Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sony joins the Tablet battle

Sony announced today that they will be introducing new Android powered tablets very soon. Here are excerpts from the announcement:

Sony today announced the market launch of its first two Sony Tablet™ devices. The Android-powered Sony Tablet S and Sony Tablet P devices combine unique hardware, content and network services with seamless usability to create a world of engaging networked entertainment experiences.

Available for pre-sale today and on shelves next month, the Sony Tablet S device is optimized for rich media entertainment on its 9.4-inch touchscreen display. With a powerful NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 mobile processor, the Sony Tablet S device lets you enjoy the web as well as your favorite content and applications on its large, high-resolution screen. Weighing in at just about 1.33 lbs., its unique asymmetric design allows for hours of comfortable use and built-in Wi-Fi® compatibility means Internet connectivity virtually anywhere there's a hotspot.

Available later this year, the Sony Tablet P device is ideal for mobile communication and entertainment. With its innovative folding design, two 5.5-inch displays and weight at about 0.83 lbs., it can easily fit into a pocket, purse or backpack. It features the same NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 mobile processor and is both Wi-Fi compatible and 4G capable exclusively on AT&T's mobile broadband network,(1) offering users access to digital content including videos, games, and e-mail, while on the go, nearly anytime.

Both devices run on Android, Android 3.1 on Sony Tablet S devices(2) and Sony Tablet P devices will be equipped with Android 3.2 by the time they ship. Both models feature front and rear facing cameras that allow for video recording and capturing still images. The devices also support micro USB interface and SD card.

Sony Tablet devices are also distinguished by four key features that set them apart from any other tablets on the market. These include: optimally designed hardware and software, a "swift and smooth" experience, network entertainment services and cross-device functionality.

For more information go to

The HP TouchPad still lives?

HP has announced they are going to produce "one last run" of the TouchPad tablets they killed off. The sales of the TouchPads have been incredible at the bargain basement price of $99. Considering the cost of materials in the units, I've heard there are $318 worth of parts in the 32GB version, I can't imagine why HP would do this.

The reason the TouchPads sold so well was the price. If HP expects to sell them all quickly they will have to take big losses on every one they produce. Does it make any sense at all to lose $218 on a product you'll sell for $99? Not to me.

If HP raises the price to over $300 in order to cut their losses, the  they won't have any sales. Buyers will just wait for the price to drop again before they buy. I'm sorry HP, I hate to see the TouchPad die but at least let it go with some dignity.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Samsung Chromebook

We've been testing the Samsung Chromebook computer for a short time and it's been an interesting evaluation so far. In case you don't know, the Chromebook is a Netbook type computer with a 12.1" screen that is powered by the Chrome OS and has a browser only interface. No Windows, no Apple OS, no Linux, just Chrome OS.

At first we were skeptical but not for long. The Chrome OS works beautifully on the Netbook type hardware with surprisingly quick performance. The on/off times are very fast and the browser also works well.

We'll be doing a full review in an up-coming issue and we think it will be a surprise to a lot of our readers.

Monday, August 29, 2011

How useful are Tablets?

I may have been wrong. I've often opined that tablets aren't as useful as Netbook computers. The first few I used were underpowered and didn't have very much useful connectivity. To me they weren't computer replacements as much as they were paper tablet replacements.

Lately I've been using an Acer A500 Iconia Tab and it's a whole new ballgame. It has every feature I could ask for and more. Of course it has WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS like most of the newer tablets but it also has a dual core processor, front and rear cameras, HDMI out, a microSD slot and full sized USB. Last night I was using the A500 with a small stand, a Bluetooth keyboard and a Logitech wireless mouse. It looked and worked just like a Netbook computer.

Tablets are maturing very quickly and have become very useful tools, useful enough to replace Netbooks!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Huricane Irene

Our thoughts and prayers are going out to everyone who has been impacted by hurricane Irene. This has been a terribly destructive storm and we hope everyone is safe.

Friday, August 26, 2011

CES 2012

It's only August but the January 2012 Consumer Electronics Show is already a hot topic. We've been covering CES for many years with a full staff. The show is always so large that it takes more than one reporter to try to cover everything.

This year we may not have as much in-depth coverage as in the past. Last year's show was more crowded than recent shows, especially in the press room. It appears the CEA, the organization that runs the show, is trying to remedy the situation by cutting back on the number of press credentials it authorizes. We applied for our credentials over a month ago and still haven't received any information on approval.

