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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Greg Proops- The Smartest Man in the World Podcast. The Thinking man's way to Laugh

Podcasting is not as popular as it should be and that is a shame.

I try to explain podcasts to my friends ("It's like grown up radio without commercials") and all I get back are glassy-eyed stares. I really try to explain the eco-system that allows niche podcasts to flourish alongside more mainstream offerings most of us are familiar with and used to hearing like Adam Carolla, Leo Laporte and The Mike O'Meara Show.

Occasionally, there comes along a podcast that straddles the line between mainstream and odd, challenges us intellectually and blows up conventional thinking with the dynamite of dadaism and off the wall bizarre. Greg Proops is just that kind of podcast host.
Laughing and thinking was never so much fun.

Perhaps best known for his regular appearances on both the British and US versions of "Whose Line is it Anyway?", Proops is a bohemian intellectual, raging against convention with a nuclear fueled wit. Normally recorded onstage with an audience that tries to be as hip and bon vivant as he, Proops rattles off humor, pop references, quotes obscure poetry and lances the establishment with a machine-gun delivery that sometimes derails in a deep gorge of what-the-hell-is-he-talking-about?

Overall, the effect is fantastically overpowering. I somehow feel smarter myself as I understand his Satchel Paige reference or follow along as he dissects Hollywood movies. Is there a point? Usually not one that I can establish, except to have fun on a smarter plane than most other broadcasts.

Proops doesn't talk down to his audience, but expects them to keep up intellectually. But that's OK with me because I enjoy a host who challenges my intellect and helps me to look at topics with a new view.

Proops also liberally laces his diatribes with references to drugs, alcohol and adult language, so this isn't for those with innocent sensibilities, but if you're seeking out something that is different, energetic and appeals to the brainiac in all of us, then The Smartest Man in the World Podcast  might be the next thing you down load today. You can find Proops' show on iTunes or Zune or by going to his website by clicking here.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Google Chromebook Review. The Price of Being cheap Comes at a Cost.

There comes a point where being cheap costs too much to be practical.

The Google Chromebook is a case in point. At $199, the cost certainly seems to be cash friendly. But, exactly what is the Google Chromebook and why should you consider it for your home?

In short, the Chromebook does one thing: access the internet via Google's Chrome browser. There is no word processing program, games or other software, per se. Just Chrome and only Chrome. Once the computer boots up (in a fast ten seconds), Chrome appears and you can access online content via wifi (a more expensive Chromebook- $449- provides 3G access).

However, you can still do word processing, spreadsheets and other apps via Chrome using Googles vast online selection of products like Google Documents, that stores your written work in the cloud. While this anchors you to a wifi connection to do any work, it also means that work is available at any computer with a connection to the internet.
How much is computing worth to you?

Also, the Googleverse contains thousands of other apps, themes and bits of downloadable to make the Chromebook your own. Each user can also customize their version of the Chrome experience under their individual sign-on, so my eight-year old's Hello Kitty theme doesn't clash with my football background.

My suggestion would be not to use the Chromebook as your primary computer, but as your secondary one. It has some major limitations that prevents me from recommending it as a serious computing appliance for heavy, major use. But as a surfing device for casual use, I could see it proving to be a useful gadget. At $199, I think you couldn't really ask it to do much more.

To read a more in depth review, go to and for a more technical (and positive) review, takes a look at this system you can buy today from Google by clicking here.

Is this something that fits your needs? I don't know, but if it does, the good news is it won't cost much to find out. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

And Now for Something Completely Different (from the iPhone)- the Nokia Lumina 920 Review

People are sheep. Even though we'd all like to think we're rugged individualists and our own person, fact is, most of us are not so unique, very different or like to move away from the middle ground. 

The same goes for smart phones. I asked my mother why she bought an iPhone. Her answer was as revealing as it was unsurprising, "Because that's what everyone else has." She felt safe making that choice.

And that's the issue for some people when it comes to smartphones. Many don't want the same phone everyone else has. While they do want a powerful, capable device able to perform all the functions of an iPhone, they seek out the different, the unusual and the unique. Even the Android operating system is not enough for these trailblazers- they're looking for a more out-there solution without sacrificing all of the conveniences the mainstream phones offer. 

For many, the Nokia Lumina 920 offers them the opportunity to use a robust, powerful and creative operating system while still rebelling against the mainstream user base. The secret is, though, that the 920 uses an operating system from the most mainstream of tech companies- Microsoft. The flagship of the Microsoft Windows Phone 8 system, the Lumina 920 is the equal of any of the top tier offerings from Apple or any of the Android phone makers. Available in a rainbow of bright, "look at me!" colors, the 920 seems tailor made for those who seek out different choices for themselves. 
For the rebel in all of us, the Nokia Lumina 920

Neither light nor thin, the Lumina 920 nevertheless surprises with its square but rounded shape and big bright screen. Battery life seems to be average, but I think that most of use have learned to plug in and charge at any opportunity by this point in the tech evolution of the cellphone regardless of manufacturer. The camera is a delight with vibrant colors, a fast shutter and the ability to easily share your life with others. did a full review and their look at this different offering can be found by clicking here.

