Archive for January, 2010
Image src from chick publications “Here he comes” (don’t google if easily offended)
Treehugger had a great post talking about how the green movement often parallels extremist religion in getting its message out. It’s a really interesting take and I agree totally that perhaps the reason that people believing in Global Warming has dropped below 50% is because the people pushing green ideas and conservation do sound like they’re trying to push their cult like beliefs on you.
“You shouldn’t eat that, it’s
meat not kosher.”
Mother Earth God suffered for your sins!”
“Aren’t you ashamed you’re
destroying the planet going to hell?”
wasteful consumerismsins will send us all to hell!”
I have to admit, listening to a lot of people who share the same beliefs as me proselytize about how we need to “protect mother earth” is such a turn off I want to join everybody else in denouncing them. One of my favorite bands even has a song about being sick of being preached to by celebrities.
I see this rejection of the green movement all over Utah, ironic since Mormon missionaries are experts at trying to force their beliefs on others. MANY people I know want to destroy the Earth faster just to spite people who preach a green lifestyle. And they’re dismissed because greens think that they must just be a “lunatic fringe.” But I agree with the green movement and at times even I want to spit in the face of people telling me how to think and what to do. Obviously there is a problem in how the message is getting out, not in how poorly people are receiving it.
I think I have a unique line on how to improve the message. Like I said I agree with most all of what the green moment preaches; however my appeal to it is my desire for efficiency in how we collectively impact the world as an organism. I want the same end result as the green movement of zero impact, but I reject the pushy messages same as red America.
Let’s face it Americans don’t like being told what to do. The first problem is saying, “You need to stop wasting resources.” Second problem is we don’t like being forced into having sympathy, “You need to quit using paper bags because logging is destroying the North Western Tree Rat’s ecosystem.”
Most Americans respond with, “I don’t care.” and the worst respond with, “Fine, I hope they die, and I hope they burn in hell!” The solution is to hit people in a softspot that even the most hardened beer swilling, rifle-hunting, red state American feels it; in the wallet.
I’ve always believed that the way to create converts to a green lifestyle is the same way Christmas was stolen from Christianity… Capitalism.*
Me:Us: “You should get a more fuel efficient car. Using less gas means you buy less gas, and that’s more money in your pocket.”
“Turn down your thermostat in winter. Your gas bill will be much smaller.”
“Use CF bulbs and turn them off when not in use. Using less electricity means you pay the electric company less.”
Them: “Doesn’t all that stuff cut down on pollution and lower humanities’ carbon footprint.”
Us: “I think so. But do you really care so long as you have more money for yourself? Think of the lower pollution as icing on the cake.”
Watch people flock to the green movement and an efficient earth friendly lifestyle after that.
*Capitalism is really just another religion, the ATM is the altar and I’ve seen many people pray before it to, “Please have money!”
Question to the religious: How many times have you visited the ATM and now many time have you gone to church in a week?
How much of your day do you dedicate to making money?
How many times have you decided to keep money for yourself when you saw situations where others needed it more?
Tablet Computing (Apple definition)
Well it’s the end of the day and the initial reports of the iPad are out. Many people including me said this would define what a tablet computer is and I still believe that. And like I also mentioned earlier, it’s disappointing because a tablet should be more than this.
It’s just a big iPhone, minus a few features; and other than a larger screen it adds nothing. While many of the “faithful” are trumpeting it, BGR called said that it “changes the course of history”, I think everybody is getting scammed paying for this when other devices do so much more.
Across the tech-o-sphere it seems that people aren’t as enamored over it as they have been with other new apple devices, however the original iPhone was similar. As people get some personal hands on time with this they may fall in love, it just may take 5-6 months to get the ball rolling (after sales begin).
Some gripes and suprises:
-THERE IS STILL NO FLASH. I know Apple doesn’t like flash but being compatible with the internet is a BIG deal. Even if Adobe AIR or Microsoft Silverlight take over you still need to be backward compatible. Not to mention that flash is still ALL over the internet and IF it does get overtaken it won’t be years still it’s phased out.
