Sunday, September 29, 2013

iOS 7 Review

So, I waited a little over a week to write this, because I wanted to have enough time to truly play with iOS7 and get used to it.

My review comes with one primary caveat: I do not own an iPhone. I use a 5th generation iPod Touch. This means my review will focus heavily on the new Music app and how the new system handles launching and using other apps.


  • I am loving the "swipe up" to access wifi, bluetooth, and brightness. The quick launch of the apps located there is also nice, but I don't find the ones chosen to be particularly useful.
  • I like *some* of the new aesthetics. The "flatness" has taken some getting used too, but I do like how they have overall simplified the icons for their flagship apps. 
  • "Swipe down" for search is also nice.
  • I love the new method for closing apps in the multitask window by swiping upward, it's much simpler.
  • I'm sure parents will like the new lock down options for adding and deleting apps. It is actually possible to remove access to the App Store now.
  • New Safari. The new tab layout is much easier on the eyes and finger, and in my opinion, loads sites faster.
  • I hate the new Music app. In their effort to make "iTunes Radio" a hit and the default, it is now what launches when you try to access your music library. They have also made it considerably more difficult to access your music and your playlists.
  • Playlists have been redone in such a way that it is difficult and confusing to add or delete songs from existing playlists. I spent around an hour trying to figure out how to do this, and gave up and made a new playlist from scratch.
  • The app-launch animations imitate what Android already does with the zoom-out opening window, however, while the animation takes about the same amount of time on my Galaxy Note II and my iTouch, the iTouch's animation makes it *feel* like the application is launching much slower.
  • I can't even notice the much-touted "parallax" effect unless I'm looking for it really closely. I don't get the sense of depth that was such a big deal. That said, I can easily believe the reports of users experiencing motion sickness from it. If you are sensitive to motion, the fact that it is hard to notice could conceivably make the sensation worse.
  • You can't downgrade back to iOS 6. Which means that if you don't like having your eyes seared, or have motion sickness, or notice it draining your battery more, you can't go back.
  • My battery lasts about 8 hours of semi-constant use on minimum brightness. Any brightness high enough to see in a well lit room drops that to about 6. On iOS6 I could trust my iTouch to last 24-36 hours of my normal usage (including standby.)
Things I don't use: I don't use Siri, or the camera (I still own a real camera, kthx), I don't have the ability to call out. I don't use the calendar, although my mother has said there are significant improvements in that feature. 

So basically, iOS7 has some nice new features. It also has some really annoying problems, like draining battery.  I will not be putting it on my now-ancient iPad2. I've seen rumors that it will slow it down, and the battery life is plenty strained by iOS6 without adding all the new background stuff iOS7 has in it. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Diamond and Fan Cowl

When I first started fiber arts, crochet was this bizarre thing that as a knitter, I could not fathom and didn't feel I would ever be able to fathom. Then, about 10 months ago I inherited my grandmothers old hooks, so I decided what the hell, can't hurt to try. 

It has now reached the point where I should really consider myself a crocheter first and knitter second. I still haven't mastered thread work, but things like color changes feel so much more natural to me.

I've even begun to learn how to read...charts! (Which I still cannot do to save my life for knitting)

So, anyway, here is my Fall-themed project, adapted from a flat diamond and fan pattern to circular by yours truly. All three yarns are Sublime Cotton DK. I'm not sure how we'll the sheen will show up in photos, but it has a lovely silk appearance, even though it is 100% cotton. This is hands down my favorite cotton yarn.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Diablo 3!?

So the husband and I picked up Diablo 3 on Xbox 360 this last weekend. We both bought copies of the PC version last year, and while we enjoyed it, the pay-to-win feel of it really dampened our long-term devotion to the game. Total, I think we beat the normal difficulty together and then I stopped, and I think he made it to Inferno before he stopped. (Incidentally, Blizzard has announced they are closing the PC auction house, citing the game-breaking features above.)

The console version is actually a lot of fun. The removal of the real money auction house and the subsequent revised drop rates for rare and legendary items makes the game a lot more functional. It's not pay-to-win anymore.

Blizzard has also mapped each major spell to a button on the controller, the point-and-click movement is gone, replaced by Torchlight-like control of the characters, making the controller feel very natural and simple to use. Unusually, I actually prefer the controller to the keyboard for this game.

If you need a new dungeon-running game, I would recommend console Diablo 3 highly. If you are a PC gamer who hasn't bought D3 yet, I'd still get it on console.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dragon*Con 2013

Here is a selection of my favorite photos I took while at Dragon*Con this year.
It was my first con of a non-professional type, and I loved it.

The 10th Doctor

The 11th Doctor (He's Ginger!!)

Beauty and her Beast

Princesses Merida and Belle

Spider-man getting fitted for a corset


Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez

I got this right when the dude(?) in yellow jumped. It was awesome.

Mrs. Frizzle!!

Navi, Link, Shadow Link

Dr. Frank N. Furter and Rocky

Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask


Ulquiorra Cifer

Vash the Stampede


Yes, a lot of these characters are from Bleach, but that's largely because those are the characters I was able to recognize right off.

I cannot wait for Dragon*Con 2014.