Eras End

"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Friday, October 17, 2014

Apple Updates iPad Line-Up

As expected Apple has announced its updated line of iPads with the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3. Like the iPhone, they are really just a marginal update for those that have the previous generation of each device. The Air 2 just have a slightly faster chip and Touch ID while the iPad Mini 3 is really the Mini 2 with Touch ID added (for $100 more). In addition they officially released the next OS X update called Yosemite, announced that Apple Pay begins next Monday, the iOS 8.1 update features and showed up their refreshed Mac Mini and iMac. For anyone rocking an iPad that can already handle iOS8, the news is meaningless. Unless you are a hard core gamer, the slight boost in chip power is irrelevant. You are not going to notice the different in speed. Its the equivalent of buying a porsche to sit in traffic all day while living in a city full of speed traps. Technically the car can go fast but when will you actually use all that expensive power?

Ironically, the real tech news comes from Apple's decision to start moving away from the SIM card with their reprogrammable SIM card called "Apple SIM" that can be used from carrier to carrier simply by using software instead of swapping SIM cards. Basically it would give consumers greater latitude to go "month-to-month" with which ever carrier they choose for that month. The carriers still hold a lot of the power so classic SIM card tray still exists but this is the first of probably a bunch of smaller moves to hopefully eventually retire this tired 20 year old "technology" that really exists to give carriers the power as it acts as a form of DRM protection on their mobile hardware while providing no real benefit to consumers. Now to the announcement highlights.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sound Advice on Ebola in US from Fox News!?!

Unless you have lived in a cave (driven there by the news on Ebola) then you are away that the United States is currently host to all of two people that have contracted the virus from a third person that came into the States with it (and sadly since died). If you watch the news though, they seem to have one goal - to terrify you into thinking at any moment you or a loved one will die from Ebola. Cause 3 total equates to all 300 million being in danger. Even though we are going on a month now and that total is still just 3. Cause that is how fast moving, dangerous to all, OMG we could die any moment, epidemics work. So here is what I recommend - listen to the clip below from Fox News. Yeah I can't believe it either.

Shepard Smith must be getting torn a new one by upper management (or they ordered it now that their stock portfolios are getting hit) for saying out loud what the press already knows but doesn't want the public to figure out - that there is no danger from Ebola. As he points out, you have a better chance of dieing from the flu then from Ebola. Currently you have a better chance of winning the lottery then you have of getting Ebola. There is nothing to be afraid of.

Anyone currently trying to scare you is the enemy of truth and good. Trying to score points, be it ratings, attention or votes, by scaring people needlessly is just a form of evil. And when its a politician, who has easy access to experts and they in turn also try to magnify that fear, well if there isn't a special place in hell for them then there ought to be. There is nothing to be afraid of. If going be in fear of something, at least next time be informed enough to know if its justified. Also remember, the news no longer exists to inform you. That is counter to their money making through entertainment mandate. You have the internet, start using it to gain knowledge instead of using the lazy route of listening to people who benefit more from scaring you than informing you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Apple Introduces the iPhone 6 and Watch

Today Apple held a press conference to show off the iPhone 6 which will go on sale at the end of next week in two screen sizes. In addition they showed off the Apple Watch which is essentially the same take on the Android watches that have been on sale for over a year now only their version will not be available until Spring 2015. Overall much like in the last two or so years, the new Apple products are really about the companies attempts to catch up to Android which continues to dominate the mobile market and with features that Apple tends to introduces years later. The advantage to Apple being last (instead of leading the charge like they use too) with new features is they get to see the mistakes everyone else is making and correct for them resulting in a final polish and approach that maintains their sterling reputation for quality products.

As for the release of iOS 8, it will be out on September 17. If you were hoping for iPad details nothing was mentioned but Apple will probably do another press conference in October. A final note is the iPod Classic has officially been discontinued by Apple. If you are a fan of it, keep on eye out for clearance deals but once the remaining stock is sold, that's it except for getting it used. On to the new product details and analysis.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams Dead at 63

Damn. One of my favorite actors of all time is dead at the age of 63 after committing suicide this morning in his home. The actor, who has spent decades battling depression and his various drug and alcohol addictions is suspected of dying from asphyxiation. One of my favorite movies of his was Dead Poets Society. I still remember seeing it a theater with my family. I also watch most of his Mork and Mindy episodes as a child. Really I consumed most of his work, be it comedy, drama, TV, movies, it didn't matter. Robin Williams was always entertaining and the best at what he did. I think his demons are really the only reason he isn't one of awarded actors in history as the skills were there and when allowed to be on display he simply had no equal. He was a four time Oscar nominee with nominations for Good Morning, Vietnam, The Fisher King and Dead Poets Society before finally winning Best Supporting Oscar for Good Will Hunting. He also one four Grammy Awards and three Emmy Awards. The actor is survived by his three children Zachary, Zelda and Cody along with current wife Susan Schneider and previous wives Valerie Velardi and Marsha Garces. His humor and gravitas will be missed and a true loss to entertainment.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Supreme Court: Corporate Religious Rights Trump All

It continues to amaze me that in this day and age that birth control remains an issue. Not abortion (that will never go away), but the use of various medical means to avoid even needing to have an abortion. You would think encouraging people to not get pregnant and therefore not potentially want an abortion would be a good thing. So while abortion is bad, so is preventing the means that might lead to that decision. A contradiction and yet one that the Republican party is happy to live with. Why? Because the religious right thinks any form of birth control is bad. Not because of the bible (because that isn't in there) but because of religious tradition.

A tradition founded at a time when populations could easily be decimated by war and disease. Usually war. So it was to the best advantage of those in charge to encourage as much baby making as possible to not only keep the religious ranks (and thus Church coffers) full but also allow those in charge to go off and conquer as needed. Wars are expensive and costly in manpower and the only way to keep numbers up was more children. This constant need to have replenished populace was why the average age of marriage was 10 to 12, the average age of birth was around 13 to 14 and the average age of death was late 20s. This "tradition" is what is fueling the religious arguments of today.