• iPhone 5 – what I like about it

    As you would expect I grabbed an iPhone 5 on launch day so I have now had it for the best part of a week and here is what I have found.

    Bigger Screen

    The extra screen realestate is excellent.  Noticably you do feel you need to stretch to get the top or bottom corner of the screen with your thumb.  I would agree that anything bigger than this would become a 2 hand task.  I have really noticed the extra length when the keyboard is active.  ie: composing an new email you now have a lot more email context once you take out the header and keyboard space requirement.   (Can’t wait for a lot more apps to update to make use of this extra space)  The other noticable difference is watching youtube videos in full wide screen.  they just look great.


    The speed.  Telstra have done a great job with 4G and I was pleasantly surprised to see full 4G coverage while out to dinner in Sunshine Beach last night.  Even on 3G the speed bump is noticeable due to the dual channel HSDPA.


    I managed to get out for my first Run with my iPhone 5 on my arm (1/2 stuffed into an iPhone 4 armband)  Reducing the weight by 20% is very noficable.  The headphones are OK but nothing revolutionary.


    Everything else is just an incremental software update that you get with iOS 6.  I did however notice that Siri is significantly faster which could be due to a better software release or also to do with the faster A6 process combined with 4G connectivity.


    The new lightening connector is nice and I think will work much better than the older 30 pin connector over time.  For now the biggest pain is no 3rd party connectors to covert it to 30 pin so I can listen to my podcasts in the car on the way to work.  I have been using my headphones… which sucks.  There are a lot of them on eBay right now but none that are shipping.  I think we will just have to wait a couple of weeks as there is no way I will be forking out $35 to apple for one.


    All in all it is as you would expect a 5 star device.


  • I have an iPhone 4

    I finally bit the bullet and updated from iPhone 3G to iPhone 4.

    This was not an easy decision as Andriod is coming around the outside fast and is looking like the eventual winner in the smartphone race.  (They are already selling more units than Apple now)  In the end my decision was around a few factors.

    1. Maturity – I think Andriod is still a little immature.  (I do think from fro yo 2.2 or more so gingerbread 3.0 this will not be an issue)
    2. Eco system – I have a iPhone cable in my car for charging, an iPhone dock for music, my wife has an iPhone and we share apps.
    3. Choices on Optus – The only really decent handset on Optus in the Andriod camp is the Samsung Galaxy S.  Its not bad but its certainly not up to the iPhone 4 build quality.  Swype is however most excellent.

    All in all its really not a big dicision as I only keep my phone for 2 years anyway.  I think the next phone will be yet again an interesting choice with Windows phone 7 reaching maturity and in the mix.  Exciting times ahead.

    So far I am happy with the iPhone 4.  The overhyped death grip really does not do much.  The screen is absolutely fantastic.  The speed is how it should be and is a big improvement over the 3G running iOS 4.0.2 which is a pig (said to be getting fixed in iOS 4.1.

    The best part is… I sold my 16Gb Black iPhone 3G (not 3GS) for $520 on eBay.  Absolutely amazed someone would pay this much.

  • Carbonite Online Backup

    It’s not a matter of if your hard drive will fail… it’s just when your hard drive will fail.

    I have been lucky enough to purchase a Drobo to backup our photos and movies from our iMac and it works wonderfully well.  Read all about it here. However my laptop has been using a single external hard drive to back up which just died… unfortunatley I had some data on there that was not on my laptop drive so it is bye bye to that.  (Nothing to critical).  So I started thinking should I purcahse yet another backup drive or should I check out some fo the online services now that I have 50Gb per month with Bigpond to burn up.

    I narrowed it down to Mozy and Carbonite quite quickly.  I have used Mozy before (few years ago) at it worked quite well.  This time I have chosen to go with Carbonite and I am very happy with it.  No credit card to sign up, no limit to the size you can backup and simple to use.   Why not give it a try.  You just point it to the files you want it to back up and click go.

    I once heard the backup idea of 3,2,1.  3 copies of everything on 2 different media (DVD, harddirve etc) and 1 offsite.  Not a bad rule to live by.  I think adding the addition of… it must be automatic.  If its not you probably wont get around to doing it in which case why even have a backup plan.

    Online Backup: Easy, Complete Automatic. Secure. Carbonite

    Click on the banner to try Carbonite out today.  Go on you know you should.

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  • Digital Cameras that record video.

    For quite a while now digital point and shoot cameras have had the ability to shoot video of sorts.  All be it in low quality and short bursts.  I remember my first one was a Sony that you put a 1.44Mb floppy disk into and could record 10 – 15 seconds of video with.   I used this quite sucessfully to publish some very low quality/size videos onto one of my first web ventures skiwarehouse.com.au.  Fast forward a decade or so and now the quality is finally there.  I purchased our first ever video camera about 5 years ago now for the pending arrival of our first child (as most parents do).  This was a Canon MVX 200i which recorded in widescreen to mini DV tape.  I thought the widescreen thing was a good idea being that is was all heading that direction.  (Good decision in hindsight)   For the most part the camera served us well… well sort of.   As our digital cameras kept churning over every year or so and kept getting better I found that my wife was recording more and more with the still camera.  Why?  Simply put because she always had it in her bag.  So the not so big, but too big to carry around everyday video camera started to go the way of the dodo.

