Yahoo A shell of what it once was…

Wired has a great article taking a look at Yahoo currently and what it really means to the Internet now. A company that was once the an Internet darling is now on the verge of full on irrelevancy.

It isn’t shocking though. Throughout the years it has been a leadership carousel. With the board of directors worried about tomorrows share price instead of the future of the company, they constantly forced change in plans and CEO’s. It is a wonder that nothing ever stuck as it never had the time to mature and get its feet under it before there was a regime change.

While I don’t believe Marissa Mayer was the right person to turn the company around, you also cannot blame her for the lack of success. The company she inherited was bloated, lacked cohesive direction/vision, and was only making money due to its stake in Alibaba. There would be no amount of new ideas and culture change she could affect to stem the tide of the sinking ship.

And while we are on the subject, Microsoft buying them would have just accelerated the nail in the coffin. Look at the Nokia acquisition. Billions of dollars spent only for them to gut the sale and essentially give up on the phone market. They have also gutted a good portion of Bing selling assets to a company like Uber. I’m sure Yahoo would have been quickly parted out and dismantled.

Link: Once Upon a Time, Yahoo was the Most Important Internet Company

The iPad Pro Reviews are in…

The iPad Pro reviews are out and while they are not a glowing revolutionary product reviews, they do signal some evolutionary steps toward a lighter machine for productivity. Overall though, the consensus is that the machine still is not a universal desktop replacement, but may start to be one for some people.

While I wouldn’t be someone that could replace my desktop/laptop with it, it could definitely replace my current iPad Air and old MacBook Air as I use those both mainly for light creation and work. Though I do wonder if a decent keyboard and an iPad Air 2 may just as well do the trick. The idea of split screen iOS apps on a larger screen though is very intriguing. I still think though, that some iOS limitations will still hold back an otherwise excellent hardware platform.

I do want to play with one with all the accessories as I feel both the Smart Keyboard and the Pencil are really what put the iPad Pro over the top of a cheaper MacBook or an iPad Air 2.

First up is John Gruber’s review at Daring Fireball:

The entire x86 computer architecture is living on borrowed time. It’s a dead platform walking. The future belongs to ARM, and Apple’s A-series SoC’s are leading the way.

While I don’t think this is totally the case for all, it is for sure a tolling bell for a lot of people.

Ars Technica’s review does bring up some an interesting point:

It’s best to think of the iPad Pro as a starting point, especially for iOS 9. These multitasking features are still brand-new, and there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit to pick in future iOS 9 revisions and into iOS 10. My biggest gripes with the iPad Pro are with the software rather than the hardware, and that means that most of them can be fixed given enough time and enough feature requests.

I totally agree with this, again it is a software problem not a hardware problem. The issue becomes how to solve for this without compromising the security and ease of use of iOS.

MacStories review sums it up as such:

The iPad Pro is the iPad I didn’t know I was waiting for.

I can understand this from Federico as he has already bent his workflows to work with iOS limitations. Having more screen, memory, and processor for someone who is already comfortable working in the ecosystem would make them giddy.

All in all I’m curious to try one in hand, as the size in hand when not doing productivity work on a desk may be too big. Much of my current iPad use in bed, reading, or playing games. Is it too big and unwieldy for those uses? I really would like to have a good integrated pencil in a smaller form factor if the size proves too large.

iPhone 6S Plus First Look

iPhone 6S Plus
iPhone 6S Plus

Make no mistake, it is big and a bit unwieldy. Surprisingly though, it is not so big that you can put it in your pants front pocket (I’m not one of these back pocket people). Coming from a iPhone 5S, it feels massive, almost like I have a iPad mini in my pocket. In my right hand it feels just fine, but does feel a tad big for my left hand. I don’t use a case on any of my phones and I’ve noticed with the rounded edges of this generation of iPhone, I feel like it can more easily be dropped. There isn’t that sharp edge to dig into your fingers to give you some grip.

The Good:

  • The screen size. It feels just so much more useful. The landscape format of some of the apps like Safari and Mail make it almost so that you don’t need something bigger on short trips.
  • It is so much faster. The performance makes my iPad Air feel slow and lethargic. This phone is one that can definitely be used as a mini tablet replacement if need be. Paired with a keyboard and some sort of display adapter could easily make it a very lightweight computer.
  • So far battery life is amazing. I can go a full 2 days without a charge and still have battery left over when I plug in at night.

