Review

Jul 8, 2016 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: Review

Warren-pointerPutting it lightly, U.S. Senator, Elizabeth Warren, is a bit of a firebrand for the far-left of the Democrat party, and seems to enjoy taking shots at American companies. Why? You'll need to ask the Senator, but her latest statements blasting Apple, Google and others could be viewed a bit differently than Warren would like to present. Ironically, her points could be turned right around at her.

In a close knit meeting with supporters in 2012, Warren gave her infamous "You didn't build that!" speech (you know, around the same time she was also claiming her Native American status), she told a group of donors that companies think they are really hot stuff. "They didn't build that!" Warren said. Referring to companies successes, that built their empires on the backs of government work and everyone else's taxes. Warren argued companies didn't build the roads which their goods and services traveled on, the government did that. Companies didn't have police to keep them safe, the government provided security. And the firefighters that kept their warehouses from burning to the ground, these companies are alive due to government, not the other way around.

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Mar 29, 2016 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: Review

Ipad_pro_drawingWith the arrival of the 9.7" iPad Pro and its starting price point of $599, I began to wonder for whom is this product targeted? For starters, the new iPad Pro has many of the same features as its larger 12.9" sibling coupled with a few extra goodies, such as Apple's latest 12-megapixel iSight camera technologies, 4K video, and a higher resolution front-facing FaceTime camera. Technology aside, the answer that will – or will not – drive 9.7" iPad Pro sales is going to all about the screen size. Is it worth saving $200 to settle for a 9.7" display, or is it best to wait, save and purchase the original 12.9" iPad Pro?

I have a son who is battling this very question. He could certainly get into the iPad Pro 9.7" much sooner than saving and waiting to get the 12.9" version, but he is also an artist, and the extra screen real estate is likely to make a big difference over time. The questions for him are, how big a difference, and will he regret the smaller screen once he purchases it? If he purchases it?

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Dec 1, 2015 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: Review

Apple_tv_remoteApple’s latest and greatest Apple TV ships with an all-new remote. Its touch control is a small improvement over the previous push button selector. Voice control is a nice addition. Its new layout and controls enabling TV power and volume are also nice features. But the biggest update to Apple TV's remote is its size.

Not once since having Apple TV in my living room have either myself, or my family, lost the diminutive compact remote. The previous remote was the same since the original Apple TV, and caused me countless headaches. It wasn’t that the remote was not well thought out, or didn’t work as advertised — it was fine in terms of functionality. However, the original Apple TV remote was simply too small for adult hands. The anodized aluminum and slim, curved design, was simply not that comfortable to hold. On the other hand the new Apple TV remote feels like what a remote should feel like. 

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Nov 12, 2015 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: Review

Apple-tv-4th-generationIt has been the battle cry for Apple detractors and anti-Apple tech journalists since Eddie Cue announced the all-new Apple TV – without 4K (UHD) resolution capability – during a September Apple special event.

For those of you not in the know, 4K, also known as UHD (Ultra-High Definition), is a resolution that is 4 times higher than that of traditional 1080 HD TV set or display. There is just one little catch to the promise of 4 times greater image quality — it doesn’t really matter.

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Nov 3, 2015 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: Review

Apple_tv_4th_generationIt has been my fifth day with the all-new Apple TV, and while the interface is certainly fast, (by the way 1080p is a welcome upgrade from my previous 720p Apple TV) there are a few areas that are in need of help. Some areas of complaint have already been mentioned by others, but there are a few omitted nuggets which could really make the system a lot more powerful, and frankly, amazingly better.

Taking a look at the physical, the taller Apple TV versus the previous generations makes zero difference. However, the remote control is an advancement compared to the previous couch-hiding silver remote. The new remote’s optional lanyard certainly helps keep it noticeable on the couch, a coffee table or even if it somehow wondered into the kitchen. I have found myself constantly pressing Siri instead of the menu button. If Apple would add a simple braille bump to the menu button, using it would prove much less error-proof. Outside of blind finder navigation (which would really help), the trackpad with click solution works very well, and having the remote run on Bluethooth eliminates the need to have line of site to the Apple TV. Overall, the remote is a welcome upgrade. 

