Thinking Apple TV

by Mrphix on January 6, 2017 , Comments Off on Thinking Apple TV

When you ask me about cable I honestly cannot tell you much about it other than it can get pretty expensive to have all the channels you and your family like to watch. Personally, I don’t rely on cable for my entertainment but Netflix instead.

I like it because of how easy it is to find shows or movies you like at a much cheaper cost than the normal cable provider. I can pick what I want to watch and I can also watch more than one a day if I want to. Nothing is worse than getting really into a show and having to wait a whole week before the next episode. With Netflix, you can see what happens next anytime you want to.

Outside of Netflix and other entertainment applications like Hulu are other versions of what we know as cable television. Apple TV is one of the newer features being offered. However, it works a lot differently than your everyday cable.

If you head to www.apple.com/apple-tv/ you’ll find a sleek and interesting new way to engage in the world of entertainment. Apple TV offers you all of the channels you enjoy in a more customizable way.  You can still watch live sports and the news channels you like, without having to buy the channels you won’t watch.

In order to use this service, you must first buy the “box” and remote that Apple TV requires. What’s nice about these? They’re simple and small. So, instead of having a bulky remote with a bunch of buttons you have no idea what they do, you have a simple, easy t o use remote with endless possibilities. The  “box” itself is also compact, making it look less tacky and in your face than your everyday cable box. Here is a picture of what it looks like.

 

 

apple-tv-mrphix

What really makes Apple TV stand out though is t he way it brings TV into your living room. You have the power to choose, and by choose I mean you can pick exactly what you watch. The whole system relies on apps to function. You can download apps like Hulu, HBO Now, ESPN and even iTunes to watch what you are looking for, without having to pay for those pesky cable packages. According to Apple’s website, you have over 1600 choices in video apps.

You also are able to watch all of the TV shows and movies you have purchased on iTunes. Siri also works for Apple TV and you can tell her specifically what you’d like. She’ll make it happen. You can tell Siri, “I want to watch The Blacklist” and just like that Siri will bring you right there. Not only can she do that, but she can bring up the music you’d like to listen to as well.

The cost of the box and remote are a one time expense starting at $149 according to Apple’s website. The applications can vary in price. Some have a nominal monthly fee for the ability to access the certain channel you are interested in. For example, according to Apple the Hulu app requires a monthly fee.

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MrphixThinking Apple TV

Yay or Nay to the New Macbook?

by Mrphix on January 4, 2017 , Comments Off on Yay or Nay to the New Macbook?

It’s no secret that Apple produces some of the most popular laptops in the world, along with other devices such as the iPhone and iPad. However, it is practically unheard of for someone to not be in favor of one of Apple’s new products, but trust me it does happen.

According to CNN, Consumer Reports stated that they would not recommend Apple’s brand new MacBook Pro. Why you ask? Consumer Reports stated their reasoning was lack of battery life in the devices. Which, isn’t all that much of a surprise, this tends to be a common issue people have with Apple’s MacBooks.

Consumers have been complaining about this issue long before now. Forbes reported that overall it appeared consumers were not very impressed with this new MacBook model. Forbes stated in their article, “What Consumer Report’s intervention will do is set consumer perceptions of Apple in 2016 as a company that has problems with batteries. It carries far more weight than a thread in the Apple support forums or comments on Reddit”.

However, the new MacBooks do offer some new, interesting features. Apple’s website states that this new device has up to 67% brighter display than MacBooks prior. It also claims that the device is 17% thinner and has up to 130% faster graphics.

It comes in a 13 inch model and also a 15 inch model. Along side those features, is probably one of the coolest features introduced in this model, the Touch Bar and Touch ID. Instead of have function keys at the top of your keyboard, you now have a Touch Bar to replace them. It has the ability to change automatically depending on what you are doing along with also having typing features included.

The features of the new Touch Bar are actually very cool, but I have the tendency to question the Touch Bar’s actual functionality. A review of the device by Wired states, “After using it, poking and prodding it, and plugging things into it, I have one word of advice. Wait”.  David Pierce, the author of Wired’s review explained that the new Touch Bar did not strike him as “revolutionary”.

The review raves about the Touch Bar’s quick, responsive function and the usefulness of the Touch ID feature to log in or make purchases, but Wired states that the feature seems “unfinished”. The reasoning is that the Touch Bar is there to make your everyday, repetitive tasks easier, such as brightening the screen or pausing music. However, the Touch Bar has all of those functions crammed into one, small place. The Touch Bar has a tiny left arrow that has to be tapped in order to do anything other than mute, change the volume or brighten the screen. This is not rubbing people the right way because before this feature, all you had to do was click a button.

Now, I understand that these issues are pretty minor, especially when you are looking at a fancy new MacBook, full of new features. But, the cons to the device might cause issues for some other people. Pierce states in his review his dislike for the MacBook’s new ports, while others might not mind them.

Overall, it sounds like this new MacBook is not as great as it looks. Of course, it is still a good machine but from what I have found, it probably will continue to get better as time passes. MacBooks have been great to some and not so nice to others. I personally have one that has given me a lot of trouble, but my mother had one that lasted her for eight years. Personally, I would wait before jumping to the new latest and greatest computer.

If you are interested in purchasing this device, or any device for that matter, do your homework first. Read reviews, learn about all of the features and of course, weigh the pros and the cons before making a choice. There are a lot of great computers out there but it truly does depend on what you are using it for. I can’t tell you how many times people have told me they love Apple products and another person tells me they will never buy something made by Apple. It really does come down to a matter of opinion and personal preference.

