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Whoops, I Bought An iPad Air (32GB, Space Grey)

By TechnologyNo Comments
Lit Up Reindeer I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a tablet for a while now. I wanted something I can access Facebook on, use to listen to Music and watch Films/TV Boxsets on while being in the living room with the cats.

When I saw the previous generation Kindle Fire for £99 on Amazon’s website, I wasn’t sure whether this was a Christmas offer or Black Friday offer. I wasn’t even sure if the Kindle tablet would be what I wanted. But at that price, I had to look into it.

So during my visit to Manchester Christmas Market (see Getting Into The Festive Spirit: Manchester Christmas Market) my friend and I nipped into Currys PC World to have a look at the Kindle.

I was looking at the newest Kindle the Fire HDX and the screen was just seven inches. So on the one hand the Kindle was cheap, but on the other hand the screen was far too small for what I wanted to use it for.

Undecided on cost or screen size, I spoke with my friend about it and then to mum. With some persuasion from mum, I decided to buy the much more expensive iPad Air (32GB in Space Grey). Whoops! Here are some obligatory photos:

iPad Air - Box New iPad Air - Case Boxed New
iPad Air - Cover Green iPad Air - Home Screen
iPad Air - Back

The reasons I bought the iPad Air were: bigger screen, compatible with my other Apple Products (iMac & iPhone 5), really light, great hardware specs (including better camera than most other tablets) and a massive range of Apps via the App Store.

I also splashed out on a cover. A cover, just covers the front of the iPad (the screen), costs £35, comes in a range of colours and is perfect for using the iPad at home. Whereas a case, covers the entire iPad (front & back), costs £65, comes in a range of colours and is ideal if you’re planning on taking the iPad out and about. Be careful when buying, as their package design is very similar.

I’ve had my iPad for a few weeks now, so I thought I’d give you my first impressions of some of the Pros and Cons:

Pros Cons
  • Light-weight, feels lighter than the average book.
  • Great Battery Life.
  • Charges really quick.
  • Compatible with my iPhone 5 charger and USB charging.
  • Like the Space Grey effect, reminds me of the Star Trek pads.
  • Easy to set up & use.
  • Always on, quick to check Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
  • Great Apps available on the App Store.
  • iPad specific Apps, to make the most out of the iPad Air.
  • Made for media consumption, whether it be: Music, films, TV Boxsets or ebooks.
  • Now comes with free Pages, Numbers, iPhoto, iMovie and Garage Band.
  • It just works. No crashes at all (so far), not even Apps.
  • Silent operation – no sound of cooling fan.
  • Reasonable speaker sound quality.
  • iMessage & FaceTime.
  • Can be backed up through iTunes or iCloud.
  • Updates Apps Automatically.
  • Has Siri.
  • Find My iPhone – Works for iPad, so you can detect where it is if its ever stolen.
  • iPad as a device is expensive.
  • Doesn’t come with headphones.
  • Would literately be a blank canvas without the Apps on the App Store.
  • Covers are expensive at £35. Cases are extortionately priced at £65.
  • Made for media consumption – Feels difficult and slow to create things on the iPad.
  • Inhibits creativity and makes it less likely that you’ll spend your time creating something.
  • Pages, Numbers, iPhoto, iMovie and Garage Band are all designed to help you be creative, but each takes up an awful lot of disk space.
  • iTunes doesn’t accept .avi files, so most of my movies can’t be played on the iPad. Have found a work around which I shall be blogging about soon, it’s just frustrating because I shouldn’t have to do this.
  • No way to access my wireless hard drive.
  • Doesn’t seem to want to link to my iMac through WiFi.
  • Missing the biometric security, the finger print scanner the iPhone 5S has.

One or two of the Cons might just be things I haven’t worked out how to do on the iPad yet. If you know how to do something that I’ve put on my Cons list, feel free to leave a comment.

The iPad Air 32GB Space Grey is available to buy on Amazon, on the Apple Store Online or on your local high street (at various retail outlets).

Write soon,

Antony

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My Visit to the Apple Store & Time Machine’s True Test

By Technology, Thinking2 Comments
Apple-logo After my iMac’s hard drive failed (see My iMac and The Blue Screen of Death), I was quoted 5-7 days for repair.

On Thursday (day 4) I gave them a call to find out if they’d had chance to take a look at it. The Apple Rep. said that it was still in the queue, that there was nothing she could do as it hadn’t been the 7 days quoted and that they would call me when it was ready to pick up. I thanked her for taking the time to check.

By Saturday (day 6) I still hadn’t received a call from Apple. I became increasingly frustrated at the lack of communication from Apple and the lack of a working iMac. I started to read reviews of bad customer service experiences and even thought about going back to Windows on the Lenovo Ideacentre A720 27 inch All-in-One PC.

Steve called Apple. The Apple Rep. said that it would be ready in a few days. This was outside the 7 days quoted. Steve asked why they hadn’t called to let us know, the Apple Rep. was unable to give an answer. The Apple Rep. sounded generally unconcerned and was generally unhelpful.

So Steve & I decided to go into the Apple Store (Trafford Centre) on the Sunday (day 7) and speak to them. We arrived at around two in the afternoon and headed to the Genius desk. They said that it wasn’t ready so I politely asked to speak to a Manager. The radioed Manager arrived, I explained my story and he didn’t look like he was going to help.

apple-mountain-lion-hard-drive-icon But then a second Manager interupted, spoke to the first manager and then addressed me. He said it would be repaired that day and advised me to come back twenty minutes before closing.

At five thirty Apple called to say my iMac was ready for collection. Steve & I went to pick it up. I spoke to the Apple Engineer who said he had replaced the hard drive. He said that as part of Apple’s new Quality Improvement Program he did a test and it had red flagged the graphics card, so he had replaced that as well. Both covered under the EU law. I thanked him and took my iMac home.

