Apple iPad Dock doesn’t.

Along with my new iPad, I ordered a dock for it.

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My vision for it was to leave it on the dining table so I could conveniently keep the iPad charged up as well as have it handy for viewing while eating.

Sadly, it only works if the iPad is NOT in the official Apple rubberized case.  I highly recommend the case.  It makes the iPad much less likely to be dropped and it’s a handy stand as well.  That said, it’s a royal pain trying to wrestle the tablet out of the cover.  That rubberized fabric just doesn’t want to give it up.

So the dock will be collecting dust on a shelf somewhere.

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Thoughts on the iPad

My reasons for pre-ordering the iPad were two-fold.  I wanted to be able to review it for my clients and see if it would be beneficial for their businesses and use it for my business (sweet 28% discount!).

There are already so many pictures and Youtube clips floating around that I won’t bother to include any here. 

The plusses are many, but here are a few:

- It’s a very slick device.  Slim, flat, and very close to the media tablets that the astronauts used in the movie 2001:A Space Odyssey that I drooled over so many years ago.

- For a media consumption viewing experience, it doesn’t get much better than this.  The screen is large (although not 16×9 HD resolution) and very sharp.  Books and magazines will be a pleasure to read on it, the web browsing experience (missing Flash notwithstanding) is very nice and, if you can find something to prop the device up with, videos are very engaging.

- Very fast!  The icons and apps move instantaneously on the screen and so far, everything has run smoothly with the exception of a graphic novel app that was corrected by an update later in the day.

There are minuses of course:

- No Flash in the browser.  We knew about this beforehand, but it’s still annoying.  I think someone at Adobe really ticked off Steve Jobs.

- Very weak wi-fi antenna.  I’m going to have to relocate my wi-fi transmitter because the device doesn’t work at my dinning table where both a laptop and netbook worked just fine.

- It weighs 1.5 lbs which doesn’t sound like much unless you try holding it with one hand while reading it like a book.  The awkwardness and weight quickly give your hand a cramp.  The best way to hold it is either propped on something to take the weight or cradled in your arm.

- No built-in PDF reader.  (Remember Jobs’ antipathy toward Adobe.)  So a 3rd party PDF reader needs to be acquired.  If notation and highlighting are not required, then I recommend the inexpensive app, GoodReader.  Currently $0.99, GoodReader can read both very large PDF and text files as well as music and some videos that would play on the iPad but for the finickiness of iTunes.

Videos need to be encoded in h.264 which can be done using the free Handbrake program.  Of course most commercial DVDs need to decrypted before they can be read.

I see limited business use for the device.  It can currently only replace a laptop if you have limited typing and document requirements.  Since a laptop can do just about anything that the iPad can do (as far as practical business use goes), then it wouldn’t make sense to carry both to a seminar or presentation unless you don’t need the additional features of the laptop.

I’ll be reviewing the iBooks and Kindle apps as well as the VGA output connector shortly.

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New update for XP Mode allows for non-VT PCs

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Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate came with a downloadable feature called Windows XP Mode. This allowed the end user to run a "free" copy of Windows XP in a virtual computer on the same PC they were running 32 or 64 bit versions of Windows 7. This can be useful for a number reasons: browsing in a sandbox to prevent infection of the main system, overcome compatibility issues, or to run different versions of software, such as Internet Explorer.

Until recently, Microsoft required that a PC have special technology built into the hadware that allowed virtual computers to run more efficiently. This was either Intel’s "Virtualization Technology" (VT Enabled) or AMD-V.

With the new update, Virtualization Technology is no longer required.

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You can find the update at the KB article website: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/977206 or the Windows XP Mode download page.

Known issues:

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Test

This is a test from my Droid.

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Ordered iPad!

Looking forward to checking it out!

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Tech News to Use: The new age of publishing

I mentioned last week that the Tech industry is at the cusp of a revolution that will end with the elimination of the PC and server as we currently know them. This week I’m going to talk about the revolution that the print industry is going through and provide a very cool offer that just came to my attention.

The revolutionary change in print has been on-going since the inception of Craig’s List. The transfer of digital bits, as opposed to the transfer of paper media, is virtually free. Realizing this, craigslist.com founder Craig Newmark realized this and began a service the provided advertising services without charge. We know how that affected the newspaper industry.

