Author Archive: Steven Rogers

June 1, 2010

I bought an iPad. Now what?

I purchased the iPad on a Friday and gave the iPad a nice reviewing over the weekend. I purchased the 64GB Wi-Fi-only edition. I couldn’t justify the cost of the 3G edition in addition to the monthly 3G cost from AT&T.

My initial impression of the iPad was, “Ok, so this is basically a computer with a touch interface with a few wow factors thrown in there for good measure. I understand they need to sell the product, right?”

I watched multiple Netflix movies, a few episodes of LOST, played several games of Chopper, Pinball, Final Fantasy (epic win, btw), quite a bit of shuffleboard, ordered pizza, continued reading “The Hobbit” on the Kindle app, surfed the web and sent email. All these activities were pleasant experiences with the iPad except for maybe sending email. Typing, of course, was a painful experience. As well as attempting to find a comfortable position to hold the device. It seems that laying down and propping it up against my leg worked best.

I visited my parents on Saturday and decided to give the iPad a first-time user’s experience. My father absolutely loved the device. Well, at least he loved the shuffleboard game. My mother complained about the fact that she couldn’t read any of the web pages until I showed her how to zoom and that was an instant win for her. The more I use this device the more I feel like it was built specifically for older people.

The big complaint I usually hear is that the iPad is just a giant iPod Touch. Sort of… The larger screen truly makes a difference, particularly to web surfing. My only problem was typing long emails. You can’t help but feel frustrated and wishing a physical keyboard would simply drop out of the bottom of the iPad, but alas, no such luck. I definitely type faster on my iPhone’s keyboard.

Would I recommend this product? If you can get past the keyboard handicap, yes. It’s a fantastic consumption device, but don’t expect to produce much with it.

May 20, 2010

To Buy or Not to Buy an Apple iPad

I have traditionally been a Windows sorta guy though, over the years, I have been slowly (very slowly) gravitating towards the Apple side of the fence. I haven’t purchased a full on Mac, as my love for Windows 7 is in full bloom, but when it comes to handheld/mobile devices Apple has been doing exceptionally well. I already have an iPhone 3GS and I swear by it. I really know of no one that has an iPhone and is disappointed by it.

Now I am in the market for a new laptop and I’m considering the iPad. Shut it, I know it’s not a “laptop”. It’s a medium between a smart phone and laptop, blah blah. What I should find out is if my life would be better with a laptop or an iPad. What exactly do I need?

Well, I can’t play World of Warcraft on my iPad, right (maybe)? I could definitely watch some streaming Netflix though. That would be pleasant. I have about 200 books for the Kindle app on my iPhone. I’m sure the experience of reading on the iPad is better than on the iPhone. Do I need the 3G or just the WiFi version? What about that keypad? I’m the type that rests their fingers on the keyboard. All my composed emails would end up like the following:

A;ldskfj;ada;lskdjfasd;lfkjasd;flkja;sGODHELPME!!!!dlkfja;l;lskadjfjklfadlkjfdaskl dfsak asdf kjk f faldk fdsa fasl;kd jaakls;jdf;afs kdl;j fasIHATEEMAIL!!!!djkla fjsk;lafkjls j askl;djfasjl fk;alsk;j df!!!!11!!1!

Well, at least they have a Bluetooth keyboard for $69. I guess that helps.

The more I research the iPad, the more I like it. I watched Steve Job’s iPad presentation yesterday. Though, I couldn’t help but notice the missing flash movie during his presentation.

Steve Jobs - iPad

Never the less, I don’t see this as a big issue as I foresee Flash movies being replaced by HTML 5 anyway.

So with all this said, will I purchase an iPad? Yes, I most definitely will. I should set up a “Steven Rogers needs an iPad” fund. You can send your donations to the SoftLayer corporate office addressed to me. ;)

Once I get the iPad and have played with it for a bit, I will write a follow up to this blog.

Update: I bought a 64GB WiFi-only iPad recently and will post a follow up to this blog on June 1st.

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May 12, 2010

Canonical URLs

Last year Google, Microsoft, Ask and Yahoo announced the support for Canonical Links in an attempt to help alleviate duplicate urls on sites. This will help prevent indexing of multiple urls that point to the same page.

The syntax is rather simple:

http://www.someurl.com/mypage.htm?id=202303992929

…should be specified in the HEAD section as…

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.someurl.com/mypage.htm” />

This simply tells the search engines that the preferred location for the URL is http://www.someurl.com/mypage.htm

Instead of…

http://www.someurl.com/mypage.htm?id=202303992929.

