31 December 2013

Why Chromebooks Are Beating MacBooks

This comes as no surprise. Apple makes very high-quality products, but they are extremely high-cost as a result. I got a Chromebook 2 years ago and have always thought it was a great bargain.

Why Chromebooks Are Beating MacBooks

By Samantha Murphy Kelly18 hours ago
Educators are largely opting for Chromebooks in the classroom over Apple MacBooks and Android tablets, a new study suggests.
According to a report from research firm NPD Group, Google's low-cost Chromebook computers soared past Apple's MacBook line in terms of commercial sales, thanks largely due to growth in the education sector.
"There are no governments or IT departments running out to buy these products — they would be underwhelmed," said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies. "Instead, this growth is being driven by education."
Apple's MacBook and iPad sales declined this year as competition from Google's Android and Chrome lines ramped up, while Chromebooks and Android tablets experienced the most commercial growth with 1.76 million, compared to just 400,000 units in 2012.
But the reason isn't all that surprising:
"Certain organizations are looking for low-cost devices that have a strong connection to a set of Google services such as Google Docs and Drive,"
"Certain organizations are looking for low-cost devices that have a strong connection to a set of Google services such as Google Docs and Drive," Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, told Mashable. "Along with form factor and price, Chromebooks are a more compelling choice for students and companies over full-fledged notebooks or tablet."
I still am somewhat new to Google Docs. I find the concept very solid, but the implementation is still rather labor-intensive when trying to share Google Docs with Office users. Perhaps I just haven't devoted the necessary time to figuring this out.
Microsoft's Windows tablets saw a bit of increase, too, which added even more choices to the market in 2013.
Chromebooks accounted for 9.6% of the combined laptop and tablet markets from January-November 2013, compared to just 0.2% from the same period in 2012. But beating out Chromebooks overall in the sector is Windows notebooks (34%), desktop computers (27.8%) and iPads (15.8%).
Through November 2013, about 4.4 million desktops, notebooks and tablets were sold through commercial channels, up 25.4% from the same period in 2012.
Chromebooks are typically priced between $199 and $299, so budget-strapped education systems see these devices as a tremendous opportunity to bring cheap laptops into the classroom. A standard-sized iPad starts at $499, while the MacBook line starts at $999.
Cost is the best selling point for Chromebooks!
Bajarin said in addition to keeping strict budgets, Chromebooks are becoming increasingly more popular in education because of the keyboard.
"Education is still very keyboard-centric," Bajarin said. "It's driven by the concept that you want students to create and not just consume. The iPad is great for consumption and areas where touch can be integrated, but when it comes to writing papers or making comments, there are challenges."
Although iPads are still outselling Chromebooks in education, Google's budget option will still likely grow in 2014, he added.
"The education market is very strong on Chromebooks and that isn't going to change anytime too soon," Bajarin said. "Could Apple create a relatively inexpensive device that could compete in that market? Maybe, but probably not. True Chromebook competitors won't likely surface for another year or two, so Google could remain a star of education for a bit longer."
Image: AFP/Getty Images
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Last chapter of 2013

Today marks the end of 2013. This is not a summary of everything that happened during the year, just a realization that time is passing us by without us noticing. 2013 has been a year filled with fun and friends, heartbreak and sorrow, joy and pain. In short, a normal year. We just need to take time to focus on the things and people around us at all times, and not just on ceremonial or special occasions. If there is any advice I can give for 2014, it will be to cherish every person and every moment in your life. Do this, and you will be the richer for it.

Let's remember 2013 and make 2014 even better!

30 December 2013

Nearly through with 2013

This has to be one of the slowest times of the year. The last 2 days of 2013 are upon us and most people are still on vacation. I expect very little communication at the office today, and that is just fine with me. I am already looking forward to welcoming 2014 on Wednesday. It looks as though some good friends will be visiting on the 2nd and I am really looking forward to that. I am submitting a request to take this Friday off just because it will be the last opportunity to get some time for a few weeks at least.

