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My ratings (R) are from 1 to 9. My Dates are also permalinks. Click on the column headers to sort Jots. Feel free to use the address bar like a command line interface by setting the optional query string parameters: Dtm1 (10, 20, 30, YYYYMMDDhhmmss), Dtm2 (YYYYMMDDhhmmss), IsJot (Jot or Not), Tag (zero+ times), NotTag (zero+ times), OrderBy (PostForDate, PostTitle, PostLink, PostText, PostSource, PostRating, PostSize) & Desc(Desc), and Limit(integer).
|20080920 033046 Z||Microsoft's "I'm a PC" Ad Beats Seinfeld (But Not Hodgman)||gizmodo.com/ … -but-not-hodgman||digg.com/mic … eld_VIDEO?OTC-ig||Ad, Apple, Cool, Live Action, Microsoft, Videos||Well done video ad by Microsoft. Probably the first ad by Microsoft that effectively counters the Mac versus PC ads by Apple. Macs are nice and all (I still have my old Mac Classic in the closet), but I use a PC everyday. Funny how Macs run Mac OS, PCs run Windows, and machines run Unix/Linux.|
|20090810 150842 Z||An Operating System for the Cloud||www.technolo … 23140/?nlid=2255||Apple, Cyber Life, Google, Microsoft, Operating System, TECH||A review of the operating system (OS), from where it's been with the mainframes and Microsoft, to where it is with Microsoft, Apple, and Linux, to where might go with Google. The review could have been more in depth but the potential of the article is nice.|
|20100104 192618 Z||Apple, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, Hardware, Reading, Software, TECH||We need more tablets! Apple, Google, Freescale, etc. Not just eBook readers, but cheap expandable touchable Internet tablets.|
|20100127 175215 Z||Apple announcement 2010-01-27||Apple, Cyber Life||I can't eat lunch until I find out what Apple is up to.|
|20100213 132816 Z||These tablets do what the 'iPad don't'||news.cnet.co … -10452930-1.html||Apple, Cyber Life, Gadget, TECH||I've seen some of these iPad-like devices before but it's nice to have them in one post. The whole area needs more polishing.|
|20140131 153610 Z||Apple patents solar-powered MacBook||www.computer … _powered_MacBook||Apple, Computers, Cool, Gadget, Hardware, Solar, TECH||Once someone makes a solar laptop, then everyone will! Yay!|
My phone contract is up for renewal this May. I'm either going with a minimal phone that can phone, text, and takes pictures, or I'll go with a full smart phone.Here's the most in-depth look at the T-Mobile G1 phone: THE DEFINITIVE IN-DEPTH REVIEW: Optus HTC Dream with Google Android [http://apcmag.com/australian-review-htc-dream-optus.htm].
I've also gathered basic stats to compare the G1 against the Apple iPhone:
|Weight||133 g||158 g|
|Display||3.5" 480x320||3.2" 480x320|
|Camera||2 Mpix||3.2 Mpix|
|CPU||620 MHz ARM 1176||528 MHz ARM 11|
|RAM||128 DRAM||192 DDR SDRAM + 256 MB Flash|
|Storage||8 or 16 GB built in||1-8 GB microSD|
|Data Port||30 pin dock connector||USB|
|Audio Port||3.5 mm||USB or USB with 3.5 mm dongle|
|Recharge||Dock to USB||USB|
|Battery Talk||5 h||5 h|
|Battery Standby||300 h||130 h|
|Battery Replacement||dealer only||you or dealer|
The G1 is appealing because I make heavy use of Google for email and calendar. Since my name is George, having a phone called "G1" has some ego appeal. It is also a pleasing coincidence that the G1 was released on my birthday in 2008.
Just a quickie tech review:
In my post Head in the clouds, I stated the following:
I'd like to Amazon (or Barnes and Noble) to sell and store digital media like ebooks, videos, and music. There are some books that are so beautiful or big or both that I'd prefer a print copy, but for most books, an ebook would do. I don't want physical media disks at my house getting scratched and broken. I don't mind them using some consumer-mindful form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) to ensure that I'm not stealing. I'd like to supplement the DRM digital media with DRM-free media from other sources like Google Books and the Gutenberg Project, PDFs, MP3s, etc. Perhaps I'd store it at GDrive. In any case, I should be able to stream digital media (if I'm online) or download them (at least temporarily) for access either on or offline.
The whole topic of digital media is a big topic. These days I'm focused on digital books but they're all related.
Before I continue, let me just quickly jot down the sub-topics:
- Media types.
- Physical size.
- Device features.
- Content and Money: Creator, seller, and buyer.
- Social media.
Media types is a seemingly easy sub-topic. The media types are essentially text, pictures, audio, video, and apps. Simple enough. That's the media that the user receives (and the device outputs). The user however also sends "media" (and the device inputs). This includes text, voice, movements, and selections. There are other nuances such as the streaming aspect (EG: radio), the asynchronous aspect (EG: email), and combinations (EG: comics). A lot of sight, sound, motion, and time sensing, but not much in the way taste, touch, or smell. Things like the Wii do some motion and momentum input/output too.
