Apple’s HomePod is Coming Soon

Apple’s HomePod will be available for pre-order January 26th, and will be available on February . Except that, like several other Apple products and services, it will not be available in Canada at launch. Apple News still hasn’t come here, nor has Apple Pay Cash. Hopefully that announcement is coming soon. I estimate it will be priced at $449CAD, based on other product pricing (the Apple Watch Series 3 GPS is $329USD and $429CAD). Continue reading “Apple’s HomePod is Coming Soon”

#TBT – Crashing Blue – “Triumph and Insolence”

I’m taking a look back at my band’s album, released in 2004, as a series of #TBT posts.

Track 3 is called “Triumph and Insolence.” There were lots of jokes in the studio around the title and I think one was “Treason and Petulance.” It’s about a relationship that went south, but more specifically about that wonderfully confusing situation where someone says they don’t want a relationship and things are just casual… and then they get upset when the other person sees someone else. In this case, that person attempted to pit her friends and others against our protagonist and tarnish their reputation.

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iCloud Gets An Automatic Boost in Storage… and Price

I just received an e-mail from Apple indicating that, as they announced at the last keynote, the top tier of iCloud storage is doubling from 500gb to 1tb. I have that 500gb plan, so they kindly e-mailed to tell me my plan would be upgraded to 1tb. However, there’s a catch – the price is increasing from $9.99 to $12.99 per month (CAD).

Apple iCloud Upgrad

That sounds fine on the surface – I’m getting twice the space for only $3/month more. However, there is no option to just keep my 500gb plan. The only option is to downgrade to the 200gb plan, but I can’t do that because I already use more than 200gb between iCloud Photo Library and the documents in my iCloud Drive.

At first I was excited about the increase in storage, but now I’m miffed that I am going to have to pay more money each month.

What the 5D MKIV Needs to Have For Me to Buy It

I’ve been shooting with a Canon 5D MKIII since its release, and while I love the camera, I feel like next year I will be ready for an upgrade. Since the 5D MKIII was released, Nikon has upped its game with the D810 and D750, and Sony has come out with some incredible sensors. Most of these newer cameras have better low light performance, dynamic range, and overall image quality than the 5D MKIII. Here’s what the 5D MKIV will need to have for me to consider buying it:

Has to have:

  • Better dynamic range. According to DxO Mark, the 5D MKIII is rated at 11.7EV. The D750 and D810 are 14.5 and 14.8, respectively. That’s a big difference.
  • Lower noise at high ISO and lower shadow noise.
  • 18-24mp. I’m not picky on this – whatever helps keep the noise down, while still providing excellent image quality.
  • Better focusing in low light.
  • UHS-II for the SD card slot. Or dual-CF instead.
  • DIGIC 7 processor.

Awesome to have:

  • Larger burst. 7-9fps vs. the current 6.
  • 4K video. Nice to have, but I’d also take better codec in 1080p / RAW video.
  • All cross-type AF points. 61 of ’em.
  • I’d like them to stick to CF cards, as CFast is expensive and unnecessary for this camera, but I could see them going with CFast to stay ahead of the curve, especially if 4K video is involved.

And that’s it. I’m not asking much, really. It doesn’t need to be 36mp. It doesn’t need a redesign. It just needs a better sensor and better image quality, and a few other tweaks. If Canon can do that, they’ll keep me as a customer. If they can’t, I’m going to have to look elsewhere.

Weather on the Apple Watch

One of the first apps many people seek out on their new device is a good weather app. Sometimes the built-in app is fine, but often there are third-party apps that offer more features, better accuracy, and more customizability. Apple’s built-in weather app on the   Watch is good, but since my main iPhone app is Yahoo! Weather, I thought I would try out a few apps to see if I could find the weather app for the Watch.

The Contenders

Note: Dark Sky is not available in Canada, so it is not part of my review.

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The Most Rewarding Moment

Photo by ADRIEN VECZAN / Chronicle Herald Staff

Several years ago, I was a Client Trainer for GBS Communications/TELUS. During my last week in that position, I had an incredibly rewarding experience. I posted the following on my now-defunct personal blog soon after:

I had a training session with a client who had purchased a new iPhone. I noticed from his account information that the phone was for his construction business. I always like to tailor the training to the clients needs and interests, especially if they own their own business as there are many ways a smartphone can help in that regard. Halfway through the session, I asked him if he still worked on the “front lines” or if he was in more of a management position.

He told me he ran the company. Four years ago he realized family is what is most important and that he decided he needed to be home more and have a better life/work balance.

“That’s something my daughter taught me. She passed away four years ago.”

I told him I was sorry to hear, and asked him about her and how she died.

“She was eighteen years old. She had a heart defect.”

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The Future of TV Isn’t Anytime Soon

There’s a rumour going around that HBO will be launching its new HBO Now with Apple as a partner, via the Apple TV. This is exactly what cord-cutters have been waiting for: access to premium content without a cable or satellite subscription. And it’s exactly what the cable companies have been dreading. But it’s not all roses for cord cutters, and it won’t be for a while.

