For the crazy folks who order iPhones for Day 1 arrival, this most recent ordering process was a bit of a mess. Typically, you can pre-enter your order details in the Apple Store app and then submit it order time. This time, that system failed for 15-20 minutes for many folks, pushing back many people’s ordered by a couple of weeks. This might have been compounded by supply constraints.
So if you’re ordering at that crunch time at 8am when sales start every year, you should try to order thought the Apple Store app, but also through the Apple website. If you have an iPad, try that too at the same time.
For people who were delayed in ordering or forgot this year, you can try to get the iPhones in the Apple store. This is a site that will show you what nearby stores have availability:
Do you ever need to check if a website changes? I use an automated site checker for this such as visualping.io. What’s this useful for?:
If you’re watching a product’s availability on a site, for example to buy a hard-to-find item such as a popular game console.
If you need to see if data or text changes on sites for your job, for whatever information is contained on those pages; this could be for data analysis or competitive research.
If you have your own website and want to see if it goes down for any reason.
There are probably many more reasons to check websites. Visualping and other sites make money by having you pay if you need checks more frequently than every day. There used to be many PC-installed software tools for this purpose, but this has largely moved to the cloud, which I think makes sense for simplicity and ease of use.
Over the last 15 years, robot vacuums have come a long way. No longer blind, today’s robot vacuums use lasers and cameras to identify walls and objects in order to plot logical paths. The original robot vacuums would bump into everything, knock things over, scuff up furniture, and get stuck. They even threw themselves down the stairs, as if understanding their true value.
While modern robots have largely overcome these issues, they lack the suction of a standard vacuum. The robots are meant to be run often, even daily. An upright vacuum is still needed for the occasional deep cleaning.
There are many manufacturers of robot vacuums. The biggest and most well known is Roomba. While Roomba’s are great and the only US-designed robots, they aren’t my favorite for value or smarts. My personal favorites are by Roborock. I currently use the Roborock S6 MaxV (say that 3 times fast), a slightly older model at this point that can still be found refurbished. These use LIDAR to map out rooms and cameras for object detection and avoidance. Object avoidance is a must-have if you have a pet that leaves poop which you prefer not to have smeared around your house. Object avoidance also helps if you leave things on the floor that could snag the robot. This robot also has a mop function, which is nothing great but can help a little.
If you want a cheaper robot, the Roborock S4 has LIDAR, but no camera or mop. Any Roborock with LIDAR is amazing. They create maps of your floorpan that you can easily edit with no-go zones, for example to avoid a pile of wires under your desk. They also vacuum in efficient patterns, better than I have seen with Roomba’s.
You can remotely start and control the robots so that they can vacuum while you’re out. You can use one robot on a multi-story house, but you need to carry the robot since they can’t handle stairs. I like the ease of having one robot on each floor.
The robots do require some maintenance: dumping out the dust, cleaning and occasionally replacing the filters and brushes. Replacement parts for the Roborock are relatively cheap.
While an indulgence, robot vacuums are now a useful household tool instead of just an annoying gimmick.
There’s a saying that the best time to buy a computer is when you need one. WIth new technology always arriving, most jumps in technology are incremental. So just buy whenever. Today, in August 2020, I suggest waiting a bit longer if you can.
Apple is leading the way to end of Intel-based computers with their announcement that they will start using “Apple Silicon” in their computers. This will be a huge jump for Apple’s computers and it portends similar changes that are surely coming to the PC.
42 years ago in 1978, Intel came out with the 8086 chip and the x86 architecture. Intel, along with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) later, made practically every computer’s central processing unit (CPU). (There were many exceptions such as Motorola 68000 chips and PowerPC CPUs, but these never achieved the scale or had the long run of Intel’s CPUs.)
ARM CPUs use a different RISC-based architecture than Intel’s CPUs, and became most ubiquitous in Apple’s iPhones and iPads, as well as most Android phones. Apple will start selling Macs this year with ARM CPUs, which Apple refers to as “Apple Silicon,” justifiably since Apple puts a great deal of effort into designing and optimizing the CPUs for their devices.
ARM is already becoming popular in servers. Therefore, we only await Microsoft Windows’ move to ARM for a full transition away from the Intel era. (Microsoft Windows does have an ARM version, but it is not 64-bit and was never made to be able to run the x86 applications.)
What does an ARM CPU mean for consumers? Due to efficiencies of the ARM CPU, we will see computers that are faster, smaller, and cheaper, while also having better battery life. This is partially because Intel has hit technical snags which have kept their CPUs stagnant the last few years. While AMD has made great improvements with their Zen chips on the same x86 architecture, ARM chips are clearly the power per watt leaders of the future.
So certainly buy a new computer if you need one now. But a big jump in computing is on the way.
Comcast has cheap internet for people who get government housing or food assistance, and now also offers this for Veterans. For $10/month you get 15Mbps/sec download and 2Mbps/sec upload. This is 10x faster than the old DSL speeds and more than fast enough for streaming HD video. There are no charges for setup or equipment (modem/wifi router). If you qualify, it’s a great deal.
To qualify, you can’t have had Internet through Comcast in the last 3 months and you can’t have another Internet service.
I only wish this was promoted more, as there are lots of qualified people who have big $100/month bundle deals because they don’t know other options exist.
Through the Internet Essentials website from Comcast, customers can also order $150 computers. These are slower desktops and laptops (currently with Core 2 Duos and i3 CPUs) but they come with Windows 10, Office, and Norton Antivirus preinstalled. This is also a great deal if you qualify. Each household has up to 2 years to purchase the computers and can purchase up to 3 computers. CDI is the partner that runs the computer sales and they can be reached at 888-234-4272.