Shocking: apps that need to use your address book do, in fact, need to use your address book

There has been a massive uproar in the last week about smartphone apps that take users address books and use them for an action in the app.  This is most common with social type apps, those that say "hey, these friends are using [app X], do you want to be friends with them?"  What is unfortunate is that this has been going on for years, and people simply don't understand how it works.

I will be talking about Path here, since that is the app that received much of the attention, but many other apps like GroupMe, LiveProfile, even Facebook and Twitter, do this.  What happens is that when an like Path wants to check to see fi any of your contacts are already using Path, there are two ways it can do that.  The first is to upload your contact list to the Path servers, where they can then check that list against the hundreds of thousands of users registered on Path.  The other option is to download the database of all of the hundreds of thousands of users who use Path to your phone, so it can then check yoru contacts against that list.

So, which do you think is better/easier?  Uploading 50-200 names so it can be checked against a list of say, 700,000, or downloading 700,000 names so they can be checked against a list of 50-200?

The other part of this is that some apps will alert you when a new friend joins Path.  To do this, Path would have to upload your contact list each and every time the app starts.  I would honestly rather have the list get uploaded once, instead of several times a day.

Now, I will admit that many apps are not clear about this, and I don't think most people even realized how this worked, even if it is fairly obvious when you sit and think about it for 5 minutes.  This is another unfortunate case of most consumers not understanding how the technology they use every day works.  And again, because too many people don't understand, things will have to change.  Apple has said they will update iOS to force any app that wants to use contact information to explicitly ask before it can.  I will point out though that in Android every app you install does list the permissions it requires, and an app will tell you then if it needs to use your contact list.  I doubt many people really look at this, but it has been in Android since the very beginning.  The change Apple is making is not a bad change, I just wish it didn't have to be necessary.

MacBook Air Review - Mid 2011

DSC03567  2011 07 29 at 16 29 14 The MacBook Air is now an interesting part of Apple's product lineup.  With the discontinuation of the White MacBook customers now have to choose between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro.  At the low end, the MacBook Air is $999 (though I don't recommend that model), and the MacBook Pro is $1250.  Bump up to the recommended model of the MacBook Air, and you have a $1200 11" notebook against a $1250 13 notebook.  Is the Air a better choice than the Pro? Read on and I'll give you my two cents.

Hardware

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The MacBook Air is an absolutely beautiful little machine.  that's the one thing that Apple didn't change.  At first glance, the 2011 Air is exactly the same as the 2010 version.  A bit more examination shows two differences: the addition of a Thunderbolt port and a backlit keyboard.  Aside from that it is pretty much identical.  Is it perfect?  No.  The webcam (sorry, I refuse to call it a FaceTime camera) is not an HD cam like what is found in the MacBook Pro and iMac.  Perhaps the machine is just too thin to stick a HD sensor in, but it's still a little sad.  Also, while this is an 11.6" screen, the large-ish bezel around it could have easily accommodated a slightly bigger, maybe 12.1", screen with no effect on the size of the machine.  It may not sound like much, but it really is a big bezel.

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If you're looking for every connectivity option under the sun, stop right now because this machine is not for you.  On the 11" Air you will find power, 2 USB, Thunderbolt, and a headphone port.  that's it. No ethernet port at all.  There is a USB adapter for Ethernet, but then using that uses 50% of the USB ports on the machine.  I picked up an Ethernet adapter personally.  I won't need it often, maybe 2-3 times a year.  But for those 2-3 times, it will probably be a life saver.  Sure, the potential of port expansion through the Thunderbolt port exists, there is not a lot of options on this little guy.  There is an SDXC card slot on the 13" model, which is nice.  I'd like one on the 11", but there physically isn't room on the logic board for one, so I'll live.

Trackpad and Keyboard

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The trackpad is massive for a machine this size.  that's the one advantage of the large bezel.  It allows for a bigger palm rest and trackpad.  And with all of the multi-touch gestures now in Lion, you'll need every centimetre of it.  The trackpad itself is pretty standard for apple, but slightly smaller than found on the 13" and bigger models.

