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Why I love my Galaxy Note II April 27, 2013

Posted by shwaldman in Family, Society, Technology.
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I am trying get back into writing these blog entries on a regular basis again. Yes, again! I am motivated and feel this urge to be creative and produce something. I am sure there a variety of reasons, but I would like to think it is in part because of this new device I started carrying around last December, the Galaxy Note II. I feel like it is designed to be:
1) A Phone
2) A Media Consumption device
3) A Creative Tool.
Galaxy Note II

It is a huge phone. It absolutely feels a little odd to talk on the phone with it. Fortunately for me, I don’t talk on the phone much and when I do, I am in the car using Ford Sync Bluetooth or talking through headphones, or my Jabra SPORT Bluetooth headphones. Call quality is fine. I am not much of an audiophile so I am not able to say whether is is good or bad, but with LTE on Verizon, I have not dropped calls or had any complaints about the phone. If I needed a phone more as a phone, this is probably not the one I would get. I think my family probably wishes I liked talking on the phone more often.

I got the Galaxy Note because I like to watch podcasts and play games on it. It has a 5.5″ screen which is a full two inches larger than the 3rd Generation Apple iPod I used before moving to the Note. It is a nearly immersive experience to play Real Racing 3 or Gameloft’s Real Soccer 2013 on the Super AMOLED 720 x 1280 pixels (~267 ppi pixel density) screen. By comparison, the iPhone 5 4-inch screen has 1136-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi, but I do not think the average person would consider the pixel density a significant difference when viewing the 37.5% larger screen.

And finally, the Galaxy Note II is the only major smartphone on the market that has a built in stylus. I know the infamous Steve Jobs is infamously known for saying “if you see a stylus, they blew it.” However, if you ask any creative, graphics professional, there is no way to produce quality artistic product with your finger. The screen technology and the finger are just too rudimentary to provide detailed design output. And the technology integrated into the Galaxy Note II and the stylus are simply amazing. The S-pen is a digitized stylus that has similar features to drawing tablets that professional artists use. Consider this: The first Note can sense up to 256 levels of pressure, but the Samsung Galaxy Note II can discern 1,024 – the same number as the Wacom Bamboo dedicated graphics tablets.

All this hardware makes the Galaxy Note II are great device for me. What makes it amazing are all the things you can do with this hardware because of the Android Jelly Bean 4.1.1 OS that it runs on. It has many features that amaze people that are used to all the other basic smartphones on the market. Can you name any other phone or tablet on the market that allows you to watch a video and check your email at the same time?

Next Up: Why I am loving my switch to Android.

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Original Sound of Covered Music April 16, 2010

Posted by shwaldman in Society, Technology, Work.
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Listening to the NPR Technology podcast from this morning, I heard this story. Pomplamoose (pronounced just like it looks) is a male-female duo that produces both covered and original music. They recently have done Lady Gaga and Rihanna’s hit “Telephone and other popular songs like Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.”

Just listening to them on the radio, I really liked there sound – here they are in iTunes. And then watching a couple of videos on YouTube, I found they have a real fun laid back look. I recommend checking them out.

I think one of the things that I find most interesting is how they figured out how to buy the rights to do this and put together their music and videos all on there own. They make their living doing something they love and split no hairs that they do not need a big record label to oversee and change their vision.

Friday Run… Cold! March 26, 2010

Posted by shwaldman in Fitness, Technology.
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I generated enough will power to head out into the cold today. It is about 40 degrees, which is still my lower limit on going out in shorts. It felt cold for a few minutes, but after a while only my hands and thigh stayed cold throughout. It was a bit windy, so that did not help.

But I decided that I will try to write one blog for each run to cover the music, podcast or TV show that I listen to during the run. Here is my Nike+ update from Twitter about today’s run: ran 4.57 mi on 3/26/2010 at 12:16 PM with a pace of 9’30″/mi

It was a good run. I tried to keep it light and not push too hard, but my heart rate monitor did not work right for the first half. It slide down to my stomach and registered up to 210 BPM. After I got it situated, I managed to keep it under 160 for the remainder of the run. Assuming that is right, it is about 10 points lower than normal.

