Windows 7 on Macbook Air: Finally A Windows PC that I Like

From Evernote:

Windows 7 on Macbook Air: Finally A Windows PC that I Like

This grainy photo above shows my shiny new Macbook Air running (GASP) Windows 7. While this feature has been available via a utility called Boot Camp, I had always run Windows XP in virtualization, first in Parallels, and currently in the open-source (free) Virtualbox. That said, I wanted a faster option, particularly to see if this set up would run 3D CT analysis software well. My current home workstation, a Dell desktop replacement laptop, slows to a crawl when I run this software, but something told me it may run better with the flashdrive enabled Macbook Air.

Buying a shrinkwrap Windows 7 was not fun -an initial trip to Best (not) Buy revealed that they were happy to sell you an empty box, but after they took your money realized the whole store was empty of actual Windows 7 disks. I therefore went to Amazon and was happy to find Windows 7 Ultimate for 40 dollars off the Microsoft price. It arrived two days later and away I went…

To the Apple Store to buy a Superdrive. I tried various ways of creating a bootable USB flash disk, but after several hours, decided to take the plunge and purchase the MacBook Air Superdrive. The Boot Camp setup was a little annoying -you had to download Boot Camp drivers and burn a CD to load onto your Windows drive. You then had to partition the hard drive -I initially set aside 25 Gb but now find that I am running out of space as I load up with necesary software.

After a few days of fiddling, and running it in Windows, I have to say I am surprisingly pleased. Windows 7 is as beautiful as Windows XP is mofugly. It anticipates your needs and just works -for example, drivers for my network printer were automatically downloaded upon adding it to the printer list. This sort of ease of use used to be associated with Mac OS only, but Microsoft has finally bit the bullet and realized that the “for business” label was just an excuse for keeping things arcane and difficult. Getting XP to recognize a network printer is a Sisyphusian task. Windows 7 does it with elan.

Strangely enough, I am enjoying working on Windows 7. Sure -the fonts aren’t as good looking, but the OS is polished and refined. Frankly, I love it. The 3D CT software runs as well from my home as it does in the office on its server (a Dell Xeon PC which is monstrously huge). I am loading Office on it. During the late ’00’s, Microsoft seems to have gotten the message that their software was preferred by geeks, but generally despised by an increasing number of people. What always kept be away from Windows 7 was the terrible hardware available -I had miserable experience with Sony and Dell, and am dubious of any of the large PC makers. Boot Camp and Macbook Air changes all that.

Oh, the virus thing -Microsoft now offers a free download called Microsoft Security Essentials which does a decent job of policing the computer. Kudos to Microsoft and here’s to hoping much luck and fortune to that other iconic American company.

For Business

From Evernote:

For Business

This is an excuse given by anti-Apple types who like to say their device is “for business.” It means their way of doing things is for adults. It’s meant to justify complexity and difficulty and excuse monumental blandness.

It originates from the time the first Macintoshes came out with windows and mouse interface, and IBM was DOS only. The idea promulgated at that time was that the command line based computers with their arcane keyboard functions were for the adults, “for business,” while the easier to learn and master Macs were for non-adults, ie the kids. This basic lie has been perpetuated despite the fact that just about every user-interface and design innovation by Apple has been co-opted by the “business” computing industry, starting with Windows 3.1.

That is why I roll my eyes when RIM says their new Playbook tablet is “ready for business,” when many businesses are in the process of adopting iPhones and iPads. When I speak to the medical device sales people, all of them have been begging their IT departments, usually full of people whose lives are invested in this business vs kids divide. Most IT shops are still fixed on managing Windows XP -I suspect because of the costs of upgrading to Windows 7, but also job security involved with managing the bazillion issues surrounding these “business machines.”

I think there should be no such divide. Computers are so weaved into our lives that the devices should easily glide between work and play, like a mullet -business in the front, party in the back.

