iPhone 4 Lands (in my pocket)

After much effort and waiting, I finally have my hands on my new phone: the iPhone 4. I thought a quick post about my experience so far (I have had it for just over 24 hours) would be a good way to spend a new blog post.

My overall impression is excitement and awe. This phone looks beautiful, and has amazing speed. After two and a half years with my iPhone 3G (I jumped on the bandwagon very early for an Australian iPhone user), the iPhone 4 marks a large leap forward for iPhone (just like Apple says). After the disaster that iPhone 3G and iOS 4 was, having a phone that actually works is a benefit. The screen has to be one of the standouts for me; it is simply stunning. Although, it might just be too good; in some places it looks surreal. Having a 5MP camera that has a flash and records video is beneficial, although I am surprised it took until the 4th generation iPhone for these kinds of features to be present (with the exception of the HD video recording). I plan on using this phone very frequently for uploads to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (so look out!).

I am still testing battery life, but it doesn’t seem to differ so much from the iPhone 3G. It may be a little more intensive, but I think that can be put down to the fact it is running a 1GHz processor (and it may be experiencing the over-use any newly purchased product is subjected to), plus any number of fancily-names sensors. The screen seems more responsive than my 3G (compared to when it was running iPhone OS 2, iPhone OS 3 or iOS 4), and of course it looks a lot better. Games run especially well, so I can understand why Nintendo is afraid.

The only real issue I have with the phone is that it uses a MicroSIM, which caused a minor emergency when I got the new SIM card just after I bought the phone, but that is another story…

Think about others on the road

I won’t lie, I am new to driving. I’ve had my provisional license for a year and a half now. But I know the road rules. Even the unwritten ones. I am very considerate on the road. I often go out of my way to let people in while I have right of way. But no matter how much effort I put it, all I seem to get is subjection to inconsiderate, unprofessional and downright dangerous driving.

My primary area of concern is truck drivers. I find it incredible that we allow people to drive such large machinery on urban roads which are too congested to even carry regular traffic. I place a lot of effort in ensuring that I can maintain a speed safe enough to ensure I don’t die in a twisted pile of metal. What I don’t understand is why truck drivers, who allegedly have the ability to understand they are operating a very rigid, large and heavy vehicle, constantly abuse people doing the right things on the road, and also endangering their lives. I have had two experiences in this area within the last month. Both times I have complained to the parent company. Of course I cannot be sure anything gets done in this case, but I have the knowledge I have been proactive. Here is some very basic things I feel I should highlight for drivers of large trucks and vehicles:

  • If the speed limit is 100 km/hour, then the maximum speed you can achieve legally in that zone is 100 km/hour, regardless of your lane.
  • Queensland Transport recommends at least 2 seconds stopping time between vehicles. This does not mean you can tailgate.
  • Just because “Without trucks, Australia stops” doesn’t mean you automatically have a right to drive dangerously, and risk killing people who are doing the right thing. You aren’t contemplating the effects that could have on someones life; a mother, a father, a sibling, a friend, and yourself for that matter.
  • Most importantly, if you don’t think I won’t complain to your company, your a fool. If they don’t take it seriously, you are both fools, because I will deal with it outside the context of the direct business.

Now, to a more general point I want to make to anyone that conducts a motor vehicle:

  • If your ride a motorbike, the dotted line does not become an extra lane during peak hour.
  • If someone gives way to you when they have right of way, acknowledge the deed and wave at them.
  • If you need to take an exit, be in the correct lane before the exit.
  • If you have a baby on board sticker or sign on your vehicle, actually make your driving reflect that.

Really, this post is an open letter to everyone. If you’re tired of the same issues I have highlighted comment. If you disagree, comment (politely, I will curate  comments if required).

Apple Event – Crazy Crazy!

You’d have to be living under a rock to not know that Apple is announcing a “major new product” tomorrow (for me at least; I guess it depends when you read this, and where you are in the World). The rumour mill is running at full speed, and the hype is ridiculous.

I was excited about the event when Apple sent out official invitations to the press last week. But ever since this the Internet has just gone stupid. Everyday, rumour after pointless rumour. I normally enjoy the rumours coming up to an Apple event, but this time I am tired of it. I can’t believe I am blogging from this perspective, but I would appreciate it if people actually focused on something else for a while. There will be more than enough coverage tomorrow. I am going insane! Half torn between not caring and wanting to wake up at 4am AEST to watch live coverage (I could, I have FarmVille crops to harvest).

