Late night musing about personal tech

Over the last year or so I have noticed that the iPad Mini with keyboard case has become a sort of standard equipment for research academics. It seems to hit a sweet spot between small laptops that everyone used to take to meetings (too big except the MacBook Air, which was slightly too big and too expensive for a second unit but too limited for a main computer, except tenure cases who have ‘people’ to do the real work) and the smartphone, which is a PITA to take notes and look up stuff that comes up on the fly. Everyone wants something small enough to tuck under your arm and cheap enough to justify a main computer back at the desk, but can still act like a little computer with web browser, touch notes, a keyboard and a good way to call up academic papers in a readable format. I tried an iPad2 with the Logitech keyboard but it was a little too big to just tuck it away between meetings and a little awkward to hold in one hand on transit or while sitting around at home. When I smashed the screen by driving over it (not my fault, really) I bought a mini and keyboard.

Grad students and postdocs seem to make do with Android tablets of about the same size, maybe planning to get a Mini once they reach the lofty status of sleep-deprived junior tenure track professor. Or maybe not; maybe grownups like Apple and the ‘kids’, as I call the well over drinking age folk who do the actual work in our great grad schools, prefer Android. Either way I think it is interesting that a ‘tweener format iterated from an existing device without that much thought has taken over, at least in my little world. I cannot remember the last time I saw a full sized tablet.

Not a commercial post, as nobody pays me to promote anything here. If it does inspire you then make sure to use the Amazon link at left. Enough of you doing that might prod John to get a better camera.






67 replies
  1. 1
    Pete Mack says:

    And then there are a few of us who use windows tablets (and phones.) I believe there’s a slogan for that: “Think Different.”

  2. 2
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Asus Transformer Pad TF700 with dockable keyboard.

    1920×1080, great for remote access into Windows boxen.

  3. 3
    Pete Mack says:

    And then there are a few of us who use windows tablets (and phones.) I am pretty much addicted to Office OneNote for note-taking.
    I believe there’s a slogan for that: “Think Different.”

  4. 4
    J.Ty says:

    I’m always a fan of throwing the IT folks a pile of donated laptops and having them put Ubuntu or something on. Cheaper, faster, stronger. Problem if you have Mac/Windows Enterprise software, of course, but my infosci department knows well enough to avoid those.

  5. 5
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Pete Mack: At least MSFT has finally woken up and started to make Windows Phone 8 usable with the last update. I found it just mind-blowing that the old Windows Mobile of 5 years ago was more feature-rich than the first Windows Phone drop-and the fact that they took 4 years before they finally implemented separate SMS tones was just incredible. They still got a ways to go on the usability front when compared to Andrioid when it comes to some usability areas and in getting businesses to release apps (especially bank apps.)

  6. 6
    Roger Moore says:

    I think the Mini was a big missed opportunity for Apple. They could have put out something like the Mini at the same time the original iPad cam out, but they didn’t out of some mix of Steve Jobs not thinking anyone would want it and worries about a smaller, cheaper tablet eating into the profit margin on the full-sized model. Instead, they left the market niche open, and Android manufacturers moved in. Android would be a much weaker platform today if Apple hadn’t left the field open that way.

    That said, I can see the advantage of the Mini over an equivalent-sized Android tablet. I don’t know of any Android equivalent of the keyboard covers people get with their iPads. I have a bluetooth keyboard for my Nexus 10, but I rarely use it because it’s too inconvenient to carry. BTW, I find a full-sized tablet without keyboard is fine to take with me just about anywhere. It might not be quite as useful for major note taking as a Mini with keyboard, but it’s very nice for reading papers and checking stuff out on the web. And the high-res display is definitely worth it for readability.

  7. 7
    srv says:

    iPad 3 is just too big and heavy now, I’d get a mini, but I don’t even have a smartphone yet.

  8. 8
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I don’t know of any Android equivalent of the keyboard covers people get with their iPads.

    That’s because the difference of the ecosystem between Apple (hardware) and Android (software).

    I got oodles of vendors of Android 7″ tablets, vs. 1 Apple.

  9. 9
    Andrew says:

    A full sized tablet is just too big. The added functionality you get with a laptop dwarfs any advantages the tablet has. The perfect combination to me is a 4″-5″ phone, a 7″-8″ tablet, and a 13″-14″ notebook w/ a 23″ monitor.