Addendum: Deutsche Bank shifted its corporate phone from Blackberry to iPhone (link)

12 Gifts for the Surgeon to Get for Him/Herself.

  1. iPad. I can’t say enough about this device. It’s changed the way I approach technology. I use it every day to check email, to browse the web, and to write blog entries such as this. Using the Citrix app, I can access my practices EMR in large format glory. I can remotely attend meetings and watch the slides on the GoToMeeting app. I snuggle in the easy chair with my son and watch movies on rainy weekend days off via my Netflix app, and he uses it to play a bazillion games -none of which cost more then ten dollars., most for a buck which is a substantial savings over Nintendo DS games. I can keep up with my favorite tv show, The Walking Dead, downloaded weekly directly to the iPad. I can watch every Yankees game this season on my MLB app, live and in high definition. What really makes this device rock is Keynote –I use it to create a presentation of preop imaging studies, particularly the stunning 3D reconstruction of CTA imaging, and add intraop photography to it using the iPad Camera Connection Kit. The whole process takes a few minutes, but makes a patient family discussion incredibly effective. I feel that we are only scratching the surface of this category of device. I purchased a 64GB iPad with wifi only because of the next reason. (
  2. Mobile Wifi. This comes in many different forms and is offered by most carriers. It can be purchased as USB stick for a computer –I don’t recommend this as it is the most limiting form of mobile Wifi. The mobile Wifi hotspot can be purchased as a small cigarette boxed sized item (in how many years will that description become obsolete?), and allows for up to 5 devices to be on the network. While this is nice, it requires a separate contract, and doesn’t make sense if you already have a data plan for a smartphone. Most Android phones allow Wifi tethering and this is the most compelling reason to get an Android phone despite its inferiority to the iPhone in most other ways. I have a Droid 2 on Verizon, and despite its failings as a smartphone, it is a wonderful Wifi hotspot, allowing me to use my Macbook Air, iPad, and iPod Touch 4g. I’ve even used Skype on my iPod Touch 4g to make international calls which were clear as a bell and cost only pennies per minute. How nice is it? Going to our rural clinics, the 2 hour drive is made productive and bearable with Wifi in the car (with my assistant driving, of course).
  3. MacBook Air 11 inch. While I do most of the my work on my 2 year old Macbook Pro 15 inch, I was frustrated by the limited battery life in that laptop. It is only good for about 3 hours, and I had to carry an extra battery. Several days ago, I hurt my back carrying the laptop bag on my shoulder, and I decided to take the plunge. While the Macbook Air 13 inch does have the longer battery life, it is very close to having a 15 inch laptop which I already have. I wanted something substantially smaller. The best analogy would be someone with a 5 Series BMW wanting a sporty 2 seater for occasional use –that person would not get another 3 Series sedan. The MacBook Air does not fail to satisfy. I have owned two prior netbooks in an attempt to go ultraportable and while the battery life was excellent (using lumpy extended batteries), they were slow and the keyboards were miserable, but what really drove me away from netbooks were their trackpads. I had an Acer Aspire One and more recently a Dell Mini 10V which I hackintoshed. Even with OS X running on the Dell netbook –and it ran very well, the trackpads on both machines left me feeling wretched after short usage. The MacBook Air does not have this problem with a full-sized keyboard and a giant trackpad that takes multitouch commands. I am writing this article on the Air, and I have a shit-eating grin on my face right now. Why the Air, and not the iPad. I do have a bluetooth keyboard for the iPad –I found an old Palm bluetooth keyboard that works very well and is even more portable than the Apple Bluetooth keyboard. While text entry is okay at the desk, and even better with the iPad keyboard dock, both bluetooth keyboard and even keyboard dock fail to connect with the iPad. While I haven’t tried since the iOS 4.2.1 update, I found this to be bothersome trying to type on the iPad, and feel better for coming back to a laptop. That said, the 11 inch air is weighs about the same as the iPad. Apple, despite its addition of a limited subset of iWork apps for iPad, does not see it as a content creation device, and I agree. Ergonomically, the laptop still has its use. Most notably, iWeb and other web management applications run exclusively on the laptop for now. Also, despite my dislike of Microsoft Office on Windows, I am very pleased with Office for the Mac, and Word for Mac 2011 is the first piece of Microsoft software to leave me happy in a long time. (
