First iPhone Glitch

In the first two weeks, my iPhone has behaved quite well. Although a few apps have occasionally misbehaved, there was nothing that a simple press of the home button couldn’t rectify.

I unsuspectingly put the iPhone processor to the test when I turned it on yesterday while I was listening to some music using the iPod function of the phone. An alert appeared that said there were updates for nine of the applications that I had downloaded. The iPhone gave me the option of updating all nine with one press of the finger. So I did. Quite soon after the download started the music started to hiccup and although the downloads proceeded properly, I could not access the iPod functions to stop it or lower the volume. Thankfully, after a few minutes, the music turned off and the download continued. Since the update of each application took about two minutes, the entire process took almost 20 minutes.

During this time, I received a phone call which was able to connect perfectly. Kudos to Apple for making the phone part of the iPhone the most important. If the glitches that I encounter with the iPhone remain this small, I’ll be one happy camper.

iPod Nano 3rd Gen Review

When the first generation iPod nano came out in 2005, I flew to the store to purchase one.  It was so small and thin….I was in love. I used it for several years, but, perhaps it was a little too small because I lost it. So I replaced that first nano with a 2nd generation nano, which was pretty much the same as the first one, but with a larger capacity.

Unfortunately, after about a year, I started having problems with that new nano. If you think that Microsoft is the only one who has software that freezes, think again. From day one, my 2nd generation nano froze occasionally, and eventually the freezes became so frequent that it was unusable.

Happily, because I had purchased a Sam’s Club insurance policy with that nano, it was replaced at no additional cost for a 3rd generation nano. Unlike the differences between the first 2 generations, this 3rd generation nano provided a great new look and some wonderful added functionality. I love the new “short” look, the ability to do videos, the new search feature, and the ability to view my music by album covers. While the Pros outweigh the Cons, this new nano is still not perfect. My full review is posted at Hardware Secrets.

Sandy’s Full Review at Hardware Secrets

Hands-Free Way to Carry Your Cell Phone

The CellKeeper with Strap
The CellKeeper with Strap
Since ancient times, people have been struggling with the problem of how to carry their necessities with them when they are on the go. The Greeks and Romans used pouches. Modern day men use pockets and briefcases while most women carry a purse or pocketbook. In today’s fast-paced world, there are many times when you don’t want to weigh down your pockets, shoulders, or arms. Yet, you need to carry the essentials – especially that all-important cell phone.

The CellKeeper line of carry-alls is the perfect answer for when you are really on the go, walking, jogging, biking, or traveling. The CellKeeper looks like a small wallet that fits over a uniquely designed strap with a front belt closure. A slide on the strap allows you to adjust the size of the strap so you can wear the CellKeeper cross-body (over one shoulder) or around the waist. The CellKeeper can also be completely removed from the strap for times you want to throw it in a satchel or briefcase.

The CellKeeper has two sections. The first section is like a small wallet or billfold that holds an ID card and several credit cards. It also has several compartments for money, papers, and business cards. On the back of the wallet area is an attached pouch for holding a cell phone or other digital device. A small, but sturdy clip on the wallet section can used to attach the CellKeeper to the strap or the strap can be positioned across the inside of the wallet section to hold it securely in place. However you decide to wear it, the CellKeeper keeps your valuables safe while leaving your hands free.

The CellKeeper comes in three versions, the original (for smaller devices), the sport (washable nylon with nylon webbing strap with reflector band), and the professional which can accommodate larger devices like the iPhone. Each version comes in several colors and finishes. Depending on the version, you choices will include finishes like camel and orange herringbone, brown faux-alligator, and dimple brown faux-leather.

While perfect for a cell phone, the CellKeeper is also perfect for holding a small digital camera while at the theme park or on vacation. If your camera or digital device is a little larger like an iPhone, large iPod, or Pocket PC, be sure to purchase the Professional version which has a larger pouch. All sizes and finishes are $29.99 with free shipping in the US.

CellKeepers can be purchased at the CellKeeper website.

iPhone for Boomers & Seniors

The more I use my new iPhone, the more impressed I am with its hardware and software design and its focus on ease of use. I have previously used more than ten cell phones from various manufacturers including Motorola, Samsung, Blackberry, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson. They all had small buttons and complex menu systems. While the young folks are happy to put up with these devices, the older generations find them extremely frustrating. We should not have to ask our children or grandchildren to program our cell phones.

iPhone 3G Home Screen
iPhone 3G Home Screen

iPhone Home Screen

With the iPhone, we won’t have to ask for help. The iPhone is very different. There is only one button on the face of the iPhone….the Home button. One press of that button brings up the icons needed to perform various tasks. The icons are all clear and bright and visually indicative of their use.

