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iPhones and lizard brains

A friend in Tallahassee broke his iPhone and wanted me to talk him out of buying a Samsung Galaxy S5 Active. I failed, but he likes the phone. Here’s how he rationalizes his purchase.

I feel like with the money spent I am getting a new toy per se to play with, whereas the iPhone I kind of think of it like this, you have this pretty, reliable, and safe girlfriend that you know won’t let you down (iPhone), and then you meet this exotic stripper (Samsung) and your practical side says “stay with the reliable” but your lizard brain is telling you to go with the stripper, and you know it can cause you some heartbreak down the road but it might be worth it in the short term haha!

I love it.

Paranoia+

The squealing of the Internet over Google’s purchase of Nest baffles me. Sure it’s not exactly their mandate of organizing the world’s information, but I fail to see the pants-wetting terror of an advertising company having access to my most personal integer: the temperature of my living room. It looks like another attempt by Google to get its hands an excellent hardware manufacturer ala Motorola. Even in an apartment I desperately want a Nest thermostat and some of those Protect smoke detectors.

Backup

Insurance won’t cover Hello Games office flood, dev says

Hello Games’ studio was flooded on Christmas Eve after a nearby river broke its bank, resulting in the loss of computers, furniture and personal items.

Backup. Then backup again. Then offsite backup. Then rotate offsite backup.

I wish some news article would mention if the Hello Games team was using offsite backup. It seems dangerous to store your game code on Dropbox or even in a private Github repository, but the physical world is equally happy to destroy your possessions.

OpenEmu

Sorry, did I say having a Mac mini server was boring? I was wrong. Thanks to OpenEmu it’s fun and exciting! And fun. With a Wii Remote and a Mac you can use the most beautiful, smooth, and functional multiple emulator system on the planet.

So... beautiful...

Yeah, it looks like Plex and iTunes had a baby. But it’s a native Mac app and centralizes a dozen different classic systems. There’s fullscreen support and good performance and no lag! Even the preferences menu is a joy to behold. I’m overwhelmed.

Mulling Mac mini

I’m trying to remember why I need this Mac mini.

I bought it last year to serve as a hub for classic games once it became clear that the Ouya was an underpowered laggy mess with awful emulation software. But it turns out the Mac’s controller lag is worse. Plus I failed to index my Wii Virtual Console library. Everything I want to play is already there and lag-free through a Classic Controller.

I could display photos… except my Apple TV already does that.

iOS 7 adoption

Apple’s App Store Usage Numbers Suggest iOS 7 Adoption at 74 Percent

Remember those people who thought iOS 7 adoption would be slower than iOS 6’s last year because people would reject the new UI design? Didn’t happen.

Source: Daring Fireball

Tons of people are upgrading to iOS 7, that’s undeniable. It has a lot of great new features like Control Center and background app updating. It also features a hideous design that’s somewhere between Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Android’s Holo but without the polish of either. Not hard to go on Dribbble and find better iOS 7 designs.

What if people did reject the new design? How would we know?

Marketing is a feature

Some things about the smartphone wars are objective. The Nexus 5 has a larger screen than the iPhone 5s, while the iPhone has a fingerprint sensor and the Nexus doesn’t. If those were the only two differences of the devices you’d choose which one is most important to you and that’d be the end of it.

Our digital computing world is hardly that binary (cough). Each type of phone has lots of features, some you can compare (processor, RAM, screen size) and others you can’t always line up (user experience, app quality, privacy). So we have endless debates about which phone is better because of which reasons. Android phones typically win on objective features and iPhones tend to win on the softer, subjective ones.

Why is Apple General Grievous?

iPad Air

What surprises you about the iPad Air is how small it feels.

For the most part that’s intentional. The side bezels are smaller, the back is thinner, the batteries and screen are lighter. But the effect is to make the apparent size of the screen about 20% smaller. You marvel at the feel of the device in your hands, then wonder why they’re charging the same price for less pixels.

Except… oh, wait. Yeah.

In theory I still hate iOS 7 with the burning passion of a thousand fiery suns, but after converting my iPhone to the new operating system I’m running out of steam. It’s still bad in many ways, but there are some thoughtful touches.

Reformat syndrome

You know the worst thing about owning an Apple product? They tend to work all the time.

Hey, quit giggling. For the easiest proof that any activity repeated enough times becomes a habit, consider that I’m apparently compelled to reformat my computing devices at least once every six months. When OS X Mountain Lion came out, I reformatted. I do it to my iPhone and iPad every time there’s a major version number upgrade. I’ve even done it to my Xbox 360, moving my saved games onto the internal memory, wiping the external hard disk, then moving my data back and setting the machine back to factory specs. All of it’s totally pointless. My devices run just as well as they did before, but now my brain can rest.

Sweet soothing progress bar

At the Nexus of madness

My first day with the Nexus 7 included two epiphanies. “Oh, I get it now,” spoken slowly. Then later and more frantically, “how do they live like this?”

Yeah, it’s bad. But not all bad.

I’ve dabbled very briefly in Android before: gawking at other friends’ huge phones, trying to help a coworker get her mail widget working, drooling over the esoteric 8pen keyboard. An iOS stalwart since the early days, I’ve always wondered about the grass on the other side.

nexus-7-angled

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