Opinion: iPad – iWork (NOT)

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 7th, 2010, 03:55
Category: iPad, Opinion, Software

If you are planning on buying an iPad to be a portable editing device for your iWork content – think twice. The Apple Discussion boards are all aflutter with teachers and professors who hoped they could leave their laptops in the office and only take their new iPads to the lecture hall. This is not the case. Although Apple has branded the programs the same as the versions you can buy for your Mac , this is where the similarity ends. It’s like using Google Translation to convert a foreign web site into your language of choice, but worse. The two programs i was interested in were Pages and Keynote and they both corrupt files on import (once you can get them in – that’s another article). Formatting is lost in Pages so formulas and footnotes disappear in Keynote transitions and builds go away. It is not as if they are temporarily suspended while on the iPad they are gone so when and if you save back to your Mac they are no longer there.

My comment is, if you are calling it by the same name it should have the same display features. I can agree to editing and creative limitations on a mobile class device but display corruption is unacceptable. To me that’s synonymous with PDF’s looking different on different computing devices and operating systems, not what a PDF is supposed to be.

My biggest complaint is that Apple re-confiigured some of their standard fonts, and when you import a Keynote Presentation of simple Text and Paragraph builds everything is scrambled, mostly because replaced fonts don’t translate to the same font size constraints. I gave up looking for a way to reduce the font size so the text would fit on the slide and have gone back to my laptop to write this article. Now if you create on the iPad and leave it, there’s not a problem. I guess I got my hopes up, with iWork Beta working so seamlessly between cloud and desktop I figured the transition to iPad would be as painless. I was wrong!!

Look at the Samples Below and see if the change from Chalkboard to Chalkduster font would cause you sufficient grief to not make the transition.

Tales of Getting a MacBook Pro Battery Replaced

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, 07:29
Category: battery, MacBook Pro, Opinion

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Blogger David Alison describes a process many of you have been through: going to an Apple Store with a nigh-dead MacBook Pro battery here and the details therein.

The piece also links to Apple’s terms as to which batteries are covered under an AppleCare plan, the company’s page on battery care and how to do a battery calibration via an Apple Knowledge Base article.

It’s a useful read, so give it a gander and if you have any MacBook Pro battery replacement stories of your own, please let us know.

Your Take on iPhone OS 3.0

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 19th, 2009, 18:20
Category: iPhone, Opinion

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We asked for your comments yesterday and several of you stepped up to the plate and offered what you thought about the newly-released iPhone OS 3.0.

So, without further ado, here we go:

In general its great!

No one has reported this to my knowledge, but if you have more than one iPhone connected to your MobilMe account and properly enabled, the Where is my iPhone feature shows all of them — a great family feature.

One omission — I can’t find a way to use Where is my iPhone from my iPhone! .. for example, if Dad loses his iPhone during vacation with Mom and the kids; they ought to be able to use their iPhones to log into MobileMe and activate Where is My iPhone to help locate it. However, on Safari if you go to me.com you are not allowed to login, they assume every feature is already available via an app.

Bill Elkus

Dear PowerPage-

Here are my thoughts on iPhone OS 3.0

Love:
Spotlight Search. It’s fast and was my top missing feature in iPhone 1 & 2.

CalDAV server support. Now I can have a joint google calendar for my family that I don’t need elaborate software on the mac with multiple user accounts running to accomplish.

Subscribed Calendars. Now I can have my wife’s iCal calendar visible.

Calendar sync through iTunes: In addition to my MobileMe push calendars I can view US Holidays or Birthdays without having to do any real workarounds (just check a box).

Improved Recents & Voicemail Display: The added line of telephone type or call origin is great (you used to have to tap the arrow to get this info.

Improved Call Log: Tap the arrow on a recent call and you get a list of time & duration (I’m curious how many calls it will keep track of though)

Podcast Chapters. (I don’t think this was there in 2.x, but not every podcast I like uses chapters.) Finally I can jump over the parts I’m not interested in without scrubbing.

Copy and Paste. Works great, is even available in old apps.

Push: I hope to love it but none of my apps are updated for it yet (NetNewsWire I am thinking of you).

