24 November 2012

An ad, some news, and a photo or two

Have you seen this ad for the new Apple iPad Mini? I got it off the Apple web site. Click the play button (the triangle) in the lower left corner of the image to play the video — it's short. Turn on your sound if you can.

I can't really tell you why I enjoy the commercial more than most others. (Hint: you might recognize one of the photographs in it.) I'm wondering whether Walt and I should invest in an iPad Mini. Has anybody reading this post used or tried one? Any recommendations?

Sunrise from the kitchen window a couple of days ago

Second subject: we finally got notification yesterday that our French national health insurance has been renewed for 2013. The papers we turned in a the Saint-Aignan office made it to Blois and satisfied the requirements. We'll have a modest quarterly "contribution" to pay into the system for the year.

Closeup of the same sunrise — sorry for the blurry photos. 'Tis the season.

So things are rolling along. For us, this is going to be a weekend of delicious leftovers from our Thanksgiving dinner. Hope your weekend is pleasant too.


  1. Nice photos!! I wish you have a good weekend too, I hope you had a happy Tahanksgiving!

    I just found your blog with the lasts post about canard, are great! And very useful, thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks Paula, for the good comment. I'm making confit de canard this morning, using the legs, thighs, and wings from that duck.

  3. Great photographs, Ken.

    Sorry I can't help with info about the i-pad mini but i shall read your comments with interest as I am thinking of getting one. What I have noticed is that if you want one with wi-fi and cellular it is considerably more expensive than the entry level model.

  4. Lovely sunrise!

    Glad to hear officialdom has now said 'yes' and you are in the system.

  5. I ended up getting a larger (i think 8.9 inch) Kindle HD because all the reviews said it had more pixels & the picture on the screen was better than the ipads....both my children have ipads and iphones but I have yet to make the switch......I already had last yrs kindle & really liked but it would not do Skype, which I wanted when we went to france....the newer Kindles have it, plus cloud drive to store pictures and a larger screen size

  6. A couple of things about the Minis that aren't readily apparent: they have neither the high def "Retina" displays nor the GPS functions found in the larger device (and indeed on the much smaller iPhones). Apparently the screen quality difference is quite marked. If your vision isn't 20/20 then having a lower quality screen that you can't as easily improve with magnification, then the first generation of Mini is definitely not the way to go.

    The minis are also running much slower processors than the bigger devices, running 2 generations behind, so they're only half as fast.

  7. After much research, I just bought a Google Nexus 7. At $199, it's far cheaper than the iPad mini and better quality. I would definitely skip the Apple product and get a Nexus or a Kindle HD. As to WiFi only, that's the way to go. While cellular may only add $50-100 to the initial price, you then have to deal with a data plan, which can be very costly.
    P.S. Didn't recognize any of the pictures. Was looking for something from your blog.

  8. I recognize the photo;) It's the first one.

    I'm not sure about the mini, I like my regular sized ipad2 a lot, but prefer my laptop for everyday.

  9. Hello Bob R., not my blog, but Walt's...

    Here's a link.

  10. Evelyn

    You can purchase this @ $4.99 on sale today ( instead of $20) and can optimize use of your iPad.

  11. Don't bother with the mini. Get the regular iPad!

  12. Holy bejeebers! Did they get Walt's permission?

    I'm glad you're asking about the iPad Mini, because I've been tempted, too. I don't have an iPhone (or android, or any of those touch-screen, data-plan phones), in part because I didn't want a phone that is that thick (too cumbersome for a pocket when I'm walking), nor did I want to pay for a data plan. I figure I usually can use the Internet wherever I end up on most days, if I need it, and don't need to carry it around with me.

    But... the iPad mini seemed like a fun thing to have as an addition to my phone, because I could carry it in my purse and have Internet wherever there is wi-fi--or if I travel (I wouldn't pay for the cellular addition). So, folks... how often do you come across wi-fi out in the wild? That's a question I'd like more info on.

    I had a full iPad for a week from school, and, though it's very portable, it's not small enough for what I want, and, I found it cumbersome... I like a regular keyboard.

    As for Kindle or Nook or Google, I don't want any of those, because I want something that will sync with my Mac desktop computer. I learned that the hard way-- my current non-Mac phone won't do Bluetooth with my Mac, so I can't share files easily. It's annoying. I just prefer Mac these days.

    So, seriously, what's the story on the photo? Is it Walt's?

  13. No problems, Judy. The company bought the rights to the photo.

    Thanks Mike, Melinda, Bob, Evelyn, Nadège, for the recommendations on the iPad Mini etc.

  14. Holy cow! Does someone involved with Apple read Walt's blog? That's so cool!

  15. Hi Ken: Let's back up a second. Back in the days you were working for Apple, the common thought was that you decided what software you wanted and then bought the computer that best ran that software. The same is true of tablets and smart phones. Before you go off and buy an iPadMini, decide what you want to do with it.

    From what I know of your lifestyle, I don't see where having a tablet will bring anything that you don't already have. You and Walt each have your desktop computers and share a computer in the living room. While in your house, you are well connected. What advantage will a tablet bring?

