Etc.


— 12:22 PM on August 1, 2011

Man, it's good to be home. In a pretty much unprecedented event, both Geoff and I were off last week, yet we still managed to publish several articles, a podcast, and a full slate of news. Thanks to Cyril and the rest of the guys for keeping the lights on while we were out. Amazingly, I've had a total of two weeks of vacation this past month, which simply never happens. Last week, we took a family trip to San Diego and got out of the Missouri heat. Was delightful. I should be recharged and ready for a busy back-to-school season now.

Before we left, I filed my iPad 2 write-up and almost immediately turned around and started researching competing tablets. I felt the need to pick up an Android tablet for my own education, if nothing else. I don't have any other Android-based devices, and I wanted to get some extended hands-on experience. With apologies to the Eee Pad Transformer, I decided the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was the most direct challenger to the iPad 2 and probably the best Android tablet to snag, so I picked up the 16GB Wi-Fi edition and took it with me on the trip.

So far, I've noticed Android has some clear benefits over iOS (notifications, multitasking, tweakability) and some rather obvious weaknesses, too. The same can be said of the Tab 10.1 hardware, although its size, weight, and design are undeniably impressive overall. I expect to be writing more about these things once I've become more familiar with the tablet. Samsung apparently has a big software update queued up for this week, so it looks like some things will be changing as I learn. I'm already settled on a number of major apps (Wyse PocketCloud as a RDP client, Brother's app for wireless printing, Amazon's Kindle for reading), but if you have any other app recommendations, let me know.

I'm also in grave need of a proper case/cover for the Tab 10.1, not so much for protection as for the ability to prop the tablet up at different angles for tabletop use. The iPad 2's Smart Cover has its issues, but it allows for angled use without adding much weight or bulk. If any of you have first-hand recommendations for a Tab 10.1 case that works similarly, please let me know. I'd rather not double or triple the size and weight of the tablet in order to get that capability, but the few options I've seen aren't terribly promising.

My continuing OS education may be further enhanced soon by another purchase I'm seriously considering: a new, Sandy Bridge-fortified MacBook Air. I have much too little experience with OS X, and it may be time to rectify that oversight. Also, Lion's tablet-like baby steps intrigue me.

In other news, I'm considering hosting an impromptu TR meetup later this week, some evening, here in the Kansas City metro area. The question is: are any of you locals available and interested in meeting? Let me know. I may have more info for you soon!

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