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#720: We're Hiring!, Get Some Tech In Your Step, iOS 4 Is Here, Opt Out of iAd

 
     
 

Happy Tuesday,

Well, since last week, we have an all-new Mac mini, a new iPhone hitting shelves and mailboxes tomorrow and a new iPhone operating system called iOS 4.

I downloaded and installed this new operating system on my iPod touch last night, but I haven’t had time to really get to know the new features. It’s only a second-generation iPod touch, and not all the features are available; third-generation iPod touch is required for all the features, and the software is unsupported on first-generation iPods. This new operating system is a great excuse to get that next generation iPod touch when comes out, whenever that happens to be. iPhone 3G is mostly supported, and iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 offer full support.

Kali wrote an excellent roundup of the features for this week’s issue, and for our blog, Barkings!

The new Mac mini is striking, and Jon made one of the first unboxing and RAM installation videos. Mac mini is a powerful, energy-sipping solution, and I’ll be upgrading mine soon. In fact, Mac minis are slowly taking over our server room, replacing Xserves left and right. We’re already seeing energy savings, not just from the servers themselves, but the powerful air conditioning system is less stressed—this saves even more energy than the server switches themselves.

Apple also substantially upgraded MobileMe in the past week.

As always, thanks for reading, and keep in touch.

Matt
matt@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  Get Some Tech In Your Step  
   
 

One of the best perks of my job is working a stone’s throw from The Mad River Path. For those who are unfamiliar, this well-groomed trail in Waitsfield curls around the Mad River, complimented by an ideal backdrop of mountains and fields; it’s heavenly. As the weather began to warm up in the Spring, I decided I wanted to find a way to really take advantage of the path while getting myself and my lab, Toby, in shape. I decided to take up something completely new and a little scary for me—running.

I’m a gadget lover, which should come as no surprise considering my career choices. Oddly enough, one of the main exercise motivators for me is technology. The one true exercise program that I’ve stuck with for years is on my Nintendo Wii (My Fitness Coach ). So, it only makes sense that if I’m going to run I want to enhance my experience with technology. Luckily, I have the perfect tool for outdoor activities right in my pocket—my iPhone!

I had been turned on to the Couch-to-5k program as a gradual way to learn to run with a low incidence of injury. After doing some research, I decided to go with the Get Running iPhone app from Splendid Things. I love that it uses simple GUI, has integrated iPod controls and motivational prompts from a soothing human voice. I paired the program with Vibram KSOs which are minimalist running shoes to simulate barefoot running. Personally, I think an awesome pair of shoes is a great example of technology despite the lack of flashing lights and an LCD.

The nine-week program went swimmingly and I found myself left feeling excited to have run a few 5k durations, but once I hit week 10, I was on my own and wasn’t sure where to go next. I learned that while I enjoyed exploring further distances, I really had more fun running quickly. I decided I wanted to focus on speed rather than distance, but for that, I needed a way to measure my pace. Ok, what fun and affordable gadgets could I use now?

I started with Nike+ after picking up a sensor for only $2 at our famous Garage Sale. After a few runs it was deemed that either the sensor was defective or my Vibrams weren’t able to hold it in the correct position. The tracking was way off from reality and I honestly found the Nike+ iPhone app to be limited and dry. It was time to really take advantage of my iPhone and turn my attention to GPS-enabled apps.

I started with RubiTrack, on a recommendation from a friend who is a serious runner. The free version yielded accurate results, but I again found the interface to be a bit boring and if I wanted to stick with the system and sync with my computer I was going to need to shell out $14.99 for the full iPhone app and a whopping $39.99 for the computer app. I just couldn’t justify that for a seasonal hobby.

I owe great thanks my blog reader who turned me on to RunKeeper. I love it! The free app does a beautiful job of tracking my runs and it automatically syncs to the easy-to-use and well designed RunKeeper website. One of the things that frustrated me with Nike+ is that I had to plug my phone into my computer for the data to sync to the Nike website. As a MobileMe user, I very rarely plug my phone into my computer, so it seemed like an unnecessary hassle. RunKeeper wirelessly syncs my data and allows me to see full Google Maps of my runs, watch how my pace changes, track elevation changes, and it even estimates how many calories I’ve burned. It does all of this without my needing anything but my iPhone and the app; no clunky sensor for my shoe.

