Say it isn’t so Microsoft!!!

After months of waiting and saving for my birthday present to myself, I just found out that Microsoft has killed production on the courier.

This day sucks!!!

I am sitting in an airport restaurant in Milwaukee eating the worst meal I have had in a longtime, but I’m hungry and pissed off that my flight got delayed and I missed my connecting flight I now I have a 3 hr. wait. My new flight has a 50% chance of being delayed or cancelled due to an approaching storm, so what do I do? I get online to catch-up on the news and check on my favorite gadgets and the first article I read is this, “It has been made official by Microsoft that the production and development of its tablet Courier has been terminated. Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices division

So to sum up, I get to spend my birthday-eve in an airport, the one tech toy I wanted is dead and the sky looks like the end of the world is upon us.
Now to go find a power outlet.

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Android vs. iPhone vs. Windows Mobile, Part 3

A year later and several updates have occurred in both the iPhone (the iPhone 3Gs) and Android (the Nexus One) world, not to mention the launch of the Kindle, Nook and iPad, with Dell and HP to release Windows 7 tablets and Microsoft Courier on the way, so it’s time to issue and update here as well.

So let’s start with the iPhone, not enough has changed here, so we got copy and paste, multimedia messaging, Bluetooth head phone support, video recording and voice dialing, these are all things that all of the other devices on the market already did, the funny thing is that Apple advertises it like something new. The GPS on the device is still weak when compared to standalone GPS devices (Garmin), you still can’t tether the device (not allowed with AT&T or you have to pay extra), the browser still sucks (no flash support and a lot of the multimedia on the web does not show) and working with it for anything besides music or games gets annoying. Apple’s tight control over the App store is killing innovation and forcing users and developers to live within their ecosystem. To get many of the really useful apps you have mod your device and live outside of their world.

The Android phone, here was a chance to take the touch screen phone to a new level and Google and its partners have dropped the ball. They came close to answering the call of the public, yes, copy and paste was there from the start, and they added full Bluetooth head phone support, video recording and GPS capabilities that rivals that of many of the devices on the market (in fact the addition of live traffic and other features (like social networking), but the haphazard device update strategy that seems to have been left into the hands of the business partners (phone companies), has left a number of users in the dark, as they see features advertised that they can’t get because their vendor has not pushed the update.

Windows phone 7, the new player. This is a combination of the Zune player and a Windows 7 approach to their mobile phone operating system. Guess what? It works! Microsoft got it right finally! They’ve taken a new approach on the user interface and experience and have added a significant amount of discovery features. To understand what I mean by discovery features, just download the Zune desktop software (no you don’t need to own a Zune), the Zune pass feature allows you to download all the music you want and keep it as long as you want (so long as your subscription is in good standing) and they allow you 10 DRM free songs per month. I have discovered so many new artists via the bio and related artist features in this software that I was compelled to try out the Zune HD device, well, to make a long story short, my iPhone has not seen the light of day since. The Windows phone 7 interface is like viewing a web application for each feature area via an aperture, you can scroll (swipe) across the page (Hubs, people hub, pictures hub, games hub, etc.) to see more. This is far better than trying to fit everything into the small single pane. Gone are the icons and menus associated with the Windows world , the phone interface is Zune HD inspired, focused or user habits and a clean picture like interface. What’s missing right now are apps. I was disappointed at the lack of apps in the Microsoft Market place, but I’m sure there will be a flood soon.

 The iPad, another disappointment. The same iPhone, only big and bulky, with no USB port, memory slot or print capabilities. This device quickly becomes a living room coffee table novelty. If you are in the market for an eBook reader, then this is an expensive choice. I found that got tired of fighting the restrictive iPhone interface and bulkiness of the device and each time I tried to read a book with it, I always ended up play a game or listening to music instead (web browsing when the wifi works was just as bad as it is on the iPhone, because is it the same device). I quickly got over the hype that Apple works so hard on and had buyer’s remorse, but then I remembered that it was a loaner  :-).

