...take one step with your right foot....

Posted by Ed King on Wednesday, June 24, 2009 in , , ,
Some days/weeks/months, just putting one foot in front of the other - metaphorically - is a struggle. First my computer dies, ten days later my web host/domain registrar goes out of business in the middle of the night.... Oh, and then there are the half-dozen Masonic annual meetings that reports are needed for, the scholarship approval letters, the.... You get the picture. Oh, and a dead car battery from leaving a car door ajar last night. Thunderstorms tonight. WHEE!!!

This time around, though, I was fortunate to have my handy iPhone 3G in my pocket. Obviously, the cell phone part of it was indispensable, making calls here and there but it was also great for taking verbal notes when I was away from paper. The new dictating capabilities in the upgraded operating system helped capture information in voice memos to myself - and did so wonderfully.

Having relatives and friends in the Washington, DC area, I was able to get up-to-the-minute reports on the train collision and keeping track of my rapidly escalating to-do list with Pocket Informant (which I'm using as my calendar and task manager) was a breeze, synching to Google Calendar and Toodledo each time I accessed it.

Long story short: while I haven't been posting on here as frequently as I'd envisioned, I HAVE been able to maintain a modicum of sanity in my life though, all thanks to the iPhone - something I doubt would have been achieved with a Windows SmartPhone unit. Oh, and the KoiPond application was also a calming help although hearing the sounds of rain after the past three weeks is not the option I've chosen to activate.

Has the iPhone helped you putting one foot in front of the other? Tell us your story!

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You now observe more than you had before....

Posted by Ed King on Thursday, June 18, 2009 in , , ,
One of the things I think is most overlooked and/or taken for granted with the iPhone 3G is the ability to upgrade the device's operating system. We Windows users know that every couple of years the folks in Redmond will produce yet another OS that we'll ultimately be seduced/forced into purchasing and we'll then find that half of our programs won't operate correctly, that we'll ultimately download some 'important update' that will screw up things even more, and that we'll spend hours mimicking Humpty Dumpty trying to put the pieces back together again. Adding insult to injury, we've actually PAID for the 'pleasure' of this.

iPhone vs ChocolateImage by sbisson via Flickr

Not so, the iPhone. I'd often heard stories of Mac users blithely getting painless operating system upgrades and although there were a couple of sporadic grimmaces, they were few and far between - unlike those trying to upgrade to Microsoft's Vista, ME, and a host of others. (No, this is not going to be a rant about the advantages of one computer over another: I've been involved in those 'wars' since the early 1980s and don't need to relive them, thankyouverymuch.) This upgrade was a four step process for most (five for me) - and the total words used by Apple to explain were just 51. Ever try doing an upgrade to a Windows OS - or to any other cell phone - with just those few words of instruction? OK. Stop laughing and go back to reading.

I had the iPhone 2.0 operating system on my phone when it was purchased. Along came 2.1 - and I decided to take a chance and upgrade, fearing the worst. What was the worst? Oh, about an hour of the machine talking back and forth to iTunes - but then it was done and everything worked just as before. 2.1 to 2.2: same deal. Now it's time for 3.0 and guess what? Everything works but not only that, there are a bunch of new AND ENHANCED features. It's like getting a new phone practically - except for that unsightly ding on my cover. Check out my gadget/info hero Terry White at Terry White's Tech Blog along with a humungous list at MacRumors. The folks at Apple seem to be somewhat 'ho-hum' about the whole thing. Sure, they've reinvented the universe but you'll find all the parts - including the restaurant - eventually. And, again, the only thing lost was a few hours of time. (Extra time was involved because I didn't have the very latest version of iTunes on board....) The other part is that 'upgradus interruptus' isn't a problem. It happened to me (long, unrelated story) but resolved itself nicely with no pain whatsoever. Disclaimer: if you're fiddling with a 'jailbreak' phone, this won't be as simple but that's a whole 'nuther story.

Like most computer programs, though, if you're only using a dial-up connection, you're in for a REAL heartbreak. The OS for the 3.0 upgrade was nearly 275MB. If, like at my house, you struggle to hang on to a 31.2kps connection, this is just not going to work unless/until you can figure out some other solution. My life is on a laptop and we've got a DSL line at work so I'm golden but if you don't have a solution like this, the process may be more involved. Regardless, there are workarounds and it's all worth it, believe me.

