The 2019-2020 Bondathon

What better way to lead in to No Time To Die than to watch every Bond film out of order?

Film Watched
Dr No 1st December 2019
From Russia With Love 13th December 2019
Goldfinger 16th December 2019
Thunderball 4th December 2019
You Only Live Twice 1st December 2019
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
5th July 2020
Diamonds Are Forever 25th May 2020
Live And Let Die 2nd May 2020
The Man With The Golden Gun 8th August 2020
The Spy Who Loved Me 18th May 2020
Moonraker 7th June 2020
For Your Eyes Only 4th April 2020
Octopussy 18th April 2020
A View To A Kill 13th September 2020
The Living Daylights 12th July 2020
Licence To Kill 25th April 2020
GoldenEye 9th May 2020
Tomorrow Never Dies 23rd August 2020
The World Is Not Enough 26th January 2020
Die Another Day 31st March 2020
Casino Royale 17th October 2020
Quantum Of Solace 14th November 2020
Skyfall 26th December 2019
Spectre
No Time To Die

In praise of the iPadOS 13.4 cursor

Jason Snell gives a good overview of some of the UI details of the new cursor introduced in iPadOS 13.4.

From Apple’s perspective, the easy thing would have been to mimic the mouse on traditional computers. What they have done is created a really clever little cursor that looks at home on iPad.


I've Taken My Watch Off

Chris Hannah, on the Apple Watch:

I haven’t worn my Apple Watch in about two weeks. There was no big decision when I stopped wearing it, but I’ve noticed that over the past month or so, I would just be less bothered about wearing it.

No music/podcasts are being controlled on the watch anymore, because I have AirPods that can do that. I don’t track workouts because they were never real workouts anyway. I don’t play Field Day or Pokémon GO anymore. And if I want to check anything like the weather, football scores, text messages, I just take my phone out of my pocket.

I’ve started to actually like not having my wrist being the interface between myself and the internet. And I’ve grown tired about being notified about things that I just don’t care about.

It’s interesting to see how people use the Watch in their day to day. Chris has worn a watch for a number of years and is beginning to find it less useful in recent times.

Since the Watch launched I was always a bit skeptical of some of the features, particularly ones related to notifications. I’m far too addicted to my phone as it is, so having a device physically attached to me that opens up more possibilities of staring into a screen never really appealed to me.

I recently picked up a Fitbit Charge 3 to help me track my fitness and heart rate 1. Having this information has renewed my interest in the Apple Watch, but I have to remind myself that there is a big difference between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. Matt Gemmell wrote a piece a few years back on moving away from the Apple Watch and back to a Fitbit. Similarly, David Smith wrote this article on his hopes for a more fitness focused Apple Watch.

I’m going to see just how useful I find the Fitbit in the coming months and whether or not I like wearing a watch full time. If I find myself wanting a bit more from it I may look into the Apple Watch or more functional Fitbits.

  1. So far I’m really liking it. Great iOS application and excellent battery life. 



Must-have iOS apps, 2019 edition

In keeping with tradition, here are my must have iOS apps that match Federicos.

Overcast

A daily podcast driver for me and an app that I rarely even notice I’m using with the advent of Siri Shortcuts. It’s been rock solid since I started using it, and I’ve no intention of switching from it any time soon.

Instagram

I’m not a heavy user of Instagram, but I like the app and it’s one of far too few that has embraced dark mode. Still waiting on iPad support though..

Twitter

Same as above. I’d imagine I’d have more complaints about it if I wrote more than one tweet a year.

WhatsApp

Even if I was lost in Antarctica I’d still be confident that I’d be able to send and receive WhatsApp messages. It’s yet to let me down since I started using it.

1Password

I’m getting a strong sense of deja vu while writing these entries. The fact that 1Password is still on this list shows how good it is. If you aren’t using a password manager yet then look no further.

Netflix

Netflix have gotten this app just right. The interface looks great and is easy to navigate. Progress syncs well between devices, and the ability to download makes it essential. Zero complaints.

YouTube

Much like the Netflix app, the YouTube app is solid. Picture in picture is something I would love, but I’m guessing Apple isn’t too keen to give too much power to Google on that one..

Google Maps

This needs no introduction. Still the king of navigation.


Decade in Review

With this post, there has been at least one post per month on this website since the first in December 2015.

