Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Who do you beleive?

The new Amazon Kindle Fire tablet is pretty much what we predicted it would be: a $199 loss leader to draw buyers into the Amazon jungle. The iStore sales model has caught fire and we'll be seeing lots of innovative companies following the model. Until the next uber-money making model comes along, that is.

MSFT made a bazillion dollars with the WinTel duopoly and selling very high priced software suites. Other companies tried to follow the model and failed. Who were they? How about Novell, Corel, IBM/Lotus and many others.

The new money making scheme is, of course, APPS!!! The iFruit company has made bazillions with the model and Google is following suit. MSFT will be "innovating" once again, at some point in the distant future, by making apps part of WinNext.

Other prognosticators are saying that the new Amazon products will kill all other Tablets. Nonsense. Yes, there will be a lot of buyers for the new Kindles and I hope they all enjoy their bargain. But there will always be people who buy with their head and they will see through the fraud.

Long live real innovation and open software. I LOVE Android Tablets but hate companies that try to force you into their tightly controlled little universe.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cell phone power cords

Every once in a while hardware manufacturers do something that is truly praise worthy. A while back virtually all of the cell phone companies standardized on the same power cord connection. It means they can't drain every last penny from users by forcing them to buy proprietary power cords but it was great for users. If you have one power cord you can use it to charge many different cell phones. Beautiful.

I thought about this today because my dear wife lost the power cord for her Pantech phone. Of course she had no idea what her connection cord was so I had to do some research. Fortunately I had another Pantech phone with the same power cord connection so she was saved. If only she had had a newer phone there would have been no problem at all.

Thank you cell phone makers for your standardization. You've made our lives easier.

Kindle Tablet

This week Amazon is going to release the Kindle Tablet. From what we've heard it's going to be a 7" touch-screen model running the Android kernel.

The Kindle Tablet won't be like most Tablets however, it will have an Amazon-centric desktop instead of an Android one. There will be lots of apps designed to take you to Amazon so you can buy lots of "stuff". Things like books, music, videos, etc. The retail price will be under $250 because Amazon isn't hoping to make money of the Tablet, they'll make their money selling lots of things to buyers after they have the Tablet.

We recently reviewed a Tablet very much like the Kindle Tablet, the ViewSonic ViewBook 730. It also has an Amazon-centric desktop rather than the normal Android one. In our full review we knocked the VB730 because of the Amazon product links and we'll probably feel the same way about the Kindle Tablet when we finally get to review one of them. The review is in our October issue and is available right now. Let me know if you'd like a copy and I'll email it to you.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

City of Lost Wages.

I'm sitting in the City of Lost Wages waiting for a connecting flight and I was reminiscing about how many times I've been through this airport. Since I first started covering trade shows I have made at least one trip a year, most years I've made several.

I was just telling my wife that I know this airport as well as any I've ever flown out of, and it changes constantly! I'l be back again in January for CES and I'm sure there will be new things to see.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Facebook changes

There is much turmoil in Facebook land. The old adage about people hating change has never been more true. The "old" Facebook page that everyone now loves and doesn't want to see changed is the same exact page they were screaming about a few months ago! Now they're screaming about the newest "new" page. Everyone will be used to it in no time and all of the furror will die down once again.

I'm waiting to hear the yelling that will take place when Facebook initiates the total rework that was announced this week at their developers conference! There will be gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair all over the place! It will be fun to watch.

I must give Facebook credit, they are making changes and improving their product despite the lamentations of the masses. Most people are reluctant to change and need to be pulled kicking and screaming into a better future.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

HP news and suggestions

Over the past few weeks we've had a lot of news from HP and the biggest news of all may have been announced today. The HP Board of Directors has ousted CEO Leo Apotheker and installed Meg Whitman as the new CEO. Whitman, the former eBay CEO and California Gubernatorial candidate, was on the HP board so she's already familiar with the workings of the company and will, hopefully, make the changes needed to get HP back "in the game".

I have always been impressed with Meg Whitman as a leader and hope she can make the corrections in HP's path that are really needed. In my opinion here are the steps she needs to take:

1- un-kill WebOS and their tablet products.
2- stop the spin off of their PC business and get it re-focused, sharply re-focused. PCs are far from dead, there is going to be an incredible demand for full powered PCs for many years to come.
3- become really focused on the channel. Partners are still the way you swell PC sales by the bunch instead of singly.

