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Dany's RaaD Roundup

Thoughts on the Apple iPad Announcement

Yesterday Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, announced the upcoming iPad, Apple‘s take on a tablet computer, smartbook, slate or whatever you want to call it… maybe just GIANT iPod Touch.

After seeing the keynote (watch it here), there were some interesting things I noticed and wanted to talk about with this new device. First off though, I currently use a 4+ year old Dell Inspiron 700m laptop and I carry around a 60gb iPod Video. Both of which I will need to replace sometime soon as both are starting to slowly die on me. With that, I’m always looking to see what I can replace each device with without breaking my rather small bank account in half as a poor medical student.

The most surprising part of the whole announcement for me was that this iPad is running an Apple customized A4 processor. So, Apple is almost completely vertically integrated now, they make their processors, their own batteries, their own multi-touch technology, they control every piece of hardware that goes into their machines, they write their own operating systems and control their own online store where you can buy music, movies, television  shows, applications, games, podcasts (free), educational materials (iTunes U) and now electronic books (iBookstore). Jobs now claims that Apple is now the largest mobile devices company by revenue… something that should concern Jobs at some point because the US has laws against monopolies and while being as vertically integrated as I mentioned just now is fine for a small company, once that company gets large enough, that kind of power starts to get noticed by government officials.

This new iPad is very similar to the iPod Touch/iPhone (it just doesn’t have a phone). The iPad basically runs on the same operating system as the iPod Touch, it’s just BIGGER (almost 10inches compared to the 3.5inch iPod Touch), can play HD video and with a longer battery life (10 hours of use with 1 month of standby time). The iPad will also run virtually all of the 140,000 applications that are already available for the iPhone/iPod Touch.

Since Apple’s current 3.5inch hardware has 2 different skews that have been immensely successful, it’s not too surprising that there are going to be 2 separate skews for the new iPad, a wifi version that starts at $499 (basically a GIANT iPod Touch) and a version that also has a 3G internet data subscription option starting at $629 (almost like a GIANT iPhone, just minus a phone or camera).

The other thing I noticed that was interesting after reading Engadget, is that Apple now has a way for you to buy into their vertically integrated ecosystem for almost any amount of money. To gain direct access to all the different online stores from Apple’s mobile hardware you can pay as little as $99 to buy an iPhone (with a 2 year contract), you could pay $199, $299 or $399 for an iPod Touch, now you can pay $499, $599 or $699 for a wifi iPad with 16, 32 and 64gb of storage space respectively, you could buy any of those previously mentioned iPad with wifi models and add 3G internet access from $629 – $829, after that if you shell out $999 you can spring for their basic 13inch Macbook and from there you can pay buy into the 13inch Macbook Pro for $1199, the 13inch Macbook Air for $1499, $1699 for their 15inch and $2499 to start for their 17inch Macbook Pro and you can customize those laptops to your hearts content to set the price to any amount under $6,500 FULLY loaded for a single purchase. So it seems that Apple is basically bridging the price gap between their $399 iPod Touch and their $999 Macbook to give customers new ways to access all of their online stores.

From previous experience with the iPhone/iPod Touch, I was not surprised when the wifi only iPad didn’t have a either a front-facing web camera (for video chat) or a rear-facing camera (to take pictures) since the iPod Touch doesn’t have either of those features, BUT I was VERY surprised that the iPad with 3G DIDN’T have either or BOTH of these cameras since all iPhones have rear-facing cameras and ALL of their laptops have built-in front-facing web cameras. Maybe this is a feature that will come later, maybe not. Who knows?

It is also disappointing that with the larger screen and faster processor that you can only run one application at a time. That means you can’t surf the web while also keeping a chat client open.

I am not going to try and guess how successful this device will be since Apple has done quite well ever since Steve Jobs returned to Apple, but at this point, when I replace my 6ogb iPod and my old Dell laptop, I will probably just go with a new iPod Touch and a Windows 7 laptop for now, iPad or no iPad.

Thanks to Apple for the above pic.

