Monday, 14 November 2011

IOS 5 Battery Performance

Well I upgraded my iPhone 4 and iPad 2 to IOS 5.0. I immediately noticed a degradation in battery performance on both devices. My iPhone would not last a day with normal use, whereas previously it would last 2 days. My iPad would normally go from 100% down to about 80% when watching my video podcasts on the train. After the upgrade, it would go from 100% down to about 45% watching the same podcasts.

I did the usual "ask google" and this came up with a few common suggestions which I tried without much success. I then decided to just grin and bear it and wait for the inevitable fix from Apple. After a week or so, along came IOS 5.0.1 which supposedly fixed the problem.

I applied the upgrade and this has fixed the problem on the iPad. Battery life is back to pre-IOS5 performance.

For the iPhone however there didn't seem to be much, if any, improvement. I was showing my wife the differences between IOS 5 and IOS 4 when she asked me "whats that funny little arrow thingy?". I hadn't noticed before but location services seemed to be constantly on and this was what seemed to be draining the battery on the iPhone.

I don't allow many apps to utilize location services unless it seems appropriate (e.g. maps, foursquare etc). I went into the settings and turned these off one at a time until I found the culprit. It was FourSquare. Whether a change in IOS5 or an existing bug caused this, I don't know. What I do know though is that turning off location services for FourSquare made the "funny little arrow thingy" go away and when I then turned location services back on, it only appeared again when I was actually doing a location search in FourSquare.

My iPhone is now back to pre-IOS5 battery life. I can only suggest that if you are having battery problems under IOS5, investigate your location settings.

 

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Banning Twitter and other suggestions

So the British Govt. is thinking about banning twitter and other social networking tools during times of civil disturbance. their rationale, like all petty dictatorships, is that people plotting disorder use the social networks to plan and organize.

Following on with that line of thinking, I have some other suggestions for them. The following 10 suggestions are in no particular order of importance:

  1. Shut down telephone networks. People can organize by phone.
  2. Ban any petrol or any product that can be used as an accelerant. Without these, there will be no fires.
  3. Ban all electronics. If there are no electronics stores, there is less temptation for people to loot.
  4. Ban any matches, lighters or implements capable of sparking a fire.
  5. Ban all motor vehicles. Cars and vehicles were set on fire and rioters and looters might use these to transport themselves and their stolen goods.
  6. Ban all bicycles. From what I saw of the coverage of the riots, a lot of the younger people used bikes to get around.
  7. Ban scarves. I saw people covering their faces with scarves therefore making it hard for CCTV to get good pictures of them.
  8. Ban hoodies for the same reason as we need to ban scarves.
  9. Ban backpacks. Too easy for people to steal articles from and also to transport stolen articles.
  10. Ban TV. TV encourages social unrest and if we didn't have TV, we may not have even known riots were going on.

I think my 10 suggestions show as much common sense as the proposal to ban twitter and social networking. They also go just as far to address the underlying reasons behind the riots.

I am available as a consultant to the British government should they need my services to flesh these idea's out more.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

All Blacks RWC Jersey Pricing

I am all for the free market determining the price of goods. Something is worth what someone else is prepared to pay. I viewed the furore over the Adidas pricing of All Blacks RWC Jerseys as just a storm in a teacup, but decided to look objectively at the issue and not join the wave of hysterical blabber on the topic.

A bit of background.

The All Blacks 2011 RWC Jerseys were selling in New Zealand shops for $220 each. Quite a steep price for something that a lot of New Zealanders would consider a "must have" for their wardrobes. This wasn't such an issue until someone went onto the internet and found that the USA based World Rugby Shop was pricing the Jerseys at US$ $89.95 or around NZ $115. Wait a minute, how can they be selling the NZ national teams rugby jersey for more than $100 less than we can buy it here in NZ. My first thought was "You gouging retailers" I will buy online when I come to buy my jersey. Only I can not now buy online, Adidas have apparently told the World Rugby Shop that they can not ship to New Zealand, so my dream of a cheap jersey is out the window.

