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Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet Keyboard/Case Review

After about 2 months on backorder, i finally received the Case/USB Keyboard combo for my Lenovo Thinkpad Android Tablet.
I like it! Like origional IBM products, in most areas Lenovo has kept up the quality and expectations. My first thought was, its heavy. Definity changes the tablet from a slightly heavy Android tablet to a small notebook type of device. If extremly light and small is what you after, this wont give you that. What it will give you is a classy, sturdy case with a great keyboard that gives you the option of having your tablet be almost a notebook.

The tablet slides into the case and connects via the full size USB port. Once in, its sturdy and feels secure. Its not falling out or going anywhere. Opening the case and standing up the keyboard secures with a magnetic clip which lets you know it will hold and not move around. When closed, the case feels thick but safe. Your tablet is protected and you have a nice little portfolio case with your tablet, and an Android laptop.

Typing on the keboard is excellent! I can say it better than that. Its as good as a lenovo laptop keyboard, feels great, and i can type the way i would on any normal desktop or laptop keyboard. Keys are responsive and feel great. Best part is working on a Honeycomb Android tablet and having the full screen real estate to see what you doing without the onscreen keyboard poping up. It makes using something like Google Docs much more pleasent to use. By the way, i am using just that with the keyboard to write this blog post while watching my 5 year old play soccer. Its Great!

Another nice feature about the keyboard is the extra Android keys! Above the keyboard there are keys for all the major Android functions: Volume +/-, Mute, Mic on/off, Home, Brightness, Settings, Lock, Zoom and media keys for Play/Pause Forward and Reverse. Getting use to useing them makes android much faster to use. This does not affect your onscreen controls, and you can always tap your screen as normal.

The case does not interfere with your tablet connectors, charging and other connects are all still accessible. Very necessary as my only complaint on this tablet is battery life. If you wanted to insert or remove a SD card you would need to remove the tablet from the dock but that should not b a problem as you dont do that often.

The keyboard has an optical trackball device in the center where the normal eraserhead pointing device would be on a normal Thinkpad. It works very well and with the two mouse type buttons at the base makes it even more laptop like.

Overall the keyboard/case combo is excellent. Type is suburbe and the everything about the case is great. Due to the surprise snow storm (14" and no power for days now) pictures and a video will be up as soon as I possible but the $99 (list) for the device is worth it for all it adds to your tablet.

iPhone 4s

Apples announcement today was pretty disappointing. Everyone in the tech world guesses and speculates as to what every Apple event will be about. People expected 2 new iPhones, Larger screens, New iPods but all we got was a revised version of the current phone.
The new iPhone 4S will have the A5 chip like the iPad 2 to make it faster. A higher resolution 8mp camera, Voice dictation/commands and a few other things. They announced iCloud (we already knew about this) which is their online cloud storage service for music and file sharing between your Apple iOS devices.
Just enough to make people be willing to upgrade but nothing that makes you want to run out and get one. The new phones continue to start at the normal $199 price. The iPhone 4 goes down to $99 and the old iPhone 3gs will be Free with 2 year contract.
See more at or watch the video at

Netflix says sorry but changes nothing.

After Netflix increased their prices (doubleing for some customers) their stock dropped 18%, they lost millions of customers and people said there is now room for Blockbusters rumored streaming service to move in.
Today Netflix's CEO issued an appology. But it was just in how they implimented the change, nothing more. They are setting up a new website for the DVD by mail service called They know their streaming service seriously lacks new content and they just lost STARS which was their biggest provider of new movies. So what is next for Netflix?
Hereis the CEOs full letter sent this morning...


Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet Review

While everyone on the planet knows what an iPad is, even if they have never used one, Android tablets are a different story. Tell someone you have an android tablet and often you have to explain what you mean. While a iPad is a big iPhone, an Android tablet is a big Android phone.

Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet
Many companies have come out with Android tablets in the last year and none of them have taken off anywhere near the iPad but they are getting better all the time. The new Thinkpad Tablet is a business centered model from Lenovo. If your not familiar with Lenovo, they bought the Consumer PC division of IBM years ago and have kept up the same level of quality and design.

The Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet says its designed for business for a few reasons. Compared to "consumer" grade devices, a "business" grade device focuses more on power, features and durability and less on looking cool or sleek since its not being directed towards the mass market of consumers out there. The Lenovo tablet is a nice non-slip backing, gorilla glass and just feels solid. Its a more squared so its might not have that cool factor, but it gets the job done just fine.

First the tech specs...Its a Tegra 2 Dual Core 1GHz processor, 16/32 or 64 GIGs of RAM models, 10.1" Widescreen, 1.65lbs, up to 8 hours of battery life, Bluetooth, WiFi, 3g capable, light sensor, assisted GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer, 2mp front camera, 5mp rear camera and IPS technology which means its very easy to see the screen from any angle.

Picking it up, the first thing i noticed was the grip on the back of the tablet. It feels good and doesn't feel like it will slip out of your hands. It does feel a little heavy which to me makes it feel solid. Perhaps its an illusion since its a rectangle and does not taper at the edges. It has a full size SD card slot for expansion, a 3G card slot so you can add 3g cellular connection if you wish. A docking port, a mini USB connection for charging, headphone jack and full size USB port which allows you to connect a keyboard or other devices.

Lenovo has made some small modifications to the standard Android Honeycomb 3.1 software by adding some single navigation tools which you can easily customize and don't get in the way at all. The over all use of honeycomb is fast and snappy. Definitely comparable in speed to the iPad. I haven't used their external keyboard/case yet but when that arrives i will and post a review. These tablets are a few weeks old and still hard to get along with the Lenovo keyboard/case.

One of the best thing about Android tablets running Honeycomb is that in the browser you can use Desktop mode which gives you full websites just like on your desktop PC. No need to work on a mobile version of a website. While this may be a little slow in the browser at times depending on the complexity of the website your on, I think its worth it. And don't forget of course, it can run Flash! so your browsing experience on the web is almost as good as on your computer and definitely better than the iPad.

To some up i have to say i love this tablet. I recommend everything about it, except for two things, one minor, one not. First, when you turn it on, if you use a pattern log screen to unlock it, there is a 1-2 second delay before you can unlock the device. That may not be of any concern at all to most people, but i am always in a rush with technology, and when i press a button i want it to work now now now. But, i have gotten use to pausing for a whole second or so before trying to unlock it and then its fine. Secondly, battery life. While I have not conducted a battery life test, its rated at 8 hours but i say its more like 4-5 hours. That's not bad, but coming from an iPad i wish it was a little longer. I am pretty use to plugging my devices in when in the car or office to charge but i wish it was a bit longer.

I think this is a great device that i would recommend to clients (and will) and if your a Google person like me (GMail, Calendar, Docs) there is no better experience out there than using a Android Honeycomb device like the Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet. Remember to check out the video review.

My experience with Cutting the Cord

If you don't know, "cutting the cord" refers to getting rid of your cable TV (or Satellite TV in my case) and going to a completely online viewing experience. Now that does not mean watching all your TV content on your computer. There are many set top boxes that stream video to your HD TV such as Apple TV, Roku, Google TV and others. There are pros and cons to each of them, which is something you can find out more about the differences by this Google search. I am not doing to discuss that here though. Today I want to share my experiences with the process I am going through of trying this for a week in my home to see how it works for us.

So I decided on the RoKu box as it has the widest variety of content. Now in my family we rarely watch live TV. Almost everything we watch has been recorded to the DVR. This way when you sit down you have a selection of the shows you like ready and you can easily jump past the commercials. So I was not worried about not getting like TV anymore, it was just about getting access to the shows we do want.

First, my concerns. I have two boys, 5 and 7 years old, who love their morning cartoons. Most of what they watch is on Disney Junior and Nickelodeon in the mornings. I went into this knowing most of those shows are not available anywhere else. So my concern was will my kids miss them and enjoy the other shows that are age appropriate and are available. Next, was the few shows my wife watches and does not want to do without. I am much easier. I am happy watching reruns of Seinfeld, House or Star Trek. I am even happier saving the $50/month we pay for the Dish Network basic package.

