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Saturday
Feb122011

Microsoft and Nokia: So Happy Together.

Ever since Nokia’s appointment of former Microsoft excecutive Stephen Elop as their new CEO back in September of 2010, there has been alot of talk in the tech industry about what this might mean about the change in tactic and strategy for Nokia and smartphones, particularly where Microsoft is concerned.

A joint statement released on February 11th, by Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer and Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop eliminate any mystery. Nokia and Microsoft are going to join together with a focused effort of creating a mobile ecosystem that can compete with the Android and Apple ecosystems. This was reinforced by a Nokia memo written by CEO Stephen Elop that was leaked to, and published by Engadget.

Microsoft is a software only company for the most part. Nokia is a hardware only company for the most part. Both have frankly sucked in the smartphone market. The smartphone market, along with tablets, are the fastest growing segments of the consumer electronics industry right now. Neither company is positioned well. It seems clear that to me that they are waaaay behind, and are unlikely to catch up anytime soon! To them I say, good luck! This is akin to beginning a  marathon while your fellow runners are already entering their 20th mile. The race is close to over, and unless there are more serious misteps by Apple and Google Android, I’m not sure that there is enough time for Nokia-Soft to catch up!

I agree with Matt Drance at Apple Outsider, this sounds more like “Microsoft bought Nokia for $0B”.

**EDIT**

A report today indicates that Stephen Elop, speaking at the Mobile World Congress, said that Microsoft won a bidding war that will mean billions of dollars for Nokia, so I guess I was wrong about the whole “Microsoft bought Nokia for $0B” that Matt Drance argued.

The report also notes that Nokia stock continues to drop this morning, and employees of Nokia have been staging walkouts over their displeasure with the decision.

Friday
Feb112011

Bernard Sumner of New Order Sings "Bizarre Love Triangle" to Acoustic Accompaniment

Tuesday
Feb012011

Apple beginning to clamp down on third-party content purchases?

This report in this morning’s New York Times by Claire Cain Miller and Miguel Helft has caused a stir in the Apple iPad community, because it suggests that Apple rejected the Sony eReader app in their App Store because it allowed the user to obtain ebooks that were not purchased from the iBookstore.

I am of the opinion that the writers of this story have it wrong. Their primary source seems to be Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division, who of course might have a bit of a beef with Apple now that their app has been rejected. While Haber says that their app was rejected because of ” might have been rejected for other reasons.

But, if the report is accurate, then it foreshadows the possibility that Apple might cut iPad users off from their Kindle app purchases at some point.  I am fairly confident that Apple would not do this, at least not yet anyway. Not with hardware competitors to the iPad just now entering the market. Also, Apple has never done this with music. You’ve always been able to add songs purchased from elsewhere to listen to on your iPad, iPod, or iPhone, so I find it unlikely that they would make such a policy shift.

I suspect that we might be able to glean more about this issue after the event to be held jointly by Apple and Rupert Murdoch, of News Corp., on Feb. 2nd of this year, to announce The Daily, an iPad only newspaper subscription that is to be made available in the App Store for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad owners.

It will be a huge mistake and highly damaging to the iPad platform if the New York Times article is accurate with their hypothesis.

On a side note, with Steve Jobs out for now, it will interesting to see which Apple representative will be beside Rupert Murdoch when the announcement is made. Will it be Tim Cook, the COO, and current interim CEO, or Phil Schiller, the VP of Marketing, or perhaps someone else from the one of the other divisions that we rarely see?

 

 

Monday
Jan312011

Delegate or Die: The Self-Employed Dilemma

Derek Sivers, the founder and former owner of CDBaby offers the following tips for Self-Employed people who run a business that has, or should have staff.

 

I think some of these tips are even applicable to those who happen to be working on creative endeavours as well.

 

 

Sunday
Jan302011

Henry Cavill is...Superman

To be honest, when I first heard that they were doing a reboot of Superman I was not all that enthused. Superman has been done tons of times, and the very nature of the character does not leave many places to go with him onscreen, meaning the plot will always consist of Superman eventually being faced down by Krytponite, and near death, which makes for a pretty boring story after awhile.

 

So when I heard that Henry Cavill was cast as Superman/Clark Kent, and that Zack Synder will be directing, with Christopher Nolan producing, the film suddenly demanded more of my attention. I can only hope that Nolan and Synder take the character in a different direction…. How about a Batman/Superman crossover? That might be interesting….

