ApplePay Broken?

The crooks have not broken the secure encryption around Apple Pay’s fingerprint-activated wireless payment mechanism. Instead, they are setting up new iPhones with stolen personal information, and then calling banks to “provision” the victim’s card on the phone to use it to buy goods.

At first the article makes it seem like ApplePay on the device is broken. But it seems the human element involving the credit card companies is the problem here.

12-inch MacBook Air?

The upcoming 12-inch Air has the fewest amount of ports ever on an Apple computer, as can be seen in the rendition above. On the left side is a standard headphone jack and dual-microphones for input and noise-canceling. On the right side is solely the new USB Type-C port. Yes, Apple is currently planning to ditch standard USB ports, the SD Card slot, and even its Thunderbolt and MagSafe charging standards on this new notebook. We must note that Apple tests several designs of upcoming products, so Apple may choose to ultimately release a new Air that does include the legacy components, though there is very little space on the edges for them.

My first Apple laptop was a 12-inch PowerBook which I loved. My wife wondered why I didn't get the 15-inch or 17-inch which were other options. I said it was something about that 12-inch PowerBook that looked and felt right.

I don't think Apple would ditch the Thunderbolt connection and MagSafe both. Seems like a bit much, but I suppose it's possible. Only time will tell.

Not Disappointed

I'm fairly pleased with the iPhone 4S announcement the other day. It hit all the points I was looking for in a new iPhone. Granted, my points weren't really that lofty. I hoped for, at the least:

  • A screen as good as the iPhone 4 (e.g. retina display).
  • The same or better camera.
  • More powerful, processor-wise.
  • More memory for less.

What was shown was:

  • Yup, retina display. No change in screen size or resolution
  • A better 8MP camera with an aperture of 2.4 (good for low light).
  • Dual-core A5 chip = faster!
  • Now offering it in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. It meets my more memory for less criteria.

I wasn't expecting or waiting for an iPhone 5. It seems to fit with the pattern or releases (e.g. iPhone 3 to iPhone 3GS). And since I'm on a broken down iPhone 3GS anything would be much better. Now, what size and color should I get?

Just Annouce It Already!

Apple can announce anything today. Just as long as it's a new iPhone. I so desperately need a new phone. 

  • The headphone jack is broken.
  • The physical volume buttons are broken.
  • The side with the volume buttons is starting t split.
  • The top power button, when pressed does nothing. This means I can't power off my iPhone

I could have gone with an iPhone 4, but I held off for two reasons. The first, was to uphold a pledge to skip every-other-version of the iPhone. We had the First Gen, skipped the iPhone 3G, and got the iPhone 3GS. The second reason I waited was when my iPhone truly started to become unusable as a music device, it happened during that weird window where you know you need a new iPhone, so why get one. Why not wait?

I do hope the new iPhone is better than the iPhone 4, which was something I lusted after for some time. What I hope for in a new iPhone is:

  • A screen as good as the iPhone 4 (e.g. retina display).
  • The same or better camera.
  • More powerful, processor-wise.
  • More memory for less.

All that I ask above is doable, very doable. We'll see what happens later on this morning. All I know is that by the end of the month I should have a new phone.

Apple's New iPods and Apple TV

Thinking of getting one of the newly announced shiny Apple toys? You may want to pop over to Ars Technica and get their initial hands-on impression of each new device.

I was briefly toying with the idea of changing my iPhone 3GS to a regular phone and getting the new iPod Touch. But then I would be, once again, carrying two devices to stay as connected as I want to be. Do I really want to do that?

I Don't Hate My iPhone

My online reading habits lean toward technology. I read a lot of blogs and newsfeeds, keeping up with what I find interesting. One way to get me to read an article is to mention the iPhone. Lately, there seems to be a lot of hate for the iPhone. I'm not really sure why.

I Just Like It

My day is often filled with music. The first music-media capable phone I bought was the LG Chocolate. Big mistake. From what I recall of the Chocolate fiasco, syncing and playing music was awkward. The music UI was also clunky. But worst of all, the touch sensitive controls of the phone quickly turned into a nightmare. I grew to hate this phone. It would often dial phone numbers on it's own. At first my wife thought I was crazy, until her LG Chocolate started to do the same.

When the iPhone became available, I wanted one immediately, but the cost initial cost made it prohibitive. When the price dropped, I was able to get an iPhone. I haven't looked back since. It does what I need it to do: (1) make calls, and (2) play my music. The immediate added bonuses were visual voicemail, email access, easy texting, and calendaring.

I didn't find the initial web apps interesting or useful for that matter. I never thought about how much I would enjoy or need navtively running apps until they came out. When I upgraded to the iPhone 3GS, the phone even became more useful. (I upgraded from the first generation, so we never experienced 3G speeds before.) Apps are now something I think I cannot do without.

