The Magazine Pile Up

With the Nexus 7 and the spread of the iPad it got me thinking a lot about the digital magazine format. In general, I love the entire idea of digital magazines. Carrying a year’s worth of magazines all at once, the new touch interface, interactive components, downloads at your finger tips, and the lack of a paper mountain in your room that makes you look like a crazy hoarder because I don’t want to throw them away. For comic books it worked out this way for me, I read them constantly have hundreds of them on my Galaxy Nexus, iPad, and any other device that Comixology downloads to. I want this to be the future of magazines, well I think.

I say “I think” because I have a secret. Aside from a few magazines that I have to read the day they arrive, I tend to forget about the other magazines because they’re not piling up in my face, filling me with guilt for buying these things and not reading them. And for all the conveniences tablets provide, casually thumbing through a magazine on your iPad still isn’t quite as casual as it is with a paper copy. Am I the only one who has an even bigger backlog of magazine reading thanks to the advent of the Apple & Android Devices? Anyone else feel a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of Next Issue?

Review: Google Nexus 7

AFter a long 3 to 4 week wait I got notification that my Nexus 7 has shipped and its on its way, as soon as I got it I even went out of my way to get it on Friday afternoon on a hot day the first day of Ramathan to start tinkering with it. I had my hunting knife ready to rip the box apart since those youtube video’s showed how impossible it was to open the box, and in this case it was so with the knife I made short work of the box, pretty much impossible to use the box again.

As soon as I took it out and started it up, they already had my email programmed into the Nexus 7, just had to sign in and everything is pretty much the same compared to any Android device. I have also been using Jellybean version of Android on my Samsung Nexus Galaxy, and I’m loving the interface so it wasn’t new to me when I was trying out the Nexus 7, Google did a great job with this software. When your handling it, it feels solid, the screen is fantastic, I didn’t try the camera yet but it isn’t a priority for me.

Just for people who are going to wonder, my home network runs on a US VPN when I switch on from the router so when I was using the Google Nexus 7 the IP was a US Based Address so I was able to play movies, magazines, and books right away. First thing I watched was Transformers Revenge Of The Fallen, very quick playback, excellent video quality, the Nexus 7 handled the action scenes flawlessly and the sound is pretty good too. For a tablet that size the speaker packs a punch, louder then I thought it would be. This is also one of the more annoying things, I took the Nexus 7 with me to another location and hooked up to the wireless, at that moment, Google Movies, Magazines, and Books disappeared so they are forever gone. I don’t understand why Google can’t sort out the media issue so everyone can access the content like Apple in this case.

Pros:

  • Screen Size is Perfect, you can really watch stuff on it without feeling that its too small or too big. You can take it around with you without feeling that its big as the iPad.
  • Battery life lasted about 2 days of extensive use with gaming, shows, instagram, surfing the web and all other sorts of utilities
  • The Price is really cheap compared to any iPad and yet its a powerful device with a great graphics.
  • Great for reading and writing emails, they have perfect the Gmail interface for the Nexus 7, its just so smooth and has all the Gmail features integrated into it.
  • It doesn’t feel like an oversized phone, it feels like a genuine tablet, and I have tried the Galaxy Note, and it feels very different.
  • It’s relatively light, and Asus have done a fantastic design with the design

Cons:

  • Content is still somewhat lacking in comparison to Apple.
  • There is a white screen problem that I am having, I can’t adjust the contrast on it so its a bit too white and it starts off too white then 15 mins later it adjust. I contacted Google Play Support and they are sending out a replacement unit right away, so it isn’t necessarily a con in this case since they didn’t even take 10 mins to say they would send out a replacement, I was just hoping for some sort of software fix for it. But I don’t mind getting a new unit.

Overall:

I love the device even though it’s lacking in content, its quick and presents all the information I want. If I’m somewhere with a wifi connection I don’t have to abuse my phone to keep me entertained, these days the amount of battery a phone has is important so I have started to abuse the Nexus 7. A lot of application work perfectly on this screen, and the Chrome Browser, Gmail and pretty much all Google Applications work better on the Nexus 7. I would recommend this tablet to anyone who is looking for something smaller then an iPad, and it can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. The Kindle Fire was my first experience with an Android Tablet, and it was good since it had the content to back it up, but it was majorly lacking in firepower but this machine is another story its the best hardware you can pack into it. I took a few screen shots so you can see how good the screen is, and a few of the applications.

Price: $280
Rating:


Continue reading…

New Mac Book Pro

I’m not usually posting about hardware updates from Apple but this one seemed very interesting and enticing. These new Mac Book Pro with Retina Displays are supercharged machines in a smaller size then expected.

