iPhone 6Plus

I finally was able to pick up a brand new 64GB iPhone 6 Plus off contract and wow it’s pricey. I don’t like contracts, so I have to pay the price. This time I opted to go with a larger 64GB capacity. I filled up my 16GB iPhone 5S quickly with media and apps. I started to hate the experience after that. It’s good that Apple got rid of the 32GB model and replaced it with the 64GB. Overall, the experience on iOS 8.1.2 hasn’t been to bad, nor has the transition from Android 4.4.2 (for a few months) wasn’t difficult either.

What about that size?

I could have gone with the regular iPhone 6 with a larger screen size than my old iPhone 5S but there were features I was after that the 6 Plus had.

  • I wanted 5.5” display size versus 4.7”. I didn’t want a smaller screen coming from the LG G3.
  • I wanted a 1080 (401 ppi vs 326 ppi) display.
  • I wanted the optical image stabilization.
  • Larger battery – 2915 mAh vs 1810 mAh.
  • Landscape mode!

landscape mode

Landscape mode

The size itself isn’t that bad. I’ve always preferred larger phones, as long as it fits my pocket. I didn’t mind. Except for the iPhone 5S, the last few phones I’ve had have been generally big during its release.

  • HTC Sensation 4G – 4.3”
  • Samsung Nexus – 4.65”
  • Samsung Note 2 – 5.5”
  • Apple 5S – 4”
  • LG G3 – 5.5”

For the a over 3 years now, I’ve been using smart phones that have larger than 4” display. So it’s nothing new. I enjoy the larger screen. I spend more time digesting content on my phone, than actually making phone calls. If I do make phone calls, I usually use a bluetooth headset. Also, this phone is thin. I did buy a case that bulked it up again but I’m more concerned about protecting the phone and keeping it in good, functioning conditions. I’ve seen too many iPhones with cracked screens.

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iPhone 6 Plus before I installed the case.

iphone 6 plus with case

iPhone 6 Plus after I installed the case.

Same old camera?

Many may think it’s the same 8MP camera. Many also believe that the higher the megapixel, the better. It’s true to an extent. Even though the 5S, 6, and 6 Plus have 8MP camera, the 6 Plus is the only one with optical image stabilization (OIS). This enables the phone for faster focusing and less chances to have blurry photos. On top of that, it’s hardware, not software. With OIS, low lit photos come out better. We were in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. I had my LG G3 (13MP) and Abby had her iPhone 6 Plus (8MP). We took some photos at night and the experience and results were far better with the 6 Plus over the G3. This was one huge reason why I left Android once again. Her iPhone 6 Plus focused a lot quicker and the noise (ISO level) weren’t as apparent as the G3 photos. I’ve always been impressed with the iPhone’s photo taking capability and now this solidifies it even more. Unless you plan on printing poster size photos, 8MP is plenty specially on an iPhone. Besides, you’d want to use a camera not a camera phone for that.

Video recording

The iPhone, from my experience, has always given me great results with taking video. It’s amazing that a phone can do such good quality. What I’m excited about is the addition of slow motion video capture. It can capture up to 240fps. I’ve had such a great time with it and I find myself shooting videos I don’t normally do in slow motion.

iOS 8.1.2

At the time of writing this, I’m currently using iOS 8.1.2. It’s been stable compared to the horror stories I’ve read online with iOS 8. I guess they worked out a lot of the major bugs now. I did notice a little lag when waking it up after not using it for awhile. The Reachability (one-handed mode) is a nice touch, though I haven’t used it yet. You access it by double-pressing the home button. It moves the screen to the bottom half of the phone so that you can navigate around the phone with one hand.

reachability

Reachability helps with the bigger iPhone.

Siri

I have noticed Siri being more sensitive. I find myself repeating commands less. The text also appears as you are giving it commands. Another new feature found in iOS 8 is the ability to access Siri by saying “Hey Siri” while it’s plugged in. It doesn’t matter if the screen is off or on. Neat feature that Google has had but now is on iPhones. So far I’ve had mixed experiences. It’s a very quick way to set alarms and reminders accross the room. I just can’t seem to get it to work after successfully doing the first command.

Conclusion

I’ve had the iPhone 6 Plus for a few months now and have been happy with it. Going for the larger capacity is a great decision but cost a lot. The investment is worth it I may have to consider purchasing iCloud. I have been taking more photos and videos and the free 5GB is nearing capacity. Starting at $.99 per month, it seems like a good deal. I could also use Google+ app and store it in my Google account or use Amazon (free storage for Prime members). But for the price, the integration is cleaner.

I have noticed some lag when turning on my phone from standby. Also, with the Verizon network, you still can’t be on a call and browse the internet.

no talk and surf

No talk and surf…

You can enable VoLTE (Voice over LTE) which supposedly allows talk and surf. You can enable it in your settings.

enable VoLTE

Enable VoLTE in your settings.

I have found it to not be available in many areas yet. I hope the coverage improves. It really limits the smart phone’s capability. This didn’t happen when I was using an Android powered phone on the Verizon network. I have also heard from iPhone users with AT&T and T-Mobile that they don’t experience as of late.

