What Happens When an iOS Fanboy Buys an Android Tablet

Nexus7I fully admit I am an avid, Kool-aid drinking fanboy of Apple products. I have used 2 different iPads in my past couple of jobs, going from an iPad2 to the 3 with the retina display. I am on my 3rd iPhone. I’m still using my 2008 Macbook Pro and it continues to run like a champ in 2013 and I just recorded a new album on my 2006 Mac Pro Quad and it never even hiccuped. Apple just has great quality products that deliver consistently excellent results.

Since I’ve begun working for myself at Moyers Design, I had to give up my iPad3 and have been without a tablet for over a year. I got to the point that I needed a tablet in order to fully function as a mobile professional. The trouble was, I didn’t have $350 to drop on an iPad mini. After some exposure to the Android operating system (you can read my account of that in this post), I decided to give it a try for about a third less in total cost.

This Apple fanboy bought a Google Nexus 7.

[Read more…]

5 Reasons Linux Might Be For You

Linux Distros

Linux. No, it’s not a character from Peanuts. It sort of sounds like a sneeze when pronounced forcefully and quickly. Whatever your ideas about it, it’s probably not what you think.

For many years, Linux has been the computer operating system most associated with the nerd culture. Since 2000, Linux has run a distant third behind Windows and Mac OS. No one really wanted to mess with it for several reasons, like:

  • I don’t understand it.
  • It’s too hard to use with all that command line stuff.
  • I don’t know how to install it.
  • I don’t even know where to get it.
  • I don’t know which one to get.
  • I don’t want to loose my software.
  • Why? What I have works fine.

For the most part, all of these would have been valid arguments. I would argue that they are valid no longer. As time marches on, the open source community of Linux programmers have done a valiant job of making Linux approachable by the common man. Not only approachable, but easy to use and fun. After a small learning curve, I would argue that Linux is just as good as any other operating system, and better in some cases. Let me address some of the complaints listed above.

[Read more…]

iPhone vs Android

android vs iphoneIf you have read any of my other posts, you’ll know I’m an Apple kool-aid drinker. Card carrying and proud.

Recently, I ran across a new phone service called Solavei. It’s an interesting service, based on the T-Mobile network. It’s only $49 monthly for unlimited voice, text and data. Plus, if you sign up other people, Solavei pays you back. There’s a very real chance to have a completely free phone service and even make some money back on top. You can read more about it here.

But I digress. Solavei is still integrating iPhones into the service. They work, but not at full capacity. Consequently, I thought I’d give an Android phone a try. My son has a Galaxy SII Skyrocket and I’ve been watching him play with it. Then, my father-in-law upgraded to a Motorola Droid Razr M and I helped him set it up. These two events combined whetted my appetite to try the dark side. I bought a Skyrocket like my son’s phone.

The rest of this little article is about what a die-hard iPhone guy thinks of the Android operating system. If you want to skip on elsewhere, the short version is that I like it. If an iPhone is a 9 on a 10-point scale, I’d give Android a 7.759.

Want more info. Okay.

[Read more…]

Top 3 Life Lessons I Learned from Agent Dash

Agent-DashI suppose I’ve been looking at Stepcase Lifehack a bit too much… and playing Agent Dash too much. If you don’t know what Stepcase Lifehack is, you can follow the link and check it out. If you don’t what Agent Dash is, let me explain. No, there is no time. Let me sum up (sorry, I had to throw a Princess Bride quote in there).

Agent Dash is, to quote Forbes Online:

“…a ridiculously simple and even more ridiculously addictive game in the vein of Temple Run, Jetpack Joyride, and others. All you have to do is collect diamonds and keep your agent on the not-so-straight yet incredibly narrow. You can purchase or earn upgrades to add to your agent’s arsenal of diamond-collecting toys, but these upgrades are practically copies of the ones you can find in Temple Run.

Agent Dash, however, differentiates itself with its super-cool graphics and not much else. At first I thought I would delete the game entirely. But after trying to tear myself away from this game and failing, I see that Agent Dash will stay on my iPad, saving the world from stray diamonds.”

It’s sort of like Temple Run meets The Incredibles. It seems rather silly to pull life lessons from a game on my iPad. There may be some serious ramifications about my allocation of time in all this, but there are three things that I’ve come to see have relevance in the real world as well.

Keep an eye on the horizon.

Agent Dash is all about running. That’s pretty much it. To make it challenging, the creators have put all manner of obstacles in your way. Barrels, barriers, sliding doors, electric fences… you must keep an eye out for what’s coming. The trick is, the game gets faster and faster. By the time you get to the 5th or 6th area, you are fairly flying. If you are just looking at what’s coming next, you’re doomed to get fried or flattened. You must be looking way ahead at obstacles down the path.

And so the same concept applies in life. It is extremely easy for me, and I assume others, to get mired in what’s happening right now. Walking around with the head down and worried about current circumstances seems to be pretty natural. I believe God has called us to something higher. We are told to look forward to something greater and our hope lies there. Any other way will undoubtably get us squashed against a boulder or crushed by a falling glass wall… spiritually speaking, of course.

[Read more…]

OnSong: All You Need is a Tip Jar

If you know me or have been following me, you know I’m a kool-aid drinker for Apple. I am most definitely a mac fanboy. To be truthful, I really believe they’ve earned their spot in my hall of undulation, along with Key Lime Pie, YouVersion.com, WordPress and MOTU Digital Performer.