  10. 10
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Grad students and postdocs seem to make do with Android tablets of about the same size, maybe planning to get a Mini once they reach the lofty status of sleep-deprived junior tenure track professor.

    If the junior tenure track profs earn triple what the grads & postdocs do, very likely so.

  11. 11
    Tim F. says:

    @Pete Mack: Yep. Very different. If MS has made a useable design I have not seen it around here. The Surface looks nice now but it is price-competitive with laptops, not tablets.

    @Roger Moore: No way could Apple have had a Mini in the mid ‘aughts. Its performance and battery life would have been Newtonesque.

    @J.Ty: Ha. I wish. Our IT no speekee Linux.

  12. 12
    RobertDSC-Power Mac G4 Dual 1.25 says:

    I wish I could get into iPads. My iPhone 4 works fine for most things, but tablets don’t really do much for me.

    /still puttering around in the PPC neck of the woods.

  13. 13
    J.Ty says:

    @Tim F.: We kinda mandate it, more because that’s what all the tools run on than anything else. Also we’re cheap. For non-departmental devices though the Nexus 7 is pretty popular…

  14. 14
    Roger Moore says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    That’s because the difference of the ecosystem between Apple (hardware) and Android (software).

    I think of it as showing the difference between an open and closed hardware environment. With Apple, you have the advantage of having only a few, very high volume designs, which makes it more attractive to accessory manufacturers. With Android, you have the advantage of greater hardware flexibility; there’s no Steve Jobs to decree there shall be no 7″ tablet. You win some, you lose some.

    @Tim F.:

    No way could Apple have had a Mini in the mid ‘aughts.

    Sure, but the iPad didn’t come out until 2010, which is when I was suggesting the Mini should have come out. By that point, the iPhone was powerful enough to do a lot, so Apple could have put out a tablet with the guts of an iPhone (or maybe an upgraded processor) an 8″ screen, and a battery big enough to power the thing. Since the screen is the big power hog in a tablet and the size you can make the battery is roughly proportional to the size of the screen, they could have put out a mid-sized tablet that would have had fine battery life. The decision not to was a result of the cult of Steve and the desire not to undercut the profit margin on the iPad, not anything technical that would have prevented a tablet that size from being successful.

  15. 15
    Warren Terra says:

    I take notes in seminars all the time with my Galaxy SIV, and before that with a Galaxy SII. Swype makes all the difference, I can write down every important thing the speaker says and every important thing on the slides, without falling behind or losing track. Before having a modern phone, I used to take notes on an iPod Touch; the iOS keyboard and spellchecker were, at least at the time, greatly inferior.

    The only real problem is battery life; I’ve never tried to take notes on my phone at an all-day meeting, but I’d guess I’d have to switch batteries after about three hours. Of course, I can switch batteries, which was a major selling point for me versus the iOS product, along with the larger screen and Swype.

    I’m curious why (other than religious affiliation, perhaps) you’re so dismissive of Android tablets; I can think of no reason I’d prefer a iPad Mini to a Nexus 7. Similarly, if you want a light device with a keyboard there are a large number of options in the Windows universe.

  16. 16
    J.Ty says:

    @Warren Terra: The Android interface is way more confusing compared to iOS, might be one reason. Intuitiveness is one of the strengths of Apple products.

  17. 17
    🎂 Martin says:

    Most of our guys were sporting MacBook Airs and iPad Mini’s but that’s shifting to Retina 13″ Pros and iPad Airs. The larger screen for writing notes – and I think the big weight reduction in the Air helped move that switch along. I’ve asked a number of the formerly Windows guys what drove them to switch and it mostly comes down to reliability for the Mac switch (and they can still run Windows on it) and software selection for the iPad. The retina screen is moving the Air->Pro move.

    We have a few guys with Galaxy Notes, mainly for the better pen input. But there aren’t many. But there’s scarcely any Windows users any longer. Even the CAD guys are running Windows on Macbook Pros.

    @Tim F.:

    No way could Apple have had a Mini in the mid ‘aughts.

    This, plus the smaller form factor would have driven more developers to go with upscaled phone apps as has happened on Android. Those looked so bad on the larger iPad screen that it forced a proper iPad software ecosystem. Apple makes those decisions quite deliberately. Once that ecosystem existed, moving to the 8″ screen was a safe move. It also helped reinforce the idea that the iPad was a proper workhorse device, not an e-reader. I don’t think Autocad would have come over on an 8″ tablet. It certainly wasn’t going to come over on a 4″ or 5″ phone.

