Oh well

OK. So it’s not going to win any awards, but it was grey, cold and drizzling.

To be fair, once I’d set off, I would have happily carried on, but had promised a day of DIY type things to Mrs Aardvark.

So what happened to Apple, fan-boi?

What indeed. What in-deed.

Yes, I used to be “sponsored by Apple”. This time last year, the list ran to;

  • MacBook Air
  • iPad Pro 10.5
  • Apple Pencil
  • Apple leather sleeve for the above
  • Apple keyboard as per
  • iPhone 7+
  • Apple Watch 3
  • AirPods
  • Apple TV
  • (Think I still had the old iMac too)

Today stands at;

  • Apple TV – and that’s because I binned Sky. We now stream anything and everything that we want over broadband, through the Apple TV.

Now _that’s a U-turn.

  • MacBook Air – is now 15″ Surface Book 2
  • iPad Pro – is now Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
  • iPhone – is now Samsung Galaxy Note 9
  • Apple Watch – is now Bremont Explorer and Motiv ring
  • Airpods – are now Samsung IconX
  • iMac – went to eBay

So why?

I got sick and tired of Apple’s absolute lack of innovation, is one of the three main things. Everything that they do is simple rinse and repeat. And, when they do bring out something “new”(tm), it’s something that has been copied from someone else. There’s absolutely no real innovation any more. (You could argue that the AirPods fall outside those bounds and, if they had reliably stayed in my ears and, if every other person on the planet wasn’t wearing a pair, I might concede that).

The wall around the garden just gets higher and higher. Case in point – and it’s a biggie for me – is that, to the eternal exasperation of my company, I BYOD. Yes, it takes me ages to get to a point where I can work around restrictions so that things are seamless, but I have always been a BYOD person. We are a Microsoft shop and, frankly, Office for Mac is bloody awful. In fact, a lot of business packages for Mac are bloody awful. So much so that it became a hindrance to my productivity.

Stone me they don’t half charge alot for what they sell. And I mean _a lot_!

Add to that the flakiness of iCloud sync, the rabid cult-like mentality of Apple denizens and the inability to interface with anything other than another Apple device and the end result was, know what? Yes, I’ve invested a honking amount of cash in Apple but, it’s now time to cut my losses and fly solo.

Yes, there is an inordinate amount of “Samsung” in the second list – but they’re premium products and will speak to anything (other than Apple). Look at it like this;

  • Surface Book 2. I use this at work, I have the pen and can just take the tablet part into meetings if I want and, when I get home, the thing is powerful enough to plug into a docking station and 34″ 4K HDR screen and play Destiny 2, FarCry 5 etc. as 60fps.
  • Galaxy Tab S4. Does everything that the iPad does (pencil is free, by the way) but happily talks to the Surface, has versions of software that are compatible with day-to-day life, will take a 500Gb memory card to boost storage and costs (even the top of the range that I have) a hell of a lot less than an iPad.
  • Galaxy Note 9. I can write on it! Brilliant. Flying machine, has a funky cover that gives you notifications, has 500Gb built in and will take the above 500Gb card to total a stonking 1Tb of storage – on a phone! Also does all the the above that the Tab does.
  • Bremont. Well, I’ll talk about that in a separate post.
  • Motive. As above.
  • IconX. The AirPods were great – apart from the falling out and being ubiquitous parts. The funky functionality though was totally tied to Apple. Fair enough the IconX functionality is tied to Samsung, but they don’t fall out of my ears.

Add to that lot that the underlying cement holding all the systems together is Google – I know, I know …. evil and all that – and they know a thing or two about integration. So much so that, although we have a bunch of Alexa devices in the house, the thing that I’m listening/watching to in the kitchen whilst I type this, is a Google Home Hub.

Bye-bye Apple.

The Fitness conundrum

As anyone who knows me will testify, I was a Garmin fan-boi for ages. I went through the various Fenix models then, when I started wearing a “proper” watch, I used various vivo items when out training.

I had a fling with the Apple watch – replacing the proper watch – and thoroughly enjoyed it, but sold it on and went back to good old reliable analogue.

Skip on a few months and the Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro caught my eye. Primarily, because it didn’t look like a watch and I figured that I could use it for notifications (my Achilles heel) and fitness blurb (my other Achilles heel – that’s both heels).

I went out and made the purchase and was mildly upset to discover that there were no watch faces that didn’t have the time and/or date on them.

To be clear, I was still wearing the proper watch on my left wrist, and the Samsung on my right as an “info centre”.

That was easily solved by installing the Gear Watch Designer from the Samsung developer site and creating my own watch face – just various fitness stats and battery status. In fact, I was so happy with it I uploaded it to the Samsung store to share with others.

It was there that I discovered that you can’t add any watch faces to the store unless they have the time on them somewhere. Fighting – and beating – the urge to add a four pixel high time to the face, I carried on with being the sole owner of the watch face.

And was happy.

ish.

The long and short is that I became a slave to the notifications. It’s just sooooooo great being able to leave your phone on silent all the time and just glance at your wrist to keep bang up to date with everything that is going on in your life. It’s an absolute drug. In fact, a couple of folks that I know have subsequently entered the smartwatch arena and, in no time at all, are exhibiting the same symptoms.

After a lot of soul searching, I decided that my addiction was getting too much and that it was the fitness stuff that was front and centre in my life, so ended up plumping for a Motiv ring.

Boy is this thing good!

I only appear to be wearing one watch – which makes me look as normal as I’m ever going to.

The stats that the ring generates are superb – sleep, heart-rate, steps, auto-detect activities (running, walking etc.), talks to Google Fit properly – rather than via a third-part app, because Samsung refuses to play with Google. And a three-day charge – which is a day and a bit longer than the Gear Fit. Looks really stylish too.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

So why have I just put the Gear Fit back on charge?

…….

Uploads to WordPress

If you find yourself (as I did) scratching your head as to why a vanilla WordPress install was reluctant to upload media files, click “Settings”, “Media” and – for no reason whatsoever – “Save” (without changing anything).

It will magically work.

It’s baaaaaack!

I couldn’t let the domain of the century be snapped up by someone else, and it’s just not the same posting stuff on Facebook when I can ramble like a lunatic in my own space.

So what went on last year? Loads. Absolutely loads.

  • I flew a Spitfire! Yes. I really flew a Spitfire. ↑
  • We finally got round to joining Phyllis Court. ↑
  • Gina and Laila got around to moving out in the Autumn and are now in Woodcote. →
  • The Jenster still thrives with Bental. ↑
  • There’s one less person in the family. ↓
  • Jules and I discovered the Isles of Scilly. ↑
  • I gained a car in the nick of time due to one of the above. →
  • Work was mental. →
  • …… so my exercise went through the floor. ↓
  • I had an epiphany on the last day of the year. ↑
  • I re-invented my wardrobe. ↑
  • We have central heating! ↑
  • …. and a new kitchen. ↑
  • Sad-lad is, effectively, no more. ↑
  • Explaining many things, I discovered that I am autistic. →
  • There are still no houses built in the fields behind us. ↑
  • I made no trips to Canada. ↓
  • The year appears to have flown by in about three weeks. ↓
  • The Tuns was vacated by Mark and Sandra. ↑
  • … and taken over by James who transformed the place. ↑
  • … only to be binned by the cretins at Brakespeare. ↓
  • I bought loads of new gadgets. ↑

And I’m sure an absolute shed-load more, but my focus now is on 2019.

Not to say that I’m not going to have a retro-ramble about a bunch of things that happened/arrived in 2018.

I need to finish configuring the rest of the site …… pip, pip for now!