iCloud Storage free bump…hmmmm

Hmmmm. Got an email, as many other ex-MobileMe members did, extending my “free” iCloud storage for another year or so. This was rapturously received by the Apple faithful as a great gift and further evidence of the great value that Cupertino extends to its loyal minions. I’ve currently got about 350kb of stuff up there and not much stored anywhere else in the cloud, Dropbox aside.

More likely it’s a way for Apple to further tie you in to their Eco-system. If you start uploading heaps of gigabytes of music and files and stuff to iCloud in the next 11 months then when your free storage runs out and you then have to start paying for it, it’s likely a whole load of customers will take the lazy boy approach and just start paying for it instead of moving it back and looking elsewhere for alternative and possibly cheaper options. Or perhaps I’m just an old cynic.

MacBook Air v MacBook Pro 15 inch 2008 brief thoughts

I’ve had my Air for about 6 months now and have been very pleased with it, the device has several advantages and these mainly relate to its portability, lightness, speed and quietness. I must stress however that I’m the sort of user who is a long way away from being a power user. I don’t, for example, do any serious video editing or photoshop stuff but rather I’m a browsing, email, photo sorting type of lightweight.

My older MacBook Pro was out of action for a while, mainly due to my laziness around getting it repaired but I was concerned, when I got it back 3 months later, that I’d like the bigger screen more and might prefer having a bigger hard drive again over the smaller, MacBook Air. However, after less than an hour or so of using the Pro I was hurriedly powering it down and heading back eagerly to the Air. The Pro feels cumbersome, heavy and huge in comparison and it was relatively noisy too. This of course is the older 2008 model, before they slimmed down a year or so later.

Battery life is much better on the Air too and I find myself using it more around the house, taking it from room to room, off the power which I never really did with the Pro as it was heavier and thirstier on the power. The smaller hard drive has not proven to be an issue as yet, I’ve still got more than 70GB of free space as I’ve kept most of the bigger files, such as films/video, on a separate and external hard drive. This has the added benefit of making you do more backing up of files as you tend to use the drive more for copying and moving stuff around, something I never really did with the MB Pro. I like the 13 inch screen version and feel that the 11 inch would have been just a little too toy like for me, possibly?

Of course, the newer versions of the Air are apparently even quicker and have the option of bigger hard drives which renders the space issue even less relevant. I’m struggling to think of any important reasons, screen size apart, that would lead me to choose a MB Pro over an Air if I was in the market for one tomorrow….. probably only if I was the sort of person who insisted on keeping a lot of bigger files permanently on their laptop and/or wanted to use it for a lot of processor intensive work, such as the aforementioned video editing. For most non-power users, I’d think the Air would be a pretty darn good choice.

Ain’t buying any mac apps

Don’t know whether this is intentional or there is some sort of subliminal thing going on here but since I got the MacBook Air I’ve stopped buying any new software for it. I did have a very intentional clear out of stuff when I first got it because of the smaller hard drive size, the capacity is half of what I had on the previous MacBook Pro. 

After 5 months of fairly solid use I still have more than 70gb of free space so it’s not like I don’t have any room for few new applications but psychologically I think I’ve just got used to running a bit lighter and dropping a lot of  the stuff that I never actually used or needed.
For example all the films I’d ripped have been moved to an external hard drive whereas on the Pro they were on the device. Likewise a lot of music files.
Perhaps I’ve just reached a point where my laptop usage is pretty steady and I can’t be bothered trying anything new.

iPad 2,3 and 4 exclusive rumours/roundup

Yes, tonight I can exclusively reveal that the iPad 3 will have a better screen than the original iPad, will have more memory, will be faster, and a bit thinner, it will costs around the same price despite being a better device, it will have the same size of screen but…and this is the big EXCLUSIVE…it will actually look quite like the original iPad and iPad 2….no, it definitely won’t be round and nor will it have a built in screen wash system (apparantly, that is in the specs for iPad 46).

Stupid I know but aren’t you just about sick of all these sites coming up with their entirely predictable “predictions” like it’s some competition to come up with the most patently obvious? Basically, none of them has a clue but on the other hand it’s not exactly difficult to have a decent stab at what iPad 2 and so on will be like yet they plaster these “exclusives” across their pages on a pretty repetitive basis.

 

MacBook Air….finally tempting?

These new MacBook Airs were announced last week at the big Apple event but haven’t received a whole lot of positive comment to date, perhaps people still remember too freshly the over priced and under powered, but mightily pretty, originals. You get the impression that people haven’t been taking it seriously since it was first announced a couple of years ago and that has continued.

On paper the specs for the new model, especially the 11 inch version, don’t look promising with a 1.4ghz processor and a fairly measly 64gb of  storage whereas the 13 incher…oohhh errrr….would also appear to struggle with its 1.8ghz. These are the sort of processor speeds that were on MacBook Pros 4/5 years ago. However, I’ve read a few reviews of the new models in the past few days and the praise for both models has been positive. This review is for the 1.4ghz model and is almost quite gushing.

