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-- Sent from my Palm Pre
A purpose driven marker
Watch the video above, it's an interesting talk with a very interesting "real-time" cartooning that follows the speakers ideas.
There are some interesting ideas about motivation beyond the profit motive (focusing on autonomy, mastery and purpose) that I found worth dwelling on a little.
The Tablet continues to be a fun device. It's still not a replacement for the netbook or the desktop or the phone, but it has found it's niche uses for me. the tablet is all about consumption (maybe if my particular one was a little quicker it would be good for note taking scribbles too, but as is, it's a great reading device.)
While I look forward to getting a slightly faster one of these in 6 months to a years time perhaps, for now, I realy don't have any other device categories on my radar.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - last Tuesday Jenn, I and a couple friends from work checked out the 90s TMNT at the Wealthy Theatre. The movie holds up and after having watched it again, I'm a little disappointed that they are remaking a new live action one. It really doesn't seem like they need to.
On the topic of the Wealthy Theatre, Jenn and I continue to enjoy dropping in there for their old films many a Tuesday. I really like the non-commercialism of the venue and it's also an interesting crowd. I'd love to see more little theaters like this pop up, it would be neat to see one of these digitally driven screens regularly display popular Television too. I'd enjoy regularly seeing Star Wars Clone Wars, Caprica, Doctor Who or such similar shows in such a venue if they were offered. I'm not sure if those groups could regularly pull in a crowd, but even a 75 to 100 seat theater experience would be great for those genre type favs.
Twitter and Social Media - I've been a little burned out on twitter and social media lately. I've been entertaining some thoughts in my head that twitter and facebook may be the 2010 mass redux of CB Radio. I'm not entertaining that very strongly though, I think the short status update of format of twitter is with us to stay, although I think there will slowly be more and more metadata added to these them to the point where they become more an early 90s realtime yahoo index than just the vanity updates they are now. I figure eventually we'll all move to some other real time heads up display of information we care about piped into our sunglasses or such and Twitter and Facebook will sort of become background bit players of sorts into that larger picture. As for me, I'll keep playing a little in the social network worlds right now, but as of late, there seem to be diminishing returns.
What's happening online - I did some rearranging of my Google Reader feeds today. I pushed down some tech blogs from my "hot list" and promoted up some general purpose and offbeat categories. Tech sites have really felt stagnant of late. Watching endless articles on the Android Phone of the day or the 1,000th story of the week on iPad or iPhone has gotten pretty tiresome. Maybe we are just hitting a tech plateau at the moment but even with E3 this past week there just doesn't seem to be much interesting being created out there right now. Just lots of refinement more than anything else.
White Ear Bud World - I've still been giving alot of thought to what I've been calling the white earbud world, so named after the stories 8 or 9 years back about how people with iPods were disappearing into their own audio cocoons. I think with all the media available via the internet and all the platforms between, tv, computers, tablets, consoles, phones etc, that you can experience it on. Audio was only the begining. Add in Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader Streams, and you can completely customize a feed of info, entertainment, and activity to completely dominate your available attention from wake to sleep. The white ear bud world is now.
But what about mass - Along with my thoughts on the white earbud world, I've also been giving alot of thought to mass market experiences and corporate dependence on them. Corporations need to relentlessly consolidate and cut costs all while relentlessly growing and increasing market share. Up until now the best way to do that has been to grow big and push out competition in your market space and eventually center choice around a handful of dominate offerings from one, two or three majority become monopoly players. But does the white ear bud world run counter to that? Will we care much about these mega corp mass offerings as we get more and more focused on our own niche interests? Or will all our own niche interests consolidate along mostly similar lines eventually too? How individual is the individuality currently in play right now?
Doctor Who - Jenn and I have been working our way through doctor Who recently. We're somewhere in the second Season now, and have watched a handful of episodes with David Tennant. I'm still not sold on him over Christopher Eccleston yet. I was really digging Eccleston's romps through these stories, but it's a good series so far, and I'm hoping that either Torchwood or Sarah Jane Adventureres that have been teased in the Who series that we have watched so far prove to be similarly entertaining when we get around to trying them out.
I saw Splice this past weekend. The first 1/3rd of the movie is interesting enough. the 2nd and final thirds of the movie are just pretty bad. There's a couple fairly creepy sex scenes in this film that if you see them, you'll probably want to unremember them.
The two main characters are cast as sort of uber-hippster-yuppie-dinks. I mean they really take a certain type of stereotype to a new level. They own an orange pacer.
In anycase, skip this one. Skip it on DVD too. Skip it on cable, just skip it. If you really want to watch this film.. Just add Species to your queue instead.
Some Misc thoughts on the Ekken M001 Tablet.
Touchscreen - The touchscreen is slow and laggy, you really can't draw on it, and although tapping things with your fingers works fine, there's a bad habit of it accidentally selecting items while you are scrolling pages.
The touchscreen does work much better with a stylus though. No Stylus was included so I pressed back into service a couple older styli I had from my Pocket PC days. Scrolling with the stylus works much better, you still might accidentally select a list item here and there on occasion, but I think with practice accidental selections are more minimal.
One note, if you are looking to hand-scribble notes or draw directly on this tablet, you'll pretty much be out of luck. It's a little too slow as far as screen response for that, so unless you are incredibly patient, drawing is pretty much out of the question.
Video - Video is a mixed bag. If you convert the video to an MP4 within specific parameters you'll do ok and you can play back pretty serviceable/clear stutter free video on the device. Youtube is a slightly less impressive experience. Basically the Youtube videos stream well, but only in the low quality mode typically seen on feature phone handsets. Still, sound is good, and you can make out the picture, so the Ekken is a go for Youtube.
