Category Archives: Gear

Posts about hardware, software, or the tech industry itself

I will be buying an iPad… but why?

Apple ended months (for some people years) of speculation today by finally announcing the upcoming release of a tablet computer, the iPad. Like pretty much everything Apple releases, there is an overwhelming amount of hype surrounding the device, and many “true believers” are disappointed by what the device offers.

Even so, I plan on buying one when it becomes available. I thought it would be appropriate to explain my rational on the theory that my friends and family may doubt my sanity more than usual as a result.

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Solid state drives: “next year’s” big thing yet again…

Solid state drives (SSDs) have been “next year’s great technology” for about six years now. Each year it seems that all it would take would be some economies of scale, and we could cast off the shackles of mechanical “spinning disk” technology for good. Unfortunately, another year has come and gone, and still SSDs are too little for too much…

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Packing up…

I’m organizing my electronics, clothing, and sundries for our trip to Nova Scotia. The plane leaves at around 7:30 PM tomorrow, and we arrive in Halifax at about 6:30 am or some similar ungodly hour- I’m only vaguely aware of the actual itinerary.

The actual details of the travel are not that interesting to me at the moment. The important stuff, of course, is what to take and what to do when we get there.

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Robotic dexterity

The progress of robotics over the last few decades has seemed fairly slow to me. Robots today at their best seem to shuffle or stumble along like zombies, their movements more scripted and controlled than dynamic or lively. I watched a video today, however, that makes me feel like some real progress is actually being made.

Here is what I watched… and be aware that this is a robotic appendage reacting in real time to visual and tactile data, *not* a strictly scripted series of movements.

iPhone 3GS overheating- not a new problem

There has been a bit of a hullaballoo lately regarding overheating problems with the latest iPhone, the 3GS. Some users have complained about the phone getting hot enough to discolour the back of the case (most visible on white iPhones), and a few have even said it nearly burnt their skin. The funny thing is that this is far from a new phenomenon for iPhone users.

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Iran repression: the other side of the technology story

The news has been full this week with stories of what is going on in Iran, and more specifically with how technology is helping protesters get their message out. Without Twitter and its ilk, the story goes, no one would know what was really happening under the boot of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Unfortunately, the protesters are not the only ones benefitting from technology. Iran’s oppressive government, with help from Nokia and Siemens, has implemented a subversion scanning system currently deep-inspecting nearly every piece of data flowing in and out of the country. Apparently this includes virtually all phone calls. Better yet, they are now using crowdsourcing techniques to help put names and addresses to photos of protesters. Protesters who will undoubtedly be “disappeared” once identified.

Those folks in Iran using Twitter to let us know about what is happening there are taking their lives into their own hands, thanks to technology sold, implemented, and serviced by suppliers from supposedly enlightened democratic nations. If I was one of the employees from Nokia or Siemens responsible for their wonderful new spy system, I would be asking my bosses some pretty pointed questions right at the moment. Right before I put in my resignation.

New XBox stuff announced at E3: Natal and full downloads

E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) has suffered through some setbacks in the last few years. The industry show is basically a venue for the manufacturers of computer games and game related products to communicate with the media. Normal citizens like you and I are not allowed to attend. The big vendors like Microsoft and Nintendo decided a few years ago that the show was costing too much money for not enough return, and they withdrew en masse. E3 went through some gyrations to try to re-invent itself, but has basically come back identical to what it was, just a bit smaller. I’m not sure what has really changed, but the big vendors seem to be back.

This post isn’t about E3, though: instead, it is about a couple of interesting (to me) announcements that Microsoft made at the event. Project Natal, a full-body motion interface with no actual controller, and XBox Live full game downloads.

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Life with a BlackBerry Bold

I have had my BlackBerry now for a couple of weeks, so it is probably time for me to give my initial impressions. At this point, I can say I am quite impressed with the BlackBerry Bold. I am happy I chose it over the BlackBerry Storm or the iPhone. There is definitely room in the market for a choice of devices, and the iPhone is not always “the best”. Now on to my explanations and observations.

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Shiny….

I like new gadgets. This isn’t really a general desire for new things, but rather new technology. Sometimes this desire can be beneficial: as a direct result of my interest in technology that is desnew, I am arguably more aware of the current state of the computer, game console, and smart phone markets. Other times, though, my interest becomes a bizarre kind of fixation, one which I often can not logically justify.

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