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Category Archives: Gadgets

>How is the Dell Streak an iPad Competitor?

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I realize that the lines are blurring but this is a smartphone with an awesomely large screen, you could hardly call it a “tablet.”

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Posted by on May 26, 2010 in Gadgets

 

>Viv Magazine iPad Interactive Magazine Demo (Noir)

>http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=10207926&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

This new magazine “format” for the iPad (and other tablets) might look cool, but man does it seem useless for actually trying to read articles.

Imagine a magazine’s pages stretched out across a DVD menu, with small angled copy appearing in only a few paragraphs at a time. What a nightmare.

You know why banner ads are still so maligned? Because when I’m trying to read there’s a bunch of crap moving on the page distracting me. They can have their flashy “interactive magazine” format, I just want to actually read.

Bonnier’s concept seems way more useful, too bad it isn’t real yet.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2010 in Gadgets, Technology

 

>Game Design and Apple Design

>From a great article on metagaming at sleepoversf.com:

The more fea­tures an appli­ca­tion has, the more uneasy a user can feel. This prin­ci­pal is one rea­son why Apple’s prod­ucts tend to be so sat­is­fy­ing to use. The more lim­ited a product’s func­tion­al­ity, the eas­ier one can mas­ter it. And feel­ing like a mas­ter of your tools is a won­der­ful thing.

I would even say it’s simpler than that: more simplicity = less stress. It’s not so much the feeling that I’ve accomplished everything I can with my iPhone and its apps, it’s that it’s so easy for me to figure out how to do things I’ve never even tried before.

The rest of the article is about creating challenges outside of games to accomplish in-game. It’s form also follows the topic of metagaming, allowing you to hide areas you’ve already read.

Another nugget:

And like per­fectly fit clothes, that feel­ing is
empow­er­ing. A para­dox, then: the less you enable peo­ple to
do, the more they will do.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2010 in Gadgets, Videogames

 

>iPad: The Morning After

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Alright, I’ve cooled off a bit. I’ve listened to hours and hours of podcasts and read through virtual reams of opinions, taking in everyone’s opinion on the iPad. Yes it’s got some obvious flaws . But I only ever wanted to get hold of a device that allows me to read regular books and comics – and this does it. Probably does it really well in fact. Plus, it’s backlit, unlike most other e-readers.

I got word from Bitolithic, developer of the best iPhone comic viewer Comiczeal, that he was already starting development for an iPad-optimized version. Huzzah.

So how do I feel now? I am looking forward to its release. But there is one really big question left: will Apple allow the Kindle iPhone app on the iPad? Or will they disallow it since it competes with their iBooks Store?

After all the hub-bub with Macmillan’s price fight with Amazon , their removal and subsequent re-instatement, I’m not sure if Amazon would even want the Kindle app to work on the iPad. I sure hope they put it on there so no matter what I get the best price on any given book. How much would it suck if all the books on iBooks were $12.99 – $14.99, but could be had by Kindle users for much less (there are many on Kindle for only $6.99).

This begs a bigger question: when, oh when , will content producers (publishers, movie studios, etc…) realize that people are never going to pay the same prices for digital versions of things as the physical versions? They are only making it worse for themselves by not releasing books, movies, and DVDs the same day as the physical versions, but for less money. Piracy is still too complicated for most people. If there’s a simple, legal option, and a price benefit, then much less people will be forced to seek out illicit versions.
 
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Posted by on February 4, 2010 in Gadgets, Technology

 

>Apple’s iPad Won’t Kill Netbooks and Other Complaints

>http://www.viddler.com/simple_on_site/51b063e8

So the iPad has been revealed. I wrote earlier that I am underwhelmed by the iPad because it lacks multi-tasking, Flash, has an almost identical interface to the iPod touch, can cost $30/mo., has a supposedly mediocre on-screen keyboard, and makes me think of menstrual cycles. But it is very interesting in the ebook department.

