Apple Annoyed Me Today

There were two incidents today that was a bit of surprise coming from Apple. The free trial period for the Apple One services bundle expired yesterday and the $30 payment was processed. This is fine and expected because I fully intend to use these services including Apple Fitness+. However, Fitness has yet to be released and with no specific release date but decided to charge the full amount. When asking Apple Support they simply said they could cancel the services but no refund. So…thanks for stealing my money by not providing the full advertised services in the bundle!

The second annoyance was inside the Apple News service. This is included in the aforementioned bundle as a paid service. So why then, does Apple include advertising? What other service can you think of where they put banner ads in your face? They don’t. Again, when asked, “The subscriptions do not cancel the advertisements.”

The Apple Platform Pt. 1

The moment you buy an iDevice, you become part of the Apple ecosystem, and more products and services are waiting for you. Some benefits that have solidified my decision to switch from Android to Apple a few years ago are better now than it used to be.

iCloud

The glue that holds the entire Apple eco-system together is the iCloud service. Apps, files, photos, videos, accounts, settings synchronized across all your devices dependably. Example; I am typing this on the laptop but if I need to go out and come up with something I want to add, I can do so from my mobile device. Neat. Buy a new device? Sign in to your one account and everything transfers over automagically. Within a few minutes you can pick up where you left off.

AirDrop

This feature allows you to transfer files in between all your Apple devices. You can even transfer files to a friend’s nearby Apple device. No Bluetooth connection, no need to be on the same wireless network, it just works.

iMessage

I now can send text messages over the internet using either the phone, laptop or tablet.

FaceTime

Want to make a video call instead of the traditional voice call? Exclusive to Apple device users, video calls are no hassle and a great way to see your friends.

Find My

Wonder where your phone or AirPods are? Using this handy feature will help locate with a map or pinging your device. If you are so trusting and so inclined, you can share your location to keep tabs on where your friends are.

Privacy

One of the reasons I switched from the Google Android platform was a lack of privacy. I do not trust Google, however, based on several initiatives, I do place my trust with Apple. Apple will not sell your information, they do not need to thanks to the hardware and software sales. They’re doing just fine thank you. When the FBI asked for Apple’s help in unlocking a suspect’s iPhone, the request was refused out of the owner’s privacy rights.

Data used for facial recognition is encrypted and protected.

Apple Maps is not married to your Apple ID so your location data and tracking info is not shared or used by anyone else.

Thanks to the new iOS operating systems, your device will alert you when either the microphone or camera is in use with light indicators on screen.

There is a web safety option called “Sign-in with Apple” which generates unique, encrypted email addresses to apps so you get to keep your authentic email id private.

Text messages sent with iMessage are end to end encrypted, and any data stored in the server is inaccessible to any third party.

Apps have no permission to access user data outside its directory and you can choose which apps have access to location data, camera, microphone etc.

The search history in Safari is end to end encrypted.

Two-Factor authentication options are beneficial.

No bloatware. Apple does supply their apps but you now have the option to remove them from your devices. Not so in the past, so I am glad to see that change.

Apple Pay

One of the most surprising features that I enjoy is the contactless, encrypted Apple Pay system. Using your device you can wave it over a pay terminal and confirm transaction. Great for avoiding payment card swipes that can gather your personal information, fast and secure.

Finally

Concluding for now, Apple’s brilliant hardware and software ecosystem is designed for compatibility, privacy and security in a system that just works. Now that I am connected I do not believe there is a turning back, captured by the system and finally content with that.

Social Web vs Social Media

I’ve been online since 1996, and have seen so many websites come and go.

Remember Geocities and chat rooms? Those were the places to be, until they weren’t. A few years later and they were shut down. Your online friends were deleted.

After those there was MySpace. People flocked to this new platform where you could decorate and share “your space” as you saw fit. Everyone posted their photos and music but a short time after that MySpace became stagnant. No one was using it anymore favoring Facebook. There was no way to communicate with your “friends” because no one had each other’s contact information, just the Myspace inbox.

Just like the platforms before it, users have been flocking towards FB, supplying all their information both directly and indirectly. People are still uploading all of their photos, videos and more there and there will come a time when this platform will be obsolete for the next big thing.

My point is do not depend on any one social media company or web service. They will come and go and you won’t have a thing to show for it because they now own your content and will delete it when their servers go cold. It’s time again to think about the long-term use of the web. Have a dedicated home for yourself so you can create, share and contact those who you choose and not an algorithm.

Build your website instead. Rather than inviting your friends and fans to a social media platform, invite them to your personal site. Encourage them to comment on your work, encourage them to provide their contact information so you don’t have to go through a social media inbox to reach them.

Your website should be the place to showcase everything you create. If you do insist on utilizing social media instead of the social web, have those free account be your backup. Have those social media accounts point back to your home on the web. You may choose to use them but you will not be depending on them.

I strongly suggest using the reliable open standards that are not owned by any company such as the internet, email and text messaging.

When using your email, make sure your default mail has a signature, one you can customize to give out your name, contact info and your website address. People want to know how to get a hold of you. Help them out.

Example:

Chris Denbow

Tulsa, OK.

hello@chrisdenbow.com

ChrisDenbow.com + PhotoDenbow.com

I know this is basic, and maybe it isn’t basic. If you’ve been spending your time on social media instead of the social web, it is possible this is something new. You’d be surprised how many people do not know these skills. It is time to retake the internet away from Big Tech and make it for personal use instead.

