Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why I Won't be Buying a New MacBook Pro Just Yet

The new MacBook Pros were released today. This update is iterative rather than revolutionary. As always, the new version of MacBook is faster for the same cost as the older version.

There is a new Thunderbolt/Lightspeed drive (wasn't that a Clint Eastwood movie?) but nothing to use it with yet. There's a better camera built in but I can count the amount of times I've used the existing camera on, well, no more than a number of hands.

I like that the audio in and out are split into two ports again. Nice for musicians. The unit still has firewire (good for family videos) but it also still had a crappy Matshita DVD drive instead of a Blu-Ray player.

The lack of Blu-Ray is getting to be ridiculous.

But the biggest disappointment is that the MacBook Pro still uses a single hard drive. No instant on with a dual drive SSD. I can put in an SSD drive replacement and double the cost of the unit but that's hardly satisfying.

If one was in the market for a new MacBook, this is a nice unit. But there's not enough here to dump an existing recent unit.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Verizon iPhone 4 Review

A couple of years back I wrote and article detailing 10 reasons why I wouldn't buy an iPhone. Most of the issues I had expressed have been fixed with time. The last issue, and my number one reason for not buying an iPhone (or at least one under contract as I did buy a used 2G from a friend) was that it was tied to AT&T. I had described the AT&T service as being pathetic in the area in which I live. It hasn't changed. If I go north from where I live (north is beautiful, south is Detroit - which way would you go?), service is even worse. Anyway, No Service is all you'll see on the phone. Well, those days have changed and now the iPhone can function as a phone.

I ordered my iPhone at 3am on February 3rd along with 250,000 other Verizon customers (this number came from the Verizon customer service rep I chatted with last night, it may not be correct). I got the phone yesterday after chasing down the UPS truck that had it on board. Unlike most others who could activate the phone at home, I had to go into the store. This trip was not a fault with the phone or Verizon, it was because we were switching phone numbers between the family. I almost want to go back to the Verizon store just to see how long the lines are going to get. I know the local store is going to have extra security on hand.

Okay, back to the phone. It's an iPhone 4. Every review you read of the AT&T version still applies (yes, it is that beautiful) but with a couple of ammendments. I have absolutely no antenna issue. I tried my darndest to make the phone drop a call. Isn't happening. My office at work is in the middle of a steel and concrete structure. I get 4 bars of signal strength.

The other evident issue that some have discussed is that it isn't possible to make a call and browse the web at the same time. Well, that's not entirely true. I can make a call and browse the web if I'm on wifi. Given that wifi covers most of the town I'm in, my home and my place of work, I'm not seeing this as an issue for 99% of the time. Of course, I'd prefer that it wasn't an issue ever, but it's not really that big of an issue.

I'm sure there's other blogs out there that will give you a MHz by GB tear down of the phone. I wanted this review to be that of a real user who couldn't use an iPhone before but can now. I've tried all the apps I had on my 2G. They all work exactly the same on the new phone as they did the old phone. One I use a lot is Pennytalk to call back to my family in England (at 2¢ a minute). It works like a charm. There are no junk apps from Verizon included as only Apple apps appear on the phone. I also downloaded Apple's free Find iPhone app that ties into a (free) mobile.me account. That, as with everything else, works like a charm.

I guess we all now know that any shortcomings of previous iPhones were all due to the bad service to which it was tied (yes AT&T, I'm still talking about you). Those shortcomings have gone with addition of Verizon as a service provider.

I wonder what kind of hit Android phones are going to take now that the iPhone is available on reliable network?