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The Keyboard is also fairly standard for apple, save for a few things.  The dashboard and expose function buttons have been replaced with controls for Launchpad and Mission Control.  The actual typing experience is about 90% of what I would expect from an Apple keyboard. Where I notice a difference is in the depth of each key press.  It is another necessary evil because of how thin the machine is, but the typing experience on the MacBook Pro is slightly better because of the longer travel distance on the keys.  That doesn't mean that I don't' enjoy the MacBook Air keyboard, in fact, it's a great keyboard for the size of machine.  But the keyboard on the Pro is slightly better, emphasis on slightly.  The speakers on the Air are a bit tinny. they get the job done, but if you want to do any serious music listening or movie watching, it is best to use headphones, which sound great.

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The last thing I will say about the hardware itself is that the machine is remarkably solid, especially for a machine of this size.  That is a result of Apple's unibody construction, where the machine is basically made of 2 pieces of aluminum and the screen.  I'm not going to try it, but it really does feel like I could drop this machine and it would still work perfectly.  there is a little flex in the screen, which is understandable considering how thin it is.  But that is not enough to worry me.  The rest of the machine simply does not bend, which is perfect.

Software

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The MacBook Air, naturally, runs OS X Lion.  The experience is a little different than installing on an existing machine.  First off, Before you even get set up, it prompts you to connect to a wifi network. Then you are required to enter in an apple ID when you first boot the machine.  If you do not have one, you will have to create one.  This is the first sign of just how important the cloud is to Lion.

Past that, it actually kind of surprised me how many settings and preferences that were kept when I upgraded my MacBook Pro to Lion.  The out of the box Lion experience was vastly different than the upgrade.  Some of the multi-touch gestures were different (the Lion defaults), and even some of the interface elements were different.  I'm still going through all the settings trying to get things the way I want them, and I've found ways to fix several things that I mentioned bugged me in my review of Lion.  I plan to use this machine for a few more weeks then make another post about life with Lion.

While i'm still a bit tepid about the Mac App store, the fact that I was able to simply log in to it, and then re-download my purchased apps was really slick.  It even remembered which free apps I had downloaded, which made getting the machine up to speed, limited only by my internet connection.  I also used the iTunes home sharing feature to bring my music over form my main computer.  The last thing I did was grab all the files I wanted to keep out of the home folder from my MacBook Pro.  I actually did this using AirDrop, which was really slick, and amazingly simple.  I was able to just drag about 5 GB worth of files into the icon for my MacBook Air in the air drop GUI, on the Air I was prompted to accept the transfer, and it just stuck everything into the downloads folder, which I was then able to move to my home folder.  Apple really need to put AirDrop into iOS. I think it would be a pretty massive feature.

Performance

 

Now, I'm not going to run benchmarks and give you graphs and pie charts of how the MacBook Air performs.  Others have done that, and I don't need to.  The Air I purchased was the 11.6" version with the base 1.6 GHz Core i5 processor (which is the intel low power ULV chip), 4GB of RAM, and the upgrade to a 256GB Sold State Drive.  Every MacBook Air uses the i5's integrated graphics processor, the Intel HD 3000 graphics, which uses 384 MB of system RAM for video memory.

Now, this machine is the fastest machine I've ever used in day to day use.  This is largely because of the sold state drive, which the Air is my first experience in using one.  It goes from off to the log in screen in about 7 seconds, and after I put my password in, the desktop is loaded 3 seconds after that.  It sleeps instantly, and wakes up instantly.  Applications launch blazingly fast. I've been using the Air for about a week now, and it still amazes me how fast it is.

The processor on this machine is plenty fast as well.  Would i make it a main video editing machine? No.  But it can definitely handle itself as a video editing machine for mobile users.  my desktop runs a previous generation Core i7 920, which is still faster, but the Air is fast enough for all but the heaviest tasks I can throw at it.  It is simply not in the same universe from the ULV Core 2 Duo from the previous MacBook Air, and is significantly faster than the full speed Core 2 Duo in the 2009 MacBook Pro.

