kiranlightpaw: (apple)
Normally, I'm not one to be too taken with the death of a "celebrity" ...

... but this one fucking hurts.

We truly lost a titan of our generation. A man who became synonymous with the company he founded, and whose products made life more awesome for millions of people. As I look around my house, pretty much every room has some touch of Apple, and all of that thanks to Steve.

Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs. The world was enriched by your presence and is saddened with your loss. Thank you for everything you did.

Steve Jobs

Aug. 25th, 2011 11:47 am
kiranlightpaw: (apple)
So, unless you've been living under a rock, you now know that Steve Jobs is no longer CEO of Apple. Yesterday, he resigned from his position as CEO, but announced that he will remain on as Chairman of the Board. In essence, he's doing what Bill Gates did at Microsoft: leaving behind all the boring parts of being CEO.

There are some parts in this that I think are important to keep in perspective:
  1.  Steve Jobs is not leaving Apple. He's stepping down as CEO, but staying on as Chairman of Board. He remains Apple's largest shareholder as well.
  2. Tim Cook has been effectively running Apple since January as acting CEO. Essentially, this is just formalizing that arrangement.
  3. We all knew this day was coming. Steve won't last forever, but he's still gonna be involved in Apple for now. Just at a higher level.
A lot of the media seems to have taken his announcement as his "grand finale." As if he's riding off into the sunset never to be heard from again. This just doesn't seem the case to me.

Still, reading the platitudes from the press is yet another indication of how one driven individual can do amazing things by inspiring others to do amazing things. This list of quotes in the Wall Street Journal was a great read. But of all the quotes, this one struck me as particularly prophetic:

“The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it to a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people––as remarkable as the telephone.” 

He said that in an interview with Playboy in 1985.
Also, on a side note, Tim Cook is now the CEO of Apple. He's also an Auburn grad (he even spoke at Commencement a few years back), so a big bit of pride for my alma mater there. :P

New Toy

Nov. 16th, 2010 12:05 pm
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
Hard to believe it's been two years since I got my last new toy. Still, God Bless being on a two-year replacement cycle!

Macbook Pro 2.53ghz Intel Core i5. 8gb RAM, 500gb 7200rpm HD, and high-resolution LED backlit display (which is fucking gorgeous).

iPhone 4

Jul. 23rd, 2010 11:21 pm
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
My iPhone 3G, even though it was only 1.5 years old, was starting to feel a little long in the tooth. So I bought an iPhone 4 this week. Well, I had been on the waiting list for about a week and a half, so they finally got around to fulfilling my order. The Apple store here in Huntsville is still out of them for walk-in orders.

The display is freaking gorgeous. I put a high res movie on there just to test it out and, holy cow, it's amazing. And the apps that have been designed to use the new resolution look so much better than the 3G. Put them beside each other and you can definitely tell the difference.

I also tried a FaceTime call yesterday to a buddy who also has an iPhone 4. When Jobs was premiering it at WWDC as his "One more thing," I was underwhelmed. I was like, "that's it?" and was kinda hoping "One more thing" would be availability on other GSM networks (namely T-Mobile). When I tried it out, I was actually pretty impressed. Setup took a little bit of figuring out (I didn't realize we both had to be on Wifi for it to work), but once we got that sorted out, it was literally just the push of a button and me and a buddy were having a videoconference.

Holy shit, it's the fucking future. No complicated software to install and set up. No accounts to create. No being stuck at my computer. No dealing with stupid ass firewall issues. Once I was on wifi, I pushed a button and saw my friend. It was that fucking easy.

Has it been done before? Yes. You can do it with Skype (and Fring, but I was never able to get it to work right). But what makes this great is how easy it was. It takes no thought, and thats how things like this should work. And best of all, it's all based on open standards. There's absolutely nothing stopping this from being available on any device.

