It tastes better

…when you do it yourself.

We planted an apple tree in our back yard, maybe six years ago. This year is the first where we got any significant apples out of the deal. And though they were small, they tasted great.

What is something that you did lately that gave more satisfaction than if you had just bought it?


New iPod Nano Review

The new iPod Nano surprised me. I expected to dislike it. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

It helps to think of this one as a different class of iPod than the previous generation Nano. If you try to compare it with the old one, you’ll be disappointed. (This one loses a decent video camera and the ability to play videos.)

Other than the high price for what you get, I consider this to simply just be an amazing iPod Shuffle. It plays music well – you can navigate songs. If you are a jogger with the Nike + kit, it will help you measure your run. There’s a cool FM radio. Finally, there are some great accessibilty features for those who need such.

If you don’t need all that the incredible new iPod Touch* offers – and can afford it – this one may be for you.

(I took the photos at an Apple Store with my phone’s camera – thus the poor quality. They don’t like anyone to take photos with a real camera inside their stores. I know. I tried once. And Justin Bieber? I had never heard him before, so I took that opportunity. I hope I don’t have to listen to him again.)

Funny enough, while I was there I played with an iPod Classic. I was amazed at how fossil-esque the interface now feels. (I had one before they were called the Classic.)

* My son Ben wanted the new Touch so much while we were at the store that he was willing to sacrifice his right arm. I didn’t let him.


Apple admits mistake

The new iPod Shuffle was released on September 1st. It might look familiar… it is nearly identical to the model two generations back. (In the photos, the next-to-latest is on top and the newest is on the bottom.)

You see, the gum-stick model was not easy to use. The controls were tiny – tucked onto the headphone cord. Not a good idea. So Apple went back to the model that did (and does) work well.

I haven’t seen a public apology… yet.

Top photo is from Wikipedia and bottom photo is from Apple.


They are selling a lifestyle

lifestyle-ipadOne evening, I watched all of Apple’s iPad videos. But then, I’m a fanboy, so it was fun.

I noticed a few things – none of the models were older than about 32. I remember seeing a kid in only one. The rooms that each video was shot in were perfect. The models represented a little politically-correct ethnic diversity. (I think the mix was fairly close to what their real life buyers might be – maybe the videos were a little heavy on the African-American side.)

None of this was surprising to me.

Apple is selling a lifestyle. “If you buy an iPad, you will look like this.”

Don’t buy that. (But if you can afford it and can actually use one, do buy an iPad. Or at least buy and use a coffee press.)

And finally, since today is earth day, I would ask you to consider not buying that next “thing” on your list, whether it’s an iPad or a coffee press. Instead, use the thing you already have and make it work. That choice will be very green, if you care about such matters.


I lied

ipad-emailWell, not really.

But I was not able to stay away from the iPad. No, I didn’t buy one. But I did visit the Apple Store last night (separate from the opening day, when I did not go in the store, as previously reported). My sons and I tried out the iPad. We all liked it a lot!

A few observations:

– It would not rotate from landscape to portrait in some apps. (The rotation lock switch could have been turned on and I didn’t know it. I discovered its existence after leaving the store.)

– The interface was not intuitive on Pages (the Word equivalent). I couldn’t find tools in the page view.

– The keyboard takes some getting used to. If I bought one, I’d grab a bluetooth keyboard right away.

– I guess I’m used to the traditional Mac interface – not having access to the Finder would take some getting used to. (I do a lot with files.)

Advantages of Amazon’s Kindle? You can read it in direct sunlight. It has longer battery life. More titles are available. Everything else? iPad.

I had fun making my site the home page for Safari on some of the demo units. (My website hits will go up artificially till the store personnel fix that.) Also, one of my sons made the screen background on some of the demo units look like a page filled with app icons – stealth little trick! Alas, though – the Apple Store resets them every morning, so our little tricks lasted just a few hours.

Verdict? It looks like a great new toy (and useful work device, for many). If I could afford one, I’d add it to my toy chest. Alas, not for a while! And finally, David Pogue has a great FAQ page on the iPad here. And don’t forget to check out the great explanatory videos on the Apple site.


The scent of an iPad

ipad-launchI visited the nearest Apple Store just before Saturday’s launch of the iPad.

I should clarify – I went to see how long the line was, a half an hour before the opening, so I could take this photo for you. Then I left.

What for? Somehow being that close to the launch was enough for me.

I can’t explain why.

(By the way, the security guard said some people had been waiting in line since around midnight, the night before.)