This review has been a long time coming. Partly because of recent life changes, but mainly because I’ve been reluctant to let go of this device. This will be my last review for a few months, while I take a hiatus to work on other projects. Hope to resume again in the Fall.
Introducing the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – the tablet that’s so much like the Apple iPad, the courts have granted an injunction preventing you from buying a new one (for now)!
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, released early last year, is a recent iteration in the procession of Android Tablet devices. The specs on paper (or screen, as it were), the tablet looks impressive:
- Front- (2MP) & Back-facing (720p / 3MP) cameras
- 10.1″ widescreen display (1280×800 res, 149ppi)
- 4G LTE support + 802.11 a/b/g/n wifi
- 1GB RAM, 1GHz dual-core Tegra2 Processor
- Android Honeycomb (Ice Cream Sandwich should be here by July)
- External SIM card slot
Before getting to the details, (SPOILER ALERT) the tablet is really impressive. Many of the reservations I had about the Xoom tablet have been dissolved, partly due to the maturing Apps marketplace and partly just because the hardware is better.
More deets after the jump:
UPDATE (April 9 2012): It has just been brought my attention that Mad Men will run for seven seasons total, not five as I previously thought. Any predictions made below regarding Mad Men, while certainly still possible, are subject to change. I will revisit them once season 6 ends (assuming the show has not gone down the toilet by that point). Breaking Bad remains firm.
Last year, I discovered two shows that coincidentally were both broadcast on the AMC network: Mad Men
and Breaking Bad
. Both are absolutely amazing, and I would be kicking myself for waiting so long to watch them if I wasn’t so busy enjoying them.
One thing I applaud the writers and producers for is intentionally limiting the series — both will be entering their fifth, and final, season this year; This was a planned demolition, so to speak, and the shows will die in a dignified and respectable manner, unlike some shows that have taken on an almost undead / Frankenstein’s monster type feel. (*coughSimpsonscough*)
One nice thing about a tightly-run series is that it becomes a lot easier to make predictions about the direction the show is going based on character arcs; sort of a derivation of Chekhov’s Gun. My idea is that skilled writers will resolve the characters naturally to let them make their landings, gracefully, in turn. Continue reading
The Motorola Droid 3, the natural followup to its predecessors Droid 2 and Droid 1 (the latter reviewed here previously), was released late last year. My first smart phone was a Droid, so I was very curious to see how things have improved since two years ago.
The specifications of the phone are decent – slightly larger screen, better processor (dual core 1GHz) more storage (16GB, though they bill it as “memory” on the spec sheet; considering that non-techies tend to conflate “memory” and “storage” anyways, I wish consumer electronics spec sheets would use more common language terms). It has a nice 8MP camera capable of 1080p video capture, and HDMI port on the side, and, in what appears to be a throwback to 4 years ago, a slideout keyboard. (More on that later, it was surprisingly good)
Overall, the phone was good. It’s a solid little device that, despite some minor UI difficulties, was reliable. The video it records is remarkably crisp and, as I found out, fills up the 16GB of storage rather quickly. A front-facing camera makes my childhood Sci-Fi fantasy of a video phone a reality, via Skype or gChat. Netflix is now available on this device (it seems to be more widely available on most new Android devices, now).
There were a couple minor UI and performance problems, but they were infrequent and spaced out enough that they were not deal-breakers. The phone performs well far more often than it did annoying things.
I give it a thumbs up, more in-depth details after the jump.
David Cay Johnston has the ability to write books that are like watching a train wreck in slow motion; except the train wreck involves everyone you’ve ever known, so you keep watching out of a combination of morbid interest and the faint hope that maybe things will come out okay.
I have previously reviewed another of his books, Free Lunch, and expressed similar sentiments.
Make no mistake, he is a very skilled writer, weaves a very tight narrative, and the subject matter is of utmost importance, particularly in today’s charged dialogue concerning taxes, classism, and corporate personhood.
The books central drive is this:
- Most of us are not rich: There is an aggravated disparity in the distribution of wealth in this country, particularly in the top 1/10th of the top 1% (the top 0.001th overall), and this disparity has grown over the past 30 years.
- The rich know how to cheat at our expense: The wealthiest individuals in this country (which Johnston refers to as the “political donor class”) are have the time and financial resources to find and exploit various loopholes and legal-fu to further expand (or protect) their wealth, often at the expense of the the common taxpayers (since the money for governmental programs has to come from somewhere)
- This cheating is subsisted by you and I: While some of the wealthy do pay some of their taxes, and that sum is a significant amount of the total taxes paid (though not a proportional amount, given how much wealth they wield), the difference between what they should pay and what they do pay is comes from either the tax dollars of the average taxpayer or from additional debt — either way, we foot the bill.
- The rich can sustain and protect their cheating: The “political donor class” also uses their influence and wealth to sway legislation and judgements in favor of their existing exploitations, or to generate new exploits.
It makes me hopeful to see the Occupy Wallstreet protests, which are essentially all about these issues, happening as I am reading this book. It always catches me by surprise when I encounter someone who doesn’t understand how much wealth disparity there is, or who thinks that a six figure salary is “rich.”
I highly recommend this book for everyone to read, especially right now. “Nickel & Dimed“, and “Free Lunch” are both also good reads that are appropriate for the present as well.
There is so much injustice, so much complexity, that I would have to recap the entire book to cover it all, but for the sake of illustration, here are some examples of the premises mentioned above. Continue reading
This review is long overdue, and I apologize!
The HTC Incredible 2, released earlier this year, is the successor to the first generation HTC Incredible (previously reviewed, favorably).
At first glance and overview, this particular phone strongly resembles the first generation Incredible, and under the hood, it sports modernized electronics that are of similar caliber.
Specifically, the Incredible 2 has a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 768MB of RAM, and 16GB SD card storage default. This phone also has both front and rear-facing cameras (8MP and 1.3MP, respectively).
Spoiler alert: The phone is great. So great, in fact, that it was easy to forget I was reviewing it! Nevertheless, I’ll go into some detail about some of the specifics and updates from the first generation. Continue reading
The Droid Charge, produced by Samsung, was buzzed as being yet-another “iPhone Killer”, an unhelpful appellation that gets thrown onto pretty much every new phone that comes out that isn’t made by Apple.
As a member of Verizon’s recent class of 4G LTE smartphones, along with its fancy AMOLED, two cameras, HDMI out, and a prestigious manufacturer (Samsung), this phone looks to be yet another rock solid addition to the Android collective.
But despite my excitement and giving it a very reasonable 2 months of testing time (about twice as long as I prefer), this phone turned out to be a disappointment. The specs for the phone are correct — the display looks great, it does 4G, it has a sizable flash memory; this is all legit and most other reviews I’ve read all mention these things, and I was wow’d by them as well.
What the other reviews don’t tell you, and what it took me about 3 weeks to realize, are all the issues this phone has with the user experience: For all of its wonderful traits, the phone has proven to be flaky and unreliable, and those inconveniences are ubiquitous enough to outshadow the nice hardware the phone offers.