Tag Archive for iPad

Ruining It for the Rest of Us

Last night I attended a screening for the upcoming movie Dredd (very good, enjoyed it a lot, plenty of action, too violent for the youngsters, looking forward to some sequels) and ran into the latest round of backlash and silliness.

No Recording Devices

All Your Cameras Are Belong To Us!

I’ve been to many screenings, so I’m used to them saying that you have to turn off your phones or even saying you can’t bring them in. Sorry folks, they keep making better phones and with 720p HD video recording on your phone, it is getting easier for people to bootleg movies. And that’s really what they are looking for, recording devices.

First off, to all you people there who download shitty bootlegs recorded with camera phones: Stop. For one, there are better bootlegs out there. For another, THERE ARE BETTER BOOTLEGS OUT THERE. I’d say that again in bold and italics, but I figure CAPS should be enough.

Secondly, to the theaters: see the above paragraph. Very few people are downloading bootlegs made on iPhones. Mostly because almost no one is making bootlegs on iPhones. Most bootlegs are made in empty theaters by unscrupulous theater employees, or made as a digital copy right off the discs/camera/stream, however you are getting your digital copy of the movie. If the screening is months before release, then I further understand a desire for “security” to keep screen grabs from leaking onto the Internet, but when you are within a week of release and professional paid reviewers are already dropping bombs and spoiling your film, a kid who snaps a crappy photo of your movie is the last thing you should be worried about.

What really irked me though, was the insistence by security that not only were phones, cameras and such not allowed inside, but no iPods or Kindles or Nooks or any electronic device. That’s right, even devices that do not have cameras because they are not made with cameras, were not being allowed inside. Certainly this was because of lazy – it’s easier to ban everything than to actually know things and selectively exclude devices that are capable of recording. On top of that, though, is the fact that in all the screenings I’ve been to the only thing that ever needs to happen is for security to say, “Put all phones on silent or vibrate. If you use an electronic device during the movie, or a device you have makes noise, you will be removed from the theater.” and then stand in the back of the theater, watching and listening. When that happens, no one pulls out their phones to make calls or text or play games. Because, by and large, people don’t suck when given simple logical instructions.

To top that off, the movie was in 3D. You cannot, to my knowledge, record a 3D movie projected onto a screen with a handheld camera and preserve the 3D. At best, you slap one of the polarized lenses on the camera and record only the left or right eye image, capturing it in 2D – but it will be much worse quality than just capturing the film in straight 2D.

And further insult to injury, the security staff was willing to “bag and tag” phones, but they offered no insurance. One guy actually said, to the crowd, “If you lose your ticket or we lose your phone, you will not get a replacement. It’s just gone.” You know, there is a reason that I keep a photo of myself on my phone at all times, that way I can walk someone through unlocking the phone and opening the photo to prove it’s either mine or someone who knows me. But if that wasn’t enough, the parking garage at this particular theater is a typical parking garage, and thus on your parking ticket states “The management of this garage is not responsible for damage or theft of any vehicle or its contents.” So when the security guys were offering to let people out of line to go put their phones and Kindles and iPads in their cars, they were basically saying “You can’t take those in the theater, with you, where they are safe, you need to put them in your car, where the garage has specifically stated that they aren’t responsible for them.”

I guess people could just not bring their phones and things with them, but who goes around without a phone these days?

Anyway, I’m sure we got this terrible treatment by security because some schmuck somewhere tried to record a movie with his iPhone and then uploaded it to YouTube. If you are that guy, just know, you are ruining the movie going experience for everyone. Cut it out.

The Right Tool For The Job

Or, “Why I Won’t Be Buying an iPad.”

Back when they announced the device, I put my thoughts up.  Now that the device has released, I’ve read the reviews and seen videos of it in action, I’m still not buying one.

Largely, it is for the same reasons I mentioned.  Since I’d never pay for the 3G data plan, its function as a mobile computing device is limited to Wi-Fi hot spots, and currently I’ve got a phone for that.  So the next use would be to have it around the house.  I’m really not big on browsing the net while watching TV, mostly because I usually want to actually pay attention to the TV.  And really, for the quick things I’d want to look up, I have my phone (I don’t have a land line anymore, so I always have my cell phone on me).  When I do actually want a computer it is primarily for two things: writing and drawing.