    Interestingly, our IT guys only speak Linux. They’ll grudgingly support Windows are openly disdainful of anything from Apple, even though 95% of the faculty have Macs/iPads. They don’t seem to understand why they have lost so much of their funding and support. They also don’t seem to understand that the software the faculty rely on largely doesn’t run on Linux.

  18. 18
    🎂 Martin says:

    @Roger Moore:

    The decision not to was a result of the cult of Steve and the desire not to undercut the profit margin on the iPad, not anything technical that would have prevented a tablet that size from being successful.

    Those weren’t the reasons at all. I know one of the design engineers for the original iPad.

  19. 19
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @J.Ty: For that you can blame Samsung (TouchWiz), Motorola (MotoBlur) and HTC (Sense) for their skinning-which, if you went with stock Google devices and some table vendors (Toshiba), you avoided.

  20. 20
    BGinCHI says:

    Before you buy a tablet or a Macbook Air, u should consider a Macbook Pro 13.3. I just got one last week. Retina display and all bells/whistles, refurbished, shipped out the door for $1150.

    It’s amazingly light and yet powerful and the screen is plenty big for work.

  21. 21
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    In my neck of the eucalypt forest… three of my colleagues have tablets, all are i-whatever, all are full size. All three of them are mac people. Everyone else shows up to meetings with pen and paper. Our phd students can barely afford pot noodle after their weekly rent and beer bills are paid. My office computer is still running WinXP (they offered a new one this year, but only if i’d accept Win8. On a desktop. OY).

    The dominance of apple in the States is really unparalleled, most people in my vicinity (except the wanker MPs and the young american visiting students) use androids. Mr. Trowel is still banging around with a 4 year old blackberry.

    Also of interest, I had a chance to peruse the pay grades at my university last week: the highest paid professorial echelon makes just under twice the lowest paid lecturer’s salary.

  22. 22
    J.Ty says:

    @🎂 Martin: That’s really weird. I can see a reason to grudgingly support OSX and hate Windows if you’re a Linux guy, but… the opposite? I mean, I wouldn’t expect any academic IT department to be running a Windows server or something, but… to not even offer support?

    (To clarify, my above posts were about the free departmental devices, not broader support)

  23. 23
    Warren Terra says:

    @J.Ty:

    The Android interface is way more confusing compared to iOS, might be one reason. Intuitiveness is one of the strengths of Apple products.

    That’s the most ridiculous think I’ve ever heard. Have you actually used each, for more than fifteen minutes? Have you tried to live with each?

    When using the main system, rather than an app, the Android interface is largely similar to the iOS interface (screens full of big bright colorful icons, and you swipe from screen to screen), except that I don’t think iOS does widgets (some of which are actually quite useful). The separate, all-encompassing apps folder that Android has is a kludge (it’s poorly organized), but if you want to use Android like iOS you’ll scarcely if ever go into it, and frankly it’s no worse than Apple’s lack of an overview of your device’s contents. The Android task switcher is no worse than iOS has (I’m not much a fan of either), and there’as also an actual task manager, a big advantage. The big difference is within apps; each god-damned iOS app is completely idiosyncratic, because each one is created to work entirely through whatever on-screen controls the programmer(s) took a fancy to, located, decorated, and labeled however they liked. Having dedicated “menu” and “back” buttons makes a substantial difference.

  24. 24
    SectionH says:

    IPads are toys for graphics ppl like me, but I do love my Air. I’m so old though, that pen and pencil is my “Go-to” preference in sometimes, though not all.

    I bought the most recent MacBook Pro recently so I could actually still have a version of Photoshop that I own, that didn’t have to be cloud based. I’m seriously thinking of getting Mr S a similar machine, because backup. We still make money off the business, but it’s winding down and the “come on” Adobe is offering for their Photoshop cloud are cheap now. Ahhem.

  25. 25
    Pontiac says:

    Used to be an Apple person – writing this on a late 2010 Air, actually – but no more.

    I got an iPad at about the same time, and Apple obsoleted it about 18 months later as the last iOS it will run is 5.something. Never again. Sure, it still sorta works, but because Apple is forcing all the apps to be iOS 7 compatible, it means no new software, no new updates, and so on. And all just for marketing – the hardware is fine, and the faster speed/more memory of newer devices isn’t necessary for most apps.

    That is just a level of disposability too far for me.

