Monday, April 26, 2010

myBlog

I have a new blog!  Sort of a multipurpose blog, myBlog is self-hosted using a free online storage service called Dropbox.  Very useful tool…let me know if you're interested (if I recommend someone, we both get additional storage space).  I designed the new blog with iWeb '09, and, while it's not hosted on MobileMe, I did manage to get comments working via a third-party service.  Feel free to comment and take a look!

www.bit.ly/darnocs

~Isaac

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Apple iPad – Is it really worth it?

I've never owned an iPhone, but I have seen the progression from the iPhone 1G, to the iPhone 2G which added 3G data support, the iPhone 3G, and now the iPhone 3GS.  When it first came out, not many people heard of it.  Now the iPhone 3G is one of the most popular phones in the USA.  Why so popular?  Besides the fact that the iPhone is Apple-made, Apple-easy to use and convenient, it's been tested through trial and error: namely, the iPhone 1G and 2G.  Much like the iPhone, the iPad will have several issues before it reaches a level of "this-is-good-enough-for-the-average-user" like the iPhone 3G.  (If you remember, the iPhone 1G didn't even have copy and paste functionality.)

The question of the day (and I've had several people ask me this): should I buy an iPad?  If so, should I get 3G or no 3G? If no 3G, how many GB of space should I get? If I get 3G, should I get 250 MB of data ($15/month) or unlimited data ($30/month)?  Is there a contract on the iPad's data service like there is on the iPhone? Can I use my iPad as a phone?  What *is* the iPad?  I'll try to answer all these questions in the following.

First, what is the iPad?  Well, it's essentially a "glorified iPod touch" as many have put it.  It lacks calling functionality, so no, it cannot place and receive phone calls by default.  Now, with a VoIP program like Skype or some other calling service, that functionality will be possible–assuming you have Skype credit or place calls only to other Skype members!  The iPad features (to my personal disappointment) the iPhone OS, a version that allows you to change the background of your home screen unlike previous versions.  The iPad also is able to download ebooks with the "iBook" app, as well as create documents with Pages, spreadsheets with Numbers and presentations with Keynote–all Mac OS X apps ported to the iPhone OS.  I personally would have liked to see the Mac OS on the iPad, as the iPad is similar to a tablet computer–which currently most tablet computers run computer operating systems like Windows XP or Linux (although a few are running Android and hybrid mobile OSs).  Another thing lacking on both the iPad or iPod is a camera.  In fact, on the iPad, one would almost expect a forward facing camera for video calls and the like.  The iPad still lacks multitasking, and has no way of expanding the 64 GB max of storage space, no USB ports, no SD card slots.

Pricing: http://www.apple.com/ipad/pre-order/?aid=AIC-WWW-NAUS-K2-PREORDER-IPAD-TECH%20SPECS&cp=PREORDER-IPAD-TECH%20SPECS

You can see the price differences between Wifi only and Wifi + 3G models.  However, the big question is are those AT&T data services 2-year contracts like the iPhone?  The answer (thankfully) is no, as of right now.  It's $15 a month for 250 MB of data (about a quarter of a GB) or $30 for unlimited data–once again, no contract so you can stop the data services anytime you want.  The ability to use 3G also sends the price up quite a bit.  I had a friend ask me if 250 MB is enough–initially I thought not, however if you are using the iPad like you would an iPhone to surf the web, 250 MB would probably be enough (using things like Skype would use a lot of data).  Assuming you don't use your iPad's internet all day long, you should be fine.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Google Chrome

Hey,

I'm sure many of you have heard of the many things Google is doing: creating phones, phone operating systems, computer operating systems, web browsers, maybe even competing with Microsoft via Google Docs. Point being, Google is moving from just a search engine to a jack-of-all-trades–and they seem to be doing a pretty good job of it too. So what's all this fuss over Google Chrome, Google's new web browser? Well, besides the fact that Chrome packs simplicity, speed and small size into a browser, Google Chrome also has many open-source extensions, similar to Firefox Add-Ons. However, Chrome is built to work with these extensions (in my opinion) better than Firefox is, thus making Chrome the ultimate browser: media browser, social networking browser, work browser, whatever. Yes, Chrome is new, and thus certain websites do not support it. However, as Chrome moves up in popularity, this will change. I for one think Chrome is one of the best browsers out there. Currently, I use Chrome on my Mac (the beta builds do not support extensions, see end of page for details) for social networking sites like Facebook, Google Wave (email me if you want an invitation), Gmail, plus testing out the web pages I create with iWeb and seeing how they run–so far, so good.
So, I've babbled enough about the awesomeness of Chrome. Why don't you check it out yourself? If you have Chrome for Windows, type: chrome:extensions in the address bar to view the extensions page. If you have a Mac, and are interested, get the latest Developer's (Dev) build (http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/eula_dev.html?dl=mac) and check out extensions. Chrome is awesome.

