Tech

Which iPhone 11 Should I Buy?

Image from Apple

Image from Apple

“Which iPhone 11 should I buy” is a question a lot of people are going to be asking themselves as we quickly approach Apple’s early Friday morning September 13th pre-ordering date. Here are my thoughts and what I plan to do:

The big choice most people are thinking they have is choosing between an iPhone 11 and an iPhone 11 Pro. I currently have an iPhone X and I got it through Apple’s iPhone Upgrade program. You might be thinking, if I am part of Apple’s Upgrade program then why don’t I have an iPhone XS. After all, it was a free upgrade for me last year. I didn’t upgrade because there wasn’t anything all that compelling in the XS over the X. By NOT upgrading I now have a paid off iPhone X that Apple will give me $400 for in trade-in towards a new iPhone. So I can buy either the iPhone 11 or 11 Pro with cash and only have to pay a few hundred dollars (no more monthly payments). Both the iPhone 11 and the 11 Pro are an upgrade for me from my current iPhone X, so which one should I get?

The iPhone 11 is basically just an upgraded iPhone XR, but that’s not a bad thing. In my opinion, the iPhone XR is the best iPhone (from a value perspective) that Apple has released in quite a few years. I’ll even go one step further...for a lot of people the iPhone XR is still the best choice. The reason I say this is that most of the upgraded features you get with the iPhone 11 vs last year’s iPhone XR won’t make a difference for most users. If the extra $100 doesn’t bother you then I do suggest getting the iPhone 11 over the XR just because you get longer battery life, slightly better waterproofing protection, a second camera and a primary camera upgrade. I am getting the iPhone 11. However, my daughter just bought her first iPhone with her own money and she bought an iPhone XR. The features I just listed aren’t a big deal for her and the extra $100 cost is. So her choice was pretty easy...she got her iPhone XR on Tuesday and it is a very impressive phone. It feels great in the hand, has an amazing looking screen, and is even faster than my iPhone X at a fraction of the cost.

But what about the iPhone 11? I’ll be honest, if I wouldn’t be so ashamed of myself for spending the extra money I would be springing for the new green iPhone 11 Pro (that color is pretty sweet). But I really don’t need the features the iPhone 11 Pro has over the iPhone 11, which is:

  • Longer battery life
  • Better waterproofing
  • 3rd camera (and a bunch of very high-end camera upgrades that truly make this a pro machine)
  • An LCD screen vs the OLED on the iPhone 11
  • Stainless steel case vs the aluminum case on the iPhone 11 If you are just taking photos and videos of your family then the “Pro” camera upgrades and the 3rd camera in the iPhone 11 Pro is most likely not something you really need. Would they be nice? Yes, but I personally wouldn’t pay an extra $300 for them.

I’ve actually been making a concerted effort to spend less time with my iPhone (read my GeekDad article about Kicking Your iPhone Addiction) and when I balance the limited time I spend using my iPhone on a daily basis with the additional features of the iPhone 11 Pro it just doesn’t make sense to spend the extra $300. I suspect if you really look at what you use your iPhone for today you will find the same thing...the extra features you are paying for with the iPhone 11 Pro aren’t worth the extra money.

Apple Pay: 0-60 in About 5-Years

The Pony Express Barn and Museum in Marysville, Kansas

The Pony Express Barn and Museum in Marysville, Kansas

There is a lot of internet buzz about the all new Apple Credit Card that just came out. But people forget that Apple Pay has been out for nearly 5 years now (Apple Pay first started in the United States on October 20th 2014). When I go overseas on travel I am always amazed at just how prevalent contactless payment is over there. You can use Apple Pay virtually anywhere in the major cities across the UK (specifically in the London area where I have made several trips). Compare that to the US and I still can’t use Apple Pay to pay for my groceries and up until very recently it was very hard to find a gas station that would accept it either. Very few of my normal haunts allow me to use Apple Pay. Why is the US so far behind?

Our lack of progress here in the US was really driven home to me last month while I was on vacation in Kansas. I went to Marysville, Kansas to visit the Pony Express barn and museum. I walked into the 150 year-old barn and was able to use my Apple Watch (via Apple Pay) to pay for admission to the museum and buy a few books. Seriously?!? Come on, if I can use Apple Pay in a 150 year-old Pony Express barn why is it so blasted hard to get contactless payments in a major grocery store chain and at gas stations? In less than 2 months the Pony Express went from ZERO to operational back in the 1860s. Fast forward to 2019 and even after 5 years we can’t get contactless payments into many of our chain stores. Some of our current day retailers have a lot to learn from the folks that started the Pony Express about how to rapidly set something up. But the lesson should probably end there because the Pony Express only lasted about 18-months and I like my local grocery store chain (despite their draconian payment methods).