Battery life seems to be roughly what Apple claims for the 11" air, 5 hours.  I haven't run any extensive tests, but I can say that I can regularly get over 4 hours doing my normal activities (browsing, IM, Twitter client polling every few minutes, and some app use like Reeder), but not more than 5.  I wish the battery life was a bit longer, but again, on a machine this small, I will trade a bit of battery life for the size.

I didn't buy the Air to be a gaming machine, and I'm obviously not going to try running a lot of high end games, but that being said I loaded up Civilization V and it was playable at the native resolution; albeit on the low settings.  Most games that are a few years old seem to run fine (Star Wars: Empire at War was my main test case), and the Air runs Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies like a fiend.

My only real concern is that the Air runs a little warmer under idle conditions than I would like.  While my MacBook Pro idled at about 41-44 degrees, the MacBook Air idles about 10 degrees warmer than that, and regularly gets over 65 degrees under a moderate load.  Time will tell whether that will be an issue or not.

Wrap-up

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So the main question still remains. Can the MacBook Air be a users only computer.  For me, the answer is still no.  The MacBook Air is a fantastic computer, but I am still too much of a power user.  My Air has a 256GB hard drive, and I have 5.5 TB in my desktop.  I game on my desktop in ways that simply aren't possible on the Air.

That being said, I can see the Air being a perfectly acceptable computer for most users.  I absolutely do not recommend the $999 version though.  a 64GB SSD and 2GB of RAM are frankly unacceptable in 2011.  I think that the $1,200 model with 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD should be the minimum users should consider.  For other things, like the ethernet port or optical drive, a simple question needs to be asked: When was the last time you used them on your laptop.  For me, I hadn't used the optical drive in over a year, and the ethernet port only 2-3 times in that year, which can easily be fixed with the USB adapter.  A USB DVD drive can also be bought for the few times when an optical drive is needed.

If you can live without having an ethernet port or a DVD drive every day, and understand that the $1200 model is the minimum that should be considered, the MacBook Air can absolutely be someone's only computer. Especially the 13" model, which offers higher specs and a slightly larger screen.  Even for me, where the 11" Air is going to be my secondary/couch/travel computer, I could not be happier with it, and it comes as highly recommended as I can.

You can see more pictures of the MacBook Air, including size comparisons to the Mid-2009 13" MacBook Pro here

MacBook Pro - One year later

It has been about a year since I bought my first Apple Computer, a 13” MacBook Pro.  You can read my review here, and see my unboxing here.  What I want to do is revisit the MacBook Pro, and talk about my first year with it. First, the hardware.  I can say that even a year later the MBP is the best quality computer I have ever handled. It still feels solid, the hinge is still as good as it was when I first opened it, and nothing adverse has happened to the machine.  The build quality is seriously top notch, and I know that this computer will still be rocking like a tank long past it’s useful lifetime as an actual day to day computer.  The Battery life was advertised from Apple to be 7 hours.  When I first got the computer, under ideal circumstances I could get very close to that 7 hours, though around 6 was more realistic.  1 year later, and the battery is starting to degrade just a little bit, but nothing like other laptop batteries I have seen.  It does vary depending on use, but I am averaging around 5 hours of battery life, which is still very good, and battery life is rarely an issue for me.  A quick look at coconutbattery tells me I have discharged the battery about 175 times in the past year.

That being said, there are a couple of things I really wish the MBP had.  The screen resolution on my MBP is 1280x800, which is pretty low, even by 2009 standards.  Many 13” laptops come with 1366x768 displays now, which are capable of displaying 720p video full size.  Even the 2010 revision of the 13” MBP still only has a 1280x800 display.  This is one area where Apple really needs to step it up and catch up to it’s PC counterparts.  The other issue I have is with the limited USB ports on the computer. the 13” MBP only has 2 USB ports, and they are very close together.  For example, if I plug in my cruzer micro 16GB flash drive, it blocks the second USB port and I cannot use it.  the Cruzer Micro, despite it’s name, is not the smallest flash drive on the market, but it is definitely not large.  The casing is only about 1cm wider than the width of a USB port.  Apple really does need to space the USB ports out just a bit more.  I’d also really, really like a 3rd USB port.  9” netbooks have 3 USB ports, Apple really should put a 3rd USB port in.  There have been a few times where I really could have used it.

