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Showing posts from December, 2010

Android App Inventor

The only advantage of getting older (until I qualify for the Seniors' discount at Denny's anyway), is being able to see trends repeat themselves.

I wrote previously that what is happening with the iPhone/iPad running Apple' iOS operating system versus tablets and phones running the Android operating system, is very reminiscent of the battle in the 1990's between the Macintosh an Windows.  The Mac was clearly better at first over Windows, but Windows was cheaper and more open.  Windows won.

The same I think, is happening in the iOS versus Android world.  Only Apple products can use iOS, while anyone at all can make products using the Android system.  That's why we are seeing Android phones for each carrier, the excellent Galaxy Tab tablet, and K-Mart carrying a $149 Android tablet.  In the US, the iPhone is on one carrier, and the only tablets are the iPad and iPod Touch.

The plethora of PC's running Windows in the 90's was one reason for Windows ultimate trium…

Family Tech: Accessories for your Gadgets

In this week's Family Tech, I advocate buying accessories to get more from your gadgets.  Stores push so hard for us to buy accessories, we have may resist their hard sell without considering the value accessories can offer.

I point out the worst offensives, like selling a $2200 HDMI cable that works as well as ones costing under $10.  And of course, a plug for the great

Mobile Format

Cool, when I logged in to tonight to do the previous post, it told me they now had Mobile Templates.  I turned them on.

The blog now looks much better on phones.  What do you think?


I amassed something like 4000 bookmarks in Delicious before I moved them to Evernote.  I was saddened yesterday to hear what turned out to be rumor only, that Yahoo was shutting down the service.

Today, the Delicious Blog suggests they will seek a buyer for the service.

Meanwhile, Evernote, having previously disabled the Delicious import I used when I transitioned, published a new method for importing from Delicious.

My only regret about not using Delicious was that I was no longer participating in a community.  There was a social aspect of sharing your bookmarks in public.  When you searched Delicious, you could tell how many others had posted the same bookmark--effectively a recommendation.

When you found someone who bookmarked on a topic you liked, you could see all their bookmarks on that topic.  I found a lot of gems doing that.

Of course I could still get that information after moving my bookmarks, but was no longer participating in building that group wisdom.  I felt a little …

First weekend with an Android phone

We've had the phones for a few days now.  Having used an iPad, and a iPod Touch extensively, I think I'm in a pretty good place to compare and contrast.

The geek in me loves the Android phone.  I can see into the phone easily.  When I hook it to my PC, I can see the entire file structure.  It is easy then to move movies, photos and such on and off the phone.

The internal memory is not so big, but I can put up to a 32 gig SD card into the phone.  It comes with a 2 gig card which I filled in the first two days.  I put in the 8 gig card I had bought from my old Instinct, and it works fine.  But still, the internal memory is 70% full.  Many apps, some major ones in fact, do not yet allow you to move the app to the SD card.  One such app happened to update today to a version that did prermit copying to the SD card, so I guess that will likely improve in time.

Meanwhile, all the capabilities I had on the iPod Touch are there with two exceptions.  I cannot stream video from Netflix, …

Smartphones for the Family, again

When this blog was about a month old, I documented my thinking when choosing our family's first Smartphone.  Its been two years so our contract is finally up.  My wife thrilled me with the announcement that a new phone for me, and also for her and my son, were to be my birthday present.

I have literally been shopping for this phone for over two years.  Even when I bought the Instincts in December of 2008, I knew I ultimately wanted an Android phone.  Then, only the G1 was out, and solely on T-Mobile.  I knew our street didn't get good coverage on T-Mobile.  I didn't want to stay with Verizon; the only company that could reach our street.  Sprint had affordable service, and a Femtocell, the Airave.  That would give me excellent coverage in the house.

Note:  I spoke before the County Planning Council two weeks ago in support of a T-Mobile cell tower that will give us more options during the next contract renewal.

Having chosen Sprint back in 2008, I then looked at their Sma…

Family Tech - Gift Recommendation Engines

This week's Family Tech column is about ways to discover gifts based on the recipients interests.

I mention in passing that it is always good to be thinking about gift giving all year long.  I've used a few techniques over the years to remember gifts I see online that I think would be good for people I love.
The simplest is to bookmark them into a folder called "Gifts".  The problem with that anyone using your computer can easily discover them.  And unless you use folders for each person, you may forget later who you meant the gift for.
Since I have made Evernote a critical part of my life, I simply capture the links of good gifts to Evernote.  I can tag the item with "gift" and the persons name.  People who use my computer do not poke through my Evernote, but if I was paranoid, I can encrypt individual notes.
The other advantage Evernote has for gifting over simple bookmarks is I can capture a note of an item without having to have a web link.  If I see a …

Evernote adds "Getting Started with Evernote" to their website

Evernote has added a resource for new users.  "Getting Started with Evernote" is a good, brief introduction to beginning your Evernote experience.

My "Your First Day with Evernote" post is useful. too

XMarks to Survive

Good news.  XMarks has found a buyer.  They had said they needed to shut down, but LastPass, a password service has purchased them.  I love X-Marks as a way to have all my bookmarks available on the various gadgets I have.

I tend to use Evernote to keep bookmarks falling in the "Hey, this is cool, I might need this again someday" category.  I keep frequently visited bookmarks in my browser, and XMarks lets me sync them between supported browsers.  And if I am using a gadget without a supported browser, I can still go to the XMarks website on that gadget and see my bookmarks.

I mentioned XMarks before.