I may write a CNET column called called "Common Sense Tech," but I can't say that I or any of those who were in line with me today for iPhone 5 are showing much common sense. But the iPhone, perhaps more than any other device, illustrates how important a feature that fashion can be, in addition to function, when it comes to tech purchases.
Note: I wrote this article before pre-ordering kicked in, and I got an entirely new story when I called AT&T today around 9:30 a.m. PT. I was told I could do an early upgrade on my iPhone 4S for an extra $250 fee on top of the two-year contract price, so that a base model 16GB version would be $450 total.
I was transferred from the initial customer service rep who told me this to an "upgrade specialist" after over an hour wait (so be forewarned, if you try today). At first, she … Read more
It's been just over two months since I shifted from Windows to the Mac. Overall, the transition has been pretty painless. Amazingly so. But there are some things I really miss, so I thought I'd describe my experience.
Before I go further, I'll repeat my constant refrain in this column. Whatever works for you, works for you. There is no wrong phone, computer, or device. If whatever you use does what you want, more power to you and your choice!
Perhaps more than anything else, I miss Outlook 2010 for Windows. Its counterpart, Outlook 2011 … Read more
Store your data in the cloud and have it accessible to you from any computer, anywhere. That's the pitch we hear more and more from companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft. So how is it that all of these companies allow Outlook for Mac 2011 to remain absurdly earthbound?
I'm a long-time Outlook user on Windows, now working with Outlook full-time on the Mac. Even though Gmail is my email provider (the Google Apps version of it), I find Outlook a better way to interact with Gmail than using Gmail directly through the … Read more
With the announcement that Starbucks is going to use Square for all credit- and debit-card payments (see this CNET News post by Steven Musil, @StevenMusil), the mobile payments startup is finally ready for prime time.
Yes, Square has been in the news for a while now, and it's gotten a valuation estimated to be between $1 billion and $4 billion, and has millions of dollars in transactions per day. But it's this deal with Starbucks that is going to give Square truly wide exposure and make it more commonplace.
I thought this would be a good moment to … Read more
One of the nice things about the new Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion release is that the Notes application makes it easy to have notes sync from your Mac to your iPhone or iPad. But what if you're an Android user or want your notes to flow outside the Apple ecosystem for some reason? Yes, it can be done.
I don't take a lot of notes, but I've found it handy to have some things like frequent flyer numbers jotted down digitally in an easy-to-locate format. As a longtime Outlook user, I've used Outlook'… Read more
Since this is a column about "Common Sense Tech," I thought I'd take that name and run with it in terms of social-media sharing. Sometimes I see a lack of common sense, politeness, and manners when it comes to personal sharing. Consider this a "things not to do" list.
Some of the suggestions below are things I personally try to follow. I love to share on social media, but I also try to be mindful of people's privacy. Some of the suggestions come from others whom I asked through... social media!
The suggestions are … Read more
Years ago, I went digital with my music. I ripped all my CDs, bringing everything into Windows Media Player. I didn't start with the iPod. The Rio Karma was my main MP3 player. Over the years, my music library moved from computer to computer. It migrated into iTunes (and into iPods, iPhones, iPads....). It gained new music from purchases or the occasional rare CD that I'd buy. And my music got really messy.
I shouldn't really care that somehow, I ended up with two or three different copies of the same songs. What does it really matter, … Read more
Apple claims 500,000 apps in its App Store for the iPhone and over 700,000 when iPad apps are added in. Google Play claims 600,000 apps for Android. Windows Phone is estimated to have 100,000 apps in its marketplace.
But do the numbers really matter, especially when the "new apps" may be content like video, music, and books?
I was at the relaunch of Microsoft's Bing search engine yesterday, covering it as part of my "day job" for Search Engine Land. Blogger extraordinaire Robert Scoble was sitting next to me and got a kick out of how I had three different phones going: one Android, one iPhone and one Windows Phone. He then noticed I was running Windows 7 on my MacBook Pro and using Chrome as my main browser. Yes, I'm a mixed-up boy.
I thought it would be interesting to reflect why I'… Read more