Near Field Communication

The iPad 2 launch is now in the past.  I did not purchase one but I did get to hold one.  All the news that it is nice to hold is true.  It is slimmer and that makes it not feels as though it was going to slip out of your hands. I did not get the feeling that while holding the iPad 2 that it would crash to the floor.  I did have my original iPad with my wife and me and I tested Safari’s quickness.  We had the countdown for the same website and the iPad 2 loaded the entire page about 5-7 seconds quicker.  But still that was not enough to get me to cough up the funds to buy into iPad 2. I would like to have a new iPad2 but just like when the Macbook Air came out it is just not something I can lay down almost $1000 every year.

Now we are looking ahead at the next rumor.  It would seem that NFC (near field communication) is the latest way to gain a customer.  I remember when I was carrying a pager and a cell phone or when I carried a Dell Axim Pocket PC and a cell phone. The day cell phones came with software to sync calendar events was a blessing to me.  I use my calendar a lot to keep up with appointments.  I remember how much of a hassle it was to hook up a cord to sync but I did it anyway.  Then came wireless syncing and it was great.

Just like combining a pager and cell phone or a cell phone and the Axim into one device was a welcomed addition.  It meant that you no longer had to carry multiple devices.  Well now comes NFC.  One basic is that your purchases will be charged to your device either through your carrier or via an account such as a credit card that you pair up with your phone.  If you go into several retail outlets and look at the point of sale where you swipe your card you may see this icon on the machine.  It means currently if you have a bankcard or credit card with a computer chip in it you do not have to swipe your card through that tunnel but only have to pas the card near the pos machine and your card is charged.  But finance companies like banks, Visa, MasterCard and others saw an opportunity for a device you always have with you, your phone.  Why make a consumer take out a card and swipe it when you’re most likely to have your phone with you all the time.

Charging purchases is not the only way to use NFC.  Basically NFC can communicate anything to you when you are near it.  Say you are in a mall and you pass an ad in the corridor, it says swipe your phone here and it takes you to a website of the product, plays a video or offers you a discount.  Maybe it is plane tickets.  You bought them; the ticket information is on your phone.  You get to the check in counter where you swipe your phone and viola, you’re checked in.

There are many applications where NFC could be useful.  But just like other advancements to our lives there will be those who embrace it and those who are reluctant to use it.  Fear of the unknown is powerful and it is why we should become seekers of knowledge and take control. NFC does not seem like a bad thing.  I am sure it will offer the same protection as your plastic does now.  For more about NFC check out this website.  I am sure you will find what you are seeking to learn there.


Software, Hardware, More, Oh My…

I have missed a few stories here but we were in the middle of training for our sectional appearance after winning district.  However, our season came to and end last night with a 13-point loss.

But today seems to be a lull in between two Apple high’s.  The week began with rumors of Apple dropping 4.3 on Tuesday.  However, that was not the case.  Then comes Wednesday where all seemed to be quiet until about noon CST.  Apple finally dropped 4.3 for iPhone, iPod and iPad customers.  Then 4.2 for Apple TV dropped and 5.02 for Safari joining in the fun.

Wow, what a day of software.  Today is supposed to bring iMovie and Garageband in the App Store for iPad 2. And Friday March 11th iPad 2 will drop in Apple stores, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and AT&T as well as Verizon to name a few. I suppose I missed my chance to win one at and I don’t think you will see me in line to pick up a new one.  While I would like to have one, at this time I cannot justify spending another $800 on a 32GB 3G version iPad.  Apple did some cool upgrades but I think I will wait for the iPad 3 lines.  Maybe I will find some more contest and win one there.

So what does all this software bring?

4.3 – for the iOS devices brought some new features I may use and some unexpected problems.

  1. Personal Hotspot: (iPhone 4) Probably one of the most talked about features of 4.3 because it was one that the Verizon iPhone already had and one that customers were unsure if ATT would allow their patrons to use. This is one feature that I will not see the opportunity to use.  Being an iPhone unlimited data customer I would have to give up my unlimited data and defect to a $25/$15 plan.  I understand ATT’s point here but you would think they could come up with something to allow me to have a 2GB bucket or data when the hotspot is one or something and retain my unlimited.
  2. Enhanced AirPlay and Home Sharing: This is a feature I like so far.  Once the new software is installed you navigate into Settings > iPod > and you will see a new section where you enter your home sharing username and password.  There is no save button so back out and go to Video or iPod App and navigate around (under iPhone’s iPod the new sharing feature is in More…).  You will find a sharing feature that allows you to see shared iTunes movies, music, etc.  I see using this feature when I forgot to add a movie or did not want to but my wife and I want to see a movie while in another room in our home.
  3. Message feature: Apple seems to always add in features that they leave to the user to find.  This feature allows the iPhone users to extend the number of reminders to 10.  So if I am away from my phone or in a noisy environment which is often the case for me I can be reminded of that text up to 10 times.  Surely, I can answer it by then. In addition, many users complained of the long text tones Apple added during the last major update calling then useless.  Well Apple has shortened most of them.  They also changed the vibration to two short bursts of vibration goodness rather than a single vibration matching the tone.  But and this is a big one, when is Apple going to allow users to create their own text tones in Garage Band like they do with ringtones?  This annoys me!

