New Year Resolutions and NYE 2013

Goals. Not resolutions. Purely for the sake of reflecting next year of course.

Cook more: I like cooking, when I have the right ingredients. I’m going to make an effort to do more, saving money on eating out or getting food delivered.

Read more: I want to keep learning, keep my mind busy on things other than tech.

Network more: connect with at least 3 people at meetup groups at least once per month.

Save for Europe: I want to have over $20,000 saved for an epic trip around Europe in 2014/15.

iPhone 5 and the frustration over the new cable. Oh, and Apple Maps…

With the announcement of the iPhone 5 came news of the USB ‘lightning’ cable that Apple have decided to implement moving forward.

While I agree with the sentiment that the announcement could have come as a softer blow should Apple have improved functionality with the new cable (not just an ever so slightly thinner iPhone and the option for reversible ‘insertion’). I’m more confused about why they didn’t use a Micro USB connection instead.

Taking this whole discussion into the twisted den I call my mind; I did come up with a few thoughts or ideas that I hope are worth sharing and at the core of it I like what (I believe) Apple are doing; which is to make hardware choices that may compromise some of their following but in doing so they push consumers forward towards a longer term vision:

  • Cables: the masses are being encouraged here to ditch physical USB cables and go wireless. At home I have the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air Wireless AirPlay Speaker Dock and it is fantastic. Not only can I place my iPad or iPhone on the dock to play or charge, I can also stream audio from any device. Aside from that wireless-syncing has been available for well over a year and I’m sure wireless charging is not far away either
  • Expandable storage: the way I see it Apple opted out of expandable storage and in doing so were deliberately leading customers to adopt Cloud based storage which is clearly smarter forward-thinking approach. They could have easily sold off millions of Apply branded Super Mega Micro SD cards at $20-70 a unit

AirPlay does have it’s shortcomings though; the audio and video are permanently paired. I can’t play the audio from a movie I cannot play the audio through my B & W Zeppelin while playing the video through my TV. Given the adoption of AirPlay this is a shortsighted flaw of Apple’s otherwise incredibly smart technology.

Now about those maps. Apple are many things, but extensive mapping of the globe is all new to them. For whatever reason they’ve had to step away from Google’s map solution which is arguably the most extensive and accurate map provider in the world. I feel inclined to defend Apple on this one, they could well have ditched the Maps app and encouraged customers to use one of the many free and paid apps in the store.

Instead they have done their best to deliver a Map solution that has problems but is also in it’s own right, quite impressive and highly usable. I think customers need to level set their expectations just a little here, we’ve all come to believe Apple to be the best in their field but the truth is that they are not. Most of the default Apps that Apple give you by default (Compass, Newsstand, etc) aren’t the best Apps by any stretch.

Does everyone think of Apple as a company that provides Mapping software solutions? Perhaps they do. But to my mind this is an over-hyped topic given that the satisfaction rating for mobile devices is won again and again by the iPhone.

About the iPhone 5, I’m getting one through work contract in the next few weeks and I’m interested to see how well it holds up against my more customisable (albeit uglier) Android Galaxy Nexus. I’ve come to like the flexibility of the Android platform since adopting for the second time and on Jellybean (or one of the custom ROMs) I don’t know that the iPhone even in all it’s perfectly manufactured glory can hold up.  Rant done.

Instant gratification: An Info-graphic

I had someone contact me via email about a post from a number of months ago that spoke a bit about instant gratification and my concern that as society depends increasingly on technology, there is an equally negative effect on our brains, essentially rewiring the “circuitry”. This email was almost certainly an effort to gain some link-juice but non the less it’s interesting topic and the info-graphic is kind of cool so here it is:

Created by: Online Graduate Programs

TV: Luther

I was pretty wowed by Luther. I don’t often find TV shows that affect me, but this show really did. There are only a handful of TV shows that I actively encourage people to watch; Game of thrones, Dexter, Entourage, Breaking Bad, House with the recent addition of Suits and now Luther.

I don’t want to spoil the ending but I can safely say that this is one of the few shows on television that actually doesn’t pander to the expectations of it’s viewers and is frequently heavy, dramatic, and moving. Idris Elba who plays the main character of detective John Luther is absolutely awesome, intense, violent and brilliant. This isn’t just a murder gets found by a detective show. In fact, the crime that takes place is often put to the side to tell a story that is far more unique and interesting to watch. So much so that each episode starts off without the expected mystery surrounding the murder, instead focusing on how the criminal is to be captured.