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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 6, 2011 / 2 Iyar, 5771

BlackBerry's Complicated, Incomplete PlayBook

By Mark Kellner



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If tablet computing is a "hot" as the analysts say - tech research firm IDC says 50 million units will be sold this year - then Canadian firm Research in Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook, price $499, should have a good chance of picking up some slice of the market. Even if the same IDC analyst says Apple, Inc., will remain king of Tablet Mountain.

Well, RIM has a few things going for it, not the least a fiercely loyal customer base in business, industry and, oh, yes, the Federal government. President Obama has a secure BlackBerry smartphone at his disposal, it's been widely reported, and you can't get a higher-level fan than him.

I won't presume to speak for Mr. Obama, but I wonder if even he might be a little frustrated by the PlayBook in its present configuration. Unless its tethered to a BlackBerry phone, you need a Wi-Fi connection to do anything online; a separate 3G Wireless option isn't available here, unlike the iPad, a device reportedly in favor among some White House staffers. There are 3,000 applications for the PlayBook, or so RIM's publicity agency claims, but one key app promised last September, when the device was announced, isn't there, of which more in a moment.

Then there's the swiping. As with the iPad, the "swipe" gesture is used to accomplish some things, but it's relied on far more with the PlayBook. And, you need to begin some off those swipes in the area just off the actual display part of the screen. This got old quickly, and not just for me, but also for a couple of colleagues who dropped by my cubicle for a short test drive.

Let's call the PlayBook semi-intuitive. It's something I learned to use rather quickly, but it's not as easy or friendly as the iPad's interface. Yes, I learned the iPad (and predecessor cousins the iPhone and iPod touch) first, but, still, there must be a way to make a tablet friendlier to the user, since so many Android-based tablets have an interface much more iPad-like.

The PlayBook's 7-inch screen is very bright and sharp, but some of the applications for which this would be most helpful seem lacking. There isn't an "official" YouTube app for the PlayBook, unlike the iPad, but a third-party program is available as a separate download. You can get your Tetris on, however; that somewhat ancient game is preinstalled.

Camera quality for the PlayBook, at least indoors, is about on a par with the iPad. Sometimes you get good shots, sometimes they're a bit grainy. There's no card slot for memory expansion on the PlayBook, something RIM would've been very wise to incorporate. Then again, there's no slot to import photos from an SD card, either.

Oh, and that "missing" app? It's Amazon.com's Kindle for PlayBook, software that would let Amazon's ebook customers use a device that is rather nicely suited for the task. The one Amazon announced Sept. 27 of last year. The app that isn't here yet, and that Amazon won't say when it will arrive. ("Hey Mark, I'll have to ask you to stay tuned," was the uninformative response from an Amazon.com spokeswoman to an e-mailed query.)

Until Tuesday, May 3, some other "native" applications were missing from the PlayBook, ones for e-mail, contact management and calendar management. (The Apple you-know-what had those out of the box.) RIM announced those apps will come to the PlayBook sometime this summer.

So let's sum it up: RIM is asking you to spend $499 for a device that offers far fewer applications - and some critical ones omitted - and to either have a BlackBerry smartphone or spend much of your day in Wi-Fi range. For the same money, Apple's iPad 2 offers a larger screen, exponentially more apps, and - for an extra $130 - your choice of 3G wireless options.

But RIM wants you to have faith in the BlackBerry brand and the PlayBook's future. The last time I put that much faith in what turned out to be so poor a playbook, Steve Spurrier's name was on the cover.

If your world exists only in the BlackBerry realm, the PlayBook may work out for you. For the rest of us, join the iPad atop Tablet Mountain. Your vista will be much better.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.

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