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Archive for June 22nd, 2010

Could Android Suffer The Fate Of Windows?

Posted by tomwiles at 7:21 PM on June 22, 2010

Windows AndroidThe beauty of Google Android is that it operates on a wide variety of devices that appeal to differing market segments, yet those devices can utilize the Android Market Place and run general apps written for Android. This is similar to what happened with Windows on personal computers. It’s an analogy worthy of exploration, however there are a few noteworthy differences that are actually rather revealing.

Android is nimble, stable and solid, unlike many attributes of the various versions of Windows. Over the years, something went horribly wrong with Windows. Is it possible that Android could eventually suffer the same fate?

Perhaps one difference is that phone manufacturers have a direct incentive to make certain that each Android phone model has a solid implementation. After all, phones simply have to work. Computer manufacturers, on the other hand, have often had a tendency to churn out new computer models without always fully vetting the hardware/Windows OS combination. Google seems to have taken the approach with Android of providing a basic, bare bones phone OS, whereas over the years Microsoft has taken the kitchen sink approach with Windows.

Another difference in the Android/Windows/open hardware analogy rests in the fact that Android is an embedded OS. Hardware manufacturers are forced to make it work. The better it works, the more phones they can sell. If a particular phone model is buggy, word spreads quickly and the model is a bust.

If a particular computer model has problems, its manufacturer often points the finger of blame at Microsoft, and Microsoft typically points back to the manufacturer, leaving the troubled consumer with a spinning head.

The consumer is also partly to blame. If you think about it, we tend not to look at particular computer models running Windows in the same way we look at particular phone models. We tend to look at boxes running Windows as just that – a box of hardware based on price.

Big Screen EPG for Windows 7 Finally Released

Posted by Alan at 5:25 PM on June 22, 2010

If you have been using Windows Media Center for a while then you may remember Big Screen EPG for Vista MC.  If you aren’t familiar with this program, let me first point out that EPG stands Electronic Program Guide.  In a nutshell, this is the guide data that your DVR (in this case your PC) uses for shows, channels, times, etc.  They have been rather slow to get out a version for Windows 7, but it has finally arrived.

Media Center, of course, comes with guide data that updates regularly and, in general, is pretty good.  Big Screen EPG is more of an enhancement than a necessity.  It does add a fair amount of flexibility though.  Per their website:

► Import EPG Data from one or more XMLTV Based Sources

► Comes with an Easy to use Configuration Tool – providing Setup Wizards and intuitive Customization Functionality

► Intelligent Unique Program and Series Detection Features – allows more Reliable and Powerful Scheduled Recording in Media Center

► Automatic Series Matching and Image/Metadata Import – with an inbuilt database of over 20,000 shows

► Import Logos for all your Channels

► Runs when you’re not around using the Inbuilt Scheduled Task Management Helper

As far as price, it’s a great deal at $19.95 for a 2 year license that allows you to install it on up to 5 PC’s.  It’s compatible with IPTV sources as well.  The controls and setup wizards allow for an incredible amount of control.  And, the interface is simply beautiful.

In short, it’s a worthwhile add-on for your HTPC.  Again, not necessary, but, given the price and the great interface and controls, it’s certainly worth the small fee they are asking.

Lenovo Think Centre A63 Computer System Giveaway

Posted by geeknews at 8:44 AM on June 22, 2010

It is very important that you listen to my podcast on July 2nd as within that show will be instructions on how to win a Lenovo Think Centre A63 Computer System with dual screens. As you know I have been talking about this system in my show for a while now, and it is going to make a great computer for a listener of my show. The contest details will be announced within the show. Here the kicker the contest period is very short. I will announce a winner on July 6th so you will have to make sure that you download and listen to the podcast over the 4th of July Holiday weekend.

I will be talking more about the Lenovo Think Centre this coming week along with releasing a in depth review in preperation for the giveaway. In addition to our giveaway a host of other sites are giving away the same prize package. Check out the rest of the sites for more details timelines of their contest are listed below.

iPhone and iPad Grumbles

Posted by susabelle at 6:26 AM on June 22, 2010

I have heard some grumbling recently from some of my friends about their iPhones and iPads.  And I cannot say I’m surprised by this.  I have held off on buying any of these devices, because they just don’t offer what I need, and their price doesn’t justify their (un)usefulness.

One of my friends bought an iPad.  She did not have Internet access at her home, and thought the iPad would be great for keeping up on Facebook, playing Facebook-based games, and searching for information.  She spent $800 for a top-end iPad with 3G, plus accessories, and signed up for the data plan that went with it.  She said for the first couple weeks, it was a fun device to play with, but she realized almost immediately that it would not play online games she liked because of issues with Java and Flash.  Imagine that.  What she bought it for (primarily Facebook gaming) is something the iPad won’t do.  She now has an investment in a product that will never be for her what it needs to be, and she is frustrated.  It’s an awful lot of money to have plunked down on a device that can’t deliver.

Then there’s my friend who just upgraded her iPhone to the latest operating system.  She was very excited to think she could finally multi-task with the device, something she’d really been wanting it to do.  Turns out multi-tasking is not really possible with the apps she wants to multi-task (Rhapsody, for one), and her final verdict was, “well, 4.0 is not worse than 3.1.”  She wishes she’d held out for a Droid.  She’s admittedly an Apple fan-girl, or at least she was up until this point, but now she’s just frustrated and disappointed. The iPhone had such potential, but it didn’t seem to evolve the way it needed to.

A mutual friend of ours put it rather well, I think.  Apple comes out with a “wow” device that, in its time-frame, is something new and different and nifty.  But after that, they fail to grow the product and/or software beyond its initial wow release.  This is why the the Android devices are moving ahead and taking over the market; they took the basic premise that Apple started with, and developed it to its potential and then some.  Apple is happy to just rest on its laurels, locked into its contracts and failing to fully develop a product, so that they can just come out with the Next Big Thing.  There’s no denying that Apple made the world pay attention to the potential of MP3 players with the iPod, and that they made the world pay attention to the potential of smart phones with the iPhone.  With the iPad, they’ve made the world reconsider the tablet; but in all honesty, I’ve seen tablets with more functionality and overall usefulness.  And this is par for the course for Apple.

It makes you wonder what market share they could have if they simply developed the potential of their products fully.

GNC-2010-06-22 #586 Simply a Monster Show!

Posted by geeknews at 12:48 AM on June 22, 2010

Cover a huge amount of ground tonight, there are some real gems in amongst the regular content as well that I talk about that are not in the show notes so listen in to not miss anything. It is great to be back in Hawaii with nothing on my travel agenda. I had a great time with the meet-up in Rochester where we talked shop and where I shared some of the plans for this show going forward.

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