Enjoy

Dany

**Update 2009-1-28 – Upon further analysis it will also be interesting to see how specialized industries, like the medical profession write applications and start utilizing this type of device, it is specialized markets like this that have already shown the willingness to utilize tablet technology in the past. Maybe companies like Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health will write special charting applications to use for accessing medical records in a more hands-on sort of way. Time will tell.

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January 28, 2010 3:03 pm Posted by | apple, ATT, books, clips, medicine, movies, music, music videos, podcasts, software, technology, tv, Windows | Leave a comment

Automatically Switch Users in Windows XP Just By Closing Your Laptop’s Lid

I have a Windows XP Service Pack 3 laptop and I am usually the only person who uses this laptop, but there are times when friends and family want to use my computer. I am a power user and I run as an administrator, but I do not want anyone else to have total, unfettered access to my computer, so I created a limited user account for everyone else who wants to use my computer. Windows has a nice feature that enables you to switch between different user accounts (go to Control Panel, User Accounts, Change the way users log on or off, check Use the Welcome screen and Use Fast User Switching) while keeping all the programs and processes from each user open and running in the background.

The problem is that there are times when I forget to switch users when I leave my computer or I might get quickly pulled away from my computer for some reason at times. I usually just end up closing the lid of my laptop, leaving my computer unprotected and open for anyone to use.

In the Windows Advanced Power Options, there is a menu setting where you can set what your laptop does when you close the lid, but the only options are “Do Nothing,” “Stand By” and “Hibernate” (this last option only appears if you have previously enabled hibernation mode). I don’t like any of these options. “Do Nothing” does not help me at all since anyone can just open my laptop back up and start cruising around with full admin privileges. “Stand By” mode in general is no good, because there are many times, when I have set my laptop to Stand By with a bunch of programs open and the computer wouldn’t wake back up again, so I would have to turn the computer off and turn it back on again, thus losing all my unsaved progress in the process. I also turn off Hibernation mode, since I don’t like reserving at least a gigabyte of memory for this process, considering I’m usually running out of disk space on my computer as it is.

I Googled my way all over the internet looking for solutions, I checked a whole bunch of tech sites, then tried Lifehacker, Microsoft and I even contacted Dell tech support to see if they had any solutions, but I found nothing.

I then decided to post my problem on a few tech forums. Exactly 5 minutes after posting on the Hak5 forum, my question was answered! It turns out that motionman95 (email: motionman95 [at] yahoo.com) recently wrote a program to solve this. The original stable program is MonitorState (download it here), but the beta version 1.2, (which is supposed to fix some bugs and glitches) has been renamed to StandbyLock (download it here). *Update 1-5-2008 – There is a new stable version, StandbyLock2.0 (download it here).*

*Update 1-6-2008 – StandbyLock v2.0 (download it here 1-8-2008 – updated download link) is now out of beta and available.* While this program is running, if you set the laptop’s advanced power options to “Stand By” when the lid is closed, the program bypasses Stand By mode altogether and just switches off users and when you open the lid up again, you’re greeted with the Windows XP Welcome Screen and you can pick which user you want to run as.

I did not have any problems with MonitorState and I have not had any problems with StandbyLock either, but I have noticed from the Task Manager that StandbyLock seems to use more and more memory the longer it is left running, which is very similar to the problems Firefox 2 had with memory leaks. At this point, I will continue to use MonitorState, but I am waiting for the release of a stable version 2 of StandbyLock that doesn’t cause a performance hit to my machine the longer the program runs in the background. Let me know in the comments which version works best for you if you decide to try both. When I get new versions, I will keep you updated. *Update 1-5-2008 – start using StableLock2.0 (download it here) *Update 1-6-2008 – StandbyLock v2.0 (download it here) has now gone gold (now with some nice taskbar menu features and an F2 hotkey to enable/disable the program) and I have switched over to this version,* it is a smaller program, it has a MUCH smaller memory footprint and the memory leak problems have been solved.

After thanking motionman95 for sharing his software creations, I found out that he also has some other programs that he has written and is in the process of creating a website of his own to showcase all these applications. I can not wait to see what other goodies motionman95 has created!