The one thing that is oddly changed is that power socket for the new MBP Retina Display models. That means if you have been collecting the power cables for your Mac Book Pros & Mac Book Air for all these years then you can’t use them for the new machines, going to have to collect a whole new bunch of them.

As usual the price is also up there, for a while I have been thinking of getting a new laptop, probably a Zen Book, but this update has thrown a wrench into that idea with a very lovely spec sheet below. Still its a bit on the pricey side, I think I want to see one in real life before making a decision.

Standard Model: 2.3Ghz quad-core i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Intel HD 4000 & NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB [$2199]

Premium Model: 2.6GHz quad-core i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Intel HD 4000 & NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB [$2799]

Just to get an idea, this is the difference between the MBP 15 Inch & MBP Retina Display 15 Inch, and it packs a bigger punch then it’s predecessor.

Physical Comparison Between The Old & New MBPs

  • Height: 0.95 inch (2.41 cm) vs. 0.71 inch (1.8 cm)
  • Width: 14.35 inches (36.4 cm) vs. 14.13 inches (35.89 cm)
  • Depth: 9.82 inches (24.9 cm) vs. 9.73 inches (24.71 cm)
  • Weight: 5.6 pounds (2.56 kg) vs. 4.46 pounds (2.02 kg)

This is just a simple look into the Apple update on the Mac Book Pro. For a full breakdown check out all the articles over at Jacqui’s CouchAvenue she covers the Mac Book Pro, OSX Lion, iOS 6, and Other Minor Apple Updates. (She is the Apple Girl)

Spotify On The Go

I have always had issues with iTunes even though I still think that it is vital to my music choices when I’m listening to music on the go, and for last few months iTunes has been acting up a lot. Since making more and more playlists on Spotify I have slowly shifted my listening over to Spotify, I still use iTunes but even in the car I just stream my Spotify over the car’s Bluetooth Connection. I can stream Spotify through any type of Data connection and I don’t have to use a VPN, you only have use VPN when you sign up. Surprisingly the quality of the stream is really good, and it rarely cuts which is fantastic. Of course you have to have Premium Spotify to stream to your phone, and it works for both Android & iOS.

Spotify On iPad

If you love music and your not on Spotify yet you are honestly missing out, this is what iTunes should be like. I’m making music on the fly, listening to it on my car, and I’m also paying for the premium services so I can even download straight to my Samsung Galaxy Nexus, HTC One X, iPad, and PC without any issues. I have it integrated into my Sonos system, literally the reasons to have it are endless.

And at last they have come up with the iPad App and its worth the wait, they really did a fantastic job of making it seamlessly work with the iPad. I love that they took the time to design it in a way that makes use of every square inch of screen real estate that you have. This app does a lot, but it doesn’t rub the extra features in your face. The design is fairly clean. Playlists can be grouped neatly into folders, In addition, a tap-and-hold feature bring up additional options such as the ability to add something to a playlist or star it, and a new search autofill feature lets you find artists by typing in the first few letters. You can hunt down songs, albums, and playlists from the same box. But one main note, to use this App you need a Premium account, to use Spotify for free you can use the Desktop App, but its really worth paying for the Premium Service.

Cloud Storage of Every Kind

Right now you have a lot of choices for Cloud storage, the first player to the game being DropBox and they have integrated seemlessly into so many services and a lot of people use it naturally. Right now there are several cloud storage services out there: Microsoft SkyDrive, Apple iCloud, Google Drive, Box, & DropBox.

I for one shifted my iTunes and current Apple services to the iCloud, it just helped me access my iTunes from my other machines mainly and get my music on the cloud. SkyDrive interfaces with Microsoft very well but thats about it for me, doesn’t really fit my needs since I barely use Microsoft Office. Google Drive is very Google Docs oriented, a bit on the stiff side for me, stills its new and I haven’t had a chance to try it out completely. I haven’t really tried Box which is another independent service. DropBox has all my needs covered for now with an excellent updated online interface, works perfectly with Android & iOS, and does exactly what I need between my machines. Below is a comparison chart between the different services, the comparison done by Gizmodo, and the only major difference is that DropBox is a bit too expensive and I think they should bring down their prices but it is their core service in this case. You can also check out a more detailed analysis at the link below from Gizmodo, for now I’m sticking to DropBox.

Link: Gizmodo

Logitech Harmony Link

I have always wanted to control my media devices from my Android device or my iPad, and usually for my universal remote needs I use the Logitech Harmony One. This time around they have come up with the perfect little device and you don’t have to attach anything to your Android or Apple device to make it work, The Logitech Harmony Link ($100) is the solution. This sleek system consists of a small black transmitter that connects to your home network via Wi-Fi, letting you control your entire system from your Android or iOS device without the need for any dongles or other attachments. The hardware can be hidden in the cabinet and you can still control it, in my case I don’t have any TV guides to use but I do have all my different Activities that I have. If you have use any Logitech device before then this is very familiar to setup. There seems to be some negative reviews regarding its limitations but still its pretty good to get some activities going, I might get it to try it out.

