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Friday, 30 June 2017


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"It's not a great photograph, except that it is to me." This is why most of us take pictures, right? Memory making ... family photojournalism.

I completely agree about the iPhone. It literally changed the world before our eyes. It's single greatest feature is inclusiveness (I know there are still many people around the world that cannot yet afford one , but we are getting closer)
It makes life more enjoyable and connect's us in ways we never dreamed possible.
I got a text from my daughter this morning, she is at our house near the ocean, she brought her Hasselblad and some film, she forgot her meter. I said "There's an App for that" and it even gives color temperature.
I opened "Light Meter" took a screen shot, and texted it to her.

We had our first Grandchild last year and he has been documented and shared and "Face Timed", more completely and enjoyably than I could have ever imagined.
Your picture of Xander is perfect, and it is a treasure.
You could have also done video with sound. Mr Jobs had a very big Idea.
When People say that Apple hasn't been innovative since the iPhone, it seems to me that they are not getting the enormity of what they did.
We are lucky, those of us of a 'certain age' to have witnessed a 50 year period where the world changed more than all of the rest of our history. We remember a time when there was one rotary phone in the house, and maybe No TV, when people left the home they were essentially unreachable. This gives us perspective.
Technology cuts both ways but on balance I think we are very lucky to be a witness to all this.

Mike, the most important part of this post is..........
"It's not a great photograph, except that it is to me."

An opposing view: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/29/apple-iphone-ten-years-old-crippling-addiction

Surely the internet beats the iPhone

One thing you could do with the old phone was physically express your anger/displeasure by slamming the handset on to the base. iPhone? Meh.

When I read the title and saw the photo, I assumed the text was about the piano. I must say I'm disappointed.

It was even nicer when I picked up the handset and the operater said "Number, Please." If I didn't remember the number, I"d just ask for Johnson's Hardware (or whatever), much like Andy Griffith in Mayberry.

Our number was 128 (one-two-eight). Grandma's number was 80 (eight-oh), the next door neighbor was 261 (two-six-one). What more could you want?

I think the Telephone Company (Ma Bell) charged us about $2 a month!

Has anyone tried calling the phone number on the dial to see if it's still a working number? Be sure to ask for extension 56.

I cant argue with you about the I phone being the most amazing device. I'm certainly guilty of borrowing my wife's if I don't have a "real camera" handy! I also believe that it may have had the most rapid and profound impact on humanity of perhaps any invention man has created. Like most creations of human kind these effects can be very good or unbelievably bad. Taken as a whole I tend to believe that the way we are using these devices , not just as cameras :( -is changing our behavior for the worse, in a big way. Here is a link to a CNN article that is worth reading-
and that's just in ten years.
My wife and I were recently on vacation and eating dinner in a café that had a view of miles of sea ice, dotted with magnificent icebergs. Most of the people there, if not all, were over 50. Yet at least 1/2 of them were on their phones instead of looking out at the incredible scene before them. And yes they were tourists like us.

I'm sure the iPhone 7 Plus is good at all the things you say, but the fact it has no headphone jack is the deal-breaker of deal-breakers for me.

Your iphone image is impressive, more so than those I take, but my smartphone is admittedly several generations behind.

I take issue with your statement the computer "is not nearly as slick and handy -- nor even as vesatile". It depends on what you're doing. I do websites and desktop publishing and photo and music editing, work that I could never do as well on a smartphone (or tablet for that matter). There's near pixel-level precision needed for some tasks which benefit from my large monitor and careful calibration.

Handy? Maybe not in a literal sense, but it's a handy tool for difficult work. I'd agree smartphones are great for enjoyment and may I say "frivolous" activities and lifestyle assistance, but they're simply a different tool.

And I'd add that the sound quality of most smartphone connections is far worse than the old-fashioned landlines -- but then I'm also an audio enthusiast.

I couldn't agree more.

An example: An iPhone can be a whole media studio and broadcasting building all by itself. You can write on it, record audio and video, photograph, and publish it all world-wide in a minute, all in very good quality.
I don't even notice it in my side pocket of my cargo pants, and I've taken quite a few pictures which I'm very happy with.

I *also* love my 13-inch iPad Pro, that's my daily-home-empire central. I have it on a floor stand, and use most of the time an external keyboard.

In 2007 I decided it was time to take my 15-year old son Julian to the geek Mecca, San Francisco Macworld Expo, to which I'd been going (sometimes as a journalist) for a few years.

We rented a cheap room near the Moscone Center and got up at 4am to get a good spot in line for the keynote. Once inside, we joined my brothers in the audience and watched as Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world.

