I won't have time to write much over the next couple of weeks so if any of you wish to have a thought, review or article published on LIM, feel free to send content to shaun (at) mailstm.co.uk. As ever, your input would be greatly appreciated.
At Backblaze, as of December 31, 2014, we had 41,213 disk drives spinning in our data center, storing all of the data for our unlimited backup service. That is up from 27,134 at the end of 2013. This year, most of the new drives are 4 TB drives, and a few are the new 6 TB drives.
Bad for Seagate.
Personally I am only using Apple products since nearly 10 years. The reason I switched over was "it just worked". These times are over!
There is no issue with the hardware they are building, still high class, but the software does not follow anymore these standards. There are no big issues, but hundreds of small ones that get in my way. This has probably started with iCloud, which still does not "just" work, annoying calendar winter/summer time bugs, which are still not fixed after x new iOS releases, and has just ended in messy iOS (8) and OS X (10.10.x) releases.
It is incomprehensible for me, how they can sit on millions of dollars in cash and "just" dont fix these things.
In the last couple of months I have tested other mobile devices running Android and Windows. Android is not for me. Point. But I started really liking Windows and see that they have come along way and started doing things right. If Windows 10 delivers on it's promises I am switching back to the Windows world, as I am no longer willing to pay a premium price for unexceptional products. Henk.
For me, Mac OS X is still streets ahead of Windows, but I am experiencing more than a few problems with iOS 8 and iCloud. The recent one is trying to watch a web video in landscape in iOS Safari- it crashes every time.
Apple, people love your iPhone camera, but hate what’s happening to them every day. A 2014 survey of 2,000 smartphone users found they used their camera app over 3 times a day on average. It’s one of the most common things we do everyday on our phones.
Our own research discovered 45% of users are running out of storage every year. 22% are running out at least every month – and incredibly, almost 10% run out of space daily.
40% of women run out of space specifically because they take too many photos. Of all the functions on your iPhone, it’s the camera that defines who we are and brings us all together. It’s also a monster for storage problems.
Ice Cream has a motive for a report such as the one above, but that fact that 16GB iPhones are still being sold with the next upgrade being 64GB is not good. Add in the 8GB iPhone 5C and it gets worse.
A little perspective is always useful.
That's the kind of new tech that gives me enthusiasm.
Microsoft has announced that its next operating system will be offered as a free upgrade to owners of devices running Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Phone.
The announcement marks a change in strategy to its previous policy of charging for major updates.
The offer, which is limited to the OS's first year of release, may aid its adoption.
That could help avoid a repeat of the relatively slow uptake of Windows 8.
The event at the firm's Redmond headquarters spent much of its two-hour duration focused on new capabilities gained by introducing the firm's virtual assistant Cortana to PCs.
I could make the obvious joke of needing to be paid to try it, let alone get it for free, but I am hoping that 10 will be decent. 7 was OK so maybe the pattern will follow. I am, however, not convinced that the same OS on all devices will work as well as the theory might suggest.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—Following the company’s announcement that it would discontinue public sales of the wearable technology, Google officials confirmed Monday that all unsold units of Google Glass would be donated to underprivileged assholes in Africa. “We are committed to positively impacting the lives of poverty-stricken smug pricks by distributing the surplus inventory of Google Glass to self-important fucks throughout sub-Saharan Africa,”
Something like Google Glass will do well one day. As it stands, it was ahead of its time and way beyond what most people would consider reasonable to wear on their faces.
Literally every time I work in the computer store, we'll get a customer whose Mac is plagued with problems they don't understand: Their Mac is acting slow. It crashes. And more. And in more cases than not, we find that they've installed a program called MacKeeper. Removing MacKeeper fixes the problem. So what is MacKeeper and why should you avoid it? Read on for details
MacKeeper was originally developed by a company called Zeobit and was sold a couple of years ago to another firm called Kromtech. The software purports to be a suite of more than a dozen individual utilities that are actually supposed to improve the performance and stability of your Mac — antivirus software, optimization software, junk removal tools and more.
