Archive for the 'iPad' Category

Changing Seasons on the KSAT

I took these four pictures on the Karl Stirner Arts Trail in Easton, PA between October, 2016 and January, 2017, one each month, capturing the change in seasons. All pictures were taken with my iPad Pro 9.7.


The Oculus at the Fulton St. Subway Station

I took this picture a few weeks ago with my iPad Pro.

Fulton St. Subway Station, New York City.

The Oculus Fulton St



Films from 2014 and 2015 that I have recently watched for the first time.

In the past couple of months I have been catching up on watching a few movies that I wanted  watch, but that I just never got around to seeing in the theatre when they were initially released. I like watching movies on my iPad and I could not watch any for awhile because my old 1st Gen iPad only had 32GB of memory and I just plain ran out of space to store movies, even temporary rentals. That ain’t a problem while my iPad Pro and the 128GB it has. The Pro also has four speakers, opposed the one speaker the original iPad had.

Here are four films that I have rented watched recently, along with a few comments on each film and the score that gave each film on IMDb.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens VII

I saw the original Star Wars films in the theatre way back the day and I always enjoyed the films, but I never considered them great sci fi.

This is one film that I do regret not seeing on the big screen because the special effects were so outstanding. Unfortunately, I found the story somewhat disappointing because it was so unoriginal. I thought the new cast members were pretty good overall, but I’m not sure if anyone of them will breakout and become a big star.

However, there was enough done well in this film to be hopeful the parts VIII and IX will provide an exciting end to the Star Wars saga.


Score: 6/10


The last of the Daniel Craig Bond films and it was a very solid entry in the series. I have enjoyed Craig as 007. The only actor that I would rank above Craig as Bond was Sean Connery, who really owned the role. But Craig really breathed to life in the role when he took it over in 2006 with the elegant and exciting Casino Royale. Looking back on the four Craig films I rate Casino Royale as the best of the group and Spectre as second best.

Score: 7/10


I had high expectations for this contemporary crime drama because of the numerous positive reviews it received and I must say this film met my expectations.

The principal cast members Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro all turned in excellent performances.

Score: 8/10

The Grand Hotel Budapest 

Another quirky, inventive, very funny and  highly entertaining film from writer/ director Wes Anderson. I think Anderson is one the most talented filmmakers working and TGHB was a worthy addition to his overall body of work. The Life Aquatic is still my favorite Wes Anderson, but TGHB is right up there with other WA films that I think very highly of, including Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tenenbaums. Like those films the cast in TGHB was incredibly impressive.

Score 9/10

More to come…..



The Stunning Oculus at the World Trade Center

I made a few trips in New York City after a fairly long absence. It always enjoy seeing the progress that has been on various major construction projects that are under way all over the city. There are several fascinating developments in projects in Manhattan, including several Super-Tall skyscrapers and elaborate complexes, such as the Hudson Yards project. However, no project is more important to NYC than the new World Trade Center. The rebuilding of the WTC has been a very long and painstaking process since the attack on 9/11/01, but it has been truly gratifying to see the new WTC slowly come together piece by piece in the last few years. A major milestone was reached with the opening of the WTC Transportation Hub on March 3rd of this year. I have been very eager to see the new building in person since it opened, but I wanted to wait until the weather was a little nicer before making the trip to lower Manhattan. The centerpiece of the Hub, is a soaring,  white building, called the Oculus, that in many ways seems like a modern cathedral.

The Oculus is positioned to the east of the North Pool of the WTC, which occupies the spot where the North Tower of the WTC once stood. Behind the Pool you can see the Oculus. The neofuturistic Oculus was designed by the famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The building opened to mixed reviews from architectural critics, but I love it after seeing it in person. It is a truly inspiring building that I think will stand the test of time well.