If you view any SoftLayer web page on the corporate website, you can see canonical URLs in action.

Canonical URL

Why would I need to utilize Canonical Urls?

Good question and here’s why…

The reasons behind the need for canonical urls are simply to help webmasters eliminate self-created duplicate content. Repeat after me: Duplicate content is BAD!

Interested in learning more about Canonical Urls?

Joachim Kupke, from Google, created a lovely slide show with all the information you could want about Canonical Links.

 

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April 28, 2010

A Review of the Opera Mini for the iPhone

Opera Mini for the iPhone

Opera’s new mobile browser for the iPhone has finally been approved by Apple to be included on the App Store. Read the official announcement.

I’ve played around with the browser for the past 30 minutes. My impressions are as follows:

Pros

  • It’s a wicked fast mobile browser. No doubts about that. A definite improvement over the other browser options on the iPhone.
  • The Dashboard is a very welcome addition.
  • Zooming in and out of the web page to read different portions of the web page was something I didn’t like at first. After browser a few pages, it grew on me. You can turn on “mobile view” in the settings to force the content to narrow to the view screen.
  • Opera’s version of tabbed browsing is remarkable!
  • Opera has great offline support through “Saved Pages”.

Cons

  • Bookmarks were a little difficult to find at first. It’s located under “Settings” which seems to be the wrong place in my opinion. Trivial, I know.
  • You can NOT set the Opera mini as the “default” browser. Though this is directed more towards a failing of the iPhone OS than the Opera browser itself.
  • Text heavy pages tend to have some text overlapping issues.
  • Unlike its PC brother, the Opera Mini does not pass the ACID 2 or ACID 3 tests.
    • On this note, Safari on the iPhone does pass both the ACID 2 and ACID 3 tests.
  • My overall impression of the new Opera Mini for the iPhone is good. For me, ease of use is a major clincher for mobile internet browsing and the Opera Mini hits the target.

March 10, 2010

The Case for Task Managment Systems

How many times have you received a “task” through email with no priority or due date attached? Just “Hey, do this…” with nothing more. It leaves you wondering when this particular “task” is supposed to be completed or how important this task may be. What if you’re slammed with about 5 different items at once and the email with the “task” disappears into the mass of emails you receive all day? Now you have the author of this “task” upset because their task was not completed by the time they didn’t specify in the email lost in your inbox. It’s a disaster just begging to happen.

Emails get lost. Task notes get thrown away by the cleaning crew. The dog ate my task. In using a task management system, none of these situations could ever happen.

A Task Management System is either a frightening or salvatory three words for the disorganized among us. It’s a savior for those desiring efficiency and a nightmare for those unwilling to change.

Wow, you are really convincing! So, what type of task management systems are out there? I’m glad you asked that question...

Task Management Systems range from the simplest (Ta-da Lists - http://tadalist.com/) to the more advanced (JIRA - http://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/). Both, of which, could meet your needs exceptionally well.Wow, JIRA looks really awesome! What are some pros and cons of the task management system? Another excellent question… PROS:

  • Task organization
  • Task prioritizing
  • Task collaboration between employees
  • Task status updates
  • Custom reports for Tasks
  • Task history CONS:

  • New system to learn.
  • That’s really about it, honestly.

It’s really a no brainer that the task management system is a major improvement over basic email and can bring about high efficiency in the work place.

January 11, 2010

Stop Using Internet Explorer 6!

Let me start by saying this… I hate Internet Explorer 6 (IE6). I really do.

Internet Explorer 6 was born on August 27, 2001. The browser was released in conjunction (well, a little after) with Windows XP as a major upgrade from Internet Explorer 5.5. From those humble beginnings in 2001, IE6 has continued to stay alive mostly because of the continued support/use of Windows XP and web-based applications built specifically for IE6.

Here are a few reasons IE6 is a big pile of junk:

  • Numerous security issues.
  • The inability to support CSS version 2 fully.
  • No support for alpha transparency in PNG images.
  • Quirks Mode, which emulates IE5.5.
  • No tabbed browsing.
  • It’s OLD!

So what makes a good browser!?

  • Full CSS 2+ support.
  • HTML/JavaScript W3C standards compliancy.
  • HTML/JavaScript performance improvements.
  • All new browsers utilize tabbed browsing.
  • Some new browsers (such as Google Chrome) have “Task Managers” that can allow you to destroy certain tabs that may have become unresponsive by a web site.
  • Support for HTML 5.

If you’re still using IE 6, consider upgrading to a new browser such as Mozilla FireFox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, or a newer version of Microsoft Internet Explorer. You’ll make yourself and web developers around the world so happy!

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