New Post 1 iPad First

iPad Mini Breakout ideas that seem really unlikely:

  1. It should have 2 (two) screens, one on the back in e-ink for pure reading and the regular one of the front for all the other things one does with an iPad. The reading screen should be able to run when the front screen and the radios are all shut down due to low battery power.
  2. It should have the same screen ratio as the iPhone 5 making it newer and svelte. 

Two worst decisions the new management could have made:

  1. offer the Mini as a Touch Maxi, i.e. without 4G
  2. cheapen it by taking out bluetooth or the higher memory options

What I expect:

  1. iPad 2 resolution machine with retina pixel size.
  2. iPad 2 cpu and gpu maybe a bit better
  3. Light with narrower side bezel, making it look like a large iPod Touch
  4. A very inexpensive basic unit but a pretty much fully rigged top end model that will offer compact footprint as competition
  5. iPhone 4 level camera on the back or better (Apple has realized that they have the point and shoot market at this point.)
  6. iPad 2 will be phased out

iPad , iPad

Not sure what I think about the iPad these days, it’s still the single most used computing device I own but to be honest its the one that I would give up first as well.

Which seems odd.  But while I can do many things with the iPad (reader, Music, light blogging, internet addiction) even creative and work related if I have to, it is by its nature more limited in the depth of work that it supports.  It allows one to create a document and presentation or spreadsheet very well but linking them together is far harder than on a PC.  The scientific calculators I have worked with are simply remarkable but their results are hard to integrate with other packages.  Pictures etc are the same, it’s not that the iPad can’t it’s just that with the App model and its flat file structure you cannot organize or cross pollinate work like you can on a PC.

I am sure that many out there would argue with this, they probably feel that the iPad is liberating or does this or that better than any PC, and they could be right.  I also think that I could get used to using the iPad for many more things, but the effort to change over and figure out how to do things differently would be a very deep time sink.

Don’t get me wrong, the iPad is a remarkable development, the culmination of many attempts over a long time, but it’s not clear that it’s the be all that some, even I, thought it  to be.

That said you’d have to pry my iPad out of my cold dead fingers if you just wanted to take it away now (though if you’re thinking of mugging me for it, you can have it, gives me an excuse to go buy a newer one.)

I am disappointed that no one has developed a better stylus technology, for the iPad.  It needs a pen like system as well as the finger painting mode (the Blue Tiger device that was being hyped a few months ago seemed promising.)  And I also feel that the iPad could do with a daylight readable screen at the current or only slightly higher resolution, with a longer battery life, faster processing and graphics and better error handling (than my old iPad v1).  One cool idea would be a two-faced version.  One with eInk on one side and the existing screen on the other.  That way you could do what you most often want to do in daylight, read and interact with documents, and you still have all the capability of the main screen on the other side.

Ah well, who knows what’s to come in the months and years ahead.  Hopefully someone at Apple will think of a better way of doing the things I want the iPad to do.

 

New Age of Discovery | iPad, Pandora and the

Stars and Gas in the Milky Way Galaxy
OK, I have to admit that I have done most of my posting from the iPad for the past couple of weeks, it does make micro blogging pretty danged easy. The iPad continues to amaze me it is the single most life changing device I have ever used. No it is not the god machine and Steve Jobs, though a genius (with a lot of help from his team), was not a messiah. But the device and the infrastructure it accesses with such elegance have changed how I live in ways and at a speed that no other single device has (baring perhaps my license/first car.)

Telecommunications technology (phone and TV), the computer, the micro chip, the mini computer, the calculator, the personal computer, the internet, the cell phone, the laptop and now the tablet computer have each in their way had a profound impact on my life but each one though important in some particular piece of my life had little effect on other parts. The iPad has changed how I read, what I read, how I create, what I create, how I communicate with my wife, what entertainment I enjoy and when. It is my constant companion and I would be lost without it. This has never been true of any other device to the same extent though my laptop and cell phone are close, more because of how important they are to one or two important parts of my life, unlike the iPad which has had a broad impact on most of my life.

Is this good or bad? One part of me wants to say it has to be good, otherwise why would it have taken over so thoroughly, it allows me access to the web at almost any instant to look up info or browse, I use it to keep me amused at the club, etc. Another part wants to say bad, because there is no denying that I have been more sedentary (big word for sitting on my ass more) since I got the iPad, and I in fact have not read as many books since I got the iPad. Pull back for the big picture and I think that the iPad has enables changes in how I live my private life, and that good or bad is what I make of the changes it enables, because there is nothing that I used to do that it forecloses by its existence and use.

Though not as high impact as the iPad, Pandora is the other technical insert in my life that I feel I would miss profoundly. I am currently listening to it Jennifer Thomas’ Beautiful Storm, a piano piece with orchestral background, a strikingly beautiful piece of music I doubt I would ever have heard if not for Pandora. Over a period of a couple of years I have slid sideways from Nickleback, to Shinedown, to Adele, Glitrap, Jes and more. Music discovery is what Pandora is all about and I think I’m better off for it….

