My iPhone 8

After just a few months short of four years, I’ve retired my iPhone 5s. After such a long time of daily use, it had surprisingly few issues. The only real big one was that sometimes after I’d press the power button to wake the phone, I’d be forced to hold the power down because it didn’t go to sleep, rather it shut down entirely. The odd time, even that wouldn’t bring it back to life and I’d have to hold the home and power buttons until it started the boot sequence. A small and self-inflicted problem was the flash stopped working after I changed the battery. I suspect I didn’t seat the connector properly. I didn’t open it up again to find out.

So I upgraded to the iPhone 8. I stayed up late on September 14 to get my order in as soon as possible and I received it on September 22.

It’s more expensive that I would have liked, but I’m pretty easy on my electronics so I want to get the maximum life out of it before it will no longer take operating system upgrades. The iPhone X was never in contention because although I love the OLED screen, I don’t want to pay for it, and I much prefer fingerprint authentication over authentication via facial recognition.

The most obvious difference is the size. The iPhone 8 is 11 mm longer, 8.7 mm wider, and 0.3 mm thinner, than the 5s. It’s also 36 g heavier. to my great surprise, it fits far more nicely in my hand than the 5s did. that may also have to do with the completely rounded edges. The power button was also moved from the top left to the left top, if you follow. Hold the phone in your right hand and the power button falls nicely under your thumb, and in your left hand it sits nicely under your index finger. This change is a good one, but takes some getting used to. Overall, it feels great in my hand, has enough mass to feel solid, and the rounded edges are just right.

I was wary of the increase in size. My phone lives in my front pocket, and the space available in there is not unlimited! Happily it’s not an issue. In exchange, the screen is 20% larger, which has me reaching for my iPad noticeably less often. It’s not an OLED screen, but it’s certainly the nicest LCD I’ve ever seen.

I must make special mention of the fingerprint reader. I can’t say whether it’s vastly improved or merely takes advantage of the more powerful processor at the heart of the iPhone 8, but it’s ridiculously fast. With the 5s, I would press the home button, and let my thumb linger on it for a second, waiting for my fingerprint to be recognized. With this new model, my fingerprint is usually recognized before I remove my thumb even if I don’t pause at all. Most of the time, fingerprint authentication is entirely invisible.

Misc impressions:

  • I haven’t tried wireless charging but I certainly will be getting a charging pad for my night table.
  • The camera is much improved as far as I see in the little use I’ve made of it. I look forward to trying the 240 FPS slow-motion video.
  • The True Tone feature is great. White is always pleasantly white. The display does not tend toward coolness, even in very warm light.
  • Raise to Wake was the first thing I searched on how to disable.
  • I love the barometer. Not only can I see the number of steps I’ve taken, but the number of floors I’ve climbed.
  • The processor is much faster of course. The whole UI is so responsive.
  • The sound is louder at full volume. That will give my wake-up alarm a boost of effectiveness.
  • I triggered the SOS feature without my glasses on. I didn’t notice the three-second countdown and called 911 by accident. So embarrassing! A great feature though, especially if you stop it before calling 911, as it disables fingerprint authentication the next time you attempt to access the phone.
  • I’m eager to try Apple Pay. Support for it seems sparse on the ground around here, though. Still, the NFC works with any system that allows you to ‘tap to pay’ with your bank or credit card.

So far, I love the damn thing!


Image courtesy of Apple.ca

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Bill 31: crosswalks

Julie tells me that she is addicted to the Niagara Regional Police media page. Because of her addiction, I learned of Bill 31, which amends the Ontario Traffic Act.

The changes involve pedestrian crossings and school crossings where there is a crossing guard displaying a school crossing stop sign. The change states that you now must wait until the entire intersection is empty of both pedestrians and the school crossing guard.

So if the crossing guard is escorting children across the intersection to your left, and you want to make a right turn, you must wait until the crossing guard clears the intersection before you proceed.

This change surprised me for multiple reasons. First, this change came into force in January 2016. I have heard nothing about it until last week. Even then it was courtesy of Julie! Further, there is a school very close to Julie’s house and I have encountered the crossing guards in the intersection opposite the school. I have broken these new rules multiple times without any reaction from the crossing guards. I know that crossing guards in general have no problem making sure drivers know they’re doing something wrong so I wonder if even they know if the change!

Although I am very glad to know of this change (thank you, Julie!), but I can just see it now … I’ll be waiting for the entire intersection to clear, and the driver behind me will grow impatient and start beeping, encouraging me to go because the way directly ahead is clear.

I’ve heard nothing of this change in the media, and how many people are fortunate enough to have a girlfriend to tell them of these things?!

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Politics and stupid

Malcolm Turnbull, 2016

Lord save us from the politicians who know not of what they speak! Today’s proud entrant is Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. He seems to believe that if the government could get into all the encrypted messages his people send, all would be well. According to the Independent, he ratchets up the rhetoric:

When challenged by a technology journalist over whether it was possible to tackle the problem of criminals using encryption – given that platform providers claim they are currently unable to break into the messages even if required to do so by law – the Prime Minister raised eyebrows as he made his reply.

“Well the laws of Australia prevail in Australia, I can assure you of that. The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia,” he said.

So there you have it. A politician who claims that the laws of mathematics do not apply in his country.


DoD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Clydell Kinchen.

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Crowded music?

…sometimes I say I’m providing a house and you can provide the furniture. It’s a soundtrack, there’s space, and the audience put their own thoughts to it. Sometimes jazz musicians, we fill up all the fucking space, so people can’t lose themselves in it.

Robert Glasper, jazz pianist
regarding extended solos

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One drop

I saw this image in a Gizmodo story called “Most Habitable Earth-Like Planets May Be Waterworlds,” by George Dvorsky. I had to steal it … but since the USGS provided the image, it’s not stealing at all.

Take all the water on the surface of the Earth and put it all together in one mammoth drop. The above image shows what you’d get. On first glimpse, it’s less than I expected. Looking more closely, the drop covers almost the full north-south distance of the continental United States. Still, it’s less than I expected.


Image courtesy of the United States Geological Survey.

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