Apple – a Word of Warning

A word of warning for those needing help with their iPAD or iPhone… they are great products but it appears that Apple support is as crappy as Orange and other large organisations.

There’s an ongoing minor issue with the iPAD wireless in that it tends not to pick the best signal where multiple signals are available. I have 5 WIFI points in my house in England as the walls are solid stone – and the iPAD invariably picks the wrong signal and stays with it, requiring me to manually select an access point.

I thought as bought the unit in the US and am currently there for a short while, I’d ask them when they’re going to fix this – they’re a little behind on this (as is Skype with their OS4 fix  -at this rate they’ll be the LAST app to update).. NO Chance, there is no email address on their site and the only way you can start the process is to give them your Apple ID. This is what happened when I entered my Apple ID.

Did I expect any less? No. Today I will ring the store!

 

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iPhone 4.0 OS – First Look

iPhone 4.0 OSSitting here in the USA on a slow network wasn’t ever going to be the best way to upgrade the iPhone, but after waiting half an hour to grab iTunes on my laptop (not normally used to sync the iPhone so there’s a tip for you – NO you don’t have to use the PC you original setup your phone on) I proceeded to the upgrade button and upgraded my iPhone 3GS to iPhone version 4.0 OS software – another 20 minutes and no problems whatsoever.

That done the first thing I noticed was that my chosen background now appears on all screens – that’s nice!  The second thing that’s immediately obvious is the fact you can now drop one icon onto another and make instant FOLDERS which is nice. Each folder can now hold 12 icons and with a bit of planning you can how hold 12 times as many apps on the phone as before or opt for less pages of icons. That’s a plus though you’re not going to get all your games in one folder – you CAN thankfully make identically named folders if you like!! None of this takes any brainpower or manuals.

iPhone OS 4.0 multitaskingThe iPhone now also handled multi-tasking – of a sort.  By double-clicking on the HOME button you can now see active tasks and switch between them.

The big plus is the ability to play a game or whatever.. and STILL keep SKYPE running in the background – depending on whether or not you’re a SKYPE user that makes a big difference…

An other plus is the unified inbox – now if you have multiple accounts as I do (Exchange and Google mail) you have the option to read the inboxes separately or as one – nice idea – why don’t MS so that in Office 2010?

Other than that it’s largely business as usual though sitting here I’m having immense difficulty getting the newly updated iPhone to download the updated TomTom and it’s telling me to update that particular package via iTunes – granted TomTom is HUGE.

At least on the surface of it, updating is worth the effort but beware if you’re reading this on the publication date, the Apple site is running like a DOG!

Regards

 

Peter Scargill

Migrating from Flickr to Google Web Albums

Having just noticed on the BBC website that Flickr are in cahoots with Getty and Corbis – I’m migrating all my photos to Google and intend to close down the Flickr account.

Here’s the tool I’m using, it’s called Migratr and it is trivial to use, requiring only the login information for the two sites – and a temporary storage folder on your PC. No work needed as it takes all the meta information in the transfer.

Why would I want to have as little to do with Getty and Corbis?  Well, apart from not wanting to be part of their plan for global domination (they also own iStock and a bunch of other companies, they have been absolutely RUTHLESS in pursuing SMEs for payment where said SMEs have inadvertently ended up with even small, worthless photos on their sites… and have been sending bills for many hundreds or even thousands of pounds to said companies along with scare tactics that would make the mafia blush. I want nothing to do with them.

Do YOU need an iPAD?

A lot hot air is circulating about the iPad, often by folks who have never laid eyes on the machine never mind made extensive hand-on use of them. I’ve seen reviews talking about reliability, about it being unsuitable for business… the list goes on – and mostly from those lacking any experience of the product.

