Armen Chakmakjian

Posts Tagged ‘iPad’

Livescribe Sky Pen and Evernote

In Random on January 27, 2013 at 3:23 am

This is friggin awesome. I have a livescribe Sky pen which syncs over wifi to evernote. while I’m sitting here taking notes in my livescribe notebook as I’m reading articles for class, every few minutes the pen syncs and I see that the pages I’m writing are appearing in evernote. Voi La.

So far though I’ve only been able to get this to work at home. When I’m at work or school (or panera bread), the network authentication isn’t handled by the pen (because they require extra dialogues). In those cases I can hook my pen up to the USB on my MBA and use a “helper” utility which syncs to evernote on my request.

This new capability really makes taking notes useful. Alas if this was available 3 years ago when I bought my first livescribe pen I’d have had all my notebooks in the cloud. Unfortunately the pre-existing 9 notebooks of info are all my MBA in the old desktop app. Livescribe mentions that they will eventually add the capability to move those notebooks (including the audio) to Evernote.

I love convergence. I write on paper, it syncs to the cloud, my notes are available on all my devices (either through apps or the evernote web client). Especially cool on my iPad.

Anyway, back to my homework. (Porter’s 28 page treatise on strategy).

2012 is almost done, 2013 is almost here…

In Random on December 31, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I think the Mayans were right. With 2012 closing, I get the feeling that the “Social Media” age, at least the bubble portion of it, is over. The consolidation of networks is almost complete, with Facebook at its acme now for social and LinkedIn for professionals. There are some upstarts and sites that are trying to add things, but its pretty much over. Twitter has sort of never gone beyond a technology and it seems more like a connector of other sites than a destination on its own (except during crises, then it seems becomes useful again to find links to other sites where the real news is). I’m still working on rebuilding my book website on Tumblr, but I never seem to have the time.

On the personal side, we’re in college application mode; the younger son is applying. The older son is in the middle of his 3rd year (of 5) in college. I’m proud of both of them. I’m down to my last class for my MBA, so if all goes well, we’ll have graduations from High School, Armenian Saturday School, Sunday school and Graduate School. And I’ll be retiring myself from Sunday School teaching also.

One interesting side effect of the Saturday School graduation is that my wife and I will not have the interesting excuse to visit Panera Bread each Saturday morning. Time for a new ritual I guess. Maybe we’ll go exercise.

I also had an operation this summer that kind of set me back on the keeping in shape front. It took a while for me to recover fully and there’s 5-7 lbs. I don’t usually do resolutions, I just set a goal and work at it, but this year, I’m going to undo the damage of last summer by the summer.

Just before that operation my wife and I went on a cruise to Bermuda out of Boston. OK so that added to the fitness issue, but I did try and exercise between the 14 meals a day. Bermuda was awesome, and I want to go again and leaving out of Boston was really convenient. Now I have this fantasy retirement dream where I fly to Bermuda and fly over everybody else driving to the cape 🙂

At work, things got real busy this year and the team under me doubled in size (actually just a little under that). I lead the development team that works on much (but not all) of the customer facing features of the email, survey and several add-on products for Constant Contact. One fun thing I did this year was visit customers in Arlington and learn how they used the product. And for those who have worked for me before, I wrote typically Armen-style reports to disseminate what I had learned back into engineering.

With on the job learning and the serendipitous timing of my marketing and human factors concentrations classes at Bentley, I was applying everything I was learning back and forth between the two experiences. As if that wasn’t enough learning, I also went to a 3 day and night seminar at Babson that my company offered to a bunch of us. As the lead instructor called it, it was an MBA overview in 3 days. After getting out of the class, I worked on a team that attached a corporate question, which was pretty cool as I got to work with people from across the company on the effort, not just in our immediate engineering team.

Technology-wise, I got an iPad, a new Sky Livescribe Pen, used Evernote more extensively for my school research than I ever did before. In the case of Evernote, I’m starting to put all kinds of other stuff in it that are not about school it is proving more and more useful. And when mobileme went away and took my Sunday School website with it, I moved all the content to Evernote which worked great for me. Dropbox and iCloud/IWork documents were also used and installed a windows 8 upgrade for my wife’s computer.

