Back To Snow Leopard

The title says it all. After about two weeks of running Lion on my MB Pro I decided to revert  back to Snow Leopard, technically a “downgrade” of my system. However, I feel as if it is far from that. In the end, and thirty dollars after the fact, I realized that many of the new Lion features were not for me. Now don’t get me wrong, for many Lion fits there computing needs. The new OS would obviously run better if I had at least  and i3 or i5 machine, which I don’t. So why exactly did I go back to Snow Leopard?

For starters, I still have the install disc! Secondly, I really just like the way Snow Leopard runs on my system. I tried Mission Control, which is a grand version of Expose and Spaces, but I found the simple window layout in Snow Leopard better for managing multiple tasks. I really don’t need 3 or more desktop views, and in all honesty I have gotten so used to my Spaces setup, so Mission Control seemed a bit excessive.

Then there is Launchpad, a feature I thought would be useful, but was rarely used. The iOS layout makes sense on iOS, but on OS X it becomes another dock icon to launch apps, which is of course to whole point of the feature. However, I have my apps in a folder on my dock already, so I never really clicked on Launchpad except for right after I installed the OS. In the end, my folders won!!

Lastly is the feature I could never use even if I wanted to, AirDrop. I was looking forward to using a native Mac to Mac file sharing app, but Apple did not share the goodness with 2008 Macbook Pro’s, my model FYI, so I continued with DropBox.

By the way, this was a half a day process, as I had to back up my files, which I do often, partition the hard drive, erase the partitioned drive, install Snow Leopard, then transfer my files. A long sentence, a run-on maybe, but in the end I gained tons of storage back, almost 120 GB’s to be exact!! Plus, It was a good lesson in computer management.

When it came down to it, I installed Lion to try the newest, latest, and greatest. Yet, at the end of the day Snow Leopard does what I need it to do, and aside from my hour and a half battery life, which is a story for another day, this system should be kickin’ for quite a long time.

 

 

There’s a Lion in the Room

So today OS X Lion was released via the Mac App Store, the next iteration of the ever-popular OS. I have yet to download and install OS X Lion on my 2008 Macbook Pro, but in due time I think the upgrade will take place. Like almost all techies, the latest and greatest is a must have, especially at a price not much higher than the Snow Leopard upgrade, which was more or less a refinement then Lion.

I have seen the features, with Apple boasting about the 250 new features, most notably trackpad gestures, Launchpad, Mission Control, and AirDrop. The names given to the features are quite dramatic, but enough to pique the interest of any nerd! The iOS-ification of OS X is what tech blogs have been describing Lion as, and that has its benefits and drawbacks, depending on who you ask. I own an iPhone and an iPad to go along with my Macbook Pro, making my connected life completely Apple. I am obviously familiar with iOS, so maybe a few features, such as Launchpad, will be a welcome addition to my computing experience. At this point I break out my Macbook Pro for document editing, job applications and blog posts. Maybe those three can use a little iOS love!?

Then there is the issue of whether or not you want certain aspects of you mobile computing life to mirror your mobile life, and that is ultimately a decision that the end consumer has to make. Taking what is new and making it work for you is essential. So rather than criticize Lion based on tech blog reviews and screenshots, I want to try it first to see that it fits my overall needs and expectations of what an evolutionary OS upgrade should be. After all, like many people out there, my connected life depends on solid hardware and more importantly software. In the end 30 dollars to make my life more productive might be a solid investment, an investment that just might enable one of by favorite tech phrases, “true multitasking”!

How Many “G’s” Are There? Proposed Wireless Disclosure Act

I was doing my daily news search when I came across a BGR article outlining telecom legislation that is making its way through the U.S. House. The proposed Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act, or NGWDA for fans of acronyms, is in my opinion a step in the right direction as 4G gains momentum. If you have been reading tech news for the past few months, who know that AT&T and T-Mobile have been touting their 4G service, a service that AT&T seems to have created by simply adding “4G” to the name of their latest smartphones.

The most recent example of such branding is the remarkably small HP Veer 4G, which runs one of my favorite operating systems, webOS. The phone itself runs on an HSPA/UMTS network, so HSPA+ is really what customers are signing up for. T-Mobile’s latest ads champion a 4G network that has yet to be proven, maybe I am wrong, but I haven’t seen any evidence proving that they have speeds comparable to Verizon’s LTE network, which already has phones, most notably the HTC Thunderbolt, running on a network that I have used and can confirm that it is indeed more than just HSPA+.

When selling a phone and a network to customers, what is being advertised has to be there. I can’t imagine upgrading my phone only to find out that the network is not as advertised. Today’s  smartphones make heavy use of 3G networks, unless you have a knack for finding free WiFi! Future phones will require even more, so accountability is paramount as customers look for the latest, newest, and best priced technology. The proposed bill will require wireless service providers to provide guaranteed minimum data speeds to customers which is important as the term “4G’ has been used so freely that it’s true value has yet to be realized by the most important people, the customer.

iOS 5 and Then Some!

iOS 5 was announced today and given a release date of “this fall”. While many may be saying “why such a long wait?”, you have to realize that this is the biggest change in the short history of the OS. Let Apple take it’s time in releasing the new version, work out any kinks it may have and then release it to eager customers worldwide. The new features are a great evolution, from notifications to single sign-on Twitter integration. Twitter has become such an integral part of mobile life, and Apple has embraced it and made it an integral part of the next iOS version. Better late than never!

