Well, I didn’t expect this week to be “what I find interesting in IT Week” , but here we are! I hope you have found it all useful. While the other posts were specific, these are of a general nature. From weird cool stuff to mainframes to iphones to architecture. Dig in!
IT Architecture: Here’s some tools you IT architects can use:
Cloud: some cloud related stuff:
Programming: here’s some things software and hardware folks might find interesting:
Finally: here’s some links that need to be seen without falling into a particular category:
One of my favorite phones from Apple is the SE, and in 2022 there is a new version of it. From what I read, the new version is a combination of physical features, old and new, combined with new software. I like it.
I read some complaints that argued the iPhone SE should have the same shape as the previous SE phones (think “flat edges”). Those complaining miss the point: there is no ONE form factor for the SE. The form factor is based on recycling once was what was new recently.
If you like an older form factor — home button, anyone? — and you like a great low cost iPhone, then the SE may be for you. Check out this list of reviews:
Convinced? Then head over to Apple and buy one. I am a fan of the (PRODUCT) RED one: iPhone SE 64GB (PRODUCT)RED – Apple
(Image from the Apple web site)
P.S. If you are looking for a bargain smart phone that isn’t the SE, there I recommend this.
I’ve complained before about the design of the iPhone with it’s bulges, not to mention the notch. Apple and it’s fans have continually made excuses for them, but that’s doesn’t excuse these flaws imho. This potentially new design of the iPhone 14 (below) shows that they may be finally dealing with problems by eliminating the notch and smoothing out the back of the phone.
Now who knows? Maybe this leak is fake and that’s not something Apple is going to do at all. Read this piece over at Yanko Design and decide for yourself.
I like minimalism as a quality in phones. But when I look at the phone above, I see two bulges. One is the camera, and two is this battery pack. It’s as if companies want to have the best of both worlds: minimal design and maximum capacity. But rather than designing for it, we get….well, what you see above.
I understand the economics of it. I just don’t see why Apple doesn’t spend more time to design a battery pack and a camera that incorporates better into the phone.
For more on the battery pack, go here: Apple’s ‘Camel Hump’ battery pack is back… this time in a wireless MagSafe avatar | Yanko Design
(Image: link to image in the article)
If so, then you will find the next two links handy. I did. My son broke his screen and while I was able to repair it, other damaged occurred because it was so badly broken. Fortunately while he lost data, I was able to restore the phone to “new” state using these links. From there he went on to add his favorite apps, etc.
If you forgot the passcode on your iPhone, or your iPhone is disabled – Apple Support
If you see the Restore screen on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch – Apple Support
According to this, it is shockingly good value. You might find that hard to believe, since if you think it looks an iPhone 8, you are right. As the Verge writes, the new SE has…
the iPhone 8’s body, the iPhone 11’s processor, and the iPhone XR’s camera system with a few new capabilities.
So a bit of a combo of different features, all adding up to something many people will be happy to move to.
I have always been happy when Apple puts out lower cost products, because they are never bad, and they put more Apple devices in the hands of people who otherwise might not be able to afford them. I think the new SE will be no exception.
Good phone to get if you are due for an upgrade.
App Store subscriptions can add up financially if you are not careful. They are also easier to sign up for than you might think. It can be especially bad if your kids have the ability to download apps on iPhones or iPads; kids will not even be aware they are signing up for subscriptions. (Heck, that is also true of adults.)
To check on and cancel subscriptions, follow this guide: How to Cancel App Store Subscriptions – MacRumors
If this saves you any money, let me know! 🙂
This is a love story in a way, although it’s a love affair with a device: Tim Cook Will Have To Pry My iPhone SE From My Cold, Tiny Hands.
It brings up an interesting thought: that for all the seeming abundance of smart phones, they really have narrowed into a specific style and range. They are all large, glass devices with fancy cameras. That’s what sells, and manufactures have no desire to make anything else. Or maybe they are fearful of trying to make something else.