On today’s podcast, I listened to Engadget’s audio podcast #188. I am actually three episodes behind, but listened to this thanks to the outstanding buggy ipod Touch/iTunes software. Unfortunately, you can not control the sort order on Smart Playlists. I have four special playlists that allow me to only sync the podcasts that I have not listened to yet. That is a nice feature, but I would like to listen to them in chronological order… thanks Apple!

Anyway, the podcast is over an hour long and I only ran for 43 minutes. In the parts I listened to, they talked about Windows Mobile Phone Series 7 operating system… nice name Microsoft. It sounds like it is going to be a Vista like improvement over the prior version. They have built it from scratch, so rather than just make version 6.5 better, they started over and left some key and touted functionality out, like cut and paste… really? Did you learn from Apple?

By the time I finished the run, the guys had moved onto Palm’s current financial status, which does not sound good. They have been getting tremendous reviews on the Pre Plus, so it is a shame. This really just goes to show that the cell phone market has gotten way to fragmented. Let’s take a look just at the number of operating systems: Palm WebOS, Google Android, Microsoft Windows Mobile Phone Series 7, Nokia Symbian, RIM Blackberry, and of course Apple iPhone… that is big list. Now, add to that the diverse set of phones from each carrier and phone manufacturers. It is too complex. I think the cell market is at a tipping point.

As they tout the roll out of 4th Generation cellular networks, it will add even more confusion. And the problem I have most with the cell services and manufacturers is they are ignoring the feature phone market. While they have added 5MP cameras on the expensive smartphones, they refused to move away from VGA and 1.3MP cameras on the feature phones. A year from now, they will still be at the same feature set and ultimately force people move up to the more expensive phones and services… that, to me, is unfair business practices.

Filling up 32GB on an Apple Touch November 10, 2009

Posted by shwaldman in Family, Fitness, Society, Technology.
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So, I have had a few weeks with my new iPod Touch 32GB 3rd Generation…. and I have to say it is all I expected and more. It is very easy to use. Even the free-est of free apps are quite good. I have already managed to download 4 additional pages of apps, mostly games, and have enjoyed all but a few.

One thing the Touch has caused me to do is clean up my data. I have managed to find and remove numerous duplicate copies of music of my library. I have also consolidated all my contacts from my phone as well as my other mail progams into GMail with which the Touch syncs pretty seemlessly. Although the default contacts app is pretty lame. My next big project is to start utilizing Google Health so that I have access to our family’s health records any time, any place. Well, with the Touch it isn’t exactly that completely available – having only WiFi does have its major limitations. But you would be surprised at how many unlocked wireless connections are out there. Just this morning, I tweeted outside my son’s day care on someone’s wireless connection.

It would be very nice to have anytime/any place access, but I am still not ready to pay $40 bucks month to get it. Granted, I am als missing out on GPS apps that don’t work on a Touch, but since the OS does not allow 2 apps to run at once, I think that functionality would be disappointing anyway. The new Motorola Droid will probably do that thing kind of better once there are more diverse applications available for it.

So, my favorite uses so far? I haven’t quite figured out tweeter and I am not addicted to Facebook yet, but I guess that is the anti-social side of me. Those are two excellent uses for the Touch for sure. Like I said, I consolidated all my contacts, so I do like the fact that I can now carry around my whole address book, although I still need do some work to keep that in sync. And my biggest benefit all along has been to keep my podcasts in sync. It obviously works seemlessly with iTunes, which has every podcast under the sun (and any other podcast can be subscribed to also). And with the 32 GB, I have room for my entire 20 GB music library. I am starting to carry around pictures too. And then there are games. Sadly, my favorites are old classics, a brick breaker game, a toobz game, a real GTI is very cool, sudoku, maj jong, air hockey… like I said, I now have four screens to apps.

I have yet to pay for an app or a podcast, though. As much as I love the apps I have found, I would be very tormented if I spent money on something that ultimate is just a time waster. I would want to get my money’s worth, but I also would not want to waste time on this machine. It is certainly a fun, entertaining, useful tool and I am so lucky my wife loves me so much that she worked as hard as she did to win it for me. ‘Nuff said!