This was probably meant as something exciting and fun…
… but mostly it just feels sad.
Silver lining- I’m a trendsetter.
Apple has mostly been a big yawn-fest lately. Which is unfortunate, because while Samsung is innovative, they have this pesky habit of releasing crap features that rarely work as intended. For all Apple’s innovative laziness lately, they do typically execute well.
I’m hoping for a lot of things tomorrow – an iWatch, big upgrades to Apple TV, hopefully a surprise feature or two out of iOS7, and maybe a multi-task pane a la Windows 8 on the iPad. But alas, I fear I will only be getting these things:
- iPhone 5S. The S really does stand for the same – or scanner. Or slightly-speedier. Who cares. More of the same here.
- 80% Likely: Fingerprint Scanner
- 70% Likely: Champagne/Gold Color
- 30% Likely: NFC
- iPhone 5C: C is for Cat! errr… Color!
- 90% Likely: Colorful, slightly crappier versions of the iPhone 5.
- iOS 7 will launch with no new features than what has already been detailed.
- New iPods… that are mostly unchanged from the last iPods.
- Consumer launch of Mavericks.
- Pastel Blue MS Painty versions of iCloud Apps will debut
- And the big one: NO iWATCH.
Overall … meh.
Don’t get me wrong… quantified self is all over the FUTURE… but today, it’s crap.
My Nike FuelBand broke today. Again…
Last time, I had to give a credit card and promise to pay $150 if I didn’t return my old one within 30 days, before they would send me a replacement. Now, I’m debating over whether I really want to go to the trouble of calling them back up and getting a new one. And I think the answer is no.
It was pretty cool at first…but the main reasons why I love it today are listed here:
- I can see it at night
- When I get up to feed the baby in the middle of the night, it provides just enough light to get me across my room without bumping into anything
And that didn’t seem like it was worth keeping. I casually watch the progress bar at the end of the day… it’s of mild curiosity after do some physical activity… or drive a car down bumpy road… and I live in South Arkansas… so pretty much drive anywhere.
My vision of quantified self is more than a pedometer… today, I look search for anything I want. A future where I can type in “Where was I at 2:15 on April 11th?” or “What was my blood pressure during the client meeting last Tuesday,” is what I’m interested in.
But let’s be honest… Nike FuelBand is NOT quantified self. It’s one tiny piece of data about me. It’s totally unaware of context, and can’t tell the difference between driving, running, rocking a baby, or overly aggressive anger-typing, to which I am apparently prone between the times of 2:00-4:00PM on Weekdays.
Maybe the answer lies elsewhere? I think not … observe the competition:
- Fitbit – pedometer
- Fitbit Flex – pedometer… on your wrist
- Jawbone Up – pedometer… on your wrist
- Bodybugg – pedometer
They’re all pedometers!!! You know what else is a pedometer?
So long Nike Fuelband. I’m going to be telling time on my mobile phone until iWatch comes out.
I love the idea of Android. I’m a Google product user – my email, both personal and work, is run through Google’s services. I love Google+. I use Google search. I use Google Docs for both personal and professional needs. I like my stuff in the cloud, and Google is a master of learning “me” and giving me the stuff I want.
I love how Android phones are “open.” I like how Google Now scans everything Google gleans about me, and serves me up useful information. I like Google Maps on android better – I love the way all of Google that I use and love everyday is baked into every ounce of the operating system. I like the bigger screen of my Galaxy S4. I like widgets.
But I’ve realized something lately, after my failed attempt to move to Android from iPhone. It can’t be done. I just can’t quit Apple.
The S4 is a beautiful phone… and it’s fast enough to to be almost as fluid to use as the iPhone. But it’s not about the phone. It’s not even really about OS features. It’s about ecosystem.
I realized it when I was watching my kids watching the new season of Good Luck Charlie on our Apple TV. Or maybe I realized it when I got the notification of an upcoming evening engagement that my wife added to her iPhone, to our shared calendar on iCloud. Or maybe it was when my kid paid her allowance money to unlock a new bag of doctor tools in her favorite Doctor game on our iPad mini. Or maybe it was the fact that I could pick up my iPad and respond to text messages when my phone died. Or maybe it was when my wife added her
I know, I know. There are a ton of ways to replace that functionality on Android. Some of them are probably even better than their iOS counterparts. And there are TV Shows and movies available through the Google Play store, and Chromecast could handle the same features as my Apple TV.
But the cost is simply too high. With hundreds of dollars of TV and movies, hundreds in apps and games, and thousands in hardware (1 Macbook, 1 Apple TV, 2 iPhones, 1 iPod Touch, 2 iPad minis, 1 iPad)… all of which is geared around consuming my media, organization, scheduling, gaming, and communication choices… I’m simply too locked into the Apple ecosystem to ever commit to a change.
My Galaxy S4 that I was so excited to switch to is now stuck on an extra line on our family account and I use it when I need something specific to Android. I like my texts showing up on my mac, iPad, or iPhone. The reminders and calendar could be easily switched to another task app and google calendars… but that means getting my wife comfortable with something new.
That’s the insidiously amazing thing about Apple – you can’t quit… not if you’ve been using it the way they mean for you to. Most of Google works there. But none of Apple works on the Android.
I just can’t quit you, Apple. No matter how much I try.
