Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Get The USA Today On the iPad - Good Reading

Lately I have been using Flipboard as my news reader on the iPad and I think it is a very good app. Today I opened the NEW update to the USA Today app (from the App Store) and I am impressed. The app has really improved. I actually think it is better than visiting the NY Times on my computer (don't go there too much anyway, too expensive). Maybe real competition for Flipboard.

I was amazed at the ease of getting around, reading articles, and finding the various things one needs in a newspaper. I got the latest news, the weather app inside the USA Today app worked well, and finding scores was as easy as it could get.

I spent some time going through the various aspects of the app and really recommend it.

If there was one thing I would like to see added it would be to be able to Google+ an article. I was able to post to Facebook and I can see where you could Tweet or email. They need to add the Google+ button so that we can pass links around.

Got to have my wife checkout the Crossword Puzzle as that is what she likes to do. Now I have to see if I can install the app on her Kindle HD. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Some News and Thoughts for Today, May 21st, 2013

I find that everyday, as I scan through Flipboard, my Google homepage (soon to go away) and Feedly, that there are some very interesting items that one should check out. Things like Google Checkout going away. For those of us now connected to Google Wallet just a change in form.

Let's see, news that hits me today (leaving out those things that do no hit me).

  • "With XBox One and Play Station 4, Microsoft and Sony rekindle the war for your TV" from the Verge. Now I am not a user of either item however keeping up with the Joneses is important. 
  • We will be able to see pricing and availability on Pinterest soon with upgrade for iPad and iPhone. Nothing mentioned about Android or Windows so I will have to check that out. One thing of interest was that ingredients were mentioned also. Hmm.. after posting (or re-pinning) those recipes that would be of value. 
  • Yahoo swears it isn't going to screw up Tumblr by Mathew Ingram at Gigaom. I have a Tumblr account however have only used it once - maybe twice. Might want to check this out. I am getting more fascinated with Yahoo. I have an email account that is older than my Google account and with my Google Homepage going away I just may have Chrome setup Yahoo as my homepage. 
  • Back to the XBox One; Microsoft announces a Live Action 'HALO' TV Series with Steven Spielberg as Executive Producer - Nathan Ingraham at the Verge. This could be interesting as I tend to like Steven Spielberg movies. On the other hand if there is too much violence it won't be allowed if my wife is at home.
  • From www.macrumors.com "Apple Still Tops In Customer Satisfaction, but Losing Ground To Samsung..." What a great smartphone world for only being few years old. 
  • I have been seeing all the items on the rumored iWatch, the Sony Watch, the Google Watch, maybe a Samsung Watch, and Pebble. Will these be giving trouble to the Smartphone industry? Or will they link to your Smartphone providing you buy the right one. With Google Glasses who needs a watch? If the "watch" makes it to the market maybe Google Glasses will make it obsolete (or irrelevant) before it gets much ground. Just sayin......
  • "BI INTELLIGENCE FORECAST: Google Glass Will Be An $11 Billion Market By 2018". Now I have some interest in this (see the watch conversation above). I really believe that Google Glass will have quite a run. As Google adds apps to this no one can anticipate how far Google Glass will go. "It's a whole new world" (from Aladdin). I mean with words like; "A new fantastic point of view". Google should use this as a theme song for one of their adds. 
    • I would love to read this report however I would feel guilty signing up and then canceling as I cannot justify, in my position, the annual subscription. 
I have to admit that writing this on my iPad is not as easy as it should be. Trying to go between Flipboard, Blogger, and the web for links is much easier on a computer. So far as I can see the tablet is not yet being taken seriously. I am sure that one day it will be but by then we may be all getting what we need via Google Glass and talking our way through writing. 

Idea: Wouldn't it be great if the tool you were using to write would recognize major names and places from the Internet, devices or tools, even places movies, and then automatically show them as a hyperlink, with you having the ability to turn the tool on or off when needed. Something like Auto-Correct in a Word document.  I am sure there are other things that this could be applied to. We have the compendium of data at our fingertips. 

OK time for dinner. 

