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GNC-2011-09-22 #707 Big Move by Facebook?

Posted by geeknews at 1:06 AM on September 23, 2011

I spend a huge amount of time on the Facebook economy plus a huge stack of news and information. As always a full 60 minutes of tech content for your listening or viewing pleasure.

Update: For the first time in the history of the show, I had to go in and do some post show editing. Pretty big gaf on my part but it was to big to let the original file remain.

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What Would Get Me to Buy a Tablet?

Posted by J Powers at 11:07 AM on September 19, 2011
iPad

iPad

On Saturday’s morning tech show, we talked about this for a minute. I have not been a tablet fan. I tried for the TouchPad when it was dramatically reduced, but that was because it was under $100. I personally don’t see the advantage of having a $500 tablet, and here is why:

Computer Speed of a Tablet

This is the biggest reason why. I have 4 machines in my arsenal. A MacBook Pro, an HP GX series laptop, a home build desktop with ASUS motherboard and AMD Phenom II chipset and a Dell D610.

The two computers I use the most are the desktop and the MacBook Pro. My Macbook Pro sports an i7 processor and boot camp to Windows 7 keeps me productive. The Desktop is a stable spot – I seem to get more work done on that station than I do any notebook. So when I need to “Bear down” on a project, you will see me at the desktop.

The HP used to be my main machine, but got replaced because it didn’t handle video production as well. Whereas it takes 20-30 minutes to process a 15 minute video on the MacBook Pro, the dual core HP (with Intel Graphics) would take up to 2 hours. When I’m on the road, that is just not acceptable. The Dell is used for very minimal needs – like a Twitter client or web browser.

Today’s tablet matches that between the HP and Dell. So at best, it would be my #4 computer. I could do minimal video editing, but I can also do that on my iPhone.

Let me know if the iPad3 will support a 2.0 GHz Quad-core processor and 512 MB of video RAM, then we’ll talk about a tablet

Storage of a Tablet

When will Apple finally put a standard card slot on their machines? I want to put in video to edit video, or have the tablet upload my videos to a source. It does work well when connected to the cloud, but you then need a WiFi signal (unless you have a 3G or 4G tablet). The 16 or 32 GB models would hold some of my content, but I would constantly be pulling stuff off the machine and only if I have it connected to the laptop or desktop.

Tablet Size

sony tablet s & sony tablet p

sony tablet s & sony tablet p

The 10 inch tablet is just not for me. I loved the idea of a 7″ tablet – it feels better in the hand and fits in the pocket. I can put it in the side pocket of my notebook bag and give me everything that I need out of that device.

I got to play with the Sony Tablet S (which I will be showing on a video later today). The “Folded magazine” feel fit better in my hand, which I was impressed with. I still would like to see a 7″ tablet with that same feel.

BTW – I didn’t get to see the flip version in Sony Tablet P, but I am very interested in trying it out.

My iPhone Does a lot and fits in my Pocket

In all reality, the order of computers goes like this – MacBook, iPhone, desktop, HP, Dell. So the tablet would most likely be the 5th device most used. The best part about the iPhone is it fits in my pocket, so it’s always in reach. The tablet would be in reach if I had my laptop close by.

I have talked to many tablet owners. It’s surprising how many people are now leaving it on the coffee table. They might pick it up for 5 minutes when watching TV to browse the web, but besides the 35 minutes of use, leave it to be a fixture in the house.

It’s not to say that some people use it as an integral tool – If you cannot live and breathe with it, then more power to you. But I can live and breathe without it right now.

An OS I can use

I know this is going to piss off some fanboys, but I live in a Windows world. In fact, I use Windows 7 on my MacBook Pro more than I use the Mac software. But this is more about using a full operating system on a tablet. Whether Windows or Mac, I need a tool that could match my computers. I want to put on software that I use on a daily basis. I don’t want a different experience on my tablet.

Can I see myself with a tablet in the future? Yes. But I would either need the device to be powerful enough for me to want to carry around, or more cost efficient.  For $500, I can get a laptop that doubles the power of a tablet. Even if someone put out a $1000 tablet that has a powerful multi-core processor, 1 GB graphics, 4GB of memory and a hard drive of 500GB, then I can start looking at the tablet.

In the meantime, I just don’t see it a part of my daily use. That is why I have an iPhone.

