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Showing posts from March, 2013

Spring Preview #2 - Fire Pit and Patio Wall

Yesterday we talked about replacing parts for a Weber Genesis E-310. Today's discussion is about our other 2013 outdoor project - adding a patio retaining wall and a built-in fire pit.  Neither project is particularly difficult (or expensive). They just require an awful lot of heavy lifting.

Spring Preview - Cleaning and Repairing a Weber Genesis Grill

Now that the winter is ending (allegedly!), it's time to come out of the basement, and get started on the outdoor phase of our home renovation projects! Spring cleaning time.

High Five #9: Our 5 Favorite iOS Games, Right Now

By now, you've probably tried a ton of iOS games. And your App Store account probably has hundreds of games in your "Not On This Device" folder. This High Five isn't the "greatest iOS games of all time". I'm not putting Angry Birds or Plants v. Zombies on the list. It's the games we're enjoying the most right now.

100 Posts of AAAD!

I'm going to be busy with work for most of today, but I just wanted to mark an anniversary of sorts - yesterday was my 100th post on this blog. I hope that some of these posts have been fun and informative for you. It's been fun for me to log the progress - or lack thereof - of our various home projects. New High Five tonight!

TiVo Requiem Part 3 - Streams, Minis, and Playing Catch-up

If you haven't read the two  prior   posts in this series, here's the quick summary: For a long time, TiVo was the "luxury brand" DVR. Sure, it cost more, and you could go with the cable company's DVR service - but their interface was terrible and their boxes were ugly. And TiVo was selling the beautiful Series 3. It cost more, but it was worth it. A DVR to be envied.  Then, everything changed.

Going Underground #4 - More Foosball Table Restoration!

As you may know, AAAD isn't just an Apple rumors or tech-discussion site. It's about integrating iOS and Apple into all aspects of our home. And sometimes, our DIY home fix-it projects have nothing to do with tech. Like the foosball table in the basement.

What "Killer Feature" Can We Expect from the iPhone 5S?

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty was on CNBC "Fast Money" this afternoon , and suggested that the iPhone 5S will have a "killer feature" that will differentiate the phone and "drive consumers increasingly to the platform".  We've previously suggested that the iPhone 5S will need to be a substantial improvement over the iPhone 5 - which, we believe, will get a new plastic shell and will become the new multicolored "low-cost iPhone".  Because if the iPhone 5 is $350 without a contract, why buy a 5S?

TiVo Requiem Part 2 - Laggy, Underpowered, and Costly

This is the hardest post for a TiVo fan like me to write.  TiVo was never a market share leader in the DVR space - at least not after the cable companies started offering their own barebones DVR service.  But they were a thought leader, and a features leader , and the competition wasn't close.  For consumers, the choice was clear - pay your cable company to rent a lousy UI and basic, ugly DVR, or pay a little bit more to buy an elegant, cutting edge solution from TiVo.  And then that status quo completely fell apart. 

Why I Gave Up On TiVo. A Requiem in Three Parts.

It's hard to write this post. I've been working on it, off and on, for quite a while. You see, I'm an unabashed TiVo fanboy. For about a decade, we bought almost every box TiVo ever produced. We owned their stock. We even picked up TiVos for our parents. We were TiVo evangelists. And for the first time in 12 years, there isn't a single piece of TiVo hardware in our house. How did this happen? Well, gradually, and then suddenly.

The iPhone 5 is Dead. Long live the New, Colorful, Low-Cost iPhone 5!

AppleInsider had an article today discussing the rumored "low-cost" iPhone. According to their sources at KGI Securities, the new low-cost iPhone will have the standard iPhone 5 form factor and 4-inch screen, with a "super-thin casing made of plastic and glass fiber". That makes sense. Assuming this is true, it also gives us a huge clue about how Apple intends to balance their position as a "high-end" phone maker with the introduction of a low-end model.

Review: TV Network Apps

We downloaded CBS's new app last night.  While they have big plans for integrating their "CBS Connect" functionality in the future, for the moment, it's precisely what you'd expect: the last few episodes of the network's primetime programming, along with a handful of extras.  As with any other TV network app, it can be useful. Just not, you know, THAT useful. 

CBS joins ABC, NBC, PBS, HBO with native iPad app

There are a number of ways to get TV shows for free over the internet. We use AirPlay to stream shows from Netflix, from the HBO GO app, from the PBS app, and from the ABC app.  It looks like CBS is joining the party. 

