Samsung is definitely doing great things in the tech space. Their televisions are unmatched, their smartphones give the iPhone a run for its money, and their marketing is unparalleled. But now they’ve taken a step in the wrong direction with the Series 9. It starts with a commercial I saw a mere seven minutes ago.
The commercial went something exactly like this:
“Just when you think you have it all. Something thinner and sexier comes along to replace you. Introducing the new Samsung Series 9 with the Intel Core i5 processor. The world’s thinnest 15-inch laptop. It’s time for some fresh air.”
Now I’m not going to lie. The commercial was well executed. Well designed and structured. Excellent voiceover and background music (what’s that song?). It was just two parts that got me. One was visual, one vocal.
Strike 1: The visual problem was the comparison. When the commercial opened up, the camera zoomed into a 13-inch MacBook Air on display. For one thing, the 13 inch MacBook Air is just that. A 13-inch. If you want to compare your new 15-inch laptop to something Samsung, choose a 15-inch competitor.
Strike 2: The point that was being made in the 30-second commercial was that the Series 9 was both “thinner and sexier.” Well, the sexy part is a personal opinion, but the thinner part is plain numbers. The Samsung Series 9 15-inch laptop is thinner than any other 15-inch laptop, but it’s not thinner than the 13-inch MacBook Air. Well not entirely. Its dimensions are 14.0" (W) x 9.3" (D) x 0.58" (H). The MacBook Air’s dimensions are 12.8" (W) x 8.94" (D) x 0.11-0.68" (H). The main comparison here are the heights. The Series 9 is .58" all the way through. The MacBook Air is .68" at its thickest. Now although that’s .1" thicker, it’s .1" thicker for probably 15% of its form-factor.
Now I know what you’re saying. What’s the point? Well, there is none really. I’m just upset with the details of the commercial. If Samsung had simply swapped out the MacBook Air for the new Retina MacBook Pro, things would have been better and faultless. It clearly is thinner than the new MacBook Pro’s .71" height.
Anyway, congrats to you Samsung, on making then thinnest laptop. As for me, however, I’ll be ordering my Retina MacBook Pro tonight. Why? Because the Retina MacBook Pro is the only15-inch laptop in the world with a Retina display. Simple.
Today, my friend Sam Soffes launched Cheddar, his task manager app for iOS. It’s different. For one, it supports Markdown and Twitter like hashtags.
Also, and most importantly, I actually use it. There are many to-do apps out there, but not many compel the user to actually continually use it. For some reason, this one does. Maybe it’s because I’m friends with its creator? Maybe not.
I think it’s the simplicity, yah know? Nothing major, nothing fancy. Just type and hit enter. Maybe it’s the smirk that Sam tries to hide in the beginning of his promo video. Maybe it’s the H&FJ font, etc.
Nevertheless, the point of this article is to tell you about Cheddar and to persuade you to try it out. It’s a free slice of gourmet cheese – seriously.
Flipboard, noted as the best “social magazine” app on iOS, has finally hit Android. The final application is nearly indistinguishable from its beta counterpart, except for new YouTube and Google+ integration (that’s a lot of Google stuff).
And you know what this means? Yet another “iOS-exclusive” app gone Google. The funny thing is, however, that Flipboard’s co-founder Evan Doll worked at Apple… as a senior iPhone engineer.
“The move might create tension between the startup and Apple, which handpicked Flipboard as one of its favorite apps of 2010.”
“They would love for us to be iOS exclusive from now until the end of time, but we’re trying to reach as big an audience as we can. We’re trying to be Switzerland.“
Then again, this has become a sort of trend in the app atmosphere. Developers testing the waters on Apple’s platform, getting featured in the App Store, then after building up confidence and a following, move to Android. The big tech blogs cover the story and boom! Yet another large influx of users and fame. Most recently, Instapaper made its move (though in Marco Arment’s defense, he didn’t make that app), and of course, Instagram.
And there you go.