If you’re curious about the case, I got it from Amazon. It’s by Cineyo. It protects well and has a kickstand. It’s a nice case but it does make the phone bigger than it already is. You can get it fromhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QH2D0J8. It comes with a cheap screen protector that does what it’s supposed to do (I’ve had better – has bubbles) and a stylus (I don’t use it).

case with kickstand

My case with a kickstand. It makes the phone bigger than it already is.

Going back to iOS

In just three months of using Android from iOS, I couldn’t wait to go back to iOS. I’ve been getting a lot of “I told you so” from friends because I went back to Android a few months ago and now I’m back to iOS. Like I said, I am a curious person and from time to time I bounce between the two to see what I’m missing. But my Android experience this time was a bit different. You can read about my LG G3 review here.

First of I’d like to address the limitations that iOS had that made me switch to Android and the solutions I came up with.

  • The bandwidth caps that most cell phone providers give their customers are horrible and doesn’t promote the use of the internet – unless you pay additional cost. I came up with a way to download content locally on to my device before leaving home so that I can access them when away without impacting my bandwidth limitation. In iOS, you are restricted to only using iTunes. It’s a pain and it will only work on one computer – and I use at least two on a daily basis. Solution: Currently we are using 4GB shared between two phones. We easily hit that every month. For $10 more per month, we can increase it to 6GB. Rather than add to an already expensive bill, we chose to watch our use. Recently, Verizon had updated their bandwidth tiers. Instead of increasing our cap by 2GB for an additional $10 per month, they increased it to a total of 10GB. For the situation, I guess this is a reasonable solution and we'll be considering it. I'd rather have unlimited bandwidth but that's another story.
  • For a user like myself, 16GB is no longer ideal. It is very expensive to purchase a larger capacity iPhone.Solution: Starting with the iPhone 6, Apple no longer has a 32GB model. It is now 16GB then it jumps to 64GB. I STFU, ate the additional cost, and got a device that fits my storage needs, haha. If it's truly an important, you have to shell out money.
  • Google Now actually bothered me more than I thought it would. I got mixed feelings using it. Sometimes it was helpful, other times it was creepy.
  • Verizon network still won’t allow data consumption while on the phone, unless you use VoLTE.
  • Multitasking is still limited in iOS, if not nonexistent.
  • Transferring files between devices is still limited. Although with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, you can useContinuity and Air Drop. Unfortunately, it’s only compatible with devices that have bluetooth 4.0 (2012 or newer – my Macbook Pro is late 2011). I can swap out the bluetooth card out of my MBP. The part cost around $70 but I’ll see if it’s worth doing. Some of the capabilities are still there like Messages integration, answering phone calls – those kinds of things.

I’m going to miss having a smart watch. It’s not perfect but it had the “cool” factor for me. Plus I still catch myself checking my regular watch whenever I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket. I gotten used to it. At this time, I don’t think I’ll be in line or pre-ordering the Apple Watch. Smart watches are great but for the price, it doesn’t do enough. I’ve already sold my Moto 360 so that’s a good thing. I returned the Nexus 9. All that’s left is to sell myLG G3 and I won’t have any Android powered device. I’ll still have a Chromebook though.

Stay tuned. I will have a review of the iPhone 6 Plus that I just picked up.

iPhone 6 Plus VS LG G3

The iPhone 6 Plus will be replacing my LG G3 as my daily driver.

Late 2013 Mac Pro

I recently got a new Late 2013 Mac Pro. So far it has been a great upgrade from my Dell T3600 at work. I took a few pics of the external and some internal.

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Good amount of ports.

  • 6x Thunderbolt 2
  • 4x USB3.0
  • 2x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1x HDMI
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The outline of the ports light up as well, nice touch.

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One of the area where the ram is installed. Each area has 2x 8GB of ram for a total of 32GB running at DDR3 1866MHz. The left part on the pic shows one of the two ATI FirePro D500 3GB DDR5 video card, yes it comes with 2. The stick above the video card is the 500GB SSD hard drive. It runs off the PCI-Express.

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Above is a pic of both ATI FirePro D500 video card.

about this mac

about this mac

Here is what the system detects when powered on.

handbrake_cpu

A screenshot that shows almost all 12 threads maxed out when running Handbrake.

5GB_disk_speed_test

The SSD is very fast. Both read and write speeds are nearly identical.

Opening an Apple Mac Mini Mid 2007 MB138LL/A

I wanted to upgrade my old Mac Mini Mid 2007 MB138LL/A. Here’s what I did. Remember that I will not be responsible for any damage to your equipment.

With most Apple computers, opening them can be trivial. The trick to opening this one is using a putty knife. There are no screws holding the case to the computer/motherboard.

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There shouldn’t be any hidden wires connecting the case and the computer itself. Once you have the case off, here’s what you’ll see.

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You will notice that the DVDRW drive is at the top, while the hard drive is right underneath. At this point, you’ll probably not see the ram. It’s underneath the hard drive. You have to remove some screws to get access to these components. You should note that there is a wire that needs to be disconnected before removing the screws.

