5 Things - Week Ending 7/27/12

This is the 19th 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.

The Apple (Used) Premium?

Daniel Mrdjenovich:

In short, if the Apple product you desire is available refurbished, you are in luck. Refurbished Apple products seem to be a rare case of a great deal with very limited downside. If you can't find a refurbished version of the product you are looking for, you have a more difficult dilemma. A 17% discount on a used Apple device is a nothing to sneeze at but it's not enormous either. If you're willing to scour the web for a good deal and diligently inspect the item before you buy it, you can save money. Unfortunately, sometimes to save money, you have to earn it.

When I worked at Apple I would often suggest purchasing refurbished products from Apple.com if a person seemed concerned about cost.

From Apple's website:

Before we put a refurbished Mac, iPod, iPad, or Apple TV up for sale in Special Deals, it undergoes a rigorous refurbishment process to make sure it's up to Apple's tough quality standards. We back it with our standard one-year limited warranty. And you have the option of purchasing an AppleCare Protection Plan for it.

The first Mac that I purchased for myself was a refurbished iMac. It was a great machine and I used it daily with no problems for a couple years until I sold it to purchase a MacBook Pro.

Storage Suckers

Farhad Manjoo:

Ever since the days of the iPod, Apple has boosted its bottom line through upgrades. The company offers the entry-level versions of its devices at a price that seems reasonable to many people. This entry-level price functions as a marketing come-on—a way to get you in the store. Once you’re there, your eye wanders to the next level. Is 16GB really enough space on my beautiful new iPad—won’t I feel cramped on a year or two? Shouldn’t I spring for more? It’s only $100 … .

When buying iPhones, iPods, and iPads I always opt for the option with the least amount of storage.

I find it unnecessary to have the extra storage because you can just redownload any app, song, movie, book, or television show from Apple whenever you feel the need. I found myself doing this just the other day with The Dark Knight. I had purchased the movie from iTunes a couple years ago and wanted to watch it again before seeing The Dark Knight Rises in theaters. I downloaded it from iTunes (without having to pay for it again), watched it, and deleted it off the iPad when I was finished.

Most people get scared that they will run out of space and opt to spend the extra money. I have the opportunity to look at alot of iPhones, iPods, and iPads each week and the reality is that almost none of them are filled to capacity.

Bottom line: Save money next time you purchase a mobile device by opting for the one with the least amount of storage. You probably won't notice the difference.

Hi, tech blogs who call iPad mini a "7 inch tablet" & can't do your math right. I made you this: Read more at http://yfrog.com/h36j2np#RqyOM9orffUY8dyq.99


Click on the above picture to get an idea of what the rumored iPad Mini might look like. I like the current size of the iPad, but I could see liking a slighly smaller version even better.

Siri, why don’t you understand me?

Siri, why don’t you understand me?
Courtesy of: Online Degrees

Siri is very interesting technology. Siri has been around since Fall 2011 and was one of the most hyped features of the iPhone 4S.

It appears that the majority of iPhone 4S users use Siri at least once a month. I am not surprised that only 55% of people describe themselves as satisfied with Siri. Siri is still in beta (between 60-70% complete). A service that is based around voice recognition and artificial intelligence to decipher what you are actually want will take time to reach a level where 90% of people are satisfied with it.

Apple will be releasing improvements to Siri this fall as well as including Siri on the new iPad (released in 2012).

My gut says that the technology will greatly improve and that in five years we will look back and ask ourselves how we ever lived without digital assistants like Siri.


Airbnb is a really cool website that alows to find places to stay while you are traveling. Britta and I used Airbnb to find and book the yurt that we will be staying at in early August. I have been extremely impressed with the website, the iPhone app, and the overall experience so far.

Look for a full review in mid August of our yurt experience and our overal thoughts on using Airbnb to book a place to stay while traveling.