Some event will occur and innovation and diversity will come to the personal device market. But for now, expect more of less.
(Image linked to in the article)
That’s been a question I have been asking myself for some time. I felt like the price just keeps going up. And if you read articles like this, it’s easy to conclude it’s true.
But here’s some numbers on the least expensive models over time, taken from this:
iPhone (4GB): $499
iPhone 3G (8GB): $599
iPhone 3GS (16GB): $599
iPhone 4 (16GB): $599
iPhone 4S (16GB): $649
iPhone 5 (16GB): $649
iPhone 5s (16GB): $649
iPhone 6 (16GB): $649
iPhone 6 Plus (16GB): $749
iPhone 6s (16GB): $649
iPhone 6s Plus (16GB): $749
iPhone 7 (32GB): $649
iPhone 7 Plus (32GB): $769
iPhone 8 (64GB): $699
iPhone 8 Plus (64GB): $799
iPhone X (64GB): $999
Looking at that, I have to think that the phones are getting more expensive, but likely they have always been that way. (And note, this doesn’t account for inflation or the improved quality of the phones, including greater storage.)
Occasionally Apple will make a cheaper phone like the 5C or the SE that are essentially remixes of older models. Or they will continue to support a wider range of phones, like continuing to sell the 7, the 8, and now the X. But it seems the high end was never inexpensive and likely never will be.
If you are skeptical about the greatness of the iPhone 6s, this piece makes a good argument for it: Reasons you should buy an iPhone 6S instead of an iPhone 8 or iPhone X – Business Insider. If money is a prime concern, you can find refurbished 6s phones for a fraction of the cost of a new iPhone 8 or X.
If you want an iPhone and you are fine with refurbished — and some places give good warrantees on such phones — then consider making an iPhone 6s your next phone. Or get a new one from your mobile phone carrier or buy one outright from Apple.
I am unexcited about the direction in Smartphone design. The key design idea that less is more in a phone is becoming Less is a Bore. Perhaps that’s why this design of a Blackberry got me thinking about it. While it still has a gorgeous screen, the phone itself is worthy of looking at and touching. It strikes the right balance. The phone as a design object is worthwhile.
It would have been good if Apple had struck out in a new design direction with the iPhone X. Instead they went with Less is More. Instead we have a phone with the Notch and a camera on the back that sticks out. It’s as if Apple would have preferred not to have these cameras and sensors, so rather than design the phone to incorporate them into the design, they stick out, figuratively and literally. In a few years from now when Apple has gone in a different direction, Apple fans will look back and exclaim how poor that aspect of the phone design is.
As for now, we live in an age where the screen dominates design, from TVs to smartphones. In the future that may change and the technology that we interact with will be contained in objects that have noteworthy design in them.
For more on this beautifully designed phone, see If BlackBerry Ditched the Keyboard | Yanko Design.
Great review of the latest iPhone*, here: The iPhone 8 is a look into the augmented future of photography | TechCrunch. I had heard that the iPhone 8 had a great new camera, but this article really drives that home.
If you are thinking of getting an “8”, this could be the reason you need. On the other hand, if you rarely take photos or don’t care too much about the quality, I think the case for an upgrade gets weaker.
* I don’t consider the iPhone X the latest phone so much as a promise of where the iPhone is going. To be honest, I think the iPhone X is as much an attempt to celebrate the 10 years of the iPhone and Steve Jobs’s legacy, not unlike the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Apple took a turn towards something I was hoping they would do: (relative) affordability. You can see it in this piece from Business Insider:
Apple introduced an iPhone with a smaller screen on Monday called the iPhone SE. The best way to think about it is as Apple’s current top-of-the-line iPhone specs in a smaller body. It costs $399 without a contract — a surprisingly low price for a new iPhone. …the older iPad Air 2 got a price cut to $399…. While the Apple Watch didn’t get a hardware update, Apple did unveil new nylon bands and cut its starting price from $350 to $299.