As far a writing goes, I’m not a touch typist, not really anyway (I can type without looking at the keyboard, but you can go insane watching my hands float all over – home row is for sissies), but my typing is dependent on the tactile response of the keyboard, to know when I’ve made mistakes.  I’ve seen people complain about how a laptop forces you to be in an uncomfortable position and the iPad lets you be more relaxed… only, I’m not uncomfortable when I use my laptop.  In fact, I’m often more uncomfortable in the big cushy couches most people love.  I like rigid, straight back, seating (though when I watch movies I do like a bit of tilt and some head support).  Using an iPad and the positions I’d have to be in to type on it two handed looks to be painful to me.  I may end up at an Apple store to play with one someday, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like it.

For drawing, as a previously mentioned, I don’t want to draw with my finger.  I really don’t.  I like using a stylus, which the iPad does support, but I’d really have to use it to see if it is worthwhile.  And is it pressure sensitive?  I use the heck out of the pressure sensitivity on my Wacom.  I’d hate to be without it.

Most of the web based gaming I do these days is Flash based and wouldn’t function on the iPad, so that’s out.

For me, the iPad just isn’t the right tool for the job, and currently my phone, netbook and desktop do the things I want very nicely.

On the other hand, while I wouldn’t buy one of these, I think my wife would like it quite a bit, except for the whole iTunes thing.  We are Zune people, and I really don’t want to install iTunes and then have it and the Zune software start fighting over who has control of the MP3 tags.  But if we could get over that, I think she’d be very happy with the iPad as an email checking, Internet browsing, note jotting, media consuming machine.  We’ve got a few boxes of CDs and DVDs sitting around waiting for a garage sale, perhaps we could use them for something else.

The iPad

You can search all over the Internet and find out about the specifications and tons of opinions on it.  Here are mine.

First, I think the name is silly.  The people guessing that Apple was making a tablet came up with dozens of better names.  Does no one at Apple have access to Google?  It would have taken less than five seconds to search “iPad” and find the years old MadTV skit.

Next, I am not impressed.  They showed nothing in their presentation that made me want to have one of these over a netbook.  However, I see potential.  To me, the ultimate success of this device will depend on two things:

  1. What applications get designed to fully use this device.  The best idea I’ve seen floated so far is a “cash register” type application since one of these plus a couple of peripherals is cheaper than most computer registers.
  2. The next revision of the hardware.  Apple is notorious for withholding features.  They like to put just enough in a product to make people want it, but hold back enough features to be able to also make revision two, three, and four worth buying too.  Expect the next version to have the front facing camera most people feel is missing, and more memory.

Lastly, I think they priced it almost perfectly.  The only way it gets better is if AT&T subsidizes the price of the 3G version in exchange for a 2 year contract.  Personally, I wouldn’t want the 3G, so it is priced right as it is.

To me, at the moment, the deal breaker is the keyboard.  The virtual keyboard looks like it would only be comfortable using if I can manage to have the device at a 45 degree angle allowing me to type and see the screen.  This means that I’d either have to be hunched over the device, or to be lounging on the couch with my feet propped up allowing my lap to hold it up at a usable angle.  But that’s because the biggest feature of a portable computer for me is writing, and the iPad seems to be aimed more at people who are more interested in reading and watching.  This could be saved if someone makes some sort of clip on keyboard and screen protector (i.e. – the keyboard folds up over the screen, kinda like the clam shell design of a laptop).  But it would also have to more than double the weight of the device because you can’t have the screen be heavier than the keyboard in that sort of design.

Another missing element for me that I don’t think will ever make it into the Apple design is the ability to use a stylus.  I like to do digital art (doodling more than anything) but I don’t like doing it with my finger.  Perhaps, if the iPad sells well, Wacom will decide to make the Cintiq into a full blown art tablet.

Overall, as I said before, I see potential, I even see this as being a device that plenty of people could put to good use, but just not me.  And that’s okay.