HP Pushes All-In-One Form Factor for PCs

Posted by Andrew at 5:45 AM on September 7, 2011

HP thinks that the future of the desktop is in the all-in-one form factor with the announcement today of no less than seven new devices aimed at both the business and consumer markets.

According to the NPD Group (via HP press release) 34% of consumer desktops sold in July were all-in-one PCs and IDC believes that nearly 16% of commercial PC purchases are likely to be in this form factor by the end of 2012. It’s very understandable in the commodity PC market – few cables, better appearance, what’s not to like?

The new models include the Omni 120 and 220 PCs, coming with 20″ and 21.5″ screens. Both feature HP’s LinkUp, which allows the desktop and HP laptops to interact with each other. Beats Audio, along with quad core Intel processors, is available on certain Omni 220 models.

The TouchSmart range is extended to a range of four models, the HP TouchSmart 320, 420 and 520 joining the existing 610. These new models come with 20″, 21.5″ and 23″ screens respectively and Beats Audio. Of course, all of these models have touch-sensitive screens.

Moving into the business work, HP is announcing its first TouchSmart business model, the HP TouchSmart Elite 7320 All-in-One Business PC. Aimed at small businesses, it’s a 21.5″ full HD screen with second generation i3, i5 and i7 Intel processors.

Finally, the HP Pro 3420 All-in-One rounds out the business portfolio with a non-touch 20″ screen and Core i3 processors. Although aimed at the lower end of the marked, it comes equipped with a built-in webcam for web conferencing. This model complements the already announced HP 8200 Elite All-in-One business PC.

Overall, HP looks to have a great portfolio of all-in-one PCs and I can believe that it’s a market that’s going to grow. Who wants all the clutter of cables, when with a wireless connection network connection, wireless keyboards and wireless mouse, all you need is a power cable?

Legends are Reborn: HP-12C and HP-15C Calculators

Posted by Andrew at 5:40 PM on September 1, 2011

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the HP-12C financial calculator, HP are producing a limited edition of this classic calculator along with a reproduction of the 15C scientific calculator. Launched in 1981, the 12C became the de facto “badge of honour” for any self respecting businessman. Still a cult classic with fans the world over, it’s the longest selling HP product.

There’s some great reminiscing going on over at HP’s The Next Bench, including interviews with 12C’s creator, Dennis, who demoed the calculator to Bill Hewlett thirty years ago.

Pictures from the HP Museum by David Hicks.

Young’uns raised on Casio and Sharp calculators will be surprised that these use Reverse Polish Notation (RPN) for the entry of formulae, rather than the more usual “1 + 1 =” approach. RPN would say this is “1 ENTER 1 +”, if I recall right.

I remember my father having HP calculators – they had little red LED displays before LCDs appeared – and him showing me how RPN worked. And the way the buttons kind of rocked back rather than simply pressing down. Glorious and I want one. I shall have to keep my eyes on the HP’s UK site – the standard 12c is available but I’d be more interested in the 15C which hasn’t been around for years.

It’s good to see that HP can produce something that lasts longer that the TouchPad.

Is Snow Leopard The New XP?

Posted by tomwiles at 11:18 PM on August 31, 2011

Like a lot of people, I purchased the Lion upgrade on the first day of availability from the Apple App store.

I upgraded two late-model Mac Minis along with an older 17” MacBook Pro. The Lion upgrade solved a freezing problem on the Mac Mini I use as an HD-DVR. However, it created a number of serious problems on the MacBook Pro – Lion would not work with my Verizon USB aircard, it would not back up to my HP Windows Home Server, and it would not work properly with the Ubercaster podcast recording application.

After living with these Lion-induced problems for more than a month on the MacBook Pro, I downgraded it back to a prior (and fully functional) Snow Leopard backup image. Everything is now back to normal, with everything once again functioning the way it should.

My MacBook Pro is no slouch, yet it seemed a bit sluggish running Lion compared to Snow Leopard.

If you have a Mac that’s more than a couple of years old, and/or you are running a variety of software and hardware that Lion likely won’t support and/or that may never be updated to run properly on Lion, I would strongly suggest skipping the Lion upgrade.

I found the Lion interface changes mostly annoying. On a computer (as opposed to an iPod), I prefer normal scroll bars. In Lion you can turn the scroll bars so that they remain on, but they are thin little gray lines that I have a hard time seeing and grabbing with the mouse. I don’t like the changes Apple made to the Finder in Lion, nor do I like the changes they made to the Spotlight Search functionality. I found the changes to the Mail program to be of dubious value, as well as the cosmetic changes to the Address Book adding no functionality.

