Tag Archives: technology

The Newest iPod Nano is Sweet!

My mother is pretty much the last person at the gym, aside from a few 80 year olds who go there to use the pool, who doesn’t listen to music while she works out. My brothers and I decided to buy her her first iPod (ever) for Christmas this year.  I went to the Apple store and bought her a Nano in her favorite color, purple, and then realized that my mom will have no clue how to set it up herself.

So I took it out of its package and hooked it up to my iTunes so that I can load it up with music, playlists and photos.  I haven’t felt the need to have an iPod Nano since the iPhone came out, so it’s been a few years since I’ve held one.  As I played with it, I couldn’t get over how different and cool the new ones are.

This seventh-generation Nano is the thinnest ever and roughly the size of a credit card, but its display screen is almost twice the size of the previous model.  Even though the screen is small, the photos that I loaded on it still look good. And, thanks to the accelerometer, photos auto-rotate as you go from portrait to landscape, which was nice.

The new Nano has a touch screen and is the first model to have a tiny home button, just like some of its bigger siblings. It has five buttons in all- a slender power button on the top and a three-way volume rocker that allows you to adjust the volume and, by pressing it in the middle, play/pause music or skip tracks.

Because my mom will be using the device while working out quite often, I will advise her to use the Nike+ function, which has been made better by having everything built-in.  Her Nano can track her walks and runs, and she can even connect a Bluetooth heart monitor wirelessly.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the new design of the Nano.  I think it’s the best yet, bringing lots of functionality in a tiny package.  I look at it as $149 well spent, and I’m excited to give it to my mom and watch her fall in love with her first Apple product.

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The iPad Mini is Coming October 23

One of the worst-kept secrets in tech has finally been made official.  Following months of speculation and rumors, Apple has finally released press invitations for its next big launch: the iPad Mini. The event will be held at the California Theatre on October 23rd in San Jose, California.

The iPad Mini is expected to be much smaller than the current 10 inch iPad model. Rumors say that the iPad Mini will be around seven or eight inches, with fewer pixels than the current size. Some say the new device could tout a retina-resolution display, 3G connectivity, two rear speakers instead of just one and use the new lighting connector introduced with the iPhone 5.  Apple has no confirmed any of these reports, of course.

Although the company is traditionally secretive about product details and announcements, leaks have been spilling out of its factories and hitting the web more than ever before.  Just recently, iPhone 5 pictures and specs circulated the internet long before its official launch in September.

Steve Jobs famously opposed trimming the size of the iPad, saying the introduction of a seven-inch tablet would be “dead on arrival” and users would need sandpaper to shrink their fingers for an optimized experience.

“While one could increase the resolution of the display to make up for some of the difference, it is meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size,” Jobs said.

Considering how popular seven-inch tablets have become in the past year, it was only a matter of time for Apple to step in. Companies such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google and Samsung are already competing for market share and the arrival of an iPad Mini would certainly shake things up.

So now everybody is busy getting ready for the iPad Mini’s release.  Manufacturers aren’t wasting any time ahead of Apple’s big announcement next week- screen protectors for the iPad Mini are already on sale.

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I May Never Read A Book Again

It’s not because they all get adapted to movies these days (the books are still always much better).  It’s not because I’m lazy.  I just may never read a physical copy of a book again because I have begun reading my first e-book on my iPad and I am HOOKED.

I’m late to join the e-book trend because I’ve never been one to buy books.  I’ve never experienced a need to spend money on them.  How many times do you actually go back and read a novel?  As far as I’m concerned, there are plenty of good books out there that are on my to-read list, so why go backwards?  Of the 10 or 11 books that I have purchased in my adult life, a majority are coffee table books or children’s books that I kept in my bathroom.  They’re fun to pick up and glance at often, so I figure that I got my money’s worth.

One downside to e-books is that you can’t even loan the book to a friend when you’re finished with it.  There was this trilogy that I was dying to read.  All of my friends were raving about it, but none of them could loan it to me because they all read it on their Kindles and iPads.  I was a little annoyed, but I caved in and figured I’d try something new on my iPad.

Now I’m in love.  It’s so nice being able to have my computer, music player and reading materials all in one place.  I don’t have to turn pages or worry about bookmarks anymore.  What really sealed the deal was being able to read in bed at night.  I can read on my iPad in the dark, and once my eyes get heavy and I can barely stay awake I can fall asleep without having to get up and turn off the light.  That right there is enough to make me never want to read any other way again.

I can see this becoming an expensive habit.  When book #1 is finished and I’m dying to start #2, it’s going to be really tempting to just download it instantly.

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NYC Payphones Are Being Turned Into WiFi Hotspots

Except for the homeless people who use the Yellow Pages as toilet paper and the occasional tourist who needs to make a call, New York City’s phone booths don’t get much action anymore. Due to the fact that almost everyone over the age of six has a cell phone these days, pay phones have been made largely obsolete.

That is why the city has decided to transform some of these 12,360 abandoned booths into WiFi hotspots.  Last week New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications introduced the city’s first 10 payphones-turned-WiFi hotspots, which are spread across Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.  Over time the city plans on extending the hotspots to The Bronx and Staten Island as well.

“Expanding public access to broadband technology across the five boroughs, be it wired or wireless, is at the heart of the Bloomberg Administration’s efforts to promote greater digital inclusion for New Yorkers,” said Chief Information and Innovation Officer Rahul N. Merchant. “Today’s announcement does just that, while also allowing us to enhance existing telecommunications infrastructure –- public payphones –- in an innovative way.”

The WiFi booths are free of charge to use for connecting a smartphone, tablet or laptop to the Internet.  It comes as part of the free WiFi that the city also offers in public parks and libraries, which the ads dub as “the best thing since rent-stabilized apartments.”

While I wouldn’t quite put this on the level of a rent-stabilized Manhattan apartment, I think it is an extremely smart way for the city to kill two birds with one stone.  Not only are they recycling all of these phone booths and saving themselves the hassle of removing them, but they are taking an innovative approach to keeping up with the changing technology.

Now if only they could do something about the cell phone service on the subways.

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