The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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children of dune - leto 1
seperis
So the Pandigital e-reader thing came and I opened it up grimly to learn to use it and get it all ready and clean for my mom's birthday--and I just could not deal with how slow it was. Or rather, I could not deal with the fact that for only a bit (er, twice the price plus a cover) more, she could have a nice, shiny Kindle Fire, and honest to God, I would not use mine happily if I saw her meandering sadly with that one.

Hence, we're going with Kindle Fire for Mom and both my conscience and my glee at helping break the iPad's death grip on tablets are pleased (I still can't think of it as a tablet no matter what I do, but apparently, I'm the only one in the universe. No matter how many movies I may or may not stream on it). I do not hate iPads, and Apple's hands aren't any dirtier than any other company, so I think it comes down to Apple's highly successful use of snobbery in its ads that turned me against them for life. It's about as logical as navigating by cloud (no amazon pun intended), but the smug Mac computer commercials combined with the constant refrain both implicit and explicit that people who do not have iPads just can't afford them (if one more reviewer says, amused and disparaging "Oh, well, at that price" as if consumers will buy any old junk because it's cheap really--gets to me.

I have to admit, after a long time bowing at the throne of Apple, the way that Amazon's freaked out the complacency of the tech world since Wednesday has been nothing short of hilarious to watch. The constant, consistent, exhausting way the entirety of the tech universe seems to hang upon The Next Version of the iPhone and The Next Version of the iPad et al like the Gospel got caught up in what could almost be called surprise--and amazon hasn't hidden what they're doing either, so it's not like Fire fell from the sky (no reference to the movie implied) to land on their laps like Aphrodite rising from the ocean (not so wet, for one thing). I get the feeling they expected another iPad clone to follow the standard and were completely nonplussed to see something that was uncomfortably close to a suggest that maybe iPad is not the be-all and end-all of what a tablet should be, but just--heresy--a variation of what tablets might be.

I do enjoy watching confusion in the technological trenches, I admit it, and for more than my stock portfolio's health. Though I do wish they'd just get this one thing (I give up on teh entire "only cheap people won't get an iPad" thing; tech's love of Regency-level class lines is not exactly new); at seven inches, fourteen ounces, and less than half an inch thickness...size, people, is a feature. It fits in my bag, my purse, my coat pocket, in one hand being carried while walking, in one hand while reading, watching, easy to pull out, easy to put up, easy as a book to read, use, hold up to show people, glance at, and put away.

That's a feature.

(Only here, quietly: I really wish they'd add the 3G. But I am also thinking how even my phone does not get fantastic reception in most places and a million and a half new Fires coming online abruptly would be--slow, to put it mildly.)

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it's always so interesting to see other's take on new technology, because for me, it's size/weight is basically what puts me off it. I love the idea of tablets, I like the functionality that could (though does not always) come with a touch screen, but tablets... if I'm going to get a tablet, I want something for my money! smaller tablets, like the Fire, the Samsung Galaxy, etc, turn me off because I already have a smart phone, so why would I buy what amounts to a slightly larger smart phone? that is not actually a phone?

not that I'm buying an ipad, which I still don't think have enough memory/functionality to entice me for their price. and I suppose I can understand the appeal of something that sits between a smart phone and a laptop, particularly if you don't have one or the other.

I get the feeling they expected another iPad clone to follow the standard and were completely nonplussed to see something that was uncomfortably close to a suggest that maybe iPad is not the be-all and end-all of what a tablet should be, but just--heresy--a variation of what tablets might be.

iiiinteresting. I mean - if I think of it as a tablet, I get kind of turned off. If I think of it as an ereader, I become slightly more intrigued. Not that I would get rid of my nook, at this point - but I really think it does depend on what sort of technological hole you're expecting it to fill. like you said a few entries ago, 16GB on an ipad vs. 8GB on an ereader evokes a differing reaction.

basically I just threw a lot of thoughts into this comment. but! your technology entries have been very interesting to read.

not that I'm buying an ipad, which I still don't think have enough memory/functionality to entice me for their price. and I suppose I can understand the appeal of something that sits between a smart phone and a laptop, particularly if you don't have one or the other.

