Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Initial KINDLE FIRE impressions

I rushed home after a long day of push 0's and 1's through my company's network and was thoroughly exhausted.  But as I journeyed home to my abode in South San Jose, I started to become energized, because I was promised in a shipping notification from the folks at AMAZON that my FIRE had shipped and would be with me before the nights end!

As I trudged through my garage door, I quickly scouted the room for the object of my desire, sidestepping the obligatory hello and hug from my children.  I was a man on a mission and no amount of child/parent relation was going to get in the way.  (just kidding, Mom - I hugged them - then shoved them on their way).

After a cursory scan of the room, I found nothing! I moved on to the other room and again found nothing... I then began the waiting game as I figured out, the device had not made it yet.  It wasn't until after dinner and dishes that I 'happened' to check the front door (for the 37th time since arriving home) and found the package of my want, waiting.

I brought the box in and tore into it like a young bear finding a package of ding-dongs at a campsite.  What I was met with was not only a well put together presentation of the product (a-la-Applesque), but it was totally made of biodegradable products and hence totally recyclable - nice.

The FIRE was jet black on the back and the front, and simply came with an AC Adapter (using micro USB architecture) and a note card (quick start guide) with some notes on it (I ignored this).
I then ripped off the cellophane wrapping and pushed the power button and was met with a KINDLE/ANDROID SLIDE TO UNLOCK.  It is a very nice display and has crisp colors and fast response to my finger swipe and movements.

The first thing the FIRE wanted to do was join a wireless network, after which it wanted to check for an update.  I obliged and started the download - it was slow, but thankfully the KINDLE recognized the download was progressing slowly (I am sure because a lot of FIRE's were being turned up tonight) and it prompted me to CONTINUE or ABORT FOR LATER.  I chose to continue - what the heck.
After the update - the unit rebooted and started back up where we left off - and low and behold - it was already ASSIGNED to me - so no registration necessary.

Found all my books that were IN THE CLOUD and downloaded several of my current books I am reading (I multitask like I am turning television stations).

I then proceeded to jump into the APP store and I do have to say, I am very jaded by the Apple APP STORE - Apple's store is easier to navigate and browse and find things.  I searched for several apps on the AMAZON APP STORE and they weren't to be found - not sure if this is a limitation imposed by the apps that can be placed on the FIRE, but at $200.00, this is going to be a HOT ANDROID device - so Amazon/Google better get off their arses and do right by this device.

As a reader - the FIRE has a superb screen with multiple options to make it easier on the eyes - with FONT SIZE, FONT STYLE, 3 different color schemes, etc. etc.  The drawback is that the unit feels skinnier than the last KINDLE (3rd generation) that I have.  So I have used the Kindle 1 and the Kindle 3 (full size, gray keyboard) and now the FIRE.  I am afraid the unit will not work outdoors, and when we return to the beach this next summer, I won't be able to see it clearly (so I will keep my Kindle 3 as backup).

The unit is very responsive (as I stated) and I even setup my e-mail on the unit, not like I really need ANOTHER DEVICE with my e-mail on it.  I also downloaded a few fun apps to toy with and experiment as this is my first ANDROID device.  Now, if Apple had created something similar to this (in price and size), I would have totally picked that up instead - because, in reality, I could use an iOS device... with the KINDLE app.

Hope this helps a bit and I truly hope to have an updated review after using it for several days.  Mean time - here are some pics of the unit:

Kindle SWIPE screen to open device

First Screen - My Amazon Shelf - has books, apps, music, etc. all in one place

Here is an example of my NEWSSTAND - with some journals I subscribe (pay) to

Here are my books - notice these are IN THE CLOUD and the JAMES GARNER BIOGRAPHY in the lower right corner has a grayed out ARROW - means it is in the cloud and not on my device yet.

BEAUTIFUL opening page for my latest download from Joe Haldeman - gorgeous colors...

Bottom has an audio jack, power jack and power button

Top of FIRE has two speakers - more important for the VIDEOS and MUSIC you can play on this device

Ariel view of the FIRE (notice the finger smudges)

Had to download an album to the device to test the audio - what better album than the GREATEST VIDEO GAME MUSIC from the London Philharmonic Orchestra!!!

...and FACEBOOK app running on FIRE

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dear Dad - I miss you.

Dear Dad,

I woke up today thinking about you.

I woke up wanting to talk with you and give you a hug, but found that I awoke to reality that quickly turned into a nightmare.  I couldn't hug you or call you on the phone or hear your voice.  I couldn't get words of encouragement from you or tap into your wisdom of the years.  Those days are gone; ripped from my core, leaving me to fend for myself and do the best that I can as a man who now has a full family.

I thought of your final days and how weak and frail you looked, clinging to life in your hospital bed.  I thought of my selfish days leading up to your passing and how I was sure that if I wasn't there, then you wouldn't die or get worse.  For this, I am truly sorry.  Sorry that I wasn't there at the end as your final breath was taken.  Sorry that you didn't have a son you truly deserved that walked with you during your final hours. I should have been stronger for you when you needed it - stronger in the Lord and I should have helped you cross over into his kingdom.

So I woke up today, sad.  I felt I should give you an update on my family, your grandkids and our lives.