Comics - I downloaded Droid Comic Viewer (ACV) and it works pretty well. Both CBZ and CBR. The 7in monitor is exactly the same size as my Asus netbook screen, so I'm accustomed to viewing comics on this size screen. If you are ok with tiny, yet readable type, you should be fine with the comic experience on this device. One note, I did turn off some of the fancy transition effects etc. and that helped with speed. You will notice however, if you hit a double page spread there will be a noticeable lag as the device renders/sizes down the oversized page, but all in all, pretty good. The nice form factor of this tablet, more than makes up what would otherwise be a faster experience on the netbook. One last note, I did have some issues accidentally selecting comics from a large list (that scrolling problem I mentioned above), one work around is not to have more than 15 or so in any given folder so that you do not need to scroll and you can instead just switch between folders.
For an even better comic reading experience, it helps to prepare the comics and downsize them before loading onto the M001.
If you want Comics to read really fast, it's worth taking the time to prep/resize them for the ekken
CBZ’s and CBRs are about 4 times bigger than the screen of this device, so it has to pull them out of the archive and resize them and that can take anywhere from 2 sec to 10 sec depending on the particular page. and some pages are so big that you will get out of memory issues.
To speed things up, What I did was:
1. Use a file renamer program to change all CBR extensions to RAR -- ExtensionRenamer.exe
2. Use WinRar (like WinZip) to “unzip” all the comics into there own folder.
3. Download/install the Resize Powertoy from Microsoft for XP or this clone for Vista
4. Do a search on JPG in the comic folder, so all the jpegs show up in one search window (even though they are in different folders, this will make resizing them all at once easy instead of doing it folder by folder.)
5. Select all the images in the search window and then right click and “Resize” --> Custom resize originals (using the context menu power toy) all the images to fit within 800px x 800px (This will resize those pesky doublepage spreads properly too.)
Sounds like a little bit of work but once you have the software installed, it really only takes a few clicks and then the comics are optimized for the Android. The nice thing is, you can do an entire collection or folder of comics at once doing the above too.
Music - Mp3's played back great. The large screen makes this a very nice Music player. The built-in speaker is loud and the there is a headphone jack available as well. The music player will play in the background while you do other things too.
eBooks - I installed FBReader and it works well for ePub documents.
Wi-fi - Wi-Fi and web browsing works well. Wi-Fi was easy to set-up and the device remembers your locations and automatically connects to your approved Wi-Fi hotspots whenever you are near one. Browsing, Switching to portrait mode, gives you a 800px tall screen to work with, so in the browser you can read alot of text without starting to scroll. Redraw's could be a little snappier, but wait time for the page rendering isn't too bad, and is for the most part very useable.
Google Reader - Google Reader has a nice mobile version of their app that works well on this device. I've also tried NewsRob (which didn't work well for me) and Greed (which worked better, but crashed on occasion for me-- the crashing may very well have more to do with the sheer number of feeds I have however.) None of these apps work as well as Scoop on my WebOS Palm Pre, but the mobile version of Google Reader is serviceable and the larger screen let's you much more comfortably tackle larger pictures and sections of text than on the phone. I'm still on the look out for an excellent Google Reader experience on this device, instead of the current good and ok ones.
Twitter - I've been using Twitdroid on my Tablet. It works well for Twitter. I've only had one bug whereby on occasion the time stamps on tweets become a little non-nonsensical, but generally they are correct, and although I still prefer my WebOS Palm Pre's Tweed app for Twitter. Twitdroid on the tablet works well.
App Market Place - The Ekken M001 does not come with the App Marketplace installed, so all the apps above have been installed from SD card or from a "non-official" app store marketplace application: AndAppStoreClient. Since most phone devices support the official App Marketplace, it can sometimes be a little bit of a chore to find the .apk files needed to install some popular apps from the SD card. But generally for the Free Apps, it's not impossible and a little googling eventually turns up what you need.
Chat - Other than Twitter I haven't tried any messaging apps really, although the keyboard on the Ekken works well, I'm still not really sold on the touchscreen keyboard idea. I still like to feel the keys under my fingers, so for now anyway, I'm not planning much typing of any kind.
Document - The device has documents to go. I haven't tried everything, but .doc, .xls, and .ppt seem to open and have basic editing capabilities.
PDF - PDF's open well on the device using the built in app.
Photos - This tablet works well as a photo frame too.
So what do I think of a "third device" so far?
One week in, I'm digging the tablet for media consumption. For me, Comics, Google Reader and eBooks are the killer apps for this device. It really is nicer than a laptop to hold a 7" tablet and kick back onto the couch or in bed and sink into consuming some readable content.
If the screen was more responsive, I could see making handwritten notes on the device and then emailing them to my phone becoming a several time a day occurrence.
Without a keyboard though, content creation is a real chore, it can be done, but really nothing beats a physical keyboard for writing a body of text, working with a spreadsheet, or just arrow keying around the screen quickly. As tablets come on the scene, netbooks are not going to go away. And while I'm sure as these devices get more prevalent that bluteooth or attachable keyboards will become common, once you add a physical keyboard, tablets sort of cease to be tablets in some regard I think.
In closing, the Eken M001 at $100 is a nifty device, with more positives than negatives for a select range of tasks, ideal for tinkerers and hobbyists who want to start playing with the tablet future now, but aren't quite ready to drop $500 to the Church of Apple yet.
Let's Go Surfing