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Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

LifeProof iPhone Case Review

Posted by mikenopolis on November 29, 2011

I’ve been using a LifeProof case (2nd generation) for my iPhone 4S for over two weeks now and thought I would share my thoughts on this rather expensive ($79.99) accessory.

I’ve always been extremely protective of my electronics, especially the mobile ones. I would cut screen protectors out for every phone I’ve ever had (which is a LOT of phones) and carefully put them on the screen before I even turn it on. So protecting a glass phone that has the potential to shatter into billions of pieces is very important to me. I’ve been asked many times in the past on why I would want to hide the beauty of my phone with a case and the answers is “It only takes one mistake for that beauty to turn into a burn victim” I got the phone primarily for it’s abilities and ease of use (and the hundreds I’ve probably spent on apps over the years) and the “sexiness” is pointless since so many people has the same phone. I would like to keep it as new as possible so it will pay for my next iPhone (which my iPhone and iPhone 3GS has in the past).

There are plenty of iPhone cases out there that will protect your investment well, some do it with minimal bulk, others add so much shock absorption material you can’t even tell it’s an iPhone anymore. Like many others I was (still am) a fan of the OtterBox cases, I had the defender series for my iPhone 3GS, my iPad and on my iPhone 4S and always felt that I can drop these devices HARD and not cringe. But as much as I enjoyed the protection, the bulk was cumbersome in certain situations. Getting it out of my pocket while I was driving was next to impossible. And dust would get trap under the screen protector/film after some use since there are holes everywhere for accessibility purposes. As some of you may know, build up of dust can cause hairline scratches, my iPhone 3GS’s chrome trim looked like a crime scene no matter how much I tried to protect it. This ensures NOTHING rubs up against your phone.

When I read up on LifeProof, I was attracted mostly because it is 100% shielded from the environment which means I would no longer have to worry about dust scratches. So when they fixed a few minor issues and released the 2nd generation case I ordered it and it was shipped and received within the week. Upon receiving it I could not believe how thin was! Note that this case is tested to Military Specifications MIL-STD-810F-516.5. (dropped onto concrete from a height of 6.6ft.) AND IP-68 (dust proof and water submersion). Some of you may feel cheated because how cheap the case feels. It is light and flimsy without a phone in it. But once the phone is in it feels solid and I started to wonder how I was able to carry an OtterBox for so long. The LifeProof’-ed iPhone slips in and out of my pockets easily and no one has complain about the call quality (1st generation had “tunneling” issues).


The back is so thin that light just shines through, but don’t let this deter you.

What you have to remember is that under normal situations, when you drop your phone, it will land on a flat surface, the most likely impact points are all protected so your phone will not be damaged (this is why the Apple’s bumper works well even though it only wraps around the phone’s border. If your argument is that cases such as the OtterBox defender has 1/10″ of plastic and silicon protecting the back. That is a valid point because if you were to drop the phone and the back lands on a rock or drop a hammer on the back, the OtterBox would be a better barrier. BUT there is a 50% chance the phone would land screen side down, in that case the rock/hammer would shatter the screen since there really isn’t much protection there. My point is that LifeProof offers enough REALISTIC protection without adding much bulk AND it is waterproof without distorting sound quality which is one thing OtterBox does not even offer!

One thing I do like about this company is that founder/CEO, Gary Rayner, puts himself out there, he doesn’t hide behind his employees when he demonstrates the functionality of this product on the company’s YouTube channel He’s clearly showing you how it works in a day to day situation, such as recording your child playing at the beach, or playing in the snow or if you were just plain clumsy like Gary’s sidekick/LifeProof’s Social Media Manager Dusty is. Gary does spend time looking at customer’s concerns and complaints and deals with them. Whoever is in charge of their Twitter account is paying attention to what people are saying and helping with customers who are experiencing problems.

The inside of the case is lined with rubber bumpers which helps with absorbing shock, when you put the phone down, neither the front nor back ever touches the surface because of the ridge around that phone creating a “lay on the table design” This is one of the reason they did not use excessive bulk to create protection, if the phone drops, there’s no impact on the phone itself.

