Begun This Tablet War Has

After several minor skirmishes the tablet war is finally upon us!


Dominating the mindshare and market with 15 million iPads sold in 2010, it seems almost laughable now to look back at when Apple announced their tablet months early in an effort to pre-empt the Adroid tablets that largely never appeared. Creating a new market is somewhat unique position for company known for reinventing existing markets. It will be interesting to see how well Apple can leverage this position over the next year or two.While it was beginning to look grim for consumers – team android was able to beat the iPad 2 to market. Just barely. But the iPad 2 will do little change the state of this war. Many are calling this latest revision the “iPad 1.5” as it will be more like a 3GS than the iPhone 4 upgrade. Sure it will get faster – when has that not happened in tech? A front facing camera and a thinner profile are equally boring upgrades. Unlike a more pocketable phone, such slight portability differences are of little consequence.No the best chance for Apple to wow us will come from the software upgrades. Currently the iPad is nothing more than a large iPhone. Which is probably why its popularity caught everyone (including Apple) by surprise: who would have thought millions of people could use a phone as their primary computer. Apparently those at the shore of the tech pond found the water fine, while the rest of us were left scratching our heads or picking one up as a toy. To keep the sales rolling, Apple will need to add some aditional functionality into iOS and expand the number of users that could leave their PC or at least their netbook behind.

Retina or No

No, the iPad 2 is merely a bandaid to hold back the android army that has finally shown up at the gate until the iPad 3 can capture our collective imagination. For once, Apple isn’t maximizing profits with countless revisions but waiting for the right tech to hit prime time. For instance, a rumored retina display resolution of 2048×1536 would need to push 4 times the pixels of the current iPad’s 1024×768 which could choke even the fancy new dual core processors. However, quad core processors are set to hit this fall – right in time for the iPad 3.While a tablet could certainly step up to the somewhat odd resolution of 2048×1536, I wonder if Steve will limit the iPad 3 to a more familar “Full HD” (1920×1080). This is both easier to market and lines up well with content consumption while still being 2X as good as the latest Android tablets (and 2.6X better than the iPad). Apple could also shrink the 9.7 display to 8.9 and thus achieve both a “more portable” iPad and a “retina” display. I think you can see how the slides and commercials are basically writing themselves…

iPad 3

  • 1080p “Full HD” 9 inch screen (2X Droid!)
  • Quad Core processor (2X power!)
  • Smaller & Lighter! (screen + carbon fiber!)

One other important background point in this war. While the $499 wifi iPad was most certainly a shot at the netbook market, it had the effect of being the best strategic decision Apple has made thus far in tablet war. While the free and open droid allows for a proliferation of cheap tablets (among other devices), the price ceiling created by Apple left little room for third party manufacturers as it was difficult to ask more than $300 for a less powerful tablet.


Google extended this price barrier last year by refusing the Android Market to anyone excluding the expensive 3G hardware. However, while Google’s insistence that Android was designed for phones at not tablets was a drag on 2.x tablets it will be a boon to the 3.x ones The timing has been somewhat down to the wire with Android 3.0 – in fact, most reviews point to the need for a 3.0.1 release to fix some quibles. But that is of little consequence in the war. The fact is that Google delivered what was needed to take on the iPad: an OS built for tablets not phones with a big screen. This is the area that Apple needs to catch up on. While iTunes boasts 60,000 iPad apps to the Markets dozen or so, few of those extend the functionality in any meaningful way. Displaying a little more content on a 10″ screen than 4″ one is not a real feature.And that is where the real arms race lies: iOS adding real tablet thinking and functionality to both the core OS and its existing apps verses Droid adding such tablet apps to its sparce offerings.

The Future

The iPad 3 will be impressive this fall. The Droid equivalents will no doubt be equitable once they show up a bit late to the party again. 2012 will equalize if not commoditize the hardware race. The RIM Playbook and the HP TouchPad will both face an uphill battle, but I think the latter has a better chance to gain some traction as the third player.Perhaps what I’m most excited about however is the future of the little guys. That’s right players like Archos who is currently producing one of the best tablets under $300. Imagine next summer when you will be able to get a 7-9″ capacitive touch screen, dual core, Android 3.1, tablet for under 300 bones. That’s a market revolution!

