Tuesday, August 06, 2013

[Tech] How the Tech Are You?

How the Tech Are You?: A new phone! How exciting! I finally reached my upgrade point which was fortuitous since my old phone had a legacy OS and a slowly failing battery. But my experience with it was good enough to keep me sold on Windows Phones so I went to Verizon and bought the best Windows Phone I could get -- the Nokia 928. It's pretty sweet and it had the very best camera of any phone -- until Nokia came out with a new model about two weeks after I purchased it. My phone easily matches a good quality point and shoot, but they claim the new one can compete with DSLRs (it has 41 megapixels).

Speaking of cameras, when my gargantuan old Nikon DSLR died I decided to downgrade to a point-and-shoot for my main camera. My reasoning was that in the time I owned my Nikon, point-and-shoots must surely have improved immeasurably, and I could get a nice big zoom (which I occasionally need) without buying an expensive lens and huge number of megapixels (the Nikon had a whopping 6) for relatively little money. I ended up with a Cannon Powershot SX260 -- got a bit of a deal on it, but I have to say, the picture quality still leaves a bit to be desired. For all the gaudy stats and technology of the p&s, my beat up old unstabilized D70 took better photos. The big zoom (20x) isn't so great since it kills detail, and it turns out that megapixels are a poor sacrifice for a big fat sensor. And the menu driven adjustments bother me. I like direct controls.

So I am on a soft hunt for a new camera (lucky I didn't spend much on the p&s -- I may sell it on ebay if I replace it). I'm really attracted to the new compact mirrorless devices from Sony. These things have high end sensors and top quality pictures in a smaller package than DSLRs. They are quite pricey though. Low end models are over $700 and I would require an extra lens so I wouldn't likely get out of it for less than a grand even if I purchased a package. Panasonic Lumix has a similar setup for a good deal less money, relatively. We'll have to wait and see. If I ever get to travelling to photo-worthy destinations again, it might be worth the investment.

My new Dell computer broke down on me, luckily while still under warranty. They sent someone out to my house to replace the motherboard. It was free and nearly painless -- except for getting razzed by my Mac-head friends who will happily drone on about how perfect their Apple products are. The Dell is nice -- it's light as a feather, great battery life, dead silent. As long as it keeps working it may redeem Dell from my previous experiences.

Lastly, I still can't really recommend the Kindle Fire. Being hooked into the Amazon ecosystem hasn't really paid off like I thought it would. You can get a Kindle client for Google Nexus, but you can get Google Play apps on the Kindle, at least not without some shuckin' and jivin'. Kindle Store is no match for Google play and Amazon media is no match for Netflix or Hulu Plus. Furthermore the Kindle seems to lock up or shut down on it's own some time. I have to admit that the Kindle has been fairly rugged and holds a charge pretty well, but all in all -- not recommended. Although as a dedicated reading device one of the cheap, non-Fire models is probably a reasonable purchase.