Ocvember Update

I can’t believe tomorrow is November (already). The signs are everywhere: the holidays are coming. (Cheeses, the local grocery [chain] put out Christmas displays during the first week of October – that’s JUST WRONG… wasn’t the “thing” to wait, at least, until AFTER Halloween?

I am stuck in tradition. Like putting up Christmas decorations AFTER Thanksgiving. Traditions: like using turning signals while driving… Continue reading “Ocvember Update”

November Update #2: iPhone X Review

OK, so I’m not the first person to offer a review of the iPhone X and I doubt that I’ll be the last!

I believe I’m becoming a bit jaded: I received my “X” on Friday, the first day it shipped. I did NOT set it up (or even open the box) until Saturday. Yawn.

Out-of-the-box set-up was crazy simple. The device seemed to anticipate EACH step from getting facial recognition set to restoring apps from my old “7+” … except … (and this is B-I-G!) Once set-up was complete, the “X” seemed operational. Note: I said “seemed” … It was NOT until the following Monday, after dropping my wife off at the commuter train (BART, for those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area), and driving home that I realized the “X” didn’t “bing” my wife’s usual message that she was “on board and rolling.”

Hmmm…???

When I arrived home, I checked the phone. The Message app indicated “awaiting authorization” (?!) SO did the Phone app ?!

Apparently, I had been carrying around a “brick”. The final step in the set-up was contacting the carrier (in this instance Sprint) and telling them to authorize the device.

Would have been nice to read that I must contact the carrier to authorize the device somewhere in the set-up instructions (I don’t remember reading any set-up instructions!)

I’m still adjusting to the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between the “X” and the “7+”. So far, so good. The facial recognition is excellent! Swipping up in lieu of the double press on the Home button to “Close” apps is taking a while to adjust to and switching among apps is easy and fast!

I’ll use it more and add to this brief review at a later date.

Isn’t it a GREAT time to be alive?!!

August Update

“TechTalk” is a bi-monthly gathering that I host to discuss all things techie that might be of value to the Baby Boomer generation. Today was our first August meeting and it was a winner!! We were introduced to “ELLI-Q” from Intuition Robotics.

“ELLI-Q™ is an active aging companion that keeps older adults active and engaged.”

Although NOT available to the public as yet, the company appears to have an excellent outreach program that introduces the concept and one of the original working prototypes to groups of older adults. These presentations take the form of a focus group. Our presenter, Danielle Ishak – User Experience Researcher – provided us with company background and then dove right into the gist of ELLI-Q stopping along the way to ask for questions and suggestions, likes and dislikes.

It’s a clever device that “emotes” with easily-interpreted gestures and sounds. She speaks, similar to Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Assistant, however she’s much more. Once “on-boarded”, ELLI-Q begins to “learn” her owner’s likes and dislikes and begins to – proactively – make suggestions for anything from playing music (“Shall I play Iron Butterfly’s In a gadda da vida?”) to playing games (“Hey! You’re going to be playing bridge with the girls this afternoon, would you like to practice for awhile?”).

She’ll also do all the routine things like reminding you to take your medications and to go for a walk and she’ll monitor your environment and your activity to be sure you’re safe. If she detects that something’s not right, she’ll alert whomever you have on her call list.

ELLI-Q is still in beta and the developers are working through kinks while adding new behaviors. And, they’re seeking the input of the folks they want ELLI-Q to live with: us!

Check ELLI-Q out: I’ve included the link above and another here.

June Update #

The Matrix is out of align! I haven’t found any “new” tech worth writing about and THAT’S troublesome.

Hmmm, well, maybe … Apple recently held its annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) whereupon 5600(±) developers descended upon Cupertino, CA to learn about all the new “stuff” Apple is soon to release. I can write about this here because I doubt any of my readers watched the event. My peeps dip a toe in the technological waters and most, infrequently (at first). So, while this is old news to the enthusiast, it’s NEW news to my peeps.

This year Apple presented a few surprises, the highlight of which (IMHO) was “HomePod”: a cylindrical speaker that pushes (reportedly) extraordinary sound into your space. Oh, and it has a built-in “musicologist” to assist you building playlists and providing information about artists, songs, albums, and collections. Oh, this “musicologist” just happens to be Siri, Apple’s voice-assistant a la Amazon Echo and Google Home Assistant. But, it’s a speaker first, musicologist second, and voice-activated computer third.

Interesting concept: rather than go head-to-head with Amazon or Google on the voice-interface of a smart device, go toe-to-toe with Sonos and bring wonderful wireless sound to and throughout your home. Apple wants to automate your home and that’s NOT necessarily a bad thing. HomePod will work with iHome and that’s developing nicely, thank you.

Unfortunately, Apple is late to that game and is playing catch-up HOWEVER, Apple IS Apple and that matters. They CAN COME LATE and still win (again, IMHO) simply because they ARE Apple. We love their devices. We pay their prices. And they know it.

All that being said, it IS a great looking device and reports indicate it sounds great as well! Release is announced as “sometime in December” (Merry Christmas everyone!)

Another interesting introduction was the iMac Pro. Apple finally took a shot at Microsoft’s Surface Studio and it just might get back some who left the fold of cult Mac and jumped to Surface Studio because of its great looks and specs. HOWEVER, the iMac Pro is enough to bring the lost souls back into the fold! Sleek, powerful and aimed squarely at the high-end graphics professional, this iMac hits all the right notes, checks all the right boxes, rings all the right bells … (OK, enough already…)

Finally, an undercurrent of technology that cannot be ignored: AI and machine learning. Apple seems to be doubling-down on AI development and it shows in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. For example, the camera app that, after snapping a photo of a Broadway musical ad in some magazine, will summon the Apple Pay app and ask if you want to purchase tickets and, if you do, for what date(s). Then it will open the calendar app and schedule the event for you. Siri might inquire whether or not you have transportation arranged to attend the event and, if not, ask if you;d like it to arrange some for you.

Extrapolate that interconnectedness … as apps begin to learn your routines and proactively schedule, inquire, and remind, Siri and your device(s) will become increasingly helpful. What a GREAT time to be alive. The technology just keeps getting better and better and more and more helpful!

More on all this later!