  4. iPod Touch 4th Generation –This is basically the iPhone 4G without the phone part. Because the telephone elements are gone, what is left is an insanely slim and light iPod Touch with a back and front facing camera and FaceTime capabilities. While I haven’t explicitly tried it yet, Facetime has incredible potential as a telemedicine platform. In a hospital with fast Wifi, it’s a no-brainer. The iPod Touch is my mini-iPad. Even better, the GV Mobile + app lets me dial out via my Google Voice number which is forwarded to my cell phone. One thing about the Droid 2, the latest and greatest from Motorola –it freezes or slows down tremendously when you look up contacts. My iPod Touch acts as a dialer for my phone and through Google Voice, all my voicemails get transcribed as emails. The Line2 app is even greater –it turns my iPod Touch into a VoIP (voice over internet) phone. It’s an important function because in the bowels of most hospitals and in my basement, cell reception is nonexistent but wifi is present, and because my answering service calls to my Google Voice number, it forwards to my Line2 number and I can get important calls in dead cell zones as long as there is wifi. And being a iPod Touch, you get access to all the wonderful games and media apps. Did I mention Retina display and the A4 processor? The display on the iPod Touch 4th Generation is a modern marvel. 4 point font is perfectly discernible and there are not jaggies or fuzzies in the text. Movies pop on this screen, and it is my front pocket computer and my in the bed computer –my wife is less bothered by my reading from the iPod Touch than from my iPad. My only complaint about the iPod Touch 4th Generation is battery life. Multitasking, particularly having the Line 2 app on to take incoming phone calls, kills the battery in about 8-10 hours –but remember, it was not meant to be a cell phone. (
  5. USB recharging batteries –These are largish lithium ion batteries equipped with USB ports specifically for the recharging of gadgets that recharge via USB cables. There are many varieties and flavors, but I recommend the largest you can get for the price –you will never regret it. I found an Energizer branded cell that will recharge my iPad and still have half the power left. It is great not having to plug in at the airport. I can recharge with both battery and gadget in the carryon. One company even had a battery that would recharge the Macbook via repurposed charger cables, but Apple got a cease and desist and these batteries are no longer available. The reason why they should be large large capacity is because the charging adapters for them tend to be bulky and I leave mine home.
  6. Laptop Bag –These vary from bulky bags that go to the maximum limits of carry-on-ability to to slender sleeves. I own a range of very functional bags that allow for just enough capacity while not being bulky. The best of them is the Brenthaven backpack (link) which allows for bulletproof protection while having more than enough compartments for a laptop, a second laptop, an iPad, a digital camera, an iPod, headphones, memory cards, a smartphone, a backup battery, the cables and chargers, pen and paper. The most stylish bag (my wife calls it the man purse) is a Kenneth Cole laptop bag in black leather. While the Brenthaven bag says, “GEEK,” the Kenneth Cole bag reeks of style (link).