Due to my job situation, I’ve been without an iPad since the first of the year. I honestly didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would. I have a new iPad now (version not-called 3) and it’s most certainly nice to have it back. It makes information so much more accessible and I’m looking forward to using it in my new position at work (more on that in a future post).

OnSong AppThere is one app that I’ve realized I could not really replace without an iPad, and it’s a great app for live musicians… especially solo artists or small acoustic groups. It’s called OnSong. This cheap little app (only $7.99) is the perfect songbook and chart folder replacement. You can download the lyrics and chords to just about any song you can find online, or simply enter your own. Once you’ve got your library built up, it’s all available at the swipe of a finger on your iPad.

You can set up playlists or set lists. Set the length of the song and hit the play button just as you start the song and the lyrics will automatically scroll for you as you go. Are you using special lighting? Change the appearance of the song from black words on white background to white words on black background so it won’t light you up. Need to practice? Link a song from your song library that will launch when you hit the start button. You can play along and follow the lyrics as you go. Maybe you’ve got accompaniment tracks? Link those up with your audio out. Now you’ve got a confidence monitor and a track player all in one.

There are many more features that you can check out. One I really like is the ability to sync your set list with the other members of your band (as long as they have OnSong). Everyone can see the same charts moving together in unison. This thing will even project lyrics for your audience if you wish.

I would venture to say that, as a musician, this is probably the most important app I own. Pair that with a good iPad stand, like this one here, and you’re good to go for a night of music.

All you need now is a tip jar. 5 stars. Go get it.

iPhone Terminator

So is Siri just another innocent step forward in technology? Or is it something more akin to HAL9000? Or maybe even… the Terminator.

Google Chrome Fail – Pt.2

Google and Chrome Fail again

Ok Google, you’re killing me here. I am trying to get everything I do online to be Google-oriented so that syncing things up will be a breeze. I am sticking with you because I had being doing this long before I bought into Apple products – which would offer the same services for me. Alas, I am heavily invested into all things Google, so I stay with you for now (which incidentally is why I bought a new iPhone… I was too deep into apps to choose otherwise).

But why, oh why, do I continue to have troubles using Chrome (your product) and Gmail (your product) together? About a third of the time it hangs up. Sometimes it just sits there with a blank page looking at me (see earlier post). And today, you tell me you don’t trust yourself? So what am I supposed to take away from that?

[Read more…]

Chrome Gmail Fail

Rant time. You’d think that Google would be able to support their own products a little better. I’ve always been a Google fan… right up there with Apple. But recently, I suppose since an update that happened in the background, Gmail periodically does not work in Chrome. What?

I use iGoogle as my home page. It aggregates different news sources and blog feeds I like to read. In the top left corner I have a Gmail window that show the number of new emails I have waiting, as well as the most recent five. Over the past few weeks, 2 in 5 times I’ve opened up my homepage I get a blank window where Gmail should be.

So, I click on the link to go directly to Gmail and bypass the widget. I then get to wait while a big blank white page sits there trying to load Gmail. I usually end up either rebooting Chrome or opening Firefox or Safari. When I do that, the new browser ALWAYS opens up Gmail while Chrome is still spinning its wheels.

Anyone else have this problem? Sound off…

Hello Siri

I’ve been holding out. 

Not in the “I’ve got a secret” kind of way. More along the lines of “I’ve got an old 3Gs phone and I’m waiting to upgrade till iPhone 5 comes out.” But… the new iPhone is a 4s, not a 5. And my 3Gs is having troubles after 2.5 years. According to AT&T 2nd level tech, the 3G antenna (which is actually nothing more than a crystal) has zonkered. I had to turn off my 3G and use 2G (otherwise known as Edge) so it would stop dropping calls left and right, which was extremely frustrating. So, now I have a good phone connection and lousy data… unless I’m connected to wifi. 

My son’s phone has been dead for a while. I figure it’s time to upgrade and pass mine down. The question is, which phone do I get? The iPhone 4s is an obvious choice, as I have been all Mac for several years. Still, the power of marketing is undeniable. I seriously considered the Galaxy S2. It’s bigger AND thinner, roughly equivalent in power and architecture to the 4s, and I have a fondness for the underdog (which incidentally is what initially drew me to Apple). 

I chose the iPhone 4s. My choice was due, in large part, to the fact that I have well over $200 in apps for the iPhone that will be useless on an Android. I suspect that was part of Apple’s plan all along. They suck you in and then keep sucking till the way out is just a small dot of light at the end of the tunnel. 

Well, for now I don’t mind being immersed into the cult of Apple. But I find it interesting that I actually considered making a change. What does that say? Is the tide slowly turning? Has Apple reached the top and opened the door for those of us who don’t necessarily like supporting the top dog? Time will tell.

And I will tell you more about the iPhone 4s after I get it tomorrow. Woohoo!

A Better Calendar for iPhone and iPad

If you’ve read any of my blog, you know I’m a Mac nut. That, of course, extends to the iPhone and iPad. I’ve always felt that one of the warts on the i-frog is their calendar app. It’s hard to navigate and read. It’s also just kind of ugly.

Lots of companies have issued their version of a calendar app, but my favorite by far is Calvetica. It’s a clean layout, very easy to read and extremely fast. You can also change the skin to vary your visual experience on occasion.

This morning (July 20, 2011) they released a universal app that works both on the iPhone and the iPad. While the iPhone version is good, the iPad version is fabulous. I highly recommend it. You can find it on iTunes here.