Please Allow Me To (Re)Introduce Myself

Well, that relaunch went a lot smoother than I'd imagined! That's much better.  This is probably a good opportunity to explain the purpose of this blog.  It's called " All Apple All Day ", but that's a bit of a misnomer. While I'm very Apple-focused, we spend a lot of time talking about non-Apple stuff, too. 

Apple Maps - They're Working On It

I've been pretty outspoken about my disappointment in Apple Maps. Over the course of about 2 weeks, I went from excitement about the new app, to grudging acceptance, to crestfallen confusion. How could Apple release such a clearly inferior product - and kick the better option, Google, off the iPhone? And then Google released a vastly-improved Google Maps for iOS, and everyone was happy and forgot all about ol' Apple Maps.

High Five #8 - The Five Greatest Intellivision Games

I never owned an Intellivision. I was an Atari kid.  But my best friend had an Intellivision, and it was - in many ways - obviously superior.  In other ways, it was ridiculously inferior. The controllers were hardwired to the console!  And no joysticks!

DirecTV Genie + iPad App = Fantastic Content On Demand

I've written about DirecTV's iPad app before. It's great.  One of its best features is the ability to browse OnDemand content, and download in bulk.  Browsing DirecTV On Demand menus with your remote is kind of a pain. It's pretty, but it's slow. Screens take too long to load. The iPad, on the other hand, is the best tool for managing media content that has ever been invented. It is intuitive, it is responsive, its graphics are excellent, and obviously, it's a touchscreen.  And DirecTV makes great use of it. 

Wireless iPhone Charging - Can We Avoid Another Peripheral?

I don't know about you, but my workspace is crowded. Not cluttered (well, okay, a little cluttered), but crowded . I work from a home office, so I don't have a giant workspace. My desk has 2 monitors, my laptop and dock, my keyboard, my mouse, an "work inbox" pile and a "home inbox" pile, my phone, and a coaster for my coffee. Like you, I was intrigued by recent reports that Apple (and Samsung) are likely to build in wireless charging for the next generation of their phones and tablets. But where am I going to put a wireless induction charging pad?

Pardon Our Dust!

We're making a rather audacious leap forward here at AAAD - one that will, hopefully, make the site look a bit more professional. Of course, as we incorporate the new website template, there will be a handful of placeholders and dead-end links. I'll be ironing those out over the course of the next day or so.  (I picked a Sunday afternoon to get started, as traffic is a bit lighter.) I know we don't get a lot of comments, but if you have an opinion re: the new look, let me know.

Apple "iRadio" Streaming Music Service Will Drive Music Sales AND Limit LTE Usage

As I was writing yesterday's post on what we've learned about Apple's rumored music streaming service, a few conclusions jumped out at me: 1. While most streaming services have a neutral or negative effect on music sales, Apple iRadio will  actively increase sales ; and 2. While most streaming services are bandwidth hogs, Apple iRadio will be materially easier on your mobile data plan - and will use less of your data cap the more you purchase music.  Here's why. Keep in mind, all of this is speculation. But it's informed speculation, based on available facts, and rather obvious inferences.

Apple iRadio - Royalty Negotiations, and What We Know

It was widely reported yesterday that Apple had been in negotiations with the record labels to add a streaming music service - rumored to be called "iRadio". The hope, apparently, was that iRadio would launch with the iPhone 5. That obviously didn't happen.

Wireless Charging iPhones? 9to5 says "Not Yet".

Digitimes has a rumor today that the next generation of iPhone will be charged wirelessly  via induction- and that the wireless-charging iPhone will be out this year!  Considering that we already have wireless sync, this would - in theory - mean that our iPhones were finally, completely, free from cables.  A completely untethered iPhone! But not so fast. 9to5Mac says that, despite Digitimes' rumors to the contrary, we shouldn't expect a wireless charging iPhone  in 2013. Or in the upcoming generation of iPhone, whenever it gets released. 

Home Theater Update - Built-In Cabinets - 3D Model!