This! In an earlier entry, I was saying how it threw me when the reviews kept referring to it as a tablet, because it just, to me, isn't in that category and I hadn't thought to judge it as one at all. Because God yes, for a tablet, there's no comparison and that's the reason I haven't bought one yet; I'd want my tablet to have the same functionality and memory and speed as my laptop for places it's inconvenient to have my laptop and no tablet yet comes close.

not that I'm buying an ipad, which I still don't think have enough memory/functionality to entice me for their price. and I suppose I can understand the appeal of something that sits between a smart phone and a laptop, particularly if you don't have one or the other.

iiiinteresting. I mean - if I think of it as a tablet, I get kind of turned off. If I think of it as an ereader, I become slightly more intrigued. Not that I would get rid of my nook, at this point - but I really think it does depend on what sort of technological hole you're expecting it to fill. like you said a few entries ago, 16GB on an ipad vs. 8GB on an ereader evokes a differing reaction.

basically I just threw a lot of thoughts into this comment. but! your technology entries have been very interesting to read.


You nailed it on the tablet/not tablet! I don't expect that it will do much for Nook people, because the Nook already hits the medium place. I love my phone, but it's too small for anything but for what I think of as phone related; taking pics, small video clips, my social media, texting, maybe showing photos, and games. But it's too small to read with and too small really to watch video on.

Amazon hit the sweet spot for people, like me, who like our ereaders (and my regular Kindle will probably still be my primary ereader for novels because of e-ink and all that battery life) but want access to magazines and a little net access in addition to e-reading. I mean, I keep marveling on how my first thought was "Oh, magazine subscriptions! And my Prime membership movies can be downloaded into here easily! Oh, and I like apps and now on a bigger screen than my phone!" completely unaware that these are tablet functions. And all on a seven inch screen, which seems the perfect size since it's become my perfect default size for reading anything.

I don't think a lot of people who ordered this are in any way thinking of it as a small tablet, even if they read that it is and nod along; the Kindle created a perfect size standard (carry and read with one hand, convenient and easy to carry anywhere) that is basically also creating a market out of people who had no interest at all in tablets and will get this and (I especially want to watch my mom with this) realize the value of tablets and apps because this tablet was built with them in mind.

I think--I mean, I'm no expert, or even a vaguely gifted amateur--that it's the first tablet ever made specifically designed for the customer and what they do, and the Kindle Fire is (and I say this as a Kindle user who buys a lot of Kindle books who is looking at Amazon's website now anticipating all the things my Kindle Fire can do there) this almost seems to have been engineered and advertised with what I do with one and what I'll use it for in mind. On one hand, it sounds limiting, but so is--and I quote from another website--a microwave when you think 'in comparison to an oven'. Releasing a piece of tech designed to do and focus on specific tasks that consumers will use it for at a price that makes it attractive is what technology is all about.

I always end up feeling a little defensive when I read your posts like this. I haven't got an iPad because I can't afford it. I want one, but it's not because I've been brainwashed by Apple advertising either, I haven't watched tv in almost 3 years and I actively seek to avoid ads in other media. and I don't think I'm a snob. I'm just a person who doesn't make much money who also happens to be most comfortable with Apple tech. so I get them secondhand, or when the price point finally moves into my range. and I prefer to buy physical books. so, idk. *hands* I guess I just want to say that not everybody who uses Apple tech is that pretentious evangelist of stereotype.