Hate:
Search does not include mail body text. I know it would be difficult to include this because they want the ability to search the server past the 25 or 50 messages on my phone, but come on. At least include body text of messages stored on the phone.

CalDAV server setup. Why is this buried in Mail account setup? Once I found it it worked well for the main google calendar, but I really wanted all of my secondary calendars (kids, school, etc.) and that is a royal pain (thank god for copy and paste). I don’t know if it is Google’s setup or that CalDAV is only meant for single calendar support, but this is not for the feint of heart to attempt.

No universal inbox: It’s on my mac, why not an option on the phone.

Can’t manage mail folders. It’s still not a full mail app if I can’t create, edit or delete mail folders.

Can’t fully edit calendar events. Why can’t I change the calendar to which an event is associated? It’s easy on the mac.

Still no Podcast description field access. Please Apple, hardly any podcast puts info in the title, but almost everyone includes a nice description of the contents. Can I please have a way to see this?

Would like to see:
Spotlight third party search ability. It sounds like this is not an open API yet, it would be great if apps could add a spotlight ability, similar to the mac.

Spotlight search of music lyrics. Which song is that again? You know the one, it goes…

Spotlight search of video info. This one is a little strange, when i use the spotlight search screen to look for “pixar” I get nothing, when I search in the iPod, it finds all of the Pixar short films on the iPod as well as two playlists.

Sincerely,
Alex. Thompson
alexwt@mac.com

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E3: Gallery and Final Thoughts

Posted by:
Date: Sunday, June 7th, 2009, 12:54
Category: Opinion

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With the cacophony of E3 2009 over and done with, here are some parting thoughts as well as an event gallery with which to remember the event:
-iPhone Development: The same conumdrum Mac gaming has always faced is back, but in a different format. While there are some great titles out there for the platform and it’s gotten easier to code games for the platform via the Intel architecture, it’s still questionable as to whether it’s worth the investment to write a title for the Mac (thereby helping to explain why Apple has never kept an official booth at E3).
This situation is flipped on its head when it comes to the iPhone and with an installed base numbering in the millions, a growing market and the App Store as the current king of online efficiency. The end result is a developer community that seems to be tripping over itself to write games for the iPhone and the iPod touch. Upcoming iPhone OS 3.0 features such as micropayments, Push Notification, Bluetooth multiplayer, improved networking and the like make the platform even more attractive and those who had seen prototypes for the new iPhone hardware didn’t seem disappointed in the least.
This isn’t quite the dream of hordes of developers rushing to create titles for the Mac (especially when there are more guaranteed profits with writing for Windows or the consoles), but the mobile gaming market is exploding, there are some great titles on the horizon and there are some great, affordable titles on the horizon.
-Yoostar: This one came out of nowhere and it was a bit odd to find it at a gaming expo, but Yoostar could be one of the best surprises of the year. Essentially your own green screen movie kit and retailing for US$169.95, the kit includes a webcam, portable green screen and software for Mac OS X and Windows that allows users to place themselves in given movie scenes as their character of choice. Clips can then be cleaned up and exported and the creators have negotiated continuous streams of new content, including clips from classic titles such as “Rocky”, various NBA games, Children’s Televisions Workshop (creators of “Sesame Street”) and memorable commercials.
There’s something potentially great here and it’ll be interesting to see how this sells during the holidays, especially if it hits the right price point as a digital gift.
Click the jump for the full story…

Opinion: iPhone Applications Not Worth Your US$0.99

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 7th, 2009, 08:33
Category: Opinion