Let’s just hope they don’t eff it up with the female lead. The casting of Lois Lane, or any of the other Superman female leads have been pretty spotty… We need an actress with some skill, not some fresh faced know nothing ingenue…

update: So relieved that they cast Amy Adams as Lois Lane, she is an amazing actress. Here is the two teaser trailers that were released over the summer in one clip. The first is with Jor-El (played by Russell Crowe) narrating and second is with Clark’s adopted father Jonathan Kent (played by Kevin Costner).

Monday
Jan242011

Macintosh, Happy Birthday!

The first Macintosh computer was unveiled by Steve Jobs before a roaring crowd of 3,000 Apple fans on this day twenty-seven years ago.

 

Here is a clip of that momentous occasion:

 

 

And here is the infamous ad that changed everything for Apple fans:

 

Edit: Here is a 20 page photospread that ran in the May, 1984 edition of Newsweek to show off what differentiated the Macintosh from other personal computers of the day.

Thursday
Jan062011

Mac App Store Launches

Earlier last month, on December 16th, Apple announced that the Mac App Store would launch today, January 6th, with this press release:

CUPERTINO, California—December 16, 2010—Apple® today announced that the Mac® App Store℠ will open for business on Thursday, January 6. By bringing the revolutionary App Store experience to Mac OS® X, the Mac App Store makes discovering, installing and updating Mac apps easier than ever. The Mac App Store will be available in 90 countries at launch and will feature paid and free apps in categories like Education, Games, Graphics & Design, Lifestyle, Productivity and Utilities.

“The App Store revolutionized mobile apps,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We hope to do the same for PC apps with the Mac App Store by making finding and buying PC apps easy and fun. We can’t wait to get started on January 6.”

The Mac App Store lets you browse new and noteworthy apps, find out what’s hot, view staff favorites, search categories and read customer ratings and reviews. Like on iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad™, you can purchase, download and install apps in just one click and start using them immediately. Purchased apps can run on all of your personal Macs and updates are delivered directly through the Mac App Store so it’s easy to keep all of your apps up to date. The Mac App Store is available to Mac OS X Snow Leopard® users as a free download through Software Update.

 

I’m looking forward to seeing which developers decided to make their apps available through the Mac App Store. I’m also curious to see which free Mac apps will be on the store, and whether or not they will be truly useful/helpful at all. I’m certain that there will be a bunch. Hopefully they will be more than just fart apps, ill thought-out widgets, and 40 versions of Chess. I’m also curious how many, or even if any, of the really big developers chose to include their software on the Mac App Store.

It should also be illuminating to see how developers handled the restriction of not being able to make demos, or shareware versions of their software available. I’m quite certain that some of them probably worked out ways to bend that rule as far as possible, such as making more versions of the software with single and dual use cases, instead of a one size fits all solution, without actually breaking it. At least for now anyway. For the sake of opening the store with a healthy number of apps that they can brag about immediatiely, Apple likely allowed entry to some apps that push the boundaries on this rule, and will begin tightening the approval screws later as the store matures and grows.

Once we see the implementation for the store, perhaps it will set the ground work for and enlighten us as to what Apple might announce either later this month or next month about version 2 of the iPad. I’m not convinced that Apple will have some big new hardware category to announce at the keynote this year. Instead, I think we will just new iterations of the iPad (hopefully with more RAM!), and perhaps iWork ‘11 (note, Apple pushed software updates yesterday for versions of iWork ‘09 and later, and they pushed an iLife update the day before. Not sure what this means, other than perhaps some prepartory work in advance of the new Mac App Store. These optimization tweaks might also mean that iWork and iLife will not be part of any announcements later this month.)

If they do pushed a new iWork ‘11, I imagine that this iteration will set forth to prepare us, and help us understand the vision of the iOS integration that is to come in Mac OSX Lion. These features will probably show how you can increase productivity between your Mac, and the various iOS devices family. This will likely be explained with the iWork improvements as well as a tease about the next iOS updates that will likely go to the developers in March as they have the past few years.

We also might hear about new content partnerships in either television, film, music, or books. If I had to put my money on which new content deals to expect to hear about I would put my money on books, newspapers, and magazines, but who knows? There seems to have been a bit more foot dragging by the content providers than usual, in this area as of late. If there is a new iBooks content announcement, expect a feature or two to be announced for the iBooks app.

