I have been looking at iPad apps for usability issues for the past few weeks. Here is a quick list of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The good: IMDB, Scifi Wire, Adobe Touch
The bad: The buggy WordPress app
The Ugly: AP News
About the iPad itself, very slick, very cool/fun to use. On the down side, no SD slot, no USB, and Apple’s “walled garden.”
HP has been on a buying spree. They bought 3Com, and now they have just purchased a former 3Com company, Palm Corp. for $1.2 billion.
The article I linked talks about what HP could do with Palm’s webOS for mobile devices, including using it in netbooks and tablet devices.
What it doesn’t talk about is Palm’s patent portfolio, which could be worth the price of the sale alone.
It’s a nifty & shiny gadget and here is a post I made about it over at Urbin Technology.
I was discussing tech stuff with a buddy and made the following comment.
The Apple iPad really isn’t a new product trying to break into the market, it’s an expansion on an existing product line with a rabidly fanatical user base.
It’s not the magic device that many had hoped for, but it’s magic in a business sense that is pure Steve Jobs. It’s certainly good enough.
I used to carry a better phone than my iPhone, and a better PDA, and an MP3 player with more storage, and better camera. My iPhone does all those functions, not as well, but good enough, that I only carry one device all the time, instead of four.
Ya, the Kindle is probably a better e-text reader due it’s E-ink screen, but is it good enough to spend an additional $260 for when your $500 tablet, that does a bunch of other stuff as well, is a good enough e-text reader?
As for that “bunch of other stuff,” just look at the itunes store. Not just the apps, but the movies and TV shows. The iPad is handier than my notebook, has a better screen than my netbook, and with the rumored Hulu app, I’ll be able to stream Red Eye and watch TV shows as well as video bought or rented through iTunes. That isn’t even counting the apps being written now to take advantage of the new features of the bloody thing.
My prediction is that it’s going to sell and sell well. It’s popularity will drive sales for other tablet platforms, such as the Adam. The beauty of is that is a typical Apple product in that there is nothing really ground breaking about it. It’s a collection of well known and existing technology put together into a really well designed package.
Not a problem for me, but just in case your friends are getting a bit geekier than thou, I have the solution.
I kid you not nerdlings. You can plug this thing into your computer and use it with Skype and other VoIP apps, if you dare…
Ok, it would be cooler if it had a USB port instead of an attached cable. Perhaps in rev 2.0.
Power outlets with two USB power points. There are couple of spots in the house were this would be really useful, especially for charging iPhones. What is nice about this model is that the adapters don’t draw power when nothing is plugged in, unlike a wall wart.
The rumor is that these will run for $10 and be available in early 2010.
I found this interesting post on cleaning your coffee grinder.
If you aren’t drinking freshly ground coffee, you should be.
Ok, here is the tip from weeklyroast.com’s coffee blog, uncooked white rice.
A really great way to clean out your grinder is to use uncooked, white rice. If you use a blade grinder (and we highly recommend upgrading to a burr grinder!), fill it with white rice up to the blades. If you use a burr grinder, put about 2-3 teaspoons worth of white rice and set the burr grinder to a fine grind (espresso) setting and start grinding.
After you’ve finished grinding, you’ll notice immediately that large clumps of previously ground coffee are now clinging to the powdered, ground white rice and after dumping the grounds out, you should see spots you could never clean before coffee-ground free. The inside of the grinder should also be a lot cleaner than before as most of the old, rancid coffee oils also attached themselves to the white rice (they’re attracted to the starch in the rice – that’s why this technique works so well).
Repeat this process until the ground rice no longer has any black particles in it.
This is in direct competition to Amazon’s Kindle. It’s a very similar bit of technology, the major difference being that the B&N Nook will allow users to “share” e-books with other Nook users. It works this way. You purchase an ebook from B&N on your Nook. You like it. You think your buddy, who also has a Nook, would like it. So you can “loan” that book to said buddy. It will be available to be read on his Nook for two weeks. My bet is that this will generate a lot a ebook sales.
Now, some may argue that Amazon already owns the mind share for e-book readers, having crushed the Sony E-Reader in the market. The Kindle took off because Amazon was already seen as a major e-retailer of books and they had the ability to buy books immediately on the Kindle using mobile Internet technology. Sony wasn’t known as a book seller and they had no such “instant buy” option. The Nook has a similar broadband connection to the Kindle and B&N is seen as a major retailer of books by the public. The fact that B&N has a much larger ebook library than Amazon doesn’t hurt either.
There are two major flaws I can see with the Nook. First, the whole DRM thing. Second is that it only supports three formats, EPUB, eReader and PDF. A few more, including unencrypted Mobipocket, would be nice.
Amazon has responded, quietly, with the announcement that they will release free “Kindle software” for the PC platform, so people can read Amazon’s DRM crippled ebooks on their desktop or notebook computers. MAC and LINUX users are not supported in this release. Amazon is also selling refurbish (i.e. used) first gen Kindles for $150.
As my gentle readers may have noticed, I am a big fan of gadgets, from simple to bright & shiny electronics. This gadget falls under the simple, yet useful and cool category.
The small blade is very handy, and the design keeps it safe when it is on your keyring. This is one of my favorite multitools. It’s handy, I typically have it with me (the massive Swiss Army Multitool my brother gave me years ago did a lot of stuff, but it was too damn big to carry around. A tool you don’t have is of no use), and the tools on it (screwdrivers, small knife) are useful in everyday life.