  7. Watch –Watches are indispensible tools for a physician. First and foremost, the date and time are required elements of a doctor’s note. A watch with a second hand is indispensible for checking heart rate. And a surgeon has to look presentable in scrubs, and the watch is one of the few personalizing items that I think a surgeons should choose with some thought. The problem with premium watches and surgeons is that the surgeon has to take them off while scrubbing for an operation. There must be at any given time some combination of Rolexes, Tag Heuers, and Omegas in hospital laundries across the country. I have become a big fan of the great looking, highly functional, cheap watch. The two best are the Timex T45951 Expedition series alarm watch which is a big chronograph with a handsome leather band –other colors are available, but the cream faced one with tan leather band is only 50-65 dollars and cheaper on sale at Amazon. It has the Indiglo feature, and a nice beeping alarm that wakes me without waking my wife. It is comfortable enough to wear to bed. The other watch is the Casio MDV102-1AV Sea Analog Illuminator Dual LED Dive Watch. This is a beautiful watch that could be mistaken for a Rolex Submariner or the James Bond Omega. Even better, the LED on it is so bright, I use it as a flashlight. Cost? Currently $42 on Amazon.
  8. Pens –The surgeon can never have enough pens. The problem with expensive pens is exactly the same as expensive watches –they are waiting to be lost in the hospital tucked into a chart or left in the laundry. The best pens leave a permanent record in the chart and has blue or black ink. They have to be roller ball if carbon paper duplicates are still used in the hospital. My favorite? A box of UniBall Onyx pens in fine point. I used to prefer Micro, but found the Micro points to be less durable. The ink flows smoothly and authoritatively from these pens which I don’t mind losing. The other pens are personalized pens to give away. The federal rules do not allow for drug companies to give away pens, but there is no such impediment to physicians giving away pens. There are many companies on the internet that will personalize bulks of very nice and usable pens.
  9. Moleskine notebooks –These handsome faux leather (no moles in moleskine)notebooks are the original PDA’s. I keep one handy for a case-log and another as a personal journal and writer’s notebook. I like the 3.5×5.5 inch sized journal because it is large enough to write comfortably in but not so much that it won’t fit in my pockets. I preferred lined pages, but unlined is nice for those who like to sketch. (
  10. CME on disk –The problem with CME conferences is that it’s hard to get the CME’s on short notice and air travel makes it fairly miserable to hike across country to get the 30-50 annual CME hours required by most state boards. There are many CME products available, but my favorite are SESAP for general surgery (link) and the UCLA update on Vascular Surgery (link). Both are available as print material and handy MP3 and video MP4 files, allowing you to take them on your iPod or in your car. And that is where your CME time is well used. I frankly enjoy the 30 minutes listening in the car.
  11. Chestnuts –I grew up with chestnuts. They were a wintertime treat. Roasted, they were a savory and sweet snack that went well with the frigid wintertime air. In New York, that great melting pot, chestnuts would be served roasted on the streets from carts by older Italian gentleman, but now you hardly ever see them. It’s hard to find a good batch of chestnuts because they don’t travel well, being prone to fungus because of the high sugar content. I came across a batch of locally grown chestnuts and pounced on them because they were fresh. That said, you can get a jar of shelled and cooked (by steaming) chestnuts from France at Williams-Sonoma. It’s seasonal and once you open the jar, you have to refrigerate them, but they are delicious plain or in a stuffing –anywhere sweet potato would go in a dish, the chestnut does better. (link)
  12. Legals Seafood Fish Chowder –There is no better chowder than fish chowder and arguably, Legals of Boston has, if not the best, at least the most convenient. You can go on their website (link) and order a gallon or a quart, and you’ll get it shipped chilled and ready to heat up and eat. If you can’t consume it all at once, you can split freeze it, or split the package into smaller portions and freeze. A bowl of fish chowder on a winter day after playing out in the snow is something special. You can try making it yourself, but you won’t get the correct combination of fish and flavor that was featured in the Bush (pre) inaugural.

