Wednesday, June 10, 2015

OpenText Adds Full Folder Sync to ECM Everywhere iOS Client

Earlier this week, OpenText released an update to their iOS ECM Everywhere client to version 10.5.21.


The new update will allow ECM Everywhere users to quickly mark all of the files in a single folder for offline access.  If you want to sync a sub-folder and it's contents for offline access, you will need to drill down to that level and manually mark the folder offline.

ECM Everywhere is the iOS, Android and BlackBerry client for OpenText's Content Server 10.5 and 10.0 content management systems.  ECM Everywhere is a free download from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and BlackBerry App World.

For more information on OpenText ECM Everywhere 10.5, visit the OpenText.com website.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Thoughts on the Apple WWDC 15 Keynote Presentation


Yesterday, Apple kicked off their twenty-sixth WWDC conference with a keynote address from Tim Cook.

If you haven't already watched the keynote session, you can do so now directly from the WWDC page on Apple.com.

What follows are my thoughts and comments as I watched the presentation early this morning about the exciting new updates coming to OS X, iOS and watchOS.

Opening Remarks


Usually, the formula for an Apple keynote presentation is to welcome everyone and then run through a number of slides talking about how well Apple is doing. This year, Cook announced that 2015 is the twenty-sixth developer's conference.  In addition to the live stream of the keynote, he also announced that for the first time ever, Apple will be live streaming 30 developer sessions this year to try and accommodate the developers who were not able to buy a ticket to this year's conference.

In short, Cook said "everything's great" and then turned the stage over to Craig Federighi, Senior Vice President, Software Engineering to talk about advances in OS X, iOS and the new watchOS.



Mac OS X El Capitan Update


- 55% of active Mac users have upgraded to OS X Yosemite
- Mac OS X 10.11 will be called OS X El Capitan; notice the lack of "10.11" in the product name
- Two major areas of focus for El Capitan: user experience and performance

The user experience performance should be thought of as a refinement of last year's bold new OS X design language in Yosemite.  The tent pole features that were shown off include the new Informed Search features of Spotlight, refinements of the built-in OS X apps and window and workspace management with Mission Control, the Spaces bar and the new Split View windows control.

Of all of the new updates, I think I will get the most utility out of the new Split View controls.  The windows snapping feature of Windows 7 is one that I use all of the time at work and the one Windows feature that I wished my Mac has built in by default.  (The other was the smoky grey Vista Start bar, but that was addressed last year with the Yosemite dark mode menu.)

Informed Search in Spotlight allows you to use nature language text to help find things on your Mac.  With Informed Search, you can now type in search terms like "Show me all of my photos from last June".  That's pretty powerful because it lets us type in what we are looking for an let the computer figure out what we meant rather than us tying to remember some details about how, when or where we may have stored the files on disk.

There was also a brief demo of a new feature coming to Safari wherein that if a video, say an ad, starts auto-playing a video in a tab that you are not looking at, a speaker mute icon will appear in the URL/search navigation bar.  Just click it and the audio is instantly muted.  That will really become a handy feature as more and more websites start auto-playing video ads on their sites.

There isn't enough time to cover all of the OS X El Capitan features


Apple has to pick and choose what features are going to be high-lighted on stage.  Some interesting features that appeared in the "...and so much more." slide include:

- New system font - Yes, Apple Watch's San Francisco font is coming to Mac OS X
- Last search - Sounds like a really nice time saver
- Rename from context menu
- Time to leave reminders
- Redesigned Disk Utility - seems like an odd update; are enhancements to HFS+ coming?
- File copy resume
- Copy file path in Finder

On the OS X performance side of the house, Apple is bringing their Metal graphics engine that debuted on iOS last year "back to the Mac" El Capitan.  Metal will give professional apps and game developers a higher performance graphics layer than the older OpenGL and OpenCL platforms.

Reportedly, all of Apple's first party apps are being enhanced to take advantage of Metal.  I'm looking forward to the performance boost to things like the quick view feature that let's you look at a document without having to launch the app first.  Oh, and when you do have to launch apps, Apple is working on making the time you wait for apps to launch must quicker.

