling and differed starkly from Apple’s PA offering.

For one, there was no Q&A.

You didn’t have to ask Google Now anything in order to get information.

Simply dial up the app, and it presented you with multiple options, all gleaned from you.

No questions asked.

More importantly, Google Now was intelligent.

Siri is stupid.

No learning curve.

No matter how many times you ask Siri a question, she’ll never intuit that you may be asking her to repeat a function she’s performed in the past.

Dumb dumb. You make me sick.

On the flip side, Google Now takes all the information it already knows about you and serves it back to you before you’ve even thought to ask.

The more you do (within the Google suite), the smarter it becomes.

Sounds bananas right?

How the heck can it tell you something about something you haven’t even asked about?

Magic, duh!

No seriously.

Google Now is an ‘intelligent assistant’, because it learns about it’s user based on that user’s activity and their previous history in other Google applications and services.

Say you’re heading out and start searching for a restaurant, Google Now will show you theaters and night clubs around you to hit afterwards.

Are you a fan of sports? Google Now will automatically update you on the latest scores from all the NBA playoff games.

That was then.

This is now.

And the feared rivalry is no longer conjecture.

Google Now for iOS is here!

Don’t look for it in the App Store though.

It’s not a stand alone app.

It’s an update to another app, Google Search.

I’ve got the Google Search app on my iPhone.

And lo and behold! There’s an update for it.

Update the app and Google Now is front and center with a little informational video.

Google Now on the iPhone 5

Click through the navigation buttons, and Google Now walks you through the various utilitarian ways that it can help you.

From traffic alerts on your commute to work.

To flight information when you travel.

Google Now places a bunch of ‘cards’ at the bottom of the search screen, which you simply swipe up from the bottom to access.

My initial foray into Google Now served up the weather and a bunch of restaurants around the office.

There was also a card with an upcoming conference call.

Snorelax!

I’m sure folks with more exciting lives – or who live in Google – have infinitely more exciting stuff popping off.

If you’re (justifiably) paranoid about the privacy implications of yet another Google service, rest easy.

You’ve got to authorize the app to use your personal information.

But once you do look out!

Not really.

There are a bunch of things you can do on an Android which you can’t on your iOS device.

So that clever little swipe up from the bottom of the phone to activate Google Now – deaded.

Things like Fandango, Boarding Pass, and Events are all off limits too.

Not much of a rivalry.

I doubt I’ll remember to use the search app to look for shit anyway, even though its on my device.

So I probably won’t get much out of Google Now.

But the rest of you blokes should use it and tell me what you think.

Is Google Now the right information at just the right time?

Or will this be just another unused app icon sitting on your phone?

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Filed under apps, iPhone, mobile

Need to do dirt? Get you a Burner (app).

20130410-125335.jpg

When Techcrunch, Engadget and Gizmodo all talk about the same thing on the same day, my Spidey-senses start tingling.

So you can imagine the buzzing in my head reading about the release of Burner for Android today.

Don’t want to call your ‘herbologist‘ mom from your regular phone?

Can’t remember if the girl you copped that number from last night was cute (or not)?

Girlfriend mad at you and not responding to your texts?

Take no chances.

Burner is the solution for all that (telephonically) ails you.

The Burner app let’s you spoof your mobile phone number.

Instead of seeing your real number in the caller ID or as the source of a text message, your callers/text recipients see your Burner number instead.

Genius!

I took Burner for a spin and hit up my herbologist mom.

Getting set up was a cinch.

I downloaded the app from the App Store, entered my phone number and got an SMS with a verification code.

Once I plugged in the code, accepted the Ts&Cs and waited a few seconds, I was in.

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Burner works off credits, which dictate how long your Burner number lasts.

Hence ‘burner’.

On the low end, there’s the Mini burner, which lasts 7 days, or 20 minutes talk time or 60 texts.

At the other end of the spectrum, there’s the Large or Long burner, which lasts 60 days, or 75 minutes talk time or 225 texts.

But you get a sample Burner right off the bat.

I’m not sure how much credits cost, but the next time I need to call my herbologist mom, I’ll let you know.

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That’s my Burner number.

Feel free to give me a call or send me a text.

It’s a burner, so don’t sleep. The number will be gone tomorrow!

Need to do dirt? Get your Burner (app) on!

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Filed under apps, iPhone

The difference between an app and a mobile site is…

The other day, I nearly smacked the sh*t out of my wife.

Or rather, I had the urge to smack the sh*t out of my wife.

Now, I’m not a violent person.

Nor do I support domestic violence of any kind.

But she asked me a question…

So vile…

So base….

That it took every sinew in my body to restrain myself.

