Neal Augenstein

It’s not you, it’s me, 6 Plus

In Uncategorized on December 15, 2014 at 7:35 pm

IMG_0964I had high hopes for our relationship, iPhone 6 Plus.

You’re gorgeous, smart, strong, and refined, but I’ve gotta be honest — you’re more than I can handle.

Yes, the iPhone 6 Plus looks gorgeous, and produces beautiful photos, video, and audio, but I didn’t realize how important being able to do things with one hand was/is to me.

If all I used the iPhone 6 Plus for was creating multimedia content, I’d be happy. Editing audio and video is easier with the larger screen.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t foresee that the balance of the phone, in addition to the extra inches would mean I would have to use my left hand to brace the phone and reach for the top of the screen, while I thumb-clicked and held the phone with my right.

I’d taken for granted how easy it was to take my iPhone 5 out of the holster on my left hip with one hand to quickly check an email, tweet, or snap a photo.

While I tried to make it work, and ordered a holster for the 6 Plus, I’m afraid the chemistry just isn’t there.

I’ve confided in WTOP’s Technical Operations Manager Brian Oliger – my iPhone wingman — that it’s just not working out with the Plus.

Maybe that iPhone 6 is more my style.

A-B test: iPhone 6 Plus vs. iPhone 5

In Uncategorized on December 12, 2014 at 5:29 pm

6pluscloseup

The screen is much bigger, and videos look great on the new iPhone 6 Plus — but is there any improvement in the built-in microphone?

Hear for yourself, with this A-B test, comparing the iPhone 5 with the 6 Plus.

I simultaneously spoke into the microphones located on the bottom of the phones, directly to the left of the charging port, holding the phones about 8 inches from my mouth. In both cases I recorded in the VoiceMemo app.

To my ears the 6 Plus sounds slightly less brassy than the 5, and previous models. I’ve found the tendency toward tinniness in the 5 (and earlier iPhones) is only evident upon close listening, and is generally inaudible after going through a station’s audio processing chain.

Sometimes when you remove the brassiness, audio can sound flat and dull, but I don’t think that’s the case with the 6 Plus. There’s still enough sizzle to hear “sss” and the slightly more bassy presence is pleasant, and not overbearing.

Bottom line: To me, the iPhone 6 Plus records audio slightly better than the 5.

What do you think?

What do you know, iPhone?

In Uncategorized on December 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm

findmyiphoneedit

The iPhone is an amazing tool, but it’s just a tool.

This morning I got a reminder that despite all iPhone can do technically, sometimes it’s better to rely on old school technology — the brain.

Yesterday afternoon my wife realized she couldn’t find her iPhone 5s before she left work. She spent two hours retracing her steps, trying to figure out whether she’d misplaced her phone or if someone might have taken it.

By the time she got home she feared it was gone, and was already thinking about how much it would cost to replace.

Her tech-savvy husband (me, smart-aleck) quickly whipped out my iPhone, launched the Find My iPhone app, entered her Apple ID and password, and searched for her phone.

Rats. It was offline, so the app offered no clues on her phone’s location or fate..

After several years living with my wife, I was willing to bet that despite her best efforts to find the phone, it wasn’t lost or stolen, it was somewhere .

We just had to figure out where.

I told my wife I’d come to her office the next day, to help her find the elusive phone.

The hunt is on

Just to play it safe, I activated Lost Mode on her phone. I entered my cell phone number so if some kindhearted soul found it and read the “I’m a lost phone, please press this button to call me” message, I could arrange to meet and reward the Good Samaritan.

Since the phone was offline, all this cool stuff wouldn’t happen until the phone tried to connect to the Internet.

A few hours later, my wife got a computer-generated email from iCloud — someone had found her phone near her office.

Yay, technology!

Since it was late at night, I wasn’t terribly surprised the person who found it hadn’t pressed the button to call me. I figured he or she was just considerate, and somehow knew I had to get up for work at 4 a.m.

I was sure we’d get the phone back in the morning.

Uh-oh, something is wrong

The feeling of confidence disappeared when I woke up.

Checking iCloud, my wife’s phone was off-line again. I had no idea where the phone was. Our lifeline was severed.

Zooming in on the map that showed where her phone was last online, I could see it was on a side street, a half-block from her office.

Quickly, my mind transformed last night’s Good Samaritan into a thief — a scoundrel who was no doubt planning on selling my wife’s precious mobile device for parts on the black market.

Dejectedly, I told my wife to check her company’s lost and found, and email me from her desktop computer when she couldn’t find her iPhone, and I would remotely activate the Erase Phone button on her device, bricking it.

Utilizing all the power of iPhone’s location services, I realized there was very little chance we’d get her phone back.

Somehow, we’dĀ figure out a way to buy her a new phone.

Then something technically unexplainable happened — my wife found her phone at work.

It was under her desk, and had been there all along.

Clearly, iPhone’s GPS wasn’t precise enough to depict her phone in her office, yet the information it provided was enough to cultivate a scenario in my head that trumped my original confidence my wife had misplaced her phone, and that it was somewhere, waiting to be found.

I should have trusted my gut, and knowledge of my wife, instead of taking my iPhone at its word.

After all, it’s just a tool.

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