One of the newest things I’m playing with is “Paper” by 53, Inc. It’s like finger paint for adults, except it’s on my iPad. I guess the next area of investigation for me is whether I can draw ☺ And one thing I am anticipating greatly, the next generation of Apple TV.

Continuing the artistic slant here, I played guitar and sang at a family-friends rental down on the cape. It was pretty funny when kids in the next yard stuck their heads over the gate to hear the set and people walking along the street stopped to listen. Even my wife was impressed (although I probably have played all those songs too many times at home over the 22 years we have been married)

I also played 3 70’s songs at a fundraiser at my former employer for project bread. I’m playing the same set in a couple of weeks at an open mic; lets see how that goes. I just restrung my Taylor 12 string today in preparation, and I still have to restring my Martin 6 string before that event. My plan for an addition this year is to learn how to play “Limelight” by Rush on my Les Paul a little better than I muddle through it currently…and make sure I can remember all the words.

More on the fun side looking back, I went to 3 Glenlivet scotch tastings this year. The first was at Le Cordon Bleu where they showed us how to make beef tongue tacos and drink scotch at the same time. The second was a fun marketing event where we tried 4 different malts. The last was at the International Poster Company on Newbury Street. That last one was actually cooler than it sounds; I learned about how the posters were made way back when and saw some neat stuff. I know I’ll go back without the scotch at some point to pick out something.

Finally over the last 4 days we watched the extended version of the Lord of the Rings in Blu-ray. My ears are still ringing but we had a lot of fun watching it. It was a Christmas gift from the boys. They also took my wife and I to Les Miserables and that was a lot of fun. We tried to go see Lincoln and it was sold out and my older son is still trying to figure out how to get me to the Hobbit.

Anyway, a pastiche of what has been a great year and some of the things I’m looking forward to this year.

Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2013 to you all.

Kindle Fire 6.2.1 – Phew!

In Random on December 23, 2011 at 8:51 pm

So with a month under my belt with the kindle fire I’m mostly happy.  Being a technologist I have to admit I was giving it a long leash to find its way.  There were some weirdnesses in the experience and some quirkiness it apps that were comparable to ones on my iPhone that started to get under my skin.  Then I saw that Amazon was rolling out an update.  

Amazon rolling out an update generally means that if I didn’t know about it I’d be pleasantly surprised when I got it, but knowing about it and waiting was not going to work.  So I downloaded the app myself to my Air and hooked the fire up to the USB and then it restarted twice as described in the faq.  

PHEW! was my reaction.  First off the most noticeable change was the responsiveness of the carousel on the landing page.  It is now useful.  Also double taps to open an app or a link work without me trying 3 times.  Like I said, I bought early and knew that this was going to happen, but I had almost given up hope.

The next thing was that the famous WSJ app no longer randomly hung or crashed.  Last night was the first night in a while, reading the days news where I never got stuck restarting the app after a few minutes of use.

Another thing that got much better was that on the carousel, I could remove things I didn’t want to see anymore.  

I’m still not happy with the way that certain fonts are rendered, the Facebook app looks all washed out.  However, I did notice that Silk started to get a little snappier.  Not sure why.  

I am starting to use it more and more at night while I’m watching TV as the device I look up stuff on rather than my Air (which I can leave attached to my Tbolt display in the other room).  

The point of this is that (as I pointed out when I bought the team iPad at my last job) was that the device is all about content consumption.  Sure sure you can use garageband on an iPad…but I’d rather use the full version on my Air and if I’m going to type a story or a blogpost, I still need a real keyboard until the virtual ones get a better tactile feel (or voice recognition or direct mind link replace them).

So thank you Amazon for fixing the fire early in its life.  

The Kindle Killer? The NOOKstudy…

In Business & Finance, College, Social Media, technology on August 3, 2010 at 8:19 pm

So I am a happy kindle owner. I really enjoy reading it on a Sunny day on the beach or at lunch outside near where I work. I also go to school at night. When I attempted to buy books for classes on my kindle, few were available. And truly the small form factor is hard to use. There is the Kindle DX, but the price is steep…and when you get there, you really could go to the iPad (at least as the Kindle DX is rendered now).

I have the Nook software for my droid, and it is pretty much equivalent to the kindle for droid. OK for reading a book on a train or something.

