Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I should be a tech reviewer

I've been on the fence regarding the new Apple HomePod. For those who don't know, it's Apple's new Siri-powered digital assistant speaker. It went on sale last Friday for pre-order. And will be delivered beginning Feb 9th.

One of the things I've started doing is watching a fair amount of tech reviewers on YouTube. It's quite a niche for those guys. And it's pretty high paying for a number of them. We're talking about people that have to form companies and hire employees to get to the level of video production that is expected. It can be a good place to listen to reviews and things.

Today I was listening to a guy who's YouTube channel I subscribe to. And he was saying how bad this new speaker sucks. Shortly after listening to his review (he hadn't actually seen one yet)... I went ahead and ordered one. Just like any respectable Apple fan would do.

I commented on his video. And he responded. We both agreed that a small single speaker like this would most likely not have as good of sound quality as a good 2.1 setup. He says "you can't skirt the laws of physics". But from everything I hear, it's the stand-out excellent sound quality that sets this speaker apart from it's competition.

While people are comparing it to the Amazon Echo and the Google Home smart speakers, it's really out of their league. It features like six separate tweeters each with their own dedicated amplifier. It is powered by the same powerful chip that runs their iPhones. And it essentially senses the proportions of the room it's in... and it's position in that room w/regard to walls... and adjusts it's sound output accordingly. Bang and Olufsen has a speaker with similar smarts that retails for about $10,000.

So we'll see how it does against my 2.1 setup I have in our office at home. Luckily Apple has a no-questions-asked return policy. So this is essentially a trial.

Apple Homepod

Monday, January 22, 2018

So much for that

My last blog entry explained how I was downsizing my computer gear. I had sold my iMac, my MacBook, and my iPad. All to be replaced by a newer MacBook.

The reasons for doing this are a little difficult to explain. First of all... I have a bit of a computer habit. I spend most my time in front of one, both at work and at home. I've been fighting this off and on for years (unsuccessfully I might add). Second, because my iMac was my best device (by a long shot), I spent most my free time basically chained to my desk where it sits, as opposed to using my other (more mobile) devices away from my desk.

I've actually gone to great lengths in the past to help curb my technology habit. I went so far as to go without internet at home. I figured I could take my laptop to where there was public wifi when I wanted to use the net. I suppose that was a little extreme. And it wasn't because the of the cost either. It was because I felt it would be better for me not to have access at home. Something to literally force myself to do other things. Well, like most of my other attempts, that was short-lived.

With my latest downsizing I guess I kinda thought that the move to having the MacBook as my only computer would help free me from my desk. I would be completely mobile and free to geek out from anywhere.

This sounded attractive. But in reality, even after successfully getting rid of all my other gear... I still pretty much spent all my time at my desk. I went so far as to run my MacBook in closed-cover mode... with an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

That's when it occurred to me. I actually paid a premium for this MacBook in two ways. One, it's super small size and portability made it cost more. And two, there was also a significant performance sacrifice involved in getting it that small. Essentially, while a desktop machine was the most suitable tool for what I was doing, instead I was using an underpowered and overpriced laptop for a purpose it was not intended for.

Of course when I realized this, it kinda torqued me off. There were a few different times where I swapped back and forth between using the external monitor, keyboard, and mouse... and just using the MacBook as a normal laptop. While the external monitor, keyboard, and mouse gave me the best functionality. They caused me to miss out on the MacBook's best selling point, which is the super high quality of it's hardware.

Ok, I'll acknowledge that this is definitely a first-world type of problem. But (luckily) my life is so boring that I am always trying to figure out ways to optimize my little existence.

After the above realizations, I started thinking iMac once again. I toyed with the idea of buying an iMac and selling my MacBook. I figure I could use my iPad for anything mobile (yes, I bought another iPad). But I do believe that I could be deemed certifiable if I were to sell my new MacBook only three months after purchasing it.

I did order a new iMac. I'm typing this on it now. This time I did a custom-build with an SSD instead of a fusion drive. It's quite a bit quicker.

So this "experiment" in downsizing was a little expensive. However in the end, I ended up upgrading my MacBook, my iPad, and my iMac to newer models that were all significantly better than what they replaced.

My wife had a bit of wisdom. She said that perhaps I should just accept the fact that I like computers and stop trying to fight it. Hmmm...