Greg's bite: assorted Apple news
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Greg's bite: assorted Apple news

By Greg Mills

Apple generally, has excellent customer service. I went to the local Apple store Wednesday morning and pulled out my 3GS iPhone that had been dropping a lot of calls. It is easy to blame AT&T, but I noticed my iPad regularly gets more bars than my iPhone in the same location.

The Genius I saw hooked up my iPhone to a MacBook Pro and ran a diagnostic program that had access to a log showing the dropped calls on a calendar. He offered to replace my iPhone, so I agreed gratefully. He synced it up with iTunes on his laptop and assigned it my phone number and faster than you can say "Windows sucks," I was up and running.  

I took the new iPhone home and used iTunes to load my photos, music and contacts to the new phone. I had two minor problems with the phone part of the device transfer as all my favorite phone numbers were lost so I had to redo that by  going through my entire contact list and reselect phone numbers to be on the favorite list. There didn't seem to be an easy way to do that.  I guess it was time to sort that all out again anyway. I hadn't used Steve Jobs' private phone number for a long time anyway.

I broke down and bought a keyboard for iPad for situations where typing goes beyond a few paragraphs. The price is the same for the special iPad keyboard or the Bluetooth keyboard. An Apple guy sold me on the Bluetooth versions because it can be used with any Mac device that has Bluetooth, while the special iPad Keyboard is strictly for the iPad. I prop the iPad up and use the new keypad just fine.  

I noticed that when pared with a Bluetooth keyboard, the touch screen does not pop up on Mail or other writing situations since it is set up to prefer the physical keyboard, by default. I know in a pinch I can still use the touchscreen keyboard but the physical keyboard is faster for me and most people. However, if you are in range of the Bluetooth keyboard, as in across the room,  I haven't found a quick way to pull up the touch screen key board without resorting to the settings on iPad. 

Apple TV continues to be a hit around my house. We are out of HDMI ports with our three-year old HDTV. We will retire it to downstairs soon and invest in a new 55-inch LED HDTV with three or four HDMI ports. I bought a switcher device to add HDMI ports, and it is out of empty slots as well. Apple TV, the Dish DVR, Playstation 3 and the DVD player all are HDMI these days.

The rumor mill is humming about iLife 11 coming out soon. A mystery new app is rumored to be included. I have speculated and will continue to bet on a "Hobby App Inventor" application for the Mac OS. I wouldn't be surprised to see the new iOS App maker includes an iOS simulator that would allow Mac users (and perhaps the dark side of the force) to run iOS apps on regular computers. The touch element of the apps would use the mouse and cursor to simulate a finger tip. Multi-finger gestures would be a trick, however. I also anticipate the new 64-bit iWeb program that is touted to be rewritten from the ground up. I use iWeb, and it is so easy compared to DreamWeaver and the like.  

A few corrections: the Microsoft launch of their Windows Mobile OS 7 is the 11th instead of the 7th of October as I reported yesterday. I suspect the alignment of the planets is not right until the 11th. I also have to admit it might have been cruel of me to mention Ballmer's tongue in jest, as I did in yesterday's article. When you humiliate a person over their most handsome attribute, it feels sort of mean. I guess I could have complemented him on his hair ... 

The Mall of America, the biggest Shopping Mall in the United States will have an Apple Store and a new Microsoft store right across from each other. For whatever reason, Microsoft moved in to Apple's space. I suspect the Microsoft store will be the busier of the two stores, with all the disgruntled Windows victims needing help with crashed PCs. The copycat activity at Malcrosoft continues.  

Some of the slate computers the PC crowd is touting as competition with the iPad are devices running Windows. People who say that just don't get it. The iPad is so much more than just a PC in slate form factor.

The Stuxnet Worm continues to mutate and reinfect computers in Iran. Perhaps Steve Ballmer could fly over and help them out in the name of good Microsoft customer service. The real rub would be that most of the infected computers were running pirated Windows software. The third world is almost 100% WIndows and 99% of that is pirated software.  

Investors on the street are thinking Apple might grow enough in the next few months to surpass Exxon Oil as the most valuable company in the world. With Microsoft having lost half its market cap since Bill Gates retired in 2000 and turned over the company to Ballmer, I might have a new "buffoon to lampoon" soon. From Microsoft briefly being the most valuable company in the world to its current valuation is startling.  That's Greg's Bite for today.     

(Greg Mills, is a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup, www.CottageIndustrySolar.com using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's art web site at www.gregmills.info ; His email is gregmills@mac.com )

 
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