The Incredible Joy of FaceTime Audio-Only Calls in Apple iOS 7

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.

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The Boles Blogs Apple MacBook Air 13-inch Mid 2013 Review

Yesterday, I took delivery of a brand-new Apple MacBook Air 13-inch computer.  I decided to leap on this upgrade for several reasons.  First, I love my Apple MacBook Air 11-inch model and it has been my main machine for 18 months, but it was starting to show its technical age.  The SSD drive was only 256GB and memory, at 4GB, was in short supply when it came to the work day.  Google Play Music live streaming would stutter and go bump in the night.   I am now back to true multi-tasking with this spec’d out machine.  My 11-inch MacBook Air was suffering from a lack of space and mind.  You can see part of my Apple family below.  The 13-in MacBook Air is in the center, my old, non-retina, iPad is my clock on the left, the 11-inch MacBook Air is nearby for comparison, and my beloved Thunderbolt display is on the right.

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The Apple AirPort Time Capsule Review: 3TB Edition

Of all the electronic doodads I am surrounded by every day, the one I use the most, and the one that gets the least amount of appreciative forethought, is my AirPort Time Capsule — my silent sentinel.  My AirPort Time Capsule connects and manages all my iPhone and iPad and Apple TV and wireless printer WiFi connections to the internets, and it backs up all my most precious data.  When Apple released a new AirPort Time Capsule this week, I loved the new design, and I upped my commitment at the 3TB level and I have been delighted ever since.

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Why I Moved Up to the Verizon Share Everything Plan: They Will Not Flip Your SIM!

Yesterday, I spent my morning stuck in a Verizon store — not trying to order the new iPhone 5 — but rather trying to achieve one simple task: Swapping out the old SIM cards on my two iPad 2(s) and not getting very far, even though I had already done my web research and wasted an hour on the phone with Verizon customer support telling me the only way to add the iPads to my new “Share Everything Plan” was to replace the SIM cards because a “pre-pay” SIM card is hardcoded in the Verizon system as a standalone device and the only way to add an iPad to a shared data plan is to replace the pre-pay SIM card with a “post-pay” SIM card.

Easy, right?

Not so fast!

Continue reading → Why I Moved Up to the Verizon Share Everything Plan: They Will Not Flip Your SIM!

Connecting to Comcast Xfinity WiFi on the Street

When I read in May of this year that free WiFi connectivity outside the home was coming my way as a Comcast Xfinity customer, I was delighted at the thought of being able to have as fast an internet connection in the street as I’ve had here at home.

Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), the biggest U.S. broadband provider, is teaming up with other large cable companies to create a nationwide network of Wi-Fi hot spots, helping them fend off competition from phone carriers.

Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC), Cablevision Systems Corp., Bright House Networks LLC and Cox Communications Inc. are part of the pact, according to a statement from the companies today. The five cable carriers will let one another’s Web customers connect laptops, tablets and other mobile devices to their Wi-Fi networks in metro areas, totaling more than 50,000 hot spots.

During my daily walks, I’ve been seeing a lot of Xfinity vans along major thoroughfares with technicians installing metal things atop Jersey City Janky Poles.

Finding that curious, I decided to fire up the Comcast WiFi Hotspot webpage to get more information on new connectivity niches and I was surprised to see so many new indoor and outdoor WiFi connectoids for Xfinity in my immediate neighborhood.

Square icons indicate an indoor WiFi hotspot and round icons mean an outdoor WiFi hotspot.  A triangle icon is a “partner” WiFi hotspot.

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The Humiliation of the Human Hotspots

Imagine, if you will, a person who is down on his luck and has neither home nor income to help secure a place to live. A person, as it were, who is so poor that they wonder how they will pay for every meal, not to mention being careful not to damage the shirt on their back as it may be their only one. Now imagine that someone tells this individual that they have a job for them to do and it is simple. All they have to do is stand still and hold an ashtray in front of them so that people at a party who are smokers will have a place to flick their ashes.

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WiFi Speeds at the NYU Bobst Library

I had a couple of hours to kill last night in Greenwich Village in New York City, and I enjoyed walking everywhere — including Cornelia Street and the temporary Apple SoHo store at 72 Greene Street — to relive some beloved, old, memories of living in that neighborhood years ago.  Another regular, old, haunt of mine was NYU’s beautiful Bobst library.  It had been awhile since I’d been in Bobst with a WiFi device and so last night I decided to do some testing with my new iPhone 4S and iPad 2 — and the results were amazing!

Continue reading → WiFi Speeds at the NYU Bobst Library