Stop being so serious, Porgs are great

I have to admit, when I saw the second Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer I got worried. It was for one reason, The Porg.

What changed my mind though was seeing my daughters reaction to it, she was laughing out loud. That made me sit back and enjoy it along with her. I have to not look at them from my older perspective but the joy I got from seeing characters at Jabba’s palace when I was the same age watching Return of the Jedi at the cinema.

That’s a major lesson I’ve taken from The Last Jedi, I really enjoyed it and it let me be a kid again like when I saw the originals.

There are some great scenes with the Porg, I’m especially fond of Chewbacca (my favourite character) having a BBQ outside of the Falcon. I won’t ruin the scene for you but it’s one of my favourites in the franchise.

I know the bulk of people will believe that Disney forced Rian Johnson’s hand in making something marketable but I read that he himself created them after seeing the puffin on the Island whilst shooting. I want to be optimistic and believe that this is in fact true.

So, some people are going to hate them and others love them. I love them and am glad that they were included in this movie.

How I feel about Apple slowing down older devices

It emerged yesterday that Apple have implemented methods in iOS to slow down devices with less than optimal batteries. When thinking about this more I had to ask myself if I was ok with this.

I honestly believe they have the right intention but have executed it in the wrong way.

It totally makes sense for them to help users get the most out of old devices but slowing down a device you paid for without a notification is wrong.

Apple needs to move quick and ship an update and revised statement. All I’m going to get asked and see reported in mainstream media is that Apple is slowing down devices to make you buy new ones.

Based on my use of older devices I think this is being done to iPad’s too. I have a second generation Mini that with latest updates had become almost unusable.

I want Apple to either ship a battery health app or integrate this into iOS.

All it needs is an indicator and notification to allow users to check on the health of their battery. When it needs to slow the device down it lets you know.

What disappoints me is that Apple, by not communicating this looks like it’s tried to get away with something.

They deserve all the negative press they get on this one.

Apple: end of year review (2017 edition)

It’s been a mixed year for Apple, some great new hardware intermingled with some embarrassing software cock ups, here’s my highs and lows following Apple this year.

iPad Pro 10.5”

My favourite Apple product I’ve been using all year. As you know if you’ve been following me I love using iOS, I prefer it to using my Mac these days. I really liked my 12.9” iPad Pro with it’s pencil support and professional apps. But it always felt too big, sometimes embarrassingly so. When using in client meetings I’d always get comments on it, “wow, what’s that??”.

So, when Apple announced the 10.5” I immediately jumped on it. I picked up a Smart Keyboard cover and it’s been my go to device for the last six months.

For me it really does balance portability with power perfectly.

iPhone X

I was sceptical about the X, with it’s higher price and strange screen design I wasn’t sold. I waited it out but some freelancing work came in that gave me the opportunity to try one so I did.

I’ve been using one for almost a month and am sold. As a 7 and 7 plus owner my dream was to get the bigger screen and better camera in a smaller body, the X gives me this. Having portrait and zoom mode available to me whenever I want it has been great and something I always wished I had when using my 7. I’d take my DSLR everywhere and whilst the X isn’t a match for my Canon it gets me almost there and it’s something I can pocket.

I’ve been using it naked as Jony Ive intended and along with the jet black 7 it’s the best feeling iPhone that I’ve used since the iPhone 3G (still my favourite design).

I won’t go too much into it here as I have other posts planned on my time with the X.

AirPods

A classic Apple product, does something much better than the competition. I’m constantly amazed by the range on them and the ease of pairing is unparalleled. It took me a while to get them in stock but since owning them I’ve used them everyday.

I still think they look a little strange but wouldn’t trade them to go back to wires.

They are also good value for money when compared to the rest of the market I feel, there’s nothing like them out there.

iOS 11

iOS 11 brought a lot of changes to iPad (for the better) but also a lot of bugs. In fact I’m still recommending unless you have an iPhone 8 or later don’t even upgrade.

