From my Punch-Soaked Hands

So I found an excuse to get an iPad. Parents, of course! As if anyone really needed a reason. This is really fun to use. So much so, I’ve only had this thing since Thursday and I’ve already wasted a good portion of my evenings (after work) customizing this for MY personal use ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve always been fascinated with Apple products and the og Apple community. I now find myself with like company. At least that’s how I feel most of the time. I owe this to a friend of mine who first introduced me to my first Linux distro (Mandrake) and teased me with a nifty little gadget named after a snack (I so thought, many years ago), the Newton. Now I say, the “og” Apple community because the fanboys (and fangirls) of today are more like cultists, it seems. As was mentioned on one of my favorite podcasts, [iStuff] are now fashion statements.

I’ve always been one who prided himself in resisting the urge to “keep up with the Joneses.” but I feel that just encouraged me to follow another trend that is not spoken much of – until I find an official buzz phrase, I’ll call it, “keeping up with the Jenkins.” For every high fashion and trendy thing, there are low budget and equally useful, if not more so, items to follow. I could go into examples, but this post is about my recent tablet purchase.

When Apple first introduced the iPad, I was flabbergasted with how much they were asking for it. But I should have known. Not only had they revitalized the market for these things, but they found a way to make their customers feel like rock stars…. Or celebrity authors, film makers and artists. But $500 for the basest model cost, it was not, could not be reasonable. But it was. Well, now it is.

Every reiteration of a tablet device has been less than stellar and marked up in price. Perhaps the techie geeks and corporate customers value utilitarian design AND functionality, but that’s not the cash cow it once used to be. I mean, that was RIM’s bread and butter up until recent weeks, hasn’t it? Since the inception of the iPhone OS (now simply, iOS), Apple R&D team have been catering to the masses. Though unwillingly at first, Apple has come to embrace their app development community. Imagine where Apple (mobile) would be if they had taken extra measures to shut down independent app developers early on? Certainly not seeing the amount of success they have been enjoying these past few years.

I still fawn over the HP TouchPad though. I know it’s not an iPad! Do you think Apple would still be around at all if they allowed all the nay sayers who said, “Mac OS is nice, but it’s not Windows…” to shut them down? Exactly. We gotta keep competition alive people. It encourages innovation.

But my experience these past few days have been wonderful, really. I’ve been really fascinated by all the different apps available. I am much more impressed by the iPad versions than I had ever been when I had my iPod. I resisted all this Apple hype because of the devices’ dependency on apps to be useful. Apple really owes quite a debt of gratitude to the app developers, great and small.

I’ve always defined the “smartness” of a device by what’s built into it, out of the box, and how well it integrates into our ever growing busy schedules. It’s why I adored my Blackberry Curve so much. That was my first smart phone. I loved that thing so much, that when I transitioned to my Pre+, I promised my cousin he could have it. But it took me a year to finally wipe my data off of it and now it’s worthless :-/ (I think Gazelle.com priced it at about $15). This is why I love my Pre+. I’m not an app fiend. On my BB, I had 6 programs I used daily. 3 of them were built into the phone. Likewise with my Pre+, I only use a handful of apps. But if Apple had taken the same approach as Palm did with webOS, by using the web interface as if it were a computer, at least 10% of Apple’s apps would be obsolete, I’m sure of it.

Smart or not, there is intelligence behind all of Apple’s products. Thank you, Steve and thank you Apple. I may have to keep this one for myself…

I almost forgot – where do my parents come in? I intend to give this iPad to my parents. My mother is not as energetic as she once was. She’s hard-working but should be retired by now, IMO. Last year my wife and I purchased a Kindle 3 for her birthday, so she could take her library of books wherever she went. A couple years before that, I purchased a net top computer (Acer Revo r1600) because her old eMachine wasn’t worth upgrading (the Acer came pre-installed with WinXP and I replaced it with Ubuntu 10.10, btw).

Now I’ve been eyeing the iPad since it came out. My cousin who was visiting from Canada picked one up on a whim, just weeks after it released in the US. We were all wowed, even though all he could do was open the free Winnie the Pooh iBook. But still….. $500. He was already a fanboy, the rest of my family shook our heads in disgust.

It’s now a year later, my mom has seen better days but really still works out of necessity. She still thinks $500 is a lot for a toy and while I agree with her, there are some things so compelling, you just can’t ignore it. I figure, if you’re gonna continue to work into your golden years, you can at least have some fun while you do it. My dad has also expressed an interest in “computing.” I quoted it because, like my mom, I think he’s more interested in the social aspects.

