Enough alphabet soup for you? Wired reviews the SCVNGR augmented reality game service that has been growing in popularity - and not just with the usual “players.” While there are certainly movies, television shows, etc as partners, museums, universities and other institutions have also tapped the company to help them develop rich interactive content for their locations.
Sounds Like an iPad, Looks Like an iPad
As we stated at the start, we actually can’t believe that Novel has made its way onto so many shelves across the country — just Googling the product name shows that it’s being sold at tons of popular retailers. The poor touchscreen, sluggish processor and sometimes confusing interface cripple the device to the point where it can’t even manage its main task of turning pages and providing a comfortable reading experience.
Definitely is not an iPad. Or even a particularly good e-reader. Check out Engadget’s review of the Pandigital Novel, a product to avoid.
(from Case for the iPad)
The iPad Honeymoon
I bought a case; that simple rubbery Apple case. Suddenly, it was as if all your acne cleared up, your braces came off and you got Lasik. Who was this sitting in front of me? Confident? Well angled?
Publishing pundit and type titan, CraigMod, has written up a humorous review of his second try with the iPad. After disappointing with its initial form and function, this particular blogger found much to love about the device after several weeks of dust had accumulated and a new round of maturing apps had emerged. A great take on the hype and reality of the most popular product on the block for 2010.
Our Online Life
While not a review so much as an audit, this great Onion article takes a tongue in cheek cyberpunk fieldtrip into the online future we are already living. To quote:
Though his high-tech, cybertronic existence may appear overwhelming to the rest of us, it is the only way this weary wanderer of circuits and space knows how to live. And until the day our world catches up with his, Royce will be out there on the virtual nexus, searching.
Really captures the breathless tone of the mid-90s, no?
(Thanks, Dusty for the tip!)
Engadget Reviews the iPhone 4
We’re not going to beat around the bush — in our approximation, the iPhone 4 is the best smartphone on the market right now. The combination of gorgeous new hardware, that amazing display, upgraded cameras, and major improvements to the operating system make this an extremely formidable package.
In case you missed it, Engadget has a solid review of the iPhone 4 (which sold 1.7 million units from launch on Friday through Saturday.)
DPReview & the Olympus PEN E-PL1
At our second commencement of the weekend, my fiancée’s mother revealed to me that she was in the market for a new digital camera. She and her husband had been SLR users in their younger days but grew tired of lugging a larger-bodied device from event to trip to family function and so they pared down to a small, point and shoot Sony digital camera. They are quite happy with its size but miss the stunning photos of their former Canon shooter and wouldn’t mind some more prosumer functionality.
I immediately thought of the Olympus PEN E-PL1. Having been out of the camera market for awhile after getting a Nikon D80 at work, I am slightly out of touch with the digital camera world. But I’ve seen a few ads for the PEN line and was curious about the micro four thirds format, of which it hails. So I found a great review at my favorite camera site, DPReview, and sent it off.
If you are interested in learning more about the Olympus PEN E-PL1, the micro four thirds format or just digital cameras on the market today, I’d highly recommended starting at this very detailed review.
Review of Art Authority for iPad
In prepping one of our loaner iPads for an overnight visit yesterday, I found myself with enough time to dig through the App Store to look for a few good titles to load on for the Art History professor about to receive the device. While doing so, I stumbled upon Art Authority and my jaw dropped.
This was a perfect illustration of what the iPad can do for him!
Art Authority places users inside a virtual gallery organized by period. Tapping on, say, “Baroque” takes you into a “room” filled with paintings from the period. Tapping a further sub-category will bring you a list of artists’ names that fit. You can then browse paintings and sculptures by the artist you have chosen, using either portrait or landscape presentation. There’s an option to save images to the device locally (which would be huge for creating a study guide) and an info button that will bring you to a live Wikipedia page for the artist in question. You can imagine how that latter point would be great for living artists, especially if coupled with a museum visit where wall plaques are, by nature, prone to be less than current and where space for additional pieces can be limited.
All of this slick, interactive textbook meets tour guide meets game material comes in at only $9.99 - cheap enough that I bought it on my own dime just so I could have it for my personal iPad when it arrives next week.
(From Case for the iPad)
Engadget Reviews the New MacBook Pros
Basically, it’s exactly what it says on the tin: a faster MacBook Pro. In fact, the biggest news here might be how little Apple is changing.
Apple just unveiled the newest MacBook Pro systems this week, offering Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors as has been rumored for the last few months. They are not massively changed, but if you in the market for a new Apple notebook, Engadget’s review is a good read. Check it out for a very detailed opinion on the latest Apple hardware.
New Blog on Tablets in Education
Not to shamelessly plug a blog that I’ve just put up, but…I’m going to anyway.
I’ve just started writing a new blog here on Tumblr that will, I hope, follow the birth of (post?)modern tablet computing. Specifically, how this new paradigm will affect higher education. The title is Case for the iPad, as I personally see Apple’s entry as the most compelling and the most likely to catch on, gain critical mass and inform the entire industry (kinda like the Mac of old, no?) However, my aim is to cover all developments in the realm of media savvy, touch-interfaced, cloud-connected devices - be it Windows, Android, etc. Reviews, hands on trials, essays, and more will be on the menu.
If you are interested in what computing will look like in three to five years here on campus and in the world in general, check out Case for the iPad!
If you’ve ever visited your grandparents’ house, you know the joy that is digging through a box of old photos. Everything about the experience is fascinating - the strange feeling and shape of the paper, the hilarity of what everyone was wearing, the journey of trying to remember who these people are and what they are doing.
RetroThing, one of my favorite blogs that I always forget to read, has a review from January 2009 of a book that does an excellent job of recapturing the essence of that photo box exploration. The book, Who We Were: A Snapshot History of America, takes us on a journey through the “squarish” portraits that expose what life was mostly like in our collective past - funny outfits and all.
What’s even more entertaining than the book is the Square America website maintained by its author. The gallery provides such kitschy gems as “The Bar Mitzvah and Other Tales of Living in Stereo.”