We are doing well.  Ryan is growing up so fast - it amazes me that he was not even born when you passed and now I have a big 5 1/2 year old who loves to play soccer and swim and calls his Grandma Page every night to talk with her.  He is full of such hope and glory.  We were lucky to have been given the opportunity to tell you of his coming birth, 2 days before you passed away.  Did you hear us tell you?  I hope you did.  One life was leaving us, and another was coming - without Ryan, I would be lost.  He is our miracle baby - he gave us hope when we were desperate for any hope.

Ryan is super intelligent - he has conversations with us that are very adult like.  I get a kick out of watching him talk with Cynthia or quip to us (from his computer) a quick little phrase.  His mind is like a steel trap - he had a twenty minute conversation with Cynthia about the toll booths at the Golden Gate bridge, just the other day, where he kept asking questions about the tolls, and what happens if people don't pay and just drive through and on and on and on.  I am very proud of him.

Erica just turned 9 (and I 39) and she is a trooper.  She has been auditioning for movies and commercials and was even in an episode of HOUSE M.D. last year.  Her spirit is like that of a eagle flying high in the sun.  She has such inner strength and love.  She also has a devious side - but I fear she gets that out of the necessity of living with two brothers and being the middle child.  You should see her play with Ryan.  They dress up in clothes and Erica is the mommy and Ryan would be the daddy and Ryan would come home after a long day at work and Erica would cook him dinner.  It is funny.  Or sometimes, Ryan would be mommy and Erica would be daddy.  To see them get along like that is awesome.  The both love each other so much.  I hope that they always love each other and are always close to one another as they grow up especially when Cynthia and I have passed on.

Erica is playing softball right now and learning how to pitch.  She is really good, but it is her spirit that sets her apart from her team-mates.  I hope she never loses that key ingredient in her personality that will take her to the ends of the earth and back again.  She is my soul mate - we spend every birthday together and I love to hug her.

Andrew remembers you the most out of the 3.  He was almost 5 when you left us.  He is so big now.  He is almost as tall as Cynthia and he is now becoming a young man.  He eats like a horse (and according to Cynthia, sometimes smells like one too).  He has such an imagination and loves music.  But not just popular music - he listens to everything.  This week his is into listening to a Hawaiian version of "What a Wonderful World" by Iz.  He always has his face in a book reading.  But Andrew is really good at soccer and swimming.  I love to watch him in the water when he is swimming with the local cabana.  He is really good - much better than me.  His soccer playing is also good.  I was sad he didn't want to play baseball this year, but his mom is adamant he play these non-contact sports (yes, Baseball is non-contact - I know).

All three of the kids are healthy and happy and doing well.  They seem to get along well with their classmates and the teachers seem to like them also.

Cynthia is also doing good - she is working for Symantec and doing some great things, even though she doesn't think she is.  It is great, because I can often tell people that all the boxed art and displays at Best Buy or Staples or Fry's came from her.  And this summer, I can tell them that she did all the work on the posters and tie-in campaigns for a major Marvel Comics movie.  I am very proud of her and she is such an awesome mother.  She is full of love and compassion and better yet - patience, especially with the kids.  I love waking up next to her every day.

As for me?  I am doing good.  Working very hard at my job, IT Director at Virtual Instruments.  I love working with computers and technology.  The company is going strong and we are expanding like crazy. I have gained some weight - of which I am not happy - but at least I am stable and healthy.  It is hard to find the balance in life - balance between work and family and personal time.  I have found that I am starting to shift my balance towards my family and wanting to ensure they are happy and healthy.

I hope I am being a good father.  I hope I have taken the best of you and made it better for them.  We live in such a new world today.  Much different than when we grew up.

Anyway - it is almost time to get ready for soccer and softball games today.  I love you very much and just felt like I needed to write to you.  May God continue to watch over us all and bless us.  I also pray that you come back to my dreams and talk with me again.  I would love to talk... or hug... or just see you.

Always my love,
Bill

Saturday, January 22, 2011

AV Companies Creating Threat, Where None Exists

Wow - just read a quick article on MacBytes about how Apple is facing increasing cyber threats, as predicted by McAfee.  What a puff piece.  Read it here if you want.

How do you take a statement from a company that is in the market to sell you the antidote and make it a factual article?   Sounds like a sponsored article.   We all know how ugly and time consuming a virus/spyware on the PC is.  I have been using Mac OS X since day one - I was actually a beta tester for Apple before the release.  The only 'exploit' on the MAC ever developed in that time was through SAFARI when you 'automatically open safe files after downloading' and a malicious file from the Internet could deliver a payload - but not a virus - not a spyware yet, have a I seen.  That is about 10 years of Mac OS X.

While I do not doubt that as the Mac gains more shares, it will become the target of maliciousness, it just isn't the case now and these companies are trying to create a market share, where none exists.  They are scaring you into believing you need something on your computer, that there is no reason to have.

That is akin to having an insurance company sell you an extended policy on your car to cover the propellors and landing gear.... Hmmm...  There isn't any on my car - are you sure I need it?  Now ask yourself... are you sure you need anything for the Mac, just yet?  Wait until something strikes - keep your money in your pocket and make sure your Mac uses TIME MACHINE.

That is the best advice you are going to get for 2011 and your Mac!