Well I honestly didn’t think I’d ever be intrigued by a tablet that wasn’t running iOS, stock Honeycomb, and MAYBE Windows 7, but HTC certainly puts up a fantastic case and I’m more than tempted to throw some cash at them. Most impressive I think from this video is their tight integration with the Calendar, your notes, and the audio. This is a real world solution to a very frustrating problem in college or the business world. That, plus the “more for work than play” Scribe Pen seems to brings some valid extra utility to having something running HTC’s Sense versus straight Honeycomb. I still think their home screen widgets (including that abomination of a clock/weather widget) are all a horrible waste of space, the rest of the UI seems to be really intelligently laid out. I hope the overlay on the video calling goes away, that was a little over bearing. Their notes app and the sketch app all seem to bring (dare I say it) an almost Apple like quality to the Android platform. It’s clean, refined and easy to use. It’s also a lot more integrated between Contacts, “People” (not like WP& thank God), Notes, and Social Networking it all seems to bring a very unique interface that has some desktop replacement qualities but remains far enough away that it’s finger friendly and just might take some buyers away from the iPad 1/2 (That’s 1 and/or 2 not half).
Any way, I’ll do more of run down of tablets/their respective OS’s when more come to market probably by late summer/early fall. Here’s the video:
There she is folks. The link you’ve all been waiting for. Well, I can’t really say that. I’m pretty sure most OS X users probably couldn’t give a donkey’s rat about a service pack update for Windows 7, but nevertheless that link up there has finally arrived for the rest of the world that still separates it’s hardware from its software. Speaking of which, the Service Pack offers up a lot of helpful stability fixes and specifically more reliability when connecting HDMI audio devices. Anyone who’s ever wanted to hook their laptop up at a friend’s house has felt the sting if they couldn’t get the HDMI audio out to work (Awkward!). What no one else has had that problem? Well it’ll probably also help the niche HTPC group too. Regardless of how you use your Windows 7 PC, this Service Pack is a must download as it includes bundled security updates as well as several so called “improvements” to existing Microsoft services. I’ll be updating later when I get to spend some time with it on both my 32-bit laptop and by 64-bit desktop. Enjoy the link till I repost!
I’m currently having something of a identity crisis with my computer. And I blame VMWare! Switching between OS’s isn’t something most people do on daily or weekly basis, let alone a couple times a day. Most stick with the one OS they have installed and if they switch to a friend’s computer then the possibilities change. But running 3 operating systems on one physical desktop? I can’t think of too many people I know that do that…
The main problem began when I was about 12 years old. My trusty custom built desktop with a 700mhz AMD Duron (blegh even the name screams cheap), 512MB SDRAM, Nvidia GeForce AGP graphics chip and a whopping 80GB hard drive had finally stopped booting Windows. Nothing was wrong with the hardware. I just thought it was getting cluttered so I reinstalled XP with the CD from my uncle. Yeah, turns out it only had that one license and he’d used it on another computer. Piracy out of the question, I began innocently poking my head around the Intertoobs for a free alternative. One kept coming up: Ubuntu Linux. Thus beginning my obsessive following of one of my favorite OS’s of all time. It was incredible all I could do to that OS. It was ridiculously faster than Windows XP on my system. I felt like I had a usable computer again! It was beautiful! I kept installing this on any computer I used throughout the years and always had a LiveCD of the latest version on me. Ubuntu 10.10 is the latest I have installed (Natty Narwhal is coming!!!) and it’s been running smooth since the day I got it. Improved included drivers have really made my life simple, but the “upgrade” to GRUB2 and Plymouth for the boot manager really put a stifle on some of my favorite customization options. I’m sure eventually something will come along, but for now I’m stuck with a semi-plain startup and login experience. Good thing the rest of the OS remains as flexible as ever with improved Compiz integration and the migration to Gnome 2. It’s kept me going for close to 9 years now.
Then came Windows 7. It actually drew me back to the Windows fold again my senior year in high school. Sure I’d been saddled with WinXP again at school for all the domain usage of course. And I was at home unfortunately forced into the Purgatory between Windows 7 and XP: Vista. I hated that OS with a burning passion. Although fairly excited when it first came out I was disappointed by its loathsome driver support and sluggish performance. Why did my first 700MHz Duron seem faster than my parent’s 1.6GHz Pentium D (Dual core) with 2GB DDR2-RAM? That OS is still an ugly scab Microsoft is trying to pick and is regrettably still chugging along on my parents computer. Thank God for Windows 7. It truly seemed like redemption for me. I’m sure that my parents computer would probably run Win7 just fine (plus the benefits of reinstalling Windows for the first time in 6 years). My personal desktop is currently in a dual boot with Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10. I believe it s 60/40 split with Windows the larger cause it needs it for all my games. The redesigned taskbar and the fixed UAC annoyances were soothing salve on the burn left by Windows Vista. Improved performance was a plus as well as increased and much better supported drivers. All my games ran perfectly in Win7 and my only real complaints so far have been with file transfers (Still dismally slow and inconsistent) and visual appeal. I guess I’ve just been spoiled with the other OS options out there.