Good luck Meg. We wish you the best.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Google has finally moved their Google+ product from Alpha to open Beta. As of today anyone can go to and sign up to be part of the development of Google+. I really wish Google luck with this program, competition makes every product better.

This Thursday Facebook is expected to announce some major upgrades to their product and that will force Google to try even harder to catch up, or better yet, move ahead. Considering the immense popularity of Facebook that will be a real challenge.

But don't count Google out. Sometimes they trip a bit on the way but most of their products are great. I love gMail, Google Docs and Android OS, all Google products. They have the deep pockets needed to develop a better-than-Facebook and I hope they can do it. Don't get me wrong, I love Facebook and I use it all day long, but let's see if there is something even better on the horizon!

October issue

The October issue of our publication is going out as I write. It's an interesting issue, starting out with some reflection as I approach a monumental birthday, reviews of some very interesting products (like the Boogie Boards, the ViewSonic ViewBook 730, the GoSmart Clip and bags from Golla), an Obituary for Palm and an article on staying afloat in a sea of data.

If you aren't a subscriber, you're missing a lot. Just let me know if you'd like to start receiving the best monthly tech pub in the world.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monthly pub

I'm glad today was a quiet day in the tech industry. Not much news meant I had a chance to put the finishing touches on the next issue of our monthly pub. Tomorrow morning it will go out to all of our subscribers so look for it in your email. As usual, there are some great articles and reviews.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Keep iPads and Tablets clean

We received this today and could not agree with it more. We've used the LensPens and love them.

iPads and tablets are sure to appear on holiday gift lists this year again. Music, movies and the internet all available with a simple touch of the screen. And there’s one more thing that comes with that simple touch: greasy fingerprints. Thousands of them – all over the screen! Wiping it with a shirtsleeve isn’t effective, and sprays, tissues and cloths are inconvenient and only make the fingerprint mess even worse. Now there’s a solution.

SideKick™ by LensPen® is a new screen cleaning tool specially designed to remove fingerprints from iPads and tablet touch-screens. There are no tissues, no cloths, no sprays and no liquids. SideKick features a patented carbon technology that quickly and easily removes the oily fingerprints.

 “It’s not high tech, it’s old tech,” said Peter Meurrens, Vice President of Operations at Parkside Optical and inventor of SideKick. “My grandmother knew how to clean an iPad forty years ago.” SideKick’s carbon compound is similar to the one found in printer’s ink. That carbon compound is why newspapers have been an effective way to clean windows for generations. “When you get a fingerprint on a lens or a computer screen, it’s an accident. But when you get fingerprints on an iPad or tablet, it means you’re using it! SideKick is not just an accessory, it’s a necessity.”

SideKick is available at and electronics stores nationwide. Replacement cleaning pads are available in packages of two. Each pad gives 150 cleanings. MSRP for SideKick is $19.95, and $14.95 for the package of two replacement pads.

For more information on SideKick, as well as other LensPen products, go to Watch a SideKick product demonstration at

Flash vs. Hard Drives

We've been working on a piece for an upcoming issue of our publication on the Flash Drive vs. Hard Drive controversy. Last year at the Storage Vision show just before CES 2011 in Las Vegas I heard an interest question: which type of storage is cheaper: flash or platters. Everyone yelled out platters (or standard hard drives). As it turns out that's a true statement for very large drives, you know 1TB and above drives. But not for lower capacities. How many GB of storage do you carry around every day on thumb drives? If you're like me it's a ton! How many GB of storage do you carry around with you on hard drives? Probably only what's in your laptop and that's it.

As part of the piece we're working on we'll discuss how most us us will soon be using hard drives, flash drives and the cloud on a daily basis. I know we do already. Most of our writers use Google Docs as well as their laptops and flash drives to protect their work and have it accessible.

This battle will never be a win/lose for either side. But, it will be a rivalry that pushes both sides to make better and cheaper products. Viva la guerre!!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Well all of my fellow prognosticators seem to be agreeing with my first call on Win8, it's going to be MSFT's attempt to catch up with the iFruit Company (again). I've read many descriptions of the new OS and how it's going to be so much better than iOS. Instead of getting out of the apps the user wants to work, with Win8 be deeply involved.

