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.