Ray the Geek's Blog

Technology

Thinkpad’s Get Color and Style, Say it Ain’t So?!?!

by on Jan.07, 2010, under Technology

CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is being held in Las Vegas this week as you may know. CES always shows a lot of promise for the future of Consumer Electronics but usually avoids the humdrum of business systems. I’ve tried for several years to convince my boss Simon to let me go to CES since many of the new technologies like cell phones and computer peripherals shown at CES will usually winding up in the corporate environment eventually but Simon does not buy that, he thinks sending me to CES in Vegas is like sending a kid into a candy store to buy milk.

Lenovo has to played on both sides of the fence, consumer and business, unlike its predecessor IBM. Lenovo was usually reserved using the flash of color and style in the ThinkPad line in keeping with the tradition of the ThinkPad being the premiere business line of laptops in the industry. But that looks like it is all about to change.

Lenovo has added 2 new lines of ThinkPad systems, X100e and Edge, which added something Thinkpad laptops have been lacking, pizzazz! Gone is the traditional monochromatic rubberized graphite colored chassis and they have been replaced with shiny vivid colors!

x100e-1L-nowhiteThe first new colorful model is the X100e which comes in Midnight Black or Heatwave Red, 11.6″ HD Widescreen, sub 3 lbs Ultra Portable laptop not netbook because it has a real processor and HD graphics.  The X100e has AMD Athlon NEO processor at 1.6GHz, 1.8″ 5400 RPM hard drives like the T400s, M780G with ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics, UltraNav with new multi-touch pad similar to the T400s, Thinkpad wifi and Wireless WAN upgradability starting at $450. The X100e does seem to lack the rugged multi alloy/polymer frame typical of the X series systems so I doubt it has the reliability normally associated with the ThinkPad X models.

 

The ThinkPad Edge is the other colorful low cost ThinkPad targeted at cost conscious small to mid-sized business. Sporting 3 different colors, Midnight Black glossy, Midnight Black matt and Heatwave Red glossy, the Edge had a edge13-1Ltypically uncharacteristic silver trim that really seems to set the system apart form the other ThinkPad line. The Edge has an almost iPhonesque style glossy screen which unfortunately is not touch screen. THe Edge does sport redesigned ThinkPad keyboard and UltraNav with new multi-touch pad similar to the T400s. The Edge also comes with AMD Althon processor (Turion X2 1.6GHz), 7200 RPM HD, ATI Radeon HD 3200 IPG 128MB video, 13.3 ” HD Glare 1366×768 display, up to 7.8 hour battery and WWAN upgradable starting at under $600.

What this shows me is Lenovo is willing to bring cool styling to the table in the ThinkPad line to combat Acer, HP, Dell and Apple in wooing the hip, younger and more tech savvy corporations. But my only concern in do so is they may dilute the quality of ThinkPad name in the process but I hope this is not the case. The ThinkPad has always been the leader in quality laptops in the industry and at the company I work for I made sure we exclusivly use ThinkPads which is why we have a less than 1% failure rate on our laptops in the first three years!

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Nexus One Looks The “Real Deal” According to Many Reviews

by on Jan.07, 2010, under Technology

Well, if you done any Googling lately (pardon the expression) on new phones at CES, it seems the biggest thing since the iPhone 3GS, is the new Google Nexus One made by HTC. As you may have seen from my previous posts, many Android OS phones have hit the market all viding for that coveted top spot currently held by the venerable iPhone. Unfortunately none have truly come close including the new Motorola Droid. But enter the new kid on the block, Nexus One that has sites like CNET, Egadget, TechCrunch and Telegraph all touting its virtues.

nexus-one-specs-shotWhat make Nexus One so good? Start with a Qualcomm Snapdragon (QSD 8250)  1 GHz Processor, ad a 3.7-inch (diagonal) widescreen WVGA AMOLED touchscreen with 800 x 480 resolution and 100,000:1 typical contrast ratio!