Kindle and Nook. Now these are eBook readers! They both try to do a little more, like media players, but the interface leaves much to be desired. The nook takes things a bit further and adds a little color, and with its next update they promise a web browser. Both of these devices are exactly what they state, they don’t pretend to be anything else, they both feel right in one hand and the screens are perfect for reading. No buyer’s remorse here if you are an avid reader, with all the instant gratification of automatically downloading a newly released book without having to go to the book store. Note, these are not speedy devices, but the act of reading isn’t fast like video, so speed isn’t a major factor when the single page is being looked at for minutes at a time.

Windows 7 pads. Well, I already use a tablet PC, so I know what to expect. The stability of Windows 7 and the tablet features that are built into the operation system makes for a solid performing device, the promise of a pad sized device I find interesting and appealing, but I like having a keyboard, so the devices that come with a removable keyboard base would be the way that I would go, but I’m holding out for …

Microsoft Courier, now this is the one I’m waiting for. This is a digital journal and eBook reader and it sports dual 7 inch touch screens that fold over like a real book. This device is due this year and I’m saving my pennies for it

Just can’t say that I love either of you, but I like one better! – G1 vs iPhone part 2

Ok so I’ve been using both the T-Mobile G1 Google phone and the AT&T Apple iPhone now for a few months and here’s the verdict.

IPhone, it’s got the cool factor but that’s it. Just like their computers, they do the flashy stuff well, but when it comes down to actual work, they leave you hanging. If you need to look up a number fast, search for an email, edit a document, or simply copy a file to the device to read on the road, forget it. This device just can’t or does so poorly. This is no blackberry killer.

Google Android Phone (AKA the T-Mobile G1), all function and not enough style. It’s like the MAC vs. PC ads all over again. The G1 does everything well, but is less visually appealing. It’s obvious that Google designed the OS, almost everything points to their online service (which is a good thing) so you are never without your data if you forget your phone at home. (I wish someone would design an app that logs your calls on Google as well, this way I can see the calls I missed). The one weak link in the G1 is Video, I wish there was a better way to purchase and place video on the device, the Amazon store is clunky (it works however).

The bottom line: Having a keyboard and copy and paste functionality is key to why the G1 is a better device, this is simply more efficient, Apple has taken us back to the stone ages with their implementation (kind of reminds me of the mouse with only one button, it took them a decade to get up to speed), you are back to one finger typing on the iPhone. The other pluses are things like the SD card slot, smaller width (making it feel like a phone, when you multitask like I do this is important, I have broken an iPhone already because it fell out of my hand, its shaped like a brick), better in-call sound quality, better desktop icon management (you can choose which icons you want on the desktop without having to remove the entire application), apps that can run in the background or resume when you have switched away from them, with the iPhone you have to start all over.

I carry both devices, one for entertainment and the other for functionality, I’m sure by now you know which is which. If I had to choose which one to keep, the G1 would be the winner, it’s not flashy, but it does the job well.

P.S. they both suck at battery life, this is one area where the blackberry is still king.

P.S.S. I also have the black berry bold, but there really isn’t much improvement over the Curve (only faster, better graphics and a SD card slot – come on Apple, get with the program) so there was no point in comparing it to these guys. When blackberry has a better application store (market) that has cool free apps like the G1 market or Apple Apps store, then maybe we’ll see a real fight, for now, the Blackberry still remains king of business use, but in my book the G1 is the only competitor that can do both business and pleasure well.

G1 vs. iPhone vs. Windows Mobile

Ok, so here’s the real deal, they are both fantastic steps in the right direction but neither offer much more than was already available via Windows mobile devices. Let break it down shall we:

  1. Touch screen – The only addition is multi-touch. After you get over the wow factor, you soon realize that other then zooming into things, it doesn’t do much; in fact in some cases you’ll wish you could turn it off.
  2. App store – Well if you like being forced to only shop in one place, then it’s a good thing. The guys at Google did the same, but also allowed other parties to sell as well outside of their store (Amazon for example). Apple takes a cut of every transaction on the iPhone. In the Windows mobile world, purchasing apps from hundreds of store and developers has been around from day 1.
  3. Accelerometer – This is probably the only real innovation, but not as innovative as you would think. All it really does it let the device know its orientation, easily duplicated and already a part of most of the devices available on the market.
  4. Web browser, email and contacts, etc. – Old hat for all of these devices and even older ones.
  5. Bluetooth – A failure on both Apple and Google, why do it at all if you can’t do it right. Even the cheapest Nokia smart phone has full Bluetooth compatibility. Windows Mobile devices can even sync over Bluetooth.

