iOS 7 Launch — A busy day today

iOS 7 will be released later today, and I’m look­ing for­ward to it!

Update: But first, a pub­lic ser­vice announce­ment. Don’t for­get to BACKUP YOUR DATA (thanks for the remind­er Ryan!) Here’s a great how-to from Apple’s sup­port site.

From what I’ve seen, this update of the ven­er­able iOS oper­at­ing sys­tem will be the best yet, not in terms of huge tech­no­lo­gic­al leaps and flashy fea­tures, rather in terms of subtle usab­il­ity improve­ments that really make sense, such as the new way your pic­tures are grouped, and Air­Drop (ok, that’s a new fea­ture for iOS, but it has exis­ted awe­somely in OS X).

One thing I’m not so cer­tain of yet, is the num­ber of clicks it seems to take to do cer­tain things, such as back out of a folder in mul­ti­task view. I was kind of hop­ing there’d be a swipe com­mand to get you back to the top level of the desktop, not a but­ton press. My think­ing is that but­tons can wear out, but the multi-touch swipe tech will last longer.

As well, this week you’ll have noticed a flurry of applic­a­tion updates as developers get their soft­ware ready for today’s launch of iOS 7. Being inter­ested in elec­tron­ic music and pho­to­graphy, here’s a couple of use­ful art­icles on upgrad­ing and app com­pat­ib­il­ity:

Any­way, it’ll be inter­est­ing to see real-world exper­i­ences as iOS 7 goes live later today. If you’re upgrad­ing and feel like shar­ing, let me know what you think!

Captain on the bridge

About a year or so ago I down­loaded a nifty little PC game called Artemis — Star­ship Sim­u­lat­or.

Actu­ally, that name’s a bit mis­lead­ing — it’s more of a Star Trek bridge crew sim­u­lat­or. There are oth­er reviews that cov­er it bet­ter, but suf­fice it to say it’s a cool game to bring to a LAN party or a friends place where you have easy access to the net­work and a fist-full of laptops. Great if you have access to all that gear, but not that great for a quick and spon­tan­eous game with friends.

Today I dis­covered the iOS ver­sion, and my above com­ment is nul­li­fied.

The iOS ver­sion of Artemis works and plays with the PC ver­sion, yet does it all on an iPad — even my ori­gin­al iPad 1 run­ning iOS 5.


Each bridge pos­i­tion is con­trolled from one iPad, though with a quick set­tings change you can con­trol mul­tiple pos­i­tions with on a single iPad.

The really cool thing is that an iPad can even act as the game serv­er.


Now, Artemis is not a game for every­one. It’s really a col­lab­or­at­ive star­ship com­bat sim­u­lat­or, but if you’ve got a few friends and a few iPads, it’s now much easi­er to host a pickup game on gamenight.

Shields up! Red Alert! Arm photon tor­pedoes, we’re going in!

I’m quite enjoying Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol!

Yep, I’m hav­ing fun with Ace Patrol, as you may have seen in my pre­vi­ous post, it’s a light single/multiplayer, World War I stra­tegic com­bat game. Air­fights con­sist of up to 8 com­batants, four per side, and vary depend­ing on air­craft, pilot skill, and game dif­fi­culty level.

Ace Patrol is cur­rently only avail­able for iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone in the Canada iTunes store, dur­ing this pre-launch peri­od, but it will be avail­able world­wide on May 9th.

I’m hav­ing a blast, check out the ingame images below:

Almost bought this, and now it’s free!

Valve has just removed pri­cing from Team Fort­ress 2 — the sem­in­al multi-play­er first-per­son shoot­er — in Steam, Valve’s online game dis­tri­bu­tion net­work.

Pre­vi­ously I’d been a Bat­tle­field Her­oes fan, but got busy and had little time for it. Now, with TF2 being free, and hav­ing a bit more time avail­able, I may just give it a whirl.

And if you’d pre­vi­ously pur­chased TF2, no wor­ries, you have exclus­ive access to spe­cial con­tent not avail­able to us free-load­ers 😉

Many flavours of RSS readers for iPad

title.jpgEarli­er today Feedly was rein­tro­duced to the iPad iOS world with sig­ni­fic­ant buzz — Robert Scoble pro­filed the read­er (check the video below).

One of the not­able things about Feedly is its HTML 5 base — which allows the major­ity of func­tions to be device agnost­ic (Android, Win­dows Phone, etc).

But on iOS devices, there are a num­ber of RSS read­ers that have made names for them­selves, and are hap­pily co-exist­ing on my iPad.

All of these read­ers, in some way, tap into your vari­ous social media streams, as well as an exist­ing Google Read­er account — which is cool, as you can use the power of Google Read­er to man­age the feeds, then simply con­sume the con­tent on your mobile device as is con­veni­ent.
 
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Some are my daily use RSS read­er, and oth­ers, while inter­est­ing, just haven’t man­aged to keep my atten­tion.
Here’s a few of the ones I like, and why:

 

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Zite
Cur­rently my daily use news read­er, grabs con­tent from your Twit­ter stream, your Google Read­er RSS feeds, and your Deli­cious book­marks.