Some numbers at the close of the decade:

  • 149 posts in total
  • 99 linked posts
  • 50 non-linked posts
  • The most popular day for posting is Wednesday
  • The least popular is Sunday
  • The most popular month for posting is January
  • The least popular month for posting is August

iPhone 11 Pro

I’ve had the iPhone 11 Pro for about three weeks now which I think is a reasonable amount of time to form a decent opinion on the phone. I upgraded from my two year old iPhone 8, which to be fair owes me nothing and is still a great phone for any reasonable person who doesn’t feel the need to upgrade on a regular basis.

The headline feature of the 11 Pro is the camera. All reviews I’ve read so far have had a lot of praise for it, and rightly so. It’s an excellent camera. The Ultra Wide lens allows you to take photos that you wouldn’t think were possible, capturing a full scene as opposed to just a frame. Night Mode is seriously impressive. Even in an almost pitch dark room it will find a way of lighting up a photo. Deep Fusion helps create incredible detail in close up photos. There is now also the ability to record 4K video, which takes up a lot of memory but looks excellent. So no surprises here, but the level of improvement over any iPhone before this is worth noting.

Coming from an iPhone 8, this is my first time using a phone with no home button or top and bottom bezels. The 11 Pro finds a nice balance in that it’s just small enough that it fits well in my hand, while offering a much larger screen than before. It’s noticeably smaller than last years XR and the standard 11 this year. The difference between the LCD screen of the 8 and the OLED screen of the 11 Pro can only really be appreciated when they are side by side. Black levels are pitch black on an OLED screen, so much so you could be forgiven for thinking the screen is actually off in low light.

So far the battery has been a good improvement on the iPhone 8, not an absolute night and day improvement, but a welcome one. Speaking of power, the USB-C 18W charger that’s included in the box can charge the phone seriously fast 1, and completely removes the need to charge the phone overnight (not that you should ever really do that).

The only regression with the 11 Pro I’m seeing is Face ID. The second generation Touch ID on the iPhone 8 worked instantly every time I used it. Going from that to Face ID, where you have to be facing the phone square to unlock just doesn’t feel as natural to me, especially when using Apple Pay. Ideally I’d like both, but that’s probably quite a bit away.

There are of course other less noticeable improvements across the board. The processor is more than capable of handling whatever you throw at it, the speakers are as loud and clear as ever and the phone is more water resistant than ever before.

It’s only when all these improvements add up over time that you can really see how good these phones have become. If you’re coming from an iPhone XS then you might be less impressed, but we’ve got to a point now where upgrades every year are really not necessary. The iPhone 11 Pro is a worthy upgrade for photography lovers and anyone still tapping that home button.

  1. Apple claim 50% charge in 30 minutes. That matches what I’m seeing. 


The Living Daylights - Vienna Locations

While on a recent weekend away in Vienna, I visited some of the locations from the 1987 Bond film “The Living Daylights”.

First up was the Volksoper Opera House, which was the location used for the early part of the film where Bond has been sent to take out a sniper, during the defection of Georgi Koskov. In the film this is set in Bratislava, but Vienna was used for filming due to Bratislava being off limits, as it was part of Czechoslovakia at the time.

Volksoper Opera House
Vienna Volksoper

Across the road from the Volksoper is a sweet shop, which in the film was used by Bond and his Vienna counterpart Saunders as a stake-out for the shooting. Unfortunately it was closed when I was there so I couldn’t have a look inside.

Bond's stakeout, third floor window

Once Bond and Kara make it to Vienna, there is a short montage of them in a few locations around the city. Two of these that I wanted to visit were the Maria-Theresien-Platz and the Schönbrunn Palace (which also appears in the end credits). Both of these are part of the hop on hop off bus tour of Vienna, so no issue finding them.

Maria-Theresien-Platz
Schönbrunn Palace

The next location was the one I was probably most excited about - the Prater. The Prater is a permanent amusement park in Vienna that is well worth a visit. In the film, Bond and Kara spend some time here on the various amusements, eventually taking a trip on the big ferris wheel called “Wiener Riesenrad”. In the film they were in cabin 10 - we just missed it! The park has changed a lot since 1987, but the ghost train is still there and looks familiar.

Prater
Cabin 10 on the Wiener Riesenrad

Other Vienna locations include Karas apartment, the tram station and the gasworks. Some of the older trams still roam the city, and look similar to the ones seen in the film.



iOS/iPadOS 13 impressions

iOS 13

The Good:

  • Dark Mode - finally!
  • Controller support - finally!
  • Shortcuts Automations
  • Better use of the iPad home screen
  • Apple Arcade look promising
  • Photos.app revamp is great

The Bad:

  • App Updates are hidden in the App Store
  • Haptic Touch is replacing 3D Touch