About the only thing that gives the G1 or iPhone an edge over Windows Mobile devices is the willingness of developers to make cheap new apps, it is here that Google has taken a bold step in allowing everyone to get the SDK and an emulator to play with. Their openness gives them and edge of Apple who daily fights with developers and have dictator like control over what goes into the app store. Microsoft seems to be falling behind, but if you look closely you’ll notice that they have changed their concentration and are targeting new markets (Windows mobile embedded vehicles for example). They are poised to take the world by storm with the Surface technology and have formed some strategic alliances along the way that should make both Google and Apple worry. They’ve shown that they are not the sleeping giant with the recent ad wars with Apple (I’m a PC), frankly Apple got schooled, their adds are now seen as insulting to the majority of computer owners instead of a compelling reason to buy a Mac,

Hopefully this week I’ll post some pictures of with the G1 and iPhone in action, but already I can tell you the G1 is faster, more reliable and more solid than the iPhone, oh and did I mention “COPY AND PASTE”, it’s good to be able to do that again.

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

No iPhone indeed, but let’s give credit where credit is due, Nokia is the McDonalds of cell phones, you won’t get a gourmet meal, but you will get great value for your dollar.

Look, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic has everything, including fully functional Bluetooth (music via blue tooth headset, Bluetooth data synchronization and file transfer), Video recorder, voice control, video calling (this is fantastic and works unlike some other implementations I’ve seen), SD card slot, MMS, Wifi, GPS, native support for multiple file formats including WMA without having to convert (you just drag it to the folder on the device), web browser (that does not just shut down on you), and works and feels like a Nokia (rugged, can take a beating, I’m on my 2nd iPhone).

I think they hit this one out the park; it has all the things we had hoped Apple would have delivered. Yes, it’s no iPhone, but what does that mean? The only failing here is the touch screen technology, it’s like the Verizon devices, not as sensitive but it works great. My only wish is that they include HD radio like the 5310 in the next version of this phone.

Oh, and did I mention 16 days on standby, 1.5 days of music play. I just came back from a business trip; there is nothing worse than running out of juice after 2hrs.

As cool as the iPhone is, this phone is real competition and will take significant market share from Apple.

RIM, Google, Microsoft, HTC, and now Nokia, I think we’re gonna have fun this winter, even if the economy is down the tubes, this is one tube I’d love to own.

Decide for yourself; take a look at the specs – http://www.nokiausa.com/A41271075

What’s the Score?

Level of Difficulty Low
Worth it? Yes!
Longevity Long
Cost $200

Mac vs PC

Ok, enough already!

People, there are no differences in what they can do! Don’t believe the hype! There are essentially the same.

The facts:

  1. The hardware is the same (Intel processors, video cards from the same manufactures, SATA drives, etc.)
  2. You can blow away the Apple OS and install Visa or XP on the Mac hardware and vice versa. Just lookup Psystar or look at these links:
    http://www.wikihow.com/Install-Mac-OS-X-10-3-(Panther)-on-Your-Windows-PC
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxwuYTnfL-I
    http://lifehacker.com/software/mac-os-x/how-to-install-os-x-on-a-pc-117211.php
    http://www.parallels.com

    Apple is more restrictive as to their OS, but it can be done.

