technology

 

A laptop screen showing the new Windows 8 interfaceOther than that, Windows 8 seems fine.

Metro Apps are those funky looking boxes you see plastered all over the start screen, as shown in the graphic to the right. If your computer is touch sensitive they are just a finger tip away. The apps themselves seem OK, but apparently they only run in full screen mode, and when they lock up they pretty much lock up your computer.

I’ve only added a few of them, both games (solitaire and mahjong to be precise), and they both lock up a lot. The old standby, CTRL ALT DEL brings up the Task Manager menu, but since the game is in full screen mode the focus remains on the game, meaning you can’t actually use the Task Manager.

To make sure it wasn’t just me screwing up (been known to do that) I went to the old standby, Google, to search for something along the lines of “Windows 8 locks up.” Sure enough lots of people have the same problem. One post mentioned a work-around, which is to set the Task Manager attributes to be Always On Top. Have not given that a try yet, but it will probably work. Still, I should not have to implement a work-around for killing an app.

These glitches, Metro Apps locking up and the Task Manager problem, sort of take the glow off my brand new computer. I realize Windows 8 is new, but come on Microsoft, the Metro Apps represent your whole new computing paradigm, you best get it right. I anxiously await your update that will fix both these problems. But I’m not holding my breath.
~jon

PS, I also was unable to get screen capture to work, something I do a lot of on my old PC. Also Googled that, and supposedly it works just like I’d expect it to, but it doesn’t. I’ll let you know if I get it figured out. ~jon

Image from Microsoft under the Fair Use doctrine, for commentary, criticism, and reporting.

 

My old dog, Bebo.I just got a new shinny toy, a Toshiba Satellite P-55 running Windows 8. While not quite as warm and fuzzy as a new puppy, it’s still exciting, and it doesn’t pee on the carpet. Like a new puppy, it sort of gives me a warm glow inside.

I desperately needed a new computer for some time now. My old Dell, may it rest in Hell, was giving me fits. It had gotten to the point that the only web browser that worked was Opera. I have nothing against Opera, but it is not the browser of my choice.

The Dell from Hell had other significant quirks – it took forever to boot and shut down; Acrobat Reader would only work with Protected Mode Disabled (whatever the heck that means); Opera would not open a PDF (great fun when trying to print your Turbo Tax returns), software would occasionally just shut down. But the single biggest annoyance was the flaky touch-pad, which would randomly reposition the cursor while typing. For a writer, that’s a big deal, particularly if you don’t notice it right away.

I ran that dog through all sorts of virus scans, disk defragging, and diagnostics, but nothing helped. It is my belief that the Registry had simply gotten so out of whack over time that the system needed to be wiped and reinstalled. Since distribution DVDs were not included with the purchase, rebuilding was not really an option.

Like a puppy, this new laptop does need some house training. Right now I’m playing around with the Windows 8 Metro interface. I have heard horror stories about it, but they seem to be overblown. It takes a few minutes, and maybe two or three YouTube video tutorials to get around, and you can always just go to the desktop. My current desktop looks an awful lot like my old desktop, so I’m happy.

My first download was Chrome (trying to make the leap from Firefox, the jury is still out), followed by LibreOffice (I’m a writer, a need a writing app!). Then I had to get Solitaire, and Mahjong (both free Metro apps) for some down time.

Next I’ll need to move my iTunes library (another YouTube tutorial), and get a decent graphics app. I’ve been using PaintShop Pro since version 3, but feel like it is getting a bit long in the tooth. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

If you’ve been contemplating a new PC, but dreading the move to Windows 8 quit fretting – YouTube cures all.

Oh, and that old Dell? Can you say Ubuntu?
~jon

 

Three computers, left to right: Ubuntu laptop, Vista laptop, Mini MacOh the sweet taste of success.

In my previous post I detailed my trials and tribulations in trying to reconfigure an old Windows NT laptop into a Linux Ubuntu laptop. After all the YouTube tutorials, Google searches, DVD burns, reboots, and frustration I finally found the solution to my little problem. Mind you, I posted this little missive on Twitter January 10th, and it is now January 16th:

It’s the little things they leave out in the instructions that will get you every time. #RandomObservation

No truer words have been spoken… err, tweeted.