I have to say that I really do like my Flipboard on my iPad, my Samsung Galaxy S3, and my Nexus 7, too bad it is not on my Windows laptop. I guess you just can't have everything. I wonder if there is an app for Windows 8? That would work.

One Flickr News Story Today That Make No Sense

at least to me.

Confusion001Right off this morning there was an article in the INQUIRER regarding Flickr’s update; “Yahoo irks users with major Flickr revamp” Oh boy I can’t wait to read this.

Apparently we have some users that want to downgrade to the Flickr FREE (with 1 TB of storage) from the Flickr Pro however they foresee a problem. From the article;

Apparently, Flickr Pro is no longer a service and is being replaced by Flickr Ad Free, but for those that are still members, it seems that if they cancel their accounts they can't later buy another one. (*the highlighting is mine)

I believe that after the second comma the sentence is written, or stated, incorrectly or ambiguously. In the next paragraph, following the statement above, is this quote – part from a Flickr warning.

"When you downgrade your subscription from Pro to 'free' you get this message: 'Cancelling your Flickr Pro subscription is irreversible. You cannot purchase Flickr Pro at a later date.’”

I don’t understand the anger or the complaint. Apparently some want to cancel their ‘Pro’ account and then repurchase if they feel the need. Now if the Flickr Pro service is going away, as stated in the first quote above, it only stands to reason that you could not re-purchase it. “Here’s your sign!”

It does not say you will lose your account at Flickr, just the Pro aspect. It also does not say you will lose your pictures.

Maybe I am missing something. Could it be that the headline written in hope of gaining traffic? When reading the headline and then the blog post I expected to see thousands leaving Flickr. Actually the balance of the article appeared to be Flickr friendly - again, at least to me.

Someone took the class in writing headlines to attract attention. Maybe I should practice this.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Google Glasses and My First Time

I spent a great part of Wednesday afternoon watching Google I/O and was duly impressed. I signed up for the new Google Maps trial (and received my invitation the next day). I listened with great enthusiasm to all the new updates to Android and Chrome, to Gmail and to changes in other products, a lot to digest in an afternoon. Really enjoyed listening to Larry Page speak at the end and take questions. I went back later that evening and listened again to the Q&A

One of the things that intrigued me was looking at pictures of the audience and seeing a number of those in attendance wearing the Google Glasses. I was duly impressed. Really cool.

Today I got my chance.

I had been in Dayton doing some demonstrations of Office 2013 for invitees at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers annual  Spec"TECH"ular event. Anytime I can show off the new technology I am up there in the clouds.

As I am getting ready to leave an individual passes me wearing the famous Google Glasses. I am now seeing  them in the wild for the very first time. Admittedly there was a WOW factor going on. Now being the 'Smart Alec' that I am I made the comment about he "must know Larry Page or Sergey Brin personally". He laughed and said that he had attended Google I/O last year and was able to purchase them though that. He said he was going to lunch however if I wanted to see them he would be back in an hour. That settled it - I was not leaving.

True to his word he, Tom Webster, was back in under an hour and upon seeing me stopped to talk about the glasses. Tom was very open and explained a lot about them, then let me try them out. WOW!! Now he had been wearing them for awhile however his excitement matched mine and I was seeing the real thing for the first time. I am impressed.

Quick, clear, clean, and easy to read. I am stoked. I WANT THEM!!!! I think I inadvertently took a video of a closed door and of Tom. He showed me the menu and choices and talked about how to activate different items. We talked about the fact that he can wear them while driving and not hinder his vision at all - after wearing them I could understand that. They are quite unobtrusive and so easy to see while not looking up into the screen. It's just there. He went over much more however I have to think about all of it.

I cannot tell you the feeling to be the first on my block to touch the future. Seeing on the screen is one thing, actually trying them on is a whole new thing.

Thank you Tom. I will talk about you for some time. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Is This Really Worth Reporting or Reading?

From Computerworld: “Caesars Palace deal Google Glass out of its game”. You got to be kidding that this is real news. There is not a casino in the world that would let you in with this type of device – knowingly. The headline ended the article for me – did not need to read any further.

