Archive for Apple

I got an iPhone 3G — I just became even more awesome

Posted in Apple, iPhone, personal, pop culture, reviews, technology with tags , , , on August 18, 2008 by Paxton

That’s right, people. AT&T finally acquiesced and gave me my birthright; the iPhone 3G! I wrote about my personal comedy of errors trying to get an iPhone 3G last month, but all of that is now moot. I have the small piece of electronic Valhalla right here in my sweaty, awesome little hands. And let me tell you, this thing is AWESOME. You know me, you know I don’t own, consort with or marry anything that isn’t just flat out awesome. It’s just how I live my life. I’ve dedicated myself to all things awesome, and this little phone may be the most awesome thing I have ever seen and I don’t throw around hyperbole like that every day (well, actually, I do, but this time it’s for reals).

I’ve had MONTHS to build up my anticipation for this phone. I was given money on my birthday way back in May (nearly 3 months ago!) to buy this thing and I’ve been obstructed in my purchase every step of the way. The first obstruction was that Apple took most iPhones off the shelves in May in preparation for the release of iPhone 3G. Next, the release date was set for July 11. I went in to my local AT&T store ready to upgrade and found out that my current plan wouldn’t let me upgrade until August 9. You should remember this graphic:

It was agonizing waiting until August 9th. However, on the day of August 9th, I was in Columbus, OH, so I couldn’t really order it then (there was a 7 day wait). I didn’t get back to Jax until late on Sunday and AT&T was closed an hour before I could get there (closed at 6pm on a Sunday?!  WTF, are they a bank?!). It was like some higher power didn’t want me to have an iPhone, something I’ve come to believe is my destiny. Why, you ask, would a higher power not want me to have an iPhone? It’s not hard to figure out. The iPhone is super-awesome. No one denies that. I myself am also super-awesome.  Who can refute that?  It’s like the iPhone is an electronic version of myself (We are both awesome and very portable).  The combination of our mutal awesomeness might be too much for the fabric of the space-time continuum and send the entire universe into a backspin leading to the destruction of all mankind (this is just a theory, mind you).  So despite all of these odds against me, I perservered and got my iPhone 3G.  You know, the Lifetime network should contact me about making my experience getting an iPhone a movie of the week.  It’s pretty damn inspiring.

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(Un)Happy iPhone Friday + Pepsi Blue Hawaii!!

Posted in Apple, iPhone, Pepsi, pop culture, reviews, soda, technology with tags , , , , , , on July 11, 2008 by Paxton

Just over a year ago I wrote an article discussing the release of iPhone version UNO plus two crazy Japanese items; Pepsi Ice Cucumber and Garlic Seafood Pringles. In what I believed to be a fortuitous situation, today I was supposed to acquire the newest version of the iPhone to go along with the new Pepsi summer release in Japan, Pepsi Blue Hawaii. It was going to be glorious. I could shadow that article from 6/29/2007 and review both of these items today. So I went to my local AT&T store to verify that the planets were all aligned (Pluto included, screw you scientists!!) and that AT&T was ready to toss me that touch-screen slab of AWESOME (aka iPhone) much like The Lady in the Lake did for Arthur and his Excalibur. Instead I found out that I can’t get the subsidized price, $299 for the 16Gb, until August 9th. If I want to get the iPhone today, I’d have to pay the full price, $499. $499 bucks?! Who am I, Rockefeller? So I have to wait 4 more weeks to be completed in body and soul. Until then, I have to look longingly at Engadget.com and try not to cry as it posts story after story of people buying the new iPhone 3G. Thanks a lot suits at AT&T and your stupid upgrade “rules”!!!

Anyway, while at the AT&T store the other night I took the opportunity to get my wife a new phone. She has been resisting this for months (nay, YEARS) because she loves her little phone she is currently using. I don’t know why. It’s an eyesore. It’s the cell phone equivalent of an abacus. It’s embarrassing to a tech/gadget guy like myself she carries this thing around. Seriously, this phone is so old it’s powered by a steam engine. You have to start it by turning a tiny crank on the side like one of those ancient farm tractors. Despite all of this and my constant badgering, she wouldn’t get rid of it. I mean, the thing didn’t even have a speakerphone. That’s right, NO SPEAKERPHONE!! I mean, what are we, in the Dark Ages?! She had some insane fascination with it. Well, this past weekend she flushed it down the toilet while at her uncle’s house in New Mexico. And to answer the question I always get, no, she wasn’t drunk (yet). Needless to say, this made me very happy. First thing through my mind? “YES!!!!!!” First thing I said to her? “Awwww, hunny, I’m sorry.” What surprises me about the “flushing incident” is that the phone itself didn’t get stuck in the hole, it actually went down the pipes. Her uncle is going to have a wicked plumbing bill soon. They even tried to call it to see if they could hear it ring. LOL…yes, they were actually calling the phone like it was lost in the couch cushions, not body surfing it’s way to the Rio Grande via Albuquerque’s metropolitan sewer system. I’m dying laughing thinking about it right now and I’ve heard the story three times. My wife, what a mess.

