Tag Archives: gadget

Graduation Present

Apple iPad

Taken in my home-made lightbox, wireless flash triggered.

I picked up a preemptive graduation present for myself, after completing my undergraduate degree this past week, although marks have yet to be seen. The last final (ECE 429) was the most difficult exam in recent memory. It seems only fitting that the last gasp would be representative of the difficulty of the program. Still, passing shouldn’t be a problem 😉 (knock on wood). It’s been heaven and hell for the past 5 years (more the latter than the former, unfortunately), and I’m glad to be moving on to the next phase of my life.

The conclusion of this final semester was celebrated with a significant portion of the class, which was awfully nice. Many of my classmates I won’t see in the future, aside from convocation later in the summer. That was a conclusive farewell for many. It’s a shame I haven’t gotten to know more of them better. One of my regrets.

As for the iPad, I’m just getting some time with it now, but the screen and battery life are immediate stand-outs. The IPS panel is gorgeous, and brightness is set at something around 30%. Plenty bright at that setting. I’ve been out of the loop with the whole App Store growth, so I’ve been rediscovering the whole application ecosystem. There are some pretty cool applications, but the vast majority are very expensive, simply because they’re for the iPad. Some careful picking and choosing of paid apps will follow soon, no doubt.

I’m looking forward to the Vancouver Canucks game later this evening. Let’s wrap this series up in 6! Go Canucks!

Microsoft’s Courier?

Well, well, what’s this now? Pictures and a video have leaked of a (pre-)prototype book-tablet device from Microsoft. If the user experience is at the level of the demo video, sign me up, immediately.

One key thing to note here is the explicit focus on scenario-driven design. There’s a huge focus on that, as I’m finding out through my internship, and it works to create significantly smoother user experiences.

More Zune HD Videos – I’m Excited

UPDATE Aug. 17, 2009: Microsoft updated the Zune HD battery life specifications to now show 33 hours audio and 8.5 hours video. That’s quite competitive with the iPod Touch now.

UPDATE Aug. 13, 2009: Microsoft has made the Zune HD available for pre-orders today. Over on the Microsoft Store page, you’ll find all the detailed specifications on the Zune HD as well.

Wifi is still just b/g, while battery life comes in at the same 24 hours audio, 4 hours video as the older flash-based Zunes, and is 2/3rds what Apple advertises for the iPod Touch (36h/6h). There’s also a little nugget about downloading games.

Wireless: Buy, stream, and update your music – and download free games – wirelessly via a Wi-Fi connection.

My heart skipped a beat when I saw the first hands-on video of the soon-to-be-launched Zune HD. Now, more detailed videos are starting to appear from Engadget and CrunchGear.

First up CrunchGear:

A brief overview of many of the key features are touched upon here. The interface looks great, with transitions as smooth as ever. It has been officially confirmed that NVIDIA’s Tegra is behind the action, and it does a fantastic job. Apparently packing GeForce 6000-series performance, it seems inevitable that some sort of Xbox gaming integration will come. When is the big question.

The other interesting feature is the tight integration with the Zune Marketplace. Biographical information on artists gets downloaded. Furthermore, related artists get pulled up, and at the Albums screen, you can browse for other albums directly on the Marketplace. Couple this with the attractive Zune Pass, and it’s like on-demand music where ever there’s a Wifi hotspot. Sweetness.

Engadget also put up a video:

Again, most of the core features were touched upon. Both videos also showed the browser, although neither in the entirety. However, if you watch both videos, you’ll see the keyboard demo in the Engadget one, and a sample of panning and multi-touch zooming in the CrunchGear version. Overall, the performance is very good, the UI looks absolutely fantastic (it certainly gives the iPod Touch OS a run for its money), and with pricing to be $220 for the 16GB and $300 $290 for the 32GB, not too expensive either. Launch date should be September 18th.

CNet also did a hands-on report a short while ago. Again, generally ecstatic about the device.

I hope more than ever that Microsoft will give these to interns in the fall. And if they don’t, well, I’ll probably fork over the cash for it myself.