The instructions tells you to submerge the empty case to ensure it is waterproof from the factory, once that is confirmed you can put in your phone. The biggest problem I had with this was actually cleaning it enough so that there’s no dust trap under the screen, it took me a few tries because would you really want to be looking at THIS all the time? My advice is to put the phone in and check it carefully BEFORE you snap on the back.


Four specks of dust trapped under the film

The only way dust will get into the phone is when you open up the charging door which is made to fit the 30pin connector that came with your phone, unless your 3rd party connector is smaller or the same size you will have to get a pricey ($20) RadTech extender. Once your connector is on, there’s very little room for dust to get in. One thing I have noticed was dust settling on the black foam over night, I’ve used a new/clean soft makeup brush to lightly brush them off just to ensure a flawless seal. Another way dust can get in is through the earphone port which is seal up with a screw in piece.


The case is said to be snow proof which I have no idea how since there’s absolutely no thermal protection layer. I guess the added layer helps insulate the phone a bit, but you really shouldn’t have the phone in snow type cold for too long since it is not made to operate well for long period of time in fidget conditions. However because it is water proof you would not have to worry about snow melting into the phone! Personally I can’t wait for my next snowboarding trip so I can use my phone to take pictures/videos. I’ve never brought my DSLR or even my point and shoot cameras out because I’m afraid of the water damage.

To summarize this post. I’m fully satisfied that my phone is secured in it’s own shell away from all elements that can harm it. I’m glad that if I ever dropped it in a normal setting I would not have to worry. I’m glad that if I ever get thrown into a pool, I would not go to prison for killing the person who threw me in. $79.99 is definitely a steep price to pay, But depending on how much of a klutz you are, it might be worth it since a replacement is in the $600 range since you can no longer get it at the subsidized price of $199. As I’ve always said about everything, as long as you understand the limitation of a product before your purchase, you can not be dissatisfied. LifeProof never claimed their product to be able to survive a 12 story drop or being run over by a car. It is more for someone who was talking on their phone, trips and drops their phone which then bounces into a puddle. THAT is life…thus LifePROOF.

Don’t forget to go to their warranty validation site to receive a full year of warranty. They are not trying to cheat you out of a one year warranty, I think it is to make sure you know the limitation of the case and not try to get reimbursed for your excessive abuse down the line.

Here are some other pictures of the caseImage

The edge of the case is surrounded by rubber that absorbs shock, the home button has a tiny square sticker that allows a more tactile feel when button is press through the cover.Image

The entire front of the screen is covered by a scratch resistant film, touch screen responsiveness does not seem to be affected. There is a slight outward curve (pillow effect) in the film which requires slightly more pressure to register my touch, but over the two weeks it has improved dramatically and it now feels like nothing is on it. However there is still a slight bump at the earpiece end due to the piece of Gore-Tex and other plastic film over the proximity sensor.Image

The camera and LED flash is covered by good quality anti reflective glass which doesn’t seem to affect picture and video quality. Using glass as opposed to plastic for waterproofing is one way you can tell LifeProof did not skimp on quality.

Posted in Apple, iPhone, Technology | 2 Comments »

Steve Jobs, My Father & Cancer

Posted by mikenopolis on October 6, 2011

Title seems like I’m saying Steve Jobs IS my father. but no. My father will ALWAYS be more important to me.

I knew the day was coming, never thought it would be this soon. The death of Steve Jobs on October 5, 2011 made me tear up not only because I’m a fan of Apple Products (I’m not a fan boy! I have around 16 computers in two residence, only six are Macs two if which are too old to use, I would not be able to do my job without a PC) but because my father passed way years ago at the age of 55 of cancer also. Every time I saw Steve in the media I would tear up a little because he looked like he was deteriorating exactly as my father did. As shown in this picture below he looked like he was wasting away in front of the world. My father had lung cancer but had never smoked a day in his life. The doctor told him it might have been caused by the lead that is in solder (which he can’t get away from being an electrical & mechanical engineer). They removed the tumor, treated him with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, I was driving back and forth daily because my mother is too weak and physically handicapped to care for him those were really hard times and I was contemplating of quitting college, but instead I just took on a really light class load for about two years. The doctors gave him a clean bill of health and we were all happy. He got really thin as the years went by, but no cancer was detected until 4 years later. At this point tumors were showing up on film in his brain, liver, pancreas and lungs, he lost the battle about a year later.

