Back to the Future

March 29th, 2014

2014-03-29_17-00-54Some of my 20-something Computer Science students at the community college where I teach see me as a living fossil because of the several decades age difference between us. Their perception is reinforced when I tell them I use decades-old tools like batch files. However, sometimes an oldie can still be a goodie. If you’re interested, read on.

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iPad Mini 2 Ordered

November 12th, 2013


Apple sneaked the order page early – but not by me. I ordered the 128 GB Verizon Cellular model. Supposed to ship 5-10 business days, with delivery between November 25 and December 3.

My wife is leaning towards the iPad Air, but will take a look at my new toy to see if the retina display compensates sufficiently for the smaller screen.

Excellent Surface Pro 2 Review

October 29th, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChuong Nguyen of GottaBeMobile has posted an excellent review of the Surface Pro 2.

As Chuong details, the Surface Pro 2 improves, mostly under the hood, on the OG Surface Pro.  To me, the most significant improvement of the ones Chuong lists is the Haswell processor. I own the OG Surface Pro. Often enough, I was in meetings where there were no convenient outlets. I worried whether the 3+ hours battery life would last. Battery life with a Haswell processor should be 6+ hours. If a meeting lasts that long, I’m outta there.

Will I replace my OG Surface Pro with the Surface Pro 2? Not sure about that. I doubt I would get too much for the Surface Pro on e-Bay, and the differential between that money and the cost of a new Surface Pro 2 likely would be enough to buy another device. That new device (can you say iPad mini 2?) would seem to get me more bang for my buck than the incremental improvements between the two Surface Pro versions.

Additionally, I’m thinking of maybe 13.3” screen UltraBook. Still portable, and the larger screen would be very helpful for document review.

Decisions, decisions. More to come.

iPad mini 2 vs iPad Air

October 25th, 2013

This article discusses the conundrum my wife and I both face in replacing our aged, and now seemingly heavy, iPad 3’s. As the article correctly observes, both the iPad Air and the iPad mini 2 are light, thin, fast, and have beautiful displays. The one meaningful difference is the display size (duh), 7.9” vs. 9.7”. The article’s advice:

For those who are not certain, I’d ask you to look at the ways in which you use your iPad. If you primarily use it for consumption, such as reading websites, books, and other basic computing tasks, you should look closely at the iPad mini. It’s great for those tasks. If on the other hand you’re working on documents, using the on-screen keyboard a lot, and doing tasks that are more content creation focused, you may want to look at the iPad Air. I’ve been watching my wife, a technology-muggle, using her iPad the last few months and she does a tremendous amount of work with the on-screen keyboard. I don’t think the iPad mini would ever work for her.

I would add: How good is your reading vision? If not so good, the large screen will make a difference.

This article also discusses choosing between the two devices. The author’s choice is the iPad mini 2. But another writer from the same site leans toward the iPad Air.  Interesting debate.

I believe my wife and I will end up going to the local Beast Buy and get in line to play with the two devices. Sometimes you need actually hands-on time to make a good choice.

Nokia Lumia 2520 vs Apple iPad Air

October 24th, 2013

Interesting comparison. Shows the Lumia 2520 gives more for your money, plus microSD, USB. Still, the iPad Air is lighter (478 g vs. 615 g) and thinner (7.5 mm vs 8.9 mm), + of course a far more complete App Store. Yet, this comparison shows a possible justification for RT 8.1 devices such as the Lumia 2520 and the Surface 2. And here’s another comparison of these three devices.

Verizon Nokia Lumia 929

September 30th, 2013


I’ve had my eye on this Windows Phone for some time. The 929 appears to be the smaller sibling of the 1520 going to AT&T. By smaller, 5” vs. 6” screen. As much as I like large screens, perhaps 5” is large enough, and certainly more pocketable than 6”. Unclear yet if, apart from screen size, the specs otherwise will be the same.

Per Windows Phone Central, the 929 is coming to Big Red with a launch date in early November with an off-contract price of $500. I’ll be watching for and reporting on more information.

Do I upgrade my Surface RT?

September 29th, 2013


Microsoft has announced the Surface RT’s successor, the Surface 2. Nokia soon will be offering another RT device, the Nokia Lumia 2520, aka Sirius.

I own a Surface RT and use it a lot because of its long battery life, especially compared to its Surface Pro brother. So will I be upgrading my Surface RT?

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BlackBerry Z30

September 18th, 2013


BlackBerry just announced the Z30. The Z30 is a significant spec bump over my not so old Z10. The most obvious difference is the larger screen, 5” vs. 4.2”. Despite the larger screen, the thickness is almost the same. There also are spec bumps for the processor and battery, among other features.

Will I replace my Z10 with the Z30? Yes … if I stay with BlackBerry. My heart wants to. But my head warns me that BlackBerry may be extinct soon, and I might be better off with a Windows Phone, especially if (as rumored) the Nokia Lumia 1520 is coming to Verizon.

Of course, I could get the Galaxy Note 3 + the Z30 + the Lumia 1520. However, that gets pricey. Also, I’ve already had one student comment that I have more cell phones than his cousin the drug dealer Confused smile

My take on the iPhone 5s

September 13th, 2013

compare_iphone5sMy opinion of the iPhone 5s is it’s a nice upgrade, though most of the upgrade is under the hood:

Processor bump to A7
New M7 motion co-processor chip
Improved camera
New embedded fingerprint scanner

I’m not planning on buying, mainly because I prefer phones with a larger screens. But for those with older iPhones, it’s an upgrade worth considering.

Fall 2013 Windows Tablet Preview

September 13th, 2013

tablets-heroThis post’s title (and the pic) come from a WinSuperSite article of the same name. The article is quite thorough, so I have only brief comments.

The Haswell processor deservedly has received a lot of press. Haswell succeeds the third generation core i5 and i7 processors, which had good performance but relatively poor battery life. Haswell has the same or better performance, but much better battery life.

The Bay Trail processor has received less press. It succeeds the Clovertrail Atom processor, which had good battery life, but relatively poor performance. Bay Trail has the same or better battery life, but much better performance.

Many of the upcoming tablets featured in the WinSuperSite article are Bay Trail, particularly tablets with the thus far rare (for Windows 8.x) 8” form factor. Indeed, the article focuses on the smaller size part of the tablet spectrum (none larger than 10.8”).

Haswell vs. Bay Trail. Interesting choice, and a nice one. I expect that the smaller form factor (8-10”) will be mostly Bay Trail, larger form factor (10” up) Haswell, with 10” being a no man’s land where both processors will compete.