My Shiny New iPad mini

Santa stopped by and dropped off a shiny new iPad mini for me on Christmas morning.  I turned it on and proceeded to log in with my Apple ID.  Oops. I used the wrong email and it created a new iCloud account for me.  This was very distracting and I wound up simply factory resetting the thing and starting over, focusing on entering the id that has all my stuff.  From there it was totally painless.  My stuff came over in less than an hour and I wiped my iPad 1 and gave it to its new owner, who by the way is loving it.

I noticed my wife's Kindle sitting on her purse so I walked over and placed my iPad mini on top of it.  With the smart cover, my iPad mini is exacltly the same width and height as the old wifi Kindle but it's a lot thinner.  And it's an iPad.  So yes I loaded iBooks and Kindle software and brought over my books but I also brought over my games.  There are times I hesitate to take my iPad along because of its weight.  While the iPad mini isn't in the same "go along all the time" category as an iPhone, it's definitely the right device to take to a meeting to take notes.  I found myself increasing the default font in my favorite ebook readers but it's like reading a paperbook while my iPad 1 was like reading a hardcover dictionary.  

Black Marble

In the following NASA video, enjoy a new view of Earth at night...

Further Up Yonder

Any frequent visitor knows how much I like all things space.  Well this is one of the best (sorry that it's flash based)...

Further Up Yonder from Giacomo Sardelli on Vimeo.

Africans collecting heaters for poor freezing people in Norway

A humorous video has popped up asking for heaters for Norway. 

More at

I found this through a nice article over at NPR about how the video challenges the way stereotypes are often used in aid videos for Africa.  

Up Goer Five

Rocket Science described in the 1,000 most commonly used words...


iPad mini is Good News for Apple and for Users

I'm excited about today's iPad announcements.  In fact, I'm excited about all of Apple's announcements today.  My iPad 1 is "showing its age" mainly because Apple doesn't offer an upgrade to iOS6 for the device.  But I don't need an iPad. Mine is working well enough.  But a smaller iPad?  That's something I might just consider.  Especially when the price is as low as $329.  I think $329 will prove to be a "tipping point" where people considering Kindle Fires and Google Nexus 7 tablets will walk right by and pick iPad which while more expensive is also considerably bigger.  

Holding my iPad 1 for reading is a bit like holding a heavy hardcover book.  Not comfortable but infinitely more comfortable than reading on a tiny iPhone display or reading on a cumbersome notebook type device.  I expect holding the iPad mini to be like a paperback book.  Lighter, smaller, easier to hold and still very readable. In fact, it turns out the screen isn't all that much smaller than the full sized iPad 2 and iPad 4.  So interacting with apps should still be finger friendly.  When will I get one?  I'm not sure.  But it's a given that I'll be getting my hands on one some time soon.

A cordless and seamless transition from iPhone 4 to iPhone 5

Chrome just crashed and took this entire article to davy jone's locker so I'm typing it again.  Darn.

Anyway I ordered an iPhone 5 a few weeks back and watched with interest while it worked its way from China through Anchorage, AK, Louisville, KY through customs and to my local UPS store for pickup.  I got it this afternoon and wanted to get the thing set up right away.  Sorry. No unboxing photos, but there are already dozens if not thousands up already.  My phone came almost fully charged and not scratched one bit.

Then I turned it on to find it was almost fully charged.  I logged in to iCloud and hit "restore."  I should pause here to talk about my chat with AppleCare last night...


I called AppleCare yesterday evening to go over the upgrade process.  In the old days. I mean the really old days of Palm before NVFS, I could do a brain transplant to a new device in a matter of minutes.  So I asked the guy whether I had to use the cable and deal with iTunes or if everything would "just come back".  He said the apps wouldn't come back.  He made it sound like I'd get to spend countless hours in the app store trying to remember whether this purchased item or that purchased item was recently on my phone or something I'd already deleted. Not to mention dragging everything around to recreate all the folders I had on my old phone.  He put me on hold a second to go find out that... yes indeed. I could simply restore and absolutely everything (but music) would come back.  Fine. That's what I wanted to hear....

Sound Revenge

I finally found a car I can drive to exact revenge on all those teenagers with those subwoofers in their cars.  Perhaps a nice rendition of "Stars and Stripes Forever" at 97 decibels will do the trick. Photo originally appeard on engadget.

Jeff Takes Another Bite of the Apple...

I've been limping along with a 2008 Macbook. I put a hybrid SSD inside. I put in 6GB of RAM.  I tried a full SSD but I must have picked a bad brand or perhaps it was defective because the Agility 4 sent my Macbook to pinwheel kingdom.  I was happy to be back on the hybrid SSD.  Then I got iOS 6 and shared photostreams.  I really would like to manage them from my main machine not just my phone.  And that means Mountain Lion.  Of course, there's other reasons for me to want ML but shared photostreams is certainly one of them.

I've been trolling he refurb list at I found the anti-glare MBP from 2011 for $1800.  It used to be over $2000.  It was tempting. Sort of.  Then I wandered in to Microcenter and saw the same machine for $1599.  Wow.  That's $200 cheaper than an Apple refurb and this one is new in box, eligbile for Mountain Lion up to date, full warranty and everything.  I was tempted last year when this thing came out but I decided I could wait.  Well I waited.  At 30% off, I convinced myself now was the time.  MC tried to sell me an accidental damage policy for $450.  That would have wiped out the money I had just saved so I told them "no thanks".  I also picked up 8 GB of DDR3-1333 RAM but I'll wait a few days to crack my machine open and put it in.

Microcenter also had 2 lower priced models on sale for $1399 and $1299 respectively but they were sold out today when I went to pick mine up.  I had several criteria in mind. I wanted quad core for faster performance during video transcoding and facial recognition. I wanted to avoid any "bottom feeding" since that has led to me owning several Macs that can't run Mountain Lion.  In a few years, I'm sure Apple will cook up some new secret sauce to kick the cheap machines "off the island".  

Another thing I wanted was the new trackpad. I've been living with the pre-multi-touch trackpad for a long time and every time I play with the trackpad on somebody's newer Mac or in the Apple store, I'm convinced it's better than what I deal with now which is an external BT mouse.

iOS 6 After One Day of Use

Getting Started

I couldn't upgrade right away on the first day. It seems I walk around with 5GB of photos on my phone and while Photostream gets most of them off, I rarely find the time to connect the USB cable and use Image Capture to get the movies off onto my Mac.  For this reason, I had to wait until I got home from work to upgade. 
Once I had enough free space on my device I allowed the upgrade to run. It ran smoothly enough once the download was completed. I had been asked to free up 2.5 GB of space but the download dialog said it was about half a gig so I guess it needs space on the phone to "move stuff around" during the upgrade.  After the upgrade, I lost about 100 MB of free space.
Once I had access to shared photostreams, I regretted taking absolutely all my photos off my phone's camera roll.  Then I rememebered many of them were still there in Photostream.  Sure enough, I could pick the photos in photostream and "share" them without having to copy them to my camera roll first.  I created a couple of shared photostreams within minutes.  Easy. Very easy.  
I'm very happy with the performance of iOS6 on my relatively old iPhone 4.  It is responsive and even the camera app works better. No more launching the camera only to find the phone is so busy doing something else it doesn't respond to shutter clicks while the vehicle that flipped over is still in the air (hypothetical example of course). Ironically, having access to a more responsive OS slightly reduces my incentive to move to iPhone 5.  Only slightly.  I'd still like to have the better optics and better low light performance.
For me, three new features of iOS6 are a very big deal... 
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