Sharing My Commonplace Book

Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

During the past 8-months I may not have been writing much here on 1WaySwim but I certainly was reading a lot. One of the things I started doing with books I read is to highlight and keep track of passages and quotes from the book. Anything I come across that is impactful or has some kind of meaning for me I save for later. I save all of these passages and quotes in what is called a Commonplace Book. Commonplace Books have been around a really long time and the point behind them is simply this…to capture important knowledge. What is important? That is completely up to the individual.

But the real value of my Commonplace Book is that I read through the information I save at a later time. I keep my Commonplace book in a digital tool called Ulysses (in fact it is the editor I am writing this blog post in now). You can keep a Commonplace Book in a physical book or just about any digital tool for taking notes, but the two main reasons I use Ulysses is for its organizational tools and for how well it ties into the iOS automation tool “Shortcuts.” Everyday I can pick up my iPad or my iPhone and press a single button and my device presents me with a random entry from my Commonplace Book. It’s a great way to revisit important facts and quotes from things you have read.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post. My Commonplace Book is getting large enough that I figured it was time to start sharing some of my favorite nuggets of information from books I have read. So I set up an automation in Shortcuts that lets me take a random Commonplace Book entry and put it out on Twitter once a day. So if you want to know the type of information I find interesting from books, follow my 1WaySwim account on Twitter. Not on Twitter? Not a problem. Just check out my Reading List & Quotes page here on this site. On that page I list the books I am currently reading, the last few books I have completed and at the bottom of the page I have my latest few tweets of quotes from my Commonplace book.

I have just barely scratched the surface of the Commonplace book topic with this post. I have a whole series of articles I will be publishing soon on GeekDad about Commonplace Books so stay tuned for that if you want to know more or are interested in starting one for yourself.

How To Keep the Shortcuts App From Crashing

2019-03-22 - Shortcuts.png

I rely very heavily on the iOS Shortcuts app (formerly known as Workflows). So when the Shortcuts app would crash every time I tried to open it the last couple of days it was beyond frustrating. So I did some searching and found the answer and it turned out to be an incredibly easy fix. Rather than repeat everything here I will just point you to the source. The problem turned out to be a “bug” with how the Shortcuts app was syncing shortcuts with iCloud. Turning off the Shortcuts iCloud syncing and turning it back on again fixed the problem.

Check out the iMore article for the step by step on how to fix this issue (thanks iMore!).

Fixing a Noisy Refrigerator

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I wanted to toss this article out there in case others had a similar issue because it was a very simple fix to what could have been a very expensive problem down the road if not quickly corrected.

I woke up one morning and came downstairs to find that the bottom pull-out door to our refrigerator/freezer (the freezer section) had been left open. I shut the door after looking at the contents to make sure everything was still relatively cold and somewhat frozen (in case I had to throw anything out) and the fridge started making a pretty loud humming/grinding noise. Definitely not a normal noise we hear coming from our fridge (which is essentially silent running).

At first I thought it was just the compressor working overtime trying to make up for lost time and chilling down the freezer again. But by later that afternoon it was still making a lot of noise even though everything in the freezer had re-frozen and the temp was back to 0 deg F. Something was wrong. So I did some digging online and the most likely causes to the noises I was hearing was either:

  • Something caught in the blower/fan
  • Bearings in the fan motor going out
  • Compressor going out

The last two items I was not going to attempt to do anything with myself, but the first was a different story. As the fridge was cooling back down the freezer section I noticed a lot of ice that had built up on the surfaces of everything in the freezer. The door was left open long enough for warmer moister air to get into the freezer and the moisture condensed all over the surfaces. This meant that it was likely that moisture had condensed on the fan blades in the blower compartments and re-frozen. Just like on a prop plane, ice accumulation on blades/propellers is bad. It throws off the balance and makes the motor work a lot harder than it should (which could explain the noise I was hearing).

So if there was ice on the fan blades of the blower unit in the freezer how I could I get the ice off? There didn’t seem to be any way to easily gain access to the blower unit and the fan blades. To make things worse there was also no way to just shut off the freezer part of the fridge...it was all or nothing. So what we ended up doing was moving all of the freezer items out of the fridge and into our deep freeze in the garage and then unplugged the entire fridge for a short period of time. Then we opened up the freezer door and put a small space heater in for about an hour to melt and dry out all the ice/water in the freezer section. After that was done we plugged the fridge back in and the fridge was operating just as quietly as it had before this whole open door incident happened.

For reference, the fridge unit we have is a Kenmore Elite model 795.73153.610.

Also, we never did solve the mystery of who actually left the freezer door open. My wife went to work early that morning and said she didn’t get in the freezer and would have noticed if the door was open. My teenage kids all say they didn’t do it, but its rare for any of them to be up before noon. So if they did get up they certainly wouldn’t remember doing it. Maybe it was the dog...

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