Cancer is a horrible disease, I really hope there will one day be a cure for these death sentences. I’ll probably die from cancer and so will many of you. It is a slow, painful and annoying death. All the treatments they can offer with either help or prolong the agony. If I had a choice I rather be doing whatever and just be shot in the back of the head, it’s messy but it would be quick. I do not fear death, I fear pain.

For those who thinks Steve Jobs was a great innovator I have to agree with you, but he did not invent from the ground up, he took other’s failures, and improved upon them. A popular saying is that “Microsoft will get it right the third time, Apple gets it right the first time” the fact is, Apple sat and waited for Microsoft to screw up and learned from them before coming out with their own. I had plenty of Windows Mobile phones and HandSpring/Palm Treos before the iPhone. Those phones worked great, but the VISION of Steve Jobs put doubt in my mind as to how much better and easier it would’ve/should’ve been. The iPad is not the original tablet, years prior to their debut there were plenty of Windows based tablets, there were slates and convertibles and even some sliders. I’m STILL using my HP TC1100, in my opinion and limited budget, it is still the best device for 3D CAD use. The iPad has it’s limitations but it also can have a place in our everyday lives, this is what Steve Jobs was able to see.

I say “vision” because Steve Jobs didn’t actually make the products, he’s only the conductor. It is sad that we don’t know the team of people who actually had to work long hours to make all these products possible, those who took Steve’s ideas and vision into a physical form. To you Bill Gates and Microsoft lovers, do you remember DOS? If it wasn’t for Steve Job’s vision of a easy friendly user interface (GUI) there is a possibility that we would still be using a variation of DOS. Fonts? I can’t believe that was Jobs’ idea, we take it for granted because it’s been there this whole time. I’ve seen old news papers and ads and knew fonts existed prior to personal computers, I just didn’t think consumers were unable to change it on their computers at one point.

To all the people behind ALL the great products we use today, Thank You for making our lives easier and fancier. I hope we will one day have a leader like Steve Jobs. He will be missed.

Created by 19y/o design student Jonathan Mak of Hong Kong

I redid this awesome icon in the CLASSIC Color Apple rainbow icon with Steve Jobs’ silhouette a few different ways. Can’t believe Jonathank Mak made this prior (August 2011) to Jobs’ death! He made it after Jobs announced his resignation from his position as CEO. It would be cool if Apple used this icon as a memorial.

Same Icon - I made it into the classic icon color Black Border on Face

No Black Border

Black with White Glasses, Classic Color Logo

Posted in Apple, Computer, Family, iPhone, iPod, Mac, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Funny Short Comment on Verizon iPhone

Posted by mikenopolis on January 11, 2011

I read this on Gizmodo, it was written by Jason Chen, just thought it was funny . It was too long to tweet, thought I’d post it here. I wonder it the horde of new Verizon iPhone users will slow down their network, and at the same time would all the people leaving AT&T’s iPhone relieve the pressure that’s been on the network for the past 3.5 years?

“Are you excited? Verizon iPhone. It’s like finding out that the father that left you in the care of your abusive mother for four years—the same father who promised to show up for Christmas every year but didn’t—is finally really back to take you off her hands”

Posted in Apple, iPhone, Technology | Leave a Comment »

One Week With The iPad, My View/Review

Posted by mikenopolis on August 14, 2010

I am typing this on the Apple iPad, we’ll see how well it goes. I’m awkwardly sitting here with one leg crossed and the iPad is sitting on the bag (man purse) I use to carry it.

At the time of writing this I have owned the device for a little over a week and have carried it everyday with the exception of the weekend. In short, my opinion of the iPad has not changed from my initial thoughts of the device prior to the purchase. Yes, it is a great useful product, and no it really doesn’t do much more than my iPhone or my laptop. It is convenient, got a larger screen, long lasting battery life and there is no boot up time. It is considered cheap if you think $600 is not a lot of money (I got it with $200 worth of gift cards so it was not as painful of a purchase, but take the case and bag into consideration, it adds up). I’m planning on eventually getting the OtterBox Defender case but at the MSRP of $90, I will have to wait until the iPad 2 is announced so the prices will drop.

