Top 10 Apple Products I Am Not Getting for Christmas

iMac2014-500

It’s December 24. Like every Apple fan out there, we’d all like to get a great, cool and new Apple product. Tell you what… it’s not happening this year, unless the Christmas Fairy is extra generous and surprises me. More than likely not.

So without anymore fanfare, here is a list of the top 10 Apple products I am not getting for Christmas:

#10: Apple iPod Classic – Well no one is going to get a brand new Apple iPod Classic this year from Apple or most retailers. Reason? Apple discontinued the venerable little MP3 music player this past fall. Luckily for me I could see this coming and I actually did buy a 160GB model, brand new this past June. So yes, Christmas came early.

#9 Apple MacPro computer – Yes, everyone would love to get an overpriced and overpowered Mac. If I were like making the next Star Wars movie or something, I’d probably have at least one or many like these. Frankly, it’s nice to have but I don’t really need one. The MacPro is the same circular tower that was introduced late last year. It screams.

#8 Apple iPhone 6, 6-Plus, whatever. Actually I don’t need one and its high monthly bill and locked in two-year contract. Never owned an iPhone and don’t intend to get one anytime soon. Surely it is a nice device running Apple’s latest iOS 8x. It does ApplePay and all of that fancy stuff including being a telephone.

#7 Apple Pay – I don’t have any device that supports that. So for now I will continue using old fashioned credit cards and untraceable cash.

#6 Apple iOS8 – Well you can get this free with the purchase of any new iOS device – Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch all come with this. You can also get this free if you own an iOS device that supports it. Sadly, my 4-year old, 4th generation iPod Touch doesn’t support any Apple iOS system higher than 6x. I’m out of the loop.

#5 Apple OSX 10.10.x – Yosemite – Yes, my two MacBook Pros can both support this latest update to Apple’s OSX operating system. It’s free. But guess what? I haven’t bothered downloading it yet. In fact my 15 inch MacBook Pro is still staying with Snow Leopard which was what – OSX 10.6.8. A few years ago I actually bought Mountain Lion which is OSX 10.8.5. It runs on on my smaller MacBook Pro real nice. I’m happy with it. Haven’t found any reason to update. Surely I can update to OSX 10.9.x – Mavericks. I have that. It was free. Just haven’t installed it.

On another note the main reason why I haven’t upgraded to Yosemite is because of all the bad things I heard about iTunes 12x. It does not support the vertical sidebar on the left, which I have used for many years since iTunes 2 or whatever to build many custom playlists. I love playlists. I love easy access to them. iTunes got screwed up after I upgraded to version 11. I think 10.7 was the best but I could not easily downgrade to that after I installed 11x. Sad. Apple has ruined their OSX music player software.

So for now I will not upgrade to Yosemite until perhaps I buy a new Mac, like maybe next year or 2016.

#4 Apple iPod Touch – If Apple comes out with version 6 of this thing I may think of buying one. But that won’t happen this year. Or even next. No one knows. However if Apple does release an iPod Touch 6 I hope it supports ApplePay as well as be backwards compatible to OSX 10.6.x. What I love about the iPod Touch is that it is just like the iPhone except it does’t have a phone nor the high monthly bill for cellular service.

#3 Apple iPads of all Types – A tablet computer is one of those “nice to have” things in life, but frankly I don’t feel a compelling need to own one, much less any iPad that is currently out. All of Apple’s iPads are nice computers. If you have one, I share in your happiness.

#2 Apple MacBook Pro Laptop Computer - I probably don’t need one yet,  since both my 2009 MacBook Pro and 2011 MacBook Pro continue to work and function like champs. However if I had my choice of getting a new MacBook Pro,

I’d definitely get the latest and greatest, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. It is a beautiful computer with a beautiful screen and packed with most of  the latest features. What’s not to like? Oh, that. It doesn’t have built in ethernet or a DVD optical drive. I feel more secure connected to a wired ethernet. There is a workaround if you go through the Thunderbolt port. Not very practical if you want to also connect a Thunderbolt monitor. The DVD thing, I can live without but would be nice to have an internal one like most of my previous Mac laptops. However this Mac is plenty fast, up tp 3.7 ghz depending on which model option you select. Plus all models come with onboard flash memory storage options. Nice.