Don't worry though, we'll be at CES and we'll continue to provide the insights we always do.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Steve Jobs

In this blog we often hammer the iFruit company for various reasons. Today we will refrain from any negative comments and offer our prayers for Steve Jobs. Today he resigned as CEO of Apple for undisclosed reasons and that can't be good news.

Mr. Jobs has been the heart and soul of Apple since the company started and is clearly one of the great visionaries in the history of computers. His health history is well known so our assumption is that things don't look good for him.

Our prayers are with him, he is an outstanding innovator and we salute him.

Semper Fi to Steve Jobs.

Troubleshooting a network

For the past few months we have encountered sporadic problems with our office network. If you look back at our previous posts you'll find many posts on our trials and tribulations. Yesterday afternoon we finally started to dig in and find out just what the problems were and find solutions.

Our office setup is fairly simple: two Linux servers, one WinXp desktop that doesn't get used very much any more, each user has a laptop that connects to the servers with CAT5 cables when they need to, they connect to the internet with 802.11/b/g/n and we have other notebooks/netbooks and tablets that connect in various ways.  The various portable computers use WinXp, WinV, Win7, Android 2.x and 3.x. For network printing we use Lexmark MFUs and connect with 802.11. Here's a list of what we wanted to resolve: the desktop worked fine except it couldn't connect to our servers, my primary laptop had intermittent wireless internet connectivity and as of yesterday, none of the notebooks/netbooks could connect to the server.

After many hours of pulling cables, checking hardware and software, reconfiguring and testing we managed to resolve every one of the problems. It was tedious work but satisfying to finally get resolved. Here are the solutions we found:

The HP desktop had nothing more serious wrong with it than a network card that had come loose. We just opened the case and re-seated the card. Viola, it was working again. However, it still wasn't connecting to the network. That was next. It took a while but we found out what was wrong: the Surecom router we have been using finally failed. We suspected it was going for some time and it was the big problem. We replaced it with a Netgear ProSafe Switch and everything was wonderful again.

All of our equipment was communicating again and we were running trouble free. Except for my laptop. It turns out that the wireless network adapter wasn't working so we'll have to add USB wireless some time soon.

All-in-all, it was a satisfying experience.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Software sales model

Things have really changed in the software business.

Fifteen years ago (back in the days of Win95/98) buying a big, fat, bloated operating systems that was loaded with every add-in they could think of was normal. Office suites from MSFT, Novell, Corel, Lotus, etc. were the way we bought our other apps. All of these products came in BIG boxes with lots of disks and instruction manuals. They also cost many hundreds of dollars.

Today things have changed enormously. Only MSFT is clinging to the mega-office suite as a distro model and it looks like that may be about to go away also. Rumors are that Win8 will have a built-in app store that will change MSFT's sales model.

When was the last time any of us actually bought software other than as an app? The iFruit company started it and now everyone is doing it. Android's app store is huge, B&N and Amazon sell more books through app portals than they do any other way. Once again MSFT is "innovating" the way they always do, following the lead of really innovative companies.

Friday, August 19, 2011

September issue

Our September issue is going out this morning. It has some great reviews and interesting articles.

If any of our blog followers aren't subscribers just let me know and I'll add you to our readers.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The death of Palm

Well, my post of yesterday appears to have been very prophetic. HP made several announcements today that mean BIG changes in the company.

The first move was the cancellation of the HP TouchPad tablets after a VERY short life span. They are also ended the WebOS software program completely.  Just last year HP made a big investment in buying Palm and their WebOS software with high hopes that they could compete with the iFruit company with new tablets and phones. As it turns out they were even worse than Palm had been when it comes to smart business moves in those markets.

The ending of development of WebOS finally means the end of Palm. Back in "the day" they were THE big player. Everyone wanted a Palm Pilot, it was a new an exciting product and was a huge hit. It was the iPod/iPhone/iPad of it's day and I loved them. I still use an old Tungsten model almost every day.

Rest in peace, Palm. You will be remembered.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

HP TouchPad sales

The latest report we've heard is that Best Buy wants HP to take back about a quarter of a million unsold HP TouchPads. Reportedly Best Buy took delivery of 270,000 TouchPads and have only sold about 25,000 since the beginning of July. That's abysmal. Best Buy has done everything they can do to unload them, including massive price cuts with no increase in sales.

This is yet another example of our position on tablet computers: there is no market for tablets!! The only market that really exists is for iPads. The puppet masters at the iFruit company have done a superb job of selling the purportedly superior iPads.

