QR codes rock, strictly personal tablets don’t

Although I am aware of (and use) wonderful services like Read It Later, Springpad, Evernote and the ability to send myself links through various means such as mail, Twitter, Facebook updates or the old “typing what I read”, I find that shooting a QR code beats all of the above for ease of use and speed. Here’s the situation: I like to read ezines (web magazines, whatever you like to call them) on a tablet. In my case, I read them using Pulse on the Xoom. Sometimes I find something worth sharing, but here’s the problem: my wife and I share the tablet, so it’s not configured to use either of our social network logins.
Continue reading QR codes rock, strictly personal tablets don’t

Too busy!

You know how people always tell you they don’t have time, or they’re too busy to do something with/for you? This is what they’re really doing. Oh, and perfection matters, don’t try telling me otherwise 😉
simone jaap

Close the gap already!

E-1001, N900, T101h, iPhone 3G, N95 8Gb
E-1001, N900, T101h, iPhone 3G, N95 8Gb

I’m wondering what is causing phone manufacturers to keep inching towards the gap, but never quite closing it. What gap am I talking about? Well, the netbook/phone-gap of course. Early this year, I was very excited about Asus’ plans for the T101h. At the time, I was using a Nokia N95 8Gb. Now, we’re 8 months on and I’m using an Apple iPhone 3G 16Gb and Nokia has just announced the Nokia N900. At the same time, Asus’ ideas are being used by others like Fuyijama with the E-1001.

What all these devices have in common, is that you can stick a SIM card in them and use them to access the internet. Granted, with the iPhone I’m using I had to jump to more than a few hoops to actually get that to work, but rest assured I broke no laws in the process (unless buying a second-hand iPhone breaks a law somehow). What these devices also share, with the exception of the N95, is a touchscreen.

So, what’s this gap I’m talking about? The voice-capability! You cannot place a phone call with the T101h or the E-1001. Somehow, it seems that sizing up these devices causes them to lose phone capabilities somewhere along the line. Even though you can stick a SIM card in them, these devices are unable to use them for their original intended purpose: connecting to a mobile voice network.

Another thing that seems to ‘have to break’ when you scale up a phone is a decent camera. For some reason, Asus and Fuyijama seem to think that my desire to shoot a decent image disappears once I have a decent screen and a keyboard. Or, if you want, decent camera’ s and phone capabilities magically appear when you scale down a device far enough.

Come on people, stop feeding us these devices that just miss the mark. I know you’d like us to buy a few more devices before we finally get one that pretty much does it all. But at least offer something that has a 10-inch swiveling touchscreen, a 5MP camera, a physical qwerty-keyboard as well as an on-screen one and all the capabilities my 10-year old mobile has. Put it out at a premium, I don’t care. But while you’re at it, allow me to stick in at least one SIM card, get 3G and Wifi and stick in decent GPS as a bonus. Give it a normal 3.5mm jack and a regular mini-USB port as well as a memory expansion slot and we’re all set.

None of that is innovative, none of it is impossible to combine. The only innovative feature I want to see is the possibility to answer my phone, no matter the position of the screen and no matter the power state of the device (standby, on, booting). Sure enough, having all those functions will put a serious load on its battery (that’s why you need to be able to turn stuff off with just a few taps) but my iPhone only lasts a day too and I still use that. The revolution here will be that I no longer need to drag around 2 devices, but just the one. Hell, I’ll even promise I’ll buy a nice carrying sleeve (as long as it allows me to still answer the phone when it’s in there).

(oh, and more on my N95-8Gb vs. iPhone 3G later, it’s not an open-and-shut affair, sadly)

Get that champagne ready to go

Tonight, at 0:31:30 (23:31:30 PM UTC Feb 13 2009) it will be 1234567890 unit time. In case you’re not as much of a nerd as I am: unix timestamps are used in many database systems around the world to record date/time combinations. In this system, time is counted as the number of seconds that has passed since the start of 1970. Put on the clock tonight and keep that bottle ready to pop!

Sadly, leap seconds are ignored, so since we have counted 24 leap seconds since the start, you might want to leave the cork on until 0:31:54. I’m sure many of my colleagues at the National Archives – used to think about decades and centuries instead of seconds – can see the humour of of a system that won’t work beyond 1970 (or rather 1901) and will be useless starting January 19 2038…

Epoch fail!
Epoch fail!

Glossy screens, the idiot looking back at you

My recently acquired laptop has a screen that suffers the same problem as pretty much any laptop screen you can get nowadays. It’s glossy, shiny and mirrorlike. It’s a frustration shared by a lot of consumers and there has been a comprehensive article on shiny screens on Ars Technica since 2006, so it seems to be more than a hype. Continue reading Glossy screens, the idiot looking back at you

What is up with widescreens?

I’m in the market for a new laptop and have been trying to find something that fits my preferences. It turns out that finding something that really does is going to be very hard because of a single reason: nearly all laptops currently being produced have a widescreen display. What is up with these widescreens? Continue reading What is up with widescreens?