When the news organizations got hold of the story and it received some publicity, one of the local resellers, SportsWorld, dropped its price to $125. They said this was to match the US price and they would lose money on every Jersey sold. This made me think that it was the NZ retailers gouging NZ consumers just as they are for almost everything else to do with the Rugby World Cup. Rebel Sports were then all over the news saying they were trying to get Adidas to lower the wholesale price here in New Zealand so they could compete. Rebel Sports said that Adidas wouldn't lower the wholesale price, but they would lower the price of the jersey as well, but only to $170, and even at that price, they would lose money. Two other retailers, Champions of the World and Stirling Sports have also now matched this price.

Who is the villain here.

Well Adidas is being painted as the villain and the poor sporting goods retailers are being portrayed as the hero's for lowering the price even though they will lose money.

Lets look at this a bit closer.

The sports retailers are saying Adidas needs to lower the wholesale price so they can compete, but we have never been told what the wholesale price is. Is this because the wholesale price is high, which is what is being inferred, or because they do not want to lose huge margin on these jerseys as they, like almost every other NZ business, have seen the RWC as the cash cow on which to base the 2011 earnings. Would a retailer really sell items at a loss, if they weren't using them as a loss leader to get people into the store to buy something else. I don't think so, and for sure, they wouldn't be using the RWC jerseys as loss leaders.

Adidas is being caned on two fronts. One for not lowering the wholesale price of the jerseys so the poor NZ retailers can compete, and the second for banning the USA based company from selling Jerseys to NZ customers significantly cheaper than they can buy them at home. As I said earlier, no one is saying what the wholesale price of these jerseys actually is, so we don't know if Adidas is being unreasonable or not. As for them stopping sales over the internet, well that could also be interpreted as Adidas protecting the business of their New Zealand retailers, so not necessarily a bad thing.

I come back to my earlier question, who is the villain here? My answer is, I don't know yet. I am missing the one key piece of information I need before I can make a decision. That piece of information being the wholesale price of the jerseys here in New Zealand. I don't understand why none of the NZ press that I have read or watched, has not asked this very same question. Too stupid, too lazy, or don't want to know because it ruins a good story.

What do I suspect, as in all things, I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Adidas probably looked to make as much money as they could on All Blacks Jerseys in the home market as did the retailers. Can't blame them for that, thats business, thats the free market. As for Adidas stopping the sale of the All Blacks jerseys from the USA online shop, that I completely disagree with. I believe they probably did it to appease their NZ retailers so everyone got to keep making their margins, but this was certainly a PR disaster for them.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Using Blogsy

Having gone back and watched the Blogsy "how to" Video, I thought I would write a test blog utilizing the features of Blogsy.
In my previous blog, I used links to other sites but it took me a couple of edits to get this right. What I found is that you can link to a site by dragging and dropping from the built in browser or link to a site by highlighting a word/ phrase and filling in the details on the link item.
The other thing you can do is to add photos. The photos can be in either Flikr, google images or Picasa. I uploaded this picture from my iPad. It wasn't a drag and drop, but once you know how to do it, it is easy. You first tap the iPhoto icon in Blogsy, select the picture you want to use, upload it to Picasa using the built in functionality and then select the photo from Picasa.
The next thing you can do is to upload a video. This requires you to have a YouTube account but that is not a big deal in my opinion. YouTube is a great way to store and share video's like this one. You can share your own video's, video's you have made favorite or you can search for videos and add them. I chose the last option and found this video of a great new NRL talent, Shaun Johnson of the NZ Warriors.

I have to say that Blogsy is not an "Idiot Proof" application, but if you use the tools, the built in help and the built in how-to videos, it certainly does a great job of being an iPad blogging tool.

Blogging on the iPad

It has been ages since I last bored you with my views on anything. The reason for this is that I have been using my iPad while I travel and the Blogger site doesn't work well on the iPad. I decided to do some research and find an iPad App so I could blog on the go.

It seems like there are really only two options, Blogpress or Blogsy. I searched for reviews and both were mixed so what sold me on Blogsy was the YouTube video. This showed me what I could do and made me stump up the cash for this App.

This App has features that look like they will help me to make my blog better, but the App is only as good as the User, so in my case, they might struggle to see the App shown in it's best light. At least now I have no excuse for being slack and not posting, other than the fact I am lazy.