Why listen to me? well firstly you need to know I would not touch a MAC with a bargepole so don’t peg me as an anti-Microsoft type. When the iPAD was released in the USA I had one shipped across almost immediately, despite lack of iTunes support in the UK. It looked ideal for reading agendas and other company paperwork, being the first supposedly long-life battery, thin almost A4 pad on the market… and I wasn’t prepared to take the word of others… I wanted to see for myself if this was going to be useful to see if there was a future for reducing or eliminating paperwork.  So, here it is, based on daily use of the iPad since its launch in the USA (and by that I mean used almost every day since then, sometimes all day), here is some information which may be of use to those of you thinking of using the iPad in a business environment.

Firstly the issue of WIFI. The only issue I am aware of is that the iPad occasionally forgets the login password and does not seem to track the best signal if you move from signal area to signal area within a building. It is a minor issue, does not really cause me any problems and the assurance is that this will be fixed. I can see no reason to doubt this as it’s little sister the iPhone does not suffer the same issue. 

Secondly business use – you hear “It’s all games” – no it isn’t – though some of the games are excellent – no doubt about it but with 200,000 apps you’d expect a lot of games.  I have asked our head office who normally send me reams and reams of paper to simply stop – and all my papers now go onto the company extranet  (Sharepoint).  I receive automatic email notification of the availability of documents and as long as I’m within range of a WIFI signal I can download using the likes of the GoodReader program (a bargain at 59p) and store the docs locally on the iPad. The largest document I’ve had the pleasure of using was 95 megabytes comprising over 400 pages of scanned documents – just about the worse combination…. No problem. I also use another package which cost peanuts to let me scribble on PDFs and open multiple documents at once.

Thirdly multitasking – after extensive use I have to say I do not miss the ability to do umpteen jobs at once – the ONE thing I’d like is to run SKYPE constantly in the background – and that of course will come in the autumn update. Most programs start up where they left off so they may as well be multitasking – but without the overhead.

“They say” iPad is not compatible with Microsoft… rubbish – I regularly open the latest DOCX files from Office 2007 as well as spread-sheets and other documents. At least one program can SAVE in these formats.

Specifically for use in meetings, the (realistically achieved) 10 hour battery life (including watching video) makes it possible to do an all-day meeting without a cable in sight. Those who lug around heavy bags full of laptops, power supplies and endless paperwork look on with envy. Armed with properly bookmarked PDF files I can view and search through large documents more quickly than with paper.

What about FLASH – well, I’d MUCH prefer if the iPad could handle flash, but not at any price and Flash does tend to be jerky on mobiles… considering that YouTube, Blip and others now offer iPad compatibility and even the BBC iPlayer is now iPad compatible, it hopefully won’t be long before that issue goes out of the window. You can watch a good number of the freeview channels including BBC News 24, for free on the iPad given a free program to do so, not to mention most radio stations.

When in Spain, as they say… I have a (small) place in Spain and last week I was other there. The iPad can’t handle dongles but I have a 3G dongle and I simply put the Sim into a phone which has WIFI and using a cheap program made the phone look like a WIFI access point – others may prefer to get the 3G version of the iPad itself  – as I already have a phone I didn’t fancy 2 subscriptions and annoying Apple won’t let you tether an iPhone to an iPad.   Skype and GotoMeeting work well – saving a fortune in calls when overseas as long as there is WIFI available. Emails using Microsoft Exchange, Google mail and others work absolutely fine as indeed do Exchange calendars and contacts. For streaming podcasts, I generally keep them on my PC and use STREAMTOME to listen to them on the iPAD (saves filling it up with audio and video).

Do I have any issues with the product? Of course I do – why on EARTH didn’t Apple put a forward-facing camera in for Skype etc. But them the iPhone 4 has that… Also being able to read memory sticks would have been nice but why not go the whole hog and put in Windows? Erm, no! The fact is that Apple have a great niche product on their hands which is, if you believe the hype selling very well thank you. Almost everyone I know who I’ve shown it to in business and otherwise wants one – I should have been a salesman but I’m NOT.

Of course, if something else comes along that’s better and cheaper I‘m a ruthless consumer with no brand loyalty… but from what I’ve seen, hands on reviews of what would appear to be alternatives have fallen apart due to poor video or other issues. For now, Apple are onto a winner – their shares don’t look too bad either (I don’t have any of those either).