The repair being done on the day did restore some of my faith in Apple. However some of my disappointment remained and I realised it was because of the lack of communication when Apple knew they wouldn’t meet their quoted turn around time. I think because Steve & I turned up at the Apple’s Store they prioritised my repair; otherwise I could possibly still be waiting now.

I got my iMac home and Time Machine’s true test was about to take place. I set my iMac up as a new one and then restored from my Time Machine backup using Migration Assistant:

apple-os-mountain-lion-migration-assistant

The restore took time but worked perfectly and this rebuilt some more of my faith in Apple. I had to re-enter the product key for Microsoft Office and re-sign into a few other Applications, then I was back in business. Relatively hassle-free.

The lesson learned from this experience: don’t rely completely on one machine. I’m considering getting some sort of other computer/laptop so that I can continue as normal if my iMac goes down.

Write soon,

Antony



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My iMac and The Blue Screen of Death

By TechnologyNo Comments

I’m sat here writing this post on an old, dodgy and excruciatingly slow old Windows 7 laptop. Why? Because my iMac (see iMac Part 1 & iMac Part 2) has shown me: a black unresponsive screen, several not-booting-up grey screens and the infamous blue screen of death.

I won’t bore you with the tedious details of how this occurred; but when the Recovery software wouldn’t work I knew I needed a genius appointment.

apple-mountain-lion-hard-drive-icon Steve & I booked an appointment with an Apple Genius in our local Apple Store and went along. The genius did some testing and discovered that the hard drive had failed. I’ve never been so thankful to be in the European Union (EU).

I’ve had my iMac about a year and a half. EU law means Apple have a two year warranty rather than their standard one year warranty (without Apple Protection). The genius arranged for the repair, told us they’d pay the cost and that it would take about a week.

For the next week I have no access to photos, music, TV, films (both downloaded and DVD’s) and a limited ability to browse the internet. These are things I can easily live without for a week. But there’s never a convenient time for a computer to break and the timing is particularly bad.

This week I have some important documents to write and need to reference some other documents in my Documents folder. This will create some hassle and difficulty.

Luckily, I learned the important lesson about backing up files some years ago. I use Time Machine which saves a backup volume to a separate hard drive and then copies new or changed files once an hour. I can’t use Time Machine’s backups or access the folders/files until I get my iMac back.

That’s where my manual backup on another separate drive comes in. I backup important files (Documents, Pictures, Music & Movies Folders) whenever I make significant changes to them. So at least I’ll be able to access the reference documents I need while the iMac is away for repair.

I bought an iMac because I heard loads of people say: “It just works.” I’ve told many of my family & friend’s how great the iMac is for that very reason. I was disappointed to learn that Apple use Seagate hard drives, which are notorious for problems. If you don’t believe me just do a Google search. With the price of the iMac you’d expect good quality. But after learning about the use of Seagate hard drives I’m starting to worry about what other low quality parts are in my iMac.

I’ve become a bit disillusioned with Apple not standing by the iMac for more than their standard one year warranty (outside the EU). Do Apple really expect customers to buy such an expensive device for it only to last a year? Probably not. But the fear of problems with such an costly device and a short warranty is most likely a deliberate act to sell it’s Apple Protection to customers.

When I bought the iMac I was an Apple enthusiast; but not so much so any more. I just want a reliable hardware with software that “just works.” If Apple can’t provide this, then perhaps I’d be better back on Windows? At least with Windows I know where I stand.

I’ll give you an update on the iMac when I get it back. In the meantime I’m using the free time enforced upon me to catch up on some reading.

Hopefully write soon,

Antony

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Intermittent Sound Problems on the iMac

By TechnologyNo Comments

Between Christmas and New Year I splashed out on a iMac (see iMac Part 1 – The Decision to Buy, Ordering & Delivery & iMac Part 2 – From Windows to Mac: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly). My 27″ iMac with it’s high quality screen resolution has replaced my TV & DVD player, and has become my music system, game station and photo albums. It’s become my connection to the world through the Internet and one of the primary ways I get in touch with family and friends (through Facebook, Twitter, iMessage, etc.).

So I was disappointed to start having intermittent sound problems with my iMac. Sometimes when I switched it on, it would chime and then load up as usual. Then I’d log in and then see this:

I’d go into my System Preferences and see this:

When it had this sound problem it wouldn’t play music or movies and sometimes would boot up in Safe Mode. Restarting the iMac usually resolved the issue, but considering how much I paid for the iMac I wasn’t happy with this intermittent sound issue.So I decided that while it’s still under warranty to get it looked at by Apple.

I took screen shots and rang Apple. No queues to speak to someone, friendly and helpful staff. I arranged an appointment to take my iMac to my local Apple Store.

On the day of my appointment I arrived at my local Apple Store, dragging my heavy iMac in behind me. I was about an hour early because the appointment was at a peak travel time. They let me drop it off, do a bit of shopping and come back to the store for my appointment. I saw an Apple Genius Technician who plugged my iMac into a server and checked the hardware. No problems found.

The Genius Technician said if it was a hardware problem I’d have no sound, rather than the problem being intermittent. He said it was probably a software issue. He showed me how to reinstall OS X Lion. You do this by holding down the ALT key when you first switch the iMac on. The great thing about reinstalling Lion is that you don’t loose any of your files or settings (like you would on Windows).

I believe the Genius Technician, after-all he’s the Apple expert. But I remember having an intermittent sound issue with a Window’s PC and that was because of a loose connection on the motherboard.

So I’ve now reinstalled OS X Lion and will just have to keep an eye out to see if my intermittent sound issue returns.

Write soon,

Antony

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I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:


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