The schedule for Mac OS X El Capitan is:

- Developers get a free preview starting right now.
- Public beta testers will get El Capitan next month (July)
- El Capitan general release will ship "this fall"


 iOS 9 Update

- 83% of active iPhone users are running iOS 8 today
- iOS 9's major focus is "elevating" the foundation:improved battery life, better performance, and security enhancements

Just like with OS X El Capitan, intelligence and informed seraching is coming to iOS 9 and Siri.  Siri can now understand more natural language requests like "show me pictures from ..." or create new reminders based on what you are looking at in an app such as Safari.  Siri can even look up phone numbers for incoming calls that aren't in your contacts by searching your email and making a suggestion.

As with all of these security features, iOS 9 keeps all of your data private.

Craig Federighi discussed personal data privacy in iOS 9


Some other cool features that Federighi showed off, include:

- iOS' swipe to the left of the first app launcher screen is coming back and has been enhanced to offer contextual suggestions

- Search has been enhanced to include new categories of information

- iOS 9 searching has a new Search API that can be used to search across installed apps and provide deep linking to specific content and take you back to search results

- Apple is building in intelligence into iOS, but they are not data mining; all information stays on device

- Look ups for information is all anonymous, not shared - you are always in control of your data

ZDNet's iOS 9 beta lock screen


One of the nice features coming to iOS 9 that didn't get highlighted in the presentation is that Apple is improving iOS security by increasing the number of digits in a PIN from 4 to 6.  By adding just two additional digits to the PIN, iPhones and iPads will become all the more difficult to "hack" using a brute force attach.  ZDNet had a nice little write up about this feature.

Jennifer Bailey talks about how Apple is simplifying the wallet with Apple Pay

To talk about the updates to Apple Pay in iOS 9, Apple brought out VP, Apple Pay, Jennifer Bailey!  I was really surprised to see Apple giving a woman "FaceTime" (sorry about the pun) on the WWDC stage.  It would appear that Apple really is trying to show that it is a diverse company and not just a copy run by "old 50-something white dudes".

In addition to launching Apple Pay in the UK later this year, Bailey went on to talk about the upcoming changes to Apple Pay in iOS 9.  They include:

- Discover Card is coming to Apple Pay this year
- Square is releasing a new NFC Apple Pay reader that will be in stores this fall
- Store loyalty and reward card support is coming to Apple Pay
- Passbook is being renamed to "Wallet"

It's that last on that I feel is kind of cheap.  Apple clearly has the head start on all of the competing mobile payment systems.  That's not to say they arrived first - just that they have an early success advantage.  Switching to Wallet from Passbook, to me, makes it sound like Apple is chaing after Google.

Maps, an app that has been steadily improving year-over-year, is also getting updated to include support for public transit information, specifically:

- Adding a new Transit map (buses, trains, subway stations) with departure times
- Step by step walking directions
- Siri is being integrated to the new Maps transit information

I'm glad to see that Apple is adding public transit information to Maps.  Android users have had this information via Google Maps for a long time now.  Apple Maps has had a rough start, but it is clear that Apple is committed to enhancing their mapping service over time.

With iOS 9, Apple is included an all new pre-installed application called "News".  News will bring "beautiful content from the worlds best world's greatest sources, personalized for you."  To help introduce and demonstrate News, Apple brought out the VP Application Product Management, Susan Prescott.

 Let's just stop for a minute and let it sink in that Apple now has had two high ranking women on the WWDC stage showing off some of their newest software with the world watching.  This is the new-new Apple.

Susan Prescott shows off the all-new News app for iOS 9
I'm really excited about the new News app for iPad and iPhone.  I read the Wall Street Journal on my iPad most days in the WSJ app.  I'll probably still do that because I have a subscription, but the News app has a lot going for it.  I can see in the future, the News app taking the place of Newsstand in the future.

With News, you tell the app a little about what websites you like to visist and the kinds of articles you like to read on them.  Form there, News will aggregate a feed of news articles, beautifully rendered and laid out for you to read.  The app updates each time you launch it so there will always be fresh content to read and presented in a visually stunning way.

Up until now, I have this on again off again relationship with Facebook.  I've recently started using it again after having liked the WSJ and New York Times pages so that I get news added to my Facebook feed.  I've never really been happy about liking pages on Facebook because of all the creepy things they are probably doing to collect my data.  With News, all of that is gone!