#1 Apple iMac with 5K Retina Display – Never have been a big fan of the all in one iMac computers. This one however is a stunner. Comes standard with a 27 inch 5K Retina display monitor (built in), standard hybrid fusion drive up to 1TB in size or the option to get an SSD flash drive up to 1TB (I’d go with the SSD). Prices start at $2499 and can easily climb to the low end tiers of owning a MacPro desktop computer. This iMac also comes with built in ethernet which has been a standard for  iMacs for many years now. I hope they continue with this option. You can read more about the 5K iMac at the link provided above.

This all said, here’s wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

* Links to Apple’s website may go out of date without notice.

My New iPod Classic

I now consider myself lucky to have bought an iPod Classic this past summer. With the discontinuation of the iPod Classic, prices for new, unopened iPod Classics in the used market have skyrocketed. I regularly use mine and it is not for sale. Onwards to 40,000 songs!

 

Posted in Apple, Commentary, Computers, iMac, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod, iTunes, Mac OSX, MacBook Pro, MacPro | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Holding on to Your Telephone Landline

In this day of smart iPhone and Androids, is it any wonder that some people don’t find the old fashioned telephone landline relevant anymore? I am a die hard landline user. I don’t own an iPhone or any other wireless phone device. I do have an iPod Touch but it’s not a phone.

I am holding on to my landline because I can be free of phone calls most everywhere else I go. People can call me on the landline and if I am at home, I will answer it. If I am not, well tough luck. I don’t have an answering machine directly wired into the landline. However a few people know my Google phone internet number and they can leave a voice or text message there.

The telephone I use is a General Electric touchtone desk model with speakerphone, auto dial, and at least a dozen memory phone number pre-sets. It doesn’t do the internet, but Google Voice calls can be routed to this phone which means I can still get free long distance to anywhere in the U.S.A. One thing about landlines… the phone service works even when the power goes out. That doesn’t apply to cell phones or the newer Voice Over IP phones.

The bottom line? Are you a landline phone user? I am and will be for the foreseeable future.

Larry Ignacio's Honokaa Plantation Museum

Landline telephones have been around for more than 100 years.

Landline

My GE landline telephone with auto dial, memory presets and speaker. Smartphone not required.

Posted in iPhone, Technology, Telephones | Tagged , ,

Photoshopping Real Women into Cover Models

This is something many people have always known. The popular cover girl model and movie star is not all she seems when presented by the media and marketed for one product or another. Heavy emphasis go into makeup, looks and then post production. With still photography, that means a trip to the nearest Macintosh computer and image alteration with Adobe Photoshop.

Cindy Crawford

I’ve always known about this. Once upon a time many years ago I attended a demo for Photoshop version 3 or 4. There they had a photograph of super model Cindy Crawford. They showed us a video of what they did to her image after a photo shoot. They enhanced her skin, took a few sags off here and there, slimmed a few lines down and sharpened the image. This is all the standard stuff one can do with Photoshop and many other lessor known image editing programs.

Since that time I have always looked at modeling shots and advertising with a jaundiced eye. You should too. Be very skeptical about the images that are presented to you. Most of the time they will have been “photoshopped”.

As a photographer I edit my images all of the time, with either the older version of Photoshop that I own or with Apple’s own iPhoto software that allow me to do basic enhancements such as sharpening, color saturation, shadows and brightness. Many of the photos that I have on my Flickr photo stream are slightly enhanced with digital tools. Such is the power of the Macintosh computer and frankly many other platforms.

Today some women are reacting to being “photoshopped” and prefer being presented as their real selves.

Image manipulation. What do you think about it. Leave a comment.

Waikiki Honolulu 9-5-09

Would this woman look any better if I did extensive photoshopping to this image? I don’t think so.

Posted in Applications, Art, Commentary, Photography, Technology | Tagged , , ,

Aarrgh! Amazon Prime Price Increase

Amazon Cloud Player

I am not very happy that Amazon is increasing the price of Amazon Prime. The service which offers free streaming movies, Kindle books and free shipping on all Amazon.com orders ups its price from $79 to $99 per year. OUCH!

