PC… who needs it, anymore?!

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I was at Costco yesterday, I was totally surprised to see that there was a desktop model on display, the others were All-in-One loaded with Windows 8.

I think owning an All-in-One is just silly. Imagine standing and swiping away like a restaurant waiter to get to the webpage you want, or worse try typing a letter in WORD using the screen-keyboard. Sure, you can sit and do the same, but I bet after 10 minutes, your arm will get tired. Besides, All-in-One is not new! If you have been following the evolution of Microsoft’s OS, Acer and HP had touch-screen all-in-One since Windows 7, just that no one was buying them. To be honest, even if an iMac 27″, I doubt I will get one, or salivate to get one; it’s just not practical. This will only make sense if you using the computer passively: watching videos, playing music and games, etc.: touch here, touch there…

If you connect the dots, iPad and tablets are doing exactly just that. Sure, you may also occasionally type an email, reply to text, post a picture, … but the difference is that tablets and iPad are lighter and totally mobile. I can type anywhere I want with a blue-tooth keyboard, and it is just as good, if not better.

Another point why PC is dead? Before you might need to bring work home, but laptop has become so cheap that you likely can use one of your offices’ to do real work. It means the days you had to use your home computer to finish a report was so yesteryear. Likely, you get a laptop on loan, and VPN into your office network to get the files you need, and work away. This also means even thumbdrive is another technology of the past; besides, your company probably never allows you to download stuff on a thumbdrive anymore for security reasons. Remember those thumbdrive-gates, where public servants lost drives with sensitive information on them, and worse they were un-encrypted?!

Of course, some will argue that they still need a home computer to edit their photos, home movies, and stuff like that. Seriously, how many people are really doing those?! Never mind some people still have a hard time understanding an OS! Besides, Photoshop, InDesign, iMovies, …are really meant for the pro.

So it became apparent last week when I decided to get the last few bucks out of my Netbook (remember those?!), I installed Lubuntu hoping to get more speed out of the thing: Gateway 11″ LT311h, WinXP. It did and I was happy that finally everything was working with this Ubuntu version 12.04. Its WIFI was working seamlessly (three years ago, I was still struggling with it to recognize my router, and it never did, I used ethernet …long story). My next dilemma was whether to get a new battery, so that I could use it at cafés, etc, and mostly for writing stuff like this. Gladly, I didn’t. I found an inexpensive ($14) blue-tooth keyboard, Logitech designed by ZAGG, to pair with my iPad2. In fact, with iOS7, it works even better.

Here is the deal, companies like CloudOn, Google, are offering workable version of Office derivatives (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) in the Cloud, and files created are sync-able with Dropbox, Google Drive, and the likes, which means as long as there is a WIFI connection, I can work on those files as I please. Of course, one caveat is that you may not want to work on anything confidential on an open Hotspot. But at home, it’s game!

So iPad and tablets are in and laptop will soon be out, but not entirely, students still need them. Commercial laptop will remain, unless we revert back to terminal.

Mind you, I still prefer to write my blogs using my 15.6″ laptop, but for simple outdoor writing with a café au lait, my iPad/Logitech duo is nothing but perfect: light, truly functional, and practical now!

P.S. I use iWriter (Apple’s App) for basic non-format writing.

Microsoft Surface

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English: Microsoft surface table

English: Microsoft surface table (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The latest buzz was the surfacing of the soon-2-come Microsoft Surface tablet. As usual, MS is going to give you choices, whether is stripe-down RT version, or the full Win8 experience.

From what I have read and seen in the news, the drawing point to this tablet is MS R&Ding the whole thing, i.e., no third party! I guess with MS deep pocket, it can be exciting?!

The appeal as they try to market it is the rainbow colours array of the gadget (focusing a demographics of 16-25, perhaps!). To me, nothing of a wow here, looking at them. Sure, the tablet and keyboard are thin, but so are some ultra-thin notebooks on sales now. So, after you upgrade it to Win8, how is it different? especially when the ultra sells for its quick boot time, and wake time already.

I already talked about Android tablets weakness (for some) was with their multiple-versions open source system, but will the close source Win8 base tablet wins over established iOS’s?

Despite all, with anything new, don’t and go for 2nd generation, if there is going to be! That’s the cardinal rule for consumers, whether they are gadgets, appliances, or automobile.

The one think I am curious is how the keyboard works? motion sensor, i.e., like how we type on smartphones or iPad or Android tablets? If it is based on mechanical compression, press down, then it will be a failure! cause, there are Bluetooth keyboards that do the same with iPad! Now, it will be interesting if the keyboard is backlit, i.e., the key lights up as you type! you know, like how we see it in movie, clear glass keyboard, as you type, the key lights up and shows the letter….

Buying gadget is about seeing and feeling, so let’s wait till the real thing comes out!

Motion control for Mac and PC

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www.leapmotion.com, LEAP, a San Francisco base company  is marketing a device no bigger than a deck of cards that plugs into a USB port for motion control. In other words, the mouse can retire soon if thing goes well.

Now this will be pretty cool if you hook it up to your computer and HDMI to a large-screen TV and use motion control for what you do, like in the demo video zoom in on map and out, or play Fruit Ninja ! (Can this be a threat to game consoles?) Imagine, using it for multiple displays and pretend you are Tom Cruise in Minority Report (2002) , swiping screens, zooming in and out, ….

From the youtube http://youtu.be/_d6KuiuteIA demo, the rendering looks quite accurate and it seems to be able to do 3D modelling as well.

Right now there are limited devices that can be pre-ordered at US $70! (Looks like LEAP will ship it to Canada). That’s a pretty good deal.

As usual, first generation product may have bugs or hardware issues ( I am just saying). It seems like this may be a hit. However, with Windows 8, heavily touch-base interface, coming out soon, I don’t know if MS has the same trick up its sleeve? Since they already have the Kinect technology?! We’ll see, won’t we?

Cheers.