Monthly Archives: November 2012

I don’t hate my music player anymore!

The hardest part about switching to a Mac was the serious hoops it would have taken me to retain Winamp as my music player. The Mac adds a third inevitability to fans of music with local libraries: Death, taxes, and iTunes. iTunes has been a bulky mess for years, especially when compared to a minimal Winamp installation. Sure, there are some alternatives out there for the Mac, but iTunes generally works better.

Today is the day I no longer hate iTunes. iTunes 11 has slimmed down, is easier to move around in, is more functional as a mini-player, and it is fast. (The last part is super-important on a mid-2009 Mac.) I live and die by my local music library (I’m not the only one), so it’s awfully nice that it got some attention.

iTunes 11 is a much-needed win for Apple on the software front, too — they’ve taken a beating with Maps and iOS 6 in general. And if this is where their software design is going, I think I’m OK with that. (Though the use of Helvetica Neue is this decade’s brushed metal look.)

Quick thoughts on the iPhone 5

On Friday, I upgraded to an iPhone 5 on Verizon from my iPhone 4 on AT&T (with much appreciation to my parents-in-law!). You will have read this in 100 different places by now (and this is not intended to be a serious review), but here’s a few of my quick thoughts after my first weekend with it:

  • Everything about it is wicked fast. Even sending text messages seems faster. The iPhone 4 was no slouch on performance, but the iPhone 5 blows it away.
  • If you haven’t held it yet, it will blow your mind how light it is.
  • Get the black unit. The blacking out of the antenna band really puts the emphasis on the brilliant screen and just looks slick as hell.
  • Changing connectors is a giant pain in the butt, but the Lightning connector’s robustness and size will be worth the change. (Some iteration of USB would still be really nice, but if this means the connector won’t change for 10 more years, that’s not all bad either.)
  • Verizon LTE is very good and tests on par with my cable modem. One test on Hilton Head Island showed 34 mbps down, but it’s a more reasonable 10 mbps here in Charleston. There are indeed some cases where a Wi-Fi network may actually be slower than LTE. (Amazing.) AT&T users here are getting better benchmarks right now but they will likely come back to earth a bit once the network saturates a bit more.
  • I’m going to need a big data plan. LTE makes blowing through data caps a trivial exercise.
  • On paper, the screen size increase was not tremendous, but in practice, it sure does make a difference. Color saturation is much improved (though I am noticing a bit of a blue bias).
  • Battery life on LTE is not awesome. Get it on a Wi-Fi network for best battery performance.
  • There are still a lot of apps that haven’t yet updated for the new screen. Hope they get it together, because it does make a difference.
  • This is the first Siri-capable iOS device I’ve owned. I see Siri being something I play with a bit, but not use very seriously. (I might use it more if there was a way to map a “Siri key” to my car’s Bluetooth package.)
  • I haven’t yet put the camera through much rigor, but the lens flare issue is there. (Any leads on iPhone 5 lens kits would be appreciated.)

Coming this weekend (hopefully): a recap of my BarCampCHS dual-pol radar session

Saturday marked the fourth BarCamp Charleston (these days known as BarCampCHS). I spoke for the first time since the original BarCamp; my talk covered the dual-polarization upgrade being rolled out to the national weather radar network.

Since the meat of the presentation was an analysis of the hail-producing thunderstorms that hit Summerville a week ago, I’ll need to write up a recap (with screenshots) and post it here. This will have to happen this weekend as BoomTown Unite winds down and I have some time to decompress after a conference-overload weekend.

Thanks again to everyone who attended my session! I am already looking forward to BarCampCHS 5.

What I’ve been working on for the last several months

Here’s what I’ve been working on for the last several months: BoomTown’s WordPress-based buyer’s site. Our team is doing amazing work and I’m thankful to be a part. I’ve been working a lot on the behind-the-scenes stuff, getting things optimized and performant. It has been really cool to infuse BoomTown with a healthy dose of open-source software, too.

There is still lots of work to do, but hearing our clients’ reactions to the alpha at the Unite conference has been a shot in the arm for all of us. I’m really excited to see how our efforts translate to success for our clients.