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!

#Winning on Friday the 13th

f13a_300.jpgToday is Fri­day the 13th. The only Fri­day the 13th of 2011 as it works out.

This spe­cif­ic date has spe­cial sig­ni­fic­ance for me — and it has noth­ing to do with movies.

Since Fri­day the 13ths occur so infre­quently, and are  some­what fam­ous, I use the day as a semi-ran­dom chance to get my digit­al ducks in a row.

Stop everything
My Fri­day the 13th routine starts with a quick review of all open pro­jects and work. I don’t actu­ally do any work on those pro­jects, rather I look over everything, review­ing all the details and mile­stones, and just make sure that nothing’s being missed.

Backup everything
Next, I check out my data backup soft­ware and pro­cesses. In the blo­go­sphere, the 13th of each month  has been pro­moted as Blog Backup Day, but really, pro­tect­ing your data is some­thing that every­one should do, be it through a highly-pro­tec­ted stor­age device like the Drobo-FS, or using a backup drive sys­tem like ClickFree’s, or some com­bin­a­tion of  the two.

Vac­cin­ate everything
Then, I make sure my anti-vir­us and fire­wall tech­no­logy is cur­rent — and run a manu­al scan over all my drives. Yes, time con­sum­ing but it also provides me peace of mind that everything’s clean.

Defrag everything
Finally, I run a drive defrag­ment­a­tion util­ity over all drives that can bene­fit from it. Some oper­at­ing sys­tems auto­ma­gic­ally handle drive frag­ment­a­tion and some don’t.

Data ducks in a row
And yes, that can be a lot of work, but at the end of it, I’ve got a good pic­ture of my work­load, and the state of my data on my com­puter sys­tems. I’ve turned a day that’s fam­ous for hor­ror stor­ies into a day of good. #Win­ning 🙂

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Looking for a smart phone? Consider the Palm Pre 2. Seriously.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been check­ing out the Palm Pre 2 — the next gen­er­a­tion key­board / touch screen data­phone from HP. Pre­vi­ously I’d not con­sidered a webOS phone much of a con­tender against the tra­di­tion­al lead­ers (Black­berry and iPhone), but this little unit changed my mind.

hp_palm_pre_2.jpg

In this review, I’ll touch on the things that appealed (or didn’t) to me about the unit. I won’t be going into a long descrip­tion about each and every fea­ture though, so if you’re inter­ested in that, you can read more here.

For a $99 phone (with 3 year con­tract) there’s a lot going on inside this little black box. Con­tin­ue read­ing “Look­ing for a smart phone? Con­sider the Palm Pre 2. Ser­i­ously.”

Lots to think about when diagnosing a slow Internet

Occa­sion­ally I get a tech ques­tion in the inbox that is quite com­mon. So much so that it makes sense for me to put and answer the ques­tion here where more can read and bene­fit from it.  By the way, if you’ve got some­thing you’d like to ask, feel free to drop me a line through my con­tact me page.

So, the ques­tion deals with Inter­net speed, and this one is pretty com­plex because there are quite a num­ber of factors that con­trib­ute to the ‘per­ceived’ speed of the Inter­net on any giv­en com­puter:

Q:Hi, my laptop’s inter­net runs really slow.  I use fire­fox and inter­net explorer (they’re both updated). I have tried my laptop on quite a few dif­fer­ent inter­net con­nec­tions and have run mul­tiple vir­us and defrag tests with no prob­lems I have 24% free space on my hard drive.  My inter­net runs really laggy, and i want to sign up for a mobile / stick plan but if my com­puter can’t run fast there isn’t a point.  is there any­thing I can do to fix this?

Ok, there’s a lot in those few lines but not really enough to dia­gnose the prob­lem com­pletely.  Sadly there are a num­ber of things that could impact inter­net speed, includ­ing;

  • the sites you try to con­nect to,
  • oth­er run­ning applic­a­tions com­pet­ing for net­work or sys­tem resources,
  • vir­us / tro­jan infec­tion (though in this case the com­puter was scanned quite heav­ily),
  • the amount of RAM memory in the sys­tem,
  • the age and ver­sion of the oper­at­ing sys­tem in use and the age of the com­puter — this one is import­ant as a 6 year old com­puter try­ing to run a mod­ern oper­at­ing sys­tem may have issues as drivers are out­dated,
  • hard­ware no longer sup­por­ted, or it’s simply not cap­able of per­form­ing mod­ern multi-media tasks that didn’t exist when the com­puter was ori­gin­ally designed.

As you can see, there are a num­ber of poten­tial issues here, and all of them require more inform­a­tion. So, in this case my recom­mend­a­tion was to con­sult an expert — giv­ing them access to the machine so they can bring all their exper­i­ence to bear on the prob­lem.

Since at this point, we’re  not exper­i­en­cing prop­er inter­net speeds, call your inter­net ser­vice pro­vider, and dis­cuss the speed issue with them.  They’ll likely ask a num­ber of ques­tions and have a few tests and tweaks you can per­form while on the phone.

Then, if there’s noth­ing more they can do, per­haps find a trus­ted ser­vice tech or tech-savvy friend and have them help you out, since there’s so many vari­ables that could cause the prob­lems.

Bot­tom line, good instincts in search­ing out help. Giv­ing your con­sult­ing tech a lot of inform­a­tion or access to the machine will likely gen­er­ate a num­ber of pos­sible improve­ments.

And, since I men­tioned it above but you likely skimmed over it to get to the meat of this post, if you’ve got a tech ques­tion that you think I could help you with,  feel free to drop me a line through my con­tact me page. I’ll give it a shot 🙂

Apple just made my iPod Touch even more useful — not

Today Apple (well, Steve Jobs) announced a num­ber of things at WWDC (Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Con­fer­ence).

The one caught my atten­tion  was the announce­ment of iOS4 — the oper­at­ing sys­tem pre­vi­ously known as iPhone OS. Sure, there was a new iPhone, and a bunch of oth­er stuff, but I have an iPod Touch (2nd Gen­er­a­tion) and want to keep using it… so was look­ing for news that would let me keep my Touch hum­ming along. And I found it.

Or so I thought.

The Apple iPod Touch page is big on prom­ised fea­tures, but at the bot­tom, in the stand­ard dis­claim­er grey area the text pulls back some of the lovely bene­fits men­tioned above.

Not all fea­tures are com­pat­ible with all devices. For example, mul­ti­task­ing, cus­tom wall­pa­per, and Bluetooth key­board sup­port are avail­able only with iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and the third-gen­er­a­tion iPod touch (32GB and 64GB mod­els from late 2009).

So, the cool fea­tures that I’ve been look­ing for­ward to will not work on my iPod Touch. Bluetooth Key­board, Multi-task­ing, Folders…all very cool fea­tures. And my device does sup­port them — if I Jail­break it. But not using the offi­cial update.

Well then, it is a free upgrade, and I’m sure I’ll get *some* bene­fit from it, but I’m not ready to retire this iPod Touch yet. Maybe Jail­break­ing is the way to go.

Going back in time with Windows 7

Ever wish you could undo a par­tic­u­lar driver or applic­a­tion install­a­tion? I have, recently in fact when I installed Adobe CS3 on my wife’s Win­dows 7 /XP dual-boot com­puter. Some­thing happened in that install that pooched the Flash plu­gin for Inter­net Explorer. It could have been a bad scene, except for a cool little fea­ture of Win­dows 7, one that has been a part of the Win­dows OS since ME (so there was one good thing about ME). …more



This post is an excerpt from one of my weekly posts on the Future Shop Techb­log. Check out the full post here.