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My Secret iPad App Addictions…

When using my iPad, I spend the vast majority of my time in a browser. I don’t have many apps and most of the ones I have I don’t use regularly, but I have a couple that have become a secret addiction…

We City – I love this app. Like all these “earn money and build stuff” apps, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on each visit, but you tend to come back several times a day. I guess I check in about 10 times a day, each time for about 1 minute. I’ve found myself taking my iPad round to friends houses so I can check in a couple of times when I’m there, under the guise of checking my emails. Truly pathetic I know, but that’s addictions for you. :)

GarageBand – I’ve been hearing people rave about GarageBand for ages, but I always assumed it was some sort of Guitar Hero game so I ignored it. It was all a bit random, but the other day I installed it to see what all the fuss was about and it is totally awesome. I was in bands at University, but it’s been years since I’ve done anything musical. I pick up a guitar form time to time, but I can barely play anymore. Anyway, a few minutes with this app and you can start building up pretty cool sounding tunes. You can play the instruments themselves, throw in some autoplay stuff for the instruments you don’t play and even use some of the predefined loops. If you get the right connectors, you can even plug in real guitars, keyboards and mics. I don’t think you’ll be hearing me on the radio any time soon, but it’s great fun and well worth the £2.99 I paid for it. I hadn’t realized I already have GarageBand installed on my MacBook Pro. I guess I should take a look and see what that can do that the iPad app can’t, but to be honest, it’s more fun messing with the iPad than sitting at a keyboard.

Cheers

Tim…




More iPad musings…

One of the reasons I bought an iPad was to use it as a book reader. I figured I could save a few trees and save a bit of money as some Kindle books are a little cheaper than the paper equivalents. Fast forward a few months and I’ve not completed a single book on the iPad. In fact I’ve struggled to read more than the odd page of any novel. The iPad just isn’t working out for me in that role. I find it a little heavy, the screen reflection is shocking and I’m not particularly happy about doing things like reading in the bath or in bed with it. It just doesn’t work for me. Added to that, a comment Gwen Shapira made at OOW 2010 has come back to haunt me. It’s just too easy to get distracted on an iPad. How wise you are Gwen. :)

I’m toying with the idea of buying a kindle. It would certainly solve the weight, screen reflection and distraction issues. Whether it would feel “natural” to me is another issue.

I had a bunch of gift tokens from the last couple of Christmases, so I went out a few days ago and bought real paper books. Instant satisfaction and I’ve started reading again… :)

Cheers

Tim…

Android vs iPhone user base. Can I have some real comparisons please?

I’ve just seen another headline about how the Android user base has overtaken that of the iPhone in the US and it really irks me. Let me start by saying I’ve not got either, so this is not a disgruntled fan-boy post. Also, my argument is based on the situation in the UK market, so if the US market is very different I apologize.

My problem with this sort of headline is to do with the lack of clarity in these comparisons. How do the writers define smartphone? It seems where Android is concerned they just mean a phone that can actually run Android. I guess Android does allow for most of the functionality you would commonly associate with a smartphone. OK. So let’s assume this a a fight between iPhone and anything else that can run Android.

If I do a price comparison from one specific UK retailer, based on their “most popular” contracts here’s what I get:

  • iPhone 4: £139 one-off payment, plus £35.75 contract
  • Android: Free phone. £15.32 per month.

So why is there such a discrepancy? Because you can run Android on some very mediocre phones. In some cases the kit is inferior to the first generation iPhones. I would suggest the cheaper Android options, although capable of doing all the things associated with a smartphone, do them so badly (mostly due to very small screen size) that they shouldn’t really be called smartphones. They certainly shouldn’t be compared with the user experience of the iPhone 4 or the top end Android phones. Also, the basic Android contract listed above comes with no data plan, so it’s a phone with no internet connectivity. That’s right, you have bought a smart phone that is really not smart. In the UK market Android phones span the entire market from “cheap and cheerful” to expensive and bleeding edge.

So when I look at these headlines I have to question what is really being compared. If you buy an iPhone and only use it as a mobile phone you are a bit of a muppet. If you buy a bottom of the range Android phone and contract, I don’t think you should be included as a smartphone user because what you have is not usable in a manner that I consider a smartphone should be.

So what I would like to see is a comparison of people using iPhone 4 with people using “real” Android smart phones. In the UK at least, I think this would drastically alter the results.

Cheers

Tim…

UltraEdit for Mac, Production Release…

Just to let you know, UltraEdit for Mac has now been released to production.

I’ve been using the beta version for a while and it’s really cool. If you love UltraEdit on Windows, then you will love UltraEdit on Mac. It’s been released as version 2.0, which from what I can see has pretty much all the features of the Windows version 16.x. The Linux version (1.0)  is still missing a lot, but it is supposed to have a version 2.0 release in the new year.