Like my new favorite OS X 10.6.4. Yes, I know 10.6.6 is out and is apparently a big deal but this is the latest version I’ve got to be at least 90% usable on my AMD hardware. I can’t tell you how much of a pain in the ass getting this thing to boot even in a virtual machine was. The good news is after a couple weeks of fevered forum hunting and various patch downloads I have a beautiful 1080×1920 Mac OS X 10.6.4 desktop running swiftly on my AMD X4 setup. With AMD’s hardware virtualization enabled my “Mac” has 2 cores at 3.4GHz and 1GB of 800MHz RAM. The RAM specs are inaccurate to what I have for the VM, but it’s not that big a deal (Supposed to be 2GB @ 1333MHz). I can’t express enough how much of a difference the smooth, visually integrated system integrated into OS X makes to your over all experience with the OS. Yes, there are some really powerful creative apps out there for Mac only (Garage Band being my most used) but the most impressive part to me is how unified the whole OS looks. All the menus, toggles, installers, icons, and especially the animations make me forget for a little bit that I’m using a computer. Sure, you can’t change a lot of it like in Ubuntu, but it provides a incredibly superior feel to the OS than Windows 7 does. I still feel like I’m trying to convince the computer of what I want to do in Windows. In OS X I just feel like I’m using a computer; it’s a natural extension of me into the computing realm. I’m really feeling OS X will get a lot more attention from me in the coming weeks, especially once I figure out how to transfer my VM setup to a bootable hard drive.
For now, however, it’s dual booting between Ubuntu 10.10 and Windows 7. Inside Win7 I’ve got my VMWare running OS X 10.6.4 fullscreen and it is commonly being used. Will my computer ever have true identity as only one of these fine OS’s? Odds are it probably won’t. That’s because I appreciate the beauty of choice we have. I don’t have to only run one! And I love it! But I’m sure it’s got my poor computer’s mind spinning…
Until next time, peace out!
P.S. Whichever OS is most popular will get its own in depth review first!
I’m starting this post because I’ve recently had a self goal of seeing exactly how many operating systems I can get stable and usable on my Lenovo laptop. This poor little thing has been through more reinstalls than Windows ME the different versions of Android on my phone. Eh, not quite. I will definitely be posting back when it gets done being reinstalled. Just for the record, I did have an earlier beta build installed on here and I did spend a substantial time with the OS before my girlfriend wrote a love note to my GRUB and MBR… but that’s another story. My personal time with the OS is the basis for this article, no outside influences are cited.
I’m also considering renaming this category to the “Google” category simply because a majority of Google’s services are very, very intertwined. Yes, this is a Droid blog, but being a Droid user I find it super convenient to use Google Chrome as my primary browser. I’d used FireFox for a long time, once I got past the Dark Ages of IE 6 and 7, and have just recently switched over to Chrome in the last year. Mostly prompted by my first Android powered device the Droid Eris, I started to explore the connections between Chrome and Google. Not necessarily Chrome by itself, but Gmail, my web and search history, and of course “Chrome to Phone”. “Chrome to Phone” ranks very highly on my list of “Things that Assure Me there is a God and He Does Love Me.” Along with the new Web Market (is there an official term? Noted…) this is one of those tings I can’t live without. Whenever I’m near my laptop or desktop and someone asks me where the nearest laundromat is or what time does the dollar store open I can have the map and the number both sent to my phone ready to go out the door in under 5 minutes. It’s phenomenal how such a little thing makes all the difference when integrated properly.
Which brings us back to the main point. Why all this talk about Chrome the browser? Because it’s the fundamental backbone to the Chrome OS. Everything is inside that browser.This concept sounded so supremely ridiculous when I first heard about it a little more than a year ago that I immediately declared it DOA.Then I started using Chrome as a browser and HTML5 became more of a standard for coding in general. Things changed dramatically and now I could easily do almost everything I normally do in the Chrome OS. I say almost because I tend to be kind of a power user. I use lots of different apps through the day and a lot of them are just too powerful to ever be used to the scope I use them. Video editing, application development, real Photoshop and the ever essential video games will never be able to be matched in browser based alternatives. Oh sure there are several options for light video and photo editing out there. And Google Docs is doing a bang up job of tempting me to never purchase another Micro$oft Office product. Video games too are becoming more powerful thanks to hardware acceleration support from HTML5 in Chrome OS. Having Quake being rendered in real time in a browser was laughable just a year ago and yet here we are.
Now, this isn’t a finished product, Google OS is still just a RC right now, but it holds a lot of promise. Never losing data due to its cloud based storage and supposed always-on data connection. Lots of apps are already coming in for the Chrome Web Store (my personal favorite time waster: Sinuous) and many look downright useful. There’s a certain market for netbooks and as netbooks are being replaced by tablets and ultraportables, Chrome OS is gonna be in a tough spot. Android 3.0 is shaping up to be a fantastic OS for tablets offering a much more touch friendly UI. Chrome OS is dedicated to laptops, but why would someone run this rather basic OS on this new crowd of “notbooks”. These new ultra-slim, but ultra-powerful laptops coming out would really waste power, in my opinion, on running anything but Windows 7. There’s going to be a niche market for this OS, just as there was for netbooks. I’m still not entirely sure there’s a place for Chrome OS, the netbook ship has sailed.
But there is hope. The ever expanding amount of apps as well as clever grass roots marketing by Google could get a Chrome OS fire burning in the world. Hardware compatibility for other laptops should help spread it among the geeks and having it as a quick boot option on a couple of key manufacturers laptops (no matter the size) could also help its mind share. This exceedingly ever more connected world really could use something like Chrome OS, but the real question is: will it?