Engadget for the iPhone: download the app now
AOL Tech

Marc Orchant

Member since: Feb 13th, 2005

Marc Orchant's Latest Comments

Blog Activity

Recent Comments:

Amazon Kindle first hands-on (Engadget)

Nov 20th 2007 1:28AM Go build one then. If it was easy, someone would have done it. Want to get an idea of how much thought, design, and technical know-how goes into designing a device? Check out the Office 2.0 blog where Ismael Ghalimi has been posting a lengthy discussion on just that topic in preparation for next year's event. He's designing a completely open source device in a very public forum. Follow along with his posts - you'll see how much thinking and design it takes to build a device.

It's easy to sit back and snipe.

Oh, I have actually used a Kindle. It's a well-done first generation effort with a lot of really smart thinking behind it. Yes it's a little clunky. But everything works as advertised and it's extremely comfortable to use and read from. Ordered mine today - arrives tomorrow.

Live from the Amazon Kindle launch event (Engadget)

Nov 20th 2007 1:02AM A couple of additional thoughts to the commenters who followed my earlier thoughts. I am an Amazon Prime customer - the $79.00 annual charge for free two-day shipping on everything I buy has paid for itself two to three times over each year. I'm a voracious reader and the 50% savings )or more) I'll enjoy on the new titles I'll be purchasing for the Kindle will add up quickly. Like a previous commenter, I too subscribe to the NYT (Sunday only) and switching to the Kindle sub will be saving me a few dollars each month there and give me every day delivery. As a frequent traveler, Kindle solves the weight and bulk problem I always wrestle with and allows me to have a ton of variety in what I can read. When I add it all up - it's clear this is a good device for me.

Clearly not for everyone though. And there are plenty of alternatives out there. I'd recommend the Nokia N800 or N810 if you want a great little device with a high-res screen, WiFi, and the ability to collect free content for reading, watching, and listening. Either is a slick device and costs about the same as the Kindle. But the battery life isn't as good and "first-run" reading content is not available. I have a N800 and enjoy it for what it is – a good pocketable Linux computer with great Internet chops.

I think betting against Jeff Bezos is a sucker's bet. The man has a gold touch and has done repeatedly what others said was impossible or doomed to failure.

Live from the Amazon Kindle launch event (Engadget)

Nov 19th 2007 12:41PM I think y'all need to get out in the real world more often. This device will be a success with book consumers (as opposed to gadget freaks and techies) because it solves a real problem in a unique way and offers the same complete systems approach iPod/ITMS does. Amazon has established a solid trust relationship with millions of consumers worldwide and has taught them to change their habits in terms of how they *buy* books - now they're setting out to do the same with how we *read* them.

I've used one of these devices (admittedly for about 20 minutes) and I can tell you that the display is highly readable, the interaction with controls is pretty well thought out, the features and functionality are well-focused on the device's core application (reading books) and it's no more or less closed than the iPod. Yes new content is DRM'ed. But also yes, you can add your own stuff in a variety of formats.

I travel - a lot - and constantly wrestle with the weight and bulk of the books and publications I want to bring with me. This solves a big problem for me. If Amazon can get together with Zinio and let me ready my digital magazines on Kindle, I'll be in reader heaven.

I bought one. I'll have it tomorrow. I can't wait to load it up with some of my own stuff and few titles I've been thinking about getting but haven't the bookshelf space or back strength for (like Isaacson's recent bio on Einstein which I can now get for $9.99 instead of $20+). I can pretty much guarantee that when I get on a plane next (in a week and a half), I'll be demoing the hell out of this for my fellow travelers and will "sell" more than a few folks on getting one, just as I have with really useful devices in the past (including the iPhone, Tablet PCs, Nokia N95 and N800, and Stowaway BT keyboard).

The big difference here? This is a consumer device for doing something more people do every day (and especially on airplanes) than just about anything else (boob tube excluded) - read books! TV aside, more people read books than read blogs, watch digital video, listen to podcasts, etc., etc. combined. I also fully expect holiday sales will be strong for this device.

