Posted tagged ‘technology’

So you think your iPad is one-of-a-kind?

September 27, 2010

If you’re one of those people who have to have those top-of-the-line, brand new technological gadgets the first day they come out, you were probably one of the 300,000+ who camped out for days awaiting the release of the new iPad. The allure of this one of a kind touch tablet was too much for you to bear.

But was it worth it? The iPad did market itself originally as a breakthrough in new, one-of-a-kind technology, hopefully one day replacing the personal computer/laptop altogether. Although at the time this might have been true, it is not true anymore. Other companies have come up with iPad-equivalent technologies, but more appealing to those loyal PC users. Here are our top 3 iPad alternatives and how they measure up to the iPad itself.

ExoPC Slate
Rumors might be true that this critically acclaimed “iPad Killer” is the next best thing. With Windows 7 Premium Home Edition and a comfortable 11+ inch screen. Add on a 32 GB memory, 8.9-inch multi-touch screen, webcam, and full browser with flash support. It also has an Ethernet port as well as a way to hook up your bluetooth. What sets this apart from the iPad? The ExoPC Slate’s keyboard is supposed to flow with ease. It is super smooth and doesn’t give you all of the problems of the iPad’s faulty keyboard. Pre-orders for the ExoPC Slate began at the beginning of September, with a competitive price to the iPad.

NotionInk’s Adam Android
Add this to your Christmas list, since that’s when they’re planning on releasing this $129, 24-hr long battery tablet. But that’s not all that’s super cool about this tablet: add to that a 10 inch transflective screen–yes, that means you can take it outside, unlike the iPad which has terrible glare. There is also a 180 degree swiveling camera and a complete content eco-system at the fraction of the cost of the iPad. What are they waiting for for the release? Well, to stabilize flash, of course (which iPad has failed to do). Tablets like Adam, which run on Windows 7, plan to be as functional as the PC in terms of an operating system. All reviews point to Adam giving the iPad a run for its money, because, as far as I can tell, they’ve done it better.

WeTab
Say “guten tag” to the German alternative to the iPad. Hey, if they’re as good at making tablets as they are at making cars, then we should all be jumping on the bandwagon to buy one.  With clever tag lines like “we’ch out and touch faith” coupled with an 11.6 inch touch screen and 1366×768 resolution, the WeTab seems to out-do the iPad in more areas than one (aside from the 6 hr battery life). There is a 1.3 mega pixel camera as well that allows for taking photos and video chatting.  You can even make an inquiry on their website about being notified first when the WePad gets released.

The verdict: Unfortunately, at the moment, nothing has been created that you can buy that is even comparable to the iPad. Nonetheless, there will be a time (very soon, in fact) that you can buy these tablets that run on Windows 7 and have all of the compatibilities of a PC. It’s quite fantastic how Apple has revolutionized the tablet world. However, time may show these other competitors picking up the slack where the iPad lacks.

Yes, Microsoft fanboys exist.

September 10, 2009

We currently live in a tech age where Microsoft is better known as “Micro$oft”, and Macbook-and-iPhone-toting fans are eager to spread the love around for their darling fruit company. Microsoft is popularly considered to be uncool and evil – the software “man” that everyone wants to stick it to. Any pro-Microsoft dissenting voices are muffled under waves of criticism.

Since the web is brimming with Apple fanboys and fangirls. It makes me wonder about the Microsoft die-hards… do they even exist?

Yes, there have been missteps by Microsoft as I’m sure everyone is well versed in. However, there must still be fans left that are highly devoted to Microsoft’s mission: Creating software that works for anyone who wants to use it. Sometimes it’s important to remember that Microsoft was key in revolutionizing the idea of personal computers and laptops, as well as making strides in the software field. Because of this, Microsoft deserves some kudos.

Here are 5 indicators that Microsoft is appreciated by the company’s fanboys across the web…

1. They campaign to release Windows 7 early: Self-described “BIG Windows fan” Kelly Poe started a movement to collect votes petitioning for Windows 7’s early release. So far 3,003 voters have supported his cause. Check out the site here and show your support.

2. They name their children after Microsoft OS: One of the members of Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional program (a site where “Microsoft experts [can] use, evangelize, and champion the company’s technologies”), Bill Simser, blogged about how he named his daughter “Vista Avalon Simser”. In addition to being named after Microsoft’s best OS, her middle name derives from the code name for the Windows Presentation Foundation – the graphical subsystem of .Net 3.0. Apparently if Bill, the father of Vista, had a son instead, the boy’s first name would be “Dev” (for developer) and his initials would have been DOS.

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iPhone apps that spice up reality

August 28, 2009

It’s beyond virtual reality. iPhone currently has 3 Augmented Reality apps available in their App store.

If you’re not familiar with augmented reality (nicknamed AR), it’s basically technology that blurs the lines between what’s real and what’s computer-generated. (Doesn’t that sound eerie? Very Matrix-like.)

With augmented reality, you’re overlaying computer graphics onto the real world whether it’s text, images, or whatever. In the iPhone sense, this means that these 3 AR apps incorporate layers of data on top of the camera view on the iPhone. AR uses the iPhone’s GPS navigation and compass to display businesses, restaurants and bars on top of the camera view. You can look through the camera on your iPhone and see blocks of text or images hovering around your real-life environment. It’s pretty neat.

Right now the 3 AR apps available are:

Metro Paris Subway iPhone app

What the Paris app looks like (courtesy of ReadWriteWeb)

1. Metro Paris Subway: While you’re looking through your iPhone camera, images of Paris businesses near you will pop up, along with the distance it takes to arrive there (in both meters and miles!).