Once again MSFT has it all wrong! In the old PDA era Palm OS ran rings around WinCE for the same reason iOS will run rings around Win8, it's simpler and therefor faster. Users don't want complex, they want simple and relaible.

If I were a betting man I'd put my money on the iFruit company and dump my MSFT stock (if anybody still has any).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Road trip

We'll be on the road for the next week or so and there may be a slight drop off in posts to this blog. We'll still try to keep up with everything that's happening in the CE world so remember to check in with us regularly.

We've noticed a real uptick in products becoming available from this year's CES in January. That's the way it is every year, just when you start to prep fro the next big show you're getting all of the products announced last year to review. I know, it's strange but it's the way it is. Look forward to a LOT of great reviews i the next few months.

Win8 Developer edition

MSFT took the wraps off Win8 this week at their developers conference. I haven't had a chance to try it as yet but from what I hear it sounds like I was spot on. Win8 is MSFT's attempt to create an OS that has a look and feel that works on multiple platforms. Imagine this: an OS that works the same on a computer, a tablet or a phone! Golly gee won't that be great? Here's a picture of the new desktop with the new "charms" on the right. Hmmmm, what does this remind me of?

I know! An Android tablet! The iFruit company and Google already have OSs like this in iOS and the Android OS. Keep copying, I mean innovating, MSFT. Maybe someday you'll catch up.

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Pentax camera with 18X zoom!

We received this news today and had to pass it on right away. A compact digital camera with an 18X zoom!! Now this is exciting.

PENTAX Imaging Company announced the Optio RZ18 digital compact camera. Featuring a slim, lightweight body, the new model offers a powerful 18X optical zoom lens covering focal lengths from 25mm wide angle to 450mm super-telephoto (in the 35mm format). The Optio RZ18 is the latest addition to the RZ zoom lens series, which provides photographers simple, effortless shooting of a wide variety of subjects and occasions, from travel and landscape to action and spectator sports.

The Optio RZ18 features include:
•    Generous 18X zoom (equivalent to 25-450mm) with extra wide angle lens captures subjects near and far.
•    High resolution 16 megapixel sensor for large prints or aggressive image cropping.
•    Slim footprint for outstanding portability and inconspicuous use.
•    Multiple PENTAX Shake Reduction (SR) image stabilization options, including sensor-shift SR, for sharp images in any lighting.
•    Large 3 inch LCD with HVGA resolution (460,000 dots).
•    Powerful automatic shooting modes such as Auto Picture and scene modes take the guesswork out of great photography.
•    Creative special effects filters add artistic flair to the common snapshot.
•    Advanced 9-point autofocus with a 4cm super macro mode.
•    Face detection for perfectly focused and exposed portraits, includes a dedicated pet recognition feature.
•    Widescreen HD video in 720p at 30 frames per second.

The Optio RZ18 will available in black, pearl white or metallic orange for $299.95USD in October 2011.

Google docs

Ever since I've been testing Android tablets I've been looking for a really good app for taking notes and simple writing tasks. I've posted about this before and received an excellent suggestion from one of our followers. The suggestion was to use Google Docs. Since almost all of the tablets we've tested this year use Android 2.x or 3.x we've learned to appreciate the wonderful integration of all of Google's online apps. It's great having our Calendar and Contacts available on every device and they never need to be updated. That led us to want to give Docs a try.

We have been working on a review of the Samsung Chromebook, a netbook sized computer that uses the Google Chrome OS, and found Google Docs easily available on the "desktop". We've been writing the review with Docs and have found it to be ideal. It's also great to be able to pick up any smartphone or tablet computer and be able to not just read the piece but also edit it. It's proving to be a very powerful app and at this point we love it.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I recently read an article on the demise of Wintel and it got me thinking. For many years the computer industry was dominated by MSFT and Intel because the vast majority of users ran Windows on an Intel computer. But that seems to be  changing, and very quickly.

Part of the reason for this change is the way people use computers and what they use them for. Social networking has become the driving force because it's what people do with their computers. And you don't need a $2,000 Win7 computer with a quad-core processor and 8GB of RAM for Facebook. Your phone or a tablet computer will work just fine. And that's where Wintel is losing big time.

