Sunday, March 6, 2016

An opionated comment: Galaxy Tab 3 vs. iPad2

Android vs. iPad

+++Android Galaxy Tab 3 10.1+++
Galaxy Gab 3 omes with Polaris Office
Has a more sensible keyboard with numbers, visible cases, no auto cap after backing up like iPad
Power cord stays in better
Same brightness percentage as iPad is brighter on Galaxy Tab 3
Has folders built-in, of course
Natively allows division of sound levels among three areas 
Higher resolution screen, much sharper

+++iPad2 iOS6+++
iPad keyboard slightly larger 
Android keyboard laggy
Built-in Android word app quirky and has no email out function (?!)
Android apps have to keep being killed or affects battery life
Android keeps reopening apps that have been killed using 3rd party killer ("Simple Task Killer")
Google Play store pretty weird, have go use 3rd party app to log out ("Log Out!")
iPad sleeps apps not being used so don't have to have constant viligence (I hear the latest Android version does this now too, but the Galaxy Tab 3 is still on Jelly Bean and can't be updated, presumably due to the processor)
Android updates Google-branded apps even when you set Auto Update off (Settings-->About Device-->Software Update-->Auto Update)
Android has on way to move cursor in between characters when typing

IPad Apps: The Truth

We have always marveled, those of us who are smitten by the tablet and particularly its iPad permutation, at how economically-priced apps are.  Many are free and few are more than $5.  Though there is the occasional $29 app, these are rare and you know when you see one it is a pretty serious app.  LogMeIn comes to mind.  Well, six years and countless apps later the shine has worn off this seeming bonus.  The truth is, and understand beforehand I am interested only in productivity apps, ninety five percent of the apps on the Apple Store are junk.  Either they don’t do what they say they wiil, or they do something completely different, or they crash repeatedly, or they are more glitz than guts.  Ergo, it literally takes downloading and installing and trying out an average of ten and sometimes 20 apps just to find one good one.  And oddly enough, price is never an indicator or anything.  Example: out of five apps downloaded for html email production, only one actually works let alone works well, and it cost one-fifth what the most expensive of the bunch cost.  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The trend in mobile computers

At one time I was fairly current in the handheld electronics segment.  Sucked in by the lure of ultra-portable tools with which to pursue my writing hobby, and later enamored with the idea of these devices' supposed convergence with mobile phones, I owned several Palm PDAs, numerous early Pocket PCs, a few Palm phones, and the very first Pocket PC Phone (yep, pre-Windows, literally Windows Phone).  Sadly, they were not great experiences.  The promises of these early devices always fell far short of expectations.  I suspect that for many the sheer pleasure of having such toys outweighed many of their profound shortcomings (Pocket PCs could not be carried in the pocket as they would turn themselves on and repeatedly overheated due to the body's temperature).  The bottom line on these devices is that none of these "smart" tools were very smart.  None did both phone and PIM (personal information management) equally well.  It was always one or the other, and usually very much so.  The ability to multitask, i.e., access your notes app while on a call, was rare, for example, and worse, using the PDA side of the device often caused hard resets.  

So when smartphones really hit their stride I was jaded and skeptical.  It wasn't until I borrowed an iPad on a business trip a few years ago that I came out of my funk technology-wise and embraced portable electronics again.  Today I own both an iPad and an iPhone.  They are everything all the previous things promised to be and weren't.  And then some.  I also went through a couple of Droids in my search for the perfect instrument, and still own a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3.  The Tab 3 is not even close to my iPad2 in ease of use, by the way, though it has its good points.

In my mind the most significant consumer electronic device ever produced has to be the iPad.  Millions of us can never be happy using a laptop again.  Why would we?  I have done incredible things with my iPad.  Bought a house (everything from finding it to signing the papers), built all my currrent webpages, wrote all my website articles of the past two and a half years, continue to maintain a number of blogs, run my business (not only emails but a makeshift but very workable CRM as well), keep a Facebook presence, created QR codes, and a lot more.  Yup, a rabid iPad convert, that's me.  And for the record, I loathe iOS7; a huge step backward for Apple and indicative in my mind of the lack of sense driving the company post-Jobs.  

