Sucks-Rocks is a neat site which does a basic web search for the term(s) you specify, and tells you if the things people say about it are generally positive (ex. “X rocks”, “X is sweet”) or negative (ex. “X sucks”, “X is lame”).

I was curious on what people thought of Netbooks, since my feeling is that they’re pretty useless.

Interestingly, the search results for “netbook” and “netbooks” are completely different. “Netbook” is highly rated (9.6) and “Netbooks” is not (5.6). I assume this is because when people use the singular form, they’re talking about a Netbook they own (ex. “My netbook rocks”) vs. the plural which is from bloggers like me who’ve never used one (ex. “Netbooks suck”).

That makes me curious as to whether or not people find them useful after buying one. Or alternatively, if the results are being skewed by people who generally commend the thing they’ve dropped a few hundred bucks on so they don’t feel so bad. That phenomenon is part of what makes high-end electronics reviews so hard to interpret. It’s tough for someone who just spend $3k on a plasma TV go online and say the picture is “just ok.”

$199 for the 3G iPhone…

I think that’s a game-changing price. Check it out. There are still a number of features my current phone has and the new iPhone doesn’t (MMS, Copy/Paste, Bluetooth data transfer), but this release seems to plug most of the biggest holes. At $199, I think it will be huge.

iPhone Ads

The iPhone Ads are out – I first started seeing them on TV during the Red Sox-Yankees game last night. My first reaction: the finger motion required to navigate around the UI is very… effeminate. I’m not sure if it will become a common method for interacting with hardware -like the motion for interacting with the iPod’s clickwheel- but I think it’s distinctive enough that it will at least attract attention (good or bad).

Programmable Soda – don't make people think.

Gizmodo posted this article about a Massachusetts company who’s come up with the idea of a soda bottle that’s programmable. For example, if you wanted some cherry, and some lime, you could push some buttons and add flavors as necessary.

I think I dislike this idea for the same reason that I’m not enamoured with those restaurants where you pick your ingredients and they cook it for you. I’m not a cook. I know what I like to eat, but I don’t know how to make it. I don’t know what flavors go well together in various ratios. I go to a restaurant to have a cook do that work for me. I buy soda knowing that a bazillion people already taste-tested this thing, and it was good tasting enough that a company decided to spend a bunch of money putting it on the market. Once I find out I like it, I can buy it again and it will taste the exact same – every time.

Maybe there is someone who wants a soda with 3 squirts of cherry, one lemon, a hint of vanilla, and a half squeeze of lime. That reminds me of that Brian Regan bit about how donut places have this donut with chocoloate all over the top, but sprinkles only on half of it. As if there’s someone out there who’s so particular about their donut topping that they need the ingredients in those exact amounts. It’s called the “Sprink Smidge for Lunatics.”

A great Oragami summary

I posted my thoughts about the oragami a few days back, but I also really like this review from engadget. The first two paragraphs are great:

Here we go again. In its unending capitalistic quest, Microsoft is determined to figure out how to sell people their nth computer. Today, its ideal consumer’s computing inventory looks something like this — a couple of desktops around the home, a notebook for those mobile jaunts, a Media Center PC for controlling the television experience serving up Windows Media files to an Xbox 360 or lesser Media Center Extenders, and at least a Windows Mobile Pocket PC or Smartphone device.

But, wait. That could leave an unacceptable seven minutes and 34 seconds during waking hours when you don’t have a Windows license at your wallet-handling fingertips. What about all the times when a 2-pound ultraportable notebook is too much but a PDA isn’t enough?

I don't get the Oragami

The mysterious Oragami was revealed by Microsoft a few days ago. I have to say, I don’t think I get it. I am a sucker for new gadgets, too. Tell me a story about how some hot-looking piece of electronics will change my life, and I’ll tell you my credit card number (case in point, I just got my ReadyNAS NV in the mail yesterday). And, this Oragami thing looks hot, so what’s it’s story?

The story seems to be it doesn’t have a story. Or rather, it has too many stories. It’s a computer that’s bigger than a Palm Pilot, and smaller than a laptop. It doesn’t fit in a pocket, but doesn’t require a full laptop-bag. It doesn’t serve as a phone (unless you’re using VOIP over WiFi… which you’re not). As a fan admits, it doesn’t kill any individual device.

So… it plays music like an iPod, but it’s way bigger and therefore is useless on runs or at the gym. You can do regular computer operations like a laptop, but the screen is smaller and it has no keyboard… which means no coding or serious typing, which means I’d still need a laptop. It seems like the best things you can do with it are surf the web and watch movies…. both of which my laptop can already do (and the video iPod can already play movies) and I can’t get rid of either the laptop or the iPod for reasons already mentioned. Plus you still need a cell phone, which to a growing extent already alows you to surf the web, or read e-mail (even without wifi), and do even more stuff that the Origami can’t – like answer phone calls and in some cases watch live TV.

So, this thing is really just one more “thing.” It’s in no position to replace any of my other things. So, if it’s not replacing something the question is, what problem does it solve that my current things don’t solve. From what I can tell, the answer to that is “nothing.” I don’t think my list of things (laptop, ipod, cell phone) are that unusual either. A lot of people have all 3. So why would anyone buy this?

Cool image of the possible next-gen iPod

There are a few images circling around, I think this one is the best.

It will be interesting to see if they actually come out with a touchscreen-based device; how well the input will actually work. I’ve used some touchscreen remote controls, and although they’re cool because they’re completely configurable (and in some cases sexy looking) I’ve never liked the usability on them, because you can’t feel around for the buttons. You have to look at the remote to do most things, because you can’t feel for the shapes/positions of the buttons.

An mp3 player poses additional challenges over a remote control, because you actually carry it places with you. So, you have to worry more about damage…. that’s a lot of exposed glass. It will be interesting to see what they do about a cover.

If Apple can successfully release a portable, touchscreen-based device, I can see this type of technology rolling into cellphones in short order. Having the full face available to play videos is awesome.

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