for what its worth, I totally have a macbook pro, and someone will have to pry it from my cold dead hands. to me, the added price is more than worth is for all the added (or at the very least not lost) productivity - I cannot properly explain how many times my first laptop, non-Apple, crashed, gave me the blue screen of dash, or had to be rebooted in the middle of something important. we have PCs at work, and something freezes or crashes at least three times a day. plus, all the waiting. I have no idea how people function with them, and I, too, try not to be the "pretentious evangelist stereotype"

yeah, I got a netbook last winter, because I wanted something smaller and more portable and, ut supra, couldn't afford the iPad. I used it in exactly the same way I used my macbook, and it lived about six months through frequent crashes and freezes before it got a virus that AVG couldn't block and got so fucked up that now it doesn't even boot. that was a really depressing experience for me, and it was a loss of money that I didn't really have to begin with. :\

that really sucks, man, I'm sorry :(

you're probably aware of this - thought maybe not! - but buying a refurbished computer/ipad from apple is a bit less expensive, and they have the exact same warranty. I saved about $200 when I bought my last one, if you ever get scrounge up enough money to get one. believe me, I understand - my new one was using cash from selling an older one on ebay, and christmas/birthday money.

also, I just read your Winchester primer, and as someone originally from upstate NY, it made me giggle :D

Before I say this, I don't actually object to your comment. This is more--general.

I cannot properly explain how many times my first laptop, non-Apple, crashed, gave me the blue screen of dash, or had to be rebooted in the middle of something important. we have PCs at work, and something freezes or crashes at least three times a day. plus, all the waiting. I have no idea how people function with them, and I, too, try not to be the "pretentious evangelist stereotype"

In the comments of an entry where I at no time criticize Apple hardware or Apple software, simply blogosphere evangelism and why it's annoying, there's a slam at PCs and wonder about how other people use them. I mean, I know this isn't directed at me or the entry--I think?--but discussing with , which is fine, but--still.

And seriously, I have no objection here (at all! Really! This is literally you happened to make a comment with the blue screen objection thing! No problem!), but holy GOd, imagine every article, everywhere, where every comment is either evangelical on the perfection or slamming PCs for not being Macs. I'm starting to kind of hate the sight of the fruit also known as an apple at this point, it's that pervasive in technoblogging.

Again, seriously, yoru comment, not a problem because it was a discussion in context here, but they are way too prevalent without decent context other than "You are speaking of something that is not a Mac, why?"


no, I get it. I mean, it's basically what you were saying with the ipad vs. tablet vs. ereader thing - for me, the ipad? that it's an apple product? I give no fucks. that does not matter to me. that's a priority for a laptop/desktop, yes, big time. I took a hit in memory/processing power, I have middle of the line battery life, but for a laptop, that's a choice I am more than willing to make. not so much for nebulous ereader/tablet choices. that does not mean every other choices should be "... but it's not a mac" or "well, if you don't want to spend the money and get something worth it", etc. etc. to the end of time.


I apologize that I made you feel defensive on computer preference. I know the feeling very well.

I don't think most users are pretentious snobs. I think the advertising is and that's their entire market strategy; they've admitted it, so I'm not saying anything that they haven't said themselves. It's a very good one, and it's also a pretty truthful one, since their product is fantastic, and they built an empire on a product that they is supposed to convey it's a BMW among Fords, to borrow my most recent reading.

My objections--in this case--is the blogosphere picking up an advertising line as a universal truth; Mac/iPad/iPod is better than anything, so if you don't have/use, you're either stupid or poor. Technology reporting is basically a cesspool of Does It Compare to iMac/iPad/iPod. It is--as a very contented PC user--exhausting. And any objection to the universal truth is immediately squelched under "But Viruses!", "But bluescreen!" "But X" and every imaginable horror story of How PCs Suck.

I spent none of this particular entry talking about why iPad sucks as a product or why any Mac product sucks as a product, because my objection is, again, to the blogosphere's attitude and my hatred of my preference in computer being constantly considered second class.

Because right now, all I'm doing is trying to find a working review of Amazon Fire and what it does, and all I can find is a list of everything that iPad does that it doesn't, combined with a million repetitions of "Macs are Better Because PC's Do Everything Wrong and Also, Their Users Are Stupid and Cheap."