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By Rachel Hoyer
Who can explain the popularity of goofy iPhone applications? Here’s some of my favorite iPhone applications not worth your US$0.99:
The Moron Test – This quiz features increasingly difficult puzzles which eventually become tricky for even Mensa members to solve. I’m guessing that the point is that it waits for you to get a wrong answer so it can tell you that you’re a moron. Why not save yourself a dollar and go talk to your boss? Furthermore, do you really need validation from your phone that you’re not a moron?
Larry the Scary Cockroach – Now you can make an animated cockroach run across a friend’s iPhone. How scary. Instead, you could get a free real cockroach off the sidewalk and place it on your friend’s phone, now that would be icky!
iHunt 3D – Target virtual deer and shoot them by clicking. You can hunt without actually being outdoors or actually killing animals. Anyone remember Duck Hunt? It’s like that, but less fun and without the cool plastic gun.
iBeer Special – An application that turns the screen of your iPhone into a glass of beer. You can select from a variety of types of beer and then “pour” them by rotating your phone. This is an a highly popular application. Kinda reminds me of those trick plastic mugs with attached plastic beer pouring out.
Zip Codes – Reference guide to U.S. zip codes. Type in the name of a city and find out its zip code and county name. The U.S. Post Office offers this service for free on their website, or you could just type the city name into any web browser. This application can not be used for its only logical purpose: Determining the zip code of a letter or parcel you’d like to mail. The application’s database doesn’t include street names, you can only search by city or county name. This application would be an ideal gift for people who enjoy memorizing phone books and train schedules.
Animalizer – You know those pieces of plywood with clowns or silly characters painted on them, but face holes cut out so you can place your own face in them and take a picture? Now you can take pictures of friends and then paste their face onto an image of an animal.
Smacktalk – If you like Animalizer, you’ll love Smacktalk. Speak a phrase into your iPhone microphone and the audio clip is modified to a squeaky voice and repeated back to you by a dog, cat, or other cute animal. The best part of this game is the glowing testimonials on its App Store page.
iFart – Ever wished you could embarass yourself in public more often? This is the application for you. Choose from a variety of fart noises to play on your phone, from wet ones to staccato ones to really, really loud ones. As a gag, it would make more sense for the application to send audio clips of farts to other people’s phones. Then your unsuspecting friend would receive an iPhone whoopie cushion. Oddly enough, it’s not only extremely popular, but has also received excellent reviews.
Name Analyzer – Type your name into your iPhone and it randomly assigns words to describe you based on the acronym. For example: If you type in “Jen” it could respond with “Joyous, Esoteric, Nerdy.” Its database includes both positive and negative words … I suppose if people want to fart in public more often, perhaps they also like to be insulted by their phone.

iPhone OS 3.0 to Provide Much-Desired MMS Capabilities

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009, 10:03
Category: Opinion

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By Rachel Hoyer
So, you’ve just taken the world’s most adorable picture of your dog on your iPhone.
If you want to text it to your friends, you’re out of luck.
You’ll have to email it to them.
iPhone enthusiasts everywhere have bemoaned the lack of MMS support on the handset. MMS is the protocol which allows transmission of images in text messages. The current iPhone OS 2.2.1 software supports SMS, but not its MMS extension. SMS, or Short Messaging Service, is a communication protocol that enables text messaging between mobile devices. MMS, or Multimedia Messaging Service, is an extension of SMS that allows transmission of multimedia objects such as images, audio, video and rich text files within a text message. Both SMS and MMS are supported on a wide variety of mobile networks, including the 3G network used by iPhone. SMS and MMS technology are rapidly becoming obsolete due to widespread availability of the Internet on mobile devices via Wi-Fi, 3G and Apple Wireless technology. This may be the reason that Apple did not include MMS on previous iPhone software versions.
This begs the question: Why include SMS support, but not MMS support on iPhone OS 2.0? One possibility is that AT&T, the sole cell phone service provider for iPhone, pressured Apple into maintaining SMS text messaging support. Despite the advanced age of its technology, text messaging remains hugely popular among cell phone users. In addition, cell phone service providers such as AT&T rake in a ridiculously high profit margin on SMS text messaging services. But they make equal, if not more money, from selling ringtones and sending images delivered via MMS. Following the cell phone provider profits theory, it would be illogical to include SMS but not MMS. Another hypothesis: Apple did not want to deprive iPhone users of the highly convenient and popular SMS service, but assumed that MMS would not be missed given the ease of web access.
At present, when you try to send a picture on your iPhone, it is posted on a website. Then, a text message linking the page is sent to your selected recipients inviting them to visit the site to view the picture. While web browsing is a simple task on the iPhone, it is a problematic endeavor for many other types of cell phones. Although nearly all cell phones have MMS capability, typically their web browsers are both dodgy and expensive. Not to worry, iPhone users: Apple plans to release iPhone OS 3.0 in June which (along with a host of other improvements) will provide MMS support. The upgrade will be free for iPhone 3G owners and $9.99 for iPod Touch owners. Sadly, due to a hardware compatibility issue, older iPhone models are not upgradeable.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go email my friends pictures of my dog in a football jersey.