All hardware companys need to recognize the awesome power of the iFruit company and their marketing machine. I love Android tablets and will continue to use them happily. Not as laptop/netbook or smartphone replacements but as a separate hardware class.

Glo Bible

We have been big fans of the Glo Bible for a long time. This announcement came out today:

Glo, the media-rich interactive Bible and Winner of the 2010 Bible of the Year, has released a new update to bring the world of the Bible directly to the iPad and iPhone – for free.

IOS users now have access to the Glo Atlas lens, which links geographic locations directly to Bible verses, articles and Glo media over a zoomable atlas. Tapping on locations reveals photos, 360-degree virtual tours, artwork and scripture related to the location of choice. The atlas can be explored by zooming and panning, or when reading bible passages, users can send a verse to the Atlas Lens to see locations related to the verse of choice. The Atlas also includes 8 samples of maps, from the 140 maps available in Glo Premium, that give context to Bible stories or time periods. This update is free for all iOS Glo users, including Glo Lite and Glo Premium users. This release marks the first time the Glo Atlas Lens has been available outside the PC and Mac versions of Glo Premium.

“Our Glo team values the feedback we get from our community of users, and one of the most requested features on the iPad and iPhone was the Atlas,” says Nelson Saba, CEO of Immersion Digital. “We are very excited to release an interactive Atlas Lens for both our iPad and iPhone apps.”

In addition to the Atlas, this recent release has a new, streamlined Media Lens to give users easier and faster accessibility to the media available in Glo. This updated Media Lens is available on all Glo platforms - iPad, iPhone, Mac and PC. Download Glo for free on Mac, PC, iPad and iPhone worldwide from

Monday, August 15, 2011


This MAY be a day we'll all want to remember. Google has announced that they have aquired Motorola Mobile for a mere 12.5 billion USD. That's a lot of money but it could end up being a brilliant investment. Or, it could end up being a disaster!

Google clearly wants to overtake the iFruit company and be THE big boy in software and hardware. They will now have the software platform (Android) and the hardware resources from Motorola to seriously challange the iFruit phones and tablets. Considering how good the Motorola XOOM with Android 3.1 is, Google may have made a wise move.

But, and it's a big but, if they aren't careful this could be a disaster. Overcoming the perception that the iFruit products are much better than everything else on the market is going to be a hard sell. Personally, I hope Google wins this war. I really do prefer 'droids for both tablets and phones and hope others will become true believers with me.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bad photos

We've reached the point in photography where the "olde" Kodak Instamatic 104 camera lives again. For those of you under 50 years old, the Instamatic 104 was a 126 format film camera that opened photography up to the unwashed masses of the '60s.

It was simple and easy to use and you could get your pictures from any drug store or photo shop (yes, there used to be kiosks in every town in the country to process film pictures). It was capable of taking pictures much like the camera-in-a-phones we have today. It took pictures easily and, unfortunately, did so very badly.

The cameras in most of the phones that people use today are capable of taking photos and videos. And, much like the Instamatic 104, the results suck. Some phones have the technical ability to take decent pictures but the users of these phones will never use them well.

The skill required to take good photographs requires training and most users don't have it. I remain appalled at the poor quality of 99.99999999999% of the photos I've seen that were taken by phones.

My current opinion is: to talk to other people, use a phone. To take a photograph, use a camera!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New Polaroid camera lenses

Today Polaroid announced a full line of Polaroid branded camera conversion lenses with a variety of features to fit every photographer's needs. Designed to assist professionals, hobbyists and general consumers with their photographic visions and goals, Polaroid offers high-quality photography accessories, backed by a legendary brand at competitive prices.

Polaroid's expertise in lenses stems from its roots in polarized filters and optics. Featuring products that are precision engineered and multi-coated to provide flawless results for use with cameras, camcorders and HD-video capable DSLRs, Polaroid gives you the high-quality tools you need to enhance your photos.
The Polaroid lens portfolio allows photographers of all ranks to take their performance to the next level. The Polaroid conversion lens line includes:

