Tag Archives: Product Review

Mon, October 13th, 2014 by Graves and Allen

APPLE iPhone 6Plus

Photo of IphonesI got my 6 Plus iPhone about 10 days ago. It seems gigantic next to my iPhone 5S; but is only a bit larger than my Galaxy S5. I had some problems moving my information from the 5s to the 6Plus and ultimately had to do it manually (set the phone up as new and then install everything rather than just move the stored information on the 5S backup to the 6 Plus). In the long run, I am OK with that for two reasons: (1) it gave me the opportunity to clear some junk out of the phone that I have not used in a very long time or that has ceased to be useful to me (always a good thing); and (2) it gave me the opportunity to learn how much faster that chore has become with the 6 Plus by comparison to the last time I had to do it (iPhone 5 about 1.5 years ago).

Getting used to the 6 Plus is interesting. I have fewer pockets in which it fits and I read that others had problems with the phone bending if put in a back pocket and sitting down. As I would NEVER put my phone in a back pocket and sit on it, I did not find that issue significant; but I have seen a lot of people (especially those born in the last 20 years or so) doing just that. I keep mine in a vest pocket or a jacket pocket about 85% or the time I do not have it in my hand. Most of the other 15% it stays in my brief case. I will probably look around for decent leather holster that will mount the phone horizontally on my belt to allow me to carry it that way on occasion as well. As yet, I have not found one but Colonel Littleton (one of my favorite leather case makers) is reported to be working on one.

I love the larger display. Everything is easier to read; and the virtual keyboard is much easier to use than on the 5S (I have large fingertips and it makes it easier to get the right key when I use my fingers instead of a stylus). The phone is noticeably faster when doing various chores for me (opening programs, storing data, etc. I did not notice any substantial differences in wireless access or in cellular access between the 6 Plus and the 5S, although the 6 Plus is supposed to show some improvement. Where I REALLY see a difference is in the battery life per charge. That is significant to me as it was one of the main reasons I chose to go with the 6 Plus over the 6. While the larger battery in the 6 should show improvement over the 5S, the 6 Plus has an even larger battery, only some of which extra power goes to the improved and expanded display. Just to give you some idea of the difference, I charge the 6Plus once a day and generally have juice left over at the end of the day. I had to charge the 5S at least twice a day. Yes, I read the projected usage on the Apple website. I attribute the lower usage statistics I am observing to two facts (1) those numbers represent optimal circumstances, with little or no other activity to draw on the phone’s resources; and (2) my heavy usage of certain programs that draw power. If I leave the two phones overnight starting with 100% charge. I will have somewhere in the mid 90 percent range left on the 6 Plus and somewhere in the mid 50 percent range on the 5S the next morning (about 7 hours later).

In terms of form, I like the style of the 6 Plus better than the 5S; it is thinner and more svelte, despite the larger display (which makes it longer and wider).

FYI, I do like iOS 8, but remain frustrated that Apple released it, announcing a number of features that were not yet available. I think that Apple should have held it back until it was ready to release it with all of the promised features working. That’s just me, however.

One word of warning, The combination of iOS 8.0.2 and the 6 Plus resulted in a breaking of the connection to the built-in hands free system in my car (I drive a 2013 Acura). The folks at Acura knew of the problem, as they had complaints from others. They said they were waiting for a fix from Apple. I talked to the people at Apple and, sure enough, they had a work-around to address the issue. I am told that iOS 8.1 will fix the problem once it is released. No ETA on the release date. Interestingly, I also have 8.0.2 on my iPhone 5S and it continues to work flawlessly with the car’s handsfree system.

Bottom line, would I get the 6 Plus again? Yes. Would I recommend it to family and friends? I would say get the 6 or the 6 Plus depending on your need for the stronger battery and the helpfulness of the larger screen. There are no other significant differences between the 6 and 6 Plus other than that the 6 Plus uses optical processes to steady the camera during video recording, while the 6 continues to use digital processes. Additionally, the screen resolution on the 6 Plus is a tad higher than on the 6, but the net effect to the eye is that they look virtually the same. except for the size.

