Mobile Devices

MobileViews Podcast 332: Sept. 2020 Apple iPad & Watch announcements

We’re back after nearly three months when we talked about the WWDC event. Jon Westfall and I actually recorded an episode in early July with Chris Spera. However, we had a lot of audio problems and I need to spend some time trying to fix the audio (echoes) for podcast 331 one of these days.

Apple Watch Series 6
What the tech reviewers don’t understand: Most people don’t buy a new Apple Watch every year/release. As a Series 3 owner, the 6 is a huge leap forward features-wise: I don’t have fall detection, ECG, always-on display, altimeter which appeared before the 6 but after the 3
Doesn’t ship with a power adapter (does include charging cable)
Brighter always-on display (my Series 3 doesn’t have always on)
Cool Feature alert – Siri Shortcuts can now automate some watch functions – so have it auto switch faces at different times of the day!

Apple Watch SE
Generation older processor
No U2 Ultrawide Band
No SP02
Apple takes a swipe at a few niche industries with Apple Watch Family setup.

iPad Air is like an iPad Pro spec-wise
Touch sensor on power button for ID instead of front button or Face ID. I think they got this backwards in a time when many of us are wearing face masks. It is ok to have Face ID for the mostly solitary/indoor iPad. The iPhone, on the other hand, would benefit from getting Touch ID restored.

The only Pro features missing from the new Air are:
LIDAR (I’ve never found a use for it yet)
Wide angle camera
Face ID

iPad 8th-generation
Supports only 1st gen Apple Pencil

Apple One bundle
Three price tiers. Not worth it unless you are already invested in Apple’s cloud services
Individual/family plans: Music, TV+, Arcade, 50GB iCloud
Premier: above + News & Fitness

What wasn’t announced:
New iPhone
Apple Silicon based Mac or Macbook
No “one more thing”

iOS/iPadOS 14
Empty widget windows in sidebar – solved by Jon
AirPod Pro sometimes doesn’t disconnect when in charging case. Drains battery (oddly just the right side)
Probably due to new auto-device-switching feature
AirPod Spatial Audio
Captions for photos & videos
Mirror selfies?
App Library on phone but not iPad

Jon backed a Workstation bag ( on Kickstarter, and bought a PiBoy DMG (–Assembled_p_16.html)
And a bamboo skin from dBrand for his Macbook Pro

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MobileViews Podcast 330: WWDC announcements; Microsoft Stores closing; Teams personal version; powerwashing a Chromebook

Jon Westfall and I are joined by guest panelist Chris Spera for this podcast. We discuss:

  1. Microsoft shutting down most Microsoft Stores (except for 4) worldwide
  2. (Todd) Finally had to try Powerwash on my Acer Chromebook Spin 13
  3. Microsoft Teams for personal use
  4. Apple Silicon – ARM CPUs for next generation Macs
  5. iOS 14 and iPadOS 14
  6. watchOS 7
  7. Jon’s first impressions of the 2020 MacBook Pro

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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MobileViews Podcast 328: Fitness gadgets; Krita open source drawing app; R-tip of the week

First, apologies for the audio quality (low volume) on my side of the discussion.

In this podcast, Jon Westfall and I discuss:

  1. Microsoft BUILD: Linux GUI Apps Coming to Windows 10
  2. Krita is a professional FREE and open source painting program. It is made by artists that want to see affordable art tools for everyone.: For Linux, MacOS, Windows
  3. Still no notification about moving music from Google Play Music to YouTube Music. But, I was notified about moving this podcast to the new Google Podcast Manager
  4. Jon’s been buying some Fitness gizmos and they will be arriving in the next few weeks. Let’s talk about what they are, and then over the next few weeks we’ll get reviews. Jon’s also been out walking these few days: Some thoughts on Apple Watch + Airpods (As you can see, something changed around May 12). Also means that I’m on track to pick up some Apple Activity “medals / badges” that I’ve never gotten – only took me over 5 years for a perfect week in exercise and perfect week closing all of my rings.

    Aura Strap – an apple watch band that includes a built-in sensor that measures bioimpedance analysis – fat/muscle and hydration. Syncs with Apple Health (a must for me). Mostly interested to see if it matches up with what my smart scale tells me. Ships in late June. $99
    Oura Ring – a smart ring that measures sleep quality, heart rate variability, and respiratory rate. Great for times when I’m not wearing my watch (sleeping) and could be a replacement for my wedding band (which is getting a bit loose). Pricey ($299), but if it gives me good sleep tracking and more info, might be worth it. Also helps me have another measure of things my Apple Watch tracks. Sizing kit comes this week, then I select my size and they ship out the ring the next day.
    Lumen – by far the craziest one – hack your metabolism by analyzing Co2 output. Claims that it will tell you what your body is running on that day – carbs or protein. Then gives nutritional guidelines for that day to help lose weight by eating what your body is processing. I’ve always noticed some strange things about my weight loss over the past 2 years and I’ve wondered if it’s due to differences in what I’m eating day to day. $299, ordered on Feb 17, arrives on Thursday.

