Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year I Basically Stopped Using Apple's iOS Apps

+Liz Gannes writes in All Things Digital about replacing Apple’s built-in iOS apps with those from Google. She shares the same view that there are better alternatives to most of Apple’s apps. Surprisingly, as many others (myself included) are coming to find as well, these apps are often being produced by Google.
For the record, I wouldn’t consider myself a partisan of either Google or Apple — I’m praising Google’s mobile software here, but my primary phone is still an iPhone. I think iOS is a very nice operating system. But the Google utility apps increasingly fit my needs better, for some of the most important and basic things a smartphone does.
Why? Google Maps gets me lost less frequently and syncs with my search history. Chrome has tabs and syncs with my Web history. Gmail has actual functioning email search.
There are others that she didn’t mention, which don’t substitute for Apple’s built-in apps, but the list of good Google iOS apps goes on. Blogger has gotten much better. Google+ is starting to get really good. Google Drive is, in many ways, more functional than Dropbox (built-in editing for docs is awesome). It’s nice to see Google focusing on more than just the Android platform. For those of us who just want the best product, it’s a big win.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Better Defaults

Ticci raises a good point here. In my mind, right now, the native Apple apps on iOS and OSX are passable, but not great. There are better alternatives out there.

I can’t get iCloud to sync my Safari bookmarks, which is a complaint Ticci also mentions. Chrome is reportedly much more reliable at this. Gmail for iOS, despite being webview-based, is a stronger mail client (if you use Gmail and it’s native features, such as labels), than Apple’s own. It’s also much closer to Sparrow1, which was a very well-regarded mail app.

Notes is okay, but not great, when compared to alternatives like Simplenote, which offer tags and sharing and a much better full screen mode (sans skeuomorphic skin). Don’t get me started on the web version of Notes.2 Calendar is alright, but many people prefer alternatives like Fantastical.

I don’t buy Apple’s products for the native software. It certainly isn’t usually geared to the “power user.” I buy Apple’s products because the hardware is great, and they provide a good platform where 3rd party, many independent, developers thrive. I would love to see Apple open up their defaults, on iOS, to let you use alternative apps.

  1. No surprise there, Google did buy Sparrow for the talent.  ↩

  2. I don’t know what’s worse in the web version of Notes, the default font or the fact that you can’t paste and match the awful default font.  ↩

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Luxury At Its Best

Steve Thomas vintage travel Star Wars Posters

I Could Just Drift Away...

...listening to this new jam from the upcoming Think Less, Feel More EP by Moon Pollen.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Give Us Peace

If you've ever thought, "I've never heard a version of Silent Night with enough reverb in the vocals," this track just might be what you are looking for. Seriously, as with all the covers I've heard Jamison do under the Teen Daze moniker, this is very enjoyable. It's got a reverent sentimentality to it while being completely different from any other version of the song you've ever heard. Listen, download and look forward to Christmas day.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Letter of Intent

This is officially my favorite song of 2013 (well, at least so far).

You should now have a album to look forward to in January. If the new Ducktails record, The Flower Lane, has any more tracks even half as good as the first single, "Letter of Intent", it will be well worth the purchase price.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pocket Computer

From a 1980 kids computer book (via Minimal Mac)

Hungarian Star Wars Posters

Terrifying and inaccurate Hungarian Star Wars posters (via ISO50)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Tree Island

The Rosebuds have a new album of all original Christmas songs, entitled Christmas Tree Island. As much as I love covers, it’s great to hear a Christmas album that doesn’t have a single one on it. These songs don’t always have the traditional sentiments expressed in most ‘standards’ of the season, but they do have a resolute warmth and longing for the best that this holiday can bring. ‘I Hear (Click, Click, Click)’ kicks the record off with some of that early rock n’ roll exuberance that made their first lp, ‘Make Out’, so compelling when it debuted. The second song, ‘Thru That Door’ starts a string of tracks featuring saxophone that gradually get more soulful with each passing tune, climaxing with the 6+ minute slow jam, ‘Lonely Light’. You hear the influence of the sounds of Sade that they most recently openly an earnestly revealed with their cover of the whole Love Deluxe album1. Immediately following ‘Lonely Light’, the album goes back to the rock, with what I believe to be the finest track of the bunch, ‘Melt Our Way Out’. The last few songs stick to the signature Rosebuds sound, but infuse it with some Christmas sonic staples, such as the surfy sounding guitar on ‘Journey To Christmas Island’ (for which they bring back the sax, as well).

It’s rare that a band puts out a Christmas album, and instead of some token covers for the season, release one of their finest collections of original songs.

  1. You can get the Sade cover album done to honor the 20 year anniversary of Love Deluxe for free here. ↩

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