Why I’m not upgrading to iLife ’11

I am in general very happy with my Apple products, using it to be productive while enjoying my life through creating and presenting media rather than just being a consumer of it. Apple’s products easily lets you do many things that are difficult with the non-Apple alternatives. That said, I am underwhelmed by the latest update to iLife, in particular because the most useful program, iWeb, has not been updated.

I use iWeb to administer my professional blog:

I had been hoping for new HTML 5 tools, and maybe even a way of creating HTML 5 applications for both Mac and iOS. Maybe that’s what they’re cooking and will present it at some later point. But for now, I’m very upset that iWeb was not included in this update.

While I like iWeb -it does not allow for updating the blog off my mobile devices. I have to sit down on my Macbook Pro, which is now mostly a desktop being tethered to hard drives and a second monitor, to do any work when in fact, I would love to be able to update it on the fly like I do this blog or my Medscape blog.

I guess they want me to buy a Macbook Air to do all of this, but would very much like an iOS option. Meh!

RIM Tablet announcement the greatest Christmas present of all, for Apple

Research in Motion’s announcement of a seven inch screen tablet called Playbook caused a minor ruckus yesterday but it was a non-announcement that assures iPad dominance through the Christmas season. The tablet is touted as a dual core tablet that runs a multitasking Unix variant called QNx that is used in embedded systems like satellites and medical equipment. It will run Flash. It has a Wifi radio which may be tethered to a Blackberry or not. An App store? Of course.

The problem starts here: it won’t be available until the first quarter of 2011, missing Christmas. Also, no one was allowed to touch one of these devices. This makes it vaporware like every other would be iPad killer.

What it won’t have is battery life. It is about 30% smaller than an iPad and slightly thinner leaving less space for a battery. Add dual core processing and you hit the battery harder than a single core. Add a gig of RAM and multiprocessing which will be left up to the user and you get fifty, maybe one hundred different processes burning up processing time and the user will never know it unless they police it themselves. Add Flash and fuhgeddaboudit. You are looking at three maybe four hours of battery life tops with normal use.

It will also run hot. My Droid 2 which happily multitasks willy nilly used to get second degree burn hot before I figured out how to shut down Motoblur. With two processors and no fan, this may get hot enough to ignite the Lithium in the battery – a dangerous situation if you have it packed in the luggage between sweaters and it turns itself on.

It’s not easy to make an iPad. Apple had nearly four years of beta testing tablets with iPhone and iPod Touch. Adding features is done to preserve user experience which in a portable device is defined by screen, user interface, speed, and battery life. Expect Playbook to be a fail if they get anything less than a netbook’s battery life which on my Dell hackintosh runs 5 hours with the extended battery.

iOS4 keeps the iPhone 3G relevant

The arrival of iPhone 4 has overshadowed the arrival of iOS 4. Many of us have held on to our iPhones despite quitting AT&T -this is a testimony to the greatness of the product in that previously, when I changed phones, the phones would be given away or put in a drawer or donated. The iPhone, when disconnected from AT&T, is still a wonderful device -more useful than the iPod Touch because of its great and handy camera. In fact, I call it my iPad Mini.

iOS4 promises multitasking to the iPhone 3GS and the most recent iPod Touch, but alas, not the iPhone 3G. What it does do after a long and convoluted updating process which included a period of time where I thought it was bricked, is make the device even more useful by offering folders which seen above during an App Store update, shows the folder contents with micro icons. When you tap on a folder, its contents show nicely just so:

This degree of intuitive folder behavior is …magical. The other thing that I love about the iOS4 update is the unified mailbox. All your mail accounts are consolidated in the unified box and organized by conversation thread!

The iPhone 3G is two years old, and even though it doesn’t multitask, the upgrades to the user interface and mail are worth it and keeps the device relevant. Even though I carry an HTC Touch Pro2 from Verizon, its days are numbered as I consider an upgrade to Droid X or the holy grail -the Verizon iPhone. The only other piece of technology that stayed in my pocket long after its release and freshness date was the Psion Series 5mx, which I reviewed before. When the Touch Pro2’s days are over, it will go into the dustbin.

BTW, this summer has been very busy, so apologies go out to regular visitors. I promise I will update this blog at least twice a week.

iPad versus netbook -FIGHT!

iPad versus netbook, fight!

