Colds, Heat, Apollo 13, and the iPhone

It’s 6am on a Saturday and I am awake with a cough that won’t go away. Like most people, I hate being sick, but I think I hate it even more than the average person. I don’t like being cooped up at home, so tired that all I can muster to do is to watch TV and curse whoever or whatever got me sick. I don’t relish being away from work, because my work keeps my mind engaged and happy. But alas, I got sick and all I can do is wait for it to go away.

This is hardly the worse cold I’ve had, but it’s in the top five. To make matters worse, it’s HOT in the Bay Area this week. Really, really hot, by San Francisco standards at least. Having lived in Arizona for seven years, I am used to the soul-crushing dry heat, and I moved to San Francisco to get away from it. That’s why I am always bitter and grumpy when the fog clears away and the temperatures rise above the typical 63°F.

The only upside to the clear skies is that I can see the moon clearly for the first time in months. I’m currently reading Apollo 13, the book written by Jeffrey Kluger and Jim Lovell that later became Ron Howard’s awesome movie, and it’s neat to get to stare up at the moon and feel connected to it. If you’re a space nerd like me, or at all interested in humankind’s efforts to get into space in the 1960s and 70s, I highly recommend you read it.

Last in this stream of consciousness-like post, I bought an iPhone. For the last four years, I’ve been swearing up and down that I’d never buy an iPhone and that I’d stick with Android for life. Well, never say never. I still love Android and still respect the ecosystem very much, and I’m still reviewing Android phones and software at CNET. It’s just that I want to get better acquainted with the iOS ecosystem, which despite owning an iPad, I feel like I don’t know all that much about. I also want to be able to use all the cool new apps that still seem to take months or upwards of a year to get to Android. Sadly, the phone is still on back order and hasn’t shipped yet, but sometime in the near future I’ll have an iPhone 6 of my own, and people can start calling me an iSheep — oh joy!

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Why I love my Note 2

My unusually large phone gets a lot of flack.

I bought my Galaxy Note II last year, because I was in need of a new phone, and it was the most powerful device on T-Mobile at the time. The size bothered me, because I didn’t want a phablet. TouchWiz really bothered me, because it’s ugly. Nevertheless, I ponied up a few hundred dollars to buy it and have been defending it’s massive size ever since.

“OMG, that thing is huge, can I hold it?” is the most common response I get if I ever dare pull my phone out in front of strangers. It’s usually followed by “Oh, it’s not as ridiculously large as I thought.” After more than enough wisecracks about my Note II (which I am sure would have given it a complex by now if phones could feel shame), I present my reasons why I love it:

1. It’s humongous, meaning I can read more of a webpage than you can, see larger photos, and watch videos without getting super close to the screen. Widgets are big enough to display all the info I want to see, too.

2. It’s super fast. Rarely does it lag enough that I notice it or become frustrated. I’m running a launcher on it too and it’s still giving me all the performance its processors have.

3. It’s kind of a tank. I dropped it once, from about 4 feet on solid concrete. The damage was a few scratches on the outside edge and a scratch on the back plate, but that was it. I’ve been known to trash talk the poly-carbonate exterior of the Note 2, but it takes a beating well.

4. The camera is good enough. The camera app might frustrate me, but the camera itself takes nice pictures. See exhibit A below.

Mission Dolores Park April 2013

So yes, my phone is too big to fit into a pocket or some purses. But it’s powerful, resilient, and bigger than yours, so there. I’ll probably size down for my next device, but I’ll defend the value of the Note 2 forever.

Oh Hello There 2012

So many times in the last two months I meant to get on here and write a post. Over Christmas I wanted to write about the cynical attitude I had adopted. In the beginning of December I meant to post an update about my new (and awesome job).

But I didn’t do either of those things. I’ve just been so busy. So now that I’ve made my way over here, I ought to fill you in on how life has been.

Continue reading “Oh Hello There 2012”

Thanks Steve

I know I am doing nothing more than adding to the barrage of blog posts that are discussing and documenting Steve Jobs’ untimely passing. I don’t care. His death has struck a chord with me, so I must post my thoughts.

