Monday, September 14, 2020

iPad Pro 11 (2020) Review

A new and improved iPad Pro came out in March of 2020. I recently acquired one and being a non-mac person, I thought I would give it a review from that perspective. My girlfriend and I got our iPad Pro 11 in an online sweepstakes. The 11 indicates the screen size. Apple also makes a 12.9 screen. The base price is $799 and prices go up depending on screen size and the amount of ram. All use the same Apple 64 bit A12Z Bionic chip. Click here if you want to see the other specs.

My first impression before turning it on is that it is a solid piece of hardware. You need two hands to hold it as the surface is so slick that I was afraid it would slip out of my hands. A protective case should solve that problem. It weighs just over 1 pound. But, after holding it for a while, you'd swear it weights more. This is a device you would use while it is laying on a surface or in a case that has a built in stand. Having limited experience with an Apple device I was surprised to see that it came with only a quick start guide and not a hefty operators manual like you get with some devices. I figured Apple would want lots of personal information during setup. But, I was able to get through the setup procedure without creating an Apple ID or giving my location. Unfortunately, if you want to download apps or use location based apps, you need to complete that part of the setup process.

The interface is fast and responsive. Apple prides itself at being user friendly, to the point where some actions are not very intuitive, until you watch a tutorial. After you learn the proper hand gesture, it is easy to remember. For the first few hours I found myself looking for the back button and struggling to figure out how to stop an app from running in the background. Something as simple as putting in an underscore from the keyboard required an internet search. I eventually learned how to get around, and after making a few adjustments to the settings, things were getting better. The bigger screen, compared to a cell phone, makes reading news articles and playing games a much better experience. 128GB is more space than on my cell phone, so we can install and explore more apps. Battery life is rated at 10 hours with a full charge. It is nice to look at the battery meter and see it still at 90 percent after an hour of use. I would recommend one if you have the money and are looking for a well designed, versatile tablet. 

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Sturgis Rally 2020

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is happening this year in South Dakota. This is the 80th anniversary of the annual event. South Dakota has some of the lowest COVID infection numbers in the US with 9,477 confirmed as of 8/9/20. It will be interesting to see if the rally impacts infection numbers in SD. It may not have any measurable impact because most of the bikers are from out of State. Videos on YouTube show very few wearing masks and social distancing is mostly non-existent. Bikers are not going to let a viral pandemic get in the way of their annual social event!

Meanwhile, the parking lots at Minnesota casinos are full again. My girlfriend works at one of the casinos and reported to work with a cough one day this past week. They made her get a COVID test before she was allowed to go back to work. Luckily, the test was negative, but it makes you think about how things would change if it was positive. Minnesota now has 60,142 confirmed cases and Wisconsin is reporting 64,231. The US has passed the 5 million mark with 162,000 deaths so far. Trump had to sign an executive order yesterday to extend enhanced unemployment benefits after negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus rescue package collapsed. This order does not include a second $1200 relief payment. It feels like there is a good chance that the second payment will not happen. The Democrats had a chance to show some flexibility, but they couldn't reach an agreement, and forced Trump to take action. Making your opponent look like a hero only a few months before an election is never a good move.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

COVID-19 cases continue climb in US

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in the United States. As of July 18, 2020 the total is 3.68 million with a record 75,821 new cases reported yesterday. So far, just over 1% of the population has been infected and there have been 141,000 deaths. That's an average death rate of about 1000 per day.
Even though the infection rate has increased, the death rate has stayed about the same. I suspect this is because doctors have found ways to save more people. Still, this virus is going to be around for a while and we are far from a point were we can relax our efforts to control the spread.

In the charts on the left you can see the new cases in the US. Below that is an overlay of Minnesota and Wisconsin. If the trend continues, Wisconsin will catch up to Minnesota very soon. Wisconsin shows 47% fewer deaths than Minnesota. That is most likely because of the higher infection rate that Minnesota had in May. The numbers in these two states are far better than what we see in California, Texas, and Florida. These states reported over 36,000 new cases and 432 dead in just one day on 7/17/20.