4.2 for Apple TV:

Apple TV was not left out yesterday as it got some updates as well. I have included a screen shot from the “what’s new” screen that’s pops up after installing.  For me just the ability to show videos shot with my iOS devices makes me happy.  I would like to see videos and apps displayed but it appears that feature is up to the content provider.

Thursday March 10, 2011 – is rumored to bring iMovie and Garageband for iPad 2

Friday March 11, 2011 –is the best day.  Not for the release if iPad 2 but because I’ll turn 40.  I plan to be at the closest Apple store some 2 hours away.  Not to get my new iPad 2, although that would be nice but to have them look at my original iPad for a mail issue.

Apple Experiences…The Advantages

So there has to be some enormous advantages to make everyone join a cult like following behind a single man who heads a technology company.  Well they are quite simple but very important issues that most businesses do not seem to have.

For me, it is not about Steve Jobs it is about the company he runs.  He is jus the figure that I associate with.  I would compare him to something like Paul Harvey.  If you have ever listened to Paul Harvey and his “the rest of the story”, no one can ever make the news happen the way Harvey does. You listen to Harvey and then one day he is on vacation and it is just not the same.  I think this is the same way with Steve Jobs.  Steve is a great speaker at the Apple announcements.  There have been studies of his positive word placement while he announces new and updates products.

But some would say Apple fanboys would by anything that Apple puts out there.  That the systems are no better than Windows machines and they cost far more than they are worth.  That a man who speaks well is only hypnotizing the people who follow him into these purchases.

To them I say, I was a Windows user and I think that Windows 7 is defiantly a great product.  I also think that Office 2011 for Mac is a great product for the Mac.  I say I still use Windows 7 (on my Mac) and bought my daughter a Toshiba for Christmas.  I learned to use a computer on a Windows Machine.

But where I think that Windows and Mac depart are services offered by the two.  When I used a Windows computer as a daily machine I remember pain.  I first owned a Compaq laptop the held a 4GB hard-drive and 256 RAM and it was maxed out. I then went to Gateway machines as well as eMachine which was owned by Gateway.  There was two commons among all those machines. When I had a problem and called support they told me to restore the machine or that it was always someone else’s fault.  It had to be some software issue, or something I was connecting to my computer like a printer so I should restore my computer back to factory.  Back to something that was essentially unusable in my daily life. I should undo all the programs I spent time installing so I could use this machine.

My last story about a Windows machine goes like this.  My wife and daughter spent several hours in the cold on Black Friday to get a good deal on a Toshiba laptop.  It was one that my daughter wanted for Christmas.  They got this machine and knowing better than to let the machine sit in the box that long and let my 30 day return policy expire I un boxed the laptop and set out to add programs she needed and others like virus protection etc.  While doing so I noticed that my wireless internet connection was not staying connected.  It would drop frequently and I would get the standard error webpage.  So I called Toshiba.  Within 5 minutes I had my answer.  “Well it is connecting, isn’t that good enough?” I hung up, I was done. I contacted Best Buy, where we bought it and they were nice enough to exchange it for me.  We stayed with the same machine and it appears that there was an issue with the wifi radio.  But the service Toshiba offered was horrible.

Now my Apple story.  There are two story’s I would like to share.  Since 2008 when I owned my first Apple machine I have have only made one call to Apple where the service agent was rude.  And yes I call every time I need help.  On that call I hung up, called back and got someone who was willing to help and apologized for the previous person.  I usually carry Applecare on everything I own so I can call and get support.  Some think that the service is not worth the price but I recommend it for almost everything.  Apple has issues with their devices too but where Apple excels is they are willing to help.  Windows machines have gotten so cheap they have taken support out the the mix.  They let others build products they label where an Apple is an Apple.  The support is kind, friendly and willing to help. Sometimes they may not know how but they try and will advance you up the support ladder until someone can help.  Since 2008 I have been asked to restore my Macbook Pro one time.  I have had help from Apple with my HP printer as well as my Windows machines.