Isaac :)




Friday, January 1, 2010

January '10 Update

Hey people,

I've been really busy lately…barely had time to post on my other blog (www.randomgenericthoughts.blogspot.com) either, but I'd like to look at a number of things that have happened last year, and are expected to happen this January.

Of course, being as I am an Apple fan, I'll start with the latest product speculation regarding Apple products.
Apple Tablet: If any of you know about Apple's product history, you may be aware of the failed Newton. It was similar to the iPhone, albeit bigger, slower and, quite frankly as I've said, a failure. It was their first attempt at a tablet, but this January, they may try again as tablet computers take the place of netbook computers. Evidence from former employees big mouths, to patents for certain touchscreen technology, to Apple ordering lots of 10" screens (their current smallest laptop is 13") and a mystery product presentation on the 26th of this month all point towards Apple trying once again at a tablet computer. Let's hope it's something worth buying. Price range: probably around $700.

iPhone Update: Apple is rumored to be looking into 5 MP cameras for their iPhones. For all you camera photographers (myself included), this would be a significant upgrade from the current 2 or 3 MP cameras they are using right now. Apple is also going to ditch the 8 GB $99 iPhone 3G and replace it with an 8 GB $99 iPhone 3GS. Another speculation: Apple adds cameras to the iPod touches–something long awaited, but delayed by hardware issues.

Apple Blunder: Following the release of the best Windows OS yet, Windows 7, Apple promised an update on its Boot Camp software, a program that allows a Mac to run any version of Windows (98 and up), for more compatibility with Windows 7 by the end of 2009. Seeing as its January 1st, 2010, that has failed to happen.

Apple Fame: This year during the recession, Apple has done surprisingly well, mostly from the fact that people have realized that Macs truly are better than PCs. Granted, some PCs could beat a Mac in power–but only for much higher prices. The Mac OS has gained fame as many people have tried to steer clear of Microsoft's failure-regarded OS, Windows Vista. Although Vista isn't as bad as people say it is (it does have many flaws), first impressions often are the ones that last. Due to Vista's initial lack of compatibility and performance, many people gave it harsh criticism. Due to this as a large factor, Mac sales have grown faster than PCs for five consecutive years. The very inexpensive ($30, compared to Windows 7 $120) Mac OS X upgrade, Snow Leopard (10.6) has also sparked much interest as it enhances performance and adds a 64-bit system. Even a recent survey shows that over 80% of businesses support the Mac. In terms of quality, Mac computers outrank PCs. Additionally, Macs are less expensive to support than PCs, as the hardware is of higher quality, thus failures that require new screens, new motherboards, and new memory sticks–things that plague the PC industry, as I would well know (another story, ask me later)–are very uncommon on the Mac. People have realized that a little more money now can mean a lot less money later (as certain replacement parts of PCs can cost almost as much as a new PC). Apple still has a lot to overcome if it wants to become first choice for enterprises, however it has come very far in reaching both businesses and individuals, so to all the folks at Cupertino, keep up the good work!

Microsoft: While I am not a fan of Microsoft or Windows, even I would have to say that they have greatly improved their operating system (although the Mac OS is still superior) through Windows 7, what they have sold as a "refined version of Vista." Windows 7 runs on the same basic system core that Vista uses (Vista is internally labeled Windows 6.0, Windows 7 is 6.1), and has been referred to by some as an operating system with the benefits of XP and the looks of Vista. (::random thought:: @any LDers that are running subsumption, just because Windows 7 is superior to Vista and XP because it combines beneficial elements of both does NOT mean that Windows 7 is "in between" XP and Vista. It comes AFTER XP and Vista. :P ::random thought ends::) Even I, as a loyal Mac fan, must admit that Microsoft has overcome many flaws of the old Windows and made PCs run better with Windows 7 (however in my experience, the best computer to run Windows 7 on is…a Mac). So, overall, while a bit pricy ($120 for a single license), Windows 7 is still the best Microsoft OS yet. If you are still running XP for your (wise) fears of Vista, fear no longer! Although XP users will have to reinstall their programs after upgrading to 7, the files will be saved and your computer will be much more efficient. Vista users can upgrade and keep their files intact. I would recommend this upgrade for all Windows users…unless of course, you are buying a new computer–THEN GET A MAC! :P

Happy New Year's everyone, and may God bless you this 2010!

Isaac :)