Posts tagged ‘iPhone’

Stunning late-Spring morning panoramas

A big surprise this morning with cool temperatures, lots of dew, and a bold sunrise – all making the barley and clouds that much more dramatic!

the barley field looking north

the barley field looking east

the runway looking north northeast

the moon over the farmhouse

an Android vs iPhone debate – which really isn’t about Android or iPhone

The following is an exchange that, at first, appears to be an Apple-fanboy being egged on by a Google-fanboy. It starts out as most of these type of conversations do. However, once it gets going, it’s transitions to the perceived economic "gouging" of telecom echo systems. Even then, it doesn’t seem completely balanced. The reality is "things cost money" and markets vary around the globe for a large number of reasons and its nearly impossible to boil it down to a single factor.


Android-er: I got a beautiful Android phone that I use as a mini-tablet. 5" full-HD1080p resolution with Gorilla Glass, quad 1.5 GHz processors. So far I have not used it with SIMs aside from testing it. Unlocked; vendor-neutral hardware and software interfaces throughout.

$260 is as good or better than most phones on the market costing 2-3x, and it is totally unlocked. I’m not an Apple fan, so I cannot give an unbiased comparison, but I’d take this over an iPhone any day.

One downside for some: 3G only, not 4G+. But I am unwilling to pay outrageous monthly data plan costs, and I mostly need a data plan when I travel internationally, and local data plans are generally cheap compared to USA’s, especially roaming.

iPhone-er: I’ve come to realize that "Android vs iPhone" is a lot like "Chevy vs Ford" for truck owners.

Android-er: Except that neither Chevy nor Ford lock you into vendor-specific and high-priced parts and accessories.

iPhone-er: My iPhone integrates seamlessly with my truck. I’m sure your phone would too. No additional accessories needed. My open source media player supports AirPlay. My Sonos integrates freely with my iPhone. So, I’m not seeing the high priced vendor-specific accessories.

Android-er: Did that seamless integration involve a proprietary hardware connector? If so, you paid Apple for that, too. Do you have your choice of wireless plans? Apple gets a cut of that. Do you get to install apps from anywhere you want, or are they only the ones that Apple approves via their store? Can you load music and videos onto the device using anything besides iTunes?

iPhone-er: No costly connections required for my truck. The apps I use on my iPhone have a similar cost of Google play. I can get an iPhone from all the major carriers around the works. As a consumer, I don’t see (or pay) a difference.

iPhone-er: My point is that we both win. Consumers get a choice.

Android-er: And my point is that with Apple, you pay extra at every bend and turn, and do not get freedom of choice. Sounds like you’re happy with your decision despite price, so good on you!

iPhone-er: I don’t see the price difference you are implying. Vendor data plans are for the data and not specific to the device. So I’d pay the same for my plan on an iOS Device or android. The app prices are the same too.

Android-er: What did you pay for your iPhone? Did buying one involve being locked into a data plan that has a high fee for early termination to pay off the phone? What do you figure is the effective price for your phone given that?

iPhone-er: If I need a data plan, then I’m going to pay for a data plan. My point is the cost of the plan is the same, regardless of which phone. In the end, we both pay the same for the device and we would pay the same for the plan.

Android-er: So what did you pay for your phone? Is it locked to a plan?

Android-er: If you don’t want a data plan, what does the phone cost?

iPhone-er: I want (and use) a voice and data plan. And my devices hold there value so well that I sell each, two (or three) years later, for what I paid. It’s like being loaned the device for free. They are all unlocked – either on day-one or when I’m done with them.

Android-er: But you pay for it every month.

iPhone-er: It’s no different than my home internet, home phone, etc. I use all of these, to the maximum value. I buy the services I need.

Android-er: But one reason your services are so expensive is you are paying installments on your phone. And you don’t get that money back when you sell it.

iPhone-er: I think you are missing the point I was trying relay. If I want a particular voice and data plan, there is not one price for an iPhone and a different price for some other phone.

Android-er: I think there are data+voice plans that are less expensive if you bring your own device. Therefore, one that includes an iPhone means you are making a monthly payment by way of the difference in price. And getting an iPhone means using only a few carriers that support it, by agreement with Apple. Am I wrong?

iPhone-er: Lots of carriers support iPhone. I count 36 just for US+Canada.
If you want to BYOD you can bring whatever you want (as long as the carrier allows) – iPhones included.

As for a BYOD price vs not, it comes down to the cost of the service you buy. As a reference, I just looked at T-mobile’s BYOD price of $60 for talk, text, and 2.5GB vs ATT $50 for talk, text, and 2GB. And ATT is "subsidizing" the phone.

Android-er: Thanks for the data point. Personally, I think these are outrageously expensive plans, especially since they don’t even roam internationally – which is furiously more expensive. And I suppose you also have a home data plan, which costs more yet, even though one typically only uses one at a time. In total, that’s a lot of money for being connected.

I’d love to have a mobile connection, but not at these prices. I’m amazed that American consumers are willing to pay them. It’s nowhere near that expensive overseas, and overseas, you can get pay as you go.

iPhone-er: There are pay-as-you-go in the USA but they tend to only favor very small usage.
A quick check shows 2GB in Germany on O2 is $50. Singapore seems to be better at about $32. Hong Kong is $48. But these are data only so the total goes up when you add in voice.