MacKeeper uses scare ads that appear as "pop-under" ads on web sites, telling people to clean their Macs. The pop-under business is the first thing I really don't like about MacKeeper. Quite frankly, I think it's a real bottom-feeder technique and a really low-class way to do business, and it tells me that they're not concerned with what people think of them.
So now you know.
If I could sum up my first Android Wear experience, it would be to say that I have been left somewhat unemotional by the experience. I like the G Watch R at lot; the design is considered and the materials used feel hard wearing enough to survive over time, but I still feel that Android Wear will likely work better on a square screen.
The Moto G has a larger screen and makes better use of the space afforded to it, but even then I have heard comments that suggest it suffers from similar problems with regard to how Android Wear works in a circular environment. Maybe a device like the ASUS ZENWATCH will work better, but I remain sceptical about Android Wear in general.
It feels as though it has been rushed to market and that the notifications dominate the interface when they appear, but even more worrying they often send you back to the phone and left me wondering why I was using the watch in the first place.
I didn't feel this way with the Pebble, well not so much, but I remain fairly convinced that smart watches are not the way forward in their current incarnations.
The Apple Watch remains the unreleased elephant in the room and the square form is an immediate plus point, and so are some of the subtleties of the software, at least the software that we have seen to date. It is likely that the Apple Watch will work in a more refined way than the Android Wear devices we have seen to date, in a similar way to how iOS works in comparison to Android and how Mac OS X works in comparison to Windows.
None of this means, however, that the Apple Watch will solve the smart watch problem as I currently perceive it. And that problem revolves around the 'need' for such a device. I still don't see that despite having used a Pebble, LG G Watch R and a few other wrist-based smart devices.
I recently listened to this episode of The Talk Show in which John Gruber and Marco Arment discuss the state of Apple software. Most of what they said rang true to me and there was a moment when they discussed the yearly upgrade cycle we now experience in iOS and Max OS X.
The nail was hit when they discussed Apple being continually in beta and how this affects users, and my recent experience is markedly different now than it was only 3 year's ago.
Marco mentioned the need to reboot his Mac and that rang true. My iMac ran without ever being turned off for the first 2 years of its life. I now reboot it every 2 days and have done ever since I installed Yosemite. Mavericks caused some problems, but nothing that can be compared to the spinning balls and random loss of drive names in Finder, the slowness after extended periods of use and other oddities that make no sense at all.
They talked about Apple TV and in particular AirPlay. Another chord struck as AirPlay has become incredibly difficult to use over the past few months for me. It sometimes does not connect to the Apple TV at all, other times it takes forever to start a stream and Apple TV often fails to see our iPhones and iPads as remote controls.
iCloud I am not even going to mention because I will boil over, but needless to say I still do not trust it in any way.
What surprised me most was that apparently so many other people are struggling with the same problems which is both comforting and dispiriting, and I wonder if the yearly upgrade cycle is the cause?
Why do we need a new iOS and Mac OS X every single year? I get that it is good for marketing and that the Apple execs can enthuse greatly about what the new versions offer, but I would prefer to see the engineers and programmers stay in the same place and add a single new feature every few months. We are not children, we do not need a completely new experience every year. We just want stability, ease of use and the way Apple software used to be. It is, however, a sad fact that the industry as it is will not stand for that because something new is always needed.
Don't get me wrong, it is not a disaster and is still a million times better than Windows, and somewhat less flakey than Android for me, but we are coming from the high ground and Apple is gradually sliding down the hill thanks to the perceived requirement to change everything every 12 months.
The iPhone’s lead as the smartphone to beat has rarely been defined by just one thing. At one point, the biggest advantage was the simplicity and speed of its interface; at another, it was down to the diversity and quality of available apps; and most recently, the iPhone has distinguished itself with the quality of its 8-megapixel camera. Today, the combination of all these things — simple and fast operation, strong optics and image processing, and a wide app ecosystem — is helping people create the best possible images with the least possible hassle.
I'm not sure I completely agree that the iPhone 6 camera is the best available, but it is by far the easiest I have used on any phone. I must also say that there is a noticeable gap between camera performance on the 6 and 6 Plus. The Plus camera has been a revelation to me.