    So the challenge I was faced with was to find a digital camera that records decent video, takes a good still shot and is small enough to carry everywhere.

    I have always been a Canon fan and was very close to purchasing a Canon PowerShot SD890IS until I read a review about not being able to zoom while recording video.  What the?  How useless is that.  In the end I ended up going with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3.  I must say it has been one of the best purchases we have made for quite a while.  The WAF (wife acceptance factor) is extremely high which is as you know extremely important when purchasing anything electronic.  See my TiVo post.

    So if you are looking for an all in one video and still camera check out the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3


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  • MiFi Makes WiFi more fun

    I have been a big user of mobile broadband for many years now dating back to my time working with a wireless startup called Retriever.  Back in the dim dark days we used GSM dial up at a whopping 9.6Kbps (Max)  In reality it was more like 4Kbps of throughput.

    Leap forward a decade and I have just purchased my first Wifi 3G modem.

    So why is it different?

    Most of the modems you see at the moment are usb plug in ones.  These work well most of the time.  However I currently demo a live application called MyVirtualHome and sometimes coverage can be an issue.  With this little baby you just put it over next to the window, it hooks up to the 3G network then connects back to your laptop via WiFi.  So simple.  In the opposite case (when I have great coverage)  I just leave it in my bag open my laptop then connection is auto established because it is just a WiFi profile and you are away.

    The other big benefit I got by moving to this was gaining dual band capabilities.  I am curently with Optus (although the modem was purchased via Dick Smith on Virgin – which Optus own anyway).  Optus has been rolling out 900Mhz 3G to go with its existing 2100Mhz and to compete better with Telstras 850Mhz nextG network.  As far as I understand 2100 supports way more users but does not go as far from each tower or into buildings as well.  900 goes further and gets into nooks and crannies better but does not support as many users.  I must say since switching from my Huawei E220 USB dongle the speed and coverage has been excellent.

    I did a speed test just the other week at Sydney Airport and got about 6Mb down and 1.5Mb up.

    The other theory I have (and it is only a theory) is based around the fact that Optus is the number one in iPhone marketshare in Australia.  We all know that iPhone users are bandwidth hogs (me included) well guess what… they all operate on 2100.   I think this is contributing to the woeful performance I was seeing with my old device or put another way the fantastic response I am seeing out of my new device.  Here is hoping Apple add 900 support with the next gen.

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  • Drobo

    First thing I hear you say… what the hell is a Drobo.

    Well that’s what my wife said anyway when I told her she needed one.  Cough cough splutter.

    So here’s the deal.  I have purchased many devices over the years to backup.  Yes we all know we should do it but the reality is most of us never get around to or when we do it’s out of date etc.

    Over the years I can remember backing up to a 5 1/4″ floppy on a commodore 64, onto a 1.4Mb 3 1/2 inch, onto a zip disk, onto CD, onto DVD onto dual layer DVD, onto internal and external hard drives.  Throughout this process one thing was constant.  Every time I said to my self… this will be big enough.  Yeah right.  It’s never big enough.  So thats where Drobo comes in.

    Rather than me waffling on watch the video.  Then keep reading.

    So as you can see if the theory holds correct it “should” grow with you.  I have mine (correction wifes) now formated to think it is 16Tb but I only have 2 x 1Tb drives in it.  I have it hooked up to the Imac via firewire.  I then reconfigured iPhoto, iMovie to directly save to Drobo.  Finally I put a time machine drobo program on it which enabled me to partition a bit of drobo.  So now if it’s all working correctly photos and movies (the biggest drive hogs) get saved directly to drobo and saved on 2 drives.  This frees up the internal mac drive for just core programs and all other documents etc.  They then get auto backed up via time machine (Mac Backup program) to drobo.

    When it starts filling up I just buy another drive (probably a 2Tb by then).  Slap it in and hey presto.

    I really think this thing is a game changer.  It was way easier than setting up any other backup device ever.  It can grow with me.  It looks cool.  Hey what more do you want.

    If you live in Australia and you want one.  Contact me as a I have friend who brings them back from the US each month on the cheap.  If you live anywhere else click on the image below.
    Data Robotics Drobo 4-Bay USB 2.0/FireWire 800 SATA Storage Array DR04DD10

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  • TiVo

    Tivo – If you don’t have one you are missing out.

    We got one of these when they were first released in Australia after I had been following them in the US for some time.

    Why I think they are great?

    1. Very high WAF (wife acceptance factor) .  This is really important.
    2. Expanding functionality.  Because it is internet connected it just keeps getting better as they roll our more new features like Blockbuster on demand movies etc.
    3. Seasons pass.  This is probably the bit that really matters.  Basically we have enough good content on free to air TV and if you can capture the bits you want you will never be short of something to watch.  We have seasons passes setup for things like.  Record the news every night and only keep 1 days worth (what is the likelyhood of watching 2 day old news).  Record Top Gear every week regardless of timeslot of channel it is on and keep 2 of them (sometimes takes me a while to get to it).  Record and keep 3 episodes of Play School (Maya), Thomas (Jay) and Little Princess (Charli).  I think you get the idea.

    Before I owned a TiVo I tried an AppleTV box.  It was good but a low WAF factor killed it.

    In Australia TiVo’s are sold via the big retailers like Harvey Norman, Good Guys, JB etc.  Elsewhere click on the image below.