So i got the middle of the 3 RokU boxes for $79.99 and connected it. For starters you will definatly want to be a NetFlix streaming customer ($7.99/month) and a Hulu Plus customer ($7.99/month). I already had Netflix so I had to join HuLu Plus. But if it worked out and i got rid of the $50 Satellite bill then that's fine. Next you have to link all these accounts to your Roku box for the first time. When you go to use netflix, it tells you to go to the netflix site and enter a code from the screen to link them. Then you have to do this for many of the other services as well. about 10 minutes total work and we were up and running.

So then we start playing with what is available. There is quite a lot, and most of it is not immediately visable until you go to their online store (Its mainly free) and you start adding in channels to the main menu. Next you start to hit the first problem...finding something to watch. Remember "57 Channels and nothing on" by Billy Joel? Well this is more like hundreds and hundreds of channels and plenty on but you spend more time searching than watching. I am someone who prefers choices and making my own decision but it can be a bit much.

So I started writing messages online in forums discussing the Roku box. I knew that in Netflix you could add shows and movies to your Watch Instantly Queue but you can also do something similar in Hulu which helps a lot. So I put a bunch in both. Adding many of the shows I like or old shows i would like to watch the whole series over again into Hulu Favorites. I adding in some of my wife's and many of the kids stuff. Although most of what they currently watch on Satellite was not there I adding in other kid friendly shows i thought they might like. More like hoped they would like and would help them to not get upset about not having their old shows.

Next step was to unplug the Dish Network satellite so that they had no choice but to use the new online streaming method of watching TV. Then I had to show them how to search and find what they wanted. I had them training to use the DVR on the satellite and I don't want to hear "Daddy!!" every time they want to watch something. Fortunately they are very tech savvy and 5 and 7 years old so they picked this up quick. Also they can be trusted not to put on shows other than the cartoons we setup for them in the favorites list as I didn't see any way to use parental controls or block content. So if yours kids are not like mine and will experiment by clicking on things, this might not be good for you. I don't know if other boxes have other options, so you might want to check that out before settling on a Roku or other device.

First night when setting up some favorites lists I noticed some of the things I went to play on Hulu came up saying that they are only playable on the Web. Well that just stinks. Hulu can get licensing agreements to allow them to play those shows but you cant do it from any device except directly on the internet. OK, so there goes some content that we wanted. My wife, searching for her favorite shows to add came up short on a few titles and was not happy about that.

Next morning the kids work up and we searched for something for them to watch and came up with some older cartoons which they loved and a kids movie on Netflix. They were happy and didn't complain about not having their normal line up of Disney/Nickelodeon shows at all.

A few days in and while my wife finishes up stuff on the Dish Network DVR that she wont get anymore, (ended up leaving it connected for her for a while) the kids have not complained once. They love Mr. Bean. Both the cartoon and real Rowan Atkinson one. So we have scheduled Dish to be cancelled when the current billing cycle is over. Also happier because it was costing more than I thought, it was $67 a month. Wonderful Dish Network had me under a 2 year contract so there is a $75 early termination fee. Hey Dish! Cable companies don't do that! Then they are sending me boxes to ship the equipment back but will cost me $15 per box for shipping. Another nice perk. :(

So I do have to pickup a second Roku for the bedroom TV so my total cost is $160 for the 2 Roku boxes, $90 for cancelling Dish and shipping and then $16 a month for Netflix and Hulu+. So it will take about 4 months to recoup the cost of switching but after that I will be saving $61 a month. I can live with that. And again, for those occasional new movies I must see sooner which are out on DVD there is the local Redbox in town for $1 per night which is great deal. Thinking of the $732 is savings, watching my Tech videos on the large TV, less TV for the kids (a good thing), its a great move and more shows are coming on all the time.

Here is who would not want to make this switch...If you watch Sports or if you absolutely can't live without certain shows that are just not on streaming TV yet. If that's the case you will just have to wait.

Hope this helps some people decide if "Cutting the Cord" is the right thing for their family.

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