Tag Archives: Macbook

Tom Bihn Daylight Briefcase

I love Tom Bihn, this is my 3rd overall bag from them. This one is more utility than the others.

I have a Ristretto for walking around when i don’t need a laptop with me. It’s awesome. It’s not very portable as a secondary bag though, it’s bulky and takes up space in luggage. It certainly doesn’t fit well in my backpack.

I’ve been looking for something that would fit in my backpack, for when I’m traveling or just at the office, but want to go out and about but don’t want to lug my whole backpack around. The Ristretto could work, for my iPad, but not my laptop. Plus, like i said, it’s bulky doesn’t really fit in my laptop bag.IMG_1336

Enter the daylight. It’s the right size for a macbook air, an iPad, a few other things like chargers or a notebook. It holds my 3DS, and a few other bits, and is easy to carry around.

The best part is that it folds up nice and small. I can roll it up and shove it in my backpack and it can live there all the time until i need to IMG_1335run to a meeting, and only need my laptop or iPad and notebook.

It folds and rolls up and leaves plenty of room in my bag still.

I got the idea for the daylight from a blog I read.

I’ve taken a few trips where the Ristretto was just too big to bring and had to lug my entire laptop bag around, or do with out any gear. The worst of both options for sure.

I’m really excited for future travel and even office days.

What I hope to see at WWDC

Blah blah, i know it’s that season (I think I said this last year too) but I was thinking about Devin’s post about possible retail store products for their 10th anniversary and figured I’d throw out my best guesses for the WWDC keynote. Not retail store product options, Devin covered those as well as I could. But really honest to goodness possible products.

The rumor mills are going nuts over the iPhone 4s-5-superDuper, so who knows, and I’m not gonna bother speculating there.

But what about Apps for AppleTV? We know it’s running some type of iOS, why not a subset of the full app catalog for media apps? Hulu? CBS? HBO GO, etc. How awesome to integrate an app store model into the AppleTV. Heck, with a magic trackpad paired, even iOS games could be viable.

 

Or maybe iPod Nano Touch 2nd Gen? I love my iWatch, and I’d love even more for it to do more, though I hope a camera is not one of those things. Cameras are like netflix apps, every device has 2 or 3.

Maybe take a queue from the metawatch movement? If anyone could make it a clean user experience it’s Apple. Why not have my watch show me the SMS that just came in, or my most recent push notifications? I’d love to glance down and see where certain friends are without pulling my phone out of my pocket.

Maybe even an SDK for basic apps? watch faces? etc. That’d be awesome.

This is a bit out there, at least this year. But, SSD only laptops. No optical drive, either 2 drives used separately, boot to the SSD, store data on the HDD, or 2 SSD’s in a RAID array. I’m running the former configuration right now in my Macbook and love it. Booting into Lion…erp Rawrdacted sorry, is cake. Certain features in that OS really really benefit from having an SSD as boot drive, and with the Mac App Store, who needs DVD drives anymore? Even OS X is distributed through it, and new machines can have the OS recovery on a USB drive like the Macbook Air. So why not use that space for something else? Something better.

 

That’s it, pretty simple, nothing too pie int he sky. Ok maybe the iWatch part, but I can hope, everything is in the realm of the possible, maybe not this year but next or the one after.

What do you think we’ll see at WWDC in a few weeks?

The Demise of Travel by Rail makes me sad

I have very fond memories of traveling from LA to Seattle by train with my mom and sister as a kid. It was part of our summer vacation, visiting friends and family. It was great. Watching the landscape fly by from the glass walled observation car. Grabbing snacks at the snack bar. Being able to get up and walk the length of the train whenever I wanted. And, watching some crappy 4 year old movie at night in the obs. car with everyone else (well a small subset of ‘everyone’).

It was great. It was slow yes, but that wasn’t the point.

It’s less the point now. With 3/4G networks and Mifi devices, time on a train can be (if you want) time spent working.

Rail travel’s worst enemy is amtrak.