This just shows that the once tight "quality choke” Apple had on its iOS developers has finally taken a muscle relaxant. Though Android still isn’t as stable and even across the board as iOS, developers and app-built companies are quickly recognizing that they’re only starving themselves of a much bigger market and user-base by avoiding the big A. The Android market. And with the upcoming release of Jellybean (really, who comes up with these names?), expect even more sharp edges of the SDK to be rounded off.
Now I could go on and on about what this move means for Flipboard, iOS, Apple, and Android alike. Regardless, the app is here. Download it or don’t.
I’m honestly super excited to see which direction web design heads in this year. There’s no doubt about it. Design is surely taking off. I’ll hopefully be visiting most of these conferences in hopes of not missing the launch.
You know, those things you use to list out the tasks for the day. But that’s the thing. Do you actually use them? I for one can tell you that I currently have/use/have signed-up for numerous task management services. Unfortunately, however, I can’t remember the last time I checked any one them1. I rely on my sketchy memory.
I think this defeats the purpose.
The point of a task manager is to manage your tasks (no, really?). However, most services seem to chase the design, sharing and collaboration quotas, while forgetting about the main goal – management. Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s just me that can’t seem to check these apps on a daily basis. Regardless of which is the case, this is my post. So I’ll continue with what I have to say. I’ll (hopefully) solve my own problem.
I love apps. Specifically GTD (get things done) and task management apps. I love comparing their designs, UI/UX, flow, and speediness. But I don’t seem to compare/contrast the biggest point of comparison – their effectiveness.
When I decide to launch any one of these apps, whether that be on my Mac or iOS device(s), it’s to add a to-do. If it’s time sensitive, I’ll usually keep the app open so the task is in my face all day. If it’s something that needs to be completed in the near future, I’ll add a reminder (if the app supports that). However, I rarely go back to “check off” that the to-do has been to-done. This is the part that needs fixing.
[begins inside thoughts typed out]
But how would an app developer tackle such a problem?
Maybe a reminder? But I hate those. But maybe it might work. Like at the end of the day, a quick dropdown or notification asking if I’ve completed the task (granting that there wasn’t a completion date set). Would I use the app more then? Maybe. Maybe not. But it’s worth a shot. I’d definitely open the app more…
[/ends inside thoughts typed out]
What works right now?
I guess the best way to go about solving my own problem is asking myself what works for me now. As a blogger and designer, I’m surrounded by lists on the daily. Some I like. Some I detest. Nevertheless, they’re there. As for the ones I like,
Svbtle’s “idea panel.” Unobstructive. Not in my face. Serves one purpose. Serves it well.
Evernote’s checkboxes. Gives a quick sense of accomplishment.
Clear’s speed and lack of features. I can make a to-do with seconds – literally.
There. That feels better. So it looks like I’m all for an app that’s pretty, yet functional. Fast, but efficient. Light, but not anorexic (in features). Most of all, an app that serves one purpose and serves it well.
Is there an app out there that does all this? In my opinion, no. If there were, I don’t think I’d be writing up this brain dump. That doesn’t mean, however, there isn’t an efficient app out there for you. This is all about personal preference people. I like a bunch of apps, but I want one that incorporates all the “coolness” of the others. Maybe it’s in the works. Maybe it’s not.
Maybe… I just need to deal, launch those to-do list apps and start checking things off.
Crap, what’s my password?
1 I’m referring to my personal small-scale to-do lists. Trust me, I check my work related ones. ↩
Today, we’re introducing Google Drive — a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you’re working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé or tracking a budget with roommates, you can do it in Drive. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond.
Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website.
Dropbox also makes it super easy to share with others, whether you’re a student or professional, parent or grandparent. Even if you accidentally spill a latte on your laptop, have no fear! You can relax knowing that Dropbox always has you covered, and none of your stuff will ever be lost.
Invite your friends, family and teammates to any folder in your Dropbox, and it’ll be as if you saved that folder straight to their computers. You can send people links to specific files in your Dropbox too. This makes Dropbox perfect for team projects, sharing party photos with friends, or recording your band’s new album.