  26. 26
    J.Ty says:

    @Warren Terra: I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I’d prefer a world with the iPhone wiped from existence since its development & app-curation system is painfully stupid, but I’ve always had a harder time picking up a new non-Apple device/OS than a new Apple device/OS. I hate iOS7, though, so maybe I’m just a sucker for skeuomorphism.

    ETA: Darwin and later, naturally.

  27. 27
    Warren Terra says:

    A long as we’re engaging in religious controversy: whatever ass decided the new, professional-level, $2500 MacBook Pro With Retina Brandname wouldn’t have an RJ7 Ethernet jack needs to be flogged in public with wet noodles until they confess their sins. That Apple would pull that stunt and then have the sheer cheek to demand $30 for an adaptor they could have thrown in the box for $1 defies belief; also, their decision not to support previously existing USB-to-ethernet adaptors in the latest MacOS version, including ones they sold with their own brandname.

    Similarly: video adaptors. If Apple insists on selling computers that can’t connect to nearly any LCD projectors, they could have the common decency to provide least one adaptor with every laptop they sell. The amount of my life I’ve spent while people hunt for a VGA adaptor, and then for the right VGA adaptor …

  28. 28
    srv says:

    @🎂 Martin: I just stopped using my iPad once I got the rMBP.

    I visit a lot of legacy unix corporate server IT shops and the mix is reaching 50:50 now with the rMBP. The neckbeards have given up on Ubuntu and are hip with The Valley folks who are all fruit friendly and their Linux is in VMs or up in the cloud somewhere.

    Lenovo really dropped the ball. They’ve got some good tpads now, but they let stuff slack for too long and lost a lot of ground in the enterprise.

    Outside of IT, corporate staff having to hack software/sql/excel are lurving the Surface Pro. They used to lug around a pad and a laptop and the Pro has let them consolidate.

    The next revolution is all these cheap 4K monitors. W00t.

  29. 29
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Pontiac: Welcome to the world of planned obsolescence, although in today’s world the cycle time is months versus years.

  30. 30
    SectionH says:

    @Pontiac: There sort of is that, but we’re stubborn ppl, and until last month, my spouse was still using a PowerBook we bought in 2005 for stuff. The one with the shitty power source.

  31. 31
    SectionH says:

    It’s not that we love Macs, it’s that we hate Windows more.

  32. 32
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Warren Terra: That’s (cr)Apple fer ya-style over substance, and they expect you to have a 802.11ac wireless routers where you play your trade-uh, whoops!

  33. 33
    🎂 Martin says:

    I should elaborate on that.

    Apple doesn’t think in terms of individual products that the market desires today – at least not when they’re moving into a new market. That’s a refinement that comes later. Apple subscribes to jobs-to-be-done theory. To those unfamiliar with it, the classic quote is: “People don’t want a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.”

    So the question of the 8″ iPad is way after all of that. The first question is “What job is the iPad designed to do?”. The answer to that is bigger than people get – it’s job is to be a dead-reliable, dead-simple general purpose computer for 90% of the population. It’s job is to replace the consumer PC. It’s the only browsing, email, light gaming, personal finance, Facebook device that you need – not a PC. There are no viruses, no malware, no ‘installation’ of software, no patches. Your grandmother can own one, maintain it, and add functionality all by herself. That’s revolutionary. And it doesn’t require a lap – you can use it on the subway, in the car, on a train, in the office, while walking around.

    So, when presenting this vision, introducing it in the 8″ form factor, looking like little more than a jazzed-up Kindle draws the wrong impression to the consumer, because they’ll see color Kindle, when Apple wants them to see dead-easy, cheap laptop. Developers will see the same thing, or an upscaled iPhone. In order to be disruptive it needed to disrupt – it needed to force everyone into this new space. If you really only needed an 8″ device, you’d wait. Or you’d buy the competition, but Apple is confident they’ll get you back later. And the larger form factor would allow applications that the smaller one doesn’t. That’s part of the disruption – it needs to do things that your phone can’t. That really required the Retina version to come to fruition, but I use mine primarily for data visualization and as a reference device, and it’s very very good in that role. Better than an 8″ device which is frankly too small, and better than the laptop that I’m often doing something different on. And there’s lots of applications like that. Every contractor we’ve talked to has used an iPad as part of their estimate – they take photos, they mark up measurements on the photos, they show us other work they’ve done, mockups, etc. Even now none of them use an 8″ device. The bigger screen is clearly more useful when collaborating with someone else.

