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Dan Cameron

I build stuff with WordPress

I'm currently building Sprout Apps to help small businesses and freelancers running WordPress.
DCIM100GOPRO

Rest and Relaxation

Our second day on Honolulu was uneventful and filled with a lot of relaxing, swimming, more relaxing at the beach, relaxing, slides, lazy river and a bit of drinking in between. The kids went to Auntie’s Beach House for some activities while we relaxed and planed our next few days.

For dinner we ended up leaving Aulani (for the first time since arriving) but only walked across the way to eat at MonkeyPod.

DCIM100GOPRO

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From Hilo to Honolulu

We ventured out first thing in the morning for the long drive back to Hilo. Our plan was to hit up a Ken’s House of Pancakes before our flight but it ended up being a bust; I dropped Sara off with the kids to get a seat and place our orders while I went to fill up the rental car with gas, when I returned (15-20 minutes later) not one person helped them, at that point we were running late. Sara tried to get a waitresses attention as she walked by and she totally ignored her because I saw here shake her head after passing, it was insane.

Breakfast was a bit frustrating but arriving and renting a car at Budget in Honolulu was the absolute worst. After getting pushed out of the Budget shuttle from the airport we’re told “only the driver should go stand in line in the office”, well only the drivers could fit in the tiny office anyway so we waited — seemingly hours. I ended up having to argue with the people their about car seat safety and how they shouldn’t have thrown out the backs to their kids booster seats we ended up at Walmart to buy a booster with a high back just for the trip. Ends up that buying a car seat here is cheaper than renting a POS at the rental company.

Those two experiences set us back a bit for the day but arriving at “our home” at Aulani, settling in, getting drinks by the pool and watching the kids swim made up for it.

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Hilo, Helicopter Volcano Tour and Falls

Our third full day revolved around a helicopter volcano tour that we would take in the afternoon in Hilo.

ocean view to hilo

The drive wasn’t too bad, the kids were surprisingly civil with each other.

We walked downtown for a while, shopping in it’s little shops and settling for a mexican restaurant that had some very unique Hawaiian flavors (surprisingly). After we went to a park/garden close to downtown and the airport.

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Finally around 3pm we boarded our first helicopter tour (a first as a family or individually). We ended up using Safari and the tour was incredible. I have a ton of video that I plan to trim down to a short clip, photos will go up on flickr later.

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That afternoon we checked out Rainbow Falls (east of Hilo) and Pe’ePe’e Falls (just north of Rainbow Falls). this was an experience too since we climbed under the railings and trekked down to the frigid “Boiling Pots” for a swim. Avery and I jumped in and were headed for the falls up stream but it started to pour rain and we had to head back because of it, it was running late too. I have some cool video of this too but I’ll need time to create something watchable.

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Snorkel Trip to Captain Cook

This was our day to snorkel and without much a plan we headed to Kona Boys in south Kona to rent stuff and ask about places.

After a fair bit of going back and forth we decided to do the “45 minute” hike to Kealakekua Bay, regardless of wether she said it probably wasn’t a good idea since we had kids.

Well, the 45 minutes turned into about an hour and a half down and an hour up. It was a really tough hike, probably one of the worst I’ve done, carrying Sawyer on my shoulders didn’t help that fact.


View Captain Cook Hike in a larger map

The hike was worth it for Avery and me since we snorkeled but I can’t say the same for Sara and Sawyer, although they had a little beach in front of some cool tide pools to relax on.

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Hawai’i Volcano Day

Day two was set to be our volcano day. Our plan was to hit the Volcano National Park visitors center and figure out what to do.

First thing first, we headed down to have breakfast at the first open restaurant we found. We ended up filling up at Shaka Restaurant.

 

 

After breakfast we headed up the mountain to the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

 

We ended up taking Kealauea hike down into the “lake” of solid lava stopping at 15 points of interest that taught us about what happened not so long ago. It was a very long 4 miles.

Volcano Day

Before the big hike we stopped and looked at the crater which still has a lot of activity.

Volcano Day

Walking in the “lake” was described to us like walking onto the moon just after walking through a rainforest; of course, I didn’t like that description but it was pretty cool to walk a mile down the rainforest wall to a desolate landscape.

Volcano Day

The last part of our hike was a lava tubes.

After being exhausted from the hike we drove down to the ocean front of the park to see where the lava recently took over the road about ~10 years ago.

Volcano Day

More photos will be uploaded to our Hawaii ’13 flickr set.

After we stopped off in the town just north of the park and had a great dinner.

DCIM100GOPRO

Hawaii Vacation 2013 – Day One

Most of our first day was either in an airport, on an airplane  or in a car but on our way to our home on the big island we stopped off at an awesome little beach.

Our night was filled with another adventure: finding our home that we’ll be staying at until Tuesday, Maps and GMaps put us miles away from where we needed to be but we found it and a little town fifteen minutes away where we had dinner.

 

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Stop killing your Apps!

I feel obligated to share this with everyone I know again that has an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch…again!

Please stop using the app switcher to “force quit apps”! It’s annoying me that you’re wasting your time and I’m sure the developers that put a lot of effort into developing a smart solution where you don’t have to do this is really frustrating. More importantly those people at the AT&T/Verizon/Sprint and Apple stores are either playing with you or ignorant.