On our way out, before we'd even left the venue, we talked about the phone and decided right then and there that the iPhone was Steve's Trojan Horse, his way of getting an Apple OS into the pocket of everyone on the planet (since the Mac was still in the low single digits of the market). It was a sideways shift in Apple's plan for world domination. It turned out we were right.

My son is still a major geek and now a highly-paid Mac consultant, and he carries an iPod Touch and a MacBook. But strangely, he uses an old flip phone, not an iPhone. Go figure. Maybe he's onto something.

It's funny, until last autumn I had a 10 year old flip phone that got used once or twice per year. I replaced it with a 2nd hand iPhone 5 that also hardly ever gets used. I've texted a few times, which is kind of neat, except I have to go running for my reading glasses. And if I leave it on, the battery drains too quickly. I've only made a couple of phone calls, mostly to make sure it works. I've never taken a photo or video with it. I can't seem to warm up to these things. I have only one screenful of apps and never use any of them, except for the weather thing once or twice. I don't have a data plan and when I'm not at phone I leave it off because I don't like being contacted when I'm out doing something. I don't understand why people want to be available all the time.

Yes it's an amazing thing, but I don't really care for it.

I have an iPad too, and after 2 years I only have 2 screenfuls of apps, and I rarely use any of them. I use mostly for streaming movies or TV shows to the Apple TV thingee. I worked in the sciences and in IT as a software developer, and I've never thought of myself as a Luddite, but I truly have minimal use for these things. But then, I have never used my home phone much either.

The couple of times I did have my iPhone with me, when I was going to meet someone somewhere, they tried to contact me and I never heard it "ring" nor did I feel it vibrate. If it weren't for the fact that there are pay phones anywhere and I may need to call a tow truck one day, I'd trash the thing. The old flip phone was handier in that sense because it was small and I could stash it anywhere and not worry about breaking its screen.

Am I the only one left who feels this way?

@ Mike: "This is what my family's phone looked like"

There are letters next to each number, on that phone. You can send texts! : )

Not long ago we went to a cordless phone. Perhaps one day, when they do away with land lines, I'll have to get a cellular phone.
For photos, I'll stay with my medium format roll film camera.

Just a slight parade-raining-on comment here: The turn by turn directions are not a function of the phone alone. Navigation, at present time, requires the network. The actual computing is done somewhere else.

When I was involved with computer marketing and software support in Europe, I was blessed to be able to travel peacefully without being tied by a cell phone to a home office.

I'm a luddite then. I use my "smart phone" more like a "dumb phone" - to make and receive phone calls and the occasional text. There's one thing that I have avoided my whole life, and that's becoming emotionally and physically dependent upon anything outside of myself (my wife excluded) apart from survival needs. Following the crowd is another thing I have always avoided along with worrying about what other people think and being afraid of missing out.

What's wrong with a single use device anyway (such as a camera)? Swiss Army knives or multitools are useful but I wouldn't use one to make dinner instead of my lovely Damascus steel Japanese knife. I like devices designed to do one thing (well) and not everything just satisfactorily.

The smartphone simply encourages what I would call "diffusion" in people, being the opposite of focus. The idea of a smartphone is great as an idea but combine it with the average human and it's not so good. The depth of your life experience is inversely proportional to the number of hours spent on a smartphone IMO. Personally I think humans are starting to lose the plot. I'd rather have a life than pretend that I have one.

You could have been a decade late with the iPhone news and I wouldn't have been upset. Just saying.

I'd say it's what the iPhone represents in terms of design and connectivity, rather than the physical device itself. At the risk of pedantry, it's the combination of hardware (device), software (iOS and iTunes) and the content (music, books, apps etc), not to mention the networks that are able to shunt all the data. Without any one of those, it wouldn't be the same.
As an aside, how long will it be til we stop talking about programs and only refer to apps?
It was a game changer for Apple in moving away from completely closed systems, where Apple did both the hardware and software in the desktops, to the open-but-controlled envitonment of iTunes, plus all the IP deals for music and other content. To quote the late Mr Jobs over 20 years ago from the mid-90s (Apparently Rolling Stone, via Marco Arment via gizmodo)
"The problem is, in hardware you can't build a computer that's twice as good as anyone else's anymore. Too many people know how to do it. You're lucky if you can do one that's one and a third time's better or one and a half time's better. And then it's only six months before everybody else catches up. But you can do it in software."

From The Atlantic, July 2017 ...

For more than a decade, Tom Insel was the director of the National Institute of Mental Health, which made him one of the most influential psychiatrists in the world. But, frustrated by psychiatry's inability to effectively help people suffering from mental illness, he began to question some of the basic premises of his field. So he left for Silicon Valley, where he's trying to use smartphones to reduce the world's mental anguish.

I'll take a wait and see on this one.

It's there all the time for moments like this. Lot of heart in that image.