There has been grumblings online with some complaining that the WP8 system offers "only" 100,000 apps. Over time, I have found that I tend to use the same 8-10 apps over and over again only adding one or removing one here or there occasionally, so I find this complaint to be unfounded and silly. All of the major OS's have tens of thousands of apps none of us will ever want, need or use. 

So which OS do you get? Go for the Apple OS and get 1,000,000 apps and all of the accessories available anywhere? Go Android and feel safe and snug? Or do you feel like a rebel and want to have some thing no one else does? 

If the answer is the Nokia Lumina 920, you might still be a sheep in some ways, but you'd be the one with a Mohawk.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Apple iPod Nano reviews. Is the 7th time a charm?

So, your kid is telling you she wants a new iPod. But the iPod Touch goes for as much as $395.00. I can almost hear my bank account crying from the pain of monetary withdrawal. Don't feel bad- kids don't feel your pain.

But, not to worry- some tech-challenged folks aren't aware Apple offers more than the iPod Touch when it comes to an excellent choice in MP3 players. The seventh generation iPod Nano has just debuted on the scene with some new and not so new features sure to please your child on Christmas morning for much less cash out of your pocket. 
The size and new headphones are both improvements

About twice the size of the previous generation Nano- look at a standard business card and you'll get the idea of the new size- the latest iteration from the company in Cupertino has a much easier to navigate interface with selections for music, podcasts, photos, FM radio and video. Yes, you can watch video on the 2.5" screen, but would you want to? 
Apple includes Bluetooth with this new offering which allows users to wirelessly transmit audio to Bluetooth receivers now found in newer cars, stereo speakers and headphones. In other words, the Nano can sit in your pocket, happily playing audio to your headphones without a wire stretching from the pocket to your head. 

While all of this added tech and improvements is nice, how does it all work together as a package? Turns out, it's pretty good. For $149, you get your choice of   dark gray, silver, purple, pink, yellow, green, blue, and red and 16 Gigabytes of memory- enough to hold thousands of songs and pictures. Also, Apple includes a new design of earplugs meant to fit better with greater comfort. 
Color and sound meet

One item that might cause some confusion is the Lightning Connector. Apple has changed  the data/power connector on all iPods to a entirely different design incompatible with previous versions. To continue using older charging systems like clock radios or other legacy docking systems, you must buy an adapter commonly available at electronics stores, but get them now as they will be scarce for a time after the holidays due to high demand. 

iPod Nanos are sold just about everywhere and the prices never really change, so buy them wherever you find them because Apple doesn't discount their products and the price you find at store A will be the exact same at store B. 

Need to know more? looked over the Nano when it came out and have something to say about how well it works. Click here to read it. did the same and they have a slightly different take on the Nano but both agree that for less than 150 dollars, there's not a better choice out there.

I think your kid would agree.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Amazon Kindle Fire vs Google Nexus 7. Which is better?

Last year, Amazon shocked the gadget loving world when they debuted the Amazon Kindle Fire, small form factor computer tablet with a 7" screen, 8G of storage and the ability play games, read books and playback movies on demand. Amazon offered all of this for the small form factor price of less than $200(US).

Kindle Fire- Not bad at all.
At first, Amazon barely broke even on each Fire sold and made a bet it would make a profit from apps, movies books and other items purchased from Amazon itself. Now, the parts used to make the Fire have dropped in price and Amazon is actually making a modest profit on each Fire it sells plus the app store money it banks every day.

The Nexus 7- Looking good.
Not to be outdone, Google has now put its Nexus 7 on the market to compete with the Fire. Same size screen, but with the guts of its more powerful, and larger (10.1") competitors that allows it to process video, audio and other data more quickly. The Nexus 7 also has a better screen with higher definition and uses the latest iteration of the Android operating system called "Jellybean". Plus, Google sells the Nexus 7 for the same low price as the Fire- $200.

Uh-oh. two competitors for the exact same price? This looks like a battle royal of 7" tablets! How do you, as a consumer, make a smart buying decision when choosing between these two mini-tablets? Which one is the better choice? Which one is best for you and finally, which one should you buy? has compared these two tablets and has the scoop on both and what they offer to customers looking for a quality experience in the smaller tablet form.
Go there now to read the article and decide for yourself.

Oh- one more thing...

Rumors are strong in the computer world Apple will soon introduce a 7" tablet of their own. A mini-iPad would really cause a ruckus and turn the market on its ear.

Things are heating up! Stay tuned...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Windows 8 - Microsoft takes a chance on a new look.

The Microsoft Windows operating system gets a bad rap. Many speak about Windows with disdain and a sour face and harp incessantly about crashes, freezes and other OS maladies.

