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Living in the cloud

This past monday, Apple gave quite a long keynote at The Moscone Center during WWDC ’11. Some desperately needed iOS features, lots of OS X lion and, last but not least, moving to the cloud. It looks like it are going to be exciting times to be an Apple user.


iOS as it should be

iOS 5 is going to be the most important update of Apple’s mobile platform to date. It might just be that my fanboyism isn’t what it used to be but some of the announced features are so blatantly obvious I don’t think they need a big applause during a keynote. Things like the new notifications with the “slide down from the top” feature. Granted, it looks great and will be super efficient, but can we all admit that it’s almost exactly the same as what Android has had since it launched? Taking a picture with the volume up button? I’m sorry, but my Sony Ericsson did that back in 2004. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all great features, but they don’t really induce a big “keynote” applause in my case.

Another long awaited feature is task management. If it works as good as it looks and integrates as seamlessly with iCal as they claim, it looks like I can say goodbye to the 25 euro I spent on Things for Mac and iPhone. I’m especially looking forward to the location aware notifications (eg: “Don’t forget the milk” pops up when you’re about to pass your local super market). I know, Android fanboys, hold your horses. I know this sounds an awful lot like Locale.

A rundown of some other goodies you can expect:

  • iMessage: what appears to be iOS-only WhatsApp like messaging integrated right into the OS.
  • PC free: autonomous iOS devices: no more need for a computer to set up your device.
  • Twitter integration: one time login in system preferences to rule them all + integration throughout the entire OS.
  • Safari: tabbed browsing, reader (Focus on the text, remove all clutter. Already a feature in Safari for Mac).
  • Wireless sync: more on that further down this article.

King of the OS world

The next version of your Mac’s OS has been talking to it’s iOS nephews. Lion will incorporate even more touch gestures for your built-in or external “magic” trackpad.Combine that with the new Mission Control that gives you a complete view of everything that’s happening on our and you’ve got yourself Exposé on steroids. More system apps (and I presume API will also provide it for third party apps) will have a full screen mode, keeping you focussed on the job at hand,. Be it writing a text in Pages, obtaining inbox zero in Mail or taking silly pictures of yourself in Photobooth.

A combination of a new feature called Launchpad and the Mac App Store you might already be using today is going to give your Mac even more of the iOS look’n’feel. Buying applications and browsing through them will feel just like you’re on the iPad. For me personally, it makes the OS feel a bit, well, childish I guess. I know the way forward is simplifying interfaces to be more efficient and accessible, but I’ll need to get used to it.

My favorite new features are Resume and Version. Whether you’re writing a text or editing a photo, Lion will allow apps to constantly save every move you make and provides the ability to browse through past versions of your document. Kinda like Time Machine but throughout the entire OS. After you’ve restarted the app takes you right back where you left off. Students are obviously going to have one less excuse to not get their papers done in time. Finally, I’d like to mention Airdrop, a nifty new feature that’s integrated into the Finder and allows you to transfer files to any Mac in your vicinity. You don’t even need to be on the same WiFi network. I’m interested to find out if they use WiFi or Bluetooth to airdrop (hence the name) an important business document securely into your collegae’s Download folder. Sharing files never was this exciting.

Some other stuff to look forward to:

  • Conversations in Mail (Did anyone say Wave?)
  • You’ll be able to receive FaceTime calls,  even if you’re not running the app (Don’t worry, you can turn it off if you want to.)
  • Full screen Screen Sharing

Goodbye MobileMe, hello iCloud

MobileMe has always been one of those service that, if you use it intensively, is immensely useful but, if you don’t, feels like a total waste of money. Soon, everyone will be able to enjoy Exchange for the rest of us without having to pay for it. Mail, calendars, contacts, documents, photo’s, you’ll be able to sync them between you Mac, iPad, iPhone and iPod Tocuh without having to connect one single cable. On top of that, you can see all your past Music, Book or App purchases on all of your devices and download them instantly. Those purchases don’t even use your 5 GB of free cloud space. You can even set things up to automatically download new songs or apps you bought on your Mac to your iOS device(s).

The thing that’s got me excited though, is iTunes Match. For $25/year you sync up to 25.000 songs (even the ones you ripped from CD’s or got through some other sneaky way). Wirelessly over all your devices. You’ll even get Apple’s 256 kbps version of the songs you own. When you get to a charger in a WiFi hotspot, just plug in your device and the Cloud will do the rest. My biggest concern is whether SABAM and the Belgian music labels are going to block this feature just like they did with movies and shows on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, … you get the picture. Only time will tell …

Apple to berry … the 1 month round-up

My latest and greatest addiction

WTF ?

The iPhone, apple’s latest and greatest gadget, has drasticly changed how we percieve cellphones anno 2008. It might shock you but, despite being the hardcore apple fanboy that I am, I decided to switch over to a blackberry. Some call it blasphemy, others call it a downgrade … I for one, am sold.

I think the major trigger for my switch was 2.0 software, which made the iPhone waaaaay slower than 1.1.4. Combine that with the fact that I had totally had it with that broken screen of mine and you get me running over to the dark side.

