Tag Archives: Apple

Life Inside Apple’s Walled Garden

For many years now, I have been a firm believer in having a cohesive, seamless technological experience. I don’t like mixing technologies/products from different ecosystems, as they never work as well. For many years, I had heavily invested in Microsoft’s ecosystem and products. When Windows Mobile croaked, I had to make a decision and I went with Apple. Since then, I have moved almost all of my services to Apple’s ecosystem & am enjoying the comforts of Apple’s Walled Garden.

To lock myself completely in this garden, I also had to move all my family members inside it. Over many years, I was successful in doing so. Below is how life is like, living inside Apple’s Walled Garden:

Apple's Walled Garden
Apple’s Walled Garden, PC: Macstories

What?

FunctionProductComments
Email/
Calendar/
Reminders
iCloud+ Custom domains are supported. Email works very well (on Apple devices). AirDrop is useful for sending larger files.

Calendar supports shared calendars.

Reminders supports shared reminders.
Desktop OSmacOSWorks very well with Apple services. The M1 Macs are very fast and energy efficient.
Mobile/Tablet OSiOS/iPadOS
Photo StorageiCloud+HEIF format used by Apple results in efficient storage of photos and allows lossless editing.
Photo SharingiCloud Shared PhotosWorks very well. I share photos to my family; they can comment/like. Is like a private Social Network.
ProductivityPages/Numbers/Keynotes
Cloud StorageiCloud+I wish they had a tier between 200Gb and 2Tb.
Instant MessagingiMessageVery well refined ; I now use it exclusively & have a lot of fun playing games inside iMessage apps.
Music StreamingApple MusicCurrently unbeatable with the introduction of Spatial & Lossless Audio.
Movies (Buy/Rent)iTunesLarge collection of movies available, especially in 4K HDR.
Maps/NavigationApple MapsNot as good as Google Maps, but at least they don’t track my movements.
Audio/Video CallingFacetimeUnparalleled quality, supports Spatial audio and Memojis.
BrowserSafariVery fast & responsive .
NotesApple NotesFunctional, supports sharing notes with family.
Password ManagementiCloud PasswordsCan detect and alert user to compromised passwords. Also has a TOTP generator.
HealthApple HealthVery intuitive and supports data inputs from a huge range of apps and services.
Home AutomationHomekitLarge number of Homekit devices available on the market. They all work seamlessly without separate apps.
My Walled Garden

It does take a decent amount of money to enter this walled garden, but once you’re in, the recurring costs are not high. Most of their services are decently priced (and can be shared with family) and devices last for years and have a decent resale value.

Of MacBooks & Starbucks

For years, I have noticed a peculiar relationship between MacBooks and Starbucks cafes. More specifically, people sitting at Starbucks and pretending to work on their MacBooks.

Macbook in Starbucks
Woman multitasking on Macbook and iPad

Basically, a vast majority of people sitting at Starbucks have Apple MacBooks. These people sit at Starbucks for hours with their MacBooks and pretend to work on them. I don’t understand what it is about Starbucks that attracts such people. And this is not limited to a specific country. I have seen this across multiple continents.

Macbook in Starbucks
Guy pretending to work on Macbook

Almost all of these people are just sitting there with their MacBook open in front of them and pretending to work. I have hardly seen any of them doing any actual work; instead they are actually talking/doomscrolling on their phones. They buy a drink and sit there for hours. It is especially infuriating when you can’t find a place to sit and you see such people without any beverages just sitting there.

Macbook in Starbucks
Group of people pretending to work on Macbooks

More peculiarly, I have seen this only at Starbucks, not at other cafes or cafe chains. I wonder what the people with more pedestrian laptops feel and which cafes they go to.

My Best Purchases-HP 3545 AIO

Continuing with my series, the next entry in the list is the HP 3545 Printer/Scanner which is one of the best purchases (and the most useful) I ever made.

HP 3545
HP 3545 AIO, PC: HP

I ordered this from Amazon around December 2015 after my last inkjet died. It cost me only ₹5200 which is definitely a bargain for something this useful.

The device comes with WiFi connectivity. Not just WiFi direct between phones and the device, but it can join an actual 802.11 WiFi network & stay connected to the internet. The task of joining the printer to the WiFi network is a bit laborious using the tiny display and limited controls, but is a one time job. Once it is connected to WiFi, it is very easy to access from any device (Windows, Fagdroid or Apple) on the same network. The best part is, this is the first printer I have used that requires no drivers or apps on any device; everything is native.

