Mar 4, 2010 tech stuff
I’ve been curious about the whole Kindle concept since I first heard about it, but right now, the last thing I need is another one-use gadget. That’s why I was excited to find that Amazon had a Kindle program just for PCs…and it’s completely free!
There are plenty of books for Kindle available. Of course, I chose to start with some free ones.
Surprisingly, there are a lot of books that are free to download. A lot of them are older classics, which no longer have copyrights attached to them. But I did find a three-part Star Wars series in the list, as well as a few other mysteries and thrillers. Most are authors I haven’t heard of, but then for price I’m paying, I figure it can’t hurt to give the book a chance.
Right now, at home, I probably won’t use my PC Kindle very much. But on the road, I can see this being a great alternative to lugging around a bunch of books.
Do you have a Kindle? Do you like it?
I happened to be doing my daily quickscan of Facebook and Twitter for topics to write about when I spotted that Southwest Airlines was holding a “Tweet-up Meet-up” at the All-Star Music Resort at Walt Disney World. I happened to have the morning free, so I signed up to attend. I tried to get some friends to go, but either they had to work or they bailed on me last minute.
Well, today was the day of the event, so I got up and took Rhon to work by 6am, then went back home for a quick nap. The event started at 10:30am, and I got there at just that time, but it seemed I was one of the last to arrive.
To be honest, the event was kind of lackluster. Breakfast consisted of a few pastries, some bread pudding and some sliced fruit with a yogurt dressing to drizzle over it. I generally don’t like sweets for breakfast – would it hurt to have put out some scrambled eggs and bacon?? Or at least bagels and cream cheese? I decided on the fruit with a small blueberry muffin and washed it down with cranberry juice.
Most of the crowd there were families, so I didn’t really have anyone to chat with. I just sat in a booth and ate, watching the steel drum band they had for entertainment.
But at least it wasn’t a total bust. Just for showing up, I ended up taking home a $25 Disney gift card and a Southwest Air-branded laptop accessories kit that had a wireless mouse, thumb drive and a 4-slot USB hub extender. I had actually been thinking of purchasing a similar kit, so it was cool that I got one for free. Not a bad investment for an hour of my time.
After the event was over, I drove around the All-Stars and took some photos for possible future stories and went home. And now I’m blogging it all to you. LOL
Here’s a photo of the breakfast layout:
And one of my take-home goodies:
Oh and the funniest thing was even though it was a Twitter meet-up, not only did I seem to be the only person actually Twittering about it, I had to ask three Southwest employees what their Twitter handle was before I found someone who actually knew. Go figure.
Oct 19, 2009 tech stuff
I came across news today that seriously had me drooling on my laptop.
TechCrunch posted that Verizon, Motorola and Google are collaborating on a new phone that supposedly will give the iPhone a run for its money. It’s called the Droid, and from what I’ve read about it, I might have to break down and get one when it comes out (unless someone generously wants to buy me one for Christmas, if it’s out in time).
First of all, here’s the commercial that they’ve been running for it:
And here’s the actual photo via TechCrunch:
Here’s what I’m liking about the Droid:
- A slide-out qwerty keyboard for texting. I like the actual feel of keys for typing.
- A 5mp camera (vs a 3mp camera on the iPhone) with flash – if they can add zoom to that, it would really be sweet
- An interchangeable battery (so if the phone battery dies, you can just pop it open and replace it)
- Touch-interface screen like an iPhone (yes, on top of the qwerty board!)
- It shoots video.
- It runs on the Verizon network, so I don’t have to change over to AT&T
- Will run apps like the iPhone does – the official website says “10,000+ apps” – hopefully current iPhone devs will jump on board and create, create, create
- It may be shallow, but the geek in me loves that they named it “Droid”
Things I’m not so liking:
- It runs on a CDMA network, not a GSM network like the rest of the world. This means the Droid can’t be used outside of the US like the iPhone can. That’s seriously bad for a travel writer, like myself.
- I’ve heard the apps will cost more than comparable iPhone apps do.
- It won’t have access to iTunes thousands of free downloads like the iPhone does.
- Being new tech, it’ll probably cost more than an iPhone.
Verizon is supposed to formerly unveil the Droid in November, so there may be changes (hopefully for the good), but so far, I think it may be good enough to keep me from jumping ship to get an iPhone when my contract is up in January. At least I’ll have some time between Nov and Jan to hear all the official reviews and check one out at the nearby Verizon store before I make up my mind.