    I use my smart phone mostly outside the house, and my iPad as a substitute for a lap top when I travel, whichyou saw last summer. At home it's mounted to a kitchen cabinet and is used to reference recipes and read the SF Chronicle during breakfast. Not much else.

    My iPhone gets a lot of use when I away from home, most of which has nothing to do with being a phone. It is literally a computer in my pocket providing a multitude of tools.

    I think if you wish to become part of the "smart" generation, a smart phone would provide you more benefit. Think of times when you were out shopping and you had a question for Walt. Think about the convenience of an electonic shopping list. Think about the convenience of having all your recipes in your pocket so you can reference them at any time. Think about having maps and driving directions for anywhere you want to go in France. Think about having access to train schedules when you are away from home or a train station. Before I had my iPhone, I could not imagine all the ways it would be a tool in my life.

    Can a tablet be used the same way? Yes, but it is bulky by comparison. Although you can get a data plan for a tablet, most are used only with wi-fi, which makes them less useful in the countryside.

    (BTW, I'm writing this on my iPad with a wireless keyboard at a coofee house in Maui.)

  16. Considering they used one of your photos, they should give you a couple for free!

  17. Wow! Congratulations to Walt! He's a pro!

    I think Peter said it all--except that all those small conveniences really aren't worth the trouble or expense to me, so I do without a smart phone.

  18. Don't buy any Apple product actually Ken. Not very advanced. That's all hype. And a quite rapacious company that seeks to make your device outmoded as soon as possible. Avoid them.
    If you want a tablet then Samsung running Android. It's really the world standard now. I have a Samsung Galaxy 'Note' tablet and a Samsung S3 phone. Essentially the same device in different sized containers. Both superb and make the Apple devices look quite antiquated.
    But also do you need a tablet at all ? Tablets can be good for accessing stuff and looking at things. But tablets are not something you can readily produce things on. A good keyboard and screen are essential to have, either laptop or desktop. And unless you have a special need why buy a tablet at all. Kerry

  19. Peter H. and all, thanks. Like Chris, I'm pretty sure I don't want a smart phone or a mobile internet connection. None of that comes free, and I just wouldn't use it enough to make it worthwhile. What I want more is a wifi internet connection for when I'm traveling, which is only a couple of times a year. I have an Android-based tablet that is mainly an internet radio but will also let me web pages including blogs and read e-mail, so I guess I don't need anything more.

  20. I pretty much agree with Field of Gold, except I'd recommend the Google Nexus 4 instead of Samsung, because it's unlocked, so you're not committed to a carrier. It's also a whole lot cheaper, and you can just use it via WiFi and skip the cellular charges. The only thing that kept me from getting it rather than the Nexus 7 tablet is my fat fingers (for typing) and age-related eyesight deficiencies (for screen size).

  21. I should note for those commenting from the US that the carrier-locking situation is wildly different in other countries. While the bizarre restrictions in the US often have global side-effects, it's usually quite straightforward to buy unlocked devices in Europe, Australia etc. Even if you do buy a locked device from a telco, you can get an unlock code from them within 3-12 months of starting a contract. In Europe this is vital if you travel and want 3G access since roaming fees make data way too expensive. I buy a new PAYG sim card in each country I'm spending more than a few days in.

  22. Not that anyone is still reading this thread, but I have to say, about Field of Gold (Kerry)'s comment: there always seem to be people out there who just HATE Apple products. I never cared one way or the other, but do now, after owning Mac products and PC products both: Mac products last and last and last and are virtually trouble-free throughout their life. I have found nothing but constant crashing, slow downs, and incessant needs for updating and troubleshooting with the several non-Mac products I've owned. Never again. It's Mac all the way for me, not out of some insane obsessive need to have Mac, but because they've proven themselves over and over again. If I buy a tablet, it will be a Mac, and no other. I just can't trust non-Mac computer products.

  23. I can understand Judith's opinion. Personally, I don't hate Apple products, I just won't buy them. My wife has been wedded to Apple for 20 years or so because of the industry she works in (publishing), and is trying to get out of Apple for her next purchase, but is not sure she can. Apple likes that kind of consumer.

  24. Personally, thanks to Ken, I've been a Mac man for over twenty years. I'm lost when I have to try and understand anything PC. I read carefully all of the above comments since I'd like to give myself a tablet for my upcoming 25th + birthday. But I'll probably pass this time. In any case, unlocked is the way to go.

  25. It's ironic, as CHM says, that he has always used a Macintosh computer (as series of them over the past 20+ years) in part because of me. But for nearly 25 years, I've been using PCs. I worked for Apple for 6 years, and I owned a Mac and used one at work during that time, but I also always had a PC running Windows at home and in my office. My current windows machine will be six years old in the spring, cost little when I bought it, and runs great (knock on wood). I've upgraded it over the years with more memory and more hard disk storage. To me, PC vs. Mac is a little like Coke vs. Pepsi or Honda vs. Toyota. Peugeot vs. Renault...


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