Apple and Microsoft Target Smart Shoppers in Marketing Campaigns

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009, 09:08
Category: Opinion

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By Rachel Hoyer
Who hasn’t seen the ubiquitous Microsoft “laptop hunters” and Apple’s “get a Mac” commercials? Each ad campaign attempts to convince the audience that savvy consumers purchase their brand. Microsoft uses documentary-style commercials where they offer “real” consumers (who are actually actors) a certain amount of money to purchase a new computer. Not surprisingly, each time they select a PC.
According to the testimonials, sticker price is the deciding factor. Microsoft suggests that PCs are far cheaper than a comparable Mac. In other words, the smart shopper purchases a PC. “I guess I’m just not hip enough to buy a Mac,” quips a computer shopper in one ad. The inference is that those who buy Macs are more concerned with image than value or performance.
By comparison, Apple’s ads use actors to personify the two types of computers. New York actor John Hodgman plays the dorky and backwards PC guy (ironically, he reportedly owns a Mac in real life). Whereas, Justin Long, who plays the Mac guy, is hip, organized and forward-thinking. Dialogue between the actors reveals that Appl’s products are easy to use and offer more helpful features than PCs. The implied conclusion is that smart shoppers buy Macs because Macs easily perform tasks that are difficult or impossible to perform on PCs.
Both ad campaigns want the viewer to identify with the core values represented in their commercials. In the case of Microsoft, they’d like you to believe that you’d be a fool to spend more on a Mac when you they offer the same thing for a much better price. Apple insinuates that you’re uninformed if you think the two types of computers are comparable.
There’s some truth to both allegations. It’s accurate that the purchase price of Macs tend to be higher than PCs with similar specifications. Nearly all widely used applications are available on both platforms, including Microsoft Windows. So, why would a smart shopper choose an Apple product? In brief: The value of your time. Thus far, Apple has been far more successful at integrating interface, applications and data. Additionally, as stated in their commercials, Apple is ahead of the trend when it comes to anticipating how consumers actually use their products. They design features to accommodate those needs. Microsoft products require you to constantly tinker with your operating system, including changing settings, fixing compatibility issues, scanning the registry for malware and defragmenting your hard drive. And the list wouldn’t be complete without mention of the extensive troubleshooting required upon encountering the infamous blue screen of death, with which every Microsoft user is familiar.
There’s something to be said for a computer that doesn’t require frequent maintenance. Time is has a monetary value. After spending a certain amount of time fixing your PC, perhaps the Mac becomes a better value after all. In case you’re wondering which kind of computer I own, I’m the kind of consumer who buys a computer based on how I plan to use it rather than marketing, and I expect you are, too.

Regarding Yesterday

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 20th, 2009, 07:51
Category: Opinion

As you may have noticed, there was no news yesterday.
Not that there wasn’t news, per se. Things happened, software was updated and announcements were made and covered.
From my end, I spent a fair amount of the day at a local glass repair location since someone had decided to put a rock through my front passenger window, then bounce the same rock off my front windshield, starring about 40% of it.
I mean, how best to celebrate the six month anniversary of my car not being broken into than by breaking into my car?
The good news is this brought me over my $500 deductible, so you can’t argue with that. Plus, they left the rock…so I have a bonus rock if I need it.
The bad news is they snagged my Garmin Nuvi GPS unit and my Griffin FM radio transmitter for my iPod (which were actually stowed away in the middle console and out of sight).
The stuff’s mostly been replaced, no one was hurt and the police have yet to assign someone from Loose Cannon Division to the case. Still, there was zero coverage yesterday and I apologize. You guys come to the page every day and this is appreciated.
On that note, I’ve invested in a trustworthy new anti-theft device to follow my Honda Civic around town. There have been rumors that its performance and track record is a bit spotty, but it’s running Windows Vista and nothing could possibly go wrong…
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Chris

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Labor Day: 30 Years of Not-Quite-Wisdom

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Date: Monday, September 3rd, 2007, 09:03
Category: Opinion

