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GearFest GearChat #1, Tablet or Notebook? Which One When?

While together this past weekend the editors took some time out to talk tech. We’ll share the conversation/s over the next few days. Each of us brought a tablet, a notebook and at least one smartphone along with us. Two used the tablet almost exclusively while the others traded off between them fairly evenly. In this first one we talk about when and how we choose to use one or the other. Has your tablet become a primary productivity tool for you? Let us know in the comments.


5 Reasons Why the $199 Google Tablet is a Terrible Idea … But I’m Getting One, Anyway

OK, so this was a post I started writing three months ago – when we first started hearing about a $199 Google Nexus Tablet. At the time I thought it was a bad idea – and we didn’t even know who was making it or what the specs might be like at the time! Now that we know that it is an ASUS device, with a footprint essentially similar to the Kindle Fire/Nook Tablet/Samsung Galaxy Tab/etc, with some decent sounding hardware compromises for the price, and the newly announced Android OS 4.1. And guess what – I am more convinced…


Google Brings Out Nexus Q

Just saw this on Google+ just a moment ago right before Vic Gundotra took the stage at Google IO.  The Nexus Q is a social streaming media player made for Google Play at home.  When you have an Android phone or tablet on your home wifi network, you and your friends can send songs to the Nexus Q and modify the playlist as it’s playing.  The Nexus Q will be available in 2-3 weeks and should be about $299. Update: Some more features have come up during the keynote about the Nexus Q.  The Nexus Q will also allow multiple devices to stream simultaneously….


Watch the 2012 Google I/O Keynote Right Here at 9:30 PDT

In a few hours, Google will have the opening keynote for the 2012 edition of Google I/O and you can watch it right here on Gear Diary.  What will they announce?  The only thing we know for sure is that Android 4.1 will probably be talked about, since they have the statue erected at the Googleplex.  In fact, Google has released a really cool video of Googlers assembling the statue.  So, for now, take a look at that. Comment below as the keynote unfolds, and look for a summary of the announcements later today right here on Gear Diary.


Ahead of Google I/O, the Jellybean Statue Arrives

In case you didn’t know, every time Google is ready to issue a new version of Android, there’s a new statue that shows up outside of the Googleplex.  We had Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich.  It’s been all around the web that the next version would be code-named Jellybean, and that it will be version 4.1 with the Galaxy Neuxs getting it first.  Well, today the Jellybean statue has shown up at the Googleplex, leaving all but the official announcements for sometime tomorrow during Google I/O. Also, they will likely be introducing the first Nexus tablet, named the Nexus 7….


Did Google Pick Up Quickoffice for Integration with Google Docs/Drive?

When I first migrated from Windows Mobile to Android, my Android phone had a lite version of Quickoffice pre-installed and as a result I became a frequent user of the software suite. Right now I have Quickoffice for Android, WebOS and iOS, to maintain a semblance of consistency across my multiple platforms, so I therefore took pause when I contemplated the news that Google acquired Quickoffice the other day. On the one hand, I had a brief bit of sorrow on seeing another independent company absorbed by a much larger entity, but at the same time considered the potential tangible…


Google Doodle Celebrates Bob Moog

Today’s Google Doodle is a fully interactive synthesizer to celebrate the life of synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog. The sound of so many classic recordings from the 70s owes almost entirely to Moog and his crew from the small Trumansburg, New York manufacturing facility hand-wiring these innovative musical instruments. The ‘Moog Sound’ is not just due to analog circuitry, but more due to the limitations of the technology and some errors made in designing the circuits. I remember having to do most calculations by hand in undergraduate school, from electromagnetic waves to statistics and more … and certainly don’t miss those…


Unintended Consequences of ‘Play’-ing Around!

Early this week I saw link to a couple of new music making apps for Android and wanted to check them out, so I clicked and … BLOCKED! That is right – suddenly I couldn’t access Google Play. I went ahead and asked one of our local IT folks and he said that in general their filters will block download sites, game and music digital download sites and so on, but similar to Amazon’s MP3 and video sites the Google site managed to make it through the filters due to the way the site evolved. But once the name changed…


Google Books Plans to Drop Independent Bookstores

Google books has never been a major player. They have a few fringe ebook readers, and they do have a few apps, but even on Android Google books is outclassed dramatically by the competition. I am very vocal about how much I dislike iBooks, but at least Apple packs the app full of features to give people incentive to try it. Google Books is so generic there is almost no reason to use it. Their biggest claim to fame was powering various independent bookstore’s ebooks, and Google has decided to end that program. According to Publisher’s Weekly: On Tuesday representatives…


Best Google Easter Egg Ever?

I love what Google does to have fun; just look at their April Fools stuff from this year.  But now they have what may be the best Easter Egg ever!  Just Google the Following and the egg you see above will be revealed. Google this(or just click it): 1.2+(sqrt(1-(sqrt(x^2+y^2))^2) + 1 – x^2-y^2) * (sin (10000 * (x*3+y/5+7))+1/4) from -1.6 to 1.6 I just hope someone spent their 20 percent time on this.  Hopefully they start spending some of it on Android, too. Happy Easter!