I am a mobile professional, I suppose. I walk a lot. As a vascular surgeon, there is a lot of downtime waiting for things to happen. Operations get booked, but the rooms have to be turned over. In these spaces of time, I endeavor to be productive. Time was, in the nineties, I had a marvelous pocketable computer called the Psion Series 5 (link) which allowed for mobility with a complete office suite. The internet was not yet ubiquitous and for what I wanted it to do, document creation, it was perfect. It allowed me to type out patient consultation notes from a corner of an emergency room and wirelessly print them out (via infrared port) to the ubiquitous HP computers around the hospital -I really think that I was the only one that used them. What it attained for me after three years of use (and three Psion’s used up), I had a bank of notes on patients which constituted a pocket EMR, indexed via the database. It let me print out very detailed notes often in 5 point font -I also had a terrible dislike of multiple pages which could easily be lost, much to the chagrin of older attending who became hopping mad at the small type sizes.

Since that time, I have tried to replace the venerable Psion Series 5 with something more modern, but nothing would replace it. It had the ability to turn instantly on and instantly off. Battery life was basically infinite as long as I had a ready supply of double A batteries. Litihium cells would routinely last over 40 hours or about a month. I tried using various Palm and Windows mobile PDA’s with keyboards, but was terribly disappointed. The Palm Treo came close with a workable thumb board, but by this time, I had joined a practice that had a fully evolved EMR which required a full PC.

The attempts at mobility then moved to laptops and sub notebooks, and more recently netbooks. It’s ironic that Psion marketed a small sub notebook called the netbook, possibly the best portable computer of its day, but soon quit the consumer electronic category. The problem with all laptops was that there was no instant on. The wait for bootup was inordinately long, and it precluded the jotting ideas down as they came up. The other thing with regular notebooks was the battery life. Even with 3 to 4 hours, it wasn’t possible to go a whole day without recharging or shutting down and replacing with a spare battery -more stuff to carry.

The netbook brought a lot to like to the table initially. As a minimized laptop running on a low energy chip (Atom), it offered better battery life with lower costs. The 8 inch screens soon grew to 10 inches and now 12 inch netbooks are available. The downside was you got what you paid for. The keyboards were often cramped and the screens were too small to see your work. What was worse, the manufacturers could not effectively shrink the trackpad down to anything workable and various awful to terrible trackpads were released. The video which offered the promise of turning the devices into cheap portable iTunes viewing station, would slow down and skip frequently, and HD video is not possible. The final straw is that they ran Windows XP, which was fine for 2005, but now serves as a constant reminder that you are running something pretty shabby.

As a workstation, I tried using a netbook and found it to be just a smaller, less capable sub notebook, poorly suited for any hard work. Running our EMR off Citrix was a chore for the tiny Atom processor and I pretty much gave up using it to blog because of how small everything was. Funny thing was even with the pocketable Psion, touch typing was a breeze, and not being able to turn the machine on with a touch of a button was a really problem.

Even loading the Mac OS X onto the netbook -called hackintoshing, resulted in an inferior experience. The OS is designed to work in a 15 inch screen -it’s barely usable on a 13 inch screen, and forget it on a 10 inch screen with a balky touchpad. The netbook pictured is a Dell Mini 10v which was discontinued recently and was touted as the most easily hackintoshable netbook.

With arrival of iPad, everything has changed. Now we have a very portable computer with a 10 inch screen with the capability of instant on. Email is not only a breeze, but a joy to look at. My calendar which is coordinated by my scheduler over Microsoft exchange is also a wonder to behold. The device is fast, and the Citrix client for it works well enough (needs some improvements) for what I do.

In particular, when I am out and about between operations, I have to find an open computer and get onto my EMR. Now, I can access it right where I stand. When I’m at home fielding a phone call from another physician or a patient, I no longer wait for boot up times, but go straight to the Citrix app.