My dad is a retired veteran, of the US Navy. He was a SeaBee mechanic who specialized in heavy machinery. He’s never been too interested in electronics beyond learning how to use a tv remote (they’re complicated these days) and programming a VCR. I even think, up until a few years ago, he was disappointed that neither of his sons were mechanically inclined (though I’d like to think I’m a bit handier with a toolbox than my older brother). Instead, we’re both computer junkies.

So finally, where does this iPad come in? Facebook, Gmail and the Internet. That’s really all my mom does with her computer. Oh and the occasional document or form creation she does for her work. My dad, being the social butterfly that he is, made friends with some folks who are closer to my age than his. I think they’re all on Facebook. My dad has an email address he hardly uses too. Social networking, web surfing, occasional documentation….. Yup, sounds like the iPad fits the bill perfectly. Let’s not forget all the video and music you can access for life, with or without subscription, so long as you pay your master (in their case, Frontier FiOS).

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Nook Color

Well, I decided I needed to give Android a chance so what did I do?I bought a Nook Color of course! But just like my iPod purchase, I needed just that “little extra.” What was it? I couldn’t tell you today. I think it was the price point and personal recommendations that saw me through this time around. You can call me a fanboy, or maybe I just have ADD. But i think i’ve been spoiled by WebOS. It’s the multitasking implementation that’s a bother now. Android allows for so much customization, it’s truly a tinkerer’s dream. But the interface is just as clunky and “fluid” as iOS. Rahul Sood speaks well of “multitasking/multiswitching” in a recent blog post. If I could figure out how to copy/paste with this hacked Nook, I’d post a link. But if you’re curious, I encourage you to google him and check his blog yourself. This Nook by itself really is an overpriced e-reader and if e-reading is all you’re interested in, I highly recommend the Kindle. My mom loves hers and it really is easier on the eyes than staring into an lcd screen.

That said… if you’re curious and daring enough, get the Nook and root it. It’s the only way you’ll get your money’s worth for such a device. There’s so much more I’d like to say, but i’m already tired of typing on this thing.

I’ve got my eyes set to the future, and on real tablets – HP Touchpad and RIM playbook. The iPad is a nice toy, but there are just some things I want to do with a tablet that the iPad just does not offer. It’s a toy masquerading as a production device. Although the price is right, the user experience, interface and lack of flexibility is not such that I desire.

I don’t have money to burn. So just as a smartphone purchase or getting/building a new desktop is a major purchase for me, so is getting a new gadget. I have a savings acct, just like I were 12 again (I just turned 36), reserved just for my toys. I save up for months at a time until I can afford to buy things I don’t need. So a tablet is my next fancy toy.

Anyways, I said I was done typing on this, and I am. iOS virtual kb is still the best. Too bad everything else about it sucks. All you Apple fanboys can suck my butt. The hardware is real nice and their products are solidly built. But it’s only a joy to use for those who don’t know any better. WebOS is truly a joy to use and it’s THE MOST INTUITIVE mobile UI that exists. Well, the gesture interface coupled with the card metaphors is hard to beat. Then again, it’s WebOS. So who gives a crap about a mismarketed, undersupported OS? I think Apple should have bought Palm for the gesture patents alone. HP sucks for not implementing gestures fully into their Touchpad. Synergy is what keeps me intrigued about their new tablet. RIM Playbook’s take on gestures keeps me interested in that (not to mention $500 @ Office Depot). I know. It’s less than half the size of an iPad but it’s equipped like the fanciest smartphone you ever saw. My next phone will be unsubsidized, and if you think I’m forking over $700 for an Android that’ll be the “best” for 3 months, you got another thing coming to ya.

There I go ranting again. I’ve got some gaming to catch up on until next time…

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Ahh, now I remember

I’m torn. On the one hand, I’m out $300 and some dishonest thief is enjoying my iPod and its extended warranty ๐Ÿ˜› BUT in recent weeks, Apple has made two things possible that makes getting a replacement worthwhile (to me anyways).

1.) Extended warranties are now transferable between devices.
2.) Find My iPhone app is free and usable without requiring Mobile Me subscription.

Granted, the latter is only partially useful for the iPod Touch if it’s only connected to the web. But who’s gonna get that thing and *never* log onto the web…..ever?

