Category Archives: Products

My Prediction

I have had a vision. In around 5 years time (the time it will take for everyone’s computer to slow to a crawl) everyone will have an iPad(like) device. This is my reasoning:

First of all, everyone knows that there are many complaints with the device. I am not going to rehash those here. They have been covered ad nauseam, and if you really would like to find them, search any gadget blog for a list of gripes.

The epiphany that I had was this: the iPad is for content consumption, while traditional computers are for content creation. You have heard the first part before. It is no secret that the iPad has a great form factor (like that of a magazine) for reading, browsing the web and watching movies/videos. The latter just occured to me. The things that I will not be able to use the iPad for that I use regularly: Photoshop, and Lightroom 2. To a lesser degree: Garageband, iMovie, Logic, Final Cut etc. Most people have no idea how to use these programs.

Within the tech community, photoshop skills are essential like a sidearm in the old West. Most people, however, use the jpegs straight from their camera, and think editing video requires godlike powers (just try showing an edited video to your mom, she will think you belong in Hollywood).

As I work in my computer dealer, people often tell me about how they have 250GB of RAM on their computer back home. They don’t know the difference between an iPhone and an iPod Touch. As soon as people start seeing them around, and watch people browse the web, read magazines and books, and use whatever apps are made specifically for it, it will become an object of desire. It already is. I have been walking around the school with a Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader for the past month, and have been asked literally 3 times a day if it is the iPad.

When people go to buy a computer, they will ask the prices (as they always do) and when they find out that the sexy slab-of-glass one is $500, they will buy it. Kids will sync it with their parent’s computers, even if they are away at college (yes, this is risky, but people do this. They don’t backup, they sync their iPods with friends they met in South America on study abroad, etc). There will be one computer in the home that can be used for content creation like Word docs (primarily, with some using the attachable keyboard with the iPad), photos, etc.

What about those people who do program, edit movies and music, blog heavily, design? They will have one too. Instead of heaving their MacBook Pros around on trips, to school, the plane, they will use their ____ (not necessarily an iPad) except for when they need to produce content.

Picture a Dell laptop. Why, are we so stuck on the idea that this is what a computer looks like? Browsers, applications and interfaces have all been molding and changing to become more ergonomic, why not explore a little? I absolutely love the way an iPhone is used. Why am a still using a computer that operates like a big Blackberry?

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Bacon Flavored Lollipop

What is the first thing that you think of when you hear those words?

“Those words don’t belong together.”

“My tastebuds hurt.”

The first thing that went through my mind was “I want to eat one with my mouth.” I’m a doer not a wisher so I went ahead and got one. No, I didn’t walk into my local odd-flavored lollipop store, no I ordered it on the Internet. My computer told their server that I desired to try one of their breakfast-themed confectionary masterpieces, and they obliged.

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I received my pig flavored sucker a few days later, and promptly dove in. Before I submit my review, here is some more info about the candy itself.

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They are manufactured by a company called Das Foods, a company who brazenly makes all sorts of gourmet lollipops. In addition to my pork flavored one, I also got ginger & lemon, salty caramel, and orange & pomegranate (Orange? Gross!).

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As you can see, there are little spots in the sucker. I know what you are thinking… Don’t worry those spots are not peanuts, they are actual meat chunks. Close call there. As I tasted it something strange happened…

I kind of liked it.

I know you all think that I am crazy, but the reality is, that bacon tastes good, and when applied to another type of food, it kind of works. The thing I didn’t expect is that it is actually Maple Bacon flavored, giving it a sugary zing that wisks you away to Vermont. Honestly, it tasted like camping (in a good way). I don’t know how else to describe it. It tasted a little smoky, a little salty, sweet and that is pretty much it. It did taste like bacon, but not gross. It also did not taste like swine flu, so that is good I suppose.

I am no stranger to trying new candy. Whenever I see a new package in the checkout at the grocery I always try it because it could be my favorite candy, and I just don’t know it yet. I believe this is a good policy. It has done me well in the past, though my dentist might not agree.

I feel that my $6 was well spent. I got 8 suckers, and have 8 more on the way for free! If any of you would like to try the hoggish candy, I will be breaking up the remaining one the next movie night.

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iPhone 3.0 Wrap-Up

Image courtesy Gizmodo

Image courtesy Gizmodo

Apple has announced their iPhone 3.0 software. Their last major update brought downloadable applications to the phone, and their aim with this next release is to bring more features that people want. So what are some things that they have added?

Well first off, Cut, Copy and Paste. Using a double tap you can select text to cut or copy, and double tap later to paste. Simple enough implementation. You can even shake to undo, neat.

Complete device search, or spotlight, and landscape typing are also included, as well as sending and receiving MMS messages. Spotlight is a utility that allows you to search your entire device, including music files and applications. A couple of the other things they are adding include, stereo bluetooth support, notes syncing, shake to shuffle, anti-phishing, auto-fill and YouTube accounts. You can now forward SMS messages as well. I know a lot of people will be happy with these updates alone.

