So, after many decades of being a ‘PC guy’, I have taken steps to become a ‘Mac guy’.

What happened?  Why did I go over the wall to a completely different means of computing, one that I have been swirling around for all those decades.

In the beginning it was all great.  I was 12 years old, working at ComputerLand in San Diego in trade for an apple ][ computer.  It was a long and fun year, and I earned my computer.  So shortly after I earned my computer they (apple) came out with the Mac.  I was unimpressed.  Didn’t come with a language like basic out of the box.  It had little or no software, and it was expensive ($1200.00 expensive, too much for a teenager).  So I jumped off the apple band wagon and headed for the PC clone world.  Lots of fun for a long long time.

I’ve had my misgivings with DOS, windows and all the PC hooey.  But never so much a problem with PCs until they came out with touch screens on laptops and the dreaded and I mean dreaded windows 8!

Recently I came into a little extra money, so I purchased a Mac Powerbook Retina (mid 2014). And a MacBook Air for my wife.

My wife has been a devoted PC person and Andriod phone, and Andriod tablets, her whole adult life.  Until the last six months during which I gassed up the van and invited my wife on a ride; on the road to Apple.

She’s sitting next to me saying “it’s more like Hansel and Grettel.” I was leaving her bread crumbs of cool Apple technology.

The main thing that I love about apple technology is that it works, and it all works together! From the watch, iPhone and Mac it all talks and plays nicely. In fact my most recent employer set me up with a mac book pro to use in my day to day work.

And it’s fast.  Really fast. My personal MacBook Pro is up and ready for me to sign on in 5-10 seconds.

Oh sure all of apple’s products may have quirks but there are no deal breakers for me.

I have worked in an “open” platform for years. Microsoft has the most atacked software (virus etc.) ever produced. On Mac not so much.

I think I have just finally grown up and want to use a computer that just works, not one I need to fiddle with all the time.  Or have to wait for the latest chipset updates, yeah I may be locked-in but I like what it’s got and it is consistent as far as specifications and quality.

So some might feel as if I have become or will become an apple fan boy. I cannot say with all certainty that I will never be an apple fan boy. What I am is a middle aged man who wants to start using computing technology in its many forms, to improve his life and the lives of his family members.

I bought apple products and I like them.  How do you feel about it? Talk back in the comments!


 

Yes, I wound up getting an Apple Watch. My kids pitched in with my wife and got me the Watch for Father’s day of this year (2015).  And I have it well before Father’s Day because I pre-ordered it and couldn’t wait until Father’s day to unwrap it after the UPS guy delivered it.

I’ve had it now for a little over a week.  I got the 42mm Stainless steel body with the Black Fluoroelastomer band, couldn’t they have just called it a rubbery watch band? You try to say Fluoroelastomer 5 times really fast.  I didn’t do that well, it doesn’t flow off the tongue. But as you see below it looks pretty nice.

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 6.02.57 PM

(I could have taken a picture of it on my wrist, but everyone is doing that these days, thank you to Apple for the above image.)

I have read many reviews about this Watch and since I’ve recently become an Apple guy, I was very excited about getting what Apple has called their “most personal device ever”.  To be honest, I might have been more excited about it had the price point been lower.

Which leads us to the first hurdle. The Cost.

The entry level Apple Watch is their Sport Watch, 42mm or 38mm size, checking in at $349.00 (for the 38mm model) and $399.00 (for the 42mm model).  I opted for the stainless steel version, $549.00 (for the 38mm model) and $599.00 (for the 42mm model) which I opted for.  Prices vary in both of these models, based on size; either 38mm, or 42mm. As you can see there is only a $50.00 difference between the sizes.  There is also a price difference based on the kind of band you choose, the basic Fluoroelastomer band which is standard, add $100.00 for the classic buckle band, the same for the metal Milanese Loop, kick it up $200.00 for the Modern buckle.  There are so many colors and combinations you definitely can get the personalization you want.  I am not going to even bring up the ultra high end gold version, the Watch Edition, which can cost as much as a new car.

And now the second hurdle. How long it works on a single charge. 

