Posts Tagged ‘tech’

Swhipy screen shot  (By J. Barrineau)

Swhipy screen shot
(By J. Barrineau)

After several frustrating months of not being able to manage my iPhone’s playlists on the go, I have found a $2 solution that allows me to create playlists from playlists: Swhipy by JYPApps. It’s an understated app that’s worth every damn cent and then some, and it’s as close to being what I would consider a New Year miracle.

My joyful purchase was all part of an effort to manage my large music library — MUSIC THAT I HAVE PAID FOR — following my switch to an iPhone 5S (64GB) with iOS 7. When I discovered the loss of functionality in the iOS 7 Music app, I turned to the Apple discussion forums, where other dismayed music enthusiasts were also registering their puzzlement and complaints. Based on several users’ recommendations, I also downloaded Ecoute ($2.99) and Lagu (free). These are interesting alternatives to the abomination that is the Music app, but they didn’t do what I needed them to do, which is build playlists from other playlists on the go. (Side note: Ecoute is the app for you if you’re suffering through the Music app’s disastrous sorting issues. Meanwhile, Lagu is interesting because of its “queue” feature, but there’s something missing. If you try to save a playlist, you’re prompted to type a title for the playlist, but the keyboard doesn’t appear. Oh well, it’s free.)

It’s no secret that Apple shit the bed with the release of iOS 7 — I will NOT call it an “upgrade” — but the changes to the Music app were particularly painful for music lovers. (Editor’s note: I have understated this on purpose because it’s not as though we’ve been fed alive to starving dogs or anything.) I realize this is a “first world problem” of the first degree. It’s also a pocketbook issue: Consumers who have paid for their music should have the right to manage their music on their terms.  And this isn’t a learning curve, as some bloggers would suggest. No, I’m talking about a loss of functionality and flaccid user experience that underscore Apple’s blatant disregard for its loyal customers who built the megadynasty that is iTunes. I mean, really: Would we have bought so much music if they hadn’t made it so easy to enjoy?

Why Apple would remove so much functionality from its native app is baffling. And yeah, I’ve read about the efforts for a “more simplistic” design — and that’s just bullshit. It’s one thing to simplify an icon; it’s another to simplify an application to the point of frustrating the user with radical limitations. There’s nothing simple about plumbing the depths of a gazillion-song library to find JUST ONE SONG. And, finally, if this sick-making overhaul is part of some coked-up marketing scheme to drive me to iTunes Radio, then that’s just evil.

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About six months ago, I tripped on a running shoe and stepped on the case of my MacBook Pro, cracking the glass. The MacBook was less than a year old at the time, and a repair through Apple was going to cost me more than I wanted to spend.

 

I’m going to fix it myself!

 

Years ago, I was a systems analyst, which was a fancy name for a girl geek who did everything from software training to server upkeep. I also maintained more than 50 laptops for a national news organization, so I had seen my share of abused laptops; they usually weren’t mine, though. If I had cracked my display in 2003, I would have fixed it myself. So why not now?

I did some googling, found a place that sells MacBook glass, bought the panel, a tool kit and a special suction cup. Then I let all that shit sit in the Amazon boxes for three months — until the other day when I got up the nerve to do the repair.

I watched a couple of YouTube videos that explained the complications of replacing the displays on the Unibody models, and I finally settled on one by Small Dog Electronics, an Apple reseller and Mac repair shop in Waitsfield, Vt. The tech in the video was clear, concise and careful. She was precise in her message, explaining this was not a beginner’s repair and urging caution and patience. She was right; it was not. Although I succeeded in replacing my glass panel, I did not need to replace the LCD — and if I had, I’m not sure whether I would have attempted it. If you do, and if you’re thinking of replacing it yourself, heed the advice of Small Dog Electronics and consider having a pro do it. Watch the video, which has a second part, and see for yourself.
 

Nielsen reports that Google is still the top web brand in 2011, followed by Facebook, which is where Americans spend the most time online. According to Nielsen’s Q3 social media report,  Facebook users spent 53.5 billion minutes on the site in May 2011. (I bet I work with some of those Facebook enthusiasts.) It is also the top social networking site through mobile devices: 46,500,000 unique audience members.

iPod Classic by Aaron Logan

In 2011, it’s hard sometimes to remember there was life before Facebook or iPhones. It’s hard to remember that one had to sit down at a computer and log into an email account rather than having the messages delivered to a smartphone in a pocket. It’s hard to remember the once-coveted music compact discs and their portable players, and it’s nearly impossible to remember music was once played by a moving stylus on a plastic disk with grooves. And although new names make headlines every day, a look at the past decade’s nearly frenzied embrace of technology shows the influence, the reach of Steve Jobs.

Although I had used Apples and Macs at school and work for years, Apple gave me my first real taste of truly personal tech in 2001. Shortly after 9/11, the news service where I worked received two supercool-looking gadgets from Apple they wanted us to test drive and write about. It was called an iPod, and its 5GB hard drive held “1,000 songs in your pocket.” (A 1,000 songs?!! Really?!!) I got to take one home and play with it — and I played with it for hours, which turned into days.  After my test drive, I was able to pre-order one. I was one of the first people in America to own an iPod. It’s probably my greatest achievement.
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The percentage of U.S. adults with e-readers doubled between November and May, from 6% to 12%, according to a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Interestingly, tablet usage among adult users isn’t growing as fast.

 

Lady Gaga performs “Hair” on the Paul O’Grady Show. At the time of this writing, the video had 525,011 views, 4,411 likes, 757 dislikes.
 
 

Do you think she really shaved her head? Looks likes she’s sporting a skullcap to me.

 
 
 
UPDATE: From the same show, “Edge of Glory,” which I liked a lot more before I learned it’s probably about her dead grandpa. Smokin’ hot costume, though.
 

ReachMail, a marketing email service, has produced a fabulous infographic that looks at the first 40 years of electronic mail — quite possibly the greatest invention ever.

Who can remember life before it?

My latest distraction from my studies: the short films on YouTube celebrating IBM’s centennial. This is the latest short released, “Wild Ducks:  Celebrating 100 years of Visionary Clients.”
 

 

From the introduction:

Former IBM chairman Thomas Watson, Jr. knew how important it was to work with people who question the way things are and challenge the status quo. In fact, he even had a name for them. “Wild Ducks” is a film about four IBM clients whose questioning minds and unconventional ideas are transforming our world. See and hear their inspirational stories.

Pew Internet & American Life Project has released a great report that looks at Twitter’s expanding adult user base: 13% of adult Internet users are on Twitter! And they’re not just “younger adults.” Check out the jumps for these groups from November 2010 to May 2011.

Also of note: 95% of Twitter users polled own a mobile phone, and 54% of those users access Twitter on their personal device.

Click the link.