The WordPress app for iPad looks and works great. I have often thought that the way in which my WordPress software is served and nested, outside apps won’t be able to connect with the content. We’ve already gotten a taste of that attempting to log onto SeeEmilyPlay. Now that I see how easily I can post, the more I am inclined to WANT to post.
In other news, Jamie Moyer school’d the Yankees tonight in a game that no one thought the Phillies could win. They gave the best offensive display we’ve seen in almost a month and won by a score of 6-3. I just listened to Steve Somers bait the Yankees fans on WFAN. Very enjoyable.
Mac is updating my OS and iTunes, presumably both in preparation for the new iOS that’s coming next week and the iPhone 4. The iPad is what really wants the fancier OS, but that will have to wait until at least the fall. The laptop updates a re taking forever, but it seems to be working.
The cookies shown below Rachel’s; they are righteous and they are raw.
Wow – big day for Apple. But I’m not worried about iPhones or video calls or tethering or any of that stuff right now. No, at the moment, I’m trying to optimize my work experience by using only applications that were originally conceived and built for Mac. That means no MS Entourage, no Quicken, etc. I had noticed that after two years on my black 2GB Macbook, my hard drive was pretty much full. So I went about eliminating the bloat. So far, it’s been great. I’m getting very conversant with iCal, Address Book, Things (which is really special), and the back and forth with Google’s Contacts and Calendar is especially helpful.
Now that Safari is up to version 5, I’m downloading and wondering if it will make me want to give up my beloved Opera browser. I don’t think that’s going to happen, but I’ll try it out anyway.
The only real problem is the personal finance software. There is no reference standard for the Mac like there is in other realms (Logic for music, Final Cut for video, Safari for browser, etc). I spent the past week using Jumsoft’s Money 3, but it really is nothing special and the iPhone app doesn’t sync cleanly. That is so NOT ok. So now I’m looking to take advantage of another ‘trial period’ and see if there is another personal accounting program that can do what I want – be flexible, be native, communicate with the various banks, and be Mac beautiful. We’ll see how this (and how the supposedly faster new Safari) goes.
But social networking and music is still a fertile area for development. Last.fm has been around for a while and features a clunky, Facebook style interface. The best part of Last.fm is that it can, if you wish, track everything you listen to on your computer by means of proprietary technology called Scrobbling. That’s great fun for seeing what tunes you and all your friends are listening to. There are also discussion forums and lots of news and gadgets to keep you interested. The one thing that’s really missing from Last.fm is music. The social part is there, but the users have to supply their own tunes.
Blip.fm does it best, as far as the social aspect is concerned. Users select music from the Blip database (which is really just a feed into Youtube and Imeem. But for each selection, other users with similar tastes are suggested. The genius is with Blip’s ‘props’ system. You give props to other users/DJs and get props back. This means there is a currency that you exchange with other users in order to tell them that you like what they play. You try to accumulate more props and also ‘listeners’ (friends) as you go forward on your musical exploration. It is a great way to get connected with people who like similar music.
The other thing that Blip does extremely well is interface with existing social networks. The actual Blip interface itself looks just like Twitter and even uses “@” and “#” in similar ways. Also, you can tell Blip to broadcast your selections to your Twitter feed or Facebook page, thus allowing you to share music with other, even if they are not in your Blip social network.
The only problem with Blip is that there is not very much music, and a good portion of it is amateur video from Youtube. Songs are incomplete, of inferior quality or different versions. And it’s basically impossible to know which version is going to start playing when you blip it.
Along comes Lala.com. This is the most extensive collection of music I have seen on the internet and it’s delivered to you in a cloud-based interface that is identical to what you are used to looking at with iTunes. Lala succeeded in a lot of ways. Firstly, if you could be bothered to take the time, you could upload your whole music collection and listen to it anywhere you could get online with a computer. You could broadcast your selections easily to Twitter or Facebook. And there was even a social networking aspect that allowed you to “influence” other users and share selections. While the architecture of this social networking fature seems pretty slick, users just didn’t seem that interested, which I though was a shame. The culture at Blip was that you would almost always ‘follow-back’. At Lala, it seems like no one cares.
Another nice aspect to Lala was that it offered something to sell, thus negating the need to have tons of ads, like we see at Blip. At Lala, you could pay ten cents for a ‘web’ song meaning that you could listen to it online as many times as you wanted. Or you could buy a song for $.79 ($7.99 for most albums) and have the mp3 DRM- free to do whatever you want.
So now, Apple has purchased Lala, at a discount rate, and no one seems to know what will happen next. Of all the music/social/media/networking applications in the cloud, this was the one I liked the best, so I am hopeful that Apple doesn’t just stick it in the trash.