I carry a laptop with me on a daily basis, sometimes for work reasons, others for personal entertainment. I have found this device lacking when it comes to doing real work (at least in my line of work), but when it comes to personal use such as casual gaming, viewing videos and just browsing the web, this device is enough. For those who say “why do you need an iPad if you have an iPhone?”. Like I mentioned, this entire post is being typed on the iPad, to type this much on an iPhone would be uncomfortable, not to mention, just be plain stupid. This is not really a device of “need” but rather “want”. I do majority of my non-work internet browsing when I’m not at work. I have plenty of computers all around the house, I’ve got laptops and a netbook, but when I lean back and relax I don’t pull my laptop towards me, it sits on the coffee table and would require me to slouch over in order to use it. For years I’ve used my HP TC1100 tablet computer for my couch-topping (laptop-ing on the couch) that machine did the job…at 3.1 lbs and a lot of heat after 20 minutes of medium use, that battery last a little over 3 hours and requires a Wacom digitizer/pen. What I did not enjoy about that tablet was the onscreen keyboard. Unlike the iPad which has a near full size keyboard, the TC1100 has a small onscreen keyboard that you have to poke at with the pen, if I was trying to type this post up with that it would take a vey long time and be very frustrating, the great thing about having a Wacom is that it makes drawing and drafting (one of my many hobbies) really easy. The TC1100 does have a keyboard attachment, however if you were to carry that together with it then it’s tablet form is pointless. This is the reason why I enjoy the iPad, typing is obviously not as natural as a physical keyboard, there’s not tactical feedback and touch typing is difficult, but I’ve typed this much without too much trouble and frustration. Being able to type something without pulling out a pen or attaching a keyboard is what makes the iPad attractive.

When the iPad was announced, like many others, I was disappointed that there was no front facing camera in it, I don’t care for a back facing camera since that would look ridiculous being used as a camera. but being able to video chat via something like skype would be useful, they are probably holding out until the next iteration. I was happy with majority of specs and functions but felt that it would be a waste of money getting it since the second or third generation would probably be faster and/or better because Darth Jobs/iGod has a history of announcing a new versions of products annually. However with the later announcement and release of the iPhone 4, the front facing camera in an iPad was no longer an issue. I would eventually get that or iPhone 4G, iPhone 4GS, iPhone 4S anyway (or whatever they want to call it, my contract would not allow me to get it until March 2011) so there was no point in having another device with a camera. And there is also no point in having the 3G version if you already have a smartphone, don’t go and pay twice for spotty AT&T service.

If you ask me “Should I wait for the next version?” I would say yes…and no. Yes because the next one would most likely be better, faster and probably would have a or two cameras (it’s only logical), thinner, etc and no because it may cost more, I say this because Apple may have been able to keep the iPhone 4’s subsidized price at $200 even with that beautiful Retina display, I don’t know if they can negotiate a 9.7″ Retina LCD that low, so the lowest end iPad 2 or 3 may start off at $699 to even out manufacturing cost. Unlike the iPhone which has gone down in price since its debut in 2007, the iPad price is not subsidized by a cellular provider. Take the Mac Mini for example, I believe the base model used to be $499 when it was first announced/released, then it was $599, the current base model is $699. There MAY be a possibility of a price increase over time. If your needs are the same as mine and you know what to expect from this “not a computer” device, it is a great device to have.

Don’t spend an insane amount on a stand, a $0.99 plastic business card holder will do just fine. Go check out my video on this

10 hour battery
Instant on
Light weight (compared to a laptop)
I typed this entire post from it. No visible battery usage yet!

Initial cost
High cost of cases/bags/accessories
Wifi signal inconsistency
Very specific charger needs (Don’t think a powerstrip WITH USB ports can charge this!
Already purchased iPhone apps looks horrible (Pixelated) in “2X” and doesn’t even use the full screen!

Example of what an iPhone app/game looks like at “2X” on an iPad. As advertised, it does run, but it’s very pixelated, which mean you will have to buy the iPad version if you want the same app to look good and do the screen justice. I don’t think the Retina display can make it into an iPad at a low cost. With the recent rumor of a 7-inch iPad, there may be a possibility of that, however, would the keyboard’s usability be sacrificed?

iPhone game at 2X

Made for the iPad

Posted in Apple, Computer, iPhone, iPod, Mac, Technology | 3 Comments »

Protective Cases For Phones, Laptops, etc.

