The soul of a new iPhone

So I got my new iPhone 6 on Friday – don’t judge me, I was due an upgrade anyway – and have been using it all weekend.

Here are some early thoughts.

1. The size – it’s a bit too big. I didn’t go for the ludicrously sized plus model, but even so. This thing is a lot bigger than the iPhone 5 I upgraded from and it’s just – just – slightly too big.

I have to stretch my thumb to reach the top layer of icons and it isn’t comfy. I know I can double tap the home button to bring them down, but at the moment this isn’t coming naturally to me.

Also it’s too big to fit comfortably in the breast pocket of a shirt, every time i move, it threatens to fall out. Annoying.

Another factor with the size is that there is no way I can put one of those oversize cases that double as an extra battery on this thing, so will need to find a new way of carrying emergency charge around with me.

2. The camera – is excellent, but I cannot believe they have released it with the lens poking out of the back of the phone like it does.

There’s a lot of nonsense written about post-Jobs Apple, but this is one of those things that would never have been released while Steve was in charge. It’s ugly and means you absolutely have to put a case on this thing if you don’t want to knacker it.

3. The storage – I went a bit mad and ordered the top storage option of 128gb. When I found out everyone else was getting the 64gb model I felt a bit daft, but not now.

It holds pretty much my whole iTunes library, as well as every app I would ever want, plus a load of podcasts, and a few downloaded episodes of Peppa Pig for those moments – and I still have 30 odd gigs free. Love it!

4. Some apps aren’t working – am finding I am having a lot of trouble with quite a few apps. Is this an iPhone 6 thing or an iOS 8 thing? I don’t know.

I restored the phone from an iCloud backup of my previous one, and a fair few apps either didn’t download properly at all or crashed when I tried to open them. Deleting them and reinstalling fixed most but not all.

The Chrome browser, for instance, refuses to work for me. Hopefully they will update it soon.

5. Touch ID is something I love, and I’m surprised by that. This is where you can unlock your phone by just holding your thumb over the home button to identify yourself.

My previous iPhone didn’t have it and I was always a bit sniffy. But it seems to work really well, really quickly, and I’ve got used to it right away.

What next?

Those are just my initial thoughts and I am sure I will be able to add more about how I end up using this phone differently to my previous one.

It would be great to hear how others are getting on with theirs in the comments!

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Phones, phones, phones

To probably misquote Stephen Fry: “Was there ever a smartphone that I didn’t buy?”

As I posted a little while ago, I’m pretty happy with the Nexus One. Android is a nice, feature rich, open operating system, and the hardware isn’t bad. However, the one major drawback is the keyboard, which is at times incredibly frustrating.

As well as the Nexus One, at home I have an iPhone 3gs and a Blackberry Bold 9700. Each has its ups and downs, and I thought it might be worthwhile writing them up here. It would be great to hear what others think in the comments, too!

Google/HTC Nexus One

Nexus One

Pros:

  • Integrates beautifully with both Google and third party services
  • Email application is a delight
  • Decent browser
  • Plugs straight into a computer to manage files etc – no messing about with iTunes or other software

Cons:

  • Touchscreen not always brilliant, and the keyboard can be appalling at times
  • Not as many high quality apps as the iPhone
  • Hardly any games

Apple iPhone 3gs

Pros:

  • Lovely user experience
  • Great on screen keyboard
  • Mail application is OK
  • Web browser is excellent
  • Lots of great apps

Cons:

  • Lack of sharing options – eg with photos etc
  • Reliance on iTunes
  • Not great as a phone

Blackberry Bold 9700

Pros:

  • Physical keyboard is great
  • Small and light
  • Phone is very reliable

Cons:

  • Mail application is surprisingly rubbish
  • Doesn’t really work at all well with Gmail (whether consumer or enterprise editions)
  • Terrible web browser
  • Few apps

So there we are. The iPhone is probably overall the best, but because of my reliance on Google, I’ll stick with the Nexus One for now.

Perhaps the way forward would be an Android phone with a physical Blackberry-like keyboard?

Bookmarks for August 5th through August 11th

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I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Bookmarks for July 11th through July 16th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

  • How to work with online communities at Helpful Technology – "But there are many other ways to build relationships, and lots more experience to share. To help explore this further, I’m helping to convene Meet The Communities, a free, one-off event probably in Central London during September, bringing together some of the leading online communities with the government clients, PR & digital agencies for an afternoon of storytelling and speednetworking."
  • App Inventor and the culture wars – O’Reilly Radar – "Creativity–whether the creativity of others or your own–is what makes life worthwhile, and enabling creativity is a heroic act. Google has built a culture around enabling others' creativity, and that's worth celebrating. "
  • The Big Society – the evidence base – "Building on David Kane’s blog-post on the numbers behind the Big Society, the NCVO research team is keen to explore in greater depth the evidence behind this important policy agenda which emphasises the need to transform the relationship between citizens and the state."
  • Should Governments Develop iPhone Apps? – "No, governments should not develop iPhone apps, the community should."
  • Why Google Cannot Build Social Applications – "With Google applications we return to the app to do something specific and then go on to something else, whereas great social applications are designed to lure us back and make us never want to leave."
  • WordPress Plugins to Reduce Load-time : Performancing – Doubt my blog will ever run into performance problems due to traffic, but some interesting stuff here nonetheless.
  • BBC – dot.Rory: Martha’s manifesto – "But it's hard to see how the pledge of universal web access for the UK workforce – which may well be backed by the prime minister later today – can be fulfilled without some government money."
  • UK Government Goes Social for Budget Cuts: Do Not Hold Your Breath – "Once again, this is the unavoidable asymmetry of government 2.0 in action: it is easier (and certainly more pressworthy) to call for ideas on channels that government controls, rather than to gather them where they already are."
  • How Local Government can do Facebook « The Dan Slee Blog – Great roundup and hints and tips from Dan.
  • CycleStreets: UK-wide Cycle Journey Planner and Photomap – "CycleStreets is a UK-wide cycle journey planner system, which lets you plan routes from A to B by bike. It is designed by cyclists, for cyclists, and caters for the needs of both confident and less confident cyclists."