I want to cut cable, but I watch HBO shows and live sports, and I often like to watch things when they’re on – like the Oscars, certain TV shows, and local news. Netflix, Crave, Showmi and all the other on-demand services don’t solve those problems. They’re great for legacy content, and original shows (especially Netflix), but they’re not enough for a lot of folks. Continue reading “The Future of TV Isn’t Anytime Soon”

The Apple Watch is Another Great Opportunity for Apple

They’ve been in this position before, but never quite like this. Next week, Apple will host a media event called “Spring Forward” where we will most likely hear more details about the  Watch and its release. Like several Apple products before it, this watch is not the first product to the market, but it has a good chance of becoming the market leader.

The MP3 Player

Rewind to 2001. There were lots of mp3 players on the market, but there wasn’t really a market leader. Most had Terrible UI, none of them had a good ecosystem, and they weren’t made incredibly well.

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An Open Letter to Canon

I love Canon cameras and lenses. I’ve been shooting Canon for almost ten years, starting with the Rebel XT. I currently have a 5D MKIII, 60D, two L lenses, flashes, and various Canon accessories. They get the job done, and I enjoy using them, but I’m not sure I’ll stick with Canon if they don’t start improving their products.

Here’s the thing — any modern DSLR will take great photographs. All major manufacturers have great cameras and lenses. At this point, mirrorless cameras like the Fuji X-T1 are set to take a huge chunk out of DSLR sales, and video-focused cameras like the Panasonic GH4 and the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera are taking the video world by storm. Through it all, the two leading camera makers, Canon and Nikon, have made several stumbles and have conceded market share to companies once thought to be out of the game. So if any camera can take a great photo, why choose Nikon or Canon?

Nikon and Canon have the most mature product lines, with lens lineups that cannot be matched. The vast amount of accessories made for these two brands, coupled with their reliability and support, make many hobbyists and professionals remain loyal. Most people seeking a great DSLR stick with Nikon and Canon, and that’s what I’ve done. I essentially put my whole crop-sensor kit for sale (50D, 15–85mm, 18–55mm, 18–135mm, 55–250mm) and I was ready to buy whichever camera stole my heart. At that time, it was the Canon 5D MKIII, and I still love using it. But lately, with all the advancements other companies are coming up, my eye has been wandering. Continue reading “An Open Letter to Canon”

A List of the Ugliest Cars

Inspired by the “Selling Ugly” episode of Under the Influence, I remembered that I had drafted a post about ugly cars a couple of years ago. I found it in my list of drafts and WordPress and decided to flesh it out. Even though many of these cars offer utility or useful features, it doesn’t change the fact that they are just nasty looking.


Nissan Cube
NIssan Cube 1There is a reason that cars aren’t square. Beside the fact that it looks ugly, there is no way this thing is aerodynamic. And let’s talk about that wrap-around rear window. On one hand, it seems like a good idea for shoulder checks. On the other hand, the damn pillar on the other side just looks stupid. If they could do it on the right side, why didn’t they just use the same design for the left? If it was down to engineering (maybe that pillar is structural for the hatch, etc.), then I have an idea: un-engineer the Cube and don’t release it. It’s terrible.

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Why Apple Should Win Its Latest Court Case

Apple’s latest court battle is in the form of a class-action lawsuit that argues Apple stifled competition by using its FairPlay DRM for the music files in the iTunes Music Store. It also alleges that Apple deleted songs from competing services from the devices of users.

Both of those things are “true.” But Apple still shouldn’t pay a dime. Continue reading “Why Apple Should Win Its Latest Court Case”

Stop Freaking Out About the Facebook Messenger App

Facebook Messenger Icon

There has been a lot of noise about Facebook’s move to remove messaging from its main app and “force” people to use the Messenger app on mobile devices to send messages. Today, no less than four people on my Facebook feed made proclamations about not using the app. Here’s why you shouldn’t be freaking out.

Issue #1

The first issue here is that Facebook is removing the messaging features from its mobile apps.  Many people use their inbox regularly, and many are still using the Facebook app to do this. Personally, I hate the little chat bubbles and found them intrusive, but I do agree it is convenient to be able to do all your Facebook-related activities within one app.

So, everyone that had avoided downloading the separate Messenger app can it avoid it no longer if they want to perform messaging via Facebook.

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Is Blu-ray Dead?

…Or Just Dying?

I purchased a Panasonic Blu-ray player in the spring of 2008. Six years on, it is showing its age and I can count on one hand the number of times I have used it in the past year. I paid almost $400 for it, and I really don’t know if I got my money’s worth, but at the time it was the only way for me to fill my new plasma HDTV with glorious 1080p content. Here’s what I notice about my has-been Blu-ray player: it’s unbelievably slow to load discs and navigate, it doesn’t decode all audio formats, it doesn’t have Ethernet or wifi for updates or extra features, and it doesn’t have any smart features. In my search for a new player, I started thinking about Blu-ray as a format and where it’s headed. Let’s start at the beginning. Continue reading “Is Blu-ray Dead?”

My First Mac(s)

On the 30th anniversary of the Mac, I thought I’d share my Mac using/buying history. I didn’t buy my first Mac until 2010, but I had been using them daily for a number of years leading up to that purchase. Here they are in chronological order:

PowerMac G3 Blue & White

During my first degree (Music Technology), I started using Macs quite a bit. I was doing a bit of web and graphics work for one of the departments using a blue and white PowerMac G3 and two massive CRT monitors.

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