It’s not until I got an iPhone X that I’ve been happy on iOS 11. On my 7 it lags, I run into random crashes on Apple apps and overall it just feels like it’s beta.

On the iPad it’s turned it into a much more productive product for me. Side by side apps and drag and drop have made things like putting email into my to do system a breeze.

I really wish Apple had forked the iPad version properly though and created an iPadOS. iOS 10 was solid and iOS 11 on iPhone introduces new bugs, such as the weather widget never updating correctly.

Overall iOS 11 has been a negative though for me this year.

Software quality

A major negative for me this year. Between allowing root access with no password on macOS and all of the little user interaction bugs (auto replace it with I.T.) on iOS Apple have had it all.

Apple need to go back to basics and either improve QA or rebuild it.

I’d also like to see more of a focus on looking after its radar bug reporting system. I don’t even raise bugs anymore as I feel they get ignored.

This is my main negative on Apple this year.

What are your thoughts on Apple in 2017?

Watch for my “What I want from Apple in 2018” post coming soon.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Visual Dictionary

With every new Star Wars movie I’ve gotten into the habit of buying two books

  • The visual dictionary
  • The art of Star Wars

I enjoyed both books for The Force Awakens so picked up The Visual Dictionary on Amazon for £11.99.

These books are a great reference if you want to know a bit more about the characters, vehicles, weapons and worlds. The great part about them is that they show characters that appeared in the background and smaller parts. One that I was keen on was the commander of the dreadnought at the beginning of the movie.

They are full of rich images showing costume design and details that you just can’t get from watching the movie alone. For each of the images you’ll find accompanying text descriptions showing details of a costume or item in a scene.

One difference with TLJ (The Last Jedi) vs TFA (The Force Awakens) is it doesn’t seem so rich, it’s also thinner. I’m not sure if that’s because we know more of the characters or there’s less background stuff going on.

A larger portion of the book is around the casino based planet, a lower point of the movie for me. So, apart from reading about a few characters flipped straight past (it’s a bit prequel for me).

So, at £11.99 it’s on the expensive side. Wait until after Christmas and pick up when it gets to £5.99 or less.

Could Disney reboot the X-Men?

Since Disney picked some of Fox along with it came a raft of Marvel characters such as Deadpool and the X-Men. As a bit of an X-Men fan it got me thinking about the state of the existing film series and whether they could get a reboot.

Let’s be honest there hasn’t been a good one since the second movie. The possibility of seeing them done justice and a possible tie into Infinity War Part 2 sounds great to me.

There is such a diverse set of characters in the X-Men universe that they could be the next launch pad for a series of movies. Personally I’d be ok with Capt and Iron Man taking a break to focus on Spider-Man, an X-Men solo film and a couple of independent character ones (Nightcrawler or Gambit anyone?).

Personally I think that we’ll see a new X-Men movie announced within the next 2 years.

The Last Jedi, non spoiler review

First off, I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I’ve grown up with it, it’s always been there. I’m the generation that grew up with watching New Hope and Empire Strikes back on VHS then Return of the Jedi in the cinema.

I didn’t get on well with the prequels and this new trilogy always had me nervous until I watched it myself.

When I saw The Force Awakens it was a huge relief, it’s a great Star Wars movie.

As the title states this isn’t a spoiler fest, just my honest view on The Last Jedi.

First off, don’t expect Empire Strikes Back. It’s something else, unique and fits in well after Force Awakens. Some would say it’s too unique, it’s a very divisive movie based on what I’ve seen. Some love it, others hate it.

For me, it felt like a Star Wars film. Yes, there is a lot going on but it very much fits into the trilogy.

I enjoyed almost all of it, there is one thread of the story that could have been shortened a bit but it doesn’t take anything away from the overall feel of the movie.

After almost a week of watching it I’m still thinking about it, question that are still unanswered and new ones raised.

Thumbs up from me.