Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security

iPhone 4s

Apple European USB chargers may be dangerous

technologyEdward KiledjianComment

Apple has announced a USB Adapter replacement program for Europe. This recall affects both in box and sold-separately USB adapters. Apple says they may "overheat" and "pose a safety risk". 

These adapters were sold or delivered with iPhones from 2009 until 2012.

Model A1300 - affected model

Model A1300 - affected model

Model A1400 - New unaffected model

Model A1400 - New unaffected model

You can access Apple's information page here (link)

Facetime Audio is one of IOS7's best features

technologyEdward KiledjianComment
facetime.png

VoIP is a fantastic way to freely (or cheaply) connect to friends and family flung across all 4 corners of the world. But even with all of the technological advances made in recent years, VoIP calling is not pleasant and comes with dozens of gotchas:

  • Does the person use the same VoIP platform?
  • Does the person have the VoIP app open? 
  • Many apps have poorly implemented codecs which lead to bad voice quality and the sound cutting-in and out

Facetime (implemented in IOS 6) was a fantastic way to keep in touch with family and friends. As long as both parties had Apple products (which is common) the technology was extremely well designed and integrated into the OS. It made video calling as friction-less as possible and dare I say it, enjoyable.

Now Apple is leveraging that Facetime technology to bring high quality and reliable VoIP calling to its customers. Did I mention this is being offered for free? 

Why now? 

It is much easier to build a VoIP (voice) app than a video chatting one.  Video introduces many more technological challenges which means it is often introduced after an initial voice offering. Why did Apple do video first?

Facetime audio is a free and better alternative to traditional cell phone voice calling. It doesn't require minutes, it doesn't need long distance charges and the quality is immeasurably better than that of a traditional cell call. 

When Apple released iMessage , it cost the carriers millions in lost SMS fees. Now Facetime audio may impact their only remaining cash cow, minute charges. Apple probably had to do some convincing of the major players before unleashing it into the world.

The Facetime audio revolution

Just like most iPhone users switched from SMS to iMessage, I expect most of them to jump from traditional calling to Facetime Audio (eventually). 

I know many Android fans will claim Google has had voice conferencing for a while, but [ as a user of both platforms] Apple's implementations are always cleaner and easier to use. Apple's Facetime is embedded into the base OS which means there is no need to start the app, no need to create another account, download another app or learn a new tool. It works like every other Apple tool, right out of the box.

Not only is it easy to use but the call quality is incredible. It sounds even better than HD Voice (which very few north american carriers support anyway). Once you use it, going back to regular cell phone conversations feels like you are talking into a can.

Facetime makes IOS sticky

Facetime is one of those technologies that "traps" users and prevents them from switching platforms. I often consider switching my primary device to an Android one but most of my friends, family and contacts are on iPhone which means losing Facetime, iMessage, Photostreams, etc is too painful.

Facetime will keep iPhone users married to the ecosystem...  

Whoosh is my favorite gadget screen cleaner

technologyEdward KiledjianComment

If you have read any of my blog posts before, you know that I love gadgets. I love all gadgets big and small, shiny or mate. I do everything to keep my devices as clean as possible. In October 2012, I wrote  a blog entry entitled "Stop What You're Doing And Clean Your Smartphone" where I explain that 

Mobile phones are excellent peatry dishes for bacterial growth. There has been a handful of well documented studies that prove that many smartphones are dirtier than a public toilet seat. 

Add to that the fact that your smartphone or tablet is the device you touch the most and its easy to see why it needs a real deep cleaning. Over the years, I have tried dozens of different products to clean my smartphones from creams & lotions to gels & carbon pads. 

The best smartphone screen cleaner

I recently had a chance to try a new product called Whoosh Screen Cleaner and was amazed. This is a gentle and natural product that can clean every screens in your life from your smartphone, LCD monitor to your tablet. 

I tried it on various Dell monitors, an iPhones 4s and iPhone 5, a Google Nexus 4, a blackberry bold, a projection TV, my Dell and Apple laptops and it worked. It worked really well and was super easy. You simply spray a bit of the cleaner on the enclosed cloth and then wipe the dirt away. 

To torture test the product, I dipped the tip of my finger in honey then rubbed my naked iPhone 4s screen. I waited 15 minutes and then started my test. I first tried the SideKick carbon cleaning pad from Lenspen and the honey grabbed the carbon particles and trapped them. Yuck

I then tried a generic house brand cleaning spray from Best Buy and it couldn't get the gunk off (plus it had a horribly strong smell).

Finally I sprayed a generous amount of Whoosh on a cloth, rubbed the screen with a circular motion and in less than a minute the screen was shiny and clean.

How is the Whoosh sold?

The Whoosh Screen Cleaner comes in 3 separate kits

The Whoosh Screen Shine Pocket is a small 8ml pocket kit that comes with 1 cleaning cloth and is sized specifically to be travel compatible (aka it will be allowed on a plane by the TSA). This currently sells for $US5.

The Whoosh Shine Go is the big bottle and is great to keep around the house. It will be your main go to product to clean every electronic screen in your house (this is a 30ml kit and also comes with a cleaning cloth). This currently sells for $10.

The best kit and the one I recommend is the Whoosh Screen Shine Duo+. It comes with the Pocket size plus a massive 100ml bottle for the house or office & 2 cleaning cloths. This currently sells for $20.

I love product packaging and really loved the way Whoosh packaged their product. It has a clean modern look with a beautifully resistant sales package and nice bold lettering & colours.

 

Verdict 

I have spent hundreds of dollars testing various screen cleaning products and gizmos. None of them are as simple and effective as the Whoosh screen cleaner so obviously I highly recommend it

I have seen tests that clearly show that the Whoosh significantly reduces pathogens on your smartphone so

not only are you physically cleaning the device by removing smudges and visible dirt, but you are also removing the invisible nasties that can make you sick 

iBell is an old-school alarm for your iPhone

Edward KiledjianComment
Most iPhone owners use it as their primary alarm so I'm always interested in "new" techs that make the experience better. So what could be better than improving the wake-up experience while cherishing yesteryear?
You can now all metal bell to your iPhone so you can wake up to the metallic ring reminiscent of your school days. You can relive this wondrous time of pimples and bullies for a merer $17 but it only works with iPhones that use the old 30 pin connector (all iPhones except the most recent iPhone 5).
Buy the iBell on Amazon here.
Although I am providing a link to Amazon, it is not an affiliate and I get no compensation for it.

Cortex Camera versus NightCap comparison on iphone

technologyEdward Kiledjian1 Comment

What is NightCap

You can read my review about the NightCap app here.

What is Cortex Camera

The developer description of Corex Camera (Cam) is 

Tired of the grainy photos you get when using your device’s camera in low light? Cortex camera combines dozens of images to create a sharp image without the low-quality noise that shows up when using the default camera. Please note that your subject must be still during exposure, which takes 2-10 seconds.

The comparison

I wanted to see how well each would perform in a low light situation. I am using the default iPhone 4s camera app as the benchmark.

The pictures were taken from the exact same location. The camera was proped on my blacony using a Joby GripTight Tripod.

I have read dozens of glowing reviews about Cortex Cam and was really disappointed when I saw the results.

For photography in reduced light situations, NightCap still wins.

The first picture was taken with the iPhone's default Camera app.

 

The second picture (below) was taken using NightCap

The last picture was taken with Corex Camera

NOTE: I just noticed 3 pictures are upside down but you get the "picture" ;-)