Users will also be able to enable a subtle red dot that appears atop the Apple Watch’s clock face whenever a new notification is received on your iPhone.
That single line from an in-depth look at the Apple Watch companion app (source link in title) stood out to me. Is Apple letting this be a watch with the extra features able to be as subtle as you need? That would get around my immediate annoyance with Android Wear which is either too invasive or feature disabled.
Packed with the latest Bluetooth and battery technology and with a balance armature speaker giving you a perfect music experience. Whatever reasons you choose to listen to music, you want it to be a hassle-free experience. When starting our development our mission was to create a product that would be focused on simplicity, size and audio quality.
No unnecessary functionality has been added. No sensors, no lights and no microphone, that’s right – no microphone! Not because we couldn’t but because we wouldn’t! Earin is for music lovers – and music lovers only.
I love the charging case.
Apple Watch is coming. Apple is going to sell proprietary straps for it, but what if you want to use your own strap?
You might want to use one you already own, or you might want to change it from time to time without having to buy overpriced straps.
That's what Standap is for.
Standap stands between your Watch and your strap; one side plugs into the Watch, just like official bands, and the other one offers you the ability to insert a standard strap. If you are going to use it for sport activities, you can swap a rubber strap and a leather one when you need.
Standap will come in different sizes to fit 38mm or 42mm Watches, and 22mm bands (other sizes might come too).
Some potential issue strike me with the above-
How does the manufacturer know that what they have works with the real Apple Watch?
Has Apple really made the watch strap proprietary on some editions?
Presume Nato straps will not work as they would cover the sensors?
I think this one requires some waiting before commitment.
I covered the quality of the Watch R in the first part of this review and to date I have been impressed by the design and the way it works as a watch. However, people will not be buying this watch solely to tell the time, but to use the features of Android Wear and so I should spend some time looking at those.
The only smart watch I had used previously was the Pebble and after using Android Wear for some time, I feel that the Android Wear system is at first glance too busy for its own good. The round screen idea makes sense if you are trying to sell a 'watch', but the reality is that it is not particularly suitable for the Android Wear interface in its current form. Notifications feel cut off at the edges and even swiping and dealing with settings doesn't seem to quite fit the circular interface. At no point does it feel as if the OS is designed for the hardware, but it would be an exaggeration to suggest that it does not work.
The fact is that the communication between phone and watch is very impressive and it has not failed me to date, but there is a sense that an Android Wear watch is a remote control for the phone rather than a device in its own right. Some notifications still need to be read on the phone and other apps merely act as conduits to let you open Google Maps etc. It feels somewhat alien to speak something into the watch and then open it on the phone. Why would I would want to do that when I could use the phone in the first place?
All of the apps I tried seemed to follow this pattern; almost all of the work is done on the phone with touches thrown out to the watch and many of these touches feel like mere nods to the fact that Android Wear is there, rather than offering genuine benefits for the user. I don't mean to be negative, but the Pebble, and the simple way it works, presented just what I needed and in a form that was easy to read and genuinely advantageous. Android Wear feels more like an experiment and one that is not offering many real-world benefits.
The notifications don't just show on the screen. A part is shown at which point you have to tap and swipe to see them, and more often than not you will then want to pick up your phone to react. I can see uses when driving, as can be said for all smart watches, but for day to day activities, what is it trying to achieve?
I guess much of what I am saying could apply to all smart watches, but here we have a system that feels more like a cut down Android OS than a system designed specifically for the watch. It feels as though Google is trying to squeeze it in to the devices made by the likes of LG and Motorola, and that it isn't fitting at all. As I said, the Pebble works because it knows its limitations and, you have heard this before, the manufacturer is also making the software. It leverages the APIs from Android and iOS, and presents them in a Pebble-way. Android Wear seems to take the same information and try to present it on a device that is too small and, for circular watches, the wrong shape.
I like the LG G Watch R for the design, the features such as step counting and heart-rate monitoring and for the accuracy. I'm just not convinced that Android Wear is offering many benefits at this time, if any at all?