Your right, the iPhone is an amazing mini computer. I use my 6+ (have not found the need to upgrade) as an alarm clock, text messenger, appointment reminder, Kindle, online banking, Pandora, and the occasional phone call. The camera comes in handy for notes, so I am not there yet using it seriously. The spontaneity of Xander's lovely photo says a lot, and the story behind the photo makes the case for the value of the camera -- always within reach.

Today, I am not as gadgety as most. The only version of the iPad I own (v.1) collects dust on a kitchen counter. It did come in handy when the lone communication with my son was through iMessage during his time spent on the other side of the world. The bigger screen and keyboard of the iPad made it more convenient to use than the iPhone.

My Macbook Pro does not get used, and after a week of not using a brand new SurfacePro given to me by the IT guy at work, I gave it back with no desire to use it. Here I sit at my beloved iMac thinking about gadgets and remembering when the HP 100LX and Flash RAM I was using was state of the art in pocket computing. I was more gadgety back then, but I kinda knew where we were headed. DOS revealed it all to me.

Smartphones are still a GIGO device though. I learned that last week, when I mis-scheduled two appointments and arrived late. I need a better scheduling pattern; do I mark the check-in time or the visit time, or both? In come cases: neither, or wrong.

I also need an app to tell me which burner to turn on when I 'light' the stove. I'm a young 60 like you Mike, but that specific ability left me a few years back. I cannot wait for a touchscreen stove, it seems..

Robert Roaldi: You're in good company with me! (Wonder if I should learn how to "text?")

Technically speaking,the iPhone is not a technology, but an application of a bunch of technologies. Imo, it is not the most amazing technology of our era. But it is a brilliant and timely application/exploitation/aggregation of a number of enabling technologies, from wire-speed wireless to high resolution displays to mems.

[Okay, first I said device, and got complaints. Then I changed it to technology, and more complaints. Shall I change it to "thing"? That might be most accurate.... --Mike]

OK someone please tell me. What does an iPhone really do that other smartphones don't do, that justifies that hefty price? I have a smartphone that's pretty smart and has a pocketable camera. The big Nikon can come out when necessary. I'm not sure I get it.

[I'm sure other phones are just as good. The iPhone happens to be the one I have. --Mike]

Smartphones have multi-core processors and a lot of advanced built-in processing software. Far more of both than most image processors in advanced cameras.

An image does not always rely on lack of noise or depth of field to be good. Sometimes, it is just being there that counts. In fact, that probably applies to 90% of 20th century photography.

But some does. I have never been swept away by a an iPhone landscape shot or portrait, ever. It's all about the joy, surprise and intimacy of the moment. It doesn't really communicate anything about the subject, but that's also a photographic challenge that transcends technology.

I suppose it all depends on why you find a picture interesting, or where you plan to go with your own photography.
An iPhone (or several other smart-phones) are to early 21st century photography what 35mm was to early 20th century photography. It's really more about photojournalism than photography.

A smart phone you already own is the cheapest possible lightmeter, too. I use the charmingly skeuomorphic LightMeter for Android when shooting unmetered cameras.

I, too, stand with Robert Roaldi on this one. I have an aversion to aimless phone chatter and long ago informed both of my West Coast sisters who seem joined at the ear to their phones that when I wanted to spend some quality conversational time, preferably over steaming mugs of Portland coffee, I'd fly out to PDX. And I do, once a year. I don't own a cell phone and, for the kind of photography that interests me, a decent point &shoot works just fine.

I bought the 7s upgrading from the 5. I got into an argument with Siri the other day; she would not go away or shut up so I ended things by shutting the phone off...
The camera is pretty nice; handy, I'd say. As such it is great for visual notes, even for folks who don't have the slightest photographic notion. And therein lies its snapshot value; the recognized moment captured within a rough quality. It speaks to George Eastman's "you press the button, we do the rest." Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of snapshots: found ambiance, apprehending a glimpse of understanding; precious.

2016 Survey of smartphone usage in the UK:

I'm in a minority that doesn't have any, "mobile devices."

"And having seen how most people seem to have become infatuated or addicted to their phones I really think life was better before smart phones...."

Though I agree with all the amazing and brilliant things that others have pointed out that iphone's can do, and enjoy so many of them myself, this remark above is really an important counter point.

The distractions in so many people's lives by social media on their iphone, or the agressive mobbing of Twitter, the ubiquity and easy availability of hardcore porn, even for children, and the general alienation that grows when people get addicted and use them in every spare moment instead of interacting with their environment or real people around them are just some of the negative accompaniments of these devices. It is not all good.

Nowadays man without phones are not in to the new world. Phones are the life of people and this thing makes them or us happy. And phones are helpful except from deliver text message and calls it was helping people in checking maps,words,and even capture moments that you cannot miss.

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