Major, Major, Oversight.
-No USB connectivity or SD card. Not a big deal but at the same time it’s so easy to add you just throw it on for pennies and the additional functionality of the device is boosted far beyond parts costs. This was left off to limit what the device can do and kepp control in Apple’s hands.
-The standalone price is nice but more than a netbook, much more ($700) if you want even 64GB onboard which is standard in the $400 netbook range.
-3G is available but is ANOTHER BILL on top of your iPhone.
This is also unacceptable, the iPhone contract should cover the tablet. Nobody who owns both are going to use both concurrently but they will be charged for both concurrently, a net win for AT&T.
-Its interface is pretty but nothing that any other developer couldn’t have done on other tablets. People say windows or Linux is bad for tablets; people who say this WANT a tablet to be a big smartphone. And even if you think the Desktop OS is bad for tablets it’s not hard for any third party company to skin it with something that has big glossy buttons for people with no eye-hand coordination.
-Making the processor in house is cool. But it also means this thing can be locked down and never hacked or played with by modders. Not a big deal on sales corporate level but it is a big deal with the hardcore user community.
-I can’t believe there is no camera for impromptu video web chats over skype, that idea seemed very “Apple” to me, oh well. I never would have wanted a camera on the back to take pictures, that’s really not the job of a tablet.
-I’m glad it’s compatible with bluetooth keyboards but charging $70 for a Apple keyboard+dock is highway robbery. However Apple peripherals have always been pricey.
-Not really sure what what GPS capabilities are. Haven’t seen anything saying “It has GPS!”.
-Not really sure if it has a mic input anyhwere (the 3.5mm jack may be headphones only). Skype and voice communications or recording of any kind may be impossible either way you cut it.
Compared to my earlier predictions on the 19th I got 77% percent!!!
I went back and numbered my prediction list without changing the predictions. True or false 1-18 the results:
77% accuracy, Nostradamus level!
I only used the first 18 predictions since those apply to release day although 20 and 21 have already come true. Fun game, too bad it’s a work night or I’d turn it into a drinking game.
UPD: the AR comment as well.
It’s far too long from anything to be more than wild rumor but this is the second time I’ve seen a rumor that Windows Mobile 7 may not be backward compatible with older Windows Mobile versions, and this time from a reputable source. Ina Fried: Cnet news.
Although Microsoft has typically been loath to make major changes to the desktop version of Windows at the expense of compatibility, the software maker appears ready to make a bigger break with its mobile past–a sensible move given its declining share of both the market and developer interest.
Bummer since about 30% of my apps stopped being supported before 2006 but I’ve hung onto them through each upgrade. Luckily they’re all pretty minor. Plus I was contemplating changing OS’s so it’s not like this wasn’t a possibility all along.
However a re-write major enough to break compatibility is a big thing. Possibly major Kernel changes, interface changes, everything you can think of is possible.
Microsoft may be re-writing their phone OS taking into account all their previous history on phones and PDAs and incorporating more recent trends like iPhone OS, webOS, Android, Zune, etc.
Just what I was expecting 10” iPhone. Images from Engadget live blog.
You have to be kidding me.
Looks like big iPhone.
Big keyboard, takes up half of screen. Getting used to this will be like getting used to 9” netbook… Painful.
My first impression is that the bezel is pretty dang big.
But now you can browse full size webpages instead of smartphone scrolling. And while HD Youtube was mentioned I want to see HD video H.264, and is the tablet missing flash?!?!
Thanks to Engadget. Sorry for adding 300 extra views to your bandwidth.
From Japan Probe comes a clip from Japanese TV profiling a Japanese iPhone app company who has made an app that digitally ages your face.
I’d make fun of it for being yet another pointless “fart app” for the phone, except that it actually seems to be pretty well done. It looks like it’s aging video and not just throwing a Photoshop type filter over a face. The programming to make the aged face overlay the normal face it pretty impressive. Even more impressive if this is done in real time “augmented reality” style (but I don’t think it is).
