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Amazon Kindle Drops to $189, Time To Start Reading?

If you've been waiting to get your hands on an Amazon Kindle mobile reader, now might just be the time for you to jump on board.  In response to the pricing of the Barnes and Noble nook and the incredible response to and demand for the Apple iPad, Amazon has dropped the price of the latest generation Kindle to only $189.

To boot, this ain't no clearance model.  For your hard earned case, you'll be getting the latest generation model, with global wireless and a 6" display.

As somebody who already bought the iPad, I'm not exactly rushing to order one; however, if you're in the market, you should snag one right now while this price lasts.

[Buy a Kindle at Amazon.com]


Tech Gifts for Dad This Father's Day

Not sure what to get the old man for his special day?  Forget the "Kiss the Cook" grill apron and the ugly ties.  Get the guy something he'll actually use and love... a gadget!

For the TV Watching Dad - A 3DTV

Most dads (except for mine) really like to watch TV.  Whether it's for their favorite shows on Lifet... er, Spike, or ESPN for sports, it's likely your patriarch parks himself on the sofa at least once in a while.  So, why not bring him to the next level with a 3DTV?

The next generation of television and movies is upon us, and now is the time to upgrade.  Sure, you might not be able to get one on your own, but why not pool together for a family gift?  Check out a full list of 3D ready or 3D compatible TV's from Mitsubishi, Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic.  You can also see a big list of projectors, glasses, Blu-Ray and DVD players, and associated resources and articles, by

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Steve Jobs at Apple's WWDC 2010: iPhone 4, iOS 4, iAds, and More

Once again, Apple dominates everyone's Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds, news broadcasts, and souls with its annual WWDC announcements.  In case your world didn't grind to a complete halt at 10AM Pacific Standard Time or you didn't get to make it to sunny San Fran, here's a quick and dirty breakdown.

[Image via Apple.com]

iBooks

  • The iBooks app will now view PDF's, and it looks pretty featureful.
  • iBooks will be included in iOS 4, allowing you to sync bookshelves across iDevices.  

Netflix

  • Netflix will be releasing an iPhone app, similar to the iPad app.

Zynga

  • FarmVille on iPhone.  It will either change your life or depress and annoy you.

iAds

  • Created to help devs (and Apple) make more money.
  • Will be turned on July 1st for iOS 4 devices.
  • Designed to be emotional and interactive, and keep people in-app while ad is delivered.

iPhone 4 Hardware

  • Definitely the biggest announcement of the show...
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First Impressions of Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04 LTS: Viable Alternative to Mac or Windows?

For years now, I've been tinkering with dozens of Linux distros trying to find the perfect match for my free OS needs.  Admittedly, I have had neither the patience nor the skill to use solely Linux and have always used Mac or Windows as my "main" OS.

The newest distro of Ubuntu, cleverly named "Lucid Lynx," is quite a few steps closer to becoming a true replacement for the big guns, and I was pretty impressed in the time I spent with it.

Installation

Lucid Lynx installed on my first gen MacBook without a hitch.  Aside from a few boot lockups, it worked perfectly.  Unlike other distros I have tested in the past, I was able to instantly detect and set up my WiFi connection and download all appropriate updates immediately, without the need to tinker with network settings.

Usability

Even on an outdated machine, Ubuntu 10.04 ran quite smoothly for me - and booting was fast.

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Weighing In On A Potential "App Store" For Macs

You knew it was coming.  I think pundits have been wondering for years whether Mac desktops and laptops might get bound to an App Store environment, becoming fully-rooted residents of the infamous walled garden, planted right next to the fully bloomed iPhone and budding iPad.

Apparently, Sir Jobs has ambiguously denied a random email asking if such a store is in the works, although it's unclear what his answer does or could mean.

My theory?  A Mac App Store of some kind, integrated into iTunes, will exist someday very, very soon... whether we like it or not.  What does that mean for Mac users?

Why a Mac App Store Would, in Theory, Be Awesome

Admittedly, I think an App Store for Mac software would be pretty cool.  There doesn't seem to be any reason not to, really.  Apps like Bodega even make an attempt to emulate this type of environment, and do a pretty good job of it.

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Opera Mini for Apple iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch: Worth the Hype?

