Friday, August 19, 2011

Tabtec M7

I can't find this in the US so it might go under a different name but in the UK it's called Tabtech M7, and it seems very promising and economical.
I have it's little brother, and apart from that one having an inferior screen (resistive touch screen), it's not bad at all, especially for the price.
The M7 unfortunately is not lighter than my Galaxy Tab 7-inch as I'd hoped, but actually heavier at over 500 grams, so I won't be getting it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shake the iPad to undo

The iPad way to undo, short article.

So, just shake it?
Rather non-intuitive, to say the least, and a little risky. Not the greatest of their interface inventions.       :-)

H.P. gives up tablet business (updated)

H.P. Plans Big Shift Toward Business Customers, article.
H.P. also said it would kill off its TouchPad tablet, which was just introduced in June and was meant to compete with the iPad from Apple, and stop making mobile phones that use the webOS operating system, which H.P. picked up when it bought Palm.

Wow. That's gotta be an expensive wasted adventure!
And some people saw HP as one of the golden hopes of good competition for iPad, because they are one of the few companies which make both the hardware and the software. The Touchpad has many great reviews on Amazon*, but it was up against not just the iPad but the Android company crowd too.

I've noticed this happens much faster these day, yeah? Microsoft for instance, this phone they brought out last year, Blip or Kit or something, they cancelled it like six weeks after it had been released! I'm not sure if this is a a healthy trend, or a symptom of an illness, perhaps of companies' lack of sound judgement whether they can compete in a given market or not. Like I said half a year ago, 80 different tablets being announced in January was just ridiculous, only the biggest companies stand any chance of competing against the iPad, and even those have a mighty struggle on their hands. For a small company, it's like watching a toddler on a trike heading out to fight a tank invasion.

*This is probably skewed by it being a niche product, though. Those tend to get bought only by people who know what they're getting, while broad, hit products get bought by everybody, so get much more mixed reviews and a lower average.

Other companies are going the other way: slashing prices.
Some tablets could be offered for as little as $300, which would represent a significant loss for the manufacturers, but some money is better than piles of devices that eventually get chopped up and sold to recyclers.

Update to rubber stickers

My post on rubber stickers for better grip is updated.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Versetta iPad bags

A quick googling reveals that many people are disliking or making fun of the new Versetta  iPad bags (they come in several very different styles). But I think it's a neat invention, I'm almost jealous of da ladies. Well, that was my first reaction anyway, but then I'm a baggophile. (Their web site does not inspire a lot of confidence though, I must say. It's poorly designed, often does not react, and throws out infinite popup windows when you're trying to leave!)

Sure, for many uses it would seem stupid to leave the iPad in the bag while using it. But the point is, you can obviously take the iPad out, like with any other case/bag. But since many people are using their iPad for quick little tasks while working/walking/standing,  this arrangement makes sense.

Admittedly, today ladies' bags seem generally to be much smaller than they used to be*, and these ones would be on the large side, and with the iPad, also on the heavy side.

By the way, one thing I don't understand about ladies' bags: they usually have only have hand-straps, no shoulder-strap, so one of your hands are tied down all the time you carry it. I guess that comes under "sacrificing practicality for style".

*I once saw a very beautiful and stylish young woman  in the train, holding on her lap a very stylish, very cool handbag. If I recall correctly, it was in the style of an old wooden trunk! But the funny thing was that it was so small that I think one would have struggled to carry more than a pack of cigarettes and a lighter in it! I mean real dang small, about the size of a pint of milk (half a liter). I guess that also comes under "sacrificing practicality for style".

TCGirl found this and this. The last one is close, but with sharper corners.

"PDF Printer"

"PDF Printer", a new app which gives an iPad functionality similar to what the Mac has: to create a PDF document from a wide variety of files, including Word files and web pages. It seems if it works well it could be very useful for saving documents and sharing them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Comparing reading devices

Comparing reading devices (including paper), article.
For the last chapters of the book, I read the paperback. It took barely a paragraph for me to feel frustrated. I kept looking up things on my iPhone, and forgetting to earmark my page.

I have tried most of the devices he tested/compared (most notable exception is the Nook, which I haven't bought because you can't buy books on it outside of the US (!)), and I pretty much follow his perceptions and conclusions.
The Kindle 3 is close to ideal, but a bit slow, can't use web well, and for me the screen is too dark. The iPad 2 is also close to ideal, except a bit on the large/heavy side for just text reading. It's a pity that Apple finds the ereader market as beneath them, they could make a great one in a 7-inch iPad with Retina Display and a weight under 350 grams.

Let's see what Amazon serves up next. Latest rumors say that their next device will still have an e-ink screen, but it's also color and LCD. This confuses me, so don't ask. Maybe they mean color e-ink and the "LCD" was a mistake. Anyway, color would be nice, but for me contrast is a more pressing issue for the Kindle. So if they use e-ink, I hope it's much improved that way, even though I seem to recall a statement from the manufacturer that we shouldn't expect important upgrades to e-ink in 2011.

Re the low probability of Apple making a dedicated ereader:
To be fair, one can understand that they want to keep their attention on keeping the iPad and iPhone at no 1, rather than spreading their resources (programmers and engineers) over new, uncertain markets. They are on a wiiiild ride right now, and small decisions may make a difference between virtually owning the gadget market for the next ten years, or becoming a niche again like with the desktop systems.

Still, I can't help but wish that Apple or at least somebody would make my dream ereader.
Just like I wish Apple or somebody would make my dream portable "typewriter". Like an Alphasmart Neo, but with a slightly larger screen, more contrast on the screen, and a bit more power and flexibility. The Neo's keyboard is much better than any I've tried on a notebook. (I guess just a cheap notebook might work, only with a deeper and better keyboard.)