writing about tech

Month: October 2014 (page 2 of 2)

The Chromecast continues to be perhaps the best value in tech

Officially priced at $35, though it can often be found for under $30, the Chromecast has proven to be one of the most useful and versatile tech purchases I’ve made in the past year.

As an example: months ago, before I started this blog, I decided I wanted a cloud-powered digital photo frame in my house, to retroactively justify my tendency to over-photograph every event, and because I had a ton of digital photos but no way to display them in my house.  After a bit of research, I determined that a cheap wall-mountable LCD TV, plus a Chromecast, was both the cheapest and one of the the most versatile solutions.  As a bonus, it can double as a poker time when I host a poker game.

Previously, I was streaming photos to it using a crash-prone app called Dayframe, but using it required that I run the app manually on my Nexus 7 and “cast” it to the Chromecast. As-of a couple of weeks ago, Google rolled out Backdrop, which allows me to replace the built-in photo stream with any of my Google+ photo albums.  Since I already had a “Favorites” photo album I’d been using for Dayframe, it took 5 minutes for me to configure both my “photo frame” TV and my primary TV with photos from this album.  It’s pretty awesome to have a couple of TVs filling your house with friends and memories:

2014-10-18 14.38.52

Google seems pretty determined to bring more and more functionality to it’s super-cheap dongle, and it’s hard not to recommend everyone have one at this point.  For less than $30, it quickly proves its utility, even if you don’t use it on a regular basis.

Today’s Apple Announcements: Spec Bumpin’ (and not much else)

Today’s Apple event was the most boring in recent memory. Hey, we bumped the specs! We bumped all the specs! Things are a little faster and thinner!

I wonder if the time for dedicated events for each and every device released should come to an end. Most of the announcements today could have been handled with a press release and promo video, which could then free up press events for major releases. Still, I guess that’s not really Apple’s style.

Oh well. At least Yosemite comes out today.

Google just murdered the Nexus line for me

The Nexus 6 was announced today, and it’s almost everything I want in a phone.  It’s got a huge screen (something I’m still not sure about, but want to try using), a huge battery, a camera with OIS, wireless charging, and stock Android directly from Google.  Shut up and take m–wait, how much do you want for it?  $650 off-contract?  Google, why?

To be fair, all major US carriers are carrying the Nexus 6, at a subsidized price, so it could actually end up being the best selling Nexus…but not for people like me.  This goes against my core reasons for loving the Nexus line, which is freedom from carriers at a reasonable cost. Now, I can either cough up $650, or buy it subsidized through a carrier – something I never wanted to do ever again. I suppose it’d be tolerable to do so, but if – and only if – the carriers have absolutely no control over the software or the release of software updates.

Either way, I’m suddenly way more interested to see what OnePlus brings out next year. Hell, at this point, even the Z3 Compact is $100 cheaper unlocked and off-contract than the Nexus 6.  For now, it seems my Nexus 5 is in no danger of being replaced anytime soon.

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