Today I was invited to join NOOKstudy which is the PC/Mac based Nook software specifically designed for students. Works pretty well, of course…but there is a limitation. None of the e-textbooks available will be shareable with the other Nookish devices including the 6 in nook (or even the iPad from what I am reading) because of the textbook size.

This is a Kindle wounder though, if not a killer. Most kids buy their textbooks from B&N in the campus bookstores (used books often to save money). Now if I had a Kindle DX sized Nook that allowed me to take notes (or even just see them) on the portable device…that would be a useful thing. I probably would keep (or upgrade) my Kindle 2 for general reading, but I’d be using that NOOKstudyDX for school.

Just saying…

So I’m thinking about a kindle book promotion tying it to a donation to a charity…

In iPad, Kindle, Literature, Random, Science Fiction, Social Media, technology, web 2.0 on July 24, 2010 at 3:39 pm

So I was sitting here.  I’ve done a bunch of shameless self promotion in trying to get book sales. Remember, at the moment you must have the amazon kindle or a device that has the amazon kindle software (iphone/ipad/ipodtouch, pc, mac or android phone)  I’ve had several, nothing that’ll help me buy that writing grotto on Martha’s Vineyard, but I am much appreciative of the support.   I was thinking of doing something different, and I am looking for some opinions before I embark on this.   Here’s the plan:

From August 1, 2010 to Aug, 31 2010 I would tie sales of my books to a donation to a charity.  So for every copy I sold, I’d donate 1 dollar to a charity.   I also to generate some traffic and ideas, I’d use a PollDaddy poll with a set of potential charities (3-5 let’s say) and see what the general consensus was to whom I should donate the money to.

Oh and just for the sake of full disclosure, I’m currently on the 35% plan for Amazon, and my book is $7.  So a dollar a book is about 40% of my take but a dollar is easy to tie to the number of books sold.  500 copies, $5oo for example.  I’d obviously publish the results on this blog.

So just out of curiousity I’m going to take a poll of all of you out there:

iPad quick review…

In Business & Finance, iPad, Kindle, Music, Social Media, web 2.0 on April 6, 2010 at 2:06 am

So I’ve been playing with the one that arrived on saturday.  You can see the videos of me opening it.  Now that I’ve used it for a day I can say the following:

  • If you are not particularly technical, this is a device for you.  I’m not saying this in the pejorative sense.  I mean that computers and laptops have “baggage” that you need to assimilate in some fashion in order to get to the content that you wish to get to.  If you are not a content creator, computers are a complete waste of time, space AND knowledge.   This is not.
  • From a couch potato perspective, there are 2 features that it lacks.  It does need a camera for video conferencing. The other thing is something that may not make sense to a lot of people:  AirTunes.   The ultimate couch potato device does NOT allow me to make my music ambient while I read a book on the device or browse the web.  This has got to be an easy feature now that the apple tv and airport express are part of the home.
  • The WSJ app is awesome…BUT…it seems to want to load every previous issue of the paper each time I use it before I can look at the current issue.  This is problematic when trying to just get TODAY’s news.  This is a rap on ruppert murdoch more than steve jobs.
  • There does seem to be some notable lag on the browser…it isn’t faster than my macbook pro.
  • I installed pages. nice.  but without iwork.com it seems a bit stunted.
  • The color is absolutely vivid. It made my kindle cry.
  • It is not readable in sunlight, I tried it today.  I do not mean grab a piece of information. I mean readable, like on a beach for 2 hours.
  • The map software is very good.
  • The new mail program is very nice.
  • ibooks page turning is very nice
  • The kindle app is beautiful, but doesn’t allow you to get to home once you are reading a book UNTIL you change the orientation of the screen by 90 degrees.  Then it lets the button appear.  seems kinda odd.

Anyway I have more playing to do.

    The iPad was delivered – Videos tell the story

    In Business & Finance, iPad, Kindle, Literature, Random, Social Media, web 2.0 on April 5, 2010 at 4:31 am

    As I promised, I have a video tour de force (maybe farce) of me opening the iPad package and doing a few things with it.  I haven’t had a chance to really use it (like download the wordpress app and blog directly from it — I’m writing this on my macbook)…but anyway it is a quite beautiful device and the WSJ and Kindle apps are very good.   Part 1 is mostly unpacking and setup, and part 2 I load some apps and do some things.

