For the longest time, I thought my Macbook Pro’s power “brick” was unnecessarily big and useless. Unlike other power cables, this “brick” is so big, it sticks out of the electrical outlet about 4 inches if you don’t use its extension. That’s far enough for any unsuspecting passerby to potentially kick it out of the socket and break the brick. This brick really seemed useless—until I came across a blog on Cult of Mac. The blog talked about opening up a bottle with the Macbook Pro or iPad power “brick,” so I gave it a try—success! I love my power brick now! All you have to do is take off the part that plugs into the socket and you have yourself a bottle opener! The post on Cult of Mac doesn’t have a video so I thought I’d make my own. Here it is:
There seems to be a zillion smartphone apps out there now, and the numbers are growing exponentially. From the zillions available, I have a few favorite apps that I use on a daily basis, and I just installed a couple more. While these aren’t apps I’d use everyday, they are worth talking about; Five Guys and Big Lens.
Let’s talk about the first one I mentioned, Five Guys. One word: brilliant! They had an Android version out before they came out with one for the iPhone so I had to use a computer or Safari on my iPhone to make my orders for pick up. Not anymore! The Five Guys app is now available for the 2 most popular smartphone platforms. If you love Five Guys Burgers and Fries as much as I do, and you have a smartphone, this app is definitely for you. Ordering with the free Five Guys app couldn’t be any simpler. And picking up your order when the line is trailing out the entrance is priceless! No more waiting! Get more information and download the Five Guys app here.
The second app I’d like to talk about is Big Lens. Photography is a hobby of mine and, even if it’s just my phone’s camera, I ALWAYS have a camera with me. I’d love to have my DSLR with me at all times, but often times, they’re just too inconveniently big. Wouldn’t it be great to take pictures with the “look” of a DSLR without carrying a huge camera? Well, here’s where Big Lens comes in. This app enables the “photographer” to take pictures and apply blurs around the subject to get that shallow depth-of-field look. Sort of. This app tries its best and has some pretty neat features such as custom aperture settings and blur shapes like stars and hearts, but obviously it will never replace an actual DSLR, nor was it intended to. For just $.99 however, this app will definitely make your amateur pictures a little more interesting. Here’s an example of a picture I took; before and after applying the Big Lens effect. Here’s more information on Big Lens.
Do you have some apps you’d recommend getting or not getting? Let me know in the comments below.
After having spent a full day with the latest iOS update on my iPhone 4, I can honestly say that this is, by far, the best iOS update. Why wouldn’t it be, right? There are “over 200 new features” that iOS 5 comes with, but there are a couple in particular that I’d like to talk about, both of which fall under the iCloud umbrella; “Photostream” and “Find my iPhone/Mac”.
First of all, let’s talk about iCloud. In a nutshell, iCloud is this mysterious datacenter that can be accessed with all of your Apple devices. iCloud can store all your important data like email, contacts, calendars, documents, pictures, and more.
While the storable items I mentioned make iCloud a slick new feature in iOS 5, I think “Photostream” is the slickest! Basically, you can take pictures with any of your mobile Apple devices and your pictures will be “automagically” uploaded to Apple’s iCloud service and shared with ALL your other Apple devices. No more cables and no more external storage devices required to transfer pictures.
“Find my iPhone/Mac” is another really cool part of iOS 5. This is basically a security feature that allows you to do what its name says — find your iPhone, iPad, iTouch, or Macbook. By enabling this, you can pinpoint and locate your device(s) on a map if it’s lost or stolen. After locating your device, you can either send a message to that device, lock it, or wipe it clean and render it useless.
Finally, the tight Twitter integration in iOS 5 is one more favorite that I’ll highlight. I tweet a lot so being able to tweet from any iOS App makes tweeting even quicker and easier.
As advertised, iOS 5 has a ton of new features. The best part? I didn’t have to upgrade my iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S to enjoy the best new features of iOS 5. The aforementioned ones are only a few of my favorites. For a complete list of iOS 5 features in more detail, visit the iOS page on Apple’s website.
Today’s “unveiling” was pretty much a disappointment to me, as far as the iPhone is concerned. Perhaps there were too many rumors and too much hype — I actually let myself get too excited because I love technology and new electronic gadgets (toys). Personally, I was really hoping for more than just an improved camera, 1080p video recording, and a faster processor for the “new” iPhone (dual-core A5 chip). While these upgrades are great improvements, they are not revolutionary. In fact, I think these upgrades only brought the iPhone current with its biggest competitor’s hardware features, the Android.
On the more positive side of today’s announcement, iOS 5, which comes out next week (October 12, 2012), does have a lot of new features that I’m pretty excited about though! For personal reasons, I’m really looking forward to the “Card” feature. This new feature allows you to create greeting cards on your iPhone or iPad, upload it, and Apple will print a hard copy and send it out for you ($2.99 domestically and $4.99 internationally)! A second new feature of iOS 5 that I’m looking forward to is the access to the camera. One word: easyquickandconvenient! They’ve now placed the camera button right on the lock screen for quicker access and, while in camera mode, the “volume up” button becomes the shutter release button. This is a big convenience update for me! The “Wifi Sync” and “AirPlay Mirroring” are a couple notable features that I’m also looking forward to. Siri, a voice-command “personal assistant” app is also included in iOS 5. I’m not interested in talking TO my phone to get things done so this feature isn’t really a big deal to me. For a full list of iOS 5 features, you can go to Apple’s iOS 5 Features page.
Lastly, I thought Tim Cook did a fantastic job in his first public appearance as CEO. His demeanor was actually a lot like that of Steve Jobs; humble, friendly, and unassuming. Great choice as Steve Jobs’ successor!
In a nutshell, if you already own an iPhone 4, I don’t think the hardware improvements are compelling enough to get the iPhone 4s. I’m not thrilled about the iPhone 4s, but iOS 5 offers some great stuff. I’m still waiting for the iPhone 5… and iPad 3!