While I’m thinking about it, let me throw this question out there: iPhone users, what are your fave and least fave things about your iPhone?
Mar 14, 2009 tech stuff
I’m a fan of Twitter. I’ve been using it for several years. I use it to alert people to new articles and posts. I use it to cull information for upcoming articles. I use it to communicate with people I find interesting. I use it to interact with people I may never meet face-to-face. I use it to randomly post things I encounter in my travels, as well as my daily life.
You know what I’m talking about.
The people who sign up to follow thousands of people and then unsubscribe from them in order to spam them with endless Twitters with their URL or business info. The people who Tweet “can I get to 20,000 followers? Free (insert prize) given away if I reach that amount by the end of month”. Let me clarify that I’ve got nothing against Twitter contests, but not if it’s for the sole purpose of collecting followers. Take a look at the first page of the profile. It’s easy to tell the ones who are having a contest just to boost their numbers from the ones having a contest amongst various other things they Tweet about.
To me, the whole point of Twitter, when I first signed up, was to interact with people. To communicate and participate in an exchange of ideas. Not as a way to hard sell a product. And certainly not as a popularity contest to see who has the most followers.
Say you get to that magical number of followers…then what? What do you have to offer these people who are signed up to read your Tweets? Don’t just treat Twitter followers like another notch on your belt. There needs to be a healthy exchange of communication for Twitter to truly serve its purpose.
Lately, though, I’ve seen so many people obsess over things like being “Twitter elite” or having the most followers, and it just feels like these people are more worried about being popular instead of actually having something to share with others.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m just as flattered as anyone when I get named to a list of people to follow or when I pop up on Twitter ranking list. I even have a Twitter grade button on this website. But I don’t go out of my way to get on these lists. I don’t give away expensive computers or video cameras. I don’t beg for people to sign up to follow me. I’d like to think that the people who follow me do so because they like what I have to say. Which is the same reason I follow others. Or why I might choose to follow you.
Yes I’m a travel writer so I may Twitter about travel or post links to my articles. Yes, I like web design and social media, so I may Twitter about that. But I also may Tweet silly things about what’s happening in my life at that moment. I may engage in a Twitter conversation with someone about a TV show we both happen to be watching, even though we’re thousands of miles apart. I may even post a link to a cute photo of my dog.
And if you don’t like what I have to say, then feel free to unfollow me or not follow in the first place.
But I will never take for granted those that do choose to follow me. I will never treat them like just another notch in my Twitter belt. Another number in the popularity charts.
And to those that do choose to collect followers in a sole effort to become number one on these popularity lists, I’d really like you to ask yourself why it matters that you have so many people following you? Ask yourself what are you really offering these people in return for them taking the time out to read what you have to say? Does the quantity of your followers really matter more than the quality of the experience of being on Twitter?
And if this post strikes a nerve with you, ask yourself why it does.
I know a lot of the readers of this blog also use Twitter, so I’m curious what you all think about this. Do you care about being popular on Twitter? Does it bother you when you see some people use things like contests just to get people to follow them? Do you care if you’re just another number to someone you’re following, instead of a real person with real thoughts and opinions to share? Does it matter that some people are only on Twitter to sell their product?
Sound off in the comments. I really would like to know what you think.
Those that follow this blog know I’m an avid reader of John Chow‘s website and his Twitter feed. One of the regular features on his website that I like is video of the Dot Com Pho meetups that he participates in around his hometown of Vancouver. It’s kind of like eavesdropping in and some of the discussions are pretty interesting, like this week’s conversation about there being no wifi in the Whitehouse.
Now, during these videos Chow has started adding a scroll of website shoutouts, so when he sent out an afternoon Twitter asking if anyone wanted one, I decided “what the heck” and Tweeted back my info.
In a semi-tangent, I think I’m the only one who spells zengrrl without capitalizing the “g” – though in fairness I don’t usually capitalize the “z” either. LOL
In another semi-tangent, I wonder if we could get some Orlando-area bloggers together to start doing this. I think it’d be a fun way to meet each other and maybe network, too.
If you’re in Orlando tomorrow, you might be interested in this event being held at the IZEA offices downtown:
And note that above info also shows off a new feature at Metblogs that allows you to embed one of our posts into your blog. It’s in a “very beta” stage, but if it causes any problems on your site, you can simply remove the code and all should be ok. Pretty spiffy, eh?