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In the front view of the above picture, please note A. This is the wire that needs to be disconnected.

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You will need to unclip the piece marked A to gain access to one of the screws.

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The picture above shows you where each of the 4 screws are. They are black with one of them being longer than the other 3. The labels A, B, C, and D shows where the screws are located. D is the longest of the 4 screws. E just shows you I have removed the component to get access to screw C.

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Keep in mind, there is a ribbon connecting the mid layer you are about to lift and the motherboard. This is to the back of the Mac Mini. The SATA ports are joined to the motherboard by a card. Slowly lift up keeping the 2 components I just mentioned. Figure A is the ram location. You can install 2x DDR2 667. Up to 2GB (2x 1GB) are supported but 3GB can be supported according to Wikipedia. These are not desktop size ram, they are laptop size – SODIMM. Figure B is the hard drive. It is a 2.5” size. According to Wikipedia, it’s a SATA2 port that supports up to 3Gbps but it has been throttled down to 1.5Gbps.

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Figure A is the ribbon I was referring to above. You can remove it but remove the end that’s attached behind the DVDRW drive. It is a little pain to connect it back but it will make moving things around easier. It’s up to you but check out how it’s connected first so you know how to put it back later.

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Above is a picture with a closer look of the SATA card that connects the hard drive and optical drive to the motherboard. Figure A connects to Figure B. So be aware of that when lifting the middle piece off the motherboard. You should lift up.

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The 2 pictures above I labeled where the 4 screws are located to remove the hard drive. It’s fairly easy to remove from the SATA connection after the screws have been removed but putting the new hard drive can be more of a challenge. There’s a gap between the hard drive and DVDRW drive so you can’t rest the hard drive on the optical drive while connecting it to the SATA port.

If you’ve ever opened up a Macbook Pro or other laptops, you will notice the ram is place in a similar fashion. There are 2 clips on the side. Once you unclip the ram, it will pop up. The ram chips are stacked on top of each other, with their own clips.

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Above is another view of the motherboard.

That should cover how to replace the hard drive and ram for the Mac Mini. Before putting the case back, I would suggest turning it on and ensuring your new components are recognize. Just be careful when you have it running to not touch any of the components as you may damage it. Apple may have nice designs but the price of it is the difficulty of upgrading.

Psystar and their Mac Clone

After hearing Psystar’s (which might be a false company) release of a Mac clone (Open Computer), I was excited and highly considering a purchase. Then I find out that it’s a “Hackintosh” version of Leopard running on compatible Intel hardware. Now I’ve tried installing “Hackintosh” on a laptop at work and a desktop at home. It’s impressive how OS X is able to run outside Apple hardware. I was going to build one based on Lifehacker’s guide. But after $800, no software update support (at least it’s up to Apple – similar to hacked iPhones and iTouches), I figured I’d rather spend the extra money to get a real Apple computer. I only wanted a new one since my G5 at home doesn’t have an Intel processor. Other than that, my G5 still rocks! I’m running 2.5GB ram with a dual 2.0GHz processor. I’m just limited to running things that don’t require Intel to work.

Anyways, if you’re still interested, here’s a video of one running. Notice how loud the fans are :(. Still not sure if the company is legit but based on the video, someone got their order.

Buying music on iTunes using my iPod Touch

You can purchase music using the iTunes installed on the Touch. I wanted to try this out but didn’t want to spend any money or credits on the experiment. So I decided to get the current free Single of the Week. Unfortunately, there is no display on the Touch for this, unlike in iTunes on my Mac. You have search for it. Also, you can’t display the shopping cart or any other things I was accustomed to seeing on the desktop version of iTunes. What you will see on the Touch is the top songs from each genre or hot singles. I didn’t really like that since I don’t usually pay attention to it. But the search feature is great. As you type the search criteria, you will be seeing results. The results will lessen as you type more letters.

The shopping cart on the Touch is different from the shopping cart on the iTunes on your desktop. So you will not see items you have in the shopping cart unless it was added using the Touch. This was interesting since the account you’re using is the same for both Touch and iTunes desktop.

So I purchased the free song. The download was fast, as fast as my desktop – I was using my wifi network at home so there shouldn’t be a big difference, if any. Once done, it added a new playlist labeled Purchased just as it does on the desktop. Then I synced it to my desktop. It automatically saved a copy on my desktop and it created a new playlist labeled Purchased on win’s iPod Touch. Very convenient process. Now I can buy music on my Touch as long as there’s a wifi signal and not have to worry about syncing issues with my desktop.

itunes

My iPod Touch has been jailbroken

Using iJailbreak I am now able to install 3rd party applications on my iPod Touch. The hack is based on niacinand dre’s hack for the iPhone which uses an exploit found in the Safari browser. I nervously did it this morning and 10 minutes later I was able to download a long lists of free 3rd party applications. Now I just gotta figure out how to get ssh and sftp on there so I can get some NES roms installed. Here’s some pics I took.

ipod touch

ipod touch