Enjoy

Dany

January 4, 2009 11:41 pm Posted by | software, technology, Windows | Leave a comment

CollegeHumor – The Matrix Runs on Windows

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I’m very partial to The Matrix. It was the first movie I’d ever seen on DVD. Well, the good people over at CollegeHumor (subscribe here) have created a funny video showing just how bad a place the matrix would be if it ran on Windows.

It’s geek hilarious, enjoy.

Dany

November 17, 2008 12:39 am Posted by | clips, comedians, dvd, movies, podcasts, software, technology, Windows | Leave a comment

Claymation Chess

I might just be a sucker for claymation, but I found this great movie of a claymation chess (Digg it here) game after watching Best of Youtube (subscribe here). It reminds me somewhat of the old Battle Chess game from the pre-Windows days, I still remember playing it for hours on my first IBM computer, running on DOS.

Enjoy

Dany

October 23, 2008 10:23 pm Posted by | cartoons, clips, games, movie reviews, movies, podcasts, software, technology, toons, video games, Windows | Leave a comment

IObit’s Smart Defrag – The Best and Fastest Windows Defragmentation Software

Sometimes Windows starts to run slow and it can be caused by commonly used files on your computer being fragmented. I’ve tried a few different programs to help with defragmenting my computer, since the built in Windows Disk Defragmenter just takes forever.

The most recent episode of CNET Live (subscribe here) suggested the program Smart Defrag (download it here). They liked it because it was fast and free. I decided to try it and I love it. This is the first defrag tool I’ve found that has been able to COMPLETELY defragment my drive. This is the first time I’ve ever scanned my computer (using multiple defrag programs to test this) and it said there were ZERO fragmented files!

There is also the option to have the program start with Windows, and have it defrag on the fly to keep your machine’s fragmentation low.

Smart Defrag works on all versions of Windows from Windows 2000 through Windows 7 according to IObit.

Give it a try.

Dany

September 29, 2008 9:59 pm Posted by | podcasts, software, technology, Windows | Leave a comment

Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld Unveil Microsoft’s New Ad Campaign

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Microsoft’s new ad campaign has officially kicked off with Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld now.

This is Microsoft‘s long overdue response to Vista‘s publicity woes and Apple’s Mac vs PC ads, which have gotten progressively more aggressive against Microsoft over time.

Enjoy

Dany

September 6, 2008 8:24 pm Posted by | apple, clips, comedians, commercials, crazy celebs, software, technology, tv, Windows | 1 Comment

Launchy vs Windows Desktop Search 4.0

I found this little program called Launchy and it is good if your want a quick (just press Alt+Space), simple search that specializes in programs and searching sites like Youtube, but then I went to Microsoft Update and saw that there was an optional update to their desktop search called Windows Search 4.0, it works for all versions of Windows from XP onwards. Download it here.

The big advantage of the Microsoft search tool is that you can add it as a toolbar onto your desktop and it can search the web using your default search engine, so when I tried that option, it actually opened a Firefox window for a Google search, when I was expecting it to open IE and do a Live search. I was pleasantly surprised by that.

It is also a pretty comprehensive search as well, when I used Launchy (which also works for Linux) to search for Backgammon, it came up w/ my backgammon game, but the windows search found my backgammon game as well as two different books I got from Project Gutenberg (A Tale of Two Cities and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes) since it searched the text of those docs and found that they both mention backgammon. The search results are also fully accessible to commands like Copy, Rename, Delete, etc via right clicking and accessing the menu bar.

Thanks to WildWheelz for the above pic.

Dany

*Update September 4th 2008* After a few weeks of using both programs, I find Launchy immensly more useful a program and have taken the Windows Search Tool off of my taskbar to save space and system resources, while I have been using Launchy more and more.

August 9, 2008 4:44 pm Posted by | technology, Windows | 1 Comment

Deleting Items from iTunes Smart Playlists

I download a LOT of podcasts daily (I currnently have 10 solid days of audio waiting for me to listen to and growing) and keep only a small percentage of them. I have so many, that the only way I can manage them and keeping sane is using the EXTREMELY useful iTunes smart playlist feature.

