All posts by Chris

WWDC 2012 Predictions

Apple WWDC 2012

In a few days, we will find out who has the best record of predictions when Tim Cook and Co. take the stage for the WWDC keynote. The guys at Cult of Mac have listed their predictions, but like any person, I feel the need to put my own two cents in. I’ve re-jiggered their list as it is pretty comprehensive given the rumors that are out in the ether. Continue reading WWDC 2012 Predictions

Amazon Kindle Firmware Update – 4.10

Amazon has released a firmware update for its current generation Kindle.  It brings it to version 4.10 and among the important features is a new font.

Amazon Kindel

Personally the font does seem to be a bit crisper than it was previously, but some may not see much of a difference. What is also noticeable is there seems to be less ghosting of previous text if you don’t have full refresh on page flip enabled. It also has grouped all the dictionaries into one group which is nice.

It hasn’t auto pushed to mine yet so I jumped here to download it and install it manually.

iPad (3rd gen) quick thoughts

After the excruciating wait for FedEx to arrive with my new iPad, I wanted to share a few quick observations on it.

  • The screen really is as good as advertised. After seeing the retina display on my iPhone 4S,  the original iPad screen just looked awful. Reading text is much improved and applications that have been upgraded with hiDPI artwork look amazing.
  • While the new iPad gets warm, it has yet to get uncomfortable to hold. Even playing games it feels warm, unlike the original which felt cold no matter what you were doing. I wonder if the ones that are uncomfortably warm have processors that are outliers of the lot (much like some CPU’s over clock better than others).
  • Coming from an 1st gen iPad, the extra memory is a major improvement. As iOS was upgraded on the original, you could feel it becoming constrained by the 256MB in the 1st gen.

I’m already enjoying the new iPad as much as the first when I got it. Reading on it is great and I notice less eyestrain during long sessions.

For a more thorough review (and if you like reading about the more technical aspects) head over to Anandtech for their review.

So I’ve finally decided to use a CMS

After much debate, I’ve decided to scrap the idea of doing a full custom coded website and go with a standard CMS. Not only will it save time, it is great experience to learn how to customize and use one fully.

While the template will be a stocker for awhile, I’ll be uploading stuff from my old website and getting the content right first.

Hope you enjoy it!

-Chris

Microsoft’s CES keynote full of meh

Yawn.  That is what I thought (and did) the entire time through Microsofts CES keynote presentation.  I honestly don’t even think it was a “keynote” presentation, more of a “we don’t have anything new so we are just going to rehash every presentation we gave in 2009”-note.

Overall Gripes

Let’s start with the overall keynote gripes, and then we’ll narrow it down.  Steve, please stop, please.  Who do they get to write the scripts for these things?  They interject barely funny skits and Steve Ballmer’s dumbass adlibs into a boring script that sounds more like a Ronco infomercial then a keynote technology address.  Actually, it’s worse than that; I wouldn’t want to disparage Ron Popeils knack for selling.  You give very little data on the products such as sales figures, market share, etc; and fill it up with “I just love this product” crap.  As much as I hate to say it, Apple is your daddy when it comes to these events.  And while we are at it, what in the hell is this censoring the video feed when they showed a movie clip or some old video games.  Respecting intellectual property?  You have got to be kidding.  I guess it would be damaging to the marketing plan for me to watch a clip of PacMan for 30 seconds.

Product Demos

On to the product demos.   First we have Windows 7, which they show a bunch of rehashed PC designs that are hardly worth the extra money they charge for them.  Then Media Center was demoed.  This was a well done segment, minus Ballmer’s stupid interjections.  Here’s is the problem with your awesome demo.  Nobody gets IP TV in the US.  Almost no one uses AT&T’s Uverse, the only provider to use Microsoft’s MediaRoom Platform,  so you made a demo of great tech that no one can use.  As far as the Cable Card demo, that’s great but we have seen the success or lack thereof with the Cable Card platform.

Then we come to the, GASP, HP slate.  I’m sorry but tablets and slates are going to be a huge bust for the tech industry, I don’t care what Apple does.   They are going to be overpriced for the functionality and honestly, no one has a use for them that isn’t already handled by a netbook or cheap notebook.  The funniest part of the Slate preview was ole’ Steve trying to start a video to end the segment.  You see the results of shoehorning touch onto the Windows 7 platform.  The UI isn’t designed for it.  This is going to be a 500+ dollar tablet with no power or usability.  Fail.

Then they moved onto the Xbox.  They talked about some new games, some Zune integration, and some Facebook integration.  That’s great, it all happened LAST year.  Then they moved onto Project Natal.  Minus finally announcing a shipping date, it was the same information they talked about last year at E3.  And that sums up the last part of the keynote.

Final Words

I probably left some things out of this summary because, well, it was that boring.  I know my attention wavered.  How in the world do you keynote the biggest electronics show in the world and bring out nothing new and fall flat on your face?  Only Microsoft could do that.  Wait I forgot, Sprint did the same thing shortly thereafter, but that’s another article.

Murdoch To Stop Google From Crawling His Sites

The flurry on the interwebs right now is how Rupert Murdoch has threatened to disallow Google to crawl his news sites and how News Corp. is doomed to fail.  I unlike most don’t think News Corp. will fail, but also unlike some such as Jason Calacanis, don’t believe it’s the smartest decision either.

Most people do have it right in that the public doesn’t use Google News much and they don’t search Google for news.  I’d bet that most people that follow news have found RSS or go to the website of the news organization.  Then we get to what I use for news now, Twitter.  Mark Cuban has argued exactly my point that nowadays Twitter is going to be the new way for people to have news pushed to them.  Using the previous three methods to access news gains Google nothing and drives all the traffic to the sites themselves.  I mean it makes this whole hulabaloo worthless.