Snow Leopard runs perfectly well and just might be the new XP.

How HP TouchPad’s Demise Hurt One Company

Posted by J Powers at 5:03 PM on August 26, 2011

Last week at this time, people were buzzing about the HP TouchPad and it’s $99 availability. By Saturday morning, the tablet was pretty much gone. I was one of those in line early at Best Buy only to find out they wouldn’t sell us one. For the next 48 hours, I hunted through the sites trying to get my hands on the TouchPad. I apparently scored 3 – including one from Barnes and Noble. Yet, all three were cancelled.

One in-particular was sold by a 3rd party company through Amazon. It was called “Green Frog”. Now, here is the interesting thing about this purchase: They put the TouchPad on their site Monday evening. They also advertised it for $52 for the 32 GB model TouchPad.

Within moments, I snapped one up. I figured if it was a scam, Amazon had my back. Many others did the same. However, the next day, we got the email:

 We’re writing to inform you that your order xxx-xxxx from GreenFrog has been canceled because the item(s) you purchased were out of stock. Please return and place your order again at a later time.

Our sellers strive to minimize canceled orders. We’re sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. Your credit card was not charged for this order. If you have any questions regarding the cancelation of this order, please contact GreenFrog.

If you’re still interested in this item, please search for it again on Amazon.com.

Out of stock? I think not. I think the seller made a mistake and therefore tried to hide it. But keep in mind – this product went on sale Monday evening – 3 days after the tablet price change was announced.

Why Not A Gift Card or Something?

What really irked me – Especially with the Barnes and Noble fiasco – was that we were not given any compensation. No “Hey, we screwed up, but here’s something for you”. In fact:

Barnes and Noble Should Have Given $100 Credit on the Color Nook to all Customers whose TouchPad Orders were Cancelled.

I would have snapped that up in a heartbeat. I then would have had a Color Nook to buy books and apps with. But instead, I got a form letter much like a “Dear John” letter and nothing to show for my effort. In return, Barnes and Noble got my information. Since I never bought anything online from them, they now have my email address, my mailing address and my phone number. So I ask you, is that a fair trade?

Barnes Noble Email Cancelling TouchPad

Barnes Noble Email Cancelling TouchPad

Back to Green Frog – They got hit hard. They’re rating had jumped from 97% positive to 93% Negative. The comments were not as nice, either.

 “Seller supposedly sold out, nonsense@ It was a very low price, too low, seller decided NOT to sell at that price.They can shove it.”

“Seller is a scammer, dont do business with them. Terrible service, cancels orders to avoid paying Amazon fees when they realize they can sell them elsewhere for more money. Again, avoid them at all costs.”

“I ordered 3 of the HP Touchpad’s, and after I received a confirmation for my order, I received a notice that it was canceled by you, and that my credit card will not be charged. However, MY CREDIT CARD HAS BEEN CHARGED. I do not appreciate the misrepresentation of the sale, or the taking of my money. ”

“I attempted to purchase two HP Touchpads. The order went thru and then a day later they stated that they did not have any in stock. They cancelled my order. I will never buy anything from this company again. I wish I would’ve looked at the prior FEEDBACKS which wouldve given me an idea of whom I was dealing with!!!!”

“Order placed was cancelled, the seller put up an item which sold out in minutes. Does not seem like anyone who was able to place an order received their item, everyone seems to have had their order cancelled also.”

There were more, but you get the idea.

Green Frog Rating

Green Frog Rating - Monday was 97% positive, now 93% negative.

Part of this problem might be due to the fact that HP recalled the remaining TouchPads. Why? Most likely so they could give them to the people they sold the device to on their website. Chances are, if you got that deal on HP.com, your TouchPad was sitting in a Best Buy just a week before.

So in summation, 1 tablet was discontinued, at least one web seller had their name turned to mud, Barnes & Noble missed out on a marketing opportunity and there are a lot of disgruntled people without TouchPads. Not a great week for some, although others who did get the device have been talking a lot about it.

As for me, I still am Tablet-less.

GNC #698 Need some More Cores!

Posted by geeknews at 10:25 PM on August 22, 2011

Meetup in Albuquerque is Wednesday night details out tonight to those who have agreed to meetup.. Really need more cores on the road, time for a laptop update buy man really hate buying another PC you all know the drill. Show 700 Contest Details!

