Gorgeous house. I love the layout and the bar is to die for.
I came across this article on Kotaku the other day and felt compelled to respond. Super Mario's creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, said that people just need to give the Wii U time before it's declared a failure. He likens the slow take to the console to that of the DS.
I just don't think he gets it and neither does Nintendo and here's why:
I got the 360 first; it was a holiday gift from my parents. I had asked for them to either get me the 360 or the PS3 and they chose the 360. MicroCenter had some incredible deal where my Mom was able to sign up for their store credit card and get a ridiculous deal on the 360, even if she never made another purchase on the card or cancelled it, which she did. The PS3 had only been out for a few months and in a major blunder, Sony, already behind, priced the PS3 way too high. Combined with the deal at Microcenter, my Mom made the decision.
Now, before this generation of consoles came out, I was a PlayStation guy. I owned the original PlayStation and the PS2 and I even got my PS2 professionally colored by Colorware. I never owned the original Xbox. So to go from the Sony world to the Microsoft world was quite a change. I'd owned several other systems earlier- NES, Genesis, N64- but considered myself a Sony guy at that point.
But, I really like the 360. It's really good. The controller feels far more natural than the Sony controllers I'd gotten used to. Microsoft has made the Xbox better and better through software updates. Yes, I was RROD'd several times but Microsoft always acknowledged the problem was theirs and replaced my Xbox promptly. When my extended warranty finally ran out, I ended up buying one of the 250GB slims, which I just love.
Along the way, I purchased a PS3 and Wii on my own. I had wanted the PS3, as I mentioned, but I didn't see a good enough reason to pick one up without some extra money lying around. When I finally had some extra cash, I decided to pick one up, mainly because everyone said it was actually the best BluRay player around and I was tired of the sluggish performance of my Sharp and Sony standalone BluRay players. I figured there'd be a few PS3 exclusives I'd want and bit the bullet. SOCOM: Confrontation was one of those games I figured I'd be enjoying (I did not, it was awful.)
And then I also picked up a Wii. I'd played it a few times at friends' houses and it was a great group machine. We actually turned Wii bowling into a drinking game that was a lot of fun. (For those playing at home, your opponents drink when you get a strike. But when you get a spare or less, YOU drink.) I picked up an extra Wiimote and nunchuck, the Wii Zapper, and a classic controller. The Zapper came with Link's Crossbow Training and I also picked up Medal of Honor: Heroes 2. Like all new toys, it was great at first. But the party didn't last long.
I noticed I was really only playing the Wii when I had friends over. And, we were only playing Wii bowling. Now obviously, part of that is my fault since I didn't buy more games. The problem was that I didn't want to buy any more. The Wii just felt a generation behind. There was no HD, which I was used to on the 360 and PS3, and like it or not, graphics and visuals still matter. Are they the only thing that matters? Of course not, but they're what initially draw you in, and frankly, playing games that are more realistic and in HD is more fun than standing around waving my arms. The gameplay was clearly different thanks to the introduction of the Wiimote. Were there some games that I could have played with the classic controller? Probably, but that kind of would defeat the purpose of the Wii and why would I want to play on a machine with an inferior processor and no HD? I could go on about the poor multiplayer connectivity, the store, the lack of multimedia options that the 360 and PS3 have, and then some, but I'm going to try and wrap this up.
The moral is that I sold my Wii and I feel burned. Now, Nintendo has come out with the Wii U and they're confused why no one is buying it. It's because of people like me who feel burned by Nintendo and don't want to waste our money. You can hop onto any post about games on sites like The Verge or Engadget and you'll find many, many people like me talking about how their Wiis have become dust magnets. The Wii U just doesn't have anything that enticing to me to make me want to buy it. The Wii U only now sort of has the features that the 360 and PS3 have had for years. The Wii U feels like it should have been the Wii. Now of course we all know Nintendo made plenty of money on the Wii, but at what cost? It feels like they traded short-term profits over long-term customer relationships. I'm really not sure that I'll ever buy a Nintendo product again because of the bad taste the Wii has left in my mouth. I bought it because it looked fun and I figured I'd get lots of usage out of it, but the reality is that I didn't. The experience just doesn't compare to that of the 360 or the PS3.
The Wii U is just too little, too late. I don't think I'm the only one who feels that way.
