I’m starting my new job in several weeks, and I recently had to make a decision about a work phone. As a gadget geek I took this decision pretty seriously and gave it many hours of thought. I’ve made my pick, but instead of letting all that work fade into the ether, I thought it would be useful to record it here for others who might be in a similar position.
There were three basic decisions involved:
(1) Keep a separate personal plan/phone or merge it into the firm plan?
(2) iPhone or Android?
(3) If Android, which phone?
My thoughts and answers to each of these questions are found after the jump. (TL;DR: I picked the Moto X).
My parents received a Google TV (the Sony version) for Christmas. Being the visiting technophile, I was tasked with setting up the device and teaching my parents how to work it. I had previously set up the exact same device for my roommates over the summer in San Francisco, so I was familiar with the set-up and the device itself. This post is a brief review of the set-up process, followed by my thoughts on the concept of Google TV and similar systems.
The holy grail of the information junkie is the perfect Google Reader client. The idea is that you use Google Reader as your hub for subscriptions and category management, but you use an entirely different website to actually consume that content. (Some clients also take advantage of the Reader API to let you subscribe and organize in their interface).
Google Reader used to be pretty good on its own, but it’s a bit spartan — especially after its recent visual… er… refresh. Most clients took the Google Reader organizational model and just prettified it. With the advent of iPad apps like Flipboard, however, the trend has been to try to merge the utilitarian advantages of the Google Reader organizational model with the magazine-style prettiness and delight of Flipboard.
I have tried many different Google Reader clients over the years, but I’ve recently settled on one that really shines: Feedly. In a clean-but-not-too-clean interface, Feedly strikes the right balance between a beautiful experience and serious information consumption tool. “My Feedly” is your front page that pulls the most interesting or popular articles to your attention right when you log in. Once you’ve read or scanned those, you can click the check mark on the right side of the screen to mark that page as read, and then either refresh or move to a new section. The sections correspond to your Google Reader subscription categories.
Feedly also provides a series of widgets across the site that are actually useful. For example, on the home page are a list of “Featured Sources” from your subscriptions (which you can customize) if you want to jump to a specific feed. An “Essentials” widget provides a list of curated sections that you can subscribe to, like Gardening, Android, and Cinema. Feedly also hooks into your Twitter and Facebook feeds to scoop out most-liked or ‑tweeted articles. In fact, there is a very basic interface to post Tweets directly from Feedly if you want. Stock quotes are also pulled in.
Although the default view for any given section is the magazine layout (see first screenshot), there are five other views to choose from: timeline, titles only, mosaic, cards, and full articles. Feedly retains Google Reader’s ability to mark as read only those articles older than a day or a week. And there is a really excellent subscription management system that lets you easily subscribe, categorize, and drag-drop feeds between categories.
While I did see early versions of Google+ at the end of my tenure at Google, almost everything I remember (which actually isn’t a lot — it was on tight lockdown even then) has changed and/or grown beyond recognition. I don’t have much of anything new to add to what has been discovered or shared, and frankly the best way to understand what Google+ is and does is to sign up and use it yourself.
Still, I will take a little space to describe why I like the service, and why I think it will take over more and more of my online social bandwidth in the coming months. I’ll also point a few things I think could use improvement.
Apple launched iCloud yesterday, which includes the “iTunes in the Cloud” service. Apple is comparing this to Amazon and Google’s cloud music offerings (see above chart pulled from Apple.com). PCMag has a more detailed comparison chart.
When you duck outside the warmth of the reality-distortion field, you realize that Apple is offering a substantially different type of service than Amazon and Google. It’s a little misleading to compare them on only the factors Apple has detailed above.