On the other hand, I’m about to receive my annual bonus and tablet devices are coming full force, post holiday season. I’ve already mentioned I’ve been smitten by the Galaxy Tab. If you haven’t tried one out or have any qualms about it at all, head to a Best Buy Mobile store near you and play with the sucker. I hate Best Buy, but Best Buy Mobile so far is a tolerable experience. Go check out the Galaxy Tab. It’s really neat!

Anyways, I have no need for either the iPod or a tablet device. The main thing I’m looking at is access to the vast app store of either camp (Apple vx. Android). I don’t plan on jailbreaking the iPod, nor will I root the tablet (Android). If the WebOS tablet comes out in March, as rumored, I might be tempted to play with homebrew but if it’s anything like how the Pre/Pixi turned out, actual rooting won’t be necessary. Just a quick run of WebOS quick install (whatever it’s called) and I’d be free to play with any home brew there is.

But Apple set the bar high, and I’m not just talking about features and software. What I’m really referring to is the price point. There are several less pricey Android devices out on the market now. But it’s starting to become more apparent that to get a good quality device, one must spend $500+. OUCH. Seriously. It’s painful just looking at the number. Sure there are Archos devices that are way more affordable and there’s the “poor man’s iPad,” the color Nook. But to get the premium experience without paying a premium price is, for now, just a fairy tale.

I don’t want a new phone. I like my Pre+. I LOVE IT. Sure, I’m disappointed with how every day it seems that product line is going the way of the dodo. But WebOS is still recognized as (one of) the best mobile OSes around. Heck, while I had my iPod Touch, I got so frustrated because I kept trying to use gesture strokes to navigate the iOS interface. Shoot Apple, if RIM stole Palm’s gesture interface to make the Playbook look even more like a WebOS copycat, you certainly could use such an elegant method of navigation on your iStuff.

Where was I? Oh yes. I don’t want a new phone…. yet. My phone still works fine. I’ve learned to live with the keyboard quirks and it’s overclocked and stable at 500/720 Conservative. I don’t want a new contract, but I still want the benefits of the device itself AND the premium experience, When my phone finally breaks or Palm breathes its last breath by the time my 2-yr contract is up, my next phone (or communication device) will be paid in cash, and at full retail price. So phone or tablet (as of today), I’m looking at a $600 luxury.

Whatever I decide, I want to get all my holiday shopping out of the way first. I’m going low budget and analog this year (except for mom’s present – she loves her Kindle 3). It’s not so much cuz I’m cheap (cuz I am), but because the consumer tech biz is booming and the new year is just around the corner. There are plenty of bargains to be had.

I’m not rich. I’m just a working class guy trying to keep entertained. I think if I had more money, I’d be traveling more rather than watching people do so on VOD from my phone.

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I’m Finally Playing With Gadgets!

So I’m finally playing with gadgets and I’m not writing anything about it! I can’t, I don’t have time! I’m too busy playing with gadgets!

I have, however, been smitten with the Galaxy Tab. I like what I’ve sen of it so far. It’s just that it’s way expensive! I suppose we can thank Apple for setting the price point of such a luxury. I don’t care what anyone says. Those tablets we’ve been reading about are all toys. The iPad is the biggest toy of them all. But what a great toy it is, no less.

I’m still bummed I’ve got to do without my most recent tech (luxury) purchase. And now I’m torn. I may soon be able to purchase another iPod Touch 4 but I haven’t been drinking Apple Kool-Aid long enough to feel a void where the iPod Touch once was. No, the I’ll feeling in my gut has to do with the actual parting of the cash I forked over. Some bonus money my wife was so proud to earn and share withย me.

We’re not rich folks. In fact, I’d consider us just one month ahead of living paycheck-to-paycheck. Thanks to FPU and a shortlived business venture, we’ve learned to keep our spending within our means. But that’s a different story. One I’d be glad to share another time, in a different forum.

Anyways, back to this thing called “mobile tech.” I now wonder if I should join the early adopters of all things (Android) tablet? Or should I wait for later this year? It seems like I wait and wait… and wait. And when I finally give up and move on to something else, all that I’ve waited for happens the next day. That iPod was to be the first of many things I finally waited for patiently until it offered precisely what I was looking for. Then in less than a month, it was gone ๐Ÿ˜ฆ So maybe I didn’t wait long enough? I don’t need a tablet device, but it’s the type of tech I’d really like to move to. I already have a phone that does practically everything I’d ever want. For all you non-believers, I AM, in fact, speaking of my Pre+. As I stated in a previous post, I finally dropped some serious dough for the iPod Touch 4, only after extensive research of it and it’s current competitors. The thing that finally won me over was the the adoption of an official Netflix app and the realization that, thoug capable, Netflix would not likely come to WebOS, simply because of Palm’s dwindling popularity. BUT if any company was guaranteed to get such software, it would be Apple.

