iPhone Vs Android: screen utilization

I now have both android and apple phones and I have been comparing the two. Thus far, the biggest difference is how they utilize screen size. You can see how I have highlighted the bottom of the phones in the image below. For some reason apple makes you press a button. This button is a huge pain to press if you are used to just tapping the screen. And its a huge waste of screen space. Android has definitely done a better job of utilizing the screen here and I would imagine apple will follow suit shortly. This might not seem like a big deal but once you get used to tapping the screen you never want to constantly keep pushing that button all day long.

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Should you buy a smart watch?

With the Apple smartwatch just around the corner I thought I would offer some advice to those seeking one. I have owned a sony smartwatch 2 since 2013 and have had a chance to really see what these devices can do. Here are my thoughts…

Overall they are really cool gadgets. For a few hundred dollars (some are only $100-$150) they are not expensive and in a pretty good price range. You definitely do not need one though. I tell my students that they are the perfect gift for the ‘techy’ that has everything. Otherwise they probably are not worth it for most people unless you really want a new watch. The cool thing about them is that you do not need to take your phone out of your pocket, you can just check your wrist when you get a text. Essentially they are an extension of your cell phone. Another neat feature is that you can remotely control your phone. So if I am taking a family video/photo I can set up my phone and then use the watch at a distance to get all of us in the picture. That is the most useful feature I have found for the watch thus far and it is pretty cool although a timer on my phone works just as well. However a major concern with these devices is that they do release radiation (microwave radiation) so in addition to your phone you now have more radiation from another device. That is just a point to consider. I personally do not wear my watch too often for that reason and the fact that I do not like wearing watches. But I will admit they are kinda cool devices and you will not be upset with your purchase if you think you want one. But they are not something you need. They do not do anything your cell phone doesn’t and they require your cell phone to even work.

* I did want to add a quick note. There are many other kinds of watches out there for sports like surfing, running, etc. I am not discussing those in this post. The watches I am referring to are the android/apple based watches. The sports watches look awesome but I have yet to try them. A watch that calculates my waves sounds really cool as does a fitbit with GPS/heart rate data on it.

30 Years of Mac

I still remember getting the first Mac and thinking it was awesome (I was 5 or 6 yrs old at the time). A desktop vs DOS/Unix was amazing. Here is a little site apple has put together highlighting their computer throughout the years: http://www.apple.com/30-years/

Pirates of Silicon Valley

This is a great movie that I hadn’t watched in a very long time but I recently was able to get it through netflix. It tells the story of steve jobs and bill gates as they rose to the top:

MS Surface tablet review

So I have not had my surface tablet for a whole summer and here is my review. I will also compare to my other tablets – iPad (1 and 3) and Kindle Fire.

Pros:

-Functions as laptop – ie it IS a laptop
-Has full version of windows 8-Plugs right into a mouse and has a physical keyboard
-Its a PC so it works with all software
-Good battery life
-Same size as ipad (although thicker/heavier)
Cons:

-Price. The pro is almost a $1000 dollars but it does replace a laptop
-Heavier and thicker than an ipad but not by too much.-Lack of apps. While it does do everything since its a full laptop it just doesnt have good app functionality. For instance, the facebook app is terrible and I am not even sure it was made by facebook.

Overall if I had to choose this vs the ipad or kindle, I would definitely choose this. Its a full laptop. It does everything. I cannot do much on my ipad other than browse the web and check email. I love the physical keyboard and mouse capabilities of this as well. This is definitely what every single business person needs instead of an ipad. Hands down this is much better to take to meetings and such. Having said that, if price is a concern the ipad/kindle are much more affordable. Also if you are just going to browser the web, go on facebook, and play with apps the ipad might be your best bet. Its all going to come down to your personal use. For me, this surface tablet takes the cake. Good job MS.

Next Gen Tablets and Laptops – hybrids

I think we all know this is coming especially with companies starting to already show the technology. And this will be awesome for those of us that do not want to buy both because now we would just need one. Here is an article saying that Apple should create one although I doubt Apple will be even looking into this. My guess is that Apple will be the last company to do this: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57579448-37/does-apple-need-a-hybrid-macbook/?part=rss&subj=news&tag=title

hybrid laptop and tablet

Microsoft Office for Mac price increased 17%

Seems like a lot to me considering that microsoft is now competing with free software like Google Docs and Open Office. On the mobile front MS is competing with just plain apps from several companies. Article

Now for my students – please remember you get a huge discount at your school on MS products like office (among other software). So before you graduate, go to the bookstore and buy your $20 copy of Office because once you leave the price goes up a few hundred dollars:)

Australian university to issue 11,000 iPads next year

Some excerpts from the article:

“The University of Western Sydney said in a statement that it plans to distribute 11,000 iPads next year to every new student and member of the faculty “to support learning and teaching innovations across the curriculum and in informal learning environments.””

“The iPad initiative is part of a curriculum overhaul at UWS that will stress “flexible study options” and “a blended learning model,” The Australian reports. Traditional lectures will be augmented by a more interactive learning approach, Krause said.

“Mobile technologies will be a key part of this strategy,” she said. “We want to support our academic staff to make the most of iPads and custom-designed apps in class so that, even in the largest lecture theater, students have access to just-for-me, just-in-time interactive learning experiences.””

My thoughts:

While I am personally more inclined to use laptops over tablets because they do so much more, I think things like this can be very beneficial if implemented correctly – and that is the key. If they just buy professors and students a bunch of iPads, I would not expect much good to come out of them…at least not a large % anyway. Now if they train the professors and students how to use them, provide good resources, and support, then it could be an awesome initiative.

Why you need to backup your computer now!!!

Yes it happened. The other day I was sitting on my laptop (Work iMac only 6 months old) browsing the internet and I got the spinning wheel of death. I thought nothing of it as this happens time to time on all computers. All of a sudden after about 30 seconds of the computer being frozen and me realizing I cannot force quit, I started to hear this click coming from the hard drive. I got a little nervous but figured I just needed to reboot. Upon reboot I heard the click again and the computer would not restart, instead it went to a blank screen. I tried several things and realized my computer wasnt recognizing my hard drive. The drive was done. I took the computer to my tech team at my university and after several attempts to extract the data such as putting the hard drive in another computer and then putting it into a device, I realized all was lost. Well not exactly. Fortunately I am fairly good at backing up my machine. Now while I did lose about 15% of my files (these were mostly large files that were not cloud friendly) most of my school files, important docs, etc. were all saved. How did I save them? I regularly work in the cloud via dropbox so all of my school files and working documents like research papers are all in dropbox so they were saved. Thus I did not freak out. Sure I lost a few things but they are all things that I can mostly replace. The moral of the story, back up and back up often. In all of my years of using a computer I have not had a hard drive fail and I am not one who drops their computer, spills stuff on it, etc. I take care of them. This was a faulty drive.