When it comes to the software side, I was really jumping into a new world. Sure, I’ve used OS X in the past, spent a couple semesters using Apple computers in school.  But beyond that, it was really my first foray into OS X.  I didn’t know much about the 3rd party software, and within a month of my computer purchase, OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was released.

Long story Short, Snow Leopard is miles better than Windows XP, but that shouldn't be surprising, since Snow Leopard was released in 2009 and Windows XP was released in 2001.  Snow Leopard is also better than Windows Vista, but not by as much as people might think.  I’ve talked a lot about Windows Vista here, and won’t really rehash that.  Is Snow Leopard better than Windows 7?  No, it’s not.  Is Windows 7 better than Snow Leopard? The answer to that is also a no.  After a year of using both operating systems on a daily basis, I can honestly say that for the most part, they are pretty much comparable.  Sure, there are some things that Snow Leopard does better than Windows 7, and some things that Windows 7 does better than Snow Leopard, but at the end of the day, they are very comparable experiences.  I very much enjoy using Snow Leopard, but if someone took my MacBook Pro away from me and told me I had to use a Windows 7 laptop instead, I could do that without missing a step.  One of the main reasons I purchased an Apple laptop when I did is because I wanted to become proficient in both Windows ans OS X.  I am still better with Windows, I probably always will be, but I can also now switch between operating system environments without missing anything, or feeling like I’m lost, which really means that my goal has been accomplished.

One thing that I really have noticed in my time using both Windows and OS X, is that for probably 70% of what I do on a day to day basis, the platform I use doesn’t really matter.  Most of what I do regularily lives on the web. I use the gmail web interface, google docs, Facebook, and many more web applications.  I use desktop applications all the time as well, but some of them are even cross platform.  For the apps that aren’t, there are always equivalents on both platforms, and I have learned how to use most of them.  One of the only things I do now that I make a point of doing windows only is working with photos and videos, but the main reason for that is because my desktop computer is much more powerful and has much more screen space than my MacBook Pro.

The only applications I can honestly say that I was disappointed with has been the iWork suite.  Not so say the software itself isn’t good, but the fact that I work with word and excel documents all the time, and while Pages and Numbers support opening them, it is very hard to quickly work with and save .doc, .docx, .xls, and .xlsx files.  that was what actually finally pushed me to use google docs nearly full time.  I’m looking forward to trying Office 2011 for Mac, as I really do enjoy using the traditional Office suite.

Beyond that there really isn’t a whole bunch to say.  I love my MacBook Pro dearly, and really do think it is a wonderful computer, despite it’s few shortcomings.  Perhaps the biggest thing I have learned in the past year of using both platforms is that at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter what platform we use anymore.  Windows and OS X are each other’s peers, there is not one that is better than another, and so many people use the web so much now, that it truly doesn’t matter.  I know this is a tired argument, but I firmly believe that apple could hit a better market share if they simply lowered the price of their computers, but considering they just came out with their best quarter in the company’s history, I don’t see that happening.

Would I recommend an Apple Computer today?  Honestly, it’s not really a yes or a no answer.  If you are willing to spend more money for the computer, and don’t mind a couple weeks of a learning curve, by all means, go ahead.  But for most people, you don’t need to.  There will always be people who will buy only Apple Computers, and there is no problem with that.  If you really want to buy it, you will buy it.  If you don’t, I really don’t think anyone will miss a beat using Windows anymore.  Go with what you want, and what you are comfortable with.  You won’t be disappointed either way.

