Monthly Archives: July 2011

Google Plus Taking a Nose-Dive Already?

It seems that users have been fed up with Facebook and Twitter for nearly as long as each respective service has been around, and if only in day-dreams I think it’s safe to say that just about everyone has wished for the “perfect” social network to come along at one point or another. After opening its doors as an invite-only service on June 28th, yesterday officially marked the one month milestone for Google Plus.

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Review: PowerSkin Battery Case for iPhone 4

Ever had your smartphone die on you when you are away from a charger? I am sure plenty of times is the answer, at least it is for me. So that is why having a backup-battery is very important, especially with everything we geeks do on our smartphones. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Email, SMS, Angry Birds, and even making a phone call every now and then. Battery life on our precious companions doesn’t last that long. That is where the PowerSkin comes in.

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Will Windows Phone Mango Be a Hit?

It seems that “Mango”, the latest version of Microsoft’s recently revamped Windows Mobile operating system for mobile phones, is just around the corner.  This week we’ve seen news that manufacturers have received a copy of the operating system that has been confirmed to be close to the final release.  On top of the debut of the release candidate we’ve seen the curtains lifted from Fujitsu Toshiba’s upcoming “IS12T” smartphone; the first Mango-sporting handset to hit the public eye.  With a 13.2 megapixel camera, Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, and 32 gigabytes of memory on a 3.7″ touch-screen display, I must say that Fujitsu’s latest offering really does pack a punch.  And after seeing some of the new features in the operating system, I must say that it does indeed look incredibly tempting.

All that said, I really am wondering how well things will go over with this release.  As much as I’d like to think that Microsoft’s latest mobile operating system ride a successful release, the rational part of me realizes that I felt this way about the last release of the Windows Phone, which promised to bridge Microsoft’s presence in the consumer mobile industry after focusing on predominantly business-type functionality in the past.  This time around though, I think Microsoft has a much better chance.

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Survey Says: Hulu Users Watch More TV Than Netflix Users. Shocker.

I just saw an article on MSNBC’s tech blog which reports the findings of a survey conducted by Nielsen that states Hulu users watch more TV than Netflix users.  My reaction? Seriously? That’s a surprise to you?  Did they expect to find different results?  Honestly, if the results were reversed then it would be interesting and worth reporting on.  Let me explain.

The survey was conducted in March 2011 and consisted of more than 12,000 online interviews that focused on usage and attitudes towards Hulu and Netflix.  It found that 73% of Hulu users watch TV shows while only 11% of Netflix users watch TV shows.  Now, Hulu is primarily for TV shows, in fact, last I checked its movies section was pretty terrible.  The whole point of Hulu (Plus) is get access to TV shows and faster releases for show episodes that just aired and that are currently “in season.”  Meanwhile, the original idea (and still its main purpose) behind Netflix is to offer access to movies and TV show seasons that have already passed.

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Are Android Tablets Doomed for Failure?

Towards the beginning of the year the tablet-ready 3.0 version of Google’s wildly popular Android mobile operating system, dubbed “Honeycomb” ,was the bees knees in the tech industry. So when the release finally made way into the hands of consumers back in February, a month before the official release of Apple’s second generation iPad, many thought that it would finally help to take Android to new heights in the tablet market.

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Unboxing: Apple 27-inch LED Cinema Display

I just received my brand new Apple 27″ LED Cinema Display and decided to do a little unboxing video for everyone. So far, I love it. Of course, it is slightly smaller than my previous display (the 30″ Apple Cinema Display) but that drawback is outweighed by the other benefits of the 27″ LED display. The 27″ Apple Cinema Display comes with a built-in iSight Camera, 3 USB 2.0 powered ports, and a built-in 2.1 speaker system.

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Should Reddit Buy Imgur?

Before I start out this article, I must say that I myself am not a huge Reddit user at all.  I opened an account more than two years ago when Digg was still a hot hangout for bored Internet users, but over the years I honestly haven’t visited the site all that often.  That said, I read most of my news directly from publishers websites and have personally found that when I want to keep up with the world around me there is no better place to go than Google News.  All that said, Reddit isn’t simply a news site, but rather a free-formed community in which users can create and engage in topics that interest them.  Even I, on the rare occasions where I have extra time to kill, do venture onto Reddit to browse comical images for a good laugh.

Yesterday was one of those days, and as evening rolled around and I had all of my paperwork caught up on I figured I’d visit Reddit for a bit.  As is typical for my infrequent Reddit extravaganzas, the first “subreddit” that I visited was /r/funny.  I was in it for the laughs, after all.  After a few minutes of poking around, I was amazed at the sheer number of posts that linked to the free Imgur image hosting service; a site known for its clean interface and minimal advertisements.  Going back to the main page of the “subreddit” and looking in detail I saw that all ten of the first ten posts on the front page were indeed links to photos hosted on Imgur.

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Will Apple Ever Bring Back the MacBook?

As Rohan pointed out last week, Apple recently discontinued the production and sale of the white MacBook (not “MacBook Pro”, just “MacBook”) notebook computer amidst the official release of OS X Lion and the unveiling of the company’s new hardware offerings.  While some people are critical of this move on Apple’s part, I must say that it really was about time for the MacBook to fade away.  That said, Apple has done quite a bit in terms of hardware in the last few years and the need for the baseline laptop really was small.  With the more mobile-friendly iPad starting at half of the price of the MacBook white and the MacBook Air sitting pretty at the same price point as the now defunct white MacBook prospective buyers have enough options for Apple to no longer need to offer the MacBook.