Posted by mikenopolis on August 9, 2009

I just has lunch with of my friends and one of our discussions was in regards to how scratched up his iPhone was and how both my gf’s iPhone (my 1st gen) and mine is in prestine condition.

I partly blame this on the Apple corporation. When you purchase an iPod, iPhone or even a laptop from them, they often ask if you would like to buy a case to protect your new toy. What they fail to tell the consumers is that they need to remove the case every few days or at least once a week to clean out the dirt, dust, lent, etc. Why? You ask? Because most, if not all cases are not a 100% dust proof, grime gets in through the edges and the button cut outs and often remain between your nice expensive toys and the case. Since the, lets say iPhone is not 100% fitted into the case (by 100% I mean a perfect fit where the phone does not have any “micro” movements) the Phone will rub against the little particles and the so called protective case. Over time this will create tiny scuffs on you phone!

My friend has had his phone for about a year now and it looks like crap. He has NEVER cleaned it out!

So my word of advise. Check the stuff that’s stuck inside your case and clean it out often!

Sorry for any typos. Typed this out on my iPhone.

Posted in Apple, Computer, General, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Apple Store Pissed Me Off When I Purchased The 3GS

Posted by mikenopolis on July 21, 2009

I’ve never had a problem with the staff at the Apple store…until yesterday. Over the weekend my first generation iPhone 2G (as opposed to 3G) crapped out on me. I did get a few missed calls and swore I never heard the phone ring. I thought maybe I was in a noisy area when they called. Eventually I realized that the speaker was extra quiet when the phone rang. Upon further testing, I was able to confirm that the speaker was “blown”, or at least sounds like a normal blown speaker.

I had decided that I was not going to get the 3G or 3GS when they were announced due to their power consumption and small/weak battery. However I rather have a battery depleted phone than a phone with no sound. So yesterday I dragged myself to the Apple store after work to get a new white 16GB iPhone 3GS.

As usual I was greeted by way too many of their staff member. I strolled over to the display of cases specifically looking for the Incase Power Slider since I wanted more battery power, they didn’t have it in stock. I then told the staff (lets call him “Rick”) I wanted a white 16GB iPhone. Apparently he was unable to sell me one and directed me to the front corner of the store where it was roped off. I was instructed to wait there and someone would help me with the iPhone purchase. There were a few more people in front of me purchasing iPhones, but the family right in front of me was getting 2 and had way too many question. Just when I thought they were finally done with the transaction, they had to ask the staff (lets call him Sam) where the cases were. He told me he would “be right back” and walked off to help them.

Being the patient guy that I am and also not wanting to lose my place in the mini line, I waited…and waited….and waited. Twice another staff came over and said someone would be right with us. About 10 minutes passed, a couple was brought over by a staff and was helped with their iPhone purchase in front of us (Some had been in line for 10 minutes, I’ve waited 30 minutes!) we all mumbled our complaints loud enough for the other useless employees to hear.

You are probably thinking I’m just that angry guy who happened to have had one bad experience. NO! here’s what truly pissed me off. I’ve been in the store for almost 40 minutes at this point and who come strolling over the assist me? Remember Rick? Yeah, that incompetent Rick I spoke to 30 minutes ago who said he can’t help and directed me over to this stupid roped off area (reminds me of this WAMU commerical with the roped off bankers).

Rick took me through the entire step of “pre-qualifying”, verifying information, picking a plan, paying and activating. If he was able to do the entire process, what stopped him from helping me to begin with? and what the hell ever happened to “I’ll be right back Sam”??? I still don’t know why Apple is so set on having customers activate the phone in store. When I got my iPhone 2G, I activated it at home with no problems. My main concern with activating in store is that they touched my phone…Yes I’m very anal. I didn’t even touch the phone after I got it. I put it back in the box at the store, went to get the case I wanted, got home, washed my hand, put the phone on a clean microfiber cloth, put on a screen protector, wiped off all the dust from the phone, carefully put on the case…NOW I get to play with the new toy. Yes I’m disturbingly anal when it comes to my “gadgets”. My iPhone 2G has never been “naked” except when I remove the case to wipe off dust weekly. If not for the blown speaker it would be in perfect condition.

