Michael Hyatt on the Kindle Fire

After about 21 days of using the Kindle Fire myself, I am in agreement with Michael Hyatt’s very  helpful, non-technical review.

Here’s his conclusion:

Overall, the Kindle Fire is no iPad killer. If you can afford the iPad, I’d buy that instead. It is just much more polished and, with so many available apps, can do so much more.

However, if your primary goal is media consumption at an outstanding price, you won’t go wrong with a Kindle Fire. With Amazon’s backing, it will only improve with time.

I agree with this: the main reason to get a Kindle Fire would be price. If that’s your goal, it’s a good device.

And I would add one more suggestion: At this point in time, price should not be a factor in choosing electronic devices. We are at a stage in history right now where the benefits of a truly exceptional device (such as the iPad) far, far outweigh the price difference between those devices and the lower priced attempts.

Additionally, the benefits of an iPad, iPhone, and so forth go far beyond the actual things you can do with the devices. The primary benefits are in how they affect your thinking, helping you see what’s possible and what’s next and how technology can be utilized to do good to the greatest possible extent. You cut yourself off from the fullness of those benefits when you go with budget models, and for a few hundred dollars savings, it’s not worth it.

Save money in other areas. Seeking to save money in technology is not worth the price.

Using Mission Control (That is, Spaces) on Mac OS X Lion

One of the things that was a bit annoying at first about Mac OS X Lion is that Spaces and Expose were integrated into Mission Control. I like the changes overall, as it brings the best of both together in one place, but they also changed the location of some features I liked to use in Spaces.

In fact, they changed the location of these features so significantly that it is almost impossible to figure out on your own, without having to spend more than a few minutes (a critical usability problem, in my view).

I just found this article which outlines the changes made and how to access the old features in Spaces you may have liked but which aren’t immediately evident in Mission Control. Here it is in case it’s helpful to you as well.

Should You Upgrade to the iPhone 4s?

I had the same initial reservations as Michael Hyatt: It seems like you get most of the advancements through the iOS5 software, and the iPhone 4 is already really great. Is it worth it to upgrade to the iPhone 4s?

After his daughter convinced him to give it a try, he upgraded — and is very glad he did. He gives a great summary of the three biggest benefits in upgrading, and has me convinced.

I should add that, with something like an iPhone, it is generally my policy to get every upgrade, because the increase in speed alone is usually worth it. It also helps keep you up to date on the advancements in technology, by experience rather than simply hearing second-hand. I think that is important for keeping our thinking up to date so that we can fully maximize technology for good.

But I was reluctant here, giving slightly higher priority to saving money than I usually do. As is typical, though, I’ve found that the intent to save money often ends up shooting you in the foot when the issue at stake is, as here, an investment in tools that exist to equip you in doing good. So, with this lesson reinforced once again, I will be getting the iPhone 4s.

Does Anyone Know a Good Way to Sync Bookmarks Between Firefox and Safari?

The reason I’m asking is because I use Firefox on my Mac, but want my bookmarks to be synced with my iPhone — and, at least until recently, the only way to do that was to sync them to Safari first. Then, Safari syncs them to your iPhone via Mobile Me.

I have traditionally used XMarks to accomplish this, but I’m having trouble with it and want to stop using it.

Does anyone know either (1) if there is now a way to sync bookmarks directly from Firefox to your iPhone/iPad or (2) if there is a better way to sync your bookmarks between Firefox and Safari on the Mac?

When Multitasking is Not a Good Idea

This is a guest post by my friend Andy Naselli. Andy is research manager for DA Carson and editor of the online theological journal Themelios. He has two (!) PhDs and blogs at andynaselli.com, which I highly recommend.

From Tim Challies, The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 113, 117–18:

During a time of singing at a recent conference, I spotted a woman raising one hand in worship while sending a text message with the other one. We mix worship with our work and pleasure. Why are we surprised when we can only give partial attention to any one of them? . . .

One way we pursue the virtue of efficiency is by becoming multitaskers. If we are driven by efficiency, it is not enough that we work quickly; we must also work on many things simultaneously. Imitating our computers, we seek to switch seamlessly from one task to the next, from one priority to another. At our desks we work on our projects while chatting on instant messengers, sending off text messages, and glancing at our favorite blogs. Even in our entertainment we want to be able to do many things at once—to be able to watch television while sending a text message and checking in on our friends’ Facebook pages.

A rash of recent studies shows that multitasking is not a solution. In fact, studies show that multitasking is actually a misnomer. While we think we are multitasking, we are actually task switching, doing a little bit of one thing and then doing a little bit of another. Our brains just won’t allow us to perform two complex operations at the same time with the same skill. Quality necessarily suffers, as does depth. Not only that, but multitasking is not even very efficient. David E. Meyer, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, found that “people who switch back and forth between two tasks, like exchanging e-mail and writing a report, may spend 50 percent more time on those tasks than if they work on them separately, completing one before starting the other.”

Meanwhile, if we surround ourselves by too many stimuli, we force our brains into a state of continuous partial attention, a state in which we keep tabs on everything without giving focused attention to anything. . . .

Whether through multitasking or through monitoring so many sources of input that we remain in continuous partial attention, we lose the ability to think in a sustained way. . . .

This is as true in worship as it is in the workplace. Efficiency is a dangerous mind-set to bring to our faith. We do not want to be efficient worshipers, driven by a desire to get more of God in a shorter amount of time. We do not want to be hurried worshipers who value speed over quality.

Related from Andy’s Blog and Themelios: