The Problem with the Apple Watch

applewatch

Or, more precisely, the problem with the Apple Watch priced at five figures.  If someone buys a fancy iMac or MacBook for $2,000 and a year or two later it starts looking less than awesome when compared to newer models, that’s frustrating.  Paying $20,000 for a fancy Apple Watch and having it look less than awesome a year or two later when compared to newer models would be devastating.

Listener’s Poker, Vol. 1

Since my days of fantasy football are just fading memories and old blog posts, maybe we can play a game involving live music.  Liar’s Poker, but with sound.  Somebody pick something good, and others try to top it.  We’re talking playing, and musicianship.  Not just some studio-created and network-marketed nonsense.  Music.  Reeeeeel music.

So, to my kids and their pals who think the music they listen to is so much better the ancient stuff that often comes out of my Sonos, I say simply…

this.

Your turn.

Dictating Blog Posts on an iPad Air 2

I’m writing this blog post on my new iPad Air 2, using the WordPress iPad app and iOS 8.1’s native dictation feature.

The dictation feature is much improved. I love the way I can now see my words typed in real-time, as opposed to having to wait until I’m finished talking, click the “Done” button and wait for the iPad to process a lot of dictation at one time. I also like the way autocorrect suggests words when you tap an incorrect word. It’s still cumbersome to add links and images via the WordPress app, but blogging on a tablet is definitely getting a little easier. [Note- there was no way to search for and link to that prior post via the iPad app.  I had to save this post as a draft and add the link via my desktop computer.]

One nit I wish they would fix in the WordPress app is to add an option to insert two spaces between sentences. Like a lot of people, I learned to type that way, I think it looks better, and that’s the way I want to do it.

Photos are still hard. [Note- when you add photos via the app, it links them to the full-sized copy.  If, like me, you want no link, you have to edit the photo via the desktop, which breaks the photo embed and puts a huge, full-size photo in the post.  You have to delete it and reinsert it in the desired, unlinked size, from the desktop.]

Photos By Trail Camera

It’s getting easier to do some heavy lifting on your iPad, but we’re not quite there yet. Some of it falls on developers to take full advantage of the increased flexibility available in iOS 8. Apple needs to continue to make it easier for developers to write apps for complicated workflows and power users.

In the Sage and the Prickly Pear

pricklypear

Money was no object
There was no money to be had
Back in Carolina
Johnny Law saw that
Up on the high plateau
Where the sage and the pinyon grow
When the stars and planets collide
The Tennessee mare she ain’t never shied
Never Shied

Jimbo Mathus  – Tennessee Walker Mare

The One Frustrating and Needless Omission that Makes Safari Suck

safariicon

I’ve been a Chrome browser user for a long time.  It’s a great browser, but my love for all things Apple occasionally leads me to attempt the switch to Safari.  There’s a lot to like about Safari- it’s fast, and it is deeply implemented in the OS X environment, via Reading List, iCloud, etc.

So recently I gave it another try.  I spent some time setting up Safari on my Macs,  installing my must-have extensions and getting the very customizable menu bar just the way I like it.  And I used it exclusively for a week.

While any new app is a bit of an adjustment, it is now clear that I could easily make the switch to Safari, except for one extremely frustrating, completely unnecessary flaw that makes an otherwise elegant and well-designed piece of software HORRIBLE AND UNUSABLE.

Before we get to that, let’s talk about what this post should be.  A generally favorable review of Safari, with a few mild frustrations that, if fixed, would make it perfect.  For example, I wish there was a way to make bookmarks and favorites open in new tabs.  This should be configurable, on an overall or site-by-site basis.  But it’s not.  You can force sites that want to open in a new window to open in a new tab, but you can’t set the browser to open your bookmarks, favorites or other links in a new tab.  Sure, a setting that caused every single link to open in a new tab would result in tab overkill.  But the option to have certain links (perhaps via an option to check a box on the edit bookmark screen) or categories (such as favorites- the ones I most want to open in new tabs) would be simple to implement and would be a great feature for power users.  I find the LastPass extension in Safari to be more kludgy than its Chrome counterpart.  There are other things that could be a little better.

But I can live with all that.

magnifyingglassWhat I simply cannot, should not and will not live with is THE INABILITY TO SET CUSTOM ZOOM LEVELS FOR THE SITES I VISIT.  Safari has native zoom in and zoom out buttons.  And they work fine.  But I DO NOT WANT to have to click them EVERY SINGLE TIME I VISIT A SITE.  A font-size and zoom level that works on a lower resolution or smaller screen is tiny on a 27″ iMac, and I can’t imagine it’s going to be any better on the beautiful new Retina iMacs.  Chrome lets you select and retain zoom levels, without doing ANYTHING.  Why in the name of Bobby-Elvis and his missing eyeball can’t Safari do this?

Someone is going to point out that you can set minimum font size in Safari, via the preferences.  Sure, but have you tried it?  Some sites look fine, but many become a jumbled mess.  Need to see what I’m talking about?  Set a largeish minimum font size and go to Feedly.  A horrible, unnecessary mess.

Yes, I looked for an extension.  There is one, but it doesn’t work on any of my Macs running the current version of Safari and Yosemite.  Yes, there may be complicated workarounds that let you impose custom CSS functions, but those break as many things as they fix.

At the risk of sounding like a baby: I WANT CUSTOM AND STICKY ZOOM LEVELS IN SAFARI AND I WANT THEM NOW!

But since I don’t have them, it’s back to Chrome for me.

I Seem to Forget What the Question Might Have Been

NOBI24-141020

To repair this broken situation
I’ve come to tie one on
And if I tie it tightly
It won’t come undone

Cahalen Morrison and Country Hammer – Over and Over and Over Again

Three iOS Photo Apps You Need Now

One of the best things about the new iPhone 6 (both models) are the improved cameras.  Like many iPhone users, I have largely abandoned my traditional video camera and my DSLR in favor of my iPhone.  iPhone photography has been great for a while, and it just got better.

In addition to better hardware specs, the iPhone 6 cameras benefit from the new extensions feature of iOS 8, which allows you to use third party photo apps from the native Photos app (e.g., your camera roll).  Not only is this quicker and more efficient, it solves the problem of having duplicate photos on your iPhone- the original one in your camera roll and the edited one, as modified by the third-party app.

I’m sure it will evolve as I discover more iOS 8 optimized apps, but my current photo tool box consists of the native iOS Photos app, plus three great third-party apps.

Camera+.  This has been the best iOS photo app for as long as I can remember, but now you can use its editing features directly from the Photos app (again, what you probably think of as your camera roll).  Simply tap on the photo, tap Edit in the upper right hand corner, tape the circle with three dots in it at the bottom.

photosapp

And you can edit that photo with your third-party photo apps.

photoextensions

So I often experiment with my Camera+ filters before saving or sharing a photo.

camerapfilter

Paper Camera

I only recently  discovered this app, but I love it.  The effects are really well-done, and you can flex your creative muscle without a ton of work.

papercamera

DateStamper

I do not miss the early digital photo era phenomena of super-imposed dates in the corner of your photo, but there are definitely times when you need to note and prove when a photo was taken.  DateStamper does this, again right from the Photos app.

datestamper

There’s a lot to love about the new iPhones and the new iOS, and the ability to take, edit and manage your photos is near the top of the list.