    On the iPad = Horus, Kindle = Osiris and my evaluation of Newspapers on these devices…

    In iPad, Kindle, Literature, technology, web 2.0 on April 2, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Good Friday and the messianic death and resurrection weren’t good metaphors for this event.  However, another tradition provides something more applicable: Osiris’s murder by Set and trip through the down the Nile in a the wooden sarcophagus and the scattering of his remains and then his supposed return in the form of Horus as a metaphor for my Kindle as the iPad makes its way from China to my home tomorrow.  How’s that?

    So every couple of hours, I’m checking the UPS site to see where the iPad is.  Last I checked it was in Anchorage.  I’ve purchased the iPad for work because I think it’s going to be a game changer for the product I work on, QuickBase.  However, that’s a different story.

    This morning I was reading today’s issue of my 2 week complimentary subscription to the New York Times on the Kindle and I did feel something wasn’t right…and it wasn’t going to be solved by the iPad.  It has to do with newspapers.  I was a long-time reader of the Wall Street Journal in paper form.  I’d buy it in the train station.  Back then, it was 6 columns.  Fold the broadsheet in half and 3 columns were available to you.  It was much more manageable than a tabloid since the took advantage of the length of the page to make the paper thinner overall.

    I read relatively fast.  Probably between 600-1000 words per minute when I’m not skimming.  In paperback book terms that’s about 1-2 pages a minute.  On the 6″ kindle 2, using the smallest available font, that’s about the same.  When reading a book, keeping at that pace, a 200 page book takes me about 2-3 hours if I have that long uninterrupted by people or nature.  That kind of reading though is different than how I read newspapers.

    The reading methodology I used on the WSJ, for example, was scan and drill.  Scan the whole article, title and text, and if it caught me, start from the top and really read it.  That meant that on the red line train from Alewife station to Downtown Crossing (to switch to the orange line) I’d have scanned the whole newspaper and read a several articles in-depth.  I could do something similar with the Boston Globe or the NYT on those days that I ended up with a copy, but their column layout was 1 3 5 6 depending on section and which part of the page you were on (more trouble some if sections were combined on a page) meaning that I had to do jiu-jitsu with the folding to have it do the same as the WSJ.

    So back to the iPad and the Kindle.  I’ve tried the FT, the Economist and now the NYT on my Kindle II.  I really enjoyed the FT but even though I like reading it, I finally figured out what I don’t like about reading a newspaper on my Kindle.   I can’t do the scan and drill.  Sorry WSJ and NYT’s websites, browsing a homepage of a newspaper is not the same a newspaper scan and drill. Browsing assumes the action of clicking to uncover the information. and the 16×9 screen doesn’t allow me to scan a long article before deciding to read it easily.   This is why I’ve never liked reading news on the web.   The depth of the material and the format were all wrong.

    On the kindle, I have a different problem with the newspapers.  The “section list” that all the publications use tells me what the organization of the newspaper is and how many articles are in each section but it affords me neither the preview/mouseover of a webpage (giving me the first few sentences of an article or an abstract) nor does it allow me to scan and drill like a broadsheet newspaper.  Rather than the annoying click and uncover of a web page, I must use the toggle to travel to the first page (kindle page…like a book chapter) and move on but if I want to scan the article I have to hit next page next page next page…its just isn’t the same.

    People who did not read newspapers or even glossy magazines like Time and Newsweek in their heyday do not understand this. This is the primordial hunting thing.  Scanning the horizon to see the layout, then focusing on a topic.  Hunters did not browse, they scanned.  And I do not think that the iPad will solve this.  It will solve many other couch potato things that a laptop cannot, but knowing that an iPad is a glorified iPod Touch married with the form factor of a big Kindle, it still is not 23 inches from top to bottom like a broadsheet.  It will be a new metaphor, but it will not be a 1 for 1 replacement for newspapers.    I’ll gush over it immediately but then when the reality distortion zone wears off I’ll be left with 2 devices which allow me to browse my news but not scan and drill.

    Just checked…its still says Alaska 🙂

    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.