AT&T Data Woes

I started a new job back in November and it has been a whirlwind.  As part of the transition, I have changed cell phones and added an aircard.  In a future piece, I will discuss my new Palm Pre.

My employer offered the option of three mobile data providers: AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.  Sprint coverage is not good where I live and so I debated between AT&T and Verizon. I eventually chose AT&T because online articles had suggested that AT&T had the fastest network (excluding VZW’s new LTE which had not been announced at the time) and because AT&T’s GSM technology would work better outside of the US.  Both arguments later proved faulty since Verizon offers GSM capable aircards and recently announced high-speed LTE service.

I was excited when my new USB Connect Lightning arrived and was surprised by its large size.  However, I was happy to have the service and that the unit arrived just before a trip.  The initial configuration was painless although I was slightly disappointed about the weak signal in my house.  Signal strength is not great where I live, but my cellphone appeared to handle the situation better.  Regardless, I was looking forward to having Internet access wherever I traveled.

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Re-thinking the iPad

I have blogged on numerous occasions about how I dislike Apple’s closed approach to iOS/iTunes.  However, I have also blogged about my search for a PDA for my wife and she chose an iPhone because she preferred its ease of use.  It is in the context of these contrasting perspectives that I have begun to ponder whether to acquire an iPad.

I am in the process of changing jobs (blog post here) and during the transition, am without a laptop.  Surprisingly, I am really missing the portable computer.  I used it frequently to surf the Internet during commercial breaks on TV or watch football on Slingbox while my kids viewed movies.  Additionally, I often found that the best time for blogging is in the evening on the living room coach after everyone has gone to bed.  Unfortunately, none of these activities are possible now since I only have a desktop computer.  Mynew job will provide a laptop, but I think that I need my own hardware.

My goals in purchasing a new system are to minimize expense and to choose a solution that best meets my requirements.  As I see it, I have three options. (Read More »)

Drobo FS – A review

I am an active photographer and am always generating new content.  This hobby necessitates large amounts of relatively fast storage that can scale efficiently.  I prefer NAS storage because I want the ability to share storage between multiple systems.  My initial investment was in a ReadyNAS device from Netgear and more recently, I added a Drobo FS to my Gigabit Ethernet network.  In this post I will discuss the Drobo FS.  In a future write-up, I will compare the Drobo FS to my ReadyNAS device.

Unpacking the Drobo FS:

This is one area where the team have Drobo have done an impressive job.  The device arrives in an unimpressive cardboard box, but once you open it, the experience is Apple-like.  The first thing you see is a jet accessory black box with silver lettering saying “Welcome to Drobo.”  The Drobo array is wrapped in a high quality black bag with Drobo printed on the top facing you.  Very nice!  The packaging gives the device a a high quality consumer electronics feel. (Read More »)

Today, Logitech launched the Revue which is their set-top box powered by GoogleTV.  This is the first of many future devices that will use GoogleTV and will initially be sold for $299.99.  I have not had any hands-on experience with the unit yet, but wanted to provide some introductory perspectives.

The first thing that caught my eye about the unit was the controller.  The original insider reports suggested that the included remote would be the Logitech Mini Controller, but Logitech chose to package a full-size keyboard instead.  The keyboard offers extensive functionality, but appears to be bulky and it looks like it would be awkward to use in practice.  The Mini Controller is available, but requires an additional $129.99 which seems extraordinarily expensive.

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I have lamented in the past about RIM’s Blackberry OS and how serious changes are needed to compete effectively with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.  The latest iteration, Blackberry 6.0 is improved, but I questioned whether it is enough to compete.  Recently, rumors have surfaced of a new iPad-like device from RIM called the BlackPad which brings the OS question back to the forefront.

The first assumption by most experts is that the BlackPad would be powered by RIM’s Blackberry 6.0 similar to how Apple leveraged iOS for the iPad. This made sense from a time to market and ease of implementation perspective, and is the only choice if RIM is committed to Blackberry OS over the long-term.  However, the latest rumor is that the BlackPad will be based on an OS created by QNX Software. (RIM acquired QNX back in April.) If true, this is a major shift for RIM and potentially represents the long awaited OS rewrite.  If RIM does release the BlackPad with QNX technology then I believe that the smartphones must follow.

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