Every so often we all have to go through a technological refresh. I just seem to do it more often than others which annoys my wife. My latest one happened this past February and March when I purchased a new smartphone and computer. What I purchased would have surprised even me as early as January of this year. However, I wanted to try new things for the experience and challenge different technologies provide. Here is what I decided on and why.
photo © 2011 ETC@USC | more info (via: Wylio)
The first thing I did was replace my beloved iPhone 3GS with the Motorola Atrix 4G. I know I said I loved my Blackberry Curve when it was sent to the technological bench. Now the iPhone? My original plan was to wait for the iPhone 5 and I may still go that way when it ever appears. However, some Android users, including my son, kept after me to try Android. I was reluctant because of the apps I had invested in my iPhone and the thought of spending more money on apps. Another hang-up I had with Android was the limited memory on the phone. This was somewhat solved with Android 2.2 which allows users to store apps on the SD card in your phone. Then there was the learning curve of how the phone would work with an alien operating system. I wish I could tell you it was flawless transition. However, once I learned the basics, I found Android offered users more than iOS devices. The thing I like most is the ability to install widgets on the phone's screen which allows quicker access to apps. If I want to play music on my music app I just press the play button and I have music. Should I need to jot a quick note in Evernote, then no problem. Widgets is one thing Apple could learn to make iOS even better. I do miss some apps like Awesome Note and Netflix and it took me a long time to find a podcast player I liked but for the most part life has been good.
After shopping around and even taking the HTC Inspire home for a spin, I finally settled on Motorola's Atrix 4G. The first thing I noticed was this phone is fast! The 1GHz Dual Core processor really makes this phone zip along. When I went to do something in my iPod Touch 3GS (the iPhone without a SIM card), it seemed very slow. Some Android apps are buggy but no more so than some iOS apps I worked with. I found out that many apps need updating to work with dual core processors which explain some of the crashes. So far I have not been able to take advantage of the 4G speeds because of AT&T and they way they treat one of the fastest growing areas in the state of South Carolina. We have not had 3G in this area very long so I am not holding my breath for 4G (or AT&T's version of it anyway) but I did not buy the phone for data speeds just the processor and it has not disappointed me yet.
photo © 2008 Marco Paköeningrat | more info (via: Wylio)
My next technological upgrade actually caused some of my friends to raise their eyebrows. I bit the bullet and got a MacBook Pro. The reason was simple, I wanted a upscale performance laptop that would give me many years of service. My son will graduate high school (hopefully) in a couple of years and will need a good laptop to take to college (again I hope). While my Acer Aspire One netbook gave and still gives good service, I wanted something larger and with more horsepower. Plus, when I went shopping for PC's the selection was large and somewhat disappointing because they did not have the Sandy Bridge processor. The Mac I selected has Intel's latest processor, Thunderbolt connectivity which is Intel's answer to USB 3.0. Of course there needs to be some Thunderbolt peripherals which have not come to market yet. This is how new it is.
When I announced my Mac purchase my Facebook and Twitter sites went nuts. Some of my friends, thinking I was a die hard Windows man who would only give up his PC when they pried it from my cold dead fingers, welcomed me from the clutches of the darkside of the computer force. I don't know why people thought this because I have wanted a Mac for years. Ever since I saw Garage Band I started drooling over Macs but the machines are darned expensive. Finally, I had the money and had run out of excuses so I bit the bullet and got one. So far I have not missed the Windows system at all because I have a Windows 7 machine at work. Actually, I could lose that HP and not miss a beat thanks to inter operable programs and cloud storage. Plus, I have not had needed to make expensive software purchases. The most expensive programs I purchased was iWorks 11 and Scrivener. Garage Band is everything I expected it to be and more. iMovie has been a pleasant surprise. Safari and Chrome gave me trouble when I needed to show a full webpage I was mirroring during a presentation but the new Firefox came through. Finally, the battery life has been incredible! I rarely have to take my charger with me when I hit the library or Starbucks.
They say that change is good and I have had my share of change in the last year. I guess I needed new challenges in technology with both my smartphone and computer. Now, I believe I have the resources to tackle new challenges like learning how to program with students using Scratch and for iOS and Android apps on my own. While I still draft some writings on my smartphone, it is nice to have a larger platform to write than my netbook offered. Perhaps I can use that famous Mac creative ability to squeeze that great American novel that is supposedly in all of us or get back to producing some creative videos and audio projects. At least one can dream.