Slide Rule Musings


Recently, I have been doing some consulting for a large organization with a large engineering contingent.  Walking through one of the buildings there, I saw a huge slide rule hung on the wall like art.

For those of you that don’t know what a slide rule is or what it is used for here is an image and a short explanation.   Back when computers were the size of buildings and the calculator hadn’t been dreamed up yet, engineers needed something to help them with their constant calculations and the abacus wasn’t cutting it: the slide rule was born.  Using logametric scales, this ruler looking device somehow makes complex calculations easier much like MS Excel today.  As historical proof, the Apollo missions to the Moon were powered by slide rules (and rocket fuel) since the average smart phone is more powerful than the sum of NASA’s computers at the time.

Anyway, you can now see why an engineer might consider a slide rule a clever piece of work place art.  Seeing said artwork made me think “Oh Dad would love that!  I need to send him a picture text…” and I started to take out my iPhone before I remembered that Dad can’t get texts anymore. I’ve actually made this mistake a lot lately, so I began pondering why that was the case.

After some thought, I realized it was because I truly believe that Dad is alive (in heaven) that my brain doesn’t really see him as dead like most might conceptualize but really just “out of cel range”.  I liken it to how we were out of range when we went on one of our Manly Man Trips to Boundary Waters.  This manly fishing trip involved us taking a plane to Minneapolis, then takinboundry-waters-sm.jpgg a two hour taxi cab to the near the border.  From there we took a puddle jumper into Canada to a small Lodge, then took a speed boat as far out as it could go, at which point we grabbed our gear and canoes and took a short hike to the next small lake.  Using the canoes and taking short hikes over the land separating the many lakes that make up the Boundary Waters, we made our way into the Canadian wilderness where we would setup camp and start fishing.  Now before leaving for this trip, I had finished all the paperwork to buy my first home.  As always happens with banks, there was some small snag they wanted to go over with me while I was on this trip… the bank being told I was on vacation and unreachable by cel phone was like no really we need to talk to him… to which they were told no really, he is really outside of cel phone range.

During the time I was pondering these things, I heard a famous preach ask “what happens to us when we die?”. “What happens?” he continued, “Everyone knows what happens – they have a service they put you in a box and they put the box in the ground. And yet mankind by and large continues to ask what happens when we die…”

An interesting question when you think about it really.  Is it that we just need to attend more funerals to see if there is any variation or is it that something in our soul whispers that there is more to come?

After going through my father’s cancer battle and death, one of my biggest realizations is that I couldn’t imagine going through it and not “knowing that I know”. I am still young enough that I haven’t had to attend many funerals or confront death that often. Even still I have seen and heard many people talking about a recently deceased relative being “in a better place” without much confidence in the statement.  The words are all right but there is something in their voice that questions the truthfulness of their own statements.  For some it is just a touch of doubt but for others it almost seems like wishful thinking.  A shaky hope that the dead are in fact continuing on in heaven (or equivalent nice or at least tolerable place) and that they by extension be ok as well.

Growing up, Dad would talk about “knowing that you know” describing the level of your belief in your faith. (the object of your faith is an important discussion for another time) This is not some external measure of “enough” faith but merely: do you really believe what you say you believe?    For many people the answer is no or at least a halfhearted yes. (funny how we often have trouble being honest with ourselves about our own beliefs)  Growing up in a family where faith was built on facts, the idea of “just have (blind) faith!” was a foreign even pitiable concept. We will never know anything 100% in this life or make any decision with perfect and complete information – that’s just life.  However, it doesn’t mean we have live with 0.01% information – that’s not faith, its simply being lazy or stupid (or both). But I digress.

Having investigated the facts and tested them with experience, I know that there is a God & a heaven & how one “gets in” and I know these things with same certainty that I know the Sun will come up tomorrow.  As a result of this, I know that while my father died and his fleshly body is buried near Big Ed, I know that he is still alive (enjoying his mansion & discussing deep topics with biblical figures & cracking jokes with the King of the Universe).

