Evernote, one of my favorite applications, is currently on sale. It is regularly 49.95, now priced at 19.95 for a short time. That's a pretty good deal, but many users will actually be happy with the free version.
Evernote is a notetaking / journaling application that takes a different approach from its competitors as well as offering powerful unique features. Evernote's goal is to be your '2nd brain'. The idea is to offload everthing you can to it so you can free your mind for better things. Evernote's interface is a continuous 'roll'. You create entries chronologically rather than create a new 'note document' for each one. Evernote has power tagging and search capabilities for finding this information later and sync capabilities for keeping multiple machines current. It also comes with a clipping tool that will allow you to drop images and content from any app or web site. Evernote automatically creates hyperlinks to most information such as the path to a file you clipped from or the URL of the web site.
The real power however is in the advanced features. These are the ones you actually pay for. One of its more impressive features is advanced image recognition. Evernote will attempt to do text and handwriting recognition on any image you store in it. This means you can take a snapshot of a product or a whiteboard and actually search for the text contained in the image. That's real power. For tablet and UMPC owners Evernote has advanced inking and shape recognition tools that make it a breeze to capture notes in a more natural way.
Evernote currently runs on Windows, but they are actively working on Windows Mobile, Mac and Web based versions.
Trolltech has been getting some press lately. Recently they decided to open QT for Windows to the GPL. Previously only the Linux and Mac versions were GPL. This means that it is even easier to write cross platform GUI apps. This move also gives a boost to running KDE on Windows. KDE is a rich, platform neutral application development / desktop platform. Not everyone thinks making it easier to run open-source apps on Windows is a good idea. The project leads however argue that making it easier for Windows users to experience and develop open source apps will make any OS migration that much easier in the future.
To make things more interesting, it looks like Nokia just acquired Trolltech for somewhere around 150 million dollars equivalent in stock. Since Trolltech has really been putting emphasis in their mobile platform, Qtopia, this move is not surprising. This should give Nokia more ammunition against Google's Gphone platform, Android.
In a preemptive move to Apples expected movie rental announcement, Netflix has removed the limits on their 'Watch Instantly' service. This means that subscription users can now watch as much streamed content as they want. Their streamable movie selection is still a bit stale, but they are getting more TV shows all the time. I really like this service, but it is not without flaws. Movie quality can degrade depending on your bandwidth. Also the need for a computer to view content is a restriction. Sure, these days you can hook a laptop up to a TV, LCD or projector easy enough, but it is still hassle.
The service is not perfect, but hey, it is free with your account.
Here is my wish list for the coming year:
1. More and newer content. Netflix needs to work harder with the studios to expand their selection.
2. Offer a download and watch option. Streaming is cool and all, but my ISP is too unreliable to make it a good experience. I'd trade a bit of wait time for better quality.
3. Allow the content to be streamed to the 360 to bypass the PC altogether. Hey if Amazon's unbox can do it why not Netflix? They both use MS DRM.
Massive gas cloud to hit the Milky Way, in like, 20-40 million years. Plenty of time to get on a fresh pair of undies. The cloud, which has enough gas to make one million of our suns, is already hitting the outer edges of our galaxy.
Anyways, it's another reason to keep funding space exploration so that we don't have all our eggs in one basket.
Since my PowerBook died, I've been using a Vista powered Lenovo T60p, which isn't bad as far as PC laptops go. I do really miss the reliable sleep, overall sleek design, and ease of Wi-Fi handling that my deceased PowerBook had, though. I really don't need the optical drive except for the occasional ripping of a CD that I buy, or the even rarer DVD based software install. I'd be perfectly happy to leave the optical drive at home, only for use in those special cases.
The current line up of Mac Books is already very slim, it's hard to image how much more slim they'd get without the DVD drive baked in.
My main concern with the ultra-portable would be the limited size of the flash disk: I'd want enough space to stash media and a parallels vm.