Rivet and Other Cool Children Apps

I'm always looking for new, child friendly apps for the iPad / iPhone or even maybe Amazon's newly updated Amazon Kindle Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet specifically when it comes to reading or math. Granted, I'm pretty sure that my children do not spend more than 20 minutes on any device per week when I'm home as I have a strict no screen time during the week and only VERY limited time on the weekend. Anyways, that's a whole different batttle these days as the Wall Street Journal points out.

Out today is Google's new Rivet app from their incubator team Area 120 called Rivet on Apple App Store or Google Play. It's a speech processing app that has over 200 books availble for children to read and learn. I played with it yesterday with my son for just over 3 minutes and it was awesome. I've also done the Apple Coding App for children called Swift Playground on the iPad but of course, Google has their own app as well, by the same group called Grasshopper. I encourage you to check them all out. Pretty intuitive and interactive stuff!

Final Case Against Android

This past week, a New Zealand man was looking through the data Facebook had collected from him in an archive he had pulled down from the social networking site. While scanning the information Facebook had stored about his contacts, Dylan McKay discovered something distressing: Facebook also had about two years' worth of phone call metadata from his Android phone, including names, phone numbers, and the length of each call made or received.

Android is open. Apparently completely open. Google, what say you? I think there’s even more of a falling out to come especially with Apple’s Tim Cook doubling the down on Apple as well as Walt Mossberg mentioning how he secured his tech life in retirement.

Watch Coachella Live Exclusively on YouTube Starting at 3:30pm Pacific!

For those (us) with kids...

Un-leashed by T-Mobile, music fans around the world can tune into Coachella’s YouTube channel on April 15-17 to catch performances of both emerging artists and the biggest acts on the lineup. The live stream will also be available on the YouTube Music app, and on any screen where you can watch YouTube.

Maybe I should setup the projector screen again and just stream a weekend long dance party at my house?! Check out Channel 1!

update #1: added direct link to "Channel 1"

AT&T's Fiber Bluff

AT&T up to their usual antics again. Scamming, promising and under delivering. I'm just glad to have gotten off their internet and television service. Can't wait to disconnect my mobile phone service from their crappy "unlimited" LTE plan.

Before you get too excited, you need to understand that this is a bluff of immense proportion. It's what I affectionately refer to as "fiber to the press release."

Ever since Google Fiber came on the scene, AT&T's response has been highly theatrical in nature. What AT&T would have the press and public believe is that they're engaged in a massive new deployment of fiber to the home service. What's actually happening is that AT&T is upgrading a few high-end developments where fiber was already in the ground (these users were previously capped at DSL speeds) and pretending it's a serious expansion of fixed-line broadband.

via DSLReports

T-Mobile Unleashed Is NOT So Cheap

At this time, my Early Termination Fees (ETFs) with AT&T are $155 for a line thats due in September of this year. Thats a prorated amount down from $350 in case you're wondering. Let me back up. If you've been following me on twitter, I've been fed up with AT&T's false advertising that sold me a few years ago for a service that CLEARLY said "Unlimited Data" for $30. I use FaceTime quite a bit,1 stream my baby monitor from hundreds of miles away, and sometimes just soak up youtube so yea, I'll easily go over 5GBs a month and trust me, hotel WiFi is horrific! I hate that they expect me to use it in place of a service that I pay for! So back to the story.

If I sell my Apple iPhone 5 64GB White to T-Mobile for $300 and they pay my ETF at $155, that's "$455" in my pocket. The only way they will "Unleash" you is if you trade in your phone, no exceptions. Then I have to buy a FULL priced mobile phone, desirably an iPhone 5s 64GB, for $799. That means, I still have to shell out $344 so that's not that bad of a deal right? That's actually incorrect. Let me explain. I'd be shelling out $499 for my new phone after the trade-in credit followed by a Mastercard Gift Card in the credit amount of $155 in approximately 8 weeks. So I'm out half a grand to "unleash."

tmobile unleash

If I can wait, and probably will, for just six more months, I can unlock my iPhone 5, sell it on the market for maybe $400 or more, then buy a full priced iPhone 6. So yes, I'm still out $399 but, here's where I could save. I could then bring it along with me to T-Mobile, and pay nothing leaving me with just the $70 Unlimited 4G Everything Plan plus a $10 SIM kit. When it comes down to it, I'll be out money obviously later in the year with me upgrading my phone but ideally, I'd rather T-Mobile just pay my ETF now and I bring my current iPhone 5 with me. That's what the deal should have been in the first place.

disclaimer: I signed a 2 year contract with AT&T for a subsidized iPhone 5 so ultimately, with the "Unleash" deal, you still end up paying full price for the device. I could save a bunch of money and purchase Google's Nexus 5 for $349 unlocked online instead but that's a whole other story of iOS vs. Android, etc. I'm not going to go there just yet.

And yes, it's pretty awesome that with the unlimited 4G Data you get an additional 2.5GB of tethering capability.


  1. I use FaceTime about 1-5 minutes almost every couple of hours for a total of 30-60 minutes a day. Sometimes, I'm on for 20 minutes in a row. 