The Anti-Library

The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore professore dottore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?” and the others — a very small minority — who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.

As a reader, I can tell you that I have been back and forth between paper and digital books. I’ve been kicking myself lately for selling or donating 85% of my library in the past.

It gives me joy to see physical books on the shelf again knowing that I have read a few or have something to look forward to.

Taking the idea of an anti-library further, it dawned on me that I am also curating a digital library of knowledge with links to web articles, books using PDF or everything I have saved as “read-it-later.”

As if I didn’t have enough to read, I recently subscribed to Apple News that includes newspaper and magazines.

The idea that the knowledge that comes from this anti-library is always available and readily accessible in both digital and analog form is beneficial and comforting. The fact that this library is an extension of my research tools is an added bonus.

iPad vs MacBook

Having been a computer power user for decades, I am giving serious consideration to selling my MacBook for an iPad Pro. Over this period of time, originally with Windows, then Linux and now Mac, I am growing tired of managing these operating systems and want to keep it simple.

Nowadays, I’d rather focus my knowledge and abilities into something productive instead of wasting time administering my computer. I don’t want or need to tinker anymore, and now I don’t have to.

With iPadOS, I can get my work done and play all on the same device. I can write up this article, post-process images from my last shoot, listen to music, stream shows, play games, etc all in an intuitive, fun and stress-free environment.

As a minimalist, I no longer have a need for desktop towers, huge monitors or peripheral devices taking up this space. The iPad goes with me wherever I want to work and it adapts to whatever workspace I set it in.

There is simplicity in the iPad which makes it powerful, unique and refreshing computing experience I’ve ever enjoyed. As Apple is fond of saying, “the future of computing isn’t with a computer.”

DAM It

The photo organization goals (Digital Asset Management) just took a setback as I rediscovered zipped files from Google Photos’ Takeout service. When I closed my Google accounts I had the option of retrieving all of my photos from the past 10 years that have been backed up there.

Well, thanks for nothing, Google because this treasure trove of photos is bundled in 2 GB files and there are over 150 to sort through and organize.

Apple One

Another new product was just released that combines all of Apple’s services in one, cost-saving bundle for me. I opted for the $30 a month, everything package which includes the soon-to-be released, Apple Fitness service. Paired with an Apple Watch it will automagically track your workouts and display stats on screen.

All six services work out to $5 each and includes Apple Music, TV, Arcade, News, Fitness and 2 TB of iCloud storage.

iPhone 12 Pro

This is the first year I purchased the newest iPhone on launch day since I converted to iPhone over Android six years ago. It was a thrill to open that box and see the premium stainless steel, glass back, the ceramic shield screen and that third camera lens I have been drilling over for the past year ( I skipped the previous first release.) As first impressions go, this was love at first sight.

No, I have not raced out to test the latest HDR video, nor the Dolby Vision but it is clear to anyone that has one in their hand that this is the most premium iPhone ever and it is built to be used. My only cause for frowning is that the edges pick up and enhance my fingerprints. Well that is easily solved with the slim Otterbox shell I encased it with. I don’t want a case on it because it hides the design but concurrently, I want this device to last for more than a few years. It is going to get protected. And yes, for the first time in forever, I am content.. This is what I have waited years for, a device that is gorgeous, and future-proof.

I won’t go into all the technical details and design specifications, I’ll leave that for others to write about, but they are impressive. The processing chip and memory are faster, more than most laptops, including the Mac I am using to type this.

The three camera system in the iPhone 12 Pro deserve their own article here, and I am positive that will happen once I make the time to do a proper photo shoot with them. The 12 Pro has the ultra-wide lens, wide and telephotos lenses for various uses and sometimes, you can shoot with all three. Add on the Lidar scanner to offer true depth for my photographic subjects and compares with your basic DSLR camera and lenses. Truth be told, these cameras make up the number one reason why I have upgraded.

The second reason is the high speed 5G capability and those data speeds. My carrier lit up their network here a few weeks ago in anticipation for this release and I couldn’t be more pleased. Downloads are fast, streaming is uninterrupted and thanks to unlimited tethering to the hotspot, I am second-guessing the need for home internet service. The home service speed is maxed out at 50MBs whereas the iPhone 12’s 5G capabilities here are double, sometimes triple. If I lived in a larger city, make that 10 times the speed.

I can’t wait to discover more of this iPhone as the weeks go by, especially that camera system. More later on that, of course.

You Are Invisible To Me

This webpage did not contact any trackers

Did you know that almost every website you view has anywhere from 2-30 tracking codes that report all sorts of data known about you? I’ve been taking steps to shield my privacy and in turn, have always tried to reduce it here on my website as well.

I don’t use Google Analytics. Facebook and Amazon affiliations have no hold here. It’s none of my business and I don’t care anyway. What am I going to do with it? How does it help me or you? Those Big Three don’t need my help. And as always, ZERO advertisements.

As a result, this website is clean, streamlined and fast. Try reading this site in Safari or Firefox instead of Google Chrome where it’ll track everything. Thank me later.

Back to the point- I don’t know anything about you. For all I know this is being read by only two people. The most valuable feedback comes to me from comments on these posts, emails, tweets and other forms of contact where people say hello, asks questions, or take issue with something I’ve said. You know, the whole point of the social web. Yes, there is a difference between the social web and social media but that is a different post.

So please leave a comment on the post, or say hello.

I wouldn’t know you were here if you didn’t.