Blackberry PlayBook Review

The Blackberry PlayBook went on sale in Canada for $300 off. I decided it was time to try out a tablet that wasn’t from the company who makes the leading tablet, Apple.

In the past, I had the iPad 2 so my standards are already quite high for a tablet. The Blackberry Playbook, although I had some problems at the beginning, is quite impressive.

Just because a tablet or even computer has better specifications then another doesn’t mean it is better or more useful. Many tablets exist with much betters specs then the BlackBerry PlayBook. I don’t want to base this review on a comparison of the Playbook and the iPad 2 but just for your information, here is how the Playbook specs compare.

iPad 2 BlackBerry PlayBook
Screen 9.7″ LED 1024 x 768 7″ LCD 1024 x 600
Storage 16GB/32GB/64GB 16GB/32GB/64GB
Camera – Front VGA 30fps 5MP
Camera – Back 720p 30 fps 1080p
Weight 1.33lbs 0.9lbs
Battery 25-watt-hour 5300mAh
Price (CAD) Wifi 16GB $519, Wifi 32GB $619, Wifi 64GB $719,3G 16GB $649, 3G 32GB $749, 3G 64GB $849 16GB $199 ($499), 32GB $299 ($599), 64GB $399 ($699)
Processor Apple A5 1Ghz dual core ARM Cortex A9 1GHz dual core
Memory 512mb (unconfirmed by Apple) 1GB
Current support for Adobe Flash No Yes
Apps Too many Not enough

The BlackBerry PlayBook is positioned as a consumer device that offers the features necessary to appeal to RIM’s enterprise/business customers.

First boot setup

It took me about 2 hours to setup the PlayBook as an update I did bricked the device. This is quite unusual and doesn’t happen with many people. I think I’ll save this for another blog post.

Note: after I fixed up the software update, everything began running smoothly. Don’t let this stop you from purchasing a PlayBook.
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Netflix – Qwikster

The CEO of Netflix apologized as to why he separated Netflix into two separate divisons. New division, Qwikster will be the DVD rental business while Netflix is streaming only. Reed Hastings, the CEO is dealing with the negative reaction, people are angry and confused.

A guy that worked for Netflix  wil nowl be working into the new company. It’s been like this forever but now it’s too the public. Two accounts, two different divisions. If you need to change anything, it’s all done separatly. Let’s say you are subscribed to both, and you need to change some of your information then you will need to do it with both.

Netflix wants to go streaming only! The problem is, all movies aren’t streamed. Some of the movies are DVD only.

They don’t want to kill the DVD business , they want to move more people over to streaming.

On the Qwikster side of things, do you think this will this idea take off? How will they promote? Will they have Kiosks, other promotional ideas? DVD express, Redbox, and others are already in this business and how is Qwikster going to compete as now, to the public, they are someone new and they don’t even have Netflix’s name to back them. No one knows really who they are.

Qwikster has video games also , at a premium like blu-ray. Pay extra for unlimited video game rentals. None of this is final so we are still waiting for details about this.

Redbox, Qwikster will die, in my opinion, they are at thier peak now. DVD business needs to get out of the way of the growing streaming business. Netflix doesn’t want to get rid of it completely though.

you might wonder who uses DVD rentals. DVD still has better quality audio and video. That is also the same with Blu-ray. They also are great if you don’t have a lot of available bandwidth.

The reactions were terrible.Netflix said they messed up. People say what they did made the company worse.

Hasting’s says they have some enhanced content coming to streaming in the near future. They need to ‘wow the customer’s and get them back on their side. We need more content on Netflix Streaming for sure.

What are your thoughts? Will you continue to use Netflix? If so, DVD or streaming? Leave your comments below.

Buying a Refurbished Mac

Apple.com offers Certified Refurbished Macs, iPods, iPads, and accessories. Apple’s refurbished pricing is usually about 15% off of the regular price of the product.

The products you are getting are completely checked out and certified by Apple professionals. As with every Mac, you get a one year included AppleCare warranty with the option of purchasing additional AppleCare.

A refurbished unit is tested and certified to work as a new machine. A refurbished Mac might even be less likely to fail then a new unit as it has been worked in and manually tested by professionals.

Some people purchase Macs and then return them for no good reason. Apple can’t resell these as new so they test them, fix them up, and then sell them as refurbished. Apple does the same with overstock products and older models of Macs.