So, yes, this is my first post in quite some time. Life has caught up with me and I simply haven't been as interested in blogging as much as I thought I would be. However, I'm going to attempt to change that. I'm not pretending that I'm going to blog every day, or every week, or even every month and that's OK. I'll blog when I'm damn well ready!
In any "case," I was so excited by something that I feel selfish keeping it all to myself. As you'll see from my last post, I was thinking about picking up the iPhone 4S, and well, I did- white, 32GB, AT&T. It's great, though not perfect and I probably won't make a dedicated post about it since it's pretty much old news at this point. *NOTE* This is going to be a long post so, ye been warned!
Since I got the 4S, I've kept it naked, which is pretty much what I've done with most of my iPhones. I've had a couple cases here and there on earlier models, but never seem to keep them on for very long. Part of it is my resistance to cover up the natural beauty of the iPhone. I feel the design, especially in this generation, is exceptional and it just feels wrong to cover up something so nice. I will wholeheartedly admit that I buy many things because of their design and aesthetics and so I'm very hesitant to cover up any of my products for the most part.
I have dropped the 4S once, which put a couple of small chips/nicks into it but nothing really major. But I will say that the 4S, with its glass back, has this feeling of slipperiness and that it could fly out of my hand at any moment. After 10-11 months of ownership, I decided to start looking for a case.
I'm not sure if there's any singular catalyst, but over the last year or so, I've decided to become more of a minimalist and am attempting to pare down the things I own such that I just have the essentials. Instead of owning a lot of things and stuff, I'd rather buy a few good, reliable things. So I'm now more interested in spending a little more money on quality products and just needing one or two than buying a whole bunch of things that will just break down or need to be replaced.
In pursuit of my minimalist lifestyle, I've wanted to try and slim down what I carry in my pockets on a daily basis. I've removed much of the contents of my wallet so that I'm only carrying just what I need. I've removed several items from my keychain as well. With that goal in mind, I set out to find a slim iPhone case that could actually double as a wallet so that I could potentially carry even fewer things in my pockets.
I was looking for a traditional case form-factor that would provide some protection and have storage on the back for a few cards and cash. I looked at several models before deciding on the iLid MK-1 wallet case. There were just so many negatives with the other cases I looked at, which ranged from them being bulky, ugly, not offering protection, not having enough storage, unusual card-loading mechanisms, or just poor design. The iLid looked like the perfect solution for what I wanted. It had a modicum of protection, storage for a few cards and a money clip, extra storage for a key or memory card, great design, and is allegedly, the "world's thinnest iPhone wallet." As a bonus, you can open the lid and use it as a kickstand. It's made by a company that was successfully funded via Kickstarter, so I should have tempered my expectations somewhat, but let's just say, I was sorely disappointed.
Receiving the case as a birthday gift, I made sure to carefully inspect it before taking into the wild. While the packing was lovely, that's about the only good thing about it. First, the images that were used in the campaign, on their website, and the box are flat out lies. They've since changed their images, but in the initial images, they made it appear that you could simply fold cash bills in half and slip them into the money clip built into the lid. It turns out, this is simply a Photoshopped image. There was just no way you could physically fit cash bills in there in that manner. This means that you'd have to fold and reposition your cash which means you're not going to be able to get much in there.
Second, I simply couldn't keep all of my cards in there, even without using the cash. Now this isn't totally their fault, as I was trying to fit slightly more than what they recommended, but not by much. My slimmed down card loadout consists of one credit card, one ATM card, my ID and a NYC Metrocard. Anyone who has familiarity with Metrocards knows just how thin they are to the point where they basically take up no space at all. I'm pretty much carrying only 3 cards, which really isn't much. I suppose I could have a combined credit/ATM card, but that's not really part of my financial setup and is another post for another day. In any case, if you carry more than 2 cards, which is probably most people, this case isn't a good choice.
Lastly, and most surprisingly, I discovered that the hole that's been cut out for the iPhone's camera is so poorly designed that you cannot take a photo using the flash without your picture being blurred out by the case. This is really just insult to injury. Yeah, sure, I guess I could just take photos without the flash or take the phone out of the case when I need the flash, but c'mon, man! This was hugely disappointing and so I contacted the manufacturer with my list of complaints and they offered a full refund, no questions asked, so kudos to them for that.
But in the end, I was now left without a case and it doesn't look like anyone has adequately solved this issue in a way that works for me personally. I decided that I'd just get a normal case and look for a slim wallet later on. I've got my eyes on the Slim by Suprgood, but unfortunately, I missed the Kickstarter campaign for them and they aren't taking regular orders yet.
