I “Love” My iLuv

A couple months ago I spent several hours searching for speakers for my iPad. I read lots of specs and product reviews on many websites. I was looking for the sweet spot where price, features and quality sound converge. In spite of the horrible brand name (iLuv, puhlease!) I settled on this model (you can see it, sort of on the left there – it’s black, holding a black iPad on a black desk – not the best photographic conditions).

All my screens on my desk

Command Center

Here’s why I like these speakers:

  • The sound is good. Not great, but enough of a boost in bass and richness that makes watching video more pleasurable.
  • Portrait and Landscape. It easily rotates so you can read in portrait mode and watch video in landscape. This is a really, really, nice feature.
  • Flexible: You can change the angle of the screen holder to suit your needs.
  • Charges the iPad while you’re using it.
  • Compact: It doesn’t take up much space on my admittedly crowded desk.
  • Price: There were cheaper models that didn’t have the features. And there were some very expensive speakers that I’m sure would have had better sound, but also had none of the features I like about this one. Sweet spot.

The quibbles are minor:

  • As I said, the sound is OK. But what can you expect at this price?
  • It’s a little tricky getting the iPad on the stand.
  • I doesn’t have the “feel” of a product that was built to last a long time. If feels a little flimsy. But I have had no problems with it after months of almost daily use.
  • There’s a remote which I have never used and now can’t find. It comes with an app for the iPhone. I guess that’s not a quibble. I just thought I’d throw it in because it’s part of the package.

Anyway, I thought I’d share. Could be a great Christmas present for your iPad owning pals. Here’s the affiliate link if you’re interested:

Reviewing the WordPress App

Update: the app just received an upgrade with many improvements.

While sitting around waiting for a doctor appt. I decided to try out this WordPress app on my iPad. It’s quite simple to set up and connects with either a WordPress hosted or self-hosted site. this will be great for blogging on the run. Or while watching baseball. The one drawback I see is there is no way to insert an image. The editor has limited but adequate formatting tools and a way to insert a link without having to type link code. It also runs on the iPhone.

If you are a blogger using WordPress and have an iOS device, give it a try. It’s free, after all. What can you lose but a few minutes which, in my case, would have been largely wasted anyway?

20120731-121028.jpg

OK! So I learned a few things:

  • You can insert images by clicking on the Edit button on a saved post and then the image icon that appears at the bottom.
  • You can edit pages as well as posts. So you could use the app to update any WP site. Not just a blog site.
  • You can manage comments.
  • You can get stats if you have the Jetpack plugin (or have you blog hosted at WordPress.com).

So anyway, it’s even better than I thought!

We Offer “Warm Showers”

For fun we joined a sharing site for cyclists called Warm Showers. Similar to Couch Surfing. We’ve already had a couple guys from Austin stop by on their way down the coast to San Francisco, a trip I did myself about 25 years ago. They were great to talk to and we shared a meal.

Charles and Josh, Warm Showers guests

Charles and Josh – from Austin

 

Looks like next week we may have a couple ladies from Washington.

And the great thing about the site? Made with Drupal!

Facebook Timeline Tips

I did a presentation for the Humboldt Internet Marketing Group/Redwood Technology Consortium, whatever it’s called (RTC/IMG? I dunno). This was a jam packed meeting and I only had a short amount of time. So this slideshow has only 15 slides. But I think it has some good material. I actually added some information that wasn’t in the live presentation.

I have been thinking about offering some workshops on specific topics. More in-depth, fee based. Maybe one focused on Twitter, one on Facebook and one on Google +. I’d be interested in knowing if there was interest out there in something like that, starting locally, here in Eureka. I would make it relatively low cost and high value.

The 2nd slide might need some explanation: I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I don’t think that feeling is uncommon. We love it because we can connect with people we otherwise wouldn’t have. But it opens the door to lots of wasted time. And if you are a business owner you can’t really avoid the potential of reaching a much bigger market than you could otherwise. Facebook offers a lot of potential. But it also changes the rules of the game all the time. For most of us, it’s a huge chore to keep up with let alone use the system to any benefit. That’s what that slide is about. And the link embedded in it is well worth the read.

Confessions of an Apple Fan Boy

Update: Apple’s Tim Cook Visits Foxconn IPhone Plant in China

Update 2: Apple Supplier in China Pledges Big Labor Changes

I have the new iPad. I confess. I have the original iPad. I have an iPhone, a MacBook Pro and we have several other  Mac desktops and laptops of various vintage and utility in our family. Ever since the New York Times series on Apple and its relationship with manufacturers in China came out I have been conflicted about my slavish adoration of all things Apple. Of course, I knew most of the devices I use were built in China and I knew the conditions were often harsh and sometimes deadly. Then I heard Mike Daisy’s dramatic story as presented on This American Life as I waited for the new iPad to be released and my guilt began to mount.

I also knew that the factories in China are not having a hard time finding workers because as bad as some of the conditions and pay are, they are much better than the abject poverty most of them face in rural China. I am aware that Apple is not alone among tech companiesMy iPad taking advantage of China’s low cost labor and efficient supply chains. Indeed, if I look around my house or probably your house, there are hundreds of items in common use that are “Made in China”.

So what am I supposed to do with this information? Should I refrain from using Apple products? What about all the other items built by “exploited” workers? What should my moral stance be? What should any of us do in the face of exported manufacturing jobs that will never come back to the U.S.?

I listened to This American Life’s retraction show on a drive up from Santa Rosa where, among other things, I visited an Apple store and had a very good experience. But the retraction show was more about the journalistic integrity of the Mike Daisy story and NPR than it was about the core issue. At the end, the question still hung in the air. How are we to feel about the conditions of Chinese factory workers? What are we to do to make it better? BTW, the retraction show is an incredible listen. In some ways, more moving, powerful and thought provoking than the original broadcast.

To add to the mess Apple, the richest company in the world, decided to spend some of it’s amassed wealth by giving dividends to investors and buying back stock, further driving up it’s share value. At first, I thought this was outrageous in the face of all the bad publicity around the China story.

But then I thought, maybe Apple is laying the groundwork for doing something much more radical than creating a new product that changes an entire market. Maybe Apple is paying off its investors while it plans a bigger gamble. Maybe Apple is going to lead the way in transforming the global manufacturing market by forcing its contractors to improve conditions and pay for all their workers. Not in just a small way, but in a big way.

What might happen if Apple did this? It would force other manufacturing contractors to raise their conditions and pay in order to compete. It would help create a bigger market for the very tech toys we in the U.S. gobble up as more people would be able to afford them. It would create a higher base for manufacturing jobs around the world that would then make our own worker pool seem more competitive (though there are other more complicated issues than labor cost involved in helping bring those kinds of jobs back to our shores) and it would further burnish Apple’s image as a company that “Thinks Different”.

So, this is what I can do. I can keep buying the gadgets I love. And I can write this blog as a tiny effort to encourage Apple to become an even more visionary company that helps transform global economics. After all, what else does it need to prove? Maybe this will be Steve Jobs’ true legacy.

I’m sure my logic is flawed and my reasoning is really rationalization. If you think so, let me know in the comments.