These people are wrong. Dead wrong. Since before Windows XP, the OS has generally been a stable system and the new Windows 8 promises the same trouble-free experience but with a graphical twist.
Will the new look be a hit with people used to the old look?

Just like the Windows Phone OS, the user will be greeted with a set of "tiles"  with each representing a different app. This new design has been called "Metro".For instance, one tile may represent the user's email account. Since the app is live, the tile will display the current number of unread messages. The user need only to click on the app to open the email client.

Other new features include:

  • Internet Explorer 10- built to take advantage of the new Metro design.
  • Powerful, but lightweight, W8 can be installed on nearly any computer made in the last 5-6 years.
  • Windows Defender- an excellent antivirus program that used to be separate (but free) is now built in. 
  • Media Center is now standard
  • USB 3.0 integration means pictures and video can be downloaded faster than ever before. 
There's more- much more in fact. But the best news about Windows 8 may be the price to upgrade your current computer- only $40! So, if you're running XP, Windows 7 or just want the newest and fastest version of Windows, it will set you back less than dinner at a decent restaurant. 

Although it's not normally my policy to use Wikipedia as a link, there's a strong article detailing all Windows 8 has to offer. Go to it here. 

For a news of W8, no one knows the new OS better than Paul Thurrott. He's literally written the book on the subject and posts regular articles about new developments, tips and opinion on all things WS8. Take a look here. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Google Nexus 7- The Kindle Fire starts to feel the heat.

In the beginning, there was the Kindle Fire. It cost $200 and delivered the kind of experience that made it a runaway bestseller. It could do all kinds of light duty computing- more than enough for most people who weren't looking for the high-zoot power of an Apple iPad (or the high-zoot price either).

Well, it took awhile but competitors are starting to appear in the marketplace to challenge the Fire for a prime place under the tree next Christmas. This week, Google introduced the Nexus 7, a small form tablet sized like the Fire and priced like it too- a mere $200 for a 8G version ($250 for the 16G). The screen is 7" inches across and is as thin as an iPhone.
If my wife is reading this, here is my hint for Christmas.
The Nexus 7 can do most of the things other tablets can do like display ebooks and magazines, play movies and install more than 600,000 Android Apps from the Google Play market of apps. But, The Nexus 7 comes with the next generation of the Android operating system called Jellybean that boasts features like Google Now and 10 hours of e-reading and web browsing (but "only" 8 hours of HD video).

But does it seems that 8G or 16G may not be enough to store books, music, apps and the other ephemera required to make the tablet experience satisfying? No worries- the Nexus 7 uses "tons of free" (Google's words) cloud storage to hold most of your data so you never have to worry about running out of space for all of your Grateful Dead bootleg tapes or having to pick only a few of your favorite Scooby Doo episodes. Now, you can keep them all ready, as much as you want, whenever you want.

The good news is you can preorder now and get $25 of Google Play credit to add the apps of your choice and be the first on your block to get what looks to be the start of a beautiful friendship. Go to Google's announcement here for a better look at all the specs, accessories and the preorder page so you can get your Nexus 7 by the end of July.

Want to read a review of the Google Nexus 7? has both a video and text review here. 

The ball is now in Amazon's court. We know there's a new Fire in the works and you can be sure the next year is sure to be interesting for the winners.

Winners? Sure. You know, people who buy these things like you and me. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Apple's New Products for 2012- Newer, Better, Faster but where's the iPhone?

You know, for a company that holds just a small percentage of the electronics industry market share (from 11%-17% depending on who you ask) Apple sure gets a lot of attention. And who can resist listening when Apple talks? Personally, I don't own a single Apple product so I have no dog in this fight, but I can help but pay attention when Apple starts to make announcements on future products.
Remember this? I think the new products
are a wee bit more advanced.

At the 2012 WWDC (World Wide Developer's Conference), Apple has started to release the first post-Steve Jobs products. Undoubtedly, these products were set before the passing of Apple's legendary leader, so this is the consumer's chance to see what's coming for the next 12 months and what they might find under the tree in December.

The list is a little long for complete coverage, but here's some things you can expect from the conference:

  • A new MacBook pro, updated with speedier processors and more oomph, including the ability to use USB 3.0 (lightning quick data transfers)
  • Retina displays on some computers (as an option or standard? Not sure) 
  • A new iPhone and/or iPod? (probably not, but...) 
Engadget has complete coverage details and posts breaking news as it happens. Go over to their site now for analysis and insight into Apple's latest offerings and, who knows? I might just ask Santa for a new Apple gizmo this Christmas. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Windows 8- Your Most Common Questions Answered.

Windows rules the world.

Despite the huge (and loud) Apple fanbase, the fact remains that the Microsoft Windows operating system is the predominate computer system by a factor of 10 or more. Since the 1980's, the majority of the world's computers run on the system begun by Bill Gates and a few others in a small storefront in Albuquerque, New Mexico decades ago.