It prints coloured pages reasonably fast, scans photos and documents up to 1200dpi and borderless coloured photos on glossy paper up to 6×4 inches. If you’re not on the same network, you can even print things remotely using the HP app, as long as this printer has Internet access.

This is probably the most useful thing I have ever bought. From school homework to bureaucratic paperwork; I couldn’t imagine my life without this.

My List of Mobile Handsets (updated)

I’ll go back in time now and make a list of all the mobile handsets I have owned till date. You may notice that the list is quite long, with it being especially dense in the first few years.

The iPhone X still holds the record of the longest used mobile handset by me (almost 3 years).

YearPhoneComments
2003Reliance LG RD2030 (CDMA)My first phone, my father had to pull many strings to get me this.
2004Nokia 3530My first colour phone. I miss the paragliding game.
2004Samsung C100Had a hidden temperature sensor and a notification LED supporting customisable colours.
2004Samsung X100Slightly better than the above.
2004Nokia 1100My first phone with a torch.
2005Nokia 2112My last CDMA phone.
2005Nokia N-Gage QDDidn’t have stereo audio for music playback.
2005Nokia 3510iPurchased Second hand.
2005O2 Xphone IIOne of the best phones I had.
2005Motorola C350When the above got stolen. I think I got it for ~₹1000, second hand. Shitty.
2006Nokia 6100Second Hand.
2006Nokia E50One of the best phones I had. It was the sleekest Symbian ever. I still use the Text Tone “Flurry” as my wife’s message tone.
2006Sony Ericsson J100iShitty.
2007Nokia N73 MEIt was thick, but had a good (back then) camera.
2007Nokia E51Back to the thinner E Series.
2007LG KS20One of the worst phones I had. It was unrefined and shitty.
2008Nokia E51Went back to E51.
2009Nokia E52Good phone, died on the flight to Palo Alto. I spent an entire weekend in San Francisco and many days in Gurgaon trying to get it repaired, but failed.
2010iPhone 3GGot this as a temporary phone in Palo Alto, later gifted to mother. Used only a week.
2010Nokia E63Mooched this one off my father.
2011Nokia E7-00First phone I ever pre-booked, and got immediately after returning from Turkey. My first AMOLED phone.
2012Nokia Lumia 900Was obsoleted by Microsoft within a few months of launch. Got it from SGBest.
2013Nokia Lumia 720Got it from MGF Metropolitan Mall
2013Nokia Lumia 925The Lumia 720 didn’t feel premium enough, so.
2014Nokia Lumia 920The Lumia 925 didn’t have wireless charging, so.
2014Nokia Lumia 830Slightly bigger screen, but LCD.
2015Microsoft Lumia 950XLLumia Flagship. Also, a big mistake.
2017Apple iPhone 7 PlusFirst legit iPhone.
2018Apple iPhone XGift from a fiend.
2019Apple iPhone XSGot it for dual SIM during travel, gifted iPhone X to wife.
2020Apple iPhone XSwapped Xs with X with wife, as I switched jobs and didn’t need to travel anymore.
2020Apple iPhone 12 ProCurrent.
List of Mobile Handsets

As you can see, my mobile handsets have gone through different eras:

2003-2005 : Feature Phone era. I generally bought any handset I liked.
2005-2011 : Symbian Era. I mostly had Symbian phones with some other platforms sprinkled in between.
2012-2015 : Lumia Era. I purely had Windows Phones.
2017-Present : Apple Era.

Let’s see what the future brings.

Ecosystem

In technology, ecosystem is a big thing. I remember, 10 years ago, while looking for a device/service, one would go for whatever is best in that category. This approach doesn’t work that well anymore. These days it makes sense for a person to stick to an ecosystem and use products/services mostly in that ecosystem, otherwise things get messy. This is because each of the three big companies want the users of their services to use their products exclusively and as a result, don’t support cross-platform compatibility very well.
Here’s an overview of the services/products offered by the Big-three. For those who are curious, I am firmly planted in the Microsoft ecosystem.

Service

Apple

Google

Microsoft

E-Mail ME(iCloud) Gmail Outlook (formerly Hotmail)
Search N/A Google.com Bing
Desktop OS MAC OS None Windows
Mobile/Tablet OS iOS Android Windows
Social Networking N/A Google+ Socl
Photo Sharing N/A Google+ N/A
Productivity Apps Pages/Numbers etc. Google Docs Microsoft Office
Cloud Storage iCloud drive Google Drive Onedrive
Gaming Console N/A N/A XboX
Music/Video Store iTunes Google Play Xbox Music/Video
Maps/Navigation Apple Maps Google Maps Bing/Here Maps
Messaging/Video calling iMessage (proprietary) Hangouts Skype