The iPad Dilemma

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A lot of people are saying that the iPad can easily replace a laptop. When you’re sitting on your couch, just woke up in the morning, or traveling around, can’t the iPad do everything a laptop can? I mean, why take a laptop with me when I’m just going around town, when I can take an iPad instead?

I’ve thought about this a lot. In a post I wrote a year or two ago (wow, that long ago?), I said that the iPad could easily replace a MacBook. The one thing that it really didn’t do was flash.

But recently, I got a new MacBook Air, and it seems that I prefer to use it over the iPad.

The iPad can basically do everything that the MacBook can. There’s only two big problems.

First of all, the keyboard. Touchscreen keyboards work for typing quick messages to people, but for typing an entire blog post, it gets a bit annoying. The other problem with the keyboard is that it absolutely SUCKS for coding. I mean, it takes three taps to insert a <, /, or >. And when writing something as basic and simple as HTML, it’s a complete pain.

I can hear all of you saying “Wait a sec, you can connect a bluetooth keyboard! Heck, you can connect a USB keyboard using the Camera Connection kit!” But come on people, why carry around an iPad and a keyboard when you can just carry around a MacBook? I mean, doesn’t having to bring a keyboard with you everywhere prove my point even further?

Next, there’s the lack of a windowed operating system. That’s the really nice thing about Macs: you can have multiple things going on at once.

Okay, now I can hear all of you saying “Wait a sec, iOS 4 brought multitasking in! You CAN do multiple things at once!” But, once again, come on people, it’s painful to switch between different apps. What if you have something in one application that you need to read and get information from while typing in another? This will requite quite a lot of four-finger swiping back and forth between apps. With a windowed operating system, I can have multiple applications and pages open, and see what’s going on in each. Heck, I can watch a movie while scrolling through my twitter feed. The flexibility of a windowed operating system is unmatched to the multi-tasking interface on an iPad.

Then, there’s power. Sure, the iPad has a dual-core A5 chip. But the time that it takes for a video to be rendered on an iPad is easy to compare to the speed of a dual-core hyper-threaded i7 in my MacBook air.

And this brings me to my very last point – availability , flexibility, and power of applications. The iMovie available for the iPad is quite handicapped to the iMovie on my MacBook. In fact, it’s that way with every single application available for both the iPad and the Mac. Then, of course, there’s port options. I can’t plug an external hard drive into my iPad and transfer my files to and from it. It’s all very closed off, as the iPad only has the proprietary Apple 30 pin connector and a headphone jack.

And that, people, is why I enjoy taking my MacBook places more than my iPad.

How to Wirelessly Transfer Files to a Galaxy Nexus

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As you may know, the Galaxy Nexus does not have an option for USB Mass Storage. To transfer any files directly from a computer to the phone, it is necessary to plug it in with a USB Cable and open Google’s proprietary Android File Transfer application.

But what if you don’t have a cable? What then?

There’s a couple things you could do. Email works for smaller files, however for larger files things may go slowly and fall apart.

If you have a server or CloudApp or Puush account, you could upload it and then email  the link to yourself. This would work usually, however the Galaxy Nexus’s download manager often will download most of it, then suddenly fail at the end.

There’s also Bluetooth, which is often unreliable. I can’t transfer any files between my Mac and my Nexus over bluetooth, as it gives me a random warning which is just not worth trying to figure out.

There’s really only one good way: DROPBOX.

In case you don’t know, Dropbox is a service that allows you to have a folder on all of your computers that constantly stay in sync. When one file is added on one computer, it magically appears in the Dropbox folder of all of the other computers too. You have 2GB of space, and the real important part is that they have an Android app as well.

Simply open your Dropbox folder, transfer the file in, and wait a few moments for it to upload to the cloud. Then, open the free app on your Nexus. Tap the file that you just uploaded from your computer, and it should download and open. Voila, that’s how to wirelessly transfer a file from your computer to your Nexus without using bluetooth, servers, or anything else that’s ridiculously unreliable and confusing.

Download Dropbox for your Computer

Download Dropbox for Android

Instagram Bought by Facebook for $1 BILLION

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Remember Instagram, the fun little quirky photo sharing service that just released an Android application?

As you may know, they’ve been growing in size since their launch and Instagram has become an extremely large and popular service.

Because of this, it was inevitable that they would eventually be purchased by an extremely large company… and who better than facebook?

First of all, $1,000,000,000 is a lot of money. A LOT. I didn’t really think that Instagram could be worth that much.

Second, a little note to Zuck and the whole facebook crew: Please, please, please, please don’t screw this up. Please don’t force it to be built in to the facebook interface. Don’t try to stick instagram into facebook, you’d be doing everybody a disservice. Also, don’t just get rid of the entire thing to eliminate competition.

