Gary Saggu's Tech Blog

Latest trends in mobile technology, tech startups and coding

ZenActivity timer app for Yoga, meditation and interval workouts v2.0 for iPhone is released

ZenActivity timer app enables you to setup individually timed intervals for each of your yoga kriyas, meditations or workouts for training. Use it for any of your interval based workouts with complete customization for workout and rest intervals.

Key features:
  • Add unlimited custom steps to a workout, the steps can be categorized as Exercise, Stretch, Rest and Meditation
  • Support for upto three different workouts with each workout having any number of workout and rest steps
  • Each step duration can be in hours, minutes and seconds. eg. easily add a kriya or meditation for 3 mimutes and 45 seconds
  • Customize each interval with ending sound, vibration(if available), variable volume as well as description
  • Flexible as your workout can easily be changed by moving items simply by dragging and dropping
  • Listen to your music during your workout as ZenActivity timer works with all players
  • ZenActivity timer runs efficiently in the background for any workout
  • Perfect for Yoga teachers and students, MMA workouts, boxing or any kind of interval training even progressive muscle relaxation
  • Cool, intuitive new design optimized to leverage iOS7
  • Supports Airplay (on iOS7) to play on your Apple TV/TV
  • Detailed help screens for each app feature

Download it today!

- Gary Saggu

2013 key technology retrospective

Here are some of the developments in technology that caught my attention in 2013.

iOS 7

Featured fantastic advances that brought iOS to the forefront of mobile OS market. (Can you tell that I am an iOS developer:)?). The design aesthetic, the ability to easily and reliably (finally!) integrate with iCloud especially for developers, Airdrop to share with data with people around you, iTunes radio, a more advanced Siri, Core Motion advances including M7 and camera advances including face and smile detection.

iPhone 5S and iPad Mini Retina

This phone rocked with its 64bit capable A7 processor and the M7 motion co-processor with fast networking and LTE along with a better camera. The Touch ID was a bold attempt in finally bringing fingerprint based technology to the mass market and it works quite well. With the iPad Mini Retina, Apple did the impossible - pack the same processor and power as an iPad Air with the Retina display into the mini iPad footprint. Need I say more?

M7 Motion Coprocessor

The M7 deserves separate mention because of its step counting features and activity monitoring in the iPhone 5S without burdening the A7 and draining too much battery. No additional devices to purchase for these features. New iPad Air and iPad Mini Retina have the M7 but only Activity monitoring is enabled in them.

If you own an iPhone 5S, you may support the author(me) by checking out these 2 cool new apps designed exclusively for the iPhone 5S utilizing the M7 motion coprocessor. They track your steps indoors and outdoors without GPS, record your walking history and enable you to reach your daily step goals with no other devices to buy other than your iPhone 5S. Read about them by clicking the links below

BeWalking

10k Steps

Glass from Google and wearable technology

It is undeniable that the Google Glass is a fantastic technology and will be more available to the masses in 2014 and beyond. Sure, there will be privacy concerns etc. but wearable technology is IN! Lets also get more bags with solar panels and jackets with lightning connectors and start using them, really!. I worry a lot about the EM fields that these devices(phones, computers) generate and look forward to innovative devices that provide protection from these fields like the Pong cases for iPhone.

Pebble

Pebble did it ! They started as a Kickstarter project and they were able to mass produce a full-featured smart watch for a reasonable price. Sure, there are more apps and upgrades desired but nevertheless it is a fresh and innovative product. The last release of the Pebble OS supports iOS7 notifications and more features.

4k Displays

With the new (and powerful) Mac Pro supporting upto 4 4k displays, this is quickly becoming the new standard for advanced graphics displays. 4k tvs from Sony, Samsung and LG were out there and personally, I am waiting for their prices to come down a bit in 2014 and beyond. 8k displays soon? Believe me there is a spec out there.