It never ceases to amaze me how many 9 and 10 year olds I see on Facebook. Once, I made the mistake of questioning a parent about this – assuming they surely did not know that their child lied about their age, and now has a mostly public profile, visible to the entire world, where they were giving out personal information like their address, phone number, and when they were home alone. The angry and offended response, “Yes, of course I know. I monitor what my kids put up,” ended the conversation.
I have to believe that these parents simply don’t understand the internet, and social media, and privacy, and pretty much anything else related to personal security online. It’s shocking. Although, I’ve never met a parent “in the know” about such things that isn’t constantly alarmed at what kids are sharing online. Protecting our kids online is, I believe, one of the most important things we can think about as parents, these days. There are now 2 talks to start early and have often – the sex talk, and the internet talk. It’s time to have the internet talk.
Having the Talk
My conversations with my oldest daughter began when she could read well enough to type in a web address on her own. I’ll never forget my horror when I heard her say, “Daddy… what do I click here?” and I saw the shocking results of the google search, “games 2 girly girls play.” She was trying to find a game for her and her younger sister. Resourceful? Absolutely – I was pretty proud of her having the knowledge that she could simply search to find something exactly for her. But her innocence made her a prime target for some pretty unsavory content. Until now, the internet was simply the place where Dad seemed to find an unending supply of silly click and play flash games.
We setup a rule that is still in effect today – you may NOT search or look for things on the internet without an adult there with you. That got me thinking about how easy it is for kids to find things that isn’t appropriate, and with the help of Clay from DadLabs – I kid-proofed her iPod as well… no more Safari or Youtube there!.
This started a great ongoing conversation about safety on the internet, and what is appropriate to share. Everytime one of her friends gets on Facebook, and posts a picture of themselves wearing tiny PJ’s, or shares inappropriate content… we have the talk again. That stuff you put on Facebook isn’t private – it’s not just for your friends. It’s for everyone in the world to see – and some of those people aren’t good people. When we share – we do it carefully, don’t give out personal information, don’t talk about being home alone, etc.
There are a ton of options to keep your age-appropriate child safe online. If you’re not aware of Facebook’s privacy settings, then do us all a favor, and yank your internet connection out of your house, and go back to sending letters. You can’t keep your child safe, if you don’t understand how to protect the stuff you share yourself. Try these tips:
- Facebook – the age is 13. Not because of Facebook policy, but because of Federal Law. It’s okay to tell your child “NO” – they won’t die.
- Facebook – There’s a little link at the top just for Privacy settings. Click it – you’d be surprised at how much others can see about you. Put your child’s setting as secure and private as possible. For yourself, you may choose to be more public (I do) – but remember that you can set individual posts to different privacy settings, and share only with certain people or groups.
- iPhone/iPod/iPad – Go to your Settings App, then General Settings > Restrictions. You can turn off Safari, so they can’t access the web in general, disable installing apps, set ratings restrictions for content, and even stop them from sharing their location with apps, and a ton of other stuff. No child should have unsupervised and unfettered access to the internet. Period.
About 10 years ago now, I left the world of Windows, in favor of the new Unix-based OS X from Apple. The Apple G4 Titanium Powerbook was a thing of beauty, and the iPod was Mac-Only… and oh-so-awesome.
For the next 9 years, I’ve bought nearly everything that Apple released. I have the original Apple TV, which now sucks, and is in my closet. I have purchased every single iPhone that was released. I have the iPad (not the mini, because it’s stupid), iPods, a Macbook…the list goes on. I drank deep from the cup of Apple, and I never looked back.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve kept a windows PC around for gaming. But earlier this year, I needed to buy a laptop to replace my old one, and with the promise of a work-provided Macbook coming soon, I took a leap for the HP Envy, a beautiful 15″ laptop, with a name that is clearly a double entendre. It’s meant to evoke envy, sure, but it’s really a testament to the PC industry’s envy of Apple. The cover is black, but when looking at it with the screen open, it’s nearly indiscernable from a Macbook pro. It’s a copy… and a pretty good one.
It was cheaper than a Macbook, and beat the Macbook’s specs in nearly every way. The touchpad is wonky… but hey… this is HP we’re talking about.
It was the promise of Windows 8 that really got me excited about Microsoft again, for the first time since Windows 95. An OS and hardware that would combine the mobility of a tablet, with the power and funcationality of a desktop… brilliant. Ironically, I think Apple actually whetted peoples’ appetites for this, as they’ve been bringing in iOS designs into OS X more and more.
I put Windows 8 on my HP Envy as soon as it was available, and it really is a joy to use. I love Windows 8. But I’m going back to Windows 7.
You see…Windows 8 is awesome… it’s even awesomer on 2 screens. I love the tiles… I like the split screenedness… but HP hasn’t finished putting out a full collection of drivers. My battery life sucks, because my screen won’t dim, and the fan runs full speed all the time. My assumption is that a device built for Windows 8 would be amazing. But I simply can’t keep Windows 8 on my laptop with the drivers in the state they are in.
C’mon HP. Windows 8 was in preview most of the year, and I’m using what was, in January 2012, your flagship laptop. I didn’t even get an updated touchpad driver for a few weeks after the launch.
My 2 cents – Windows 8 is a great OS, if you’re planning to buy a new computer. Honestly, I’d choose it over a Mac, right now. But if you’re thinking of upgrading your existing one, I’d wait.