Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews of products

iPad vs. Kindle lighting test

I wanted to see how well the iPad worked in comparison to the Kindle in different lighting situations. To be somewhat fair I tested the Kindle app on the iPad to the Kindle 2 device. You can see the results of my very unscientific test below.

The first test is a side by side in a well lit room

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Both devices fair well.  I still really like the Kindle screen for long term reading since it has a non-glare screen which can result in less eye strain.

The next test was in a dark room.

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Without a light the Kindle doesn’t work at all, but then again neither does a regular book.

The next test was in direct sunlight

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The Kindle is the big winner here, but even though the photo doesn’t show it well, the transflective screen on the iPad is very useable in direct sunlight.  What is interesting is that it worked better with the sun shining right at it, over being just in the shade.

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Up to date books from O’Reilly

2512159922_f5fa552a18 I picked up the Essential Silverlight 2.0 book while I was at the Web 2.0 Expo.  I’ve been meaning to share.  It’s the first time I’ve purchased an “Up To Date” book from O’Reilly.  I’m waiting form my first update to come in the mail.

To update your book you have the  option to print out the pages or view them online for free, but I like the idea of updating the book itself. 

To put in the new pages all you have to do is pop the little metal posts out from the plastic cover then add in the pages.

The idea behind O’Reilly’s “Up To Date” books

For publishers of printed technology books, it’s always been challenging to get a book written, edited, printed, and delivered while the content of the book is still relevant and needed by the audience. Some of our readers are happy to have the information they need delivered quickly in electronic form, but we hear from others that they still prefer the actual printed page. The Up-to-Date format is our answer to the need to deliver information on new technologies quickly, yet in printed form. And the beauty of it is that the book can take shape right along with the software, providing coverage of the CTPs, betas, and RTM releases as they become available.

Because the cover is plastic I have noticed a small issue in that the printing seems to flake off from the cover.  Hopefully they find a way to fix this in future version.  Of course I’d be super happy if they had a version that would work on my Sony Reader too.

Oh, and the book is very good too, but that’s another post!

Multitouch me

Multitouch interfaces seem to be all the rage right now. I just got back from Mix and SXSW and saw several examples of multitouch devices from the Surface to some very budget versions using Wiimotes and IR LED gloves.




Wiimote interface

Originally uploaded by futileboy



MS Surface

Originally uploaded by futileboy


But I think this super giant interface that was shown at CeBIT might have them beat. It looks like it works much in the same way as the Surface only on a super jumbo scale. Check out the video:

Mix 2008

Mix 2008Just wrapped up Mix. I was on the panel “Making it Simple: Designer/Developer Workflow.” It was a great group of people. I wish we had more time to continue the conversation. I want to thank Barbara from Microsoft for putting us all together.

All the Mix sessions and keynotes are online so be sure to check them all out.

I will write up more about the experience soon.

I’m currently at the airport waiting for the next lag of my flight to Austin for SXSW!

IA Summit




Danah Boyd

Originally uploaded by futileboy.

I’m tired. I need more coffee or drugs or something. I’m currently taking a break from any sessions just to help my brain catch back up. It’s been really great so far. I’ve learned a bunch but most of all its helped validate that what I’ve done and what I have been doing is good quality work. There’s a clear and simple message I’m getting from the attendees and that seems to be around best practices. There’s no one way to do the work we do so it’s a matter of filling your tool chest with the most polished options you can put together.

The woman in the photo is Danah Boyd I had a brief chance to meet her. She’s a bit of a superstar when it comes to online communities and such.

I’m going to go take a nap.

What’s up with Brightcove?

Welcome to Brightcove

Here’s what I found so far:
The founder Jeremy Allaire is smart guy. He was one of the creators of Cold Fusion. He also created Homesite which became part of the very successful Dreamweaver application produced by Macromedia.

What Brightcove is doing:
Creating an open standards based software application that will be used for finding and watching video streams off the internet and on your TV. The idea is to strike deals with companies like Tivo, Sony, Phillips, etc. to use this software on their systems. Another plan is to get it running on home media center systems like MS Media Center Edition or on OS X. This is a big challenge these companies are already producing their own products. They’re big difference from all the other web based video tools like this is that they want to get this off a computer screen and on to a TV screen.

What technology are they using:
The front end is an all web based Flash interface. All the video is played through flash using the On2 Flix software for encoding. So something a lot like Google video.

Quote from Brightcove:
“It’s our hope and intention for Brightcove to become an essential online service for building Internet TV businesses – with full choice and control for publishers over user experience, monetization and syndication.”

Why AOL:
This is huge for them. One of the big challenges they faced was getting advertiser dollars. Now they have the backing of AOL and if successful can integrate in to their ad network. I’m also guessing that this could solve their bandwidth problem if they every had one.

My take away:
Home media computers are on the rise but are still a very small market space. Apple, Microsoft and other very large well funded companies are trying to get in to this space. Brightcove wants to piggyback on that. They can be successful if they have good content, can find ways to make content providers money, and it’s easy to use. I’m not sure what their plan is in regards to quality programming. Without quality you end up with the same stuff that’s on google video: people crashing their cars, cats, babies, and more dumb people doing dumb stuff. I for one don’t want to watch that sort of crap.

Technology wise what they are doing is easy. At least from everything I’ve been able to find. It’s just been a matter of putting together all the said technologies in to one easy to repurpose package. I’m not sure what their storage solution is but I guess some very large SAN system.