Archives For Mobile

internals_layer_end_large

Let me preface this post in saying that for the majority of the last decade, despite the occasional Chromebook or Windows aberration, a MacBook of one flavor or another has been my primary computing device. (Some examples: MBP, MB, MBA) So I clearly have both appreciated and invested in Apple’s take on portable computing. But the newly introduced “Macbook” ($1300 and up) appears to be something of a compromised curiosity (which, incidentally, is how I responded to the original MacBook Air).

buystrip_macbook_largeIn whittling away a laptop to a mere two pounds, the MacBook is an engineering marvel. Stunning, really. I mean, just look at the pic above – the brains of the computer reside on that small board, with the rest of the space dominated by the laptop’s structure and molded battery. Beyond the guts, the laptop is a beaut. Which probably means more to me than it should – guess I’m shallow like that. However, as a laptop’s primary interface remains keyboard and touchpad, these redesigned elements concern me. Like most, I haven’t actually touched the new MacBook yet… but, based on the visuals and early reports, I certainly won’t be pre-ordering. Further, it seems the MacBook’s processing power will be equivalanent to my 2012 MacBook Air. For most of what I do, most of the time, that wouldn’t really be a problem. But it does seem a step backwards to save a marginal amount of size and power consumption. Lastly, we’re provided just a single USB-C port to cover both charging and any peripherals (beyond headphones) for a fee … that runs more than Apple TV. Continue Reading…

Sling TV from Dish with ESPN on iPad

Many, many other writers have reviewed Sling TV (the new online video service from Dish that was announced at CES), so I won’t belabor the points they’ve already covered. There are licensing issues. Not all features are available on every channel. It’d be nice to have more on-demand television content instead of mainly VOD movies.

But, on the other hand, ESPN is pretty great (plus Disney, HGTV, etc.). And any-screen access for live TV is a plus.

What struck me about Sling TV, however, is how much it doesn’t feel like TV. It feels like Netflix.

Continue Reading…

IMG_7789

Intro

At $450, I had no intention of buying the original Withings Activité watch. That’s a bit steep for my watch buget, even if it does incorporate activity tracking and is Swiss-made. Seeing an opportunity to use a similar design, Withings announced at CES 2015 a new version of the Activité called Pop ($150).The Pop looks almost identical to the Activité, except that it is made with cheaper materials which brings the price point down to a more reasonable $150. The features remain the same across both trackers. The Activité can record steps, track if you are running, and can automatically log sleep at night. These features are very similar to the new Fitbit Charge, but it’s safe to say that one of these looks more stylish than the other. :-)

Read on for additional impressions of the Activité Pop! Continue Reading…

tivo-roku-myshows

As CES gets rolling, TiVo has announced plans to demo Roku and Chromecast clients… to cable partners. So there’s no telling when or if these implementations will make their way to us retail customers or to what extent, but it’s exciting stuff – on top of the already previewed Amazon Fire TV app. In the interim, you can effectively turn your Amazon Fire TV Stick or box into a TiVo Mini now by sideloading their Android app. Speaking of which, that app is being entirely rewritten from the ground up (to presumably add content downloads) and the iOS app will soon see the addition of “premium sideloading” … as the current implementation is uncomfortably slow and requires the app remain open for long periods of time. Should CES visual imagery present itself, we’ll update the post.  Continue Reading…

lg-fios-app-shutdown

By way of Kevin Hanson on Twitter and Verizon’s own forums, we learn that the television provider has discontinued their LG Smart TV FiOS app. The free streaming video app was first introduced in early 2012 as a means of providing LG owners boxless access to a couple dozen “live” FiOS channels… shortly after a similar experience had landed on the Xbox 360 gaming console. In fact, at one point, we thought FiOSTV-as-an-app was destined for all platforms, including Roku. However, given an industry move towards DLNA CVP-2 and presumed higher uptake from other platforms, we could see Verizon prioritizing development for alternate approaches. Indeed, they continue to crank away on their mobile experience, having just added three more channels (including Nick2 and VH1 Classic) and new “Dashboard view” recommendations to iPhone, iPad, and Android FiOS apps.

Staying Connected On The Go

Dave Zatz —  December 18, 2014

Since first adding a Palm V modem to my tech arsenal about 15 years ago to access Mindspring dial-up email on business travel, I’ve remained Internet-connected when mobile (and have even used “mobile” connectivity to power the home). The last few years, I’ve done my best to stay off public WiFi — the level of exposure and ease of interception exceeds my comfort levels. I wouldn’t say I’m paranoid and it’s not like I dabble in state secrets, but I’d rather not make my personal data any more accessible than it probably is. (Remember that time someone tweeted as me via Southwest Air WiFi?) Not to mention, those wireless networks (free or otherwise) often don’t perform so well – either by (poor or upsell) design or due to saturation.

With that in mind, I’ve been a huge fan of mobile phone tethering — which was fully ensconced within my workflow by 2006, when I kept my laptop online via a USB-connected 3G Sprint PPC-6700 while riding Amtrak to a NYC eventContinue Reading…

72 Hours with iPhone 6

Dave Zatz —  November 15, 2014

While I’m the CTO of the Zatz household, my wife Melissa is also capable of making tech purchasing decisions… and living with the consequences.

After years with Blackberry, I’ve truly become an Apple fan girl. For the less tech savvy, such as myself, I find Apple products quite intuitive, making for a fun and effective user friendly experience. When I gave up an iPad and iPad Mini to try the more economical Kindle Fire HDX, I was ultimately frustrated with its quirky operating system and lack of software polish. From what I can tell, these issues continue and I’m betting Dave will imminently return his recently purchased Fire. (Dave disputes this but he hates it when I’m right!). Like many others, my motto is “why fix what isn’t broke”? Apple has figured out a way to make technology easy, enjoyable, and super sexy looking.

iphone-6

As soon as the 4.7″ iPhone 6 was released Dave encouraged me to upgrade from my 4″ 5s. I use my smartphone for the majority of my web surfing and Internet needs. I actually use it more than my laptop — thanks to apps like Scanner Pro and eFax, I can even handle many work-related tasks on my phone. Dave and I also travel frequently and I’d rather not tote multiple devices. I want one gadget that will serve as my phone, my Kindle, and my web browser. As such, Dave believed I would enjoy the larger screen from my “all in one” device. I wasn’t easily convinced that we needed to spend $750 on a new phone when my 5s, although lacking in storage space, was seemingly meeting all my needs. Dave prefers I sport the newest product because it usually means a better or more efficient experience. I eventually gave in to his encouragement and I’ve been using he iPhone 6 for a few days now. I cannot say I’m in love just yet but I’m definitely interested.

I will leave the more credible tech reviews to Dave and other experts, but here are a few of my initial thoughts. Continue Reading…