I think Jobs did something extremely few do today.  He developed products until they were great ("insanely great," remember?).  No one does this any more.  Much the way auto manufacturers strive to deliver new models each year and in the process never take the time to develop cars to work really well, computer (and by extension, mobile device) companies, in their quest for staying on the leading edge of technology, do the same thing; they never really develop their products to the point that they do the basic things exceptionally well.  Worse, this means software has to change to keep up, another aggravation for those of us who go through the agony of finding the best software, only to have it soon stop functioning because the OS has been updated.  Do you find it interesting, as I do, that legacy PC software is gathering more and more adherents?  Two increasingly popular legacy Windows software sites are and  Check them out.  Furthermore, the worth of used iOS6 iPads on eBay and Craigslist has gone up, vintage Windows 3.1 File Manager has recently been recoded to work on 64-bit machines, and the popularity of alternate OS such as Linux is increasing.  It's sad when technology is so good it isn't usable any more.  Many people want hardware and software that adds actual productivity to life, not merely entertainment.  

Because another piece of this is that both hardware and software developers are focusing their energies on entertainment.  Maybe it says something about this era's society.  It is becoming a chore to find apps for either Apple or Android devices without first wading through pages of games.  Where do folks find the time for this stuff?  And the devices themselves are first and foremost multimedia vehicles, and productivity tools a distant second.  Who is driving this, I wonder.  Is it the buying public?  Or have developers discovered that in the same way sex sells beer, Netflix and angry birds sell tablets?

It's possible that both the hardware and software usability devolutions are tied to how corporations work today.  Upwardly mobile professionals have to regularly reinvent existing products to stay on their supervisor's radar, promotion-wise.  We're at the point I fear that this constant reinvention has taken precedence over genuine product development.  Far from being a Luddite, I embrace improvement.  But new is not always better, is it?  And must we increasingly, with improvements also endure products driven by a corporation's objectives instead of the user's needs?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

and time marches on...

So here is the iOS7-adulterated iPad, freshly jailbroken.  But less usable than before.  Progress.  Sigh...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

iOS7, could it be any uglier?

Apple!  So.  Let's see.  You fixed one or two of the annoying auto typing glitches, and oh yeah, a couple of global functions that were oddly missing finally made their appearance.  But what the hell were you thinking?!  How could anyone come up with an interface as ugly as this one?  Especially after all those years of beauty?  I cannot fathom it.  You hand the task off to a grade school kid, or what?  Flat icons, hard to read text, and one of the world's best browsers now unaccountably and unarguably the worst.  Why?  I predict a strong market for retro iOS right about now.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

more great apps!

I have been using three really great apps lately. First, Procreate, which somehow manages to do all that the Photoshop app should do but doesn't. Layers, in particular.

I have started to experiment with QR codes and after reading this app's developer's material, just had to get his app, Qrafter.

Finally, at the same time I have been exploring the use of truncated URLs, on my websites mainly and in other uses. I first tried tinyurl's app, but didn't find the combination of ease and power I was looking for. So bitly's short menu got the nod. Great app!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Just checking in...

Two years in and it hasn't lost its luster for me. Great device! And jailbroken I can input and output files of all kinds via thumb (flash) drive! This is a subject all by itself, but I can see why Apple focused on cloud functionality. One day maybe I will rely on offsite storage more than I do today. But my Boomer sensitivities don't lend well to it, lol! In the meantime, thumb drives it is! For the record, here is what I do with my iPad:
Build and maintain my several websites
Perform CRM duties
Write blogs
Maintain a Facebook presence
Maintain shop inventory and communicate with vendors
Maintain a presence on several user forums
Maintain my YouTube channel
Store and maintain a tech document collection
Store and maintain an image collection