Checking In


I’ve been away from this Blog for awhile and I truly regret that. Just been real busy the past month or two. However, I have a few thoughts and some media I’d like to share and plan to do that starting this month. I have noted that I recently purchased a new iPhone SE and iPad Pro. I also recently purchased a new MacBook Air, which I am really pleased with. Basically, all my Apple stuff had to be replaced at the same time. My iPhone 3GS and  1sr Gen iPad were great, but neither one could run the latest version iOS. Loved my trusty old MacBook, but it basically just died after 6 years of heavy use. I was hoping it might last until the end of the year, but it started crashing a lot more frequently. It really strained to run the latest version of OS X. No such problems with the latest MBA, which now packs 8 GB of RAM

More budget for these new toys was limited, but I think they they were good values, particularly the iPhone SE. I’m going to put a separate blog post just about my new Apple devices. I’d like to discuss them in more detail, but that topic deserves a separate post.

I wrote my last blog post on my iPad Pro, and I noted in that post that I planned to start publishing posts on a more frequent basis because of the mobility that that the iPad provides. I definitely plan to do so.

Photo on 7-1-16 at 7.50 AM

Impressions of The Surface Pro 3

I looked forward to Microsoft’s May 20th Surface event with great anticipation because I was impressed by the 1st and 2nd generation Surface tablets and I was very curious to see what improvements Microsoft would make to their unique tablet computer. I viewed the gen 1 and gen 2 Surface tablets as very imperfect devices, but ones that held great promise because they clearly raised the performance bar substantially for tablet class computers. And I say that as someone who has always been a huge fan of the iPad.

The Surface Pro 3 exceeded my expectations. It is not a perfect tablet, but Microsoft made very significant improvements with the Pro 3, addressing the weaknesses of the Pro 2 and refining an already great design. The screen has grown from 10 inches to 12 inches, but it is now a much thinner tablet. The spec’s blow away other tablets on the market, but this device is really made to go head to head with laptops and ultra books and the prices of the various Surface Pro 3 models are at laptop levels, with the base model (64 GB – i3 chip) going for $799.00 and the top of the line (512 GB – i7 chip) going for nearly $2,000.00. Additional accessories that many will want or need, such as the attachable keyboard, a mouse and a dock will add several hundred dollars to the cost, depending upon what you get. So, the Surface Pro 3 ain’t cheap, that’s for sure, but I think there are a significant number of consumers out there who are willing to pay a premium for a device they think has very quality. Surely Apple, among others, has proven that to be true for many years. Only time will tell if the Pro 3 will be a big sales success, but I think it has a decent shot of being a successful product and carving out a significant niche in the tablet/laptop market.

What I really like about the Surface Pro 3 is that it is the first tablet computer that could realistically serve as the only computer that one would need and at only 1.76 pounds it is a device that can easily be taken everywhere. It is a true all-in-one device. Unfortunately, the Windows 8 operating system is still an OS that needs significant improvement in some areas and is not fully developed in some respects, especially as a mobile/tablet OS. However, Windows 8 is really the only OS that can allow a hybrid device to function as a full blown computer and a fully functional tablet, with an assortment of mobile device style app’s. I’ve played with the gen 1 and gen 2 at the Microsoft Store and my I don’t consider Win 8 a major drawback. In fact, I like it, but I recognize that is a long way behind iOS and Android in terms of the number of app’s developed for it at this stage.

SurfacePro 3

Apple should take notice of just how thoughtful and innovative the design of the Surface Pro 3 is. If Apple produced an iPad with Spec’s similar to those of the Surface Pro 3 and enabled it to dual boot OS X and iOS it would be a HUGE hit in my opinion.

Microsoft has announced that the Pro 3 will hit select Microsoft Surface stores on June 6th, so that people can see it person and get some “hands on” time with it before it officially goes on sale on June 20th.. I will definitely be heading over to the Microsoft Store here in San Diego to see it. I will return to this post and add more impressions of the Pro 3 once I have seen it in person.

Tablet Wars: The iPad Mini and the Surface enter the fray

Computer titans Apple and Microsoft both introduced new tablet computers within the last two weeks and I think both devices are very interesting. I have now had a chance to play with both tablets. At the Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego the Apple Store and Microsoft Store are within a 100 yards of each other, so it was very easy for me to see both devices during a recent trip I made to the mall. I’ve got to say that I was impressed by both tablets and I could see myself owning one of each in the future.