Second is the fact that this simple iPhone app is already doing a better job than the FBI is for tracking down the worlds most wanted man.
Their app looked more realistic and didn’t resort to splicing together a terrorist with a Spanish Politician who criticized the war on terror.
But I still don’t know about the name. “Hourface” reminds me too much of 1-900-OKFACE.
With that device coming out a lot of people are excited that how we do computing is about to be changed forever. Now the articles and posts about how we’re about to “move into the future of computing” are flying all over the place in the buzz charged atmosphere.
I’ve posted many times in the past that while I think a lot of cool innovations are out there waiting to be put into practice a lot of other “innovations” are actually far more tedious than they look at first. There are two specific articles I want to counterpoint here both are great but at the same time they point out exactly what I’m talking about with over engineering how we interact with computers in exchange for “Gee-wiz” effects that aren’t actually productive and become overly complicated or relatively useless once the initial gimmick wears off.
First we’ll start off with Gizmodo’s The Tablets of Our Dreams by Wilson Rothman.
The video they made is pretty cool but I agree with one of the commentators that the best tablet was commandments 11-15 that Moses “lost” on the way down Mount Sinai.
Seriously through as much as I like the computers in Avatar and Minority Report they just aren’t practical or simple as computers in real life. This comment from he site sums it up best:
I’ve come to the sudden realization that the ONLY reason to make a see-thru display is so that you can be filmed working on the computer, and still have the your worried expression on your face be visible.
It’s so true. Just adding a little transparency to windows so I can see the desktop image behind is far too distracting except for programs I’m deliberately trying to ignore.
I remember on Avatar one person at a computer station had a 120 degree wraparound screen; and to scroll left or right the whole chair, desk, and screen rotated and the image stayed still. It was so backwards from any logic. It’s like trying to move a car by moving the ground under it rather than moving the car itself. See, my computer comes with little scroll bars on the bottom so I don’t need a motorized chair to look at a panoramic image. That reminds me of something.
The Head: I see you’re lookin’ at my watch.
The Head: It’s cool, isn’t it? That’s a Japanese pie watch.
Liz: Oh, okay.
The Head: It tells time with those little pie pieces. Each piece is six minutes, so right now it’s… six times four… 5:30? That can’t be right.
Liz: My watch has these little hands that go around and point at numbers.
I could come up with about 20 reasons that chair computer would make sense, keeping spatial awareness while virtually operating a turret on a cool space cruiser in an epic space battle etc. But none of what was on this movie or what would be applicable outside a geeky sci-fi movie. She had the transparent screen too…
Minority report had a tablet as well, an especially pointless one that reproduced sneakernet. I’ve got a better deployment connecting computer to computer in my bedroom, it’s wireless, and even if the network goes down I can use a $5 USB key to move profiles on Pre-crime suspects from one computer to another without spending whatever a glass screen tablet costs.
Iron Man is another great example of our imagination outpacing practicality. Gizmodo uses an awesome clip where a holographic representation of a suit component is displayed and reacts to Tony Putting his and in and reacts if it physically existed. Ultra cool and actually maybe possible someday. However in the movie about 5-6 montage cuts before that he’s looking at a diagram of his destroyed suit (don’t ask how the computer got the 3D representation of a suit destroyed in Afghanistan). To remove the unneeded components he waves his hand in a circle and swipes it to the trash. You can try this at home, drag a lasso around all your icons and hit the delete button.
The computer somehow magically knows what equipment he didn’t want and selects only those components and trashes them, leaving just the components he wants to keep. This is perfect example of impossible technology yet all these futuristic implementations depend on it to work. Minority Report was the same where Tom Cruise could do simple gestures in a general direction and the computer didn’t only know what windows he wanted out of many but it opened it to the specific evidence he needed. Just hold your arm out and twirl your wrist, the computer does all the thinking for you!
Notice any real implementation of technology in that gizmodo clip is as simple as pinch to zoom effects or pointing and dragging an icon from one place to another. And not only did it contribute nothing to displaying information better but it was most likely timed, tested, and practiced before going live to make sure that the right effect would show when Rasheed Wallace was dragged to the middle of the screen. As the newscasters all smile and cheer the effects all tech people watching can do is groan that these newscasters would probably be extremely happy to play with a ball of string or a shiny piece of foil.