The keyboard on the tablet is fine for quick emails and texts, but not suitable for longer missives. This blog entry was composed on the Pages app using the keyboard dock, but I also have a wireless bluetooth keyboard that I can use for it when I’m not at home. The netbook and its spare battery lays under my bed, waiting for a reason to be turned on -mostly it’s to go to Flash heavy websites which the iPad won’t run.

The other killer app is Papers -this allows me to organize my journal articles by Pubmed entry metatags with direct access to the PDF’s. All the papers I need to read are handy, and again, its a pleasure to read PDF’s on the iPad. My main Mac (a 2007 MacBook Pro) runs Papers and will wirelessly sync all the journals so my iPads will stay current. Yes, I bought two iPads because I liked the first one so much. Having two is the only way to multitask currently.

Why would you want two -well if you’re doing work with one, you can have the other one stream a live Yankees game over the MLB app, or a Netflix DVD, or a movie you bought or rented on iTunes. You might want to listen to all the NPR pieces you missed that day over the NPR app. Or have access to every episode of LOST via the ABC app.

The final killer app for the iPad is the Kindle app, which will kill the Kindle slowly. Amazon is wise in taking a wide broadcast approach to distribution. The Kindle, which is wonderfully light and has an always on 3G connection (which you can use to do light browsing), is available as an app on iPad and all your Kindle books show up wonderfully. The book light is no longer necessary. The only place the Kindle has an advantage is in direct sunlight -the iPad would not display well pool side.

I’m eagerly awaiting the camera dongle to transfer pictures from my cameras. All the photo processing software on my iphone works great on iPad, and new iPad versions roll out daily. That is the other part -the App store updates nearly hourly with some new technological wonder. The games are immersive and just funner than playing on iPhone or the Nintendo DS. Gratification is instantaneous.

The iPad is not the first tablet, just as the iPhone was not the first smartphone. But like iPhone, it redefines the category and raises the bar to a very high level. Love Apple or hate it, this kind of innovation spurred the creation of Android and even Microsoft is abandoning Windows Mobile, that instrument of suffering. Using the iPad is transformative. It makes the internet more accessible. It makes work joyful. It allows me to express myself even more fully, and that is what technology is meant to do.

iPadurday Eve Diorama

The day is nearly nigh! In celebration of iPadurday Eve, I constructed this diorama of Steven Jobs bestowing upon humanity the iPad (as modeled by the iPhone which is now technically the iPad Mini) all underneath an actual Apple Tree.

The Man in Brown will drive by and deliver our iPad tomorrow. If by some twist of evil fate he is held up, I will drop by the Apple Store (of earthly delights) to pick up my reserved iPad (to sell on eBay?).

So happy iPadurday to All!

12 Things I Hate about iPhone

snc10194In no particular order, these are the things I hate about iPhone after using for 6 months. I have an iPhone 3G with unlimited maxed out data plan via AT&T. 