This is actually seemingly simple too.
Device features will vary greatly between makers and models initially, but as the technology matures, the differences between makers and models of the same class will become more subtle.
This is the real heart of the issue. The users/buyers are most concerned about the content, but these days the content is tied to the money.
Users have three kinds of content:
There have been three stages of content:
How do the creators and sellers control the copying of the media? And how can they ensure that they get their fair share of the buyer's money? In the digital media industry, the first medium to face this problem head on has been the music industry. Pirating (or illegal copying) of music still occurs. For a while it seemed that the answer was digital rights managment (DRM), but this seemed to hamper on the buyers right to legally copy media for which they had paid for. So far it seems that the answer is not DRM, but to trust that people will honor copyright laws and pay the seller (and hence the creator) their money. A comparison of online music stores [W] shows that the most successful don't use DRM. The available formats (such as mp3, aac, m4a, aiff, wav, ogg) are trivial given all the available converters.
Copyrighted digital text is in the news lately because e-book readers started becoming good enough and popular enough that major books are being sold in digital format. The different e-book readers are using DRM and different files.
Here's a quick review of different e-book formats. See also Comparison of e-book formats [W]. Some of them can implement DRM.
- .txt. Simple text. Preferably UTF-8, but Unicode, windows-1252, iso-latin-1, or even ASCII will do.
- .htm. Simple HTML. Variants include .chm, .lit, and plucker.
- .pdf. Portable Document Format. Practically universal. Many things can be exported or printed to PDF.
- .rtf. Rich Text Format.
- XML based:
- .opf. Open eBook
- .epub. Supercedes .opf
- .mobi, .prc. Mobipocket. Based on .opf. Available to the iRex/Philips iLiad e-book reader.
- .azw. Amazon Kindle e-book. Based on .mobi.
- .arg. Arghos Diffusion.
- Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY)
- .fb2. FictionBook.
- Text Encoding Initiative.
- .tr2, .tr3. TomeRaider.
- .ps. PostScript.
- .djvu. DjVu. Especially for images.
- .pdb. eReader (formerly Palm Digital Media/Peanut Press). For ereader.com. Also used by the Barnes & Noble Plastic Logic e-reader.
- .lrf, .lrx. Broadband eBooks. For the Sony Reader.
Here are the major e-book readers (see more at List of e-book readers [W] and their primary formats:
Just to make it explicit, one of the issues is that with DRM and no standard format, if you buy stuff from one store, then you have to use their reader. If you want to buy stuff from two stores, then you need two readers, and so on. In contrast, you can buy a CD from any store and play it on any CD player.
The digital music industry went through this DRM issue, i.e. it was a real world experiment done with real creators, sellers, and buyers. The result is that overwhelming majority of buyers are honest folk who will respect copyright laws and will pay the sellers and the creators their money. DRM tried to control illegal copying, but actually it was a stumbling block for buying and fair buyer use of media that they legally paid for. I guess that the print media has a years of physical media experience that it has to over come in this digital media world. Copyright laws still apply. Just because it is easier to copy, doesn't make it legal, and the numbers show that the greater sales without DRM are worth the losses due to piracy. The print media probably also has a psychological issue of going without DRM because digital songs are $0.99 while digital books are $9.99. In any case, print media will experiment with using digital print, and, like digital music, may drop DRM after they run through the same experiment but with text instead of audio, and with different prices and different uses.
Let me gripe a bit about some of the hoops I, as a buyer, have to go through:
My wife bought a Kindle 2 and then the price dropped. Learning from her experience, I want to get a Kindle DX --as soon as the price drops. We each have our own accounts at Amazon. A DRM protected Kindle book must be associated with an Amazon account and can be accessed on up to 6 Kindle-compatible devices, where each device is registered to the same Amazon account. A Kindle-compatible account can only be registered with one Amazon account at a time. This gives us several options:
- Buy Kindle books via both of our separate Amazon accounts. If I wanted to share a Kindle book with her (or any one else), then I'd have to lend someone my Kindle DX, or have an extra Kindle registered to my account that I could lend. Neither option sounds very good. She could also just buy the same book on her own account but that's not sharing something I own --it's buying it again. Separate accounts does have the advantage of privacy in that we could each purchase Kindle books that we don't want the other to know about.
- Buy Kindle books via just her Amazon account. My Kindle DX would be registered to her account. We would be able to share books, but we would have the same Kindle book list, plus I would also be able to see her non-Kindle book purchases and info at Amazon.If we got a 3rd Kindle for the family in general, then we could put particular books on that Kindle, but they could also connect to Amazon with the Kindle and see all our other books.
- Create a new family Amazon account and use that for buying Kindle books. Our Kindles would then be registered to the family Amazon account. This scenario is exactly the same as the previous scenario except that we could continue to use our separate Amazon accounts for non-Kindle purchases and thus have privacy for that stuff from each other.
FYI: The scenario is roughly the same for Barnes & Noble, where the e-books are tied to an account. There is the added difference that Barnes & Noble uses .pdb, whose DRM scheme is also tied to a credit card.
