iPad review

ipadYes, Apple’s iPad was released yesterday.

I think it will sell a massive amount. Basically, it’s a Kindle, an iPod Touch, and a keyboard-less* MacBook, all rolled into one. It has a much prettier interface than the Kindle. You can do anything that requires the internet when you have a wifi connection – or if you don’t (and spend more), you can do it cellular-ly via AT&T (in some parts of the USA). It sounds like there will be a reasonable deal on that too – $30 for one month’s unlimited data service.

Some of the apps look to be pushed even further than their Mac or iPhone equivalents. And they are reasonably priced ($30 instead of $79 for the full iWork suite).

Prices range from $499 to $829, depending on storage capacity (16-64 gb) and whether you add the 3G internet connection capability. Sounds like a deal to me – for what you get! Availability? “Sign up here, and we’ll contact you when iPad is available to order.” (Could be two weeks. But I’d guess a month-and-a-half.)

For me? I won’t be getting one anytime soon, because I can’t afford it – and because I’m too shy to be that cutting-edge. But if someone gave me one? I’d suck up my pride and settle for being that cutting edge.

(Photo from the Apple site.) *You will be able to get an external keyboard – but it will probably cost something outrageous like $79.


People are different

Strenghts-Spectrum(You know that.)

I wanted to remind you – and me – of what a beautiful thing it is how people can be so different.

Two of the very smartest people I know are not very good public speakers. It takes them both a full minute to spit out a good sentence. But when it comes to their areas of expertise, stand back!

Too often, I find myself judging another person for their weakness… “Why can’t that person just understand the basics of how to do this?” or “Why is that person so blind to how they are harming the situation?”

I am so blind to my weaknesses – most of the time. (This concept is not my own… see here.) And any healthy group has members that are weak in some areas and others who are strong in those same areas. (That is also not my concept!)


Popular taste vs critical taste

radiohead-1Rolling Stone magazine ran an section at the end of last year called, “50 Best Albums of the Decade”. Though I did not entirely agree with their choices, my tastes ran much closer to the critics who wrote the article than to the tastes of the public. A small evidence of that: I had seen live 18 of the groups or people represented in that list – and none of the top 40 albums for the week at the end of the magazine.

Where do your tastes lie?


Better parents, not better kids

little-buddyI was amused by this “Little Buddy” device that Best Buy sells. It’s a GPS unit that your child is supposed to carry around so that you will always know where they are.

I can see this being a good thing for children of high profile people, where kidnapping might be a possibility. But normal people? My advice is to communicate with your child. Ideally you have a trusting relationship with them – they tell you where they are and when they expect to return. A pay-as-you-go mobile phone would allow them to communicate with you in a situation where they need to make a new plan. And that would cost less than the $15 a month that the Insignia plan requires (if your agreement with your kid is that you will pay for those kinds of calls or texts only).

Finally, I admit that we are of course not perfect parents. And also, some kids just make bad choices. I don’t think those kind of kids would readily carry around a “Little Buddy” in their pocket or backpack. Chances are, they’d leave it at their friends house before they went off wherever it was they wanted to go.


When you MUST have an accent

pendragonIn our desire to provide suitable entertainment for our fathers or family, we watched Pendragon.

It was pretty much a C-grade movie. The acting was OK, in some instances. None of us thought the heroine was beautiful enough. But the thing that killed it for us was the American accents. Somehow we have been conditioned to expect that any historical film reflecting that era should have actors and actresses with English (British) accents.

(Image courtesy of the film production company’s site.)


We have no accent

accent-rAs I have traveled to different places in the world, I am always amused when people claim, “We have no accent.” It’s true – if they have never lived anywhere else. But my contention is that we all have accents.

I admit that there are standard accents. In England, there is the BBC broadcaster’s accent, which is a kind of measuring stick. The American equivalent would be what one can hear on the national nightly news. In Kenya, national radio broadcasts are spoken in a standard baseline Swahili that is most easily understood by the largest majority of the listening population. But those are still accents!

Another factor is saturation. If we are used to hearing a particular voice on a long-term basis, we put their voice into our accent-less category. In high school, my friend Bryan’s mom was from Quebec. She had a wonderful French-Canadian lilt. He thought she had no accent. My dad grew up in Texas. Bryan claimed he had a southern accent. I thought he had none.

The lovely model for today’s photo is my daughter Rachel.


Some really GOOD copywriting

car-copyCar magazine has a section at the back that lists all the new cars sold in the UK. That could be a boring list of facts and tables.


They injected it full of life and fun. Each car is categorized as being either “Good”, “Bad” or “Ugly”. Read the fine print here. Each brand (or UK-speak, “marque”) is described as if it were a rock band. And the descriptions of each car can be hilarious. (These are two random cars in a row.)

They make it very easy to pick a good car. If you trust their judgement.

Takeaway: How can you inject life and fun into what might otherwise be a boring aspect of your job of life?

By the way, an interpretation for those of you in America… A “Zanussi Twin-Spin” is a washing machine.


Some really really bad copywriting

crosstourThis appeared in the American edition of the new Honda Crosstour ads. (That’s a new car that is basically a bloated Honda station wagon. I like it on some levels and hate it on others. The same footprint could yield far more utility than the Crosstour delivers.)

Incidentally, the ads are really unappealing, design-wise. (My suggestion? Use regular color when visually describing a product.)

And by the way, there is a much cooler Honda in a similar vein that one can buy if they live in Japan: the Stream. It doesn’t have America’s unfortunate SUV aspect in its flavor mix.


Money saving tip

toothpaste-saveThe little things add up.

I shared this tip before but there are enough people who didn’t see it that it’s worth sharing again.

One way to save time and money is to cut your toothpaste tube – just as you finish. Then you can dip out about 5 more brushings’ worth.

Money? About 1/150 of the cost of a tube. Time? You won’t have to rush off to your toothpaste seller as quickly. Environment? If millions of others join us in this habit, we will be helping tons of fewer tubes to be manufactured and then thrown into landfills.