What, pray tell, did she ask to create such an impassioned emotional response?

“What’s the difference (between an app and a mobile site)?”

Can you believe it?

The nerve of this heifer.

I’ve been married to this broad for almost 13 years.

I’ve been in the mobile app/technology space for over a decade.

Over this period, I regaled her with stories of my exploits in cyberspace.

I converted her from a cave dwelling savage to a member of civilized society.

Where once stood a technophobe, now exists a technophile.

I brought her from a clamshell to a smartphone.

Raised her from the ignorance of PCs to the enlightenment of Apple.

Brought her from the dark of online social isolation to the light of social media and networking.

But, I digress.

Why did I want to inflict bodily harm?

Well, she was “pinning” on her Droid II and remarked how fluid the Pinterest mobile website was.

I casually remarked that if the mobile site worked so well, that the app would probably work better.

Following my advice, she fumbled around trying to locate the link to the Google Play Store on her device before realizing that the app was already installed.

Apparently, months ago, when she became the Pinterest-junkie she is today, I had installed the app to feed her voracious pinning appetite.

She had been using the app for a hot minute, thinking she was on their mobile site.

It was then, that she uttered those three dreaded words: what’s the difference.

They cut me like a knife.

She was looking down at her phone and didn’t see the murderous rage in my eyes.

We were in a public place (Ruby Tuesday) with the kids, so I channeled my inner Shaolin monk to avoid lunging across the table and throttling her.

Could she really not know the difference?

Maybe all the times she feigned sleep as I recounted my days’ work, she was really dozing off and not paying attention.

I should have known, with all those Help Desk moments, assisting her to remotely recover a file she thought she had deleted or locate a download on her computer.

Perhaps she was…daft?

My rage was quickly replaced by pity for my poor ignorant spouse, who continually failed to avail herself of her husband’s brilliance.

And it dawned on me.

If my bottom bitch didn’t know the difference between an app and a mobile site, perhaps my thirteen readers didn’t either.

I must right this wrong.

First, let’s start with definitions.

An app is a software application that’s written in the language of the mobile platform upon which it operates.

A mobile site is a website that has been optimized for browsing on mobile devices.

Now lets look at the primary differences between them, in the areas of: access, connectivity, content and compatibility.

Access

Apps are usually accessed directly from the mobile device. Typically, there is an icon for the particular app you wish to utilize, which launches the app. Click it and you’re off!

Mobile sites, on the other hand are usually accessed from within the mobile web browser. In order to access a mobile site, you’ve got to open up your browser, plug in the URL and hit enter. On many smartphones, though, you can now create a shortcut, which allows you to save the location of the web page as an icon on your device, which then opens up like an app.

Connectivity

Apps are usually available whether you’re online or offline. While many apps require an Internet or wifi connection to update their content, most are built to be used regardless of whether a connection exists. Typically, if a user is offline they can continue to use their app, and it will update once they’re in range of a signal.

Mobile sites require a cellular or wifi connection to be used. If you’re not in range of a wifi signal or rocking a device with a robust 3G or 4G, then connecting to a mobile site will be slightly…problematic.

Content

When you’re on an app, the content in the app can be stored on the device, pulled from the web and downloaded to the device, or both. Most game apps usually have content stored on the device. They user isn’t required to be online in order to play. Many games in the Apple app store, however, are now adding Game Center capabilities, which allow you to play against other users remotely. Game center content requires an Internet or wifi connection.

If you’re on a mobile site, the content is only available online. If you can’t get online, you can’t get to the content of the mobile site you’re trying to reach. Period. If you’ve got cached web pages, they’ll appear when you open up your browser, but once you try to load/reload that page, you’re screwed.

Compatibility

Apps are designed specifically for the devices they operate upon. An iOS app will not work on an Android device. An Android app will not work on an IOS device. And nothing works on Blackberries. Compatibility is not really the forte of apps.

Mobile sites, on the other hand, are compatible across devices and browsers. With the exception of Flash (which still does not work on iOS devices) most features and functions on mobile sites work on virtually all mobile devices.

My sweet ignorant wife got the abridged version of this breakdown.

Hopefully it stuck.

In my pity, I no longer harbored the desire to smack the shit out of her.

While my pimp hand is strong, so is my compassion for the enfeebled.

Hopefully my explanation of the differences between apps and mobile sites are too.

Note to my wife: If you’re reading this blog, these are just jokes. I never want to smack the shit out of you…except when you’re talking to me while sports are on the tele…or when you prattle on endlessly about inane topics you know I could give a fuck about…or when you get on me for being on my phone. But aside from that, you know I loves you.

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Filed under apps, iPhone, mobile