Tech PRose

February 14, 2011

Deadly Sins of the Tech Industry: Will the Mini iPhone Become the Rainbow?

Filed under: Christine Rojewski,Technology Industry — techimage @ 7:42 am

As I was reading InfoWorld last week, Bill Snyder’s blog post, “Deadly Sins the Tech Industry Can’t Seem to Shake” caught my attention. In this post, Bill remembers the late Ken Olsen, the founder of Digital Equipment Corp, and the great things accomplished and the not so great things that have seemed to plague the tech industry.

Snyder remembers when Olsen stated “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home,” before he tried to jump into the game too late and release the Rainbow PC, which of course flopped. This eventually led to the downward spiral of Digital Equipment Corp. and the boot Olsen received from serving for the company, even though that too, was too late, much like what Sun has faced with co-founder Scott McNealy.

But what I found ironic in this blog was Snyder mentioning that almost no one remembers the Rainbow. I couldn’t help but think of the other news released the same day of Snyder’s blog post- the talk of a mini iPhone.

Call me superstitious, but I think both articles hitting me on the same day means this mini iPhone will also be a flop that no one remembers- assuming it even sees a market release. Why? While I believe Apple has released some great products (I’m a huge fan of my iPhone and of the iPad, though I think that sees room for major improvement like a USB jack), this seems like overkill.

According to Bloomberg, the phone will cost less than its predecessor at $200 to keep ahead of Droid competitors. However, it will be one-third smaller than the iPhone 4 and it won’t offer a home button. To me, smaller isn’t always better and I’d feel like I was talking on my iPod. And I might be wrong, but isn’t the home button on the iPhone a huge plus? Taking away a home button will create more unnecessary steps that need to be taken for the user to achieve the goal of getting back to the page, and might be taking consumers to the Droid if they’re worried about cost (which at $200 doesn’t seem so cheap), and don’t want to splurge on the iPhone4 or a two-year carrier contract.

Even more ironic, is to think about how Sun and Digital Equipment Corp. were late to the game, thus spelling the demise of the companies. While I don’t by any means think this potential mini iPhone will be a fatal move for Apple, I do think Apple is late to the game if the development is just to keep the iPhone ahead of the Droid. The Droid models already gaining huge popularity, models far outweigh the iPhone and cost less so it seems like Jobs is a little late on this big idea.

Nonetheless it will be interesting to see what pans out. What are your thoughts on a mini iPhone? Must or Bust?

– Reviewed by Christine Rojewski

January 20, 2011

Review: Flip Video Mino HD (8GB)

Filed under: Christine Rojewski,Reviews — crojewski @ 2:53 pm

I’ll admit, since the Flip Video was introduced I have been anxiously waiting to get my hands on one. But after learning my lesson from splurging on the first generation iPhone, I decided to wait for at least the next generation before buying. Well, about four years after market launch, I finally purchased the 8G Flip Mino HD.

Since this is my first video camera since my 2002 Sony DCRTRV340, the size of the Flip isn’t the only thing that astonished me, so did the clarity of the video. It’s amazing that the precision of something the size of my iPod outshines a camera more than triple its size.

While I think the Flip lacks in a few areas (focus, options, settings, greater zoom and the several steps it takes to delete a video from the device), it’s expected since the device so small and thin. It has a very sleek design that’s extremely easy to use with a one-touch design that reminds me of a child’s first phone. The videos are easily uploaded to your computer via the flip USB on the top of the device. The manufactured uploaded software works with both Mac and Windows which is a huge plus for many users.

Waiting four years after the launch to buy the Flip has also paid off, since I was able to buy a unit with double the record time and storage. Its also now equipped with image stabilization – what I feel is a must for any video recording – and it records at 60 frames per second.

After first charging the Flip I tested it in two areas: my home- which was lit by natural light at the time of taping- and outside in the dark. After noticing how crisp the image was during playback, my initial reaction was toward the sound. Again, seeing as the device fits in the palm of my hand, I was surprised by how clear and loud the sound was. Both the bright and dark lighting proved not to be an issue for recording and viewing in either case. I thought for sure the night images would be difficult to view, but they weren’t. After uploading the videos to my PC, I was also happy to see how easy the editing software was to use, and the simplicity of video sharing via email and social networks.

