A $30,000 watch, a $10,000 suit and an iPhone

Over the weekend my wife was watching a quite dreadful TV show called Million Dollar Listing New York which follows the lives of high-end real estate agents. They are seen negotiating the sales of apartments and houses which are valued up to and beyond $16 million with commissions for the agents coming in at approx $250,000 per sale.

It's big business and offers a glimpse of how very rich people live, but one thing struck me as I witnessed what was happening. These people are being chauffeured around in Bentleys, they are wearing Patek Philippe watches and extremely expensive suits. There is no expense spared throughout, but every single person I saw in the show was using an iPhone.

The rich real estate agents, the buyers purchasing properties for millions of dollars and the sellers letting their apartments go for millions. They all carried iPhones, but everything else on them was incredibly expensive. As I have always said, the iPhone is the only product I own that feels like the best of its kind and it is able to be purchased by many millions of people, unlike those watches, suits and huge apartments.

AirParrot 2

AirParrot is designed to send content to a number of media receivers, even simultaneously. Broadcast to multiple devices like Apple TV and Chromecast, or share audio around the house to AirPlay-enabled speakers. Use AirParrot in combination with Reflector to create a seamless mirroring experience to any computer or device. Never worry about compatibility issues again; share from any device, to any device! More here.

This actually looks rather useful.

The winning mix-tape

I had to think hard about who should win the best mix-tape from the recent competition, but after much thought I felt that Tom should win. This was based on the fact that I did not know too many of the songs and that I discovered a few tracks that will definitely make it into my collection. Ultimately, shared mix-tapes are about discovery and Tom's worked perfectly for that.

Well done to Tom. You can listen to his chosen tracks here.

Ditto

So you take a phone with a perfectly good vibration notification in it, and pair it to a device which vibrates to notify you that the phone has received a call or a message, thus giving you two devices which do *exactly the same thing*? Neil.

Neil sent me a link to the Ditto Kickstarter page along with the above comment and I could not disagree more with him.

We shall start by looking at what we get; battery life which is measured in months and which  requires the replacement of a watch battery, a pledge price of only $29 for a device which mimics a significant feature of smart watches and it's also waterproof and very discreet. It appears to me that a great deal of care has been put in to understanding the advantages a product like this can bring, which is demonstrated in the text below-

Smartphones do so many things.  But it’s easy to become a slave to them.  We created Ditto as a kind of anti-gadget – something to free people from worrying about their smartphones and to be more present in life.
We made Ditto as simple as possible, because at Simple Matters, we believe that, well, simple matters.  So we went to a whole lot of trouble taking things out of Ditto.
Just wear Ditto close to your body and don't worry about checking your phone every 10 minutes.  You'll feel it vibrate when someone you've chosen as important is trying to reach you.  Stop missing calls or messages because you didn't hear your phone ring or feel it vibrate because it was in your purse, or left on mute while being charged.
Use the free app to create Favorites, so only those people you designate will get through.  You can also customize vibrations for particular people. The electronic tether will cause Ditto to vibrate when you've left your phone at home, in the office, at a cafe, etc.  And Ditto's alarms are great for waking up without disturbing your partner, remembering a parking meter, or something else important.

I wrote previously about how hard a sell smart watches and more complicated wearables could be, but I am struggling to see the downsides in this one if your main requirement is discreet notifications and alarms. Seriously, I can't see a downside here.

The iMac aquarium

We've heard of recycling but this is just ingenious. Apple iMacs have been turned into great looking fish tanks and now you can own one.
 
Jake Harms thinks outside of the box, or inside the iMac in this case, and has come up with a brilliant adaptation of an old iMac. By sealing the unit after emptying it he was able to turn it into a working fish tank with a 13-litre capacity... More at Pocket-lint.

Nice idea I guess, but I wouldn't want to be a fish in something that small.

No 32GB = $4 billion

There is no 32GB version. For $100 more instead of getting just 16GB more or 32GB for another $100 you now get lot more. Instead of 100% more for $100 more and 300% more for $200 (more than base version) you now get 300% more for $100 and a whopping 700% more $200 more than the base version.
However the fact that the base $199 version has stuck in 16GB has caused considerable heartburn to many. Many argue Apple should have offered the base version at 32GB instead of 16GB. Sure they could have and could have done so with no impact on profit. After all their flash costs are so low at the volumes they get... More at Interactive Path.

If these numbers are even close, you can see why Apple would ignore what many customers want.

Opinion

Make your voice heard super simple. Opinion is the first easy to use podcast maker for iPhone. It comes with a revolutionary touch friendly interface. Audio editing has never been this instant before.
Record anything. Edit and trim your piece. Arrange clips using drag-and-drop. Share to Soundcloud, e-mail or iMessage.

A simple podcasting app that will suit beginners down to the ground. However, if you want to podcast, the proper equipment is a must and some research will be required. One day I will get around to making a Lost In Mobile podcast.