Windows Phone 7 with
a look towards the future.
And as each new version of Windows emerges for the consuming public, new methods of computing and the human/machine interface gets a little bit better each time. Until recently, changes were evolutionary- a little bit better each time, but still recognizable as the same ol' Windows- just a bit more grown up.

Not this time though. For 2012, Microsoft is debuting a brand new system called Windows 8 with some deeply interesting elements sure to catch the eye of Windows lovers all over the world. If you've seen the Microsoft smart phone operating system Windows Phone 7, you get the idea. Tiles on the home screen are "alive" with information like e-mails, weather, Facebook postings, sports scores, etc.

Looks different, doesn't it?

Much of what gives Windows 8 its unique appearance is what gives Windows Phone 7 its appearance and that's on purpose. The thinking is, if you become used to the W8 system, then you'll be more likely to see the WP7 system as comfortable, familiar and you'll be more likely to buy one or the other due to this familiarity. I don't pretend to understand this approach, but Microsoft seems to believe the concept has merit.

No release date is available but it's almost sure to be in the 4th quarter of this year. For those of you who still have questions, has the answers to some of the more common queries users have been asking. But, if we all wait just a couple of months, all of our questions will be answered when the systems premieres. Click here to see if your question was answered. 

By the way, work has already begun on Windows 9. Some would call that too soon.

I call it job security.

Monday, May 14, 2012

iPhone5 rumors- What will fall from Apple's tree in 2012?

About a year ago, all waited with baited breath for the Next Big Thing to debut from Apple when it came time to reveal their new iteration of the iPhone franchise. The anticipation became greater and the tension grew  until the big day when Apple finally revealed the iPhone4S to a fan base drooling at the idea of a new product from the folks in Cupertino.

A few weeks after the phone came out, the loyal Apple users were fairly unanimous in their lukewarm reaction to the new offering.

Lukewarm? Yep- it seems besides the addition of Siri, the iPhone4S was simply a refreshed version of the iPhone4 with a little bit faster processor and a tweak of the software. Fanboys would have to wait until 2012 for the next Next Big Thing. Surely this time the new phone will be equipped with way-out-there tech and stuffed with unbelievable surprises for the fan base. Excitement over the debut of the iPhone5 has already begun.

Maybe the new iPhone5 will be an enormous leap of technology and imagination. But, how should I know? I'm just a humble blogger from the heartland of America.
This is one idea for the iPhone5. There are thousands of others out there.
(source: unknown)
Well, maybe the people at would know. Just like the last few years, gathers  rumors and whispers from all over the world and presents them to the reader for review and consideration. Some rumors are wild and others are more mundane and are all unverified. But, the fun is in the what-if scenarios that keep us all guessing and builds interest for the reveal sometime later this year.

At some point, Apple's iPhone5 will be old news, but not right now. As of now, the impending debut of the iPhone5 is the hottest thing out there. Go to to learn more.

At least, that's what I heard. What do you know?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Nokia Lumina 900 Review- The best Windows Phone yet?

A couple of weeks ago, I detailed the Nokia Lumina 700 series of cell phones and what it had to offer the mobile phone user seeking an alternative to the ubiquitous iPhone and Android phones. At the time, the Lumina 700 was the tops in Windows Phone 7 (WP7) offerings.

Released this past Easter Sunday(!?), the Lumina 900 tops the 700 with bigger this, faster that and at a  price that has the phone world talking. Phone service providers are offering this top-line phone for just $99 (USD). If you live outside the US, I'll leave it to you to figure out exchange rates, but rest assured, that's cheap. Regardless, it seems the 900 is the current pinnacle of WP7 development.

So, is the pinnacle a big deal? Mostly. Strengths include a gorgeous design, funky colors if you want them, decent battery life, no dropped calls and very good data throughput.
The last time I saw a phone this color was...never.
Where does the Lumina 900 fall short? Internet connections can be funky, The WP7 software tends to get confused on 3rd party apps like Twitter and the camera is merely adequate (is adequate enough for a top-line phone?).

Joshua Topolsky from has been testing a Lumina 900 for some time now and has a full review of the phone here- the good the bad and the middling. His verdict? Oh no no no , you'll have to go to the site to see for yourself what he thought of this phone Nokia is making in an attempt to establish once and for all Windows Phone 7 as a legitimate competitor to Apple and Android. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Have the VW factory restore your old Microbus to showroom condition!

My dad owned a 1967 VW Camperbus. 4 speeds forward (all slow) and one in reverse- sometimes. In a wind, that bus wanted to blow sideways like a tumbleweed in a cowboy movie. I remember driving up a minor mountain road at 21 miles an hour for three hours (as fast as I could go!) and I remember repairing an accelerator cable at a campsite with a screw driver, a safety pin and three feet of string. Oh, and the AM radio...with an 8 track tape player.

I loved that van and it broke my heart when he sold it.

