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OS X Yosemite Review: First Impressions

by: Mark Reschke | Oct 17, 2014

Os-x-yosemite-anticipation

Will Apple’s OS X Yosemite Spotlight Search be used by the masses? Will dark mode be the default go-to look and feel? Will Continuity be a must users simply won’t be able to live without? Like test driving a car, once purchased, the owners continued long term use reveals the gimmicky sales tools versus what features are truly useful. In many respects new OS releases are much the same. Widgets once seemed like a great default tool to quickly discover weather, stock prices and flight times. Fast forward a few years and OS X Widgets are rarely developed for or used. Sherlock seemed a sure bet, then morphed into Spotlight, but was limited in only finding things on your local drive. Now Spotlight has been given a rebirth in Yosemite under its new name, Spotlight Search. Long term value of such tools will be discovered over time, thus, here are some initial impressions of Apple’s newly minted OS.

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Pick New Home Paint Colors

by: Mark Reschke | Aug 13, 2014

BehrPicking new paint colors for your home can be both challenging, fun and yet frustrating, all at the same time! Yet with so many options it is sometimes hard to pick the right one. Keeping all of the different color scheme ideas organized can also be difficult, and with so many color scheme apps in the app store, that often is not a help. For this task, users need a good, easy to use paint app, so here are a few of the best.

Behr is the main brand of paint that is sold at Home Depot (and Home Depot's own brand). They also have their own app for both the iPhone and iOS called Color Smart. With Color Smart, users can explore colors, photo match, preview colors, and select favorite colors and schemes. All these features help users find and organize their color ideas in selecting the best paint color. Behr is not the only one who has a mobile app to help customers. Lowe’s paint brand, Valspar also has their own app. Sherwin-Williams mobile app is called ColorSnap. Color Capture is Benjamin Moore’s mobile app.

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HouzzSelling or staying, many people are looking to remodel their house. Some are just looking to change the paint color on their walls, while others are looking to completely gut their kitchen. Without having a creative or visionary brain, the first question that often comes up is what will the remodel look like, and where should people go when looking for remodeling ideas?

The do-it-yourself warehouses are one common route that is taken to gather ideas and a remodeling vision, while others will hire an interior decorator to do it for them. In the past, many do-it-yourselfers would dive into books to find new ideas. As with most things, the Internet has changed all that. Pinterest is one of the biggest sites to find ideas, but it has a lot more than just remodeling topics.

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Nfl-micros-ft-surface-pro-2

The NFL has entered an agreement with Microsoft to allow the use of Surface Pro 2 tablets on team sidelines this season. Currently the NFL bans any computer device from gracing a team’s sidelines during game time. Up until now pictures from the booth were taken of plays, printed out, stuffed into binders and then run down to the sidelines. Think 1980.

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Intel_tablet_adLast night, while stumbling upon Penn & Teller’s whimsical Fool Us TV show (sorry, I really don’t watch much live TV anymore — thank you Apple TV), I found myself watching what I thought was another Microsoft Surface commercial, wasn’t a Microsoft ad at all. Rather, it was a generic Intel tablet commercial, pushing the idea that Intel-based tablets are what people need (not ARM-based or iPad tablets). Just how desperate is this dual-force Microsoft and Intel I wondered?

Microsoft’s failing campaign to sell their heavy, battery draining 2-in-1 Surface Pro is one thing, but Intel trying to sell the idea that the only type of tablet worth buying is due to something the user will never see, touch or understand – the processor. Apple’s dark decade of the 90’s laid the groundwork for Intel to advertise to, what could be described as, low technology information consumers. Intel was successful in pushing the idea that when looking to buy a new PC, that only an ”Intel Inside” PC was worth considering. 

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Apple_hdtv2Yesterday, Apple released two additional networks onto Apple TV: CNBC and Fox Now. While both have clips or what often amount to short promo videos of full length shows, neither network ads much value without a key or a cable or satellite subscription. Without a TV subscription service, these, and dozens of other networks, on Apple TV are virtually useless.

High value networks such as EPSN, CNBC, HBOGO, ABC, Disney Channel and over a dozen other networks all require TV subscriptions to access popular content. Apple TV is being manipulated by carriers into a cable TV accessory.

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IstickIf you haven't used Airdrop before, you don't know what a great wireless technology you've got on your Mac or iOS device. Having lost my Age of Empires disc, I simply used Airdrop to copy it to another Mac, drug it into the Applications folder, and the game launched without a hitch. Sending a few photos to other iOS devices on a local network has also become chore-less. But try Airdrop between OS X and iOS and it's DOA. Airdrop does not work between OS X and iOS devices, not until this fall anyway, but until then a little invention called iStick solves the problem.

iStick is a simple device. It contains a male USB on one side, with Apple's male lightening connection on the other. The device is such a simple yet powerful addition in a digital workflow, it falls into the category of "Why didn't I think of that?". Well, Sanho Corporation did, and iStick plans to be shipping in full production in late August. 

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Review: Apple iPad Air vs Surface Pro 3

by: Mark Reschke | Jun 27, 2014

Ipad_air_vs_surface_pro_3Earlier this week I reviewed the Surface Pro 3 and how it stacked up against the MacBook Air as an ultrabook laptop. I wore the objectivity cape as long as possible, but it was simply no contest. From hardware to operating system, the MacBook Air delivered a vastly superior ultrabook experience. But the Surface Pro 3 claims something the MacBook Air does not – that it is the best of a laptop and best of a tablet. The former was covered, but now it is time to dig into the latter. Does the Surface Pro 3 make for the best tablet when compared against the leader of the pack, the iPad Air?

Hardware:

Microsoft has been keen to market the Surface Pro 3 against the MacBook Air, but raw processing power of the Surface seemingly gives it an advantage over the iPad Air, not the MacBook Air. Geekbench testing reveals Surface has the power edge over the iPad Air:

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Macbook_air_vs_surface_pro_3There is little doubt that you have seen the ads: Microsoft continuing to desperately promote Surface Pro 3 as the everything tablet — and — the everything laptop computer. However, there are two important problems with Microsoft’s “Best of a laptop, best of a tablet” claim:

  • Surface Pro 3 is not a great tablet.
  • Surface Pro 3 is a poor choice when compared to an ultra-book laptop.

I could make this article short and sweet by stating the Surface Pro 3 is truly flawed product, grasping at MacBook Air and iPad Air straws, but there are serious reasons why the Surface is a solution in search of a problem and they deserve, at least, some attention.

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Amazon_fire_phone

Yesterday Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos introduced the company’s first smartphone called fire Phone. Taking queues from the popular fire brand Amazon had built from their tablets, it seemed a logical extension of their tablet offering. The questions surrounding the fire Phone have largely been answered.

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