Saturday, September 3, 2011

Buy videos for Android?

If I want to buy video on my iPad, it's simple: iTunes store.
If I want to buy video (say, TV shows) on my Android device, where do I go??

It's hopeless to do searches for this kind of thing, because these terms are so frigging generic and over-used. "Video" covers youtube, video chat, cameras, etc etc. "Market" covers marketing books, all kinds of markets, blah blah blah.

I also found that now I can't download the Amazon App Store (which I suspect sells video) outside the US, even though I could a couple months ago on another Android device.
And of course I can't subscribe to Hulu or Netflix either, being in the UK.

Oh, I'm just realizing: because of all this bullshit, there's a good chance that the upcoming Amazon tablet won't be available outside the US in the beginning, or at least that we can't buy any content on it. Lord knows how long that'll take, it took three years for the Kindle store.

New compact Samsung tablets, and Amazon tablet (updated)

Some sources report that sadly and oddly, Samsung has no plans of releasing the new Galaxy Tab 7.7 or big-phone 5.3-inch Note in the USA. Too bad if it's true, for they both seem really promising. In fact the 7.7 sounds close to what I've been wishing for in an ereader: a seven-inch tablet with high-rez display (not Retina-high, but higher than usual), and weighing under 350 grams!

I don't get why some say the original Galaxy Tab was disappointing. Despite me being an iPad fan, I find it to be a very likeable and useful device, and a good ereader.

Aaaaand, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note has the same number of pixels, but on a 5.3 inch screen! This might make a very interesting pocket ereader! Hardly bigger than a phone or pocket camera, but a compromise-free ereader also, it seems to me.
Like I've said earlier, the high-rez iPhone 4 screen is as good to read on as Dell Streak's screen, despite the latter being twice as big. And 5.3 inches is almost as big as the Kindle 3's screen, but with much higher resolution and contrast. So I'm... intrigued.

This might be the perfect take-everywhere ereader/videoplayer. I'm sure it fits in the thigh pockets of the kind of pants I like to wear, "combats" with lots of pockets. ... Testing: heck, even my old Galaxy Tab fits there, the Note should fit in almost any pocket I have.

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 in comparison is a bit doubtful: it's lighter than the old one and thinner, but it's slightly larger. But if you do have a pocket it'll fit in, I don't think it'll be a bother, due to the cutting-edge lightness/thinness.

It sounds really crazy that they wouldn't release these in the US, that's gotta be faulty reporting. And other reports say "Galaxy Note hits Europe Q1 2012, US afterwards".

Newest solid rumors are that the upcoming Amazon tablet will be a 7-inch Android for $250 and released late November. I'm sure that's cheaper than these Samsungs, but then they say that the Amazon device will not be a full Android device and of course we don't know if it can be hacked to become so like the Nook Color. If it has free 3G like the Kindle 3, probably not! But then it surely won't have free Net connection, since it can buy and run video etc.

PS: both Samsung devices have AMOLED displays. These are supposed to be grrrreat, but I haven't seen any. Anybody seen them?
[AMOLED on wiki. OLED advantages on wiki.]

Update: this is YH Lee, Samsung Senior Vice President (Mobile Global Marketing). Isn't she wonderful?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Find that ebook

Ebook search engine.

Gorilla Glass screen: torture tested

Dell Streak's Gorilla Glass screen: torture tested, video.
Maybe it won't be long before we won't have to be so careful with our tablets in general. Since they basically have no moving parts, the glass is the most vulnerable part currently.
It's interesting that on the video you can clearly see the glass bending under the attack, I wonder if it's really glass or some new kind of super-tough plastic. Update: nope, it's glass.  Weird how it took so many years for it to become widely used, it's not like the fragility of glass is not a problem. I guess like most things it comes down to price.
BTW, it is also on the iPhone 4, I now see. Kewl, I won't have to be all that careful.
I still wonder how it flexed so much in the video though.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Backlit vs. frontlit

Has anybody seen any studies regarding why many people feel discomfort from reading a long time on a backlit screen which they don't feel reading on a reflective screen like E-Ink? (Kindle.)
If we assume that the screens are adjusted to give the same amount of light out, what is the difference? Light is light, no? Do modern LCD screens flicker? Or... ?

As to why I so dislike the grey E-Ink screen when most seem fine with it?...

Well, I do have good reading lights. But I'm still looking at black on grey.

Maybe the thing is that I feel I want the background of my reading to be roughly the brightest thing in my field of view (not much brighter though), since this is the thing I want to focus on.

That sounds likely. But all I know is that the irritation is there, and it keeps being there.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Powerbook 180C

My first laptop was the Apple Powerbook 180C.
This was I had acquired to write the What Me Artist? course on. My earnings were less hot in the nineties so I bought it used in maybe 1998, I guess it was five years old. It worked great, only problem was batteries, they tended to die for such an old machine.
I took it out for lunch every day and wrote a chapter after eating. Then as now I'm a real geek for café writing.

