Some brief thoughts on iOS 10 and Watch OS 3

Apple released two major operating system updates yesterday, iOS 10 for iPhone and Watch OS 3 for Apple Watch. 

Initial thoughts, in no particular order.

1. It’s a little thing but absolutely love the rise to wake iPhone feature. 

2. I never used widgets before, now I do. My favorite ones are Carrot Weather and Swarm.

3. The “clear all notifications” with 3D touch is so nice.

4. Apple Mail got an updated design. I think I like the previous design better.

5. Apple ditched the slide to unlock feature and you can’t do a single TouchID to get to home screen. But there is an easy way to get back to the earlier way of doing this. Whew. 

6. iMessage got a huge set of new features. Stickers, integrated animated GIFs and third party application support and extensibility. Fun, great and useful, in that order. 

7. I love my Apple Watch (now) thanks to Watch OS 3. Just put your favorite apps in the new dock and everything feels so fast. This was the experience I was waiting for. 

8. Control center got a meaty update in form and function. Long overdue and well done. I particularly love the improved audio control on the second screen.  

9. Apple Maps has been improved and looks so good — really puts Google Maps to shame from a design standpoint. But is the data trust worthy yet?

10. One of the most promising things about iOS 10 is Siri integration with third party developers. So far it’s limited to a handful of developers. But the list is growing and I’m super excited about that. 

What are your favorite things about iOS 10. Send me a tweet @bijan

The 365 is so hard because it’s so honest

Back in the day, Instagram only allowed posted photographs if the user took a photo from inside their app. And at during that time, it was cool to see a day in someones life. A peek into their day. 

Snapchat maintains that attitude to this day. It’s a product and community that is built on photos taken right now, from your phone (not your fancy DSLR). The photos aren’t heavily post processed or even edited at all. A simple photograph. There is something wonderful about that. 

Last fall my friend Johnny Patience mentioned he was going to do a 365 project. 

The idea of a 365 sounds simple enough. Each day, make a photograph and share that photograph. It can come with a caption, random thoughts of the day or no text at all. There really aren’t many rules as far as I can tell. 

And yet, a 365 project is so much harder than it first appeared. At least to me. 

It’s an honest account of your life. Its a celebration or at the very least a record of the every day, the ordinary. 

And with the ordinary comes a level of honesty. 

Johnny and his wife Rebecca each have a 365 project going on. I encourage you to take a look when you have time. They are both wonderful. Completely authentic and so refreshingly different than what you see often see on Instagram or Facebook. 

I started my 365 in November of last year and after 214 days the level of discomfort increased day by day. I didn’t like my photographs. I didn’t like the “chore” of a daily post. I didn’t want to share my every day. So by early June I stopped. 

But looking back, I wish I had kept it going. My life is my own and I don’t need to make an amazing photograph every day or every month for that matter. And looking at all the posts, I value the memories, the recorded notes of the every day, the honesty. 

So on August 28th, I re-started my 365 and when I get the film back I will post photo 291. Thank you Johnny for encouraging me to pick up my project. You are a great friend, and I am grateful.

The Killing Moon, Pavement (original by Echo and the Bunnymen)

Lauren and I went to see Echo and the Bunnymen play at the House of Blues last night. It’s been a long time since thatI saw them play at the Ritz in NYC back in high school. 

Such a fun night.

Some thoughts about following yesterdays Apple’s event with Twitter

Yesterday I was running around New York City, bouncing from one thing to the next. And my mobile coverage was a bit spotty at times. It happens in a place like New York City with lots of mobile data users and tall buildings. 

But like many folks that read this blog, I was interested in following the Apple event yesterday. 

So I went to Twitter and did two things.

I followed MacRumors Live and turned on notifications on that account. Done.

After that, whenever I got a break in my day, I quickly swiped down to the Notification Center on my iPhone and caught up on the Apple Event. I never had to open the app and hit refresh. 

It was so simple, so elegant and so Twitter.

After the event, I went and unfollowed the MacRumors Live account. 

Catching up on breaking news is amazing on Twitter. There is nothing else like it. 

* * * 

ps: I would love to see Apple allow photos in the notification panel. 

pps: It would be cool if Twitter prompted the user after following a new account with something like: “Would you like to follow this for 1 hour, 1 day or forever?”. It would encourage a more dynamic feed I think.

ppps: I am ordering the Apple 7 Plus in matte black and the new Watch. Better camera/battery on the former and waterproof/gps on the latter. Oh, yes. 

Getting my photos organized and backed up

Over the last few weeks I have spent some time getting my photographs organized and backed up. Previously they were scattered across multiple iPads, Macs and backed up with a variety of different ad hoc systems.

My latest system is a combination of some ideas I’ve picked up from my friend Johnny and also reading Art Chang’s post on this subject. Thank you both.

I use Adobe Lightroom is organize my entire photo collection. The Adobe Lightroom Catalog and all photos are now stored on this 1TB Samsung SSD.

This little SSD is a true wonder. It’s super light, is less than ½ the size of an iPhone 6  and runs off USB. I haven’t had any performance issues with this setup. 

One note: out of the box this drive requires some custom Samsung drivers that will be installed on your Mac if you want to use their encryption. Encryption makes sense in case you lose this SSD and want to protect your data. For reasons I won’t get into right now, I didn’t install the Samsung drivers and ended up erasing my SSD with Apple Disk Utility before using it.  

With my Lightroom Catalog and all photos on this highly portable SSD, I can access my entire library on any computer which is really nice. 

Like Art, I back up the SSD to a Synology NAS with Apple Time Machine and I use Crashplan for remote backup. I’m am also in the process of uploading all photos into Dropbox so I can get fast access to my photos in case my SSD and Synology NAS somehow fail at the same time since a remote restore from Crashplan would likely be quite slow. 

I realize this system is far from the system that Apple iCloud and Google Photos is pushing. Those are fine products but they are really suited towards digital & mobile photographers and for better or worse that really isn’t me. 

The biggest flaw with my current system is that there is no way to easily access photos taken by other family members. 

To be continued.