2. London Buses: Using this bus-tracking app now pulls up “Point of Interest” databases which allows the user to see food & drink, leisure, attractions and accommodation POIs all over the UK.

And for those residing in the US…

Yelp monocle (courtesy of RWW)

Yelp monocle (courtesy of RWW)

3. Yelp: On the latest version of this app, users have to shake their iPhone 3 times to access this Easter egg feature called “the monocle.” (Well officially the site says shake 3 times but watching other people trying to open the monocle resulted in watching people viciously shake their phone for what seemed like 10 minutes. Since shaking the iPhone for so long can get frustrating, the good news is once you unlock the monocle it will be there forever so it’s a one-time thing.) (more…)

Google vs Microsoft: Online Apps Throwdown

August 25, 2009

Has anyone seen these Google billboards?

Google billboard campaign

Apparently during the entire month of August, they’ve been on display on four major U.S. highways around the country: the 101 in San Francisco, the West Side Hwy in New York, the Ike in Chicago, and Mass Pike in Boston. Google went back to old school marketing methods with this creative billboard campaign. They even kicked it up a notch by striving to put up a new message each day on these four boards. The spotlight is on Google Apps, their Enterprise Productivity Suite.

For those unfamiliar with what Google Apps mean, you probably use (or at least heard of) it in the form of Gmail or Google docs, etc. Though these Apps are very useful on the individual level, the “Going Google” campaign is really targeting enterprise or business customers to adopt their online Google App system.

…And targeted towards taking down Microsoft. (Of course.)

Throwdown!

Throwdown!

Not surprising, Microsoft has their own brand of online applications to match Google’s list called Microsoft Online Services (or if you like things that are really long: the Microsoft Online Business Productivity Suite).

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Fingerprint Authentication for Facebook?

August 19, 2009

TrueSuiteIEEE Spectrum tells me about an upcoming software by AuthenTec that makes me feel like our world is finally moving toward Spielberg’s “Minority Report.”

Fingerprint authentication technology is no longer going to be reserved for secret high clearance government facilities – instead for us Average Joes, we get to use fingerprint clearance for accessing email, logging into social networks like Facebook or Twitter, and anything else that requires a password.

AuthenTec’s TrueSuite software is adapting fingerprint authentication into a means to make our computer activities more convenient. How? Picture this scenario: Your laptop is installed with this software. On your laptop, you swipe your ring finger (right hand), your Gmail pops up. It’s already logged into your inbox. You swipe your index finger (right hand), you’re looking at your Facebook newsfeed. You swipe your ring finger (left hand), you’re looking at your eBay bidding account.

Different fingers can be used to authenticate different accounts with TrueSuite. On its own, any of these functions are multi-step. (For example, even checking Twitter requires that 1) you wake up your laptop, 2) start your OS, 3) navigate to a browser, 4) go to the Twitter site, 5) login with password. On laptops more than a couple years old this can mean you’ve aged 20 minutes before you find out what was in Ashton’s latest tweet to Demi.

TrueSuite reduces this into a finger swipe.

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Windows 7 Coolest Highlights

August 17, 2009

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It’s so new and shiny!

windows7shot

Welcome to a fresh and hip look for Windows 7 – it’s popularly anticipated as the best OS that Microsoft has created thus far. Comparable in look and feel to Mac OS X Leopard, the user experience with Windows 7 will be akin to play-time with a new toy.

A lot of people are talking, writing, blogging and even making videos of the new features available in 7. After checking out Wired magazine’s in depth “First Look” on this new OS – we were inspired to give a shout-out to the features that we’re most excited to play with. Join us in the fun waiting for it’s official public release on October 22, ’09.

These clever new Windows management tools will make the user experience very pleasant:

Aero Peek: An outline display provides a thumbnail preview of all your open windows behind your active window. Very convenient since you don’t have to remember what content is kept in the minimized window tabs anymore.

Aero Snap: So useful for those who like having split screens to multi-task. You can use this Snap feature to drag and snap your working window into place on either sides of your screen.

Aero Shake: Such a fun and unique idea! When you click on a window and shake it (yes, shake it) – all the windows behind it will minimize. No more going through and having to minimize each one separately. Minimizing windows is also made more exciting since they turn into small squares on your task bar, each with representative shiny little icons.

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On “Tech Etiquette”

August 11, 2009

Our personal handheld devices, our Blackberries, our iPhones – they’re all turning us into social monsters.

That was the topic of this morning’s “tech etiquette” conversation on the “Today” show with Kathie Lee & Hoda. It seems like tech etiquette is becoming a more important issue now that our mobile devices are becoming a bigger and bigger (addictive) part of our lives. This doesn’t seem like a big surprise since both people’s work AND play are starting to converge on this device. Not only do our bosses and clients have access to us 24/7 through our mobile devices, now our virtual social contacts can take priority over people that are actually there in front of you.

When is giving your phone call, text, email, etc. priority over your real world experience acceptable? In my personal opinion, I would think never. But then again, I’m not a CEO, or a brain surgeon, or President who calls the big shots and needs to be reachable all the time.

Yes, I know there are times when tech needs to take precedence over the present. And in those times it’s very important to use the proper etiquette. However, the mere fact we have such tech etiquette guidelines makes me uneasy – I think it’s a problem when people are more engaged with individuals over their phones than with people who are actually there. This should be obvious, but it’s not…?

Tech makes our lives infinitely easier, but perhaps it needs to focus on making us more human as well.

Check out the clip from MSNBC “Today” below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.