For real Apple geeks (I'm only a peripheral one I'm afraid), there is Shrine of Apple.

Writers surviving

Talking about keyboards and their products...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Clamcase iPad keyboard case

Here is a beautiful keyboard-case for the iPad. The reviews are good too, some say it's the best yet. I don't think any competing products fold all the way to the back for tablet use.  Only downside it that it's slightly on the heavy side, The combo is heavier than the Macbook Air 11-inch (3 pounds compared to 2.4 pounds, 1.4kg compared to 1.1kg).

I'd get it myself, only I don't see myself use it all that much for the rest of this year, and if the iPad 3 then comes out and is a different size than iPad 2, I'd kick myself.

Some would say, "why not just get a Macbook Air instead if you're gonna use a keyboard anyway?" It's a good question. The Macbook Air is a fully qualified Mac computer, and very powerful. On the other hand, the iPad has upsides beyond size. It's easy as heck to use, and there are many fun and useful apps which you just can't get for the Mac.

And of course, if you already have an iPad, and you don't need any Mac-only apps, but just a good keyboard for more comfortable writing, this seems ideal. It's a bit smaller than full-size, if that bothers you, I recommend the Apple wireless keyboard instead (weighs much less also). But I have touch-typed on keyboards this size without problems despite having large hands.

Waterfield tablet cases

Waterfield ( makes a very varied range of high-quality cases and bags for various gadgets, and they now make perfectly fitted case/bags for virtually any large tablet on the market. And I do mean perfectly, it looks like they make one especially for a tablet if there's more than a couple of millimeters difference in size from an existing one, it's an impressive display of customization.

It can be used as a case inside another bag, or as a small bag with shoulder-strap fitted, and an optional little pouch to attach to it for charger and a couple of other small items.

I have it myself for the iPad, and I have several other of their products, and they can't be faulted, they are all strong and good looking and practical. I don't even think you can get them cheaper if you want this kind of quality, it's only $55-$80 depending on your options.

Here's a video I made earlier, about a couple of their other products:

MacBook Air 11-inch in Waterfield bags from Eolake Stobblehouse on Vimeo.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Run for where the puck will *be*, not where it is

Windows Laptop Makers Can't Catch Up to the MacBook Air, PCworld article.

The problem with PC manufacturers is not that they can’t build a computer as good as the hottest Apple thing, it’s that they’re constantly trying to. Apple is in the driver’s seat.
If you aim at a fast-moving target, you’re sure to hit behind it.

What Jason Cross doesn't say in this otherwise insightful article is that the reason almost no company except Apple is making products their customers have not told them they want, is that it's just so darn risky. It's just like the stock market: to win big, you have to bet on a stock or trend before all the other stock buyers catch on... but the chances are also all the much bigger that you bet wrong, and loose your pants.

A very few people, like a certain famous CEO who stepped down recently, have the golden touch, or perhaps the golden foresight, who knows. I had a colleague once who always won lotteries. I heard about it even before I saw proof: at a company party, they gave out three prizes for 500 people. This girl won two of them!

Everybody is trying to use market research and logic to beat the market, and particularly Apple. But I'll bet anything that Mr. Steve never used those things, he uses his intuition. You can't buy intuition. Maybe that's fortunate, or Rockefeller would have bought even more of it, cornered the market, and would have owned the planet wholesale now.

Update: article listing the projects Steve Jobs was involved in which were arguably industry-changing. Would you believe sixteen!?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Nook Color as Android, easier

Get a Nook Color Android tablet without the fuzz of hacking it. You just buy a pre-programmed SD Card.

This Week’s Top 5 Most Pirated eBooks Are Downloaded by Argumentative and Suspicious Folks

A funny little thing, but still maybe food for thought:

This Week’s Top 5 Most Pirated eBooks Are Downloaded by Argumentative and Suspicious Folks, article.
It seems that fiction, the most heavily sold eBook category, is also the least pirated.

I think that "piracy" takes a bit more tech know-how than most people have. I use a computer much more than most people, and yet the rare times I have to use torrent downloads, I find the whole thing obtuse and frustrating.

This may actually be the saving grace of the thing.
This article gives some support to that.
...e-book piracy is still a small problem. Right now it’s a very geeky pastime, which is reflected in the skew of these titles (Getting Things Done, Freakonomics and The Tipping Point were on the TorrentFreak list).

I also think that even in the long run, attitude are essential. If you treat people like thieves, they are much more likely to become so. Two thriving tech book publishers, O'Reilly and Take Control Books, are publishing ebooks without DRM constriction (technical ways of stopping copying). And the publisher of Take Control says that piracy of their books, despite them being right central in the most exposed market, is virtually non-existent. I believe it's because they treat their customers with respect and trust.