Another weird thing about Rick is that I don’t think he knows his Apple products very well. I mentioned that my speaker was blown on my iPhone 2G, he asked “Which one, left or right”….shouldn’t he know that there’s only one speaker on the left and that the right side is the mic?

I was later able to get the Incase Power Slider from a Target for $50, Apple retails it at $99.99, Taget has lowered their price to $79.99, but the one I got was an open box item missing the USB cable so they marked it down to $50! It’s a great battery case…if you don’t mind having a phone that’s 1.5x thicker. I just really wanted more battery power throughout the day.

Posted in Apple, Idiots, iPhone, Rants, Technology | Leave a Comment »

I Hate Dumb eBayers

Posted by mikenopolis on April 3, 2009

WTF is with people? I’ve had many problems buying “Like New”, “Great Condition” things on eBay over the past 10 years. I saw this picture and description on eBay and realized that maybe I’m the only one who thinks the words “excellent condition” is same as new. This guy follows the words “excellent condition” with “some scratches” and a picture of a VERY scuffed up product!



Posted in Apple, Idiots, iPhone, Rants, Technology | Leave a Comment »

I’m a Microsoft/PC Commercials Are Starting To Piss Me Off

Posted by mikenopolis on March 27, 2009

They are kinda stealing the Mac’s “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” commercials. They are stupid….why? They have little children doing stupid shit on their PCs. I as a consumer am not going to buy a computer because a little kid was able to make a slideshow or print a panoramic picture of her room.

What made me blog this was the following commercial…a girl is looking for a sub $1000 17″ notebook. In the end she got an HP for $699.99+tax, roughly $750. I do have to agree with people that Apple products are on the pricier side. But they are well built machines that can last a long time and still be very dependable. Personally I have never had much trouble with my Windows machines, not even my Vista (but then again its 64-bit). All I’m saying is that you can give a mac to your grandmother out of the box and she can’t destroy it (not talking about physically). Here’s an article discussing the video and guess what? He’s siding with me, even as a PC user.

Anyway I digress, here’s the video…She’s just poor, if she had the money and had ever used a mac in her life, she’d be all over the 17″ Mac Pro….I miss my old 17″ Powerbook G4

Posted in Apple, Computer, Mac, Rants | 2 Comments »

DIY Cradle For The iPhone Or Other Gadgets

Posted by mikenopolis on March 9, 2009

I thought I would share this with the 12 friends who knows of this blog and other random people. I have used this cradle for about 5 years now. I “invented” it when I got one of the earlier portable media players (Archos AV320) because I’m anal about scratches on my gadgets so I never directly put them on a table. I now have one for my iPhone and Creative Zen W.

It takes about 1 minute to make, practically free. If it breaks just grab a paper and make another one! Hope you like it. Comment and let me know if you decide to make and use one. I’ve got a bunch of people in my office using it now…wonder if I can patent this.

Here it is. I hate recording my voice. I do not sound like this to myself, it reminds me of one episode of Family Guy when Lois Griffin said “OMG is that what I would like?…all nasally and…”

Posted in Apple, General, iPhone, iPod, Technology | 3 Comments »

How The Apple iPhone Changed My Life

Posted by mikenopolis on August 22, 2008

I have always been a cellphone “fanatic” to my friends and family . I would change my handset once a month and occasionally even a few times a month. I would get a friend who worked at a cellphone store to “lose” some stock and get it for cheap, then after I get tired of it, I would unlock it and sell it on eBay for a $100-$300 profit. I’ve now been wiped clean from my addiction and have been using the same phone (Apple iPhone 1st generation) for OVER A YEAR! I’m still not tire of it, but I am irking to get a Nokia N93 for the video recording function. How can you not think the iPhone is GREAT?!?!? Sure it’s got it’s share of problems, but it does beat all the other phones out there in terms of what ONE phone can do on its own.

Here are all the phone I’ve ever used, click on them to enlarge (There are more, but I can’t remember their model numbers)

Posted in Apple, iPhone, Technology | 3 Comments »