For me 3D printers are really going to be the future of spare parts/components and electronic delivery. Everyone’s probably heard of 3D printers as of recently because of the proliferation of blueprints for a 3D printed gun. The fact is that 3D printers have been around for quite some time now, but haven’t really made their way to homes because of high prices, a lack of demand, a lack of consumer grade option. It’s likely that this will start to change in the near future and where I really see the value of 3D printers is in spare parts. Let’s say for instance that you need a screw to a particular piece of furniture in your home. Imagine if you could go over to the manufacturer’s website and download the specs for a replacement screw, then print it out. I think this is immensely useful. Aside from this, I imagine that many products will be sold in the form of electronic delivery that once couldn’t be. Of course, we know that things such as tickets, have been sold electronically for years now, but this really takes it one step above and what it really means is almost instant delivery of a product through 3D printing. Now, of course, most of these 3D printers require some substantial time in order to complete a job, but with an increase in demand and efficiency time to completion is likely to decrease quite quickly as the years go by. There is definitely space in this emerging market for start-ups to capitalize on the market and technology enthusiasts demand.
If you click on the picture above, you’ll be taken to an article from The Guardian, entitled “Bill Gates predicts iPad and Android users will switch to PC tablets,” by Charles Arthur. In the article, we learn a little about Microsoft co-founder, and former CEO, Bill Gates. To summarize Gates predicts that current iPad, iPad Mini and Android tablet users are going to move to Microsoft Surface products because current limitations. His major arguments for this prediction lies in the value of a physical keyboard and Microsoft Office. In my opinion, his arguments are fairly weak. I think we’ve noted that the value of a physical keyboard has been on the decline. More and more people are adept at using a virtual keyboard. Aside from this, many people still turn to an actual computer when they have to type something of extensive length. The argument centered around Microsoft Office is also a little overblown. I won’t deny that Microsoft Office is still the golden standard of the office application suite. I use it everyday and while I have used alternatives, such as the free and widely-available Open Office in the past, I’ve always gone back to using Microsoft Office. It’s more polished, mature, and feature rich. Nonetheless, I don’t think that this is a very big detriment for tablet users. Most people don’t purchase a tablet in order to do Office-related work on it. Some do intend to use some features to that affect, but I don’t think it’s really on the majority of consumers minds. The fact also is that there are many viable Microsoft Office alternatives on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. For example, OfficeSuite Pro 7 is a great alternative for Android devices, which was recently a tip on my other blog The Tech Tipper (thetechtipper.wordpress.com). It has a great mobile user interface, features, and the ability to sync files with services such as Dropbox, Drive, and Sugarsync. It simply works great for mobile devices. I don’t deny though that there is a lot of value in Microsoft’s Surface offerings.
Windows 8 is really great. The new interface really has taken it into 2013 and has made it a viable option for tablet. I myself haven’t used a Microsoft Surface tablet, but I can see the value in having a full Windows installation on a tablet that can easily be popped into play with a physical keyboard. For a tablet consumer who wants to bridge the gap between a full powered computer, notebook computer, and tablet, the Microsoft Surface may indeed be one of the better options out there. As Charles Arthur writes though, “But with total iPad sales since April 2010 already past 141m, and total tablet sales according to IDC at 253m – of which fewer than 2m are the Surface RT or Surface Pro – one might wonder whether he’s right.” The Microsoft Surface clearly hasn’t taken off because I don’t believe this is one of the primary uses tablet consumers are looking for. They want an easy way to consume their media, surf the web, and a great rich app market. I wouldn’t expect Bill Gates to speak against the Microsoft Surface and, of course, I’m not either. The market is becoming increasingly competitive and perhaps as the year goes on the Microsoft Surface will be able to make a greater foothold. Microsoft does have the resources, the marketing ability, and a great product to continue to push and I would like to see the Microsoft Surface gain in popularity because in the end it benefits consumers as a whole. Competition breeds innovation and there is still a lot that can be done with the tablet market.
Sometimes Less is More. Today’s post from my principal blog.
So a few days ago, I read an article on Gizmodo about how one blogger made his iPhone better by crippling it down to essentially a simple feature phone. He deleted all of his apps and restricted use of Safari and other default applications. His premise was that he couldn’t handle infinity in his pocket. When I read articles like that, I generally tend to take them with a grain of salt. It is a bit impractical and overdone. I don’t know why you’d buy such an expensive phone, only to cripple it severely. Nonetheless, I was intrigued by the idea.
In looking at my phone, I realized that I honestly don’t use about 80% of the applications I’ve downloaded in conjunction with default apps and features in Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwhich. Not only this, but that all of these apps are distracting and take up both my flash…
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I was a big fan of TechTV back in the day and to this day I still keep up with it’s members, such as Leo Laporte, Kevin Rose, and Patrick Norton. They all had a lot to do with my interest in technology. This is a snippet from an episode of Tekzilla, from Revision3, in which Patrick Norton and Veronica Belmont provide an answer to a question of mine. Hope you enjoy and for more Tekzilla, check out Revision3.com, a part of Discovery Channel.