Rejection and Upgrades

Apple receives plenty of flack for rejecting apps. High profile rejections include Google Voice, Someecards and Ninjawords. I admit I understand the appeal of Google Voice, and I did try the GV Mobile app when it was available in the App Store. But not having a native app for Google Voice isn't a deal breaker for me. I'm of the opinion that any added functionality to my iPhone as is is icing on the cake. If Apple chooses to reject an app - according to their rules - then so be it. Hey, it's their playground. they can do what they want. Sure, I own the iPhone, and I should decide what I can put on my iPhone or not. And I do. I put on my iPhone whatever is available in the App Store.

Another problem cropping up is upgrading apps you've purchased. This problem is starting with the ever popular Tweetie app. I paid happily paid for Tweetie, and if I feel the features of the 2.0 version coming out are things that I would like, I will happily pay $3 to upgrade. Should it be cheaper to upgrade like regular computer software? I don't know. Three bucks doesn't seem like a lot to part with, for an application you - theoretically - use often.

It's the Network

I don't dislike AT&T as much as most people. I've had few phone connection issues, mostly when traveling up to San Francisco. When my wife commutes home, she experiences at least two dropped calls while traveling on 280 South.

I also think the month-to-month cost of an iPhone is too high. You pay for the phone plan, plus $30 for an Unlimited Data Plan, and at least another $5 to have 200 text messages. I feel nickel-and-dimed at times with AT&T. I'm sure other cell phone carriers would charge similarly, but since AT&T is the only carrier that has the iPhone, the extra charges feel more obvious.

In The End

The iPhone is the best cell phone I've had, with the exception of my first cell phone. I have very fond memories of that Nokia, seeing how it saved me from being stranded several times. Even after reading with all these iPhone bashing stories, I'm still not looking to change phones or carriers. I think I just need to stay away from reading those stories - and the comments that follow the story.

My Short Review of iPhone 3GS

I’ve had the iPhone 3GS for over a week. Here are a few thoughts on how I feel about the phone.


I bought the iPhone 2G back in September 2007, just after the price drop was announced. I was on Verizon, a carrier I much enjoyed being on. But the last phone I had Verizon was an LG Chocolate, a phone that didn’t live up to expectations. I was hoping it would turn out to be a good music playing phone because I was tired of lugging my iPod and phone around in my pocket. All it ended up being was a frustrating piece of equipment.

I figured a smartphone would be a good choice, but Blackberry phones seemed a bit too much.  The only other phone Verizon offered was the Motorola Q. A friend of mine had the Motorola Q. All she could say is it would crash often, even while on a call. Nice.

Now, I count myself as one of those people who are part of the halo effect. I received an iPod as a gift in 2005. Later that year I bought a 12” PowerBook. After few more iPod upgrades I bought an iMac.  Why not an iPhone?Initially I balked at the price.  It was way too much for a phone.  But when it dropped a couple of hundred dollars, well, I got the go ahead to get it.

My Thoughts on the iPhone 3GS

I was able to use the phone out of the box as it was fully charged.  Compared to the 2G, the phone feels smaller and lighter. The infamous oleophobic polymer screen adds to the experience.  Your finger seems to glide across the screen.

The recent OS upgrade to 3.0 has made the phone even better.  I don’t think I’ve ever owned a phone where the upgrades have made the phone more useful.  Sure, some of the features were available on other phones long ago (e.g. voice commands), but they are now on the iPhone and they are even more useful.  For example, the voice commands can control the music player.

It’s nice to have GPS, and coupled with the compass and Google Maps, for me it’s a killer combination.  I was able to use this in San Francisco this past weekend.  It helped me navigate around the city when I was unsure how to get to several places.  I can’t wait for easier turn-by-turn, such as that to be offered by TomTom.

Video on the iPhone 3GS is fair, better in bright light then in dim.  But it’s pretty neat when you can edit video on the phone and upload it right to YouTube.  They should add direct upload to other services, such as Flickr.

Battery life is good.  I average about a day-and-a-half.  The battery meter is now includes a percentage measurement.  I use the iPhone mostly like this:

  • 40% iPod
  • 30% web surfing (including accessing apps such as Facebook, Yelp, etc.)
  • 20% checking and reading email
  • 5% taking photos or video
  • 5% GPS and maps

My only negatives about the iPhone is with AT&T.  Do I regret the move to AT&T? No, not really.  Coverage is decent where I am at.  Oh, yeah, a few calls are dropped in some areas, but for the most part it’s good.  The only complaint I have about AT&T is the apparent charge for everything under the sun (e.g. text messages, data plan). But it’s part of the package, so it’s part of the pain to put up with.  The data plan for 3G and 3GS is $30. If you want 200 text messages it’s another $5.

Overall, I am happy to still be using an iPhone.

(Considering an iPhone?  You may want to read the Techcrunch article The iPhone 3GS: Should You Get It? It’s a good read.)

