Friday, January 29, 2010

An Argument for the iPad

My response to the question:

"Don't you already have an iPhone, do you really need a larger one? What can you possibly do on that that isn't possible on any of your other devices?"

-Have you tried reading a book on the iPhone? I've been doing it for a week...usable, but not exactly a stellar experience.
-I have a desktop and my phone (my netbook gets used 99% for taking notes in class and an occasional movie on Netflix), therefore I don't think in the same ways a constant notebook user does.
-Judging by the fact that Flashblock is one of my favorite firefox extensions...I don't think lack of Flash is gonna kill me.
-I browse on my phone when I'm watching TV; this will make that experience way more enjoyable.
-Browsing/Reading is my primary form of content consumption + some minor games; I don't even use headphones on a regular basis - so for me the iPad (which I do admit has a HORRIBLE name, but whatever) makes more sense than the extra $400 it takes to get a MacBook - and considering that if I were to spend the $1K on a MacBook, I'd much rather spring the $1200+ for a 13" MacBook Pro...and now I've doubled what I've spent on the iPad which 95% of the time would be overkill for my usage scenario. (And I really have no desire to buy a PC laptop - I haven't seen a truly compelling portable for less than $800 or so).
-WiFi only? No problem, I'm not pulling this thing out in line at a store - I'm sitting down on the couch with it. I don't think the 3G version is that useful to me because I do have the iPhone in a pinch.
-And just consider that it's not out yet - there will be apps developed that make more sense for the device, just like they were developed for the iPhone. iPhone launched without an app store originally - this has that advantage from the get-go.
-Content support will also drive this - the iPhone wouldn't be where it was without the app store and this will be the same - a Windows or OS X tablet doesn't have the tried and true support of developers writing for a purely touch-based interface (the HP Slate is going to be pretty, powerful, and then everyone will realize that file management with their fingers isn't so much fun; I'd rather offload that to Apple who will do it for me).
-OS X wasn't designed for a touch interface - and as much as Windows 7 wants to claim that title - it wasn't either. There isn't an interface (other than Android) that makes sense on a large touchscreen tablet and at the end of the day - I've purchased content from Apple, not Google. The fact that I don't know what people will come up with as apps for the tablet intrigues me almost as much as what I already will use it for.
-The multitasking thing isn't a huge deal either - if I'm fine with it on my iPhone (I don't have backgrounder installed) then I don't expect to miss it on the tablet. And we haven't hit OS 4.0 yet - it's still 3.2. I, for one, have never had the desire to listen to Pandora & browse on my phone at the same time. And let's be honest - iPad will be jailbroken and be opened up for multitasking at the very least for those who want it. (Do I think this is elegant? No, but I'm fine with it)

For all the discussion I've seen about the iPad, I tend to agree that in spite of its "closed nature", the iPhone has been a huge success for Apple, and there is a true market for another device in the same vein; I fall into that market because if I need a full computer, I have one on my desk - I don't always need a fully-capable machine, but I want something bigger than a 3.5" LCD to browse the internet on. Will there be tablets that do everything that was speculated for the iPad? Probably - it comes to a question of need:
Do I need a Core 2 Duo notebook to go browsing engadget and lifehacker? Do I want to read a book on a notebook screen? I don't game, rarely use youtube, rarely (if ever) watch hulu - and Netflix is based around TV viewing. I really do want a larger screened iPod touch when it comes down to it.
I'll be buying mine the day they're released.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What I've Been Upto

In the few weeks I've been spending a lot of time with some new media and technologies that I'd like to share.

First, I'd like to say that this post, and the last two, were written using my Apple Bluetooth Keyboard; this is easily the nicest feeling, and most beautiful keyboard I've owned (a shout-out to Eman, who has gone through at least a dozen mice in the last few years, I fully understand the desire for the right ergonomics now, this being my 4th keyboard in a few years as well).

I'm happy to say that my brain is safe thanks to my new iPhone case by Pong Research (my Christmas gift from Bunny).  The bright lime-green case you see in the photo has a tested and verified technology inside (don't even ask me how it works) that deflects 60% of the radiation output from my phone away from my head.  The case makes it a little hard to flip the silence switch on my phone, but overall it's a great case and I really like having a day-glo iPhone.

 I've been fooling around with a few different apps lately that have really managed to wiggle their way into my daily life;  The first is called xGPS which, as the name implies, is a GPS driving app for the iPhone with 1 really unique feature: the ability to download Google Maps data on a PC and transfer them directly to the iPhone.  While the app isn't perfect (it loses connection and sometimes gets lost), as a free app it's been a really nice addition to my driving experience.  It reads street names and directions to me while muting music playback in the process, perfect for keeping my eyes on the road.

Another app that proved itself (if only momentarily) is called, applicably, iPhone Modem 3.  A device that I'm currently enamored with is called the "MiFi", a portable 3G modem/router that allows any computer/cell phone with WiFi to connect to the internet, up to 5 at once.  Very cool for a little credit card sized device, but my phone is already connected to the internet all the time anyway.  What iPhone Modem 3 allows me to do is turn my iPhone into a MiFi of sorts and get my MacBook Nano online wherever I have cell signal.  Bunny tested this on the road and while the connection isn't exactly stellar when driving, it did work and would work fine in a pinch.

I'm also going to be trying out a couple of software-side technologies soon as part of a daily regiment;
The first one is called - my understanding of Gowalla is that it's a "social location game" where you check into wherever you are in real life through the app and "earn" badges and achievements for being in different places.  I'll explain it better when I understand it more, but it gives me something to do when I'm standing in line or waiting at a drive-thru.
The next is called Ustream.  The app on my iPhone allows me to live-stream video from my phone to the internet; It's like a webcam except the viewer would see what I see rather than look at me talking.  I'll see whether or not I can make it useful.

Finally, I'm going to make a blanket statement about my excitement regarding the rumored Apple "tablet"/"iSlate".  Whatever this device turns out to be (expect an announcement on Jan 27th), I can't wait to get a hold of one.  I'm thrilled with my Mac Mini, my iPhone, and my hackintosh netbook - but I eagerly await the release of a device that bridges the gap between portable handheld computing (e.g., iPhone) and notebook
computing.  Something that I can get online with, create notes/emails on, but is more useful than the
3.5" screen on my phone and has a better battery than my 2.5 hr notebook.  We'll see but I'm saving up.

 My Apple aluminum keyboard and Pong Research iPhone case

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Vault into the New Year

Hopefully the new year is finding everyone well; The past two weeks have been nice and busy and lovely as I spent lots of time with Bunny on our vacation together. I can barely believe that tomorrow is officially the start of work again - but I'm ready to get back to tutoring and teaching soon enough. Another gallery of pictures below - some of the best moments of the day-trips Bunny and I have been taking.

  Natural History Museum


  Playing With Play-Dough (Ox, Cat, Mouse, Turtle)

  More Play-Dough

  From Left; Bunny's, Mine, Teenie's Gingerbread Houses

  Sunset over Hollywood from the restaurant Yamashiro

  For your enjoyment - a 16x9 wallpaper of the moon

  Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel

  Red Rock Canyon

  Look Up

Completely Unexplainable

  Trona Pinnacles

  The Thinker

Solar Flare

  Desert Life

   Surface of Mars

   Easter Island Figures

   Life on Mars?