Tweaking Tech & The How Much Is Your Time Worth

2014-05-04 Mac Mini OS Refresh - 3
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I have a co-worker whom I tease endlessly because when he switched from iPhone to a Samsung phone, he always seemed to be spending his time tweaking the device to do the things his iPhone used to do. He is happier having a much larger screen for less money. And I’m all about having choices and competition between tech vendors, but the question cannot really be settled based only on the price he paid to bring his new device home. How much time is he spending, as in days, getting the thing to work, and not just setting it up, but also all the endless tweaking? And how much is his time that he’s spending on all of this worth?

Believe me, I know all about tweaking devices because before I went full-time Mac I spent most of my tech-time tweaking my PC’s settings, just to get stuff to work. I may have gotten into tech because I was looking for a better way to do my writing, but I spent most of my time making my desktop theme look really cool and not writing. I may have had many more choices in apps and add-on peripheral devices back in the PC days, but I spent so much more time getting these devices to work, to the point that I became something of a troubleshooting expert, but that’s not why I got the thing in the first place. In terms of hours and days spent looking for answers and tweaking settings, how much did it cost me to get my cheaper PCs to run versus the more expensive Mac equivalents to work?

The irony of all this is that I have an old Mac Mini that I’ve been resisting replacing even though it can’t run the current OS, it can’t handle anymore RAM or hard drive space and is in need of an OS re-fresh because more and more things are beginning to not work. Refreshing the OS wouldn’t be a big deal except for the fact that when I bought it all those years ago I went cheap and only got the CD drive model and now the OS requires a DVD drive to work. So, I just spent the past week trying to figure out how to make this refresh work. Couldn’t find a way to make a bootable USB drive, that didn’t require the missing DVD drive, etc., etc. Yeah, given all of the hours I’ve spent researching and trying different OS imaging methods without success, if my time was only worth $80 an hour (typical tech support fee), I could have bought a new Mac Mini and be done with all this crap. Damn. I hate it sometimes when I’m right about the cost on my own time. To be continued…

Nokia Resorts to FUD Ads

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What does it mean when an advertiser begins his campaign by knocking the other product about issues over two-years old? I thought making the consumer think about the market leader (not your product) was a bad thing. This week Nokia, following phone-partner Microsoft’s lead, dropped a series of FUD ads purporting to be secret behind-the-scenes footage highlighting decisions made at an unnamed company (Apple) proving that this unnamed company (Apple) knew that they were selling defective products. Really? I guess this would work if I just flat out hated all things Apple, because it would reinforce my distrust of them. But then because I’m not told anything about their alternative, I’m just as likely to let myself get talked into buying a Samsung Fablet (aka, the Note). Especially after the “Smoked by Windows Phone” flap (see below). Oops. Fail.

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Loving the Line (Even When I’m Not In It)

Regent Street Apple Store, London by Craig (@flawlessfox)
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In the early hours of Friday morning I was delighted to stumble across tweets and blog posts about the lines that had been forming around the world of mac fans looking to buy the new iPad when their local stores were set to open at 8 A.M. Long the object of ridicule, I’ve come to appreciate what might be called the annual gathering of the tribe to celebrate the newest creation by Apple. And for the most part every time I’ve spent time in the line it’s been fun and even entertaining. Unlike the poor suffering souls depicted in the series of advertisements run by Samsung around the time of the Super Bowl, I haven’t found my friends in the line to be grumpy or bored. Waiting over eight-hours can be extraordinarily taxing on ones feet and body if one didn’t think ahead to bring a camping chair, but five-years after the original iPhone lines in 2007, we’ve figured out how to handle things and enjoy our time in line.

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iCloud Photostream Gets a C-minus

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When I first heard about iCloud’s photostreaming feature I was really hoping that I’d finally have a much better workflow for my photos than being tied to my iPhoto library that was getting much too big for my little macbook air’s little SSD. Sure enough, once I got my macbook air, 27-inch iMac, iPhone and iPad all on iCloud photos taken on my iPhone started magically showing up on all the other devices, just like Apple had promised. Yay! I started imagining that, with all devices being synced, I could just choose the best place to edit and organize my collection and the results would flow across to all the other devices. Well, the images flowed okay.

I started with an image of a restaurant menu from a favorite sushi place using my iPhone’s HD setting, which meant that the iPhone produced two images automatically. Then once I had the images on my iPad I decided to rotate it so that the words were in proper orientation. I did it to both versions of the image. Okay. Now out of the four images I wanted to keep one and toss the other three, but there was no delete option for any of the four images hosted on the photostream. Um… yeah, not good.

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Book Book for iPhone

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This is kind’a scary. Long ago I decided that I should not be ashamed of my continual attraction to computer/iPad/iPhone cases any more than what I’ve noted of the attraction of my female friends to all things shoes and accessories. So here’s my latest acquisition in the world of iPhone 4 cases, the Book Book for iPhone4 by TwelveSouth. My one and only venture in filio/wallet type iphone cases was Griffin Tech’s Elan Passport Wallet, which I only used once or twice and then exiled to the “was a good idea at the time” drawer.

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