The touch screen is a joy to use. Just tap to make your choice. Move your finger across the screen to the left or right or up or down to see more on the screen when in an email or web page. Pinch two fingers together on the screen to make the information on the screen smaller. Push two fingers apart on the screen to make the information larger. For the most part, the choices are shown clearly on the screen. So finding everything is much easier than having it in layers of menus.

The iPhone also has the best audio clarity of any cell phone I’ve ever used…. a boon for those of us who have ruined our ears listening to loud music.

The recent price reduction of the iPhone makes it more accessible and more appealing to everyone. The only problem is the $30 monthly data access fee. Boomers and seniors who have worked for thirty years or more have a keen eye for the value of the dollar. No matter what our financial situation is, most of us hate to add any recurring fee to our cost of living.

I personally hesitated in getting an iPhone just because of that monthly fee. I didn’t want to add to my monthly bills. Although I had reviewed Blackberries and other phones that had Internet and email, I didn’t really feel that I needed online access my phone.

So far, however, I can honestly say that I think the iPhone is worth the fee. The iPhone makes email and Internet access so easy that it is truly valuable. In fact, having an iPhone is like having a computer in your hand…only it is easier to use than a computer. For many, the iPhone will be the only piece of equipment needed for access while traveling. They won’t have to drag a laptop along to access email and the Internet.

While the younger generation is flocking to the iPhone for its “cool” gadget value, many older folks are already finding it as a solution to the complexity problems caused by the current flock of cell phones by other manufacturers. I think that as more and more boomers and seniors realize the value and ease-of-use of the iPhone, they will also flock to it. At some point, many, like me, will be willing to pay the monthly fee for data access on the iPhone because, like the monthly fee for cell service and the fee to an ISP for Internet access, it will add real value to their lives. At that point the iPhone will become the cell phone of choice for boomers and beyond. And that may be sooner rather than later.

Firefox 3.0 – Faster & Better

After a few weeks of using Firefox 3.0 on various computers, I am ready to declare it a winner! The best thing about it is that even though it has more features, it is faster than the previous version. In my unofficial tests, I believe that it is the fastest popular browser on the market right now. Microsoft ought to take a lesson from Mozilla…. create a new version with more features, but make it leaner and faster!

One of the best new features is the address bar which is called the Smart Location Bar. You type in just a few letters and Firefox will try to guess what address you want. It is uncanny in its accuracy and usefulness and as you use it, it learns and adapts to your preferences.

Firefox 3 also has a more intuitive interface, meaning that most users will find it easier to use. I considered the download manager in Firefox 2 to be one of the best, but in version 3, it is even better. They have also added more customization and organization options in the bookmark area.

All-in-all its quickness and new features Firefox 3 is excellent.

Now I have a special treat for you. Al Brown, aka Big Toe, one of the experts on the Compu-KISS message boards, has written about his experience with Firefox 3. Click here for Al’s Firefox 3 impressions.

iPhone Took Only 3 Days with No Waiting in Line

Last Friday afternoon, I placed my order for an iPhone at the local AT&T store. There was no line and ordering the phone took about 5 minutes. AT&T said the phone would be delivered in about 7 days. I was surprised to get an email yesterday (Tuesday) saying that the iPhone had been delivered to the store. All I had to do was to come in to have it activated and take it home. So my iPhone took only two working days…. outstanding!

I went in to pick up the phone today. There were no lines and activation took only about 20 minutes. The nice folks at AT&T even gave me a personalized tour of the phone’s features.

In case you are interested, there are still no iPhones in stock at any of the stores that I checked. You can order one the way I did. But now they are now saying that it will take 7-21 days for delivery.

My shiny white iPhone is beautiful! Now to have fun checking out all the features. I’ll give you the pros and cons as soon as I can.

BTW Read the OakInnovations Blog for an interesting, detailed explanation of why Apple will not introduce a white iPhone….They just did!

