Intel Core i5: Multitasking Awesomeness June 21, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Computers, First Look/Reviews, Teen Info, Web , add a comment
Intel Core i5. Whoooosh!
OK, let me say this from the beginning – if you are buying a new laptop for school, for anything – get a Core i5.
I’ve had the opportunity to be able to try out a laptop with the new chips, and to sum it up – it’s fast. Really, really fast. Think of things that you do often on your computer – web browsing, gaming, note taking in word, watching videos on Youtube, listening to music on iTunes, chatting with friends in AIM, updating things on Twitter, watching shows on Hulu.
I went through a few days worth of these usual things – and the experience is insane. Load times when opening applications is effectively non-existent. Hulu videos just played, at full resolution, with almost 0 lag. CDs ripped into iTunes in minutes, and huge downloads – including the entire game of Portal on Steam, a task that brought my not underpowered Macbook down for almost a day, finished in under an hour. The game itself ran flawlessly. Flash games ran so fast that a friend of mine had trouble playing, being so used to a slower speed. Youtube videos streamed and loaded in seconds, even in HD. The Zune software, which I had been running at a snails pace on my netbook, was fluid and fast. Word, always a pain to load, taking forever to open, just was there.
GenUpload: Two weeks with KIN May 21, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Announcements, Cell Phones, First Look/Reviews, Microsoft, Music, Web , add a comment
KIN 2 is the not-square one (click to high-definitionize)
So, I’ve been using the KIN 2 as my only mobile device (no iPod Touch or regular cell) for the last two weeks. Check out my impression of how it held up to the theory of being a phone for teenagers in my guest column over at Slashgear.
KIN Review – a GenUpload Take May 5, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Announcements, Cell Phones, First Look/Reviews, Microsoft, Music, Web , add a comment
KIN – Teenagers dream phone?
I’ve had some time to be able to check out Microsoft’s latest phone offering designed for teens and the way we use phones – for a different take then most tech blogs, be sure to check out my guest column over at Slashgear for my take.
Apple Announces Macbook Pro Updates April 13, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Apple, Computers, Web , 1 comment so far
A bit pricier then the student marketed Macbook, the Pro is a bit leaner, meaner, and shinier. So, if you’re considering splurging on a new Pro, the time has come. Specifically, Apple’s hit the update button the the store and added new specs for the Macbook Pros – with the new Intel Core i5 and i7 chips, which are quite awesome.
The cheapest 13-inch Pro didn’t get quite the same update, only getting a bump in speed with new, faster 2.4GHz and 2.66GHz Core 2 Duos, and a slightly long battery life now – and the boost for $200 in specs between the basic Macbook and the basic 13-inch Pro is looking a lot better now.
But the real coolness in the in 15 and 17 inchers – which all now come with either an Intel i5 or i7 chip. Also added is a new automatic process for managing graphics on your computer – basically stuff works better. And, if you’ve got extra money to splurge, options for a HD screen,($100), anti-glare (another $50) or a 512GB Solid State ($1300 – ouch…) (flash memory, as opposed to hard disc – aka much faster, and less breakable).
Check out the new models, configurations at Apple’s online store here.
Microsoft Announces Kin 1 and Kin 2 April 12, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Cell Phones, Microsoft, Teen Info, Web , 1 comment so far
Microsoft’s Kin. Not to be confused with the Kindle. (click thumnail to Awesome-size)
Today, Microsoft announced there latest phone offerings – the Kin 1 and Kin 2. Unlike most other tech we cover, the Kin brand is designed for teens. Which makes it obviously something of interest on this particular site.
To jump right in – hardware. As can be seen above, there are two models of Kin – the Kin 1 and Kin 2. Both have similar features, and run the same Kin version of WinPhone7, with touchscreens, slideout QWERTY keyboards, etc. Differences include size – the Kin 1 being the smaller, squarish one, with a 5.o megapixel camera/SD video, mono speaker, and 4 GB of memory built in, compared to the Kin 2′s larger screen and keyboard, stereo speakers, 8.0 megapixel camera/HD video and 8 GB of memory. Neither is expandable with microSD cards. Both have the same Tegra chips in the Zune HD, and are quite fast looking, at least in the demo videos.
So, software then. Before we get the the Kin specific stuff, first the basics – has a browser, Bing search, and Zune software built in – so it should be pretty nice for music. But it’s NOT a smartphone – Microsoft built the Kin for Social. So no Apps.
But, Kin does have some seriously slick stuff when talking social. First off, Kin Loop. It’s a real time feed from all your social sites – Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc. as well RSS feeds showing you what’s going on. Social connectivity is huge – just drag and drop stuff to forward to your friends, using the Kin Spot – a little green dot on the bottom of the screen, choose contacts, and go. It works for pictures, videos, news articles – it’s highly cool looking, and looks like its actually getting how teens use phones. Contacts work akin to the Palm Pre – just log into your email, social networks, Twitter – and it combines them all into one contact, which is a cool and handy plus.
