Easter Wallpaper for iPhone

Ever since my first iPhone, a 3GS, I have loved creating and setting custom wallpapers for both lock and home screens, especially for holidays. In the beginning I would usually just photograph something I liked or thought would work with the iPhone camera and set that photo as my wallpaper. For instance, a bouquet of flowers from my nephew’s wedding, or a needlepoint table runner with a turkey for Thanksgiving. There were others, of course—Santa Claus and snow man decorations for use as Christmas/winter wallpapers—but I eventually began converting desktop wallpapers into iOS wallpapers (you see, my wallpaper habit actually began with my first color Macintosh, a PowerBook 190c, so I have loads of holiday desktops to choose from). Eventually I began creating my own from scratch for the latest model iPhones I’ve owned (the X and XS).

Three iPhone XS devices, each with Easter-themed wallpaper.

It has occurred to me that maybe some of you might like some custom wallpapers for your iPhones and may not have the chops to create your own or know where to go to find what you want. Even if you do know where to go, perhaps you are not finding exactly what you are looking for. So I’ve decided to share my custom created iPhone wallpapers here from time to time. Maybe they won’t be what you are looking for, either, but maybe you’ll like them enough to use them … or not.

I’m starting with some I made for Easter. There is a lock screen wallpaper with a single Easter egg centered on a black field (I went through a phase of creating a number of lock screen wallpapers that were all black with a single image in the center), another for the lock screen with that same egg centered on grass, thirdly a copy of that same grassy egg but with some shading around the edges, and a fourth—a blurry photo of jelly beans—that I use for my home screen. A blurry background behind the icons makes them pop. They are sized specifically for the iPhone X and XS, and will work for any previous generation iPhone with a smaller screen. I suspect they will work just fine for the XS Max as well, but I don’t have one of those bigger iPhones to see them on.

Easter Egg X Parallax iPX     Easter Egg on Grass iPX Parallax     Easter Egg on Shaded Grass iPX Parallax     Blurry Jelly Beans Parallax iPX

You can download the full resolution image by clicking or tapping on the thumbnail of your choice. If you want all four, click/tap here to get a .zip archive of them all.

Let me know in the comments if you download any and how you like them.

Happy World Backup Day!

Please join me in reciting the World Backup Day pledge.

“I solemnly swear to backup my important documents and precious memories on March 31. I will also tell my friends and family about World Backup Day — friends don’t let friends go without a backup.”

If, like me, you have a backup strategy implemented, then take this opportunity to make sure it’s working correctly — restore some files from your backup.

If you don’t have a backup plan in place, I can recommend a great ebook; Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac, by Joe Kissell. If you’re not a Mac user, sorry, I don’t have a book recommendation for you.

And don’t forget to backup your iPhones and iPads (and iPod touches, if you have them), too. Turn on iCloud Backup or connect your iOS device to your Mac (or Windows PC) and back it up with iTunes.

As some wise guy once said, “Don’t be an April fool. Be prepared. Backup your files on March 31.” All I can add to that piece of wisdom is to continue backing up your files every day of the year. 😃

I’ve Been Vectorized

Periodically I will share some of my favorite websites, podcasts, videos, and/or blogs I follow to learn about the Apple-centric tech-o-sphere. This is one of those posts. The last time I posted about a podcast was back in October of 2016 after I discovered The Checklist. Today, I’d like to tell you about Vector.

T-Shirt, pin, and stickers with Vector logo

My new Vector T-shirt, pin, and stickers on the dining room table.

Vector is what I call a three-in-one resource by Rene Ritchie from iMore. It’s videos, a podcast, and a blog (or series of articles, if you wish) where Mr. Ritchie provides insight into the world of Apple technology with short, palatable, and entertaining morsels of online media. I say “three-in-one” because his content is provided in any of the three ways in which you want to consume it — as a blog (or article) you read, as a podcast you listen to, or as a video that you watch. I personally subscribe to the Vector channel on YouTube, but you can read, listen, or watch right on iMore.

His latest posts (as of this writing) are reviews of the Watch Series 4 and the iPhone XS and XS Max. They are a little longer than his usual five to 15 minutes, but well worth a look/listen if you are at all interested in the new hardware that Apple introduced on September 12, 2018.

So, check out Vector and let me know what you think in the comments below. As Rene would say, “Thank you so much for reading.”

Apple, you’ve got some ’splainin’ to do!

20180912-apple-event-invite

I did not get an invitation, but Apple live streamed the event, so I watched. And I’ve got some questions. Whether Apple answers them or not is up to them.

Gather round?

What’s with this title? If it is a title, why is it not set in title case, as in “Gather Round”? And, does this really mean “gather around”? If so, where’s the apostrophe for the missing “a” (i.e. Gather ’Round)? The grammar police surely started surveillance back in 1997 with your Think Different campaign. Why they let you continue to get away with abuse of the English language, I’ll never understand.

What’s in a name?