The Nexus 7.2

Since the debut of Google's Nexus 7-2 / 7.b / Nexus 7 (2013) or whatever, the reviews have all mentioned the stunning screen.  At $229, Google has placed it at $100 under the dated iPad mini and $30 over the Amazon Kindle Fire.  You could also opt for the Nook HD being liquidated for $129, but we all know where Barnes and Nobles technology is heading. Here's Marco Arment's take.

I’d be tempted to get the new Nexus 7 “to play around with”, but last year’s model sitting in my closet reminding me I’ll never use it is a very effective deterrent.

I'm enamored by the pixel density of the screen and a good friend tweeted to me that he's in love, but is it worth upgrading my Nexus 7 (2012)?  Being that it's been sitting idle in my bag for just under a year with an occasional here and there "wake" I'm much more along the lines of I don't care.  Every time I hold my 2012 Nexus 7, there's complete apathy but with my 2012 iPad mini, I'm overcome with warmth.

I also love his second footnote with an emphasis on the last sentence.

I offered to give my Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire to Betaworks in the Instapaper acquisition, but they had so many of both sitting around already that they declined. Tech companies with mobile apps can practically tile walls with outdated Android devices. They’re the new AOL CDs.

Shift in Computing

Bob O'Donnell, IDC Program Vice President, on the IDC Quarterly report.

"At this point, unfortunately, it seems clear that the Windows 8 launch not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but appears to have slowed the market..."

It's a bad time to be a vendor of PCs or Windows 8 for that matter.

IDC PC Shipments Steepest Decline

Blinking to Become Number 1

An awesome and concise, no bullshit, no frills FAQ, by Rob Issac as to the reasons for Google to fork a well done piece of web technology. Essentially another doctrine to Google's new "Be Evil" ways. I think it's been pretty awesome how the web has come together but unfortunately and coincidently, on the heels of Safari becoming the most dominant and widely used browser on mobile phone, we have Google's fork.

In the longer term, we aim to have sufficient control over the installed base of web browsers to dictate whatever conditions we consider most appropriate to our business goals at the time.

Blink FAQ

Google Getting It Right

Even without using the device, I can already feel Jeff Bezos squirming in his chair at Amazon. I wonder what Apple's play will be this fall now that the new price point is $199! Because of Google Now, I'm even intrigued to give it a shot. Joshua Topolsky on The Verge

"The Nexus 7 delivers way more functionality than I expected, and it delivers it in a package that’s sleek, smart, and affordably priced. Believe it or not, the last time I was surprised by a product with those same qualities, it was called the iPad."

Google's Nexus 7 Review | The Verge

Google's Glasses

I've been wearing glasses since I was eight years old; that's 22 years of a piece of glass that only allowed me to see a surface more clearly. Am I excited for something better...YES. Does it look dorky? When you have questions like what's the temperature and look at me weirdly, I'll let you pull out your phone and look it up yourself smiling back knowingly. If you're interested in the technology, it's truly wearable augmented reality coming soon! If you think of the practical solutions, think of a nurse or doctor approaching a patient; the chart right there available with a blink of an eye complete with history and diagnosis. Prices or movie times without going into the theater. It's uses are infinite. I might not wait for Apple to come up with something better.

Catching up to the iPhone

With the release of Google's Galaxy Nexus by Samsung tomorrow on Verizon, I couldn't have pointed it out better myself than Daring Fireball's Mr. John Gruber:  

...The 2008 G1 had a hardware keyboard; a hardware up/down/left/right controller for moving the insertion point in text and navigating menus; dedicated hardware buttons for Menu, Home, Search, and Back; and SD card storage expansion. All of these things were held up by some critics as advantages against the iPhone. Today’s Galaxy Nexus has none of these things.

 

vs 

"A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them." - Steve Jobs (BusinessWeek / 25 May 1998)

Affirmation: Galaxy Nexus

Amongst my friends, some might call me an Apple Fanboy but at heart I know that I always take into consideration all the pros and cons of all technological devices. I really do try my best to be unbiased and after extensive research, I'll make an argument / recommendation for whatever device will fit your needs. Someone told me last week that I like to be right (duh) but they're missing the bigger picture. It's not about being right or wrong. It's all about making sure that it fits the personality / requirements of that individual and from there I can claim success as long as they enjoy the product. But alas, affirmation from tech pundits always puts a smile on my face.  As some of you might know, I like to be in the know and now!

 

 

Onto Google's first Android phone running Ice Cream Sandwich - Galaxy Nexus. Techcrunch editor MG Siegler just released his review and here are some key points:

  • ...it feels like I’m Zack Morris holding his Gordon Gekko phone
  • still feels rather cheap and plastic-y
  • the camera is definitely worse than the iPhone 4S, both in megapixels (8 vs. 5), and in image quality

but of course MG Siegler does admit, "It’s important to emphasize the fact that the Galaxy Nexus is without a doubt the best phone I’ve ever used that’s not an iPhone."

Google also released a pretty cool commercial.

Update: It's official, you can purchase this phone tomorrow for $299.99 + two year contract on Verizon! (via BGR)