Let me start with a disclaimer: I have never owned an iPhone. So, when I talk about comparing iPhone to Android, what I really mean is iPod Touch. So I can’t give opinions about call quality or even the feel of an iPhon handset. All I want to talk about here is the two operating systems. I have spent a long time with the Touch and use it extensively for work and play. I have access to wi-fi at home and in the office, so I’m able to send lots of email, browse the web, get Twitter and Facebook updates, and even work on this blog from the iPod.
For a long time, I wanted that same level of functionality on the road. That meant getting into one of the established smartphone devices. I had a Blackberry Pearl 8130 which was bad for so many reasons. No proper keyboard, no html browser, no wi-fi, etc. I knew the iPhone OS inside and out and had a great relationship with iTunes and the iTunes shop. App development for the iPhone OS is outstanding, and many of the selections are well worth the price. As I have previously described, BeatMaker is pretty much pro-audio and you can hear for yourself what Fretbuzzdotnet has been up to with SoundGrid.
So, why not just get an iPhone? After all, everybody’s doing it. I guess it was that very fact that made me suspicious. I have also been lectured by smart friends and family members that the way Apple does business doesn’t make sense. If Apple would license the iPhone OS to other hardware makers, the sky would be the limit, just like with the apps. Instead, Apple locks everything up in its own hardware and its own software to keep firm control. I hate to say this, but it is a bit fascistic.
Along comes Android, open source, digital democracy. The first phone came out a year ago there hasn’t been much excitement during that time. While Apple has marched on with millions of downloads and lots of updates for the OS, Android is, only now, starting to look like a contender in this market sector. This Fall a number of Android devices are coming out on several different manufacturers’ handsets and carriers’ networks. Meanwhile, Apple stays locked in with AT&T and one lonely device.
When the Blackberry contract came up for renewal, I knew I wasn’t getting another. I was very comfortable with the iPhone, but curious about Android. Many months ago, I heard of HTC’s Hero, which was going to have a specially customized version of Android called Sense, and it just looked beautiful. The idea of an open-source OS is great for developers, but I needed something that I could work with easily out of the box, and Sense on the Hero seemed to fit the bill. Now, all I had to do was wait for an American carrier to pick it up.
One week ago, my wait ended. I am the proud owner of an HTC Hero on Sprint.
It’s only been a week, but I’m a pretty happy boy. Sense is everything it was cracked up to be. Stunning to look at and highly customizable. The camera leaves a bit to be desired, but works well enough for a cell phone and it’s so much better than what I had on the Pearl. The wi-fi is not nearly as speedy as on the iPod Touch, but that’s not an Android issue. HTC has sort of overpacked the Hero with stuff that stresses out its ho-hum Qualcomm processor. The slower processor makes sense because the battery life is already shortened by the big, bright screen.
I’m not giving up my iPod Touch. Android Market is on its way, but free-for-all means that there’s a lot of nonsense to sift through in order to get your paws on the killer-app. Apple’s rigid control over developer submissions means that there’s a slightly higher degree of quality and fit-n-finish to what I’m seeing at the iTunes App Store. Also, I buy most of my apps from a computer and not a phone. I miss being able to browse on a computer when looking at what’s in the Android Market. Finally, I don’t know if this is true for other Android phones, but the Hero does not permit apps to be saved to the memory card.
For the moment, the apps are better on the Apple, but I am so excited to be part of the Android revolution. It was easy to set up all three email accounts and I have instant and any-time access to Twitter, Feacebook, Flickr and any number of other services in the cloud. The Google integration is stunning. I update contacts in Gmail from a computer and they automatically show up on the phone. Same with calendar entries. The syncing is seemless. Android’s browser needs some work, but I’m still mucking about with version 1.5. 1.6 is already available on some phones and 2.0 was recently announced. Hopefully these newer versions will bring a better browser. Safari for iPhone is still the best I’ve messed with.
Android’s customize-ability is it’s true genius. The more a device can be made my own, the more likely I am to have a strong feeling about it. With Apple, you can only change the lock screed – with the Hero, you can change everything. As I spend more time with this thing, I’m sure to find more faults and more to be excited about, but for now, it’s a lovely OS and it’s fun to use.
UPDATE: Verizon takes the gloves off as it gets ready to roll out its Android powered iPhone killers – OUCH!!
I would have thought, “No way!” Apple likes to be in its own little world, with its own little file protocols and its own OS and everythings locked down nice and tight. Of course, given the success of iTunes, maybe Apple is not too worried about letting me buy songs from Rhapsody while I’m strolling around town. It’s bold, and it looks like its actually going to happen.