iPhone 5

Originally, I had every intention of waiting until the next iPhone before upgrading mine as I had the 4S (last years model) and the changes weren’t signifigant. I felt that the main feature of the iPhone 5 was the fact that it supported LTE networks and we didn’t have that service from AT&T in the Provo area at the time the iPhone 5 launched. Also, I couldn’t get an on contract upgrade price until next May, so I’d have to pay an almost double cost + 2 more years or get an off contract phone at full price which is fairly expensive.

A couple weeks ago though I found out that LTE was now available and somehow the Provo/Orem area was the first area in Utah to get this service. AT&T has said Salt Lake should have it by the end of the year, so anytime this month they should also be switched on. This certainly made the iPhone 5 a little more compelling upgrade as LTE speeds are actually faster than my home internet connection right now, so it is like having wifi anywhere I go.

Around the time that I found this out, I started keeping an eye on ebay to see if I could find a good price on a used one. Most of the time though they were selling for almost full price ,even if used, as some international buyers are picking them up if they aren’t available in their country yet and are willing to pay a premium. Late last week though, I found one for a very good price. I knew with selling my immaculate 4S, I’d only be paying a little over $100 for the upgrade in the end, so I went for it.

The phone arrived yesterday and it does show some wear that I knew about, but nothing major that I couldn’t live with and on the same day I sold my 4S for what I wanted out of it. I then went to an AT&T store to get a nano sim card which is new to this model. They were busy, so I had a bit of a wait, but had no issues getting the card activated. They didn’t charge me for it either and I’d read some had to pay $10 for the sim, so that was nice.

 

 

The first thing I did was a speed test on the LTE service and the results certainly speak for them self.

 

The little upgrades are certainly nice. I can tell the colors are more saturated on the new screen which makes them pop more than as compared to the 4S. You can tell it is slightly faster with the new processor especially when installing apps and launching them. I also like the new lightning connector where it is reversible and much smaller.

As far as a recommendation though, I’d say if you qualify for an upgrade which most likely means you have an iPhone 4 or lower, then go for it. If you have a 4S, the upgrades are nice, but really the only one worth upgrading for is the LTE service.

 

 

MoviePass

A little over a month ago I read on Engadget about MoviePass which sounded like a promising service. Basically you pay $30 a month and it gets you into an unlimited amount of movies at the theatre with the stipulation that you can only go to one a day, no 3D, or IMAX. Considering how many movies I go to in a month, it seemed like a decent enough deal and a great way to see those movies that I’m only somewhat curious about, but wouldn’t normally spend the price of a full ticket on.

I signed up to get on the waiting list for the beta and about a week later I received an email that I could sign up. After sign up you have to wait for your movie pass card which is essentially a debit card. I received mine about another week after signing up.

The process of using the movie pass is a little bit of work. Being someone a little more tech savvy I don’t find it a problem, but could see it being an issue with your average consumer. When you get to the theatre, you have to “check in” first with the phone app in order for the debit card to work at the theatre kiosk or ticket window. In order to check in, you open the app, pick your theatre, show/time, and tap check in at theatre. After that, it verifies that you are within 100 yards at the theatre with gps and then you are presented with a message telling you that you can now use your movie pass card. Now you basically have to do the same thing of picking your movie all over again at the kiosk and swiping your movie pass card.

While I don’t think many will have an issue with this once they get the process down, it just feels a bit clunky. I think it would have been nicer if they could have worked with a service like fandango that would give you a barcode ticket that would be scanned by the ticket taker. This would avoid having to use the debit card, going to the kiosk/ticket window and rechosing your show. My guess is that the fees to integrate like this were probably too much, but it’d certainly be a better way to go in my opinion. The other area that I think they could improve is in the app. It’d be nice if the initial screen used the gps to figure out what theatre you were at and it automatically showed the list of movies at that theatre instead of still have to find your theatre from the theatre list. It’d only save a few seconds, but it’d at least save a couple taps from the user perspective.

Regardless, once you get the process down and if you go to a lot of movies, I think it is worth the cost. Their site is https://www.moviepass.com where you can sign up to be invited to the beta, but if you’d like instant access hit me up as I have a few invites left to bypass the waiting period.

Macbook Pro w/ Retina Display

I recently upgraded to the Macbook Pro w/ Retina display and thought I’d post a few of my thoughts about it. This is the Macbook Pro that I’ve been waiting/wanting for a few years now. When the Air was originally announced several years ago, I loved how thin/portable it was, but it lacked in some of the things that I love about the pro, mainly the extra graphics/processing power and screen size. I figured at some point we’d get to a pro in a somewhat similar form factor, but didn’t know how long of a wait that would be. I think the main holdback has been that the cost of solid state drives haven’t really dropped as quickly as originally thought. In a Pro machine you certainly want plenty of storage, so while 64gb is fine for the ultra portable air, a Pro should have something much more sizable. I think this and the new Retina display are what kept the price of this new machine a lot higher and also forced Apple to keep it separate and not replace their older Macbook Pro line, but at the same time they have said this is the future of their pro machines. The way I see it, is that in a year or two once Solid State Drive pricing goes even lower and the Retina display becomes cheaper to make, these will replace the current lineup of 15″ Macbook Pros at their lower price points, but Apple wanted to get these out there for the people that have been wanting it.

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Luke Jedi Flash Drive

While wandering the exhibitor hall at Celebration VI, I happened across the Mimoco booth. I always thought their flash drives were fun, but had never bought one. I found out that they had a fairly new Luke Jedi model and decided I had to finally get one. I bought the 8GB size and they were also on sale during the convention. It’s certainly a fun misc item for a character focus collector.

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Shawn In Carbonite

While at Star Wars Celebration, Disney set up their d-tech carbonite experience that they did during the Disney Star Wars weekends. Basically, they have you make a few faces and then you pick the one you like. That image is then turned Into a 3D model. A few weeks later your figure arrives in the mail. I originally thought these were plastic, but they are actually made out of a sandstone type rock. I think it turned out well and makes a unique collectible.

Here’s a link to some information about the experience and some pictures of my figure.