Apple iPad 2 hands-on: Predictable, awesome (CNet.com)

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

From Donald Bell at CNet.com :

What does the world’s most successful tablet computer
do for an encore? More of the same.

The second-generation iPad from Apple is thinner, faster, lighter, and
whiter, but not a radical departure from the original. Pricing is also holding
steady, starting at $499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi-only model, up to 64GB with 3G
(provided by AT&T or Verizon without contract) priced at $829.

You can’t blame Apple for going easy on new features. Apple’s original recipe
for the iPad single-handedly created and captured the demand for tablets last
year. By any measure, it is not a product in need of fixing. It has the market
share, it has the developers, and it has the momentum.

Apple also just makes damn fine products. Having had a few minutes with the
iPad 2, I can say that it is every bit as stunning as the original. The first
thing that struck me was the iPad’s weight loss. It’s still not Kindle thin, but
the lighter design should make the e-book crowd happier and prove to be a
distinct advantage over bulkier competitors, including the recent Motorola
Xoom
.

The second thing that registered with me is the feel of the device. Apple
still uses anodized aluminum on the back, which is cool to the touch and
generally resists smudges. The back now flattens out at the middle, allowing it
to better stay put when placed on a table. In spite of the iPad’s thickness
decreasing by a third, it seemed no more fragile than the original design. In
fact, with its lighter weight, it feels less susceptible to being dropped.

I also tried out Apple’s new magnetic Smart Cover. It’s cute and it works as
advertised. From a case perspective, though, it’s a G-string in a world of
coveralls. The tough part of selling these will be convincing customers that the
back of the iPad is resilient enough to resist normal wear and tear.

Of course, the banner feature for the iPad 2 is the addition of two cameras,
which can be used for recording video or stills. The camera on the back is
located in the upper-right corner, recessed onto the tapered edge to avoid
scratching. It looks just like the lens on the iPhone 4
and is similarly blessed with 720p video capture. There’s no camera flash,
and the sensor is not identical to the iPhone’s, since its still-shot
capabilities are essentially video stills (similar to the fourth-gen iPod
Touch). That said, having tested the cameras on more than a few competing
tablets over the past year, I can’t stress how ridiculous you feel shooting
pictures with a tablet in public. Talk about overkill.

[ Continued . . . ].

Read more: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-31747_7-20038436-243.html#ixzz1FW6xD900

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Tablet Buying Guide from CNet.com

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

As manufacturers rush to capitalize on the attention given to the Apple iPad, there seems to be a new tablet announced every week. And though we can’t keep track of every slate thrown into the wild, if you’re curious to know what your options are, we’ve compiled a general overview of the tablet landscape.

iPad

In the world of tablets, the iPad reigns as king. The product has its detractors, sure, but you can’t dispute the millions of iPads consumers have purchased and the startling rate of adoption–selling more than a million within the first month of release.

The iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch all run a common operating system called iOS, lending a degree of familiarity across Apple‘s most popular products. The iPad’s ease of use, along with its impressive selection of apps, games, and media, are generally considered its most prized attributes. [ . . . ]

Click Here for the Whole CNet.com Buying Guide

Read CNET‘s full review of the Apple iPad.

Where Google Is or Should Be ?

Here’s an article by CNet with observations about what should be focused on by Google in the coming months and year. You can click on the image below for the article and another interesting article can be found on InformationWeek.com.  You might also want to check out the Tope Ten Google Stories of 2010.

Google.com

Google Chrome: One Step Closer to Paperless ?

Chrome OS Login

I just applied to be one of the test pilots for the Google Chrome OS. I am very interested in the prospect of having something that is connected to the Internet on a constant. Naturally, as a lawyer, I do have questions about security, confidentiality, practical use in the courtroom, and collaboration with staff. Hopefully, I will be one of the lucky one’s who gets to test this system in earnest.  I have tried, at various times, the Linux-Ubuntu OS, Windows (since its introduction), and Mac options since the 1980’s.  The prospect of a challenger to the old guard provides a clarion call for innovation.  I honestly hope that Chrome can drive innovation in this area — it’s been a while.

From what I can see, the upcoming Chrome OS is extremely user friendly and should be familiar to most of us vis a vis the use of “apps.” I certainly support anything that is quicker and which provides some level of long-term data integrity in terms of storage and accessibility. I am looking forward to becoming familiar with this particular OS and sharing the news as it comes in terms of strengths and weaknesses.
My guess is that the existing Google Apps will go a long way toward basic functionality. I already use Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Picasa for my photos. Each of these programs or services have improved over time and the fact that Google is way ahead with its research and development, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did not start to give Apple a real run for their money in the tablet OS arena and number of apps ultimately available. Much like in the 1980s, I think that Apple will have led the way, but may ultimately be overrun by its own innovation. Anyway, without further opining, you can check out the video showing Google Chrome in action on one of their demo units.
Just click on the video window below for a preview of the Chrome OS in action:

Electronic Privacy: A Moderate FTC Attack on Advertisers and Commercial Exploitation of User History Information

Obviously, one of the biggest concerns for a lawyer is the confidentiality of client records and work product.

As recently reported on the Huffington Post, there are a number of major players on the Internet who see it fit to trawl for user information when visiting their sites.  While maybe not a big deal, other than the unwanted hassle of targeted advertising, other sensitive information could be a real problem where one is storing client files on the Cloud or where similar factors present themselves.

While one could say that he/she will never be using the Cloud to store client data, I think the reality is that there may be no realistic alternatives in the future for what we consider to be standard storage now (i.e., hard drives, USB drives, external drives, etc.).  It’s not all bad if we plan now and place a privacy/security infrastructure in place now.

