Posts Tagged ‘apple’

iPad Mini: It’s definitely a small iPad

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Yep. It’s a wee iPad 2.

I, uh..

I’m really grasping here. I have no idea what to say about this thing. Hooray, they’ve made a tablet smaller than a turkey platter, and the best part is that it’s specced like their last generation tablet?

I won’t lie, I’m a big Nexus 7 fan, and by “a big fan” I mean “I giggled out loud like an eight year old girl the first time I used it.” I consider it the best technology purchase I’ve made in easily the last three years, and I reach for it with a consistency completely absent from my time with the iPad and iPad 2. The iPad Mini, therefore, had a pretty steep climb ahead of it if it wanted to summit Mt. Brad Is Impressed. (n.b. Not a real mountain.)

Needless to say, it didn’t get there. It arrived in precisely the expected size, specs, and price range, but none of them make it a worthwhile alternative to the Nexus 7 unless you’re heavily invested in Apple’s ecosystem already.

The one thing that’s interesting about the iPad Mini is what it represents for Apple: a clear deviation from the “what would Jobs do” mentality, a repudiation of his stance that a smaller tablet would mean a lower price point and would be unable to properly “express the software”, whatever that means. For this alone it is noteworthy, albeit not really worth buying.

On Sartorial Sour Grapes

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Greetings, loyal readers! My new job has involved playing no small amount of catch-up on matters technical, as two years in a mostly advisory role will leave anyone’s tools a bit rusty. Thankfully this recuperative period seems to be complete, and I once more have reserves of time and (most importantly) vitriol to expend.

Oddly, the most vexatious challenge I’ve encountered so far in this transition has been one of wardrobe. At my last post I was a support person to a relatively important general officer who routinely took meetings with other relatively important people. While the GO in question couldn’t have cared less about what I wore, every day carried a non-zero probability of making small talk with a senior official of one sort or another. Thus prudence and a healthy sense of “dress for the job you want” dictated a routine minimum of shirt, slacks, and tie. It didn’t take long for the uniform to become normal and even enjoyable. I clean up well, as the saying goes, and learning and employing the rules that govern men’s attire has become something of hobby.

My new job, without getting into too many specifics, is not one in which I am likely to utter the phrase “Good morning Senator, it’s lovely to see you again.” I now work in basic research, and am deliriously happy to be surrounded by so many minds of a scientific bent similar to my own. It’s been years since I’ve felt so content in the workplace. Or, rather, would feel so content if it weren’t for the wardrobe.

I would say that there has been some¬†resentment, but that isn’t the right word. Wariness perhaps? I speak of engineers and scientists, people for whom a tie is an inconvenient necessity worn only when one is forced to meet one’s superiors because one’s funding is in jeopardy. People who wear them routinely, even like wearing them, are clearly unbalanced and not to be trusted.

I could have dealt with that, really. They’d have come around once they’d gotten to know me, maybe seen me scream bloodcurdling invective at some obstinate piece of code and realized I was just one of the guys. Or at least they might have done, were it not for the suspenders.

I’m quite happy to report that I’ve been losing a great deal of weight in the last few months, mostly due to changes in diet and the purchase of a Nike Fuelband. (The virtues of which I’ll detail in another post.) One unfortunate side effect of this development is that I’m starting to swim in my own clothes. My wedding band won’t stay on my ring finger and must be worn on my middle finger instead, and my shirts are starting to look like I borrowed them from some gargantuan older brother. Worst of all, my pants flatly refuse to stay up unless I cut yet another hole in an already heavily-edited belt. One can only do this so many times before the waist of one’s trousers begins to look like a pie crust.

Once I’d reached that point the choices were a) get the pants altered multiple times between now and my target weight, b) buy new pants every quarter, or c) buy some suspenders, tough it out til I hit my target weight, and then buy a new wardrobe. To me, C looked to be the optimal choice, offering both cost savings and a new avenue for sartorial exploration. I made the requisite purchase, and this morning set sail into new and exciting waters of accesorization.

I think it’s very likely that I could have shown up to work in a smock made of rotting muskox hides with a sign around my neck reading “Ask me about my leprosy sores!” and received fewer looks of scorn and disgust than I have today. Every stranger I have passed in the halls has sported a sullen glare or subtly curled lip, and even teammates who know me well have joked about attempts to make them look bad by comparison. Perhaps they make me look managerial, perhaps they make people self-conscious about their jeans and sneakers, who knows, but the suspenders are clearly are a bridge too far.

This is not to say that I’ll stop wearing them, of course. I look damned good in them, they’re quite comfortable, and they solve my trouser-suspension issue admirably. Anyone who takes issue can either step up their game or, to put it politely, go verb a noun.

A few tech-related tidbits, since this is supposedly a blog about tech:

  • Apple’s iPhone announcement nicely illustrates the future of their product lines: boring incremental updates. As The Verge aptly points out, there was an incredible chance to turn the Nano into the first generation of smart watches the market is clamoring for, and Apple flubbed it.
  • My Nexus 7 continues to be the best technology investment I’ve made in recent memory. Go buy one.
  • Twitter has decided that they’d rather be a newswire for the Kardashians and Biebers of the world than a platform for innovative social stuff. I’ve never used it heavily, and I honestly can’t see myself using it much longer.

More to come.

The Ubuntu TV: Wait, what?

Friday, April 6th, 2012

If Mark Shuttleworth had sounded off like this a couple of years ago I’d have laughed in his face. Twenty million PCs? Ubuntu TV? Competing in Apple’s space? Hell, I wouldn’t have just laughed, I’d have pointed and laughed.

Then along came Unity. Traditional Linux types loathe it almost universally. It isn’t anything like Gnome, KDE, or any of its other predecessors, but it is very much like OS X, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. There isn’t much in the way of customization, which is irritating to your run-of-the-mill Linux power user, but it is very…nice. It’s 99% dead simple automagic, and for every machine I installed it on it was bulletproof. I couldn’t bring myself to use it as a daily driver for more than a couple weeks, but I’d be perfectly comfortable setting it up for any of my layperson family members.

With Unity I genuinely get the feeling that the common man’s Linux desktop has finally arrived, and in such a way that I really do feel like Canonical could be competing in Apple’s space in five or so years, provided they spend some serious time and money on polish.

Update:¬†For those of you wondering why I didn’t mention Red Hat competing in this space, it’s because they aren’t. Not at all. I’ve actually brought this up a few times with a Red Hat exec of my acquaintance. Every time I point out that Ubuntu is poised to lock them out of the mobile & consumer markets he just sort of shakes his head and says “I know, and I keep telling them that, but it never gets anywhere.”