Google, This Is Why You FAIL

This morning I got excited, at first.  I saw on my phone and my tablet that Temple Run has had an update.  The game has been less than stable on all of my devices so I was anxious to get the update to see if it was fixed. So I go to the Google Play Store to download it and get an error 927.  Tried multiple times and got both error 927 and 941.  Cleared data on the Google Play store, force stopped the app, rebooted and tried multiple things and was still unable to download the game.   I am…


FoxFi Android WiFi Hotspot App Now Available on Google Play!

It is very frustrating to be sitting with a WiFi-only device, a smartphone with loads of monthly data remaining and the capability to act as a hotspot, only to be thwarted for using the capability because your carrier wants you to sign up for a $20 monthly fee to use the hotspot … and you don’t want to pay. There have been numerous solutions to both tethering and hotspot creation, but most hotspot apps have required users to root their device, something which can have other unwanted effects (such as having to root in the first place).


Buh-Bye Android Market, Hello Google Play

The Android Market has been around for a while now, but Google has begun using it for more than just Android apps; they have added Music, Movies and Books over the last year.  So, in an effort to unify things a bit and get a less ambiguous name that describes the service, Google is re-branding the Android Market as Google Play.  The website is active now, and the Android Market app on your devices will be replaced with the Google Play Store app.  You can also expect to see updates today for the Books, Music and Movies applications. For more, check out…


Google + Is Now Almost HALF as Popular as MySpace (Yes, It Still Exists)

Quick – if you want to just blast out how awesome the new Mary Halvorson CD is, where do you go? Most likely to Twitter. And if you want to see what sorts of pictures have emerged from the weekend event your kids attended? Head to Facebook. Once on Twitter you will likely check out a few feeds, click around for a minute or two before exiting. On Facebook, your engagement will turn from seconds to minutes to hours as you check out friends and photos and chat with folks and so on. For many teens and young adults, Facebook…


I Prefer Amazon’s AppStore to the Android Market and Apparently I’m Not Alone

Do you want to know my #1 pet peeve with the Android Market? How unnecessarily difficult they make switching devices. I upgraded to a new Droid 4 last week and I STILL don’t have all of my apps set up yet. Contrast this with Amazon, where all of my apps were all ready to reinstall as soon as I logged into my account. The basic problem is that the Android Market doesn’t track apps for your account unless you spend money on them … which is perhaps the most idiotic thing I have ever heard about. This means trying to…


Microsoft Pokes Fun at Google Apps with New ‘Googlighting’ Spot

Last year Microsoft created the ‘GMail Man’ spoof commercial (I’ve included it at the bottom), that cast things that are completely true — that Google has programs that ‘read’ your email and target you with advertisements based on keywords found in your messages — in a completely creepy way by personalizing the scanner. The intent was obvious – show personal and especially business users that their sensitive personal data and intellectual property was anything but safe in GMail.


Oops They Did It (and were caught doing it) Again …

The quote I have been seeing – and using a lot lately is critical in describing Google’s behavior working around browser security settings and the very desires of users in insinuating their advertising into Safari as they were caught doing last week: Despite being thought of as a tech company, Google is actually an ad agency. Last week Google was caught bypassing user settings and Safari security as noted here: – Google secretly developed a way to circumvent default privacy settings established by a hated competitor, Apple – Google enabled this workaround to further its own advertising (revenue) and social-networking…


Google Finally Releases Chrome (Beta) for Android

My favorite browser, regardless of platform, is Google Chrome and I wondered how long it would take for Google to release Chrome for Android. Well, the wait is finally over. Sort of. Over on the Google Mobile blog, Google talks a bit about the the history of Google Chrome, which came out in 2008. They talk a bit about the features available on Chrome for Android beta, including: Fast – This is Google Chrome fast, only mobile Simple – The UI is very mobile-friendly, and is intuitive to use Sync – By signing into your Google account, you can sync…


Google Music Adds ‘Download Purchases’ Button and It Is Still Astonishingly Bad

I have been fairly critical of Google’s Music service, largely for two reasons: first off it was ‘worst in class’ and made every other music service look great in comparison; and second because as a Google service there were legions of blind Google fanboys spewing effusive praise because it was free. That was 9 months ago when it was in Beta. Then it got out of beta and … it was still the worst music service available, just slightly less crappy than before. Now Google has made a major update to the service … they added a button. This button…


Google Says ‘We Do What We Must Because We Can’

The title is a Portal reference … if you haven’t played, you should. I’ll provide a video at the end for context. The basic theme is that Aperture Science (Google) does what it ‘must’ (cruel human experimentation in the name of science) because it ‘can’ (no one can stop them). But also realize that it is presented humorously in-game, and I don’t intent it seriously here. Today we learn that Google is going to be combining all of the login and account data across every service we access with the same credentials. Yawn, right? Well, not exactly Orwellian, but not…


Wait … YouTube Has HOW MANY Daily Visits?

When someone mentions a song I want to check out or something from my past, I turn to iTunes or Rdio or perhaps Slacker Premium. My kids? YouTube, YouTube and YouTube. And apparently that is the trend according to Reuters, which has exclusive data from YouTube claiming 4 BILLION daily views! Here is some of the article: YouTube, Google Inc’s video website, is streaming 4 billion online videos every day, a 25 percent increase in the past eight months, according to the company. The jump in video views comes as Google pushes YouTube beyond the personal computer, with versions of…