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.

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”

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”

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:

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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.

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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!

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As Heard on Maritime Morning: Weekend Edition (Jan 26, 2013)

This week was focused on some retail products, how we buy them, and the volatile nature of Apple’s stock.

Amazon Prime in Canada

First up, Amazon Prime was recently announced for Canadian users on Amazon.ca. $79/year gets you unlimited two-day shipping to most Canadian locales, regardless of the price of the item. That means you can buy a $9.99 CD and have it in two days without paying $3-4 for shipping. No more adding items to your cart to reach $39 and get the free Super-Saver Shipping that takes 5-8 business days.

Light Amazon users will balk, but this could really change how some people shop. Amazon.ca’s catalogue has been expanding rapidly over the past couple of years. You can now grab kitchen appliances, gifts, electronics, and other goods along with the staples like books, movies, and music. Amazon’s prices are often hard to beat, so throw in free, fast shipping, and that $79 Prime account is looking pretty good.

More Information

Continue reading “As Heard on Maritime Morning: Weekend Edition (Jan 26, 2013)”

RIP White MacBook

With the launch of the new MacBook Air models today, Apple has removed the venerable white MacBook from its online store.

It will, however, live on for now as an option for educational institutions, presumably while stock lasts. There is only one model, a 2.4ghz Core2Duo affair with a 250gb hard drive and 2gb RAM for $949CAD. The only upgrades available are 4gb RAM and a 500gb drive.

Screenshot from Apple Store for Educational Institutions

The white MacBook replaced the iBook line. The MacBook line took an odd turn as an aluminum model for a short time before Apple created the MacBook Pro line to replace the PowerBook series.

Kind of strange to have MacBook Air and MacBook Pro without a MacBook. Will either line drop their monikers and become the new MacBook line?

Though the MacBooks had a few issues from time to time, they were huge sellers for Apple, and they have served many people, especially students, very well.

I don’t see the 11″ MacBook air as a replacement though, and that is the only laptop model in the same price range as the white MacBook.

An interesting, if predictable move by Apple.

RIPMacBook

Netflix and Canadian ISPs

When Netflix launched in Canada last fall, it landed with a bit of a whimper. The selection of titles was minuscule, especially compared to the US version. There was some confusion with the Wii player – at first you had to order a disc that would need to remain in your Wii if you wanted to access Netflix, but before mine arrived in the mail there was an app in the Wii store. Finally, there were some streaming and quality issues out of the gate.

Within a couple of weeks though the selection began to improve, and it is now expanding each day, adding newer content like current TV series Mr. Sunshine, hit movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and some great archives of TV shows like Arrested Development.

I complained about the quality at first, and spent a few minutes on the phone with some very helpful Netflix people. They explained that the streaming quality slowly improves while you watch, and usually within five minutes Netflix figures out the optimal settings and you will then be served the HD feed if your connection is fast enough. When you first start up a movie, the quality isn’t great so it may be a bit of a turn off. Rest assured that most of the titles do substantially increase in quality as you watch.

netflix_canada

Continue reading “Netflix and Canadian ISPs”