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There have plenty of rumors surrounding the launch of Google’s dropbox service called GDrive. These rumors are growing cold with no new news since the beginning of February.
Why I’m psyched out GDrive:
- Cheaper than iCloud
- Integration with all my Google stuffs: Gmail, Docs, Photos, etc.
- Automatic Sync with my computer (like a Dropbox feature)
- Plenty of storage (unlike iCloud)
- Easy access when I need it (unlike iCloud)
For me, as a Mac and iOS user, this product may actually lead to a giant conundrum: Apple or Google. I’ve been avoiding this fight for as long as I can. Google has made it easy for all my Mac products to work with Google products and services. However, I recently found that my Picasa photo software would no longer import photos from my iOS devices. I am trying iPhoto ’11 and thus far I HATE IT! Like iTunes and Safari, Apple has no clue what a power user wants when it comes to software.
Back on topic: If GDrive doesn’t sync well with all my Mac and iOS devices, I may actually begin to consider making the move to Android and maybe even a Chromebook.
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Looking for a good note taking app for iOS? Audio Notes ($4.99) has a interesting feature that might make it worthwhile: audio recording along each typed line. No matter your note taking skill, audio notes records what was actually said during the meeting and embeds that particular portion of audio with each word or line. This way when reviewing notes, you can simply touch and hear the conversation/lecture/meeting again. Excellent for multitasking!
Although, I’m having a hard time giving up my favorite note taking app: Evernote. I wonder how long before they work something like this into their app?
applications best of browser facebook gaming google hardware iPad mobile phones movies music social social networking Twitter web apps web2.0: 2010 Android angry birds app of the year apps best of chrome facebook game of the year google google voice grooveshark hulu hulu plus iOS iPad iTunes movie of the year netflix pandora technology The Social Network web apps worst of
Best of 2010:
My ‘Best of’ list may help you save a few bucks next year, be more (or less) productive, or just keep you busy clicking links for a while.
I take it everywhere. It’s my GPS, MP3 player and radio while I drive. It’s my pencil and paper at work, it’s my computer of choice, even if it’s not capable of everything I need at all times. My top uses and apps:
- Safari: Email and web surfing (including Facebook, Google Docs, and Google Voice)
- Netflix, YouTube, VLC Media Player, and TED Talks for video video video
- Twitter, Flipboard and Newsy for news
- Pages, Evernote, and Keynote for word processing and work
- Pandora and Clock Radio for music
- Sketchbook Pro and Adobe Ideas for drawing
- Kindle for reading
- GPS Drive HD and Maps for driving and directions
- Skype (with subscription) for phone calls
All around app: Google Voice
This app is totally free (used in a browser) and has saved me $15 a month in texting fees by routing the SMS texts thru my email and data plan on my phone. I can also use the Google Voice app on my Blackberry to send or receive texts if I wish. I get my voicemail transcripts in email to read when I can’t take a call. It’s a game changer for saving money.
Biggest Surprise: Google Chrome
The most secure browser out there and perhaps the fastest one too. I now know why they made this little browser into it’s own operating system. I’m already living in it. Customize it with extensions and without the (Firefox) lag. Here’s a few I like:
- Google Voice – get notified and answer texts without leaving your tab
- Google Tasks – a to do list
- Google URL Shortener – keep it short, tweet from there
Everyone uses Pandora. The fact that it’s on every device I own makes it ultimately useful at all times. Gooveshark is another great web app where you can actually listen to the songs you want. I’m not sure how they are making this happen since it seems to be peer to peer (P2P) sharing. Make a playlist, listen to whole albums, Tweet a song with a tiny URL… all for free! Sorry iPad users, this puppy uses (ugh) Flash.
I cancelled my cable bill this year and saved a bundle with Netflix on my Wii, iPad, and laptop. The streaming library is ever increasing and if you like TV, are willing to give up new content full of commercials, this is your last stop. My favorites:
- Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe (yes, I’m a sci-fi dork) – all seasons
- South Park – seasons 1-12
- Firefly, Dollhouse, and Buffy (the Whedon trilogy) – all seasons
- For the kids: Spongebob, Fairly Oddparents, and Invader Zim (ok, those are for me)
Although I don’t own a device running Android, the fact that I want one so badly is proof that the fastest selling mobile OS on the market kicks ass. It has a huge development team, an open system, and took Linux from being a joke (sorry Linus) to what could end up being the most widely distributed OS of our time.
