Nikon recently released the Nikon 1 J5 and a few retailers heavily discounted the J4 to clear out inventory. I picked the J4 up at Target with the 10mm f/2.8 lens. Buydig.com has the J4 with 10-30mm kit lens on sale for $250.
Not sure how long this will last, but it is a great price for a mirrorless camera that focuses and shoots incredibly fast. This is cheaper than higher end point and shoots. Not quite as pocketable, but you get the performance of a DSLR in a small package.
Right before I started typing this post I removed the Google Reader bookmark in my bookmark bar. And my life.
When you use something for 7 years and filter through 210,000 pieces of content using it, it really becomes part of your life. I used Google Reader more than any other single piece of web technology. I’ve been using Gmail since July 2005 because it is the best. I was using Reader because it was the best at aggregating content and dumping it in one easy to consume place. None of that mattered once Google announced they were shutting it down. This felt like a long term girlfriend breaking up with me and saying “it’s not you, it’s me”.
Feedly and The Old Reader came out as initial front runners, but:
Feedly – Nope, interface sucked, couldn’t consume fast enough, mobile app restarted and lost your state if you clicked out to an article in browser
The Old Reader – Great concept and have their heart in the right place, but not ready for primetime, interface and speed issues, longevity questionable without revenue and high server costs
I fired Tiny Tiny RSS up on my shared host and got my feeds imported. It was just as fast and easy to use as Google Reader. It is more customizable than Reader and there’s a ton of potential for it to grow. Want to add some functionality, plugins. Want to change the look and feel, custom CSS. I’ve already taken CSS tweaks from other users and adapted them to my own taste. This is my feed reader how I want it. It’s awesome.
So my search for a Google Reader replacement is over. Tiny Tiny RSS will be serving up my RSS feeds until the Internet figures out a way to make RSS obsolete. Plus the $2 Android app is really good.
If you want to try it out let me know and I can give you access to my install.
Commenter on another post asked me about mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and I did some research to help suggest what to buy. Here’s what I found taking the approach of having a reasonable budget (under $1000) and wanting the best bang for my buck in this market segment.
Mirrorless cameras borrow from DSLRs (bigger sensors, shooting speed, lens selection) and point and shoots (small form factor, simpler controls). For the most part you get the best of both worlds without giving up too much. Yeah they don’t fit in your pocket, but they’re easier to carry around all day then some of the heavier DSLRs.
The ~$1000 market is made up by Olympus, Panasonic, Samsung, Pentax, Nikon and Sony. I was expressly interested in the smaller models that bridge the DSLR and P&S gap. Some mirrorless cameras aren’t that much smaller than DSLRs so they were excluded from my search.
I went through a very unscientific and ad-hoc elimination process where I looked at the current offerings of each manufacturer. Olympus, Panasonic and Samsung didn’t really move me or stand out as good bang for your buck cameras. I eliminated Nikon based solely on high ISO performance with their smaller sensor. Canon is coming out with their first attempt at mirrorless, but it looks slow and unpromising. Pentax and Sony have very similar offerings with APS-C sensors.
So my gut and personal preference tells me the Sony NEX-5N is the best mirrorless interchangeable lens camera for the money right now. Sony recently discounted the camera with kit lens to $500. I’m assuming this is in preperation for the release of the NEX-5R and NEX-6.
The Galaxy Nexus has an awesome screen despite what all the “pentile displays suck” people say and it deserves to be protected from scratches or overzealous cleaning. In the past I always bought the cheapest screen protectors I could and end up frustrated after a little while. I spent the extra money on a really nice protector for my new baby: Seidio Ultimate Screen Guard Protector.
They cost about $15 for a pack of two, but the are really nice protectors. They are really clear pieces of plastic and I couldn’t see any negative impact after applying it. They are hard and have about the same amount of slickness as the screen’s glass. Fingerprints clean off real easy.
I picked up a Samsung Galaxy Nexus directly from Google the day they started selling it. I never used a case with my G1 since it had a keyboard and the case had a nice matte coating that made the phone easy to hold on to. The GN is thinner and lighter which makes it a bit harder to hold on to so I looked for a case that would give me a better grip on the phone without much bulk and protect against bumps and drops.
Looks: I went with the translucent Smoke colored case so you could still see the Google logo on the back and it is fairly close to the color of the back and side panels. I think it looks great and the solid black case would probably look just as good.
Grip: I can actually use the Galaxy Nexus one handed now without risking a drop. The sides of the phone are fairly slick and had it almost slip from my hands a few times in the first week. The rubber on the case definitely adds grip and just gives you a more solid hold on the phone.
Pocketability: The case does not add very much bulk and it still fits nicely in a front pocket. The GN is pretty thin to begin with so I didn’t mind a bit of thickness added to it.
Protection: The case creates a little lip around the edge of the screen which helps keep it safe when placed face down on a surface. In a fall it should help protect from damage, but I wouldn’t trust any case to fully protect a phone from a hard fall.