When I look back on the last dozen internet devices I tested, none of them use Windows and very few have Intel processors. This includes eBook readers, tablet computers and smartphones. All of them can access the internet, handle email, and just about anything else I want to do with them.

Wintel will be around far into the future because there's still a need for high-powered computers for many other tasks. But the day of Wintel controlling 90% of the market is gone for good.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

HP computers

Hewlett Packard is certainly keeping me confused. First they terminated their new tablets computers only six weeks after they were introduced and announced they were going to spin off the PC business. Then they announced they were going to produce another run of tablets before they killed them all off. I don't know about you but I'm not spending good money on a tablet with a dead end OS! Perhaps they'll sell WebOS to someone else and keep it alive. Who knows.

The big news today is the new line of HP All-in-One PCs they're introducing. They're still trying to spin off the PC business and have even announced they are speeding up the process to get the spin off done sooner than later. I guess it makes sense to continue introducing new products to keep the value and name recognition of the product line.

Speaking of name recognition, I received a print copy of CRN magazine yesterday and was very impressed with the beautiful 3 page glossy ad in the middle of the issue for the HP TouchPad! Yep, the product line that has been cancelled!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

MilSpec tablets

I had an interesting experience today. A friend of mine is being background checked for a security clearance and I was interviewed as one of his references. The interviewer pulled out a lined paper pad and pen to record all of the information that was needed. After we finished I remarked the it seemed a little out of date to be using paper and pen in today's world. It turns out that after she gets back to her office she'll need to re-write everything into her computer. What a huge waste of time!

We then had a nice discussion about how using a tablet computer would make her job so much easier. That's when we got into what the tablet would have to be like. Of course it would have to be physically tough because of the different environments she has to take it into. The biggest hazard though is heat and cold. There are areas where she can't even take a cell phone which means the device would have to stay in a locked car. Do you have any idea how hot the inside of a car gets on 100+ degree days? Or how cold it gets in mid-winter?

Another requirement would be security. The military and federal government have extremely stringent security requirements that would have to be addressed. An ID card reader, either built in or as a plug-in, would also have to be part of the package.

There are many excellent tablet computers available for reasonable prices but when you start making one tough enough for difficult workplaces the price skyrockets! Does anyone know of a MilSpec tablet and what they cost?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hack writers

My brother, David Hajdu, is a world renowned author and educator (Google him if you don’t believe this). His entire life has been devoted to creative writing and he is a magnificent success. His incredible body of work is finite proof of his ability. He is, quite frankly, my hero. My baby brother is the greatest writer I have ever known.

Many years ago he and I did a family video for fun that came to mind recently. In the video he played a “hack writer” from another planet who came to Earth. The reason we shot the video was to show how easy “weird” techniques were to capture. We did all kinds of strange effects and it was a joy.

The reason it came up was a term he used in one of the shots: Hack Writer. When he was a hack writer for Video Review I had a totally different line of work. I was, at the time, an Air Traffic Controller for the FAA, Now, many years later, he’s a serious educator and I have become a “hack writer’!!

We chatted about this recently and agreed there that there is a certain simplicity to being a hack. You have an assignment, do your research and write your piece. It’s not rocket science, it’s not something the Pulitzer Committee will be looking at, it’s just reporting.

At this point in my life I don’t expect to be nominated for any prestigious awards but that’s not why I write. I hope our readers enjoy my news and views and continue to read me every month.

A frustrating day

We had a very frustrating day in the office. Our publishing software has served us faithfully for many years and tonight it gave us fits! One of our writers sent us an excellent article with numerous graphics. We've inserted his articles and pics many, many times and expected no problems. Tonight was a nightmare! It took several hours to finally get things completed after many contortions.

What's the problem? We don't know yet but tonight bought us a little breathing room. Keep us in your prayers!

ViewSonic ViewBook 730 price drop

We're in the process of reviewing the ViewSonic ViewBook 730 for our next issue, which is due out shortly. Today we received news that the MSRP has been dropped from $299 to only $169, it's almost cut in half! Considering it's excellent screen and solid build it's a real contender in the Kindle world.

