5 Things - Week Ending 9/21/12

This is the 24th 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 iPhone 5

John Gruber:

Is it worth devoting the first 750 or so words of this piece to the iPhone 5’s surface appeal? I don’t know how else to convey the niceness of this thing. This iPhone 5 review unit is the single nicest object in my possession. I own things that cost and remain worth more (e.g. my car). But I own nothing this nice. It sounds hyperbolic to put it that way, but I offer this observation with no exaggeration.

John Gruber does a great job reviewing the new iPhone. If you want to get the scoop on what the new iPhone 5 is like this is the review that I would recommend. If you don't have the time to read his entire review let me sum it up for you.

IT'S REALLY NICE.


iOS 6 and Every-Day Life

Shawn Blanc:

And it seems to me that there are several things in iOS 6 which reveal just that. This version of iOS is not full of any one amazing new jaw-dropping feature that will have our minds spinning. Instead it’s filled with dozens of little things that will get used by real people ever day. And it will make our lives a little bit nicer and a little bit easier.

Shawn makes a great point in this article. In iOS 6 there are no jaw-dropping new features that will blow your mind. With that being said, there are plenty of little features that will make your life a little bit nicer and a little bit easier. Check out the article to see what Shawn thinks those features are.


Hands on with Amazon's new Kindle e-readers

Melissa J. Perenson:

Ultimately, Amazon has solidified its lead in the E Ink e-reader space in several significant ways. With its $10 price reduction, the Kindle remains the least expensive e-reader on the market. And with its integrated illumination, the new Paperwhite Kindle sets a new standard for performance. Even more important, Amazon has improved the everyday usage experience of the Kindles’ interface, while providing useful and thoughtful touches that readers will appreciate over time. The one key place Amazon still stumbles in a big way is in its lack of support for the Epub standard.

Melissa does a great job sharing her thoughts on the new E Ink Kindles that Amazon recently announced. I can't wait to get the new Paperwhite Kindle when it ships in early October!

If you plan on purchasing one of the new Kindles and use one of the links below you will help support my business!

With mobile technology, it’s too easy to get caught up in a pellet mentality – obsessively checking email, pulling out the PDA whenever there’s a spare ten seconds. When we buy into hyperconnectivity, we too often disconnect from the reality in front of us. Even when we put the digital device down, we’re distracted thinking about the status update or gloomy news story we just read. The constant state of interrupted thinking becomes addictive to our vigilant hunter-gatherer brains and can leave us feeling jangled and exhausted for no good reason. When this happens, the digital realm isn’t a convenience to us anymore. It’s a burden. Get back in control of your time and energy. Set practical boundaries for your media usage, and situate your mind in the present concrete reality. You’ll enjoy what you’ve been missing.

This is something that I am constantly struggling with. It is really difficult to set proper boundaries with technology. I am not sure if people older than myself struggle with this as much but I know that people my age and younger certainly do. We are so use to being connected to others through technology that it is difficult to unplug.

It can be hard to take a nap because your phone will buzz and you will wonder if it is an important email or text. That is why I am really glad that Apple added a Do Not Disturb feature in iOS 6.

Sometimes, I feel like the only way to get away from the grips of technology is to take a vacation to a place that you can't really use it. That's what I plan on doing for ten days in December.

If you struggle with this issue I would love to hear your thoughts. It's easy to contact me.


Twist

I discovered Twist this past week and I think it's one of the most useful and cool apps that I have downloaded in a long time.

For those of you who didn't take the time to watch the video here is a short description from Twist's website:

Twist is the easiest and most accurate way to let people know when you’re going to arrive. Whether you’re meeting up with friends, or running late to an urgent business appointment, Twist makes life easier by eliminating the stress and headaches caused by uncertain wait times and travel delays.
Twist’s innovative scheduling system accounts for traffic, different modes of transportation and your own habits when estimating your arrival time. Never again will you have to guess when you are going to arrive!
Running late? Twist can automatically send an update to your pre-determined contacts to let them know your current location and ETA in real-time.

I find myself in numerous situations where I want to communicate my arrival status while driving. Siri has made it a bit safer to fire off a text or call someone, but Twist automates the process completely.

Before you leave you input the location of your destination and who you want to notify. When you leave Twist fires off a text message or an email to your chosen receipient that you have left and it gives them an estimated arrival time. If you run into traffic and it appears that it will take longer than anticipated to arrive at your destination Twist will send out an update arrival time on your behalf. When you are a couple minutes away from your destination Twist sends one last message announcing your arrival.

I have been Twist this past week to let my wife know when I am on my way home from a community ed class or an appointment with a client. I have also used it when I leave the house to pick her up from work. She has a basic flip phone and receives text messages that let her know that I am on my way.

Twist is currently only available on the iPhone. Android support appears to be coming in the future.