I have been emailing my friend and personal computer guru, Susan, off and on about this for going on a week. I had a partial success last night when she pointed out the Ubuntu Installer (as opposed to the Ubuntu Download) which I had overlooked in my initial attempts. The installer and download are two different things. The download is the operating system disk image, which in theory can be burned to a DVD or USB thumb drive and then “live booted” to do the install. I never could get that to work. The damned disk image simply refuses to be recognized by my bios as a bootable device.

On Susan’s advice I gave the Windows Installer a shot. The Installer differs from the download in that it is simply a small Windows program which interactively downloads and installs Ubuntu from within a Windows session. Once it finishes up you reboot to complete the installation. It worked!

Well, sort of.

It did install Ubuntu on my computer, but I never got any of the user prompts that all the tutorials assured me would allow me to set up the system to my liking. My liking, by the way, is the complete elimination of the old NT OS and user files so that this machine is free and clear of all the odd problems that have haunted it for years. Since I was given no user install options, NT still occupied the vast majority of my hard disk, leaving a very small portion for swap space, which I am sure effected the performance (and annoyed the crap out of me).

In one of the many tutorials that I found, the speaker mentioned that he was first making a bootable USB drive to perform the installation. This made me suspect that the DVDs and the USB thumb drive I had created simply were not bootable, and therefore my BIOS would not recognize them as valid boot devices.

Then, today, I found this very short (3min 17sec) YouTube tutorial by SysAdmGirl, and had my suspicions confirmed.

Her short tutorial covered the little things all the other tutorials left out – how to make the frigging install device actually bootable! She’s now my new BFF. (Don’t worry, I won’t stalk you, Sys.)

Once I had the bootalbe USB image the Ubuntu installation worked just as all those other tutorials said it would. I got the glorious option to use the whole disk and man did I take it. Goodbye NT, forever.

I actually danced around the room. (My wife will confirm this.)

I now have a dedicated Ubuntu laptop, compete with the Ubuntu Restricted Extras. Now all I have to do is get the firewall working, load up some software, and I’m good to go.

~jon

Links:

 http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop: Ubuntu ISO image download.

http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/windows-installer: Ubuntu Windows Installer.

http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/: Universal USB Installer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvnaLxw7fEg&feature=player_detailpage: Ubuntu 12.04: Create Bootable USB Drive to Install or Run Live, by SysAdmGirl

 

Three computers on a desk, left to right NT laptop, Vista laptop, MacMini.

All I wanted to do was put Linux on an old laptop.

Easy, right?

Ha.

I started out by watching some YouTube videos on how to install Ubuntu Linux. Me, listening to instructions. Who would have ever guessed?

According to the vids I watched this was going to be a piece of cake. Within 5 minutes of completing my download I should have Ubuntu up and running, at least according to this Linux gal.

Download the latest distribution of Ubuntu (12.10 desktop). Check. Burn it as an ISO image to disk. Chec… Crap. It’s too big to fit on a CD. Off to the computer store to buy some DVDs.

Burn it to a DVD. Check.

Reboot the target computer with the Ubuntu disk image in the Drive. The live disk will come up and I can just cruise through the prompts to get up and running.

The damned computer chugs and chugs on that disk before finally, painfully, booting up into Windows NT. No sign of Ubuntu. Crap.

After checking out a few more YouTube videos I decide to change the boot order of my computer, making the DVDROM drive the first boot device. This turns out to be very simple after three or four failed attempts to get to the bios. Each one of those boot attempts is a painful reentry to Windows NT. I finally discover the F2 key will get me there, but only if I’m really, really fast.

After changing the boot order so the DVD drive is first in my list I try again.

Again I get a long, slow, painful boot up into Windows NT.

What the hell?

So I go online and start reading on the tech forums. Probably a bad disk. Burn another one and try again.

Check.

Goddammit!

Back to the forums. Well if that won’t work, then put it on a thumb drive and make that the primary boot device.

Out to the computer store to buy a thumb drive.

Reboot.

More misery. I’m getting really sick of seeing that Windows NT welcome screen.

So I go into my bios and make the DVD the only bootable device, and try again.

The computer now informs me that there are no bootable devices available. Press F2 to try again or just slit your wrists now to get it over with.

I set the bios so only the USB port is bootable. Again, the computer tells me there are no bootable devices available. Press F2 to try again. Have a nice day.

It appears the only bootable device on my old Dell Inspiron is the internal hard drive.

Dell is evil.

I burned that DVD on my newer computer. Maybe my new DVD drive writes disks that my old DVD drive can’t read? So I download Ubuntu onto my old computer and go to burn the image. What? Roxio is not on my computer? Roxio has been on every computer I’ve ever had, at home or at work. I’m stunned. So I go out to download Roxio. Guess what? Despite the fact that it has come on every computer I’ve ever had (except this damn NT box), it’s not free. Crap.