Do we really want to wear tech?

It would be easy for me to suggest that the majority of people are wary of wearing technology or that the sector will take a long time to become mainstream. It would have been easy for anyone to say the same thing when PDAs were a niche and smart phones were something that the vast majority of people considered too geeky and unnecessary to fit into their lives.
 
Time moved on and millions are now attached to their phones for hours every day, but the attachment is voluntary and something that is physically broken countless times a day. Holding a phone feels like a conscious act to bring all of the information held within it to your attention. Having technology attached to you feels entirely different and, to me, takes some of the disconnection away.

After two years of popping up at high-profile events sporting Google Glass, the gadget that transforms eyeglasses into spy-movie worthy technology, Google co-founder Sergey Brin sauntered bare-faced into a Silicon Valley red-carpet event on Sunday.
 
He'd left his pair in the car, Brin told a reporter. The Googler, who heads up the top-secret lab which developed Glass, has hardly given up on the product—he recently wore his pair to the beach.
 
But Brin's timing is not propitious, coming as many developers and early Glass users are losing interest in the much-hyped, $1,500 test version of the product: a camera, processor and stamp-sized computer screen mounted to the edge of eyeglass frames. Google itself has pushed back the Glass roll out to the mass market... More here.

Google Glass is a poor example of wearable tech struggling to take hold because it is way ahead of its time in terms of how it is worn, how others perceive it and let’s be honest, it is a ridiculous idea. It really is.
 
Smart watches may appear to be useful and a hook for those who are starting to look for something to supplement their phone usage, but I do feel that 99% of people are currently wary of such an idea and that adoption will be slow. There are, however, two factors that could change the rate of adoption. Firstly, I believe that persuading people to wear a watch the send alerts is a much harder task than asking them to carry a phone in a pocket, hand or anywhere else. Then again, Apple is jumping in to this market next year and that could spur a big change immediately. Rightly or wrongly, Apple has the power to kick off a market and I would argue that it was this company that changed the course of the phone market, or at least set it on a course for mass ownership.
 
As I said at the start, it is all too easy to be negative about a new market, but in my mind the leap to devices that are attached to you and which notify you of emails and other happenings is too great for the majority of people. Fitness trackers are different because they are used pro-actively, but reactive devices which you wear are a completely different beast.

Tricking Waze

Anyone who has used Waze to navigate a soul-crushing commute in Los Angeles can see just how the community-driven navigation app works: On any given night, the app might direct hundreds of cars down an obscure street to avoid an accident or gridlock nearby. Now, residents of quiet neighborhoods are pissed at Waze, and apparently ready to do something about it.
Recent reports say that Waze is making life hell for people who live on the small residential streets the app reroutes drivers down. According to TMZ, a reputable source for transportation news, residents are so fed up that they download the app themselves and report congestion on their own streets to screw with Waze's directions and trick the algorithm.
TMZ's story doesn't reveal any specifics so I wasn't able to find any residents to confirm this, but it wasn't too surprising at first blush. At the Making LA conference earlier this month, LADOT general manager Seleta Reynolds confirmed that her department had been getting complaints about Waze from homeowners who thought their streets were being abused by the app's navigation... More at Gizmodo.

This is a problem I have thought about for a long time. In all my years of TomTom Traffic ownership, I have not got stuck in any meaningful jam, but I do wonder what happens when everyone has such services. At some point there will be a need to aggregate the traffic in numerous directions based on volume and that could get tricky.

O2 sharing plans

Get all of your family online for the best possible price with one of our sharer plans. Share one data allowance across O2 sims, phones or tablets.
 
With data allowances from 1GB up to 20GB, and with the ability to share data with up to 10 devices, you can customise your sharer plans to suit your family... More here.

It's a good idea which could work for some families, but I need to look deeper into this to work out the true costs. Other networks have offered this previously, but with some strange restrictions.

GET

That’s fine—I don’t mind the clarity. But GET isn’t a price, it’s a call to action. Call to actions work great on buttons, but in listings like the ones in the image I’ve posted to the right, the word GET is appearing in a description field. Which is why it reads like someone went through the App Store and just did a search-and-replace... More at Six Colors.

Whatever the reasons are for Apple to make this wholesale change throughout the app store, GET just does not look right to me, and especially when presented in capital letters.

Yotaphone getting closer?

Some people might not think very highly of this concept, but I have repeatedly found that trying to look at a screen in bright sunlight an exercise in futility; and it is worse when I have my Polaroid filtered sun glasses on. This phone’s e-ink display is a great solution for a problem that contemporary phone screens cannot deal with adequately. I know this works because every time I look at my wrist, I can see my Pebble’s e-ink display no matter how bright it is.
 
I hope that this phone gets a decent distribution because I think I would like one. David.