The high points on New include:

- News updates each time you launch it.  The more you read the better News can be about learning
about what you like to read
- News will ship for both iPad and iPhone
- News will have privacy built in from the start.  There will be no sharing of data with Apple or third-parties about what you are reading
- This is, in my opinion, a direct shot at Facebook instant articles and I'm glad to have an Apple alternative
- When News goes live, there will be 30 New York Times articles published a day for News.
- If all of this reading is anonymous, and there is no data sharing with publishers, who's footing the bill for the stories?


iPad iOS 9 Enhancements

With iOS 9, Apple shows the iPad more love than it's seen in the last two releases.  It's clear that Apple is looking to bolster how their industry-leading tablet is both viewed (it's not just a really large iPhone) and used (now with more productivity and multitasking enhancements).

iOS 9 brings the Shortcut Bar to the iPad keyboard

iPad gets the new Shortcut Bar as part of the new iOS 9 keyboard of iPad.  Not only does the keyboard give you predictive text for what you might be typing, but now you have access to text tools right in the keyboard.  The new Shortcut Bar provides convenient access cut/copy/paste functions as well as the ability to add bold, italics and underlined text.  You can even add an attachment if the app support it.

If you're not convinced that Apple is trying to cater to people who want to use the iPad as their only computer, a new two finger gesture allows you to move the insertion point cursor around the screen when you place two fingers over the keyboard and move them around as if you were using the trackpad on a MacBook.  This should be a pretty handy feature for people who become frustrated with how you move the cursor around the screen. I know a lot of people who will be happy to have this feature.  I have to wonder if the new iPad Air 3 will feature a Force Touch screen unlocking even more functionality of the track pad-like feature of iOS 9.


iOS 9 bring Multitasking to the iPad

Adding iOS 9 to an iPad Air 2 you are able to begin using the new Split Screen feature.  Split Screen was first rumored last year to be a part of iOS 8.  With iOS 9, Split Screen is now a reality.

The iPad Air 2 running iOS 9 will be able to use Split Screen
In Split Screen mode, both halves of the screen are running separate applications simultaneously.  You can also grab the slider in the middle of the screen to resize the two windows according to what you are working on.  Regrettably, Screen Split is only available with the iPad Air 2 and will not work with the iPad Air.  Personally, I think that's a mistake, but no one asked me.

In addition to Split Screen, is Slide Over.  With Slide Over, you swipe in from the right edge of the screen to open a new column that takes up about one-third of the screen.


The iPad Air 2 with a Slide Over pane open

As with Split Screen, both apps are live at the same time.  This feature is really hand if you are working with data in the first two-thirds of the screen and you want to use the last third of the screen to go look something up.  When the Slide Over pane is visible, you will see a Notification Center style tab at the top of the screen. When you pull down on this tab, an app picker appears of the running apps that you can choose to snap in and replace the current app that is in the Slide Over pane.


The iPad Air 2 Slide Over open app selector
Slide Over is not a hardware exclusive feature tied to the iPad Air 2 and will also work on the iPad Air, iPad mini 2 and the iPad mini 3.

Lastly, you can double-click the Home button (or Touch ID button on the new iPad Air 2) to bring up the new iPad Task Switcher.  Unlike the card view used today, running applications are presented on a sort of digital carrousel.

The iPad Air 2 using the new Task Switcher
 While the new Task Switch looks new and refreshed, nothing that we saw in the demo showed any new features.

All the Reset of iOS 9

There's so much good stuff coming in iOS 9 it's hard to catalog it all in this single post.  Some of the more important goodies include:

- A new iOS 9 Low Power mode will extend battery life for up to three hours (estimated)

- iOS 9 will only require 1.4GB of free space needed to upgrade - iOS 8 required a whopping 4.6GB of free space to run the upgrade

- HomeKit gadgets can now be securely connected your iPhone over the Internet via iCloud.  Very very cool.

- Wireless CarPlay what a snoozer.  I'd just like to have CarPlay support in my 2015 Honda Accord  EX.  Oh well, maybe in three to four years when my current least is up Apple and Honda will have their collective acts together. (I'm so glad that Honda was a CarPlay launch partner.)

