Tag Archives: hardware

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One quick thought on the new Mac Pro

One thing that struck me about the new Mac Pro is that Apple has finally gotten to do design again for a hardware. Most of their products these days are as minimal as can be when it comes to design. With the Mac Pro, at least, they can apply new design ideas to their product. I like it, even if it is compared to a cheese grater. But I liked the previous model, even though it was compared to a garbage can.

For more on the device, see:  Apple announces all-new redesigned Mac Pro, starting at $5,999 – The Verge

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Some thoughts on my new Amazon Fire 7 8GB FireOS 7″ Tablet for $59 at Bestbuy.ca


I saw this in Best Buy the other day, Amazon Fire 7 8GB FireOS 7″ Tablet With MediaTek MT8127 Quad-Core Processor – Black : Android Tablets – Best Buy Canada, and after reading some reviews and other articles (see below), I decided to get one. The $59 price tag had a lot to do with this.

My first thought was to try to use it as much as I could out of the box without making modifications to it. I set it up according to instructions, which were simple. I think you really want to have an Amazon account/userid to do this. I did and so things went smoothly.

The Amazon Fire has a modified version of the Android OS, which means it’s like an Android tablet, but not exactly. Likewise, Amazon has an App store, which is a limited version of the Google Play App store. You can get a number of apps from the Amazon App store, but not everything you can get on the Google Play store.

I wanted this device mainly as a place to consume media. Good news is it runs Netflix, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Mail, Texture and a modified version of YouTube.  I was especially interested in Texture, which allows me to read magazines like New Yorker, Bon Appetit, Wired and others. I have been trying to read them on my phone and the experience was poor. On the tablet, the experience was much better, and the resolution was good. Likewise, YouTube videos are better on the tablet than the phone.

Downsides?  First the device is slow compared to my iPhone 6. You notice it with things like Twitter and Instagram. You don’t notice it for things like Texture because there is more reading time and less scrolling.  It’s not terrible, but it is noticeable if you have a newer device. If you have an up to date phone or tablet, you will notice this.

Another downside is the limited number of apps, especially media apps. I could not get the New York Times, Guardian or CBC app for it. It comes with the Washington Post, not surprisingly.

The browser that comes with it is slow. You cannot download other browsers without hacking the device.

One upside is you can get quite a few apps working for it. I downloaded Remember the Milk (for todos), Simplenote (for notetaking), WordPress (for blogging), Dropbox and more. I mainly want to use it for media consumption, but those things make it better.

To summarize: for $59, I think it is a great device for media consumption and basic functionality. If that’s all you want, I think you’d be happy with it. I’m glad I got it. Some reviewers said it is better to get the Fire 8 or 10, but for the money, I think the Fire 7 is surprisingly good.

P.S.Originally I was going to hack it to make it more like an Android tablet, but for now I think I’ll leave it as it is. If you did want to hack it, here’s some links to articles along that line:

P.S.S. This is not sponsored content.

How To Set Up Your Raspberry Pi For The First Time


If you just bought or are thinking of buying a Raspberry Pi, then two things:

  1. Congratulations!
  2. Read this: How To Set Up Your Raspberry Pi For The First Time – ReadWrite.

Not only will it help you get set up, but it also has a list of projects to get your started on doing something useful with it. As well, there’s some links to other resources.
There’s lots of material on Raspberry Pi’s on the Web, but if you haven’t found them yet, try this one at ReadWrite and get started.