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The future is awesome.
Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love science fiction. There is a lot I like about it, but one thing I really enjoy is speculating about how technology will change our society, revolutionize our culture and alter our daily lives.
This book reads like science fiction, but it's not. I've enjoyed following Robert Scoble as he has blogged and vlogged about technology for a long time. This book is the culmination of all the research he has done through countless interviews with entrepreneurs building new technologies.
The premise of this book is that a new age is upon us, an age in which technology will be contextual, meaning it will understand the world around it and the context in which it is being used. The obvious example of this is Google Glass, which will not only know what you are searching for online, but it will know where you are and what you are looking at.
This book goes through a laundry list of technologies that currently exist. Many are either available for purchase or will be within the next few years. A few of my favorite examples were self driving cars, asthma inhalers that contain a GPS and can report on areas that are more likely to cause asthma attacks (and share that information so that people with asthma can avoid areas with low air quality), health devices that monitor everything from heart rate to blood sugar, and even a bra that prevents sexual assault by delivering an electric shock to an attacker, but not the individual wearing it.
This book also delves into some of the creepier sides of contextual technology. The more information our devices know about us, the more potential there is for information to be shared where we don't want. The recipient of that information could be a potential romantic partner (there is a funny/creepy true story about Google Now assuming a relationship that wasn't there), or perhaps it could be the United States government. Either way, we want to know what is being done with our data.
As the book says, every individual will decide whether to fear this new contextual age or embrace it. However, I liked what Isaac Asimov had to say, "I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them."
This book is fresh and exciting, but you need to read it today. In 5 years when all of these technologies are available in stores it will be old news. In 10 years this will be a history book.
In the end, as Arthur C. Clarke said, "The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible."
We are about to enter the world of the impossible. It's a great time to be alive. Welcome to the age of context.
Approaching this review from the tablet/OS perspective, NOT downloaded apps, between an iPad2 and this Transformer Prime. While I feel like the apps are really what make a tablet worth while, there are too many differences between the same app on both devices that come down to quality of programming spend for the device. Being honest, most developers spend more time/money on the iPad version, then attempt a conversion to Android.
I only got to play with the Honeycomb version of this tablet for about 4 days, and it felt very similar to an iPad2: transitions between desktop screens flickered, WiFi worked ok with issues connecting to places like Chic-Fil-A, GPS so slow to connect outdoors but then worked great (not so great indoors). Main drawback to the Prime/Honeycomb tablet was it was constantly referred as a "phone". Prompts about making calls, ringtones, vibrate feature etc. It really took away from the tablet only (no 3G/4G available). There WAS no reason to accept this tablet over the iPad2...
All this changed with the update to Icecream Sandwich (ICS), transitions between desktop screens is SMOOTH, better than iPad2. WiFi update stablized the issues connecting at Chic-Fil-A, GPS connection improved with an update. All these updates to the system were out within the first MONTH of product release.
Now for my tidbit on the app areas: Apple has better apps and more of them, no surprise being the leader. Once you select iPad your into the WHOLE Apple bandwagon with iTunes and iCloud. Now their products just work very well together which is very appealing if you like all their products. Android Marketplace has a lot of great apps, most the same as their iTunes conterpart, however "some" are more finicky on Android than iOS. However, the best app reason for Android the ability to install apps from other sources, like Amazon or GetJar. This allows you to bypass Google if desired and pick your own sources for apps.
I am in no way an expert and this only represents my opinion. Only trying it for yourself can you build an accurate picture.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was horrifying what they expected of young people and it is very dark to even think that something like this could happen. That is the hardest thing about this story, the total disconnection of real life and the Games. I gave this rating because it was well written and pulled me in right away and made me care about the main characters.