I would say my two largest complaints about the Flip Mino HD are the lack of recording options (it’s almost too simple to use and navigate meaning several features are lost) and the rechargeable battery isn’t removable or replaceable (it can only be recharged when the USB is connected to your PC). But since I only bought the device for fun video capturing, it gets the job done nicely.

To check out all of the product specs visit http://store.theflip.com/en-us/products/MinoHD8GB2HR.aspx.

And here are a few links to reviews from the professionals … which go into much greater detail and testing than I think I ever could:

PC Mag http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2369938,00.asp

Maximum PC http://www.maximumpc.com/article/reviews/flip_video_minohd_8gb

— By Christine Rojewski

April 16, 2010

Emily Giffin’s Love the One You’re With

Filed under: Christine Rojewski,Reviews — techimage @ 10:36 am

While it might not be a book for the masses (or men), Emily Giffin’s novel “Love the One You’re With” is a terrific read. If you keep up with this blog, chances are you’ve seen my admiration for author Alice Sebold, though I was bummed that I finished the final three of her four novels this past summer. My search for a new author took place at Chicago’s Midway Airport as I was hopping a flight to Seattle back in November. Without much time or selection, I picked up this novel from Giffin and am happy I did.

This book is the fourth in a mini series that deals with the relationship and life dilemmas many women find during the ages of 22-40 years-old. In this particular novel, the main character, Ellen, is learning how to cope with the life she has and thought she loved in Georgia, versus her younger, active life in New York City that she misses.

The book begins when Ellen runs into an old flame not long after marrying her husband, Andy, leading her to have unsettling thoughts about her marriage. Not long after the run-in, Ellen moves with Andy to Georgia so he can pursue a career with his father. This, along with the thoughts of her desire to see her old boyfriend again, leaves Ellen wondering if her perfect life is what she wants, what she was expected to want or if in New York with her old flame is where she should be.

Not only is Ellen rethinking her marriage but her friendships, career and the overall path her life has taken over the years.

As Ellen’s feelings of confusion and resentment toward the move and her husband grow, her marriage begins to crumble. The book takes suspenseful twist and turns as Ellen tries to figure out what it is that she wants in life without trying to totally demolish her marriage and her relationship with her best friend (who so happens to be Andy’s sister).

While the book is geared toward a female audience it does truly touch on many life experiences which were borrowed from Giffin’s life and her friends, making some aspects of the book easily relatable for many readers.

–Reviewed by Christine Rojewski

February 18, 2010

Couples Retreat Provides Anything but a Treat for Viewers

Filed under: Christine Rojewski,Reviews — techimage @ 12:47 pm

I always wonder if I should ever opt to rent a movie when nothing comes to mind that I want to see, because it often leaves me wanting my $5 back. And thanks to my viewing experience the other day, I discovered my answer is I shouldn’t.

Couples_retreat I grabbed two movies: Couples Retreat and Carriers. Since I grabbed the last copy of Couples Retreat I figured it might be the better of the two so I watched it first- wrong move.

With a big named cast of Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Kristin Davis and Kristen Bell among others, the movie was somewhat interesting to watch, but for a comedy, only made me laugh twice. It also made me realize Vince Vaughn’s production style is much like Adam Sandler’s, but without the funny part. Vaughn’s got the repeating cast of characters.

The movie is about a group of friends (all couples) and the strains on their marriages. When the extremely organized married friends contemplate divorce, they convince the rest of the crew to take a vacation to Eden, a couples retreat mixed with a private party island for singles. Once on Eden, the couples realize that jet skiing and scuba diving is out of the question since they must spend their days according to a counselor’s itinerary. Of course, every couple begins realizing maybe they too don’t have the perfect marriage after strenuous rounds of unwanted counseling and temptation.

As the movie progresses and fights break out, the men and women split up and wander for some fun away from their spouses. Of course, they all wind up at the singles retreat- predictable.

