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Some Apple WWDC 2014 Keynote Reactions

iOS 8 - iPhone 5sToday at Apple’s WWDC event in San Francisco, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and other key players at the company, took the stage at Moscone Center to announce some of the new and cool stuff such we can expect from Apple over the next year. In a word (or two), it was pretty exciting.

Yes, I’m sure it’s partially because I’m a long-time Apple fan and I use their software and gadgets on a daily basis. I also just love new, shiny things. But whatever the reason, I do usually have a very positive reaction to what’s announced at events like these.

It’s usually later that I become disappointed when things don’t work exactly as advertised. iOS 7, I’m looking at you.

However, today I’m optimistic and with the announcement of iOS 8, OSX Yosemite and more, I am pretty excited. For now.

Sadly, we didn’t get any new hardware to ogle today, but that was to be expected. WWDC is, after all, a developer conference. For software, not hardware. Still, new hardware is a lot more sexy than new software, at least most of the time, so it was missed even though I didn’t really expect to see it

Fortunately, a lot of the software and features announced today are pretty darn cool. Some of the new goodies I’m most looking forward to using are things like iCloud Drive (let’s hope the pricing is more competitive), Handoff, the ability to have both iMessages and SMS on all your (Apple) devices, WiFi Calling (voice calls over WiFi), Health and Homekit, which allows the iPhone or iPad to control smart devices in the home such as lights, garage door openers and the thermostat.

Those seem to have the most potential to make a difference in my own life. But there’s a lot more coming, and after I’ve had a chance to mess with both Yosemite and iOS 8 for a week or two, I’ll share some more thoughts.

Until then, I think my favorite new feature so far is probably Handoff or the improved camera and photos apps. Having messages, documents and more synched across my iPhone, iPad and Mac is pretty nice. If it works as advertised, I can see that being very useful indeed.

Plus, I’m always looking for ways to take better photos more frequently. As they say, the best camera is the one you actually have with you and with the improvements to the photo and camera apps in iOS 8, plus the fact I pretty much always have the iPhone with me, it may actually be the best camera. That would be nice.

Of course, it remains to be seen what any of these new features really mean for me in the long run. Will any of them improve my life in any measurable way? Who knows?

I do know that it’s fun to speculate and try new things to see what you can do with them. It makes life that much more interesting. So, on that note, I’m off to download some new software. Wish me luck.

How Apple Are You?

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It should be no surprise to anyone (at least anyone paying attention) I’m an Apple fan. I like the company and I like the company’s products. Quite a bit, in fact.

I like Apple’s products so much I’ve amassed a fairly large collection of them over the years. I even have one of the first Macintosh computers ever made. I also have an Apple II+ (it was my first Apple product) which came out way before the Mac even existed. In 1979, to be exact. That’s how far back I go.

But with all that, how Apple am I really? Fortunately, there’s a handy infographic that can help answer that important question. It can probably help you too.

I did pretty well. What’s your score?

how-apple-are you

Note: I like this infographic, which is why I posted it. However, I’ve never used Mackeeper so I can’t endorse it. Do your own research.

Analog Tools In a Digital World

pens-and-pencils-and-more-1There’s no doubt we live in a digital world. Pretty much anything and everything can be found online, and more often than not, we create or consume content via a digital device like an iPad, a smartphone, a computer or a television. And given how the world is evolving, it’s fairly obvious this is going to become more prevalent as time goes on.

It should also be fairly obvious, if you’re a regular reader here, at The Flickcast, or a listener of my podcast, I’m a huge fan of technology and this evolving digital world. What people might not know is how much I also love old school, analog tools and things many people may consider obsolete.

Things like pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, watches with hands and more are all as exciting and useful to me as the latest iPad, smartphone, laptop or other piece of technology. I don’t consider them obsolete at all. Far from it. In fact, they are an integral part of my daily life.

Given that fact, I thought it would be fun to share some of the analog tools I enjoy so others could hopefully begin to appreciate them and what they have to offer. And sure, my fondness for these analog tools is partially because I grew up in a time when we didn’t have any real alternatives.

I grew up in a world before the iPad, iPhone, HD TV, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google and all of the other things we take for granted now. Sure, I had a computer (my first was an Apple II+) but the Internet was in its infancy then and to get “online” you had to use a POTS line and a dialup modem.

Yes, it was slow. My God it was slow. But it was amazing too and gave us a glimpse of what was to come.

But to do any real work, I used a notebook and a pen. That’s all I needed. I would write papers, reports, notes, stories and more with that trusty notebook and pen. They never failed me, needed a software update, security patch, lost connectivity or had to be rebooted because they froze. They just worked.

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Some Useful and Interesting Things (Sunday Edition)

Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtles-2014-Leonardo

For at least a few weeks there I was putting up lists of things I found useful and/or interesting from around the Internets. I would like to get back to doing that. So, in that spirit, here I am with a new list of, you guessed it, useful and interesting things.

Of course, these may only be useful and/or interesting to me. Fortunately, I pay the bills around here, so you’ll just have to take your chances.

Here goes:

• Too much paper clutter in your home or office? Geek Day has the solution.

• Microsoft Office has finally come to the iPad. Who cares, you say? Well, I tend to agree, but what do I know?

• Facebook paid a cool $2 Billion for the Oculus Rift VR goggles and the companuy that created them? But what about the Kickstarter backers who helped make the product a reality in the first place?

• A tale of two pencils. Will the “real” Blackwing 602 please stand up?

