Any sufficiently evolved technology is indistinguishable from magic. – Arthur C. Clark
Usually I compose offline, read / edit / reread / edit … POST / reread / “how did I miss that?” / edit / POST / reread / aaarrrggghhhhh! / edit / POST / reread / [expletive deleted] / edit / POST …
This time I am doing it live. So what you read … NOW … may be totally different from what you read …
So as you read this, don’t assume that you are reading the final version.
Now if you follow the web at all, especially if you follow the geek tech sites, you know that the world is in the midst of another “Apple vs …” kerfuffle. I really should strive to use kerfuffle more. Anyway this time it is Apple vs Samsung, or perhaps Apple vs Google, since the Android operating system used by Samsung is made by Google. Last time it was Apple vs Microsoft.
Now perhaps forty-eight percent of all Internet traffic is devoted to Apple, Apple vs Samsung, Apple vs Google, Apple’s innovation or lack thereof, AAPL stock price, Apple’s cash horde, Apple this, Apple that …
OK I just made up that forty-eight percent figure, but you get the idea.
I am not going to tell you why should like Apple. I actually don’t care what you like. That sounds callous, maybe there is a better way to put this. If you like Samsung, Android, Google, Microsoft, or even if you HATE Apple, that’s fine. Just don’t reply with a flaming attack on me or Apple because I will just delete it. I am not here to pick a fight. AND it is my blog. Ready? OK Let’s go!
Why I Like Apple
Ignoring for a minute that I have always liked Apple, I probably like Apple most for all of the reasons the Apple-haters hate it. It is a closed ecosystem. What do I mean by this? Apple makes the whole thing. Well OK they design all of it and have many of the parts made or assembled by other international subcontractors, but they control the entire process. They make the hardware. They make the operating system, they vet the apps, they sell content. The end result of this kind of
cradle to grave design to delivery system is that, by and large, it just works.
I work with non-Apple hardware and software all day long every day usually trying to figure out why it doesn’t work (it’s my job). When I get home at night I just want to use something to surf the web, read and respond to email, watch videos, listen to music, read a book, maybe play a game, write fiction or essays, and update my blog. I do not want or need an open system that I can hack, jailbreak or otherwise reconfigure. I just want it to work.
Enter the iPad
Too make a long story short, my kid sister, who is now on olde woman (she is so going to kill me, Muahahaha), got me an iPad for father’s day three? four? years ago. The very iPad upon which I am typing now. Did I mention that I maintain this blog 100% on an iPad? It is a very olde iPad by iPad standards. It is first generation. Next month or so, Apple will announce the fifth generation iPad in time for Christmas. Every generation of iPad has roughly doubled the performance of the previous generation, so my olde decrepit iPad is truly an ancient outdated slab of uselessness. And did I mention that I just downloaded 2001 A Space Odyssey onto it? And I maintain all of my finances, bank, 401k, stocks, etc. using it?
OK let’s make a short story long. So my sister who had an iPhone (I still don’t have an iPhone, I have an olde battle-scarred Samsung “dumb as a stump” flip phone) called me a few years back to tell me she just got the new iPad. Mrs and I had her on speaker phone so we joked with her thanking her for getting me an iPad for Father’s day which was coming up. Well she felt so sorry that the all time geek of the family didn’t even have an iPhone, that she got me an iPad for father’s day. This iPad. Woo Hoo!
(standby more to come … later … It is 1:21 AM here… Will pick up tomorrow … See it isn’t finished yet)
[8:12 AM Wed. … Just a quick addition, adding the A. C. Clark quote at top and a few more lines below]
Where was I? Oh yes, the iPad. So my sister got me the first iPad not long after it came out. It was the perfect example of “it is interesting, but do I really need it? would I really use it?” I was skeptical. It was really really cool and all, but just how useful would it be? I certainly never would have bought it for myself.
I CAN NOT LIVE WITHOUT THIS THING. I use it for everything. Well at least everything that it is capable of doing (it can’t cook or clean house, but I would use it for that if I could). In no particular order: I maintain this blog. (using it now). I check email (personal and business), I get my news on the web, I get my weather, (with the help of Google, Bing, Wikipedia, WordPress) I ask it questions and it gives me answers I can use, I read articles and videos about how to do stuff, I listen to music, I watch TV, I watch movies, I read books, I learn, I satisfy my curiosity, I take it with me everywhere, it runs all day long.
(uh oh … Gotta run … Later … More to come)
[updating off line now]
I manage my finances, pay my bills, actively manage my 401k, manage my stock account, track prescription drugs and medical EOBs, play games usually in versus mode with a friend. Now obviously Apple doesn’t provide all of these services, but the iPad easily and seamlessly accesses all of them.
My friend who is dyslexic, uses his to read web articles to him. He stated that this has allowed him to learn more faster than ever could before.
Eventually the Mrs discovered my iPad. And by discovered, I mean she confiscated my iPad for her use. Last year I got her an iPad of her own, a gen 3 “iPad with Retina display”. It blows mine away in terms of performance and image quality. Apple released the gen 4 last fall and will release gen 5 this fall. Wife’s iPad has 4x the performance of mine. Gen 5 iPad should be 4x performance of her’s. Which would be 16x the performance of my poor olde iPad.