- Swift 2 has gone Open Source - now anyone can use it.  A standards compiler and support for iOS, OS X and Linux will be available later this year.  Notice that Windows is missing from that list.

The release schedule for iOS 9 is:

- Developers get a free preview starting right now.
- Public beta testers will get iOS 9 next month (July)
- iOS 9 general release will ship "this fall"

Lastly, iOS 9 will install and run on all of the current iOS hardware, which is: iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and yes, even the iPod touch 5th generation.


watchOS 2 Update

It's hard to comprehend that Apple Watch and watchOS 1.0 have only been shipping for about six weeks now and already Apple is pushing forward with enhancements to existing features and native application support with watchOS 2.  (I'll have my Apple Watch review post up before watchOS 2 ships, I promise.)


Here are some thoughts on what's coming in watchOS 2 later this year.

- Seeing "watchOS" on a slide makes me immediately think of Palm's now defunct "webOS".  Old habits die really hard I guess.

- watchOS 2 will bring native apps to the platform.  These apps can run without an iPhone within range of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.


watchOS 2 will being new watch faces to the current list of watch face styles.  Photo Face and Photo Album Face are new watch faces that will allow you to pick a photo to use as your watch face or a Photos album to randomly display pictures from each time you activate the watch face.  Another cool animated watch face will be the new Time-Lapse face.  Apple will pre-build time lapsed "slideshows" of a select set of cities like London and New York that will animate when the watch face is on.

Apple also promised that in watchOS 2, software developers will be able to add their own "widgets" or "complications" to watch faces.  Complications are the little blocks of information on the wathc face like the date, upcoming apponintments, battery level and fitness tracking rings.

Lastly, while you are looking at the watch face, you can scroll the digital crown to see calendar events that happened earlier today or that will be coming up later in the day.

watchOS 2 also adds:

- Night Stand mode: when the Watch is charging and turned on it's side withwith the digital crown and button facing up the screen will work like an alarm clock.

- Email replies using Siri dictation

- Make and receive FaceTime audio calls directly on the Watch

- Siri voice command support for activating the Workout app - "Start a 30 minute run in the park."

- Siri voice command to display a specific glance on the Watch face

With watchOS 2, we are really going to see the flood gates open with regard to what developers can access on the Watch - native apps, new complications, system level access to microphone and speakers and the on board sensors - and all new apps to dream up and make available for use.

Lastly, as you might have already guessed, watchOS 2 will be a free upgrade coming "this fall."


On more thing... Apple Music



I appreciate that Apple is once again using "One more thing..." in their presentations.  It's a classic move that Steve Jobs would use to whip up the crowd into a frenzy before showing off one last software package, some new hardware or a new Apple service. 

Yesterday, Tim Cook returned to that familiar place to talk about Apple's upcoming Apple Music service and Beats 1 124/7 live radio station.  Naturally, Apple's fans when nuts.


Apple's Jimmie Iovine introduces the new Apple Music streaming service


Tim Cook kicks off the last segment of the WWDC keynote by introducing Apple Music and Jimmy Ivone to tell us about what Apple Music is all about.

Apple Music is a new streaming service, 24hr live radio and fans connecting with to artists
Apple describes Apple Music as:
- A new revolutionary music service
- 24/7 live radio service broadcast around the world
- A new way of connecting fans with artists

With Apple Music, you will have all of your music all in on place.  Your iTunes library meets the full iTunes Music library streamed to your iOS device, Mac, Windows PC and before the year's out, Google Android devices.

I have to say, when Iovine started talking about a "revolutionary new music service" I'm pretty sure I heard echos of Steve Jobs introducing the original iPhone back in 2007.  (You can watch Jobs introduce the iPhone below.)



Apple also made a short video featuring Trent Reznor, Artist/Apple Creative, to tell us about the new music service.

Next up, is Beats 1. a live global radio station with Zane Lowe and his team of real DJs working as hosts around the clock from New York, Los Angles and London.  To help introduce Beats 1, Apple played a short video featuring Zane Lowe talking about how Apple put together Beats 1.