I was wondering if Apple was going to try and offer some affordable products or reposition itself as a luxury brand. I am glad to see they went with affordable. There are now lots of products from Apple at a wide range of price points, starting with the iPod (at $59). I have always been a fan of the lower priced iPods, and I am glad to see Apple still offers them. Likewise, the iPad Mini 2 is an excellent tablet and the iMac mini is an excellent computer. Relative to the market, they are priced competitively and yet superior technology. Now the new Watch and the new SE phone join them.
For people who want to spend lots of money, Apple has a product for them. By offering the lower end products, they both force their competitors to offer better products as well as allow more people to have access to their excellent technology.
P.S. I realize for some people, even these relatively low prices are not affordable. In the context of this post, affordable is in context to the rest of the marketplace an Apple product competes within.
There was a lot of scoffing when Apple recently released this
and claimed the colour was rose gold. It’s pink, was the common reply. But as this piece shows ( The Semiotics of “Rose Gold” – The New Yorker), rose gold is a specific material. It refers to an alloy of gold to which copper has been added. For that matter, white gold, which is an alloy with nickel or manganese, is also a specific material. Jewelers know this, of course, and Apple is smart to associate with the metal (gold) vs the colour.
The New Yorker piece is fascinating. Worth reading, especially if you are skeptical about the colour.
If you have made a commitment to getting fit in 2015, that’s good. If you think you can manage it, that’s better. But if you think you might have troubles with it, then consider the Pact app.
It works like this, according to Pact:
- Make a commitment – Make a weekly Pact to exercise more or eat healthier. Set what you’ll pay other Pact members if you don’t reach it.
- Meet Your Goals – Use the Pact app to track your progress.
- Reap the rewards – Earn real cash for living healthily, paid by the members who don’t!
For more info, see their site: Pact – Commit to you.
I have no idea how well it works, but it sounds interesting.
Not from me: I was a huge Blackberry fan since almost 10 years on, but they lost me a few years ago and I switched to an iPhone. But Jonathan Kay in this vigorous piece (below) on the new Passport got me seriously thinking about Blackberry again. I think I will stick to my iPhone for now, but anyone who was a fan of Blackberries should really read this: Jonathan Kay: Why I ditched my iPhone for Blackberry’s massive new Passport | National Post. You might find yourself heading down to your local service provider and coming out with one.
I am hopeful for Blackberry/RIM making a comeback. More and better choices are better for everyone.
Look at this picture. Amazing how similar these two phones are, yes?
The reason for this? The specs for the new smartphone are remarkably similar to those specs of the original iPhone. The phones even look similar, as you can see.
Two key differences between the original iPhone and the Firefox phone: release data and price. The Firefox phone is going to be priced well under $100, something an iPhone never has been (for good reasons).
Overall, I think the wider distribution of smart phone technology will only lead to greater overall benefits to the recipients. It will be interesting to see what change this causes. I think the net effect will be good.
For more information on this, click here.
My new favourite app for beating procrastination is the 30/30 app from the good folks at binary hammer. I often find I get distracted from the list of things I have to do. With the 30/30 app, I can create a simple list of tasks, each with an amount of time to do them in. Once I start the list, the app shows me how much time I have to complete each item on the list. I can add if I want, or if I finish early, I can check it off (and the task moves down to the Completed section below the line). The result: I am better able to focus on the task list I have to do.
The app works on the iPad and the iPhone. The interface is superb. And it’s free! I highly recommend it.
For more on the app, you can go to the binary hammer web site (link above) or you can go here: 30/30 on the App Store on iTunes
This June 2013 article (What’s the best, cheapest Canadian cellphone plan out there? | Globalnews.ca.) has a good rundown of the various cellphone service providers and their lowest cost plan and everything that you get with that. Even if you don’t want the cheapest plan, knowing that can help you negotiate the plan you really need. Highly recommended.
Get the new iPhone (if they have it) and save money on your plans. Good deal.