Books Reviews Tech

Review: Kobo mini

I was recently at my local JB Hi-Fi browsing around (as most gadget geeks do) and noticed that the Kobo Mini had reached the impulse-buy price of $50. As part of her due diligence on a similar purchase, P had asked me to look at a bunch of e-readers and tablets and I had confirmed her conclusion that the Glo model was good. For my needs, though, I had stuck with the tablets I already owned (an iPad and a Nexus 7). Still, I figured that $50 would be worth experimenting with e-ink myself.

I’ve been using it for a couple weeks now, and here are my thoughts.


Paranoia and Google

If you’ve been following my Twitter or Facebook accounts you know that I’m more than mildly alarmed by their cavalier attitude towards privacy. Let it not be said that I unfairly and blindly focus on one target. I use far more Google services than I do Facebook, and they’ve had many more years of practice at collecting and collating personal information.

I will occasionally go through a privacy binge and find things to remove from my account. For those of you of a like mind, I found this thoughtfully put together article on Computerworld: The smart paranoid’s guide to using Google.

There’s some generic stuff in there about blocking ads. Overall, I have no issue with ads on the web, because they’re the only thing keeping it free. However, these ads do track our behaviour and build identifiable profiles, so it may be worthwhile using a browser plugin to block them.

Likewise, you may want to review exactly what Google is remembering about your searches:

Google uses this information for a number of benign purposes, such as fine-tuning its search algorithms and determining wider patterns in Web searches for its Google Trends page. But however useful it is to the company, it’s probably a safe bet that you don’t want anyone to see every search you’ve ever done.

I strongly recommend a good read, and applying at least some of the recommendations.

Source: Lifehacker


Google Chrome first thoughts

So, just in case you’re not following the latest and greatest from our Internet Lords and Masters, Google have released their own browser. There’s a little comic available that explains what’s so awesome about it. Have a read, it’s quite interesting for those who get tickled by browser technology. Since every man and his blog is reviewing it, I figured I’d chuck my random thoughts out there.

I’ve had it up and running for a while, and it seems pretty nifty. The New Tab Page is the best use of that space I’ve seen yet. It compiles everything I would most likely be doing with the browser into one neat little place. I could definitely get used to it.

Overall, it definitely feels zippier than Firefox 3, and definitely better than any version of IE or Safari I’ve encountered. Some of the new features are definitely cool. The syntax hilighting in the “view source” window, as well as the “inspect element” will definitely help me with the little bits of web design and programming that I do. Also, the Task Manager will be a boon to anybody trying to figure out why the browser isn’t responding (though it’s a little difficult to find).

I’ve had some intermittent issues with some pages not being able to render and getting the “Sad Tab”. But then that stopped. I’m not sure what happened there, particularly as the site I was visiting was a very popular Australian newspaper. Also, it looks like there’s some issues with YouTube. I can’t get it to play more than 2 seconds of any clip.

Still, for a beta, it’s very well-polished, and I’ll keep using it. It may even replace FF3 on my Mac once it’s released for my favourite platform.