MacBook Pro review -13.3" June 2009 model

This is not the first review of the 13" MacBook Pro that has been published. It is probably not the best either. What it is is a review from someone who has made the decision to own an Apple computer for the first time, and run OS X on a regular basis for the first time. MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro in all it's glory

That is not to say that I have never used OS X before. I took several classes in school where I used OS X, and I have a few friends who have Apple laptops. Before buying the MacBook Pro, I would call myself an average OS X user. I'm still not proficient like I am with windows, but I've had my MacBook Pro for just over 2 weeks, and I've been using windows every day for nearly 15 years, so I think that is to be expected.

the MacBook Pro 13.3" was purchased to replace my netbook, an original Acer Aspire One, with an 8GB Solid State Drive(SSD) and an 8.9" screen. There are a lot of things to like about the netbook form factor. The size alone makes it a wonderful device to easily carry around with you, and travel with. However, as is the case with many of the early netbooks, my Aspire One did not hold up as well as I would like. The SSD in the drive is notoriously slow, and that has caused running anything that needs to access the drive to just kill the performance of the machine. I originally wanted to purchase another netbook. However, after beginning to shop for a netbook the ones I was looking to purchase were in the $500-$600 range, and that would have been my second netbook purchase in about 14 months. Another primary reason to keep me away was that while the netbook form factor is great for traveling, the machines are really under powered. A netbook is fine for about 60% of the tasks I would do on it, but there have been several occasions over the past year that I have found myself wishing for my netbook to have more power, and more capability. This is not because it is not capable of handling every day tasks, but because I am a very heavy power user, and there are times when my netbook simply could not keep up.

I decided to expand my search for a notebook to a full size notebook computer, one in the 13" size range. In early June, Apple announced a new revision to their notebook line, the biggest change coming in their 13" notebooks. The all aluminum MacBook, known as the unibody MacBook, gained an SD card slot, Firewire, longer battery life, a backlit keyboard and joined the MacBook Pro line. All while dropping the price by a couple hundred dollars. After this announcement I began to take a hard look at the new 13" MacBook Pro, and after careful consideration, placed the oder for it.

Hardware

I will go so far as to say this is the most beautiful computer I have ever used. the unibody enclosure means that the laptop is made only of 3 pieces of aluminum, and the glass screen. It feels solid, and seems quite durable durable. I'm not going to test to see if it can take a 4 foot fall onto a sidewalk, but when I carry it around I don't feel like I'm carrying something made of glass.

Keyboard

MacBook Pro Keyboard

The black keyboard is a nice contrast to the aluminum case

I have been a fan of MacBook keyboard style since it was first introduced in the white macbook in 2006. I actually use an apple keyboard with my windows desktop PC. The keyboard here is no different, and having the backlit keyboard is nice in when in the dark.

Trackpad

MacBook Pro Trackpad

The trackpad is massive

Anyone who has used a trackpad on a windows PC knows how difficult it can be. they are usually small, and difficult to navigate. The trackpad on the unibody MacBook is nothing short of brilliant. It is by far the largest trackpad I have ever seen on a laptop, the glass surface makes it very smooth to the finger, and the multi touch capabilities are a joy to use. It did take some getting used to having the entire trackpad function as one large button, but after about a week of use I adjusted well. The controls, once you learn them are quite intuitive. One finger to left click, two fingers to right click. 1 finger to move the mouse pointer, 2 fingers to scroll a document. In supported applications, you can pinch to zoom as with the display on the iPhone and iPod Touch, 3 finger swipes can also allow you to go back and forward in the Safari web browser. Usually on a windows laptop I carry a mouse with me, and if the computer is on a desk, I'm using a mouse. For the first time ever on a laptop, I have had no desire at all to use a mouse, and that's saying something.

Ports

MacBook Pro Ports

All of the connection ports live on the left site of the computer

All of the ports can be found on the left side of the MacBook pro. on the 13" you will find the MagSafe power, gigabit ethernet port, Firewire 800, mini DisplayPort, 2 USB ports, an SD card slot(for the first time ever on an Apple computer), and a line in/line out port. Note that there is no seperate microphone port here. If you want to use headphones and a microphone, you either have to use a USB set, or use the iPhone earbuds with a microphone. The mini DisplayPort, while actually being a standard, is not used on a lot of hardware yet, and requires an adapter to connect to almost every monitor. On the right side you will find the SuperDrive and the security lock slot. On the front is the IR port and the standby light.

