Posts Tagged Technology

Convertible Laptops, Windows 8, and SkyDrives Oh My!

This last week, I had the opportunity to work with a convertible laptop running Windows 8.

Normally when I travel, I take my MacBook, it’s reliable, but heavy to schlep around, or my iPad, if I don’t expect to need to do much work.

I love my iPad.  It’s very useful, lightweight, handy and fast.  It goes with me almost literally everywhere.  It requires relatively little by way of maintenance.  The battery life is crazy good.  But it’s not really well suited for the work I often have to do.  The MacBook is powerful enough for work but gets very heavy after a day of travel.

I like the idea of the convertible laptop and given a chance, thought I’d give it a try.   I’ve been using a Lenovo Yoga.  For typing, taking notes and so on, I like the physical keyboard – I can type significantly faster on a physical keyboard.  For most basic tasks – email, watching a movie, checking the news, the tablet functionality is great.  It’s more powerful than a tablet, but less than a full blown laptop.  It weighs in at about three pounds so much less than a traditional laptop, but significantly more than a tablet. Read the rest of this entry »

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Did Microsoft Waste the Last Decade?

Here’s an interesting longish article about Microsoft.

The article talks about the ways in which Microsoft, the computer giant of the 1990s, missed many steps in the last decade, releasing products after competitors, releasing poor products, and ultimately releasing products few consumers wanted.

I’ve critiqued the Windows platform before – it’s clunky, slow, freezes and sometimes just flat out crashed all the time.  Where the folks at Apple have a sense of aesthetics, their products are cool to hold and use, Microsoft manages to turn to products that somehow feel gargantuan and awkward.  The article talks about the ways in which Microsoft’s corporate culture has stifled innovation and how the company’s missteps have resulted in a lost time and marketing mojo.  To give one example, Microsoft had an e-book reader almost market ready, abandoned the effort and now the Kindle the is the biggest ebook reader around.  The article is worth a read.

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Saturday Evening Thoughts on iPods and Technological Innovation

The mediagasm over the release of iPad2 has got me thinking about technology and innovation.

I was looking at my first iPod the other night – I have the white one with the four buttons and the tiny bluish screen; the dial shaped trackpad.  These days, the battery lasts about 30 minutes.  Its 20 gig storage seemed vast at the time.  It was a revelation about technology; next to it my then brand new state of the art cell phone was clunky.  I can still feel the thrill of opening that box for the first time and looking at this amazing piece of engineering.  Suddenly, music was easy – no CDs, few limits; the entire collection in my hand.

Apple’s real innovation, the turning point, was the iPod.  The iPod demonstrated that technology could be personalized, portable, easy to use and extremely profitable.  It transformed the computer industry, the music industry, and our personal lives.  I believe the iPod was more important than cell phones in terms of our relationship with our technology because the iPod transformed how we relate to technology while cell phones were and continue to be extensions of well established technology – powerful, yes, but not transformative.

Think about the smartphone – whether a Blackberry, an iPhone, an Android device or what – and you see the iPod – technology that is powerful but easy to use in the palm of your hand.  As computing power requires smaller and smaller devices, the devices can do more and more efficiently without growing in size. Read the rest of this entry »

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