More online research. Google – open source, burn, dvd (or something like that). I find something called InfraRecorder with a GPL license. I download it and install it on my dog of a Dell. (Sorry dogs, I shouldn’t besmirch you like that. I like dogs.)

InfraRecorder is great! Really, for the first time in this post I’m not being snarky. Go get it. Now.

So I burn Ubuntu to my old (2x) DVD drive. Do you know how slow 2x is? Oh… my… god. But eventually the deed is done and I try rebooting with a disk I am certain my old DVD drive can read.

Same frigging results.

More online research turns up the fact that a lot of people can’t seem to get past their old installation of Windows NT. This is a fairly common problem. The recommended solution is to find your original installation CDs and reinstall Windows so you can reformat the drive.

I conducted an exhaustive search of my CD racks to no avail. However, I did get all my old music and software CDs nicely reorganized. See, something good did come of this. Next I searched the garage. No luck. Then a little tucked away book case. Viola!

I reboot with the original Windows NT Restore CD. Remember how the vendors quit shipping the actual full distributions years ago? Seemed like a bad idea to me at the time.  So this is it, a Restore CD. I throw it in and reboot. I’m told that the current version of the OS on my computer is newer than the one on the CD so I cannot proceed. Sorry.

WTF!

Microsoft is evil.

If you’re still with me you are probably waiting for the happy ending. Well there isn’t one. My Dell Inspiron is still sitting there to my left, mocking me.

Amazingly enough it is still in one piece.  (See photo, above.) I have not throw it to the floor and stomped it into oblivion (though that has been tempting). No, I am going to have you, Inspiron, one way or another.

My next try will be FOG, an open source disk reformatting program. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try Wipe Disk, though I’d rather not spend any money. If that doesn’t work, I may just yank the hard drive, and put in a new one. I’ve invested too much effort to throw in the towel now.

My little 5 minute installation of Ubuntu has now taken me two and a half days to no avail.

Ubuntu is evil.

 

There was an interesting article and followup over on Seeking Alpha about the NookColor and Barnes & Nobel’s development strategy, or apparent lack thereof. The article, Nook Needs an App Store to Survive, is by Joel West. Since I’m not an investment community type, and they require registration to leave a comment (something I’m disinclined to do just to leave a comment) I thought I’d add my two cents to the conversation here.

Joel’s basic argument is that Barnes and Nobel delivered a very nice device, but a device filled with untapped potential. There is a fully function tablet hidden at the core of the NookColor, but B&N has hidden it away behind their own little shell. True, a user can root their Nook to unlock that potential, but Joel feels it should not be incumbent upon the user to do so. In short, Barnes and Nobel needs to launch an app store in order to keep the momentum started by the release of the NookColor growing. I completely agree.

He goes on to say, “I am much less enthusiastic about the nookColor than when I bought it, because without the basic apps that you would find in a 1995 Palm Pilot — like a synchronized address book, a calendar and a simple note-taking app — I still have to carry a laptop or smartphone to every place that I take my nook. (Or I can just carry the laptop and leave the nook at home).”

He has a point, but I’m still very enthusiastic. I suppose that is because I use it mainly as an ebook reader when away from the house rather than an all purpose device. The web browser works well (if you can find a hot spot) and the device tucks nicely into my jacket pocket. At home I often leave my laptop upstairs and check my email and do some web browsing downstairs, which is convenient as all get out. I absolutely love my non-rooted NookColor. I read more and have bought more books since getting it than I have in the past year.

Still, I must admit I do miss those apps.

One of his readers begged to differ, saying he saw no reason for Barnes & Noble to build an app store when there is already a fully functional Android store available but for the effort of rooting the device.

Here I disagree. The reason B&N needs an app store is because there are many uses like me who have no desire or inclination to root their Nook but who want some basic apps such as a calendar and notepad. If they don’t come out with an app store I will be very disappointed with them.
~jon

Related Post:

5 New Years Resolutions for Barnes and Noble

 

Participate in FridayFlashI’ve moved the Collector. It’s new URL is http://madutopia.com/ffcollector/tiki-view_tracker.php?trackerId=2&sort_mode=f_13_asc&status=o

Jon has told me that several people have inquired about having something like the collector on their site. It is riding atop the TikiWiki CMS software, which is available through Fantastico, if you have CPanel. If you are still interested, contact Jon.

