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Showing posts from December, 2010

My ultraportable dilemma

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It's time for me to get a new laptop. My Dell XPS M1330 is still running well, though a bit battle scarred. But I like to upgrade well before I see any real trouble - as a self-employed person, I have only one machine and no backup plan to deal with downtime.

Owing to heavy travel and daily commuting, I prefer ultraportables. An ultraportable is defined as a machine which weighs approximately 2kg or less and it usually has a screen size of 11 to 13 inches. However, it needs to have specs of a performance notebook, rather than a netbook ; which in today's terms means, an iCore processor, 3GB or more of RAM and 320-500 GB of Hard Drive space.

These are some of the issues I have faced in selecting an ultraportable.
1) Price : Ultraportables are mostly targeted at business users and carry a steep business tag. At the top end,  Dell Latitude and the Sony Vaio Z series go above Rs. 1 lakh and this pricing makes them more appropriate for corporations than individuals. At the lower e…

Kindle : the cheapest and best ebook reader?

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Bloomberg has reported  that Amazon is likely to sell 8 million Kindles in 2010, which is 60% higher than predicted by analysts. To put this in perspective, Apple has sold 7.4 million iPads since their debut in April. And Amazon sold only 2.4 million Kindles last year. The Kindle sales figures are unofficial and based on industry sources, as Amazon does not share its sales data. But the figures reveal how the ebook reader market is booming despite predictions that tablets will wipe out the category,  and Amazon's extent of leadership over rivals like Sony and Barnes and Noble's Nook.

The latest, 3rd generation Kindle was launched earlier this year and has gotten good reviews from CNet, Engadget and a lot of other sites. Smaller and lighter than the earlier Kindle and priced at USD 139 (around Rs.6000) for the wi-fi only model, this is probably the cheapest and best ebook reader you can get at that price. Throw in a battery that goes on for a month, a rudimentary webkit browser…

Net neutrality : the debate so far

I have embarked on a difficult topic this time. Net neutrality is a subject of academic study with political and business implications. But I have decided to write about it as a layperson who reaps the benefits of a 'free' internet. and I guess this is where most of us are at.
The context of the debate is the FCC Proposal for net neutrality that goes for vote tomorrow and eventually to the US Congress. While the laws that get passed will be applicable to the US, they will definitely set a precedent for other countries.
You can download and read this mammoth-sized document here. The key points are; 1) The proposed legislation will be applicable only to all forms of broadband access (wired and wireless broadband) and will not regulate the actual content of the internet itself (in any case, it's not even possible to control what gets put up on the net). In other words, the regulations will encompass the broadband providers - ISPs and mobile companies - and their services to end …

tablets in 2011 - what to expect

Tablets have just begun to come into their own and the good news is that we are likely to see many more launches in 2011. What can we expect by way of hardware, software and of course, pricing?

1) Hardware
Hardware for tablets will approach top-end parity, as it has done for cellphones. The processor of choice is dual core, and there are several manufacturers in the fray. Samsung has already announced the Orion, with a pair of 1 GHz ARM Cortex A9 cores. The NVidia Tegra  chipset has already been integrated into several tablets and mobile phones including the newly launched LG Optimus 2X, and Notion Ink's Adam tablet. Texas Instruments has so far been powering Motorola phones with a single core chip, and will be debuting the 1.5 GHz OMAP dual core mobile processor next year. The performance will reportedly be faster than the NVidia Tegra. Qualcomm also has 1.2 GHz and 1.5 GHz processors coming up. Hopefully, a lot of these powerhouses will get showcased at CES 2011 in January. For …

More information about Notion Ink's Adam Tablet

A month ago, I had blogged about Notion Ink's Adam Tablet. A lot of action has happened since then, if you've been following Rohan Shravan's blog. The Adam has gone on global pre-order, and basically been a sell out. There have been glitches with the online ordering system, some criticism around the high shipping fees and apprehensions about buying a tablet that no one has yet seen in action. But Notion Ink will finally display the tablet at CES 2010 and that should answer a lot of questions that are currently floating around. The people who have pre-ordered will receive their tablets in the second week of January 2011.

About the pre-order sales, DNA reports Shravan saying that they are split 60-40 between Europe and USA. No one from India has bought this device? That's a shame, considering the starting price is barely Rs. 15,000.

As launch date nears, Shravan has been sharing more and more info about the Adam, and this interview with Android Police answers a lot of q…

My Wi-fi nightmares

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Since the past 3 months, I have been facing a problem. I connect to the internet on my laptop through a Linksys wi-fi router, and at least twice a day, I face connectivity issues. Either I just cannot find my wi-fi network, or my laptop automatically disconnects. Using a standard procedure to troubleshoot a wi-fi connection, I tried moving my router closer to the living room where I access the net. And then I tried to change the channel on which my router connects. In order to do this, I downloaded inSSIDer from Metageek. InSSIDer is a software that uses your wi-fi card to scan and display all the wireless networks in your vicinty, and also maps the signal strength of each network. You can use the information to choose a less congested channel for your router.

But I was in for an unpleasant surprise. The picture says it all
First of all, there are no less than 25 APs (access points) or wireless connections. 95% of these are Tikona wireless connections - there is a Tikona wireless acces…

Cowon is back with the X7

I realise that it's been a long time since I have written on my core passion : headphones and DAPs. To be honest, there were not a lot of developments to write about though. I sometimes wonder if DAPs as a category will survive; beyond a niche segment of audiophiles, cellphones dispense your daily dose of music and most of them do a decent job though my ears are not very tolerant of them. People praise the SQ of the Samsung Wave but to me it sounds a tad metallic.

But now I have cause to rejoice as engadget reports that the Cowon X7 is here. This player has a 4.3 " resistive touch screen, a mammoth HDD with 80/120/160 GB options and a killer battery life of 103 hours for audio. And of course, the legendary Cowon SQ. Having owned the Cowon D2, and listened to both the X5 and the S9, I can say that these guys really deliver good sound quality.

Tech2 reports that the D2 is available in India for Rs.18,000.

Like many people, I value the extra hard drive space, which has vanished a…