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Author Topic: First tablet for experienced computer user  (Read 3378 times)

Offline Artie See

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First tablet for experienced computer user
« on: August 31, 2012, 05:47:49 PM »
I've been working on a variety of computer systems for about three decades now.  I started with several proprietary systems in the early 1980s, graduated to MS-DOS 2.01 through 6.22, Windows from 3.0 (hated the text-based versions) through a beta of 8.  Worked professionally for a while around AIX (IBM's flavor of Unix), dabbled with OS/2.  I've played around with various flavors of Linux enough to be comfortable with configuring a system.  I've never had a smart phone or tablet, my cell and laptop are issued by my employer.

My wife bought me a Nexus 7 16GB for my birthday, amazingly a local GameStop had one in stock.  I've spent some time over the past week playing with it.

My early impressions:

The Nexus 7 is an OUTSTANDING tablet.  It does a lot, and does it all very well.  I've had no real problem with configuring or connecting anything.  I can even transfer files via USB, something that my wife's iPad 3 cannot do without an app running on both ends.  It just works.

The Nexus 7 is a poor excuse for a computer; in reality, it is a computing appliance.  (I am not considering rooting, since it is beyond the capability of most users.)  Customization options are extremely limited, mostly to appearance settings.  The factory-installed apps for Gmail access your account as soon as the Nexus 7 is turned on, and there doesn't appear to be any way to change that behavior OR uninstall the app.  Neither Chrome nor the Firefox beta have even the most basic security settings available to the user, which could easily create a privacy risk.

Over the years, I've been asked many times by many different people what I thought the computer of the future would become.  I've always said that computers would evolve to the point where they are basically an appliance, where you turn it on and it just works; of course, an "appliance" has extremely limited customization options.  The Nexus 7 is an implementation of that future.

I can understand how tablets, smart phones, and other computing appliances will make computing power accessible to many people who can't figure out a desktop; even our 20-month-old granddaughter knows how to play music, play simple games, and view pictures on grandma's iPhone.  My disappointment is that such powerful devices are so highly restricted in how they can be configured.

Please avoid the flames, I only wanted to start an intelligent discussion.



Offline kbeefy

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Re: First tablet for experienced computer user
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2012, 09:10:37 PM »
I prefer to think of my smartphone (and newly aquired N7 as of a few days ago) as tools more than computers. I like both of them, and I could get along without the tablet but have became pretty dependant upon my smartphone.

Appliance is a good term.

Offline Portsider

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Re: First tablet for experienced computer user
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2012, 09:49:59 PM »
I, personally, would never consider a tablet of any type a 'computer', per say. They are, for all intents and purposes, 'media consumption' devices with very minimal computing capabilities. And I don't think anyone, really, would rely on them as thier sole device for productivity. Now, with that being said, I personally think that may be about to change, somewhat, with the upcoming Windows 8 tablets. It appears that Microsoft is upping the game as far as tablet functionality is concerned. All preliminary reviews for these devices have been impressive. It'll be interesting to see how the public responds.
NX7...Official tablet of the Dark Knight

Offline birdastrompgman

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Re: First tablet for experienced computer user
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2012, 12:23:39 AM »
I predate Artie See in the computing scene, and disagree with all of you.  The N7 is a compromised word processor and office tasking machine.  It's a decent web browser.  It's an excellent game machine, ebook reader, music player, movie viewer, etc.  It's no more a computer appliance than a Macbook or Windows 7 laptop is to its average user.

The Nexus devices are open architecture, so if you want to use a tablet as a computer, instead of an appliance, the Nexus 7 is the one to have. Root your Nexus, and you can look at the .rc and .sh initialization java files, and modify them if you dare.  Get a terminal emulator, and you can throw Linux commands at your Nexus 7.

Bird has seen >650 North American bird species
Rooted Nexus 7
49.5 mpg avg for 53k miles in non-hybrid Scion xB
Retired 9 yrs, and loving it

Offline Tiny

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Re: First tablet for experienced computer user
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2012, 02:41:28 PM »
Everyone is right.  Remember the old saying, "one persons junk is somebodies treasure?"  Every one I know uses their machines for something different than I do.  When I'm at home, my N7 is a great machine for watching netcasts.  When I'm away from the house,  my N7 is my computer.  I hardly ever take my laptop with me any more.
I used to be crazy until I found out that insane pays more.

Where am I?  What am I doing in this handbasket?