I’ll tell you what. The shaking of heads (and probably some fists), that’s what. Last year was confusing enough with iPhone X. But it looks cool and goes along with the history of Apple using a roman numeral for 10 (except for when they don’t, like for Xcode). So I got used to the name and mostly remembered to pronounce the X as “ten”. I also love using it and am looking forward to the new iPhone experience that iOS 12 will bring.

But, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR? Seriously? Let me see if I got this right.

iPhone Xs Emoji

(In case it’s not obvious, that’s a man singer emoji — the closest thing to a tenor in the emoji character set. Don’t you just hate it when someone explains their jokes? 🙄)

My cell phone has a first name,
It’s I-P-H-O-N-E.
My cell phone has a second name,
It’s X-S-M-A-X.
Oh, I love to use it everyday,
And if you ask me why I say,
’Cause Apple people have a way with M-A-R-K-E-T-I-N-G!

What’s on your wrist?

It’s not a Capital One credit card, that’s for sure. Well, I take that back. I have an Watch Series 1 and I do have a CapOne credit card in the Apple Wallet app and can use it via ApplePay from the watch. After my iPhone X, the Watch is my favorite Apple device. The Watch Series 4 is the announcement from this week’s event that is most drool worthy for me. Will I buy one? I’m thinking it’s time to upgrade, yes.

The Unboxing

I’ve had a Space Gray iPhone 5s since mid-November, 2013. I have put off getting any kind of case, wanting to see how if fares naked under normal use. I did apply a screen protector film on the face (since it came at a discount from Best Buy when I purchased the phone), but that’s the only protection it’s had—up to this point.

Yesterday, I put my iPhone in one of Apple’s leather cases. I wanted the (PRODUCT) RED™ case—because I like the color red and I like that a portion of the purchase price is donated to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa—but our local Best Buy only carried the black and brown ones. (Aside: there are a number of reasons I chose to purchase from Best Buy instead of directly from Apple or some other retailer, but I won’t bore you with that story.) So I ordered one for in-store pickup early last week and it came in—and I picked it up—yesterday on my way home.

As I sat down to take it out and put it on my iPhone while waiting for the Papa Murphy’s pizza to bake, I decided to be a little silly and take unboxing photos to share with all my loyal fans (I say with tongue firmly planted in cheek). So here you go world, my Apple (PRODUCT) RED™ leather iPhone 5s case unboxing and installation. Enjoy…

Remove Bust Buy Label

1. First I removed the ugly shipping label that Best Buy applied to get it to our local store.

New Case in Box

2. The front of the now pristine package.

Back of Box

3. The back side of the package.

Opening and Leather Notice

4. The rack hanger is built into the top opening of the package. To open it, a plastic strip needs to be ripped off (indicated by the arrow in the orange dot). The text below reads, “This case is made from natural aniline leather. It’s appearance will change as you use it.”

Top Open

5. After ripping off the plastic strip, the top opens easily.

Slide Out the Goods

6. Once opened, the case and cardboard backing easily slide out of the plastic package.

Take Case Off Backing

7. The leather iPhone case just pops off the cardboard backing. After which, the phone easily popped into the leather case.

Phone in Case Front

8. The front of my iPhone 5s, now in the red leather case.

Phone in Case Back

9. The back of the case protecting my iPhone 5s. Such a pretty red.

 

Two-fer: Verizon sticks it to rival carriers in the US

Two-fer: Verizon sticks it to rival carriers in the US

The offer underscores the competitive nature of the U.S. mobile market, where Verizon faces intense competition from rival AT&T, as well as stepped-up price wars prompted by T-Mobile. Yankee Group estimates AT&T and Verizon are neck-and-neck when it comes to share of domestic mobile phone lines, at roughly 33 percent each.

Two crappy customer experiences for the price of one is good business. Anything is better than paying the higher subsidies to Apple—customer be damned!

iOS 7

I installed Apple’s mobile operating system on my almost three-year-old iPhone 4 yesterday afternoon. I had initially thought I wouldn’t bother, thinking the aging A4 wouldn’t quite be up to the task of keeping the user experience as snappy as iOS 6. I have been pleasantly surprised so far.

After reading reports of some laggy-ness and overall slower responsiveness I figured I could wait until November when I will upgrade to the iPhone 5S. But after a couple of clients called with upgrade questions and seeing iOS 7 in action on a friend’s iPhone 4, I decided I would give it a go.

So far I have not really noticed that much of a performance hit. The animated transitions may be slower than they would be on newer hardware, but I don’t have anything to compare them with so they seem fine to me. They are smooth and the entire interface experience seems to flow easily. There is no jerky-ness that I have noticed so it seems Apple has done a good job of accounting for older hardware in their coding.

The only jankyness that I’ve noticed has been within certain apps. For example, the Facebook app is doggy-slow and crashes often. This was the case before iOS 7, so I doubt the problem is with Apple’s upgrade.

All-in-all, a good experience so far. It’s sort of like having a new phone. I look forward to actually getting the latest hardware and seeing this OS upgrade really shine.