Kate just lost her first tooth! Very excited about the first visit from tooth fairy…
Kate and @OliviaAgee getting ready for first day of Kindergarten.
Beautiful but hot day in the Big Apple.
I was fairly appalled by the ESPN program on Thursday evening called “The Decision,” a one-hour, prime-time special concocted by LeBron James to announce his Free Agency decision, and welcomed by the four-letter network with open arms. The following are my thoughts on this spectacle as it relates to both LeBron and ESPN.
LeBron – The “King’s” decision to make his announcement during a one-hour special on ESPN is the epitome of Narcissism and Ego that is rampant in professional sports. How “me” focused do you have to be to call a TV network and tell them you want your own prime-time special to make an announcement regarding which team you have selected. It doesn’t matter to me that the Ad revenue is being given to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, because there are many, many other ways to raise money for charitable organizations that do not involve a prime-time special. In one hour, LeBron went from a player who was almost universally praised for his knowledge and respect of the game, his demeanor with the media, and his professionalism off the court to someone who can now be lumped in with Terrell Owens as wanting nothing but to just “Love me some me!”
This self-centeredness is even further amplified by the revelation that his former team, the Cavaliers, found out about his decision during the telecast. This is shocking, even for a professional athlete. What is not shocking is the Cleveland fan’s outrage over the way the announcement came down, or LeBron’s lack of emotion regarding leaving his hometown team. (What is shocking is the “Open Letter” from the Cavaliers’ owner, but that is for another post on another day) If you listened to the interviews, you could tell it was ALL about him. How many times did he refer to himself in the third person or refer to HIS talents.
More than any other professional league, The NBA is driven by it’s “Stars,” and it is this type of behavior that makes me want to turn the channel away from these personalities. I have no beef with the decision itself, but he handled it about as badly as possible.
ESPN – While this is not a new trend, “The Decision” marks the final leap of ESPN from Sports NEWS to Sports ENTERTAINMENT. I guess this is appropriate since the “E” stands for “Entertainment. Instead of covering the story, ESPN sold it’s soul for the right to be part of the story. All day today, sports personalities from talk-show hosts, to former players, to coaches, etc. have been openly critical of the way LeBron and ESPN handled everything. However, turning over to ESPN TV or Radio, you come away with a completely different slant. Why? Because they were part of it. If they are critical of the event, then they have to be critical of themselves. This isn’t journalism. This isn’t covering the story. This is the story! What little, tiny shred of journalistic integrity remained at the four-letter network is now gone.
Well, that’s my two-cents….what do you think?
Back in April I wrote a post on my first impressions of the iPad on the day the 16gb version was released to the public. In that post I was fairly critical of a number of decisions that we’re made regarding it’s design and configuration, and questioned what niche the iPad was designed to fill. In the months since that initial post, I have since changed my mind regarding a number of those earlier criticisms (not all), and have even obtained an iPad of my own as a tool to use in teaching and public speaking. I have eaten my crow, and now would like to share my updated impressions as an iPad owner and user.
Lightening Fast – This is the iPad’s killer feature. In my initial review I noted my disappointment that the iPad was running the same OS as the iPhone and not full blown OS X. However, now I realize this decision along with some pretty solid hardware specs has resulted in a device that is ridiculously fast. For years there has been talk of the “instant on” computer, and the iPad pretty well fits this description. Even though my netbook will allow me to do more related to content creation, it is also very slow comparatively speaking. With the impending release of iOS4 for the iPad, some of the OS limitations will be resolved, such as multitasking.
Better than Expected Keyboard – my initial reaction to the on-screen keyboard was that it was usable, but would be a bit of a struggle. However, I’m finding it to be even more usable than I originally suspected. So much so that I’m actually writing this post using my iPad. In my first week of using the keyboard, I’ve become proficient enough to type with all fingers in landscape mode, and have even been able to take notes in business meetings. As I originally noted, typing in portrait mode is still painful. It is too wide to use your thumbs, and too narrow to use all fingers.
Battery Life – as of right now, I have been using my iPad for about 3 hours, and my battery meter is still at 78%. This is way better than either of my netbooks, and miles better than any laptop I’ve ever owned. Honestly, it’s better than my iPhone as well. This makes the iPad great for travel and really long meetings (which are both common for me).
Size – the size is perfect for carrying around or placing in your lap during a flight. True that it is heavier than the dedicated eReaders like the Kindle, but this device is so much more than just a reader. The screen is also large enough that it works well for web browsing, viewing e-mail, documents, pictures etc.
Web Browsing – from the moment the iPad was introduced by Steve Jobs I have been very critical that Flash was not included. It is purported that up to 85% of mainstream web sites use Flash, and I saw it’s absence as a major hole in the potential Internet experience. However, after using the iPad for a while, I can honestly say that I barely miss it. Some of this is because I can see what an impact Flash can have on mobile performance (e.g. Flash on Android), but mostly this has to do with many mainstream sites offering iPad optimized versions of their sites, or even separate apps for viewing web content (e.g. Netflix and ABC.com). I will occasionally run across a video that I cannot watch without Flash, but this has been the exception, not the rule.
Email – as I noted in my initial impressions, the email app on the iPad is hindered by the lack of a universal inbox and the 4 taps required to switch between mailboxes. However, this will be resolved once iOS4 is released for the iPad. Otherwise, the mail app on the iPad is fantastic, especially in landscape view. I find it to be a better experience than using my laptop or desktop.