I am going to write 3 articles about the LG G Watch R and in the first part I want to consider how well it works as a watch. I will completely ignore the smart functions and instead look at what can be done with it as a standalone device, and also what the overall quality is like. It may sound daft to cover the device this way, but it actually makes sense to offer a more focussed review of each part of the G Watch in the hope that it all comes together at the end to help you understand if it is the wearable for you.
The design is somewhat unusual in that LG has attempted to make it look like a standard oversized watch by incorporating a diver's style bezel. This is a nice idea, but the reality is good and bad. The use of black plastic throughout the case of the watch makes it look a little cheap when viewed from any angle and the included leather strap doesn't help reduce that effect. However, for many people it will still look like a normal watch if it were not for the blank or digital screen, which makes the attempts to follow such a traditional route seem ill thought out. It reminds me of the expensive gold LCD watches from the 1970's; at some point someone realised that digital watches are not traditional watches and so changed the designs to make them more consistent with what was showing on the watch face.
The Moto 360 is a better match for a smart watch display and so is that Asus ZenWatch, but ironically I still prefer the actual form of the LG. So, after changing the strap which tool about 10 seconds of consideration I started to play with it and have spent most of the weekend using it as a watch and not dealing with notifications etc.
You get the choice to leave the screen off until you tap it which saves a lot of battery power or to leave it on which will change the face to an ambient mode where the second hand does not move and where some of the detail is removed. As I was trying to use it as a watch, I went for the 'always on' mode and have been pleasantly surprised by the results.
After a full day of 'always on' mode I ended up with 78% battery which is quite impressive and during that period I spent a lot of time playing about with the various features as well. I would expect to get at least 2 day's battery per charge and this is acceptable because charging seemed to be very quick. There is a big however here though because I am also expected at least a daily charge when using it in ernest with my Moto G. Then again, if you stick the watch in Airplane Mode and just use it as a watch, you may see 3-4 days.
Accuracy has been impressive and this could be expected if it communicates with the phone from time to time. You can see in the image below that the second hands are identical and this is what I would like to see as the Citizen on the right is an atomic timekeeper.
Using a £200 smart watch as merely a watch is of course not going to happen for many people, but if you did I wouldn't suggests that it is a waste of money at this price. Besides getting a watch which is sure to draw attention if the screen is always on, you also get a heart rate monitor and a step counter included, which appears to be very accurate. At the end of the first day, the LG showed 4,645 steps whereas my Misfit showed 4,693. Either they are both inaccurate or they are both working as they should.
I should also point out that the LG is surprisingly comfortable, with the right strap installed, and that you will likely not notice it within a few minutes of wearing it. The included strap is 'very' stiff and in my opinion neither fits the design of the watch or is of good enough quality, but it should soften up quite quickly if you are happy to stick with it.
As a watch, I have been impressed with the G Watch R and really did not expect to be. It is accurate, the battery is more than good enough and the design somehow fits with what is expected in a 2014 watch. In the next part I will look at what this smart watch can do and if Android Wear lives up to the promises. We are still in the early days of smart watches and even the manufacturers are struggling to truly understand what the public wants, but my initial impressions of the G Watch R as more than positive.
Apple has raised the price of apps in Canada and most of Europe due to recent changes in local laws and exchange rates, bringing the minimum app price to $1.19 Canadian dollars, .79 euro or .99 British pounds. In an email sent to developers Wednesday, and published by Apple Insider, the company said that price increases would take effect in "all territories in the European Union as well as in Canada and Norway, decrease in Iceland, and change in Russia."
I suspect that Apple would prefer to not increase prices, but we have to be realistic and understand the reasons behind the changes. When I consider how useful some apps are, the value on offer is still very high.
I have an LG G Watch R arriving tomorrow and it should be an interesting experience. I am curious as to how much the battery will inhibit usage and also how effectively it will work as as addition to Android on my Moto G. However, there is a much bigger hurdle I need to get over and that is my growing fascination with real watches such as the Nomos Metro above. You can read the review of it here and despite it being out of my price league, the design is beautiful to me. Even more impressive to a watch nerd will be the escapement, but you will have to read the review to understand why.
My main focus in looking at the LG will be to see if it can, in any way, compete with a beautifully crafted 'real' watch.