I hope this post doesn’t come off as too preachy, but again I can’t imagine going through something like a cancer journey without “knowing that you know”.  This Christmas, if you are unsure of what happens when we die or if you are not thoroughly convinced that what you believe is really the reality – take action!  First, realize that you can know.  It is not a matter of just believing more, it is a matter of learning more so that you can actually believe what you believe in.  Second, find someone that can answer your honest questions.  If best answer someone can come up with is something along the lines of “just believe!” ask them “in what exactly?” and then find a new spiritual mentor.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got.  I can tell you that knowing what I know has given me a lot peace in this recent storm and I hope that all of you can feel that peace instead of doubt in your next storm.  Merry Christmas!

Dancing In Heaven

The following is something originally in my part of the Boys On Dan that I had to cut out for time:

More recently in addition to Mighty To Save, the other song that was significant to me on this journey was Promised Land.

I’m going to see my Savior, I’m going to see my Lord,
I’m going to sing forever, ain’t gonna cry no more…
When they lay me underneath a heavy stone, and the cold grave grips my bones.
Don’t cry for me for in Glory I will be, dancing around the throne!

Now if that last part doesn’t make you smile then you’ve never seen my father dance!

The topic of dancing in heaven actually came up in one of our discussions in May or June. I had been taking lessons the last year or so but had just started videoing them to aid my memory of what I had learned when I practiced. I was showing dad a few of my latest moves from the tape, and he told me that he looked forward to dancing it heaven because he would be much better at it there than he was here.

Now, my father and I had a theological difference of opinion over whether or not his new body would have the same two left feet that his first body did. My father believed in a more extensive “instant knowledge” (I’m sure there is probably a $5 seminary word for this) in the next life than I do. We agree that in the next life, the question of the Godhood and our relation to them will not exist. The veil over that intrinsic knowledge – that in this life is necessary for Free Will to exist – will be removed. The naked truth of our failings in this life will be painfully apparent as well. The elects’ minds will definitely be clearer without sin, age, disease, and the enemy to cloud them. However I believe that our normal experiential knowledge will be largely unchanged. (I think a study of Eden along with certain passages concerning angels and visions of heaven support this position) How better to pass the infinite time in heaven than to learn and grow towards our potential inside a relationship with the King God and alongside fellow believers? Isn’t that a much more interesting heaven than the 24/7 singing-in-the-choir viewpoint of many?

That is not to say Dan had the choir view – far from it. I simply mention it here for contrast. Dad viewed his lack of dance ability as a fault of an imperfect body that would be corrected in his perfect one. (skill being included in knowledge here) However, I suspect he has discovered his healthy new body still needs to be trained in some new moves. ;)

I could be wrong, but skilled or not – one thing I’m sure of is that he’s groovin’ up there with a huge smile on his face. What my father lacked in dance ability he more than made up for with his “reckless abandon” approach to fun. Much like when King David danced before the Lord with similar abandon (to point of embarrassing of David’s wife) that is how I envision Dad dancing.

So that’s why I like this song. When I hear that passage, I can envision Dan in the throne room leaping and bouncing and “dancing” with joy.   And by the time I get there he won’t need those quotes… and can show me a thing or two.  :D

Words For A Father

At my father’s recent Homecoming Celebration, my brothers and I got so say a few words about Dan “the man”.  Our notes for that is available at the link below.  We are working on getting the video of the full event online as soon as possible.

iPad Alternatives

Today is the day that many have longed for since the announcement of the ifamous iPad! However if you are less than impressed with the XL iPod Touch… I have compiled a pretty complete listing of your other options that are currently -or soon to be- out.

To limit the scope of an otherwise giant listing, I have only compiled slate style (keyboardless) devices with screens of 5 to 12 inches.  If I missed one let me know at staff [at] this and I’ll add it in.

We’ve added a link at top of the site for easy reference.