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Oct 1, 2015 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: Review

Apple_tv_specsNew iPhones, a new iPad Pro and a new Apple TV, were all unveiled last month during Apple’s Bill Graham Auditorium special event. Beyond iPhone it is difficult to gage exactly which product is garnering the most attention. Now that the iPhone has launched the magic behind the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil has yet to be fully discovered. However what is least known is Apple TV and what it will truly be capably of once it begins shipping late October.

The mysteries of Apple TV are numerous, and one unknown begins to pile atop the next. Why does Apple TV’s A8 processor have such a massive heat sync? Why is the unit thick enough to support Optical Audio Out, but it is no longer included? Why is 4K (UHD) and HDMI 2.0 not supported? Why did Apple not release their own optional game controller to kick things off? And of course, why no silver, space gray, gold versions? Did the crew that built the MacBook with one port also lend their hand with Apple TV? It is almost as if Apple is launching their very own Area 51 product. Here’s to trying my hand at unraveling some curious areas of Apple TV. 

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Sep 25, 2015 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: Review

Iphone_upgrade_plan

Apple’s new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus officially begins arriving today for those who have put in pre-orders, and a lot of those orders figure to be purchased via Apple’s new iPhone Upgrade Program. But exactly how does it work, and what are the details of the program?

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Sep 15, 2015 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: Review

New_apple_tvPeople in 80 countries will get their hands on the all-new Apple TV in late October. But those customers will also be able to purchase the existing Apple TV for only $69. Apple’s 3-tier strategy eschewed in a new era of how Apple views and provides solutions for the living room, something that was previously a simplistic one-size-fits-all solution.

Apple is actually late to the game, as Amazon, Google and Roku have been providing multi-tiered solutions for quite some time. Google offers their Chromecast with simple remote, for only $35, while Amazon offers their Fire Stick and remote for $39. Amazon and Roku also offer up higher-end solutions, with voice controlled systems. Roku offers the most solutions, currently selling four different systems, starting at $49.99, with their top-end solution just reduced to $89.99.

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Aug 19, 2015 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: Review

Apple_tv-backsideAn all-new Apple TV has been highly anticipated since it was a no show at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference this past June. Rumors suggest the revised Apple TV will be thinner and slightly wider, with iOS 9 acting as the software core of the device. A state-of-the-art A9 processor, Siri integration, an app store, Home Kit and possible Force Touch remote control are all said to be apart of Apple's new black box. But new high tech goodies come at a price.

During an Apple Watch special event in March, CEO Tim Cook announced Apple TV would begin selling at a price of $69. For years Apple TV had been selling at $99. The lower price not only saw an increase in Apple TV sales, but also paved the way for an all-new Apple TV to enter the market at a higher price point. The lower price for the current Apple TV also gives Apple the flexibility to continue selling it as an entry level option, competing with Roku and others in the sub-$100 market.

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Jul 18, 2015 — by: Mark Reschke
Categories: Review

Affinity_photoWhen I learned that another new photo editing application was coming, one that claimed it would be able to take on the juggernaut of the industry, Adobe Photoshop, I rolled my eyes. “First this software will need to be able to knock off Pixelmator,” I thought. I downloaded Affinity Photos immediately, and within one day of using the software I realized that Affinity was no competition for Pixelmator – it easily surpassed it.

The company in charge of Affinity is Serif LTD., located in Nottingham, England. Serif has been around since 1987, and has a host of web and creative editing tools, largely focused on the consumer and educational markets. If you have never heard of them, as I had not, there is a big reason for that. Until Affinity Photo, all Serif's software was built exclusively for Windows. However, with the Mac continuing to grow and stay firmly entrenched in the creative markets, Serif set off in a new direction. Affinity Photo was engineered from the ground up for OS X. There is no Affinity Windows counterpart. There no shared code or pallet design ported from the platform best forgotten. Affinity Photo is 100% OS X goodness, and already includes Force Touch capability.

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