Monday, October 27, 2014

Some notes (and problems) working with ios 8.1 and Yosemite for a little while.

OK!  I was excited - I finally got Yosemite AND ios 8.1!  Full continuity and handoff!

First I switched all of my devices to use iCloud Drive.  Then I had some fun:

  • I texted from my computer to a non-iPhone number!
  • I received a call and answered it on my computer!  A headset is most useful...
  • I received a call during a meeting, and it rang on my iPhone, iPad, and computer!  I used my computer to text back that I was not able to answer as I was running a meeting and (record scratch followed by silence) and audiobook on my iPad started playing!  And, I could not quickly log in, and forgot to swipe up to silence it, and it was already in silent mode and that didn't help.  I turned the sound down to nothing.  Whew!
  • I used handoff to:
    • Finish a text
    • Finish an email
    • go to a webpage on my computer immediately that I was looking at on my ipad and iphone (tried each, and the other way around from my computer)
    • Edit a numbers file
    • Edit and view reminders
    • View contacts (used it to verify a contact I had just added on my computer was indeed on my iPhone)
  • With Yosemite I have used new features:
    • I drew on a picture in my email on my mac - annotating it.  OK I did this many times just because I can!  It is also very useful, for directions.  I circled a place to park on a map.
    • Now that email is more integrated with contacts, I have been cleaning up my contacts lists so I see little pictures of my contacts in my emails on my mac.  Where I have triple copies of a contact, I am working towards only one.
    • I'm trying out notification center as an alternative to Feedly.  I like having both!
    • I used spotlight to search for more.  I regularly look up word definitions using spotlight at this point, for example.  I can cut and paste numbers now, which did not work well before (cutting from spotlight)
    • I air dropped photos from my iPhone to my computer to share them via Google Drive from my computer, after changing the names and putting them in a folder.  This was amazing and fast for the full-size photos.
I keep my phone in vibrate mode nearly all of the time.  I am so used to the vibration, that I can now ignore it, and also feel it when it is not there at times.  The ability to answer phone and texts on my computer is extremely useful to me.

OK, I'm also playing with Apple Pay.  I've used it, and find that when I needed to get the fingerprint ID'ed on my phone while paying, it did not always work.  However, normal unlocking of of my phone is flawless.  What is the problem?  I'm holding it differently during payments and so needed to rescan my thumb for this different angle for paying.  Some cards work, some do not.  I also used having my credit card in my Passbook to check what I was charged for a non Apple Pay charge - and found one that was wrong!  It helped save me $60 by spotting this before I even left the store.  I am a fan of Apple Pay.

I do not have 1password 5 working with iCloud on my mac.  I have the app store version on my mac, and I am asking AgileBits for help.

Shut up and take my money? Homekit hopes

I remember my smart phone experience before iPhone.  I had a Palm Treo.  I was able to do many things I do on my iPhone:

  • Watch movies
  • Listen to music
  • Download useful apps from the internet
  • Synchronize my contacts, read email, todo list(s)
I wanted to do all of these things.  However, they were all hard.  Watching movies caused it to crash, and there was the tiny screen, and even with an SD card, there was not room for much.  Listening to music?  There was a similar set of problems.  Music playlists were a nightmare.  I was thrilled to download applications, but it was not centralized and it was hard.  The rest mostly required a computer at times, at best.  The iPhone made all of these things vastly better, and really is a computer in my pocket.

The area of home automation, frankly, sucks.  Nest was a breath of fresh air in the space.  I was dreaming of a Nest home irrigation management system like  I live in California and saving water while keeping my plants from dying is an attractive idea.  What all could be in home automation?
  • Door locks - closest match:
  • Irrigation management - closest match:
  • Lighting management - one option: Phillips Hue
  • Power - one option: WeMo Home Automation
  • Sensors and alarms:
    • Moisture sensors - closest match:
  • Home security
    • Cameras
    • Door/window open/close/lock management
    • Window covering management
    • Lights management
    • Sound management (maybe should make some sounds if I am away?)
Here is a narration of what I would love in terms of smart home management:
1) Temperature management in the house would take into account different household members having preferences for different temperatures in different locations, even in a small-ish house.
2) All of the options I have, I therefore want the system to have:
  • Know about the sun (or lack of sun), and its effect on temperature.
  • Know about rain and its effect on temperature, and the desirability of using open windows.
  • Know where people are and will likely go in the house.
  • Know how secure I need the house to be at a given time.
  • Have awareness of motion outside the home to decide how much to have windows open.  Be aware of squirrels/cats/racoons or other animals/pests and do not let them in!
  • Open/close windows to heat/cool.
  • Open/close window coverings to heat/cool.
  • Adjust vents/air flow to cool/heat only specific locations.
  • Use air flow to bring cool/hot air from another place in the house to affect where people actually are.  This can be with windows, and can be with the furnace fan.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Summary of Apple announcements 10/16/14

Today Apple had the second of two fall announcement meetings.  Here is my summary of the announcements today which I watched on my iphone via streaming video.  I'm ignoring the discussions of iPhone, Apple watch, Yosemite, and iOS 8, and Apple Pay, with two exceptions:
  • We cannot use Apple Pay without iOS 8.1, not available until Monday Oct 20, 2014
  • We cannot do SMS messages on your computer without iOS 8.1, still not yet available.
So it was primarily about new hardware:
  • iPad Air 2
    • nearly 20% thinner
    • A better display in that it has fused layers and an anti-reflective coating
    • A8X CPU - the best Apple has for mobile computing
    • TouchID
    • barometer
    • Networking
      • 802.11ac fastest available networking
      • 20-band LTE for cellular users, with a "one SIM" option that works with multiple carriers! (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile at this time)
    • Camera - the rear camera appears to be like an iPhone 6 camera in newer better specifications and 8MP.
  • iPad Mini 3
    • They added a gold color option, touchID, and lowered the prices
  • iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini:
    • all still for sale with reduced prices
  • Mac Mini
    • CPU: up to 3Ghz Intel Core i7
    • Storage: Up to 1TB flash storage
    • RAM: up to 16GB RAM
    • GPU: up to Intel Iris Graphics
    • Ports:
      • Audio In, Headphone
      • SDXC
      • 4x USB 3
      • 2x Thunderbolt 2
      • HDMI
      • 1GB Ethernet
      • IR Receiver
    • Wifi: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4
    • OS: Yosemite - no OS X server OS
  • iMac 5K Retina
    • 27" 5120x2880 pixel display
    • CPU: Up to 4.0Ghz quad core Intel Core i7
    • RAM: Up to 32GB
    • Storage: Up to 1TB flash storage
    • GPU: Up to AMD Radeon R9 M295X with 4GB GDDR5 memory
    • Ports:
      • Headphone
      • SDXC
      • 4x USB 3
      • 2x Thunderbolt 2
      • 1GB Ethernet
    • Wifi: 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4
    • Comes with Yosemite, Apple wireless keyboard, and Apple Magic Mouse

I made this much too dry.  It is worth watching minute 28 or so on for a bit even if the rest does not interest you.  They showed continuity in use, and included Steven Colbert as their supreme commander of security.  They also had a video showing the security procedure to get into a building which is worth watching.  The entire demonstration is really worth a look-see.  Humor in a presentation like this is far too rare.