Allow me to switch gears here, a moment. Of all the companies, Apple tries their darndest to deny the masses their deepest desires, only to have content providers and others devs to try harder to get on their beloved platform. All the while, supporters of the less popular platforms are begging to get some little bit of the most mainstream content. Only to e left by the wayside.

Android is said to be rapidly gaining on iOS and is expected to surpass it in popularity quite soon. But Netflix, for example, still is not available for it. I’m sure the masses would be glad to risk “fragmentation” and the possibility their phone may not have the right guts to work with said app. Not everyone cares for VOD on their mobile device, or phone, as it may be. Maybe I represent a very niche group but I know I’m not the only one.

My point is, I went ahead with iOS for a few reasons. Those being 1.) quality of build 2.) variety of software available 3.) longevity 4.) use experience 5.) overall value (yes, I wanted the iPod Touch 4 for $200, but I figured $229 was as close as I’d get).

Nobody mention reputation. I don’t give a shit about Apple’s reputation. Ok, maybe a little. But not because it’s “cool.” I’m talking about the reputation of its solid architecture, its elegant OS and how their continuing innovations have changed the way we think about how we compute and consume media. No, value isn’t one of their innovations. Not when these things are designed to be disposable. What, no user replaceable battery? = disposable gadget.

Anyways… I got sidetracked again didn’t I? Dang… No I forgot what I was going to say completely. Damn you Jimmy Kimmel and your Skype Scavenger Hunt!

Until next distraction kiddies…!

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There’s no Such Thing as a Free Lunch… Just Stolen Ones.

I don’t know if I can feel any worse than I do now. I finally made the biggest commitment since my wedding vows and threw it all away. I hadn’t had my brand, spankin’ new iPod Touch for a month and I lost it already. What’s worse is, in true “dickhead” fashion, the person who found where I had dropped it, logged into my Facebook account to comment about how I lost it.

I never was anti-Apple but I always thought their gadgets were overpriced. I always found an “alternative to” any apple device that would fit my needs. So when Jobs and his team updated the iPod Touch 4, I was pleasantly surprised to see that, not only did it have the features I was looking for, but it came pretty damn close to the price I was willing to pay. $200 was my limit for just about anything electronic but I figured Apple wasn’t going to budge so why not splurge a little? 2 days after the first iPod, the stupid thing broke. No, I didn’t drop or abuse it. The reset button malfunctioned and so it made it impossible to perform a hard reset that I needed when a couple of downloads failed. So anyways, I had my chance to just get my money back but I thought, why not give this doohickey a real chance? So I hung on to it. Now, just to clarify – the main reason I finally succumbed to Apple’s seduction was because Netflix finally became available to iOS4. I LOVE my Netflix subscription and while many can’t imagine watching videos on such a tiny screen, I was all over that. I couldn’t stream away from home though, since whatever sources I had (open wifi near work or tethered from my phone), but I could wander around my little home, from room to room, which was enough for me. Face time was neat, but not really something I’d use much. Oh, and the app store! Don’t get me started on my phone (WebOS FTW!), but I’m no dope. If anything. Netflix would soon come to Android, but as much as I love my Pre+, I know Netflix won’t care to waste any of their time developing for the “barely holding consumer interest” HPalm. Besides, the fact that I can barely stream YouTube just shows that Verizon’s network is not fast enough for such things.

So a few weeks ago, my wife was perusing Groupon for some deals and she picked up a coupon for the corn maze out on the island. To make this long story much shorter than it needs to be, we hopped in a car with the neighbors and drove to a corn maze 20 miles away. Parking was horrendous, and of course, I was fiddling with my ipod the whole way. I careslessly set it on my lap and when we found a spot, neighbor says “everyone hop out the car and I’ll park as best I can.” So we all jump out. 20 minutes later I realize I don’t have my iPod in any of my pockets and my heart sinks. I knew that by the time I realized I didn’t have my iPod, it was gone. I went back with one of my neighbors to see if it had just fallen on the floor or hoping nobody picked it up yet. But it was gone as I predicted. When I returned home, I went to cry on Facebook about how I lost my new toy and I saw someone had already posted (as me) that I lost my phone at the corn maze. Should have been content enough to have a $230 new toy, but that’s not enough for some people. No, they gotta rub it in some how.

