5 Things - Week Ending 10/19/12

This is the 27th post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

Knowing When It Pays to Upgrade Your Gadgets

Brian Lam:

No one has ever regretted waiting as long as they can to upgrade their technology. We’re a nation of shoppers, tempted to buy the best at every turn. But I’ve found that the best way to avoid a premature upgrade is to remember what you might be giving up: a trip to a tropical getaway, a new suit or perhaps a down payment on a new bed that will help you sleep better. That kind of context makes it easier to pause and realize the grandest truth with upgrades: If it isn’t broken, stolen or lost, maybe you don’t need a new one just yet.

When is the right time to upgrade your devices? Brian Lam, from The New York Times, gives specific advice for smartphones, tablets, and laptops. If you have been considering upgrading one of these devices, I would highly recommend that you take a few minutes and read this article.


Why iCloud is so crucial to Apple's future

Ian Betteridge:

But make no mistake: iCloud is the most important thing that’s happening on iOS at the moment. It’s the heart of what Apple thinks is the future of virtually every product it does. You’re going to be hearing a whole lot more about it over the next year, as Apple pushes its own products further and developers adopt its features more widely.

I spend some time at the beginning of the Going Further With Your iPad and Going Further With Your Mac classes discussing iCloud. I spend time explaining what iCloud is because I share the same opinion as Ian Betteridge that iCloud is central to everything that Apple will be doing for years to come.

My wife Britta and I love how we are able to keep our calendars and contacts in sync between her MacBook, my MacBook Pro, my iPhone, her iPod Touch, and our iPad.

I appreciate being able to start a document on my MacBook Pro and finish it on my iPad without having to think about manually transferring it.

We have both been fortunate enough to now have any of our devices stolen, but I have had to use the Find My iPhone feature of iCloud to locate my iPhone when I leave it in the car or can't find it at home because it fell underneath the couch.


Computer Viruses Are "Rampant" on Medical Devices in Hospitals

David Talbot:

Software-controlled medical equipment has become increasingly interconnected in recent years, and many systems run on variants of Windows, a common target for hackers elsewhere. The devices are usually connected to an internal network that is itself connected to the Internet, and they are also vulnerable to infections from laptops or other device brought into hospitals. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that manufacturers often will not allow their equipment to be modified, even to add security features.

This is scary. I hope that hospitals take this more seriously and start securing the devices used to monitor our health.


How Obama or Romney Should Have Answered the iPad Question

Arik Hesseldahl:

The fact is, assembling iPhones and iPads is the final step of a complex process, and is really a low-skill, low-cost kind of job. China has spent decades building much of its economy around these low-skill jobs, in part because it has such a large labor force and plenty of workers who are willing to do the work. And, frankly, here in America you wouldn’t want to try to support a family on the kind of wages a job like that would pay. I know it sounds harsh, but it’s true. So I know this may sound odd when I say it, but I ask you to hear me out: I’m perfectly comfortable letting those kinds of jobs go to China or somewhere else.

I didn't watch the debate the other evening because I was out teaching a community ed class. The following day I was scanning the headlines and I saw that one of the questions asked towards the end of the debate went something along the lines of, "Why aren't Apple products manufactured in the United States?"

Arik Hesseldahl makes the argument that both candidates did a poor job answering the question and he then shares what he think would have been a better response. If you are into politics, economics, and technology you might enjoy reading this article.


DWI: Driving while intexticated - Infographic

Kristin Marino:

The infographic below is full of reasons why an OMG or LOL is never worth the risk:
DWI: Driving While Intexticated
Courtesy of: Online Schools

In 2011, 23% of auto collisions involved cell phones. Perhaps MN should consider joining the other 10 states that have outlawed handheld cell phone use in a moving vehicle by a driver.