Polaroid Studio Series 58mm 2.2x Telephoto & 0.43x Wide Angle Lens Travel Kit:
  • Expand your photos' horizons with Polaroid telephoto and wide-angle lenses.  Made for video and still cameras, both the 2.2x telephoto and 0.43x wide-angle converter mount easily onto a camera's existing lens, including zoom lenses, allowing you to capture action both near and far. Priced at $49.99 (MSRP), the 58mm 2.2x telephoto and 0.43 wide angle Lenses come with 52mm and 55mm adapter rings, and the 37mm kit comes with ring sizes of 30mm, 30.5mm and 43mm.
Polaroid Studio Series 0.3X HD Ultra Fisheye Lens Adapter - Available in 37mm and 52/58mm:
  • An essential tool for extreme sports, dramatic effects and wide outdoor scenes, the Polaroid 0.3X HD fisheye lens screws onto the front of any existing camcorder or SLR lens. The lens produces a 180 degree view through a circle that exaggerates depth, pulls nearby objects closer and causes straight lines to curve. Available in 37mm and 58mm (which also includes a 52mm ring). Priced at $269.99 (MSRP), the Polaroid fisheye lens also maximizes day and night shots by providing maximum light transmissions.
Polaroid 900mm Mirror Lens:
  • Designed for shots focused on outdoor wildlife and sports, the Polaroid 900mm mirror lens uses a combination of lenticular light refraction and reflection optics, the same physics found in many professional telescopes. Combined with advanced manufacturing techniques, the Polaroid 900mm mirror lens delivers sharp picture quality and less color aberration, the most harmful factor in telephoto photography. The Polaroid 900mm mirror lens is priced at $299.99 (MSRP).
"Polaroid is known to offer innovative, intuitive and easy-to-use products that help both hobbyists and professionals take their photographs to the next level," said Scott W. Hardy, President, Polaroid. "We're thrilled to offer photographers of all skill levels high-quality lenses that help bring creative visions to life, at an affordable price."

Polaroid lens line and additional products are available on

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

AccuWeather app

AccuWeather today introduced its new AccuWeather for Android application for Android phones. In addition to the hourly forecasts updated every hour, interactive Google Maps™, and weather in 23 languages, AccuWeather for Android has customizable color themes and the ability to share forecasts via the social media applications users have installed on their Android phone. 

“Our brand new AccuWeather for Android application meets the technical and user interface standards we have set for all our applications,” said Pascal Racheneur, AccuWeather Vice President of Interactive Media. “In addition to our reliable and localized forecasts, we have weather in 23 different languages and other great features, such as social media sharing and customizable app colors. This app is an app our users will look forward to checking every day to make their daily and future plans.”

AccuWeather for Android is available as a free download from the Android Market, Features include:  
  • Accurate and localized forecasts for locations worldwide. Updated each hour, forecasts include detailed hourly forecasts for the next twenty-four hours, plus day and night weather forecasts and information for the next fifteen days - all in 23 languages.   
  • Weather Alarms™, for locations worldwide, for weather events including, snow, ice, rain, wind speed/gusts, and the probability of thunderstorms. 
  • Sharing function allowing users to share the current, hourly, 15-day forecast, or forecast detail view using the social media applications they have installed on their phone. The share function is part of the Android menu.
  • Current weather conditions data is updated every 15 minutes and includes humidity percentages, visibility, UV index, wind speed gusts and direction, times for sunrise and sunset, and RealFeel® - AccuWeather's proprietary weather forecasting system that takes into account multiple weather conditions to determine how the localized temperature actually feels, which may be warmer or colder than the temperature depending on these conditions.
  • Day and night forecasts include high and low temperatures, Weather Alarms™, precipitation type and amount, wind speed and gusts, and RealFeel®.
  • Weather display of North American radar and worldwide satellite overlaying interactive Google Maps™.
  • Current news and broadcast-quality weather videos with many available in both English and Spanish.
  • Customizable color themes.
  • Storage for unlimited amount of locations along with up to 10 favorite locations. Favorites show current temperature along with a short description. From the "Locations" menu option, long press hold on a favorite location for more actions.
  • Choice between metric or imperial units, and either a 12-hour or 24-hour time display.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Free partition software

EaseUS Software, a leading provider of easy-to-use storage management, data backup and system disaster recovery solutions, today announces the availability of EaseUS Partition Master 9.0, an all-in-one partition management solution with non-destructive and advanced partition manager features that go beyond the basic functionality offered by Windows' own Disk Management tool. EaseUS Partition Master Home is the first and the only partition manager software available now to merge partitions directly, for FREE.

As a comprehensive hard disk partition management solution, EaseUS Partition Master 9.0 simplifies the job of resizing partitions on both MBR disk and Dynamic disk without data loss. It also offers an easy and direct way to reorganize disk by merging partitions into a bigger one directly.

New EaseUS Partition Master keeps all the features of the previous version as well, such as resize/move partition, clone disk and partition, convert dynamic disk to basic disk, convert FAT to NTFS, create bootable disk, etc.

