Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mojave Experiment

No, not some secret nuclear research group in Los Alamos or Area 51. The Mojave Experiment was run by Microsoft last month and has not been blogged about much in the mainstream blogosphere (Engadget, Valleywag, Techcrunch). So I decided to give ol' MSFT a hand. They essentially did what Pepsi did with the "Pepsi Challenge" by blind-user testing people with Vista, claiming it was a new OS code-named Mojave. "Mojave" got much better reviews than Vista did - almost double the rating. This tells me nothing, because I was pretty happy with Vista when I started using it at work this summer. I would have got it earlier if my poor Dell Inspiron 600m could have taken it. Most of the anti-Vista sentiment is the visceral reaction of many people against everything from Redmond, combined with some harsh but creative "Get A Mac" ads out of 1 Infinite Loop.

Check out the results for yourself.

iPod Touch/iPhone Gripes

iPod Touch/iPhone wishlist:After using the iPod Touch for about a month now (each), my friend Simon and I have come up with a wishlist for Apple's hot touchgadgets. While some of these are highly unlikely and probably only important to a niche market, I hope many of you will agree and wait for Steve to announce a really cool looking way to do this that limits everything (I have issues with how closed off Apple is at times, which is the same thing Mac users say about Microsoft, ironically). Anyway, without further ado...

=Copy/paste (update: coming soon!)

- Open link in new tab (Safari)

-Continue playing music from other apps (so I can listen to Pandora while playing a game)

-iTunes radio stations (although AOL radio is the best thing they've done since AIM)

- Yelp for the touch!!!----
-Tabbed browsing (switch without tap)
-Reload-previous page on stop command
-Faster boot
-Easier app-closing
-Backplate replacement/complimentary buffing service
-Faster sync
-Google calendar sync/default
-Email search and tagging
-Play music apps while playing games
-Hidden options manual
-dedicated text-entry "button" - email
-Autofill forms
-Custom icon (other than web pages
-Reverse scroll on home page
-landscape keyboard option standard for all apps
-screen orientation lock
-edit font size to full width
-edit font type
-complete full screen reading
-auto scroll down
-louder alarm
-infrared tv remote
-multiplayer games across wifi/infrared

I Want Sandy

I usually don't like to make pitches even for cool products, because I often cant 1) afford them or 2) really make good use of them. But Sandy is an exception, and no I'm not personifying my Crackberry or something. is a web-based personal assistant service, and free for those of us who aren't CEOs. You can email Sandy with any reminder, to-do item, appointment, or whatever. My dad has a recurring reminder to sleep at 1 AM every day, which can be sent via email or text. The texting function is especially good because with the amount of email most of us get, we tend to ignore it (especially those people who have real assistants). It seems trivial, but it's actually really nice to just type something really fast than use the sometimes clumsy interfaces of digital calendars, which are the main reason people don't use them. Bits and bytes of text have not yet replaced chicken scratch on the backs of envelopes for many, mostly for speed. Typing and digital tools are great for things that would otherwise be time-consuming (typing a book or report for example), but not yet for the really fast things. An analogy is that it's easier to walk to the corner store than jump in your car and have to find parking too. Anyway, a quick email is all it takes, and there's a mountain of sync options:

1) Sync with Outlook calendar and to-do list through iCalendar
2) Sync with any other calendar like Google calendar that can support a web-feed
3) RSS feed (then open up new/old entries on your mobile device - including iPhone/Touch)
4) Through either outlook or web-based Google calendar or RSS, you can check it on your mobile device. Friends who use it can also set reminders for shared appointments, etc.
5) Absolutely the coolest, though it's gonna be fee-based starting next week. Jott Pro links up with Sandy so you can actually talk with your assistant with your voice!

I have already missed several meetings at work because I've been engrossed in another one meeting and been late for another, more imporant one because I wasn't at my desk to get the Outlook reminder. If I had gotten a text, it would've been awesome! You can also edit the email address to be something to your liking, and also enable other email addresses (your work and personal email for example) to set reminders/tasks/appts. This way, you can keep everything else the way you like it with the same software but not let things fall through the cracks!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Music In the Shower

Most everybody I know sings in the shower, if only now and then. I tend to alternate signing and thinking about potential blog entries personally, but I digress. Why aren't shower radios/CD players/waterproof iPod skins more plentiful? In my apartment my roommates and I have taken to blasting music through our surround sound systems in our respective rooms so we can hear it through the walls in the bathroom, but mostly the treble gets lost and all i hear is the rhythmic bass of hip-hop songs from the subwoofer. I'd really like to be able to enjoy some punk-rock in there too - so seriously, less copycat iPod docks and more music in the shower gadgetry! It's not really that hard - I just need something that can handle a few drops of water and not go buggy, or even something unobtrusive that I can hang right outside the shower that won't get muffled and doesn't mind a little moisture and steam. If it could be wireless and could access a dynamic iTunes playlist, that would be great. It's pretty cool to download a bunch of music from a new artist and assess with some suds, right? Or test out a new movie soundtrack with some conditioner? Maybe Bill and Steve already have this up their sleeves as part of their "take over your house" initiatives, but leak something so I can dream about my bathroom being added to the rest of my home which is slowly but surely approaching media nirvana.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Death of the Superwatch

As late as the 90s, secret agents in movies, including 007 of course, were equipped by their respective Q's with superwatches of the future. The watch would be able to control everything from a car to sattelite communications. Of course, it also came with a handy high-powered laser. What happened to all that? The cell phone. Gone are the days it seems, when the device that almost anybody had at hand (haha...) was their wristwatch. You put it on in the morning, took it off and placed it on your nightstand. Kids used to be excited to get their first watches because the felt like "big-kids" - I remember! But now I can't think of more than few of my friends that wear watches, and one of them only does it on special occassions and just for fashion. Will I ever see the superwatches of yore that I used to dream about after watching Bond movies? Probably not. But it seems the cell phone has taken over. The smartphone will soon be ubiquitous and will follow of the trend of starting out really bulky, slimming down to the point where people can stand that extra weight in their pocket, and then consuming so many devices around it as it becomes "smarter". Too bad. I was really hoping to plunk down for the extra-high powered laser on my first Rolex.