 

Party HatsI did not make any new year resolutions this year. I meant to, really, but somehow time just slipped away from me and I never got around to it. You know what? It’s a very liberating feeling.

Just because I failed to make resolutions for myself doesn’t mean I can’t make them for others, whether they want them or not. I’m very generous that way. No need to thank me, B&N, just meet these resolutions with… er, resolve.

My resolutions for you revolve around your new NOOKcolor, a terrific new ebook reader. I got one for Christmas and I love it. It is easily the best Christmas present I’ve received in years. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t use it, mostly as an ebook reader, though it makes for a nice web browser too. However, there are a few little things you can (and should) do that will make it even better.

I took my NOOKc to my book club meeting yesterday, along with my new Kindle 3G. Some people in the group still don’t own an ereader, but are considering one. I took both the Kindle and NOOK figuring once they saw them side-by-side they would obviously want the NOOK. Boy was I wrong. I hate to tell you this, but by the time the meeting broke up both Kim and Dianna said they’d probably go with the Kindle.

So here is a handy list of resolutions you should strive to implement before the end of 2011. You are very welcome.

1) Yes, of course, it’s a list of New Year’s resolutions so it’s bound to be there – lose weight. The first thing Kim and Dianna noticed when I handed them the NOOK and Kindle was that the NOOK was much heavier than the Kindle. It was downhill from there. You know what they say about first impressions. So please, find ways to shave off some weight without reducing screen size, even if it’s just an ounce or two.

2) Add 3G. One of my arguments when they objected to the weight was, sure it weighs more, but it does so much more than the Kindle. It’s really a tablet computer complete with a cool web browser. Alas, our restaurant of choice lacked free wi-fi. There were half a dozen networks within range, but every one of them was secure. How inconsiderate. Therefore I was unable to blow their socks off by surfing over to our book club website. Someone asked the inevitable question, “Does the Kindle have a web browser?” Unfortunately the answer is yes, so they considered it moot. It’s not moot. The Kindle web browser SUCKS. I tried demonstrating that to them, but poor performance trumps no performance in a table-side demo every time. Had the NOOK been 3G enabled I could have really made it shine. Yes I know, adding features does not help in the weight loss department. But you’re smart folks, figure it out.

Please note: I don’t mean the Kindle sucks, only it’s web browser.

3) Implement landscape reading for books. Landscape only works for magazines, the web, and children’s books – not regular books. What were you thinking, you knuckleheads?

4) Ship it with a little larger selection of free books. It does come with Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, and Dracula, all of which are fine choices. But throw in a half dozen other titles that might appeal to a broader audience. There are plenty of classics in the public domain so why not throw in a few more? Some collections would be nice – say of poetry, or short stories. A collection of poems by the fireside poets of the 19th century and the works of Edgar Allen Poe come to mind. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes would be a nice draw. And while you’re at it, add the cover art to the books themselves, not just as thumbnails on the library shelves. You have a fabulous color device here; for goodness sakes, showcase it.

5) I was very glad to see you have released an SDK (software developer’s kit for the none-geeks reading this). That puts you well ahead of the game in the “resolutions” department. Way to go. Now perhaps you, or some third party developer, can come out with a wireless stylus for use on the NOOK. Note taking, sudoko, and crossword puzzels would be so much more intuitive with a “pencil” interface. Perhaps someone will even come up with a nice sketching app to boot.

Well, there you have it, Barnes & Noble, five new year’s resolutions with my complements. Please release this new model of your wonderful NOOKcolor in time for Christmas, 2011. You’ll be glad you did.
~jon

Photo by Holly Occhipinti, via Flickr Creative Commons

 

and Kindle too.

The Nook and Kindle side by side.

The Nook and Kindle side by side.

My cup runneth over. Two days after my wife bought me a NOOKcolor (or is that a nookCOLOR?) for Christmas I won a Kindle via an online contest over at Publetariate. (Thanks again, April Hamilton). When I told Cyndi I won a Kindle there was a pregnant pause from the other room, then a rather terse, “Isn’t that one of those ereaders?” I knew the unasked question – Should I take the NOOKc back? (Nooksee? – really, something has to change here in the name department.) Before she could even form the words I let her know I still wanted a NOOKY for Christmas.

Why? she wanted to know.

