Armen Chakmakjian

Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Kindle vs iPad: My take after the media blitz

In Kindle, Random, Social Media, technology, web 2.0 on January 31, 2010 at 1:59 am

So being that I have to eventually salivate over an iPad, but already have a Kindle 2, I’m going to venture this review based on browsing the web, watching Steve Jobs’s introduction of the product and just my general sense.

1) The iPad will be a big hit.

2) The kindle is already a hit and will not be supplanted by the iPad once people reach the heart of summer and go down to the beach and have the shiny reflective surface blind them mercilessly when then are trying to show it off.

3)Kindle app store…wtf.  With that slow display and limited input capability?  Do you really expect a user to use the toggle switch to traverse practice tests in a textbook and supply answers?

4) The kindle is a dedicated reading device that has and will change how we read books.

5) The iPad is a huge highly capable iPod Touch and will eat into mac computer sales.  I probably will get one after the 3G version comes out so that I always have a backup network to get to in a pinch, but what I probably will do is walk around with my Kindle and my iPad in my backpack and leave my macbook home for doing intensive stuff (like editing video, concentrated writing, et cetera).

6) If the kindle app for the ipod touch works as described (as the other 140,000 app store apps are expected to), why do I care if I’m holding my iPad or my Kindle if they sync the same purchase between the two from Amazon?

7) I now can line up my lightscribe pen, my droid, my kindle 2, an iPad, my apple TV and my MacBook in a row and take a picture just because each one is slightly bigger than the next.

8 ) The reason I think that the iPad will eat into laptop sales rather than Kindle sales is because if iWork on the iPad is for real, you now have a productivity suite in your hands that is desktop quality and capable in a useful form factor.  If you keep docs on iWork.com or even on your iDisk on me.com you can get to any piece of work, download it and then show or edit it.

9) I was walking around the mall behind my wife today while she went up and down aisles in Filene’s basement in Watertown.  my Kindle 2 was paperback book sized.  An iPad would be TOO BIG to stand around and and act semi-attentive.  Heck my kindle 2 gets looks from people and a kindle dx would be too big also.

10) What I didn’t see (which may be there) is if the Music App on the iPad can broadcast/stream to my apple TV like itunes on my macbook (not the streaming on the appleTV, the reverse where you can tell the macbook to use the appleTV as its speakers).  If it can, I could see how useful (sitting on the couch like Steve Jobs) browsing/reading while my selection of music goes to my Apple TV and my surround system.

That’s my take on it.  Kind of disjoint.  I might get one in 90 days or so when the 3G version comes out…or wait till my birthday in the summer…or wait till Christmas.  Although if I wait till Christmas, I’ll wait until January to see if they do an update at MacWorld or some other venue.

A Marketing Experiment via tweets…

In Kindle, Literature, Random, Science Fiction, Social Media, technology, web 2.0 on January 18, 2010 at 2:34 am

With all the SEO experts, social media experts, marketing gurus and whatnot, I thought I’d try something.  I’ve scheduled 4 tweets on peoplebrowser to appear every 5040 minutes, each one about 20 minutes apart about my book, Urtaru.  These will repeat 9 times each.  Given my social network map which I talked about in another blog post (which now has yahoomeme attached to it) I should be able to hit the 4 corners of the earth twice a week.

So as to have a good sense of my clicks, I have bit.ly to see what people are clicking on, and google analytics on my book website.  If the clicker ends up in my blog on wordpress, that has some level of analytics too, and can send people to my google/bit.ly-ized links.

We’ll see how it goes.

Google and Net Neutrality

In Random on January 16, 2010 at 3:10 pm

While the phone and cable companies are getting apoplectic on the net neutrality issue I thought that the last line in this article in the WSJ today was really funny…so I dugg it…

WSJ.com – FCC Crafts Plan-B for Web Traffic

“For its part, Google said net-neutrality rules would “keep the Internet awesome for everybody” although it noted that there is “no principled legal basis or demonstrated need” to extend those rules over Internet applications and content providers like itself.”

I think that that use of awesome is awesome…:-) It sounds so different than the responses from the various carriers, you can tell they are from different industries and technological generations…

Follow up: Pulse Smartpen and Livescribe Software (specifically handwriting recognition)

In Kindle, Social Media, technology, web 2.0 on January 9, 2010 at 5:36 am

So as I wrote in my last blog post I was hoping that the files generated by Livescribe were searchable via text (aka OCR my handwriting).   @philbog told me that Evernote does OCR of pdfs and images and then @macktucket said from across the room that the livescribe had an app you could buy.