We will have to see what Facebook is hoping to do with this photo-sharing giant, and I honestly hope that they don’t screw it up.

Google Ditches Android Market for Google Play

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Play logo

Android Market, the typical android counterpart to iOS. Widely used, known, and enjoyed.

Recently, Google added Movies, Music, and Books to the Market. Thanks to the general nature of the word Market, no name change was necessary.

All of your music showed up in the separate Google Music app. Your movies in the Google Movies app. Simple enough, right?

Google disagrees.

Google has completely ditched that entire scheme around a new name: “Google Play”. Google Play is the new name for the Android Market, while the Google Music app has changed to “Google Play Music” and movies changed accordingly to “Google Play Movies.”

Honestly, it’s nice that they’re congregating all of their purchases under one name, however “Google Play Movies” sounds like someone with awful grammar trying to say Google Plays Movies. I think they just need a semicolon – Google Play: Movies… actually, no. They just should have gone with something other than Play.

The new logo and name are all that has changed – the general interfaces are still identical, so nobody needs to freak over yet another interface change. However, it’s still a bit annoying that Google decided to mix everything up – all at once – and will probably manage to confuse a lot of people in the process.

The Future of the Windows Logo

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In the past, Microsoft has been known for it’s flashy red, green, blue, yellow logo with curvy edges. That’s how it’s always been, from Windows NT to Windows 7.

A few days ago, Windows released on their blog what the logo for Windows 8 would look like:

8037

Really? A few blue squares and Windows 8 in a typical boring sans-serif font.

Also, the little block of boring squares is trademarked.

If this is the direction Windows is headed, then I think I’m in business. Here, I present to you, what I believe the Windows 9 logo will look like:

Window9

Thanks to metro apps, Microsoft is moving away from multiple-window desktops. That’s why it’s not Windows plural – just Window. This will be followed by Window 10 featuring the removal of the text and the copying of apple’s Mac OS X:

Window10

Then, with Window 11, black will be out of style. That’s why they’ll switch to white.

Windows11

And after that, I can’t tell. Transparent?

That’s where I think the Window(s) logo is going. Thoughts?

A Day Made of Glass 2: Corning’s Concept Glass Panels

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Corning is a glass company that makes the now-infamous gorilla glass. Gorilla glass is thin, super-tough, and really pretty.

Corning is setting their hopes high in a recently released and trending video that features a super-future concept with crazy things like transparent tablets, interactive glass walls, and even tablets that project 3D holograms.

When would any of this actually happen? That’s a good question. If you find out, let me know.

And now, ladies and gentlefish, the moment you’ve been waiting for:

CES: The Progress of 3D

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One of the biggest things at CES last year was definitely 3D. 3D TVs, 3D tablets, 3D Projectors. But there were a few reasons that I hated them.

PIA0001002058

First of all, you had to wear Active 3D glasses. These basically flicker each lens so fast that you can’t see, and it does it in rhythm with the TV. That’s how you could see two different images in each eye, giving you that 3D effect. As you can see, they tended to be a bit ridiculous. They were bulky and giant, needed to be charged, and were extremely expensive to replace. They also darkened the screen you were looking at quite a bit.

The other issue with 3D was that the colors were degraded. The saturation and contrast was reduced, and you give up everything in picture quality just to get that 3D effect. Basically, you were trading the convenience of TV just so you could get two pictures simultaneously.

This year, things have changed.

Exhibit A would be LG. They have created an amazing 3D smart TV that uses passive 3D glasses. These are the same glasses that you wear in a movie theatre, and are just plastic lenses that aren’t electronic at all. In fact, LG had a giant wall of these 3D TVs playing an awesome sequence of 3D footage. They were handing out tons of 3D glasses, because each one costs less than $0.05 to manufacture in China. You can keep it, break it, or lose it, and it won’t be a disaster.

DSC00521

Another benefit of passive 3D glasses is that you lose the bulk.

19d6bb35 reald glasses

These are very light and thin glasses. In fact, some people even call them stylish – you may see people walking around in these glasses with the 3D plastic lenses popped out.

The nice thing about these new TVs is that you still have that beautiful color contrast and saturation that high-end TVs are known for. The brightness is still a bit reduced, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was last year.

3D still has a ways to go – the need to wear glasses in general is a bit annoying, and the screens that don’t require 3D glasses (called autostereoscopy) are absolutely awful and disgusting. But the progress is obvious, and it seems like 3D is going from a stupid gimmick that was awfully executed to something that you might actually be able to enjoy in your living room.