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Bookmarks for July 3rd through July 7th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Bookmarks for June 7th through June 17th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Bookmarks for June 3rd through June 7th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Mobile opportunities

GeeknRollaI had an enjoyable day yesterday at TechCrunch Europe‘s GeeknRolla event – a conference for techy startups. There was lots of discussion about what the next big thing might be (no-one really knows) and how to get funding from venture capitalists (it’s really hard).

One of the most interesting and useful sessions from my perspective was the one on mobile platforms, by Ewan McLeod of Mobile Industry Review.

Ewan really put into perspective the mobile landscape in terms of who is using what – with an emphasis on the fact that the iPhone isn’t the only platform developers should be concentrating on. Nokia, and their Symbian operating system, dominates. The problem is that it’s harder and more expensive to develop for, and doesn’t offer the great user experience that the iPhone offers.

For public services, where accessing as many people as possible is the major issue, platforms other than the fashionable ones need to be seriously considered when developing native mobile applications.

I took some rough notes during the talk, which I have reproduced below with some minor edits for spelling and tidiness. A much better written summary of the session is on TechCrunch itself, and I have embedded the slides too, which are full of goodness.

My notes

  • 4.6 billion mobile subscribers on earth (1.6 billion tvs for instance)
  • Nokia 36%, Samsung 19% of total sales
  • Smartphone OSs: Symbian 47%, RIM 20%, iPhone 14%, Windows 9%, Android 4% (last year)
  • UK – 19 million handsets sold last year
  • Only iphone and android seems to have most developer interest. Symbian etc less elegant but popular with consumers!
  • Is developing on iphone the new “buying IBM”?
  • Do a deal with a handset manufacturer – great way to get succeed. Alternatively the mobile operators.
  • Get a trad. media conglomerate onboard
  • Build on an existing brand – whatever it is, as long as it appeals to consumers
  • Advertise on admob and getjar – v popular tho there are others
  • A mention in the Times is good for 10k downloads or more
  • QT new nokia development platform
  • iPhone devleopment is easier than android.
  • Clients only ask for iphone and brands want consumers to have a great experience
  • Other platforms are more difficult and possibly expensive to develop for. User experience can be mixed. But the numbers! The numbers!

Organising yourself with Evernote

EvernoteEvernote is a nice little app that I have mentioned a couple of times before. It’s a note taking and organising tool, which exists in three main forms: a website, a desktop application for your computer, and an iPhone app.

This approach is becoming increasingly important for any service I use on a regular basis. It needs to be present in a usable form wherever I am and be accessible offline as well as off. It’s one of the reasons that Dropbox has become so invaluable too.

Evernote let you create pages on notes, using text, images, video or audio and to embed documents and even web pages as well. Notes can be collected into notebooks, enabling you to bundle things on similar topics together, and notebooks can even be published publicly, turning Evernote into a simple CMS.

For example, my default notebook, where note are stored if I don’t specificy another one, is simple ‘Stuff to sort’ and notes don’t stay in there for long. I have a notebook for blog posts ideas, one for  reports and documents to read, and another for project ideas.

I’ve recently started using it in another way – which I wouldn’t have really thought of before I found myself doing it! When I am at events, I pick up loads of business cards from people. Before, I would take them home in a big pile, then after a while I would go through them, trying to figure out who people are etc. Now, I photograph them on my iphone as soon as I get them, and send them into Evernote. I can then add notes to them, such as who they are, what they are interested in, where I met them etc all in one place. These all get synced up to a ‘business cards’ notebook so I can find them easily and it acts as a simple CRM.

I’m not the only fan of Evernote at Learning Pool – my good friend John Roughley uses it regularly too – here’s his take:

John RoughleyI found Evernote by chance when looking for a way to collect and organize the sheer amount of technical information I come across on a daily basis. I needed an easy way to collect text, images, and web pages. I looked at various options but found that Evernote offered the flexibility I needed. For me, one of the big advantages was the ability to tag information, making it easy to search for.

So what do I collect? In a word everything! Well, everything that is of use to me in my job at Learning Pool.  This mainly consists of information from moodle.org, capturing text, sometimes long pieces or short posts on the forum. Anything that I think might be useful, it’s much easier than bookmarking every page that might (or might not) be useful in the future.  Plus you only capture what you need. Images are easily captured with a right-click, then tagged in the same way as you would with anything else.

Gathering all this information is great, but is of no use if you can’t share it with anyone. Another cool feature is that you can share the information with anyone, by simply entering their email address. They can then view the information through a web browser.

So there you have it. Evernote is dead handy.

Do you use Evernote in an interesting way you could share? Or do you use a different app? Would be great to know about it if so!