I have posted a picture (courtesy of Apple, Inc.) of the four current iPhone models to give you a rough comparison as to size. The 5c and 5S are the same size (4″ display); the 6 is larger (4.7″ display) and the 6 Plus (5.5″ display), the largest.

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Fri, May 16th, 2014 by Graves and Allen

Transporter

No, this is not about a new sic-fi movie.  It is sci-fact (tech-fact).  I have played with several devices to have my own cloud storage system over the last few years.  I recently moved to another level with the Transporter Sync.  I bought two of these devices for $99 each.  I plugged them into the wall, plugged in an ethernet cable from my router at my home and my office and added two 4TB Seagate USB 3.0 Drives (Costco for $149 each) and for $500 I have my own cloud storage system with physical and geographic redundancy.  I did it on an experimental basis to see how it worked.  I like it enough that I will probably add a third device and put it in another state to give me a third backup server and better geographic redundancy.

I like the Transporter for a variety of reasons.  First and foremost, I like it because it works.  I also like it because it works well and because it is truly plug and play.  Set up could not be much easier.  I told you about the connection process.  The only other thing left to do to set it up is download the software and install it on your computer, then open it up and set up an account and claim your server to connect it to your account.  The software and the devices work hand in hand so that whatever you put on the hard drive connected to one Transporter gets transported to the hard drive connected to the other Transporter(s) in your system.

You can set up different types of folders for different purposes.  For example, one type of folder will store information only on the hard drives connected to the Transporters in your system.  Another type of folder will move it to the other hard drives connected to the Transporters in your system, but also to the Transporter folders on other devices linked to your account.  You can also set up some folders to share with others, if you wish.  All in all, it has proven a reliable and flexible system.

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Mon, April 14th, 2014 by Graves and Allen

iPads and Labradors

OK, it has been a while since I had time to post, but I am going to start again, now that my books are published.  This post should interest a number of vendors.  My wife left her iPad out where our young (7 month old) Labrador Retriever, Buck could get his mouth on it.  Buck has already established that, like his guardians, he prefers Apple products (he has been trying for an iPhone for the last month).  Anyway, for those of you not aware of this, Labs are wonderful dogs, but unstoppable (and quite strong) chewers. The Lab chewed through the case and the iPad, resulting in the interesting side note for my wife, a retired school teacher:  She can tell people that the dog ate her iPad.   My wife’s misadventure resulted in several conclusions.

1.  Targus cases are pretty decent, and, as a general rule, fairly protective of iPads;  but they cannot withstand the onslaught of a young Lab exercising his chewing instinct.

2.  Gorilla glass may be tough and damage resistant, but, it cannot withstand the onslaught of a young Lab exercising his chewing instinct.  He shattered the gorilla glass in the lower right corner and it sent spiderweb cracks through the rest of the device.

3. I have liked the  Zagg Invisible Shield and recommended it for some time.  I put one of them on the iPad before giving it to my wife.  Although the shield could not protect the iPad from the Lab’s jaws, it did accomplish two very important things.  First, it held all the gorilla glass shards in place so that the dog’s mouth did not get cut and neither did my wife’s hands when she picked up the iPad to assess its condition.  Second, it held everything in place, allowing the iPad to continue to work over the weekend, until my wife could get to the local Apple Store and talk to the Genius people. Interestingly, while the cracks in the gorilla glass allowed air to get in and cause some bubbling o the Invisible Shield, I did not detect any teeth marks on it when I examined it.  I didn’t see Buck attacking the iPad, so I don’t know if that results from something intrinsic to the Shield or from the fact that the iPad cover was closed and he put enough pressure on the outside cover to shatter the gorilla glass display.

4.  While I do not normally think that the extra warranty protection that computer and other electronics manufacturers offer are particularly good investments,  I have made it a practice to recognize that highly mobile devices like iPads and iPhones are more likely to suffer damage than other devices.  As a result, I have purchased the extra protection from Apple for my iPads and iPhones.  My wife took the iPad to the local Apple Store this morning and came back an hour later with a new iPad.  They charged her $49 for the exchange.  All in all, I think that is a pretty fair deal.  Kudos to Apple customer service.  They got that one right!

 

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