Then throw in a 5 megapixle camera with LED flash, 802.00 a/g/n wifi (Yes that is right N!), Bluetooth 2.1, AGPS, Compass, 512MB RAM, 512MB ROM, 4GB SD (supports 32GB), accelerometer and 720 x 480 video at 20fps for good measure! Then top it off with Android 2.1 (Codename=Eclair) and pack it up in a slick slim case. Yea, this kinda gives me that “nice toy” envy big time!

Reviews seem to like the performance of the Nexus One over the previous Android based phones currently out, pointing out that HTC may finally have got it right. Of course the billion dollar question is: “Will this finally give the iPhone something to worry about?” Well, Google has done a good job in building a development environment that fosters open source coding and thousands of apps are now available. Even though it lacks the polished precision of the Apple Appstore, Android Market does seem to have a broad range of apps. The one big thing the previous Android phones did seem to lack was smooth, consistent performance. Let’s see if 1GHz Snapdragon in the Nexus One changes that. I guess we will see pretty soon if it does.

The Nexus One is available through T-Mobile for $179 or for $549 for an unlocked phone. NOTE: Even though the Nexus One is GSM, it WILL NOT support AT&T 3G networks! A Verizon/Vodafone version will be available in the spring.

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Could Droid Really be a Threat to the iPhone or save Motorola?

by on Oct.30, 2009, under Technology

MotoDroidMotorola has taken the back seat lately in the cell phone market that not too long ago it was the undisputed champion of. For many years the Razr was the most popular cell phone on the market, but since the advent of the iPhone and the plethora of iPhone wannabes like the htc Touch, Dimond, LG Vue, Blackberry Storm and Palm Pre, Motorola has been far behind in innovating a device to compete in this new touch-screen market. Although Motorola has several touch-screen phones, none has really been successful. Now enters a possible contender, the Motorola Droid. Using the highly anticipated Google Android 2.0 OS and housing a full QWERTY keyboard, Google-powered voice-activated search, a 550MHz processor, and a 3.7-inch with 480×854-pixel resolution, 5-megapixel camera with flash, autofocus and video capture, GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi. Couple that with exclusivity to the largest 3G network in the US, Verizon. The Droid seems to have all the right stuff to give AT&T and Apple a real challenge. Verizon has been blasting the TV with a very flashy iDon’t commercials bashing the iPhone’s lack of some basic features like “iDon’t have a real keyboard”, “iDon’t support open development”, “iDon’t customize” and “iDon’t take night shots”. The big question is, can this phone really be the salvation of Motorola who has had a bad financial track record recently? I guess we will find out soon enough. The Droid go on sale November 6th for $199 at Verizon.

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T-Mobile Sidekick Users Gets a Real Kick in the Side Complements of Microsoft.

by on Oct.13, 2009, under Technology

tmobileSidekickMany T-Mobile Sidekick users are understandably angry due to a recent service outage. The reason for the outage according to T-Mobile is a “Server Glitch” at the Danger a Microsoft subsidiary that owns the cloud based server storage service used by the Sidekick. Now the news this weekend that comes from both T-Mobile and Danger/Microsoft is that as many as a million users may lose some or all of the cloud based server data like contacts, photos and other personal information.

The Sidekick support forums at T-Mobile are buzzing with all the posts of users after more than a week of service outages and now the data loss. One vocal Sidekick user has reportedly been banned from the public support forums after voicing his opinions of his displeasure of losing his personal/professional data including 300+ contacts, 20+ notes and 30 tasks. The individual said he ran his entire business and personal life on the Sidekick. He commented that he was so angry that he was thinking of contacting the Washington State Attorney General’s office to lodge a formal complaint.  

What concerns me most about this issue is how it is possible that there was no way according to Danger/Microsoft to recover the lost data of all of these people? According to them, the glitch on their servers destroyed all the data. I would think that a company like Microsoft would go to any length to prevent such a loss of data.

This all begs the question on the reliability of cloud based computing in general. With the recent outages for cloud based services like Google gmail, Amazons Simple Storage and Citrix GoToMeeting, many personal and professional users of cloud based services may need to rethink the value of these services if the service providers cannot guarantee their reliability. I personally would never put my trust in storing my personal or professional data in the cloud with all the potential there is for theft or loss. With my luck, some hacker would try to crack my account then go to town trying to find something of value to pawn. When they realize I have nothing of value to them, they delete my stuff just for fun!!