Interesting thing I noticed. I don't have any bumpers or cases or anything like that. Never have for any of my phones ever - I just don't like how it feels with them. Anyways, I have tried over and over, and I simply cannot reproduce the infamous "antenna" issue. I get great signal in my house, and no matter how I hold it (even holding it like they do in the videos) I cannot get it to lose signal. My office is a different matter - weak/no signal at all there, but that's not just me - every cellphone on every carrier has problems in the black hole that is work. What little signal there is to receive, the iPhone 4 seems to get more consistently than my 3G, but that may just be my imagination.

Am I saying there's no issue? No. The videos make it pretty clearly obvious that there are situations where holding it a certain way will cause reception issues. Every phone I have had that's had an internal antenna has had this problem (including my Motorola Razr - if you covered the hinge with your hand, you'd lose about half the signal; discovered that at my old apartment where coverage was shitty). What I'm saying is that, I don't think the "antenna" issue will affect me in any meaningful way.

Now that I've said all this, I'm sure I'm going to have a bunch of Android fanboys jumping all over this. Save your keystrokes. The short of it is, I'm happy with my purchase.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
So Sunday night, my iMac shit the bed.

I'd been having strange problems the few months leading up to it. Mostly random freezes. I always notice when they happen because I leave running all the time to filter my messages, so when my iPhone would start going batshit crazy, I'd know it had crashed again. It actually happened while I was at FWA this year, so all weekend my phone was constantly buzzing.

Well, Sunday while we were working in the yard, I had set up a DVD rip job to run, and while we were working it randomly reset itself and got all sluggish. That night, I tried to boot of the Snow Leopard DVD to run Disk Utility, and it couldn't even mount the drive and refused to repair it. Couldn't reboot either. I tried DiskWarrior, and that fixed things up enough to boot it, but it was REALLY SLOW (it took 10 minutes to boot). It was good enough to get the last few remaining files that hadn't been backed up yet onto the external drive. Then, I tried reinstalling, and it never came back. My conclusion, since I could still boot fine from the DVD, was dead hard drive.

The original hard drive was 500GB, but I figured I'd upgrade while doing this. Ordered a new 1TB hard drive via a deal at work and had it overnighted. It arrived yesterday. And, after some interesting surgery (who says you can't work on Macs!), got it installed, formatted, and Snow Leopard reinstalled.

You know, I remember the first computer I owned that crossed the 1GB barrier, back in late 1999. I guess I'll have to remember this one, too.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
So I have this app on my iPad called Exoplanets. Keeping in mind what a geek I am when it comes to space and interstellar travel, I figured this would be a perfectly awesome app to have.

I didn't know at the time, but it sends messages as well. This morning, my iPad made a little message beep. I picked it up and looked at it, and it said:

"A new extrasolar planet has been discovered! HIP 57050 b"

Fucking Star Trek again. Set course, warp 5. ENGAGE!
kiranlightpaw: (apple)
So, yes, I bought an iPad. I'll buy pretty much anything with an Apple logo on it. If Steve Jobs put the Apple logo on a Yugo, I'd want one of those, too. Having said that, here are my thoughts on the iPad after 24 hours.
  • The battery life is as amazing as they claimed. I plugged it into my Macbook Pro yesterday (through a hub) to sync it up. It wouldn't charge from the hub, so it was just running on battery. In the 4 hours I spent loading it up and messing with it, the battery only dropped about 20%. I charged it at home while we went to dinner (back to 100%), and used it all evening, for about 4 hours and it only went down to about 85%.

  • The display is gorgeous. There's no way around it. Between the battery and the display, it was totally worth the price. The colors are vibrant and deep. Watching a movie on it was far better than my previous attempts at watching movies on mobile devices (first on my iPod 5G, and then on my iPhone) and even better than my laptop (because I can hold it more comfortably).

  • It is fucking fast. Amazingly fast. Nothing like my iPhone. Scrolling is smooth, the animations are smooth, apps start and stop quickly. I'll be interested to see how this continues, but for now the speed is amazing. I hope they put the A4 in the next iPhones.