(I'm a content pc user as well. Even worse--- I actually like Vista.) *ducks*

the blogosphere picking up an advertising line as a universal truth

But which blogosphere are you referring to? I read a handful of blogs that are clearly fans of Apple but they have no shortage of links to blog posts that are just waiting for Apple to fail, or how crappy Apple products are, or how brainwashed Apple’s customers are. Paul Thurrott, Daniel Lyons and Rob Enderle all have an anti-Apple bent and they’re not the only ones but just the ones off the top of my head.



Macs are Better Because PC's Do Everything Wrong and Also, Their Users Are Stupid and Cheap

But for every reviewer that says that, there’s also the reviewer who says that Apple has $75 billion in cash because their customers are brainwashed into buying overpriced products. I remember when the first iPad came out, so many reviewers were underwhelmed and dismissed it and its future success as products of that famous Reality Distortion Field.

And nevermind that “overpriced” hasn’t been true for a few years as Apple’s strategy has been to use use that cash to position itself closer towards monopsony so that competitors now can’t compete on having a cheaper price. Apple isn’t the only buyer of components, but one could argue that it is the only buyer with power and influence and the company isn’t shy about using that to get larger discounts to build products with lower retail prices and higher margins than their competitors.

I bought my iPad last month. I looked at other tablets but for the same price, they offered fewer apps, smaller screens (10" is non-negotiable to me), smaller battery lives (8–10 hours is non-negotiable to me), 4:3 aspect ratio (ok, this does not affect price but I list this because this too is non-negotiable to me), less memory and promises of “That feature will come eventually!” I know that buyers of other tablets are stereotyped as cheap but people who say such things are obviously unaware of the market or are clinging to a picture of the computer industry from fifteen years ago.

And I don’t think that buyers of other tablets don’t know what they’re doing as much as I know they very well know what they are doing as they tend to be very anti-Apple or pro-Linux for whatever reasons their feelings are so.

And I also don’t think that users are wondering, “iPad or Kindle Fire?” as much as I think most people looking at the Kindle Fire either already have an iPad or already decided they didn’t need an iPad. They really don’t compare. I don’t think that Amazon was asking, “How will we compete with the iPad?” as much as they were asking, “How do we sell more of our content?” I think the pundits and analysts believing and starting with the former question are not understanding Amazon’s business.

I think the reason it took them off guard is because Amazon was big enough to do the one thing that needed to be done to really compete - probably undercut their own profit margin because they'll make more money from selling things on the Fire than they will by selling the devices themselves.

All the other companies weren't doing things in as slick a way or, in some instances, as well as Apple... So the choice for the consumer was obvious.

Competition is good. :D Not that I have a need for a tablet either way, but it's good to see more choice - hope for Kobo's sake that for now they stay out of Canada, though.

Honestly, my favorite part is that Amazon is selling us a device to make it easier to shop with them. In a way, it's not that different from the kindle reader program or iTunes; they're just basically doing the hardware version of giving away the software in hopes of sales. And they went to the mat--from specs, that is, I'll have to see it work to be sure--to make it perfect for exactly that.

It's almost like they took a long look at their demographics and decided to capture an uncapturable market; people who have no interest in tablets at all but love, love, love to read. They will get one and lo, the wonder of it! And by the time they start thinking "Perhaps I need a tablet", they'll look at amazon first, because that's where their first one came from. Amazon == tablet drug dealers on the sly. Honestly, if they can get an even decently functional music manager, I'll pretty much get all my media from Amazon.

Competition is good. :D Not that I have a need for a tablet either way, but it's good to see more choice - hope for Kobo's sake that for now they stay out of Canada, though.

God yes. Thinking about it, I kind of hope more tablets go the more specialized route. Most are like "WE DO EVERYTHING A LAPTOP DOES, BUT WITH NOT ENOUGH MEMORY AND A LOT LESS SPEED" which--well? But something that says "I DO A FEW THINGS YOU REALLY LIKE TO DO IN A VERY CONVENIENT FORM AND DO THOSE THINGS VERY WELL; LET ME TELL YOU EXACTLY WHAT THOSE THINGS ARE" is different. *bouncy*

Apple's elitism in regard to their products has always turned me off. They like to make out that they are the top of the line, end all be all. What we should aspire to and want to have. That attitude drives me nuts.