Link: Logitech

Trent – IMP1000 Mobile Charger

This is the 4th Generation USB power bank for the latest iPad 3 “the new ipad” and iPad 2. It will never let your smart phones and Tablet PCs run out of battery. This compact and ultra long-lasting backup battery will be your perfect power solution on the go. When you travel, there’s no need to charge your devices through an electrical outlet, the iCruiser IMP1000 is the ultimate power source!

These days these amazing phones barely last 10 hours in a day, previously the Nokias and Ericssons would last a good 3 to 4 days before need a charge, I remember I would have just one charger but now I have to have a charger in the office, in the car, in the hallway, in every room, its ridiculous. Phone technology has advanced so much yet batteries haven’t changed much in the last two decades. Since I tend to travel a lot for work one of the things I get annoyed with is my phone running out of battery half way through a full day, and so after doing a bit of research the Trent 11000 was my choice and a great one at that. I charge the phones usually on the plane when I’m not using them, and that hour or two of charging brings it back to 100%. The Trent IMP1000 is like redbull but for electronics, it keeps giving it that kick. There are smaller versions but I opted for the larger one to charge my Kindle or iPad as well as my phones.

Pros:

  • USB connection, so you can connect any type of wire to it, MicroUSD, MacroUSB, Apple, anything really
  • Can charge your phone several times over
  • I charged it 3 months ago and it still has a very large amount of charge, doesn’t dissipate battery when not used
  • Charges Phones very quickly (iPhone & Android)
  • Charges iPads relatively quickly

Cons:

  • Its Bulky
  • Slow to Charge Itself
  • Its a Bit Heavy

Link: Amazon

Rating:


Continue reading…

Lacking In Skill

iMovie

One of the things that I always wanted to learn is how to edit videos and put something decent together. I always admire quality video work and I always wonder how they did together and the team that put it together and the equipment. Sometimes I come to the realization that I should just try it, I planned so much and even thought about buying Final Cut Pro, I was really really wrong! I got a lot of equipment that I use for photography and I use a lot of it, and recently I had the courage to try to put together a video together from all the footage I had. I use my Canon 7D for all my video footage and Go Pros or Flips for tight spaces, I have a storyboard or image in mind, I can even describe how I want it to together but I do not have the technical skills to do it, I wanted to rectify that and gain those skills. Since this time around I thought to myself that I had no expectations and I had the right tools in mind to try it out easy with iMovie. I spent the first two hours trying to figure things out and then another out trying to figure out how to transition, I was going nuts, it was taking too long to do something my head thought it was too easy.

Bloggers That Have Made Amazing Videos:

I really need to take a few lessons from these guys! I respected the work they did and now I respect them even more, I have managed to make some headway but I’m going to take it easy and figure this out. It is very time consuming but the end result will be worth it once I get it all together and get the perfect clip. Hopefully I will keep learning and getting better footage and better ideas together. Right now I’m going to stick to the simpler editor before going to something more complex.

LunaTik – AnTik & Lynk

The guys from LunaTik are back at it again, the ones who made the crazy CNC machined custom watch mount for the iPod Nano, and luckily when Apple made their update they didn’t change their design. They grown from their days of Kickstarter into a full fledged product developer for Apple products and a few other things. I’m still using both of my LunaTik & TikTok when I go riding or outdoor activites, and with that line they are developing other accessories for the iPod Nano.

They have come up with two new products:

Simply the Lynk is an all aluminum machine wrist band for the LunaTik which looks really cool. The AnTik is an analog watch which they developed to fit into the place of the iPod Nano in the LunaTik case which seems to be a smart idea. I like the clean look of both their new products and it seems they have a few new designs for the LunaTik that I might be checking out.

The original LunaTik premium conversion kit is now available for pre-order in an all aluminum version called Lynk. The Lynk is available in silver or black and features the same aerospace grade aluminum frame as the original LunaTik, but the silicone band has been upgraded to an anodized aluminum band with a silicone underbelly and full butterfly clasp. The Blackout version will feature PVD plated buckles and hardware as well as a black clasp. The Lynk band’s lightweight construction offers the comfort of silicone against the skin, combined with the look of precision-machined aluminum.

We thought our fans might appreciate the flexibility of wearing TikTok + LunaTik as an analog watch. Introducing AnTik, an analog watch module with 30 meter water resistance designed to fit all TikTok + LunaTik watch kits. The module is crafted from machined aluminum with a two-handed analog Japanese quartz movement. Now you have the option of swapping between your iPod nano or a contemporary timepiece, depending on your mood.