Basic Spec’s:

iPad Mini

Height: 7.87 inches
Width: 5.3 inches
Depth: 0.28 inches
Weight: 0.69 pound

Storage: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB

Display: 1024 x 768 resolution at 163 pixels per inch

Cameras: Front Camera 1.2 MP photo, 720p HD video – Rear Camera 5 MP photo, 1080p HD Video

Battery: 10 hours

Impressions: The Mini was actually a little larger than I expected it be and that was a pleasant surprise. I like the smaller size, but it still provides plenty of screen space and I found the quality of the display quite good. I took a look at some pictures on iPhoto and they were beautiful. Does it match a Retina screen? No, but it is still very good imo. I don’t know why some of the fan boys are so wee wee’d up about the resolution of the display. The build quality of the iPad Mini was excellent. It is incredibly thin, yet it feels very sturdy, thanks to a very solid aluminum enclosure.

Many critics seem think the iPad Mini is overpriced, starting at $329 for the 16 GB model, but I still think it will sell very well because it is significantly better than any of the other 7″ tablets on the market today. I wish it was a little cheaper, but it is not prohibitively expensive in my opinion. The Mini delivers all the functionality of a regular iPad and better portability. You give up a little screen space and of course, as I mentioned earlier, no Retina display, but I think the trade offs for prices that start at $170 less than the regular iPad are acceptable. It will be interesting to see to what degree the iPad Mini cannibalizes the regular iPad market share. I read that some analysts made initial estimates of up to 20% cannibalization and now I’m reading that some analysts think that the iPad Mini will ultimately become the best selling iPad. After seeing the iPad Mini in person I think it will indeed become the best iPad within 2 years.

I’m pretty sure the iPad Mini will be my next iPad.

Microsoft Surface:

Height: 6.77 inches
Width: 10.81 inches
Depth: 0.37 inches
Weight: 1.5 lbs

Storage: 32GB, 64GB

Display: 10.6 inch ClearType HD Display, 1366x768b pixels

Cameras: Front and Rear 720p HD LifeCams, with two microphones and Stereo Speakers

CPU: Quad-core NVIDA Tegra 3, 2GB RAM

Impressions: The overall build quality, including a very high quality display, is what I first took note of when I took a close look at the Surface. The design of the black tablet is very elegant and it feels very solid. The fold out kickstand is very useful. The one hardware feature that found a little disappointing was the physical keyboard. Maybe it just takes a little practice, but I just didn’t think it offered any great advantages over a virtual keyboard. Fortunately, the Surface does have a virtual keyboard that is very good and customizable as well. You can select different types of virtual keyboards, including both one with a conventional layout and one with a split keyboard layout.

The OS on the Surface is a lightweight version of the new Windows 8 called RT. I found it to be an attractive new interface, that looks clean and modern. The new OS does have a learning curve, because it is different than anything that has come before it and it doesn’t seem quite a intuitive as Mac OS X or iOS and it is very different from Windows 7, but it is logically organized and I’m it becomes easier to use with a little practice.

The Surface is not inexpensive, with the bottom of the line RT model starting at $499.00 and the soon to be released Pro model will go north of $800 for some models, but I think the Surface can carve out a significant niche in the tablet market. It may take a few years, but I think the Surface will slowly grow market share. The question is which tablets will lose market share as a result of Surface growth? I think Surface will end up stealing more market share from Android tablets than Apple, although I expect the Surface to remain well behind both in market share for at least the next few years. That said, I do think that the Surface can attract a loyal following and if Microsoft is fully committed to supporting this tablet for the next 5 years (I think they are) then it may capture a large segment of tablet market share.

George M. Fattell.

The gmf journal is a general subject blog that reflects my thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics that are of interest to me. Current home base is Easton, Pennsylvania, USA. Retweets do not equal an endorsement.

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