Ten days into the iPad

Of course it’s shiny and built by Apple so there was no question that I’d end up buying one. The big question was whether to go for the Wifi or 3G version. In the end, the lack of availability of the 3G informed the decision somewhat, so I ended up with a 64gb Wifi model. The reason I was so undecided is that since I have Froyo installed on my Nexus One phone, it’s so easy to make that a Wifi hotspot that I was finding it hard to justify getting yet another sim card and the associated costs that go with it.

So ten days into owning the device and I’m really liking it. Not to say it’s perfect in any way, the things that I am hanging out for when iOS4 is released (in the Autumn for the iPad as far as I can tell) are the pseudo multi tasking and a better notification system. Having been an Android user for a few months now, there’s certainly no way I could leave that as my primary mobile device, the multi tasking, notifications and general geekiness of that phone really make it a wonderful handset for me.

The main point of this post was to mention that I had also purchased an InCase iPad case at the same time as the iPad. For the first couple of days it was superb, felt high quality and worked really well. Unfortunately within 4 days the case no longer worked properly as, in landscape mode (which is how I seem to operate mainly) the iPad would slide out of the case so that the bottom half inch of the screen wasn’t visible. Not very good. So yesterday I took it back to the Apple store and got a refund.

This is the first time I’ve ever tried to get a refund for anything from Apple and it wasn’t an easy process. Initially the guy I was dealing with wouldn’t offer me a refund as I didn’t have the original packaging. My protestations that they had sold me faulty goods were falling on deaf ears. In the end the only reason I got the right to swap the case for other goods to the same value was because, as ever, the store was packed and after five minutes of arguing I had a little bit of an audience, all of whom were on my side and telling the guy he should give me a refund. So the lesson is make sure you go in to the store when it’s busy and then stick to your guns!

I ended up with the Apple own brand case as a replacement and it seems to work a lot better, even if it does look and feel quite cheap and plastic-y. We’ll see how long it lasts.

So iPad in the UK… not so much

The hype around the iPad which was announced yesterday has been pretty amazing, even by Apple’s standards. As with a lot of these types of things the real detail only starts to trickle out slowly. For example, compare this page and this page. Notice the difference? Well it’s subtle but in the UK, the iBooks feature of the iPad is not being mentioned.

I’m guessing this is due to much the same reason that the Kindle is crippled over here, the lawyers and copyright deals.

What with that and the micro SIM card which means you won’t just be able to swap out the card from your 3G USB dongle and use it in your iPad. Maybe you need to think twice about buying one straight away.

Shiny as the new Steve Jobs goodness may be, look before you leap and definitely read the fine print.

And the wallet is safe again

Having got all excited about the new iPhone last night it seems I may have jumped the gun a little. Unlike in previous years, there is no early upgrade path for existing iPhone customers. According to the O2 Website:

If you’re already with us on Pay Monthly, you can upgrade to the new iPhone 3G when it’s time to upgrade. It’s usually the last month of your contract, but you can check at My O2.

So for me, that means no upgrade until the end of the year. Oh well, I shall have to make do with the new OS in the meantime.

So there goes the wallet for the summer…

The Apple WWDC Keynote has just finished and we’ve been promised some real treats. You can get all the details elsewhere but from my point of view the new iPhone 3GS 32GB and the MacBook Pro 15″ refresh look very compelling.

So there goes my spending money for the summer… and the winter. I can’t change my laptop until Christmas so from September I’ll definitely be upgrading to Snow Leopard for $29 (I’m assuming that will translate into around £20).

Got to give kudos to TWIT Live as well where they managed to get a hooky feed direct from the Moscone Center. All very impressive and enjoyable in a very geeky sort of way.

Rebuilding my Mac

I have been thinking about doing a clean install on my main work Mac for a couple of weeks, and last night I bit the bullet and went for it. All in all an incredibly easy process (with just one reboot) and my machine now feels significantly faster for the effort.

The beauty of the Mac is that when you get a new one, you can just run the migration assistant software and your new machine will be up and running as soon as the files are copied across. Inevitably over time the OS builds up cruft and begins to slow down (we’re not talking Windows here which I used to reinstall every 4 months when I ran it as my main machine). According to the entries in my keyring file the profile I had been running started back in 2004, so it was about time to start with a clean slate.

As much for my own benefit as anything, here is my checklist of the process I went through:

1) Backup machine using Super Duper!
2) Backup machine again to another disk using Super Duper! again. (This is my livelihood, can’t be too careful)
3) Make sure you have the original disks for your machine, any old copy of OS X will not necessarily work unless you bought a shrink wrapped copy of the OS.
4) Wipe out the hard drive and install OS X from the DVDs
5) Disconnect iPhone and external drives (just for belt and braces)
6) While this is going on download any missing install files for your required software list, this is mine:
  – 1Password
  – Adium
  – Adobe Digital Editions
  – Balsamiq
  – Billable
  – Chicken of the VNC
  – CSSEdit
  – Cyberduck
  – DoubleTake
  – Evernote
  – Firefox
  – Flickr Uploader
  – Goto Meeting
  – Grand Perspective
  – iSquint
  – iStopMotion
  – JungleDisk
  – Mouseposé
  – NetNewsWire
  – Notes
  – OpenOffice
  – Parallels
  – PathFinder
  – QuickSilver
  – Skitch
  – Skype
  – SuperDuper
  – TextMate
  – TimeMachineEditor
  – Tweetie
  – VLC
  – VMWare Fusion
  – Vuze
  – Wireshark
  – HP Printer Drivers
  – Eclipse
  – iWork
  – Adobe Air
  – Stuffit
  – Growl
  – MenuMeters
7) Dig up the license keys for everything
8) After OS X install has finished, run a Software Update
9) Reboot
10) Install the above software list
11) Don’t open iTunes or iPhoto yet
12) From the SuperDuper! backup, copy your old iTunes directory over the new one
13) Do the same with the iPhoto directory
14) Do the same with the Documents directory
15) Copy in the iCal and Contacts as described here
16) Set up Time Machine
17) Set up SuperDuper! schedule
18) Start work

In all the process took me five hours from start to finish and my machine feels a lot better for it, so if you have a spare half day (or night in my case) then I’d highly recommend it. All usual rules apply, this list worked for me, if I’ve forgotten something then don’t blame me etc etc.