  • The bigger keyboard is a massive improvement over the tiny one on the iPhone. And while I'm nowhere near the speed I would be on my laptop or a fullsize keyboard, it's remarkably easy to use considering you're typing on glass. I'm probably about as fast on it as I am on any tiny netbook keyboard.

  • I feel like I'm Captain Picard in fucking Star Trek walking around with this thing. I keep telling people to "Make it so!" Not really anything to do with the iPad per se, but I think it's pretty sweet.
There are a few things that irritate me:
  • Charging seems to be slow - closer to the length of time it takes to charge my Macbook Pro rather than my iPhone. Which makes sense, really, as the battery size is probably closer as well. Still, if you're running low on juice, don't expect to get much out of a 15 minute charge on the airport floor.

    It will also only charge when plugged directly into my laptop or plugged into the wall. It won't charge through even a powered hub. Again, this makes sense, as the hub probably only supplies enough power to actually run devices, and not charge them. Still, it would have been a nice feature, considering my iPhone can do that so when I travel I usually just bring the sync cable.

  • The screen gets smudgy after use. Nothing you can really do about that - it's the same complaint I have with my iPhone. Just have to wipe it off occasionally.

  • It's heavier than I would have expected. Not uncomfortably heavy at all - I can still use it with one hand - but it could use to lose a few ounces.

  • No multitasking support (well, insofar as it's the same as the iPhone). But it looks like that's about to be fixed.

  • I wish iTunes on the iPad could natively stream content from network iTunes shares, but that's kind of an edge use case scenario, and I think there are other apps already in the app store that can accomplish the same thing.

  • No flash support. This has been done to death, but frankly, I really don't miss it. Flash is a resource hog and a dying technology soon to be supplanted by HTML5's canvas in most use cases. Besides, most of the sites I've browsed to - yes, that includes Youtube and CNN - already support HTML5 and work just fine on iPad.
Overall, I'm very happy with it and consider it a worthwhile purchase.

And, much like the iPhone (and iPod, and any Apple device), I think a lot of the people criticizing it are doing so without reason, or are doing so out of the hipster mentality that they must criticize anything that's cool in order to be cool themselves. The device (as I've indicated above) is not without its faults and it could rightly be criticized on those faults, but I think a lot of the things people are criticizing the device about are not things that it is actually designed to accomplish. So, if you'll indulge me, allow me to explain how I see this device.

It's pretty much exactly what Steve Jobs said it would be. It's emphatically not a computer replacement and it's not an iPhone replacement. It's a separate device from those, and is not intended to duplicate the functionality of those other devices. I wouldn't want to make calls on my iPad - I have a phone for that. I don't want to connect my camera or other devices to my iPad - I have a laptop for that.
  • It's fantastic for traveling. I can take this on an airplane with me and it would be good for heavy use for a flight from Atlanta to Rome (Italy, not Georgia!). Considering I'll be flying to San Jose next week, I should stay entertained for the entire flight at half battery. I can watch movies and listen to music. I can connect it to inflight wireless to surf the web or check my email.

    The form factor makes it perfect for this. I can just barely open my laptop in a coach class airline seat, and I have to do funky things with my arms to be able to type. But the form factor on the iPad means I'll have plenty of room. I can sit it on my lap or on the tray table.

  • It's great for mindless couch surfing. A lot of times when I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop on my lap, I'm not actually doing anything that requires that kind of processing power. I'm usually just surfing - checking the news, reading Wikipedia, whatever. For that, this is great, and more comfortable to boot.

  • It's great for meetings. Occasionally, we'll have long meetings at work. A lot of times, I have my laptop in these meetings but I'm not really doing anything with it other than referencing tickets and taking notes. With iPad, I don't need to hunt for a power cord. The battery will get me through the longest of meetings.
Seeing a trend here?

The iPad is not meant to be the everything-to-everyone device that a full computer can be. It's meant to be a specialized companion device used in situations where using either a mobile phone or laptop really doesn't make a lot of sense, but you do it anyway because you don't have the option.

iPhone Fun

Mar. 8th, 2010 12:40 pm
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
So this weekend my iPhone decided to commit seppuku.