Turns out, that van is still made today- in Brazil, of all places(click here to see VW of Brazil's Kombi webpage). Volkswagen recognizes the love people like me have for the Microbus in all of its forms and has started offering a factory service restoring these classics (from any model year) to showroom new condition. That's right- simply turn in your classic bus to VW and, some time later, you'll go and pickup your better-than-new VW for all to envy and admire. New suspension, upholstery, transmission, chrome trim, etc. - literally everything needed to bring back the pristine condition your van had decades ago. No word on how much this service costs, but for the price, you'll know the van was restored by the factory, with factory parts, factory technicians and factory documentation.
Oooh, Baby! I'll take that one and
that one and that one...

Oh...there's a catch. Sorry, everybody but Europe- this is only available on the Continent. So, USA, South America, Canada, Asia and everyone but the EU (plus a few others). You are out in the cold. If you live in Europe, you'll be set- all you have to do now is track down your own VW Microbus- and that part is for you to figure out. Go to here to read the whole story and see more drool-worthy pictures like the one on the right.

In the US, I'll make it my mission to convince Ford to start a similar program for Mustangs. There's a 1965 Mustang convertible around the corner for sale...if I can just convince the wife.

That's my catch. Hi honey...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Public Domain Books, movies and music- 1,000,000+ titles for free!

Public Domain is a great thing- No copyright, no owners, no restrictions.

Films, books, music, images and other creative works simply enter into the world of public property and are available to all without worrying about who owns what. Sometimes, the items are created by a government (training films, historical photos, etc.) and are- by US government definition anyway- the property of taxpayers, that is, the entire citizenry(even worldwide!) because we paid for them with our tax dollars and therefore we are the owners. The idea being since we own the government, we also own whatever that government produces, hence all US government documents are public domain (except for documents designated as secret or vital to national security).

In the US, if the work originates from the private sector, be it a commercial enterprise, an individual or other source, then the copyright cannot last more than 120 years if created after 1978. If created before that year, then it expires after 28 years unless renewed with the U.S. Copyright office. Sometimes, copyright renewal is forgotten or simply not bothered with and the work becomes part of Public Domain.

A quick search revealed this early
portrait of Abraham Lincoln.
(source: Private Domain!) 
The point being there is a website that collects Public Domain works with movies like "Plan 9 from Outer Space" to books  written by Mark Twain and others to music like full concerts from The Grateful Dead. The Internet Archive has made it their mission to keep and preserve these millions of works for all to research, download and enjoy.

There's no cost and no registration required. The service is free to anyone in the world and people are encouraged to upload their own public domain creations for posterity.

It's very easy to find what you're seeking: Type in the "search" window at the top of every page and the site returns with a selection of items matching your search terms. Books, films, audio and the like each have a logo next to them to explain what format the item is in (i.e., photo). Click on the link and your desired item is in front of you for your enjoyment. By the way, software is available for download too, but you might want to beware when treading in those potentially virus infected waters.

Give the Internet Archive a try by clicking here- you might be surprised what treasure you might find. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cozi Family Organizer- Now everyone will know who goes where and when- no more missed appointments!

When I was a kid three million years ago, I played little league baseball, participated in scouting, worked as a camp counselor and acted in a few of my high school plays. Busy, but not overly so. For today's kids, this kind of schedule is considered sparse and boring. My kids- and by extension our family- is on the go nearly everyday with soccer, church, friends, school, parent's work, doctor's appointments, dance, gym, swimming and many, many other activities.

Just writing about it makes me tired. 

Normally, my wife is the record keeper of all activities and writes them down on our paper calendar hanging in the kitchen. This is the place of record for everything we do and, according to my wife, "If it isn't written here, it doesn't exist.". It works, but only to a point. Whenever I'm at work, out and about or just not at home, that calendar is useless to me and I'm often left in the dark about the activities of my family. 

Well, our family is moving into the tech age with our use of a family organizing application called Cozi.
Now, all of my excuses to the wife are null and void.

With this app, you'll be able to see at a glance the schedule of everyone in the family. Each person is color coded on the calendar display for easy reference and Cozi will even e-mail and/or text you before a scheduled event to remind you so you don't end up in the doghouse with the wife...not that I know what that's like, mind you!

Additionally, Cozi helps the busy family prepare shopping lists, meal plans, online family journal and more. And should a laptop or desktop computer not be available while you are on these many scheduled events, Cozi has mobile apps for iPhone, Android and Blackberry that allow you to keep track, make changes and review all of the information Cozi uses to keep you and your family on schedule. It's all free too.

This app appears simple on its face and that's the beauty of it. Simple to use, simple to read and simple to change, Cozi keeps your family on time, all the time.

And for families like mine, we say it's about time too.

Go to the Cozi site here to learn more. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Apple iPad3 review- Call it the New iPad, please!

What's in a name? Plenty, it seems. Apple's newest iPad offering is NOT called the iPad 3 but simply the new iPad. That won't be confusing, will it? Everyone from the tech journalism world was prognosticating all manner of  way-out-there additions to the most successful tablet in the world, including your humble author in my last post.