Now, in my opinion, Notification Center is the change iOS users have wanted for quite some time, and today the dream is now a reality. I switched from Blackberry OS to webOS to iOS in the past three years, so I have seen quite a variety of notification systems, with webOS being the best by far. Notifications are part of what makes a smartphone smart, across all forms of messaging and social networks, and saying good riddance to iOS modal notification boxes will make for a much more streamlined user experience, allowing user to be notified without stopping what they are doing to tap “close” or “view”. The simple act of swiping down shows all of your notifications in one spot so you don’t have to open and close an app just to get rid of the number counter on the right of the app icon. I’m loving it!

If notifications don’t excite you (and for many they don’t), try not being excited about OTA updates! Apple has been known for mobile devices that still require Mac or PC syncing. Coming this fall that will be a thing of the past, a past that will free you of countless 30 pin connectors for everything. When I was a webOS user I got used to OTA updates and the cloud-based Palm Profile which backed my device up daily. When I switched to iOS I said goodbye to the cloud and hello to a more wired life. Soon that will change both for me and the millions of iOS users, who will be able to bask in the glory of a truly mobile experience, only plugging in to charge their device. Trust me, you’ll love it!

Lastly, there is iMessage, a service that I did not expect to be announced. Here is, for the lack of a better term, Apple’s BBM (It was nice knowing you RIM!). A messaging platform exclusively for iOS users is huge! With one the largest user base, this service in my opinion is a guaranteed success, connecting millions of users across all iOS devices.

Those were just a few of the announcements from today’s event, but are the ones I think will be a big hit for Apple and a joy for users both old and new! Apple is evolving and embracing the ” post-pc era” they have been talking about for a while. Now we wait, knowing that an awesome iOS experience is on its way!

WWDC

I know that I am among the many people out there looking forward to what Apple’s annual WWDC. Yes, new iPhones have been pushed back by the release of the Verizon iPhone, but it is a nice change to see software get some attention. After all the basis of a great device is great software, and iOS is just that. The fifth version, or iOS 5 should see some changes, with the notification system and possible twitter integration being the headliners. I can say that am truly excited to see what the next version brings in its entirety.

Next is the recently announced “iCloud”. Apple has long tried to offer a cloud based service, with MobileMe being the current one. Haven’t used MobileMe and probably won’t. Now it is iClouds turn to amaze us, with the rimless ability to scan music libraries rather than uploading, essentially mirroring your music to the cloud, and of course allowing you to access it on the go. Apple has reportedly reached agreements with the the major labels to use their tunes, agreements competing services have yet to sign. This is all great stuff however the adoption of this service might take some time, as many consumers still think of the “cloud” as those things in the sky.

People will sign up because the love everything Apple, myself somewhat included. The question is will people pay the rumored 25 dollars to gain access to their favorite songs and other media on all of their Apple devices? I know I would. Next weeks WWDC will give consumers the details that will hopefully make this service the most successful cloud service from Apple. What do you think?

Strollers and iPads

As a kid I used to go to Toys R’ Us almost monthly to pre-order N64 games, so I am more than familiar with the greatness that is Toys R’ Us. What is most surprising is that Apple’s iPad is now available at your local Toys R’ Us. Now this is definitely a move I didn’t see coming, at least until reports surfaced of the upcoming launch. Now one more major retailer is selling the best selling tablet, and it will be interesting to see how many adults go to Toys R’ Us instead of Apple stores or Best Buy to buy the latest and greatest from Apple. I personally can’t see myself walking in to a Toys R’ Us to buy an iPad, but that is just my opinion. My question is, how many iPads does Apple expect to sell through its partnership with Toys R’ Us? and, outside of handheld games and children’s toys, when was the last time Toys R’ Us sold the latest and greatest technology? This may take customers away from Best Buy, which I think is a more reasonable place to sell any form of technology, but then again, Apple products seem to sell wherever they are sold, so why not Toys R’ Us? The world of strollers and iPads now meet in what is definitely a change in the distribution game. I am imagining people with iPad equipped strollers! It is a funny thought, but then again you never know.

Square Up! on the Apple Store

I just read that Jack Dorsey’s Square credit card reader is now available through the online Apple Store. I do not own an iOS device, although in the near future I may, so I am quite excited by this news. I went to the online Apple Store, and after typing is “square” in the search box, the reader was the first result to show up. As of today I don’t really have a need for Square, but the technology is flat out awesome! I am willing to ignore VeriFone’s backhanded efforts to bring Square down. VeriFone is the Windows to Square’s Mac, and it is about time a newer system, a simpler one at that, gains market share. How many people are actually going to go out of their way to make a skimming app? Not many. Individuals understand that all POS systems have an inherent risk, and Square is the somewhat new kid on the block. The simplicity of Square is the main selling point, which many people, myself included, love. Mobile payment is a trend seeing immense growth, and companies like Square will benefit from being available online through Apple. Smart move by Dorsey to create Square, and kudos to Apple for making it available through its online store. An innovative product listed on a site that gets more traffic than I can imagine will only yield great results!