If you’re not big on reading (surprised you’ve made it this far) and you’re not going to read this article here’s the summary:

Let me wrap this up by giving you a quick summary:

  1. If someone tells you that all the apps in the multitasking bar are running, using up memory or sucking power, they are wrong.
  2. When you hit the home button, an app moves from Active to Background and quickly to the Suspended state where it no longer uses CPU time or drains power.
  3. An app may request an additional 10 minutes of Background running to complete a big task before becoming Suspended.
  4. If memory is becoming scarce, iOS will automatically move Suspended apps into the Not Running state and reclaim their memory.
  5. Five classes of apps – audio, GPS, VOIP, Newsstand and accessory apps – and some built-in apps such as Mail may run indefinitely in the background until they complete their task.

Put simply: you do not have to manage background tasks on iOS. The system handles almost every case for you and well written audio, GPS, VOIP, Newsstand and accessory apps will handle the rest.

Do I force quite apps? Yes, about once a week because some apps (looking at you facebook) stop responding when they’re downloading a something (e.g. newsfeed) and because closing and opening doesn’t help (since the state is saved) I restart it so that it tries to download it’s stuff again.

Questions?

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Google Maps for iOS

Looks like Google’s released their own Maps app — as expected. Further solidifying that Apple’s switch to their own maps app was the best choice for users. Otherwise we would never have a (presumably) good Maps app backed with Google’s data.

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(My) Defense of iOS6 Maps

iOS6 Maps is not amazing, which is humerously documented here, nor is it great, neither was Google Maps for iOS 3/4/5/6 and I honestly can’t believe some people would say otherwise (e.g.). I do agree Google Maps was “awesome” and the “killer app”  for the iPhone in the first couple years but there’s no way it’s still being considered as “great”.

Look at Google Maps for Android, then the old Google Maps for iOS, there’s no comparison, the old iOS maps was getting stale. Most importantly the Maps app was/is no longer the app that people love the most about their iPhones.

Yes, turn-by-turn navigation is a big deal but it’s not the only reason the old app stunk.

Traffic

One of the features I use most is traffic data (we drive through LA so we have to) but it wasn’t accurate. So flawed that Google removed the feature from it’s web app, only to resurrect with improved data via crowd-sourcing in their mobile apps — mobile apps that exclude the iPhone [strike 1].

Now Maps has it’s own real-time crowd-sourced traffic data and with 400 million iOS devices (250+m iPhones) that crowd-sourced data will be on par (or possibly better) than Google Maps on fully supported devices.

Displaying traffic within maps has drastically improved but I concede that Apple could have made visual changes to the Google Maps add too.

 

Lack of features (like flyover)

I don’t believe that flyover is (or ever will be) a better feature than street view (a Google Maps feature that will most likely never come to the new Maps) but it’s an example of a feature that wouldn’t be possible without transitioning (away from Google Maps).

 

Flyover is (arguably) only a cool feature, it will impress iPhone owners and prospective buyers.

 …another feature Yelp!

Yelp being integrated into Maps is something you wont find in Google Maps and yelp is fantastic (in my experience). Google Place ratings (even with Zagat) can’t compare and I don’t think Yelp and Google are going to mend their relationship anytime soon after that fiasco a while back.

 

Turn-by-turn

First, we don’t know why turn-by-turn was never added to Google Maps for iOS but it’s clear without it the Google Maps on iOS was not “great” when it could be compared to Google Maps on the competition’s phones. It’s possible Apple just didn’t want to write the feature into their app but it’s also possible that Google didn’t allow it under their agreement; theories aside turn-by-turn is necessary to compete.

I’ve used Navigon since for years(?) now and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve used it — three times;  compare that to 10+ times I’ve used iOS6 Maps turn-by-turn in only a couple months. 

Navigon isn’t a bad app either, it’s credited as the best navigation app on the iPhone but it was never used because it lacked attention. Attention that a secondary app with only one purpose can never get.

 

Progress

Most arguments against the new maps app revolve around it being a “step back” without acknowledging or considering how progression sometimes must work.

The “re-write” needs to happen at some point, otherwise only small iterations occur and software becomes stagnant. Software devs. know this. In this case Maps introduced a fresh data store that is fully controlled by the developer (Apple) and not a competitor (Google). Data that they can by manipulated, tuned and accessed independently without a competitor’s API limits or agreements interferring.

It’s clear after 5 years of Google Maps for iOS with no real progress would have been worse for Apple’s consumers, and waiting to “improve the map data” would have made things worse because Apple’s data could (presumably) never catchup with Google’s without interaction. Interaction that millions of users will bring via iOS6.

Now Google is forced to make a Maps app for iOS that not only competes with it’s Android counterpart but iOS6 Maps. A Maps app that could disrupt Apple’s plans to improve the data that will make the new Maps app great. So blame Google for not releasing a new iOS Maps app at launch :), they made a good app to replace the default YouTube app..

Now

Now Maps for iOS can (and IMO will) improve to be the “killer app” for the iPhone (and iOS) that it once was.

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