February 13, 2015
Apple: Remember When It Just Worked?
After upgrading to OS X Yosemite version 10.10.2, My iMac no longer goes to sleep. It's the first time any Mac I have ever owned has failed to enter sleep mode. But I'm not surprised.
Over the past few years, Apple's software has become increasingly buggy and unstable. Apple's old motto of "It just works" no longer fits their products as each recent version of OS X and iOS has been buggier than the last. Ever since Snow Leopard (also known as the Windows XP of OS X because of its stability), Apple's software quality has been in a steady decline.
Many long-time Apple users may already know what I mean, but here are just a few bugs to prove my point:
- [Finder] Sleep mode doesn't activate so my computer is always on
- [Finder] The menu bars on my non-retina displays often display garbled graphics
- [Finder] Sometimes the only way to get two devices to communicate via AirDrop is to restart one or both devices
- [System] The Software Update daemon is often listed as "Not Responding" in Activity Monitor
- [System] Memory usage is often close to 100% (out of 32 GB) with only a few programs running
- [Mail] Mail appends an extra two line breaks to signatures (this dates back to at least OS X 10.2)
- [Mail] Sometimes the message window shows "No Message Selected" when you click on a message and the only way to fix it is to restart the program
- [Mail] The position of the Activity window reverts to my central monitor every time I restart the program
- [Mail] Incoming IMAP messages sometimes only appear after restarting Mail
- [Mail] Mail reset all my mailbox preferences the other day causing me to have to reorganize several different folders that included over 30,000 messages
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January 31, 2015
CES 2015 - The Top Two Themes
Each year at CES, a few predominant themes emerge. There were several new types of products at CES 2015, including wireless chargers, driverless cars, wearables, and the Internet of Things. However, the top two themes that stood out to me were virtual reality and drones.
Virtual reality products have been around for years. However, the buzz at CES 2015 was that this is the year when virtual reality is finally going to break out. Oculus (the company Facebook bought for $2 billion) had one of the most popular booths as people waited in line for hours just to try on one of the latest headsets. Razer demoed their "OSVR" platform, an open source development kit for virtual reality devices. Both Oculus and Razer touted their latest gadgets as almost production-ready, meaning they plan to begin selling them to consumers this year.
Even with all the hype surrounding virtual reality at CES this year, I'm not optimistic. Virtual reality devices have failed every time they have been introduced to the mass market and I don't think this year will be an exception. The Oculus demos showed that the 3D visual and aural experience has improved by leaps and bounds in the last decade. But this doesn't fix the main problem with virtual reality: you have to wear a bulky headset.
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January 23, 2015
CES 2015 - C Stands for Curved TVs
CES might as well be called "TV Fest" because of the way televisions dominate the show each year. It seems that every year the TVs get bigger and thinner. All the major manufacturers display their latest proprietary technology that somehow makes their TVs better than all the competitors. It is a sight to behold.
Two prominent themes stood out among the TVs introduced at CES 2015 - 4K and curved.
HDTV is so 2012. When I visited CES in 2013, several companies were introducing their first production-ready 4K TVs. This January, I didn't see a single HD television except a few old ones for comparison purposes. Every new TV was 4K (with a resolution of at least 3840 x 2160). Make no mistake about it — 2015 is the year of 4K. You'll still be able to find cheap HDTVs for the next few years, but if you're buying a new large panel TV, 4K is the way to go.
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January 15, 2015
CES 2015 Overview
If you ever feel overwhelmed by negative news and start worrying about the future of the world, CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas is the cure. Thousands of companies from around the world come together to showcase their latest products and innovations, providing inevitable hope for today and the future.
I had a chance to attend this year's CES last week and it was awesome. I was struck by how far technology has come in just the two years since I was at CES 2013. Not only have major leaps in audio and video taken place, but whole new product categories are now taking off.
New themes at this year's CES included driverless cars, drones, wearables, virtual reality, wireless charging, and the Internet of Things. Within each of these categories are several new products that are not just cool ideas, but are real devices already in production. It was encouraging to see so many companies creating completely new products and, as I've been known to say, "pushing technology forward."
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January 3, 2015
2014 Tech Predictions Revisited
Last December, I made my top five tech predictions for 2014. It's time to see how I fared.
- No Apple iWatch – This prediction turned out to be partially correct, since Apple isn't releasing a watch until this year. However, they did announce the "Apple Watch," which I didn't expect, so I guess this guess was half right.
- Apple iPhone with 5.5" Display – I nailed the dimensions of the new iPhone 6 Plus and was also right about the curved shape, but I expected Apple to name the new model something different. Another half right prediction.
- Bing > 30% Market Share – My boldest prediction didn't come true. Bing only climbed to about 20% market share. But Microsoft is still gaining on Google, which could make things interesting if the trend continues.
- Cloud Storage – Companies like Microsoft and Apple helped make cloud storage mainstream in 2014. Microsoft integrated OneDrive into Windows 8.1 and Apple integrated iCloud into OS X 10.10 (Yosemite). Both implementations now allow you to access a cloud-based file system, which means you can access your files stored in the cloud as easily as the files on your local disk. Pretty cool.
- 3D Printers – While 3D printers didn't become mainstream in 2014, they did start showing up in retail stores, like I predicted. Still, I don't know anyone who owns a 3D printer, so I can only take half a point for this one.
After doing the math, it looks like I got one prediction right and three predictions half right, for a total score of 2.5 out of 5. While 50% isn't great, my goal was to make predictions other people wouldn't, since there is no point in predicting the obvious. Most importantly, companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Tesla continued to push technology forward in 2014 and that benefits us all.
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