• Speaking of pencils. What’s the big deal about vintage ones anyway?

• The new HTC One (M8) looks cool but I don’t think it will replace my iPhone 5s.

• Check out Stanley Kubrick’s annotated copy of Stephen King’s The Shining. Cool.

• As I’m a man and an Altoids fan, here’s 22 Manly Ways to Reuse an Altoids Tin.

• Can the right tools help you write better? I don’t know, I’m just trying to write good … I mean well. Crap.

Finally, here’s the trailer for Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I am not a devout devotee of the original TMNT, so this new version really doesn’t offend me on that level as it seems to have done to others. I’m just not sure it looks like a very good movie. Oh well.

And heck, while we’re on the subject of movies, here’s the trailer for the next movie from The Wachowskis called Jupiter Ascending. See, her name is Jupiter and she’s, well, ascending … or something. I see what you did there Andy and Lana.

Paper Is Not Dead

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I’m someone who has embraced the new technologies and does a lot of content consumption and creation via the iPad. I am also someone who still uses a pen, pencil and paper often. I really like that kind of analog stuff — almost as much as the guy who did an entire article on the best reasonably priced pen available.

What is this amazing pen? You’ll have to check out the article to find out. Rest assured, though, I have checked out the pen for myself and procured several of them for my various bags and offices. They really are quite nice.

Meantime, like the folks who made this commercial, I don’t believe paper is dead. After watching the commercial, I think you will agree.

Trouble Sleeping? It Could Be Your Gadgets

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How are you sleeping? Do you have trouble? It could be your gadgets.

In truth, I don’t know if anything from the handy infographic below applies to me or not. I do know I frequently use my iPhone, or one of my other gadgets, in bed right before I try to fall asleep.

I also know that I used to be able to sleep very well and make it all the way through the night with no problem. Now, not so much. In fact, these days, I occasionally suffer from insomnia and can’t sleep much at all.

So I have to wonder, is it my gadgets? Maybe so. To find out, I’m going to try a little experiment.

For the next few weeks I’m going to make a conscious effort not to look at my iPhone, laptop or other backlit gadget in the hour or so before I try to fall asleep. That also means I’m going to have to switch back to the older Kindle, without the backlight, if I want to read any books. Or, I guess I could just read an actual book. That would probably work too.

It may be difficult at first, but I think I’m up to the challenge. I’ll let you know how it goes. Now, where did I put my glasses?

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A Few Interesting Things For a Friday

LEGO-Ewok-Village

It’s almost the weekend. Pat yourself on the back for making it this far. It’s been an interesting week for sure.

But let’s put all that aside for a minute and take a look at some fun things for a Friday. Next week we can all go back to the usual BS.

Don’t worry, it will still be there. Promise.

First up is the cool LEGO Star Wars Ewok Village Set (pictured above). Sure, I felt the same way about the Ewoks as you probably did, but this is still pretty cool.

In more LEGO news the company apparently doesn’t want to rest on its laurels by having the worlds biggest LEGO space ship. They also want to build the ultimate LEGO house. Sure, why not?

ultimate-LEGO-house-1

If you like comics as I do, you may want to, occasionally, read them on your iPad. But what’s the best app to accomplish this? Well, the gang at Lifehacker recommends Comic Zeal. I like it, but as it’s only for non-DRM comics, I also use the Comics app from ComiXology to read my Marvel, DC and other publisher’s stuff.

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With Apple’s WWDC coming up next week, there’s lots of speculation as to what the company may announce. I think we’re going to see iOS 7, a new Pro desktop, maybe a new laptop and a new music streaming service, but what else? Wired has the full compliment of predictions. We’ll know if any of us are right next Monday.

wwdc-2013-logo

Finally, are you a science geek? Or perhaps you have a child (or two) that needs to learn the periodic table of the elements? Well, what better way than with a music video. Watch and enjoy. You just might lean something. I did.

Happy weekend.

Steve Jobs and ‘One More Thing’

CC Apple Macworld

I had the good fortune to be at several MacWorld Keynote events over the years, including the one in 2007 where Steve Jobs announced the first iPhone, so this video was a real treat for me. In it, the enterprising folks of YouTube’s Every Steve Jobs Video channel have compiled pretty much all of the times Steve Jobs had “one more thing” to share.

And his “one more thing” was usually pretty awesome. He would have been 58 this week. RIP Steve.

Still More Useful and Interesting Things

poster-app-ios

As life returns to normal (or at least my version of it) I realize it’s been several days since I last put some useful and interesting things up here.

So, with that in mind, here’s some more for you:

• Have trouble getting people to do what you want? Maybe this technique can help.

• For the screenwriting nerds out there, John August and his team have come up with a new version of the venerable Courier font, called Courier Prime, to use when writing your scripts. I’ve switched to it and it’s quite nice.

• If you have a girlfriend who would love this as a gift, marry her. If you already did, kudos to you and it makes a nice Valentine’s Day gift too.

• Here’s a complete collection of Mac OS X install disks. I think I still have all of mine too. Yep, Mac nerd right here.

• Have and iPad? Want to use said iPad in the kitchen or other place where it might get wet? You want one of these.

• I like talented people doing cool things, so I like this. Granted, I know Brian so I may be a bit biased. But still, it’s pretty cool. BTW, you should also read his book. It’s very funny.

• Last, but not least, Tom Witkin’s Poster app for iOS is for posting to a WordPress site and is very awesome. It’s become my new favorite and I now use it pretty much every day. Check it out.