Sadly, the most obvious and necessary addition (to me at least) to the iPad should have been the Siri voice control system. Turns out, Siri is technically still in Beta and despite the enormous amount of attention Siri has received, testing continues apace as does refining the concept to the point that Apple is satisfied with the results (note to Apple: the world is satisfied!). So, we won't be seeing Siri in the iPad anytime soon.

That's a shame because seeing things in the new iPad is the best improvement to date. The laser-sharp Retina display found in the iPhone line has made it's way into the iPad family and now photos, video and letters will be so sharp that 1080 HD video will be possible.
The Retina display shows images sharper than the eye can perceive.

Other improvements include a faster processor to support that Retina display, a 5 megapixel camera that has more than five times the resolution of the iPad2, 4G wireless support that Apple claims brings in ten times the data of a 3G connection. Otherwise, the new iPad looks the same, has the same size and comes in only black and white (last week, I predicted various colors would be available, including purple, but Apple didn't see things my way).

So what's the reaction from the tech world? Seems like it's mostly a non committal "meh".

No real surprises here. Prices remain unchanged for the various iterations of the line (storage sizes, 4G or wi-fi, etc.) and Apple will keep the iPad2 in stock for the reduced price of $399 vs. $499 for the new iPad. has a hands-on review of the new iPad and includes a video showcasing all of the new features you could use if you have $500 laying around doing nothing. Be aware, though, this site is British and includes British currency as well as American in its review. All other features remain identical.

Take a look and you might decide to keep your iPad2 until Apple decides Siri is mature enough to include as a standard feature. Also, I would suggest to Apple a new naming strategy- something other than "the new iPad".

My name prediction for next year? iPad4. After all, how can this model be the new iPad when the newest iPad debuts in a year?

If you want one, pre-order the new iPad from Apple at their website. Deliveries will start March 16th.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Apple iPad3 to debut soon - The rumors, the truth and...purple?

It's coming....

The iPad3 is on its way and soon the world will know what is in store for the next iteration of Apple's groundbreaking offering that literally resurrected the tablet industry from moribund to nuclear (Microsoft had a tablet out there, but the sales were non-existent).

Rumors are rampant regarding the new tablet. For example:

- A new, larger screen
- a new, but sharper, smaller screen
- 4G connectivity
- No 4G connectivity
- All metal chassis
- Siri voice control included (currently only in the iPhone4S)
- The "old" iPad2 will be an entry level model at a lower price.

Is this the new iPad3? Good Question.
Which rumor do you listen to and which ones do you dismiss as wishful thinking or pure fantasy? I don't know- I don't think many people do and those in the know work in Cupertino and aren't saying. I would at least look for faster processing, cloud storage and faster connectivity. To me, incorporating Siri is a no-brainer and I would look for some more color choices- like purple (this is my wildcard guess). .

In the end, until the announcement is made, only a few hundred people know for sure. Give it a week or so and soon the world will be chomping at the bit to spend $600(?) dollars for the sexiest tech to come around since the iPad2 hit shelves two years ago.

TechCrunch has a full list of rumors, from the mundane to weird to the practical and you can go to their website here and create your own version of the iPad3 until Apple finally comes down the mountain to present us with a whole different tablet than any of the rumor mills would have us believe.

Call me a dreamer, but I'm still betting on purple.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Apple iPhone Siri- 100 fun things to ask with answers you might not believe!

By this point, the Apple iPhone Siri voice recognition app has swept the world. Seemingly all-knowing, Siri appears to have the answers for all of your queries, even if you were just joking around. It seems incredible that a few thousand lines of software code could actually posses humor and intelligence. It really doesn't, but enough funny responses have been inserted into the program that no one really seems to care one way or another.
Is that a mic holder or a smile?

The list of questions grows nearly everyday and will no doubt expand upon the release of the next iPhone due sometime next Fall. has a list of more than 100 questions that is almost sure to elicit a funny reply from Siri. The comments section add several more.

Here are a few examples:

"I need to hide a body"

"Siri, will you marry me?"

"What is your favorite color?"

One of the fun parts of the Q & A session is Siri may have more than one answer for your question, so it's a good idea to keep asking it until the answers start repeating.

No doubt, Siri is an amazing appliance for organization, planning, texting and other uses. But, when you have a few spare moments or just want to entertain a friend or two with your tech savvy approach, go ahead and ask Siri anything you want.

I just can't guarantee what the answer might be.

Go to here to see 100 questions you too could ask Siri.

Say hi for me. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Nokia Lumina 710 review- Windows Phone 7 done right?

For those who want to be different- the Lumina  710
For a while now, Windows phones have taken a back seat to the iPhone and the Android systems as far as ease of use and powerful features. No longer. Now, Nokia (little known as the world's #1 cell phone producer) is introducing into the United States a new model called the Nokia Lumina 710 and Nokia is looking to make a splash in the US market with this nifty offering. Windows Phone 7 is little known in America and Microsoft is trying to get some market traction for its mobile phone system.

