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July 31, 2007

links for 2007-08-01

July 26, 2007

links for 2007-07-27

July 22, 2007


To answer the question I hear most about it: yes, I love my iPhone. It is every bit the gee-whiz, fun-to-use, eye-candy-rich, conversation-starting geek toy I expected when I bought it. It does so many things so well and has fast become an indispensible tool. It also simplified my life: I have shed my pocket day planner, streamlined my contacts list, and I no longer lug my laptop away from my desk, since I can just whip out the iPhone for the majority of what I want to do online.

What's great about it is that so many of the "wow" features in the iPhone are actually practical. Pinching and spreading to zoom in and out: wonderful. Scrolling around a screen by dragging displays with one finger: so great I keep wishing my computer supported the same function. The touch screen is an easy, intuitive way to do, well, everything, and the relatively transparent access to the Internet (even on AT&T's network) turns the iPhone into an iAnything. Web browsing is great. The iPod is great. Google Maps is phenomenal. The weather pane seemed like a throw-in when I got the phone, until I found myself checking it a few times a day, and now I can't live without it.

That pretty much sums up the whole user experience: once you have an iPhone, you immediately find it useful and pleasant, and everything else pales in comparison. In a word, terrific.

Alongside my praise, I am not afraid to admit it's not a "perfect" device, in the sense that all of its capabilities are not pinnacles of joy and ease-of-use. I will defer to the many, many reviews of the iPhone elsewhere online for a reasoned critique, but here's what I personally am crinkling my nose at:

~ The vertical keyboard layout is mediocre. I might enjoy it more in horizontal web layout, but since it's not available anywhere else, I just do all my typing upright, and three weeks in, I'm still tapping words with my index finger. Yeah, it works, but BlackBerry and Treo users (including myself) will feel slowed down by its interface. It does trump T9 on a phone, but that's not enough.

~ Neat, look at the wheelie calendar scheduling interface! I use this all the time to show off how nifty the iPhone is. But as an actual scheduler, it's pretty damn annoying. If I used my Mac to book appointments I'd be in good shape, but I generally plug them straight into my iPhone, and man, wouldn't it be nice to have a 10-key number pad for dates and times.

~ Holding the device steady enough to tap the touch-screen camera shutter is a challenge. I could probably learn to juggle on a unicycle in the time it will take me to learn how to never blur my photos.

~ I worry endlessly that the spam-filter-less mail function and the fun but error-prone slide-to-delete finger stroke in it are exposing my email address to happy spammers around the world.

~ I've noticed that the side of my thumb is not a sufficient surface for the screen to pick up on tapping. This might just be my freak thumbs, but whatever the reason, it's annoying.

So, no, it's not perfect. I'm looking forward to firmware updates that continue to improve the UI, although I'm expecting them not to address all my concerns. The iPhone simultaneously reminds me of why I continually buy Apple products... and why I don't use the applications in OS X outside of iLife.

All this said, the iPhone is still a fascinating device and a complete game-changer in the world of consumer electronics. I am gleefully obsessed with it and proud to own it.

July 20, 2007

links for 2007-07-21

July 19, 2007

Bragging rights

I am more than a little proud to report that my talented wife Amy has had a recent commercial, "Pinball" for Pepsi, nominated for an Emmy.

This is the second time in three years that her work has been Emmy-nominated; two years ago her "Drink" for Aquafina also received a nomination. Amy is doubly honored this year, because she worked on the GE "Jar" spot that was also nominated for outstanding commercial. Not bad to have two nominations at once, and right on the heels of her first Super Bowl work, too.

The author of this page is one proud husband.

Pepsi: "Pinball" on amywertheimer.com

links for 2007-07-20

July 18, 2007

links for 2007-07-19

July 17, 2007

links for 2007-07-18

Not a good sign

Subject line from an email marketing piece from Telecharge, the ticket vendor:

"XANADU on Broadway - The Critics LOVE It. Seriously."

July 16, 2007

links for 2007-07-17

July 10, 2007

links for 2007-07-11

July 9, 2007

links for 2007-07-10

iPhone pros and cons

Compared with my previous cell phone and my BlackBerry, the iPhone's touch-screen UI greatly increases the chance that at some point I am going to get hit by a car.

July 8, 2007

links for 2007-07-09

Better (very) late than never

Well! After years of running it without utilizing it I finally turned Movable Type into the publishing platform for the Ideapad. (Consider: this blog entry was originally dated January 10... talk about the cobbler's kids having the worst shoes.) I now have comments, trackbacks and RSS, so I'm finally catching up to blog standards. Circa 2004 at the least.

The foot-dragging was twofold: one, my coding skills aren't what they used to be, so I had a hard time getting the design just right (you'll notice that I went for "reasonable facsimile" here); and two, my coding interest isn't what it used to be, so I needed some good downtime to wade back into the MT templates and get things sorted out. I believe all the basics, including del.icio.us cross-posting, are functional.

Next up is porting over some of the archives, enabling Digg, and reminding the blog aggregators that this site isn't static after all.

July 1, 2007

Got mine

If you wanted an iPhone this weekend, you could have waited on line for three days, like some of the folks who made it into national newspapers, or you could have done what I did: roll into the Apple Soho store just after it opened at 9:30 Saturday morning, gotten on a very short line at the register, and walked out with one in roughly four minutes.

So far, it's pretty terrific. The learning curve is short and the pleasures of the UI are long. Free wifi is easy to find in the city, so the major shortcoming cited in early reviews (AT&T's slow EDGE data network) has not been a factor. And I can sheepishly report that the iPhone withstands a three-foot drop onto concrete without any damage to the system or the beautiful display, although my day-old gadget is nicely scruffed.

Also: the iPhone comes in a dedicated iPhone bag. Carrying this bag around Manhattan turns a person into a temporary rock star. The buzz around this device is truly astounding.


Sidenote to the two movie-centric posts prior to this one: With the Loews-AMC merger, AMC's MovieWatcher customer loyalty program arrived in New York City for the first time. I had a MovieWatcher account in high school, and not unlike my Blockbuster membership I held onto my card for years. So when AMC appeared in my neighborhood, I went digging into my old wallets, found my card, and tried it—online, no less. And what do you know! My account is valid and I'm still in the system.

The account balance was empty, but I felt remembered, and I got a good chuckle out of my card's longevity. I now use it every time I go to the movies and am once again partial to AMC theaters in my area.

Customers are as easily sated as they are angered. May as well aim high.