My Experiences

I recently purchased a refurbished MacBook Pro from Apple.com. I happened to get a customized model. This means someone didn’t buy one of the base models. Before they purchased, they told Apple to upgrade certain components. I was lucky enough to get one of the SSD MacBook Pros before they went out of stock. In my experience, refurbished Macs go fast because you don’t know how many are available. If you want something you see, act fast.

To be completely honest, I got a great MacBook in great, brand-new condition for about 20% off regular price. By the way, this is the current generation MBP.

I have not had any problems with my MacBook and have loved it since the second I pulled it out of the box. I have no regrets for purchasing a refurbished Apple product.

Buying a New Mac

Buying new seems reasonable if you would like the experience of original packaging or you would like a custom configuration. (ex. multiple video cards, RAM pre-installed, etc)

Refurbished From Other Retailers

I have heard some bad reviews about buying a refurbished Mac from a retailer other then Apple so be careful and be sure to look around online before making any purchases.

Conclusion

In conclusion, if you would like to save some some money, refurbished from Apple is a great no-risk purchase. If you have the extra cash and love to get a custom configured Mac, purchase brand new from Apple.

IBM builds 120 Petabyte Hard Drive.

IBM is building the largest hard drive on earth at their Almaden, California research lab. 120 Petabytes. That is equivalent to 120 million gigabytes. In reality, this is a ‘cluster’ of hard drives rather then one single drive. A data repository, you may call it. This is 10 times larger then any repository such as this, ever built.

At the moment, no one has been able to create anything like this. With great engineers, IBM has been able to create a small area with walls lined with horizontal drawers. This is similar to regular data centres except these were designed to hold more drives .

With over 200,000 single hard drives, you might wonder, “what if they break down?”. IBM is prepared for that. Each drive is slowly duplicated to another drive without loosing performance out of either. In case of a drive failure, the original is replaced with the backup.

This drive cluster is using a system called GPFS (General Parallel File System) this is the process of files being stored in multiple areas. This allows the machine to read and write to different parts of the file at any time.

The company, IBM has designed this system for an unknown client who is looking of a way to conduct complex simulations. Bruce Hillsberg, IBM’s director of storage research, says it is only a matter of time before all ‘cloud computing systems’ use a similar technology to what IBM is doing.

 

Source: http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/38440/?ref=rss

What is Google Plus?

Google announced their new service, Google Plus at the beginning of June 2011. Basically, Google+ is a combination of a lot of services and social networks we are already used to. Google+ includes many features which may be familiar to you but according to Google, are much better.

Circles
Google+ Circles is a way to group your “friends” into different categories. Friends, Family, Acquaintances, and Following. You can also create your own group if you have a specific category you would like to categorize you “friends” into. This allows for better organization and more sharing options. From the circles page you can drag and drop your contacts into each of these groups.

Hangouts
Hangouts are virtual hangout places where you can video chat with up to 10 people. You are able to select who you want in one of your hangouts by inviting the circles of your choice. Hangout has some neat features such as switching the person you see in your main window automatically.

Sparks
If you are a Google Reader user, Sparks might seem familiar to you.

Sparks brings content you are subscribed to directly to you through Google+.Each topic you subscribe to gets its own Spark Page which provides descriptions and direct links to the articles, videos, photos, and related content.

Google+ is currently an invite-only beta. So, to get in, you have to know someone currently using Google+ willing to send you an invite.

As Google+ grows, so do other social networks. Google+ could be the next largest social network.

Leave your thoughts below. Tell us what you like about Google+ and if you believe it will grow larger then Facebook when opened up to the public.


NASA Final Shuttle Launch – Atlantis

Shuttle Atlantis blasted off in a very historic launch today despite concerns about the weather and a last-minute problem that was quickly solved. The shuttle took off just behind schedule at 11:29 EST. It is the last time a shuttle will travel to space before this program is retired.

“The space shuttle spreads its wings one final time for the start of a sentimental journey into history,” said a NASA observer from the Kennedy Space Center as the shuttle blasted off smoothly.

This program started in 1981 with the launch of Columbia. Since that time, 135 shuttle missions have been launched. Atlantis itself will have flown 35 missions by the time it heads into retirement. The shuttle holds a year’s worth of supplies for the International Space Station. When going up, it weighed about 8,000 pounds.

Overall, this was a very succesful launch and we are all glad. NASA’s final space shuttle mission.