Screen

MacBook Pro Screen

Glossy much?

The screen on the MacBook Pro is beautiful. The LED backlight makes for even backlighting, and a very bright screen. The colours are vibrant, the black levels are good, and everything I have thrown at it looks very nice so far. The screen has an ambient light sensor and will automatically adjust based on how bright the room is.

Where i have run into problems, is the high gloss of the screen. I am a fan of glossy screens. I think that in general glossy screens look better, and provide a better experience. However, the screen on the MacBook Pro borders on being *too* glossy. Since I am a fan of glossy screens, the fact that I am even mentioning that I think the screen borders on too glossy means that it could likely be a big issue for some.

Battery

One thing about all of the unibody MacBook Pro's now is that the battery is no longer user replaceable. Apple's claims are that by eliminating the need for a seperate compartment for the battery, they have been able to increase the size, and capacity of the battery, by about 20%. The battery is also a Lithium Polymer, which Apple claims will last for 1000 recharges, which is more than double the 400-500 reated recharge cycles of the standard lithium ion batteries found in most other notebooks. This has been a very controversial feature of the new MacBook Pro. Many frequent travelers have two batteries for their laptops, and with the MacBook Pro, you cannot have a second battery to change out on the go. Now, for some, this is a deal breaker, but for the vast majority of people, this will not be an issue.

Apple claims up to 7 hours of battery life on the 13" MacBook Pro, and astonishingly, it is not that far off. with brightness set to between 30 and 50%, doing basic internet and word processing, the MacBook Pro gets almost bang on 7 hours. Naturally, as more intensive applications are used, battery life goes down. But you can expect well over 3 hours of watching a DVD, and about 4.5-5 hours of watching a video file stored on the hard drive.

Other features

The model I bought has the base processor, a Core 2 Duo running at 2.66GHz. I had 4GB of ram installed at the factory, up from the standard 2GB. I found a better deal on a 320GB hard drive than what Apple had to offer, so the first thing when I got it was took the stock 160GB hard drive out and put in a 320GB. The rest of the features are stock. It comes with a nVidia GeForce 9400M graphics chipset, which will not blow anyone away, but will be able to handle most day to day tasks well, and allows for light gaming. Spore, which is the only game I own that I can install on OS X, runs adequately on this computer.

Other hardware features include the iSight camera, and microphone. I have also noticed that due to the one piece construction of the body, the edge at the front of the keyboard feels a little sharp, and I've definitely noticed it while typing this review.

Software

Although this is my first Apple computer, I am by no means a rookie when it comes to OS X. I have used it many times in the past, and as I have stated I feel myself to be competent. After a couple of weeks of using OS X, I find myself very used to OS X. I will be updating the "My Stuff" section of this website with the common software I am using for OS X. Most of it has come from friend recommendations, and searching on Google when I need s specific kind of application. Overall, except for a few odd circumstances, transitioning from Windows applications to an equivalent in OS X has not been an issue.

One thing that I have done, however, is used virtualization technology which allows me to run Windows within OS X. There are a few applications for Windows which do not have an OS X equivalent, or are otherwise better for me to use on Windows. the product I use is VMWare Fusion. I run virtual, and legal, copes of Windows Vista, and Windows XP. I use Vista for the day to day tasks, and Windows XP is only installed to facilitate easier troubleshooting/helping for me. VMWare fusion allows me to run Windows applications, such as Microsoft's excellent OneNote note taking program, within OS X. This allows me to have the best of both worlds. I have OS X, but also the windows apps that I need. I will be posting a more in depth article about virtualization in a different article.