    Apple has a very long-term goal here. They’re genuinely interested in overthrowing the Windows PC (and Mac) for most users, and their plan to get there is to aggressively push the capabilities of the device faster than Intel can push x86 to stay ahead of it. It won’t pass x86, but that gap will narrow considerably. Already the iPad Air is about as powerful as a 3 year old laptop. They’ll build a software ecosystem that will overshadow Windows/Mac for most consumer tasks (and I would argue already has). And they’ll build services around the device to make it powerful – like AirPlay, which we use constantly and which makes many consumer things much easier on the iPad than on the Mac, let alone Windows (even a few corporate things, like presentations).

    Apple wasn’t worried about selling a few million more iPads in 2010 to bother with an 8″. Apple was more worried about getting the iPad to that vision – and the 8″ threatened that realization if introduced too soon. It might have been fine, but they weren’t going to risk it. Apple leaves a lot of short-term money on the table chasing that gold ring. They don’t always get it right, but I’m really glad someone is out there with that attitude. Without it, we’d still be in the 2007 software world, typing in credit card numbers for a $30 utility that would take an hour to get installed and configured. Now I can tap on the ‘Buy’ button, my fingerprint verifies my identity, and a few seconds later the software runs, with updates applied automatically. That’s like fucking magic to a guy that has been installing software for 35 years, and the only reason that we didn’t have it sooner was that shoehorning it into Windows or the Mac was neigh impossible. The developers would never accept it, the OSes weren’t geared for it, and nobody was demanding it, but holy fuck am I happy its here.

  34. 34
    Arclite says:

    My Senator (HI-Brian Schatz) called me and I’m participating in a conference call to discuss the SotU, and what issues are important to Hawaii. I’m lucky to have a guy who gets it: increase taxes on the top earners, increasing social security benes, taking drastic action to curb client change, support clean energy, supports wage equality, etc. Lots of good questions from callers, and Brian is on top of the issues, handling them off the cuff with intelligent answers.

  35. 35
    ASV says:

    I don’t think I’ve been in any meetings where people are using minis. I use an iPad Air for all my meeting stuff, and do pretty much everything for my grad class on it (bringing PDF readings to class, collecting and marking up reading responses and papers, etc.). There are far too many people in these meetings with just stacks of paper, with just a handful of other people in my department and college using iPads. I had a dissertation defense last week in which the other four members of the committee each had 200 pieces of paper sitting in front of them, while I looked at my annotated PDF. Similar at faculty meetings, other committees, and so on. I’d say my students are about a third laptops (about half Mac, half Windows), a third iPads, and a third other tablets (mostly Android, but at least one Surface).

  36. 36
    RareSanity says:

    @J.Ty:

    I use or have used all of the platforms. Android, BlackBerry, iOS, PalmOS, Windows, and just about anything else that has been released in the past two decades. I’ve worked as a software engineer in the wireless industry for the past 15 years, believe me, I’ve seen it all

    You are doing yourself a serious disservice by not seriously evaluating other options than the one you may have gotten exposed to first, and are therefore comfortable with. IMHO, Android is unequivocal best operating system for smarthphones, provided you get one of the high-end models…and iOS is the undisputed champ of the tablet form factor.

    It took awhile for Google to get its bearings, but if your only experience with Android is more than 2 years in the past, you would barely recognize it now. It has truly been refined over the past 2 years, and really shines on smartphones.

    As for tablets, iOS and the combination of Apple hardware, make for more functionality and better accessories in that form factor. The reason why I don’t necessarily include the iPhone in that, is because people aren’t trying to connect a bunch external devices…save music docks and such…to iPhones, so that functionality is wasted. That is where Android’s widgets and customizations…like changeable keyboards, starts to put it ahead of iOS on smartphones.

  37. 37
    🎂 Martin says:

    @J.Ty:

    That’s really weird. I can see a reason to grudgingly support OSX and hate Windows if you’re a Linux guy, but… the opposite?

    Religion isn’t always logical.

  38. 38
    J.Ty says:

    @🎂 Martin: “a dead-reliable, dead-simple general purpose computer for 90% of the population” is exactly what I meant by an intuitive interface, BTW. If I wanted to do something all software-engineer-y with a tablet, I’d jailbreak an Apple or (much more likely) just get an Android.

  39. 39
    Laertes says:

    Anyone know of a good keyboard/cover for Nexus 7s?