Mac Heart Stopping Moment - A Reason to Backup

I dropped by 12" PowerBook

I'm a recent Mac adopter.  I bought my Powerbook last October and I just love it.  I probably will never buy another Windows machine, unless something drastically changes.  Last April, I did drop my PowerBook.  It didn't go boom but it did bend a bit.

I know accidents happen, so I was able to calm myself after the mishap.  Given the mobile nature of notebooks accidents are more likely to happen.  I've heard the life expectancy of a notebook is three years, give or take a year.   I understand this.  Imagine my suprise when I came home yesterday and couldn't power-up the PowerBook.

My thoughts started racing.  Did I drop this the PowerBook again?  Did the previous accident just have a delayed effect?  Did the cat sabatoge the PowerBook?  Can I convince farrah we should just buy a new one?  Oh crap, when was the last time I backed up this baby?

I started to freak.  farrah and I tried several steps before I started Internet searches on 12" PowerBook No Power.  There was several forum postings, and one off blog entries about this problem.  None of the solutions were working.  Stress on the old ticker was building.  

I then decided to go straight to the Apple support site for PowerBooks.  Can you guess what the first problem listed on the front page was?  It was "My computer won't turn on"  All I needed to do was a simply hold down the Shift-Control-Option-Power for five seconds, then power back up.  Whew!

My damaged 12" PowerBook

Disaster avoided, but a lessen learned.  Boy, do I need to do a backup and soon. 

Eh, maybe next week.

Mac or Windows?

Heard of the latest //Windows flaw?  From what I understand of it, and I may not understand all of it, but the only thing a user needs to do is visit a malicious website to get infected.  It doesn't matter if they are using Internet Explorer or Mozilla, just as long as they are on Windows!!!  The websites given as //examples seem innocent.  So now viewing a seemingly simple photo can get your computer into virus issues!!!

My Reasons?

I've been looking at moving to a Mac for some time.  I must admit part of it started with the iPod, a very cool product by Apple.  I find the iPod to be a solid piece of hardware that has been very useful in the two years that I have had it.  It's been a great gift that I truly appreciate.

Other input has come from radio shows I listen to, mainly //Leo Laporte's show, who touts Macs and Unix.  Leo continually has end users calling in with a lot of Windows problems.  Granted, 80% or more of the home users out their user Windows.  But listening to these callers has just convinced me that their must be something better out there.  One of Leo's main reasons for moving is he feels that non-power users shouldn't need to be security experts in order to use their computer.  I mean, you need to know to run spyware protection, to run virus protection, to know what to disable and enable in your browser.  I know all of this, but haven't realized that I really don't need to know all of this.  After all, there are no known viruses or spyware for the Mac (at least not now).

Another part of it stems from all the computer problems I have experienced, mostly through friends and relatives,  with Windows-based machines.  I was at someone's house (they shall go nameless) who was having computer problems.  They said their computer was running very slow.  I did a virus and spyware scan and...BAM!  forty-four instances of spyware and at least four viruses!  It was impossible to clean, so a reinstall will be the most likely solution.  (I still need to do this).

Then on our recent trip to Hawaii, someone asked me to look at their laptop to see what was wrong.  Guess what?  It had viruses galore on it!  The laptop wasn't even used that much on the Internet, and when it was it was through a dial-up connection!

So I took the leap to Mac. I have used a Mac before.  At my first Silicon Valley job we used Macs to answer customer questions.  I took a while to get used to, and the group I was in was the only group on Macs.  I slowly moved that group to Windows, as I had some problems exchanging reports with my boss who was on Windows.  So that was the last time I touched a Mac.

Moving to Mac

I've been living with my Mac PowerBook for about a month now, about the same amount of time I've been out of a job!  My last job had a perk where you could get a slight discount on Apple products.  I decided to use it by purchasing a Mac computer.  I wasn't sure which one I would get, but I knew I wanted one.

I went with the 12" PowerBook.  I knew I wanted to take a little leap, without too much cost.  The Mac Mini might have been a good choice, but I didn't need to replace my desktop.  I looked toward laptops since I wanted to be portable.  I was initially going with the 15" PowerBook, but the price for me turned out to be a factor.  Plus I loved the size and feel of the 12" PowerBook.

How's it Going?

What I'm finding is that the Mac is suiting most of my computer needs: surfing, emailing, and composing Word documents.  I did plunk down some $$ for Microsoft Office, but other than that the PowerBook came with all that I needed.  I still haven't found a suitable photo management program, and probably won't look for one until I get a Mac desktop computer.  This PowerBook only has a 100 GB hard drive, so I'm not using it for music storage or image editing.  But I am using it for everything else.

The only outstanding issue I have is my Mac is running slow on my home network.  I don't know why this is the case, as  it seems to be running fine here at Starbucks.  I'll need to figure this one out.  But hey, I highly recommend the Mac at this point.  And with the new Intel Macs coming out soon,  you should consider a Mac if you are looking for a new computer.