CES Coverage!

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I’m happy to report that over the next three days I will be covering my favorite parts of CES 2012! The space is big, the crowd is bigger, and there’s more to see than one person could ever possibly capture, but I’ll be bringing my favorite parts of CES to all of you here!

If you’re at CES and see me, feel free to come and say hi!

 

Verizon Can’t Get it Right

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One of the most anticipated phones if the year is the Galaxy Nexus. It boasts a ton of new features, courtesy of Andoid 4.0.

One of Apple’s strongest points is how they release their phones. They send out an invite to an event, then at the event make a clear availability date. This causes people to get excited for the product and even line up for it.

Verizon took a different approach. They added a release date of Dec. 9 to the stores’ databases, and never made an official announcement. Everyone gets excited for that day, but Verizon has decided to stamp that down as well. Verizon took down the date from the databases and replaced it with “Launch Date Coming Soon.”

I don’t understand what Verizon is going for. Are they trying to get hype? Are they attempting to draw more in with their deadline extension? Or are the marketing people really just that clueless?

Many people have their two year upgrades coming up and would like to upgrade to the Nexus, but with so much waiting and games people are beginning to lose patience with Verizon. It’s not sure whether the phone isn’t actually going to be released on the 9th, and other sources are saying that it could be on the 13th. Who knows?

Verizon either needs to stick to the leaked dates to encourage more hype assurance or just give us a solid, set release date.

Why Google+ Is Failing

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When I was at the Teens In Tech conference, a speaker told me this:

For your product to succeed, it either must be a new idea or be better than a previous one.

It makes sense – why would anyone switch to your product if there’s already one that does the same thing? Your product needs to have more to offer so people would actually have a reason to “convert.”

Unfortunately, there are few tech companies that succeed with new ideas – so a lot take old ideas and refresh them to make ‘em better. For example, every Apple product ever created; The iPhone wasn’t the first phone in the world – it was just better than the rest; The iPod wasn’t the first small music player ever created – it was just better because it could hold so many more songs and didn’t need CDs or Cassettes.

Okay, so lets take a look at Google+. It’s a great social network that has tons of new features that are definitely in demand. Who would wan’t multi-person video chat, along with a slew of easier to manage privacy features?

“Okay, so Google+ “better” than facebook – but why isn’t it succeeding?”. This is a question I’ve been asked many times.

Lets think about it in terms of a lamp (yes, the one on your desk). First, we have our facebook: A standard lamp with a normal switch that emits very bright light. Then, lets look at our Google+: A large, fancy lamp with pretty designs on it, a bendable neck, and voice activated controls – but we forgot to add in a socket for a lightbulb.

In this analogy, our Google+ Lamp is “better” than our facebook lamp – but it doesn’t do what people want to use it for (illumination).

Lets take that analogy back to Facebook and Google+. What is the real reason people ever go on facebook?

The real reason is their user base. There are very very few people who aren’t on facebook, and there are very very few people on Google+. Google+ has all the new doohickeys and thingamajigs, but it’s forgetting the light bulb (user base).

And because nobody is on Google+, nobody wants to join – they’re satisfied with Facebook and their 1500+ “friends.” What’s the use of having a ten person video chat if there’s not even ten people on Google+?

Google+ is a good idea, with a perfect execution – but the social networking field has been completely dominated by Facebook and Twitter. It’s unfortunately like this for many social internet startups: many of them rely on a user-base to be the least bit useful, and without a user base you won’t be able to expand your user base. You can get a user base by having a user base, because if you have a small user base people want to join to be part of that user base, which makes more people want to join etc.

Hence the reason most social startups fail. Gaining a user-base is a domino effect, with the first domino being a giant brick wall. You need to hope that something will come and knock it over, as getting the domino train started is definitely the hardest aspect of the whole process.

The Impact of Customer Service

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Customer service makes a big impact on how people look at your company. Here’s two examples of personal experiences with customer service – one bad, one great.

The Bad

Recently, my sister’s MacBook had a little breakdown. The trackpad stopped working.

I knew how to fix it, I just take it apart and switch out the trackpad. So now, I just needed to get the trackpad.

I found a site on like called Mac Parts Online. I clicked on my sister’s model of MacBook, then clicked on the trackpad. It redirected me to a shopping page, where I then ordered the trackpad.

Upon arrival, I found that it wasn’t the correct model of trackpad. This trackpad was for an aluminum MacBook!

I went back to the site and looked for an email address or phone number. I found a contact page and over the course of a week sent them messages three times. I never got any response.

Eventually, they started responding. After some arguing, they regretfully accepted it for a return. On top of that, I had to pay a 25% restocking fee.