I also have been very proud to call myself a fanboy as recent as last week.  I have two instances where Apple reaffirms my purchase was a good one.  In the spring of 2010 my first Mac began having issues.  Every time, Apple sent a box, overnighted my Mac both ways and within days I had it back.  After a few months a number of times having issue with this computer I was on the phone with support troubleshooting an issue and the screen went white. The agent put me on hold and came back offering to fix this one or replace it with a current model Macbook Pro.  I was set back.  I had heard they did this but this was a first for me.  I had this happen with Windows but my machine was replaced with a like model, which I still had issues with. I opted for the brand new 2010 Macbook Pro.

The most recent was my 5 year old son’s iPod touch. We have had every model touch.  And for every model we have carried square trade warranty for the ADP. We know he is 5 and accidents happen so we wanted to be protected.  Until this time he has never had an issue but it only takes one.  On a recent Friday he dropped his iPod into water.  We tried the iPod in the bag of rice trick for 3 days and the iPod came back up but quickly died again.  So we contacted Square Trade and initiated a claim. We had no issues with this claim.  They said they would send me a check. So we called Apple and was prepared to buy a new iPod.  To our shock after asking some questions and telling them what happened they talked to a senior advisor.  They came and told us to take the number they were about to give us and go to UPS, they would box up the iPod, send it back and when Apple received it would send up a new iPod.  That’s exactly what happened, within days we had  new iPod touch.

I know that everyone has different experiences and some may have had issue with Apple.  I have heard of people who called for support and got that rude tech or were not able to be helped.  I don’t know their situation. I just know mine.  For me, when I can afford an Apple product that I need I will buy Apple.  I know they are more expensive than the Windows machines with comparable specs but where I think they part is Apple just works.

Apple Experiences…cont

I opened the plain brown box to be greeted by the usual white Apple packaging feature a picture of what was inside.  I quickly opened the MacBook pro, plugged it in and turned it on. I saw the screen, that beautiful screen inviting me to play take control.  I had to enter some information for set up and then I was on to using my new device for the first time.  Our relationship was both frustrating and welcoming at first.  All the usual commands I had learned to operate my windows machine had to be relearned because Apple keys are not like Windows.  But it did not take me long as I could not put this machine down.  I wanted to know more about how it worked.  I tried this and read that until I finally found myself using it like it was the machine I learned on. But it did not stop there.

I read more about the eco system; I was slowly getting hooked on Mac.  I read more about iPods, iMac’s and subscribed to podcasts, blogs.  I had never owned anything beside the iPhone that played media.  But it was all so expensive.  Apple charges a premium for their devices.  You could honestly end up with a bill for thousands on a new laptop and tens of thousands on their desktop equivalents.  I am by no means rich so I could not afford to buy all my eyes could take in.  But I bought sparingly and got my kids and wife into iPhone’s and my five year old an iPod touch around the age of 2.

I saw the iPhones as a means to communicate through the cloud and Mobile Me did that for me.  My wife and I actually like each other.  We love to be together and do things together like couples should.  We don’t have a lot of friends so we shop for everything from groceries to clothing together.  We watch movies together and listen to music together.  So Mobile Me made sense for us.  We use it a little different probably, we have a standard account and have his, hers and family calendars that each of us control as admins.  She can add an event to mine and I hers and both can add an event to our Family calendar.  While the Mobile Me mail is mine and I set her up with Gmail, which has grown over the years too, we pay for Mobile Me because it works for us.

Over the years we have had several iPhones with each new announcement, iPods, MacBook’s and an iPad.  And it is not just I.  I bought my wife a MacBook from eBay because her Gateway was out of space and had been restored many times after calling support for issues we faced all the time.  She too, fell in love with her white plastic MacBook. So for both of us the move to Mac was one that while we were scared to do, we overcame and now see the advantages, even why we pay more.

Next….The advantages….

My Apple Experiences…

So there are many of you that talk about Apple fanboy’s.  An Apple fanboy definition can be found here at Urban Dictionary. We are talked about as people who are similar in nature to a cult of followers who believe anything that Apple tells us.  We are to believe that we do not have minds of our own and cannot assimilate a rational thought.  We stand in lines without expressions waiting for our worldly leader the Jobs to hand us our next ration.

But let me say that while I write about Apple and all its glory I come from a Windows background. My first computer was an eBay special; my first laptop was a Compaq with a 3GB hard drive.  Then I bought into Gateway an then another then an eMachine desktop.  So I know about Windows and what to expect there.  I remember the excitement of getting each machine and the disappointment when something would happen and they would ask me to restore the machine every time.  I had accumulated software that I used and stored photos only to have to begin over reinstalling everything from contacts to papers to software.  It was always a pain.