Worst of 2010:
Devices: Google TV / Apple TV
The biggest let downs of the year. A device that could change everything. A device that could have brought the best mobile operating systems (Android and iOS) to our TVs and give us millions of apps to play with… instead searches our cable box for content and giving us more ways to pay for overpriced content. Boo. Fail.
All Around Worst App: iTunes
For the 10th year running: iTunes. What a beast. Slow to start up. Hard to use. Copying all my files to who knows where (whenever my hard drive is suddenly out of space, iTunes is to blame). Here’s an app by the maker of the iPad whose iTunes app doesn’t even perform the simplest task: subscribe to podcasts – i.e. automatically download new content. This year iTunes also introduced Ping, a social network (as if we needed another) for music. Note to Apple: Concentrate on usability and usefulness.
Music: The Social Network OST
My biggest gripe here isn’t with the music. I’m a huge Trent Reznor / Nine Inch Nails fan! My problem is with the price. Facebook is free. Everything Trent does is free. This is one piece of musical soundtrack that should have been free.
Movies/TV: Hulu and Hulu Plus
What a joke. Limited content, too many commercials, and an over priced app for shows that eventually expire. Hollywood really has to be reaching with this last ditch effort to save commercials. Forget it. Put a Pepsi or McDonalds logo (linked to a limited time offer) down in the corner and drop the commercials and the charge for the app.
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I think the rumored Mac iPad/iTablet (which I covet soo much) could possibly be the best computer ever made for students. I also think Apple already knows this… With news about an app that brings textbooks to the iPhone and an educational version of the iTablet rumored for deployment.
Here’s what I think the iPad/iTablet has for students and educational use:
- Textbooks: The biggest student expense, the biggest waste of materials. Everyone has expected for sometime that eventually textbooks would go all digital. It provides an inexpensive distribution system for publishers that would allow quicker delivery, innovation in they way topics are hyperlinked, and hopefully (eventually) Professor and student contributions and customization. Up until this point there has not been a ubiquitous device capable of delivering textbooks and like-materials… especially not one that has other uses (RIP expensive Kindle).
- Blogs, Wikis & shared Documents: Paper materials including notebooks, tests, and the aforementioned textbooks are moving to the web. With a device that you can carry with you anywhere and possible access the internet anywhere… why would you carry anything else? (Of course, I teach art so… paint, scissors, etc. can still fit in the backpack. Unless, the iTablet has a sketchbook/drawing app )
- Labs: Forget stocking every classroom with desktops or even wheeling in your “mobile lab”. For the right educational discount Mac could easily put an iPad in every student’s hand. (Battery life will be key here though.)
- Workstation: Another rumor floating around is that the iTablet will be able to access other Macs in the new lineup of Mac workstations. If the iTablet can do the mobile work, a student can walk up to any Mac workstation and continue the heavy lifting there (i.e. video editing, advanced computing software, etc.). This would be, again, a big reason to replace labs. The distance to a ‘master’ machine is crucial, but I could see Universities setting up master stations in a back room somewhere while students edit videos and work w/ 3D modeling software from their iTablets, unaware of the heavy computing being done elsewhere.
- Screen sharing: One of the things that will be ultimately needed in a classroom full of iTablets is center station with a projector where students would easily be able to share their screen and results of whatever it is they are being asked to do. Imagine a student performing a quick image search in my Drawing class and with a quick wave of their finger, splashing the images they found up onto the main projection monitor or even sending results to my/another student’s iTablet.
- Movies, music, & the iTunes market: Apple has known for years that if they market to the college crowd they can maintain that market long after they move out of that general demographic. Besides making it easier to “school”, the device will probably offer HD movies and music on the go. Somthing the iTablet will be great at. Does this mean App store out… more web apps in? I would think so.
- Price: I think the cheapest Macbook is running at $999. With a rumored price of $700-900, what student wouldn’t choose an iTablet over it? Sure, it’s more than a netbook but you can’t do xyz (most of the above) on a netbook.
As more Universities look to cut costs, deliver “blended learning” experiences (half online/half off), and stay on top of the digital horizon the iTablet as I see it could play a crucial role in education. Mac has done this before (Macintosh, iMac) and loves to sell its products to schools/Universities.