I’ve upgraded my Windows license to a multi-platform license with unlimited updates, so I can run UltraEdit on Windows, Linux and Mac and never pay for an upgrade again. It’s not the cheapest option but for a bit of kit like this I’m very willing to pay up.

So now I have UltraEdit on everything and SnagIt on Windows and Mac. If I could switch from Shutter to SnagIt on Linux I would be ecstatic. :)

Cheers

Tim…

UltraEdit for Mac v1.3 – Beta 7.1

A new spin of Mac version of UltraEdit is out. I used the previous beta version for 2 days of demoing in Serbia and it worked great. The production release should be very soon and I for one am a happy camper.

Cheers

Tim…

iOS 4.2 on my iPad…

I upgraded to the iOS 4.2 the other day (the evening it came out in the UK). Steve Jobs reckons, “iOS 4.2 makes the iPad a completely new product”. Maybe I don’t use it the same as everyone else in Apple-land, but it seems just… kinda… no freaking different…

I really don’t understand how I can remain completely immune to the Apple marketing hype when I’m desperately trying to be assimilated. I keep buying their products and waiting for a Jobsian flash of magic but it’s just not happening. What have I got to do to? Marry the guy?

Maybe it’s like enlightenment and the more you try the harder it is to reach. I shall meditate for a month with my iPad balanced on my head, my MacBook Pro on my lap and my iPod Shuffle up my ass. Maybe then I will understand all the heavenly glory that is Apple, or maybe I’ll just get a sore ass… :(

Cheers

Tim…

UltraEdit Beta on Mac…

I signed up for the beta program, so now I’m rockin’ UltraEdit (beta 5) on Mac. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s already so much nicer than TextWrangler.

Cheers

Tim…

SnagIt on Mac…

I wrote recently about UltraEdit coming to Mac. Another tool I ‘ve missed since my Windows days is Snagit. The default screen capture on Mac is OK, and Shutter and Gimp on Linux are both OK too, but none of them compare to Snagit in my opinion.

Today I got an email proclaiming that a production release of Snagit is now available for Mac and since I have a valid Windows License I get to use it for free on Mac. Joy.

It’s now installed and running quite nicely. Now if only they would do a Linux version… :)

Cheers

Tim…

UltraEdit on Linux and Mac…

When I was a Windows user, one tool I felt I couldn’t live without was UltraEdit. It’s awesome.

A few months ago I checked the UltraEdit website and saw a Linux version of the editor was available. Unfortunately, it only had a subset of the functionality found in the Windows version. I checked again yesterday, and the Linux version is still lagging behind, but it’s a bit better than it was. I wrote to the company (IDM Computer Solutions) to ask when/if some of the functionality I require would be coming and it looks like the next release (start of next year) will include everything I need for my day-to-day use. What’s more, towards the end of this year there should be a Mac version available. Joy!

There are of course alternatives out there, but I really like Ultraedit and I’m happy to pay for a lifetime updates license on each platform (I already have a Windows one) if I have to. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a nice Christmas present from IDM Computer Solutions. :)

Cheers

Tim…

iPad. Thoughts so far…

In one of my previous posts I mentioned I bought an iPad whilst at OpenWorld. Well it’s a few days old so I thought I’d write a little something about my thoughts so far.

I was originally very skeptical about the whole iPad thing. I switched from a 17 inch laptop to a 13 inch MacBook Pro to reduce then weight of the bag I was lugging round at conferences. At OpenWorld I got so sick the weight of the MacBook I decided to buy the iPad and I must say, from a weight perspective at least, it is a massive improvement.

Having not been part of the iPhone crowd I was initially very confused by the interface. Reading content was a breeze but editing and typing was truly arduous. Over the last few days I’ve got used to it and for the most part it is OK. I’m typing this blog post now using it. Having said that, without a separate keyboard it is not a good device for content generation. Simple text is fine, but cut & paste is a complete pain. Don’t even get me started on pasting hyperlinks into blog and forum posts. Too much effort.

Where it really comes into it’s own is for reading content. I’ve got Kindle for iPad and the books are really neat and easy to read. I’ve also moved some PDFs of the Oracle docs onto iBooks and they are much easier to read on the iPad than the Kindle. Very impressive. The screen does suffer in bad light compared to the Kindle, so if you are only going to read novels, then save a load of cash and use a Kindle. If on the other hand you want to browse the net, check emails and do some minor content generation, like blogging and twitter, then the iPad is great.

Two other factors that weigh heavily in it’s favour compared to a laptop are the instant on/off and excellent battery life. No more hassle at conferences and on planes. Just switch it on and go.

It’s early days, but I think this will now replace my laptop for everything except presentations with demos.

Cheers

Tim…