If you're a fan of free software, alternatives to big names, or an all-around browser geek, you're probably familiar with Opera.  This program has been around a long time, and is a decent (or superior, depending on opinion) alternative for Internet browsing.  It's a popular choice on lots of portable or embedded devices as well as mobile phones.

The tech community was very, very skeptical that Apple would approve the Opera browser on iPhone, given that it might compete with Safari, but lo and behold - it was actually allowed into the hallowed walled garden.  Immediately after release, it skyrocketed to the top of all 22 App Stores.  Whoa.  Is it worth the hype, though?  

The Good

First of all, Opera Mini is a free download, meaning you have virtually nothing to lose but a bit of space on your iDevice.  So, why not give it a try? 

The main benefit of Opera Mini is a significant boost in browsing speed on any device, most notably on devices with an EDGE connection (original iPhone) or slow 3G service area.

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My Current Favorite Apps and Games for the Apple iPad

Of course, I had to get an iPad at launch, being a "Mac guy" and an early gadget adopter at heart. What really makes the iPad special is the great library of third party applications that are already available in the App Store.  These apps greatly enhance what your iPad can do.  Here's some of my current favorites and must-haves, all of which I recommend full force that you buy or at least try!

Netflix (Free)

Netflix instant streaming on iPad. Nothing more needs to be said.  It's perfect.  You need a subscription to use it, of course.

Strategery ($1.99)

One of my favorite iPhone games has an updated iPad version for only two bucks. If you like Risk, you'll love this, and it really takes advantage of the extra screen real estate.  Polished and fun... I love it so much I wrote a separate review here.

We Rule (Free)

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Review of We Rule for iPhone: Farmville, But Not Really

Farmville.  The mere mention of the name can either whip people into a drooling frenzy of exitement and pure joy or a bloody, hateful, destructive rage.  Regardless of which side of the debate you are on, Farmville (playable on Facebook) is extremely popular and here to stay.  We Rule for iPhone aims to capitalize on this by creating its own social, micromanagement based game.  It's been featured on the App Store and is primed to be well-talked-about, for better or for worse.

What is We Rule?

At its core, We Rule is a simple, Sim City-esque farm and town micromanagement simulator.  Like SimFarm Lite, if you will.  You plan crops and harvest them later.  You build tailoring shops so other members can buy stuff from them.  You build up your experience and coin reserves so you can upgrade your town center, expand your territory, and create more stuff.

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Strategery - A Perfect, Polished Strategy Game for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch

I've had a thing lately for bite-sized games with "polish."  They might not have deep plots, insanely detailed hand drawn graphics, or famous sports figures.  What they do possess, however, is the ability to represent a genre with simplicity, finesse, and elegance.  Strategery for the iPhone does just that, and I love it.  I discovered it through app.itize.us, a site devoted to fishing out the most finely crafted iPhone programs around, which I visit almost daily.  I skipped straight to the paid download, although there is a free version if you want to try that first.

Even the main menu alone should give you an idea of the clean, crisp visual style used in this little gem.  You can see your win/loss records and set the difficulty level and map size.

At this point, you had better be wondering what this game is all about.  I'm assuming that you assumed it was a strategy game, but don't be fooled; it's so simple, just about anybody could pick up and play this.

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Microsoft Courier: Sweeter than the iPad?

Well, at least I think so.  I went on and on about how cool the iPad is not too long ago, and I still think it's a beautiful device.  I was convinced I'd line up like the rest of the Apple crowd, but I've been waffling for weeks on whether I really want to drop the cash.

Then I saw the preview of the Microsoft Courier.

From that moment on, I decided that I will not be purchasing an iPad at launch, and perhaps not at all.  I mean, I do already have an iPhone, but that's not really why.  The Courier appears to do things the iPad doesn't/can't do, and those are things I like.  Here are some of them:

1.  The Courier Has Two Screens

How could an eBook reader be more book-like than by having two screens?  Other than being made out of paper, I can't see how.

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Top Ten Reasons You Should Be Playing Borderlands

You like explosions? Tons of guns? Exploration? Guns? GUNS?? Prepare for your new addiction, and check out these reasons why you should be playing Borderlands.  Now.  You should just buy it.