As far as my thinking the decision is a dumb one is that of broadening your audience.  If someone does Google search a topic and your article shows up of course you would want that traffic.  Plain and simple, it’s why stores have free giveaways and loss leaders.  Get you in the door and show you their wares.

Calacanis then goes on to say this is Bing’s silver bullet to increase marketshare against Google.  I disagree as evidenced by the points above, but also for the fact of if this was really profitable, it would have been done already.  Microsoft as of late has been doing whatever it can to gain share so why wouldn’t an exclusive deal, a’la Facebook, not been done.  I mean I’m just saying.

Let’s Boycott Modern Warfare 2 for the PC, dumb idea

It seems once again I’m writing a piece that refutes PC World writer Matt Peckham’s thoughts.  I was reading his piece “What happens if we boycott the PC version of Modern Warfare 2” and once again my head started to hurt.

Having read numerous posts of his before, he is constantly bringing attention to the sad state of PC gaming.  On the first page of his post though, he brings the idea of boycotting the PC edition of COD4 Modern Warfare 2.  Before I get into the actual meat of the article I just have to opine of how stupid the idea of boycotting a PC game for a console platform is.  Why would any fan of PC gaming do exactly what the studios want?  Why would we purposely tank the sales on a platform that most publishers want to kill?  Many game studios have already abandoned the PC and are waiting for any excuse to drop it.  So by all means lets buy COD4 Modern Warfare 2 for Xbox 360 or PS3 and make sure PC gaming dies.  Stupid.

So why would anyone come up with such a ridiculous idea?  It seems the main crux of his argument is that a PC version would not have anything to differentiate it from the console versions.  Well guess what, when your now a minority in market share content developers are not going to spend time to make your product special.  It’s plain and simple economics. One down.

Next he brings up once again DRM.  As I have said before DRM is an evil that is not going away anytime soon, so it bears no real weight to bring it up again and again as a detractor.  He goes on to say that the use of Valve’s Steam platform is a deal breaker.  For me, Steam is about as close as you can get to DRM done right.  It allows use on multiple systems, just not at the same time.  It also allows me to access games that I normally would not be able to get a hold of, and from the comfort of my home.  Plus if you catch a sale, you can get great software for next to nothing.  Couple this with the fact that if your system gets hosed you just re-download the games and it works for me.

He then goes on to say that if we boycott the PC version of Modern Warfare 2 Activison may just drop PC support all together.  Um, I’m pretty sure we all figured that one out.  Which brings me back to his headline, so why would be boycott the PC version?

Apple’s new 27” iMac is not a push into the living room

It seems that many people lately, from PC World to the motley group on MacBreak Weekly, feel that Apple is making a push to put iMacs in the living room.  Most of them point at the fact that it is a 27 inch screen and has… gasp.. a VESA mount.  Apple needs a few things to fall into place before this becomes a reality, a much improved Front Row, Blu-Ray support, Price, and Apple TV.

Everyone seems intent on making Jason Calacanis’s prediction of an Apple branded Television come true with each product release.  I find it hard for someone to replace a TV in their living room with an iMac.  While what I’ve seen of Front Row looks to be a clean efficient 10 foot interface, it is missing a lot of functionality compared with Windows Media Center.  Sure, there are 3rd party applications to achieve this functionality but as usual no one can compete with the integration and styling of an Apple developed application.  There has to be DVR functionality for the iMac to be in the living room.

Secondly comes Steve Job’s “world of hurt” that is Blu-Ray.  While most of America still hasn’t made the conversion to Blu-ray as DVD is still sufficient for most, the change will come and Apple will be caught off guard.  I’m sure in the depths of one infinite loop, there is Snow Leopard code with all the DRM needed built in, to be released at a moment’s notice.  If one is going to purchase an expensive piece of kit for the living room I certainly would like it to play more than just Apples HD content.

Lastly, and it seems to be a mainstay of any Apple product evaluation, is price. 1700 dollars for a glorified media player is just overkill.  For the price of a 27 inch iMac one can get a very large HDTV, or can get an HDTV and an Apple TV which would seem like the better buy.

I’d really like to see Apple make some sort of Apple branded television, but sadly I can’t say the 27 inch iMac is it.  Hopefully a cheap TV with Apple TV hardware built into it will come to fruition.  But then again I won’t hold my breath.

Why the Windows Mobile Marketplace sucks for now

With the tepid release of Windows Mobile 6.5, Microsoft also released their answer to the iPhone App Store, Windows Mobile Marketplace.  And once again it seems like the developers themselves seen to have missed the boat. Apparently they have never seen nor heard of the App Store.

What is the death knell of the Marketplace? PRICE!!!  There are way too many applications in this store that are more than $2.99.  If you browse through the App Store most every app is a dollar or two and selling in droves.  This is not a new problem.  As far back as 2003, there were applications for a mobile device that were selling for $30 dollars!  Sadly, some apps still are.  I’m sorry but I just cannot justify a small password holding program costing me as much as a full on piece of software for my desktop.  What is worse about this is that most of these programs look and feel horrible.

There seems to be a few developers in the store that either are also developing for the iPhone or have watched it.  They have priced their applications to a more palatable scale.  Others seem to want to extort the WinMo users with higher prices. For example Namco Pac Man – iPhone 4.99 WinMo 6.99.

Please can we get some developers to create some compelling, beautiful, and cheap programs for the WinMo platform.  And to Microsoft, you need to do whatever you can to compel and help developers to get to that point.  Otherwise WinMo will totally fall out of favor with consumers and the iPhone and Android will slay it (as if they weren’t already).