Full frame DSLR within the reach of the prosumer

With the Canon 6D and Nikon D610 priced as low as in the 1500s (body only), there is hope that this was the year these cameras are putting this technology within the grasp of the consumer. 2014 may usher a sub $1000 full frame DSLR? Maybe:)

Mac Pro

Amazing features like compact design, graphics, 4k display support out of the box. Pricey but worth it if you need the graphics and processing features that this machine uniquely offers in a durable, compact design backed by Apple.

Voice Recognition becomes standard and more useful

Google voice and Siri as well as Xbox One all deserve a mention.

Other notable tech events/happenings in 2013

First lab grown meat burger was "produced" and eaten. 3D printers became more mainstream and cheaper.(esp. when a Makerbot store openend near my apartment). Crypto currencies like BitCoin accompanied with all the advanced mining hardware and volatility were certainly more in the public eye. Smart gadgets including the Nest learning thermostat, Jawbone speakers and Philips app enabled bulbs etc. More devices with built in smarts coming our way in 2014. Sony Playstation PS4 and Microsft Xbox One put gaming on a new level but with limited available games. I played Call of Duty: Ghosts on PS4 and it was quite an experience. On a 4k display (note PS4 does not support 4k yet) it would be out of this world. Maybe in 2016:). Ouya Android based gaming console(another Kickstarter project) broke into a market dominated by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Lastly, crowd funding stood out (again) as a force in 2013 and will continue too in 2014 and beyond.

Happy holidays and a happy new year!

And thank you for your support! See you in 2014!

--Gary Saggu

Select fall, winter and holidays new gadget(tablets, gaming consoles) release dates

Note: This list will be updated frequently...

iPhone 5S, 5C - Available now

iPad Air - Available now

iPad Mini 2 with Retina display - Available NOW (update from Nov 12, 2013)

Ouya Gaming Console - Available now

Pebble Smartwatch - Available now

Sony PS4 - Release date November 15, 2013

Microsoft Xbox One - Release date November 22, 2013

Nikon D610 - Unbelievable full frame DSLR - Available now

These are great choices that any techie or not would love to find as a holiday gift.

- Gary Saggu

http://www.garysaggu.net

http://www.garysaggu.com

Essence of the October 22, 2013 Apple event and the unveiling of iPad Air

- iPad Air is out (on Sep 1, 2013 in stores and online). Features - A7 64 bit processor along with the M7 co-processor with faster processing and graphics with an eye towards battery saving, only 1 lb heavy and about 20% thinner.  Looks like a larger version of the mini footprint with its slightly square edges.  No fingerprint touch id Frown in this version. Comes in silver and space gray.  Expanded LTE coverage.  Larger pixels for the back camera.  Faster WiFi with Mimo/dual antennae (lookout Amazon Fire which has had this technology for sometime).

- iPad Mini is out at the end of November.  Powerful, new A7 processor and Retina display are the major things that stand out.  Also, it has all the other features of the iPad Air in a mini footprint.  Basically, packs the same power as the iPad Air in a convenient mini (now with Retina) package.  This model will truly rock! Might finally move to the mini after this release.

- Macbook Pro lineup is upgraded with the latest Intel chips namely Haswell and Crystalwell architectures and Iris as well as Iris Pro graphics.  Slight price reduction as well.

- Mac Pro is coming in December. Mini drum shaped, polished aluminum casing and quite a design I must say.  Pure power and runs cool.  For the professional with multi-core CPUs/GPUs.  More on this in a separate article.

- OS X Mavericks is out today and is FREE.  I was quite happy to hear that. And so are Apple apps - KeyNote, Numbers and Pages (yes) for new purchasers of Apple devices.  Mavericks features Maps, calendar with Geo location awareness, tagging, fantastic power saving features and more.  Available as a free upgrade to even users of Snow Leopard.  But do check the recommended hardware specs from Apple before downloading on the older machines.  I will write a separate blog on the over 200 new features of Mavericks.

Overall, it was quite a satisfying event and Apple did give away a lot of free goodies.  Looking forward to ordering my iPads (one of each please).

Looking forward to all the potential and a much greater audience for 64 bit code.

