Note: I was too busy with work to put together a full post tonight. I'll put together all the news from last week on Monday night, instead (I hope).
Palm Pre Impressions
I was asked to put together a video about the gestures on the Pre and how the UI is, so I thought I'd do my best at a "quick" rundown of the phone. It ended up being longer than I hoped, but I hope you guys like it, all the same. One of the drawbacks of the Flip Mino HD is that you can't focus it, and I just had it on a tripod so filming this was hard - just bear with me here.
I'll do a review later, but so far some of the pros are:
* Very intuitive gesturing that doesn't take long to get into.
* The multi-tasking works extremely well, as do having notifications be visible but out of the way. I was even able to take and send a picture while having someone on speakerphone without a drop in call quality.
* Synergy works fantastically! It brought together all my accounts almost seamless, including the pictures I had of people before (or what they have for themselves on Facebook).
* Build quality is wonderful! The screen is ridiculously sharp. It makes texting a joy.
* The keyboard isn't as bad as people say it is - I was able to get used to it literally within a couple of hours. I like it a lot now!
My main gripes are:
* Syncing to your computer isn't easy. It does sync to the cloud, but you can sync your media easily (though I haven't tried it with iTunes since I hate iTunes).
* There is sometimes lag with opening up applications.
* Battery life is a mixed bag. Sometimes it can be really awesome and other times it just tanks - it really depends on how you're using it.
I can't wait until they release the SDK (it will be open and free, they've already said) and the app store really fills in. I think that webOS is totally a home run for Palm. The Pre is only a first iteration and it has blown me away. Whether or not it's better than the iPhone or any other smartphone is a subjective decision based on how you use your phone and how your brain works. My brain is optimized for paralellizing tasks, so this is a joy for me. Your mileage may vary.
I'll try to come up with a full-fledged review after a while, but feel free to ask me any questions you have. I can even try to put up another video answering people's questions. My favorite review that's already out there is the Engadget one, but Gizmodo has a really harsh one
if you're looking for biting criticism (much of which I totally disagree with). I'm definitely excited about the forthcoming ad campaign, by the way. Really creative stuff, and a visual treat.
I thought I'd also give my review of Up since this is a solid original content post. This is the latest entry from Pixar (their last film was Wall-E, one of my favorite animated films ever), and it's built on the simple premise of an elderly man who wants to go on an adventure (why is explained in the movie). He decides to get there by lifting his house with a bunch of balloons. The opening short film is really cute and is about how clouds make babies for different animals and give them to storks, most of which are cute and harmless except for the one cloud that makes the babies of dangerous animals. Hilarity ensues.
Anyway, this film is definitely a triumph in many senses of the word. It's really an uplifting kind of story and it has several really loveable characters. The animation is as solid as any of their other movies and the writing is impressive. I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie from the trailers, but it feels surprisingly real. Despite the fact that the house moving around is clearly a violation of the laws of physics, the interactions between the characters and their emotions is often more convincing than many live action movies these days. I guess it goes without saying that the voice acting was awesome featuring the talented Edward Asner along with Christopher Plummer and several Pixar voice actors that aren't well-known though you'd probably know their voices if you heard them.
It's really hard for me to say more about this movie without giving out the nuances of the plot that I find really endearing, but I do want to mention that the humor is as strong as in most other Pixar movies. Anyone who likes/owns a dog will definitely get a kick out of a lot of jokes in this movie. It's also worth mentioning that it's probably too complicated of a film for a small child to understand, but older children should get along just fine.
This is a solid A+ movie and I highly recommend going and checking it out. It's one of those movies that may actually make you feel better if you're in a bad mood and it's just really a heart-warming story.
Addendum: We saw it at the Cinebarre in Mountlake Terrace, which is only 8 miles or so from the city, and really enjoyed the experience! I have to say that I definitely like the indie film-ish feel of the Alamo Drafthouse better (and its special events, which I don't know if the Cinebarre will have), but the theaters are a decent size, it's 21+ only (i.e. no crying babies), and the food actually isn't bad. Maybe somewhat smaller portions than what you may get at a restaurant, but definitely not bad. Quite a bit of wine and beer on tap, and cocktails as well. You have a table in front of your row and you just write out your choices and stick it in front for the waiter (just like at the Drafthouse), and the service is fairly quick. If you've never eaten at the movies before, definitely check it out. If you're from Austin or Houston: it's not the Drafthouse but it's definitely worthwhile if you don't mind driving a few miles out of your way.