If you are interested in reading further about this topic, here are the sources I used.

https://www.wired.com/2016/11/review-apple-macbook-pro-touch-bar/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ewanspence/2016/12/23/apple-macbook-pro-major-battery-problem/#7b9a2f3a6813

http://money.cnn.com/2016/12/23/technology/consumer-reports-macbook-pro/index.html

http://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/

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MrphixYay or Nay to the New Macbook?

Amazon Echo or Murder Investigator?

by Mrphix on December 30, 2016 , Comments Off on Amazon Echo or Murder Investigator?

You better watch out what you say to your devices, they might be able to put you behind bars. In Arkansas, a man by the name of James Bates, might be facing time in prison if his Amazon Echo holds information in regards to why a man was found dead in his hot tub.

Crazy to think that a device could potentially hold evidence to a high stakes murder case. However, Amazon is not handing over the information with ease. This brings us back to the continued argument over American privacy and needed information for investigations.

The Amazon Echo is a smart speaker that is activated by the sound of her name, Alexa. The Echo has the ability to play music, read you the news and connect to other devices that you own. However, she is always listening for her name, so she can properly respond to your request.

Amazon has those recordings stored away and prosecutors believe that Bates’ Echo may hold key evidence in regards to the murder investigation. However, many are stating that this is violation of Bates’ privacy, thus Amazon is withholding the recordings until further legal action is taken.

This isn’t the first time that devices have been used against their owners. The 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California revolved around Apple when the FBI was seeking information from the shooter’s cell phone. Another case in Georgia, required prosecutors seek information from texts, Reddit posts and Google searches, reported CNN.

This brings to question if anything is really private anymore? We use all kinds of devices that carry important personal information. According to CNN’s article, many claim that devices such as the Echo, Google Home or Siri should have different rules and regulations when it comes to personal privacy. However, other sources claim that requesting a device to do something is no different than typing something into your web browser.

The prosecutor involved with the case has attempted to obtain the information from the Echo two separate times but has been declined for both requests. While those involved with the case are still pressing the subject, Amazon claims it will not budge until further notice.

All the way around this raises eyebrows in regards to customer privacy and what can be collected by the devices we use. CNN even reported that The Electronic Privacy Information has voiced concerns about “always on” devices. As time goes on, we will have to seek solutions to these changes in technology. What is a violation of privacy and what is not?

For further reading, here is my source…

http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/28/tech/amazon-echo-alexa-bentonville-arkansas-murder-case-trnd/index.html

 

 

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MrphixAmazon Echo or Murder Investigator?

Technology of the Future

by Mrphix on December 29, 2016 , Comments Off on Technology of the Future

Technology has absolutely come a long way. We have moved from one thing to the next so quickly, it seems like every time you turn around something new is coming out. The first cell phone was released back in April of 1973 by Martin Cooper, a researcher for Motorola. However, since then computers, phones and devices of all kinds have completely changed in what they are able to do.

Forbes released an article yesterday talking about just that, how advanced technology has become. However, instead of predicting what would be a hit in ten or twenty years, they discussed what is potentially heading our way in five years. Here are some of the things Forbes feels you should look for in the coming years.

One thing Forbes talks about is driverless cars. Lately that has been all over the news. For example, Uber is paving the way in this latest transportation technology. According to an article on USA Today, this company has moved it’s testing for driverless cars to Arizona, due to restrictions in California. Along with Uber, Honda and Alphabet are looking to potentially partner in the experimentation and modeling of self-driving cars, reported The Wall Street Journal. Self-driving cars, much like electric vehicles, will change how we travel and maintain the health of our cars.

Forbes’ article also mentions the take off virtual reality in the coming years. We have already started to see this become increasingly popular with the release of VR headsets, made by various companies such as Samsung, Sony and Google, just to name a few. Virtual reality has a lot of potential to be used by business, sports and many industries to make more money in a new and innovative fashion. In short, this new technology has the ability to completely change everything we know today. We might not shop, play, or work in the way we did before.

Automation, is also mentioned in Forbes’ article. Similar to self-driving cars, the continued advancement of automation can change how we interact and work in the future. Many suspect that as automation changes and develops further that it will be more equip to handle more challenging tasks that are less repetitive, such as operating a moving car.

Another technology that Forbes’ raves about is the Internet of Things, also known as IoT. For those that don’t know, The Internet of Things is basically a system of connected computing devices that have the ability to transfer data over a network without human to human or human to computer intercommunication. An example of this would be Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, which allows you to connect to other devices in your home. You can ask them to do something simple such as turning on a light or something more specific like putting YouTube on your TV. Alexa is actually a device we use in our shop and she is able to stream music or search things for you, all by voice technology. There is no telling what else you will be able to do with that technology by 2022.

I have no doubts that technology will only continue to change and evolve as time goes on. Before we know it nothing will be done the way it is done today. If you are interested in reading further about these advancements or the news regarding anything mentioned in this post, I have linked the sources I used below.

Sources: 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2014/05/13/simple-explanation-internet-things-that-anyone-can-understand/#3bb15d256828

http://www.wsj.com/articles/honda-and-alphabet-talk-driverless-car-partnership-1482360369

http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2016/12/27/upcoming-technology-10-trends-to-watch-in-the-next-five-years/#11ef0d252291

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/12/22/uber-moves-self-driving-cars-pilot-to-arizona/95763516/

 

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MrphixTechnology of the Future