Books – the iBook application and store are really elegantly designed, and the iPad is a fantastic device for illustrated children’s books, or any other illustrated text. Reading on the iPad in a non-glare environment is really very pleasant, but reading under direct light or in sunlight is next to impossible. I you simply want a reading device, nothing compares to the Kindle or Nook, but the iPad is about so much more than just eBooks. The iBook application is what I use to store and view all of my PDF notes for teaching classes and preaching sermons. It really is an excellent PDF viewer, and the interface makes it easy to organize your files. As a side note, the Kindle app for the iPad is quite beautiful, and since my wife has a Kindle, I will mostly likely us this app should I choose to purchase a standard novel, biography, etc.
iWork – my initial observation was that the iWork suite of apps were unintuitive and difficult to use. I have backed off from that a little bit, but they still have two critical flaws. (1) the inability to directly access cloud-based file services such as Dropbox, Sugarsync, or Mobile Me iDisk. While I realize that you can use the Dropbox, Sugarsync or iDisk apps to open files in iWork, I do not know of a way to save them back. (2) the inability to save/export Numbers or Keynotes files to Excel or Powerpoint format. This makes those two apps almost unusable from a business perspective. If I create a new spreadsheet in numbers and then send it to myself or a client, we would have no way to open it. Fatal flaw
As an alternative, I highly recommend Documents to Go (14.99 from Dataviz) which allows access to an array of cloud based services, and allows you to work natively with MS Office file formats.
Apps – I plan to write some additional posts reviewing some of the apps that I find most useful for iPad. In general, I don’t understand why Apple failed to include some of the base apps that are in the iPhone such as Clock, Weather, Calculator, etc. As I noted before, existing iPhone apps that have not been ported to the iPad look really bad. Native iPad apps such as Pulse, ABC Player, and Bloomberg are very elegant, but it will be a while before the selection of native iPad apps is in the same league as the iPhone.
All in all the iPad is a killer media and data consumption device and is better at content creation than my initial observations. It is a much better business tool than I could have conceived. Tomorrow I have a 2 hour meeting with a very important client in NYC. Do I put the iPad to the ultimate business test and leave my laptop behind? Time to see how proficient I can be at taking notes on the iPad.
What are your thoughts on the iPad?
Sara’s first haircut…
Just need to vent on various topics….warning, strong opinions on current world events to follow:
- Gulf Oil Spill – I am wondering when the Michael Moore film will be coming out chronicling the mishandling of the gulf oil spill by the Obama administration?? Not holding my breath. How in the world can we LAMBAST GW over his handling of 911 & Katrina, but barely say a peep about Obama’s reaction to the oil spill. What exactly has he or his administration done to help the situation other than make crude, public statements disparaging BP? Wasn’t he supposed to be the president that would be committed to protecting the environment?
- Gulf Oil Spill (Part 2) – This should not be a problem that is placed solely on the shoulders of BP. Why does it matter at this point who is to blame? This event is going to effect so much that we should be exhausting every available resource to stop the leak, and clean up the mess, instead of simply making antagonistic statements towards BP. And for this notion of boycotting BP gas stations??? That’s a GREAT idea. Let’s further financially cripple BP so that they won’t have the resources to continue working on the problem or the cleanup.
What about offering a One Billion Dollar reward to the first company / individual / etc. that can successfully stop the leak. Wouldn’t that be worth it? I mean, how many BILLIONS in economic impact is this spill going to cause? From the fishing industry to tourism to cleanup cost to ??? Instead, our current administration seems to be content to sit back in Washington and yell at BP, while the oil slowly destroys the gulf, and the Louisiana, Mississippi & Florida coastlines. We need a leader right now, and not a politician.
- Arizona Immigration Law – I just don’t understand the uproar. To quote one of my favorite movie lines…”I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!” Our country is in an uproar because Arizona is saying that they have the authority to enforce the LAW? To enforce that aliens are required to have the proper paperwork? Haven’t we been complaining about the problem of illegal immigration for years? I don’t get it? When I go to Honduras, I get stopped by the authorities almost once per day. If I can’t produce a valid US Passport, then they would take me immediately to jail until the proper paperwork could be produced. My understanding is that this is very similar to other countries in Central America, including Mexico.
- Nashville Flood Telethon Donations – Has any of this money actually reached the people who need it? I hear about all kinds of organizations providing bottled water, and what they describe as “basic necessities,” but what people really need is drywall, carpet, bathtubs, etc. Will any of this donated money actually go toward meeting these needs? Our local media has done a very poor job of providing information on exactly where this money is going.
- College Football / Basketball – From the USC violations & sanctions to the impending conference shakeups, it seems as though College Athletics is in disarray. College presidents are famous for always talking about how a football playoff system would negatively impact academics, but this is clearly a hypocritical stance. This impending shakeup is ALL about money, and so is the bowl system. I’m not necessarily a proponent of a playoff system over the bowl system, but I am a proponent of college football and basketball. I’m nervous about how this formation of 3 SUPER conferences (SEC, Pac-10, Big-10), and the elimination of the Big 12 will affect College Athletics, and particularly the schools that are not in these conferences.
- Stephen Hawking – Earlier this week, the famous scientist Stephen Hawking was quoted as saying that he was confident science would eventually disprove the existence of God. Interesting position coming from a man whose science can’t even explain the origins of the matter that (supposedly) randomly and accidentally resulted in the formation of the solar system, the earth, and human life. I wonder who actually has more “faith?” Me in my God, or him in his science?
Tuckered out at Tee’s Fireside Cafe.
Happy Birthday Sara! Can’t believe you’re a year old today!
Sara – One Year Ago! Happy Birthday my little Sara bean!!