While many of your objections are well-founded as far as they go, the simple truth is this: they didn't build it for you! I tell smart phone owners the same thing when they complain about what's "missing" or "wrong" with the iPhone. You are no the target market.

TaskPaper 1.0, a review (TUAW.com)

Oct 25th 2007 10:23AM Scott my friend – your GTD conflicts are treatable – ping me directly – I'm here to help. ;^)

That having been said, what TaskPaper calls tags are, in GTD parlance, a way to add context to each Next Action. Proliferating a ton of seemingly menaingful but ad hoc tags is yet another path into confusion. Using a finite set of context tags (as is done in virtually all GTD-flavored apps) makes more sense.

Think of a context tag as a way of identifying in what physical location and with what tangible resources you can perform a particular action. @Calls actions, for example, can be accomplished anytime and anywhere I have a phone. @Net actions require a connection to the tubes while @Computer requires only that I have access to one of my Macs.

When you find yourself in a particular context (say, at the airport with 20 minutes before your flight boards or as you're leaving to run to the store during lunch), you can look at the appropriate context (@Calls or @Errands respectively) and make good decisions about stuff you might be able to get done.

TaskPaper is a classic Hog Bay app – affordable, simple, and elegant. It's great, as Merlin pointed out in his review, for people who cannot control their tweaker impulses (and that, my friend, is you). It's worth a look for people who want a simple application that's well-designed, easy to adopt, and resistant to fiddling.

Ambrosia ships WireTap Studio (TUAW.com)

Oct 11th 2007 11:25PM It looks like a solid winner. I just bought my upgrade ($30) from Wiretap Pro and the editor is absolutely amazing. There are videos on the site to give you an idea of how many truly useful features there are in this very reasonably priced app. Tonight I've set up some unattended recording from iTunes streaming radio that'll be waiting for me in the morning. Ambrosia rocks!

The latest on Acorn (TUAW.com)

Sep 19th 2007 1:33PM I'm loving Acorn so far and a bug-fix/feature release so soon after its initial release is great news. I bought a license withing an hour of downloading the app and it is my go-to editor for most of the image work I need to do.

Syncing Google Calendar to your iPhone (Download Squad)

Jul 27th 2007 1:23PM I've been using Spanning Sync for months and it is a great solution for making sure everything (iPhone included) stays in perfect sync.

iTweet: Yet another iPhone Twitter client (TUAW.com)

Jul 27th 2007 11:03AM The UI is a bit over the top but the functional design has some great ideas, especially, as David notes, for EDGE Twittering. An @ button would be a welcome addition.

First "official" reviews of the iPhone are out (TUAW.com)

Jun 26th 2007 8:30PM Nope. My mind is still made up. I'm waiting for version 2.0 (or whatever number it ends up being) that allows me to swap batteries. I can put up with the fixed storage (although I really want a microSD slot too) but not the sealed battery. This isn't an iPod that simply bums me out when it runs dry. This is an essential communications tool that I can't afford to have run out of juice with no recourse except finding an outlet and waiting.

WriteRoom 2.0 goes official (TUAW.com)

Jan 4th 2007 10:54PM If you haven't tried this app you're in no position to bash it. Preston - go write yourself an app and post a link. We'll let you know how your evening's work stacks up to the effort Jesse has put into not only building WriteRoom but engaging in an excellent conversation with people who, like me, appreciate a nicely crafted bit of code and write for a living (or at least take writing very seriously).

What is the big deal about $25.00? You can blow that on a movie for two with a small popcorn (no drink). If I had an app as useful as WriteRoom instead of every worthless movie I've blown $25.00 on (usually more), I'd have more software than I'd know what to do with.

Oh wait, I do have more software than I know what to do with. And, in spite of the fact that I can almost always just ask for a reviewer's license, I prefer to buy licenses for the software I end up using – especially when it's the result of one guy with a vision.

Rock on Jesse! How's that app coming along Preston? C'mon dude – we're waiting to check it out.