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Technology according to an ordinary dude.

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Win a Brand New HP TouchSmart 300 from Spanglishbaby!

Sat, 10/02/2010 - 4:55PM by adacosta 0 Comments -

The lovely folks over at Spanglishbaby are giving away a lovely, sleek, all in one HP 300. The HP TouchSmart line has been around for a while, but I believe the current iterations are the best yet and with the release of Windows 7, they are even better.

"Not only is it a mega entertainment hub, it´s also a touch-screen enabled PC that´s an excellent play and learning center for any family who wants their children to gain computer and interactive skills with programs and applications that are fun for them and easy to navigate."

 Learn more about the contest:

http://www.spanglishbaby.com/2010/09/bilingual-family-fun-with-an-hp-touchsmart-giveaway-oh-yes/

After watching the video, I have to say my favorite feature is the Touch support, why? I have played with one myself and loved how well it works with the new Windows 7. The applications are more Touch aware such as Microsoft Paint and those that HP bundles with the system, they are more responsive too. I remember when HP just came out with the TouchSmart, they had Windows Vista but the Touch Support wasn't so good and HP had their own implementation of Touch on Top of Windows so it kind of felt more like an add than an integrated, cohesive solution. After watching the video, it looks like they did a great job by integrating better with Windows 7. You do some cool stuff like Flick through your photos like a photo album, zoom, rotate, drag, pan and double tap, which is really cool and you are doing it with your fingers.



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Last Chance to the future of computing!

Mon, 03/29/2010 - 6:34PM by adacosta 0 Comments -

So today is the final opportunity to get your entries in for the chance to win a brand spanking new iPad from On Sugar. I'll be honest with you, I am desparate for one. I believe I might be lucky, its good to be optimistic. If I don't win, that's ok, at least I had a chance. The iPad represents so many possibilities. I was browsing MacRumors over the weekend and came across some posts about third party applications that are targetting the iPad on launch day. Bento, a database management system developed by the makers of FileMaker Pro database software (which is also a subsidary of Apple Inc.), Mixr and iMockups. Is this revolutionary? I would say no, but its definitely a new opportunity to really create interesting experiences.

I believe the iPad is a winner (not because its sold out), but because what it is doing for users. Its about being as natural as much as possible. Right now I am composing this post on a keyboard. Yes, the iPad has a keyboard too, but its a soft keyboard. Using it only requires me knowing how to type, using my fingers. There is no added need for a keyboard or mouse or some other input device. In my previous blog post, I discussed my reasons for wanting one, major points being my computing habits have changed over the past few years. The 80's brought a tidal wave to computing, it was this new thing for everybody own their own computer. Instead of sharing one, or accessing one at a school or in a room as big as a stadium. The ability to prepare your own documents, spreadsheets, presentations was an exciting thing back then. The 90's focused on simplifying the experience as much as possible. Operating Systems became easier to use, install and configure. Applications focused on standardizing their interfaces, so that once you learn't one, you learn't the other.

The idea of graphical user interfaces was still new in the early part of the 90's so developers had to be cautious about how they made changes. Making it easy was always the aim, making too many changes between releases of an OS or app could easily isolate users forcing them to seek alternatives. This is one of the things I applaud the iPad for not succumbing to. Yes, its based on the iPod Touch, so once you know how to use that device, you will definitely learn how to use the iPad. But I believe the iPad takes some very bold steps by moving away from the convential idea of the UI (user interface). Its about being as bold, as natural, as unique as much as possible. Bento doesn't need to look like Bento on the Mac or a traditional Mac app, the Mixr app does not need file menus to access settings. Its all natural in its presentation. Mimicing what you see in the real world is one of the things Apple realized was gonna be key to making computing so much fun. They started in the 80's with the Mac. Microsoft also realized with Windows.

The metaphors of the real world is something we experience from the day we are born, so why not apply it to a non-tangible experience called software? The iPad is the closest we will ever reach to touching 1's and 0's. The iPad is the closest I have seen to the real world on a computer. Its not about life like icons or a beautiful wallpaper anymore. Its about knowing something from the start without needing a manual, without looking it up on the web. The iPad to put it simply, is about being yourself.   



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My ActiveWin Review of the iPod Touch 32 GB

Sun, 03/28/2010 - 6:43PM by adacosta 0 Comments -

Back in September '09 I bought an Apple iPod Touch and took the time to use it before I decided to review it. This review goes in depth based on my short time using it. Its a fantastic device. Here is a quote:

My first PDA was a Viewsonic V37 Pocket PC and I consider the iPod Touch a major successor to it with a slick UI. I love that I am able to do so many things conveniently on it, from web, to email, to social networking. Its superior capabilities are allowing me to rediscover my music even more too. Of course, it’s not a replacement for my desktop, but it provides such a complimentary experience, when you just want to make a quick tweet or write a short post on Facebook, activities I find absolutely inescapable. What about the Zune HD? Well, I explained my views earlier why I hesitated purchasing that device. That’s not to say it’s out of the question when I decide to upgrade in the future (which not for now, these things are expensive), but I think it’s still a proving ground for Microsoft. The Zune HD also lacks the vast library of applications that makes the iPod Touch such a great experience, there is something for everyone, from the productive to the useless to the plain fun. I have spent over 3 months now using the Touch and it has even gotten me interested in its telephony capable sibling which probably is a shock to those who thought I would never own an Apple product. I gotta admit, Apple got me this time and they got me real good!

