Tag Archives: gadgets

iPad or Netbook?

Hi there!

I’ve been using the iPad for a couple of weeks now, and I’m liking it more now than when I first got it.  I’m writing a review of the iPad that focuses on my personal experience with it, which I’ll be posting in the coming days/weeks.

That said, I have a bigger question that I’m wrestling with.  You may have seen the Jeff Jarvis re-boxing video where he decided to return his iPad.  His argument is with all the other gadgets he has, the iPad doesn’t fit in his lifestyle.  I completely understand that argument.

However, I have a different take on the iPad.  I think it actually fits really well with my lifestyle.  The problem is that I have a LOT of computers and devices in my house, and I really need to focus on simplifying.  Here’s a rundown:

  • iPhone – This has no AT&T service, so I basically use it as an iPod Touch
  • Droid – This is my only mobile phone.  I love the Android OS, and it’s a bit of a hackers playground which really appeals to me
  • iPad – For me, this is the ideal instant-on, take a note, instant-off experience.  I use it at work and home for many things but I’ll go into more detail in my review of iPad coming soon.
  • Netbook – Asus EEPC 1005HA running Windows 7.  This thing has terrific battery life, is a real computer with a video camera.  I have an external DVD burner that goes along with it.  This is a 1.6GHZ Atom processor with 2GB ram and a 160GB HDD.  It’s light and small.
  • MacBook  – This is an older MacBook.  It’s a 1.8GHZ system with 2GB and a 320GB HDD.  It also has a camera.  I just bought a new battery for it (old one died) and it gets about 3-ish hours.
  • iMac – Aluminum, 2-ish GHZ system with a 640GB HDD and 4GB ram.  It’s a great reliable system.  This is usually the computer my wife uses.
  • PC – Home built, fast, dual monitor, lots of memory, the fans are really loud, runs Windows 7, yada yada.  This is my primary computer but I sometimes wonder why I need it.  Usually if I’m playing games I’ll just use my Xbox 360, Wii or PS3.

So my dilemma is that I need to get rid of something because I have so many redundant devices.  I think I’ve narrowed it down but I can’t make a decision on which device to shed myself of.  I feel that an iPad, a Netbook and a MacBook is just too much technology to have to solve the ‘computing-on-the-go’ problem.

The MacBook is great.  It runs OSX, I can reboot into Windows (or use Parallels).  It’s a little heavy, but it’s actually a completely capable computer.

The Netbook is also great.  I like that it’s really light and small, has terrific battery life (~10 hours), it’s got a video camera and runs reasonably fast.  It is a small computer so it’s not great for writing long mails and the screen is a bit small for me.

The iPad solves a lot of issues that the Netbook solves, but it doesn’t have a camera and runs a closed OS (meaning it’s difficult to view/edit Word and Excel docs for example).  However, the iPad is super-light, is instant on, and is great for meetings, sitting on the couch, etc.  I have the Wi-Fi-only version, so it’s not something I can take anywhere and use, but the Netbook is wi-fi only as well.

So there you have it.  I either need to get rid of the MacBook or the Netbook.  I’m leaning toward getting rid of the Netbook because the iPad is becoming my daily use computer and I could use the MacBook when I need a larger screen and a ‘real’ computer.

Or I could just keep them all and eventually they will end up in my ‘pile of unused electronics.’  I’ll keep you posted!

Robert.

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What is up with Apple TV?

I’m really disappointed in my Apple TV.

I bought my Apple TV about 3 years ago.  I bought the original 40GB version.  I can’t say I waited in line to buy it, but I bought it a day or two after launch.  It was a crazy time in my life…  I was excited by all things Apple, and to me they could do no wrong.  I’ve been trying to ditch my cable TV for years now, and I thought Apple had the magic formula for doing it.  Boy was I wrong…

I hooked up my Apple TV and used it for about 3 weeks off and on, and then it pretty much went into my pile of unused electronics (which is pretty big, believe me).  I brought it back out when the 2.0 software came out and again when the Boxee beta happened.  Once I read about the Boxee beta, I started down the path of hacking my Apple TV (a path I take with all of my gadgets once I’m bored with them).  Luckily the Apple TV is easy to hack.

So here I am, looking at this Apple TV in my pile of electronics when I read about the 3.0 software.  Eureka! I think.  Did they add Netflix integration?  Can they stream from ABC.com, Comedy Central.com?  Did they open it up to allow viewing of different formats from directories on my Mac or PC (DivX, etc)?  Rhapsody integration?

Oh, it’s just a new interface for the same stuff?  Ok, I guess I’ll just unhook it again and wait for the next version…  Or, I can sell it to pay off my iPad?

My question to Apple is ‘why’.  I think the high level pitch of ‘bringing iTunes to the living room’ is a great one.  However, not only could it do so much more than it does, but there are tons of other options out there.  For crying out loud, the Roku box kicks Apple TV’s ass in all regards!  Netflix streaming alone makes the Roku a much better purchase (at only $100).  Plus, it can do Pandora, stream live news channels (albeit from irregular sources) hook into MLB.com and more.

And don’t even get me started on the media capabilities of my Xbox 360 or PS3 with TVersity.  Stunning, to say the least.

So, Apple, why do you even keep this thing in your inventory?  Is there a promise you’re planning on fulfilling at some point?  Or are you just going to keep it around and ‘see what happens.’  I almost feel ashamed for buying the thing.  You know, building this thing took resources from the planet and people had to assemble it!  At this point it seems like that work is for nothing.  Furthermore, Apple TV is nowhere to be found on your main site, and I actually only found references to it in the store.

If you’re so focused on making the iPad a ‘media consumption device,’ then the least you could do is assign the same goal to Apple TV.  Last I checked, the TV in my living room is almost completely dedicated to media consumption!  And you’ve got a piece of hardware that works great with it.

Apple, please either make this device what it should be or just cut bait.  I need to shrink my pile of unused electronics, and I would rather use it than get rid of it.  Maybe I need to have a yard sale…

Robert.

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