Jan 10

GoMusic for Google Music iPhone AppUPDATE MARCH 31, 2012: GoMusic, after being briefly pulled from the App Store, is again available for purchase and download.

As Cloud services have rolled out en masse over the last couple of years, I’ve mostly stayed away.  They’re interesting, but buggy and often useless, and aside from Dropbox (which quickly evolved from cool option to indispensable tool), I’ve tried and mostly abandoned each Cloud service du jour. 

Google Music, on the other hand, had me from my first log-in.  Google, which already powers so much of my digital life, offers the service as a “music locker,” a place to store your music online and to listen from any location, so long as you have an internet connection.

But there was a problem…

Google Music was fine while at my desk, using an Android device, or on my laptop, but mostly useless on my iPhone (there’s no official Google Music app in the App Store, but you can access the service via Safari).  So I set out to find a third-party solution that could make my Google Music collection more iPhone friendly. And after spending a good bit of time with three such apps, I’ve found the best iPhone-Google Music option: GoMusic

It isn’t perfect, but it’s by far the best solution if you’re an iPhone user.

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Dec 19

HexaPose UStand iPad / iPad 2 StandLast year, I reviewed the InnoPocket HexaPose iPad stand.  This stand was designed for the original iPad, but did not fit the iPad 2, at least not well.  The replacement from InnoPocket, the newer HexaPose UStand, solves this problem with an altered design to accommodate not only both iPad models, but other 10-inch tablets as well.

There’s no need to go into a full review of the HexaPose UStand, as much of the original review still applies; however, there are some new features that warrant additional comment.

The UStand’s curved, aluminum base remains unchanged from the previous model.  What’s changed is the frame.

No longer plastic, the new UStand frame is aluminum.  It still has three vertical adjustments for optical viewing, and rotates to display your iPad in landscape or portrait mode.  And, rather than a fixed width, the new frame is adjustable.  

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Nov 21

iPhone 4SLast month when the iPhone 4S was about to go up for pre-order, I discovered that – for the first time in my three-plus years as an AT&T iPhone user – I wouldn’t be eligible for a subsidized upgrade at launch; I’d have to wait until late November to get a 4S at the discounted $199 price.  Frankly, I was aggravated, but set about waiting for AT&T to let me renew my contract and get the latest and greatest.

Dreams of Siri danced in my head.

Then last week I had the opportunity to review an iPhone 4S (the Verizon 16GB Black model), and after spending several days with the handset, I’ve decided that my iPhone 4 will suit me just fine until the iPhone 5 is released, probably in the summer of 2012.  And if you’re an iPhone 4 owner waiting for your own subsidized upgrade, read on – the same may be true for you.

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Nov 08

Consumer ReportsLast year, Consumer Reports declined to recommend the iPhone 4 because of the phone’s external antenna design, which sometimes caused severe signal loss when two of the antennas were bridged by the user’s skin.  Discovery of this flaw – popularly known as Death Grip – and Apple’s initially lousy response to it, became known as Antennagate.

But Consumer Reports has been testing the new iPhone 4S and says the phone suffers none of its predecessor’s antenna ills:

[The iPhone 4S] doesn’t suffer the reception problem we found in its predecessor in special tests in our labs… a loss of signal strength when you touch a spot on the phone’s lower left side while you’re in an area with a weak signal.”

The publication does go on to say, however, that the iPhone 4 – even the newer versions of it – continue to experience the same antenna attenuation issues as the first batch that shipped in 2010.

Oh, and though they’re taken with the 4S, Consumer Reports recommends a few Android phones even more, the Motorola Droid Bionic and Samsung Galaxy S II among them.

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Oct 24

iHome iDM15 with the Apple iPadI listen to a lot of music, podcasts and audiobooks, and most of the time either my iPhone, iPad or laptop is the audio source. Each of these devices has its own onboard speaker, but even the best sounding of the three – a 2011 MacBook Air – leaves a lot to be desired.  So, a day rarely passes that I don’t connect at least one of these to an external speaker via Dock Connector or audio cable.

But all three have onboard Bluetooth with A2DP, so a speaker system with Bluetooth connectivity can be used with each, and without the limitations of a corded connection.  So when the iHome iDM15 Portable Bluetooth Speakers arrived, I was anxious to put them to the test with my Apple lineup and see how life would be without the cord. 

Generally speaking, it’s been a pleasant experience.

[Best Price iHome iDM15 Bluetooth Speakers]

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