From that paragraph, I can only discern one difference – Google Docs. Dropbox doesn’t sync them, naturally. Though there are some services that can assist like cloudHQ.
The Verge offered a great rundown on both Drive and Dropbox, as well as 11 other file/data syncing services.
To keep things simple, here’s a quick take:
Google Drive is Dropbox in the browser
Not really a desktop thing (-1)
It’s pricing is much cheaper (+1)
No iOS app (-1)
Powerful file sharing (+ ½)
Here’s my take.
Drive is decent. It also works best on the web. With the ability to open up to 30 file types within the browser (yes, even a .psd when Photoshop isn’t on your system) and deep Google Docs integration (no-brainer), it will serve the daily web user well. However, Dropbox is, well, Dropbox. I think it’s gonna take a bit more than copying the abilities of another well-known service to make the mass to jump ship. After all, Dropbox has been around for some time now (5 years), it’s used by many (50 million+), and has one of the strongest APIs available. Not to mention, they too are innovating. It won’t be surprising if they come back in the next two months or so, and obliterate the browser + doc advantage Drive has on them.
Speaking of that, the question quickly arises. Why are you doing this Google? Why not give these syncing services a rest, keep calm and carry on? I can answer that one. It’s Google. That’s who they are, that’s what they do. Whatever service, meme, or platform that’s beginning to tickle the fancy of many, compels them to jump on – a natural reaction. Their most recent example is Google+.
Stick with my 50GB Dropbox plan. Drive is cool and all, but it’s also late to the file sharing and syncing game. There are enough services in the space – I’m content.
Nevertheless, it can come in handy if you live in Google Docs. I just wished Google had implemented Drive into Docs, call it an update, and call it a day. Scrap the whole announcement and new name thing. That’s so 2011.
Seriously, I don’t. Most likely because I don’t even use a HDD. Rather, I’m all about SSDs. They’re just so fast! But that’s besides the point. You’re here because you want to know how I avoid my drive altogether.
MacBook Air 13.3" Mid 2011
Storage: 256GB SSD
Processor: 1.7GHz i5
Memory: 4GB RAM
Out of that 256GB SSD, only 249.82GB is actually available to use. Nevertheless, 229.58GB of it is “free.” How? Simple. The cloud.
Before we get into where my files actually are, let’s first take a look at what is normally stored on a computer. Documents, photos, videos, movies, music, contacts, and apps.
Because it works. Because the cloud is now. Although not having much files on my Air doesn’t affect me spec wise (SSDs aren’t really “weighed down,” per se), it does gives me a sense of lightness. You know, not having much on you, both literally and digitally. Not to mention, the tools are there, so why not use them?
The benefits are great. When I’m away from my Air, my music files and folders are but a few clicks/taps away. Want to jam out to Pumped Up Kicks? No worries! Open up Spotify and click “play.” Want to double check that file you just sent to John Doe? Launch Dropbox from just about any device out there minus this one.
Not to mention, syncing is a breeze. Although I don’t use (*I do own, however*) another Mac, the option is there. For example, if I were to decide to flaunt “deep pockets” and go buy a specced out iMac 27" tomorrow morning, after the initial setup, I’ll problem have 88.9% of my files on the new comp after a few log-ins. Just saying.
So here’s what I think. If your current saving system is working for you right now, continue with it. Just make sure to invest in a backup service of some kind. What I’m doing right now, however, is none other than an experiment, a test if you will. I’m simply pushing technology to its limits (or maybe just my mental ones). I’m making it work for me. However, if you’d like to try going nude (my new term for having a drive that’s more than 85% free), step one is to max out your Dropbox account! Those guys are doing big things.
However, I will be honest. There is one little “area” I’m still dependent on my SSD for – Adobe Creative Suite. When they catch up, I’ll clear out.
Or maybe I’ll just (re)use Bitcasa. I hear they’re offering “infinite storage” or something. Sounds snazzy.