The iPad

28 01 2010

With so much hype around Apple’s latest event, I woke up this morning thinking that I was going to be disappointed.  My experience with Tablet PC’s have been less than stellar.  My first exposure to one was seeing the IBM X61 tablet which was a great design.  The user had the ability to use the device exactly like a normal laptop, but swivel the screen around and write on it like a notebook.  The problem was not the design, but rather the performance.  As soon as you used the tablet functionality, the computer would slow down dramatically and all of the elements on windows would not function properly.  I always wanted a tablet PC but I could never find one that was powerful and fast enough to truly be effective.

I came to the realization recently that I use my personal computer for very limited things.  Essentially most of the things I do on my MacBook revolves around the browser.  Here are the applications I currently have loaded:

  • Google Chrome (Gmail, Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, NYTimes, Grooveshark)
  • Tweetdeck
  • ITunes

I use my work laptop for more traditional clients like Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc.  I can count, however, the number of times I’ve truly used those applications on my personal laptop.  In today’s world, we browse the internet when we want to get information.  The computer has essentially turned into the browser and as more and more people begin to understand this concept, the traditional guardrails that we think about in purchasing a computer go down.  Speed of the computer is now measured on the bandwidth in connectivity versus the speed of the processor.

The iPad, however is not a personal computer.  It’s a media device that focuses on allowing you to surf the internet in a completely new way.  There is a reason why Apple did not align the product to the Mac line.  It’s not meant to be a low end computer and the consumers that focus on using it as an alternative will be truly disappointed.  Our dependance on connectivity has allowed us to browse the internet in a number of different ways.  For me, I use my smartphone to get most of my news updates (and I don’t even have an iPhone).  As I take the train every morning, I tether my blackberry to gain connectivity to my laptop and browse the web to check mail, read news, etc.

For me, the iPad makes a ton of sense.  It’s a device that allows you to perform the same function in a completely new browsing experience.  A coworker of mine asked, “what is so great about the device if it’s the same thing as a netbook”.  My response is pretty much nothing.  It does the same thing (arguably less) than a netbook/kindle does.  When the iPhone first came out, however, there were plenty of other phones in the market and in comparison it was amazing.

I’ve been looking for an e-reader and was thinking very closely about buying a Kindle (even though I’m not a fan of Amazon).  When I compare the iPad to the Kindle, the sheer platform that Apple has created gravitates me towards buying the iPad.  I can only imaging in 4-5 months the number of incredible apps that will come on this device.

To be perfectly honest – I was disappointed in the lack of webcam, SD slot and USB.  But I had very low expectations on what Apple would provide.

Will I buy the device?  I’m not 100% sure.  When I look at $499, it’s enticing but it’s not a personal computer…it’s essentially a media device on steroids.  Time will tell if I need it to my already heavy arsenal.

$0.02..

-SD





Day 1 with Google Wave

1 10 2009

I just tweeted how Google Wave with no friends is like standing at a party with no one to talk to.  There are a couple of things that you need to have in your mind before you try out the product:

  • It does not replace GMail.  This is not an email client, nor is it an IM client.  It’s a shared collaborative session that allows people to communicate in a unique enviornment
  • You’ll be tempted to send emails to people outside of google wave.  Currently, you cannot do this.  You can only collaborate with people within the Google Wave domain.
  • It’s a product that is way ahead of its time.  I’m not sure if people are ready for a product like this but I can see their vision clearly.  Perhaps they’re simply laying out the platform but the key to it’s success is enabling users to truly transition into an “ever present” app.

An “ever present” app is an application that constantly stays open your browser or on your desktop.  For me I have a couple of “ever present” applications that I cycle through on a daily basis.

  • Gmail
  • Facebook
  • Twitter (via Tweetdeck)
  • Digg.com
  • Mint.com
  • Finance.yahoo.com
  • ITunes
  • MS Office

For google to make its mark, wave needs to be adopted across the board.  Frankly, I believe the wave team should have powered wave through Gmail instead of creating a completely new domain/application for it.  I view it much more as a collaborative wiki where users can communicate with each other and share content on the web.  To the pioneers of the internet, I think this makes a lot of sense.  To the mass user, however, I don’t think the product is intuitive enough for people to embrace it.  I think Google really needs to optimize certain use cases for it to be applicable to the mass market.  For now, like I do with most new programs, I’ll try it out for a week and see if I continue using it.

Just my $.02..

-SD





Why hashtags are important for tweets

24 06 2009

Many of you may wonder why people put the pound symbol in front of words on their twitter messages. Hashtags are a way of showing what the entire twitter universe is saying about a topic you’re discussing. It will show, in real time, what tweets contain the same word.

The reason why this is so powerful is that it demonstrate trending in real time. The best example of twitter, to demonstrate how real time the technology is, was when there was an earthquake and the twitter employees saw a spike in the word “earthquake”. Moments later, they felt the earthquake and the subsequent aftershocks.

Adding validation to your tweets by writing about something that is being discussed is a good way to gauge the public’s perception. The next time you tweet, be sure to put a hash tag in front of the topic you want your readers to see.