So off on some new adventures with an (essentially) new iPhone 3G. When will YOU make the switch?Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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Letter it and begin.... G... S....

Posted by Ed King on Sunday, June 14, 2009 in , , , ,
There has been much talk online in tech venues this week about the announcement of the "new" iPhone, given the moniker of iPhone 3Gs.

There are several new features - planned and promised - that make me somewhat jealous but a cautious buyer might want to consider the following: the 'speed' (which is what the S stands for) may be an illusion for the time being until AT&T ramps up their network to accommodate this. If you live in the hinterlands like me, you won't get 3G speed (the supposedly 'fast') connection anyway so this is not a big deal. Yes, it would be nice to have a quasi-movie camera (a series of posts on Masonic photography is coming soon) and it's promised that TomTom will have an app out providing the long-awaited turn-by-turn capability shortly. If you're into geocaching, the compass will be handy and if you're a video or music aficionado, you'll like the 32GB storage.

But truthfully, I rarely if ever need turn-by-turn driving guidance - and when I do (or sometimes even when I don't), there's someone in the front seat (or back - literally or figuratively) to give it to me. Most Masons don't move so fast that I'm going to be taking movie shots of them (DeMolay Advisors excepted) and I've got a burst-digital camera for those times. The geocaching....

SAN FRANCISCO - JUNE 08:  Apple Senior Vice Pr...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Right now, I've got less than half my 8GB unit filled - and I've got a TON of applications on board. You might want to consider buying a unit like mine which will be selling for half the price ($99) that I paid for it. It's a pretty tempting consideration, particularly for those who've been on the fence about all of this although there are some who disagree.

On Wednesday, even my older 3G will get a new operating system, adding all sorts of things (including cut and paste) so - for FREE - I can enjoy some excitement too.

Whichever option you choose, I think you'll be pretty happy. Enjoy!
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Say ye now 'Shibboleth'...

Posted by Ed King on Sunday, June 07, 2009 in , , , , , ,
The DeMolay Executive Officer was speaking about the distance of a potential trip saying it would be at least a twelve hour drive. While he rambled on, I poked the Maps icon on my iPhone, quickly entered the destination location and when he finally took a breath several minutes later, commented that it was a 5 hour, 51 minute drive. I added, sardonically, that this would only apply if we were in the car in front of the building and not on the third floor - or waiting for a late DeMolay member! Bemused and bewildered looks could be seen all around the room.

My hacked (for apps) iPhone & an iPod Touch at...Image by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

As the meeting ended and the attendees began fleeing, Bro. Ken asked "Is that an iPod?" Without thinking, I said "Yes." and then proceeded to quickly reverse myself. "No, no! It's an iPhone. I'm still trying to wake up." He smiled. "I got an iPod but I returned it. It was useless for me since it doesn't do Excel and Word. I need my spreadsheets and Word documents."

"But an iPhone CAN do that!" I replied. "You can?", he asked, knowing that I wouldn't likely make such an statement if it weren't true. "Here, let me show you."

"I've got to run but that's interesting....."

Driving home that evening, I thought about our Masonic ritual where, in the Fellowcraft Degree, we hear the story from the Bible (Judges), which speaks of the Ephraimites losing their lives. I thought too about the reference to it on a favorite television series, "The West Wing". (The nice folks at that show even had a link to my masonicinfo.com website when they did their program on the use of the George Washington Masonic Bible for the 'President's' inauguration.)

I wondered: how many others have shared the confusion (and the consequences) of 'not pronouncing the word aright'?

So PLEASE, Brethren: don't let the "trifling distinction...." between the pronounciation of an iPOD and an iPHONE cause you to move to another place. There are many siren songs in the press about the pros and cons of other fruit-named phones but if you want one that'll will produce results, do consider an iPHONE for your needs.

Post-Script: an apology for my absence over the past couple of weeks: a 'fried hard drive' put a crimp in production activities. Yes, almost everything was backed up but trying to reinstall with activations, etc. is a long, slow process including multiple e-mails and phone calls, not to mention moving to a completely different operating system in the process. Oh, and then there's the problem of not tucking aside those downloaded software programs.... It's not as easy as "You did have a backup, didn't you?": those who've walked this way before well know. NOW, back to the argument of whether it's a 'waterford' or a 'waterfall': see this Short Talk Bulletin for more information.
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