• Starbucks Birthday Rewards

    It looks like Starbucks has tried to sneak in a change to its Birthday Rewards program under the radar, reducing the amount of time you have to redeem a Birthday Reward from 7 days down to a paltry four1. While this doesn’t appear to have been announced formally by Starbucks anywhere, a Reddit thread and a post on StarbucksMelody have highlighted the changes.

    1. There are those of us who remember when Birthday Rewards were as good for as long as any other reward — expiring after thirty days.


  • Google Photos: The new iOS Photos?

    I’ve dabbled with Google’s various attempts at building photo management solutions for a while now, going back to Picasa and through the Google+ Photos era. Much of what Google did with Google+ Photos impressed me, but the Google+ implementation still felt too much like a silo for my photos, rather than a complete solution. To be clear, it wasn’t the social layer that bothered me, as I’ve generally been pretty happy to use Google+, but rather just the fact that there didn’t seem to be any tight integration with anything else, bearing in mind that Google Drive integration with G+ Photos wasn’t really available to me as a Google Apps user, and I didn’t really like the idea of everything living only in the cloud, particularly with G+ Photos not feeling like a “core” service.


  • In search of an iPhone 6 Plus case

    The one thing about the iPhone 6 Plus is that it’s so large it seems like it’s almost a given that it’s going to get dropped, and the smooth aluminum back doesn’t really seem like it would help in that regard. The phone is large enough that you have to move it around in your hand sometimes to access stuff, and I still haven’t quite adjusted to getting a “proper” grip on it.

    So, this is basically the first iPhone that’s made me feel the need to slap it in a case on day one. So, off we went to Yorkdale last night to see the case options at the Apple Store….

    Surprisingly, there weren’t any real “options” there. I’m going to blame this on the influence of that Burberry chick, but it seems that we’re now faced with a wall of Apple cases. Granted, it’s colourful, and it looks cool, but it’s pretty limited compared to what you used to be able to find at the Apple Store.


  • So long Aperture: A major shift in Apple's Photo Strategy

    The just-announced demise of Aperture may not really surprise anybody who has been paying attention — a good number of serious photographers switched to Lightroom long ago, many citing Aperture’s stagnation as a primary factor in that decision. However this not only marks a big disappointment for those who held on thinking Apple might still have an Aperture 4.0 up its sleeve, but actually marks a major shift in Apple’s photo management strategy.

    The message is this: Going forward, it’s iCloud Photos. Apple’s new “Photos” app in Yosemite and iOS 8 is going to be the de facto and probably only option available, with development of the company’s two long-standing consumer and “pro” photo apps effectively ceasing. Of course, hopefully the apps won’t unceremoniously stop working the day Yosemite lands, so many users may hold on for quite some time before giving in to the new world order or simply leaving Apple’s photo garden to look at alternatives.


  • The venerable iPod classic lives on...


    Photo credit iLounge

    Every year around this time my colleagues and I at iLounge discuss whether this will be the year that Apple discontinues the iPod classic. Although the old hard-drive based model continues to be the only truly high-capacity device in Apple’s lineup, it also ends up looking more and more like a dinosaur next to every other new model.

    The iPod classic saw its last update in 2009 — now four years ago — and even that was a relatively minor update, little more than a capacity bump over the 120GB 2008 model, and no real physical design changes from the original 2007 classic.


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