Before Google Glass is released, it’s already banned”. Of course, in a bar than can’t get enough attention. Is this really earthshaking? I don’t think so. And worse, it keeps getting repeated. I have to think that the bar has someone in tech that supports the bar.

Unless of course you are opposed to Google Glass. Hmm….

From the New York Times this morning; “Google Glass Picks Up Early Signal: Keep Out”. I can understand the NY Times being opposed to anything Google does. This report also includes legislation being considered.

If we can’t adjust we ban it. That’s the way it works here. Unless of course it’s the Government. I have heard they want these glasses worn all the time. The would like it to be mandatory.

Now there is something to think about; “Whose behind those Google Glasses?”

Bill Gates on the iPad and Walter on the Blogger app.

We have been seeing all over the blogs how Bill was trashing the iPad; "no keyboard", "frustrated users", etc. What else is he going to say? Truth is he did not always say 'exactly' what the headlines
read but what are they going to do to grab headlines? It must have been a slow day at Black Rock.

As far as frustrated users I would be willing to bet that Microsoft wishes it had as many frustrated users - even half. Having a keyboard attached all the time is a waste. Actually the only thing that is missing from the iPad would be the Microsoft Office Package.

I use a Bluetooth 'Apple' keyboard and it is great, so there you are Bill. I rather the Bluetooth so that I can position it wherever I want to use it. The tablet stand I use allows me to position the iPad at a most convenient angle for me and then put the keyboard in my lap if necessary - best of all worlds. 

Actually I am doing two things here. I am also testing the new UPDATED Blogger app for the iPad. The update said it had new tools for adding graphics and I wanted to have my say on the Bill Gates thing and test the graphic handling capabilities of the Blogger app.

Answer to question regarding the graphic handling  - "not very good". About the same as Bill Gates on the iPad. Back to using Blogger online.

Returned to Blogger using the Chrome browser to insert graphic and it appears to work better than before. This is interesting because if I can add graphics here then this just might be the way to do my blogging.  Next problem to solve is getting all my graphics up to Picasa so that they are available. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Tablet and App Development For Work

As you know from reading this blog I am a big fan of the tablet and it's many uses. This morning , in reading Om Malik's "Intel's dilemma and the slowly crumbling PC ecosystem" (reading on Flipboard with my iPad) I began to see the dilemma of the tablet industry also.

How about this scenario. Microsoft and Intel just don't know quite what to do because of the years of controlling the PC industry. In their minds they are now looking for ways to return all of us to their world, the one they understood. In the beginning, well a little later than the beginning, Microsoft and Intel had control of the enterprise, or the enterprise had control of Microsoft and Intel. The enterprise dictated what could be used and Microsoft and Intel built that. One big happy family.

Along come new 'toys'. New entertainment devices. New smartphones, new tablets. Shunned at first by the enterprise (insecure, too costly to support, etc) however loved by the people.

Today the difference is the consumer is gaining power. The consumer may be getting their way within the enterprise with BYOD. The consumer does not want that big ugly, clunky thing called a PC. The consumer wants something that is light, slick looking, easy to use, and above all does everything they want. It is wireless and will be able to connect from anywhere.

Now for the conundrum; what does the tablet industry really do? First they need to address what does the consumer really want? It could be the tablet industry is making a wrong choice and are as confused at Microsoft and Intel.

When talking to the consumer we get many answers. Yes the consumer is looking for an entertainment device. I want to read my books, my magazines, watch my video's, get my email, and all other personal things I can think of, don't forget Facebook.

There is another consumer that wants to write letters, review and edit my spreadsheets, edit photo's (lightly) for my blog/newsletter/presentation. The tablet is a great way to create a great presentation and I can connect it to a projector or just use the tablet in a small meeting.

I need to be able to access company drives for data, I need to be able to get data from online points and all other areas where my documents are stored. I need to be able to edit them from wherever I am and then put them back.  I need to be able to connect an external drive. I need to connect a keyboard WHEN NEEDED - not all the time. In limited cases I should have access to an on-screen keyboard however if I am good at the knowledge of the keyboard then a Swype like keyboard would be a great advantage.