But while I’m here, I may as well wade into the debate. Here is what I want to see in an Apple tablet:

  • Glossy 10 inch capacitive touchscreen Wi-Fi and optional 3G/4G connection
  • Brand new OS, as Mac OS X wouldn’t work (too finicky for fingers), and I can’t see how iPhone OS would scale without any update Wireless Dock connection (I am tired of plugging in iPhones/iPods to sync them)
  • TV output
  • Massive store of affordable content
  • No more than A$600 on the price-tag

I doubt all but the first 2 will not happen. Apple has the Apple TV, so no TV connection (although it exists in iPods, it muddies the waters, which is very urn-Apple), Apple would insist cable is faster, so bye bye wireless sync, the iTunes store is overpriced, so see you affordable content, and Apple is always premium, so no cheap tablet for me. I just want to see something impressive tomorrow, and be done with it. In the meantime, I’ll stick with my MacBook Pro and iPhone 3G.

Facebook Groups = Pony Up

I love Facebook. I can find out all kinds of information about my friends that I might miss out on. Status updates, application posts and the like are a great insight into a person’s preferences. But nothing gives the game away as much as the fan pages that people become fans of. The constant stream of subscription to these pages on my friend’s behalf clog up my Live Feed/News Feed. Then they always are too inviting, so I become fans of them too.

One specific group of fan pages has caught my eye of late. Groups with titles like “WE WILL NOT PAY FOR FACEBOOK” and “BECOME A FAN BECAUSE FACEBOOK IS GOING TO CHARGE A MILLION DOLLARS TO USE THE SITE FROM TOMORROW!!!”. Maybe that is overdoing it, but you get the idea. Why are people to worried? Here’s the deal on Facebook.

Facebook is a company that bases itself around advertising and data. Advertising is how the company builds itself as a platform. As the platform becomes more popular, the more companies will pay for ad spots on the site, increasing revenue for Facebook. We could take for example the company’s failed Beacon platform, where you were provided with suggestions on purchases, and provided automatic status updates when you bought an item from a partner’s online store. It failed, but it was based around collecting personal data, mining that data, then using it as a ad selling platform. Still applications, companies and business use Facebook’s ad spaces to reach their audience through automated data mining done by Facebook.

Please people, don’t expect me to believe some uncited scrawl on some random’s poorly put-together fan page. There haven’t been any reported rumors of this happening, so that’s a trigger for me immediately. Next, only my non-tech savvy friends are joining; hint number two. And thirdly, there is no proof the company has made any media release to suggest the change. Facebook is much more open than it was even more than it was very few months ago. This is the kind of thing they discuss very far in advance. Telling people in advance about major changes is now an integral component of the company’s ethos. See the privacy control changes, and especially the Terms of Service (ToS) example (Google it).

Personally, I would be more worried about the privacy and security of all the data I put up onto the site. Facebook’s ToS hasn’t been that nice on personal intellectual property (especially pictures) in the past, and the site is a data mine waiting to happen. If you don’t know this, think first about believing anything you hear. Should you believe what I’m posting here even? Do your research, and you’ll see who is right: Crazy Facebook group creator versus Facebook user with IT background, search skills, a blog and a podcatcher.

I’m going to clean up my fan page subscriptions now; I have been to willing to join groups in the past.

Here is a great example...

Visiting Sydney

It has been several days since I arrived back in Queensland, so I feel this is the best time to blog about my experiences in Sydney. I was Twittering on location (see @smartypants120) somewhat, but there were certain things I did not have time to comment on (holidays are distracting and quite a bit of work).

Firstly, the domestic airport terminal is nice. It looks very fresh and nice; Brisbane could try an upgrade compared to Sydney’s terminal. But that’s where the niceness ended. The direction to the city centre is very loosely signed, and hard to use for a visitor. Using the iPhone to navigate the busy streets of Sydney was stressful; be thankful you were not in my car! But I did end up at the hotel, thankfully. Luckily, the trip back to the airport was a little less difficult.

The hotel I was in was very well appointed, and was very nice to stay in. It was close to everything. But that turned out to be a bad thing, in a way. There were a number of busy night hangouts, and there was quite a bit of noise. This could have been subdued by the NSW police crackdown under Operation Unite. But people were wander around in the early hours of the morning screaming. What is wrong with you people?

Clearly the people of Sydney are very proud of their harbour. It is a wonderful shade of turquoise; it was pleasant to see such a clean bit of water. The setup of Circular Quay is interesting, it’s everyone for themselves to board a ferry. Obviously I did not fall into the water and drown as a result of this. The vista of the harbour is a wonderful sight to behold. But…

The streets always smelled, and not in a nice way. Everywhere I went, a strange odour. Always different, never pleasing. Some of this could be attributed to the fact that you can smoke wherever and whenever you like in Sydney. Sad face.

While it was very nice to visit, I am much happier living in Brisbane. We don’t have as much smoking happening anymore, our public transport is a little cleaner, people have to ability to drive correctly and we have orderly queues for entering ferries and buses. It is the longest I have been away, but I still had a nice time in the unofficial capital of Australia.