I love that Amazon really set up a challenge. Barnes & Noble threw one down to them when they brought out a Nook for $149 a while back. Made them lower their prices to compete. Now they have thrown their own down. Should be fun to see what happens next.

*glee* It's going to be awesome to watch this happening.

As for the iPad being a tablet... when it first came out I was all "it's a PADD!!" which I don't think of as being a tablet--I think of PADDs as being an access point to a larger computer, with the ability to take memos and stuff. A Touch or iPad to me is more of an access point than a self-contained machine, in large part because you hook it up to your actual computer and choose what you can fit onto your smaller device. Which I don't mind--I'm actually turned off by a device marketed as a tablet which has even less memory and power than a netbook (which I also despise, because most don't have the same memory and power as a baby koala let alone a laptop).

Now, as far as MacBooks are concerned... my experience is colored by the fact that I went from cheap Dell/Acer laptops that quit after 18 months to my shiny metal MacBook which is going strong at 3 years old. But I think it's not so much Ford v BMW as it is Big Three v Toyota (at least in the 1990-early 2000s). Toyota made its name in being reliable and built to last, while the Big Three tanked their brands with a focus on huge vehicles and a lack of quality assurance. Fact is, the only detractor I have about my MacBook is that I need to get my hands on Windows and BootCamp so that I can play the new Star Wars MMO, and that's more a reflection on the software industry than Macs in general.

Oh, hey--I just realized that you, Ms. Tech Guru Extraordinaire, might be a good person to ask about smartphones. My brother in law is a Mac Guru, but I want to know if there is an Android phone out there which is equally awesome but more reasonably priced to the iPhone. Any suggestions? The reasons I lean towards an iPhone are thus: I have a Touch, so I know the software and want to upgrade to being able to make calls from my mp3 player; there's soooo many other smartphones out there that all I know is that Windows Mobile sucks.

I am not a tech guru, but my htc incredible is two years old, bought second hand on ebay, still going strong, and I hear good things about the incredible 2.

ahha, we also had the exact same experience of shitty Dell -> Macbook, apparently.

Okay, hilarious, my best computers have been Dells--I literally don't buy anything else anymore. HP was the one that turned me off Anything But Dell forever, but to be fair, my reasons are legion. I'm in Austin, Dell's semi-hometown, so it's ridiculously easy to get parts and post-warranty fixes inexpensively, and within two miles from home.

My biggest problems with my laptops are that I use them heavily, constantly, tremendously, and far, far more than I ever used my desktops, so I tinker for performance and multitask speeds and therefore must pay for it later. Which I guess, for me, is a feature for PCs; being able to tinker, and tinker often, make repairs and do my own fixes is part of my funtimes, and sadly, every day cannot be Build a New Server To Ease Your Restlessness Day (God do I wish, though). Much as I love my Kindle and my phone (AND I DO) I have a weird feeling I don't entirely own them because I've never taken them apart to their circuitboards and rebuilt them again at least once. *grins*

I'll second the Incredible and add the Evo; the Evo is truly fantastic every time I've played with it. To be honest, I've always liked my Android phones. However, if you have mostly Macs at home, compatibility would probably be easier with an iPhone; Apple's unbeaten at integration between their hardware. But Android, if you like that kind of thing, has a higher overall memory capacity; my current Android has an 8G card, but from what I remember, while recommended no higher than 32G expansion, I'm pretty sure some guys with free time tested up to 64G and 128G cards and didn't have a problem. The Evo (and Incredible) also have a very large and comfortable screen size as well, and the Android app market is growing exponentially.

Now if Amazon would just add epub to the formats that the Kindles can read I might actually buy one.

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