The iPad hardware improvements will likely include more RAM and a rear camera. I’m not certain that they will bring Facetime to the iPad just yet. If they do, it would likely mean a complete reworking of the industrial design of the hardware. I cannot imagine adding the camera to the current iteration without either being forced to make it thicker (and heavier, which will piss off some wussies who already whine about the current pitifully small 1lb weight), or longer, which will annoy another batch of people. Both of these options don’t seem like the sort of design decisions that Jony Ive and Steve Jobs have been embracing as of late.

I don’t see them introducing a smaller 7” model this time around. I also don’t see them expanding the storage size. With the introduction of the Macbook Air 11” and 13” inch machines, it is increasingly unlikely that Apple will allow the iPad storage capacity to compete directly with the more expensive Macbook Air machines. I do think it is possible that they will continue keeping the separate WiFi and Wifi + 3G price points, but they will likely drop the prices a bit on the 64GB, and 32GB sizes, while eliminating the 16GB device altogether. The benefit of removing the 16GB is that it would allow them to stay ahead of the competition by making more powerful machines available at the current prices. I think that Apple would love to brag that their entry Wi-Fi model that costs $499, is now 32GB in storage capacity.

I would not be surprised if the “one more thing…” announcement at this year’s keynote will be the release of iPhone on other carriers. If not this year, then it will definitely happen next year, unless something unusually dramatic occurs that prevents either Apple or the carriers from wanting the iPhone. Unfortunately this has been an expectation for some many years that the world’s reception might be more tepid than expected, as the announcement of The Beatles on iTunes was received.

iPhone 5 announcements will most likely be reserved for their usual spot in the Spring or Summer of this year.  With the iPhone 4 out for such a short time, I don’t expect to hear anything official about the next phone until June or July. Probably at the Worldwide Develpers Conference (WWDC), as they have in previous years.

 

Tuesday
Dec212010

Star Wars Snowflakes!

I love these Star Wars snowflakes! Unfortunately there wasn’t much Rebel Alliance love. I wonder if someone could come up with an Admiral Ackbar one? I’ll bet coffee shops around the world who use the phrase “It’s a Frap!” in their marketing would love you for a long time.

Droids is courtesy of Nerdery.com

 

And Darth Vader is courtesy of http://dancell.cwahi.net

Tuesday
Dec142010

'Jeopardy!' Game Show to Pit Humans Against IBM Machine!

Jeopardy!, the game show hosted by Alex Trebeck, will pit the human brain against the puzzling skills of a machine designed by IBM, according to this Associated Press report.

At first glance, this may not seem as important as Chess player Gary Kasparov’s competition against his artificial intelligent opponent created by IBM, Deep Blue, in 1996 and 1997, but you have to keep in mind that the Jeopardy format of providing the answer in the form of a question, and determing the appropriate information required from the carefully worded puns is a much more difficult computer science problem to address.

Watson, the computer designed by IBM engineers, will compete against two of Jeopardy’s most successful past winners, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, on the shows that will air in 2011, between February 14th and the 16th. 

I’m look forward to see how this geekfest plays out. If Watson ends up trouncing Jennings and Rutter, I wonder if they will also accuse IBM of trickery and request a rematch as Kasparov did? And if they do, will IBM comply this time, or deny them the option, and disassemble the machine, as they did Deep Blue?

Monday
Dec132010

World of Warcraft Cataclysm: Fastest Selling PC Game of All Time.

Gilneas: The Worgen’s starting zone.

Blizzard announced this morning that they had sold over 3.2 million copies of their recent expansion, Cataclysm, in the first 24 hours. I can see why its so popular. Its not just that they have a player base of 12 million strong. The new content and the reworked zones are quite compelling. At times it feels like I’m experiencing the game for the first time.

PARIS, France. — December 13, 2010 — Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that World of Warcraft®: Cataclysm™, the third expansion for the critically acclaimed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), sold through more than 3.3 million copies as of its first 24 hours of release*, making it the fastest-selling PC game of all time. This milestone eclipses the previous record of more than 2.8 million copies sold in 24 hours, set in November 2008 by Blizzard’s second World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King®.

(source)

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