The iPhone Phenomenon

The 2nd generation iPhone went on sale today. There were long lines in all the big cities, but how about the smaller towns? Well, the answer amazed me. Here in the middle of North Carolina, we don’t have an Apple store, but we do have an AT&T store in nearby Aberdeen, NC. I went by this morning just before they opened at 8 am. The line wrapped around all four sides of the large building.

AT&T Store in Aberdeen, NC
AT&T Store in Aberdeen, NC

The amazing part is that the new iPhone’s big draw is that you can get higher data speeds on the AT&T 3G network, but the AT&T 3G network is not yet available in our area of North Carolina. The closest AT&T 3G network is in Fayetteville, which is 45 minutes away.

Just goes to show you that the lure of a new gadget at a good price is irresistible to gadget mavens everywhere. Also shows that the number of those infected with the gadgetitis is increasing everyday.

UPDATE: Our local AT&T store ran out of iPhones before 1pm. However, they then started taking what they called “auto-fufillments”, so you could go in and purchase an iPhone for delivery in the very near future. They are telling customers that the iPhone will be delivered to the store in 7 days.

Although Apple and AT&T had many technical difficulties getting the iPhones they sold the fist day activated, the way they controlled the number of iPhones was an artificial, but smart move ………Make enough iPhones for everyone, yet limit the sales on the first day to add to the buzz and lower the traffic on the activation process. Then get the rest of the people their iPhones quickly enough to get their money in the Apple & AT&T bank accounts. It’s pretty ingenious!

Otterbox Waterproof Treasure Chest

Otterbox makes cases for iPod, iPhones, BlackBerrys, and other digital equipment. Their defender series is perfect for protecting your equipment in everyday use. I use the Pink Defender Case on my iPod nano.

Otterbox also has a line of waterproof gadget cases called Armor, that offer additional protection. The Armor cases are device-specific. They are sturdier and waterproof up to about 3 ‘.

Safe Haven for Gadgets
Safe Haven for Gadgets

The sturdiest of all is the Otterbox line of waterproof and crushproof cases that can be used for several devices. The OtterBox 3250 is large enough to hold a GPS, cell phone, PDS, music player, wallet, sunglasses and jewelry. Once you see the quality and thickness of the Otterbox 3250, you won’t dispute the fact that it is crushproof and airtight. It is also waterproof and can withstand submersions of up to 100 feet. The foam padding gives you extra protection. There is even small handle, strap, and padlock hole. This case is perfect for outdoorsmen and women, including those who love the water!

I have tried everything I could think of to test the Otterboxes. No matter how much weigh I have piled on, how far I dropped them, or how long I left them in water, they held up perfectly. So if you are looking for protection for your devices, Otterbox fits the bill.

Exterior Dimensions: 8.813″ x 5.175″ x 3.082″
Interior Dimensions: 7.587″ x 3.648″ x 2.226″
Retail Price: $25.49

Ultra USB Buddy Hub

The proliferation of computers in the home and small office and the abundance of USB devices to attach to those computers can pose some problems for the computer user. The Hub Buddy is a unique device that will solve a problem for some. It is a 7-Port USB hub that allows you to share USB devices between two computers.

Share Devices
Share Devices

That’s right, this USB 2.0 hub allows for 7 inputs and 2 different outputs. It is a very up-to-date way of sharing peripherals between 2 computers, if those computers are in the same vicinity. If you only have one computer, you can use it as a plain USB hub that gives you extra USB ports for additional equipment.

The Buddy Hub is a small slick-looking black device that measures just 5 ¼ x 2 ½ x 1″. It is easy to set up and use. If you want to hook it up to 2 computers, you use the included USB cables (about 4′ long) to attach the computers, then up to 7 USB devices can be plugged into the hub. Each device has an A/B selector switch that can be pressed to toggle the device between the two computers. The brightly lit red and green LEDs give you the status of each device at a glance. This device allows you to use a single USB mouse and keyboard for two different computers. It’s also an easy way to share peripherals such as scanners and printers. In a sharing atmosphere, it eliminates the need to constantly plug and unplug the equipment.

The Buddy Hub comes with 2 USB cables, a power adapter, and an instruction booklet. Because it is a powered hub, most devices work well with it. Because it is USB 2.0, it allows newer ASB devices to work at the best speed, but will also accommodate older USB 1.1 devices.

All-in-all, it is a cool device that works seamlessly.

Device: Ultra 7-Port USB 2.0 Buddy Hub
Manufacturer: ULTRA Products
Retail: $39.99
Date of Review: 7-7-2008

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