Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Treat or Trick? 11 pieces of candy for you

It's tough to write the blog for Halloween day since most of the ideas that come to mind involve cliche's and I hate cliche's.  So at least I swapped Trick & Treat, so original I am...  (ht to Yoda)

But so much has happened in the last 2 weeks in technology, it makes sense to do a quick recap of some of the new devices and software.  Here are my positions on 10 technology items that you might (or should) be considering.  Most are new, but there are a few you should always be thinking about.

Treat or Trick

Treat or Trick?


  1. iPad Mini -- I would have called this a trick but it is a TREAT based on everything I am reading.  Ironically, tablets are shrinking while smartphones are getting bigger.  Yes there are cheaper 7" tablets but as I've said before, apple tablets/phones work extremely well and are smooth for all users.  The idea of a 7 " tablet has grown on me too.  Since tablets are used mostly for entertainment, a 7" tablet would be more convenient.
  2. Microsoft Surface -- TRICK. I have it and I want it to work. I'm forcing myself to work with it and find it very annoying.  It's a good long term move, but there is work to be done.  I need a few more weeks but for now, I recommend waiting until there is more support.
  3. Nexus 7 -- TREAT.  Another 7" tablet but with Android.  If you've ever wanted to try an android device, this is the one.  And since it comes directly from Google, you'll get the latest OS updates constantly.  I'm asking Santa for one, at $199 I think he can afford it. But if you are a die-hard Amazon fan, you can't go wrong with a Kindle 7" at the same price.  You will, however, give up the OS upgrades which is why I recommend the Nexus 7 over the Kindle Fire.
  4. iPhone 5 -- TRICK.  Yup, I said it.  Ok, it is a GREAT phone, but worth upgrading if  you have a 4S?  Nope, not really.  If you upgrade your 4S to IOS6 you get most of the features.  If you have a 3 or 4, you'll like it but it is not a leap forward.  And then there is that new lightning adaptor breaking all your existing accessories.  I say wait for the next iPhone.
  5. Windows 8 -- Trick & Treat.  Windows 8 is like giving kids candy and still having them toilet paper your house.  It's both a trick and a treat.  I like and dislike Windows 8.  I like it because soon, I will have an operating system that gives me my great keyboard and touchscreen use.  In fact, some touch screen laptops (the original tablets but now the name means more) are going to make it nice.   BEWARE the learning curve is steep and there is no huge upside to moving to Windows 8.  So I'm recommending people wait, much like on the surface, and only move to Windows 8 when your current pc requires it.
  6. Nexus 4 phone -- TRICK.  I can't believe Google is releasing a new phone without LTE support.
  7. Cloud backup -- TREAT.  Hurricane Sandy probably wiped out a few computers in flooding and people have now lost their family photo's like I did when a drive went bad.  Buy a long term online backup solution and keep your family and personal life safe.  Even though chances are slim you'll need it, the price is well worth it.  I personally like Crashplan.
  8. Zaggsparq -- TREAT.  Everyone needs one of these.  I have the old model but the new one is so great.  I use mine on planes or when I'm running out and forgot to charge my phone.  This device charges your phone, ipad or any usb charged item without being plugged in.  If you lost power in the storm, you could have had 1-4 more charges on your phone if you had this. 
  9. Samsung Note 10.1 -- TREAT.  I don't own it and I haven't played with one, but if I buy a 10" android tablet, this is the one.  LOVE the stylus and features it brings.  If you are considering an android tablet, try this one.  
  10. Kindle Fire HD -- TREAT.  I still prefer the Samsung, but if you need "always on" internet for your device, you can't beat the $49 1 year LTE option for the $499 Kindle fire.
  11. TRICK -- I only had 9 pieces of candy, this one is just an empty wrapper that I threw in to make you think I was giving you 10 pieces...    But here is a neat visual trick for you.
The Ebbinghaus illusion, a well-known illusion in which two circles of the same size are each surrounded by circular 'petals'; one of the circles is surrounded by larger petals, the other by smaller petals. Most people will see the first circle as smaller than the second one. (Credit: UCL)