Following Mark Vergeer's 360 degree tour of his game room back in December using 360 Panorama for his iPhone, I decided to finally give it a try myself on my own iPhone. It was awkward considering there is no good central place to stand and the lighting is not great, but I guess it gives some idea of what is going on. I think I'll follow this up with a guided video tour, since I'm long overdue for one anyway. Panoramas follow:
PCMag.com has a nice article by Tim Gideon, entitled, Apple Calls Android Tablets 'Vapor' - and It Isn't Just Hot Air. In it, Gideon makes the point that Apple's recent statements describing Google-based competitor tablets as essentially vaporware - meaning announced but not actually released - are not that far off from the reality. As you know, as a future tablet owner myself, I'm waiting for either the iPad 2 or any type of competing tablet with compelling enough features to lure me away, whichever comes first (or, more correctly, whichever is worth a reasonable amount of waiting time once the iPad 2 is available). The funny thing is, is that as much as the Android platform has its fans - and keep in mind this is coming from a previous iPhone 3G and now iPhone 4 owner - it is not a platform for the faint of heart. Criticize Apple all you want, but the one thing that they provide with their iOS devices (which they no doubt honed from years of similar "snobbery" on the Mac side) is a reasonable sense of cohesion and a reasonable chance that the latest updates will in fact work perfectly fine on your existing device. The downsides of a "walled garden" or not, there is nothing resembling reasonable standardization on the Android side, with some phones getting OS updates and some not, and some phones running, say, the latest games well, and others not.
Of course, the Android platform has many advantages and you would think an avowed tech geek such as myself would favor such an open and flexible platform since I've favored PC's for years over Mac's, but for me, phones, and, yes, tablets, are different beasts. I want them, like my videogame consoles, to just work, with minimal fuss. I don't think it's too much to ask that if I buy an Android device today, that I'll be guaranteed all future updates within a reasonable timeframe after they're available, and that all software will be compatible for a reasonable number of years before I upgrade again. Add to the fact that Android has not adapted well to being directly ported from phones to tablets, and there's no telling if Honeycomb (which IS far more optimized for tablets) will resolve any of the standardization issues, and you can't help but think that Apple's potshot may hold true for quite a bit longer.
Believe me, as a recent Google Chrome convert, I'd love nothing more than to get a Honeycomb tablet as a nice contrast to my iPhone 4, but I have a feeling that for better or worse, my phone will have an oversized i-buddy instead. Hope I'm wrong...
So, what are your thoughts on all of this? Sound off in the comments!
For the purposes of my own sanity, I decided to do a software inventory of both of my active systems, one an HP TouchSmart PC that is my main computer at home, and the other a Sager laptop, that I use as my primary PC gaming system. I had previously only been keeping track of what I've been installing on the Sager laptop because I wanted to keep track of what games I had installed at any one time (since PC gaming likes to make itself difficult with putting this and that in various folders and being available via various services and what-not) so I had a fighting chance of actually remembering to play them. Anyway, I decided that that same concept should apply to my main computer, since I was burying myself under a sea of apps that I would surely forget I had over time and would therefore never get to use. The results of my inventory were rather sobering in that it's remarkable the amount of junk and redundancy that is accrued over time.
It is with the above in mind that I provide the inventory below not as something to boast about or specifically discuss, but as a sobering testament to how easy it is to overwhelm yourself with software, even on a computer that's not especially old (in fact, as of this writing, only about 14 months into my ownership). [By all means, though, use the comments to this blog post to relate your own stories, because I'd love to hear them.] The list below - along with the accompanying data - represents about 186GB of information on my hard drive:
An overview and unboxing for Pier Solar and the Great Architects for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. This specifically covers the USA Posterity edition of the game. It's an amazing homebrew creation involving hundreds of volunteers and years of effort.
By the way, Super Thunder Drive III is a clever fake, and underneath the cartridge is a certificate of authenticity card. Mine is Copy number 11 of 800 for the Posterity edition! Oh, and the "posterity" bit means my name along with the hundreds of others who pre-ordered this edition are mentioned in the manual...
I finally tired of the memory leaks in Firefox and switched to Chrome. While I love the look/feel/interface of Firefox, enough was enough, as I'm a heavy extension user and like to leave a minimum of four or five tabs open at any one time. While Firefox now has a nice cross system sync for things like bookmarks and passwords (I dropped XMarks when they were debating about going out of business; they did recently get new funding), it also pales in comparison to Chrome's cross system sync, which sync's EVERYTHING in the browser, including all of your extensions and settings. What I miss in Chrome is the Google Toolbar (ironically) and the search box in the upper right of Firefox, where I would often search Amazon, Wikipedia and YouTube directly. There is no equivalent in Chrome as Google wants you to use the URL window as your search bar, which sadly allows for only one default search engine (in this case, I use Google), creating a multi-step process or requiring a different type of keyword searching.
A clean open of Firefox can start out anywhere. For instance, a clean open of Firefox just now started out 103MB on the iGoogle page, which is my default. Not touching it, it stabilized just under 102MB. A clean open of Chrome on the same system started out at 63MB. Opening up two Websites, Chrome shot up to 72MB. Firefox in that same time - again, not doing anything - shot up to 113MB. I then opened up two of the same exact pages as in Chrome and peaked at 142MB before settling down to 136MB. Now I can see Firefox leaking memory and shooting up to 185MB. Chrome is now up to 73MB. Firefox now just jumped up to 204MB, while Chrome remains at 73MB and occasionally as low as 71MB. So yeah, a serious issue with Firefox (and as type this, it's now up to 205MB) all in the span of a few minutes...
A short sequence from disc 1 of Cosmos: The Complete Collection, The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean (1980). Carl Sagan demonstrates a vision of a futuristic interface that involves simple hand motions, much like today's Microsoft Kinect. Just like the Apple iPad from 1986, it's just a matter of how long - not if - to make what seems futuristic or even impossible today a reality tomorrow.
AtariAge forum member "Yak" made an interesting discovery when browsing through the June 1986 issue of BYTE magazine. On page 142 is a classic advertisement from BASF with what appears to feature an oversized tablet computer. Heck, even if you think it looks like a regular touch screen monitor (which was likely the intention), it sure looks like a modern day LCD rather than a CRT tube, doesn't it? Thanks to AtariAge forum member "ThumpNugget" for cleaning up the scanned image and making it available. Be sure to click on the picture below and then select "Original" to see it full size.
Seymour Schmidt made his way through the portfolio slowly and thoughtfully, occasionally lifting out a page and staring at it intently. His office was bright and sunny, and, as always, full of cigar smoke. Whenever he saw something he liked, he puffed on the cigar, making the tip glow bright red. Jarvis and Sabina knew that if the cigar went out, their boss would force them to take the entire ad campaign back to the drawing board.
I did a quick unboxing video for the new OnLive Console. I'll do a full review after Christmas, but if you have any questions in the mean-time, let me know (by the way, the USB cable is for the initial syncing of the controller to the console, it doesn't actually allow you to charge it).
UPDATE: The controller is actually slightly larger than the Xbox 360 controller and it comes with both a regular battery compartment and two AA batteries, as well as a rechargeable battery pack. So a nice package is even a bit nicer.