Instead of spoiling the ending, I’ll just note that the two parts of the movie that managed to make me laugh aloud included a kid that was in only in two short scenes. If that doesn’t tell you how much of a treat that movie was (well maybe a dog biscuit), I don’t know what will. I did, however, like how one of the characters was wearing a Buffalo Grove High School shirt in the movie. And all of my colleagues that are Northwestern alums should like that purple shirts had cameos too.

–Reviewed by Christine Rojewski

January 16, 2010

Paranormal Activity, The Blair Witch Project’s Sister Film

Filed under: Christine Rojewski,Reviews — techimage @ 9:00 am

Paranormal-activity-1 Whether you’re a movie buff or not, you might recall hearing the line, “In October of 1994 three student filmmakers disappeared in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland, while shooting a documentary. A year later their footage was found.” Of course that was the tagline from The Blair Witch Project trailer; the horror flick that busted through the genre’s mold. Not necessarily because it was scarier than classis like The Exorcist, rather it was filmed in eight days on virtually no budget and left viewers wondering if the movie was a true life documentary or a hoax.

The same goes for the most recent Blair Witch semi-spoof, Paranormal Activity. When the movie starts, it takes your eyes a few minutes to adjust to the jerkiness of the home movie style of filming. But it isn’t long after that you realize the plot of the movie: a young couple buys a top of the line video camera to begin taping the paranormal activities that occur while they are asleep.

The first few nights while the video camera is recording, minute things happen such as a bedroom door moving. But as can be expected by the audience, the nights’ paranormal events begin to rapidly progress. Why? Because the demons haunting the main character, Katie, are upset that there is a video camera taping them, a psychic visiting the house and two humans trying to communicate with them.

While I won’t spoil the ending in case you decide you want to rent a creepy flick (I wouldn’t call it scary since I don’t believe it is, just creepy), I will tell you that it is pretty abrupt much like in The Blair Witch Project. However, there was an alternative ending that provided a little bit more closing. And because of its homemade movie feel, it might leave several viewers wondering if the movie is indeed real. Sure it’s real in that it was filmed by the writer and director Oren Peli, but the story is far from.

–Reviewed by Christine Rojewski

November 23, 2009

2012: An Unrealistic Look into Reality

Filed under: Christine Rojewski,Reviews,Uncategorized — techimage @ 8:48 am

You discover the world is going to end in less than 24 hours, what do you do? Save your entire family via a limo, RV, plane and international hitchhiking of course. Sure it might not seem logical, but isn’t anything possible for John Cusack? In the movie 2012 it is.2012

Don’t get me wrong, the movie wasn’t entirely all unrealistic, just the character plot was. You can think of it like 1997’s Titanic. You know the underlying plot of the ship’s sinking fate is true, but maybe not the love story.

In the movie 2012 the world comes to an end due to the inner conflicts of the earth’s core, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, meteors and tsunamis. This can be perceived as the “real” part of the movie.

At the start of the film, it’s the year 2009 and a young geologist (Chiwetel Ejiofor) learns from a resource in India that the world will be faced with Armageddon in 2012. He quickly becomes introduced to the President so he can inform the government of his findings. The government in turn decides to keep the information under wraps from the average global population (why the source in India didn’t go to his government is beyond me).

Within two minutes the movie progresses to 2012 where a struggling author, Jackson Curtis (Cusack), is taking his kids to Yellow Stone National Park. Upon arrival he finds the park’s lakes have dried up, the area is under siege by the military and who other than Woody Harrelson is hiding out in the trees. Yes, that’s right, Woody Harrelson. It seems as if he’s becoming the new Christopher Walken and making unexpected cameos in movies.

The following hour and a half of the movie is jammed with great action scenes, yet unrealistic events. The world is coming to an end beginning with earthquakes in California and ending with land swallowing tsunamis in China. In the meantime Curtis, his family, global leaders and all of those upper class citizens with a billion dollars are in route to China to board special “ships” (aka concrete submarines of sorts). This group- along with a Noah’s Ark boat full of animals- outlive the otherwise inescapable tsunamis and start life again in the only continent that seems to have outlasted the catastrophic events: Africa.

While I could have lived without the completely unrealistic portions of the plot, I thought the movie was one of the better ones I’ve seen on the big screen lately. It also managed to keep my attention for the entire 158 minutes.

–Reviewed by Christine Rojewski

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