I saw this article last night and it made me think of the few times in the last few years I’ve said, “Screw it, I’m taking the train, the TSA and airlines have gone too far!” Then I look up the price of traveling by train, and buy my ticket on Frontier. :(

Amtrak clearly doesn’t get their place in 2011. They’re slow. Sometimes slower than walking if you count the multi-hour delays that are all too common. When you’re the slowest option, you can’t be the most expensive. Unless of course trains are gold plated, and staffed by super-models and VC’s with money to burn, but they’re not.

Want power on your ride? you’re looking at far more money. It’s a shame. Realistically, even with it taking hours or even days longer than air travel, so long as you can work and be productive, it’s not time lost. I can’t use my laptop on airlines. I’m not short, and I almost always have that dick head who needs to be as close to horizontal as possible, no matter what time of day the flight is, right in front of me. Air travel is reading and watching videos time. I’d work on a train, even if just some of the time.

The article i linked to also points out lack of high speed rail, and I agree completely. Having traveled Italy by train when we went, it was amazing. Every stop was in the city center, near the local metro or taxis. Each train was fast or high speed. Even the rickety kinda scary train we had on one leg, zipped along and we were there in no time. It’s a shame our society can’t see past “immediate profits” and “instant gratification” to be more supportive of rail. More over though, it’s a shame Amtrak makes us not like them, and encourages us to not support them. I’m as guilty as the next person, I’d train it, but factoring in delays, and 2-3x the price of an airline ticket… it’s hard to take a stand and support something so broken.

During President Obama’s state of the union, he talked about high speed rail. I hope that becomes a reality. I really think fast reliable rail service would ease the burden on airlines and possibly help them be more profitable, and would make travel more enjoyable.

Open Letter to Apple? Come on

So I just finished reading the “Open Letter to Apple” penned by John Battelle and Tim O’Reilly. The self serving nature is a bit over the top for my tastes. “Please come to our exclusive, invite only, outrageously expensive summit, that has been seeing lower and lower (I assume) attendance. You’d be a really big draw.”

Here’s my thoughts on the whole thing (the open letter, Flash, Apple Culture)

1. It’s Apple’s phone. I don’t want Flash on the iPhone because it often has trouble enough running native apps. I haven’t missed flash once on my iPhone. i DO want Flash on the iPad. I think it makes way more sense. The CPU is faster, the screen is bigger. I’d watch hulu, CBS, NBC, etc on my iPad. I love Adobe, I love Flex and Flash (like any programming language, the shitty apps, are written by shitty developers. To say there aren’t stinkers in the app store would be an outright lie), but it’s Apple’s toy.

I’m glad Adobe finally decided to move on!

Rather than see Apple go to an exclusive event for executives who don’t want to touch the unwashed masses, I’d love to see Apple support the developer community. Hey Steve, Phil, et. al. Come to the next 360|iDev. Meet the people writing the apps, meet the developers who bought 4 iPads. After all, they (IMHO) more than any one in attendance at Web 2.0 Summit, are the people important to Apple. The Developer community is buying iPads like their going out of style, buying each other’s apps/games, etc. They’re the early adopters, the strongest pro-Apple voices, etc.

I do agree with the letter in so far as the Apple of Today isn’t the Apple I fell in love with. It’s not the Apple of the Powerbook, the Newton, the Performa. Times change, and (as many do) if you argue bank accounts as an indicator, Apple is doing something right. I’m tickled pink (I’d be more tickled if I owned Apple stock) that Apple isn’t $8/share. I remember when it was. As a kid in school, I checked the price daily in the paper before I left the house. I saved and saved and bought a Newton, I bought a powerbook 510 for College (ok well my folks did). But I’d love to see that Apple (tempered by age, fine) come back. The Apple of “Think Different”, the Apple of Ellen Feiss.

Embrace the community that loves and supports you. Embrace the community that was there before the iPhone, before Unibody macs, etc. Embrace the community writing the apps that make the devices awesome.

What’s the future hold for Apple, who knows. I’d love to see them take a more active, supportive role in the community that exists around them though.

iPad….. nice but not magical, yet (my Review)

So I’m writing this on my iPad. I’m not feeling the magic. (update, i had to save it so I could edit on my Macbook, else this post take would’ve taken 40 years to write)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty, but not useful. Yet.