Based on a hugely successful model long popular in Europe, the Lumina 710 is actually the bottom of the Nokia Windows phone pile with the model 800 in the middle and the model 900 at the top. The difference lies in memory, processors, types of material used to build the phone along with screen resolution.

Anyway, the 710 will contain the latest iteration of the new Windows 7 mobile software. Just as powerful and easy to use as the Apple and Android system, the Windows universe also boasts more than 50,000 apps. This is just a tiny fraction of the 750,000 apps in the Apple iTunes store, but when was the last time you needed or used 750,000 apps? Or even 50,000 apps? The point is, there's more than enough apps in everyone's store to keep even the most consumptive phone freak happy.

The Seattle Times's website has their review of the Nokia Lumina Model 710 that's short and to the point. In general they like the phone and because it's available for less than $40 at your friendly cell provider (T-Mobile in the U.S.) and just about anyone can discover and enjoy the Windows Phone experience. Go here to see the review and go to Nokia's Lumina 710 site here for more technical info. 

That's all of the phone news for now. With Apple's rumored iPad3 announcement in a couple of weeks, I get the feeling I'll be wearing out the "A" key on my computer over the next month. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tesla Model X SUV, taking the kids to soccer practice in style.

Not two weeks ago, I told you about the Tesla line of electric luxury cars. I profiled the Tesla S sedan and the green-themed style it offered to the family man with some spare cash.

Now, Tesla is looking toward the soccer mom with the Tesla X all-electric SUV. Far more practical than the Model S , the Model X boasts seating for seven, cargo areas in the back and front and can zip 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
Soccer moms, start drooling.

Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla has five kids and should know a thing or two about toting toddlers from A to B and has probably picked up his share of Cheerios off the floor many cars and it looks like he's used this daddy know-how in the design. Like most SUVs, the Model X is available with two or four wheel drive and looks something like a pregnant Model S- but in a good way. The price for this type of practical style has yet to be set, but expect something in the $65-85,000 range and should hit the market sometime in 2014.

Lastly, the Model X offers something called a "falcon wing door system" for rear seat passengers. Not sure what that means? Go to here to see this unique entry system and why it might mean finding Cheerios just became a whole lot easier. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Apple iPhone 5 Rumors- The latest ones, the wierdest ones and the truth.

Apple people are hard core. They love Apple and not much else. I think many Apple people would agree Apple fanboys tend to look down on their Windows friends and pity them with a sad, slow shake of their head and a quick "You should have bought an Apple" comment.

To that end, one of the few- correct that, only topics Apple fans like to discuss is the next iteration of the iPhone franchise, in this case, the iPhone 5. Rumors abound from all manner of sources and run the gamut from the mild to the wild. Many websites dedicate giant portions of their time to reporting even the most ludicrous of rumors whispered in the hallways of tech companies worldwide.
I hear they're making one out of moonrocks, but that's just a rumor.

Normally serious journalists spend inordinate amounts of effort investigating things like leaked LCD screen orders, battery company quarterly reports and overheard bathroom stall conversations. Most reputable sites report this tech gossip by prefacing it with a terse warning to take all of the sketchy information with a grain of salt.

Now, having established the unreliable nature of these rumor mills, I must admit it is fun to imagine an iPhone with a 5" screen or to think about a quad-core chip behind the iconic logo or even that an iPhone might be able to last three days because of a battery breakthrough.

I read a ton of these sites and I keep returning to the Cnet iPhone 5 Rumor Roundup for the most complete list of these way-out-there ideas for a phone made of glass, aluminum and plastic. After seeing the way some folk drool at the mention of the words "iPhone 5", you'd think it was made of beef ribs and BBQ sauce.

Hey, that's not a bad idea. Maybe I'll start that rumor myself!

Go to the iPhone Rumor Roundup at Cnet here.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The 2012 Fisker Karma- A test drive that proves being green never looked so good.

Last week, I told you about the Tesla Model S and the all-electric luxury it had to offer to the well-heeled buyer looking for something different to park in front of the country club.
Easy on the eyes and easy on the Earth

This week, the theme continues with the test drive of the 2012 Fisker Karma by the knowledgeable scribes at Not a true all-electric car, the Fisker uses a hybrid system to squeeze as much efficiency as possible from the high-tech chassis. The Fisker combines the best a high torque electrical motor can provide with the long-range of a reliable gasoline engine. For most short-distance journeys (under 30 miles or so), the Fisker runs on nothing but the state-of-the-art battery power. But should the distance grow, the batteries run out of juice or your lead foot happens to get a whole bunch heavier, the two systems work in parallel to maximize horsepower and efficiency.