Read the entire review HERE



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Three Reasons Why I Need an iPad - Part III

Mon, 03/22/2010 - 10:32PM by adacosta 0 Comments -

Here is my final installment of why I need to get an iPad and why you should too:

When I saw the demo of the iBook Store and how stylish and inviting it is with a simulated bookshelf and secret passage way to a bookstore with animated effects when you purchase and open a book with the fantastic ability to adjust things like font and text size to suit my reading habits on the fly, it just made me say that Apple has finally achieved something others have tried to do for so many years. You can quickly go to a chapter from the index, search the book, it’s just amazing. Another plus I know I will enjoy is the richness of reading colorful, rich content, with nicely laid out information that’s interactive. This makes me believe the iPad will grow with me and it’s something I have seen with the iPhone with the numerous updates that have released to continue improve the user experience through software over time. So that’s another plus of owning a device like the iPad, it’s not static, it’s a device that’s filled with endless possibilities. It’s something others have not realized and I believe owning a first generation doesn't mean you will be going through all the early adopter issues, I certainly don’t think so.

Conclusion

The iPad is a media consumption platform, it represents what I and many persons like to do today. Its a device I certainly will enjoy using, I can imagine myself holding it, in bed with it, going to work it, showing it to friends admiring its sleek design, using the soft keyboard to quickly put together my thoughts in a tweet, blog post, touching my music, my photos. Yes, it’s no different from an iPod Touch or iPhone and I see that as a good thing, but it’s the gorgeous “just the right size” screen, to really experience computing in a whole new surprisingly natural way!  With tools I know (my fingers), instead of input devices like a mouse or keyboard. I want to truly move forward with my computing, and the iPad is the perfect platform to start that journey.

Thank You!

 



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Three Reasons Why I Need an iPad - Part II

Mon, 03/22/2010 - 10:26PM by adacosta 0 Comments -

The iPad also represents a computer for the first time that is more appliance like, turn it on and you start using it. Unlike a Mac or PC that requires a process of booting up, logging in, waiting and launching programs to use them. I want a device that will immediately be ready to post tweets, write post, listen music when I am bored, send off an email, get some info, watch a video, show a friend or family member something without “waiting”. The iPad is such a social device, it’s a digital paper built out of 1’s and 0’s and so much more. The sleekness of the device, the obvious high level of engineering and design thought that went into building it just exudes, use me, enjoy me. It all goes back though to having a device that’s ready for me, not me waiting for it to be ready for me.

The iPad basically fits my lifestyle, its flexible, easy to carry, I can imagine myself using it in some scenarios like putting it in a zip lock bag, taking baths and surfing the web without worrying about water touching it, I can’t do that today with a conventional laptop or Tablet today, obviously not a desktop computer. I have been anticipating the iPad for so long now, I have religiously checked the rumor websites, looked at the fake mock ups, debated with family and friends about it and merits of owning one. This is a device that has been a part of my life for approximately 2 years, and to know that it’s finally here and I could win one is more than enough to even say, it’s probably the stars aligning for me to get it. ;)

I will admit I am not much of a book reader, although I recently ordered ‘Show Stopper, The Breakneck Race to Create Windows NT and the Next Generation at Microsoft. Now, a lot of persons are saying the iPad might be the savior of the publishing industry. That’s debatable of course, but I think Apple is on the cusp of making something old, new again, just like they did with music and smartphones.

In my final installment, I talk about why the iPad is truly the representation of large portion of computing and consumption of information.



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Three Reasons Why I need an iPad - Part I

Mon, 03/22/2010 - 10:22PM by adacosta 0 Comments -

There are many reasons why I want an iPad, the obvious being, it’s the latest device from Apple for 2010 that everybody wants and I want to part of the ‘it’ crowd. So, yeah, let me get to experience the iPhone June 27th 2007 wave like many did and will on April 3rd 2010. But apart from these obvious reasons, I believe the iPad truly represents the type of computing that will be pervasive going forward. For instance, my activities have changed dramatically on the PC over the past 3 years with more focus on social networking and the web with the majority of my activities taking place in the web browser. Whether its web mail, communicating with friends through Facebook, Twitter or blogging; these are the type of activities that represent my time on the PC these days.

Now when I think about the iPad, it begins to sound like the right fit for these types of scenarios. In addition to this, I am a big of lover music, video and the iPad seems to be ready out of the box for this. I use iTunes to manage my music library. The iPad comes with Safari for web browsing, dedicated applications for music, email, photos, videos and YouTube basically all I need out of the box. Next up, you have the App Store Library of more than 150,000 applications waiting to be used on the iPad. The great part is knowing I will find a large portion of free useful apps to use on the iPad all the time. I want to be part of this momentum to truly experience computing in a whole new way, to hold the Internet in my hand as Steve Jobs says, to use all those super cool gestures like swipe, pinch on a large gorgeous 9.7 screen.

In my next entry I go deeper into my desires and why the iPad is the perfect device for me.