That last part is the key for me personally. I already read books and comics on my iPhone and would probably be happy to pay $500 for a giant iPod Touch – which is all this really is. And that’s the disappointment: they didn’t create a new and specialized user interface like I was really expecting. I mean the home screen icons are still tiny and now just spread apart awkwardly, much like the honeycomb arrangement on phones using Windows Mobile 6.5. I think that’s ugly and not really adjusted correctly for a larger screen tablet.

BUT if they want to kill Netbooks, at least for nerds, they NEED Flash. How stupid is it to visit sites like Hulu and see big empty spaces where video should be? This is the worst part probably, and stings so much because they want this device to be a media powerhouse, especially in the video department. But my dreams of not having to boot up my Macbook to look at websites in my free time are killed. The iPad internet browser is crippled like the iPhone and iTouch, which makes since for those devices (I hate to imagine how awful browsing on the iPhond would be if Adobe had their way), but makes zero sense on an iPad. It’s an internet tablet for Crom’s sake.

And don’t get me started on the $30/month fee for wireless data. I actually wouldn’t mind paying that if my iPhone data went down in price by $20/month – but it doesn’t. So with an iPad I could be paying $60/month JUST for wireless internet. I already pay that much for internet in my home. If Chelsea wanted one of these too, with 3G (in addition to her iPhone), we’d be paying as almost as much as a car loan for all of our internet access – about $170 EVERY MONTH. I’m a nerd but that’s absurd!

I’m not alone in my mixed feelings, either. Most of the Engadget crew have conflicted opinions, and one person at Gizmodo concludes that the different negatives all add up to a deal-breaker. Another makes the point that despite its failings, we’ll all want these anyways. Even Walt Mossberg thinks that it’s going to be up to the application developers to make or break this device, not Apple. Lastly, David Pogue, my favorite mainstream tech columnist, thinks we’re all being too negative and that we’ll love the device once it’s released.

[Note: For the record, yes there is no such thing as an iTouch, but if they’re willing to use the name iPad, iTouch would’ve been a better option, and one that doesn’t remind you of lady things.]

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2010 in Gadgets, Technology

 

>I Should be More Excited About the Apple Tablet

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So today Apple has officially acknowledged that they’re introducing a new product later this month (had only been rumored previously).

I find myself concerned and hesitant to get too excited. While I have been wanting an Apple tablet device for years now, I am afraid for it’s success.

I’ve always loved tablet PCs (owned 2 of them). But I’m not representative of the larger market: tablet computers have remained very niche. Just look at how little press has been given to the HP slate Microsoft unveiled at CES – there’s a good chance you’ve never even heard about it. Even within the tech world it’s been yawned over, not fawned over.

So how will Apple surmount the consumer confusion and indifference that’s prevented tablets from taking off? And even if people like the device, if its price is as high as rumored ($600-$800, some say as high as $1000), it had better do some really fancy new stuff.

I’m also concerned about its rumored tie to a cellphone carrier like Verizon that would require a monthly contract. That would probably be a deal-breaker for me. The last thing I need is another 2 year contract with a monthly bill.

It just seems like there are a lot of things it will need to overcome to be successful so it doesn’t end up like the Apple TV. How many people do you know who own an Apple TV?

My skepticism betrays a deeply held hope that it will be a fantastic product and succeed fabulously, as the iPhone has in the smartphone market – a market which arguably presented more competition than tablet PCs currently do.

Ultimately my dream is to hold a 7″ – 10″ device that allows me to download and read books and comics in color for long stretches of time and to be able to browse the web with Flash (I don’t want Flash anywhere near my phone). On the 27th we’ll see whether they’ve cooked up another hit or their first big miss in a while.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2010 in Gadgets, News

 

>Magic Mouse: So Much for the Excitement

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So it works like a mouse to move around the screen but you lose the ability of scrolling?! That’s a pretty big omission.

Yeah, I’ll be skipping that then. I’m not keeping another mouse at my desk for when I’m in Boot Camp – which is 8 hours a day. Sad, I was excited and considering the purchase. What a dumb move, just write the drivers you dolts.

UPDATE: Someone has gone to the effort of hacking the Magic Mouse drivers together for us, still surprised Apple hasn’t put out some drivers yet. You can get them here.

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2009 in Gadgets, Technology

 
 
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