But, the Fisker isn't a Toyota Prius with chrome rims. It's a completely new "clean paper" design built in Southern California in an attempt to provide green customers with a little extra green in their pockets a reason to part with more than $100,000. One interesting aspect of the engineering of the Fisker is that the gas engine never powers the wheels directly like a "normal" car would. Instead, the engine works with the vehicle's internal generator to create electricity that powers the electric motors and they turn the wheels.

For this kind of money, you know it's gotta be nice inside
The Karma only gets better inside. With an interior befitting a car priced north of $100k, you'll find the finest leathers, real wood, brushed aluminum and more electronics than a NASA launch and the kids will benefit from the comfy rear seats so you can take the entire family to show off your eco-taste.

 To see a video of MT's test of the Fisker Karma, go to the magazine's website here. To see whether the Karma belongs in your driveway, go to Fisker's site here and pick out the model right for you.

It might not be cheap to be both stylish and environmentally responsible, but for those with the means and the desire to help help the earth, the Karma might be priceless.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Tesla Model S- An electric car with style, power, style, range and style!

I like to think big. Problem is, my budget likes to think small.

However, there are times when my imagination overrules my wallet and I throw caution to the wind and daydream about the crass commercialism I would indulge in if I had the means. The typical things come to mind: a big house, waterfront properties, fancy vacations and the like. But I'm a car guy and I know for sure my garage would be filled with all sorts of German and Italian iron straight from the racetrack.

But...there is one car I would seek out- not because of high horsepower and not because it has a 220mph tops speed. No, I would buy this car for its exclusivity and rarity and it's made right here in America (but available around the world soon!). Also, for the fact that it's different from the car in anyone else's driveway. It's not cheap, but it's not that expensive, either.

And, finally- it has no engine.

I'll take one in this color, please!

Well, it kinda does, just not a gasoline one. The Tesla Model S is set to hit the road for consumers in the next few months and boasts luxury and economy and no visits to the local gas station ever. It also boasts a state of the art battery pack giving the car a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds and a range of 300 miles. The entry price for this kind of cutting-edge technology starts at $49,900 (not too bad!) and goes up, up, up with options to nearly $100,000 (ouch). In return, you get a gorgeous exterior design, a leather swathed interior  with real wood accents and a HUGE 10" computer tablet to control heating, audio and other functions.

The car will be built in the former Toyota/GM factory in Fremont, CA just a short drive south of  San Francisco and smack in the heart of the capital of technology, The Silicon Valley. And this location begs the question: is the Tesla Model S a car with technology or is it technology on wheels?

I would guess the answer to that question would be yes to both.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The best products of CES 2012 or how I'll drain my bank account in the next 12 months.

What is the newest, best and most desirable electronics for the rest of this year? Find out in Las Vegas at the 2012 CES. However, there's just one problem...

The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show is now over. For those who don't know, the CES show is the world's largest show dedicated to introducing the world to the latest electronic offerings from thousands of companies, large and small. If you go to Vegas now, all you'll find is a huge, empty convention hall. A week ago, you would have found hundreds of thousands of, enthusiasts seeking out the new and the best products out there.

Whatever it is, I want it.

Not to worry, though. With all of the goodies, gadgets and electronic gee-wiz gizmos announced at the show, has collected together their opinion of the best and most promising products to make their debut at the show and has collected them together for your perusal. The products run the gamut from the best phone to the greatest tablet to the finest camera they could fine after four days at the show.

The list is broken into catagories like laptops, TVs and gaming, among others. It's hard to come up with a short list due to the volume of products, so the article is pretty thorough. But, if you're a gadget nut like me, the article doesn't run nearly long enough.

Go to here to see the what 2012 will offer when it comes to the I-want and the must-have in electronics.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The (best) cheapest place for iPhone4S accessories. Monoprice has 'em!

It seems a great many people have a crush on the iPhone and the iPhone4S. It's important to keep this all-glass, fragile three or four hundred dollar investment safe and unbroken or you'll be reaching into your all-too-thin wallet to pay hundreds for a replacement and I'm sure you have better use the money than adding to Apple's bottom line.

Instead of forking over hard-earned cash for a new phone, take a few bucks and send it to for a protective case. Normally a home theater supply company, specializes in supplying working folks like you and me with reasonably priced supplies for TVs, computers, security, internet and other uses (these items are way overpriced in the big box stores). They also offer various Apple iPhone accessories like chargers, cables, speakers and the like.

Not a bad deal...not bad at all and only $3.70!
Surprisingly, Monoprice has a good sized selection of iPad and iPhone cases for shockingly low prices (not a huge number, I would guess 75-90 different styles). Normally, even the cheapest silicone and rubber cases are priced far north of fifteen, twenty or even fifty dollars. Not at Monoprice.

Cases of pretty good quality are available for as low as $1 each. If you think that cases at this price must be of shoddy build quality and low rent materials, so did I. Then I read the hundreds of independent customer reviews and found out the cases seem to be of pretty good quality and worth much more than they're charging.

Or maybe it begs the question: Why are others charging so much?

Go to here to find out why.