  40. 40
    Joel says:

    The air isn’t powerful enough? I use mine for PyMol and Adobe suite stuff, and it works fine. When I’m at conferences, I stick with pen and paper.

  41. 41
    J.Ty says:

    @RareSanity: I like Android! I’m reluctantly stuck with my iPhone 4 right now, phone-wise, for app testing reasons. My only upgrade option is a 5 (iOS ecosystem only), so I’m just not getting a new phone for the time being.

    Android is an excellent operating system. (I’m a huge linux booster, in fact.) But for somebody who’s just doing tablet+keyboard for note-taking, and might not be that sophisticated, it is my opinion that iOS is a better fit. Sorry if that sounds like a walking-back of my earlier posts, but it’s what I meant.

  42. 42
    Xantar says:

    So on another note:

    Imagine you are the CEO of a multinational corporation which does billions of dollars in business. Imagine that announced profits are down. Do you

    1. Downsize a bunch of employees in order to trim costs or
    2. Cut your own salary in half and the salaries of high level executives by 30% and meanwhile don’t fire anybody?

    If your answer was 2, you might be Satoru Iwata, the CEO of Nintendo.

    I’ve actually been meaning to get a Wii U…

  43. 43
    🎂 Martin says:

    @Warren Terra: Well, wireless networks are now faster than ethernet. I get 1.3Gb/s on mine. So, abandoning ethernet is the right call for non-server hardware. Apple always does this stuff a generation too early, mostly to just force things along. Why no RJ7 jack in the MBP? It’s too tall. Right now USB is the limiting factor on the thickness of the laptop.

    Same with video out. The days of using a cable ought to be ending. AirPlay or something similar needs to replace it. Apple is going to force that along as well.

  44. 44
    RareSanity says:

    @J.Ty:

    But for somebody who’s just doing tablet+keyboard for note-taking, and might not be that sophisticated, it is my opinion that iOS is a better fit.

    My previous comment agrees with this statement 100%.

  45. 45
    🎂 Martin says:

    @RareSanity:

    IMHO, Android is unequivocal best operating system for smarthphones, provided you get one of the high-end models…and iOS is the undisputed champ of the tablet form factor.

    The problem is that if you have two devices, and one is iOS, the benefits of having the other device also be iOS is HUGE. You buy apps once, everything is synced, etc. Toss in a Mac and it gets even better. The 4 of us in the household airdrop stuff to each other all the time, show off our performances and whatnot by pushing from literally any device in the house to the AppleTV. You toss in an Android device and you lose a lot of those benefits. One-on-one, Android competes well. But put all of your gear together, and it doesn’t hold up as well.

  46. 46
    Warren Terra says:

    @🎂 Martin: Those must be excellent answers on your planet. Here in my workplace, theoretically one of the highest-tech institutions on the planet, WiFi is completely unreliable at my desk and I see LCD projectors used daily, every single one of which depends on a VGA jack.

  47. 47
    J.Ty says:

    @Warren Terra: Going to have to side with Warren Terra on this one. At least in the US, wireless infrastructure is an unmitigated disaster in most of the country, including places that ought to know better (I’m looking at you, San Francisco); and slightly old projectors are often bolted to the ceiling or otherwise just institutionally entrenched, with wall panels and the like.

  48. 48
    RareSanity says:

    @🎂 Martin:

    Except for the apps that pull the “separate iPhone and iPad app” game, making you buy it twice anyway.

    Also, I’ve notice that as far as apps go, there is very little overlap in the paid apps I use on my phone and the ones I use on my tablet. I just use them for different reasons..

    As far as sharing, Bluetooth works on everything, and in addition to my Apple TV, I picked up a $35 ChromeCast dongle for the Android devices…problem solved.

  49. 49
    J.Ty says:

    Anyway, isn’t it cool how the state of modern consumer technology is such that we can have knock-down drag-out arguments from our tiny pocket computers about our tiny pocket computers?

  50. 50
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @J.Ty: and then we have the internet in australia

  51. 51
    Keith G says:

    I have had a Nexus 7 for almost a year. One of the smartest tech purchases I have ever made.

  52. 52
    🎂 Martin says:

    @Warren Terra:

    Here in my workplace, theoretically one of the highest-tech institutions on the planet, WiFi is completely unreliable at my desk and I see LCD projectors used daily, every single one of which depends on a VGA jack.