Apple’s new 11-inch MacBook Air is astonishing. It’s unbelievable. It’s the most exciting consumer PC that’s come out for years. It’s a netbook, but it’s not a PoS. It’s blazing fast. It’s unbelievably light and thin. It’s beautifully made. Really beautifully made

This one too goes on about how quick it seems in ordinary operation which is surprising given the rather paltry, on paper, processor speed.

Overall, I love it so far. Having a machine this small, with a keyboard and screen this good, decent battery life and good performance is great. Now when it tags along with my work machine, I’ll be wondering if I even put it in my bag.

The cheapest version is the 1.4 with 64gb of storage and that costs £849, which is about £250 more than an iPad with similar capacity and for that you get more of a laptop experience with a keyboard, full size too. Before, I was thinking I might finally get an iPad but now I’m not so sure. Steve Jobs, who has been right on a few occasions recently with regard to making predictions, seems to think that the Air is the future of portable (mac) computing and if he says so then the days of the MacBook and MacBook Pro must be numbered. Sounds like the Air will come out of the shadows and become a serious proposition after a spell when it just looked liked an expensive toy.  When flash storage becomes cheaper then surely we will see the likes of the Air, specced up with 500gb “hard drives”, being Apple’s “pro” laptop solution. I don’t know, I might hang on, get an iPad and then when I replace the MacBook Pro in a year or two, look at the Air instead of another Pro.

Steve Jobs fragments | PDA-247

Steve Jobs fragments | PDA-247.

Steve Jobs is head of a company tanking most others in many areas…his company makes one of the best selling phones in the history of errrr…phones, head of a business that dominates the mp3 player market, in charge of a company dominating software sales for their smartphone, numero uno of a business where they are bucking the tend and increasing market share in both desktop and laptop sales & establishing a lead in the fledgling tablet department too.

You’d think he’d be a happy chap, well perhaps he is but he doesn’t come across as being happy but instead, rather snide and a tad bitter? Why else make these somewhat derogatory comments about the opposition?

The problem when you are numero uno and when you are a media darling and apparently can do little wrong in the gadget market is that there is basically nowhere else to go except in the other direction. He should remember where Apple was in the mid 1990’s because it could all go horribly wrong again and if so, he’ll need all the friends he can get in the tech world. Taking cheap pot shots at others who are not quite so dominant is both cheap and totally unnecessary and is not going to endear him to those whom he is currently in competition with. A little dignity would not go amiss here. There’s no need to make comments about RIM because in 3 years time RIM could be Apple. So what if Android is “fragmented”? It doesn’t seem to bother the millions who are currently using Android phones. No, it’s all about choice and sometimes you get the impression that Jobs doesn’t want there to be any choice and that he sees the Apple way as being the only way and he looks down on others who don’t see it the same way as he does. I’ve bought into the Apple thing, the whole eco-system of MacBook Pro/iTunes/iPhone/App Store/iPod because it suits me and what I need from my gadgets, that being mainly simplicity and having all that stuff under the one convenience roof but I just wish that Jobs would be a little more respectful of others.

I’ve been using Apple products since 1997, back in the days when they were a relatively small player, when there was no iPhone and no iPod and sometimes I wish it was the same Apple that it was back then instead of this whopping great juggernaut that currently roams and tramples over this gadget earth, at times in a rather arrogant fashion.

SafeWallet for Mac

I’ve been waiting and hoping for this to finally appear and joy of joys, it has at long last. I first started using SafeWallet when I used the BlackBerry Curve a couple of years ago and grew to like it for the ease of use, adding new categories and setting up custom entries was a piece of cake. I had the PC companion too which I used on my old work PC. Then the iPhone version arrived and I was able to sync  my PC file to the iPhone version using the crap Samsung N150 Netbook, about the only valid reason for not throwing that PC in the bin where it belongs.

Now, I can dispense with using the PC version altogether. Hoorah. The mac version is only $8.95 at full price and it is simple to use. I downloaded the dmg file, opened it up and immediately it gave me the option to sync with the iPhone application. That worked smoothly and was very quick. I think the desktop app version is worth it as it allows full editing and creation of new entries and wallets so gives full functionality.

If I’m being frank, SafeWallet is probably not as full featured as the likes of 1Password which gives extra features but at a fairly hefty additional initial outlay. But you know sometimes how you just sort of prefer a certain bit of software or mobile application even though you know another one may be slightly better? You just kind of like it for a reason or two that you can’t quite put your finger on…that is how I feel about SafeWallet, it just looks and feels great and works really well too. Now that I have SafeWallet on my mac I think I will probably abandon 1Password for good once I have transferred across some additional entries.