New features available in EaseUS Partition Master 9.0:
  • Merge partitions - merge two adjacent partitions into one without data loss.
  • Support dynamic disk - resize dynamic volume, like Simple, Spanned, Stripped, Mirrored and RAID 5 volumes.
  • Support command line for easier disk management and run a batch file with no need to run program.
  • Repair RAID-5 volume by reconstructing the data of the failed member on another disk.
  • Wipe unallocated space.
  • Support Windows Home Server.

"EaseUS Partition Master works very fine. I really like the new look and the new useful functions. No program works better than EaseUS Partition Master," said Jim Heidinger, a customer of EaseUS partition software.
Pricing & Availability:
EaseUS Partition Master Home free for home users is available at:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Verizon strike

Once again union thugs are trying to force bad economic policy on a company. Gimme a break!!! The current political atmosphere in Washington is giving the unions power that is obscene.

Hold tight Verizon and you will beat the thugs before they can beat you.


I have become an anti-music person. It's probably a result of getting old, but I can't stand what is now called "music". However, I love GOOD music.

I'm watching a PBS show on folk music of the 60-70's and realize how beautiful music cam sound. Judy Collins (my all-time favorite singer, sorry KO) and many of my youthful favorites are SINGING, not grunting and dancing.

My brother David is a world renowned author who has written extensively on many of my heroes and knows them personally. The host of the show I'm watching is John Sebastian, an old neighbor of his.

Long live GOOD music.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Starbucks power outlets

I've heard several reports that Starbucks stores in NYC are covering power outlets with metal plates to prevent laptop users from camping out for many hours for free. I must admit that I agree with the philosophy of having users pay for what they get. Starbucks is a business and if they have people who are abusing their free WiFi policy then they should be able to take steps to correct the situation.

I've used coffee shop and Panera Bread free WiFi many times when I was on the road but I try very hard not to be abusive. If everyone would try to be good neighbors and not take unfair advantage then Starbucks wouldn't have to do anything this drastic.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August 3, 1981

Today is the 30th anniversary of a momentous event. On August 3, 1981 the Air Traffic Controllers union, PATCO, went on strike. Their leadership thought they could bring the nation to a standstill and force the federal government to agree to their terms. They didn't count on the strength of President Reagan and his willingness to fire them all if need be.

The air traffic system kept functioning and union thuggery got put in it's place. I am proud to have played a part in rebuilding the FAA without a totally unnecessary union.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


We're approaching the birthday of the original IBM PC and I recently had a chat with one of the bleeding edge users who bought one many, many years ago for a massive amount of money. My brother, the renowned author David Hajdu (Google him if you don't believe me), had one and used it for a couple of years. We were chatting about the pitiful hardware and software (he would do a cut and paste, go to dinner and hope it was finished when he got back) that was the best-there-was at the time.

This afternoon I was driving back to Tennessee from Virginia and I was watching videos of my brother and his wife Karen Oberlin singing on Youtube while traveling on I-40 at 70-ish MPH. My oh my, how times change. Moore's Law is still in affect and I can't wait to see where the next few years take us.

Monday, August 1, 2011

LensPen CellKlear

We have become big fans of LensPen's fabulous products. Here's their latest announcement:

Cameras in mobile devices improve with each generation. Whether kept in a pocket or purse, a quick photo or funny video is always at your fingertips.

And so is something else: fingerprints.

CellKlear® from LensPen cleans fingerprints and other greasy blemishes from camera lenses on mobile phones and tablets. It’s the smallest LensPen, designed specifically to clean these tiny lenses.
It’s simple to use. Just take the cap off and the flexible chamois tip, and CellKlear is ready to work. That chamois tip, embedded with a carbon compound, is ready to tackle the toughest prints. It’s essentially the same principle that makes the use of newspapers still a popular home remedy for cleaning windows – the same carbon compound is used in printer’s ink. And the cap has a pad of carbon compound to constantly refresh the chamois.

There’s never anything to spray on, nothing to dry out or wear out, nothing to replace, so there’s no expiration date to any LensPen. And you can use it with confidence – whether you are in extreme desert heat or arctic cold – knowing that it can do no damage of any kind to your gear or the environment. LensPens are RoHS compliant and meet even California’s rigid Proposition 65 standards. And they sure can do a lot of good for your lens.

All this and a CellKlear costs less than $9!
For more information on LensPen products, go to To see a demonstration, watch the “LensPen Lens Cleaning System” video at