  1. Keyboard – The lack of a physical keyboard is particularly hazardous for me. The predictive logic is fine for normal people, but as a physician, shooting a quick email becomes an exercise in Gotcha when medical terms and abbreviations morph into correctly spelled but wrong words. I know this can be turned off, but this causes just as many headaches as leaving it on. Apple wants you to go to an Apple laptop for any heavy keyboard work. 
  2. Battery Life -If you use it only as a phone, it gets through a workday. But if you use it as a smartphone, it barely gets through the day. Forget about an extended day, which is typical for me. This means carrying an external battery, cables, and adapters. I will gladly take some bulk for super long battery life. 
  3. Lack of Memory Expansion -flash memory is now dirt cheap. You can get 16GB SDHC cards for less than twenty bucks. This is mind bending when you look at the micro-SD form factor. There is no reason for the iPhone not to have this except for the fact that Apple does not like hatches and holes and excessive buttons, and it wants you to upgrade when you tire of the lack of memory. 
  4. No Copy/Paste -the lack of copy/paste is a philosophical decision on Apple’s part to avoid programs from contaminating each other via the clipboard. Every program runs by itself and tidily goes off when you turn it off. This fish bowl approach to tasking ensures that no program acts in a malignant fashion either intentionally or unintentionally. It’s Apple’s way of saying, “It’s a phone! Buy a Macbook for the heavy lifting.”
  5. AT&T -Not completely happy with it, but I guess it’s a compromise. If you had to marry someone, but you lived in a village in the mountains in the Balkans and there were only three available women, four if you didn’t mind the one with no teeth, a glass eye, and a goiter, you make the best of it. AT&T is the oldest one of the bunch with large bosoms and behind to match. Sure you fooled around with the youngest one (Sprint), but everybody else did too -her biggest fault was inconsistency and broken promises. The middle sister (Verizon), the prettiest one, was also the most controlling. The way she smacked her other sisters around and barked order about how she wanted things done her way was not appealing. So you settle with AT&T. I find strange things happening with the new 3G network out here in the hinterlands. I’ll get 5 bars and a 3G symbol one moment with clear reception, and I turn my head and I get 1 bar with an E (for the slower data connection), and the phone call goes kaplooey. It happens in my car, in my house, in my office, outside with no obstruction whatsoever -and it is the Great Plains with no significant geographic barriers. But the oldest sister doesn’t care so much of your demands, understands if you fool around with the other two, and when drunk, take a roll with the toothless, one-eyed one with the goiter (T-Mobile)-after all -she’s got you now for at least five years from iPhone launch. 
  6. No Bluetooth Anything -Polaroid recently asked TUAW (link) to post a generalized request to open up iPhone’s bluetooth for its portable photoprinter which works with just about every cheap-ass phone out there except for iPhone. This is a beef I have particularly when combined with complaint number 1 -no Bluetooth keyboards, no stereo bluetooth headphones with microphones, no Bluetooth printing, nada. Zip. Just the earpieces that go missing after a few days.
  7. No Easy Way to Organize Your Screens -Apple happily lets you have as many screens as needed for the Apps you download, but organizing them is a disaster if you have more than one screenful of apps (I have seven). If you do factory reset or something like it, all the apps are jumbled. It would be great if you could do it on iTunes and save these configurations. Or if the home screen gave you a link to your productivity apps, your games, your casual games, your deep strategic games, your games to show off the iphone with, and your games that you play for hours on end. Also your photo apps and music creation apps. 
  8. No Passthrough Internet -this is more AT&T’s fault than Apple’s, but I blame both since they got hitched up. You can with some phones, hook up your cell phone to your laptop and use its wireless internet connection to browse from your laptop. I did it a couple of times with my older Windows Mobile smartphones but it was a dodgy affair involving turning on and turning off various things and digging through control panels and hoping for a connection. It would be so wonderful to just attach the iphone and get it’s 3G connection as a connectivity option with no toggling or hoping. AT&T wants you to buy a separate data modem plan. 
  9. No Video Recording -I know you can jailbreak to get this feature, but I don’t want to jailbreak. I want it now, no excuses.
  10. Contacts choked -I have over 2000 contacts and also more via my Exchange connection to my office’s directory. This makes looking up contacts a frustrating affair as I wait often an interminable amount of time to look up a phone number. Absolutely unacceptable. Also, search is dumbfoundingly linear -you have to type the contact in the order that it was input. Sometimes, if I can’t remember a last name, I’m SOL. 
  11. No wordprocessing, no spreadsheet, no Filemaker database access -this is so basic, and so missing, but also related to all of the above -no keyboard, no multitasking, no copy/paste.
  12. No Flash, No WMV, no non-Apple media formats, No Java -this is cumbersome at best, and criminal at worst. I just don’t get it. Very few people use Quicktime anymore. I get the feeling that with Flash -Apple loses some control over the apps and games. 

This still doesn’t drive me away from iPhone because it really is the best smartphone experience. But I am not married to it, and will runoff with the next gadget that does fulfill my needs. And I got needs.