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Me, Elsewhere

I haven’t written as much here recently as I like to, but I have a good excuse: I’ve been hard at work writing for other sites. Three new stories are up today:

* At TIME.com, I reviewed two new Android phones from Motorola: the potent (and battery-hungry) Droid Bionic, and the basic (and thrifty) Triumph.

* TIME also asked me to try and make sense of the drama going on over at AOL and TechCrunch. I’m not even sure if that’s possible, but I tried.

* Over at AllBusiness.com, I wrote about a newish gadget that small businesses seem to be snapping up with the same zea they once adopted IBM PCs and PalmPilots. It’s called the iPad.

Whew! (And stay turned for another bit of related news in the not-too-distant future.)

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The Health of the PC Has Nothing to Do With the Health of Windows. Seriously!

I’m beginning to think that I’m the only person on the planet who feels this way, but bear with me: I have an astoundingly elastic notion of what a PC is. I don’t think it has to run Windows. I don’t believe it needs to come in a desktop tower or a portable clamshell case. If it’s a general-purpose computing device that allows me to run third-party apps, I think of it as a PC–whether it’s a ThinkPad, a MacBook, an iPad, a Droid, or a ChromeBook.

That was the line of thinking that led me to title my TIME.com column for this week “The PC Isn’t Dying–It’s Just Evolving.” I don’t see the iPad as a not-PC; I see it as a PC that happens to come in a new form factor, run new software, and be optimized for somewhat different use case scenarios than a garden-variety laptop.
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Facebook’s HTML5 Surprise?

Yesterday, TechCrunch’s MG Siegler wrote about an unreleased Facebook photo app for the iPhone. Today, he’s reporting that Facebook is working on a super-ambitious platform for Mobile Safari on the iPhone and iPad–one that uses HTML5 to deliver the sort of experience usually associated with native iOS apps. He doesn’t have any real details, but it could be cool, and would explain Mark Zuckerberg’s famous disinterest in doing a Facebook app for the iPad.

There are some nifty browser-based mobile apps out there–Google’s Gmail for phones and tablets comes to mind. But there hasn’t been a truly killer app yet of the sort that leaves millions of people thinking that Web apps rather than local apps are the wave of the future. If Facebook is at least trying to pull off something like that, it’s exciting news.


The Chances are 14 Percent That You're Reading This on a Portable Device

Yesterday, TechCrunch’s MG Siegler reported on the operating systems  used by visitors to that site. It currently breaks down like this:

Windows: 53.84%

Mac: 27.64%

iPhone: 6.72%

iPad: 3.47%

Linux: 3.28%

Android: 3.06%

iPod: .62%

MG also included historical data, and his main point is that if the trend continues, the majority of TechCrunch visitors will visit the site using an Apple device–Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad–within a couple of years.

As usual when I read numbers of these sorts, I rushed off and looked at equivalent stats for Technologizer. Here’s February 2011…

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The Problems With Point-and-Shoot Cameras

Odd coincidence: TechCrunch’s MG Siegler and I both bought Canon’s PowerShot S95 digital camera last week. He makes a good point about the S95: For all the quality of its results, it feels fundamentally crippled by the fact it doesn’t run apps and isn’t directly connected to the Internet, as smartphone cameras are. All other traditional cameras have the same problem.

So what’s to be done? I’m not sure, especially since I don’t want to buy a point-and-shoot camera that comes with its own pricey 3G data plan. Maybe the best solution would be if it were easy to transfer photos off of an SD card directly onto a smartphone. Anyone know of any way to do that?


Optical Drives: Obsolete? Almost Obsolete? Necessities?

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler says he’s never once used the DVD burner on his MacBook Pro and is therefore excited about the possibility of a superlight, driveless MacBook Air. I keep going back and forth on whether optical drives are superfluous yet: They’re still occasionally handy for installing software, and I still use them to watch movies (or just rip them into a form I can watch on any device). I figure that three years from now, they’ll be quite unusual–but I could be wrong, since I would have guessed three years ago that they’d be almost extinct by late 2010…


TechCrunch Hacked Again

TechCrunch is down again–someone with hacking skills, a vendetta, and–it seems–a dislike for certain ad formats appears to have crippled the site for the second night running.

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