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Apple announces a new version of iPhone, Geeks everywhere wet themselves

Posted in Apple, iPhone, technology with tags , , on June 9, 2008 by Paxton

Apple ComputersLast year, at the end of June, Apple released a product that has done everything for everyone except cure cancer…and that may be just a hardware update away. That product was the iPhone. In my blog article that day, I mentioned that I would wait and let the early adopters ferret out the bugs and I’d consider getting one when they released version deux. I also mention that I drank cucumber soda and ate seafood flavored potato chips, but I want to focus on the iPhone part.

There turned out to not be as many problems as I originally thought there would be with the first version of iPhone. The main complaint against Apple’s phone was that it couldn’t ride the fastest AT&T cell network known as 3G, it could only use the slower EDGE (2.5G) network. This hampered one of the finer aspects of the phone, the full featured web browsing experience. Even with EDGE, the browsing experience with iPhone’s Safari browser was much better than on other phones. I use the Motorola Razr V3xx which comes with the Opera Mini browser. This is good, but not great. Once you start using the nice Safari browser on the iPhone, I guess the experience is so much like a regular desktop computer that it really becomes an issue because you want it to go faster but are hampered by the network.

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The Digital Audio Player celebrates its tenth birthday

Posted in Apple, pop culture, technology with tags , , on March 25, 2008 by Paxton

iPod AdThe ubiquitous Apple iPod has pretty much taken over the world. There are at least three versions of the main iPod and the device has become synonymous with “portable music player”. Many people say that it’s the best player out there and that they can’t live without their iPod. However, the iPod was not the first device to play portable music. In fact, the device that was the first digital audio player celebrates its 10th anniversary this month. Let’s rewind back to that much more innocent time, 1998. Ten years ago, there was no iPod, no iTunes and only one digital audio format, MP3.

The MP3 music encoding standard was developed by several different labs including Phillips and Bell Labs. This encoding went public in the mid-90s and with it’s ability to encode/compress large music files down to very small file sizes it would become extremely popular with the tech/audiophile crowd on the early internet. Nullsoft would release it’s WinAmp MP3 player in 1997 which would make MP3 encoding/playback available to the masses and caused the format to explode into the mainstream.

I remember first being introduced to the MP3 format and the WinAmp player in 1999. I was consulting in Tampa, FL and this guy burned me a CD of thousands of songs that I could just drag and drop from the CD to the WinAmp window and play on my laptop. The sound quality was unbelievable. I wondered when I’d have a way to listen to it in a portable device like my old Sony Walkman. What I didn’t realize was that my idea had already been created.

MPMan F10

Roughly a year earlier, in March 1998, Eiger Labs imported the MPMan F10 from Japan, the first solid state portable audio player. It had only 32Mb of memory (by comparison, the iPod Shuffle has at least 1024Mb of memory) but if you sent it back to Eiger with 70 bucks, they’d up it to 64Mb. It, of course, would only play MP3 files because that is the only digital audio format that existed at the time. Despite being deceptively small, the MPMan F10 was not well received. A few months later Rio would release the PMP300 which would garner much better public opinion and sold fairly well. Both devices ran on regular AA batteries and needed replacing often. It was these two devices that helped usher in the age of digital music until the release of the Apple iPod’s 1st Generation player in October 2001.

Apple iPod

This first generation iPod didn’t have the click wheel (or Touch Wheel) we have all become so familiar with as that particular feature wasn’t introduced until the third generation of the iPod in 2003. I remember the first iPod back then but I was unimpressed with them due to many technical problems, the most prominent being severe battery malfunctions. And since the battery was sealed inside, you had to return the entire unit for repair.

Instead of buying the brand spanking new iPod, I got the Archos Jukebox Recorder (pic below) for my birthday in May 2002. At the time, Apple had only just released the 10Gb iPod in March 2002, but the Archos Jukebox had a 20Gb hard drive and it was only about 100 bucks more (for quadruple the memory). Since iTunes wasn’t the online force it is today, buying the Archos was an easy decision. I was actually getting most of my music from Napster or Kazaa anyway so I had a ton of MP3s built up ready to load onto my new music player. I was set.

Archos Jukebox

This player served me well for almost 3 years. I not only used it to store my music files, I also kept a lot of work/personal files on it while I was traveling as a consultant because there was so much room. There were problems with it though. The interface was clunky and nowhere near as elegant as Apple’s (and it tended to freeze requiring a reboot). The player itself was bulky and heavy. In 2005 I started running for exercise and using this player was like carrying around a paperback book made of solid steel; heavy and unwieldy. It made running long distances tough. I actually dropped it on my foot one day and I thought I broke my toe. That’s how heavy this thing is. Also, the hard drive was your traditional platter drive, so you could hear the humming like you do in a normal computer (the iPod had this also but their sound buffering is better). This thing was built like a tank. Nothing I did could break it. It still works, except the battery is pretty much at the end of it’s rechargeable cycles because I have to plug it into the wall to turn it on.

