Saturday, January 5, 2013

Quality pays

One of the things I like about Apple under Jobs and Ive is that they are one of the companies which don't enable the public from-fear-and-poverty mindset that the cheapest is always the best choice. 
It can happen that it is, but often it isn't. 

Most people have a little of this. It's partly why the economy is bad, I think, if your mental ability to pay if frigged, probably your ability to earn is too. (If you can't give, you can't receive.)
I guess the populations most traumatized by powerty have it most. 

But even Danes, affluent on a global scale… in my early twenties I bought a fancy hand-built English bicycle, at three times the price of a normal bike. Most people thought I was crazy. 
I found a way to get many to understand: 
“What things do you know well?” 
“Would you use a cheap wrench on one?” 
“No, they break soon… Ah, I see what you mean now.” 

Of course one has to have money to spend them, so it can be an evil cycle to have to always buy the cheapest, which then break soon and has to be replaced, and so forth. Really good shoes may cost three times as much, but last five times as long and be more comfortable along the way. It is well worth it to somehow raise oneself above that trap. 

Obviously one has to observe well, also. When I go to Amazon to buy some household item, I don't just sort on price and take the most expensive. I sort by customer reviews and look at the top couple of items. If they fit my needs and have many high reviews, they'll generally be good for me. The price then is usually not the cheapest, but it needs not be the highest either.

By funny koinkidink, just before I got the email which sparked these thoughts, I had to apply it to myself on a new level. I've been irritated that the carpet protector mats I get for my office chair wears down in 1.5 years. They crack and turn to mush. And this is no matter where I bought them. This time I used the method from above (rank by reviews), and it turned out that the best reviewed were much higher priced than I'd expected (45 Pounds Sterling instead of 15-20). But they were praised and the reviews seemed to hint that durability would be good too, so I sprung for them. We'll see in two years if I'm good, or I also had to start putting gaffa tape on these ones...

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Neo is on sale

One of the most seminal writing devices in the world, Alphasmart Neo2, is now on sale for only $119. This is a good deal, it has the best keyboard I have tried on any portable device. It was designed for students/kids, but many writers use it and love it. It  doesn't do email or Words With Friends, it's just for typing, and many see that as a distinct advantage.

Some speculate a new model is on the way. I would love a Neo 3. My main wish would be an e-ink screen, front-lit like in the Kindle Paperwhite. The dark screen/low contrast is my biggest problem with the Neo (it may be my eyes, who knows), and it was also with the Kindle until the Paperwhite, that made a night/day difference for me, it made long-form reading much more accessible to me. (Since iPad year one I don't really like reading on paper anymore.)
Or anyway some display with higher contrast, an LCD/LED would be fine. Sure, it would cut down the famous battery life, but it's literally over 500 hours on four AA batteries, surely we could make do with less.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

An important aspect of tablets

Tablets: smaller, lighter, simpler.
But also: much easier to use. It strikes me that a very big part of the "post-PC" revolution is a brave, big, and pretty successful attempt to make computing much easier. It'll get better yet. But already iPad are being used by toddlers and octogenarians much more widely than PCs/Macs ever were.

Apple already attempted that with the Mac, of course, and they went far, as evidenced by the wide imitation. But it only went so far. For example, on a Mac even to this day, to install an app, you have to go through a process of queries and decisions and other steps, and after, you have to delete the left-over files and mounted virtual disks...

On the iPad, it's one-click process. What a difference!
(Apple has realized that, and have imitated it pretty well with the newish App Store for Mac.)

Geeks tend not to like to lose control. They like to fiddle whit things themselves. I can sympathize with that. But 98% of people have very real issues with computers. Many, many people are just lost once just one thing go wrong, and they then typically have to wait until a more knowledgable family member or friend can come by, to get their email to work again or whatnot.  All this is not necessary, should not be.