I had an opportunity to learn how to use Google SketchUp yesterday.... it's free, and the learning curve is pretty shallow. I watched one YouTube video tutorial , and right away, I was able to create a 3D model of our plans for our home theater. This is going to be very, very helpful. For reference, this is what the home theater looks like right now: The additions will allow us to get our speakers mounted, the TV mounted above the fireplace, the HDMI cables buried in the walls, and the components hidden away in the left-side cabinet. For now, we're planning on keeping the same Bose system - no built-in speakers for us just yet. They're really incorporated into the design, though - it should look nice.  The cabinets will be semi-custom - we'll be sizing them up and ordering them online, unless a Chicago-area cabinet maker can match. The bookcases above the cabinets will be a DIY project. (While it's probably a very easy DIY project, it&

NAS Update: Synology DiskStation 4.2 has AirPlay

One of our primary projects at AAAD is to add a home server to our system - for backup of existing digital files, and for storing and playing media, like my iTunes library. I'd previously looked into a number of NAS (Network Attached Storage) solutions, but I'm really looking for something as Apple-centric as possible. The reports I've seen about people going full-Apple and using Mountain Lion Server aren't exactly glowing - at least not for what I'd want to use it for.  I want to get my iTunes library off of my iMac!  And I want to get my DVD collection out of my media cabinet - and onto a server. Based on a review last night at 9to5 Mac , a Synology Diskstation really seems to be what I'm looking for. I'm sold. Count me in. Specifically, for the 4-drive box pictured above.

More Thoughts on Apple, HDTV, and iRemote

Analysts have been claiming that Apple is going to develop an HDTV for years . Basically, ever since the  dawn of HDTV and the rise of Apple.  Apple, for what it's worth, has made it clear that they'd like to be a fixture in the living room.  They introduced the AppleTV for exactly that purpose. And they've sold millions.  I've owned all three versions of the AppleTV.  And I believe that the changing nature of the AppleTV device - both in what it does, and how it's controlled - provides us with some clues about how Apple intends to proceed in the living room space.  And it doesn't point toward Apple developing an HDTV. 

High Five #7 - The Five Best Activision Games for Atari 2600

Continuing our "Vintage Gaming" run of High Fives, here's a second look back down memory lane - this time, to the Atari 2600. The 2600 was groundbreaking and ubiquitous. Everyone, it seemed, had one. (Except for one of my friends, who had an Intellivision - a topic for another High Five.) And there were LOTS of games available for the 2600. Wikipedia says 565 in total, and I have no reason to doubt them. (Of course, back then a cartridge would claim that it contained 5 "games" if you were allowed to adjust the difficulty to make the ball move at 5 different speeds. So it's an unverified number. But there were hundreds of individual cartridges.) I was about 8 when I got my Atari, and almost immediately, we realized that the best games were being made by Activision.

Towards a Better App Store?

I read an interesting post this morning at Monday Note , setting forth a hypothetical "Red Guide" to the Android Market.  The general point is this: while the App Store has been a transformative, massive success, it's also very chaotic and difficult to use. New apps are just dumped in the index, competing with millions of others.  At some level, human curation of apps may be the next "evolution". But what would a curated App Store look like? A hint for my potential answer is to the right - and no, it's not an Apple Power Glove.... although that would be " so bad ". 

How to Replace (or Upgrade) a Time Capsule Hard Drive

I used to have a first-generation 500 GB Time Capsule.  I still have it. Except now, it's a 1 TB Time Capsule.  Maybe your original Time Capsule disk failed, like mine did - or maybe you just want some more breathing room on your TC disk... either way, replacing and upgrading your Time Capsule hard drive is a simple, cost-effective fix.  But don't expect the Geniuses at the Apple Store to fix it. 

High Five #6 - Five Best Vintage TI-99 Games

   I've got a son in first grade. And like most first graders, he's absolutely enthralled by video games - "Skylanders", primarily, but also "Clash of Clans" for iPad and "Mario Kart 7" for 3DS.  While I don't game much anymore, I can still appreciate the obsession - after all, I was a member of the very first  generation of kids to spend all day with home videogame consoles.  And I was even more obsessed than my kid is today. The Great Video Game Crash happened when I was about 9 years old. I didn't even notice.  I was too busy playing "E.T." and "Swordquest: Fireworld on our first game system - the Atari 2600. 

A Huge, Plastic, Cheap iPhone 5!

Well, that's what's being reported , anyway.  I still hope that this isn't the case.  But analysts keep saying it .  But I still don't think it makes any sense. Apple's iPhone is one of the most profitable products in the history of mankind.  It's a luxury item. It commands a premium on the market. And people are willing to pay that premium.  Just to be associated with the brand. Because they like what owning an iPhone says about them as a consumer.  This way of thinking - no compromises, no price battles - has led Apple from the brink of bankruptcy, to becoming the most valuable company in the world.  Look at the Macintosh. Despite Apple's stubbornly small market share, which (to my knowledge) has never topped 10 percent of PC sales,  Apple rakes in a giant share of the industry's profits .  This is a fundamental truth, and one which Steve Jobs conclusively proved at Apple: create great things, and people will aspire