And before you decide I’m just an Apple hater, let me lay out my credentials for those that don’t know me.

I own:

Unibody Macbook, 2 Minis, 3 iPods (including an iPod Photo), 2 iPhones, 1 iPad, 2 Airport Express, 1 Airport Extreme, my wife has a white plastic macbook.

I’ve Previously owned:

a Macbook Pro, Newton 110, Powerbook 510, Performa.  I think it’s safe to say my fanboi-ness is secure.

That out of the way.

The iPad is a very pretty device, and if your life (as some do) revolves around reading websites, watching videos, and …. well that’s it. Checking email I suppose too. Then the iPad is the perfect toy for you (albeit, for those simple tasks, the price IMO is a bit steep).

I tried. I didn’t write this review the night i got my iPad, I didn’t write it Sunday night, I waited and actually tried to do things I’d normally grab my Macbook for.

First I went up on my deck, to get some sun, and enjoy working outside. Since I was just gonna reply to a few emails, I grabbed the iPad.

  • While I enjoy seeing myself, i don’t want to watch my face as I type emails. That’s easily fixable though, so it’s not a knock. Why Apple is obsessed with uselessly glossy screens is beyond me.
  • First I tried holding it and typing with my thumbs. I prefer landscape mode, and have locked it in that orientation. I have big hands, so it’s quite possible, but not a long term thing. Then I set it in my lap, as many have proclaimed is the perfect use case… I got a sore neck. By this time I’d responded (lengthy responses sure) to two emails. Perhaps if I invested in a $40 (?) case from Apple that i could sit on our patio table, and use? Or buy a Bluetooth keyboard?
  • One email I needed to send an export of attendee data to. I couldn’t. The export is .xls of CSV. kudos to Mobile Safari for opening the .xls and showing me, but I needed to send it to some one. Sure the iPhone doesn’t support this, but if the iPad is a revolutionary bridge device between my iPhone and a laptop, I expect a few laptop like things to be there.
  • Of course since I can’t run two things at once, I had to close out mail.app mid compose to look up a discount code for a sponsor. Close mail, open safari, go to eventbrite, copy the code, close safari, open mail.app
  • Then I thought I’d take a break, check on my Kingdom and my weird little people on Planet Wilker. Thankfully the display is so crisp and bright, it overpowers (mostly) the sun, so i could actually enjoy those games.

Last night I went to a user group meeting, taking only my Mifi and my iPad.

  • The auto brightness doesn’t seem very responsive, so I was routinely blinded when loading something with a white screen in the darkened room. No biggy really, annoying a little, sure, but not a “Damn you Apple”
  • I had two tasks I was hoping to get done, or at least get started, while listening to the presentation. Write an email to attendees of 360|iDev (thru eventbrite.com’s email feature), and compose the last speaker email to speakers at 360|iDev using mailchimp. The result. FAIL. Both websites use HTML based text editors, apparently not the html web that Apple supports. Kinda crappy. Can’t use Flash, can’t use some HTML…
  • So I spent the UG meeting, not using my iPad except to occasionally tweet, and that was only because my iPhone was in my pocket

I’ve tried to replace some of the things I do on my iPhone and my laptop

  • I completely understand why Apple made the iPad support iPhone apps. It’s nice to launch and crow about 100k + apps. I have yet to use an iPhone app on the iPad that wasn’t completely and utterly fail. Why use it in 1x mode? I’ll just fire up my iPhone. In 2x mode, no app escapes the ugly tree. I understand the logic, but think Apple should have given developers more time to get their apps ready. I mean really, no facebook app? Hell, the mobileMe app… uh Apple. I know you want me to shell out $30 for the iWorks, but I’d love to be able to access my mobileMe account in a native iPad app, how about that?
  • I think the iPad will be much more interesting 3 months from now. Now that developers have an actual device to test with, those that (I can’t blame them) waited to actually use the device before building apps for it, will begin releasing apps. Right now the iPad app store is woe-fully anemic… well maybe not if you’re independently wealthy, and can afford every $9.99 app, LOL. Even then, there’s only a small list of apps I’m buying later, as I feel richer. Most of the apps I want, aren’t there.

