the itjerk

my adventures with technology

Tag Archives: ipad

iPad2 repair #2

iPad2 repair #2

Second time I’ve had to replace the digitizer. Didn’t bother replacing the plastic mid-frame bezel, so not worth the effort. And this time rubber bumper is being ordered before the kids get it back


nexus 7 tablet review

Tablet arrived yesterday. After getting it out of the box, (yes, no small feat), I started it up. First up was logging on to Wifi, and with that accomplished, the tablet knew who I was. I then entered my Gmail password and it was all ready to go. Easy, right.

Before I could poke around too much, I was notified that a System Update was available, Android 4.1.1. After rebooting, I immediately downloaded Amazon's Kindle and MP3 apps from the Google Play Store. It's significant: with these apps on board, why buy the Kindle Fire (which restricts what apps can be downloaded and doesn't offer Google's Play Store)?

The user experience is fantastic. It's sharp, it's fast, there's little to nothing to complain about. Asus did a bang up job and it only cost $199 plus tax and shipping, but with a $25 Play credit. Wifi is the limitation, but for a device that won't leave the house or office, there's no issue.

One thing I have to mention is that this tablet – any tablet for that matter – is it's kid glue. My daughters were chomping at the bit to get their hands on it, and within a few minutes of first possession, they had downloaded four games, along with some annoying shortcuts that appeared on the desktop. As a single user device, it needs to allow some protection from little meddling hands. Do I want my kids to access my Gmail? Spending with my Google Wallet? What prevents them from doing so?

A few oddities: There is no camera app, and I'm just not quite sure how the screen rotation works – I found it. In the notification drop-down at the top of the screen, there is a "lock" with two arrows. Simply "unlock". Also, arranging the icons on the desktop will always seems to be cumbersome to me.

Some cool apps:
Banshee Remote – control Banshee (linux music program) on local network
Squeezebox – app for controlling Logitech's Squeezebox
QuickDic – foreign language dictionairies

I'll update this as I use it….

kindle apps, developer notes

This just in from Engadget:
"For instance, Amazon says it will review every app in its Appstore for Fire compatibility, as part of an automated process. Rejected apps, Amazon informs us, will include those that rely on a gyroscope, camera, WAN module, Bluetooth, microphone, GPS, or micro SD. Apps are also forbidden from using Google's Mobile Services (and in-app billing), which, if included, will have to be "gracefully" removed. In terms of actual content, Amazon has outlawed all apps that change the tablet's UI in any way (including theme- or wallpaper-based tools), as well as any that demand root access (it remains to be seen how the company will treat the root-dependent apps already in its store)."

Um, doesn't really sound like an Android device, does it?

On the web:
Amazon Appstore Developer Portal

amazon kindle fire

From the kindle, comes the fire. As the tech world so accurately predicted, Jeff Bezos introduced Amazon's newest addition to the Kindle family today. And as predicted, it was a 7" color Android tablet for less than $300. The Kindle Fire is very much an Amazon tablet however as it has no access to the Google Apps. Not surprising, as the tablet is certainly meant to connect to Amazon for all its services: Amazon Prime for video, Amazon MP3 store and Cloud Drive for music, Kindle Store for books, Amazon Apps for Angrybirds, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and all the Android apps that Amazon approves of. It's web browser is one Amazon Silk, and reportedly uses the power of Amazon's massive EC2 Cloud to boost browsing speeds. The price, at $199, is amazing low, in fact, lower than predicted.

Here's the specs:
OS: Android 2.3, heavily modified
Display: 7" multi-touch display 1024 x 600 IPS panel, Gorilla Glass coating
Processor: 1GHz TI OMAP dual-core CPU with 512MB RAM
Size: 7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45" (190 mm x 120 mm x 11.4 mm).
Weight: 14.6 ounces (413 grams).
System Requirements: None, because it's wireless and doesn't require a computer.
On-device Storage: 8GB internal.
Cloud Storage: Free cloud storage for all Amazon content
Battery Life: Up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback, with wireless off.
Charge Time: Fully charges in approximately 4 hours via power adapter. Also supports USB.
Wi-Fi Connectivity: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n
USB Port: USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)
Audio: 3.5 mm stereo audio jack, top-mounted stereo speakers.
Content Formats Supported: Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, non-DRM AAC, MP3, MIDI, OGG, WAV, MP4, VP8.

The big question however is what kind of tablet computer is the Kindle Fire. It's certainly no iPad killer, but that probably wasn't the point. Obviously, the device is the perfect gateway for Amazon selling content to you; why, it's probably even subsidized by the fact that Amazon's banking on the user buy content from them. It is reasonably priced, comfortably portable, and from the looks of it, extremely functional. But is it worth buying if you're not interested in any of Amazon's content? Is the Kindle Fire a real Android tablet? Or is it an Amazon slot machine?

On the web:
Kindle Fire from Amazon

iPad’s black hole

I know, so much is being said about this already… but here's the main points: 1) it's a big iPhone, with some fancier multi-touch and a better display and 2) applications are only available via the Apps store. So as I read the chatter on the pros/cons of the device, I gotta side with the naysayers. The iPad is not revolutionary and it is not a computer; it's an appliance that continues the lockdown trend at Apple of only running "approved" applications. There's little good in that, even if the vast majority of users would never consider anything but what Apple allows.

Now, if it had OS X on it, I could run server admin tools – how cool would that be!?

Update – to further the "appliance" argument, Apple will replace the device, not battery!

Update Update – Seen it, used, etc. One critique that seems to have been complete missed by the media – it's one big money sucking black hole. Pay for that 3G plan. Buy a .mac account. Buy from iTunes. Buy apps. Buy. Buy. Bye.

Something tells me we don't need electronic devices whose sole purpose is to extra money from your wallet.

On the web:
Apple iPad