How I Spent My iRebate

No big ideas or design insights today; just a few Mac-related things I wanted to clear off my notepad.

First, I tried hard to spend my US$100 iPhone rebate at the Apple Store in SoHo yesterday — without going over the hundred dollar-mark. So I bought myself a Contour Design Showcase for my iPhone, and one of those slick new Apple keyboards.

Total price, including tax: US$90.98. So close; now I need to find something for US$9.02 to spend the balance on. I know I can just put it towards something of a greater value that I probably would’ve bought from Apple anyway (e.g., iWork ’08) but for some irrational reason, I’m feeling defiant. I guess I don’t want to feel like a sucker for letting Apple’s rebate offer trick me into some larger purchase… though as one of those faithful drones who waited in line to buy an iPhone in the first place, it’s hard to make the argument that I haven’t already got “SUCKER” written all over my face.

The Case of the iPhone Case

Speaking of the iPhone, after much informal research of the cases currently available, I finally settled on the Contour Design Showcase as the one that best suits my needs. I was really reluctant to put my iPhone in a case because doing so seems to run counter to the phone’s slim form factor. Besides, unlike past Apple handheld devices, the glass surface on the iPhone appears to be pretty scratch-proof, which almost obviates the need for a case.

Ultimately though, it’s not scratches that worry me so much as it is dents. The fact is, I will drop my iPhone at some point. There’s no use in denying that. So I needed a case that will protect it when I inevitably let it slip through my buttery fingers, sending it crashing towards the ground. The Showcase’s combination of clear plastic and rubberized edges strikes just the right balance for me. I also owned a Showcase for my iPod photo and still use it to this day with satisfaction, so the decision wasn’t that hard once the Showcase finally shipped for the iPhone.

Brand New Keyboard

So I plugged in that new Apple keyboard last night and it’s great. I’ve always been partial to the key switches on Apple’s laptops, which, I believe, are essentially the same ones built into this keyboard. I found my typing to be instantly more accurate; I guess different factors inform everyone’s typing accuracy differently, but so far this one seems to be impacting my typing positively. I only wish that Apple had manufactured the full-size keyboard (with the numeric keypad and arrow keys) in a wireless model. It seems only obstinacy would suggest that it would be a good idea not to do so.

Goodbye to OmniWeb

Finally, can I just tell you that I’m a big, big fan of the OmniWeb browser? Straight out of the box, it has the best built-in features for a superior browsing experience: visual tabs, site-specific style sheets, source editing and previewing, zoomable text entry fields, etc.

But… I just can’t use it any more. It seems to have more memory leaks than a Swiss cheese schooner, and it crashes and crashes and crashes some more on my Intel-based iMac. Its publisher, the Omni Group, have apparently neglected it so much of late that it saddens me. I can only hope that when they finish their upcoming and very promising OmniFocus product that they return to OmniWeb to spruce things up a bit.

  1. I feel your OmniWeb pain – so much potential, and yet so many deeply irritating flaws. Sigh.

    I just bought myself the wireless Apple keyboard, and it’s great – feels right, and is gorgeously tiny. I could almost put it my back pocket.

  2. Have you tried Flock? I have been using it since the alpha and it has progressed a lot. I believe the 1.0 release isn’t going to take long.

  3. Firefox FTW! (I hope). I’ve tried every mac browser out there, but nothing compares to Firefox, with the web developer toolbar (hidden of course), and Google Browser Sync. This way I dont need .mac and my bookmarks sync across any computer I use, even PCs.

    Now if Firefox could just get as fast as Safari is at rendering pages and I’d be happy.

  4. I want to like Omniweb again, but since a new product version hasn’t been released in over a year, it is starting to feel long in the tooth. I know there’s an alpha out, but since the javascript on my online banking site doesn’t work, I can’t go full-time.

    As for Flock, yuck. The UI on the previous version was actually quite nice but with the current edition it has slid a long way downhill. An abundance of needless bling.

    I have chosen to stick with Safari for all of the opposite reasons above: stable, functional and attractive. Camino is relegated to second due to its tendency to make the majority of form input buttons absolutely huge.

  5. Since it seems like the comments have turned this into a browser discussion…

    I’ve been trying out browsers for the last couple weeks after getting a little fed up with Firefox. So far, I’ve used Safari and Camino. It seems that Firefox and Camino are much heavier on the processor and Safari is much heavier on RAM. At one point, I checked Activity Monitor and Safari had claimed over 600MB of RAM after less than a day’s use and with only a few tabs open. That’s no good. Camino’s been okay, but still requires the occasional force quit and spikes up to 50% CPU usage on a quad core MacPro. I’m worried that browsers have gone the way of cellphone carriers, and there is really no best option.

