Is it worth Pre-Ordering the iPad on March 12th?

8 03 2010

Now that Apple have announced that pre-orders are being taken for the iPad on March 12th with shipments beginning April 3rd I wondered if I should buy one to see what the all the fuss is about.

The Netbook we have is up for replacement so I tried to list the things we do with the Netbook and if the iPad could replace it. The answer is no, and its not even close.

Here are the uses we put the Netbook to :-

  • Call the UK on Skype. The lack of a webcam or USB port to accept the USB  headset we have is an issue. Would need to buy an adapter for USB devices. Not sure if headset is compatible.
  • Watch shows on Hulu – Hulu use Flash, so that rules the iPad out.
  • Play games on Facebook. Once again Flash is the issue.
  • Browse the web and check email. OK the iPad can do that well most of the time.

Since there are problems with Skype, Hulu and Facebook all being limited or non-functional, I think I’ll look for a Netbook instead that has a decent battery life and is faster than the 2nd gen Netbook we have. When you think of it, the iPad makes a poor laptop device, to get the viewing angle right you’d have to hold it with one hand or sit with your legs crossed. Crossed legs doesn’t work too well with a recliner.

Maybe the iPad 2 will be a more compelling device if and when it comes out.





My Top Ten Droid Applications

1 01 2010

This is a list of the applications I have found most useful on the Motorola Droid. I will update this post as I discover apps that are worthy, and demote an item to make room. Some of the apps come on Droid out-of-the-box, others are available on the Android Marketplace. Here’s a quick flavor of what  will describe in more detail.

  • Turn by Turn Navigation.
  • Multi-touch ‘pinch’ zoom just like the iPhone. Plus tabbed browsing!
  • Print web pages and photos from your cell phone directly to your printer(s) from anywhere.
  • Make cheap international calls on your cell, bypassing Verizon’s higher rates.
  • Play Audible eBooks and magazines/newspapers.
  • Have the phone go into silent mode as you arrive at church and go back to normal after you leave.
  • Lose weight.
  • Turn you phone into a radio by playing internet radio on your home or car audio system, or on ear buds as you work out. No DJ’s, No audible adverts. Just music.
  • Have your MP3 collection with you wherever you go, even if it exceeds the memory capacity of the Droid. Take 100GB of search-able MP3’s (or more) on the road!!
  • Sync you iTunes library with the Droid!

1. Pandora (Free with ads or $34 without ads). Comes with the Droid.

Pandora is a really well written internet radio application. One can select a music stream from a list of genres or type in an artists name and create your own feed of your favorite music. One can’t choose which songs are played, but each Pandora user can give an online thumbs up or thumbs down to a track that is being played which will help Pandora provide music that is well thought of in each genre or for each artist.

The ads are very small at the bottom of the screen, better still there are NO audio ads to interrupt the music, so it is much better than traditional broadcast radio. No DJ to tolerate either. If your phone rings, the audio stream is automatically paused and will resume after the call ends. Attach the audio out jack on the Droid to a stereo or car audio system and the music is CD quality.

I found that it works just as well on Verizon’s 3G network or on WiFi. If the phone switches between WiFi and 3G, say as you drive off from home, it switches seamlessly without skipping!! A click is sometimes heard, but that’s it.

The free version is limited to 40 hours of listening per month. There are also limits on how many tracks one can ‘skip’. These limits are either raised or eliminated if you subscribe to Pandora One. Read the rest of this entry »





I’m ‘this’ close to switching from Firefox to Chrome

14 12 2009

Firefox is a great browesr, the extensions available make life on the internet so much more convenient and productive. I have *never* used Internet Explorer as my primary browser, prior to Firefox I used Netscape and SeaMonkey. When I see others using IE or Firefox without extensions I cringe. All those ads (Yuk!), no easy way to navigate through page history without moving the mouse plus a click or three. Consider having bookmark syncing across browser types /operating systems. Auto tab opening. We get so spoiled so easily.

Click on image to see larger view

Click on image for larger view.

As great as it is, Firefox is no longer the fastest browser available, it is almost as slow as Internet Explorer IMHO. Google Chrome browser is so much faster, but extensions are not available with Chrome 3 or earlier. Despite the raw speed, the lack of the extra functions I’ve grown accustomed to were missing.Enter Chrome 4.0 Beta with extensions. I checked out the extension capability and lo and behold there are a ton available!! In fact I have found equivalent extensions to my Firefox extensions, minus one I like a lot (Tab Mix Plus). Chrome has some great extensions that are NOT available for Firefox, all the latest extension writing talent appears to have migrated to Chrome. I found a great Twitter client called Metrist, clean easy interface with a count for unread tweets, re-tweet ad replies all in a small package. I also found a Facebook extension called Facebook Cleanup, which allows one to get more space for posts, it changes the page from the default 3 column layout to two column, much neater and more readable!! Oh and Facebook ads are history. I haven’t found a similar cleanup add-on for Firefox.

Chrome is so much faster, both to load initially and render web pages. I can’t find an extension in Chrome that replaces Tab Mix Plus. The feature I love is the automatic opening of tabs when clicking on favorites or URL’s entered into the address bar (once you get used to it, you can’t go back).

Above and to the left are the extensions I use in Firefox 3.5.5, and below to the right those I have installed in Chrome 4 Beta. Once I can find an extension that will open tabs automatically by clicking on favorites or when I manually enter a URL, I’m sold and will most likely switch. The extension ‘action’ appears to be with Google right now.