1.  Harmonious Blend of RPG and FPS

Borderlands rides the fence between role-playing and first-person shooter quite well; while definitely leaning towards a shooter, the plot elements, quests, loot gathering, and leveling structure lend a good RPG feel.

2.  Loads of Action and Good Pacing

There's enough action to the point that you are never actually bored.  I loved Fallout 3 and Oblivion, but they sometimes got boring due to lack of BLOWING THINGS UP.

3.  Replayability

The first playthough lasted about 30 hours for me, but upon completion of the game you can play though again.  Except for that it's a ton harder. And you get to fight "BadMutha Skags."  The second playthrough is exponentially better than the first.

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Windows Phone 7 Series: Has Microsoft Nailed It?

Putting aside my obvious love for Apple products, I have to say that the freshly-revealed Windows Phone 7 Series is quite exciting and has a lot to offer.  Here's a quick rundown from my perspective as a longtime iPhone power user.  (I would check out the video below to get an idea of what the phone will have to offer.)

The Minimalist Interface is Gorgeous...

You keep seeing the word "minimalist" pop up in almost every post and review, and for good reason.  Seriously, there isn't a beveled edge, drop shadow, or cartoony, color-saturated icon anywhere on this thing.  It feels simultaneously retro and futuristic, and makes the iPhone/iPod touch icons look positively silly.  I would gladly replace my iPhone's general look and feel with this one anyday.

The look extends to everything from the calendar app to the email reader, which is actually black and white if I'm not mistaken.

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Pastebot for iPhone Review: A Solid, Polished Mobile Clipboard

The beauty of apps available in the App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch (and soon, for the iPad) is that they typically do one thing, and they do it really well.  Pastebot, a productivity application by Tapbots, is no exception to this trend.

iPhone was unfashionably late to the party with a copy and paste feature, but as soon as it was made available, developers jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of it.  Of all the apps I had heard of, this one sounded like the best to try, and I have no doubts that it is indeed the finest (although I haven't tested any others, I'm pretty confident.)

Simply copy and paste any text or photo from your iPhone, such as from a webpage in Mobile Safari, and open the Pastebot application.  Whatever was on your iPhone's clipboard is immediately copied into Pastebot. 

You can then perform several functions on the clipping, which range from simply giving it a title...

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The Apple iPad - Should You Buy One? Should You Care?

I'm going to.

Now, before you dismiss me as some raving lunatic fanboi with red glowing eyes and a wallet with bills sticking out of it labeled "for Steve," hear me out. I was super skeptical at first.

What is the iPad?

So, unless you live in a far-away dimension, or just don't care about tech, you've heard far too much about the much-anticipated iPad.  You've heard the rumors, you saw the liveblog, you peeped the Photoshopped parodies.  But should you care?

It's more than a giant iPhone, but less than a laptop - what a tablet should be.  At least that's my opinion.  It's got a 9.7" screen, weighs 1.5 pounds, and is half an inch thick: typical sexy Apple fare, showcasing a full multi-touch display. It's available in several trims, ranging in price from $499 for the basic, Wi-Fi only model with 16GB storage up to $829 for the 64GB, Wi-Fi and 3G sporting model.

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Mint: A Fresh Approach to Cleaning Floors, With A Robotic Twist

Ok, ok - I know the title is cliche.  However, I couldn't resist.  Forgive me.

Moving on.  For brevity's sake, let's say that I saw a metric ton's worth of sweet gear at CES 2010.  Everything from media streamers to iPhone skins to Android phones and back again were on display for showgoers' ogling pleasure.  After a while, all of the iPod clones and netbooks start to swim together in a blurry soup of semiconductors and colored plastic, leaving you with nothing but callouses on your feet and a mean headache.

One thing really stood out for me, even through the hubbub: the Mint floor cleaning robot, by Evolution Robotics.  I'm not sure if it was the slick marketing, unique logo, or the product itself that attracted me.  My mind keeps going back to it, and I feel compelled to talk about it.

The Mint is a cute little robot, square-shaped, made out of a white plastic.

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Review of Apple's Magic Mouse... Mighty Mouse Part Deux? Or Not?