Anywho, I stumbled upon a gorgeous looking case by Urban Armor Gear, being sold via Fab.com. They come in a wide variety of colors and I went with white since I went with the white iPhone. With refund in hand, my gift-giver purchased this instead. (An aside- I love Fab, but their shipping is terribly slow. I know they're working on it and are investing in improving shipping times, but just keep this in mind. I've ordered a few things from them and the shipping is painfully slow. Then again, everything seems slow compared to 2-day shipping via Amazon Prime.)
When it arrived, I couldn't await to tear it open and I was not disappointed with what I found. The Navigator is just incredible to look at. It has this military, tactical design that just screams, "Look at me!" It looks like a custom molded gun case that you might keep an M4 or AR-15 stored in. It's made of a hard plastic that's easy to grip and feels very solid. There are these tiny, faux screw holes that look like the proprietary screws that Apple put on the bottom of the 4S. The company's UAG logo is prominently displayed on the back and there's a large cutout for the iPhone's camera.
One subtle detail that has quickly become a favorite of mine is the lip that runs along the front and back of the case. It raises the case up and allows you to put your iPhone down but not actually have the screen or the back of the case touch the surface it's on. It's just a simple, little thing but alleviates worry about damaging the phone or the case. No, it's not going to protect a direct impact to the screen, but you don't have to worry when you put your phone face down. And that's something I find myself doing often because I just love looking at the case.
The inside has a textured coating and a structure that gives the impression that the phone is secure from shocks and drops, not that I plan to deliberately test this out. But, I feel confident that the phone is going to be well protected. The top and the bottom of the case are somewhat flexible and the bottom is the only place where I worry about longevity since it's not reinforced. I could see it potentially snapping with lots of pressure or from constantly taking the case on and off.
That leads me to another point- I had a bit of difficulty removing the phone from the case. The one time I did it, the black plastic ring that goes in the housing for the camera hole popped out when I finally removed the phone from the case. I was able to easily snap it back in, but you should note that this case isn't really suited for putting on and off very often. It's best to leave it on all the time, which is what I'm doing, and fortunately, I don't really have any reason to take it off.
The top button is really great and I've had no trouble pushing it and it gives a very satisfactory feeling when you use it. The volume buttons on the side are also easy to push, but they are very close together, separated only by a thin piece of rubber and so it can be tricky to make sure that you're pushing the one you really want. The volume/ringer switch is uncovered and is relatively easy to push but could be tricky if you have gloves on.
The headphone jack has ample space to fit a variety of headphone connectors. The bottom leaves the speakers and the 30-pin connector open for use. What I really like about this is that there's no flap that can get in the way when you're trying to charge or dock your phone. I keep my phone docked every night next to my bed, so for me, this is huge.
As I mentioned before, the camera hole is large enough for the lens and the flash and I've had zero problems taking flash photos unlike with the iLid.
Bundled with the case is a screen protector that you're supposed to stick on. Being clumsy, I ended up with an air bubble covering the screen so I had to peel it off. The problem with these things is that they're generally only good for one application so I had to toss it. I don't think it was going to give me much protection anyway, so no big deal. They also included a little cloth to wipe the screen, a nice touch.
There are other cases out there that offer more protection and this isn't one of those, but I feel confident that for everyday use, this case will offer adequate protection and style. I will definitely be looking into picking up another UAG case if and when I upgrade to an iPhone 5 or whatever comes next.
OK, this has been long enough, so ciao!
I think the 4S is an underwhelming release overall as a tech fan and very much so if you have an iPhone 4. But I think for those of us, with 3GSes, it's a very good upgrade. Since we have a pretty good thing going with our Family Plan and being grandfathered into our Unlimited data plans, we aren't going to go switch carriers anytime soon. That being said, I had been looking into some Android devices a few months back to see what is out there. The best one out there seems to be the Samsung Galaxy S II. It has a few specs that are better than the 4S, but many of them are right on par now. Apple essentially caught up with it and a couple other devices, rather than leaping them like they normally do. I think that's where the disappointment stems from. People are used to Apple completely jumping the competition or redefining the market and with this release they've merely caught up, at least hardware-wise.
