Airport Tech: Sometimes They Get It Rignt


One thing I really hate about airports is never being able to find an open outlet to charge your devices. There's always one random outlet located in a far off gate. To top it off, its usually not near a seat, so you have to sit on the dirtiest floor imaginable.

Another thing that disappoints me about most airports is having to pay for Wi-Fi. After paying for the cost of a ticket, transportation to the airport, baggage checking fees, and the ungodly price of horrible airplane food, I hate having to pay another fee.

Check out how St Louis Lambert Airport ranks in outlets and Wi-Fi in the video below! If you can't see it, click here!

How I Got Over

There's always the hope that if you sit and watch for long enough, the beachball will vanish and the thing it interrupted will return."

Steve Jobs passed away yesterday. He's had an undeniable impact not only on technology, but on the culture.  An entire generation (after mine) has been reared thinking that Apple has always been a highly successful, innovative company.

I'm a PC guy.  Ever since I got my first computer in college, I've enjoyed tinkering around with components and dealing with Windows BSODs.  I was never drawn to the Mac because it was VERY expensive.  Also, it was relatively closed off and difficult to upgrade.  This holds true today - you pay a premium for good quality. I didn't think I'd ever get over this anti-Apple bias.

True to form, when the iPod first came out during my senior year of college in 2011,  I completely clowned it.  Here was another amazingly expensive ($400) product that you could only use with a similarly expensive Apple computer.  Also, the idea of carrying a spinning hard drive in my pocket seemed disastrous (I had a number of hard drive crashes in the previous year). My roommate, who was and is a huge Apple fan, thought it was funny to put a page of the first iPod ad on my door, with my name written on it.  I wish I had kept it.

However, I got over this once the 3rd gen iPod came out in 2003. That was when iTunes finally dropped for Windows, and there was a harmonious mix between the iPod's price and my new fancy job.  I dropped in and haven't looked back.  Hell, I have completely digitized and sold my extensive CD collection partly due to the convenience that the iPod has provided. This convenience has extended to the iPhone and iPad, both of which I own and love.

I bought into Apple has a consumer electronics company, not as a computer company.  I've still never owned an Apple desktop or laptop (except for an ancient iBook that I was attempting to fix for a local nonprofit).

That's how I got over.



iPhone - Legal Jailbreaking


Check out my iPhone home screen below.  It used to be that you need to hack into your iPhone ("jailbreaking") to enable cool third party applications that were superior to the existing Apple apps. The sucess of the App store combined with a relaxing of Apple's policy has given a rise to the number of approved apps that are awesome.  And guess what, Apple finally realized that it means more money for them! Remember, they get 30% of every App sale.  Combine that with the fact that an (admittenly) small amount of people will buy a phone based on some of these apps, and it's a win - win for all.

Spotify - Music player and discovery engine (see my Spotify post)

Instacast - Podcast player. Features automatic downloading, favoriting, and importing from itunes

Farenheit - Updates the weather right on the home screen - can open it for more details.  Yes, it's 82 degrees at 9 in the morning.

Pandora - Streaming internet radio

Google Voice - Get text transcripts of voice mails

Squarespace - The software I use to power this site. I can make and edit posts, manage comments, and view website stats

Articles - Wikipedia with an easy to use interface

The New York Times Paywall Is Not That Bad

No more unlimited access to a website. Their explanation sounds cheery enough, but it's still limiting. Is it the worst thing in the world? Nah.

I use the NYTimes iPhone app religiously. But when I think about it, I rarely leave the Latest News tabs. If I do, it's for information that is covered better elsewhere (I.e. Technology, sports). Since the Latest News section will remain free, the new pay wall won't significantly affect my iPhone usage. The only thing that may hurt is losing access to the Opinion section, which is very valuable and unique to the Times. But is that worth paying $15 a month for website and iPhone access? And an extra $20 for iPad access? Nah, I'll just stick with the free articles that I see shared over social networks.

The iPad app is a different story. Because the iPad is a natural reading device, I usually go through quite a bit of stories on the tablet. But again, is it worth $20 a month (or $35 in conjunction with iPhone access)? After all, I was fine with the original iPad app that had limited content.

The price may have been easier to swallow if the limit of free stories wasn't so low. 20 stories a month is less than one story a day! Wouldn't they rather have more eyeballs on the page for their advertisers, as opposed to the few hardcore people that would be reading the content anyway? Arthur Sulzberger, chairman of the Times, stated that he wanted a flexible system where they could adjust the 20 news story a month limit up or down depending on the day's events. This would make sense if the limit was more reasonable, say 20 articles a week. As an example, Sulzberger said that the limit would have been canceled in the wake of 9/11. But .. there is huge news that happens very often, from the BP Oil spill to the Egyptian revolt against Mubarak to the Japanese earthquake and resulting tsunami. How will these be "ranked" in terms of the article limit being adjusted?

From my Quora post:

I've had an NY Times online account for about 10 years, and I use the iPad on iPhone apps all of the time. I love the content and believe that it is valuable.

However, the prices are just too high. The Daily charges $4 a month (for admittedly sub par content). The Times should not be five times more than this for the tablet option.

The only way that the Times could get away with this is if they kept nytimes.com completely free - which they aren't. I can understand paying for the improved user experience involved with the iPhone and iPad apps, if the web alternative exists.

There are too many other sources of information available that, while not being as great as the Times, are good enough. This is what the execs don't seem to understand