Apple has opened up more options for charging for apps. Devs can now choose to sell subscriptions to their content, or even levels for games in a buffet type manner. The new options for different business models is great for developers, but not as great for users. Basically it enables the devs to squeeze a little bit more money out of app store patrons. I think this is a good thing, however, as it will continue to add more apps to the store, and possibly ones with increased functionality.

The iPhone will be enabled with P2P access that is automatic and simple. With peer to peer access easier, apps will be able to transfer information quickly and easily, broadening the functionality of the phone. We will see how open Apple is with this, but potentially it could be used to transfer photos etc.

SDK

Accessory makers will be able to develop applications to use specifically with their accessory, which means that your next Bose speaker dock may have the equalizer controls within an iPhone app, rather than not having them at all. They are even allowing more niche applications like a blood pressure monitor that could be plugged directly into the iPhone to record it and utilize it the information. Also people with diabetes will be able to monitor their glucose levels directly on the phone, with their insulin meter talking directly to their phone via bluetooth. I know one medical professional specifically who would like to use only one device, and is looking for the ideal. This could bump the iPhone up there in the running.

One thing that I would like to see is an attachment for gameboy-like buttons. This would really allow for more in depth gaming on the iPhone. It seems like this now would be possible, though it would probably require support from Apple to work correctly.

Background notifications will be enabled. According to Apple, applications running in the background cause an 80% decrease in battery life, opposed to 23% when the app is merely checking for notifications. One thing they fail to mention is that apps like Pandora will still not be able to run in the background, and have no need for push applications. This will be disappointing for some thought the battery life would be absolutely pitiful if you were listening to Pandora and playing a game. The battery is bad enough already, so I think that Apple was between a rock and a hard place but made the smart decision, though it may not be the popular one.

They are opening up new APIs to developers. What this means is that app makers will be able to use more of the iPhone’s features in their apps. Things like access to the music library, proximity sensor and full use of the GPS (Turn by turn directions anyone?). Another example would be that within a game, you could access your music library as a character, select a song and play the song. EA demonstrated this with their game, The Sims.

One thing notably absent from the official announcements is bluetooth tethering. In a question and answer session, Apple said that they were working with carriers to get this function up and running. They also said that they have no hardware announcements at this time. Bluetooth keyboards will not be supported, and P2P will be limited to devices running bonjour, Apple’s personal flavor.

The update will be available to all iPhone owners for free this summer, probably when the next iPhone comes out. For iPod Touch users, it will be  $9.99. I am surprised that they didn’t try to sell the update as part of the next iPhone. That means that whatever they come out with will have to have some serious hardware updates to sell (faster processor anyone?). I don’t believe that anyone has the right to complain anymore about Apple intentionally nuetering the phone, though due to human nature, we will probably start demanding satallite TV on the iPhone around July.

Pictures Courtesy Gizmodo and Engadget Liveblogs and their creative commons license.

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The Beta Meister!

So there is a trend that has been pointed out by others prior to me, and I wanted to throw in my two cents.

I installed the Windows 7 beta on my HP mini, and am lovin’ it (except the more whiteboy way: “loving it”). It is a beta version, but seems quite good so far. I have one driver issue that has yet to be resolved (Windows OS with a driver problem? Well I never… kidding!) But overall it has a beautiful UI and they truly did improve upon the taskbar that was one of the things that drove me into Steve Job’s turtlenecked arms in the first place. The preview function is awesome.

But this is all besides the point, which is not aimed directly at Microsoft, but beta culture in general. For those not familiar, the beta culture is where software developers release their product initially in beta (or as a preliminary release) so that basically regular ‘joe warcrafts’ do the testing and report the bugs. This is all well and good, except, an OS? Seriously? This is what I think happened:

Vista was a failure. Whether it truly deserved to be is another discussion (I don’t think it deserved what punishment it got). But I think that Ballmer’s boys are tricking us a little. After using this OS, it seems pretty stable. So I think that they are basically releasing Windows 7 now, though under the Beta guise so that if everyone complains they can fix it before the official release? Very, very smart, though tricky. I don’t blame them, I just think that is what they are doing.

Do you think this could be possible?

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The Digital Revolution

Some news from the UK piqued my interest recently, MINI is dropping CD changer preparation from their cars due to the fact that only 50 cars of the 50,000 cars produced last year actually had a CD changer installed. Why is this? The fact that you can just as easily have your MP3 player play through your car as you can have a CD deck installed, and most new cars come with AUX jacks pre-installed. The thought of having to physically change a CD every time I want to stop listening to the same 12 songs seems archaic and dangerous. Lets be honest, no-one pulls over every time they want to change a CD. Hopefully you at least do it at a red light, but either way, reaching for a booklet and searching for your disk of choice is not the best thing to do in a vehicle. Due to the shuffle feature of most MP3 players, or the ‘Genius’ playlist maker on the newer iPods, you don’t ever have to change the song, and if you want a specific song, it takes but 5 seconds to get to it. But what can you do if your car doesn’t have an AUX input already? Here are a couple ways you can join the party:

Normal CD deck with and AUX Input
I found one for twenty bucks, and there are numerous others that will allow you to play your iPod through your car’s speakers. Though you will have to charge the player with your cigarette lighter jack, this is an easy solution that is $20 and up.