I have read reviews on some other “smart” watches that claim to have up to 4 days usage on a single charge. Honestly having any portable device that can be used for 4 days would be pretty cool, but I’m already used to having to charge my phone every night, so charging another device every day isn’t inconvenient. So far I’ve been able to get about 1.5 days usage on a single charge, which isn’t bad. I haven’t used the power reserve option which basically turns off all features except for the current time.  I haven’t tried that option until just now while I’m writing this review, and I found it to be kind of confusing, there was no easy way to turn the power reserve feature off that I found, without looking up how to do it on Apple’s web site.  Power reserve kicks on automatically if your charge drops below a certain level.  Now apple doesn’t give you an idea of if it’s 10%, or 5% or 2%, but if your watch only displays the time it’s most likely in power reserve and that’s the most you will get out of it.  Unless you charge it and press the side button until the Apple logo appears on the screen, here are the instructions from Apple if you want to read those too.

Hurdle number three: How the Watch fits into my life.

This has been the most interesting hurdle because I normally don’t purchase tech that I don’t have plans on using consistently.  I try and figure out the Cost Per Use.  Most of the time I figure the tech will last me at least 2 years.  I take the 2 years (730 days) and divide it into the cost of the tech. For the Watch I chose, my cost per use would be: 82 cents per day.  I’m totally ok with that, and helps it fit into my life.

So, the cost works, what else?  As far as being just a watch it hits the mark, I can change the watch face to fit my mood, and what I need for that particular day. The watch comes stock with 9 watch faces.  And each face you can customize with different functions, which I won’t discuss in this post.

It comes with some standard and useful tools or apps.  One minor downside is that you need to have a iPhone 5 or greater to get the most out of the Apple Watch. (And to be honest, having the Apple Watch without the iPhone 5 or greater would not be functional).

Apple provides a free set up session (unlike the iPhone or iPad the Apple Watch is not the kind of product that you just pick up and you KNOW how to use it) to help you get started with your watch, or as in my case answer any questions about the Apple Watch you may have, such as how to set up Apple Pay or introduce you to some third party apps that may make your Apple Watch experience that much better.  And they will help you to understand how the Apple Watch could fit nicely into your day to day existence.

The session lasted for about an hour, Tim the Apple representative was professional, courteous and a delight to talk to.  It is an online chat session, that has a multimedia backbone. Apple gives you two views in the chat session, they also will call you and speak to you while the session is going on.  Tim had an Apple watch on one screen, and his iPhone ‘desktop’ on the other screen.  This allowed him to point out where I needed to go on the watch, and any thing I may have needed to perform on the iPhone.  You see the Apple Watch for all of it’s greatness is a companion to your phone. It doesn’t have GPS, it relies on your iPhone to provide that.  Which honestly isn’t that big of a deal. (However it does have Bluetooth, and Wifi networking). The result of it being a companion to your phone is that you can look at your watch for text messages, or mail, or any other notifications you set it up to get for you.  You don’t have to pull your phone out of your pocket, bag or however you carry your iPhone.  I find this to be most excellent.

Apple calls this functionality a glance.  And in this short glance you can determine if you need to respond or take out your phone to tap out an email or iMessage response.  Yep, the Apple Watch doesn’t really have a keyboard.  Could you imagine?  I couldn’t function if I had to bring up a microscopic keyboard to enter my information in.

That’s where Siri actually really shines.  To be painfully honest Siri on the iPhone, or iPad is generally a crap shoot.  My wife has this thing with Siri, she is always trying to get Siri to be the helpful agent it was touted to be.  Unfortunately for my wife, and others I’m sure, that is not the case.  Frustration mounts trying to get Siri to find something and it comes back with something so left field, so non-sequitor the whole family begs my wife to stop, and then we all break out laughing at the ensuing digital train wreck, or we all come up with various names to call Siri that aren’t fit for this family oriented blog post.

Siri on the Apple Watch is quick, no nonsense and not oral in it’s responses.  It gives you the response in a textual way rather than speaking to you.  That makes getting responses much faster and I don’t have to worry about hearing Siri on the small speaker that is on the Apple Watch.  And Siri is very accurate on the Apple Watch.  I dictate iMessages to Siri all the time with nearly 100% accuracy on it’s part (I keep wanting to call Siri a her, but that’s not right; it would be anthropomorphizing Siri, and I’m not down with that).

Speaking of the speaker, I have taken calls on the Apple Watch, and those who I have talked to through the Apple Watch have said that the sound is actually much better than my bluetooth headphones… go figure.  I like the idea of playing Dick Tracey (for those of you old enough to remember that cartoon detective).

 Dt2wrrDt2wrr“. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia..

There are so many cool and wonderful things that the Apple Watch can do right out of the box without much tweaking.  However I have found that customizations are indeed possible if you don’t want the Apple Watch to just mirror your phone.

