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Review: Fitbit Zip
March 12, 2014 | 12:30 pm

fitbit zipJoanna wrote an article a while back on wearables, and it got me thinking about buying a Fitbit. I've had it for about a month and a half now, and I'm quite fond of it. I opted for the Fitbit Zip, the one that doesn't have a wrist band. Since I wasn't sure how consistent I'd be at using it, I went for the least expensive option. Also, I didn't care about sleep tracking. The Zip is easy to set up. Download the app to your phone, pop in the battery and pair them. I leave Bluetooth on all the time on...

Why won’t Evernote do handwriting recognition?
March 8, 2014 | 10:53 am

With its unforgetful elephant icon and integration with almost every major OS going, as well as Moleskine notebooks, Evernote has long been the favorite notetaking, blogging, and even writing, app for many mobile device and PC users. And, as they rightly claim, "some of our engineers and researchers were the pioneers that, decades ago, made today’s mainstream digital handwriting possible." So it's a pity that, when that functionality finally arrives in full on the Android iteration of Evernote, it comes in a way that falls short of that legacy, and the technology's potential. Evernote digital handwriting is based on Penultimate, "the...

Android powers ahead as PC sales sag
March 6, 2014 | 1:25 pm

Two sequential research reports paint a stark - if you're a Microsoft exec or an Apple fan - picture of how the personal computer and digital device market is evolving. A Gartner Inc. report dated March 3rd found that "Worldwide Tablet Sales Grew 68 Percent in 2013, With Android Capturing 62 Percent of the Market," and with a conspicuous year-on-year market share decline for Apple. A day later, on March 4th, International Data Corporation (IDC) released its findings that PC market shipments are expected " to Fall by -6% in 2014 and Decline Through 2018." The Gartner figures show Apple's iOS-based tablet...

GigaOm Research report says new form factors crimping Western tablet market growth, emerging markets step in
February 28, 2014 | 10:25 am

The latest research report from GigaOm Research, "Forecast: Global tablet shipments, 2012-2017," authored by Peter Crocker, "founder and principal analyst at Smith’s Point Analytics, a full service market research and consulting firm focused on the mobile and wireless industry," sees a tablet market experiencing a growth slowdown in developed Western markets for good reason. Although, the report observes, "shipments of tablets worldwide will grow at a 29 percent  rate compounded annually (CAGR) from 179 million in 2013 to 427 million by 2017," overtaking PC shipments in 2015, all is not entirely calm seas and plain sailing for the tablet market. The...

Watch out for smartwatches as form factor gets ready for prime time
February 15, 2014 | 10:36 am

WIMM Labs[caption id="attachment_95923" align="alignright" width="209"] Nice concept, not quite there yet.[/caption] With data on smartwatches  reported on often of late, it's interesting to start seeing some numbers against all the buzz. According to a bulletin from International Data Group (IDG), smartwatch shipments worldwide hit 1.9 million units in 2013 for the first time, versus just a few hundred thousand units in 2012. Around 61 percent of the budding platform runs Android, according to Strategy Analytics. Much of the Android lead is attributed to Samsung's Galaxy Gear, but in such a still limited market space, there is of course still plenty of chance...

The Advantage of the Walled Garden
February 4, 2014 | 12:00 pm

walled gardenThis article from GoodeReader, via today's Morning Links, highlights an important advantage to the walled garden approach: stability. The issue is that with the reliance on other products, company’s services can be eliminated or changed at the whim of product changes beyond your control. In this case, Adobe will be changing the way they handle DRM, and any device vendor who does not issue a firmware update once the change rolls out will leave their customers with crippled devices that can't read Adobe-encrypted books. Given that Amazon is the only major vendor that doesn't sell encrypted epub, that is potentially...

Sensory fiction: Books that let you feel love and despair
January 30, 2014 | 12:25 pm

http://vimeo.com/84412874 The Media Lab at MIT may have been a year or two late on its Sensory Fiction project. Its aim is to physically enhance the reader experience with new technology. Sensory Fiction requires a connected book and a wearable type of gadget that fits like a vest. The book portrays scenery and mood while the wearable gets the reader to feel the protagonist’s emotions. This can be done through changing of heartbeat rate, constricting air pressure bags or temperature fluctuations. Imagine, feeling everything the protagonist is feeling. I can’t help but think that Sensory Fiction might be a year or two late as...

My Technology Wish List
January 20, 2014 | 2:35 pm

technology wish listAn article in today's Morning Links has GigaOM's Mark Crump explaining why 2014 will be the "year of the iPad" for him. It basically comes down to this: the iPad can't do every computing task he wants to do. But it can do all the ones he needs to do on the go. So he's getting a desktop for the tasks where he truly needs a full computer, and using the iPad as his portable machine. I'm almost there with him. I currently have an aging Macbook and two iPads, and I'd like to streamline that down to one machine and...

Students today and their fancy, new-fangled technology
January 19, 2014 | 4:34 am

chalkboard (Found via Women Rock Science.)...

When texting in Japan, do as the Japanese do
January 17, 2014 | 4:38 pm

textingTexting slang is not just the homegrown "argot" of English-speaking nations, of course, and as social media platforms expand worldwide, new slang expressions are coming to the fore in Asian nations as well, as Japanese, Taiwanese and Vietnamese netizens claim their own cool words for communicating in short bursts of camaraderie. And for Japanese geeks and social media fans, where sending text messages in various Japanese character systems  is the norm, more and more English words are creeping in, and fitting in. Although they are written using Japanese either kanji or hiragana or katakana. Case in point is the use of a...

Do You Have Gadget Regret?
November 19, 2013 | 5:18 pm

gadget regretThe iPad Air has me regretting my Mini a little. When I got the Mini, I was in search of the lightest and smallest Apple tablet I could get. Now that the Air is out though, I am reconsidering. A full-size tablet, but with the Mini's weight? That is compelling to me. I am not in such a hurry to jump ship though, because experience has taught me that something better will come along someday, and I have made the mistake too often of adopting early and then being sorry later. The iPad is the perfect example. When the Mini came out,...

Why I am Buying a Macbook this Christmas
November 16, 2013 | 9:22 am

MacbookI wrote earlier this year about my upcoming need for a new computer. My aging Macbook is, well, showing its age, and I was no longer sure if the price premium on Macs was worth it for me given how much of my day-to-day work I have offloaded onto my iPad these days. I also wasn't sure if I would not be better served by ditching all the Mac gear and buying a tablet solution with a full Microsoft OS... Well, I have been doing a ton of comparison shopping, and here is my verdict---I am buying Mac again. Here's why: 1)...