While that’s fine and dandy, the removal of the MacBook from Apple’s product line leaves one loose string.  The MacBook Pro.  You see, when Apple was still selling the plastic unibody MacBook, the MacBook Pro was a very logical name choice for higher end product.  But with the plastic unibody computers now off the market it really does seem pointless for Apple to have a “Pro” version of a product line that doesn’t have a baseline product.

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How To: Show the Library Folder in OS X Lion

In Apple’s latest release of OS X (Lion), the Library folder is hidden and not accessible by default. For some reason (probably to keep users from causing problems by deleting necessary files) Apple decided to hide it, but what about power users? How do you access the Library folder on Lion if it’s hidden? Well, thankfully, there is an easy way to tell Lion to show the Library folder.

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Apple to Acquire Hulu?

Just yesterday I discussed the recently released Roku 2, the second generation of the somewhat popular streaming media device.  When going over the third-party services that the device utilized, I even went as far as to say that I myself have been “pondering dumping my satellite provider in favor for the Roku XS along with a Hulu Plus (and maybe Netflix) subscription.”  With web-based television becoming a more flexible and cost-effective entertainment solution in retrospect to traditional cable and satellite providers – especially for users who only consume mild amounts of television – I know that there are tons of other people making the same consideration that I’m making.  Now, I’m personally a big fan of Netflix for movies, but I’ll be the first to admit that Netflix’s streaming media has significantly fewer television series than Hulu Plus.  That said, I can easily see where Hulu has room to grow in the coming years as more and more consumers entertain the idea of alternate entertainment solutions.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, who is in turn citing “two people with knowledge of the auction”, Apple is in talks that could very well lead to the company acquiring the popular online television streaming service.  Such a move would be the company’s first acquisition of this year, and in comparison to the other buyouts made by the company would definitely be the most notable.  But would Apple’s purchasing Hulu lead the company in the right direction?

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How To: Customize Adblock Plus for Chrome

With almost 130 million downloads, by far the most popular addon for Firefox is Adblock Plus which reliably blocks all forms of advertisements from the internet to make browsing less distracting, faster and safer. A few months ago, Adblock Plus was ported to the Google Chrome browser as well and in no time the community-driven open-source extension has become the second most popular extension just behind AdBlock by Michael Gundlach.

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Roku 2 Promises to Rock You Again

It seems that anything we do anymore has a core shaped around the Internet.  Think about it.  That connection piped into your home does so much more than anyone would have imagined it would.  Sure, we use the Internet on our computers to exchange electronic messages and keep up with our social lives; but it doesn’t end there.  Internet connections help to power services that rival the “traditional” way of doing things.  More recent innovations such as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) carriers such as Vonage make it incredibly easy for users to take advantage of their high-speed network connections to replace their “plain old telephone” providers, often times saving money in the process.  But societies creative uses for the Internet don’t end there.  Look at services like Hulu that for the first time make it feasible for users to drop their existing cable and satellite television providers in favor of entertainment streamed over existing Internet connections.  Even Netflix, a company that started out as a simple mail-in DVD rental service, is pushing the more cost-effective streaming option more than ever.

That said, as wonderful as our desktop and notebook computers are, watching hit movies and television series simply doesn’t feel the same in front of a retrospectively smaller monitor as it does kicked back in the lazy chair in front of the big screen.  This is exactly why Apple has developed and refined the Apple TV, a box that connects to an existing television set to deliver streaming media.  Other companies like Google have tried to mimic the concept of web-driven television, but in all honesty I just don’t think they’ve come close.  Having said that, though, one streaming media solution has set itself apart from the rest.

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Google Plus: I’m Really Not Impressed

Let me start out this post by saying that Facebook is far from perfect. Back in September I expressed my growing frustration with the social network that at the time was being riddled with levels of spam that many like myself deemed simply unacceptable. And while I still think that Facebook has a lot of room to grow and that there are definitely improvements to be made, I must say that the social network is heading in an alright direction in my eyes.

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R.I.P: Apple Axes the Plastic MacBook

In the midst of the much-anticipated release of Mac OS X Lion this morning, Apple has also made some changes to their hardware side of the Mac. Changes such as removing the optical drive on the Mac Mini, some spec improvements to both the 11-inch MacBook Air as well as the 13-inch MacBook Air, and they added a Thunderbolt port onto their Cinema Displays. What Apple didn’t advertise was the removal of the plastic MacBooks off their website.

Apple confirmed the removal with Engadget, and the polycarbonate laptop has officially been discontinued. The cheapest Mac laptop you can get is the 11-inch MacBook Air with a 1.6GHz Core i5 CPU with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The 11-ich Air sure is sexy, but the small screen and limited power could be a problem for some users.  The polycarbonate MacBooks had similar specs to the base 13-inch MacBook Pros, which were a good bit more powerful than the base 11-inch Airs, which is why I’m still not too sure why Apple has pulled the plug on the plastic MacBooks, especially since they were once the top-selling Mac.

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