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Welcome to Labor Day, 2007, here on the PowerPage.
The puppy in the picture has nothing to do with the iPhone.
With the rest of the country going through a national holiday, we’ve decided to do the same and queue up stories for tomorrow. Or at least use the opportunity to form a crude shanty town around our local Apple Store locations in anticipation of whatever they release by way of the new iPods at the special event slated to occur this week.
My 30th birthday was four days ago and, looking back at things, this was definitely one of the best ones I’ve ever had. Granted, I think I fit somewhere in the genus “Geezer” at the moment, but I’m calling it awesome on the whole. Between friends, family, assorted geekery and a cake that can become breakfast for a week (when you’re over 18, this is allowed) and a Clocky robotic alarm clock that flees from you via its wheels when you go to hit the snooze bar a second time, I’m calling myself ahead for the moment.
Here’s what I’ve learned in 30 years (there’ll be news galore tomorrow):
-The PowerBook 5300 series was a cruel, cruel joke and any remaining units should be hurled into the sea or the molten core of Mount Doom at the first available opportunity.
-When smoke rises from a SyQuest EZ135 drive you’ve hooked into a laptop running Windows 95, you’ve done something wrong.
-The eMac is a boat anchor. Anyone who tries to convince you is lying or already has too many anchors for their boat.
-Friends with OCD make for a strange mix. For this, I’m citing a friend who, in the dead of night, decided to get up and spend two hours reorganizing my living room. Upon waking up and wandering into the room, I found he’d moved my furniture, hooked up an unused speaker system to my tv and sorted my DVDs by title, genre and quality. He’s a good friend, but will one day reorganize and glue my office’s rolling chair to the ceiling to improve the room’s feng shui.
-Richard Dreyfuss probably fulfilled his role in the universe when he volunteered to be shark bait in the first “Jaws” movie.
-If you date a girl who’s willing to spend part of a weekend you to solder points on a circuit board, you’ve earned geek points.
-Jonathan Ive remains the best thing to happen to Apple’s design division. And if Apple needs to give him his own island-nation to keep him on staff, they should do so.
-There’s a good reason to have kids: their toys are going to be even more awesome than anything you grew up with. Never forget this.
-Perhaps the best thing ever:




-The top five arcade games of the 80′s, in no meaningful order: 1.) Dragon’s Lair. 2.) Spy Hunter 3.) Paperboy. 4.) Robocop. 5.) Gauntlet.
-The Mighty Boosh and Elephant Larry remain some of the best comedy to come around in a long time.
-The iPhone seems to be running on the “Six Million Dollar Man” and “Bionic Woman” development cycle. Give it time, training and enough interest from the development community and they will make it the coolest thing ever. On the day the iPhone becomes truly mighty, it will get its own Steve Austin-esque track suit.

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Why Lock DVD Players to a Single Region?

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2007, 09:12
Category: Opinion

My MacTracker shows that I have owned 11 different models starting with the 128k original in 1984. Four are in the house with me right now (PB G3, PB G4, iMac G5 and MBP Core 2 Duo). I have dealt with the upgrades to System 7, 8, 9 and OS X as well as the jumps to PPC and Intel.
Through all of this I have been generally happy to be a Mac owner and user. For the past several years I have worked in IT Support in a Windows-only environment, which has given me a bit of healthy perspective about the pros and cons of each system, but my own investments have been in Mac hardware and software.
With that in mind I am truly amazed at how short-sighted it is of Apple to knowingly specify built-in DVD hardware that penalizes law-abiding citizens for the illegal activities of others. I’m referring to the built-in encrypted firmware that locks in the choice of DVD regions to a single region after a few switches. In my older machines I have circumvented this by using third-party software to reset the counter, but this option is not available on the latest hardware from Apple, and should not be necessary at all.
I am from the United States and return often for both business and pleasure, but I’ve lived in Europe for most of the past decade. My family and I have a variety of legally purchased commercial DVD’s from both sides of the Atlantic. I have yet to see any evidence that US or European law requires that DVD players be locked in to a certain region, and region-free players are legally available in all countries.
Steve Jobs has done more than any other single person to make legal, DRM-free music downloads available worldwide. If he is looking for yet another way to win friends, influence people and sell more hardware he can start by:
Read the rest by clicking on the headline…

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