The camera software is similarly built, with social features built in – allowing you to upload straight from your phone to your social sites.
But coolest of all is Kin Studio. Kin Studio is, as Microsoft describes it, your Kin online. It’s everything from your phono, automatically synced to the Kin Studio site – allowing you to access, sort, and most importantly, backup everything on your phone – from Contacts, to texts, to pictures and videos, sorted with a cool timeline to manage it. Also has the same features as the phone, allowing updating all your statuses and the Kin Spot sharing. Studio also seems to help with keeping space free on your phone, which is a nice plus.
The Kin 1 and 2 will be Verizon exclusives, launching sometime in May. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but I’d expect it to be an the cheaper side, since they’re marketing to teens, and we tend to be rather cheap (aka broke). Also, I’d be betting on the 2 costing a bit more then the 1, but we’ll have to wait and see.
For more info, videos and shots of the devices, check out the Kin site here.
Oh, yeah. It also makes calls.
[Sources include Kin.com, Engadget hands-on]
iPad – Review April 3, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Apple, Computers, First Look/Reviews, Mp3 players and iPods, Music, Tablets, Web , 4comments
Behold! The iPad Cometh!
So. It’s finally landed. The iPad. And I’ve actually managed to get my mitts on one for a few minutes. So – here’s the review: We’ll jump right in.
First off – the iPad is cool. It’s been hyped for what seems like forever, and excitement has built to a fever pitch since it was announced by Apple in January. And it does live up to that – the entire thing is very, very, very, well done.
Let’s face it though. Enlightening (I hope) my comments on the iPad may be – you’ll be able to get effectively the same thing anywhere: every tech site in the world will be writing nearly the same thing, and at this rate, has already written it. So here’s my contribution – that isn’t anywhere else:
What does the iPad mean to YOU – a teenager and student?
It’s not an easy question. As media consumption and entertainment goes, the iPad is incredible. The huge screen, plus the fact it’s an extension of the iTunes library you’ve most likely spent most of your life building, as well as ALL your iPhone/iTouch Apps, along with the 1,400-odd iPad only one already out there make that a moot point. More serious stuff – like note-taking or, say, productive work – is also fairly nice: I personally find the horizontal digital keyboard excellent, and the compatibility with Bluetooth keyboards is a huge plus. And yes, better comments on that is down below.
But back to my question – is the iPad for YOU? I have to say no. And I mean this in no way to knock the iPad, but despite the serious awesomeness of the device, I can’t recommend it for most teens. The iPad, in the most basic breakdown is Apple’s netbook. And here’s the thing.
Teenagers do not use netbooks correctly – at least, how the manufacturers want. The netbook concept is that you buy a full laptop or desktop, and use the netbook to supplement it – for travel or on-the-go. But teens don’t follow that logic at all – for many teens, the netbook is the ONLY computer – the primary one, that they use for media, for school, for gaming, for IM, for everything in their lives – after all, money is something we don’t have available for big purchases for the most part, and netbooks are light, cheap, easy to carry and give full computer functionality.
And unfortunately, the iPad cannot deliver as a primary computer for teens. Both the $500 minimum for the device (not including a case, stand, or external keyboard), as well as it’s existing limitations – no Flash, no physical keyboard, and the limitations of using a mobile operating system – at that price, make it extremely difficult for me to recommend it for a teenager – save the money, or use it to get a full powered laptop. But the iPad isn’t meant to be a primary device, nor can it be recommended as such for a student.
Again – I think the iPad is a fantastic device. And if you’re interested in a secondary device, and can afford the price, or are willing to go with the limitations of the iPad as a primary device, then by all means. It still is an incredible device for the in between space between iPod/Phone and computer – but my personal view is that that particular space doesn’t exist for teenagers in a real sense.
Onwards to the review!
rapportive – Review March 17, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : First Look/Reviews, Misc., Web , add a comment
Some math: Gmail – ads + contact social info = ?
Ok – so browser plugins aren’t really something I usually write about here – but this one here’s an exception. To jump right in, I love rapportive. Love it. It’s just cool.
Backing up just a bit. Gmail users – you guys all know the ads on the right side of emails you read, right? Well, rapportive is a Firefox and Chrome plugin, that simply replaces them. Now that’s nice, but not only does it get rid of the ads, it replaces them with something pretty useful: a contact profile of the person who sent the email you’re reading, based on public profiles. And for the most part, it installs and runs very smoothly – just go to the site, install, and a few painless seconds later, you’re ready to roll – just go to Gmail, read an email, and rapportive’ll do the rest – showing info pulled from their Google Profile, links to Facebook, Twitter, flickr etc, if they have that info publicly available, so it’s pretty neat for connecting with the people you talk to. Also, a nice feature exists of being able to jot down a private note about the person for yourself for the next time you talk with the person.
It’s not perfect – not everyone I talk to has a profile – but overall, its pretty nice. rapportive is available for my favorite price of “free” – as a plugin for Firefox and Google Chrome, with IE support on the way. Check it out here.