The AirPods Experience

I’ve been using AirPods since the day they came out in December, and I underestimated how much they would improve the listening experience on my iPhone.

Before getting the AirPods, I would use Apple’s In-Ear Headphones for my commute to block out the sound of the train.Once I got to work, I used EarPods at my desk so that I could hear the ambient noise around me.

A few things bothered me about this setup, but I put up with it. The In-Ear headphones sounded really great but when I walked, I would hear the vibrations of the wire rubbing up against my coat – this was especially bad in the winter. Worse yet, also in the winter, the dry air would occasionally cause static electricity which would create uncomfortable sounds from time to time. It was rare though, so I put up with it, and they sounded really great.

When I decided to get AirPods, I was a little worried that the sound of the train would be annoying, as it would get through without the seal of the In-Ear Headphones. Once I started using them on the train though, I realized that it wasn’t that bad. I also realized that not having a wire made the dip in sound quality worth it. The freedom of not having a wire anywhere near me, especially in the cold Quebec winter, is incalculable. Even after several weeks of commuting, I am still delighted by the experience.

Once I get to work, that experience is also a huge improvement over the wired EarPods. For several weeks, I had phantom cord syndrome, where I constantly attempted to keep the wire out of the way when I moved. It reminded me of when I first got an Xbox 360 and I was used to the wired controller of my PS2. Not having a wire makes moving around my office a joy.

Any of my reservations I had about AirPods quickly disappeared after a few days of using them. They sound great. They don’t fall out of my ears. They have never run out of power. The range has yet to come into play. The only complaint I do have is one I have with every Bluetooth device in the winter. My automatic car starter seems to interfere with them and on rare occasions, weird connection issues pop up in the morning when my wife starts the car and goes to work. These connection issues are relatively rare though – maybe 4 or 5 times since owning them, and they’re quickly resolved by taking them out of my ears and putting them back in.

The AirPods are worth the price, and they have by far resulted in the most pleasant experience I’ve had with any ear buds I have ever used. They really make my commute that much better and I would highly recommend them.

The AirPods Experience

Programs in the App Store

After many years of wavering, I have pretty much shifted to saying apps instead of programs, and I’m not sure I like it.

I really didn’t have much of a choice, considering the place where I get “programs,” be it for my iPhone or my Mac, is called the App Store. I’m not even sure how much I like these app stores. I don’t have much a of choice with my iPhone, but on my Mac, whenever possible, I avoid the official Mac App Store because I prefer to get apps directly from the developer whenever possible. The Mac App Store is also really slow and buggy, even on my relatively powerful iMac.

Then there’s the iPhone. Wandering into the iOS App Store without an idea of the specific app I want to buy is an overwhelming experience. The amount of garbage that’s in there that is either useless, terrible, ugly, and in some cases dangerous is something Apple should be embarrassed about. Issues can range from not being optimized for recent iPhone models, to causing severe battery drain (hi there Pokemon Go!), or to pretty much tracking you.

The thing is, I don’t use many apps because I live a clutter free digital lifestyle. The problems the app stores have don’t affect me too much. The biggest problem these stores have brought me has been changing my brain to calling them apps instead of programs, and that makes me a little sad.

Programs in the App Store

Air Pods are Tempting

Those Air Pods are really tempting, but I’m not sure I want to be dropping almost $250 on them. I have good Apple in-ear buds and I think that money will be better spent on a new iPad in the spring.

My first generation iPad Mini is starting to feel its age and I’m really interesting in the 12.9 inch iPad Pro. The money spent on the Air Pods would pay for a Smart Cover, a case, and a storage upgrade, so I think I’ll hold off for now. They’re really nice looking though.

Air Pods are Tempting

Fallout 4

I just started playing Fallout 4 last night and it’s the prefect time of year for it. I’ve always played the Fallout games around the holidays, and there’s something about the game that is only comforting, despite the subject matter. The game was a steal at $20 on Black Friday.

I don’t play video games as much as I used to, but I’m hoping to spend a little time with this game over the next few winter months. I’ve decided to play as a stealthy, charismatic, and intelligent female character. I’m looking forward to seeing where the adventure takes me.

Fallout 4

The Price of Innovation

On October 27, 2016, Apple has announced new MacBook Pro laptops with an innovative new feature: the Touch Bar. It’s a really interesting concept, with fantastic possibilities for productivity. The thing is, these new MacBook Pros are by far the most expensive products we’ve seen in a while from Apple.

Apple seems to be forgetting about the regular consumer that wants to buy a Mac because they’ve heard they’re easier to use than Windows machines. In Canada, the least expensive MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar is $2300, although you do get a lot of computer for that price. It’s not over-priced for what it is (there’s amazing tech in these MacBooks), it’s just that if you want to get started with the Touch Bar, you’ll be paying quite a bit.

Now, you can still buy the March 2015 MacBook Air for a much more reasonable $1200, but I worry that they won’t be keeping that model updated. For now, it’s still a really great Mac that will work well for most non-pro users. Apple, however, has a history of letting consumer models fester without updates and in. a few months, it’ll be really hard to recommend that Mac to family and friends that want to get a new laptop.

The Price of Innovation

Video Games in 2016

I’ve been having a hard time getting into playing video games this year. I haven’t bought anything new in a long while (since MGS 5 The Phantom Pain), and nothing much has been able to hold my interest. I’m trying to get into The Witcher 3, which by all accounts is an excellent game. I’m not too far into it, and I’ve been trying to play it since the end of last year, when it was on sale for $30.

This weekend I managed to get a little spark of interest going and as we start leaving the summer, I will hopefully get into it more, because it’s exactly the type of game I’ve always loved – an epic fantasy role playing game. It’s basically what I dreamed of what I wanted a video game to be when I was playing The Legend of Zelda in 1987. Almost 30 years later, I can play it in my basement, and I’m hardly spending any time with it.

Video Games in 2016