Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

HP Is in a Jam and Please Pass the Gravy: Top 10 Tips for Talking Tech This Turkey Day

We at AllThingsD have put together a list of digestible, dinner-table-conversation topics to get you through Thanksgiving Day.

Bon appetit!

1. First, demonstrate that you know the difference between Microsoft’s Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT. As Walt Mossberg points out here, Windows 8 comes in two versions — one for standard PCs, and one called RT, for tablets. Windows RT will only run on devices running ARM processors from companies like Nvidia and Qualcomm. Windows 8 will run on devices powered by Intel chips.

On Intel-based PCs, you can run both old Windows apps and new tablet-style apps. On the tablets, or RT devices, you can’t run traditional Windows apps, except for a new version of Office (which doesn’t include Outlook). Confused yet? It’s wise to offer up this gem before you’ve had a few Thanksgiving cocktails.

2. The bad news: BlackBerry maker RIM is missing the key holiday season with its late launch of BlackBerry 10, which is expected in the first couple months of next year. The good news? Some wireless carriers seem to be giving early positive feedback on BB10. While discussing BlackBerry, argue for/against tactile keyboards on smartphones.

3. “HP is in a jam.” Say this with authority, then point toward Tuesday’s earnings call and the developing Autonomy fraud story. Note: Don’t pretend to be too much of an authority on HP or you will, at some point, be asked to fix a relative’s printer.

4. Zynga is in a jam, too, except even worse, if possible. Key executives are leaving, and the company cut 5 percent of its workforce in October. Also, the company needs a new hit game. (Admit it, you got bored with Draw Something pretty quickly.) Pro tip: Turn the sound down on your phone so the Words With Friends chime doesn’t give you away. If that fails, move on to Groupon’s failings.

5. “Why would I go to stores on Black Friday? I do all of my shopping online.” This might sound pretty familiar by now, so take it a step further: Specify that you do all of your shopping on mobile. Argue that “favoriting” things on Pinterest on your iPad late at night counts as mobile shopping.

6. A favorite topic of discussion: Should you buy your mom/brother/child/significant other an iPad mini? What about Amazon’s new Kindle Fire or the Google Nexus tablet? Read Walt’s review of the iPad mini; this chart will help you figure out some of the specs of the others. And for a great retrospective of Apple devices throughout the years, check out this skit from Jimmy Kimmel.

7. There’s a new and improved Jawbone Up — the techie wristband that suffered technical problems its first time out of the gate. Launch a full-blown debate about which is better: Up or the FuelBand from Nike, a brand that’s more likely to resonate with most people. Talk about how motivating activity trackers are, right when you’re on your third piece of pumpkin pie.

8. YouTube is no longer just about cat videos. It’s true! Just read this. Full disclaimer: Many people sitting around you still might not believe this. Not my chair, not my problem.

9. The launch of the new Nintendo Wii U, which has been in development for a few years, hasn’t gone very smoothly. And The Wall Street Journal’s Katherine Boehret said in her review of the new gaming device that “despite the Wii U’s refreshing features, its sluggish behavior makes it a product I can’t fully recommend.” For fun, quiz others around the table to see who remembers the old Contra code (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start).

10. Take photos of the turkey with your phone, especially if you’ve purchased the new iPhone 5/Samsung Galaxy S III/Nokia Lumia 920 and need a reason to casually pull it out of your pocket. Blast-share the best pic with your social networks using a new app that you believe is the new Instagram-meets-Socialcam-meets-Twitter.

Bonus: Get ahead of the times by dropping some knowledge about the government investigating Google for anticompetitive behavior around how its search engine ranks its own sites above competitors’ sites. News on that is likely to drop right after the holiday. But be careful: Talking antitrust could turn into talking politics, and in some families that’s a recipe for disaster.

Double bonus: Free food! Free smartphones! Free air! Yes, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s new CEO, is a magical unicorn executive who will make you quit your Gmail and go back to Yahoo Mail. Keep repeating to your clan until it’s true. (Warning: This might actually take a few quarters.)

Now put your phone down and actually enjoy the holiday.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus