Thursday, January 10, 2013

How I regret letting an iPad into the house

I have no Apple in my house except for ipods that were promotional gifts.  Everything is Linux, including all the phones (Android), including the iPhone knock-off for kids.

But then it was Christmas.  Wife and kids won't have a clue of what brand of Android tablets they want.  So I let them have it.  For myself the screen can't be bad, the best spec of them all.

The first mistake - the ipad is newer than the ipad 2.  So I have to return the engraved boxes to an Apple shop after Christmas and get some on the self instead.  Before that I walked all the way to the back of the shop to wait for help from one of the many red shirts.  I must be looking too geeky that nobody came forward to help.  They were busy talking to customers but not all of them.  Finally a guy talked to me and tell me to walk all the way to the entrance to the fast track area that I didn't spot at first.  So I handed them my boxes and got one back from the shelf.  The lesson is that Apple shops are not for geeks.  You are so out of places.  If you are used to buy hand made Italian shoes and deal with those sale persons, Apple shops are for you.  Now I appreciate the Samsung smart phone ad much more.

And before that, I realized that a smart case and a dock won't work together.  That's not very smart, isn't it?

Soon after use, I realized that the iPad can hardly be shared.  Multi user login is never designed for.  You can do that in Android if your device is rooted.  Google has no problem with rooting instructions in the Play store.  It's only Linux underneath.  How bad is it?  My wife's email and other alerts are mixed with my kids' game alerts.   Whenever my kids want to try some games, most of the time they have to ask me for the password. 

Then I want to try some music and video on the iPad.  Then I realized that Apple want you to buy everything from the Apple store.  I never did.  It dawn on me that the other end of the cord is a USB so I plugged in.  Oh I was so excited that the iPad appeared as a USB storage.  The excitement was short lived because you can copy things onto the iPad but iPad won't try to detect them.

After some searching, I know that you can copy things over using iTune.  But I have no iTune on my Linux.  I don't want to reboot into my ancient XP every time I want to copy something over.  16 GB is about one Blu-ray movie.

I remembered that Ubuntu works with iPods.  But not yet for the new iPad (or I doubt any iPad).

At least Apple haven't ban YouTube and Amazon altogether.  While all monitors and laptops are wide screen, the iPad is absolutely not.  You have the two old familiar black bars when you are watching a full HD movie.  The iPad isn't that light.  Basically I am carrying extra dead weight when the reason I pay for the premium is the screen.  The screen is really great, but you can always see finger grease on it.

My final attempt to find any use of it myself.  I came across DLNA, which can beam your movies across devices via wi-fi.  I have little faith on it.  Firstly my TV is supposed to support it but some of the models including mine didn't.  Secondly Apple have it's own standard.  I downloaded the 1st media server app and it seemed to work.   So I fired up the server on Ubuntu.  They work flawlessly almost by default.

Soon, being Apple, I realized that only mp4 is playable, and that's a maybe.

Then I downloaded an app that is almost like VLC, that plays everything.  It did.  But after a while, it only plays anything on the top 5 of any list.  You are blackmailed into paying the full solution.

My experience so far is that Apple store apps are more money grabbing, and that is in turn caused by the closed market.  There are plenty of open source software for media server and clients that play everything.

Never again.

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