I recently upgraded to the RunKeeper Pro version for $9.99. I personally think it’s worth every penny. The pro version gives me integrated iPod support and allows me to set targets and training schedules. For those of you in more populated areas, the RunKeeper website can hook you up with runners in your area for support and group runs. You can also create and share your favorite routes. I’m so pleased to have found a GPS-enabled iPhone app that works well, is regularly updated and is affordable; I highly recommend it!

Do you have a favorite app for exercise? I’d love to hear about it!

 
   
     
  iOS 4 Is Here: 100+ Features Are Worth the Wait!  
   
 

Apple released iOS 4 yesterday, and with that, over 100 new features. With the release of the iPhone 4 only days away, most of us are prepping our current phones to see what’s in store!

To download iOS 4, follow these steps (or see image below):

  1. Connect your iPhone (3G/3GS or gasp—iPhone 4!).
  2. When iTunes opens, make sure you are using the latest version (iTunes 9.2). If not, get it here.
  3. Select your iPhone under Devices in the Source list.
  4. In the iPhone Summary pane, click, Check for Update.
  5. Click Download and Install.

Be aware that this may take a very l-o-n-g time… some users are reporting that it takes over an hour for their phones to sync once downloaded. Do not disconnect your iPhone until the update has finished.

Here’s a recap of what you’ll see in the latest version of Apple’s mobile OS:

Multitasking
Now you can run your favorite third-party app—and switch between them instantly—without slowing down the performance of the foreground app or draining the battery unnecessarily.

Folders
Organize apps into folders with drag-and-drop simplicity. Get faster access to your favorites and browse and manage up to 2160 apps.

Even better Mail
See messages from all your accounts in a unified inbox, organize messages by threads, open attachments in third-party apps, and more.

iBooks
More than a great ebook reader, iBooks is also an amazing place to browse and shop for books, day or night.

Create playlists
Create custom playlists right on your iPhone.

5x digital zoom
Get closer to your subjects by zooming in up to 5x.

Tap to focus video
While shooting video, tap the display to choose where to focus.

Faces and Places in Photos
View photos based on who’s in them and where they were taken.

Home screen wallpaper
Change the background wallpaper on your Home screen.

Gift apps
Send apps as gifts to your friends or family.

Spell checking
A built-in dictionary automatically suggests words and corrects spelling. It works in Mail, Notes, and other apps.

Wireless keyboard support
Pair a keyboard based on Bluetooth wireless technology with your iPhone.

We’ll be writing more about the features shortly, once we’ve had a chance to play! Good luck!

*An important compatibility note: iOS 4 works with iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 3G. Not all features are compatible with all devices. For example, multitasking is available only with iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS.

(Open in new tab to enlarge)

 
   
     
  How to (Partially) Opt Out of iAd  
   
 

A big feature of iOS 4 is Apple’s new advertising platform, iAd, and one of iAd’s defining features is the ability to collect geolocation data and share it with advertisers. I imagine the technology will one day allow advertisers to know what aisle you’re browsing at the grocery store in order to feed relevant advertising.

Because Safari 5’s Reader function typically hides the ads on the website you visit, we should probably expect targeted ads from iAd to appear in the currently clutter-free format. iAd will use the data collected from your iPhone, and eventually will probably push advertising into Safari’s Reader mode.

Luckily, Apple allows you to opt-out of location-specific advertising, at least in iOS (formerly iPhone OS). Simply point your browser to oo.apple.com. It won’t disable the advertising, but it will prevent your location data from being shared with Apple.

Apple does take privacy seriously. If you take the time to read the full terms and conditions of any piece of software, you know that they’re pretty detailed and often scary. Apple says “You may still see ads related to the contrent on a web page or in an application or based on other non-personal information. This opt-out applies only to Apple advertising services and does not affect interest-based advertising from other advertising networks.”

 
   
     
  Small Dog Is Hiring!  
   
 

Don announced a few weeks ago in one of our other newsletters, Kibbles and Bytes, that we’re opening our third store in a few months.

This store will be in Manchester, NH in the Mall of New Hampshire, and we are looking for entrepreneurial, driven, focused, and passionate Mac lovers to join our team.

Check out Smalldog.com/jobs to see what’s available. We also have openings in our existing Waitsfield and South Burlington, VT locations!

 
   
     
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