I’m not sure what’s causing it, but linear thought and get-up-and-go seem to have deserted me this week. The calendar says it’s Wednesday, but my brain is absolutely convinced it’s Monday. Except during those intervals where it decides that two Mondays in three days is a really bad idea and declares it to be Septober 37th.
So, a few quick hits, dashed off many, many hours after my self-imposed posting deadline.
I imagine you’ve heard that Google is releasing new hardware. The Pixel 7 series of phones are evolutionary advances over the Pixel 6 series. Better in some marketing-influenced way (keep in mind that most of the significant changes are in software and will undoubtedly roll down to the older generation in due course). A few cosmetic tweaks. If you’ve got a 6, I don’t see any really compelling reason to upgrade.
Then there’s the Pixel Watch. Which really comes across as a Apple Watch wannabe. It’s got Fitbit integration and the necessary sensors to allow it to do most of the health-related things the Apple Watch does. It also has a claimed 24 hour battery life, so–like the Apple Watch–you’re going to be charging it every day. Remember when watches, even “smart” watches, could run for a week or two on a single charge? Actually, you can still find ones that can do that, but the Big Two are so determined to make watches into do-everything devices, you’re never going to find one with a Big A or Big G butt stamp. (And, yes I am bitter about Google’s decision to use a proprietary method of attaching the band, rather than allowing users to customize with the millions of bands that are already on the market.)
What else? Pixel Tablet. Not coming out until next year; plenty of time for them to release specs and hype before we see it. Nest Wifi Pro. Nest Doorbell (Wired). Great if you need ’em, zero interest for most of the world’s population.
Yes, of course I watched the Mariners’ first game against their nemesis, Houston yesterday.
Yes, of course I’m bitterly disappointed in how it turned out.
But no, I’m not going to second guess. I’m just going to say, “Seattle sports. sigh“.
‘Nother game in Tejas tomorrow. Hopefully with a happier ending: it’s a best of five series, so losing both games in Houston would force the Mariners to win three straight. I’m not sure they’ve ever won three in a row from the Astros.
Microsoft announced new hardware yesterday too.
The Surface Pro 9 comes with your choice of an Intel CPU or a Microsoft-designed chip, the SQ3. Because abandoning the “Surface Pro X” branding that distinguished between the two product lines isn’t going to cause major confusion among consumers. I forsee lots of returns when people discover their new laptop won’t run all the software they want to put on it. Heck, people still haven’t figured out the “S-mode” app restrictions yet.
That aside, they both look like solid machines in that thin-and-light aka two-in-one space. Microsoft has finally moved from USB-C to full-blown Thunderbolt 4, at least on the Intel machines. That’s progress.
There’s also the Surface Laptop 5. Thunderbolt there, too, along with overall decent specs at a reasonable price. Still a really low budget webcam, though. You’ll probably want to invest in a USB camera if you’re a serious Zoomer.
Other announcements are much less exciting. The Surface Studio 2 is getting a “+”: not enough of an upgrade for Microsoft to justify bumping it to “3”. New “Designer” software if you have a Microsoft 365 subscription. New hardware with a focus on accessibility*. Presentation and audio hardware designed to make online meetings better.
* I’m not casting aspersions at Microsoft by lumping it into the “not very exciting category”. It’s seriously great news for those who can’t use conventional mice and/or keyboards and I give Microsoft major props for going down this path. But the regrettable truth is that 90+% of the computer-using public isn’t going to care one way or the other.
The only thing that really made me sit up and take notice (for the few seconds my brain allowed) is the note that Windows will be able to automatically synchronize pictures from “the iOS Photos app” (i.e. iCloud). Done well, this will remove a major pain point for any Windows user with an iPhone. Done poorly, well, we won’t be any worse off than we are right now.