I have always been into technology and have slowly converted my family into this following.  For me it was the iPhone in 2007.  I was a hold out as the iPhone came out in June or July 2007 and I did not purchase one until August.  I remember that day clearly.  My wife and I were in town and I had been talking about buying an iPhone and I could not stand it anymore.  I stopped by AT&T and went in. I did not know she thought I was going in to “talk” to them.  Imagine my surprise when I got back into the car with a new $500 phone.  I got the usual talking to that I have become accustomed to in the beginning.

But for us that was the changing point.  Prior to that I had Windows computers and phones like the SLVR, the Pearl and the Curve to name of few of the most recent predecessors.  But the iPhone was a game changer for us.  The more I used it the more I wanted to learn about Apple.  I watched videos, I visited Apple stores and I talked to their sales and others that knew the Apple eco system.  I heard the entire pro’s and cons.  How great a machine they are and how limited they were in the software realm.  If I bought a Mac, I would have a machine that lived in a Window’s world.

It was not until late summer 2008, after using the iPhone and my discoveries that I choose the take the plunge.  I ordered my new MacBook Pro just before I went on vacation to Disney.  I was so excited I wanted it shipped to the hotel but was afraid it would not arrive while we were there so I shipped it home.  But that created anxiety of its own, as I was at the most magical place on earth and I wanted to be at home when the package arrived.  I remember checking the tracking information everyday.

When we arrived home the package had been picked up, at my request, by my mother, was the first thing I attended to.  Unpacking could wait; I had to see this machine.  I had petted them in the Apple stores but this one was mine—to be continued…

Backing up is critical

Part 1. Backing up is critical these days.

You have bought that computer or maybe an iPad, iPhone or just about anything with a chip in it. Now it is time to ensure your memories are safe.

Let’s start with computers and backing them up.  Years ago it was not an issue because many memories such as pictures of our loved ones were not kept on a hard drive but in shoe boxes and albums.  I remember when my mother’s home caught fire a few years ago.  The one thing she seemed to be worried about outside the obvious fire destroying her home was her memories.

Over and over she wanted the fire fighters who went in and out, in the smoke filled home to save her pictures.  This was one thing that tied my mom to her past.  We are who we are because of our past and the past was saved on paper images that were stored in our homes.  That’s where we feel safe and so our memories fell under that blanket.  Lucky for my mother the firefighters save her memories.

Today is different.  We are mostly a digital society.  Cameras and Camcorders are all backed up to our computers and maybe the occasional user backs up to a hard drive.  But, most people either never back up or pay about as much attention to backing up as they do to their anti virus…only when something happens.

While a hard drive is a great back up solution it is still a local drive.  And if you deleted the original you no longer have a back up.  What if a fire happens, maybe you live in a flood zone.  We all live in an area where Mother Nature has something waiting to be a part of our future. Fire, flood, tornados & earthquakes to name a few could all be a part of our lives at any time.  A hard drive backed up to an external drive that is stored in the same place as the original is only good if your computer dies and if you remembered to back it up.

Did you know that your hard drive has errors when you first get it and that the failure rate of hard drives is probably higher than you think?  Check out here for more information on the failure rate from Google who is the leader in hard drive use.

Here are some recommendations to aid you in backing up you memories.

  1. Paul Thurrott ( recommends a 3-2-1 back up strategy.
    1. 3 copies
    2. 2 different forms of media
    3. 1 off-site

For me that means I have a copy on my hard drive, a copy in the cloud, and a copy on an external hard drive.  Here are some services I use.

  1. Mobile Me: a service by Apple that offers, iDisk for hard drive back and storage. Also include is Mobile Me Gallery where you can show case pictures and store them.  For convenience there are apps for the iPhone and access your files and pictures on the go.
  2. Drop Box: ( A free service for most people.  (Up to 2GB).  Over that it’s a paid service and works much like the file storage of iDisk above.
  3. Carbonite: ( This service is by far my favorite.  It is a paid application that does back up automatically.  Windows and Mac applications and phone apps are available.  For about $55 dollars a year you install Carbonite on your computer and for example if you write a new paper, add pictures from your camera they are backed up within a few hours.

There are many other ways to back up these days.  Hard drives are cheap and you could buy two, keep one at home and one at work switching them out weekly.  Your date would never be more than a week old should you lose it.  For pictures you could use Google, Flickr etc.  For documents you could use Google, which is free. Anything steps you take to back up helps.  Remember backing up is no longer for businesses.  Our files, our pictures are important to who we are, what we do so we urge you to get on board.

This is where we can help.  Whatever back up strategy you choose, if you need help please don’t hesitate to call us.  We can help you set up a back up strategy for just a few dollars.  If you would like us to take care of making sure you are backed up we offer monthly visits for just a few dollars where we come to you and check your back up, anti virus and make sure you are up to date.