    Khoi’s post has ruled out the need to test OmniWeb – does anyone have a personal favorite other than Firefox, Safari or Camino?

  6. Even though my iPod Photo has taken quite a beating (dropping it in a puddle under my car even) I am terrified of dropping my new iPhone! I’ll have to check this case out.

  7. Can the iPhone and iTouch host files on the 8GB or 16GB HD? Better yet, can one install PHP, or some other server language on the little devils and run a local web app via safari on them? This would be interesting… I apologize if this info is already known, I’ve been a little slow lately

  8. I don’t even know myself, though I imagine the answer is yes. If there’s a will, there’s a way… and there are lots of motivated hackers out there with the will to see how far they can push the iPhone as a platform. I’m looking forward to seeing it.

  9. Two things:
    1.- I did some research for a case for my iPhone, and inevitably I ended up looking at some bulky monstrosity. The one you bought seems like a nice middle point between size and protection. I might get it myself. For now though, I ended up buying a crystal clear film just for the screen. It got so smudgy, it was driving me crazy. I highly recommend you iPhone owners check them out. Makes the screen squeaky clean and streak-free.

    2.- I have been hearing good things about iFuntastic. An app for uploading and modding iPhones. You can add third party applications and re-arrange your home screen, etc. Myself, I don’t think I’ll even try it. It kind of gives me the heebies.

  10. hey khoi, i found reading a diary of your shopping habits so entertaining that i think you should have your own tv show. it shoudl be called “Khoi’s Toys” i swear i will max out my tivo harddrive with episodes.


  11. I bought the Apple Keyboard awhile back, and damn, it’s more of an improvement than I could have imagined. Much better than my old desktop keyboard, and better than the MacBook Pro keyboard.

    Also bought iWork 08, and it’s the first time I’ve ever used iWork, but it’s slick. I really like Keynote and Pages, but haven’t spent much time in Numbers.

  12. I currently use the Apple Extended Keyboard II on my G5.

    I am tempted too to get the new, thin keyboard, but not sure it will be for me.

    You could always spend your extra $10 on an iTunes card?

  13. I got the new keyboard last week. At first I didn’t think I would like it, but it took only about 5 minutes of playing with it at the apple store to fall in love. It has actually significantly improved my wrist position while typing, making me more comfortable at my computer throughout the day…

  14. Hi, browser people, I’m writing this on my Shiira browser, and I sem to be only one to use this so nice designed app. Ok, there’s a few bugs and, and I feel like Virginia “so much potential, and yet so many deeply irritating flaws”.
    And at the end, erЁ Safari is still the best?
    When I really want to have a FRESH page, I use Firefox, even if it’s a bit too “PC” for me (you know, this plug-in and add-ons mentality), ‘cos Safari is cheater that uses the cache too much.
    Well, that was my contribution to the browser debate ; )
    Big up y’all.


  15. Even if it cant host its own content, I can see the iTouch being a viable solution to replace paper for food ordering from restaurants. I am not sure how the coasts are doing this yet (NY and LA; i’m stuck in Milwaukee), but on a recent trip to Poland of all places, my wife and I were at a mall ordering some Ice Cream and the waiter had a PDA he was pegging in our choices on. I imagine it was being sent via wi fi back to a server, which would display the items on a screen for the people preparing the food, then we would get our order. Since the iTouch uses Safari, a real web browser compared to most PDA browsers, this web app integration would be much better. Hmm.. maybe I have a market being in the midwest. LOL

  16. I made a recent visit to the Apple store a week ago, and I spent a little time playing with the new keyboards, and I was thinking the EXACT same thing. (that the keyboard is similar to a laptop keypad.)

    So seeing as how I ahve never owned a laptop, and also have spent verry little time with one on my lap, the keyboard felt very uncomfortable to me.

    However I still want one, because it would only take a day or two to get used to, and then I would LOVE it!

  17. I was using iCab for a while, but its too slow.
    shiira is working well on 10.3.x, but its crashing all the time on 10.4, has some good features i miss on safari though.
    firefox takes too long( about 10 sec) to start.
    opera is good, not as fast as safari, but works stable.
    most of the time i work with safari, but there are a lot of pages i can`t open with it, so i have to try another browser. why is there no ” the browser” out there, one thats fast, opens everything, makes working easier and not harder?

    i`m using a pocket pc phone, since there is no iphone in germany (yet). ie for pocket pc is a piece of crap, opera is ok, but i┤m still looking for a good browser. any ideas?

  18. OmniWeb 5.6 Sneaky Peek:
    Uses a more current version of WebKit than Safari 3 beta; no crashes for me; fast and beautiful.

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