I had her iPad engraved at the
[Wife’s name]’s iPad
Keep’a yo hand’s off
She loves it. I put her favorite game, Mahjong Solitaire on it. Loaded her favorite music to it. We soon discovered that she could stream SiriusXM oldtime radio to it. Then we discovered free podcasts on iTunes of all of her favorite oldtime radio shows. I got her a set of the Bose over-the-ear noise-canceling headphones. I set her up with a Google news icon. Just this weekend I set her up with a playlist of her favorites. She frequents the hospital monthly to bi-monthly, so she takes the iPad and headphones to keep her company.
The Mrs is the poster child for technophobic anti-computer Luddite. Yet, she loves her iPad. She recommends it to everyone she meets. She follows the news from Google news. Checks and replies to emails. Talks to me via iMessage, keeps her doctor appointments on it. Tracks her temperature on it. Follows the weather, listens to music and radio drama.
Much of what I have discussed isn’t unique to Apple. iTunes on the other hand is Apple. This is where A. C. Clark’s magic really begins. The iTunes store was announced ten years ago in April. Recently it surpassed it’s 25 billionth song download on February 6th, 2013.
Click on the image above to see detailed download history.
iTunes Match debuted on November 14th, 2011. With iTunes Match, all of your music is available all of the time on all of your devices, whether or not you purchased your music from iTunes. For a small annual fee, Apple provides access to all of your music. If you did not purchase your music from iTunes and iTunes identifies a better quality version on iTunes, you get access to the better version. The beauty of iTunes Match is that you can download all or part of your music at anytime to any of your devices … or you can stream your music via WiFi or a cellular connection without downloading it (or any combination thereof).
I subscribe to iTunes Match. Mrs and I have full access to all of our music and playlists anywhere, any time we have WiFi access. This is seamless magic.
Did I mention instant gratification? … What was that song by you know who? … Oh yeah, that’s the one. … iTunes has it? Downloading now …
Apple App Store
Similar to iTunes Match, any app you buy at the Apple App Store, is always available for re-download. So if I need to clean out some space I can delete apps knowing that I can always download them again.
iBooks and iTunesU
Similar to iTunes and App Store. Delete books to clean up. Download again as desired. Nice backlit reader with fully adjustable text. Good for olde eyes.
More instant gratification. Think about book … Find book … Downloading now …
More magic. You just read a review of the Bose Mini Bluetooth speaker. It connects easily and reconnects automatically, or at worst at the push of a button. Same with Bluetooth in my car. I can set up a music playlist, leave my iPad in my brief case, and automatically start listening when I startup the Prius.
Access to the Internet is automatic with our iPads. Whether at home or at the hospital, or Starbucks, or our local breakfast cafe once set up the iPad remembers and automatically reconnects when in range.
Although I am doing my part for global carbon dioxide production by going paperless. I sometimes need to print out coupons, so I bought a cheap HP WiFi printer. Connection of the iPad to the printer was seamless and easy. Yet more magic.
No Worries Mate
Is your antivirus software up to date? Would you know? One the things that iPad (actually iOS) haters hate about iPad is the “app sandbox” design concept. This is what I love most about the iPad.
If you use a computer, and if you are reading this you are probably using a computer, you know that you can use a file browser (Windows Explorer) to view / copy / paste / delete files just about anywhere on a Windows computer. Same is mostly true for the Mac. If you can view / copy / paste / delete a file or executable, so can a hacker, virus, worm, spyware, etc. The iPad is different. Each application runs in its own dedicated storage space. Take for example the web browser Safari. It and all of its data all live together in the same directory. It can not get out of its prison. Viruses can not install themselves on an iPad. It just can’t freakin’ happen.
I don’t have, need, or use antivirus software on the iPad. The only danger is a rogue developer writing a malicious app. That is where the Apple iOS App Store comes into play. This is again a sore point with Apple Haters (haters gotta hate). Apple has strict and draconian control about what can be published on the App Store. This means that an app gets tested by Apple to confirm it is not malware or spyware. I like this. I have enough to worry about. Yeah, yeah, every so often you hear that someone has snuck something snarky onto the Apple App Store to prove it can be done, but really … no worries.
An iPad can be “jailbroken”. This is a process whereby the owner can be granted full access to the underlying OS as the “root” user. However you can now no longer download from the App Store and will need to find a different site. There are many sites, but making sure that you are now getting safe apps is your responsibility.
If you want to poke around in your iPad, monitor storage space, performance, memory utilization, etc. I highly recommend System Status by Jeri Techet, available at the App Store.
iPad … Cat-Beard Tested, Momma Approved
Be seeing you …
[Final upload Wed. Aug. 21, 2013 @ 7:15 PM … While drinking wine at the bar of a neighborhood Italian restaurant waiting for my take out order … final (?) edit 8:03 PM … Three glasses of wine … Final proof read by Mrs at 9:00 PM … Final upload at 9: 40 PM]
[Woke up unexpectedly at 4 AM On Thur. Aug. 22nd, 2013 … adding more edits and thoughts]
… or what you read … NOW