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Droid Incredible Smart PhoneI’ve had my Verizon HTC Droid Incredible smart phone for a little less than 3 days. After 20 odd years as a tech guy, I’m usually not an early adopter – but this time I took a chance on Android. Frustrated by my aging Blackberry and wanting to experience some of the new tools liked Google Goggles (see below), I was drawn in by the early positive reviews. And they were right – In general, I’m blown away by features and performance of the phone.

I only have 3 complaints, and none of them were a surprise after doing my research:

  • The battery life isn’t great
  • There’s no Bluetooth dialing support
  • The display is awesome but doesn’t do well in the sun (the screen is also a fingerprint magnet)

The phone– The phone itself is impressive. Lightweight, fits nicely in my palm, and the buttons and controls are reasonably well placed. I’ve hit the volume controls too many times, but am learning to avoid that area of the phone.  As you can see above, the screen is almost exactly the size of a normal business card.  And although the power drain is faster than I’d like, but it seems to be holding out for a reasonable day’s use. I’m not sure it would make it through an entire day of use on the road. I have Wi-Fi disabled, but GPS enabled. I understand disabling both improves battery life, but what’s the point of a smart phone if you can’t use the location aware applications?

User Interface – This is my first touch screen phone, but I really haven’t had any problems. I had the advantage of some “stick time” on my daughter’s iPod Touch, and the function of the interfaces isn’t that different. The new HTC Sense UI works well, and I’m getting use to hitting the right spots on the screen to make things happen. Typing is taking some time to get used to. The keyboard in the vertical position is fairly tight, and I have trouble hitting the right keys all the time. Right now I’m single finger pecking – fast, but not as fast at the two thumb mode. You can flip the phone into the horizontal and use the expanded keyboard, but you lose the context of where you are typing – you can only see the entry field – no other fields, labels or buttons are visible.

Calls – The call quality is good – I’ve had no complaints. The lack of Bluetooth voice dialing is a major hassle and in my opinion, a safety issue. The voice recognition applet provided with the phone is very rudimentary and not even remotely accurate. The UI does have a limited “favorites” page for one-touch dialing.

Camera – the quality is excellent for a phone. At 8 Megapixels, the resolution is more than adequate for most on the go photos. The built-in flash is great to have in darker areas. The camera also has the ability to capture video. I’ve taken some videos and the quality appears to be similar to most pocket camcorders.

Internet – On Verizon’s 3G network this is the fastest browser performance I’ve seen. It loads many pages as quickly as my laptop.

Email, Contacts, etc. – I have hosted exchange and several other POP email accounts. The setup is very straightforward and the mail application works flawlessly so far.

Social Networks – the available social networking apps for Android are good and getting better. Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook apps all work well, with some limitations. It’s disappointing that there isn’t a native LinkedIn application yet.

Cool StuffGoogle Goggles and Shop Savvy are two of my favorite apps right now. I’ve loaded YouTube, WordPress (not configured yet) and Skype. All need further testing.

If you don’t want to be on AT&T want a great smart phone and can’t wait for the next big thing (whatever that will be), this is definitely a phone worth exploring.

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Is Twitter Becoming Less Useful?

by Dave on April 20, 2010

Is microblogging dead? I don’t think so, but I believe it’s becoming less valuable. You may say usefulness is in the eye of the beholder (user), but I’m having trouble getting the same value out of Twitter recently. In fact, today I started using my feed reader again to keep up with some of my favorite topics.

A little history

Throughout my consulting career, I’ve recognized that “staying smart” is essential to my success. Whether its news, the latest in technology or marketing strategy, my goal is to minimize my time and maximize my value.

I had a usual progression in online participation. I found a few blogs I liked, I kept them bookmarked, and visited them periodically. By the time I started blogging myself, the list of bookmarks had grown unmanageable. I set up and started using feed readers. At first it was Bloglines, then Google Reader (My Shared Items). It was easy – I kept subscribing to feeds until, of course, Google Reader became overwhelming and unmanageable – and I eventually couldn’t keep up. Then I discovered the utility of Twitter.

Social Media to the rescue.

I had been on Twitter for a while, and was following a small number of connections. I realized it was an information sourcing goldmine. I could follow news outlets and a handful of people who were paying attention to my favorite topics, and by scanning their Twitter streams, I could stay up to date. I had become a social networking lamprey. I’ll admit it, I’ve never been much of a microblogging conversationalist – I find the 140 characters too challenging to hold anything other than the simplest of conversations. So my use of twitter is primarily as an information sharing and gathering tool.

For a while it worked well. Just about the time my stream became too crowded, desktop and online readers became popular, allowing me to segment out my news and “smart people” streams and focus my attention on my high value targets. I continued to siphon information out of the Twitter stream.

But it stopped working

Today I fired my Google Reader back up, cleaned out old feeds and added a selected group of new feeds. What happened? I found that while there was still useful information in Twitter the value/time ratio was declining. I couldn’t always keep up with the stream, and when I did, it seemed the links weren’t as plentiful or as valuable. I’ll still use HootSuite (my favorite) for tracking streams and to watch people and companies of interest. But as for the “smart people” watching, I’m back to using my Google Reader to see what they have to say – long form.

I think there are two reasons Twitter is becoming less useful 1) The stream has become crowded and it’s harder and harder to find the buried “gems” and 2) I think people are sharing less or are sharing less of the gems, probably due in part to #1.

Are you finding your Twitter experience less valuable? Leave a comment and let me know.

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Demand Media, Search, and Social Networks

February 16, 2010

Demand’s model is to plaster the internet with keyword rich content – at the lowest price possible, and make money off the associated advertising. It quickly dawned on me that this low price, low quality model is going to clog up internet search with junk content, making it difficult or impossible for good content to shine through.

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Going Google

November 9, 2008

Flashback to 15 or so years ago….. First came Outlook, bright, shiny, and new. My first email client. It opened a whole new world of communication and suddenly Microsoft had my attention. It wasn’t long before DOS based 1-2-3 was shown the door for the reasonably competent and graphical Excel. It took some time, but […]

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