And that brings me back to the iPad and its impact….one of the things it does is make discovery easier, discovery of new memes, of new sounds, new skills and new voices. It allows me to fill in the little wasted cracks of time in my life with more discovery.

Two posts this week have dealt with 3D printers, what I think of as stereolithographic machines. And the computer controlled 3D wood carving machine I saw in Rockler catalogue. The Maker movement is all about discovery, the DARPA crowdsourcing initiative is all about discovery. So is it that the iPad and Pandora are my first windows into this new age of discovery?

E-Reader Display Shows Vibrant Color Video – Technology Review

E-Reader Display Shows Vibrant Color Video – Technology Review.

“The device seen by Technology Review was made in a pilot factory in Taiwan that has mostly produced sample displays distributed to potential partners and customers, although a relatively small number of commerical displays will be made there. Chui says that a second, larger factory in Taiwan, big enough for production at a very large scale, is under construction and will come online in mid-2012. With the larger factory incomplete, truly mass-market devices with Mirasol displays can only appear in the second half of next year. Qualcomm is planning to invest up to $975 million in the new factory.”

Next year, color video on a small reader full sunlight and several times LCD’s life per charge.    Faster Please….and get it on the iPad…

NaNoWriMo Day 12 Update

So I spent most of the day on this and only got 2,628 words written.  Yesterday I spent less time overall and put out a lot more words.  As per typical there is more than one reason, and writers block per se  was not one of them.  Mainly it was because I spent a lot of today doodling on my iPad creating a ‘professional quality’ (per Smash Words Style Guide) cover for Elgin. I love doodling on graphical projects, and especially on the iPad.  I started out trying to do a typical (atypical) swords and sorcery type cover with Elgin the Iffrit and Elgin the Cowboy etc, and this was stupid, I’m not an artist.  Then I started playing around with scenery and graphics do-dads and came up the the pretty cool cover you’ll all be seeing soon. 
While I was doing that I was pondering shifting the ‘publishing’ of the ongoing work the Smashwords, who have kindly made Meatgrinder and their site available to NaNoWriMo works.  Trying to do it on the web page is a bit of a pain since there is something hinky with the import of large blocks of word text into WP, almost undoubtedly me not the site but not something I’m going to bother fighting right now. 
Then of course was the fact that I was mucking around in my mind with the usual….you’re getting too long, too wordy, too discursive.  But then I went back and as of this time I really don’t know that I am.  Oh I can see sections an editor would say cut out, and they’d be right technically, but I have to wonder if the shibboleths of the day of physical type setting, or even physical paper and binding, should come across full force into eBooks, I like books that flesh out the character, that spend some time explaining things, describing things.  As long as they’re not boring.
 
Status from NaNoWriMo
Words Written Today  2,628
Total Words Written  34,332  Current Day  12
Average Per Day   2,861
Words Remaining  15,668  Days Remaining  19
At This Rate You Will Finish On November 17, 2011
Words Per Day To Finish On Time  82

Target Word Count  50,000  Target Average Words Per Day 1,667

 
 

(oops forgot a title) Nov 4th Progress

So I put up the first chapter of Elgin, the Novel I’m writing for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), you can click-through Elgin in the writing menu to the left, read to the bottom and click on the Chapter 1 link. OR:

So I spent the day shuttling between various medical labs and had some time to write, so I did some on the iPad.  My method for this is clumsy but workable.  I use Dropbox to store my current writing which gives me access on the ThinkPad T42 laptop where I do most of my writing and the iPad which is my constant travel companion. I use Pages for writing, which started out pretty easy to use and is getting easier to use.  On the iPad Dropbox knows I can open a word document in Pages, so it gives me that option, but of course Apple does not link to Dropbox so I have to e-mail the file to myself and drop it back into Dropbox, which is annoying but workable.

Without my Verbatim bluetooth keyboard using the iPad on-screen keyboard is a two hand two finger exercise instead of ten finger touch typing but it’s still pretty fast.  Pages was the only real choice for a real word processor that I could see when I bought the iPad.  And as times goes along I am getting to like the slimmed down features of pages, though I dislike the modern smart phone based assumption that it knows better than I what I meant to spell (it’s a pain when inventing words/’terms for scifi or fantasy.)

Anyway read the intro and first chapter, let me know what you think.

Rage Against DCA

When you travel to the northeast you have a series of not good options for transfer hubs.  There is Chicago, La Guardia , Kennedy, Newark, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, Washington Dulles and DCA, Ronald Reagan International, Washington District of Columbia.

I actually prefer smaller aircraft these days, the Embraer 145 and 170/190 mainly because you either get an aisle or window seat, I’m a big guy and I and my seat mates hate it when I get a middle seat. So that means that I tend to fly through the smaller airports when I can.  Cleveland has been a favorite but its likely the United buy out of Continental will curtail that option. That means DCA which some people find surprising.