Android-er: I can get 2GB for one month in Thailand for $18. That’s more than I need, and there are smaller plans too.

Android-er: Could you give me a pointer to pay-as-you-go data plans in US? I have searched and not found them.

iPhone-er: If I compare an engineer’s pay in Thailand vs USA then that $18 is a significantly higher percentage of income than the $50-$60 in the USA.

A quick Google search of "pay as you go" finds many USA options.

Android-er: The point is not engineer’s pay in two countries – it is that if they can be profitable at $18 in Thailand, then surely Americans are being gouged when they pay $50-60/month.

iPhone-er: My guess is they can be profitable at a given price point because their costs are lower and costs are likely lower in large part because incomes are lower.

I suspect most things cost a lot less in Thailand than in the USA.

iPhone-er: This has been interesting and has promoted me to do a bit of global economics research. Thanks for the discussion.

Stereoscopic photos with an iPhone

left - right stereoscopic image
left – right stereoscopic image

Different situations promote different types of photography. Great lighting of subject with lots of depth makes me want to try my hand at Stereoscopic photos.

For near sighted people with a smartphone, it’s pretty easy to view some types of stereoscopic images – the ones with the left image on the left and the right image on the right of the stereo pair. You just remove your glasses, hold the screen close and relax your vision. The small screen of a smart phone makes this method easy. Far sighted people tend to find it easier to have the image order swapped, hold the image pair at arms length and cross their eyes. Larger images work better in this case.

My workflow is pretty simple. For panoramic vistas, I find a point in the distance and frame my picture on it. I then lean 8-12″ to the left and center the frame on that point and take the first image; lean 8-12″ to the right and repeat. Since the iPhone has the option to show a grid, it helps keep the images squared up.

I use the Diptic App to place the two images. It’s 16:9 frame gives two squares and displays well on a wide screen smartphone when held in landscape mode. You may need to move the images around a little if your two original pictures we not aligned well when you took them.
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stereoscopic image of 53VG
stereoscopic image of 53VG

iPhone HDR is pretty impressive

It’s interesting to see how photography has changed over the past two decades. While most will talk about the change from film to digital, the real change has come from the silicon chips and algorithms post processing all of that digital data.

More and more processing power is available in tiny packages and buried inside cameras and cellphones.

Of course, the creativity is still in the photographer – deciding on subject matter, composition, and how much image processing is “just right”.

The photograph attached to this post is direct from the iPhone Camera App using its built in HDR feature. The only additional manipulation is done by this blog which recompresses all JPEG files using a 75% ratio to save on storage and download bandwidth. it’s not perfect and I know a better image could have been created using multiple images from a DLSR camera and Photophop.

click for full size image

Integrated Car Audio

Bluetooth and USB integration
Bluetooth and USB integration

Having recently modernized my transportation to a 2011 Ford F150, I’m having to acclimate to modern technology in car audio.

Perhaps ‘acclimate’ is too strong a word. “Shocked that it works” is really what I’ve been thinking.

The truck in question has an early version of Microsoft’s Sync – which provides some level of voice control and integration with smartphones. In my case, the capabilities include a direct USB connection and Bluetooth. The Bluetooth integrates my phone for voice dialing and hands free calls. It also plays music (both playlists and from Pandora). The USB connection doesn’t give me phone integration but does give me the music integration and adds song text on the display. Of the two, Bluetooth is easier and more function – as soon as I enter the vehicle and start up, the Bluetooth connect is made automatically. I don’t even need to take the phone from my pocket.

There is one oddity. You can charge the phone from the USB connection but when the phone is connected to USB it takes precedence over the Bluetooth connection. If you want the benefits of Bluetooth and you want to charge the device, you need to use a cigarette adapter.

BTW – the photo is from a recent road trip with Pandora playing on the iPhone thru the USB connection while simultaneously running TomTom navigation.

Ain’t technology grand ?

What’s it #20 – custom fit RAM mount

I was trying to figure out how to mount my iPhone in the truck but I didn't want to drill any holes in the dashboard.

My first task was to decide suitable places for the iPhone and then look for mounting options in those areas. I finally settled on a spot to the right of the radio controls.

The truck has plenty of storage options. I decided the little coin area on the passenger side was not of much use to me.

I started by cutting a wooden plug and contouring it to match the share of the cubby hole. It needed to be tapered on one side and on top. Once I hade it close, I then mixed up a small amount of resin body filler. I layered it onto the wooden plug much like frosting a cake. I then loosely covered the coated plug with plastic wrap and pressed it into the cubby hole and let it cure. This resulted in a nearly perfect match fit.

I lightly sanded the matched plug and then sprayed three coats of a rubber like coating called Plasti-Dip. The coating not only made up for the small amount of material I sanded off but also provides a grippy surface. When the resulting plug is pressed into the cubby hole, it grabs and stays in place firmly.

I attached a standard 1″ RAM Mount ball to the end. From that point, I can use any of my RAM Mount accessories. The iPhone used a 3″ arm and an X-Grip. The plug is so firmly in place, I suspect it would even hold a tablet.