Maybe I’m a little paranoid, but with all security flaws being found out there that open the doors to hackers to get information of value, it is just a matter of time before they figure out how to hack the cloud to services like this to make money from it.

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Console Wars Are Building Up For a Big Holiday Season!

by on Sep.25, 2009, under Technology

Game Consoles

Well, since my last post on the new slimmed down and lower priced ‘PS3’, which is the new ‘Official’ name of Sony’s Top-of-the Line console, Microsoft last week leaked that they were now offering a $50 rebate on the Elite XBOX 360 bringing the price to $250. Well not to be out done, the current Top Dog in the in the gaming junkyard, Nintendo, today announces that they will drop the already low price of the Wii to $199 and offer a %20 discount on all software! This looks to be like a really good holiday season for gamers everywhere.  My only question is, will any parents in today’s financial uncertainty be willing to fork out a couple of hundred clams so Johnny can play Halo Wars, Wii Play or Resident Evil 5?  I guess we’ll find out in a couple of months when the big holidays sales guns start to hit!

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The Changing Face Of Micro$oft!

by on Aug.27, 2009, under Technology

MS-Changing-FaceRecently a Micro$oft marketing photo used on the Internet has caused an uproar because someone had done a REALLY POOR Photoshop job or removing  an African American man’s face for a Caucasian one when the ad was marketed in Poland.   

I know that Micro$oft is in NO WAY a racist company! Diversity has been their mantra in business and advertising for as long as they have been in the industry. I also know that market demographic plays a huge roll in advertising,  many geographic regions  respond better to if you use images of people from that region. Let’s face it, if you have an ad running in an Asian market with of a bunch of Caucasian people, you probably won’t work as well as if you used a bunch of Asian people. BUT you don’t just take your stock photo and cut off the heads and paste on Asian ones, that is just plain DUMB!!  Worse of all, the Micro$oft  photo editor forgot to change the hand!  Well I’m sure there is a marketing director for Micro$oft in Europe who really wishes they saw that ad before it went out!

This just goes to show that if you really want to get ahead in a marketing champagne, make sure your photos have the right heads for the job, because if you just swap a head may get your head handed to you!

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PlayStation 3 Slims Down and Looses $100 in its Price!

by on Aug.20, 2009, under Technology

PS3's side by side

PS3's side by side

Sony announced yesterday that they will release a thinner lighter PS3 in September. This new system will start with a 120GB drive for $299. Wow, thinner, lighter and cheaper, dang, I wish I could say that! J The new system will have all the same features and performance that the previous models do, just in a 36% smaller and less flashy case. To reduce the size and price, Sony is now using less costly and 33% lower power consumption 45nm Cell processor vs. the 60nm in the previous models had. The processor is still running at the same speed as before. Sony also moved the hard drive to the front of the case for easy upgrading without violating the system warranty. The new PlayStation 3 will come with the new firmware 3.0 which will release for older models in September also.

Firmware 3.0 offers some visual improvements to XMB like:

“What’s New” – The “Information Board” will be replaced with a “What’s New” section for the latest updates in a more visually oriented format.

Status Indicator – In the top right corner will be an indicator bar, which displays your user icon, friend icon, the number of friends you have online and a small message icon to let you know if you have any new messages.

Friends List – Now your PlayStation Network friends will appear in a slightly redesigned format on your Friends List. Also, messages will now be viewable from each of your friends’ respective profiles.

PlayStation Store Shortcuts – A handy shortcut icon to the PlayStation Store under both the Game and Video categories so you can access the latest content quickly and easily.

Personalization – Personalize your PS3 with new dynamic custom themes and avatars. A dynamic theme incorporates animated objects into the background.

Trophies – Showcasing your hard earned trophies just got better. Update 3.00 gives game developers the ability to modify how they display trophies for add-on content.

Sony’s PlayStation 3 is still really trailing in the console market behind Xbox360 and Wii but with a sub $300 price tag, the new PS3 may change the numbers. With the crucial holiday season which is quickly approaching, it will be interesting to see what happens with the numbers come January 2010.

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