I have already started preparing for 2014 as best I can. There are so many important milestones that I will achieve during the New Year and the anticipation is building. Not that those things will be accomplished during the first few days, but it is the realization that another year has dawned and the possibilities are endless.

26 December 2013

Ready for bed

I managed to avoid a full-blown migraine at the office today. I am surprised because the warning signs hit with such ferocity that I felt I would not have time to react properly. Luckily, the intense pain never materialized and I got away from the office without incident. After work, I picked up Hal and we went to grab a few items at the grocery store and also had dinner while we were out. We have returned home and I am really feeling the need for a hot shower and then a very early bedtime without the nerve-jangling sound of the TV to aggravate anything.

At least tomorrow is Friday and then I will have the weekend to recuperate and feel better. A good night of sleep is definitely something that I can use right now. I hope that I am able to get the sleep in order to feel alive again tomorrow morning for the trip back to the office.

Farewell, Matt Smith

After watching the "Time of the Doctor" episode last night I realized that I will actually miss Matt Smith as he leaves Doctor Who. Like many other people, I came to admire him as he portrayed the iconic role for 3 years. Admittedly, I was not a fan of the way he began his run as The Doctor, but I blamed that on the plot that ran throughout his first season. As time went on, I grew fond of the relationship that The Doctor developed with Amy and Rory but the beginning was a bit rough around the edges.

I remember a theory that the Doctor should only have one companion at a time in order to focus on the story and not be full of so many subplots. Perhaps this was a reason that I found the start of Matt Smith's tenure so difficult. The producers of the show obviously lay out key points that will be addressed later on, so it is dangerous to stop watching the show based on something very petulant.

I will miss Matt Smith, but I am looking forward to Peter Capaldi.

Google sincerely thinks that Google+ is the future of Google

Very interesting article. G+ was, in my opinion, never intended as a replacement for Facebook. That common misconception resulted in so many people writing off G+ from the very beginning. I always felt that Google had bigger plans for G+ all along.

Google sincerely thinks that Google+ is the future of Google

By Leo Mirani @lmirani 2 hours ago
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a Google+ logo following you around wherever you go—forever. Reuters/Beck Diefenbach
It’s common currency in internet punditry circles that Google won the battle to dominate search while Facebook won the battle for social, and that Google+ is just a failed competitor to Facebook. But Google hasn’t given up.
It has been clear for a while now that, to make up for the fact that not very many people actively use Google+ as a social network, Google is turning it into a platform on which the rest of Google’s web services are evolving—something that has the effect of making people use Google+ by default. Results from Google+ already clutter search results. YouTube’s commenting system has been replaced by Google+. Chat and Talk, once stand-alone services, were combined into Hangouts and incorporated into Google+.
In a revealing interview with the Indian business newspaper Mint, Steve Grove, a Google+ exec who inks deals with content providers and influential figures, makes it clear that this is just the beginning. Grove tells Mint that “the reason for that is that Google+ is kind of like the next version of Google.”
Why? According to Grove:
There’s a lot of great value here, because Search also shows results from Google+ and this is going to bring more people into Google+; people are going to see that there’s a lot of value in logging into our services, before doing a search.
We’ve written before about how Facebook’s strategy for getting users in emerging markets is to convince people new to the internet that Facebook basically is the internet. Google’s strategy looks a bit like the obverse of this: convince people already on the internet that the internet runs on Google+.
But when you look at it longer-term, Google’s strategy is actually very similar to Facebook’s. New internet users, such as the hundreds of millions expected to come online in India in the coming years, will find that being on Google’s social network is increasingly a prerequisite for using Google’s other services. Roping those new users into Google+ from the get-go is the company’s best chance for coming from behind and defeating Facebook’s dominance in social media. And that clearly seems to be Google’s goal, given how much effort it’s pouring into the network. “We focused a lot on Google+ here [in India], and it’s already very active, and people are getting on board on their own,” Grove said.