Quick #$.02…

-SD





What we should do with RV parks

18 06 2009

RV’s are some of the worst emitting vehicles on the road today.  That’s why some RV park’s are changing their approach by putting eco friendly houses in previous RV parks.  This would definitely entice me to camp out in one of these.  Check it out:

Check out the way they look inside:

Each of these houses are 240 sq ft. but has a pretty large deck.  I love the way these homes look.  If we can figure out a way to be able have eco green low emitting RV’s with beautiful architected homes on the inside, we may get somewhere in optimizing the RV parks.

Quick $.02…

SD





The next big thing: Twitter Optimization

11 06 2009

I’ve been looking to write about a topic for the last year or so but every time I’ve sat down to write something thought provoking, I’ve always felt like it was a laborious process. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that I do most of my communication to the outside world within 140 characters these days that the feeling of macroblogging (yes a term I’m inventing) seems mundane.

I’m going to attempt to restart this blog on a new premise. I plan on utilizing shorter entries and sharing one or two thoughts instead of going in depth on a specific topic or area. As I look in my wordpress “recent drafts” I see 20 posts written but none of them completed.

Twitter is the ultimate form of being concise. Given my nature of loving to optimize things, I love the service due to fact that I can easily share a quick thought to my network. I already see different web 2.0 properties adopting these methods (e.g. facebook, myspace, tumblr). I’m currently writing on a “quickpress” within wordpress (is this wordpress’ idea of reengaging the user?) The interesting thing about all of these networks previously mentioned is that they’re vying for positioning on your browser to be your one stop destination. Due to Twitter’s Powerful API and real time notifications, I use TweetDeck as my medium to receive all of my web news, celeb news and friends news.

What’s interesting, however, is there is no feasible way of being able to manage all of these posts. If I miss a day of checking my Tweetdeck, I have a tough time catching up on my news. How will Twitter be able to intelligently show the tweets I’m most interested when I log on. Facebook has attempted to do this via “Highlights”, but the algorithm is yet to be fully optimized due to the vast network.

The question I have is how will Twitter leverage their social standing by showing a pulse of the network to the user in an easily consumable format. It could be simply aggregating the highest hash tags and showing that in a better way.

It’s on my mind so I wanted to share. No answers yet.

Good to be back though.

Just my $.02..
-SD





How Steve Jobs duped the world into thinking that the new iPhone is cheaper

10 06 2008

Okay so the title might be a tad dramatic but after reading on how much the new iPhone actually costs, I couldn’t hold myself back.  After hearing Jobs keynote yesterday where the audience practically treated the event like a rock concert, I was shocked by the price reduction of $200.  The new iPhone 3G will cost $199 which is significantly cheaper than the previous model.

What Apple doesn’t tell you, however, is the added costs that come right after you sign up for a contract.  For an average user, here is the extra features they will have to pay for:

  • 3G network – $30 (previously, an iPhone user paid $20 for an EDGE data plan)
  • 200 Text Messages – $5 (previously an iPhone user got it for free)
  • Mobile Me Push/Sync program – $8/month ($100 / year) – if you want to sync your mail with MSFT Exchange/Outlook – you need this program

When it’s all said and done, you’ll need to pay $43 on top of your AT&T minute plan to take full advantage of your iPhone 3G.  Well lets quickly do the math.  For the $200 you are “saving” from buying the new iPhone, you’re actually going to be paying that amount back to AT&T in about 9-10 months.   Now that AT&T requires you to lock into a 2 year contract, you’re basically going to pay $1000 for a new iPhone during your next two years when you add it to your minutes.

It’s a genius move by Apple on making the device significantly cheaper but its a model that is used by most smartphones.  There is a reason why AT&T advertises Blackberry Curves for $99 these days.  They make money on the variable cost, not just the fixed cost.

That being said, I think the average consumer will be drawn to the beautiful devices sitting in the shopping malls fully functional.  Once they go through the first sign up flow and look at their first AT&T bill after the first month, they may sing a different tune.

I think I might look at this picture in a different way now….

Just my $.02…

-SD





Blackberry launches a new device, Iphone 3G imminent?

12 05 2008

Blackberry just launched this morning a new device known as the blackberry 9000.  RIM’s stock is trading well this morning as a result of this announcement due to the street’s perception of being aggressive against the rumors of Apple’s 3G IPhone announcement.  The rumors of a new IPhone heated up this weekend as many apple stores claimed to be “out of stock”.  As I walked into an apple store yesterday, the clerk indicated that they need to “check in the back” if they had any.

My initial speculation was the iPhone would be launched on June 12th at WWDC.  It makes perfect sense that Jobs would wait a year to announce the 3G functionality rather than simply put it up on the apple website and have a limited press announcement.  It seems like any change the iPhone might make would be at the front of Jobs’ keynote.

The new blackberry looks pretty sweet.  I’m a proud owner of a Blackberry Curve and I absolutely love it.  The UI, easy typing and size of the device makes it the perfect device.  I even use it for media and have discontinued using my iPod as it syncs very well.  The major improvement I see in this version is the ability to conduct video recording – something I wish the Curve had.

Here is a final product view of the 9000:

Just my $02…

-SD