Because, while they are both ereaders, they both fill two separate niches, and this way I would be able to compare them. She gave a very doubtful “un-huh” but like a trooper did not tamper with the gifts under the tree. So for Christmas this year I got both a NOOK-C and a Kindle.

Now that I’ve had them both for a few days I can tell you I like the Kindle – but I love the NOOK.

Both do an admirable job in the ebook reader department. More on that later.

The Kindle is substantially lighter than the NOOK. Sore, Kindle.

The NOOK has a backlit display, which is supposed to be hard on your eyes and can’t be read in bright sunlight. The Kindle has an eInk display, which can be read in bright sunlight (something I virtually never do) and looks kind of dull. Despite all the talk, that eInk background is not white and the Nook looks much more page-like. It’s not white either, but the backlighting makes the black letters stand out from the background much more like in a book. Plus, the NOOK has a very high resolution display that I think more than makes up for the eInk display in the eye fatigue department. Let’s call it a draw.

The NOOK color display makes for a fantastic web browsing experience. This really is a tablet, a palm sized alternative to the iPad. As good as an iPad? Probably not, unless you factor in the price. If you do, I think the NOOK actually wins in the web browsing arena. The NOOK’s small size ensures you can pack it along anywhere whereas the iPad’s size is kind of awkward for a mobile device. (The iPad still wins in the tablet computer department for the other stuff it does so well, but this is not a NOOK vs. iPad post.) And the Kindle as a web browser? Well let’s just say, Score NOOK!

Mad Utopia on the Nook

Mad Utopia on the Nook

The Kindle is encumbered with buttons buttons, everywhere buttons. It has a real keyboard vs the NOOKsee’s virtual keyboard. The virtual keyboard is a pain in the rear to use. It seems to be overly sensitive meannnnnnnnnnnnniing you might type words like that, or worse, passwords where you can’t even see what you’ve •••••••• but you know it’s three characters too long. The NOOKy needs a virtual keyboard upgrade, like pronto.

But the Kindle’s real keyboard is nothing to write home about. Yes, it has real keys, and you tend to get what you type. But it is a keyboard sans numbers, which means looking for the books Child 44 or 1984 can be a real challenge. You can do it. There is a Sym key (for symbols), but this brings up a little virtual keyboard on the Kindle which you select numbers and symbols from by moving the cursor around over them with the “5 way” controller and then hitting the big middle button on it. Think, typing with a joystick. No joy. Right now I’d have to call the keyboards a draw.

Then there is the whole touch screen thing. NOOK has it. Kindle doesn’t. Once you use a touch screen hand-held device you find you try touching other devices (like the Kindle) to try and make menu selections and turn the page. For touch screen – NOOK, score score score Score SCORE!

Come on, how hard can it be to change the page on the Kindle with the handy buttons right under your thumbs?

Uh, actually too easy. Call me fumble fingers, but I tend to hit those damned buttons inadvertently and suddenly find myself on the next page, or the last. Worse still, I sometimes hit the cluster of keys below the screen (ok, I shift around a lot while I’m reading, so my hands change position a lot) and God knows where that will take you. You can hit the menu key and suddenly be presented with a menu you don’t want, one of the arrow keys on the “5 way” and get thrown to the start of the next or previous chapters (trust me, I’ve done both), or the Home key and be thrown completely out of the book you are reading (been there, done that too). Everything I’ve ever read about reading and writing says you never want to throw your reader out of the story. Alas, with the Kindle that is all too easy to do. This does not happen to me on the NOOKy. It is much harder to accidentally swipe for a page change.

Why is this? Because the NOOK-C is not encumbered with all those stinking buttons. I can hold the NOOK much more naturally, as if holding a book, than I can the Kindle. Yes, I could get used to the Kindle with but a little practice. But I don’t have to practice holding a book – not since my mom convinced me using crayons while reading was a no-no. To me the NOOKcolor just feels much more natural, albeit, just a tad on the heavy side.

So who wins the NOOKc vs Kindle debate? That, my friend is going a to a matter of personal preference. Right now I’ll cast my lot with the NOOK. If they fix that virtual keyboard it would win hands down. Still, I’ll keep the Kindle too.
~jon

 
Telephone Wires In 1890

Telephone Wires In 1890

I’ve seen a lot of press of late claiming this is the year of the ebook reader, and by extension the year of the ebook. Publisher’s Weekly recently ran a handy listing of the current most popular models on their website. If you want to do a quick (albeit fairly shallow) comparison go check it out. They have fifteen varieties to choose from – everything from dedicated ebook readers, to smart phones, to tablets.

