Why You’ll Love an iPad

Similar to the iPhone page they posted last week, Apple has posted an informative page on the awards, benefits and reasons why you’ll want to own an iPad.

It’s a great place to start if you’d like to learn more about iPad.

★ Weekend In Mendocino

For our two year anniversary, Mary treated us to a weekend trip to Mendocino. Mendocino is a small town about 3 hours north of the San Francisco Bay Area. We stayed at the Stanford Inn By The Sea. They call themselves “An Eco-Resort on the Mendocino Coast.” The place was awesome and the staff was extremely friendly. We left right after work on Friday and checked in at close to 10 pm. After we checked in, the lady at the front desk took the time to walk us all the way to our room. She also helped us get familiarized with our room. Each room had ocean views and a wood burning fireplace. She pointed out that our fireplace was all set, ready to be lit. She told us where we could get extra firewood. Breakfast was included, as well as afternoon tea and dessert, with our stay. The hotel’s restaurant is all vegan and their breakfast was amazing considering it is included in your rate. This wasn’t a continental breakfast either. They even had a small plate of cookies with a personalized note from the owners.

We only had one full day so on Saturday, we tried to enjoy as much of the area as we could. We hiked around Russian Gulch State Park, we walked around the actual town of Mendocino and took advantage of the free afternoon snacks. After, we relaxed at the pool and watched the sun set from our room.

Life by itself is hectic and this getaway could not have been anymore perfect.

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Waze

The iPhone currently ships with a Maps app. You can use it to find local businesses or navigate to addresses. You may have heard about Apple’s decision to use its own data and not Google’s. For the most part, Apple’s app does a fine job of doing what it’s supposed to do. They’ve had plenty of time to iron any kinks that were present when they first launched.

For those who want to know about alternatives, I’ll outline the best two in my opinion. Before Apple decided to make their own app, they used Google’s map data. Once they were cut off, Google decided to come out with their own Maps app. Theirs does not disappoint. It’s everything you expect out of their version of a navigation app.

If you’d want a little more out of your navigation app, I’d like to suggest Waze. They have been out for some time, but since Apple stubmled out of the gate with their app, they got a bit of free publicity. After using their app for a few weeks, I use it almost exclusively whenever I hit the road. Here are a few reasons why I prefer it over Apple’s and Google’s offerings

1. Crowd Sourced Info – As you’re driving along, you can see current traffic along your route. This is no different than Apple or Google’s offering. The advantage Waze has is that other Waze users can submit data that is useful to other users. Things such as road hazards, traffic, stalled vehicles, red light cameras, even hidden police officers can be reported by users so that other Waze users can see what to expect on their routes. If you come up to one of these hazards while driving, you’ll see a notification of what type of hazard and how far away it is. As you approach, you can verify if the hazard is still there or if it has been cleared. You can tap “Thanks” or “Not There”. By taking action, you help out other Waze drivers by keeping the information up to date.

2. Predictive navigation – If you start using Waze consistently, it will learn your driving habits and automatically bring up your route so you don’t have to. Let’s say you usually leave for work around 7 am. If you launch Waze on your phone and start driving, within seconds it will ask if you’re on your way to work and bring up your route and any hazards you may encounter. It keeps you from having to tap your destination on your phone. Just launch the app and start driving.

3. Details – There are a number of small details that make this app better than the rest. Once you reach your destination, you can stop the app from giving you directions. There’s nothing more annoying than a navigation app that butts in with course redirections even if you’re just driving around looking for parking. You can also drop a pin once you’ve parked so you can make it back to your vehicle after a long day at Disneyland.

There are plenty of navigation apps available on the App Store, not just the ones I listed here. Personally, I use a combination of both. I use Google to search for businesses and addresses. And I use Waze for actual turn by turn navigation. If you’d like to give Waze a shot, you can find them here in the App Store.

Forecast

When you buy a smartphone, it comes pre-installed with a number of useful apps. For most people, the default weather app is considered “good enough”. The problem with most weather apps is that they either show too much or too little information. Most often, you want to know what the weather is like right now, or will be in the near future. Also, most people don’t care about the humidity or wind speed. Most people just want to know “Will it rain?” or “Is it going to be hot/cold?” 

Forecast, from the makers of Dark Sky, decided to come out with a full featured weather service that builds on what makes Dark Sky so great. Along with providing up to the minute, accurate weather predictions, they do 7 day forecasts. All in a beautiful web app. And since it is web based, you can access it from any device. Just go to forecast.io and save it as a bookmark on your home screen. You’ll forget that it’s not even an app, it’s just a website designed to behave like an app.

After playing around with Forecast, it makes sites like The Weather Channel look like garbage. Read about their announcement of Forecast here.

T-Mobile To Get iPhone 5

T-Mobile announced they will begin carrying the iPhone 5 starting April 12. They are the last of the major 4 US carriers to carry Apple’s phone. This is great news if you’re already on T-Mobile.

They have an interesting pricing plan. T-Mobile plans to sell the phone starting at $100 down plus monthly payments. This brings the entry price for an iPhone 5 lower than AT&T, Verizon or Sprint. They’re monthly plans start at $50 per month for unlimited talk, text and 500MB of data. You can upgrade to unlimited data for an additional $20. $70 a month is not bad at all.

Check out the full press release here.

An iPhone fan’s month with Windows Phone

Lex Friedman of Macworold recently spent a month using a Windows Phone. It’s a multi part series of articles where he talks about aspects and features he likes about Microsoft’s mobile phone operating system. I won’t spoil his final verdict, you can read all the parts of his series at Macworld.

I think it’s important to see what else is out there. Although I prefer Apple’s offering, it doesn’t hurt to see what Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone offers. For some, these other platforms may provide a better solution depending on our needs. Lex’s month long trial with Windows Phone is a well written experience of Windows Phone from a iPhone user’s perspective.

Major Apple ID Security Hole Discovered

A major security hole was discovered today that lets nefarious people reset your Apple ID password by just using your name and date of birth. With your Apple ID login and password, someone can make unauthorized purchases from iTunes or, worst case, find your location and/or completely wipe out your phone using Find My iPhone. Anyone with enough time on their hands can figure out your email address and DOB so this is a very serious security issue.

You can prevent a hacker from taking advantage of this security hole by enabling two-step verification for your Apple ID. It provides an added layer of protection for your account and you only have to do it once. Apple has posted a how to page to get this set up. I suggest everyone who has an Apple ID do it now.

Automatic – Your Smart Driving Assistant

Most cars built after 1996 have an OBD-II port in their dash. From this port, dealers and mechanics have access to a wealth of information about your vehicle. Automatic uses this data and with an iPhone app, gives you access to this data so you can change your driving habits to save gas. You can figure out why your car’s check engine light is on. You can also call for help in the event of an accident. Truly amazing stuff.

We live in an amazing time where technology is making our lives better and easier. I plan on getting Automatic for my car when it is available in May. Be sure to watch the video to see how Automatic works.

Why iPhone?

Over the weekend, Apple added a new page to their website touting the advantages iPhone has over other mobile phone platforms. If you’re buying your first smartphone, this is a great starting point to learn all about Apple’s iPhone.

★ Crafty

There’s also the issue, Flock says, of what the Brewer’s Association calls “crafty” beers — beers owned by big beer companies disguised as small craft beer. A common example is Blue Moon, a Belgian-style beer.

I need to remember that.