Gary Saggu

http://www.garysaggu.net

http://www.garysaggu.com

iPad 5 (and mini) wishlist

What is to be expected from the Apple event on October 22, 2013?  There are so many iPad rumors going on at this time.  What would we likely be seeing in this announcement? Well, here is a wishlist of features...

- iPad Processing : 64 bit on par with the iPhone 5S; new A7x processors with many cores and GPUs.  Sounds like a no-brainer.  This will be "the device" and set new standards for mobile gaming or tablet gaming rather.

- iPad Display : On Mini a retina display would be fantastic. A Larger screen perhaps on the iPad?  Not needed.  There was a rumor I read about an iPad Maxi.  Unlikely in my opinion.

- More memory : Those new 64 bit processors can definitely open up to (address) larger memory.  

- Network : WiFi 'ac' support a possibility although iPhone5S(only supports upto 'n') does not have it but the new iMacs do. Bluetooth 4.x for sure.

- Finger print sensor : The mini and the regular iPad may have it similar to the iPhone 5S, iMHO.  No more long pass codes on the iPad as well possibly.

- Cameras : How many people funnily enough hold out their massive iPads to take photos in not so commodious of places? Well I have seen many! This is probably not going to change when both the iPads have better front and back cameras. Again being wishful wishful...

- Lighter, smaller form-factor : Both iPads could be lighter and smaller and slicker as per Apple's constant commitment to the aesthetic and design.

- Gold version of iPad and iPad mini: This might be the incentive for me to upgrade my iPad if it happens.

Well, with bated breath we look forward to the Apple event on the 22nd of October, 2013.  I will summarize the revelations in this blog.

Meanwhile, lets enjoy our Gold iPhone 5S's.  Has anyone received theirs?  My expected delivery end of this month (October 25-28).

- Gary Saggu

http://www.garysaggu.com - My other blog

http://www.garysaggu.net - Tech Blog

 

iPhone 5S - the skinny

Following are some of the top features of the new iPhone5S :-

  • New Gold finish in addition to Silver and "Space Gray".  Gold looks great and is my choice of iPhone.
  • New fingerprint identity sensor built into the home button.  Fantastic technology that enables no more annoying passcodes to remember.  Where do the fingerprints go?  They are saved in a secure place in the CPU(more on this later).  This topic is so vast that I will publish a new article for it in the future.
  • Memory 16GB, 32GB or 64GB.  I am suggesting the 64GB option for developers and hard-core users for the HD movies and 64bit code that carry a larger footprint.
  • Dimensions are pretty much the same as the iPhone 5.
  • New A7 64 bit CPU for running 32 bit and 64 bit applications.  HD Movie editing on an iPhone, any takers? Apps that use floating point arithmetic like 3D and graphics (memory) intense applications will benefit immensely.  Games too (especially from the Open GL-ES 3.0 support)
  • New M7 Motion coprocessor aids in all the motion related activity monitoring (including gyroscope, GPS, accelerometer, compass etc.) unburdening the powerful 64 bit A7 with more meaningful tasks and saving power thereby.
  • Supports all the major 802.11 a/b/g/n for WiFi.  I was hoping for 802.11ac support but I knew that was asking a lot. Maybe next release iPhone 6? Definitely going on my wishlist.
  • Apps:  Lots of new 64 bit apps.  iTunes has a radio option.  Pages, Keynote and Numbers are free now! (for new buyers of iPhones)
  • Display: Same retina display as iPhone 5.
  • Camera: Enhanced with 8 megapixels with 1.5µ pixels.  So much larger pixels thereby resulting in better photos.  Also, aperture of f/2.2 means more light control and again better low light shots as well.  The try-tone flash is a big improvement over the iPhone 5.  I will present some photos soon to compare and contrast.  
  • Front-side Camera features 720p HD and 1.2MP photos with video stabilization.
  • Video features for HD 1920p, 30fps and cool features like slow-motion.

In short, it is a great phone.  64GB Gold is my choice.

Enjoy,

Gary Saggu

http://www.garysaggu.net http://www.garysaggu.com