In Dash iPod Dock
Will allow you to place your iPod into your dash like you would a CD, and control it from the face of the player. Very convenient, though you will pay for that convenience (as always).

FM Transmitter
Use one of these if you don’t enjoy music at all. They are around $30 dollars which is more than the deck I found with an AUX input and gives you the clarity of a beautiful sunset through a screen door. Yes, your music is there, but it is one dimensional. You have to find a truly dead channel to use it on, and even if you do, when you are next to a bus you will get interference from their radio (communication radio, that is). In short, DON’T DO IT.

Tape Adapter
My knowledge on these is very limited, so this will be short. I am not sure of the quality of the signal with these, though it is for sure better than an FM transmitter. I know it isn’t digital quality because you are going through the magnetic receivers used for cassette tapes, a technology that was invented in the 60’s.

There are many factors that go into how your music sounds including your speakers, amp, connection, and how compressed your digital music is. There are many people that give sound systems a bad name (i.e. those monkeys who try to get as much bass as possible to rattle their car to bits), but true audio fidelity can enrich your audio experience and allow you to hear the music the way it was truly meant to sound.

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Ah the Memories

I was flipping through the channels last night and came across a little gem called Home

Alone 2: Lost in New York. Now, I know that the franchise went downhill afterwards,
but I remember the excitement I had, and the desire to see that movie that swelled inside
after receiving my little Hardee’s box cut out that formed into a Limo with Kevin’s head
poking out. One thing that caught my eye was the Talkboy, the recording device he used that
was part of the main story which eventually was released to the public from Tiger
Electronics. All it does is record your voice onto a tape at different speeds, but it
provided hours of entertainment! I have compiled a couple of other things from the
90’s that you may have forgotten about, and probably loved.

Super Soakers


I remember my 5th birthday I got one of these bad boys, and immediately filled up
the tiny tank, and started pumping, and pumping, and pumping… It took approximately
20 pumps for about 3 seconds of streaming water, but oh the joy that ensued
for the person holding the water gun. My buddy, Jeremy Smith had not yet received
a water gun of his own, which was unfortunate for him and his pursuit of dry
clothes.

Street Fighter II
Ayuuuuukiiin! If you know what that word means, then you likely spent a good portion
of your youth punching buttons in a frenzical manner, intently watching your health bar
as it lowered slowly. I believe I received a good amount of my geographical education
from the game, learning that large monsters came from the Caribbean, and all russians
dress in military garb with killer boots, often getting kicked in the face by nimble
chinese women. Street Fighter: 100% better than the movie of the same name.

Power Rangers

The best one was Jason, of course. Though I remember feeling torn that my favorite
character wore red-a girl color- around while fighting the putty patrol. Rita Repulsa
never decided to make the bad guys big before the end of the episode. In fact every
episode followed the exact same formula.
-Characters are hanging out at school or local… restaurant or whatever that place was.
-Characters face some moral situation often facing teens.
-Facing that dilemma is delayed due to a monster running around causing trouble.
-The characters fight the putty patrol in their normal clothes.
-They morph into their suits to fight the bad guy.
-The bad guy gets big.
-They call their zords, make their megazord, and then a guy in a boxy robot suit fights
the monster in the same suit as before, standing amongst miniature buildings.
-The characters finally face the moral dilemma (drugs) by not doing it/doing it/or
humiliating the bullies that tried to get them to do it.
-The End

All in all this is the wonder that was Power Rangers, and I still get a weird feeling of
giddiness everytime I see those spandex suits obviously imported from Japan.

Trapper Keepers

I tried to get one of these when I started this school this year, but apparently they
stopped selling them when I was in about 4th grade. Apparently they ran out of
poorly rendered 3D images and perforated purple plastic. This means that I had to
find another place to keep my sticky stretch hand from the quarter machine and a
different pad of paper to doodle Daffy Duck on.

Mighty Max

Have you ever found yourself wishing that you had a portable action hero and a
portable scenario based setup in which to play with his likeness? Well you are in
luck because we solved that need years ago. This one is pretty obscure and you
may not have participated in this trend, but it was the male equivalent of Polly
Pocket, which was the same idea though infinitely more lame (in the mind of a
young boy).

The 90’s were a great time to be a kid. There were a thousand trends to fall into,
and a thousand ways to spend your time in addition to awesome video games. I
can’t think of a decade I would have rather spent my youth in, besides possibly
the 1800’s when I could have had a bowie knife and gun of my own at 7.

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