A more recent “next step” in the print revolution was the creating of Amazon’s Kindle reader. While there were other digital readers using the same technology for some time, notably Sony’s, the Kindle was the first to provide virtually instant access to nearly any book available. Even with the Kindle’s admitted shortcomings of limited grayscale text/graphics, and proprietary DRM (digital rights management), it has proven to be very popular among the heavy reader demographic so important to publishers.

Hardware technology has not advanced to the stage that devices as powerful as a laptop and as convenient as a Kindle are going to be economically available. Tablet style PCs have been around for years; however their price, performance restrictions, and style have been limiting factors in their popularity. A tablet that costs $1,500 is simply not tenable.

Steve Jobs and Apple have been developing a tablet device for over 10 years. The primary cause for the long delay has been waiting for the technology to become affordable enough for success in the marketplace. The announcement of the Apple iPad last January was not unexpected. What was unexpected were the many limitations of the device. Applications for the device must be purchased through Apple’s iTunes store and the device will not support Flash video, a built-in camera, or built-in SD card storage. Despite the many limitations, the $500 iPad is a very compelling media consumption device.

Fortunately for consumers, just as the technology has advanced enough for Apple to produce a marketable tablet device, other manufacturers of more open products are also stepping up to the plate. 2010 is going to be the year of the tablet. HP announced the Slate that uses the Windows 7 operating system and thus should be as open as any PC with respect to the applications and media available to it. Dell has announced the Streak that is smaller and thus more portable than both the iPad and the Slate.

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Apple’s iPad

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HP Slate

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Dell Streak with 5” screen
 

Advantages to this form factor are unlimited. Newspapers, magazines, and books will be available in full color and in their familiar page layout format instantaneously and with the digital economy, the price for this media will be reduced to virtually nothing. Of course video and web services will be available and easily consumed or used with this form factor.

As numerous as the current uses are for such a device as this “media consumption” tablet, the unknown factor is what amazing new uses developers, artists, and marketers will bring to our attention in the coming months. Personally, I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for these innovations!

One such innovation has already been developed; the merging of text from a book with the video on a computer screen. Vook.com, (the obvious melding of Video and Book), has been publishing these video/book amalgams beginning less than two years ago. Of course very few people want to read a book on their computer, even if some video content is included. However, with the tablet devices announced for this year, this company appears to be in the catbird seat.

This brings me to the offer I mentioned in the beginning of this article. Vook and marketing guru Seth Godin have announced a Vook version of his best selling book “Unleashing the Super Ideavirus”. For a limited time, this video/book is available for only $0.99 which will allow you to taste the very beginnings of this new media format. At http://vook.com, there should be a link to the offer on the front page. Again, you may not want to read the whole book on your computer screen, but for 99 cents, you get a taste and you can always read it on a laptop if you have one or later, when you buy a tablet device, you can read it there.

Categories: Tech News to Use

Tech News to Use: Bye Bye PC

Just wanted to let you know about a very interesting article I ran across that describes computer technology to date and where it is probably going in the future:

Platform shifts Mainframe to Mini to PC to Mobile. Why leaders fail to make the shift by Don Dodge of Google (Not long ago, Don worked for Microsoft)

“Think about the mobile phone you had in 1999, just a little over 10 years ago. Mine was a Motorola StarTac flip phone. It was state of the art at the time, but it had no camera, no email, no text messaging, no web browsing…just a phone. Now think about where mobile devices will be in 10 years. The iPhone you have today will feel like the StarTac of 10 years ago.”

In the early days of computing, as many of you may remember, the processing power was kept in the back rooms and we linked to them via “dumb” terminals that were tethered by data cables.  In the coming years, it’s looking like it’s going full circle and processing will move to centralized Internet (cloud) facilities.  The difference is that with ubiquitous and virtually unlimited wireless broadband access, the tether is gone.

Interaction, (email, spreadsheets, CAD Design, etc.), with the “cloud” servers may take place from mobile devices, inexpensive desktop tablets, and perhaps even sci-fi like glasses.  Think about how this may affect your various business opportunities.  Will we be ahead of the curve or will we wake up one day to find our competitors running circles around us?

One way that I’m going to try and keep up is to take some deep dives into cloud services that are applicable to my life.  Currently, I’m digging into a service called Remember the Milk.  RTM is a powerful task management system with both free and premium subscription options.  The premium option allows you to install a client software on your data enabled cell phone.  The free version is otherwise unrestricted.  There’s a learning curve to take advantage of all the features, but it’s fairly easy to get started and use it for simple task reminders.

Categories: Tech News to Use
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