Geek Day 2010: This Saturday!

Geek Day 2010
This Saturday, October 23rd – HMAUS (Hawaii Macintosh & Apple Users Society) and Leeward Community College partner again to present Geek Day 2010. Last year was packed and this year should be even better! Geek Day will be full of FREE demos and hands-on workshops introducing iPhoto, Mac 101, iMovie, Illustrator, Maya, Mobile Technologies, Social Media and Garage Band. If you just got your iPhone, are an Apple Fanboy, or just want to make new geeky friends, it will be a great day of fun.
Get all the details:
Geek Day 2010 Saturday, October 23, 2010
8:30am-2:30 pm • FREE • LCC

Looking for great, local training for Apple and Web 2.0 products? Become an HMAUS member!

It seems like every week there’s some new product or service that HMAUS is demonstrating. HMAUS (Hawaii Mac & Apple User Society) offers help to people looking to expand their world a bit with discussions and training on things like social networking, photography, iPad, and much more.

HMAUS

In fact this week there are two great sessions coming up:

1) Google Analytics – the Numbers Speak! 8/26/10 — learn how to get detailed statistics on your web site using Google’s free Analytics product,

and

2) Boot Camp #2 – Get on the Bus! 8/28/10 — get tips to iLife ’09, Apple’s suite of products for imaging and photography: iPhoto, iMovie and iDVD.

And be sure to become a member of HMAUS also to help keep great events like these coming!

Upcoming Geek Events: Unconferenz and HMAUS Springfest

Unconferenz has rescheduled to Saturday, March 20, 2010 from 8:00 AM – 4:00 AM at Kapiolani Community College. (This was postponed due to the Tsunami Warnings the day of the original event.) A wide variety of topics and a great chance to network. Sign up on their site now to get a t-shirt and lunch.

HMAUS (Hawaii Mac and Apple User Society) has scheduled their annual Springfest for May 1st at Kapiolani Community College. These day-long events typically feature a variety of FREE lectures and demos covering computer use, digital photography, and social media, and are open to the public. Details are still forthcoming, but pencil in the date now.

iPad: Ebook Reader = yes, Netbook = no

iPads iBook
iPad's iBook

Like a lot of people I was excited to learn about yesterday’s Apple iPad release. Steve Jobs had said it would be “one of the most important things I’ve ever done” [techcrunch]. Apple calls it “magical and revolutionary“. And, also like a lot of people, I was let down by learning the details of the iPad. I think I know why.

Many people assumed that this new device would be along the lines of a netbook — one of those small-screened devices that allows users to do MOST of what they can on their larger PCs, but using more cloud-based services to get around storage and processing limitations. In other words, netbooks are a perfect match for things like Google Docs, Dropbox, and Picnik to help get around less powerful CPUs and smaller drives.

That assumption — that iPad would be a netbook — was what led to my disappointment. The iPad doesn’t do a lot of the things you need a netbook to do: multitasking (multiple applications running at the same time), Flash in web sites, and file and document control.  In fact, several sites have lists of why the iPad fail: gizmodo, pcworld. But I think they are missing the point.

Classics App page example
Classics App page example

As far as most of the features on the iPad, they are available already (albeit in smaller screen space) on iPhones and iPod Touches: Safari, Mail, Video, Photos, YouTube, iPod, iTunes, App Store, Maps, Notes, Calendar, Contacts, Home Screen, Spotlight Search. The biggest NEW feature is the “iBook” which makes the iPad an eReader for electronic books. (Yes, iPod Touch and iPhone also have this ability — Classics app, for example, looks amazingly like what iBooks became.)

What the iPad does do, though, is “revolutionize” Apple’s money stream on iTunes. They will now be selling e-books (along with music, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, and apps). They will now be competing with Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook Ebook Readers.  They will also be (indirectly perhaps) taking on Google’s Books.

So, if you consider iPad as an eReader (with the ability to do some apps and multimedia) it’s a great, little device. Pricier than the competition, but with more functionality and style.

Just give up your notions of netbook (Apple has the Macbook Air for that (cough, cough)), and consider this iPad as the missing eReader device in their already excellent music (iPod) and cell phone (iPhone) device line.

Amazon has Snow Leopard and Windows 7 for pre-order

Snow Leopard Amazon has Snow Leopard Mac OS X version 10.6 (the upgrade to Leopard) available for pre-order on its site for $29. Their Free-Shipping option works even to Hawaii!
Windows 7Amazon also has Windows 7 available for pre-order.  Prices start at $119.99 for the Home Premium Upgrade, or $199.99 for the Professional Upgrade.    The difference depends on the features you need, see this chart for more information.

Continue reading Amazon has Snow Leopard and Windows 7 for pre-order

More on the Palm Pre: why it might just be able to take on iPhone

From a Newsweek article about Palm and their new Pre smartphone, comes some interesting comparisons to iPhone’s underlying operating system (OS X):

If this is true, it means that the Pre could allow apps like website pingers to continually check the status of your site and notify you when it is down, even while you are working on other applications, like posting blog articles.

Related article:  Can Pre save Palm?

