A look at Google’s Pixel C

Since my last thoughts on trips away without a laptop, I have come by Google’s Pixel C. It is a 10″ tablet so it may not raise hackles on an aircraft like the 12.9″ screen of the large Apple iPad Pro might. The one that I have tried comes with 64 GB of storage space and its companion keyboard cover (there is a folio version). Together, they can be bought for £448, a saving of £150 on the full price.

Google Pixel C

The Pixel C keyboard cover uses strong magnets to hold the tablet onto it and that does mean some extra effort when changing between the various modes. These include covering the tablet screen as well as piggy backing onto it with the screen side showing or attached in such a way that allows typing. The latter usefully allows you to vary the screen angle as you see fit instead of having to stick with whatever is selected for you by a manufacturer. Unlike the physical connection offered by an iPad Pro, Bluetooth is the means offered by the Pixel C and it works just as well from my experiences so far. Because of the smaller size, it feels a little cramped in comparison with a full size keyboard or even that with a 12.9″ iPad Pro. They also are of the scrabble variety though they work well otherwise.

The tablet itself is impressively fast compared to a HTC One A9 phone or even a Google Nexus 9 and that became very clear when it came to installing or updating apps. The speed is just as well since an upgrade to Android 7 (Nougat) was needed on the one that I tried. You can turn on adaptive brightness too, which is a bonus. Audio quality is nowhere near as good as a 12.9″ iPad Pro but that of the screen easily is good enough for assessing photos stored on a WD My Passport Wireless portable hard drive using the WD My Cloud app.

All in all, it may offer that bit more flexibility for overseas trips compared to the bigger iPad Pro so I am tempted to bring one with me instead. The possibility of seeing newly captured photos in slideshow mode is a big selling point since it does functions well for tasks like writing emails or blog posts, like this one since it started life on there. Otherwise, this is a well made device.

Command line file comparison in Windows

While UNIX and Linux both have the diff command for comparing the contents of text files, the Windows counterpart was unknown to me until recently. Its name is fc and it looks as if the f is for file and c is for comparison though I cannot confirm that as of now. That command and its usage is not dissimilar to the way that things work with diff. Here is an example command:

fc file1.txt file2.txt > file3.txt

This compares file1,txt with file2.txt and sends the output to file3.txt. Any differences between the two files being compared seem to be more clearly labelled than in the diff output’s < and > labels. That verbosity could have its uses but existence of the fc command is stopping envious glances at the diff one for now, just as findstr is doing the same in comparison with grep.

Two versions ago…

With all the focus that there is on the current version of a long established piece of software, it is often intriguing to see what it was like a few versions back. And it was with that curiosity that I had a look at PhotoShop 7. Needless to say, a lot of the functionality of the current version is there: adjustment layers, saving for the web and so on. That said, I did spot some absences as one would expect. For instance, the file browser, dropped down by a tab on the main interface, had yet to morph into the standalone Adobe Bridge. Another change has been the resampling choices for resizing; there is no sign of the now prevalent bicubic smoothing and bicubic sharpening. On the filters menu, there is no sign of Smart Sharpening, the now recommended sharpening technique that upstages the one time favourite Unsharp Mask. These may appear little things but little things are often the very items that persuade you that an upgrade is a very good idea.