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Apple's iPad - some observations

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I just typed "iPad" into the mental_floss back-end search engine and was amazed to discover that we haven't yet written anything substantial on this possibly game-changing device. There was this post, the interview with Chris Anderson of Wired magazine talking about the future of publishing vis-à-vis the iPad, but that was about it.

So, here's a post about the iPad because I went to the Apple store yesterday and gave it a whirl after reading this amazing Boing Boing post by Cory Doctorow over the weekend touting all the reasons why you SHOULDN'T buy the iPad. (And if you're considering one, absolutely read the post.)

Disclaimer: this isn't an official review of the iPad "“ just some observations.

Observation no. 1: I couldn't believe how many people were fighting to get their hands on the device! Not to buy it, just to try it. And the way some people were excited just to see it, as if they'd just discovered nirvana. I actually overheard someone say this, "Holy sh*t! There it is! Would you look at that! Wow!"

The table where they had the iPads on display had several rings of people standing on their tippy toes to see over the people in front of them as they waited impatiently to get their hands on it. The only other times I saw something like it, was when I visited the Church of the Nativity in Jerusalem and when I visited the Mona Lisa at the Louvre.

Observation no. 2: There's no Adobe Flash on the iPad. Why? If you could watch free TV shows on Hulu, then why buy them on iTunes? If you could play Flash games on sites like Miniclip, why buy them at the App Store, where Apple takes a 30% cut of every sale. This, by my way of thinking, is the biggest flaw of the Apple tablet. It's hard not having Flash on my iPhone, but on this larger device, you can't really live without it. So you have to believe that sooner, rather than later, someone like Brightcove will come along and release an app that gives you a workaround. Or Apple will cave to public pressure. Because too many sites rely on Flash to bring you their content. So this will have to change. But for now, it's a big black mark.

Observation no. 3: If you like reading books on the Kindle, you'll totally love reading them on the iPad. The screen is bright, the text pops, and the user experience is rich and fast. I think a lot of people will buy the iPad just for the e-books, especially since it's infinitely cooler looking than the Kindle and has that Apple cachet. The New York Times once wrote a piece about how Apple has a monopoly on Cool, and when it comes to e-book readers, this is no exception.

Observation no. 4: Pictures look amazing! You can stretch them, turn them, poke them and pinch them however you want and they just leap off the screen.

Observation no. 5: This thing is FAST! I don't know which version I had in my hands yesterday, but it was the fastest machine I've ever played with. No wait time on anything "“ at least none that's noticeable or annoying. I remembered back to the early "˜90s and how we had to wait for the dozen blue bars on AOL's homepage"¦ and wait, and wait, and wait. I knew back then that the day would come when there was no load-time. That day has arrived.

Observation no. 6: It's easier to type on than the iPhone, that's for sure. Still, it's no walk in the park.

Observation no. 7
: I'm going to have to go back and play around with it some more before I decide if I need one now or if I'll have to wait for the next version.

What about you all? Anyone buy one yet? What do you think?

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Beware of This New Phishing Scam Targeting Netflix Customers
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Between binge watching 30 Rock, Louie, and all the other TV shows soon leaving Netflix, keep your eyes peeled for a sneaky phishing scam that’s currently targeting the streaming platform’s customers.

As WGN-TV reports, subscribers have reported receiving fake (yet very official-looking) emails that appear to come from Netflix, informing them that their account has been temporarily disabled due to billing problems. To “reactivate” it, they’re occasionally instructed to update their payment information by clicking on a link that leads them to a fake website. Other times, they’re asked to send these details by email.

For the uninitiated, schemes like these are designed to give hackers direct access to your personal banking details, and can lead to a case of credit card or identity theft. So if you’ve received a billing email that appears to be from Netflix, take the time to vet it to see if it’s legit. Always check who the sender is by hovering your cursor over their email address, and above all, never click on any links that are included in the message's body. (Bad grammar and typos are also a giveaway that some "customer service" emails aren't 100 percent real.)

If the message is, indeed, suspect, log into your Netflix account directly. Then, you'll able to see whether or not the warning was real. If you have fallen victim to the scheme, don’t despair—but do remember to keep a close eye on your bank transactions, change your passwords, and touch base with your bank if anything fishy (or phish-y) occurs.

In the meantime, Netflix has advised members to learn more about keeping their personal info safe against phishing scams by visiting Netflix.com/security, or by contacting customer service directly, according to Good Housekeeping.

[h/t WGN-TV]

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technology
ABBA Is Going on Tour—As Holograms
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Missed your chance to watch ABBA perform live at the peak of their popularity? You’re in luck: Fans will soon be able to see the group in concert in all their chart-topping, 1970s glory—or rather, they’ll be able to see their holograms. As Mashable reports, a virtual version of the Swedish pop band is getting ready to go on tour.

ABBA split up in 1982, and the band hasn't been on tour since. (Though they did get together for a surprise reunion performance in 2016.) All four members of ABBA are still alive, but apparently not up for reentering the concert circuit when they can earn money on a holographic tour from the comfort of their homes.

The musicians of ABBA have already had the necessary measurements taken to bring their digital selves to life. The final holograms will resemble the band in the late 1970s, with their images projected in front of physical performers. Part of the show will be played live, but the main vocals will be lifted from original ABBA records and recordings of their 1977 Australian tour.

ABBA won’t be the first musical act to perform via hologram. Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, and Dean Martin have all been revived using the technology, but this may be one of the first times computerized avatars are standing in for big-name performers who are still around. ABBA super-fans will find out if “SOS” still sounds as catchy from the mouths of holograms when the tour launches in 2019.

[h/t Mashable]

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