Yeah Apple is about the experience, I agree, and sure surfing the web is very nice, if you only want to surf the web and consume. If you actually want to create… well so far the iPad hasn’t done much to support creation. I read one review that gushed and gushed about how awesome surfing the web is. OK sure, but I don’t spend my day complaining about surfing the web now.

So what do I like?

  • The feel of it. It’s a nice piece of equipment. The screen (once covered in a smudge/glare free cover) is awesome. Sure I’d like to not have letterboxing when I watch a movie but whatever, that’s a first world problem, and not that important to me.
  • The OS, it’s the iPhone OS, which while I wish wasn’t so closed off, and anti-hacker (Pro user), it’s an easy OS to understand.
  • The Apps. iPad apps, are nice. They use the screen really well. Those that will shine are the ones that didn’t simply recompile for the larger device.
  • The future potential. The iPad right now, for me is a cute toy that gets attention, and let’s me play a few games, and waste time. The iPad in 6 months, could seriously kick ass. There will be more apps that are useful, there will be (Please Apple, it’s kinda obvious) some way for me to work on files in mobileMe (or Googledocs) over the cloud. Screw this dragging files into iTunes, and back and forth. It’s 2010 Apple, you have a cloud storage service, that people are paying money for now. Tie that in to your devices!

What don’t I like? (and please, you don’t have to agree, I welcome your opinion, but if Apple makes you happy with what they deliver, don’t try to tell me what I should be happy too)

  • It’s a bit heavy. Not really a “Bad mark” but it’s not light.
  • The video app needs an update. Looking at my movies, it’s fine to see the thumbnail and name. Looking at TV shows. A thumbnail from an episode, isn’t helpful. I had 6 icons. Some Seinfeld, some Big Bang Theory. No labels. I had to open one up to see that it was the folder for a season of that show. I like the breakdown by season, that’s nice, but not having any visible clue, it’s like hunting around to find the show you want to watch.
  • The single port. This is totally an Apple thing, and I wasn’t surprised, that they’d only have a dock connector, and sell $29 things that plug into the dock connector. Doesn’t mean I think it’s ok.
  • The lack of Flash. I don’t actually miss Flash THAT much, because I’ve had my iPhone for a while. I think flash on the iPhone isn’t really a deal breaker. But the iPad is another device entirely. I expect on a media consumption tablet, that I could hit up Hulu, or youtube (fuck having a separate app, that’s lame), or any of the what? 80% of the web that uses flash to deliver content. It’s a business play pure and simple, and as a business person, I can’t find fault. As a consumer, hacker, and person who tries to see thru bull shit, I think it’s weak sauce. “Open Web”, my ass, it’s the “Apple Web”, and them trying to come off like it’s anything but a power grab, is disingenuous at best.
  • the iPad of now. If 360|iDev wasn’t the weak after iPadmas, I probably would have waited. It just doesn’t do anything I can’t do now with the tools I have. I don’t need “an semi-adequate alternative” I need a “solid replacement”… the iPad isn’t there.

Why my iPad is coming 4/3 not ‘late April’

I was reading My friend Steve’s post over at TUAW on the subject and most of his reasons (most of them) resonated with me. Enough so that I wanted to go into more details on my own.