I have a few months to think about this. Hopefully they will come up with some kind of early renewal at the current price. We can hope.

Here is the email I got from Amazon.com today:

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AMAZON.COM
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Dear Customer,

We are writing to provide you advance notice that the price of your Prime membership will be increasing. The annual rate will be $99 when your membership renews on June 4, 2014.

Even as fuel and transportation costs have increased, the price of Prime has remained the same for nine years. Since 2005, the number of items eligible for unlimited free Two-Day Shipping has grown from one million to over 20 million. We also added unlimited access to over 40,000 movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video and a selection of over 500,000 books to borrow from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

For more information about your Prime membership, visit our Prime membership page at http://www.amazon.com/prime.

Sincerely,
The Amazon Prime Team

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© 2014 Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Amazon, Amazon.com, the Amazon.com logo and 1-Click are registered trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Amazon.com, 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210.

Posted in Amazon, Internet, Movies & TV, Music, News, TV, Video | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Top 10 Apple Products I’m Not Getting For Christmas

Apples-540

Since I have not posted to this blog in some time, I decided to wrap up 2013 with some of the recent products Apple introduced or still have in their line-up as we head into the new year. Surely most everyone and anyone who already owns an Apple product will want to get another one or upgrade a Macintosh computer or iOS device to the latest version.

I’ve considered several Apple products over the past calendar year, and it looks highly likely that I will not be getting any for 2013. However if I did here are my quick and dirty top 10 countdown of Apple products that I would like to get for Christmas.

#10. Apple OSX Mavericks – This is probably one of the easiest and definitely most affordable product Apple has offered this year. The latest operating system is available to all for the very low price of “FREE” as in “free beer”, “free for all”, free, free, free. Mavericks is the latest and greatest in a long line of OSX software. It works on almost all Intel Macs introduced since at least 2007.

Despite the free price, I haven’t downloaded Mavericks yet. Reason? I like 10.6.8 “Snow Leopard” a lot that I run on my main production 15 inch MacBook Pro, that I’ve had since late 2009. Maverick’s most likely candidate is my 13 inch 2011 MacBook Pro which I only recently upgraded to Mountain Lion.

I may install it next year, or get it if and when I buy a new Mac.

#9 Apple iPod Classic – The 160 GB iPod Classic can hold up to 40,000 songs. I have 16,000+ tracks in my current iTunes library. None of my current Apple iOS devices have enough capacity to hold them all. The iPod Classic is on Apple’s potential endangered species list… which means it may go out of production after 2013. I guess I should get one soon.

#8 The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963 – This is not an official Apple product, but it is allegedly being offered through the Apple iTunes store for a limited time as a download to fulfill some kind of copyright obligation so that the tracks, long bootlegged by Beatles fans for decades, do not fall into the public domain. Hence this new release being offered through Apple. 56 Beatles songs in many different versions, almost all of which you have heard many times before. $40. I may get this.

#7 Apple iPod Touch 5th Generation – This one has been out since last October, 2012. In October 2013 the line-up was freshened up with a new OS (iOS7) and new colors. I have the iPod Touch 4th generation, 64 GB model. I love it. The only compelling reason for me to get the iPod Touch is to get the better, 5 megapixel camera. The thing I love the most about the iPod Touch series is that it is just like the Apple iPhone except it doesn’t have any of the phone functions. Thus, I avoid any and all monthly phone charges. Frankly I am not a cell phone user and have never owned such a device in my entire life.

#6 Apple MacBook Air – The MacBook Air is 2.8 lb. laptop that costs at least $999. It has all of the features you’d expect to find in most Apple laptops… cool design, cools apps, Mavericks OSX, instant wireless networking and more. The main reason why I have not gotten one is that I found a cheap knockoff earlier this year called the Samsung Chromebook that does some of the things the MacBook Air can do (mainly surfing and working with web apps) while not exposing your data to vulnerabilities such as hardware loss or theft. Plus the Chromebook was only $249. I feel much more confident traveling with a cheaper network computer vs. an expensive Apple laptop.