Anyway, I loaded the evernote for mac client, and saw it sync my documents from the web and there were my pdfs and no ocr no search.  I googled livescribe evernote and searchable and got advice that I needed to upgrade to premium to get that feature on evernote.  A possibility, but I haven’t got enough content up yet that I’d want to search that that would have been worth it.  While I was pouring through the search hits, I saw a reference that said that livescribe desktop searched the uploaded docs…hmmmm….so I went back over to the desktop and saw the search box (in a new light) and typed in something. Suddenly instead of 25 thumbnail pages of notes in the panel, I see 2 thumbnails with a tiny yellow glow emanating from the middle of each of the thumbnails. I expanded one of them and Voi la it had found the word highlighted it in the written text (Cursive, not printing…cursive…yes I know how to write cursive…yes, old school).

I was so excited by the fact that it could read my writing I called my wife and sons over and cackled endlessly.  I then had them pick out words from the text just to see if it could find them.  9 out of 10 were found.  the 10% failure seemed to be due to the the fact that some of my capital T’s are being mistaken for lower case and the search is evidently cursively case sensitive (HA!) and those T’s were written badly.

Anyway, this makes the thing REALLY useful to me for both school and work.

Not so useful for sharing because the pdfs that are generated don’t seem to be searchable, but that may be another thing that I’m just not doing correctly.   if I got search working correctly in pdfs, I’d load the searchable pdfs onto my kindle and see if it could find text in them (if the kindle allowed you to search pdfs of course).  Anyway experiments and features for another day.

Thanks to @philbog and @mactucket for their inspiration.

Oh my droid just made its wonderful DRRRROIDDD sound…I’d better go check to see if it is something important…

Pulse Smartpen and Livescribe Software

In Kindle, Social Media, technology, web 2.0 on January 8, 2010 at 3:02 am

So I got one of these for Christmas, Thanks Honey!

Of course the technology is neat, and on that alone I’d at least play with it.  For me it’s not just the technology itself, its how to use it with other stuff.

So for the not-so-technical, the pulse pen is a pen with a bunch of electronics in it.  It is used in conjunction with the livescribe notebooks, journals and pads.

The pen functions by writing just like you would in a normal notebook except that these pages in the special notebook have tiny little dots on them, almost too small to see with the naked eye, that help the pen copy everything you are writing.  When you dock the pen with your computer, the livescribe software reads everything that the pen stored and renders a page that has your penmanship there to share.  It’s as if the pen took a picture of what you were writing.

But that’s not all.  Since the pen knows where you are on the page based on those dots and the tiny little camera in the end of it near the pen-tip, you can do other things.  The pen as an audio recorder built in which means you can record your voice or whatever is happening at the time you are writing.   You activate the recorder by hitting controls at the bottom of every page that say record, pause and stop.  What you can do is hit record, start writing and it records whatever is being said or the ambient noise while you are writing until you hit stop.  If you tap on the paper near the beginning of the place you wrote at after you hit record, it replays what was recorded at the time you were writing.

There are also the necessary cool little apps like the movies in the led display on the pen and a way of telling the pen that you are a piano, draw a piano keyboard, then change instruments and record music and a rhythm accompaniment.

The pages that are uploaded into the livescribe software can be replayed and you can hear the audio associated with your writing.  The whole thing is pretty cool although it seems like a lot of work for just a cool hodgepodge of features.

The better part was how I discovered the sharing aspect of it.  First of all the pen knows which pages have been written on and in which notebook.  So you can have many notebooks stored on your computer.   You can (at least on the mac) pick a group of pages to print to printer or print to pdf.  This means that you can give somebody notes if they’ve missed a meeting or a class…but if you print to pdf, you can even do more things…

For example I was able to print to pdf, and then take the saved document and load it in my kindle.  That’s kinda cool.  But then I was taking a class at work which had a blog for us to share the info and I posted my notes after each half day to posterous.com and it renders the pdfs through the scribd reader which means that just like embedding a movie or a picture, you end up with a scrollable or page turnable electronic doc embedded on the posterous post.  OF course you can email the pdf to someone else too.  Here’s an example on my posterous

One thing I haven’t figured out is if there was a way to annotate the stored pages so that you can turn the pages (which are essentially pictures) into searchable documents.   That would be cool…maybe its there and I just didn’t get to it yet.  It seems like something that the geeks who invented this would have on the product backlog

The other thing you lose when you convert to PDF is any audio recordings that were associated with that page.  Oh well not a deal killer.  but if the audio was still available and the bookmarks were transferable through the pdf, it’d be cool to read the docs on my kindle and then have it render the sound…that’d be awesome (ok ok, when the ipad/islate/newton2.0 comes out I won’t need to worry about this right?)

Oh I forgot to tell you.  On the inside of the cover page you’ll see all kinds of things you can tap that are commands to the pen to present something.  battery life, memory available in the pen…and also a calculator.  Now this is actually kind of cool.  you have the picture of a calculator, and you tap the buttons with the pen and the result is presented in the led display of the pen.  not bad.