  5. Jon’s R tip of the week
    Cleaning up others mistakes: In a perfect world, data would always be in the way we need it, so dollar amounts would be “12.32” to mean $12.32. However when you let others enter data, sometimes they do annoying things with the best of intentions: “$ 12.32” or “12.32 USD” or “$12.32 USD” or “12 dollars” etc… However we can use the string manipulation commands in R to help us:

    y <- c("14.95","25.62","35.50"); sum(as.numeric(y)) z <- c("14.95 USD","25.62 USD","35.50 USD","103.52 USD"); sum(as.numeric(substr(z,1,(nchar(z)-4)))) b <- c("$14.95", "$25.62","$35.50") sum(as.numeric(substr(b,2,(nchar(b)))))

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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MobileViews Podcast 327

In this podcast Jon Westfall and I discuss:

  1. iPad Pro 11-inch replaced. No more spontaneous shutdowns and reboots
  2. Google Play Music going away. Forced to switch to YouTube Music. But, no sign of the “transfer button” on YouTube Music for iPadOS.
  3. How much credence should I give to browser speed tests like Speedometer 2.0? I began wondering about this as I debate whether to buy the new Lenovo Chromebook Duet when it is available somewhere (other than in reviewers’ hands). AboutChromebook’s Kevin Tofel noted that he is not a fan of benchmarks. However, people always ask (like me). So, he provided a set of results from multiple tests and the Duet clocked in at 46.07. Being too lazy to run the full set myself, I choose Speedometer 2.0 as a representative test to compare against a couple of devices I have for testing. Note that results appear to vary because Kevin’s Speedometer 2.0 result for the Acer Chromebook Spin 13 was 104 while mine is 61.80. I checked and we have the same model (CPU, memory, etc.).
  4. Jon’s Using his Apple Watch to its full potential.
  5. iOS text messages & multiple devices – notifications problem
  6. Still struggling with URL Schemes with Microsoft Office (why doesn’t ms-excel:// always open in office or Excel – WHY would it open Onedrive?!?)
  7. Revisiting the Microsoft Whiteboard app
  8. Microsoft Office app for iOS and Android
  9. Jon’s Struggle to use a Apple 27’’ Cinema Display (2010, not thunderbolt, Mini-Displayport) with USB C. Cost of my desired refresh.
  10. Jon’s R tip
    Web Scraping with rvest package – example code below. Basically if you can read HTML and understand CSS classes, you can find information and download it.

    addr <- "" page <- read_html(addr); nodes <- html_nodes(page,".tabular td"); totfaculty <- html_text(nodes)[2] paste("The total number of faculty are",totfaculty); What about pages that use Javascript to pull in the data though? Well then… PhantomJS browser! Chapter 9 in my book shows that.

  11. App Tip of the Week: Garageband How-To Videos.iSongs’ version of Gangstas’ paradise

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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MobileViews Podcast 325: Jon’s new book Practical R 4; & happy 5th birthday to the Apple Watch

    Happy 5th birthday to the Apple Watch (April 24, 2015). Jon can talk a little bit about how it feels to have had one for 5 years now! Listened to some of Mobileviews 115 when I gave my first impressions. (Mobileviews 111 is when we first discussed it after it had been announced; Mobileviews 95 also included some Apple Watch news in Sept 2014)

    Microsoft Word now flags double spaces as errors, ending the great space debate

    Are You Charging Your MacBook on the Wrong Side?

    Fintie Ultrathin 4mm Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard with Built-in Multi-Touch Touchpad: Using one with an iPad Pro running iPadOS 13.4.

    Jon just finished a new book titled: Practical R 4. Look for it to be available this summer!

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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MobileViews Podcast 324: Mostly Apple

In this podcast, Jon Westfall and I discuss mostly about Apple products and services.

  1. Apple TV+ widens free access as Disney+ passes 50 million subscribers

    Apple TV+ offering 8 free series. Does anyone care? I am still in my free year period and haven’t found anything compelling to watch.

    “To lure these prospective viewers, Apple is widening access to three adult dramas (For All Mankind, Little America, Servant) and four kid- or teen-friendly shows (Dickinson, Ghostwriter, Helpsters, Snoopy in Space), plus The Elephant Queen documentary.”

  2. Modern Family – all seasons for $100 from Apple

    iPad launch in 2010

    Modern Family Episodes with technology: Season 1, Episode 19: Game Changer (The iPad launch). Season 6, Episode 16: Connection Lost (episode that is based on a macbook), shot with iPhones/iPads

  3. What does the iPhone’s “Set Up for an Alternate Appearance” do? It does not allow for Face ID with a facemask on.

    Macrumors said: With iOS 12, you can add a second face to Face ID, which is useful if you have a job where your face dramatically changes, such as with a surgeon’s mask or protective goggles.
    However, that didn’t work for me. And, you can see from the screenshot here that iOS’s Face ID does not allow facial “obstructions.”

  4. Jon’s ordered parts to bring his Apple 27’’ Cinema Displays into the modern world – they connect over MiniDisplay port, so a MiniDP – HDMI output, a USB C hub with passthrough charging, and a charger. Point would be to eventually support a new Macbook, but before that, interested to try it with the iPad Pro. Also raises an interesting question – would I benefit from simplifying my life down to 1 laptop that I took everywhere, plugging it into 1 port at each of my 3 primary workspaces?

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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