If fifteen flavors are not enough to make your head spin you can go to Mobile Read Wiki, where they track no fewer than 45 makes and models of ebook readers – and those are only devices that use eInk. No smart phones, iPads, or color Nooks included. They have a separate pages for LCD ereaders (the Nook Color included), web tablets (such as the iPad), and smart phones. Yet another page on the wiki lists the ebook formats available – 60 of them!

It seems the only thing lacking in the eBook device market is clarity. If ever there was an industry in need of industry wide standards it is the eBook industry, both on the hardware and publishing side of the equation.

Despite this mass confusion ebook sales are surging, some say at the cost of hardback sales. Next year the New York Times will begin listing ebook Best Sellers, a sure sign the market is maturing. I can only imagine how much stronger the market would be if there was some semblance of clarity, some degree of certainty the consumer could count on. As it stands now the ebook market is as fragmented and confusing as the telephone industry once was.

Who will come out on top?

I wish I had that crystal ball. I think the best bet has to go with brand name recognition combined with product placement. Of course the Kindle has the best name brand recognition, and Amazon will begin selling the device in retail outlets this fall – that all important product placement. But they are late to that game. The Barnes and Noble Nook has quickly gained name recognition and has been available in their brick-and-mortar stores for just about a year now. A few others hover around the periphery, such as the Sony, which is available at Target and Best Buy. Of course, you can’t forget the iPad, which is an ebook reader and much more.

The Kindle, the Nook, the Sony, and the iPad: these are my four top bets. Consumers are wary of brands they don’t know, and despite online shopping still like to lay hands on a physical product at least once before making a purchase decision, even if they ultimately buy it online. You can now do that with all four of these ebook readers. That’s why I give them the edge.

I will likely get an ebook reader this season. (That does not mean I won’t get a Pad computer at a later date, just don’t tell my wife.) I am currently leaning toward the Nook Color. Why? Well, beside it being sort of a mini-pad, which I find intriguing, I still go to bookstores to look at (and buy) books. Specifically, I go to my local Barnes and Noble because it is very convenient to home. The thought of browsing physical bookshelves and then popping out the ebook reader to check digital availability really appeals to me.

How about you? Are you thinking of getting an ebook reader this season? If so, which one appeals most to you, and why? Or is this all much ado about nothing?
~jon

 

I had lunch today with three of my friends: John, Mel, and Larry. We go out once a month to someplace near work. We started doing this about a year ago, both to break up the routine of eating in our less than stellar dining area (it used to be the loading dock), and because I realized we would all soon retire, and I did not want to lose contact with them. Now two of the four are retired, and Larry goes out next month. I’ll be the only one left, and that makes this boy a bit grumpy.

But I was not grumpy today. Today I was ecstatic because Larry brought his new iPad along (at my request) and I was able to play around with it. It is an amazing thing to behold. Sorry, no pics. Like an idiot, I left my camera at home. Doh!

I started checking it out even before we got to the restaurant (The Iron Barley, on Virginia). That in itself was an experience. As soon as John pulled away from the curb Larry handed it over the seat to me and told me to play. It was so compact and easy to use I had no problem firing it up and accessing apps right there in the front passenger seat. No awkward balancing act on my knee. No accidental button pushes as I juggled for position. I opened Winnie the Pooh and started reading it before the office was out of sight. The graphics in Winnie the Pooh were amazing, by the way, just like I was looking at a picture book.

I did relinquish control at the restaurant so that John and Mel could look it over. Begrudgingly. Then Larry showed us a few seconds of video (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?). The picture was smooth and crisp. The sound – who knows, he did not have the sound on (we were in a restaurant, after all). He said on his last business trip he used it on and off for two days, then for 2 ½ hours straight on the flight, and when he got home it was still 85% charged.

Typing on the virtual keyboard was not as weird as I expected it to be, though I certainly would not want to type a book on it. He has not bought the keyboard dock since he does not plan to do a lot of typing.

Kindle killer? I think so. Probably a laptop killer and netbook killer as well. This is what I envisioned a computer should be many years ago in some of my science fiction. It’s the most natural way to interact with data I’ve ever experienced.

I’m still not ready to buy. I’m never an early adopter. Let the market have some time to produce knock offs and for Apple to do some upgrades. But sometime in the not to distant future, I’m sure I will have a tablet style computer.

Well… Father’s Day is just around the corner…
~jon

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