Luckily, for my birthday in 2006, I got my first iPod, the Shuffle. It’s perfect for running. Small, lightweight, easy to manipulate controls, it’s great. Makes running much more enjoyable.

So wherever you came in on the portable digital audio player time line, just remember, you are enjoying the fruits of labor of many people and many years of technolgy. Apple didn’t invent portable audio players, they just perfected them (in my opinion).

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Those wily Japanese: Pepsi Ice Cucumber and Seafood Pringles! Release of Apple iPhone

Posted in Apple, food, humor, iPhone, Pepsi, random, reviews, soda with tags , , , , , , on June 29, 2007 by Paxton

Hey, guys, I’m back for another Friday update. I was hoping to get a full article out this week, but that didn’t happen. Instead you get this quick multi-level update. I would like to use these Friday entries to hit you with a veritable kaleidescope of items all at once…to “pepper” you with goodness on this last day of the week. Hope you enjoy.

iPhoneWell, today marks the birth of the single most awaited electronic gadget since the Motorola Razr was released back in 2004. Remember when the Razr phones were originally priced at $799 without a 2 year contract? Crazy, cause now you can get them for free. I’m on my second one. Anywho, Apple will finally release the iPhone to the sweaty, eager masses today at 6pm. The media blitz leading up to this release has been on overdrive. If the news isn’t talking about Paris Hilton, then it’s been talking about the iPhone release. People have been lining up at Apple and AT&T stores all week waiting to get their hands on this electronic slice of nirvana. However, I do wonder how many of these people that are lining up plan on actually keeping the phone or are they going to unceremoniously dump it to eBay with a 300% markup? Shades of the PS3, me thinks. The phone looks cool, but I’ll wait for the early adopters to test it out for me to see if I’ll like it.

Ice CucumberThose crazy Japanese. They have the strangest flavors of American food products over there. Sushi ice-cream. Really? WTF?! However, if I found that stuff here while I was at the grocery store without my wife, you can bet your sweet hind-quarters I’d buy it. I’m kooky like that. I most assuredly wouldn’t like it, but I’d try it anyway. Similar to this phenomenon, cucumber flavored drinks are becoming very popular over there. In fact, Pepsi recently released Pepsi Ice Cucumber in Japan to much fanfare. Thanks to the magic of the ‘inter-tubes’, I was able to procure a bottle of the mystical green elixir (you knew I would) and it’s ‘go-time’ for a taste test. If you are a regular reader of this site then cucumber soda shouldn’t be too big a shock to your system. Back in February I reviewed sodas that tasted like celery and chocolate fudge. How bad can this be, really…………oh sweet, Mary Francis this is worse than anything in that last article. I thought that ICE cucumber meant it was a cool, refreshing drink, but it actually means that there is a hint of mint in the flavor. Yes, MINT cucumber soda. Imagine making a cold cucumber salad, but instead of mayonnaise you soaked it in a bottle of Scope mouthwash…..and then puked in it. That’s what it tastes like. My lord, I think the soda is actually trying to fight its way back OUT of my stomach. Why do I do this to myself? The soda itself is a nice, pretty anit-freeze green color. It almost looks radioactive. It probably is.

Seafood PringlesWell, as if that self-induced bit of flagellation wasn’t enough, I also procured a can of Pringles from Japan. So what, I hear someone in the back yelling at me? Yes, I answer to that same non-believer. Pringles. Garlic Seafood Pringles. Go ahead, rub your eyes, shake your head, you read that correctly. GARLIC. SEAFOOD. PRINGLES. To further illustrate the point, there are pictures of shrimp and oysters on the can. Awesome. Okay bright blue can of seafood potato chips……”let’s do this”. The first taste of chip after going in the mouth is surprisingly mild. Not a hint of sea—-wait a sec, there it is. Shrimp taste hitting me now like a metal pole to the genitals. Oh lord, I’m getting nauseous. That’s not good. Man alive, I might be spewing seafood chips and cucumber soda all over my computer in a sec. Cripes, WTF is with the Japanese and their taste buds? Do they enjoy engaging their gag reflexes? I feel like I’m on an episode of Fear Factor. Makes me wish I would have opted for the Grilled Bacon flavored Pringles.

Man, I could use a Silkwood shower after trying those. Pepsi Ice Cucumber may be the 21st Century version of castor oil. Grilled Seafood Pringles may be the 21st Century version of getting molested by your Uncle. STAY. AWAY.

Hope you have a good weekend. Me, I’m going to need the two days to get over the nightmares and full body heaving caused by the above two products.

See you on the other side.

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