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Crushing Demand for HP TouchPad in UK

Posted by Andrew at 4:37 PM on August 22, 2011

It’s been an insane day and evening here in the UK if you were interested in HP’s TouchPad firesale. Rumours persisted throughout the day as to when various on-line retailers were going to cut the prices and there was disbelief that the prices were going to be as good as the US $100. Word leaked out that it was going to be £89 for the 16 GB and £115 for the 32 GB but no-one was ready to believe it.

The DSG group stores blinked first with Dixons, Currys and PC World all selling out within minutes, but the price had been confirmed as true. Carphone Warehouse then dropped their prices and within minutes were totally crushed under the load and the website went offline. Comet came on next and were slammed but many people managed to get orders in by refreshing the browser. I managed to snag a 32 GB one to upgrade my 16 GB but it took me an hour to get through all the steps. Amazon seemed late to the party with just the 16 GB on offer but also sold out pretty quickly.

No doubt more stores will drop their prices tomorrow and there will be another frenzy. HP.com is still to drop its prices and they should have a pile. The Pre 3 may also come to the firesale as well and I’ll snap one up if I can. But it tells you one thing…people are hungry for tablets but they can’t afford an iPad. For once it’s not all about apps, it’s about cash.

In exiting a market, HP has propelled the TouchPad to the #2 tablet slot. Can they capitalise on this and turn WebOS into a success or have they simply jumped the shark?

Microsoft Poaching webOS Developers

Posted by Alan at 9:00 AM on August 20, 2011

A few days ago we received the sad news that HP was discontinuing webOS devices.  The only good news out of that was for gadget lovers – HP has slashed prices on the recently released TouchPad (it’s already out-of-stock at Walmart online).  The bad news for HP, beyond the bad press and bad stock prices, was that Microsoft leaped on the news and immediately began recruiting webOS developers for their Windows Phone platform.

Microsoft’s Brandon Walsh reached out to webOS developers on Twitter, and began the process of bringing them over to Windows Phone.  He even went so far as to offer free phones and other tools.  At last check, he had received more than 200 replies.

While HP has killed off the hardware-making side of their webOS business, they are hoping to keep the software alive by licensing it to third-party hardware makers, as Google does with Android.  That means HP needs to keep these developers on board.  That will be difficult with no agreements in place yet to ensure the OS’s future.  Still, they are trying their best to maintain ties – see their blog post The Next Chapter for webOS.

Given the current state, it will be hard for HP to hold onto these developers, and given what they have already done, it’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t pull the plug on the software side of webOS at any moment.  This has been a short ride for HP and webOS, and I can’t help but think that they didn’t give it it’s deserved time and effort.  Consider it a premature death.

HP Getting Out of the PC Business?

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 5:03 PM on August 18, 2011

HPToday HP announced they are discontinuing operation for webOS devices including the Touchpad and webOS phones. WebOS was originally developed by Palm and first released as the Palm Pre in 2009. In 2010 HP purchased Palm. The Touchpad and HP Veer and HP Pre 3 were all announce in February 2011. Unfortunately they couldn’t penetrate the market and sales were almost nonexistent. Best Buy ordered 270,000 HP Touchpads and according to various sites have only sold 25,000. Other companies like Walmart haven’t had any better sales for the webOS devices including the Touchpad. Reviews of the HP Touchpad said they were ok, but lacked an app eco system and at times performance was sluggish. Since they were originally around the same price the same as the iPad2 and the Galaxy Tab, the only reason to purchase it was if you preferred the webOs (Palm) operating system, unfortunately for HP not enough people did.

The other big news from HP which hasn’t been confirmed is that it is trying to spin-off it’s PC division entirely. HP is one of the founding companies of Silicon Valley so for them to even think about selling off their PC division is big news.  The growth in the smartphones and tablet market plus the downturn in the economy worldwide has definitely effected PC sales. PC growth over all has been very slow with worldwide shipments only growing 3% in the 2nd quarter of this year. Is this a sign of the general decline of the PC market are PC becoming trucks as Steve Job once said, or is it just part of the overall economic downturn. Once the world economy revives will the PC market also revive. The PC market depends on selling a lot because prices are so low there is very separation between success and failure. It is clear by HP actions that they believe the personal PC market is no longer profitable. Whether they are wrong or right only the future can say, but it is certainly a bold move.