MacHeist: new “loot” for those that can solve puzzles

If you own a Mac and love solving puzzles, then you should check out MacHeist. Through solving a series of intricately designed puzzles, riddles, visual clues, and cryptograms, you can get several free programs, including Process. Sign up for an account, and off you go solving clues found in the Briefings.

I tried my first one this week, after learning about MacHeist from their holiday giveaway called, Mac Giving Tree. Reading the briefings, following some of the hints others had left in the forums, visiting the various web sites they had set up, and checking my “Loot” area, I found I had solved one puzzle to get Process.

Be forewarned that if you aren’t familiar with these kinds of puzzles, it will be confusing to begin with. Hang with it, get help from others, and have some fun! Learn more at: MacHeist [This is a great idea for building a community, generating lots of “buzz” (including tons of tweets), and keeping membership high.]

Can Pre save Palm?

Palm released their newest touch-screen smartphone yesterday called the Pre. And while their site is short of details still, there’s been several stories (Gizmodo, ars technica) about it and that it *might* be an iPhone killer. I don’t doubt that Palm can do touch-screens; they have built excellent ones for years. And the reviews from their other cell phones have been fairly positive also.

For me, in order to really get close to iPhone, Palm will have to build up a delivery system similar to iTunes. iTunes makes it brain-dead simple to download music, and more importantly, apps (applications), quickly and easily in one centralized location. This delivery system of iTunes means that developers get paid quickly and can see their competition easily. Users of iTunes can rate and comment on each app. While Palm is going to allow downloads via the phone, as Apple does on the iPhone, this may not be enough to get more apps to more people. Without something similar to iTunes, Palm will either have to rely on third-party sites to promote and sell apps (as was the past with Palm programs), or, try to completely control it themselves via the Pre and their web site. Will it be enough…?

Also, the Pre will have to make better efforts at syncing between various OS, or, at least get one Operating System down completely. (I’ve had too many bad experiences of trying to get Palm to sync with Outlook/Exchange that didn’t end up with me spending hours de-duping contacts.) iPhone was supposed to work seamless with Outlook/Exchange (via MobileMe), but that has yet to happen well. However, iPhone (and Touch) work wonderfully with a Mac (fancy that). While most OS work with Palm, and make the effort to play nicely together, there are still going to be glitches with upgrades… The Pre may sync with Gmail as they say, and that might be enough for the demographics (mobile, cloud-based, social media users) they are targeting, but, it won’t open up new demographics, like my parents for example…

So, will Pre save Palm? I think most people would like to hope so… but…

iPhone/iPod Touch Platform: Apps a’plenty

I recently purchased an iPod Touch and have REALLY been enjoying it. Besides the beauty of the form factor — fits in your hand so well and lets you control it with simple finger movements on its touch screen — is the application platform. Visiting iTunes App Store, you can see the huge variety of what’s currently available. And this is all still new for developers.

Last Tuesday, HMAUS (Hawaii Mac Users), held a presentation with Rich Warren on the iPhone platform. Besides picking up some great tips on cool apps and why the SDK is worth signing up for, Rich demonstrated the Japanese keyboard entry with word/character suggestions. Very cool! For example, just typing (in Romaji) “iyu” came up with “一週間”. For me, that’s really handy. (Of course, there is the problem of learning to type on a “virtual” keyboard where there are no buttons, but the auto-suggest does help, in any language.)

One of the beauty points about the iPod Touch is that it has all the features (except the camera! 😦 ) of the iPhone without the phone part — and therefore, no worries about having to sign up for an expensive monthly contract with a company that doesn’t always have it’s customers’ best interests in mind. In other words, you can get the same “coolness” of the iPhone (using wifi) but using your existing phone and plan.

Even if you don’t buy one, at least visit an Apple store to see for yourself how they feel to operate.

MobileMe: Walt was right…

Being a Mac guy at home, I decided to try out Apple’s new MobileMe during their extended trial period. I had heard from lots of support blogs, and even from Walt Mossberg’s column that MobileMe was just too shaky to be reliable. Well, I tried it anyway. And, Walt was right.

In the two days of testing I did using an XP connecting to the Apple “cloud”, I lost contacts, calendar events, and my patience. The last straw was, I lost all my contacts except three; myself and one other that was a duplicate! 😦

Then this morning I noticed this article (“last modified 8/18/08): ” MobileMe: Syncing with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange” which says:

MobileMe syncing allows you to sync your contacts and calendars with Outlook, unless Outlook is connected to an Exchange server. In this situation, syncing your Outlook data with MobileMe is not supported.

Oh. Now, I’m thinking, wasn’t MobileMe supposed to be for RoadWarriors, as Apple’s attempt to do Push Email to take on RIMs Blackberrys? And aren’t most of those folks using Exchange? So, then who is MobileMe for?

MobileMe Test Album
MobileMe Test Album

Yes, it seems that MobileMe has shifted to being a replacement from the .mac services for people who don’t have an “Enterprise” that uses Exchange… Disappointing…

On the plus side, it does make pretty photo albums. 😉