In actuality, my wife, my kids, and I are pretty open and we don't care who sees whose books or Amazon purchases so we're going with option #2. With non-DRM e-books the scenario becomes much easier. We can share copies of e-books that we bought within our family. We know that it would be illegal to copy it and give it to others. Perhaps we should be allowed to lend copies to friends that expire in a week. That should whet their appetites so they might buy the book for themselves. On the other hand wouldn't all those broke college students find some way to get free copies of the books they need? People have to realize that if the sellers and creators don't make money, then how can they continue to give us good content?
In one sense digital print has been around for a while: The Web has lots of text! Social digital print has also been around for a while: Email! Blogs! Groups! Facebook! The "social" aspect of digital media as in songs and books however, is only just starting. It's not just a matter of finding out what's hot as in Pandora, Spotify, etc., but of discussing, note taking, excerpting. Of the e-book readers, only the iRex/Philips iLiad has serious note taking features. Each e-book should have at least one site that's a jumping point for discussions centered around the book.
Anyhow this post is getting a little long. What I do with books is find them, buy them, read them, bookmark my place, take notes, look things up, share them with folks, and reference the books. I'd like to be able to do the same thing with e-books, but with the advantage of portability, some connectivity, and digital notes. I'm tempted by the Apple tablet because it has color, video, and can take notes, but it would also need a big book store, free connectivity, and better battery life. Amazon and Barnes & Noble should continue to compete against each other for a cheaper e-book reader that can take better notes and can read e-books from more sources. The big thing is that more and more books should be digitized. The World Wide Web is amazing, Google is amazing, Wikipedia is amazing. The ability to access all the books, old or new, from anywhere would be amazing too!
Well yes. The article states some stuff that's obvious to some of us, but I support erring on the side of stating the obvious. There are many times where I assumed certain things were obvious and then later I end up wishing that I had said something sooner.
Obvious #1. Yes Mac has always been about a captive audience. They have always wanted to control the hardware, the operating system, the apps, the design, the look-and-feel. Apple equals proprietary. I personally prefer open.
Obvious #2. Hardware, software, and Internet connectivity is getting cheaper, faster, and cooler. Monetizing and staying on the curve is business. Ubiquitous HW with 4G+ and cloud storage and apps is the way to go. Beautiful, powerful, intuitive interfacing is the way to go. Ubiquitous media capture (txt, pic, aud, vid) and geolocation is the way to go.
Obvious #3. For most users the following apps will suffice on an iPad: Media Players (pics, audio, video, books), Browser, Office-like suite. There will of course be hundreds of apps that users want, but the emphasis should be on what users need. What should come soon: Skype/phone-like communications, FTP. Specialized tools that may never come but should: Power editors (text, pics, video, etc.), Remote Desktop access, Development IDEs, Database and Sys Admin tools.
Personally I'm itching to buy a tablet but the iPad is too weak to replace a smart phone and my laptop.
The music cloud wars are upon us.
Get your music from anywhere (Apple, Amazon, etc), sync them and store them at Google's cloud. Like Amazon Cloud Player, you don't have to worry about space. Apple's music cloud should be coming out soon. Microsoft?
It shouldn't just be music though. It should be contacts, books, videos, photos, files, whatever. Key issues include syncing multiple sources, monetizing, and selecting subsets for when your offline with little space.
Steve Jobs passed away yesterday after struggling with cancer for almost a decade. Thank you for making the only PC that I've kept after I retired it: A Mac Classic with 9 inch black and white screen. Thanks for Pixar. Thanks for belief, vision, and style. Thanks for sharing.
"Death is very likely the best invention of life. All pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important."
-Steve Jobs (1955-02-24/2011-10-05) in 2005.
I periodically do a review of my software usage -- especially if I've gotten a new computer! However this year I'll emphasize software on my phone and tablet.
Hardware and Operating System:
Games: Lots available for phone, tablet, comp, console, physical, etc. These are more for my kids.
Comics: Just read in print or online with a big screen!
Reading: Going with e-books if available. Hesitating on digital NGM because we love the print.
News: Perhaps we all check the news too often!
Audio: I don't do lots of music, but so far I like Amazon's handling of music better than Google and Apple. Yay radio!
Media: I watch YouTube and Netflix, but I don't do much TV, otherwise cable and Hulu might be interesting.
Phone: I use the fewest phone minutes in my family. Waiting for phone wallets to mature.
SMS/IM: Yes, my family texts/chats often!
Email: I prefer to do email at a full computer. Urgent communications should be done by phone or text.
Social: I prefer to do social sites on a full computer. I do Facebook, but barely do Twitter and the rest.
Office and Files: I prefer to do office stuff on a full computer but I love having centralized simple text files that my wife and I can both access. I'd really like to log my workouts in my Google Docs spreadsheets but the interface is a clunky.
Maps: Mobile maps is important when you're travelling.
Utilities: A calculator with basic science functions should be built-in!
Non-mobile computer software brief version:
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