So first, your site misinforms me about what product to get, then you don’t reply to my messages, then you finally accept it for return, and charge me 25%?!

I know I won’t be shopping here again. Ever.

  • Website was misleading
  • Slow response
  • Unfriendly Customer Service
The Great

I was recently looking around for some photography gear. I found a site called Photojojo, full of a ton of different nicknacks and photo related toys and supplies.

I found a lens called the Diana+ that I was really interested in. Upon reading the description, I could tell this was going to be fun.

Simply attach the plastic lens and its adapter directly onto your SLR’s body (Nikon or Canon) and shoot away. With one part Diana camera (old school lo-fi plastic) and one part modern DSLR you’ve got yourself one mighty fine recipe for unconventionally amazing photographs.Finally! A way to re-invent your style while kicking it digital with the hip kids and their plastic cams. (And for future reference, Thomas Kinkade = not hip).

Instead of a machine writing this, there’s a real person writing and not just filling out a form description made by some manufacturer in china.

As you may have read, it works on Canon and Nikon SLRs. But what about my NEX-5? I have a nice NEX-5, but it doesn’t take Canon or Nikon Lenses.

So, I thought, I could just get a Nikon to Sony adaptor and I’ll be set! I’ll put the Diana+ Lens in the nikon adaptor, then the Nikon adaptor onto my NEX adaptor.

But there was one potential problem with this – would there be a problem because the lens would be two adaptors away from the CCD in my camera?

To answer this, I turned to Photojojo. I found their contact page quite easily, sent them a message, and within a day they responded.

Hey there Max!

I can’t say for sure since I don’t have your camera or that snazzy Sony to Nikon adapter to test it out, but best I can tell I think that setup would work great!

I don’t think the extra distance will make much of a difference and that combo of adapters is your best chance of using Diana lenses on your camera so I’d say give it a shot!

If I’m totally wrong and it doesn’t work for ya we’ll take the Diana Lens and Nikon adapter back easy peasy!  (Just be careful to keep all the packaging together and don’t rip the boxes when you open them if you can help it).

Hope this helps!  If you have any questions, I’m just a keyboard away.  And once you get it all set up please let me know how it works for ya (and feel free to send me some pictures too! – I love seeing what folks come up with!)

 –

Julieanne

Silly Putty Enthusiast and

Photojojo Customer Support

Upon reading this email, I just wanted to hug the person who responded. They talked to me like I was their best friend in the world. They were nice, personal, helpful, and still professional. They also said that I can refund it, and the way they used very personal language like “snazzy” and “easy peasy” just made me know that I was an appreciated customer. This is customer service.

I then proceeded to order the lens, and I then got a shipping notification. It said that I could watch my order come on this “Shiny new page.” I clicked on the link, and here’s the page I got:

 

Look at that. It even gives me a little picture showing the package on it’s way to California. They used really cute language, like saying the went out to the “photojojo tree”. Every little word of this is spiced up and makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

  • Easy to use site
  • Personal yet still professional language
  • Quick, helpful, nice, personal response
  • Easy return policy
Who wouldn’t want to shop here?!
Why
We all buy things online. But whenever you buy something that you can’t use/try out immediately, there’s always a risk – it might not work, it could be broken, it could be the wrong model.

If we can trust the site, then we are far more comfortable with taking that risk, as if it were to ever happen that there was a problem we know that the site will be helpful. Machines can’t really manage returns, and when the person on the other end is mean and nasty you don’t even want to bother trying to talk to them.

That’s why with Photojojo, I want to order from them a ton of times just so I can get their snazzy emails that make me feel so nice and fuzzy and warm and happy and unicornaliscious. (See what I did there? Seems like something Photojojo might say.)

If you own a company, Customer Service should be your first priority, followed by quality of the product. After all, what’s the good of a great quality product – with the wrong part number that can’t be returned due to your awful customer service? You’ll end up like Mac Parts Online – with dissatisfied customers who will definitely not return.

Do your best to be a Photojojo – Be professional, personal, and make people want to talk to you, not just need to talk to you.

Goodbye, MacBook

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No, I’m not talking about the white one (post here).

I bought an aluminum MacBook in 2008, and it has lasted me until today. I loved it, it was reliable, and has lasted through three software versions. I have used it for three years straight, rarely skipping more than 8 hours without using it.

And today, it has finally left us.

I’m not getting rid of this computer, as it was my first real computer and has signatures of apple engineers on the bottom.

You’ll get to find out what computer I get next when I write a post about it. :)

Oddly, however, today is the same day that Steve Jobs has resigned from his CEO position at Apple. Coincidence? I think not.