Conclusion

MacBook Pro Name Shot

After 2 weeks of use, I am very, very impressed with the 13" MacBook Pro. It is a solid, very capable machine. It has it's quirks, and to own an Apple machine you have to be willing to accept those. But overall I am very happy with this purchase. I personally do not believe there is a better notebook computer, PC or Mac, in the price range of the MacBook Pro. There are some things that will be deal breakers for some. The screen is the biggest one. If you do not like glossy screens, you will not like the screen on the MacBook Pro. Even if you're indifferent, it is still a cause for concern. I highly recommend that if you are considering buying this computer, that you go look at it in a store first, to see how glossy the screen is. The lack of a user replaceable battery will also be deal breaker for some, although that subset is a much smaller audience. Overall, the MacBook Pro June 2009 revision comes highly recommended, as long as you are comfortable with using, and learing, OS X.

You can find more pictures of the MacBook Pro, including the unboxing, on my flickr page here.

Some Sunday Thoughts

I don’t have enough to really talk about on any single topic today for a blog post, so I’m going to write about a bunch of things in a single post.

First, I can happily say that I'm writing this from my backyard.  It’s 30 degrees today in Edmonton, and barely a cloud on the sky.  It’s the first day of the year that truly feels like summer, and was long over due.  I enjoy the winter months.  I really do.  But even I have a limit.  We had a late start to our winter, but paid for it with a very cold winter, and a cold spring.  While I like winter, I acknowledge that Edmonton truly comes alive in the summer, and I’m glad to see it, as long as I can find a piece of shade.

Now, I want to talk a bit about Apple. On Monday they announced the iPhone 3G S. Now, the iPhone is a non-starter for me, because I will not go to Rogers.  The 32GB iPhone 3G S is a very compelling device. A good camera, video recording, battery battery life, and voice control make it a step up from the iPhone 3G.  However. if you’re an iPhone 3G owner, it is not worth the upgrade.  If you are a 3G owner, you will have to pay the full price for the 3G S, since you will not qualify for the subsidized price.  instead of $199/$299, you will have to pay $499/$599. Way too much. If you are not an iPhone owner, and want to move to Rogers for it, there is no reason not to.  The 3G S is worth it.  I, however, would not buy the 8GB 3G at the $99 price point.  Sure, an iPhone for $999 is nice, but for the type of device it is, 8GB of storage is simply not enough. throw 500 songs on, a couple movies, a couple TV shows, and some apps, and you’re already full.  Skip the 8GB iPhone and go for at least 16GB, 32 preferably.

Now, the MacBook Pro upgrade.  This took everyone off guard.  All I will say is that the 13” MacBook Pro is a very compelling device.  You will not find a better laptop for the price point. Overall, the price drops make a Mac somewhat more affordable, which is very welcome. If you’ve been thinking about buying a Macbook, there is no better time than right now, or the near future.  I know that if I needed a computer today, the 13” MacBook Pro would be the one I buy.

All this, and I haven’t even touched on Snow Leopard yet.  Some new things, nothing mind blowing, except the price.  $30 to upgrade from the previous version is a steal, and a direct shot at Microsoft.  Very interesting indeed.

Lastly, my city councilor, Tony Caterina, says that the proposed service cuts in the 2010 budget are something we can “live with.”  I was appalled by this statement.  As the city hacks and slashes services, I don’t know how they can live with it.  They want to close 2 hockey rinks, because 2 more are coming online this fall.  But what he doesn’t see is that the reason 2 more rinks are being built and brought online is because the rinks the city currently has are pretty much at capacity.  They were building new rinks so people could have more ice time, so more teams could play.  Hours are being cut at swimming pools starting in July.  Lifeguarding hours have been cut, quite literally putting peoples lives at risk.  I wonder if Mr. Caterina could live with those cuts if they were services he uses ever day.  He should talk to the people of his riding that do use these services, and see if they can live with it.  The reason there are all of these cuts, is that council wants to keep the 2010 tax raise as low as possible because it’s an election year.  Sure, they can spin it anyway they want, but fact is fact.  The city is willing to cut services to keep the “magic number” that everyone pays attention to low, which is a political move, and it’s going to hurt a lot of people.  It’s too bad.  both of my councilors have already lost my vote, we will see about Mayor Mandel.

Well, that ended up being a little longer than I thought it would, but at least I got to write this post outside. Now, back to my weekend.