  1. Simple timing. 360|iDev starts 4/11. I think it makes sense to have an iPad and play with one before and during the conference. To not would be like running an iPhone conference and not having an iPhone (or iPod touch). So it just made sense not to wait.
  2. wifi. Before I had my iPhone I had my iPod touch and carried it everywhere. Unlike Steve I travel in places with either no free wifi, or shitty free wifi. BUT, i have an iPhone now. So my iPad doesn’t need that constant connection to the net. It’d be nice, of course, I want every device I own connected to the net. But for what I imagine my main use case to be (reading email on the couch, playing a game, or something else domestic like that) I’ll be at home on my home internet. Plus But when that connection is thru AT&T…. See 3. Then 4.
  3. AT&T. I truly hate AT&T. I’m sure they know it, I’m equally sure I’m not alone. I can’t think of another company that has worked so hard at being teh suck. I mean you have millions of customers essentially gifted to you. You didn’t earn them, or even have to market to them to lure them to you. Steve Jobs handed you millions of new users. And you failed. AT&Ts network is the suck, it’s terrible. I live in Denver, and now that Spring is coming, and the Rockies home opener is only 3 weeks away, I’m planning to have a useless iPhone. Every home game saturates what I assume is the single tower in LoDo, and while I have full bars, I have no network. So why would I want another device on such a craptastic network? Makes no sense.
  4. Sprint MiFi. I love having a 5 user portable hotspot in my pocket (that’s what she said?) that essentially gives me AT&T immunity. I can use my iPhone, soon (I think) I’ll be able to make skype calls if I really need to, etc. So when there’s no wifi for my iPad, and when the Rockies are in town, I’m still able to function like an affluent american in 2010. Fuck you AT&T. (Note to sprint, the connection speeds on my Mifi suck! 3g? at .57 Mbits I don’t agree)
  5. Ok with moo’ing. If you owned a first gen MacBook Pro, you know what I mean. Thankfully mine never moo’ed, and my MacBook AIR’s weird CPU throttling was handled by a hack until Apple released a fix. I know what I’m getting into and am ok with that. iPad V1 will be a vastly different creature than the 3GS equivalent (the model 3 years from now). That’s fine, I can live with that because 6.
  6. I’m gonna jailbreak that bitch! You heard me! The moment the dev team (you guys are gonna work on it right?) release the JB, I’m on it. I love the freedom my iPhone 2G has to be customized, and do what I want it to do (Skype calls now, ha!). The primary reason my 3GS isn’t JB’ed is that it experienced a weird battery drain so I put it back in jail, I can’t have my primary mobile computer/phone be dead batteried in 3 hours. My iPad on the other hand, will never be mission critical, so it’s getting JB’ed ASAP. I think the true awesomeness (as usual) will be experienced by iPad owners who break free of Apple.

So those are my reasons for ordering an iPad. As a consumer, it’s not a very interesting device. I’m not gonna spend whatever Apple asks for iWork, because that’s stupid. I’m not gonna work on spread sheets, or keynotes without a keyboard. Sorry I don’t see that working out well. Maybe I’m wrong, but I doubt it. As 1. an iDevice conference organizer it makes sense I know what my customers are playing with, and 2. as a hacker wannabe, I can’t wait to see what it’s truly capable of.

I don’t think it’s worth waiting an extra month, paying more money (AND then paying $30/month for actual 3G) just to have an always (except that AT&T fails so often it’s more like 80% of the time) connected device.

My take on the iPad – Might as well join in

Despite what my more fervent fanboi friends think, I don’t hate the iPad.

As the organizer of a conference for iPhone developers, I can’t wait to see what they do with the iPad. I can’t wait for panels on the differences, etc.

This post isn’t about that. This post is about me as a techy, power user consumer. The exact person the iPad isn’t for.

Alex Payne captures my thoughts on this really well. From a Flex Developer standpoint (Yeah that’s right hater, Flash!) I think Doug sums it up well.

I’m not gonna lie I let the rumor mill wind my expectations up more than I should have.

I was expecting

  • iPhone OS – Got it
  • Cellular plan of some sort – Got it
  • affordable – sorta got it. based on features it’s murky but it’s not $2000, so that’s something.
  • Ability to run more than one iApp at it’s native size in a window – Nope didn’t get that
  • A USB Port or two – Nope
  • Some type of awesome MobileMe integration that would allow me to download files on my iSlate straight to mobileme where I could consume them on my real computer. – Nope, not even close, and MobileMe still sucks, not even an upgrade to it.
  • Flash – nope. Though I wasn’t surprised. Apple controls the playground, and in true bully fashion has no reason to stop.

