XtremeMac Luna Voyager II review

Ever since my wife got her first iPhone, we’ve been on the lookout for an alarm clock docking station. Modern smartphones need to be charged every night anyway, so why not put its cradle next to ours and have it charge, occasionally play music and wake us? We wanted something that would work with the new iPad as well, and with a relatively small footprint. The people at GearZap suggested the XtremeMac Luna Voyager II, and it arrived at our house last thursday.
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Roy | April 21, 2012 | English,Gadgets | Comments (3)
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Quick test: Retina images vs. regular ones

There’s been a lot of debate among web professionals about whether or not it makes sense to server “retina” images to website visitors who’s devices support high pixel densities. In order to take full advantage of the sharpness of the new iPad’s screen, website owners would need to prepare their images at four times the number of pixels of normal (“72dpi”) web images.

I ran a few quick tests to see how much all those extra pixels affected overall file size. I used 130 randomly chosen jpeg images (all straight from my DSLR camera), and ran Photoshop and Irfanview batches to crop and scale them to a couple of often-used sizes. I used the same JPEG settings each time, and made sure the only difference between the images would be that the retina ones were four times sharper.
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Wrap your new iPad in recycled leather!

When I started this blog, there were three things I wanted to blog about. Open source software, gadgets, and the environment. It’s been quite a while since I last posted anything in that last category, but the Proporta Smart new iPad case is the perfect reason to pick that up again. It combines two of my favorite things. It keeps my wife’s brand new iPad safe, and it’s been specifically designed to have a small ecological footprint.
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Roy | March 31, 2012 | English,Environment,Gadgets | Comments (3)
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Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 initial impressions

Four years ago, I wrote a short blog post about the Nokia N800 “Internet Tablet”. Like its 2005 predecessor, the N770, it was a small, expensive device that let you use the internet everywhere you went. I probably would have gotten one if the whole netbook hype hadn’t happened. But as cool as netbooks were (and sometimes still are), they’re still “small laptops”. And while I was playing with Eee-PCs, tablets were getting increasingly alluring.


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A dystopian future of the mobile internet

A couple of days ago, I had an interesting dicussion on Twitter with Dutch media guru @erwblo. He noticed a trend at SxSW, where all exciting new developments seemed to be centered around apps. I tried to argue that apps are “evil”, but found that I needed a lot more than 140 characters to explain myself. Hence this post.

Right now, there’s a war raging. Apple, Google, RIM, Microsoft and others are caught up in a bitter fight over supremacy on the mobile internet. And the stakes are high. The web is about to go mobile. Smartphone sales are up, and dumbphones are getting smarter. Tablets are replacing part of the laptop market, and will soon represent a big slice of overall internet consumption.
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Promising new tablets!

I’ve been a tablet-fan since the now-infamous CrunchPad was announced, long before the iPad. As much as I love my iPod Touch, it’s small screen makes it less than ideal for casual surfing on the couch. In my opinion, five or seven inch tablets make little sense if portability is not a requirement, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for nine or ten inch tablets, preferably with Android.

Let me be very clear about this. I think the iPad is a very well-designed and made product. If anyone but Apple had made it I’d already have one. But I don’t want to be tied to iTunes, and I certainly don’t want the manufacturer controlling what I can and can’t do with it. That’s why I’m glad that a couple of interesting competitors were just revealed at CES.
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Is anyone actually using an Android tablet yet?

Even before Apple’s iPad came out, there was talk of “a tsunami of cheap, Chinese Adroid tablets”. I don’t know about you, but I have yet to actually see one in real life. Or even in stores. The only real reviews I’ve seen are of Samsung’s ludicrously expensive Galaxy Tab, which with it’s small screen I’m not at all interested in. Meanwhile, Google has announced that it considered Froyo (Android 2.2) “not ready” for tablet use. All this makes me wonder. Has anyone out there actually used an Android tablet? What’s it like? How does it compare to Apple’s offering?

If you’ve got a tablet that uses Google’s OS, and would like to do a guest post/review type of thing, please contact me.

The end of the Atomic Age?

When Intel first introduced their Atom line of processors, they told us it was aimed at smaller, so-called MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices). Soon after that, Asus released the first netbook, and a new category of computers was born. But they weren’t really MIDs. In fact, the term MID hasn’t really caught on, and there are very few devices that are generally considered to be MIDs. Nokia’s internet tablet series for and Sony’s Mylo come to mind. But both predate the Atom processor.

Atom’s major advantage over other small, power-sipping CPUs is that it uses the same x86 instruction set as desktop CPUs. This means that Atom-based devices, if powerful enough, can run Windows. Intel probably thought this would be essential for MID adoption. But then Apple released what would prove to be a game-changing device.
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Roy | September 5, 2010 | English,Gadgets | Comments Off
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Does Chrome OS still make sense?

I’ve been following the development of Google’s Chrome OS for a while now, and have played around with some of the early builds that have been floating around online. It’s well on its way to becoming a stable and usable operating system, but I’ve been getting the feeling recently that it may have been been surpassed by that other Google OS, Android. Especially since Android comes with a very good browser.
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My thoughts on Flash and the iPad

There’s been a lot of controversy over Apple’s decision to ban Flash (and Java for that matter) from the iPhone since the day it was released. Now, with the iPad about to hit retail, there’s been more debate on whether this was a technical decision or not, and whether it’s a severe limitation for the devices, or a blessing. Being both a Flash developer, an iPhone OS user an open source advocate, I thought I’d weigh in on the conversation.

Before I get started though, let me point out that I’m not a fan of Flash. I think it’s a real shame that there’s no open, official standard that lets web designers do the things Flash can. Adobe has the web in an awkward stranglehold right now, and I’d love to see that change. But the reality is that Flash is an integral part of the web today.
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