The Bad:

  • The size. There is a bit of remorse when I opened the box. The previous iPhone 5S screen size was almost invisible in your pocket. The Plus, well you know it is there.
  • The rounded edges make it a tad bit slippery. Much more so than previous versions of the phone.

iPhone 3G and iPhone 4 History at iMore

iMore has a few good articles that will take you down a trip down memory lane. My first iPhone was a 3GS. In two days after playing with an iPod touch I realized that an always on data connection and a phone would make total sense. Having just come from a Palm Treo, I actually got a phone that worked and had a vibrant app ecosystem. Even that early in the iPhone’s existence it make the Windows Mobile app store pale in comparison. I switched to AT&T and left Sprint in the dust, granted not shortly thereafter Verizon and then Sprint got it.

iPhone 3G

iMore – History of the iPhone 3G –

I kept on the S revision bandwagon with the 4S. It was my second iPhone and having been through hell and back when upgrading my previous windows phones, I was worried about the process. Taking a full backup and then restoring it back onto a new phone just sounded as if it would be a disaster. In the end, it all turned out fine and I was sold. The 4S had a retina screen which looked beautiful and I became an fan. My next purchase was an 1st generation iPad. After that was a 2010 MacBook Air, and a 2010 iMac. Both of which I still use, and enjoy. Amazed that all these in-place OS upgrades haven’t made a difference.

iPhone 4

iMore – History of the iPhone 4 –

AnandTech Reviews the 6TB Western Digital RedPro HDD

AnandTech has a good writeup taking a look at the 6 TeraByte version of Western Digital RedPro Drives. These are the 7200 rpm versions of their Red NAS line designed to be in racks with up to 16 drives with firmware tuned for NAS applications.

I’ve been using some of the 3TB non-Pro versions in my Drobo 5N for some time now with good results. I don’t need the extra speed and heat that the Pro models have. I also only need drives tuned to work together in a box with 5 or less bays in it.

Check it out here: AnandTech – 6TB Western Digital RedPro HDD

The Pono Player last gasp

ArsTechnica reports that Neil Young’s Pono Player is facing some tough times right now. Not having much more capital left, they are unable to expand to new markets.

It is hard for me to believe there is any real growth in a market that even Apple, the portable music player leader, is pulling back from. Having recently demoted iPods to the accessory rack in their own stores, nothing more could signal weakening demand. Couple that with the fact that no one can easily tell the difference between the “hi-fidelity” pono player and “lower quality” music players, spells a tough business case for expansion.

The dire market and business case also tells why it is difficult for them to find a CEO. I don’t think anyone will want to take that position without a bit of a parachute and an assurance.

The player is definitely something niche that could fill a role, but it is definitely something that will never be much more than that.

ArsTechnica: “Lack of Resources” keeps Neil Young’s Pono Player from expanding

Downtown Landis NC – 2012

While riding around in the country to snap some shots, I wondered into Landis NC. About 30 minutes up I-85 between Kannapolis and Salisbury is this small town that makes you think time forgot it. There is a rail line that runs right through the center of town, with a mill (still running) on one side and downtown on the other.

These are a few of the shots (more to come) with a few worked on to make them have a bit more of that old time feeling.

Office 2016 for Windows

Microsoft is looking to release Office 2016 next month bringing the version to the same version of Office for the Mac. A leaked screenshot was released at Ars Techinca. So far it looks like it is not much of a feature upgrade, but mostly an aesthetic update. The biggest change is the title bar being the bright flat color of the icon. This is similar to the Windows store versions of the Office suite, but with all the functionality.

I’m not sure if this is what everyone had it mind when it MS promised that the new constant update cycle. I think more substantial feature changes on a quarterly-like cycle were more what we expected. I’ve always been skeptical that they would ever be a quick release cycle with major features.

ArsTechnica link: Office 2016 for Windows

The life of a long haul trucker

American over the road truck

This interesting article by esquire takes a look at a Canadian trucker who makes his living riding the roads of the U.S. And Canada. Always an interesting view of life on the road.

In an interesting twist he bashes the commercial driving regulations of the states, since he has to rake more breaks and be on the road less. It definitely goes against the usual narrative that the U.S. Is beholden to corporate interests and overworking people versus our neighbor to the north.

The fuel issue is one of economics I don’t think he gets as well. In the U.S. There is no reason for us to include additives, that are probably bad for the environment, in our fuel in that it never gets to negative 40 here ( in most areas). I would surely never buy warm weather fuel if I was heading to the frozen north. Sounds like certain death to me. The grueling life of a long haul trucker