The issue I see is the tablet makers appear to be still thinking like Amazon (or Apple); this is just an entertainment device. For one thing tablet makers are attempting to control their environment, the consumer uses many environments. Amazon, Android, and Apple, are trying to keep us all in their universe and that is not going to work. The PC was success to a large degree because of it's openness.  I believe this is what took the PC ahead of the Apple computer - back in the day.

I have to admit it is interesting how Amazon has become a big player in this market, this world of the 'Tablet'. You will only find an Amazon tablet in the custody of a person wanting to be entertained. The rest of us, who purchased iPad's, and Android devices want to be entertained however we also want to be able to get some work done on the tablet without, and in some cases severe, limitations.

I have not mentioned the Microsoft Surface because at this point Microsoft is still trying to relate to a PC and I do not believe that will work. I spent a great deal of time at the Microsoft store and was impressed but not enough to consider it for the long term.

Om Malik had a great deal more to say and he makes very good points. Read "Intel's dilemma and the slowly crumbling PC ecosystem".

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tablets–Where Are We Going In The Next 5 Years?

Recently there has been a great deal of discussion regarding comments made by BlackBerry’s CEO Thorsten Heins. The article I first found, Blackberry CEO’s comments ignite debate on future of personal computing also reflects on many thought regarding what may have been in his mind.

I believe the original story was related to an interview with Bloomberg; BlackBerry CEO Questions Future of Tablets. There is another story by Roger Cheng at C|Net; BlackBerry CEO says tablets will be useless in five years.

Throughout all of these stories there is a great deal of speculation about what we could have in the next 5 years.

Samsung G S3Some say our Smartphone will be it. Personally I do not see that happening unless (as some said) we can connect to a larger screen when walking into a room, any room, or area. Some say we will have other types of devices, wearable computing, Google Glasses.

I have my doubts if we will swing over to smartphones connecting to large screens in 5 years. In some ways this can be easily accomplished today, and some have done this, I have. However what do you do when you are in your car? Or at Starbucks? The library, MacDonald's, or in the living room? Or worse, the doctors waiting room?  This may ultimately be one way but I do not see it in the near future (5 years?). Currently I read on my smartphone but it is way too small for constant use (only Dr’s waiting room).

Let’s look at tablets. I started with a Samsung Galaxy Tab and moved to an iPad and then to a Nexus 7. I really pushed that Nexus 7 because I wanted it to work, I am back to the iPad. Why? Screen size. The Nexus 7 might be a really good note taker with it’s small size but not the best for magazines and web surfing. As for note taking I do have to admit, having seen the Samsun Galaxy Note (phone), that this could be the best note taker. I think they will be around for longer than the next 5 years.

Personally I like the larger tablet for reading my books (Kindle App) as well as my magazines – both iTunes apps and Kindle. Watching video is best on the larger device and it is easier to share. I like working on it and presently the iPad with Pages has the best word processing around.

Now what would be the best for me?

I like the upcoming Samsung thought about a smartphone that will connect with a 10” tablet (or close to 10” inSamsung Combination size). In the case of Samsung that could really be great with it being able to connect to my TV and my laptop as well. Since I really like my Samsung Galaxy S III phone I am suspecting that I will continue along that line. So far the only Samsung product I am not sold on is the laptop and that primarily because I cannot customize when purchasing.

At present the only thing missing for me on the tablet are apps of significance – like a Word or Excel - as in Microsoft. If someone develops an app that will allow me to work with Word or Excel documents I am in. Admittedly my ability on Skydrive with the iPad has been sketchy at best and I have not tried it with the Nexus 7 due to size. I am not enamored with any of the Microsoft tablets as of this time.

I might add that an app with some of the same capabilities as Word or Excel might also make me move my allegiance to those two products. I don’t really see a need in the future for PowerPoint since we can do our presentations now with whatever software/app we want to show/demonstrate. Outlook may be the best email app however we can live with some of the lesser ones.

As for my Nexus 7; it  has been relegated to being the basement Internet connection while working in my shop – check email and get text messages. It’s cool just not what my eyes like.

So, is the tablet dead? Long live the tablet!