#4 Apple iPad – I recently checked out the new Apple iPad Air with Retina Display. It’s nice, light and bright. If money was no object I’d probably would have gotten this tablet shortly after its release this past October. For the longest time I was thinking about the iPad Mini. However I like the bigger screen. So maybe next year.

#3 Apple MacBook Pro – Currently Apple makes 3 models of MacBook Pros, all of which can be store bought or custom configured at the Apple Online store. I own two MacBook Pros. I am very happy with them. However there is always the possibility of upgrading to a newer, faster, sleeker platform. The latest 13 and 15 inch MacBook Pros which were upgraded this year feature all retina displays. They are thinner, lighter, sleeker than their predecessors and contain all of the latest Apple technologies that you can find including wireless networking, thunderbolt, SSD drive options, plenty of RAM memory, OSX Mavericks, Apple iWork software and more.

However as has been the case since the first Retina MacBook Pros introduced, the 2013 models feature no onboard optical drive or wired ethernet.  The lack of optical drive I can live with since I already own an external USB DVD burner. I find the lack of built in ethernet alarming since I feel more secure on my home wired network vs. being on wifi all of the time, especially when it comes to banking and online shopping transactions.

The only Mac in this series that still has an optical drive and ethernet is the old form factor 13 inch MacBook Pro. Perhaps I may get this.

#2 Apple iMac – For the longest time I have avoided the iMac. The main reason being that I never liked “all in one” computers that Apple has offered through the years. I soured on all-in-ones since owning a Mac Plus computer (my first Mac) in 1988. That first Mac Plus broke twice during my ownership as the built-in power supply went bad and cost me $200 to repair each time.

I soured on those and for the next several years went the modular route with the Mac IIsi, Mac Centris 650, Quadra 610, Power Mac 9500, Powercenter 150 Mac clone and finally a Quicksilver Power Macintosh G4. I loved and still like the modular desktop Macs because of easy expansion, upgrades and repair.

I did return to “all in ones” with a lineup for Apple laptops that include a 700 mhz Apple iBook and 2 Apple MacBook Pros.

Recently I was in the Apple Store and drooled over the new flat panel display iMacs. Both the 27 and 21 inch models are vary impressive. The retina display is stunning. The specs are not bad either:

Gigabit ethernet, SDXC card slot, 4 USB 3 ports, 2 Thunderbolt ports, keyboard, mouse, 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible, Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology, Factime HD camera, graphic card options, can be built to ordered with up to 16 or 32 GB of ram, option of standard hard drive or solid state, and more. See the Apple page for specs.

The iMac in any size would certainly beat my MacBook Pros in terms of picture quality and screen space. Work area would be larger, movies, video, photos and everything else will be richer, stronger, more colorful. OK. I am nearly sold. Perhaps next year, and maybe even the next bump up in model. Who knows. iMac definitely looks like a winner.

iMac2013

Above: Apple’s 2013 iMac.

#1 2013 Apple Mac Pro – The ultimate Christmas gift or purchase for any Mac user or fan is the new Mac Pro. The thing just became available through the Apple online store this past week, December 18. You can buy the base model Quad Core and Dual GPU with 12 GB of memory for only $2999.00. The next model up is the 6-core and Dual GPU featuring 16 GB of memory for only $3999. From there on out you can configure this bad boy with all kinds of options ranging from more RAM to bigger, faster, better storage  (256 GB to 1 TB of flash memory), graphic cards, Thunderbolt or 4K display, input devices, and many software packages.

This is not a Mac for the faint at heart or feeble in finances. If you go all out you can be spending up to $14,000 and maybe more for this. It depends what you want to do with it. Certainly while it can do casual web browsing, playing of all types of media and simple word processing or spreadsheets, the Mac Pro is definitely for the power users… gigantic ad agencies cranking out high resolution print and online advertising, publications, movie production studios and scientific organizations.

Still it may be a fun Mac to own if you got the bread. I and most other people don’t. But we can all dream. That is what Apple is all about, making your computing dreams come true.

Mac Pro is a Speedster - MacWorld | Mac Pro is Beautiful | Mac Pro First Impressions | Unboxing the New Apple Mac Pro | Apple Mac Pro | Mac Pro Specs |

Merry Christmas.

Posted in Apple, Computers, iMac, iPad, iPod, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Technology