    Well, your high-tech institution is bad at implementation. My also high-tech institution has dead-reliable roaming wireless across the institution. Not 1.3Gb, but a solid 250Mb or so. They stopped most of our wired build-out at 100Mb. Probably helps that our wireless architect has been consistently hired out to set up the WWDC wireless setup each year. IOW, hire better people.

    As for the projectors, that infrastructure doesn’t fully exist yet as you note, but most of our conference room projectors now have AppleTVs on them, and a few of our bigger ones do as well.

  53. 53
    mclaren says:

    @Pontiac:

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Apple. Great hardware, fabulous software…but Apple forces you to throw all your hardware and software in the dumpster every couple of years. I got tired of that back in 1998.

    Linux is the way to go. Though I am pissed that the doofoids releasing the distros have decided, in their infinite UNwisdom, to dump support for any CPU without Physical Address Extension. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. A 3 Ghz Pentium 4 CPU is perfectly serviceable, yet the latest Ubuntu or Fedora or Linux Mint won’t run on it.

    Moronic.

    Just installed Ubuntu 11 on a friend’s laptop. It will never be able to update because the laptop has a 2 Ghz Centrino which doesn’t sport Physical Address Extension. So what? Ubuntu 11 runs like a charm. Why deprecate an entire class of perfectly usable laptops and desktop machines merely because they don’t have a meaningless pointless feature like PAE? I mean, seriously…who the fuck needs more than 4 GB of RAM on their laptop out here in the real world?????

  54. 54
    BethanyAnne says:

    I typically get 6 years out of an Apple purchase, then I can sell that device and get noticeable cash for the next one. Seems like a pretty good deal to me. It helps that Apple underprices their devices, especially iOS ones, quite so severely.

  55. 55
    Pete Mack says:

    Wow… I used to be a big UNIX/OSX fan, but I’ve pretty much switched to Windows because
    1. Windows multithreading is much better because of its event handling model (HandleMultipleEvents is just infinitely better than Unix select)
    2. OneNote really is a really good note-taking program.
    3. I like .NET C# way better than Python. I just can’t get comfortable with 100% dynamic typing. And I think LINQ is a fantastic invention.
    4. Powershell is a pretty damn good shell scripting language.
    5. There’s an extremely active research community working on making Windows programming better. I know GOOG has a great research community, but I don’t see their effort trickling down to Android programming.

  56. 56
    magurakurin says:

    @J.Ty:

    The Android interface is way more confusing compared to iOS

    that’s just crap. seriously, Apple people need to get over themselves. There is nothing confusing or difficult about using Android OS, at all. Seriously, that’s just a tired, dated mantra from 1993 that Apple is “intuative” and “user friendly.” If you like IOS, that’s great. Buy it, use it, be happy. But cut the crap about how it is easier and less confusing. They are toasters. The buttons are a little different, but you put bread in and toast comes out.

    And the Nexus 7, fucking rocks. You can pick up the first generation ones now here in Japan for $150. That’s a fucking awesome deal. Although the new ones look like they are worth the extra money.

  57. 57
    J.Ty says:

    @magurakurin: Glad to know you read my further posts before commenting. I love the Nexus 7 =)

  58. 58
    magurakurin says:

    So, we agree then, what you said was crap. I mean, you restated it again

    But for somebody who’s just doing tablet+keyboard for note-taking, and might not be that sophisticated,

    That’s just crap. You don’t need to be “sophisticated” to use an Android tablet, at all. You really don’t. I’m not sophisticated. I do a lot with my Nexus. I’m sure I could learn to do same with and IPad, but I don’t want to pay an extra 200 dollars for the privilege. But in either case you have to learn how to use the machine. The constant suggestion that IOS is easier for grandma or something is just crap. And frankly, a little bit insulting to grandma.

  59. 59
    J.Ty says:

    Anyway, ‘night all. In conclusion, Apple tablets offer a good UX for ~95% of the people who use them. For the rest of us, there’s Mastercard. By which I mean Linux. Were the comments I wrote really that confusing?

  60. 60
    J.Ty says:

    @magurakurin: First of all, don’t you dare assume that your grandmother is like other peoples’. Mine has Alzheimer’s, and has found an iPad to be quite to her liking, where other computers and tablets weren’t.

    Now that I’ve returned the random ad hominem (with the truth though, it’s sad):

    This is a matter of taste, magurakurin. There’s no reason to get that vitriolic. We can just disagree.