Stepping back, the one thing I haven’t written about is how easy it is to pair with your phone.  You turn the Apple Watch on for the first time and during the set up it asks if you want to pair the watch with your phone.  Select yes, and the phone has this interesting diffused pattern on it’s screen, you are supposed to open the iPhone Watch app, and get the iPhone’s camera focused on the Apple Watch face.  In a matter of moments, the diffused pattern on the Apple Watch becomes what looked like to me as a spirograph pattern and 1… 2… 3… you’re paired.  It’s that easy.

A few last thoughts.  After almost two weeks I am now very happy with my Apple Watch.  It performs well as a watch with lots of cool watch features (as I mentioned above, the ability to change the watch face and add complications to each face based on your choices).

I nearly returned it prior to my set up session, but after my chat with Tim the Apple rep, I feel confident in my choice.

Yes it’s expensive and could be considered a toy, but I am getting some real great and useful functionality out of it.  I do enjoy showing it off to others, and getting the response “Wow, it does more than I thought it would.”

If you can afford it, I highly recommend going to the Apple store located near you and set up an Apple Watch try-on session.  And if it fits and you can see the usefulness of it, get it by all means.  And for those of you that want to read another rather funny and pointed review of the Apple Watch, click on this link to read The Oatmeal’s review. (Warning the Oatmeal’s review is filled with non-G rated stuff. If you are easily offended those 7 words that George Carlin conveyed that you can’t say on T.V., don’t click the link)

 

 


 

{Funny enough, after I wrote the first couple of paragraphs, I did a search on my site to see if I had written anything about computers or the internet being boring, and guess what? Not the first time I’ve typed out a “Things are boing” post}

Not sure really, but recently I’ve come to the realization that I’m rather bored with computers. I’m sure that some people who know me will find that hard to believe, but it’s true. Computers are not just stupid, they are boring.

I don’t know if I find them boring now because I have been a slave to my machines for the last two decades, working ALL the time, not having much time for any fun. Not remembering how to relax and enjoy the little things. All that is coming back. I’ve been spending less time on my computers and more time with my family.

I have people who have told me in the past that there were times when they really tried to be an alcoholic, or a junkie, and that’s what I’m trying to do right now with computers. I have even gone as far as buying a few games so that I would have a reason to get on my computer.

I think I’d like to explore this a bit here. How did I get bored with computers? Could it be Facebook, where I get to know the very intimate details of everyone’s life, and I have the chance to share that same level of intimate details. Is the fact that I can get nearly any song ever recorded, nearly any movie, any tv show, tv series, or book at the click of a mouse, a tap of a pad and poof the payment is out of my bank account,the product is downloaded, authorized, or rarely shipped to my home. No more waiting, no more wondering how to get something. Our lives have become connected to anything, anywhere, anytime.

G-d help us.


 

I was talking to some of my coworkers today about some kind of funny stories from when I was in radio “back in the day”.

So here is my first story about radio. Someone once asked me when I was speaking at a voice over convention in Las Vegas, “How did you get started in Radio?”

I stood upon the stage a little taken aback by the question. I was giving a talk on the int ernet and voice over, and I was expecting to get questions on who a good web site provider would be or how to choose a good web designer. Nope. How did I break into radio.

Simple one word answer: Pizza.

Yep Pizza. Sounds strange I know, but bear with me. You see back after I got out of the ARMY, I got a job at the San Diego State Dominos Pizza restaurant. It was a sucky low skill, low wage job, but it kept gas in the car.

I had a habit of calling the local radio station and getting to know the DJs. There was this female DJ who would work the drive time shift (3p to 7p) and I would call her up and chat. One day I was wrapping up at Dominos and we had a couple of extra pies for some reason, so I called the radio station and asked if I could get a tour if I provided them with some free Pizza (Little did I know that I was speaking their language!). I was invited to the radio station, met the DJ and the News crew. Come to find out, the DJ I became friends with was also good friends with one of my cousins. Small world.

So, some time passes, I go hang out at the radio station a few more times and get to know the news staff really well. After a couple of months I am talking to my DJ friend and asked if I want a job. I was a little surprised, and then I said yes, but could she explain. She said that the FM station was going to change formats and they were looking for people to run the board, actually she called the job a Board Operator.

And after I applied for the job, I was in. Boom, like that. Yep, I got into radio, Pizza.


 
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