All of the music recommendations and playlists from Apple Music and Beats 1 are curated by humans to deliver the best possible listening experience for whatever music you want to listen to.

And last, but not least, is @Connect, which allows artists to upload and share what they are doing directly to their fans.  To help understand how Connect brings fans and artists - big and small - together, Apple brought Drake out to talk about his experience with Connect.  Yet another win for diversity on the Apple stage.

The schedule for Apple Music, which includes Beats 1 and Connect is:

- Rolls out with iOS 8.4 on June 30, with new versions of iTunes for Mac and Windows PC.  Android support coming later this year.

- The first three months of Apple Music are free.  After that, it's just $9.99/month for an individual subscription.

- For family of up to six people, a sharing subscription is just $14.99/month and each person has their own library, playlists, recommendations, et el.

To close out the keynote presentation, Tim Cook invited The Weekend up on stance to perform a new single.  I'm sure it will be on the iTunes Music Store before long.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Apple Swaps Yosemite's discoveryd for Mavericks' mDNSResponder DNS Service

Lately, the Mac nerd community has really become fed up with the networking shenanigans around the new Domain Name Service (DNS) networking protocol, discoveryd.

discoveryd, plays a part in how your Mac can find other devices, like Apple TVs and Apple AirPort networking gear, on your home network, other Wi-Fi networks you might connect to and Internet websites among other things.  As to the trouble discoveryd has been causing, well, you should read Craig Hockenberry's blog post on it [strong language warning].  He's far more knowledgeable about what goes on inside your Mac than I am.

Some of you may know that I'm a member of the OS X Public Beta program (and for iOS also).  In the most recent OS X 10.10.4 developer and public beta (build 14E26a) Apple replaced the discoveryd DNS service with the mDNSResponder DNS service that was used in OS X Mavericks and earlier.

Here's a screen shot of my MacBook Pro running the previous beta build of OS 10.10.4:


As you can see, the discoveryd service is alive and talking to my home network.

After I installed OS X 10.10.4 Public Beta build 14E26a, you can see that mDNSResponder is back on the beat making sure OS X networking is obeying all the posted traffic signs.


Just for good measure, after installing the latest beta build, and as discussed in Hockenberry's blog post, I powered down both of my third generation Apple TVs and my Apple AirPort Extreme and Express, rebooted my cable modem, and then, one-by-one, turned everything back on in the following order:

Cable Modem, Apple AirPort Extreme, Apple AirPort Express, MacBook Pro, Apple TV 1 and then Apple TV 2.

Since then, I've seen a marked improvement in my home network's performance.  Hopefully, mDNSResponder will be sticking around on OS X for a while and makes it into the official general release version of OS X soon.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Apple Watch - Part Two: Unboxing the Sport Edition

After going through all of the pre-Watch hoopla of waking up early in the morning to order and then try on a Watch at a local Apple Store, and a seemingly unbearable two week period of waiting, my Apple Watch Sport Edition finally arrived.

This is the second part of my Apple Watch coverage.  If you haven't already done so, you can read The Apple Watch - Part One: Announcement, Pre-Order and Try Ons.

Here are my unboxing photos of my Apple Watch.

Detail of the box top
Description of the contents
Unpacking the exterior box
Unpacking the Apple Watch Sport Edition
Apple Watch Sport Edition on interior felt lined box case top

Unpacking the information and resize band sleeve
Booting up the Apple Watch
Language selection screen
Beginning the iPhone paring process
Pairing is done by "scanning" the pattern with the iPhone Watch app
iPhone and Watch Paring process is complete
All synced up and ready to go
Now that my Apple Watch Sport Edition has been paired with my iPhone 6, it's time to start using it day-to-day.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Apple Watch - Part One: Announcement, Pre-Order and Try Ons


The Apple Watch is unlike any other device you've used from Apple.  When you look at the hardware and software that makes up the Apple Watch, you can clearly see the family resemblance, but there is something wonderful, yet mysterious about it.  And so begins my journey with the Apple Watch.


The Announcement

My Watch was delivered late on Friday evening, much later than most UPS deliveries.  I started using it this weekend, but a family event kept me from diving head first into the wrist worn personal computer.  Rather than racing to try and write a traditional review of Apple Watch as quickly as I can, I would rather spend the necessary time getting to know the new device and then write about it.  The rest of this post will be devoted to the journey from placing my order to my first, raw impressions of Apple Watch.