This is a screenshot of what I commonly run during the day hence the reason for wanting to squeeze every last ounce of performance I can get.

New Desktop

Laptop in the shop

Over the last few days the Bluetooth on my laptop has become progressively less reliable, to the point where, this morning the keyboard and mouse would work for two minutes before needing to be reset. So I got an appointment at the “Genius” bar at the Apple Store at lunchtime and had my worst fears confirmed. It’s a hardware failure so they kept hold of it to replace the radio and the antenna.

I’ve not had the best of luck with the reliability of my main laptop with the last one needing to be repaired twice before I replaced it. Maybe I just use them too much but it does annoy me slightly that what is meant to be premium kit is quite so flakey.

Anyway, I have learned from previous experience and have a backup machine to use so it’s not the end of the world. Things just take a little longer to do now. Roll on Friday when I can (hopefully) pick up the fixed computer.

New iPhone Finally

I got a call from a contact at the Carphone Warehouse today saying that they had a batch of phones in so I dashed up to Oxford Street to pick up one while they were still there. The process of the upgrade is still pretty slow, a huge form which takes (if my experience is anything to go by) over 15 minutes to get approved. No wonder there were serious queues last week. Anyway it all went through fine and I got my nice and shiny new iPhone.

The software of course is old news now that I’ve been using it for a week but the GPS and 3g speeds really make it come alive even more. I’m not sure how much this is rose tinted glasses but the new phone also seems slightly faster to respond for me as well.

I also picked up a set of the BodyGuardz protective film to go over the case of the phone. It works really well to protect what looks like a fairly easily scratched plastic backing to the phone, well worth the 30 minutes effort to get it stuck on neatly and without bubbles.

I already knew that the new phone didn’t come with a dock unlike the first gen version, but I had assumed that the old dock would work with the new phone, not so, and I really used my dock a lot so I picked up a new version of that as well, which is a tad annoying. But so far that is the only annoyance, I’ll be able to test the battery life over the next few days, but I don’t anticipate that being a problem as I plugged in the phone every night anyway to pick up new podcasts for the next day.

Oh, and for all of the people who asked, the old phone has already been reserved by a friend so no hand me downs available here sorry!

iPhone updated

Tomorrow was always going to be fun with the new iPhone being released. Of course I’m going to get one (assuming the O2 store has any in stock after the debacle of earlier in the week), but to whet the whistle I’ve upgraded the firmware of my current phone to the 2.0 software (using Volkers tip to jump the download queue).

Boy is it good, the app store is very easy to use and there is already an amazing selection of apps to download. So far I’ve got the iPhone version of Evernote, the AIM client, Twitterific and of course Super Monkey Ball installed and they really do feel very professional.

I’m not convinced that the v2 hardware will actually be that much of an improvement, but you know me, I have to have the latest and greatest Apple hardware so I’ll be queuing in the morning at the Surrey Quays shopping centre, there’ll be more impressions then (or a couple of hours later once I’ve got activated).

Update: And I’ve just found out that if you hold down the Home Key and the Power button then it will take a screenshot of your iPhone. 🙂
Updated iPhone screenshot

BBC Shows on iTunes Music Store

Well this is interesting. The BBC have put some of their more popular shows onto the UK iTunes Music Store for paid download. Oddly I don’t have any philosophical objections to paying to download shows I’ve missed, even if I have already paid my license fee. If it makes my life easier then that’s fine. But there are a few problems with the current set up.

Firstly, at £1.89 per episode it is *way* too expensive. The equivalent shows in the US cost $1.99. With the current exchange rate that works out at £1.00. I could live with a pound a go, but almost two pounds takes it out of my price range.

The selection of shows on the ITMS (in the UK at least) is woefully small. If I’m going to get into this then I’d like there to be a fair chance that the show I want will be there, otherwise I’ll continue with my current set up for catching up with missed programmes.

Finally, I believe that in the US, you can subscribe to a season rather than buying individual episodes of a programme. If, for example, I wanted to get season 3 of Lost, then I would much prefer it came down to me automatically after it got released rather than me having to go and actively buy it.

So what do you think? If you’re in the UK will you be using the new service? And if you’re across the pond, do you already use iTunes, or do you have some other route for getting your TV?


Steve Jobs keynote at MacWorld was as entertaining as ever (although I have to admit I was at the pub for the majority of it) the main announcement seems to have been the Macbook Air which is all very cool but costs an absolute fortune. I will be able to hold back and survive with my meaty Macbook Pro 17″. In other announcements I have been able to “upgrade” from my jailbroken iPod Touch to the newly released and officially supported iPod Touch with mail, maps stocks etc. It costs £12 but in terms of being officially supported I would say it’s a move well worth making. The upgrade even kept all of my old settings for mail which is pretty cool.

The rest of the announcements seem to be pretty minor. As Volker says the Apple TV changes are good for Americans but don’t affect us Europeans and the iPhone updates make no difference to me as I am tied into a contract with a Nokia phone for quite some time yet.

All in all an interesting set of announcements but nothing earth shattering. But then we weren’t expecting much more.