Goodbye iCloud

I’ve fully migrated away from Apple’s iCloud service to Microsoft’s Outlook.com service.

The reasons for this are:

1.) SkyDrive – I miss the days of iDisk. I don’t really get the whole “Documents in the Cloud” thing. All I want is a place on the Internet to store some files, any files, whether they are documents or not.

2.) Office Online – Being able to use Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. directly in the browser is really cool. I’ve tried Google Docs, but the online version of Office seems more complete.

3.) Metro UI – I am a big fan of the Metro UI and like the fact that its a uniform part of all of Microsoft’s systems. Except the online calendar, but I hear that’s coming soon…

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Google Nexus 7

After a few days on a Samsung Galaxy Tab (it was actually a 10.1″ not 8.9″) I was given a Nexus 7 to play with from a friend who will be out of town for some time.

There are some similarities between Samsung’s TouchWiz UI and the native Google Android experience. They both utilize the same method of switching between and apps as well as the same swiping method to kill an app. The way you set up and switch between the screens of apps that you have installed is almost identical too.

This may not be a completely fair comparison though as the Tab was running Android 4.0.4 and the Nexus 7 is running Android 4.2.2

The first thing I noticed that makes the Nexus 7 more superior is the keyboard and the options of suggested words that it presents to you as you type.

In terms of carrying around a device the Nexus 7 is far more convenient and a lot lighter. I am typing this blog post holding the Nexus 7 in portrait mode and using my thumbs to type while sitting on the couch and its working out really well so far. With the Tab it was more cumbersome to type in the same scenario.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have some serious Androiding to do!

Pinning

Since I have been using Windows 7 for just over a week I noticed some things that I take for granted in OS X.

Power Options!
In Windows I find that if me, as the user, does not switch from “High Performance” to “Power Saver” mode then my battery will die very quickly. This is something that the Mac seems to do seamlessly.

However, I really like Outlook (I am using 2010) for sorting my emails, calendars, and tasks. I also have an Evernote plugin for my Outlook, so that I can instantly convert an email into a note or to-do.

I also really like the pinning feature. In addition to pinning applications to the taskbar you can also pin sub-items within whatever application you have pinned. If that sounds confusing it is because I can’t explain it that well, but in this example (screenshot below), I have pinned the Control Panel to the taskbar. If I right-click on the Control Panel in my taskbar I get a mini menu of all the things in the Control Panel. I can now pin the most frequently accessed items in the Control Panel! In addition to pinning to the task bar you can also pin things in the Start Menu.

Here are the specs of the laptop I am using:

Operating System: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (6.1, Build 7601) Service Pack 1
System Manufacturer: Hewlett-Packard
System Model: HP Pavilion dv7 Notebook PC
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU       M 430  @ 2.27GHz (4 CPUs), ~2.3GHz
Memory: 4096MB RAM

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Hail the return of Plagtech!

I started going down the road of unifying all my tech to a particular set of devices (all Apple), a particular set of online services (all Apple), and then some specific applications that were a mix of Apple and other developers, some of which only ran on OS X and iOS.

It was all working just fine and dandy until I had to switch to Windows. It was work related and I was trying to reproduce a particular issue by putting myself in the position of using Windows full time.

I found that I did not have access to all of the tools I needed because they weren’t readily available and the apps I depended on could not be installed on Windows. The alarm bells started ringing again and it has reminded me of the core values of platform agnosticism.

Throughout the week I have moved all of my data to apps and services that can be accessed on Mac, Windows and Linux as well as their mobile counterparts.