  61. 61
    bob h says:

    I just got a Microsoft Surface 2 with keyboard and mouse. In desktop mode you have the environment familiar from Windows 7. The number of apps in tablet mode is small, and the internet surfing is not as smooth as you might wish, but it is a powerful tool for getting work done. Balloon Juice and other sites are better visited on the desktop website instead of the buggered up iPad site.

  62. 62
    NonyNony says:

    @🎂 Martin:

    Interestingly, our IT guys only speak Linux. They’ll grudgingly support Windows are openly disdainful of anything from Apple, even though 95% of the faculty have Macs/iPads. They don’t seem to understand why they have lost so much of their funding and support. They also don’t seem to understand that the software the faculty rely on largely doesn’t run on Linux.

    I’m assuming that this must be departmental IT rather than university IT. Because most university IT staff is addicted to Windows because, well, the administration needs it and the administration pays the bills.

    Departmental IT staff though – yeah. You get a lot of gearheads in a Departmental IT staff who grew up on Windows, switched to Linux and openly disdain Apple partly because of its reputation for being easy to use without actually being easy for IT folks to administrate. When I was working IT in the 90s MacOS was the biggest pain in the ass as an administrator because when the machines broke there was almost nothing you could do to fix them. It’s been going on since at least the 90s, when the attitude was “at least Windows has a command prompt” from the Unix gearheads.

    Funny thing is – the Unix guys won. The Mac has BSD at its heart and if you squint you can kind of pretend that it’s just running Unix with a window manager on top. So you’d think that the departmental IT guys would love it. But in my experience they still don’t. That anti-Apple prejudice is embedded in deep.

  63. 63
    zzyzx says:

    @RareSanity: Maybe, but the problem is that Google was too late. After years on my iPhone I have tons of apps, one of which has a year of important data logged on it. There would have to be a huge advantage for me to switch, like Apple completely going out of business or something.

  64. 64
    WereBear says:

    Ironically, turns out I GOTTA have Scrivener, so my attempts to iPod touch and Chromebook and playing with friend’s iPads came to naught. I had to get a laptop, and the Airs are now under a grand, and are sheer delight. (I also got Scapple and all my software dreams have come true!)

    But I have a specialized need (writing books) that most of the population does not.

    And while my mother wrestled with her smartphone for a week, she took to the Chromebook right away. There’s no need to argue about what is best.

    That’s different for each person. Or, cat.

    Because the cats have discovered the cat channels on Youtube and pretty much taken over the Chromebook when I’m home. When I go out, it’s my device of choice for typing.

    I have to try that mini with the keyboard sometime for future reference… but I type 120 words a minute and that’s probably not common in the gen pop, either.

  65. 65
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Andrew:

    A full sized tablet is just too big. The added functionality you get with a laptop dwarfs any advantages the tablet has.

    Horses for courses. A full-sized tablet is a perfectly good replacement for a laptop for many people; a smaller tablet is a useful supplement to a laptop for other people.

    @NonyNony:

    Funny thing is – the Unix guys won.

    I bought my first Mac a decade ago because I was sick of dual-booting between Windows and Linux, and OS X had finally reached a point where it seemed stable and performed well, and had definitely exorcised the things that made the Macs I’d encountered in college completely unusable (because it was incredibly easy to cripple a machine running a single-user OS in a shared-use environment).

    I tried out a Nexus 7 but didn’t love it enough to keep it, and tablets and smartphones are devices that you have to love rather than just tolerate, I think, in order to get the most out of them. Strangely enough, I like my cheapo Windows Phone a lot: best thing that Microsoft has done in ages.

    I really don’t understand “IT guys” who act like it’s 1998, other than they’re the worst kind of BOFH.

    @mclaren:

    Just installed Ubuntu 11 on a friend’s laptop. It will never be able to update because the laptop has a 2 Ghz Centrino which doesn’t sport Physical Address Extension.

    I’m surprised that a Linux zealot hasn’t heard of fake-PAE, which is what I used to bring a Thinkpad T43 up to the latest Ubuntu; then again, this is mclaren we’re talking about.

  66. 66
    Comradde PhysioProffe says:

    The new Nexus 7 2013 is fucken awesome!

  67. 67
    StringOnAStick says:

    I heard all the young barista’s at Starbucks making fun of the only one of their ranks who ‘still’ has an iPhone; all the hip youngsters have gone Android according to them.

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