  3. There is nothing and I mean nothing you can do on a Mac that you can’t do on a PC and vice versa. Neither is better, take it from me, I use them both
  4. Windows is a bigger target, hence the number of attacks, both from viruses, hackers and vocal Apples users, but Apple is not safer, in fact I would argue that it may be less safe as the people who believe they are safer take less precautions and there is less scrutiny so discoveries of issues are less known. For example, there is a way to hack into OS X, change the administrative password in under 3 min. I won’t post how to do this, but I have done it. You can’t do the same with this method on a PC running Vista.
  5. Apple is smaller and quicker to change. Baloney! What Apple has is better advertising (well used to have better advertising, the “I’m and PC add from Microsoft are very good and the tag line life without walls is catching on”). We all bought the hype about the iPhone, hook line and sinker, the truth is, from its launch to now, every few months there is a major update to correct flaws, flaws they don’t speak of in their white papers, instead we have to wait for hackers to decipher. If they were quicker we would have copy and paste on that device now and oh yeh, working Bluetooth. If Microsoft had as many firmware updates to fix flaws on a device we would all switch to Apple.
  6. Mac’s are more expensive. True! You can purchase the same level of hardware for less. Take this one up with Steve, I can’t explain why.
  7. Microsoft stole from Apple. Baloney! It’s a Graphical interface, and both companies do rigorous user acceptance testing. What works best usually wins, these guys are about selling products and gaining market share, not who is unique.
  8. Microsoft owns part of Apple. True, but not enough to make it Mac-rosoft.
  9. Apple machines don’t crash or freeze as much as PC’s. False. With a smaller footprint, you have fewer complaints because you have fewer people producing hardware and software, hence less chances for things to go wrong. The way Apple addresses system failure is different as well, on the Windows platform you get a very detailed error message (the blue screen of death) on the Mac you get a bomb or a sad face. When an application crashes on the Mac or iPhone it just shuts down (quits), sometime you get a message, sometimes you don’t, and on the PC you get a delay then an error message that you have to click ok to get past.
  10. The Apple OS has a Linux base, true and Vista still has a DOS interface for legacy applications
  11. Vista is slow. False, the issue here is that you can install it on almost any XP class machine. With the Mac OS there are far more restrictions for base hardware level for the new OS, so you can’t just upgrade to the latest OS. Microsoft’s openness in this regard is their downfall as people with old hardware install a new OS that demands more horse power will experience poor performance.
  12. Windows has more applications and is better for business. True for the moment. Because Microsoft is more open with its OS, developers have an easier time creating, and yes, there are more business applications available, this is one area that Apple is far behind on. In fact they did not have an Enterprise division until recently.
  13. The iTouch is better than the Zune. It depends on what you consider better. The Zune has more features (radio and wireless sync) and is more stable, but the iTouch is cooler with its touch screen. They both do a great job of playing music, but with the Zune’s software it’s easier to manage a music library, iTunes is slow and a bit rigid to work with on the PC. The Zune is not Apple compatible, but the iTouch can be used on either OS. Both of these devices fall short when it comes to external add-ons, such as battery changing, memory card slots, and with the iPhone 2G, head phone selection, but the Zune software, which is based on Windows media player, can be used with non Zune hardware and recognizes music you add to your folders without you having to drop them into the applications. I will go into this in greater detail in another post.
  14. AppleTV vs Xbox 360 or Tivo . . . . that will be in my next post

Blogging from Word 2007

This has to be the coolest thing I’ve discovered from Microsoft this month. I can use word to create and publish. This really makes this much easier as I usually compose everything in word, even emails, then I copy and paste. It would be even cooler if I could do this directly in outlook (you can read RSS feeds but not post to them), then it would be like sending an email to a folder, for that matter why not have the ability to manage the entire thing from Outlook? Add, delete, read add users, etc.

Anyway, if you’re interested in learning how to do this directly from Word, click the link below or just read the bottom section of this post.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word/HA101640211033.aspx#7

What’s the Score?

Level of Difficulty Low
Worth it? Yes!
Longevity Long
Cost Part of MS Office 2007

Help me fill out this section: WordPress

  1. In the New Blog Account dialog box, select WordPress in the list of blog providers, and then click Next.
  2. In the New WordPress Account dialog box, type your user name, password, and blog post URL.

    Your user name and password are the credentials that you use to log on to your blog account.

    Your blog post URL is the URL of your WordPress xmlrpc.php file, which is usually located in the root folder of your site. For example, if your site is http://www.contoso.com, you type http://www.contoso.com/xmlrpc.php.

    Note If you installed the xmlrpc.php file in a subfolder of your site, include the subfolder in the URL. In the previous example, if your copy of xmlrpc.php is stored in a subfolder called /utilities, you type http://www.contoso.com/utilities/xmlrpc.php.