For me, the biggest issue is that my headphone jack has not been working since around Jan/Feb. I can't listen to anything with headphones which is extremely frustrating, so I want to get a new phone. I waited specifically for the announcement of this one to see what Apple would do. While the Galaxy S II looks great, the only major thing that would really convince me to switch is the fact that it can do 4G. The problem is that 4G is still not very widespread and from what I've read, most of the time you end up getting kicked off onto 3G. Verizon's LTE is supposed to be a bit better, but as I already said, we aren't switching networks so it's a moot point.
I'm very much tied into the Apple ecosystem now with the iPad 2 and my Macbook Pro and iOS 5 looks really great. Android still can't interact with the rest of my Apple products quite as well so the cost of switching to a new OS is hard for me to justify. Since most of the specs of the 4S are on par with the Galaxy II, the only real big reason to switch is the 4G, which I've already mentioned.
The 4S will certainly be faster than what I have with the new processor. It also has the better screen that the 4 has. And the cameras are clearly way better. I don't even have a point-&-shoot camera so this would end up being my camera. The Siri thing is nice to have but isn't necessarily something that I need. I know that there are a few features in iOS 5 that won't be available on the 3GS but I can't remember what they are. The integration with iCloud will also be nice as well.
I'll read some more thoughts and reviews on it before making a decision, but will probably get one. From the comments I've read so far the consensus seems to be that no one with an iPhone 4 should get it but people with a 3G/3GS should. I'm also going to take a look at the Nexus Prime, which should be announced next week. I simply am tired of not being able to use my headphones with it when I have all my music on it so I need a new phone soon regardless.
I finally bit the bullet and splurged for an iPad. I'd been holding out on the first generation as I didn't feel like I needed an iPad and wanted to see what the next generation would be like. Once I saw what the new one was like, I was definitely interested in picking one up. Do I need one? Absolutely not. Do I want one and am I glad I have it? Absolutely.
I picked up the 32GB in white, wifi only. It was tough to choose between storage capacity and wifi vs. 3G, but storage won. I've got a 32GB iPhone and have only 3GB left so I knew I could easily use the space. I figured I can pretty easily get by with just wifi since most of the places I'm going to use it will have it. I'm primarily going to use it at home, at my parents' house, in the office, or at friends' houses so I should be covered. Worse comes to worst, I'll jailbreak my phone and tether, so long at at&t doesn't thwart me.
So far I love it and it does exactly what I need it to do. In fact, I'm typing this post directly from the iPad with the onscreen keyboard and the Squarespace app. One thing that surprised me when I picked up the iPad and started looking for apps was how few iPad-specific apps there are. I naively assumed that most, if not all, iPhone apps had iPad counterparts. That's turning out not to be the case. A majority of the apps I use on my phone don't have corresponding iPad apps. There are many notable apps that I could list and I really can't understand why they don't exist. I've had to keep a number of iPhone apps on here just to have access to them, which sucks. I really hope these will be developed. The experience of using iPhone apps on the iPad isn't all that great. It's better than nothing, but still sucks.
Can the iPad replace a computer? At this point, I don't think so. When iOS 5 comes out, I might be able to answer that differently, but for now I'll have to say to keep your computer. Surprisingly, it's Apple who is making the case for keeping a computer. Right now you still need one just to set the iPad up. iOS 5 will make it less necessary but until you can set it up without a computer, this is a no-brainer. Not to mention, how are you supposed to set up an Airport or other wireless network without a computer? Until Apple comes out with an app to set up an Airport device, you'll have to have a computer around.
Pairing the iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard would certainly help to make a convincing case for going without a computer. The built-in onscreen keyboard is quite good when you're in landscape mode, but if you're going to be doing a lot of typing you're definitely going to want a physical keyboard. There are a number of cases that have built-in keyboards, like this one from Logitech, that would make for a good setup. I've also looked at a few roll-up keyboards that I can stuff in a small pouch, but am a little skeptical about real world use. Though they aren't terribly expensive so I may pick one up. For now, I'm going to stick with the Apple smart cover (in blue) which is amazing. It really has so many ways to use it and is great. My only gripe is that it really does not protect the back at all. I'm looking at two cases that protect just the back and allow you full use of your smart cover, one called the Cover Buddy, and one called the BaseCase. I haven't taken a good look but will order one soon.
For now, I'm just enjoying this thing and finding out cool new apps and uses for it every day. Is it a must-have? No, but it's great to have. If you can swing for one, you won't regret it.