As we wind up into 2014 — and by “winding up” I mean a tightening of the dramatic coil, not an unwinding of tension — it’s time to contemplate where we go from here as a community of intersecting minds.
My first thought is that since 2014 is the Chinese — “Year of the Green Wood Horse” — and in every way that tells me, as a Wood Dragon, that this year is going to rock in predictable and amazing ways.
My first hope for the union is that since there’s a longer term budget deal in Washington, much of the vitriol and hatred spewed by the politicos in Washington, D.C. will die down a bit. I realize the cruelty will never really go away, but lowering the temperature just a little bit will help us all get along just a little bit better.
Our two iPad Airs arrived via FedEx Air this morning — straight up at 10:00am — and I haven’t been able to put down either of them ever since they landed in my hands.
Yes, the iPads Airs are incredibly thin and light. I thought a mistake had been made and we were instead sent the new retina iPad Minis — I can’t imagine I’d want an iPad that was any smaller than the Air. It’s just the perfect size, filled with magic and mysticism from the first touch out of the box.
Replacing our old iPad 3s with our new iPad Airs in my Verizon Wireless online account was dead simple. Enter the new IMEIs. Enter the SIM card numbers. Boom! Done. Running. We have 4G LTE liftoff! I want all my iPads to be on Verizon LTE. Hurricane Sandy taught me that hard lesson against WiFi-only devices. Stay safe. Stay ultra-connected via many tethers back to the real world.
The first thing I did after updating my iPad via my iCloud backup account — talk about ease and transparency, thy name is iCloud — was to set up my iPad as a hotspot and run my MacBook Air through the connection for internet service.
Here’s the Xfinity report card: 13.8 MB down and 0.30 up. Down is excellent and up is awful — is that news? — but it’s all workable and doable together for the way 99% of us will use these sorts of short-life hotspots.
We live in a threatening and dangerous world where we cannot even trust our own government not to deceive and disappoint us. Security of our proprietary information is paramount in the vulnerable warp and woof of our social fabric, and that’s why — even when I first reviewed 1Password way back on December 8, 2009 — I knew securing all my passwords in a single, super-hardened, space was not only important, but necessary:
It took me several days to change and update all my passwords — but once that dirty deed was done, I was able to relax a bit in my core knowing I now had randomized and much more secure passwords covering my life — and the great thing is I don’t have to remember any of them!
1Password remembers all those passwords and usernames and automatically logs me in with the touch of a button on my web browser.
1Password also has an iPhone app that will sync — unfortunately via WiFi only, and both your computer and iPhone must be on the same WiFi network — your desktop accounts and passwords back and forth so you can be safe and secure when you’re online with your iPhone as well.
Apple’s FaceTime has been a wonderful, forward-thinking video communication feature of iPhones and iPads and Macs for many years.
With the release of iOS 7, FaceTime has, once again, changed the landscape of everyday human communication.
It is now possible to make an “audio-only” FaceTime call using WiFi — or your cellular network if you have an iPhone 4S or newer — and if you haven’t given FaceTime audio-only a try yet by calling another FaceTime user, then you have no clue to the incredible joy of direct, intimate, communication you are missing.
With the arrival of our new iPhone 5S smartphones, Janna and I have been delighting in the new technology. I can’t believe how lightweight the 5S is compared to my old clunker of a 4s. Weight makes a mighty difference in the tote along tone and temperature of your day.
Here’s a caveat about the iPhone 5S camera: When you shoot in bright sunlight — as I did on September 26, 2013 — you cannot see the screen, and you are basically taking blind photographs. You rely on your iPhone to focus and try to frame what you’re hoping the camera is seeing.
There is also a new “slider set” of features on the iOS 7 iPhone camera — “square” and “pano” and “video” and such — that, if you are not careful in your screen blindness, can change the way your iPhone shoots and frames the images. Yesterday, my fingers tended to slide and select things on the new camera that I had no idea were being activated.
I like tall photographs for blog images, but some of the shots you’ll see here are the new “square” feature that I had no idea was a feature until I got home and saw the infuriating results. I did not crop any of these images. With the iPhone 5S camera, it’s “live to live again!”
Here’s the first image taken with my iPhone 5S. It’s a view of the Empire State Building in New York City and I am standing in Riverview Park.
My Space Gray iPhone 5S arrived early this morning from Apple in China, and upon first opening the box, I was amazed to see how much longer, and lighter weight this 5S phone is compared to my 2.5 year old iPhone 4s. Janna’s new iPhone will arrive tomorrow. We’re both on the 4G Verizon network.
The first thing I noticed is that the Space Gray iPhone 5S would not turn on at all! I was perplexed. Then I did the traditional “hard boot” by holding down the “on” button and the Home button at the same time until the phone turned on with the White Apple logo. I picked Space Gray because it has a black face. I prefer a neutral black on a smartphone. A white face is just too aesthetically jarring.
The phone started and already had a 91% battery charge. After setting up and restoring the phone, I was immediately prompted to download an 7.01 iOS 7 update.
As you can see in the screenshot below, I have a whole “extra row” for four more App icons in my Home screen! That is a delightful and welcome change from the 4s.
“The Venus Effect” is a fascinating concept in painting and film that shatters the illusion of the perceived, the perceiver and the preceptor. In the example below, the woman is peering into a mirror.
At first glance, we think she is looking at her own reflection, but the angle of the mirror deceives us, because she is really directly looking at us, not herself. In fact, the artifice of assumption is something of an aesthetic cheat because we fail to realize she is watching us while we watch her. She is incapable of viewing her own reflection in that particular angle of yaw.