So I started looking online and found a sweet deal: a second hand 8707v, like new (really, I don’t think it was ever used) for € 150. It’s an older model that doesn’t have the trackball like the new models, GPS, a camera or media capabilities, but for a blackberry-newbie like me, it’s perfect.

THE PRO’S

  • push e-mail: e-mail is VERY important for a geek like me, it’s the last thing I check before I go to sleep and the first thing I do when I get up. The blackberry internet services work seemlessly, the split second it arrives on your server it’s there with you on the go.
  • twitterberry: I’ll admit, I am a twitter addict and twitterberry just does it for me, unlike twinkle and other iPhone-based twitter apps that are on the slow side or just take up too much data.
  • facebook: same thing, no fancy shmancy stuff … just the stuff you really and it works without losing skipping a beat.
  • keyboard: let’s just say that I thought I was fast with my iPhone’s on-screen keyboard, that’s until I tried a blackberry keyboard, there’s just something about tack-tile buttons.
  • coverage: the 8707v was blackberry’s first 3G model and I’ve noticed that the 3G reception is better than the iPhone 3G.
  • battery: this is the first smartphone I use that can go for 3 days or more, despite the fact that I’m using it non-stop.
  • call quality: the blackberry sounds great when on calls and has a nifty little feature, it amplifies your own voice just a bit, which is very handy when making a call in noisy conditions.

THE CON’S

  • form factor: my model, the 8707v, is a bit on the chuncky side, however, newer models like the bold have way sleeker design.
  • OS: the 4.3 OS has it’s limits and quirks, I’m interested to see what the latest OS on a bold holds for me.
  • vibrate: the 8707 v has a very loud and sometimes annoying vibrate function.
  • desktop software: sadly enough no official blackberry desktop software for the mac. Good thing the Pocketmac people offer a great alternative.

Soocial, it’s got my vote !

 

Was suprised to find an invite for soocial.com in my inbox today. Soocial is an online service that delivers what it states on it’s website: “hassle”-free contacts.

What this all boils down too is that this (for now) free service syncs all yours gimo’s so that you have all your contacts wherever you go.

Here are the various way to sync:
– macs: a pref app that automatically syncs your adress book with soocial servers
– mobile: sync your cell phone (anxiously awaiting the blackberry app, which is in development)
– Gmail: sync your Gmail adress book
– soocial.com: acces your contacts from any computer
– highrise: a CRM I myself am not familiar with

Setting up is really and the best part is that it’s free.

Feel like checking it out yourself ? Head on over to soocial.com.

WordPress for the iPhone

The iPhone is without a doubt the way of the future for blogging. It still won’t be the same as writing your post on the full fledged keyboard of your mac, but if you want to blog whenever from wherever, apple’s hot gadget is a good option.

Until now, however, writing a post in the web-interface on the iPhone was anything but easy. That’s why wordpress has come up with a nice little app to edit several wordpress blogs on the go (be it personally hosted or on wordpress.com)

The app is available for free in the app store.

Ps: this post was written on my iPhone.

photo

What the iPhone still lacks …

I got to thinking which features I would still like to be added to the iPhone.

  • Stereo bluetooth headphones with a built-in mic: being able to wirelessly listen to your music and answer calls without losing a beat is a must ! That way you would be able to control your phone while making a call without the clutter of dangling cables.
  • Video recording: 3rd party software has proven that it’s possible
  • Bluetooth data transfer: the ability to send pictures and movie clips to other people’s cell phone. It’s a basic function that is standard to all bluetooth-equipped phones.
  • SMS on your mac: a great fuction in Tiger’s adress book was the ability to send text messages from your mac’s screen over bluetooth. This has been removed from Leopard’s version of the application. Why not have to the ability to have SMS texts pop up like iChat conversations when your iPhone is docked.
  • Wifi sync: have your podcasts automatically updated from the second you connect to your home network.

My question to you = which functions do you think the iPhone is still lacking ?

Moblogging from an iPhone

Now that I have a data plan for my iPhone I set it up so that I can moblog from it. Here’s how I set it up.

What you need

How to set it up

  • After creating a new blog and having it look just the way you want head over to flickr.
  • Go into your accout setting and set up the blog under the blogging options.
  • Now go into the e-mail settings of your flickr account.
  • There should be a standard e-mail adress listed for uploading, however you want to avtivate the “post to blog” option, which, after selecting which of your registered blogs you want to post to and what the size of the picture in the post should be, will generate a second mail adress with “mail2blog” in it. You also have the option to have the body of your mail used as the body of your post and you can set some default tags like “moblog” for example.
  • Now add this mail adress to your iPhone’s adress book (I simply called it moblog).

Moblogging with the iPhone in practice

  • Take a picture
  • Select “mail picture”
  • Adress it to your flickr mail2blog adress
  • Type the title you want in your subject line
  • If you want to add tags type tags:yourtaghere anothertag “tag with spaces” into the body of the message.
  • Hit send and you’re done

It looks complicated but once it’s set up it’s a very easy and fast way to moblog from your iPhone.

Check out my moblog over at “From my iPhone onto your screen

Almost … almost …

Via TUAW

Are you that excited about the iPhone 3G you’d almost get out to your local apple store and start camping right now ? Then, after seeking help, you might want to check out the iPhone 3G countdown widget.