DCA is actually a very small airport with a lot of flights.  It has very good links to the rest of the country east of the great plains because it’s a taxi ride to congress and the rest of the gov’t.  All the state capitals (like say, Indianapolis) have pretty good service albeit on regional or smaller mainline jets. Early in the day and later in the afternoon there are all sorts of options to provide your Gov’ts functionaries access to each other. 

Since even in today’s America the movement of bureaucrats and politicians and other sundry functionaries couldn’t support a commercially viable network the hoyploy are allowed to use it as well.  And the flight links are business friendly.  So I get to pick this as a hub far more often than I want to.

There have been various efforts to close DCA over the years as a security (passengers on one side can look down the mall at congress, from less than a mile, as you land or take off) or safety (it’s a bit tricky to fly into along the Potomac, to avoid over flying things like the Pentagon, Naval Research Labs, an Air Force base, etc.)  The ride can be interesting from a sight-seeing viewpoint. But I wonder how many weapons targeting systems are tracking us as we wind down the river.  

You can see this as a test in itself… it takes a reasonable pilot to stay on the twisting flight corridor…its unlikely the 911 hijackers could have gotten close without being ID’d.  Is it possible that one of these days there will be a series of mistakes made, resulting in a shoot down?  In fact I’m (pretty) sure any active defenses are even closer to the targets and its likely the defenses are purely passive, but who knows? And of course that’s the point, and I think that’s just fine…it just makes flying into DCA a little more ‘fraught’ than I like.

Physically Ronald Reagan International is a highly constricted piece of land on the Potomac across from the center of the city.  And it’s not optimally laid out, because of the constriction and because it was designed and built just before 911. So if you land at gate 24 and fly out of gate 38 you have to climb down outdoor steps get on a bus and get driven between the two concourse arms dodging baggage trucks and backing jetliners.  I actually don’t mind the ride but the steps in the rain snow, horrid heat/humidity with my luggage is not a fav. 

Because many of the flights are direct links (the ones I’m on anyway) even when the rest of the east coast traffic goes ‘blewwey’ because of bad weather I get in and out of DCA reasonably reliably.  But also because of those same links I have sometimes run into the the timeout or other passenger unfriendly events.  Towards the end of the day pilots are getting towards the limit on the number of hours they can fly in one 24 hour period.  I was on a flight earlier this year where we pulled away from the gate, and were delayed a few minutes because of flight routing, and the pilots told us we were going to be staying in DCA because one of them would be out of hours before landing, (this happened to a flight to Indy just earlier in the evening las night.)  Another time a flight was canceled because another aircraft had a mechanical problem and my flight was relatively thinly populated so they switched aircraft.  There is no room for spare aircraft at DCA so we found ourselves staying the night. 

So to last night, cue the thunderstorms, delays and canceled flights all up and down the east coast, concourses full of people trying to get home.

Arrive in DCA on time, exchange concourses in the rain, find a seat, start writing a post on my trusty iPad.  Then I hear that my flight is now departing from a different gate, in the other concourse.  Back on the damned bus and back to the other side.  Set up start typing and time gets away from me.  Hit the line just in time to get aboard and get a spot for my roll-a-board then I dash off the message I posted last night. 

Then we sit….finally the doors close, with empty seats because the aircraft they were holding for did not leave La Guardia and they didn’t have time to get other displaced passengers aboard.  Then we push of the gate….and sit. Then the mains wind up…we’re on our way!  No we aren’t. Get out of the alleyway and the engines spool down…and we sit.  We’re going to be routed south to avoid thunderstorms in the lower flight levels. Good we’re going right?!  Spool up, wander around the airport for a while, then the engines spool down again (and by the way every time you light off a gas turbine you take hundreds of operating hours off its life, they love to run, they hate starting up and stopping. But sitting there with the engines running was burning fuel we’d need for the hop to Indy.) We sit…then the engines start and we taxi again….back towards the terminal! Then we start seeing massive flashes of lightning.  There’s a major storm cell heading straight for us!  And the engines spool down again! We sit and rock as the wind and rain lash us.  Then the engines start again! We taxi sloooowwwly past the terminals, I figure we’re staying the night.  But we don’t turn in!  Then we tuck in behind another liner, and the captain makes only the third announcement, that we’re waiting for the storms to clear our departure vector and we can call our loved ones that we’ll be late!  And the engines spool down again! 

Then finally, ‘everyone back to your seats, less than six minutes to take off!’ And we were off in about the six minutes.  Of course it was well after midnight instead of ten but we were off. 

SO? I got home, why am I whingeing? Because it was painful, every damn step was painful, getting through security, waiting, getting on, getting off, waiting, getting back on, the delay, everything! everything was painful.

Why was it painful. Probably because I was tired and depressed but mainly because I’m a romantic.   Flying should be an adventure, the power and beauty of the aircraft, the wonder and beauty of the sky and world.

We have taken a dream humanity has probably had ever since we had self-consciousness and turned it into Kafkaesque Bureau-Industrial grotesqueness.  As I said earlier in the week its like traveling on a prison tram with well behaved inmates. 

At least once in the air, I can close my eyes and dream of starships as we wing home.