 

When I heard the news this afternoon I was deeply saddened. Death has been and will always be a difficult subject for me. I know what it is to have profound loss and will always empathize with those who’ve been left behind. Tonight I think about Steve’s wife and kids.

Beyond the sadness over his passing, I thought about Steve’s revolutionary contributions to technology. I wondered how his death will affect Apple as a company, especially since it came one day after a lackluster Apple announcement that was met with an underwhelming response from tech pundits and consumers alike. My thoughts after Jobs’ resignation were that he’d still have some say in Apple’s business and product development. Now I question what the future of Apple will look like now that he’s gone, I am sure that it will never be the same.

In conclusion, I want to join the many who are saying  Thank You to Steve Jobs. Tonight I started an extended learning class and I brought my iPad with me to take notes. It was awesome; I wish I had an iPad in college, life would have been easier. So thanks Steve Jobs,  for making my life easier, allowing me to take 50 CDs with me wherever I went when I got my first iPod at 16, and thank you for producing the first computer I ever used. Rest in Peace.

I posted about Apple and Steve Jobs back in August when he resigned as CEO, for all my thoughts about the company and him as a person, you can read that post.

On Steve Jobs’ Resignation and My Love-Hate Relationship With Apple

No doubt, the biggest piece of news this week was Steve Job’s resignation as CEO of Apple. Unless you live under a rock, you know that he stepped down due to medical reasons and offered Tim Cook as his replacement.

While everyone sits around speculating what the future of Apple will look like (not hopeful given that the mess that is Apple Vista Lion was largely under Cook’s control), I reflect on my experiences with Apple over the years. Disclaimer: I am not Apple’s biggest, nor will I likely ever be.

My first experience with Apple was as a kid, in my elementary school computer lab where we learned how to use the old Macintosh LC model computers. They worked fine, but I cared less about the computer itself and more about playing Oregon Trail. However, my loyalty lied with the built-from-scratch Gateway computer running Windows 95 that my family had at home.

Around 12 years old, my Apple-loyalist uncle got me my first Apple computer: a bright blue iBook–those ones with the big rounded edges and the handle that popped out. It was alright, albeit confusing to use. Once Mac OS X released, I tried installing it on my computer, needed more RAM, bought more RAM, and soon just gave up on the computer and never used it again. It became obsolete and I became uninterested in it.

My later experiences with Apple came in the form of the iPod. I got my first iPod Mini (also blue) in high school and fell in love. From there, I got an iPod Video, an iPod Touch, and ultimately–because I don’t always love new technology–an older iPod Nano. I have to admit when it comes to MP3 players, Apple really has gotten it right. I’ve tried to venture out and try other MP3 players but always go back to the iPod.

Enter the iPad. My loving boyfriend (who also loves Apple) recently bought me an iPad 2. When the first iPads hit the market, I thought “Ha! What a stupid thing! Its just a gigantic iPod Touch”. I eat my words. I really like the thing. Yes, I could have gotten an Android based tablet, to go with my Android phone, but Apple really hit the mark with their tablets in the similar fashion that they got it right with the iPods.

I definitely have my beefs with Apple; I’ve never liked their computers, their tech support and sales staff always put me off, and iTunes no longer runs on my computer. Though that last part is likely my fault; serves me right trying to run iTunes on a PC, I guess. Before you starting giving me advice on how to fix this issue, don’t. I’ve tried everything. Trust me. Its an issue with the 64 bit iTunes (and the fact that I am running it on Windows 7).

Yesterday, as the news broke about Jobs, I was sitting on my couch snuggled up to my iPad. I thought, “I have Steve Jobs to thank for this cool piece of technology”. In a lot of ways I have Steve Jobs to thank for the all products from Apple that I enjoy. I have always scoffed at him during his big presentations that introduced the latest and greatest product to the market. He’s showiness, his turtlenecks; I always laughed jokes made at his expense. However, now that he’s gone stepped down to board president, I get the feeling that I’ll miss him.