Historically, the confidentiality between the learned professions and those are served by those professions has been largely respected and protected.  Current technology does not eliminate the legitimate public policy concerns underlying these privileges against invasion, disclosure, production, and admission into evidence before a court.  For better or worse, most public policy issues express themselves through the regulatory environment and the creation of a whole new set of laws and restrictions (as though we don’t have enough laws on the books).  This being said, until there is a way of getting people to better behave themselves, we will have to settle for making a complex legal system even more so.

Realistically, I think that we will all eventually end up storing and processing much of our information through services such as Dropbox, Windows Live, Google Docs, RocketMatter.com, and other cloud-based servers.  While it is easy to say that hard storage will never be eliminated, the same could have been said of the cassette tape, VCRs, eight-tracks, zip drives, and a whole host of other tech items that seemed to earn what we thought was a permanent place in our daily lives.  While the main focus on these forms of storage media were related to intellectual property rights, privilege issues have not been widely discussed in the legal field.  It may simply be that lawyers, as a profession, are way behind the technological curve.  However, I am fairly certain that our clients not only expect confidentiality of information, they rightfully demand it.

In a recent review by me of the Rutter Group’s treatise on Professional Responsibility, there was quite a bit of information in the privacy concerns that arise as a matter of professional ethics.  Most of the information related to state bars coming down on lawyers for advertising violations.  There was also a brief discourse on how Facebook and other social networking sites affect bias of the judiciary, public perception, and client confidentiality.  What was not provided was a solution to how attorneys can stay competitive, be environmentally friendly, and how they might protect information in a world of data retention that changes and advances by the day.  Thus, this all becomes an issue about what we are all willing to do in order to protect not only confidential client information, but our own reasonable expectations of privacy in our personal lives as professionals and regular citizens/consumers.

Notwithstanding the privacy concerns within our specific profession, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is working on some proposals designed to address the invasions of privacy occasioned by some of the sites specifically mentioned in the Huffington Post article.

In the report, the FTC asserts that, “Companies should incorporate substantive privacy protections into theirpractices, such as data security, reasonable collection limits, sound retention practices, and data accuracy,” and that, “Companies should maintain comprehensive data managementprocedures throughout the life cycle of their products and services.”  There are also a number of practical proposals set out as well:

  • Privacy notices should be clearer, shorter, and more standardized, to enable better comprehension and comparison of privacy practices.
  • Companies should provide reasonable access to the consumer data they maintain; the extent of access should be proportionate to thesensitivity of the data and the nature of its use.
  • Companies must provide prominent disclosures and obtain affirmative express consent before using consumer data in a materially different manner than claimed when the data was collected.
  • All stakeholders should work to educate consumers about commercial data privacy practices.

While I am ordinarily no fan of governmental interference with a Free Market Economy, I must say that I do agree with the conclusion that many of the cooking tracking, user-history exploitation, and unwanted targeted advertising schemes are the product of a lack of education on the part of Internet users.

Moreover, unlike the voluntary decision to go to a store or similar place, the decision to utilize the internet is one that often involves making a connection from one’s private location and the associated plethora of data that rests on our personal or business computers.  As indicated above, this is a huge concern especially for professionals who retain confidential information with respect to their clients.  One can only sadly imagine the potential liability exposure should a marketer get a hold of professional-user information that references specific clients and sensitive data associated with them.

Keeping up on these issues is a must for not only those of us in positions of trust, I strongly believe that there is a legitimate issue of safety that deserves the expenditure of governmental resources for preventative measures and, at a minimum, for the education of those who use the internet.

Tablet Alternatives Becoming More Available

Archos Multi-ViewArchos' 101 Tablet is now out on the market.

The Archos largest tablet offers a slim profile, camera, HD playback, Micro SD slot, and a number of other unique features not offered by the Ipad.

Archos has been around for a while and one can reasonably expect that their years of experience in the Tablet PC market should be helpful in providing a quality product which can compete with other tablets coming to market during the Christmas Season.  It is also noteworthy that they have been offering Internet tablets for quite some time. However, the Archos 9 Windows-based tablet was not warmly received by consumers and reviewers.  Nevertheless, it does look like the new Archos tablets have a better user interface, better screen response, and overall improved speeds as compared to the much slower Windows-based offering.

Surprisingly, many of the other companies’ new tablets, which were expected by late November, simply haven’t shown up on the scene (Acer, Notion Ink Atom, Toshiba, HP). As such, it does seem that Dell, Archos, and the Chinese knock off companies should do reasonably well this year.  While I would like to see more mainstream companies offering tablets (especially Android products), it looks like early to middle of next year will be a better gauge of what is actually available.

Noterize: Mark Up Docs with this Basic App

Noterize is an app that I have used when I’m in a pinch to mark up a pdf exhibit and just need to make some basic notes as to the document along with any high-lighting.  I have mixed feelings about this app because I do not find the user interface to be all that particularly friendly.  What is likeable about the app is the fact that it is easy to import documents from Dropbox. Also, legal notes and comments can be placed directly onto the documents.  Adding an all encompassing toolbar for easy navigation would be a great improvement to an otherwise good app.

I would recommend this app to anyone looking for an adjunct to Noteshelf, which is very user friendly and intuitive.  With respect to both apps, having Adobe‘s Acrobat Pro 10 is an absolute must.  If you are inclined to use your Mac, PDFPenPro 5 is also a great user-friendly .pdf creation, editing, and sharing program for Mac.  I would give Noterize an 8 out of 10.  It could be a near perfect app with some work on the UI.  You can click on either image below for additional reviews on this app.  The pic below these is an actual screen shot showing the high lighting function, comments, and signature ability.