We all learned about the Apple Watch on September 9, 2014 during the iPhone 6 event.  At about half way through the event, Apple CEO Tim Cook, borrowing a line from the late Steve Jobs dropped a now famous "One more thing..." slide.  I was wearing a Nike+ FuelBand at the time.  I was super excited about the Apple Watch.  It was not only light years a head of what was on my wrist at the time, but what I guessed it might be.

Six months later, on March 9, 2015, that we learned of the final details about the Watch during a special Apple keynote event.  My Jawbone UP, which had more features packed into it than the FuelBand, suddenly felt old and outdated.


Despite the initial positive reaction to Apple Watch, it wouldn't be until April 10, that we could pre-order and try on the Watch.  Early adopters, willing to stay up late at night to pre-order, would have to wait at least another two weeks before they can slip theirs on for the first time.

To me, this seamed like an unbelievably long lead up to Apple Watch: seven months from announcement to pre-order and another two weeks for Watches to start shipping.  Not event the original iPhone had as long a lead time from announcement to shipping to customers.

Placing My Pre-order

Fast forward to April 10 - the day that Apple would begin taking pre-orders for the Watch at 12:00am PDT (3:00am EDT for me) and welcoming customers into Apple Stores to try on Apple Watch before placing their online order.

Apple had been warning that supplies of the Watch would be constrained at launch.  Anyone who has ordered an iPhone in the last seven years knows that Apple always says that the latest new shiny toy (or business tool) would be in short supply during the first few weeks of availability.  But this time was different.  For whatever reason, this time, supplies of the new wrist-worn computers really where in tight supply.  So much so, Apple tried to get out ahead of the public's expectations encouraging customers to place their orders online.

I woke up at 2:50am that Friday morning.  Not to head out to the Apple Store to stand in line.  Apple made it clear that there would be no long lines wrapped around the block for the Apple Watch.  This time, I was up to make sure that I was going to be in the first wave of the people would have Apple Watch.

After suffering long delays trying to buy the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 from Apple's website, which gets completely overwhelmed on pre-order day, I chose to use the Apple Store iOS app to order my Watch.  Heading Apple's recommendation, I chose to "favorite" the Apple Watch I wanted to buy.



At 3:00am I started refreshing the App Store waiting from the online store to go live again.  (Apple routinely takes their online store down when a new product is about to go live to update the CND servers around the world.) 3:01am...refresh...3:02am...refresh...3:03am...the page loads!



I purchase my Apple Watch in two minutes without issue.  My friends and family who also tried to order Apple Watch via the Apple Store at Apple.com tell me that the web servers where overloaded and not serving up pages properly.  Let this be a lesson to you...if you want to get in and out quickly on pre-order day, use the iOS Apple Store app with Apple Pay.



A few minutes later, I received my order confirmation email.  Just for fun, at 3:18am, I went back into the Apple Store iOS app to see what the lead time for the Apple Watch Sport edition watch with a blue fluoroelastomer band. 


I was surprised to see that in just 15 minutes, the watch I just ordered was back ordered 4-6 weeks!  It looks like the Apple Watch Sport Edition will be popular and that supplies really are constrained.


The Try On

With my pre-order placed, it was time to schedule an appointment at the Apple Store Trumbull for a try on to make sure that the 42mm Watch wasn't going to be too big for my wrist or the band too loose or otherwise uncomfortable.

I stopped wearing watches a long time ago, because I started to think that I have a weird wrist size.  The watches I wore as a kit fit fine with their plastic or leather straps.  When I started buying adult watches in my mid-twenties, the metal bands just didn't seem to fit right.  With that in mind, I was a little bit hesitant to go back to wearing a watch, even one made by Apple, daily again.

Since Apple had already indicated that all orders for Watch would be done online and that there would be no in store pickups on launch day the try on date was going to be the trip to the Apple Store that my father and I would take together.  (You might recall my father and I stood in long lines together for both the iPhone 6 launch and the grand opening of the Apple Store Trumbull.)