That’s it. The camera everyone wants might be fun, but i don’t use the one on my Macbook, so…

I can survive without the USB ports, since clearly apple doesn’t like us to have access to the guts, that’s livable.

No multitasking is a deal breaker. Let’s be clear, I have an iPhone, I have a Macbook. If I want the “Real web” I can look at it on my macbook which is nice and light. If I want the Apple version of the web, I can use my iPhone.

Assuming I got the device I wanted, I never in a million years Imagined I’d leave my Macbook at home. Clearly I wouldn’t leave my iPhone at home either. I’d cary the tablet for when I walk around, or just need to do some lightweight work. I’d carry with me at conferences for note taking and controlling the mac mini’s on site if they need it. etc. it’d be a utility device. I could stream music, and work on my keynote for Wednesday, I could fire up IM and not be away from it, ditto for twitter. I’d basically be free to roam and not be tied to my laptop at the registration desk.

When I was going out and didn’t need my laptop, i figured my iSlate would be with me. Heck I could toss it in Nicole’s purse, or just hold it.

It’s not (yet) the device I want.

I admit, my hopes were pie in the sky. From the vitriol flowing out of twitter the last few days, I’m not alone. It’s almost like the Jets vs. sharks scene in West Side Story. The die hard fanbois are rushing to the defense of Apple and the iPad and those dissappointed and even angry are rushing to call it names, and shout how Apple has failed them. I say them because while I’m sad it’s not the device I want, I have no doubt it will sell like mad and people will love it. Fanbois will love it because it’s in their contract. Normal consumers will love it because it’s simple, doesn’t do anything but surf the web and send email, etc. My mom truly is the perfect candidate for this device.

I agree with Alex that it seems that Apple is turning down a path, where hackers and power users aren’t welcome, and aren’t their core business. They’re truly turning consumer. This is good, great, but also bad.

Good because I want Apple to succeed, I truly love their products and industrial design (though I hope they ditch shiny backs on ipods. Clearly Steve jobs has had his finger prints burnt off to not see the smudges the rest of us see, or he has a Eunuch to operate his iPod and iPhone for him). Bad because as Alex says, they’re turning their attention away from what (I think) they’re all about. Apple was founded by hackers, Apple survived a long time on hackers, and tinkerers and power users.

Lately all their devices are less and less hacker, tinkerer, power user friendly. I’m sure plenty of self proclaimed power users will say otherwise, running Photoshop all day, with other apps open, does not a power user make in my mind. Open Terminal, hack your shit! Change settings via bash, etc. That to me is a power user.

That’s not possible on the iPad.

Hope in the Jailbreakers

I think the iPad has huge, huge potential. I think those folks that are angry have forgotten one key thing, the first version of most Apple gear is just meh. the first iPod, not so hot, awesome by the standards of the day of course, but compared to what iPods can do now. no.

The iPhone 2g when it was released had no apps but those Apple provided. Had no MMS, had no (long list of things, some still on it)

the OS wasn’t that great, the features weren’t that great, etc. the iPhone 3GS is quite a different machine. More powerful, more feature rich. I bought my 2G iPhone when the 3G was released, on Ebay. i didn’t fully jump on the bandwagon of iPhone until the 3GS. That was when it was a device I could use and like, outside of my fanboiism.

The Macbook Air had issues with it’s CPU cores, etc. Macbook pros mooo’d. There’s plenty of history of first gen issues. nothing major and Apple fixes them, but it’s common that the first run is to get the bugs out. Apple will make the iPad better. Perfect? no, but I hope it is eventually something I’ll want as a consumer.

P.S. Fanbois, please refrain from commenting on why I’m dumb for expecting something other than what I got. I’m sure you got exactly what you expected, you’re buying 4 of them the moment the site allows it, and you and Steve are on the same wavelength and this device is 100% the most awesome revolution in computing. I’ve heard it all before and it doesn’t add to the discussion. You have a blog, use it.

I would like to know what everyone thinks about the iPad in the least fanboish ways possible, what will you use it for, what do you think it’s strength is, other than, of course being Magical