With all apologies to Clement Clarke Moore…

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
all my gadgets were whirling, including my mouse.
My hard drives were stuffed full of data with care
in hopes that my backup plan, if needed, would be there.

With iPad and iPhone nestled snug in their docks,
Glimmering with displays of Retina fresh from the box
my Wife with her 4S and I with my ‘5
Thankful that our data plan (unlimited) is alive

When on the Amazon site there arose such a clatter
Chromebooks for sale! Get one while they still matter!
Away to my keyboard and my browser (with flash),
Clicked on the bookmark and gave up my cash.

The FedEx truck arrived, the driver was grinning
He knew it’s for me the package he’s bringing
“Good Morning to you GERD”, he says with great pep
With a gleam in his eye and a spring to his step

“Now GERD it appears I have for your consideration
a package from Amazon; could it be another piece of automation?
Another iPad, the new nook reader?
The Fire, the Acer, I know it’s not a heater!

“A Chromebook!” I cry with overstated pride,
“to compute where I want, no matter what I ride!
On airplanes, on cars, on big boats and small
It weighs just 3 pounds; it’s really easy to haul!”

“I see” he says as he turns away to leave
“yet another laptop…doesn’t now that make three?”
“Perhaps” I replied in response to his mock,
“But these were going fast – there was only one left in stock”

Away to my office I rushed with such haste
To rip open the package with time not to waste
A press of the button the screen it alights
And takes me to Google, its app store to delight

My eyes are a’glitter, my mouse works with fury
As selected apps to my hard drive they hurry
On Google, on Gmail, on Pandora and Cloud Reader
On DropBox, on Sugar Sync, on Maps and RSS-Feeder

App after app I download, my hard drive was filling
My excitement was real, my credit card a ’billing
When finally I saw, my Chromebook was set
For that road trip next time I’ll be ready I bet

So value your Gadgets, to each one give a mention,
and always remember; to my blog, pay attention.
And hear me exclaim, although I’m out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a GERD-night!”

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Travel Tech

Sometimes the GERD has to travel.  In fact the GERD is on an airplane right now (at least while he’s writing this); on his way to San Diego from my super-secret East Coast electromagnetic fortress for a meeting.  So on those infrequent occasions when he has to leave his GERD-dom, he wants the right kind of tools to play and work with.  These tools must have certain characteristics; they must be small, they must have good battery life; they must have a common plug for recharging; and of course, they must be really cool!

So, you may be asking yourself what is the GERD’s favorite travel tech (go ahead and ask, I’ll wait). Naturally, it’s my iPad, I mean not only do I never leave home without it, I rarely leave the room without it.  I have a 64GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 (insert audible gasp).  I know, I know, it’s old but believe me the thing is still a tech marvel and tops in my tech travel locker (that’s my back pack).  It meets all my requirements; (1) it’s small enough to slide into place with no fuss, no unsightly bulge; (2) it has a great battery life.  Even though it’s getting older the battery life remains terrific, almost 10 hours per charge.  (3) As for the common plug, while it’s not a USB, mini USB, or micro USB, the 30 pin Apple plug has become so commonplace it’s almost its own category.  I know the new Apple connector is very different (I like it by the way), and in time they too will become commonplace; (4) what’s cooler than an iPad, anyone, anyone?  The cool is still there and I’m never embarrassed to drag out the old iPad and start geeking out (that’s not true with my entire tech line, can you say Acer Iconia Tab? That thing can stop a bullet but takes 10 minutes to boot up!)

There is, however, more to Heaven and Earth than the iPad.  The Kindle Fire HD makes an excellent travel companion.  My stereo Bluetooth headphones are always with me (Rocketfish High-Definition (RF-MAB2)  https://techgerd.com/2012/08/11/my-favorite-bluetooth-headsets/).  A good laptop is always a plus; my new ASUS U46e (http://www.asus.com/Notebooks/Superior_Mobility/U46E/) packs 8GB of RAM and 750GB hard drive on a Windows 7 64-bit OS with excellent results.  Add 6+ hours of battery life and you’re got a toy to blog away on during those long flights.  Need to add more content without buying a new system?  Add a Wi-Drive that allows you to stream data from it to any one of several devices over its own Wi-Fi signal.  (http://www.kingston.com/us/usb/wireless#wid).

So the next time you leave your Fortress on a trip, taking along the right tools will help you get away without actually being away.

Did You Hear That?

There have been several technology bombs dropped in the past month or so. If you haven’t been paying attention, please allow me to summarize;

1. Amazon introduced a new line of Kindle products, including the very awesome Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ and 7″.

2. Apple introduced both the new iPhone 5 and the iOS 6, both also totally awesome.

I haven’t seen this many bombs since the last time I watched Saturday Night Live (well, those were just really lame jokes and we’re talking metaphorical bombs, but you get my point, I hope). The key here is that a little competition is finally taking place between Apple and Amazon.

While the original Kindle and Kindle Fire were fine products, there were some glaring shortcomings (limited, non-expandable hard drive space, no Bluetooth, etc). The new Kindle Fire HD’s memory is still not expandable, but has been bumped to 16 or 32 GB. Combined with the cloud storage available through the Amazon Prime service, this is very acceptable. The physical size of the 7″ Fire has always appealed to me; add the HD display, increased memory, terrific battery life, and the low price point of $199 or $249, and Amazon has me standing up and paying attention. $299 for the 8.9″ model is even more appealing. If i didn’t already own an iPad (or if I was independently wealthy) you would have to arrest me to keep me from buying one. I was very skeptical of their semi-Android operating system that acted primarily as a pathway to shop at their web site, but in practice this has proved a successful approach. I loath advertisements and the new Fire HD comes with advertisements (you can pay Amazon $15 to turn these off), but I find these unobtrusive and even sometimes helpful. I’m field testing my new 7″ Fire HD during my business trip to England this week. It makes an excellent tool to watch movies & TV shows, listen to music & audiobooks, and view the web.

Have I drunk the cool-aid? Has this Apple fan-boy defected to the other side? Do I ask questions on a blog site that no one can answer? No, no, and probably. The iPhone 5 and iOS 6 introductions that followed Amazon’s big day was just as impressive; I’ve not laid hands on the new iPhone yet, but by all reports it is a thing of beauty. iOS 6 is proving a good update (maps issue aside), and has made the existing iPhone 4S even better.

My point is not that Amazon is beating Apple or the other way around; my point is that the competition is getting closer, and that’s good for all of us tech-heads. The more Apple and Amazon compete, the better the products will get and the lower the price will be.

The next anticipated technology bomb to be dropped is the projected release of the new Apple Mini-iPad. IF this happens, pay particular attention to the price. I bet a friend of mine a soda of his choice that the price of a basic mini-iPad will be less than $250. Actually, I believe it will be $199 or close to it. Why? To compete with both the hardware specs and price point established by Amazon. Did you hear that? To compete with an established product – something Apple has not needed to do for some time – never in the field of tablets.

I think Apple will drop a sizable weapon for mass distribution when it introduces the mini-iPad. Apple will feel the need to compete and when highly successful, very competitive companies like Apple and Amazon compete head to head, we are the ones who win. Stand by, the fuze on that next technological bomb is ticking…..