Zite gives you a very clean and pol­ished inter­face con­sist­ing of algorith­mic­ally-selec­ted stor­ies from your con­tent feeds.

Inter­est­ingly, you can rate and share the con­tent. As you do this, Zite ‘remem­bers’ the con­tent you’ve rated and will get smarter about dis­play­ing con­tent to you as it learns. After a few weeks, you’ll have your own tuned and per­son­al­ized digit­al magazine made up of the con­tent you like to con­sume.

The only down­side? The danger of too much ‘same­ness’.  I do occa­sion­ally like to read out­side my reg­u­lar pat­terns, and I fear Zite will not expose me to some new and inter­est­ing things by only show­ing me more of what I like and review. Time will tell.

 

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Flip­Board
Ini­tially my reg­u­lar read­er, now it’s down to about once a month. Nice dis­play, nice meth­od of read­ing, but not good enough to keep me com­ing back. Zite has replaced Flip­Board as my ‘visu­al’ read­er.

 

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Reed­er
The 500lb gor­illa of RSS read­ers — quickly and effi­ciently man­ages your con­tent. Dis­plays RSS feeds cleanly and allows you to eas­ily browse your feeds. Simple and eleg­ant design has kept me using this as my reg­u­lar RSS read­er when I want to drill down to see what con­tent I’ve missed from a par­tic­u­lar source.

 

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Pulse
I have a love / hate rela­tion­ship with Pulse. Nice dis­play. Easy to use and share con­tent. It’s my Num­ber 2 RSS reader…except when it crashes. And it has, usu­ally once a ses­sion when I use it, which is becom­ing less fre­quent.

 

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FLUD
An odd one that has stayed on my device, for the time being.

Sim­il­ar to Pulse in lay­out, but not quite as effi­cient in hand­ling feeds, at least from an end-user per­spect­ive.

 

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Feedly
The new kid on the block. Ties in to Google Read­er, has a nifty swipe-sens­it­ive inter­face to flip pages, and a very nice look and feel.

I don’t like the way the con­tent is locked in a ver­tic­al ori­ent­a­tion (por­trait mode)…and am some­what con­cerned as a blog own­er that they’ve blocked out an area for insert­ing advert­ising in my blog con­tent stream — yes they ask you to ping them if that’s your con­tent stream, but what if I don’t — will they insert their own advert­ising on my con­tent?

Regard­less, Feedly is new, and has my atten­tion for now — time will tell, espe­cially as it grows on oth­er mobile plat­forms.

Your turn — what mobile RSS read­er is your daily go-to read­er, and why?

Oh, and here’s that Feedly video I prom­ised :smileyhappy:

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Disaster Tech

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Like many of you, I’ve been watch­ing the events in Japan con­tin­ue to unfold, and per­haps think­ing to myself, “I’m glad some­thing that dev­ast­at­ing didn’t hap­pen here”.

But what if it did, would you be pre­pared? I like to think that I am, but sadly, I’m prob­ably not.

Yes, I have a first aid kit, and I’ve got some camp­ing sup­plies, but it’s not organ­ized nor is it handy. And it’s likely not enough, which is why the Cana­dian Red Cross cre­ated these handy plans.

Get­ting Pre­pared
The Cana­dian Red Cross has this excel­lent resource for build­ing and main­tain­ing an Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness Kit list­ing what you need to sur­vive for 72 hours or more.

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Ok, step one is taken care of…or is it.
In my case, I’ve got pets so I need to extend my kit and plans a bit with this Emer­gency Pet Plan & Kit

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Now I’m set, except for some of the tech. Usu­ally tech is the last thing you want in your kit; it requires power, isn’t easy to fix when it breaks, and doesn’t fare well when wet. Yet there are some excep­tions.

Gear­ing up
These plans and kits all call for a bat­tery or hand-crank flash­light and radio. And I’ve found one that suits my needs per­fectly.

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The Etón FR160 self-powered safety radio uses hand crank or sol­ar power to re-charge the intern­al nick­el met­al-hydride bat­tery and fea­tures AM/FM radio and Envir­on­ment­al Canada weath­er band chan­nels to provide emer­gency weath­er information/public alerts. In addi­tion, the FR160 has an integ­rated LED flash­light, 3.5 mm head­phone out­put and a USB port for char­ging cell phones.

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The unit is small, light­weight, and won’t take up valu­able space in any emer­gency kit.

Of course, I tried it out, and yes, it does work well. Radio recep­tion was fine, and the crank, while a bit noisy, did charge well.

And as a bonus, Etón Cor­por­a­tion con­trib­utes a por­tion of every Cana­dian Red Cross branded unit sold to sup­port the mis­sion of the Cana­dian Red Cross.

If you’re look­ing for more inform­a­tion on the FR160, you can check out the manu­al here (pdf).

And yes, this will find a home in my soon-to-be-com­plete emer­gency kit.

But I’m sure you’ve got some tech-thoughts on addi­tions to my kit — what tech would you pack in your kit?

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