I have a history of losing things. Heck, I used to drop my wallet all the time. I know the routine: call your banks, cancel your credit cards, the whole bit. But this time I didn’t really have any financial info on that iPod. What changed everything was how those “fun” little apps made it so easy to log into all your shit. I don’t trust the internet with my personal info. I’ve been entering fake “personal” info into my email accounts for years. But then when you need those things for real things (purchases, personal/professional contacts)… I just about freaked out. I had to change all my passwords to all the social networks as quickly as possible. My email accounts were accessible at the touch of an icon, thus leaving everyone I know vulnerable. My heart sank even more. There were a ton of high school shits all over that corn maze. Hopefully they were just glad to snag a new. expensive toy. If they were nosy enough to snoop through my email stuff, I don’t know what I’d do. There goes my virtual bubble of security. For a moment, I thought it’d be better if I lost my phone. But no, that would be much worse, I know. The Pre isn’t exactly a highly coveted device, but that is my lifeblood. Everything important to me is connected to that device and since I use it as my primary form of contact, all my contact info is real. There’s a reason, I suppose, that I lost my iPod and not my phone (or both). I had my iPod carelessly sitting on my lap. My phone however, was in my pocket and securely cradled in my hand.

I still feel crummy though. I went all out to protect that stupid media player. After I picked up my first replacement on that 3rd day, I went ahead and got an extended warranty (which I never get for anything, so why the iPod….?) and I saw how the first one was so easily scratched so I applied Invisible Shield to it. I had somebody do it to. I’ve applied that thing to a couple other things I own and it didn’t turn out so nice. Now I’m debating whether or not Apple devices are in my future. I feel crummy because I can barely afford such things and I lost it within a month. I paid cash for that stupid thing and I had to put the extended warranty on my credit card (which still bothers me to this day). I’m going to file a police report tomorrow and see if my insurance will cover this loss. But if not, I guess I’m out $300 (that’s the iPod+warranty+plastic coating).

$300 bucks on my first “i-something.” ouch. Whoever picked it up, I’m hoping you’ll find a way to return it to me. Otherwise, enjoy it, you thieving bastard. You deserve whatever ill-intended things that come your way.

Edit: This just occurred to me – I have no way to wipe my iPod. Yup, no Mobile Me ๐Ÿ˜ฆ There are still 200+ emails stored on my iPod. Yeah. I dunno if I can sleep tonight. Effin thieves.

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I see I’m going to have some issues….

I was SO into my last draft, yet I hadn’t saved anything yet. I was about to go on a full-on rant about a comment my coworker made about how Netflix streaming was the reason Block Buster was going out of business. *But* that will come later. NOW, I’m just pissed that my browser refreshes, seemingly at random times and my many paragraphs of blogging goes to waste… hold up, I’m slow to learn *but* I am learning (clicks “save draft”).

This computer is such a load of crap and has been a thorn in my side as long as I’ve owned it. Lenovo, this Ideapad Y510 is the shittiest piece of hardware I’ve every owned. But I said my *browser* refreshed randomly. What really happened was, while I was typing, I did as I often do – rest my palms on either side of the touch pad OR grazed the touch ad with one of my thumbs in combination with typing on the keyboard. There are other things I’m running in the background that I suppose could have contributed to the refresh, but I doubt it. Hold on (clicks “save draft”).

I’m currently running Ubuntu Karmic Koala. Dual-booting Windows Vista Home Edition (which came preloaded, and without a recovery disc I might add). I’d like to make a more permanent transition to Linux, while virtualizing Windows 7, but I can’t get a virtual Windows 7 64-bit to install (on my desktop). I run other flavors of linux (Mint on my wife’s laptop), which runs flawlessly.

Well, I’ve run out of steam cuz the movie I’m watching is over and I’m tired of griping about my craptop. I’ve got better things to do with my time, but I just had to get that off my chest. My sister-in-law decided to go against my recommendation (I dont’ know why people gotta do the exact opposite that I suggest), she purchased the successor to the Y510. It may be built better, but why take the chance? They’re built almost exactly the same, from the crappy casing (which has the infamous hinge-crack on the right side), to the chipset that doesn’t exactly like Linux (the audio is terrible, as it is built with 4.1 Dolby Digital I think, when running Linux). Hmmm… Didn’t I just say I was done ranting? I better stop while I’m ahead.

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