September 26, 2014
As I was walking from the back of the facility where I work to my office just recently, I started repeatedly saying to myself as I approached the office door, “that huge computer was not here when I started calling my office a second home“. I guess that I have worked at the same place for so long that I became blind to the interesting technology gadgets (if you can call multi-million dollar computers simply just gadgets) that surround me on a daily basis.
A couple of years ago BlackBerry released a small 8″ tablet, and Motorola released a 10″ Xoom tablet (I think that Motorola sold out their Mobility division to Google, who then sold that division to a farmer to use as fertilizer). At the time the Xoom and BlackBerry tablets were released, my boss was really excited about the Apple iPads, but he did not care to spend $500 or more of his own money for a toy to use at home. He had a Windows computer at home, but he seemed to always view that computer as excessively slow (mostly when viewing websites), even though he spent close to $3,000 on the computer six years earlier. I am not much of an Apple fan, so I decided to have a little fun with my boss’ situation.
On the day that the Xoom tablet became available on Amazon, I placed an order for the tablet. When it arrived, I brought it into work and showed the boss how quickly it could pull up web pages, along with its support of Adobe Flash playback (the iPad never supported Adobe Flash). Yet, he continued to go on about the iPad, even showing me newspaper articles written by tech gurus that boasted about the fantastic features of the iPad. A year earlier I had bought a small Windows netbook with a 10” display, trying to convince him that such a netbook was even better than an iPad, so obviously that prior attempt failed.
When the BlackBerry tablet was released, I made a special trip to Best Buy just to grab the tablet. I set the tablet up to work with the BlackBerry phone that I had at the time. Oh neat, I am able to look at the company emails that I receive on the phone using the tablet – certainly, that will convince the boss that something is better than the iPad. I showed my boss, who was also using a BlackBerry phone at the time, the neat BlackBerry tablet that could not only quickly pull up web pages (along with showing Adobe Flash contents), but could also show company emails and use the phone as a mobile hotspot for viewing web pages. He spent a couple of minutes looking over the BlackBerry tablet before handing it back to me. I found a couple more newspaper articles about the iPad on my desk in the weeks that followed.
On a Sunday afternoon, I decided to do some video testing with the two tablets, in a final attempt to convince the boss that something other than an iPad is ideal for his use at home. I took the two tablets to my second home (that’s the place where my office, and all of those huge computers are located), and decided to do a head to head video test with the two tablets. I planned to show the best looking video from the two tablets to the boss, and finally win him over. I held the two tablets side-by-side as I walked down the isles of the huge computers. As I walked, I wondered what that 40,000 pound part was doing in the big pit that was dug for one of the computers that was expected to arrive in another month or two. No matter, I continued with my video testing, holding the tablets at head level as I walked. I received some strange looks from the other employees as I walked about – I simply reassured the other employees that I was just trying to impress the boss. I took the tablets home and processed the video from the tablets to eliminate meaningless portions of the video. It seems that both tablets produced 720P video at either 29 or 30 frames per second that was virtually identical in video quality, but the BlackBerry video would playback directly in the Windows Media Player, while the Xoom video required conversion to a compatible format. I showed the boss the resulting video, that not only could the BlackBerry tablet quickly pull up web pages (along with showing Adobe Flash contents), show company emails and use the phone as a mobile hotspot for viewing web pages, but also record 720P video that easily plays back on your Windows computer at home. The boss thought for a minute or two, and then said, “did you have a chance to read Walt Mossberg’s latest Wall Street Journal article, there is a new iPad out now.”
Ah, fond memories.
I recently found the video clips that I recorded using the tablets back in 2011, and after reviewing the videos, I still can’t see much difference between the videos captured by either tablet. The video looks nice when playing back, but pausing either video to take a screen capture results in a blurry single-frame mess 90% of the time. The video showed the big pit that was dug for the large computer – yep, that pit now contains a multi-million dollar computer, and the wall that had been next to the pit was removed during a later expansion project.
In the nearly five years since I created the first article on this blog, I really have not said much about the company where I work. I have posted a lot of Oracle Database book reviews on Amazon, as well as several reviews of security cameras. Some readers on Amazon were convinced that I worked for a couple of book publishing companies, writing fake book reviews to promote the publishers books; people who actually read the book reviews should know better than that – the reviews are brutally honest. Some other customers on Amazon thought that I was working for a security camera company and/or living in California; no, not the case. As a result, I put together an article that shows some of the interesting technology and multi-million dollar computers that are located just feet from my office at work. In the article, I included some still frames from the video that I captured in the walk through with the tablets in 2011.
Below are three pictures from the article that I recently posted. I am still trying to come up with good captions for the last two pictures, captions such as “taking a break” and “breaking in a new truck” seem to come in mind.