On Friday afternoon, I used the iOS Apple Store app, the one I had used hours before to place my Watch order, to book two appointments for my father and I to go try on my Apple Watch Sport Edition and his Apple Watch Edition.  We also decided that we would wear the Apple shirts that we got from the Trumbull store's grand opening - just for added effect, because, really, where else are you going to wear your Apple t-shirt?

Upon arriving to the Apple Store, you quickly notice that the front tables have been changed out and now there are new tables specifically designed for showing off and having customers try on the new Apple Watch.


When we arrived, we were quickly checked in by the Apple Store staff who also noticed our Apple shirts can called out "Original members are in the house!"  It was a nice touch can throw back to that crazy Saturday morning when the store opened and pictures where taken for us by the staff.  A few of them snapped a few pictures too - presumably for some internal use.
And no trip to the Apple Store for a major product launch just wouldn't be complete without an Apple Store selfie!
The Apple Watch has a really nice fit on my wrist and I'm no longer worried about a poor fit like I had on my $80-120 dollar "big boy" watches that I used to wear.  The Sport band fit well and didn't feel cheap.  Far and away, my favorite watch has to be the Apple Watch, the stainless steel version, with the Milanese loop band.  Having looked at my traditional watches, I was a little concerned about the scratches, so I chose to buy the less expensive aluminum Sport Edition.  My dad did order the Apple Watch Stainless Steel with the classic leather band.
 Before out try on session was over, I did try on the Stainless Steel version with the Milanese loop band.  The Stainless Steel version looks great and, as you would expect, the Milanese loop fits prety comfortably too.


Like a few of the other bands, the Milanese loop band uses a special magnet to clasp close. The magnet holds pretty firmly and does not easily nudge or slide off, but it is still easy to open when you are ready to take it off.  That should make a lot of people who are a little worried about the band coming unfastened during the day at ease.

Even without a big splashy, lines around the block launch for Apple Watch, my dad and I still managed to get our new toys Apple Store tip in and even got to show off our Apple fan boy stripes too boot!

Now, it's time to get down to saving pennies for the September iPhone launch!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Flexibits Launches Fantastical 2 for Mac

The calendar mavens over at Flexibits have released a major update to their popular calendaring app, Fantastical 2 for Mac!

A short video of Fantastical 2 for Mac in action is available on the Flexibits website.
Designed exclusively for OS X Yosemite, Fantastical 2 for Mac includes features such as a full calendar window (with day, week, month, and year views), an intuitive parsing engine, iCloud reminders support, light theme, time zone support, birthday reminders, and much more.
Fantastical 2 has a beautiful all-new design and includes many OS X Yosemite features, including a Today Widget, Action & Share Extensions, plus Handoff support to provide continuity between Fantastical 2 for Mac, Fantastical 2 for iPhone, and Fantastical 2 for iPad.
Fantastical 2 for Mac’s natural language parsing engine has been updated to be even more friendly and flexible. The parsing engine now understands expressive repeating events such as third Thursday of every month, every weekend, last weekday of the month, and more. Plus, users can now add alerts by ending their natural language input with phrases such as "remind me tomorrow at 3PM", "alert 1 hour before", or "alarm 3PM."
"When Fantastical came out 4 years ago, our goal was to reinvent the calendar app to ease the frustrations of using calendars," said Michael Simmons, CEO & President of Flexibits. "With Fantastical 2, we challenged ourselves to reinvent Fantastical itself."

I think for me, the perfect integration with Mac OS X Yosemite with the ability to use OS X Dictation, Today view, and Handoff to/from my iPhone and iPad together with Flexibits natural language parsing engine are the killer features that make this upgrade well worth the purchase price.

In addition to the super functional Mac toolbar mini window, Flexibits has included a new very handsome looking Today widget.  But the big new visual enhancement for Fantastical for Mac is the new full calendar view.

Fantastical 2 is available now directly from the Mac App Store for $39.99.  As the name implies, this is a completely new version of Fantastical, which means if you have already purchased Fanastical 1 for Mac, you will need to purchase it again.  The enhancements found in Fantastical 2 for Mac are really well worth it.  Plus, you are helping out some great indie Mac developers in the process.