Monday, July 23, 2007

Random News Stories

Is Google Entering the Mobile Device Market
For quite awhile, there have been rumors that Google will be joining the mobile device market. The strongest rumor was Google was collaborating with French telecom Orange.

According to the news story below, Google has confirmed that they are working on a mobile device.

News Story - Europe Google Execs Confirm Google Phone

The More Things Change, The More Things Stay the Same
In the pre-technology days, kids would use educational materials, such as the dictionary and scientific magazines (like National Geographic), to look for obscene things, like pictures of naked people and curse words, just for laughs.

In today's technology age, it looks like kids will still be kids. According to the news story below, Nigerian children are using their free laptops, which are supposed to be used to assist with their education, to look at pornographic material.

News Story - Nigerian Children Using Free Laptops to View Porn

Paging Gary Kasparov...
A Canadian team has invented what they call an unbeatable version of checkers (draughts). The team claims that the best that the player can do is draw with the computer.

News Story - Canadian Team Invents an Unbeatable Checkers Game

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The pros and cons of the iPhone

A few days ago, the iPhone has been released.

I'm surprised that people actually waited hours in line to get the phone. Based on my experience, it's best to wait until all the bugs and quirks are fixed.

I'm not surprised that, of all the people that were in line for the iPhone, the people that the news shows picked to interview were the stereotypical "nerds" - single, male, overweight, still live at home with their parents, spend hours on the Internet or a gaming system, and probably never had a significant other except in their fantasies. I guess interviewing the senior citizens or the glamour kids standing in line would shatter the average American's perception on who likes technology.

Enough with my commentary - back to the product evaluation. As with any product, there are pros and cons.

The Pros

  • It's a slick, pretty package - The design is nice looking, and so are the screens. If you haven't had a chance to see what it looks like, take a look at this comprehensive demonstration:

  • It gives the person the "all-in-one capability" - Not only does the iPhone allow you to make phone calls, but it also allows you to view videos, use it as a PDA, use it as a music player, and use it as a web browser. The screen is large enough to handle video capability.

The Cons

  • The touch screen - from what I've seen, the touch screen is very difficult to manipulate. I can also see problems with the touch screen with people who have dexterity issues (ex: tremors).

  • The cost - $595 USD is a steep price to pay for this all-in-one device.

  • The size - The iPhone is larger than typical mobile phones. While this isn't an issue for me, this could be an issue for someone who needs to save space.

  • The battery - I think this is one of the worst features - the battery is a rechargable, lithium-ion battery that cannot be replaced. So, if you're the type of person who recharges your phone every day, your iPhone won't work in less than a year. However, I think that when Apple releases the second generation of iPhone, they'll probably fix this because I don't think that someone wants to spend $600 on something that will be useless in a year.

  • The mobile phone network - I think this is also one of the worst features - iPhone has an exclusive deal with AT&T where AT&T is the carrier for iPhone. In order to get phone service through your iPhone, AT&T requires you to sign a two-year contract for their service, which includes sky-high cancellation fees. Also, according to Consumer Reports, AT&T/Cingular rank the worst out of all mobile providers. Some of the things that Consumer Reports mentioned about AT&T/Cingular - poor customer service, poor phone receiption, frequent dropped calls, and poor service range.

Would I get an iPhone right now? No. I think that there are too many cons for me to justify paying $595 USD for a gadget. HOWEVER, Apple is known to perfect their products after a few generations (I waited until 2006 to get an iPod, and I have absolutely no problems with it), and in a year or two, if the iPhone can be used with other wireless carriers, I may look into purchasing the iPhone.