The only problem with this system was that I could not delete the smart playlist items I had already listened to directly from the smart playlist menu, I would still have to sift through iTunesPodcast section and individually delete all the old podcasts

I’ve FINALLY found a solution, all you need to do to fix this is to select all the smart playlist items that you want to delete and while holding the SHIFT button, hit DELETE. This brings up the regular iTunes deltetion dialog box and presto! Problem solved. This also works from any iTunes playlist, smart or otherwise by the way.

Now, I use Windows, so I don’t know if this fix works for Mac users, but if you run a Mac and have this problems, try this fix and let me know in the comments below.

Thanks to PhilMug.com for the above pic.

Dany

**UPDATE** AlisterComputeron commented that on a Mac, all you need to do is Option+Delete to get the same result.

**9/12/2008** It looks like with iTunes 8.0, Apple changed the shortcut, now Shift+Delete will just remove a playlist item from iTunes, but to delete an item from the computer, the new shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+Delete. This is an annoying change, but there’s not a whole lot we can do about it.

July 17, 2008 9:55 pm Posted by | podcasts, software, technology, Windows | 6 Comments

Apple Software Update is PISSING ME OFF!!

I thought it was a fluke or just a marketing ploy, but now that it has happened twice, Apple‘s corporate methods are really pissing me off.

I use the Apple Software Update tool on Windows to keep my copies of Quicktime and iTunes up to date. Last week though, Apple tried to push an installation for their Safari v3.0 browser. Now, I use the update tool to keep my current software up to date, not to get advertised new software to download… especially not a 4th web browser! Having Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera is more than enough for me.

Now, a week later, after NOT downloading Safari 3.o, Apple just popped up an offer for Safari 3.1, with the pitch:

“Safari for Windows is the fastest and easiest-to-use web browser for the PC. It displays web pages faster than any other browser and is filled with innovative features — all delivered in an efficient and elegant user interface.

For more information on Safari 3.1, please visit http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=307467

Apple, if you are listening, STOP DOING THIS! I don’t want to have to opt out of getting new software to download, if you want to offer new software, make me opt IN! Even Microsoft has stopped using this style of tactics recently, for Microsoft‘s last Microsoft Update, they wanted me to download their Silverlight software, but it was offered in with a whole bunch of other downloads… the difference with Silverlight though, if I wanted to download it, I would have had to check the box to opt into the download.

Now, I have NO inclination to even TRY Safari! If Apple was a computer company with a larger market share, this type of tactic would get Apple in a LOT of trouble with anti-competitive tactics.

Thanks to All Things New for the above pic AND the similar feelings on the issue that I read after I wrote this, looking for a good photo to use for this post. Also, check out this HILARIOUS article from The Register, which maintains that Apple‘s own Safari License Agreement does not allow you to legally install Safari on a non-Apple-labeled (ie: Windows) machine, when I read it, I made sure to read the Safari 3.1 for Windows License Agreement for myself and verified that this was STILL the case! I LOVE it!

Dany

March 26, 2008 10:37 pm Posted by | apple, software, technology, Windows | 7 Comments

Xdrive Desktop Lite

I’ve been using Xdrive as an online backup for almost a month now since I hate backing up to CD/DVD (for me, DVDs are for movies). On February 25th though, Adobe released their new AIR software and Xdrive, probably due to it’s affiliation with AOL‘s resources, was able to come out with a desktop application, Xdrive Desktop Lite, using the Adobe AIR core technology on that same day and I’ve been testing it ever since.

Thusfar, I have had a great experience with the new software. I like that I can drag a file from Windows directly into my Xdrive account and even host that file if I needed to show off any Photoshop work I’ve done… like this, which I created for this sci-fi topic.

It would be nice if you could drag files/folders FROM the Xdrive Lite program back to your computer’s hard drive (not just the virtual folders the program creates at the bottom of the window) and I also hope they update the left side folder bar and add a trash can/recycle bin so I could drag and drop files to throw them out, but the program is still in beta, so they’ve got some wiggle room. It could look something like this though:

Thanks Download Squad for the above pic.

Dany

March 7, 2008 11:08 pm Posted by | dvd, software, technology, Windows | 1 Comment