Bah Humbug

Christmas is coming, it always feels more official when two thing happen, Apple releases their holiday advert and Michael Bublé wakes from his hibernation and releases a Christmas Album. Oh come on, tell me I am wrong.

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I learned a couple of things from the Graham Norton show interview with The Bublé (why yes, I did get this post idea from Graham Norton). He is Canadian, super humble and sounds like a really nice guy. Not a guy you’d go for a night out with, but maybe visit him with the wife and kids (you know, if you have that sort of thing). Also, he really doesn’t like the above meme as it is his opinion that everyone now thinks he lives in a cave. Hmmm, perhaps he is a little soft in the head and that’s why he is so nice even for a Canadian).

Anyway, the Apple Holiday ad: bleugh. It’s very, meh, what are you advertising here? A laptop? Knitting? It’s all a bit soft a furry. It’s even worse than the 2016 adverts of the moody kid that is creepily recording everything. However, the sentiment is to share your gifts “Have you ever made something wonderful but were to afraid to share?” The song that is played in the videio is Come out to play, by Billie Eilish. She is some millennial that I have never heard of, but an interesting fact about her: one of her middle names is “Pirate”.

So, there you have it, my bah humbug to the start of the Holiday Season, because my word, calling it the Christmas Holidays now is just so radical…

February drought

I only realised yesterday that I went out photographing once in February. I think it was a combination of the weather and illness that caused this. On the bright side I have some photographs of Stirling to post later and will be taking a lot of photographs in the last third of this month and next month due to having some time off and vacationing! 

For now, I found this video inspiring and extremely creative and it features one of my favourite objects and a favourite music artist (FKA Twigs).

Alto’s Odyssey

Following up from the hugely successful Alto’s Adventure, Alto’s Odyssey was released today in the Apple App Store (also available on Android).

It's a remarkably simple game that is hugely addictive, an endless snowboard journey (on sand this time) across the desert achieving different tricks and tasks.  

The graphics, sound and music create an amazingly immersive atmosphere (best experienced with earphones). Like the original there is also a Zen mode in which you just ride without the nuisance of thinking about points and tasks! 

If my time playing this version is anything like the original I am about to lose a lot of sleep! Priced at £4.99/$4.99 on the App Store, more expensive than the original but totally worth it (and hey, it’s only two lattes worth). Would also recommend the original if you like this version!

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iPhone X - 3 months

I thought I might give an update regarding my experience using the new iPhone X after having it for three months. Original impressions can be read here

Face id – I am still impressed with the face id, although it never seems to recognise me when I am bleary-eyed first thing in the morning in the darkness, I usually have to resort to putting in the passcode. I would say it works 75% of the time in the dark which is a little disappointing. My main problem about this feature is that when the phone is sitting on my desk I have to pick it up to unlock it, I am used to just putting my finger onto the touch id to see the messages. It a small complaint…

Wireless charging – I decided to buy the mophie charger (7.5watts) from the Apple store (£55) this was not an impulse by and I took a lot of time to decide to buy it. I decided on the mophie over the Belkin as it took up less real estate on my desk and it also featured a no slip rubber base. It also feels and looks better than the Belkin. The Belkin pad slipped about on the desk and also felt a bit cheaply made. I like the ease of charging this way. I have a small niggle about this feature though; I have a metal strip between the case and the phone so that phone mount on the dashboard in my  car holds the phone in position for the Sat-Nav, meaning I have to be fairly precise about where the phone is positioned when I put it on the charger. I have actually taken to taking the cover off when I am working at my desk. I would imagine most people wouldn't have this problem.

Size – I have gotten so used to the smaller form factor that when I pick up an iPhone 7/8+ I am shocked at the size of it. Reports from the past couple of days suggest that the top of the line iPhone this year will go back to the larger size which might make me want to stay at the smaller form factor.

Camera – I use it on a daily basis and have even posted a few Instagram shots from it lately. It is good, but I am not convinced it is better than the previous model. The portrait modes are nice to have, but from what I can tell they are still in beta and could be doing with some tweaking. If memory serves me correctly Apple also announced that there would be a fake long exposure mode released as well which has failed to materialise. This is a couple of photographs that I have captured recently.

Physical button positions – I take a lot more screen shots by accident due to the position of the physical buttons on this iPhone. To take a screenshot on the iPhone X you are required to press the on/off button on the right side and the volume up button on the left side. Due to my grip on the phone I often press the volume up button when I press the on/off button, causing a screenshot to be taken. 

Animoji – Have yet to use after testing it. Maybe good for kids, but then who would give a child a £1K phone? The fact that this took up 10 mins of the presentation of the new iPhone blows my mind.

Overall? Well, I am not disappointed, yes, I have a few niggling problems due to my own workflow and personal preferences but I have never had it crash on me. Is it revolutionary, no. The face-id is sensational most of the time, but on those occasions when it doesn't work its very annoying having to go back to typing in my alphanumeric password. 

Apple has finally announced the release date of the HomePod and I am eagerly awaiting the pre-order opening... am sure I'll have some views on this as well!