As our readers will see in the review, the ViewBook 730 is very much an Amazon Kindle eReader and not so much an Android tablet, despite using the Android OS. Make sure to read the review when it comes out.

IFA trade show and Samsung

The biggest news we've seen so far out of the huge IFA trade show being held in Berlin, Germany this week is not what is being shown, it's what is not being shown. Samsung, the number two player in the tablet field, has withdrawn the Galaxy Tab 7.7 from display. Why did they do that you ask? Simple, the iFruit company has been suing Samsung all over the planet and found a court in Germany that supported the iFruit contention that Samsung was infringing on iFruit patents. Boo on you iFruit. We have tested two Samsung Galaxy Tab products and found them to be wonderful tablets, they are excellent in every way.

Instead of competing in the open marketplace far too many companies choose to battle in the courts instead. I am reminded of the Kodak/Polaroid battle over instant picture technology. Polaroid ended up "winning" and Kodak's excellent cameras went kaput. Just look what the victory managed to accomplish. Very little. And where are both companies today?

Back to work and free software

We're back to work after the long Labor Day weekend. We received information on the new version of IObot Uninstaller and thought we should pass it on. Here's the announcement:

Left over files belonging to uninstalled programs can lead to system errors and can even crash a PC. IObit’s new version of Uninstaller is an easy to use, free solution that can remove all traces of unwanted programs, and can prevent system problems.

Uninstaller 2 is a major upgrade to the original release and makes file deletion simple; even for a novice PC user.

New features include:
·         New user interface.
·         Search feature in “Forced Uninstall”: Now it’s possible to search for programs in “Forced Uninstall” and uninstall them directly from search results.
·         Improved Powerful Scan functionality. This now carries out a deeper and more secure scan, especially for any leftover items in the computer’s registry.
·         An option for not creating a restore point, making it possible to do this in the advanced uninstall mode.
·         Multi-language support – now available in 12 languages. 
·         Enhanced program detection - Uninstaller 2.0 can detect a wide-ranging list of programs on a PC.
The new version of IObit Uninstaller is a Windows® utility that makes file deletion thorough, safe, secure and simple, for PC users of any ability.

Read more about the software here:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Preparing for a weather emergency

We received these suggestions for preparing for a weather emergency and felt that we should pass it on. Thanks you for sending this out CrashPlan:

Backup! – You should always utilize data backup. But before the storm hits, make sure your backup is up to date. Using software like CrashPlan+ ( will assure that your data backup is always up to date. And CrashPlan+ allows you to backup your data to CrashPlan Central - a secure, online backup destination – meaning you can access your photos, tax returns and insurance documents from any computer no matter your location.

Alternative Power Source – When the power goes out, you’ll want to have a secondary source of power to charge cell phones and other electronics. The purchase of extra phone batteries or even a small generator could be a priceless purchase.

Unplug – As the storm begins, unplug all of your electronics to avoid a power surge. It is also smart to move computers, TV’s and any other electronics away from windows and place them on an elevated surface in the event of rising waters.

Water tight – That being said, have zip lock bags on hand to ensure smaller electronics, such as a cell phone, battery-operated radio or flashlights, stay dry.

Utilize Your Cell Phone – Use your phone to store emergency contact numbers, family contacts and take before and after pictures for insurance purposes. Keep in mind that it might be impossible to make calls during a storm but your cellphone’s text message function may serve as another viable form of communication.

Pentax price drop and rebate

Pentax made this announcement today:

PENTAX Imaging Company has announced a price reduction on the PENTAX K-5 Digital SLR.  Effective today, the price of the K-5 has dropped $100.00 USD to $1499.95 USD (body only) and to $1,649.95 USD (for the K-5 lens kit w DA 18-55 WR lens).  In addition, from now until November 30, 2011, a $300.00 instant rebate is in effect on any qualifying purchase of either kit configuration.  The combined savings brings the K-5 to $1199.95* (body only) and $1,349.95* (for K-5 lens kit w DA 18-55 WR lens). 
* While the price reduction is permanent, the instant rebate is valid only for a limited time for purchases made on either K-5  camera configuration from now until November 30, 2011.

PENTAX INSTANT REBATE PROGRAMS offer several consumer advantages, including no need to submit or track claims or wait several weeks for a rebate check.  More information about the program, the products and where to buy is available at: