Monday, November 11, 2013

A Post

Because it has been awhile.

And I miss you all. And you all miss me.

Here is a poem to make you miss me even more.

Max Bleich

Who is like he?

A man who could see

Why technology


Was incredibly


Friday, October 25, 2013

Reflecting on Walter White's Journey

For the past six years, many of us have been deeply engaged in a television series that shows a character transform, in creator Vince Gilligan’s words, “from Mr. Chips to Scarface,” as Walter White slowly evolves from a loving father and chemistry teacher to a monstrous drug kingpin.
 What is unique about  Breaking Bad is the believability of this transformation.
 The show was about so much more than about just methamphetamine empires and chemistry. It is the story of a man longing for significance. Walter White spends his entire life being walked on. In the first season, Walt, once a quiet man who was repeatedly taken advantage of, finally unleashes his anger upon the world around him.
 All of Walter’s anger stems from his youth, where he sold his shares of a small research company, Grey Matter, to his college friends. To his eventual regret, the company would make billions off of Walter’s research. This jealousy is perhaps the largest part of Walter’s retaliation, and is what fueled the fire of his anger and need to regain the success that slipped through his fingers.
 Breaking Bad is incredible for many reasons, but it succeeds in three major areas where no other television show comes close: movie-like cinematography, superb acting and ingenious writing.
 Gilligan utilizes a style that is rarely seen on television. From the frequent time-lapses to the different uses of lighting and color, the show really pops in a way that we are only used to seeing on the big screen.
 Second, Breaking Bad’s actors are a one-of-a-kind mix. Bryan Cranston, who plays Walter White, takes on a role that seems alien given his previous career. Cranston, a comedian, starred as sardonic dentist Tim Whatley on Seinfeld and slapstick father Hal in Malcolm in the Middle. Since playing Walter White, Cranston has starred in numerous roles in hit films such as Drive and Argo.
Interestingly, Cranston is not the only comedian on Breaking Bad. He is also joined by the star of Mr. Show, Bob Odenkirk, and stand-up comedians Bill Burr and Lavell Crawford. Unsurprisingly, these actors provide comic relief throughout the series while also playing dramatic roles.
Also notable are performances by co-stars Anna Gun (Skyler White)  and Dean Norris (Hank Schrader). The performances by these two actors, especially in the final season, are unparalleled. I find it hard to name a better cast in a television series airing today.
Finally, Breaking Bad is exceptionally well-written. Show creator Vince Gilligan and his team of writers have created an almost-flawless television series through an always-surprising plot. Never before has a cast of characters changed so much throughout a series. From Walter to Jesse to Skyler, there is not one static character in the series.
Most importantly, Breaking Bad provides insight into the world that most shows don’t. It teaches the realities of dissatisfaction and reveals just how evil human beings can be.
Although this review reflects on the entire series, the finale is just as important to talk about. I have seen many great shows end poorly. However, I found the Breaking Bad series finale to be incredibly satisfying. All loose ends were tied up, everybody got what was coming to them, and (SPOILER ALERT) Walter was finally killed off next to his child: his beautiful mobile meth lab.
Let’s be honest: this review, or any review, can not do justice to how incredible Breaking Bad really is. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to jump onto Netflix, or buy the series, and engorge yourself on television’s best series of the past decade. You won’t be sorry.

bleichscore: 10/10

Three Cool Uses for Raspberry Pi

In case you've invested in one of those fancy Raspberry Pi units, here are a few of really cool alternative uses for the device... more than just the cheap toy that many have used it for...

Make a MAME-based Arcade Cabinet!
Some cool dude figured out that he could take the Raspberry Pi and reconfigure it to be a really sweet arcade cabinet... sure is a lot easier to maintain than an original cabinet from the 70s and 80s.


Make a Low-Cost Security Camera!
Don't trust your neighbors? Not enough money for a high-end security unit? Why not use the Raspberry Pi to solve all of your problems?


Build a SuperComputer!!!
Feeling super? Make a SUPERcomputer! One dude did it- so can you.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Few Words on the iPhone 5C and 5S

Hey guys. Sorry it's been a while since I posted. I've been VERY busy lately. But I assure you, this blog is still a part of my life, and something I will continue as long as I can write still. As expected (because you all expected it, right?) I will be leaving a few words on Apple's newest products in this post.

Needless to say, I'm very excited about the 5C and 5S. Apple has proven once again that they haven't lost their momentum and are still able to push out new and innovative products.

The 5C is by no means a new take on an iPhone, apart from a new business model for the company. Not only does it make more sense to upgrade a lower-end model, but also to put out a cheaper, more colorful option for those who both don't wish to burn a big hole in their pockets for a quality iPhone and want something rock-solid and more visually appealing. Don't get me wrong, I love all iPhone designs. But as a human being, I enjoy color a bit more than metal accents. And as evidenced by the latest reveal from HP (the new chromebook), so does the rest of the industry.

The iPhone 5C, for those of you who don't already know, features the internals of the iPhone 5 with glossy hard-shell polycarbonate encasing- allowing for a more durable and more colorful product. Apple has also revealed a new line of cases to accompany the new device, which is totally a non-Steve Jobs move. But hey, people like cases, and there's a huge market for them anyway. So, as I should ask... why not? As an added bonus, the iPhone 5C will ship for $99 with a two-year contract. And if you're still a cheap asshole, you can get the iPhone 4S for free. But seriously, why would you NOT want the new 5C? It's so cool bro. Seriously.

The 5S is another story. Apple is clearly trying to divide its ubiquitous smartphone into a consumer line and into a more serious professional product- much like Apple did with the MacBook and MacBook pro back in the mid-2000s. The 5S comes packed with a 64-bit Apple A7 processor that will make lag time virtually non-existent, a new gold design (which is gorgeous), and a separate processing unit that will take some pressure off the powerful A7. I should note that the 64-bit switch will definitely help further the development of advanced applications for smartphones, and in the not so far future, will allow for 4 GB of RAM to be in a smartphone. Apple obviously has a plan for tomorrow, and they're executing it well. The 5S also comes with a built-in intelligent fingerprint scanner that will arguably revolutionize security, although more notably from your asshole friends that find out your password or don't know how to keep their greasy hands off your stuff.

Coupled with iOS 7, which boasts HUNDREDS of new features, the iPhone 5C and 5S really look to be the future of smartphones. I understand that Android is going places too. But by dividing the iPhone into two products, maybe other manufacturers will follow in Apple's path to create more ideal products for entry-level consumers and pros alike.

I'm excited, to say the least.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Labor Day!

Not that I was gonna do work anyway.

Now to go back to doing nothing.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

JOBS Review: Not That Bad

Let me get something out of the way. Director Joshua Stern’s Jobs was not well-received by the public. Not by a long shot. It was overhyped, underdelivered, and vastly unpopular to critics and fans of Steve Jobs alike.

The film sold seventh in its opening weekend, bringing in a mere $6.7 million in the box office compared to Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which brought in $24.6 million dollars in the first weekend. To add insult to injury, Jobs scored a 25% on Rotten Tomatoes.

But I’m willing to look past what critics and other viewers said, not only for the sake of an honest review, but because the movie wasn’t nearly as bad as it is being made out to be.

Criticisms of the acting or plot would be wrong, to say the least. This was a very good film, and as someone who has read five books on Steve Jobs, seen a few films about him, and watched and re-watched every Jobs Keynote, not to mention having idolized the man my entire life, I felt this film was what I was looking.

Ashton Kutcher was probably the best pick for Steve Jobs. Most viewers may be skeptical in the first few minutes of the film, which begins with Steve, an aged gray-haired man, introducing Apple's now-ubiquitous iPod.

The camera cuts immediately to a sleeping young Jobs at Reed College, where Kutcher plays Jobs just the way he has been described by many of his peers: arrogant, unpredictable, erratic-- but genius. If you didn’t know about Jobs and his vision for Apple, this film does its part to fill you in.

The film progresses from that point to when Jobs and lifelong friend Steve Wozniak started Apple Computer in his parents garage, building 50 units of their first product to be sold to a technology hobby store, the Byte Shop.

From there, everything known about Apple and Jobs in the 80s is revealed, including his relationship with his past girlfriend and mother of his daughter Lisa Brennan Jobs. The movie also shows the removal of Jobs from the very company he started.

One thing I wasn’t so happy about was the complete omission of Jobs’ founding of Pixar Animation Studios, now one of the most successful teams at the Walt Disney company.

Other than that small oversight, the rest of the film is pretty accurate, sans a few reportedly unrealistic conversations between Jobs and his associates.

There is something to be said about the music selection in the film, which actually follows a chronological placement. Perhaps the most notable musical nod to Steve Jobs was the inclusion of “Boots of Spanish Leather” by Bob Dylan off of his 1964 release The Times They Are ‘A’ Changin’. Jobs was a die-hard Dylan fan, and the location of the song in the film was very fitting.

It was very pleasant that the makeup and visual teams worked so hard to make each and every actor resemble their characters as they do. Between makeup, costuming, and performance, Ashton Kutcher becomes a mirror image of young and old Steve Jobs.

It is interesting to note that early scenes were filmed in Jobs’ childhood home, made to look as it did at the time Jobs and Wozniak built their first Apple computers.

One of the largest complaints about Jobs is the heavy focus on the professional life of Steve Jobs, not on his personal life. I found this focus appropriate, however, as viewers of the film are more interested in the man who envisioned and launched the most successful lines of personal media players, mobile phones, and tablets.

Although his ability to innovate is second to none, Stern makes it clear that Jobs was a hothead and was very cruel to many of his employees. This real-life no-fluff approach makes the film more believable and certainly more interesting.

Overall, if you’re a Steve Jobs fan or just curious about the man who envisioned many of the devices most of us use in our daily routine, Jobs is a must-see film to end summer 2013. 

bleichscore: 7/10

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chromecast Lightning Review

On July 24, 2013 Google revealed two essential products: the new Nexus 7 tablet to update last year’s popular release, and a new product called Chromecast. Immediately upon reveal and pre-order release online, Chromecast was sold out. The device, which costs a paltry $35, allows users to stream content from most devices to any given television. However, instead of yanking a feed from the device in question, Chromecast instead pulls up the media file independently, resulting in extremely fast and uninterrupted streaming that is ultimately more ideal than anything that has ever been available for purchase.

The Google Chromecast is a small usb-powered HDMI connected dongle that allows you to project multimedia from any device running Chrome or Chrome OS. This means iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, laptops both Mac and PC, and Chromebooks. It’s very small, taking up as much room as a USB drive, but in the back or side of your television, meaning that the device is almost non-existent. Setting up the device with an HD TV is also very simple and quick to do.

This device is great for anybody wishing to share content from their phone or laptop or tablet to a larger screen. Since most people have an HDTV and one of the three above devices, the $35 price tag is very reasonable and definitely qualifies as an impulse buy.

I really like how easy it is to set up and use and the size of the device. Knowing that I could easily connect any of my devices to my TV with almost no effort is a pretty awesome feeling, and being able to stream music from my terrible Acer C7 Chromebook speakers to my TV is something I am already using daily. Again, the size of the device is ideal because it remains tucked away behind the TV and doesn’t get in the way of any of my other devices.

I sort of wish I could connect the device to Wifi directly instead of setting up the device through a laptop or phone, but this a pretty minor complaint. Another thing I don’t really like is the current lack of official support for my Acer Chromebook. Although I am still able to do pretty much everything, video is a bit laggy from my laptop, which becomes frustrating, depending upon the speed of my laptop.

I’m going to make this short and simple: buy this device. It’s cheap (really cheap), easy to use, compatible with just about every device you may own, and for the most part, it just works. At the end of the day, isn’t that what all these streaming devices are supposed to do anyway?

bleichscore: 9/10

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Little Rebranding Never Hurt Anyone

So, I've changed the site a bit. The change is modest for now, but big for the future.

When I purchased this domain and switched away from TheTechTile, there was a reason. I'm breaking away from the old brand. I'm making a clean break, actually. There may be some stylistic remains of the style of TheTechTile brand, but beyond that, this site is primarily focused on being my personal blog.

This isn't a tech news source anymore. At least, not how it used to be. This is a personal blog with a consumer electronics focus- and I hope you're all okay with this.

That being said, I'm very excited to start publishing new and different types of content in the coming years. Sometimes change sucks, but I'm sure this is for the better. For both of us.

Anyways, thanks for listening.


Amazon Shipping Chromecasts Soon

Good news, Chromecast fans! The device beloved by cheap Google-loving bastards everywhere will now be available in all of its glorious beauty very soon. For me, mine is expected by the 19th. For many people, that date, or dates close to then is being released by Amazon. Those of you not familiar should enjoy the quote from a previous article below:

The Chromecast is a tiny, 2 inch thumbstick that fits in the back of ANY HD television with its HDMI port, and is compatible for device to television streaming from any Mac or PC running Chrome, Android, iOS, and the Chromebook Pixel (although other Chromebook will soon be included as well). The device, while it doesn't mirror screens, will throw content directly from the Chrome browser or Android phone or Chromebook directly onto the television.

For an extremely reasonable $35, the Chromecast is way too reasonable to pass up. Think about it, what else have you spent thirty five dollars on? A shitty little USB thumbdrive like ten years ago? Yeah. And how did that work out for you?

That's the gist of it. The official Max Bleich-approved Chromecast review should be posted within the next week. I'm very excited, and you should be too. Until them, check back here for the latest and greatest in my opinions and reports back from the magical land of tech! I like magic tech. Mmmmm...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Apple's New iPhone Lineup Coming September 10th

Just in case you haven't heard it yet- AllThingsD reports that Apple's new lineup of iPhones, the 5S and 5C, should be announced September 10th. This timing is nothing new for Apple, who switched their release schedule to the early Fall right before the death of former CEO and founder Steve Jobs nearly two years ago.

The new iPhones are not that well known in the world of specifications, but rumors suggest that the 5C, where the C stands for "color," will be the cheaper model of the iPhone (haha 5CHEAP) and will come with last year's hardware and tons of popping colors. Because, you know, Apple will do anything to keep you from buying a case. The 5C will also include a plastic backing, being the first iPhone sans Glass and Aluminum since the iPhone 4 was released three years ago. Along with the iPhones is rumored an iPad mini with a retina display and of course the release of iOS 7 to all non-developers.

Check back here as the updates flow in. I'm pretty excited, to say the least.

Source: AllThingsD

Image Source: Sonny Dickson

Thoughts on Breaking Bad 509 "Blood Money"


"Tread lightly."

Those were Walter White's last lines on last night's episode of AMC's hit show Breaking Bad. There were many important moments and new concepts established in last night's episode that will change the approach of the show forever.

For one, Walter now knows that Hank is on to him, and nothing makes this more evident than the swing Hank took at him last night. He's angry. His brother-in-law, a man he had confided in and trusted for years, had dealt to him the ultimate betrayal. Perhaps Hank's biggest struggle moving forward is how to deal with his own family being his biggest enemy. Walter had done a lot to keep Hank off his tail- almost killing him in the process. And now that Hank knows who Walter really is, it's only a matter of time before Walt's world comes crashing down. One thing is for certain though, Walter isn't going down without a fight. Then again, neither is Hank.

Although the ending scene of this episode was probably the most shocking and powerful, there was something really curious about the other forty minutes of the episode.

Again, we were thrown a year into the future, with Walter obviously on the run and in the car he had purchased from his gun-man eight episodes prior. And again, we were left wondering two more things: to what point had Walt gone to defend himself against Hank and the DEA, who left "Heisenberg" painted over a wall of his house, and who does he plan to take out with the ricin he removed from his old home?

Whatever extent Walt went to, we know it was something serious for it to cause his neighbor to drop her groceries on the ground and cower in fear from his simple hello.

Then we have the loose end of Lydia: begging for Walt's return to the business after only being able to achieve a 68% purity in her meth as opposed to the cook's 99%. But as sure as he is happy to have his old life back, Walt doesn't intend on looking back, and neither does Skyler. Seeing her threaten Lydia definitely reveals how defensive she is to retaining her restored life with her family.

I think Lydia is too dangerous of a loose end, and cannot be trusted. She will definitely come back and she will definitely be an obstacle for Walt to eliminate.

And of course, we can't talk about this episode without talking about the title, "Blood Money." Jessie's guilt lies not in the blood money but in the blood itself. Jessie and Walt were ultimately responsible for many deaths. And for Jessie, the only lasting glint of morality on this show, these deaths are tearing him apart. Jessie struggles throughout the episode as to how he should deal with his riches, but the way he deals with it is probably the only thing he can do: help everyone he might of hurt. He shares his fat stacks, something Walt could never fathom, with those way worse of than him, and as viewers of the show, we can't ignore this to be a natural position for Jessie to take. Whereas Walter was far more civilized and proper in the beginning of the show and Jessie was the dumb addict who couldn't stop yelling "yo" and "bitch," Jessie has matured immensely into that which Walt once was.

Before I leave to talk about tech again, let me leave you all with this: next week is going to be the beginning of Hank's persecution of Walt. I can feel it. Can't you?

Drop a comment below, like us on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and remember to check back here at TheTechTile for the Max Approved opinion on all things tech.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Week With an iPhone

For those of you know me, I have had many smartphones, but (up until now) none of them has been iPhones. My first phone was a Nokia 1100. That thing  was a beast. I miss it, because I could do anything to it, and it was survive no matter what. It took a licking and kept on... uh... letting me play snake. After that, I had a few flip phones. Nothing special. My favorite among them was probably my handed-down Motorola Startac. It was pretty durable and pretty easy to use. All I really ever needed was the ability to store a few contacts here and there, and this phone more than delivered. Eventually a Smartphone became something I both needed and wanted, so I picked up a Palm Pre Plus. It was pretty cool. It had the beauty of OS X coupled with the functionality of Android. At the time, there was no such thing as an iPhone for Verizon, so I waited. And I waited. And then, when the time came, I didn't opt into the iPhone 4 on Verizon. What?! You mean to say I wanted all this time and didn't get an iPhone 4, which came out under the big V a month before my contract was up for renewal? Well, kids, I didn't get it. Why not? I didn't like how fragile it was.

Every phone I have ever had before the iPhone was available for Verizon was awesomely built to be tough and stand up to what a clumsy person I am. So instead, I opted for the only viable dual-core phone at the time, the Motorola Droid X2. I hated it. With a passion. So when the time came for me to upgrade, I got one of the first 4G phones, the Droid Charge. Guess what? I hated it. It was slow as hell, supported for like two minutes by Samsung and Verizon, and had a terrible and I mean TERRIBLE battery life.

So a week ago Wednesday I asked for an iPhone 4S as one of my birthday gifts. I got one. It is the best handset I have ever had. But there are some things I don't like. I'm going to talk about them now.

What I Like:

The iPhone 4S is fast. Very fast. Everything feels buttery smooth and there hasn't been one moment where the phone couldn't handle something I was doing. This amazes me, coming from Android 2.3 phones, where every little task took minutes, not seconds to complete. The iPhone does things in milliseconds. It thinks faster than my Chromebook or my desktop computer. It does what I need it to do and doesn't crap out. And I love that.

iOS is very intuitive. Everything, from the UI to the basic icon design makes sense. It all looks so good you can lick it. Yes, that is what Steve Jobs said about Aqua when OS X Cheetah was introduced. Bite me.

The iPhone 4S is thin and light. It doesn't take up nearly the amount of bulk in my pocket that the many Droids did. It isn't a Nokia 1100, but it'll do.

It looks gorgeous. Seriously. There isn't a sexier phone (except the iPhone 5) than this.

Siri is pretty useful but she's also a total bitch. Don't be as mean to her as I am.

What I Don't Like:

I really really really hate that Apple built this thing out of two panes of glass. A phone is a valuable thing, and it should be built with more durability. Luckily, I use a Lifeproof with my iPhone, so I don't have to worry about small drops (although it survived a 15 foot drop from the top of my stairs when my toddler brother threw it) or water or any of the elements. But I wish Apple built the thing with more durability.

3G is very slow. But 4G was an option and I didn't take it. That's my fault, not Apple's.


This phone is great. It does what I need it to do and doesn't give me trouble. I have always used other iPhones, but using one for a long period of time that is my own is a different experience. This is in no way an iPhone 4S advertisement. But I'd like to point out how useful and awesome a phone with a powerful UI and a sleek design can be. But if you have the money to spare, by all means grab an iPhone 5. It is just as incredible. Seriously. Do it. And stay the hell away from Android phones with a version under Android 4. You won't be sorry for taking that advice.

Damn You Google

Damn you Google.

How dare you create an easy to use, inexpensive device that will allow me to easily stream my content from my Chromebook, my PC, and my iPhone to my HDTV.

Damn you Amazon.

How dare you create this amazing, easy to use service that makes ordering anything a click away, and then make me wait until October to receive what I ordered the day after it was announced.

Damn you. Seriously.

At least it will be awesome when it comes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Things I Am Waiting For: The Chromecast

Folks, last Wednesday I was too late and I ordered a Chromecast from a sold-out Amazon. For those of you who are interested, Amazon does not know when the latest shipment of Chromecasts will be ready. Which means one, very, very sad thing: the review will be extremely delayed. Sorry, y'all. 

However, if you stay tuned, I will keep updating this article for information regarding Amazon's current stocking of the all-powerful $35 HDMI-powered dongle.

Thanks, and apologies for the delay.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New Nexus 7, Chromecast Officially Revealed by Google

Remember the prematurely announced new Nexus 7 from this morning? Guess what? That's right... it's finally official! Yay! To remind you of how awesomely awesome it is, here is a quote from the article posted earlier this morning to refresh your memory of its specs:
The new Nexus 7 comes packed with a 1920 x 1200 resolution display with a pixel density of 320ppi. Such a thing really makes you wonder how we once lived with displays where you could visible identify lone pixels on the surface, but I digress. Under the hood, the Nexus 7 sports a quad-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon Processor, and 2 GB of RAM. 
Not to mention the built-in 16 GB of on-board storage, much more than the standard 8 GB that the original base model sold for. The new Nexus 7 retails for $229.99, will ship soon, and for such a significant upgrade to the screen, it may be the replacement early Nexus adopters of yesteryear are looking for. The device is available on the Google Play devices store RIGHT HERE.

Another sweet piece of news to end the day with is Google's answer to AirPlay and Apple TV: the $35 Chromecast. What is a Chromecast, you say? Well, let me break it down for ya.

The Chromecast is a tiny, 2 inch thumbstick that fits in the back of ANY HD television with its HDMI port, and is compatible for device to television streaming from any Mac or PC running Chrome, Android, iOS, and the Chromebook Pixel (although other Chromebook will soon be included as well). The device, while it doesn't mirror screens, will throw content directly from the Chrome browser or Android phone or Chromebook directly onto the television.

For an extremely reasonable $35, the Chromecast is way too reasonable to pass up. Think about it, what else have you spent thirty five dollars on? A shitty little USB thumbdrive like ten years ago? Yeah. And how did that work out for you?

The Chromecast also comes with three months free of Netflix. Even if you are already a subscriber, hey man, that's a whole three months free!

You can order the Chromecast soon on the Google Play store by following the link RIGHT OVA HAW. Remember to check back here, at TheTechTile every day for the latest and greatest in tech news and stuff.

via The Verge

New Nexus 7: Leaked, Never Officially Announced, and Available for $230 From Best Buy

Google's never been one for secrecy, and the latest pile of Nexus 7 news is definitely a reflection of such: the update to the beloved on-the-cheap Google-made Android tablet is on the way. Well, actually, it's already here and shipping. In a move strange and questionable, Google has (possibly?) opted to quietly release the newest Nexus 7 through Best Buy. No special product launches, no announcement, nothing. Just a product available through a single sales channel. Odd, but hey- we'll take it.

The new Nexus 7 comes packed with a 1920 x 1200 resolution display with a pixel density of 320ppi. Such a thing really makes you wonder how we once lived with displays where you could visible identify lone pixels on the surface, but I digress. Under the hood, the Nexus 7 sports a quad-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon Processor, and 2 GB of RAM. There are reports that the amount of RAM is actually 4 GB, but no official word is out yet. The newest Nexus is also thinner than its older brother, although we don't have those specs as of right now.

For a paltry $230, you can pick up a tablet that, according to Android Police, out-performs the HTC One. Follow the link below (or above that I embedded in the article) to pick up one of these bad boys, and stay tuned for more news and reviews of Google products every week, here, at TheTechTile.

Source: Best Buy via The Verge

Friday, July 19, 2013

Editorial - The Future of the Chromebook: Another Netbook or a Notebook Replacement?

I'm a pretty devoted user of Chrome and Chrome OS. I have three machines in my house that run the OS, and a work machine running the Chrome browser. I have made it my goal to use Google's Chrome operating system whenever possible. So far, I have only had one reason to use my old broken-down MacBook, and that was so I could burn a few CDs for my car. Other than that, I have relied primarily on my Chrome OS machines, an Acer Nettop running Chromium OS, an Acer C7 (my main machine) running Chrome OS, and my Samsung Chromebook also running Chrome OS. I have found tons of awesome ways to do what I normally would have done on my MacBook, and I have not missed using it at all. Not being near my Chromebooks makes me miss them. It simply is a better way to compute. Everything from word processing, to blog management, to news, music, movies, and of course, browsing the web, is better on the Chromebook. Yet, the question has arisen: will Chromebooks rise like the Netbook and stay that way? Or is the device doomed to end the same way that the Netbook did?

One article published Tuesday by Bloomberg Businessweek thinks that it will take another iPad revolution to bring down the Chromebook. 
"For the same to happen to Chromebooks, we’d need to encounter some other device that would keep consumers from purchasing Google-powered machines. Tablets work well as browsers and for running mobile apps, but few provide the optimal experience that can be had with a Chromebook. Wearables are supplementary devices and can’t replace traditional computers. At this point, there’s no device now, or on the near horizon, that could displace the Chromebook the way tablets displaced the netbook." -Bloomberg Businessweek 
Remember that the Chromebook does something that the Netbook did not do: it makes basic computing easy, cheap, and safe. Netbooks existed for two reasons: to sell more Intel chips and Microsoft Windows licenses. At the end of the day, they weren't fast enough or safe enough, and were far too small to be used as main machines.

Chromebooks are a completely different story. They can easily be used as main machines. Every six weeks Google pushes out a new release of the operating system that improves on the last: adding new features and apps. The last few dev releases pending final release for end-users has shown that Google understands that offline-use is a must to sell this device for some people. Because of this, Google has pushed packaged apps built will web technologies to make them safer, but with the speed and UI benefits found in traditional desktop apps. Some of the Chrome Web Store's most impressive packaged apps so far are Pocket, Wunderlist, and Google's own app, Keep.

Chromebooks also have something Netbooks didn't have: a non-Windows OS. Yes, there were some Linux Netbooks out there, but they didn't sell because of a lack of familiarity for most end-users or the brand that most users trust. People love and trust Google. Android has been a major success since its unveiling in 2008, and all of Google's services have gained immense popularity throughout the last decade. Needless to say, Google has the name and the product to go with it. In a world where the cloud is a need and the web is king, Google has invented the holy grail of cloud computing.

We published a few days ago that Chromebooks are expected to double or even triple in sales at the end of this year. In order for Google to keep the product on shelves and in homes, they need to prove one thing: we all need a Chromebook. So far, they're doing a pretty good job, and call me a fanboy, but I think the Chromebook exceeds most devices I have used as a whole. Sure, I'd like to have a MacBook Air-like experience with one of these babies, but at least I'm getting something similar in terms of speed and versatility. And at the end of the day, I'm pretty satisfied. Are you?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

**UPDATED** Netflix on Chrome OS: Engineers are Fixing Major Error

Chances are, some of my readers are running the Chrome OS dev release 29.0.1547.22, which, along with many other post-28 dev releases, seems to be having a playback issue with Netflix. Currently, the issue causes the error titled "C7121-1331-12" to pop up instead of any playback.

It has been reported in the Google Chrome OS Group that this issue is currently being worked on by Netflix engineers, and should be fixed within the next few days. Stay tuned for updates regarding this bug, and regarding Chrome 29, the latest and greatest developer release of Chrome OS.

Source: Google Chrome OS Group


Logging out of and back into Netflix has resolved the issue for many people, including myself. Give it a try.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Digitimes: Chromebook Sales to Double and Triple in Second Half

It has never been a more exciting time to be a Chrome OS fan: tech blog Digitimes reports that Chromebook sales "are expected to double or even triple those in the first half" with upgrades to best selling models in the first half to arrive in the second.

Digitimes: "Because of weak demand for Windows 8, Google has been trying to use the chance to expand into the PC industry and with Intel's aggressive R&D supports as well as AMD's entrance to the Chromebook market, many brand vendors such as Asustek Computer are reportedly considering to develop related models to counter Microsoft's dominance."

You heard it here first folks: Chromebooks are going to change the PC market and the world over. Google has finally found its niche market and a way to make the devices affordable and practical for both personal and professional use-cases. It'll be exciting to see what comes of it.

Source: Digitimes

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Welcome, Kids.

We've moved (obviously) to Blogger. Why Blogger? Well, because we did. Get over it.

More importantly, this means I can now post more often. Boy, that's exciting isn't it?

Ways I can post now that I couldn't before:
  1. Posting on the toilet
  2. Posting while driving
  3. Posting while eating
  4. Posting while reading
  5. Posting while playing games
  6. Posting while drinking iced tea
  7. Posting while swimming
  8. Posting while posting

Very exciting. Very fun. Same old site. New design. More posts. Sounds cool to me.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Learning Code? Try Codecademy! (Lightening Review)

Screenshot 2013-07-12 at 1.08.18 AM


There has been an incredible push by school districts and by organizations such as the ever-popular to get anybody and everybody to learn how to code. Be it HTML, CSS, Javascript, Python, Ruby... it's there, and you can learn it pretty quickly with a lot of different apps and websites that act as full-blown coding courses for everybody- even somebody who has never seen basic HTML or BASIC (see what I did there?). Codecademy is an online course site that teaches all of the above languages, and more: and this is why you should try it out.

What is it?

An awesome, web-based course site that teaches many programming languages in a easy to understand format without any unneeded clutter and the ability to run in basically every browser (although as a Chrome/Chrome OS fanatic I must suggest you opt for something of a Googly taste).

Who is it for?

Everybody. And their brother too.

What is your favorite thing about it?

It's easy to use, understand, and best of all, learn from. I like that the lessons speak in a vernacular that I'm familiar with as a human being, and not a ton of overly complicated words that I've never heard of crushed into one big lesson. Granted, I know HTML, but I love relearning it and refreshing my knowledge with this app in an easy and free way. By the way, it's FREE. As in free beer.

What don't you like about it?

I don't like that it isn't the most popular way to code yet. This shit is amazing.


Honestly, if you've coded before or never coded at all, this site is for you. For the experienced coder, it's a fun refresher. For the newbie, it's definitely a new way to learn how to program, or at least, how programming languages operate. There's a lot to like and not really anything to dislike, and for free, it's all worth it, right?

Access Codeacademy RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, and check back here all day every day for the very latest in Chrome OS news, reviews, and the always fun article I will randomly slap up here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Chrome OS App of the Day: Blackboard

2013-07-10 13_34_35-black board

If you're any kind of tutor, or if you like to get your art on, this is the best app available right now for Chrome/Chrome OS! Blackboard provides anyone with the chrome browser (or any browser) with an awesome way to type and draw content and erase it with ease.

You can check out the app RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. Remember, it's free!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My New Blogging Project


In case none of you have come to figure this out yet, I have gone gun-ho on Chrome OS, namely, the Chromebook. I have replaced my broken machines with two Chromebooks: one provided to me by my High School (The Samsung Series 3 ARM-based unit) and another I bought myself (the C7 with a 4GB boost to the RAM). For the next school year (2013-2014) I have made the decision to leave OS X and Windows in the name of experimentation. That's right, I will not use either OS for the rest of this school year.

Why are you doing this?

I have a lot of reasons for this transition. My main reason is to break away from the tradition desktop space and see how feasible it is to live solely in the cloud. I feel that the future in desktop computer, like mobile computing, is about to see drastic change, and I don't wish to be left behind. Instead, I want to jump ahead, make the change, and move on to the cloud. Google is the first company with the balls to cut the cords of the desktop and move on to fast, light, responsive, care-free, and easy-to-operate computing as their selling model. I think this is amazing, and I want to see what it is like to take on a life completely on the web.

The other big reason I'm making the jump is for the sake of ease-of-mind. I have had many different personal computers throughout the years. Everything from Macs and PCs to desktops and laptops running every version of each OS imaginable has been in my arsenal. Every one of these devices has a major flaw. For every one, I struggled with at least one major technical issue. For my iBook, it was Hard Drive failure. For my second iBook, the logicboard simply gave out, for my MacBook, it was a lot of things (although I have been able to resurrect it for the time being), and finally, for my beloved Dell Vostro laptop running Ubuntu, the parts surrounding the screen gave way and it became too costly to have the labor done (or do it myself) on the laptop.

When I first used a ChromeBook, it was a Cr-48 Google shipped to me. I kinda liked it, but there were too many issues. For one, the trackpad was total shit. Also, the processor simply didn't have the power that any of my other machines did, and as a result easily failed from simple online multitasking.

The Samsung Chromebook was a different story. It allowed me to love Chrome OS again, and after a while I became so accustomed to using the OS, that it didn't make sense to do it any other way. It's cheap, thin, light, easy-to-use, fast, and best of all, it gives me peace-of-mind. If anything happens to it, replacement is affordable. Everything of importance is online, so I don't need to worry about losing anything. If I need to, I can refresh the OS, bringing it back to factory state, in only a few minutes.

This is everything computing is meant to be. Fast, easy, seamless, and safe. That is Google's model with Chrome OS. Although somewhat limited, I have found a solution to (almost) everything I need to do on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and yearly basis with a computer. The only thing I can't do is game (thanks, Xbox) or burn discs. But again, this isn't what the laptop is meant to do, so this is extremely excusable.

The Conditions.

For everything I do, I must involve the Chromebook somehow. I mean everything: browsing the web, email, word processing, enjoying media, running my site, editing images, coding, reading... you name it, it must be done on either of my Chromebooks.

I will blog all moments of Chrome weakness: because Chrome isn't perfect, and I will get frustrated sometimes. But there will be a solution, and it will be on the Chromebook.

There are some things I still need my MacBook for: I still need to burn discs, I still need a way to access and update my iTunes, and I still need ways to access bittorrent clients. I will use the MacBook, but ONLY for these purposes, and nothing else. Or else, this isn't a break away, now is it?


Leave a comment below, send me a message, follow me on twitter, and read this site EVERY DAY for my latest updates on this project. As expected, most of the usual content will be here, albeit without anything involving PC reviews (my MacBook still works if I find anything worth reviewing).

Monday, July 8, 2013

Acer C7 Chromebook Lightning Review (4 GB of RAM)


What is it?

This is the latest update to Acer's line of Google Chromebooks, running Google's own Chrome OS- a super light, super fast, and very focused operating environment that brings web apps and the best browser available to the forefront to be the ONLY application available on the system. Despite this "limitation," the device allows users to do the same things (pretty much) that you can do on a full-fledged desktop. Web, email, word processing, spreadsheets, music management, photo management, social networking, news, movies, tv shows... it's all here, and it works well.

Who is it for?

This isn't for everybody. Let me repeat myself. THIS ISN'T FOR EVERYBODY. In fact, if anything, this is only for those who can handle the reality that you will ONLY be able to use the device with web apps. This isn't the same as a Mac or a PC. It's very different. But if you're pretty much or completely living your computing life in the cloud (like most of us), then this is your solution. And by the way, this also makes an amazing secondary computer if lugging around heavy laptops or relying on a stationary desktop computer isn't your thing.

What is your favorite thing about it?

I love how fast it is. It blows every browsing experience I've had OUT OF THE WATER. The way the hardware compliments the web-focused software makes it the complete browsing experience I didn't know I wanted. 

What blows about it?

I really am irked by the keyboard. It feels cramped a lot of the time, and although it will take time to get used to, this CAN be a deal-breaker for some. I'm willing to deal with it if that means I can use a snappy machine. I wish Acer would have taken a cue from Samsung, who actually put a full-sized keyboard in their Series 3 Chromebook. Sigh.


Over all, this thing is fast, easy to use, and pretty much headache free. I love how it really shows the Chrome OS we were needing the whole time. And for a mere $219 on Amazon (this does NOT include the 6-cell battery, although it is easily upgrade-able), it almost makes too much sense to pick one of these bad boys up.

Grade: (back when I reviewed games, I used this graphic)


Pick this up, but be very weary of the keyboard and battery. If you need a long-lasting laptop with a beastly keyboard, the Samsung Chromebook is totally for you. If you need something zippy and cheap, the Acer C7 is definitely your guy.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

How Google Chromebooks Replaced My Need for a Traditional Laptop

If you've been reading my stuff for a while, you'd know that I was one of the thousands of early Chromebook adopters, being sent one of Google's Cr-48 laptops back in December of 2010. I've also used many of these devices since the unveiling of the official first model about two years ago at Google I/O. Since then, I've tried, tested, and used four different Chromebooks. It has taken me sometime to formulate a concrete opinion about the units, but I have since decided that these aren't just toys anymore: they're real, usable, and affordable for what they are capable of. Needless to say, Google has hit a home-run with the latest rendition of Chrome OS, and the current line up of Chromebooks satisfies almost every sector of the laptop buying market.

For the past three months I have been rocking Samsung's Model 3 Chromebook. It is perhaps the fastest, cheapest, and most versatile Chromebook I have ever used. As Chris Zeigler of The Verge put it a couple of  months ago with his review of the device, "it's $1000 worth of design made with $100 worth of materials." This holds very true for the entire unit. While there are some tiny annoying creeks in the device, the unit looks and feels like a solid laptop that should cost a lot more than it does. The keyboard is also incredible. It has the same amazing feeling of a MacBook Pro keyboard, without the $1200 price tag. What's more, the unit, weighing in at a paltry 2.2 lbs, is extremely easy to tote around in a backpack or briefcase (or purse if you're of the female classification). Overall, the device is very solid.

At the end of the day, while I enjoy some good design and a device that is easy to bring with me, the thing that either makes or breaks a notebook computer is functionality? Can I get done what I need to get done without hassles on my laptop? Is it reasonable to use it as a main-device. For most people I'd say yes. You can get everything done without any problems, but for others, the Google model of computing can be an endless headache that results in a thrown Chromebook.

Here are some of the things I need to be able to do (or want to do) with my laptop that can make or break the experience:

  1. Access the Internet (the Chromebook is MADE to do this as a primary function)

  2. Be able to freely check my email whenever I need to (Gmail)

  3. Create and Edit documents with some word processor (Google Drive)

  4. Be able to constantly access and edit a calendar of events (Google Calendar)

  5. Able to do my homework (everything for MyMathLab is on the web, thankfully)

  6. Read news and collect RSS feeds to stay updated with the world (Feedly, my Google Reader replacement)

  7. Listen to and manage music collection (Google Play Music)

  8. Watch movies and TV shows on Netflix (Netflix for Chrome OS)

  9. Edit and manage my websites (Wordpress)

  10. Graph polynomial, rational, exponential, trigonometric functions (Desmos Graphing Calculator)

There are a few things I am simply unable to do with my Chromebook, but I have a desktop computer running Ubuntu to fix these needs. First off, I need to be able to edit HTML, Javascript, and CSS often, so I have a few applications on Ubuntu that make such a thing very easy. And to be honest, I never have to do this on the go. Another thing I need to be able to do is Print. I hate printing on this thing because it is so freaking difficult to do. Because of this, I'm currently shopping for a Chrome OS Google Cloud Print solution that I can afford. One last thing I need to be able to do that I simply cannot do on this Chromebook is play games. That is what my Xbox and my Linux PC are both for. They both do this well, so I really don't care if I can't do it when I'm supposed to be productive elsewhere.

Recently, I purchased a more spec'd out Chromebook: the Acer C7 with 4 GB of RAM, 320 GB HDD, and 1.1 GHz Dual-Core Intel Celeron Processor.  For my needs, and for everything I said I want to be able to do, this is more than enough power. And for the price I was able to snag it for ($219), it more than satisfies what I need. It is worth mentioning that you can still pick one of these up on Amazon and get free shipping on it if you use Amazon's Prime service.

Listen closely... are you listening? Good. Do yourself a favor, and try one of these suckers out for an extended period of time before you jump into anything crazy like, say, buying a Chromebook to replace your main laptop. I did it because I knew I was able to. Don't do it just because I told you to. It can be a scary thing making the big jump from a traditional desktop experience to a Chromebook. All the same, for the low price, high power, and versatility with web apps, you simply can't go wrong.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

AMC is Showing The Walking Dead in Black & White RIGHT NOW


Okay, you guys KNOW you wanna see this. The Walking Dead. Black and White. Awesome. Season One. Gonna last all month. Get pumped. Because, you know, it's the WALKINGFUCKINGDEAD. Check it out on AMC right now.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Motorola Goes for a Sexier Look


Just a little tidbit from the tech world today: Motorola (or should I say, motorola?) is re-branding. No longer are the sharp and uncomfortably red logo designs are the past- now all these attributes have been traded in for a cooler, smoother, more lowercase design. I don't know about you guys, but I think it's super sexy. 

Source The Verge

Monday, June 24, 2013

SnapKidz Brings All the Fun of SnapChat to the Little Ones, Albeit Without Online Access


Those youngsters are always looking to get a taste of the fun, now aren't they? Well, now they finally can. SnapKidz is a brand new feature for those under the age of 13. Apparently, SnapChat trusts that these kids wouldn't otherwise fake their age and take a risk for the glamour and fun that is the social photo-swapping goodness that makes SnapChat worth it.

The new app allows children under the age of 13 to sign up under youngster accounts and use all of the features of a good ol' fashioned snap'n without any ability to share the images. They can take pictures, draw obscene things on them, take pictures of obscene things, or anything else most older persons do with the application. I honestly don't understand why they think this will make any difference, but apparently the company that streamlined sexting really believes in the honesty and integrity of humanity.

Check out the update from the bad boys themselves HERE and be sure to check in daily for the fun interpretations of Max Bleich, technology weirdo.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks: Apple is Growing Up

For so long, both iOS and OS X have been known for a comfortable, “human” interface that made you feel emotions whilst using each respective operating system. The original interface for OS X (back when it was Mac OS X) was named Aqua: named for its distinguished and realistic appearance. Steve Jobs announced it saying “one of the design goals was when you saw it you wanted to lick it” when he introduced it to the world along with OS X Cheetah in 2001. It was a real break from the norm that was OS 9, completely revolutionizing what it was people expected in a desktop operating system.

And it worked for more than a decade before it became stale. For it was the moment that Apple introduced iOS that many Apple fans would become invested in the notion of a total interface upgrade. Such an upgrade would not come, at least, not for a few years.

It is now 2013, and we have seen that Apple is able to growing up. iOS 7 may have some issues, but all in all it is a total step in the right direction. It presents a complete break from the past, while simultaneously building on Apple’s design legacy. Isn’t that the very thing that Steve hoped would happen with Aqua over a decade ago?

And it did. Until Apple had to move on. OS X Mavericks may not have the total iOS 7 interface change, but it is too starting to move on. I wouldn’t be surprised if OS X 10.10 or maybe even OS XI (omg what a thought) makes the same break that iOS 7 does. Who knows, maybe we’ll even have a new model for computing come this time next year.

Either way, by advancing forward and still incorporating some elements of familiarity, Apple has not only ensured the continuity of its legacy, but also inspired change across all levels of OS design. Who will be next? Stay tuned.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hello, I Must Be Going.

When Joshua Topolsky, Editor-in-Chief of The Verge announced he was leaving Engadget for a new journey in the world of tech reporting, not only did he use this same title, but he also made it clear that he was NOT leaving the internet.

I am NOT leaving the internet. 

In fact, I'm going nowhere. I will be staying here. However, I will no longer be running this "professional" tech blog. Instead, I will be moving to a more personal model. A new start, with some familiarity. I'm speaking of my current Tumblr blog, which will eventually transition over to, the new home of my writing, both personal and professional. Some things will be tech, some things won't. For the most part, they will be me. Some things will be others. But at the end of the day, wasn't that what I was doing here anyway? 

I have so much love for all of you who have supported me throughout these last two years. It has been a really wild ride, and I love all of you so very much.

But again, I AM NOT GOING. You will be able to access all of this, at the location, the original web page of my blog. 

For now, I must be going. Not leaving. But moving on to other things. Different things. Maybe funner things too. Either way, I'll still be here. Giving my two cents. But at least now I won't be tied to a schedule. Because honestly, it wasn't working out anymore. 

Thanks again to all of you, for all of the love and support. 

Honestly, I wouldn't of had it any other way.


Monday, June 17, 2013

I'm Back!

2412508491_crazySmiley1_answer_8_xlargeOkay guys, after a brief hiatus, I have returned to my beautiful throne on the internets!

Regular posting will return starting tomorrow! Get ready... there's A LOT to talk about!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Apple Unveils 16 GB 5th Gen iPod Touch

Screenshot from 2013-05-30 23:22:49Ummmmmm wut. I know what you're thinking... a new iPod?! Why now? Well, WWDC is coming up soon. Also, the old 4th Gen 16 GB model was getting a tad bit stale. Apple apparently realized this too (apparently unlike the rest of us) and decided that the time came to roll out a younger brother to the 32 GB and 64 GB iPod touch 5th gen models. However, this iPod isn't like all other iPods. Namely, the new 16 GB model does NOT feature a back camera. It does however feature the same sleek design, same dual-core A5 processing unit, and the same gorgeous 4 inch retina display that made its older siblings look dashing. The new device costs $229- the same old price of the 16 GB iPod touch 4th gen when it was all the rage over a year ago. Check it out, if you want it, in the link below.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Predicting iOS 7: What Can We Expect

iOS-7So, WWDC is coming up in a couple of weeks, Tim Cook just laid down the law at D11, and I gotta say- I'm getting pretty psyched for iOS 7. So, what exactly can we, the users, expect with iOS 7? Will it be the earth-shattering update we have been waiting for since iOS 4 broke through a few years ago, or will it be more of the same? Here are some of MY predictions for iOS 7. If you don't like them, you can go away. But please don't, I like you. We're still friends right? Okay, let's get started.

Among everything else I will mention, I really want a new interface. iOS's current everything-looks-like-it-must-feel design is getting old... very old. The new look, or rather, the Apple look, is sleeker and cleaner than that. I'm really hoping that iOS 7 brings some of that cleanliness to the table, preferably with a completely overhauled design that, although still true to the original, really leaves me satisfied with a user interface. I have not been satisfied with anything since iOS 4 and I need to be happy dammit.

I would really like to see deeper integration with social services in iOS 7. Namely, I'm looking to be able to do MORE than just tweet and post stuff to facebook when I'm bored on my iPod/iPhone/iPad. Please, Apple, give me some deeper integration.

It would be nice if Apple could allow more third-party API access to the OS. I'm getting sick and tired of getting a different experience in every app, and not having the tight integration of things like Chrome and the Gmail app with iOS. I know Apple and Google are in a little four year old girl sissy fight, but the customer comes first, and it's time I get what I want. I am important ya know.

Finally, something really simple, I want iOS 7 to be faster. Some of us aren't using the latest and greats Apple technologies (until I get an iPhone I'm rocking a 4th Gen iPod touch with iOS 6) and want to feel supported. I almost feel left out not having the speed that others do. Perhaps the simplification of iOS will lead to this. But we can only hope.

Alright folks, that was my wishlist for iOS 7. If you liked it, drop a comment below. If you didn't, try to. If you just wanna say hey to your buddy Max who writes you all this cool stuff, tweet at me @thetechtile or drop a comment on my FB page.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Game of the Week: Quinn for OS X

Screen Shot 2013-05-28 at 8.13.12 PM

Do you like playing games? Do you like Tetris? Do you like to play games such as Tetris? Don't you wish Tetris was easily accessible on OS X without the need for Adobe Flash? Well have I got something cool for you. It's called Quinn. It's a really customizable game of Tetris. You play with the keystroke combination you want. You can play at varying speeds. You can play with friends online or around the world. It's free. What isn't there to love? Quinn is cool because it launches with relative speed on OS X, takes up very little space, and isn't annoyingly controlled by the Mac App Store which I hate more than anything else. If anything, it's just a Tetris clone for OS X. And that is all it should be anyway. Something easy, fast, and fun to use. So give it a whirl in the link below. You'll be happy you did.