Wednesday, September 24, 2014

An orderly desktop, and improvement in wallpaper function in iOS 8

I've always love an orderly and pretty desktop on my machines. I was happy the day when Apple finally permitted us to remove the disk and the Trash icons from the desktop, so I could have it totally icon-free. (And enjoy whatever art I'd chosen for the desktop so much more.)

Oh, by the way: THANK YOU, Apple, for getting back to the sensible format that wallpaper pictures now again (in iOS 8) do *not* have to cover the whole screen in both landscape and portrait position, resulting in a ridiculously small part of the image being used and poor image quality from such drastic cropping. Somebody has finally realized that that sad state of affairs is much worse than part of the screen not being covered by the image (which I like, it can make space for icons and gives an image a sort of wholeness, it's being framed).

For example this makes it much, much easier for me to make quality wallpaper screenshots from videos I like, because I get the content and the quality of the whole frame. (The one below is from American Dad.)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Real quickly about the i6+ (Updated)

I don't have time to write a review now... but I got the iPhone 6 Plus today, and set it up and played  with settings and such.

They didn't even mention the speaker... it's so loud and so good...

I don't regret selling the remains of both my grandmothers to get this. "Oh, if only I had more grandmothers to sell for this cause!!"

It doesn't even seem big to me, it seems just right.

It's so good it's almost depressing... what are they going to do next year? And next?

Aha! A critique point, found one! It's a bit slick, seems too easy to drop in the excitement.
But with Apple's leather case, it sites perfectly in the hand. Feels great.
A bit spendy  for such a simple object, but very soon there will be lots like it on eBay/Amazon for 10-15 bucks, don't fret.

Funny enough, while this is by far the best phone I've had, it's hard to say very much about it...

To me, the 5.5 screen is not Big, or even big progress (though it is), it is simply how it's supposed to be. For me it's the first time I'm getting the ease-of-use and enjoyment from a phone that I expected!
It's just right.

It even has the right size for me to use an eye-candy screensaver like Magic Window, on my bedside stand.

And of course, like predicted, it works nearly perfectly as a pocket ereader. It's a little hard to use one-handedly without it slipping when one uses the thumb to change pages. But this may be a matter of practice. Or I may make one of my non-patented strap-cases.

Subjectively, it's simply the current best possible in hand-held computers / communicators. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My dreams of compact devices came true

... Sometimes it pays to make wishes. :-)
Apple comes out with *exactly* the phone/ereader I wanted, in iPhone 6 Plus. An amazing pocket ereader, although at a very premium price.

 And though none are called "pocket" by name, Amazon then comes out with not one, but *two* compact models at once. The Kindle Voyage is also a bit premium, the new flag ship model of the e-ink readers oozes quality all over, and it compacter and lighter in every measure, and the former model (Kindle Paperwhite, still being sold) is not ungainly by any means.

 And Amazon's new HD 6 model is smaller in every metric, durned cheap at $100, and it is a *full inch* narrower than the 7-inch HD and the HDX models, and this is the most important metric for how easy it is to hold. (It could have lost more weight, but that would make it more expensive.) I'd already ordered the Voyage (and of course the i6+), now I've also ordered the HD6. It'll be an embarrassment of riches of compactness for me this fall and winter.

I just can't figure out how Amazon managed to design and built the pocket-sized HD6 in the three-four weeks they had since I petitioned them...     :-)
 (Why they are so low key about both these breakthroughs: the pocket-sizedness and the $100 pricepoint. They are usually not shy.)

(Almost hand-sized. 280 grams, 30 grams lighter than 
an iPad mini, 100 grams heavier than a Kindle Voyage.)

... A couple years ago Nexus 7 broke the $200 barrier and made great waves, and now Amazon does it to the $100 barrier, it's astounding, seriously. Such a powerful tool for the price of an evening in town. A cheap town. And without any loss of brain cells or hearing either.

Finally, a big step up for dictation

To my surprise, the fresh iOS 8 (for iphones and iPads) includes a big improvement of dictation. (I'm surprised because... well, an example: the Mac had a voice, Fred, for years, since the early nineties, I think. And this voice was never improved upon until... I wanna say 2005 or so. The basic technologies improve slowly, generally.)

Dictation is now computed Live in the device, not sent off to a server in bits. The means it comes out as you are speaking, and fascinatingly, you can see it correcting itself as it hears more of what you are saying, and makes more sense of it.

And importantly: it's just better. I just had a text chat, and two long sentences were flawless. I don't think I have had even *one* long, flawless sentence before.
This will make it much more fun to dictate texts and emails.