You didn’t read that wrong, no. This is kind of an idea I was just thinking about now. A couple of months ago I wrote about how much I like Xbox and specifically how enjoyable and useful it is to have Internet Explorer on the Xbox. Surfing the web with a USB keyboard on the Xbox is a joy and I would honestly like to see Microsoft Office on my Xbox. I think that typing documents, editing spreadsheets, and creating presentations on the Xbox would be a really useful feature. It wouldn’t be for all occasions, but sometimes it would come in useful and since Microsoft already has an in the cloud syncing service, you’d have all your documents already there on Skydrive. I think this is a great idea. I hope Microsoft is considering this even if it’s just for a minority of their customers. Aside from a full Microsoft Office suite, being able to view presentations on an Xbox would be an interesting enterprise. Just something to think about. Does anyone agree?
Facebook Home just seems like one of those things that sounds like a great idea, but isn’t when implemented. I think that Facebook made a wise choice in deciding to make something that could be installed on any Android phone. Despite the strict restrictions on which phone can be used, it seems that Facebook Home can actually function on any Android phone running Ice Cream Sandwhich. For information on how to install it on virtually any Android phone right now, read my post on how to get Facebook Home to work from your Android Phone on The Tech Tipper. Not only this, but the launcher is very impractical. The lack of customization makes it great if all you plan on doing is living in Facebook, but everything else difficult. If Facebook is your essential application, then this might be great for you, but for those of us for whom Facebook takes up a minuscule part of our phone use, it’s just very impractical.
The reality is that using Facebook Home as a launcher just seems severely impractical. The home screen is arguably for nice. For those of us who have friends who take high quality photos and have a phone with a large screen, Facebook Home truly looks great. It’s a great interface for viewing your friends updates and media. Despite this, Facebook Home feels very sluggish. Even on my Android phone which a 1 Ghz processor and plenty of power, it slows the phone down and I believe this is the case because it really runs in conjunction with the Android Launcher. Facebook Home is nonetheless a very vibrant interface. It looks great and maybe with future releases Facebook will find a way to balance it out.
My DSL went down for a number of days recently and while at first I felt very inconvenienced, it turned out to be an interesting experience. The truth is that most internet service providers are pretty good in terms of percentage internet downtime, but DSL has always been problematic. Not only can it be a hassle to setup, but it can be unreliable at times. There were several reasons why it was an interesting experience. First, it was enlightening. After having been without my connection at home for a fairly short while, I found that it was freeing to not be connected to the rest of the world. Not only that, but I realized that I didn’t have to be connected to the rest of the world. From a productivity standpoint, it was much easier to get done work without the distractions of RSS, e-mail, social networks, blogs, news sites, and Youtube. I’ve heard it before, but it’s true. It’s therapeutic to disconnect from the web for a while, nonetheless, if it’s unintended there are ways to get past a lack of a connection. The top five are listed below.
1. Free Wifi is Everywhere
Sometimes it’s easy to forget all of the places you can go to get a free wifi connection. Yes, cafes are one of the most prevalent locations, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Over these days whenever I had some substantive work I needed to do I’d go out to a location and utilize my mobile office. It can really force you to focus because the act of going somewhere to complete something is much constricting than the openess of staying home to do something. In short, the availability of wifi was one of the major ways I dealt with not having my DSL connection.
2. My 2nd Generation Kindle
After charging up and turning on my 2nd generation Kindle, I realized that its Atnt 3G connection still worked. It is a lifetime connection as stipulated by Amazon. I haven’t used my Kindle regularly for a longtime, but the lack of an internet connection made it very useful. After subscribing to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Financial Times, I found that I had all of the news that I really needed to have and it was nice to transition back to consuming news in that newspaper-esque format. Aside from this, the 2nd generation Kindle still has that beta browser which allowed me to consume some content from blogs in a limited format.
As far as e-mail goes, I really only needed my Android phone in order to keep up with e-mail. It made e-mail a lot more easy to be honest. Not being able to type out a very large e-mail forced me into being concise, which is something that everyone should strive for. It just makes e-mail more manageable for everyone.
SMS is one of those things that can be easily overlooked with the prevalence of 3G and 4G data connections, but it can still be very useful. With Google, SMS can be used to obtain a variety of information. SMS can also be used to make posting to Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites easy. SMS can really be a fairly robust alternative to a data connection, even allowing me to add notes to my Evernote.
5. Pen and Paper
This last one is kind a misnomer because I’m still a very big fan of pens and notepads. I obviously still had access to all of my electronics, sans an internet connection and though a computer isn’t very useful without a connection to the internet, you still have access to all of your applications. There are just still many ways in which I prefer doing certain things on paper over digitally and when your internet is out that might give you an excuse to consider it.