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Showing posts from November, 2012

iPhone 5: First Impressions

The iPhone 5 is coming to life, as I write this. I thought I'd share some impressions so far. The design: wow, is this thing light. Like half the weight of my iPhone 4. A perfect blend of light without giving a hint of cheapness: it feels milled, not produced. I opted for the black, as I always have, and I am amazed to be captivated by it. It's like looking at a grand piano on the stage of a concert hall: inky, deep, exuding class without anything other than the blend of the black, both shiny and oh so understated matte. With the Nokia 920 I was trying out, it was all about the screen, and the playful curve and color: this is all about...Apple. The helpful AT&T staff activated the phone in the store. Not necessary, but nice. However, other than knowing that it's, yes, an iPhone 5, and yes, talks to AT&T's network, it was essentially a blank slate. So, when I got home, I promptly stuck my old iPhone 4 into the cradle, synced it...and things got a little we

The Windows Phone Experiment: Epilogue

In case the title didn't give it away, the noble experiment to switch from iOS to Windows Phone 8 has concluded, albeit early. It was not an easy test, nor did it amount to be as long as I had hoped (which should say something right there), but concluded it has, for the foreseeable future. A refresher: I was attempting to try out the Nokia Lumia 920, the top of the line phone running Windows Phone 8, switching from my trusty iPhone. I intended to give it two full weeks, but, as you may have read , the Nokia failed to cooperate, and ended up as a lovely sleek brick. So, back to AT&T it went for a replacement, with the experiment to continue upon the new one's arrival. That was 10 days ago. And here is where the story becomes less about the hardware or software, and more about the pain of being an early adopter. You see, the Lumia 920 is a genuine hit: it is sold out at most AT&T stores. It's price point ($99, already cheap, but lowered to $49 this last weekend

All Hail The Blue and Silver...Uh, White?

Apologies to those readers who are not football fans, Dallas Cowboys fans, or fans of uniform minutiae. You might want to skip this post, if those subjects are not what you are interested in. It's Thanksgiving week, and that means we have the great tradition of Thanksgiving Day NFL football. For many years, there have been two teams that have played on that day: the Detroit Lions and my own favorite, the Dallas Cowboys. While the two teams do not play each other, they each host a nationally televised game, and the coincidence of both teams sporting blue and silver color schemes is always fun. Of course, the irony is that, for this game only, both teams break out the special uniforms which are often a departure from their normal ones. Sometimes, they are throwbacks, like these Detroit gems . Other times, they are these atrocities like Dallas briefly wore; these days, Dallas sticks to their official "throwbacks, " which are...meh. However, as a longtime Dallas Cowb

iOS to WP8: Not Alone

Big thanks to my friend Lani Chin (who you should all subscribe to her blog ; great and insightful writing) for pointing out that, oddly, I am not the only tech geek trying to switch from iOS to Windows Phone 8 on a Nokia Lumia 920 AND blog daily about it. Mashable's Christina Warren, a professional blogger, took up the idea too, and is off and running. Her journal is educational, insightful, and entertaining. While she, presumably, made it past Day 3 (I did not, as my entry pointed out ), many of her observations echo mine. Now that I'm back on the iPhone 4 (temporarily, while the new 920 is shipped to me), I'm able to notice several key differences: Damn, that Lumia is FAST. Going back to my iPhone 4 is like using an old 386 PC. I miss the big screen and vibrant colors, as well as the live tiles.  I am stunned at how easy it is to operate my iPhone one handed. The Lumia definitely requires all hands on deck. I actually am surprised that I am as reliant on iOS&#

Best. Away Message. Ever.

From the always entertaining webcam of Charles Barletta , who has a history of constructing wonderful messages for when he's away from his work webcam: Yep. It's like that. Think of that, when you write your next Away message.

Day 3 of 2 Weeks With WP8: Hard Stop

- Trying to resolve the triplication of photos. Fired up the sync app, unchecked everything. Attempted to sync. All went, but then I get the message that nothing was able to delete because of an error and I should call support. Click on the help link, go to the main landing page for WP8. Ugh. - Ah, finally something that can see the triplicates (looking at them when mounted as a drive does not): the sync app, in the Phone section. But...deleting them fails. Sigh. - Went to a mobile formatted page with embedded video. The video won’t play? Not even if I click on it. Uh oh, this may be a killer. - iMesage holds on and doesn’t want to let go. If you have ever conducted an iMessage conversation on iOS, it hijacks all future conversations: the other party thinks they are messaging you, but the message does not get delievered as a text message, even if you have told iOS to turn off iMessage. Only way to solve is text from the new phone to start a new conversation. - Nokia Drive: fail. No

Day 2 of 2 Weeks With WP8: The Plot Thickens

Today was gonna be two major tests for the Nokia 920: sync, hell or high water, and a real world test: driving. First, time to figure out the sync issue. Still stumped, I tried another sync, and experienced the same freeze/crash as before. But, a new wrinkle: the phone itself did not seem to be recognized by the computer. Like the iPhone, it mounts the Nokia as a "drive," which means you can somewhat poke around in it's innards. However, attempts to do so here were failures: it either disappeared from Explorer, or was so sluggish it could not be used. No time to puzzle that out; it's time for the field test. Using the built in Podcast part of Music & Video, I loaded up a few podcasts. Again, frustrated that I can't find how to do playlists for podcasts, but at least I have them. Time to hit the road. Volume is excellent, and the dedicated volume rocker helps, as does the helpful on screen controls for pause, fast forward and rewind. Much more spaced ou

Day 1: 2 Weeks With Windows Phone 8

Awoke with a fully charged Nokia. Today's the day to put it through it's paces! First up, WiFi. Connected it to the 5GHz WiFi connection, quick and easy. No issues, whereas my iPhone 4 only talks to the crowded 2.4GHz band. To be fair, the iPhone 5 handles the 5GHz without issue, as well. The folks at Microsoft touted the "live wallpaper" of Windows Phone 8 as a key differentiator. For example, being able to see a dynamic background of your Facebook photos. One area I was particularly intrigued by was the ability to set live sports scores and updated photos as the lock screen background; handy! does that work? The ESPN app came preloaded, and claims to be able to do live tile updates, but nothing shows there. And there doesn't seem to be a "Sports App" as they refer to. Sure, I can tell it to look at Facebook photos or CNN, but where's the scores? The first of my real annoyances also emerges: there is no way MSFT intended th

2 Weeks With Windows Phone 8: So It Begins

Or: How an Apple mobile fanboy decides to see how the other side can live.  I've noted in previous posts about the current frustrations I have with the iPhone , and the allure of the Windows Phone UI. So, it's time to put my money where my mouth is: I am taking the plunge, and trying to live in a Windows Phone 8 world for 2 weeks. I'll be documenting my impressions here, so apologies for those who are bored by such topics. First, the phone. AT&T introduced the first US phone running Windows Phone 8, the Lumia 920. Let's start with the expected questions on those choices. Why AT&T? Well, I've been using it for years with the iPhone, and actually have had no particularly bad experiences, and many good. Yes, AT&T drops calls occasionally, but the least used function of my mobile device is calls, and it's not been so atrocious as others have expected (I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area). Also, AT&T is the only major carrier that supports