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Consumer Electronics

iPad pre-launch security

Posted in Apple, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, Geek, Humor on April 3rd, 2010 by leodirac – Comments Off on iPad pre-launch security

Arrington managed to get his hands on an iPad for a test drive before launch day, presumably from a company that had been given one to build apps for it. His description of the security under which these devices were loaned out is so funny I just have to share it with y’all… Scores of […]

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Covers for Kindles

Posted in Amazon, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, Marketing, Social Computing, User Experience on August 26th, 2008 by leodirac – 2 Comments

My girlfriend has a kindle that she very much enjoys. One of the biggest benefits from it she gets is having a large amount of content in a very small device. She is a scientist who is very much an information worker. Having access to a great many research papers in searchable form is very useful for her. (If only the PDF import worked on multi-column papers!) She also tends to live out of a backpack, so being able to have several interesting things to read at any give time is very appealing. So she’s often reading her kindle on…

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Is Apple using scarcity to hide iPhone quality problems?

Posted in Analysis, Apple, Business, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, Hardware, Marketing, Psychology on July 28th, 2008 by leodirac – 9 Comments

Here I propose an alternative explanation for iPhone scarcity: the difficulty in obtaining a new iPhone keeps people from complaining about problems with it. I will explore this sophisticated marketing technique that Apple may or may not be employing to cover up quality problems with the new iPhone 3G. Even if Apple is not doing this deliberately, I assert that it is a valid and potentially very useful technique if your product is lucky enough to have the prerequisites. New iPhones are hard to get The blogosphere is full of speculation about whether or not Apple deliberately made the iPhone…

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Sonos finally adds search!

Posted in Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, Geek, Music, User Experience on October 23rd, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Sonos finally adds search!

At long last, the world’s best digital music system has fixed a glaring UI hole. With today’s release of v2.5 of their software, Sonos controllers (both hardware remotes and PC/Mac based software) can search for music by artist, composer, album, or track. This feature works within your own local library or within music services such as Rhapsody. Up until now if you wanted to listen to an artist in Rhapsody that you hadn’t previously bookmarked, you would need to guess what top-level genre they were categorized under and then scroll through an enormous list to try to find the artist….

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Why you won’t be able to send text messages from an iPhone while driving

Posted in Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, Tech Industry, Technology, User Experience on January 17th, 2007 by leodirac – 3 Comments

A few months ago I wrote about why single-purpose devices will always have better UI’s than general purpose devices. Here, always really means for about the the next 5 years. I’ll explain why in a second. In the iPhone, Apple has built a completely generic UI. All the controls are software reconfigurable “soft keys” — you touch a part of the screen that has a picture of a button on it. This offers a fantastic level of flexibility, allowing them to build a lot of useful functions into a small package. But soft keys like this are intrinsically limited by…

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Google vs. Microsoft: MS Retreats to Hardware

Posted in Business, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, Music, Tech Industry, Technology on October 25th, 2006 by leodirac – Comments Off on Google vs. Microsoft: MS Retreats to Hardware

A couple of recent product announcements out of Redmond have me thinking about the current big struggle in the software industry: GOOG vs MSFT. Frankly, GOOG is eating MSFT’s lunch on the consumer software front. But MSFT still dominates in the enterprise, and will for a long time. GOOG’s model is hosted solutions, which enterprises are really hesitant to deploy. And with good reason — if you were a CIO would you trust all of your company’s IP to somebody else? Regardless of what promises they make, I wouldn’t. So Microsoft continues to turn into IBM. The two announcements I’m…

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Switching to a MacBook Pro

Posted in Consumer Electronics, Ego, Gadgets, Tech Industry, Technology, User Experience on October 7th, 2006 by leodirac – 2 Comments

A little while ago, I got my hands on a MacBook Pro. I’ve been slowly switching over to it as my primary machine. It’s pretty. It’s fast. When using it, I feel calm and happy as if I’m sitting in a japanese garden. (I bet if it wasn’t so expensive, this effect wouldn’t be so pronounced. But that is part of the charm too.) I haven’t had the guts to switch over to it as my mail e-mail machine yet, but maybe the new .mac email will convince me. Here are a couple of thoughts on why I’m liking it…

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Sonos: Easy multi-room music

Posted in Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, Music, Tech Industry, User Experience on October 3rd, 2006 by leodirac – Comments Off on Sonos: Easy multi-room music

My house pretty much always has music playing in it. Generally the same music is playing throughout the entire house. I do this through a fairly complex involving a pirate radio station, a PC dedicated to playing music, and a set of custom perl scripts and remote-control applications to be able to select music from any of the house’s internet appliances. When it’s working (most of the time, actually) it’s a fantastic system. I wander around, and hear the same thing, and it’s pretty much always something I want to be listening to. For everybody else out there who didn’t…

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Chumby: How to define a new market segment

Posted in Business, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, Technology, User Experience on September 26th, 2006 by leodirac – 1 Comment

I finally got my Chumby running. It’s sitting happily between my couches in my living room showing me pictures, telling me the news and occassionaly insulting me in middle english. It’s very cute. Chumby is a really neat idea — a fun hackable platform for small information appliances. It’s embedded linux running a flash viewer. It’s got wifi network access and a really pretty touch-screen for UI. The designers encourage hacking of both the software and the hardware — I’ve seen chumby-units sown into all sorts of pillows and stuffed animals. The bread and butter of customization is writing custom…

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