Are We Ready to Pay For Electronic News?

i do a lot of reading on my tablet - from newspapers to novels to comic books. For a while, The Daily was also in the mix - a completely digital newspaper backed with the resources of Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. Well, that's come to an official end, as News corp is shutting down the Daily. Does this mean that we're not ready to pay for electronic news?


The Daily was built off of a subscription model, which needs to be justified by interesting content. Unfortunately, The Daily's content was a mix of interesting op-eds and tabloidish material.  There were often one or two gems, but never enough to keep me going back to the app. I pay to subscribe to the New York Times electronic edition because it is the source of record for enough original content that I can't get anywhere else. Not so with The Daily.

As I mentioned in a March 2011 post, the app is not impressive from a technical perspective - it's slow and not intuitive.  It had a seemingly great option - the ability to download the current issue via WiFi so that you can read it on the go while offline - but this feature strangely left certain parts of the newspaper inaccessible and did not improve load times.  It shouldn't take me a long time to flip through a digital newspaper that is supposedly downloaded onto my device.

With that said, someone had to be the trailblazer and put a lot of money and resources into a new technology.  Even though News Corp has to bite the bullet on this, they did push the idea forward. Let's hope that other media players, old and new, take this idea and do it right. People will pay for good content. The Daily didn't nail it, but someone else will.

Google's Nexus 7 Tablet Has Defeated My iPad

For the last few weeks, I've been using the Google Nexus 7 tablet as my main tablet experience, instead of my iPad. For $200, you get the best bang for your buck compared to the $500 new iPad (or $400 iPad 2)

Just to be clear, tablets are not laptop replacements - they are somewhat "fun" accessories to your main computer. It's great for taking things on the go. And Google has hit the nail on the head in terms of size, power, and battery life.

The Nexus is a 7 inch tablet that offers great portability without significantly sacrificing visual detail. It feels like a book in your hands, which makes it easier to pull out while on a subway or late night reading in the bed. It makes the 10 inch iPad feel unwieldly in comparison.

Being smaller helps. The 7 inch form factor also offers a better gaming experience. Many games that I tend to like - such as side scrolling platformers like Sonic the Hedgehog or first person shooters like Modern Combat - have touch screen versions of control pads and buttons, and it's more comfortable to wrap your hands around a 7 inch device than a 10 inch one.

I enjoy being able to download any file from the internet, even if I can't open it on the Nexus. I can hook it up to a omputer and drag and drop files from the tablet to the computer and vice versa, instead of having to go through iTunes. I can install a video game emulator and play old Nintendo games with a Nintendo Wii controller, something not possible on an iPad. It really feels like connecting a huge flash drive to your computer.

The biggest issue I have with the Nexus 7 is preventing your tablet from slowing to a crawl because too many applications are open. You have to either visit the "Apps" section in settings which is like Task Manager in Windows, or you need to download a third party Task killer application. I went with the latter, and tasks restart after being killed. I found my tablet getting slower and slower, something that was easier to remedy on the iPad.

So the verdict? Power users with some money may still prefer the iPad, but the vast majority of folks should go Nexus 7. It's half the price and close enough in terms of power and available apps to make it the best deal. Just make sure to read up on how to properly close programs so your tablet doesn't slow to a crawl and you'll be good to go!

Two Tablets Is Not As Insane As You May Think

I've been an iPad user from the beginning, but I'm always wary about remaining tied to one brand. I'm always look for new technology out there that gives the best bang for your buck. Because of that, I'm the proud owner of the new Google Nexus 7 tablet. Now, you may ask, what the hell do you need two tablets for? It turns out that if your work involves constantly flipping between different windows to refer to pieces of information, two tablets may make more sense than you may expect.



During a recent visit at a coffee shop, I needed to test some computer programs that I'm working on. Normally I would use a heavy programming book for reference, but I used my iPad, shown on the left, to display the eBook. I connected my keyboard to the Nexus 7 tablet and began typing away.  It worked very well and it was much easier to navigate than a laptop, since I had one device dedicated to reading and the other strictly for typing.

This can definitely be done with a laptop, but you don't have the benefit of two screens that can each be dedicated to a task. And you get the obvious benefits of dealing with touch and the speed of a mobile system that the tablet provides.

This is just one of the interesting intersection points between the Nexus 7 and iPad tablets - I'll have a longer post coming soon that delves into this more.

Conference Tech Lessons: Blogging While Brown 2012

Meeting people like the amazing Adria Richards is a plus for conferences. She approved of my C:\ shirt!


I came away from this weekend's Blogging While Brown conference inspired and willing to invest in myself to make this blog the best that it can be.   In the midst of this conference, I came away with several thoughts regarding technology.

Personal Interaction >>>> Virtual Interaction

One of the benefits of a conference is meeting people that you've only corresponded with online. The in person meeting makes a world of difference.   My online persona is a representation of me, but the in-person meeting is just as, if not more important. It must be apparent that your online persona is an extension of your personality, not something totally different.  Otherwise, you can come off as disingenuous and playing a role on the internet that is not real.  Personal connection matters.  You know that excitement when someone like Dr. Goddess, Luvvie Ajayi, or Slim Jackson interacts with you online? Yeah, that's magnified by a thousand when it's in person.

Technology is a Great Conversation Starter

When you're around people that are more successful than you and you're the new face in the room, it can sometimes be hard to approach people.  I was able to start a lot of conversations with talk about gadgets - cell phones, tablets, or my infamous gadget sandwich.   Nearly everyone was on some sort of device - engage people about them.

You NEED an Extended Charging Solution

In this era of social networking, you need access to a cell phone during an entire conference, which can sometimes last 10 hours or more, plus dinner, drinks, etc.  Having an extended battery for your phone is key. Fellow attendee BrothaTech had a several charging solutions for his gadgets. I've been using the uNU Power DX extended battery for my iPhone, and I never had my phone drop out.  Perfect for twitpics of people after they are ... a bit inebriated.

I had a great time at the conference, and I will definitely be attending next year!


A Week With The New iPad - 4G Or Bust


If you're thinking about the new iPad, ask yourself - do you need internet connectivity outside of WiFi? Cause otherwise ... pass on it.

There are three main advantages to the new iPad:

Faster cellular signal: I'm on a train for two hours round trip during my work commute, so the updated 4G signal is a godsend. It feels like I'm surfing on wifi, and it's helped me to spend less time waiting for things to load and more time reading, tweeting, and all of that good stuff.

Better screen: The screen has been updated, and it is unbelievable. However, the screens of the iPad 1 and 2 are pretty damned good. And pretty damned good is enough for the majority of people.

Upgraded memory: The extra memory is noticeable when using intense applications like games and streaming applications like NBA Courtside. Again, nothing dramatic unless you are really on the bleeding edge.

Does that get you excited? Are you someone that runs intensive applications and requires internet outside of wifi coverage? If so, then you've probably already upgraded.

If you're not excited, then please note that the iPad 2 is on sale new for $100 cheaper, and you can save even more money if you look used.