Offline Undo

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Re: First tablet for experienced computer user
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2012, 04:31:07 PM »
Nexus 7 isn't my first tablet but it's my first good one. Even still, when I need to access my bank, type lengthy email, do research, etc., I go straight for my desktop computer. I use the N7 only for consumption of news, ebooks, and a few TV shows on Netflix. I really hate to type on it, so that eliminates a lot of the typical "computer tasks."

Offline tiap

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Re: First tablet for experienced computer user
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2012, 10:47:18 PM »
I too started way back, with the Intel 8086 processor, original Dos, DRDos, Os2, Windows etc. I also still use one of the first Windows smartphones since they came out about 8 years ago, although I never connected to the net with it, just synced Outlook.

Got a Nexus7 for my 13 year old daughter's bday.
She loves it and I'm very impressed with it.
I don't live and die by the current social media stuff like her age group does.
Having an iTouch, she quickly became familiar with the tablet and loves it, video chats with her friends thru ooVoo, listens to music, plays games, internet, watched a movie or two etc.
She wanted to start doing homework on it and asked about Word docs etc. Of course I didn't know and just told her to use her real computer and realize that a tablet has it's limitations.

I'm totally ignorant of the Android system. It even seems a little archaic, despite being graphical. From what little I know, it doesn't even have a good file management system. Everything seems to need a special app, which I find cumbersome. I guess I'm just spoiled by years of Windows and growing impatience with age.

The biggest concerns I have is how Google is tied to this tablet and this cloud thing.
I guess it's taken the computer industry decades to figure out a continuing revenue scheme and this and other tablets is that vehicle. No longer does the profit end with the sale of hardware or software, but with this cloud, there will be continuing revenue thru endless needed basic apps and especially storage in years to come. Looking at monthly cloud storage, I find it rather expensive compared to price/TB hardrive. Makes me wonder just how mobile we really need to be. I realize that businesses have been using their own variant of the cloud for years.
Of course it great for music and movie lovers, but how necessary is it and how much is enough.
It just annoys me that Google must have a credit card on file to even do the free stuff from their cloud.

Privacy and security are the second of my issues with this cloud. If it's out there it is vulnerable and accessible, no matter what steps are taken or what Google's privacy policies are.

Beyond this rant, I am opened minded enough to see that this is the wave of the future for the masses and possibly will make a huge dent in business computing. I'm particularly impressed with the IBM Win8 tablet that is going to be released when Win8 is. It will be able to run real Windows apps, work with real drives and other storage and most importantly, easier for me to use. Interesting what the future in computing will bring and the ways in which it will affect society.


Offline smokestack

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Re: First tablet for experienced computer user
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2012, 11:23:15 PM »
Well i could go on for hours here lol. But android has a much superior file system over windows and much greater security. And as for being a computer i use a complete install of linux on my nexus and my galaxy note. Not to mention i use my old captivate phone as a mail server now.

 When was the last time you heard of a linux virus shutting down computers? Heck i have a linux box now thats ran for years being rebooted maybe twice in that time. With many updates even.  Ext4 is a great filesystem. Shoot im sure thats why i posted anyhow lmao. I fall for the old geek wars about filesystems lol. Anyhow..... just learn the system layout and you will understand it. As for the cloud i guess you mean the app store update. Its not about money. Its about guys like me that want the latest and greatest all the time. I like being able to get a brand new phone, turning it on and in a few minutes having my apps and wallpaper and settings just like i did on my old phone.

     Shoot even apple is smart enough to use a cloud service now ;)
« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 11:25:26 PM by smokestack »

Offline Selden

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Re: First tablet for experienced computer user
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2012, 09:57:59 PM »
It's interesting that there are so many oldtimers here--including me. We have a house full of various computers, including Macs of various ages, a netbook running Linux, and a chromebook that gets most of my time (I was one of the Chrome pilots).

The comments about a tablet not being a computer are the ones that resonate with me. Many people think of Chromebooks as tablets with keyboards, and now that I am using the Nexus, I realize that a tablet has very little functional overlap with a computer. Apps are where tablets shine, and I find that trying to use a tablet for browsing is a pretty miserable experience. Since I have no prior experience with browsers on Android, I have no preconceptions, and if reviewers are raving about Chrome with Jelly Bean, then what came before must have been truly pathetic.

Offline ibm650

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Re: First tablet for experienced computer user
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2012, 10:44:44 PM »
I worked on tube computers, then the IBM 1620 and 360  , VM and MVS.  Tablets are designed to be media consumers. 

Offline birdastrompgman

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Re: First tablet for experienced computer user
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2012, 09:58:00 AM »
My dad bought a Sphere kit in the days of the Altair 880, but never got it to work, and was SOL when Sphere went OOB. So when the first mass market home computers came out, dad wasn't about to gamble on another company based in someone else's garage.  So he avoided Woz's and Jobs' Apple [], and went with the TRS-80; I got his Model I when he upgraded to the Model III.

Everyone was a bit of a programmer and hacker in those days.  We had to be, in order to correct our own typos when we debugged the programs we typed from the magazines.  We had to piggyback solder an IC on top of another to get lowercase characters on the Model I.  We had to install double density kits to get 80KB capacity from our 40KB floppy drives.  We had to modify NewDOS to get an 80 track, single sided FDD to work alongside two 40 track, double-sided FDDs.

With that background, when my District Office's DEC PDP 11-750's hard drives started failing, I was able to restore its backups onto a spare MicroVAX II, write batch files to back everything up nightly, and send our data to HQ nightly - all with no formal VMS training.

So, to me, todays' computers are all appliances.  The average user lost his ability to use a computer as a computer when NT replaced MS-DOS in the late 90s.  Android devices, with 100 approaches to the same solution, are the Unix/Linux heir apparent.

« Last Edit: September 03, 2012, 05:26:54 PM by birdastrompgman »
Bird has seen >650 North American bird species
Rooted Nexus 7
49.5 mpg avg for 53k miles in non-hybrid Scion xB
Retired 9 yrs, and loving it

Offline albergman

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Re: First tablet for experienced computer user
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2012, 05:10:53 PM »
Another geezer here ... started in early 60's on IBM 1401 then Honeywell 200's (with 16k memory ... YES K's).   

Just bought the Nexus this week and still trying to understand what it is and how best to use it.    I wanted an eReader for travelling and decided I'd rather go with a device that has more "smarts" than a dedicated eReader .... so, enter Nexus.    I thought it would be more like a stripped down PC and it IS ... sort of.

Anyway, it helps keep the old brain challenged.

Frank

Offline weesocks

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Re: First tablet for experienced computer user
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2012, 08:55:43 PM »
 First Tablet,in my case inexperienced computer user!  I did the same this week as I am travelling soon to Europe and will be there for a month or two. I love to read so it seems like a good idea.
I wasn't too happy about registering a credit card either, I suppose we have no choice if we enlist in the new wave, especially if the idea is to buy books to read
on the journey. I make sure that the credit card limit on file is very low.
The rest of the Nexus "Smarts" will be fun to learn about and hopefully this forum won't get too "Techy" explaining some of them.

Offline jrdouce

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Re: First tablet for experienced computer user
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2012, 06:50:40 AM »
I think tablets can, and will replace PC\Macs for most things.  Remember the 3270 terminals from the mainframe days?  It was nothing but a monitor with a key board.  Where I work, we have to use Citrix to access all our enterprise apps, even for development.  That effectively reduces my PC to a 3270 with a web browser.  There are a few guys here with company issued iPads.  They run citrix and have the same access that I have.  Add a doc with a keyboard, and they pretty much have a laptop. 

I think it would be great to have a single "server" computer in my home and then everyone has a tablet as personal terminal.  As the OP stated, we would need more customization and security options.

Offline TomC

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Re: First tablet for experienced computer user
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2012, 04:29:14 PM »
I just think it's hilarious that people say that Android isn't configurable..  Especially when most of the talk in this thread have been talking about dinosaur computers.  But seriously, there actually is alot of configuration.  Almost everything about the system can be altered.  Don't like the unlock screen??  Do a search in the App store you can find a few dozen or hundred alternatives.  Don't like user interface?   Search for Home Screens.  Don't like Chromium?  Download Dolphin or one of the other 100 browsers listed. 

Potentially Billions of wallpapers just as there is on any PC running an OS with a desktop environment newer than windows 3.0.  Every Sound event is customizable. 

If you're running Android on a phone you can have it route phone calls via Google voice with some configuration over WIFI to save minutes.. 

Compared to just about any other system on any kind of machine, Android is one of the most configurable across the board, hands down.  Nexus 7 is even better than that because it hasn't been locked down by phone carriers and big name companies. 

Now if you're just navigating menu's to try to change settings, I can see where you're getting that impression.  Do some Googleing to see the different kinds of things you can customize.

Get an OTG cable so you can connect a mouse to your nexus 7 if you wanna try it out.  or  a keyboard if you need to actually type something.  In my opinion this would be mostly to do just for the heck of it, but I am getting my OTG cable so I can use flash drives on it.

-Tom

 


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