Well I am off to learn how to blog better with Blogsy and then I will post a new blog showing off my new found skill, or maybe I will watch the NRL Sunday games first.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Apple Stability

My daughter said to me the other day, "how come you don't shout and yell at your iPad and iPhone when they crash like you used to with the old laptop?".

That got me thinking.

I have a MacBook Air, an iPad, an iPhone and an iMac. All purchased in the last 6 months. I first got the iPad when they came out, then went for the iMac when the old Windows desktop died, then the iPhone and got a MacBook Air for Xmas from my dearly beloved. That gift alone will stop me divorcing her! Though it is far more likely she will divorce me!

Anyway I digress.

The MacBook and the iMac just work. I can not recall a single instance when they have misbehaved, so no need for shouting and yelling there. The only problem I had was with Microsoft Entourage, yes I know, what the hell am I doing putting the Evil Empire on a Mac. Well I am 50 and have used the MS Office suite forever, so I am too old to change. If there is a worse piece of software than Entourage, then I haven't found it. It is a real piece of shit and should be scrapped immediately. When I went back to the standard mail system that came with the iMac and MacBook, I have had no more problems. Word, Excel, Powerpoint for Mac, all work fine.

Now to the iPhone and iPad.

When I take away the emotion of "love" I feel for these devices and analyse my experience with them, the love still shines through but tempered with a bit of "tough love" I have had to show these devices.

There have been numerous lockups, crashes of Apps etc but I have never found myself raging like I used to with the Windows products.

Why is that?

I think it all comes down to a wonderful phrase I first heard from a whiteware company in NZ called L.V. Martin and Son. "Its the putting right that counts". In other words, shit happens, but whats important is how the aftermath of the "shit happening" gets dealt with.

With Windows products there is usually a lengthy aftermath of clean up and dealing with the leftover "shit".

With the iPad and iPhone the Apps will crash and a restart of the App gets you going again. Sometimes the Apps freeze in which case a soft reboot fixes all and with no lasting effects. The soft reboot takes about 5 seconds and doesn't run through a "do you want to start in safe mode just to be sure" sort of routine that Windows does. Soft reboot and its like nothing has happened.

Its almost Gallic in the aftermath. A little shrug of the shoulders, upturned hands and a C'est la vie, and life goes on as though nothing has happened.

VERDICT - the iMac and MacBook Air are the epitome of stability. I do not remember a single instance where a reboot or any sort of issue has had to be addressed. (I will not talk about the mini CD I put into the iMac DVD slot).

The iPhone and iPad have their moments but are so easy and quick to put right they are easily forgiveable and there are no lasting effects to those "oh shit" moments.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

iSky

Well I have spent most of this morning trying out the new iSky service from Sky TV.

Verdict, totally underwhelmed.

The premise is great. Watch programmes on your computer that you may have missed, not recorded or otherwise not known about. Lets not go into the fact that the advertising for the service was for end of 2010 and it is only in pre-release now, Jan 2011.

I was sent a tester login and password. I must have tried 20 times to get in before I worked out that you needed to have two different user-id and passwords. One for the iSky service and the second to identify you and your Sky TV subscription. It was not intuitive at all. The first box popped up asking for user-id and password, when that had disappeared, you were then asked to sign-in to view a programme. Isn't that just what I had done? Apparently not, this is where I eventually found by trial and error (mostly error) that the second sign-in needed to be my Sky TV ID to verify that I was allowed to watch that content.

SUGGESTION - Link the iSky user-id to the Sky TV user-id so there only needs to be one log-in. Shouldn't be hard, but obviously a system designed by techies with no thought to the user experience.

I must have spent about half an hour trying to get to the stage where I could watch a programme. The system would hang, I would get connection refused errors, just plain un-responsive. If this is what it is like in pre-release, what will it be like when everyone is trying to get on.

Eventually my chosen programme started playing. I was quite impressed by the lack of lag. It was quite a good experience watching the programme. Now to see if the usage counts against my broadband plan. I am with Vodafone so it is not supposed to. We shall see.

SUGGESTION - Get some subscribers to do user experience testing for you before you release. It just feels like a system designed by techies for techies.

VERDICT - Premise is great, content delivery is very good, overall user experience is poor.