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Some Thoughts On Keyboards In A Post-PC World

Two-Tablets-&-PhoneThis past week I’ve been getting to know Google’s Nexus 7. So far I’m liking it a lot. It’s interesting to see where I find it useful and where I still reach for my cell phone, netbook, laptop or desktop. How the Nexus7 changes my relationship with those devices is possibly one of the more interesting things about the tablet.

Of course, the Nexus7 is not my first attempt to make a tablet part of my routine. Last year I bought a Viewsonic gTablet, which is a 10” tablet running Android 2.2. I went so far as loading Cyanogen Mod to it, but eventually lost interest. it was simply too limited to be useful.

Last summer we bought an HP Touchpad running WebOS. The fire sale price was attractive. My wife ended up claiming that as her own. When she thought she’d lost it we ended up with a second Touchpad. That one was almost refit with Android 4.1…and may yet in fact.

Finally, in a fit of bad judgment I bought the HP Slate 500. That was an 8.7” tablet running Windows 7. I purchased it with a specific, work related project in mind. When that project failed to materialize I decided to resell it on E-bay, but not before I had also purchased the companion Bluetooth keyboard and protective cover.

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Take Two Tablets & Call Me In Six Months

When HP did their now famous about-face on WebOS I saw it as an opportunity to acquire a Touchpad at a fire sale price. So did a great many others. What limited inventory HP had sold out very quickly.

We eventually managed to obtain one, which my wife claimed as her own. I was ok with that. I had a chance to get to know the Touchpad here and there. It was enough maintain my impression that tablets are better for media consumption than creative tasks. In essence, the touchpad made me appreciate my aging HP5102 netbook..enough to justify the move to an SSD.

Back in May my wife reported that she had lost the Touchpad. She was certain that she left it somewhere off-site and it was surely lost forever. We also hunted all around the house and office, just in case it could be found. It wasn’t. Much changing of passwords ensued.

A few days later Woot.com offered refurbished Touchpads for $199. I informed Stella, suggesting while I had purchased the first touchpad, she might like to purchase another. She eventually decided to buy one.

When this new Touchpad arrived it was defective. It would not find any wifi, as if the radio was disconnected. Woot advised me to deal with HP WebOS support, which I did. That process took a week or two but they eventually replaced the defective device.

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Mini-Me And The SSD

SanDisk-SSD & HP-5103A couple of weeks ago one of the daily deals emails from New Egg made an offer that I found I could not resist. I am weak, it’s true. The offer in question was a 120 GB SanDisk Ultra solid state disk (SSD) drive for a mere $120Most SSDs of that size are $180+.

The appeal of SSDs is rooted in the same kind of sensibility that had me building Asterisk appliances that boot from flash media. Flash offers an attractive combination of performance and reliability.

The trade-off presented by SSDs is very high cost-per-gigabyte of storage. This offer, which was basically $1/GB, seemed like a nice chance to try an SSD for the first time. I wasn’t really certain how I’d use it, but I ordered one anyway.

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Who Can Resist The HP Touchpad For $99?

hp-touchpad5 ….not I, as it happens. When the demise of the Touchpad saw it’s price drop to $99 and $149 for the 16 GB & 32 GB models respectively it seems that world+dog wanted them.

From the time the price drop took effect Saturday, August 20th in the early am hours retailers & e-tailers who had stock saw huge demand. By Sunday afternoon most were simply sold out.

Even HP itself resorted to building a list and promising to inform prospective customers when they had more available. Sunday morning I put myself on HP’s list, noting that I’d take a 32 GB model if they had some.

Then Monday morning I saw by way of Twitter that Barnes & Noble had stock and was taking orders. Acting quickly, I managed to place an order for a 16 GB model.

I have an account with Barnes and Noble, stemming from when I purchased the Color Nook for my wife last Christmas. Of course, I couldn’t recall the password for that account at the moment.

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Notes From The Road: Kensington Replacement Power Supplies For Laptops

This past weekend, during a break from tending our new pup, Stella and I had occasion to see the movie Up In The Air. I’d not seen it before, at least not from start to finish. Now that I have seen it, I think I understand why some members of my family thought that the film reminded them of me.

It’s true that I am something of a corporate road warrior. That is to say, my job involves more than the occasional bit of travel. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been to Las Vegas, New Jersey (twice), South Bend IN (twice), Jackson MS, and Berkeley CA. As I write this I am in fact en route to Charlotte NC to give a three-day training course.

As The Beach Boys once harmonized, “I get around.” Further, I’ve been in this line of work for just over fifteen years.

All of that only serves to illustrate that I have at least some experience being on the road. In that time I’ve come to appreciate some relatively simple pieces of technology. Occasionally a modest little item, perhaps acquired by accident or mere happenstance, can actually improve your quality-of-working-life on-the-road.

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