The Mighty Mouse.  The mere mention of the "pointing-device-who-shall-not-be-named" evokes deep regret and even rage in the fan-iest of Apple's devoted fanboi crowd.  The loathing for this overpriced hunk of plastic pervades the Internet, and I echo that hatred.  I liked it at first, but eventually the little scrolly ball failed, prompting me to attempt surgery and repair it.  I, of course, failed miserably and it ended up a cracked hunk of junk in the circular file.  So much for that.

Apple's Magic Mouse

I had been using a cheap, crappy $6 dollar mouse for the longest time, and I finally cracked and bought the Magic Mouse.  Yeah, there are tons of other options, but I have always liked Apple's peripherals.  Was it a good buy?

First Impressions

Review of Apple's Mighty Mouse

The Magic Mouse is packaged in typical Apple style, in a tiny secure plastic clamshell.  Very little is wasted here, which is a good thing - although they're a bit hard to find in the store when they're buried in a shelf.

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Shop Smartphones for the Holidays

I'm addicted to my smartphone, but hey, I'm a huge geek.  I feel pretty strongly, though, that it's starting to get to the point where even your average tech-fearing Luddite will be avoiding the dumbphones this year.  They're so cheap these days, and their feature sets are too powerful to ignore.  That being said, though, which do you pick?  How on earth do you decide between Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, and other OS's?  Here's a "quick and dirty overview" of a few of each major network's most buzz-worthy handsets.

Verizon Wireless

DROID by Motorola

Features:

  • Runs Android 2.0
  • 5 MP Camera
  • World's thinnest QWERTY sliding keyboard
  • Visual Voicemail
  • Full suite of Google Apps
  • Downloadable apps via the Android Market
  • Excellent touch screen with impressive 480x854 resolution
  • Built-in navigation with Google Maps
  • Multitasking capability

Cost: $199.99 w/ new 2 year contract

More Information on the Motorola DROID

HTC Touch Diamond

Features:

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Review of Opera 10.10 - A Unique Contender in the Browser Wars

What Internet browser do you use?  Internet Explorer?  If so, you're in the majority... over 60% of Internet users still roam the intarwebs with IE, with Mozilla Firefox coming in a distant second at about 25%.

The browser wars are raging on, however, with smaller contenders stepping up to the plate for their own chance at dominance.  Apple's Safari and Google Chrome are fast, flexible, secure browsers that while used only by a very small portion of the Internet community, are gaining popularity.  Then, there's Opera.

At a measly 1.5%, Opera users are truly the fanboy/fangirl majority - but the quality of their recent offering, Opera 10.10, belies this small user base.  It's pretty amazing what this recent release can actually do; sadly, most will probably ignore it.  This is my small attempt to encourage people to give the new Opera a try, as competition is good, and so is this browser.

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MobileRSS iPhone App Review

I don't know, but it just seems like RSS is so under-rated.  It certainly takes a backseat to Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Alltop, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and so many other online services that bask in the glory of media attention and daily mention basically everywhere.  Some even declare that RSS is dying, soon to be replaced by Twitter (or whomever else.)

So whatever happened to the good old RSS feed?  Truth be told, there are way too many clients available, how in the world do you pick one?  It might seem like a lot to manage and keep with, as well as syncing across multiple PC's.  I think this is why many people have ditched favorite services such as Google Reader for organized browser bookmarks instead.

That just won't cut it for me.  I want access to all of my news in one convenient spot so I don't have to navigate to individual sites just to see if it's something I want to read or not.

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A Mac Lover's Review of Windows 7

Many, if not most of my posts here, are infused with some Mac-ery goodness - no surprise to the rest of the blogging community, journalists, or social media freaks (whom many of which are Apple-heads.)

What about pretty much everyone else, though?  Doesn't it get old hearing everybody yap their traps about how awesome Apple is and constantly diss Windows like the family outcast?  Well, be annoyed no more, as Redmond's latest creation, Windows 7, is super-slick - and rights most of the wrongs perpetrated by the abomination typically known as Vista.

Windows 7 Is Stable

From my experience so far, I can declare that Windows 7 is pretty stable and doesn't crash (or otherwise get wonky) anywhere nearly as bad as Vista.  Even on my Dell Mini 9 (my test machine so far) multiple applications open, run, close, and open again with no issues.  I almost never require a reboot.

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