I had hacked it a few months ago so I could get tethering support. Even before that it had been acting odd - glitching, freezing, and generally being a pain. The jailbreak / unlock seemed to have just made that worse. And is weekend, at the Furry Weekend Atlanta meeting at the Hilton, while tethered, it hard locked. After trying to reboot it, it would just sit on the Apple screen for hours.

I was bummed. I really wasn’t looking forward to getting a new phone. I was wanting to make this one limp through the year until the new ones come out, then get a new one. So, in summery, this is a 1.5 year old iPhone, I never bought Applecare, and it’s hacked to boot. I went to the Apple store at Lenox mall in Atlanta fully expecting them to tell me they won’t help me at all and to buy a new phone (and fully willing to do that).

So imagine my surprise when, after telling him all that, the genius just asked: is your data backed up (between iTunes and MobileMe, it is), and do you care about your jailbreak (no, I need a phone before I drive 4 hours back to Alabama). And then they took my phone, reflashed it and gave it back to me. Just like that. Good as new. No more glitching.

Sure I lost some data - a few pictures. But since I usually send my phone pictures straight to Facebook or Twitter, it was no great loss. All my contacts were in MobileMe, all my mail is IMAP. I lost my text message history, but don’t really care about that. All my apps were safe in iTunes.

So in conclusion, the Apple store doesn’t completely hate jailbreakers apparently. But I still can’t wait for the next iPhone model so I can upgrade.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
When you work across multiple devices and multiple computers on a daily basis, keeping the information you expect to be there the same across all of them used to be a monstrous pain. This is where synchronization comes in.

I have 3 "computers" I use every day: my iMac, my Macbook Pro, and my iPhone. On each of those computers, I have several programs that may need to access the same type of data.

Bookmarks are synchronized using Xmarks. This allows me to sync them across Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox. And because the bookmarks are sync'd to Safari via a background process, I can use Mobileme to sync them to my iPhone. All this happens in the background, without me having to think about it. I just add a bookmark somewhere, and minutes later it's reflected everywhere else.

Email rules, accounts and signatures are synchronized via Mobileme and appear on all my computers and my iPhone. Contacts are sync'd via Mobileme and appear everywhere. Same with calendars, except calendars is the real win. I can make an calendar entry on my iPhone, and it's instantly sync'd to my calendars on my laptop and desktop.

I have some files and programs that I need access to, I sync those with Mobileme across all my devices via iDisk. I can access those everywhere, even on my iPhone. I even created a directory in there called "Scripts;" with a change to my bash path on my Macs, any scripts I write are sync'd too.

And all this stuff happens more or less instantly and completely transparently to me. Via the Internet and over the air for the iPhone. I don't even have to plug anything in. It just happens. I can't believe computers ever worked any other way, and there is no way I can do without it now.

Xmarks is free. Mobileme is $99 a year, but totally worth it simply in the headache I save in not having to deal with disparate data spread over 3 devices.


Jan. 30th, 2010 10:51 pm
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
I now possess a hacked (unlocked and jailbroken) iPhone. I didn't want to do this, and I didn't do it by choice. I did it out of necessity. I fucking need tethering support, and I'm tired of AT&T dragging their feet in even giving me the opportunity to pay for it.

I now, finally, have tethering back. Take that, AT&T, you worthless pile of bovine excrement.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
Rare public post from me.

I need an artist. :P

I've been working on a little Mac programming project, and I'm getting dangerously close to an alpha release. However, one of the things holding me up right now is that I need some artwork. Notably, a logo, application icon, and some toolbar icons.

The ideal person for this job would have at least some experience in designing icons and be aware of the Apple Human Interface Guidelines in regards to icon design.

This will be a paying gig. While the application is going to be given away free (I'm writing it to teach myself Objective-C and Cocoa programming), I can't expect you to work for free, so I'm sure we can come to some kind of arrangement.

If you are interested, or know of someone who might be, please drop me a line at


kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
Kiran Lightpaw

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