Macintosh 30th: How Did I Get Here?

Barry_1InfiniteLoopI found myself in Cupertino attending the Mac 30th bash recently at the Flint Center. How did I get there? Well besides my peculiar penchant for driving everywhere, I have to step back and look at the community that got me here. [Read more…]

The Omni Group: A Community Leader

After Macworld Expo, I often reflect on the Apple community. This event highlights the unique environment Apple has created for its users. There are many key individuals who highlight the community and one such individual is “Senior Statesmen of the Apple Community,” CEO and co-founder of The Omni Group, Ken Case. [Read more…]

A Few Thoughts on Steve and the Community

by Barry Fulk

When I flew home last night and turned on my phone upon landing at O’Hare, I was unfortunately greeted with the news of Steve’s passing. Obviously I was shocked and saddened. As my own little tribute, I wore my Apple shirt today to work. Lots of people came up to me to talk about Steve Jobs (it’s kind of weird as I’m the center of all things Apple here). Everyone was extremely gracious. It was odd but cool that people wanted to share their thoughts about Steve and Apple.

The other thought I had was about the Apple community. While many of us have worked in the tech field one way or the other for many years, I think we’d all agree that the community Steve/Apple created is unlike any other. I’ve gone to Microsoft conferences and other companies functions, but none that sparked the friendship and relationships that Apple conferences, training, Macworld, etc. create.

I’ve met people from all over the world at these events and we continue to communicate regularly. I’ve traveled to ‘tweetups’ and had amazing times. I’ve met and become friends with podcasters — even meeting one who lives about an hour north who was gracious enough to let me be part of his “insanely great” show.

iPad 2: Early Impressions

Mixing up titles right away: The Good, The Bad, The Bold and The Beautiful

But it’s not so simple.

If you followed my article about “The Wait and The Line,” you know I proceeded to a restaurant right away to start using, testing and playing with the iPad 2.

Connect to iTunes image

Connect to iTunes

My wife and I went upstairs and sat down at a nice large table. We quickly pulled out our iPads and turned them on. First issue: upon start up, the iPad asks to be connected to iTunes. Rats! I forgot about this requirement, which is one reason that saying that the iPad is “Post PC” is not entirely true. You have to have a PC to activate the device. Yes, I could have had it set up at the store, but that’s not the point. This ‘requirement’ at some point needs to be removed. I suspect it’s in Apple’s long-range roadmap where everything is somehow synchronized with MobileMe, therefore not requiring a hard cable to a Mac or Windows computer.

What to do? Fortunately I had my MacBook Air with me from my travels. I went to the car to retrieve it, headed back to the restaurant, and connected. Voilà! Activated and ready to use. [Read more…]

iPad 2: The Wait and The Line

The Wait

When Steve Jobs announced iPad 2, I was immediately caught up in the reality distortion field: lighter! thinner! faster!

But what really got me was that the new device would be available a mere two weeks after the announcement. I was fully prepared to wait until mid-April before the device became available. Now, it was to be released on 11 March in the States. And I did not want to wait a day beyond the 11th.

OK, no problem. As I am currently working in New York during the week and flying back home to Chicago on Fridays, I figured I would pre-order and have it arrive on Friday. That’s how some people ordered the iPhone 4. However, Apple decided to change the rules a bit: no pre-orders UNTIL the 11th and in-store pick up starting at 5:00 pm local time. Uh, oh: I am on a plane at that point!

What to do, what to do? First, I asked my wife if she’d be willing to stand in line. After all, she’d benefit too: she’d get an iPad 2. She immediately agreed. She asked what time should she get there? I suggested sometime after 2:00 pm. She offered to head to the mall right after lunch! Wow, this reality distortion field is stronger than I realized. Second, I would try to fly standby and get home earlier and meet her in line. [Read more…]

Review: JAMBOX (by Jawbone)

Seems the ALL CAPS naming convention of the JAMBOX was meant to convey a message: these portable speakers are LOUD. Jawbone has released a line of Bluetooth enabled portable speakers entitled the JAMBOX.

As I travel a fair amount, a good pair of speakers has become a necessity to enhance life on the road. I have tried a fair number of solutions: Internal speakers, headphones, USB and line-out-based portable speakers, even headphone out to a TV. Each of these are adequate, and in some cases can be fine.

However, I don’t live in the world of ‘fine’ (or I would be running Windows).

I needed something that produced excellent sound, could be loud and was as portable as possible. [Read more…]