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.

Continue reading “Weather on the Apple Watch”

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.

Continue reading “The Apple Watch is Another Great Opportunity for Apple”

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”

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.

Continue reading “Stop Freaking Out About the Facebook Messenger App”

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?”

Contest: Win Sneak Preview Tickets to the New Steve Jobs Movie

Attention Halifax (and area) readers: I have a double pass to the new Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher to give away!

The sneak preview screening is at 7pm on Monday, August 12th at Empire Theatres Bayers Lake.

I will announce the winner on Sunday at noon. Please only enter if you are sure you will be able to make it, as the timeline is very tight to announce the winner and get a hold of you!

To enter, you just have to:

  1. Like HalifaxTech on Facebook or follow @HalifaxTech on Twitter. You can also do both of these very easily in the sidebar ->
  2. Tweet to HalifaxTech or post on the Facebook page telling us your favourite Apple product, or why you want to see the film.
  3. That’s it! Good luck!

If you already follow or like HalifaxTech, you’re good to go. Just tweet or post to complete your entry!

Keeping Your Smartphone Charged on the Go

Mophie PowerStation Duo White

Many people rely on their cell phones, and many are disappointed with the poor battery life currently on offer. It doesn’t seem to matter which brand you go for – Apple, BlackBerry, Samsung, etc. – you’re lucky to get a day’s worth of decent use out of these powerful devices. Battery technology is improving and changing all the time, and some of the biggest improvements to Apple’s products in the past few years have been their custom batteries that help drive high-resolution displays and fast graphics processors. But it’s still not enough. Until there is a sea change in the tech, we will be worrying about getting through the day with our smartphones.

So, what are the options?

Continue reading “Keeping Your Smartphone Charged on the Go”

New Website!

After two and a half years of using the same web layout (which was a fairly boring, default WordPress theme called Bueno), I decided it was high time this site received a makeover.

The new site puts the newest posts front and centre with a nice banner section. There is instant access to the latest tweets as well as the (newly minted) Facebook page. All of the posts are presented with excerpts and “read more” links which make for a cleaner and more cohesive browsing experience.

The whole design is cleaner and more sophisticated, and offers much more in the way of customizability. It’s also pretty, don’t ya think?


There are two other big changes I am excited about:


1. New Contributors

I have asked a few people to contribute to the site. They will be posting in the coming months, and I’m excited to have more content on the site from multiple viewpoints. Their backgrounds are varied and I think they will all be an excellent addition to the site.


2. Hire Us!

I have had many requests for speaking engagements, workshops, and so forth. I decided it would be prudent to put some information around those things on the site. Check out the Hire Us section for some info and get in touch if you think we can help!