Which brings us to Engadget’s editorial by Paul Miller “10 outdated elements of desktop operating systems”. Again it’s a great article with many good points but some major things were overlooked in the tech junkie excitement we all fall prey to from time to time. Let’s run through his 10 outdated elements.
1. Windows Management
This is one I wholeheartedly disagree with, especially now that I have a huge 23” flatscreen with tons of real estate for multiple windows. If you have more than 20” and still run windows in full screen you should seriously get used to moving smaller sized windows around, for one thing web pages are optimized much smaller than you’re getting at 1920×1200.
And this is why I disagree with Paul’s affection for individual screens that you slide from left to right like Web OS. It works great on 4” phone screens but not on desktops. The alternate GUI mentioned later, 10/GUI, works the same way with the same argument. But both are steps back not forward, they make sense if you spend a lot of time looking at a small screen but on large screens individual windows rule.
As I type this I actually have about 4 things going on at once and I can monitor all at once thanks to a window based GUI, not to mention all the cool addons that Win7 added to improve window based interactions.
In fact I haven’t got anything to hide… So here’s a screenshot of right now. It’s a bit more cluttered than normal but it’s late and I start multitasking while blogging, besides with Windows 7 all I have to do is click the bottom right corner to minimize all. Most Desktop OS’s have something similar
No number of multi-touch gestures can make up for only showing one screen at a time when compared to a windowed desktop. And I don’t even twitter, facebook or AIM. Imagine if I could just pack my feed or chats off to the sides instead of having to keep swiping through 7-10 screens just to see a new message.
2. Inappropriate Touch.
Again, I like multi-touch but only in small to moderate quantities. Paul has the same opinion of most everybody that fell head over heels with the iPhone when it came out with multi-touch. When new equipment comes out people fill the comment boards with “Multi-Touch or fail”.
This ignores the fact that pointing at what you want is the simplest, easiest to understand gesture in the animal kingdom. Even chimps can do it. To say that point and click is outdated is foolish. You want to open something reach forward to the icon and tap it, that’s how a mouse works and now that we have touchscreens you can do it with your finger.
But I do like a few additional gestures on top of point-click. Pinch zoom is nice even if scrolling a mouse wheel is not any more work (in fact it’s less). And the two finger scroll swipe on my netbook is a life saver. But it can go too far. Watch the video for 10/GUI, the alternate GUI that is mentioned by Paul at the end of the article. It’s a cool idea and they make a lot of good points, however they take gestures too far.
About half way through if you feel lost or as if you’re back in college and you have to take notes so you can pass the quiz at the end don’t feel bad. By the last 1/4 of the video you realize you’re watching an “inappropriate touch”, any system that requires you to study to use it is not intuitive. I call it the Linux conundrum, I shouldn’t have to consult a book full of gestures to perform simple commands on a computer like sorting through windows. Without watching the video again do you remember the process to “alt-tab” to another window? Was it more complicated than hitting two buttons with your left hand?
3. Lack of integration with browser, websites and webservices
I agree with this one.
I love having a browser that can take me to any tool on the internet but then I need a huge list of bookmarks to get to all of them. Dedicated simple apps for common actions is great. Just don’t overdo it and end up with 10 pages of apps so that you can never find the one you’re looking for.
4. Power management, graphical hardware management
Desktops don’t have this problem. If you think they do you haven’t been learning your computer’s potential or are still using an OS from 2000 or earlier.
Some programs even skin the interface and features for added abilities. Not only can my netbook setup as many custom power profiles as I want but I can use the proprietary software which switches me to low power mode while on battery and high power mode when plugged in automatically. I’ve even seen programs that change your settings depending on your appointment calendar.
Again this is a problem that only people who spend too much time looking at a smartphone screen or typing up blog entries while sitting at the coffee shop experience; desktops themselves don’t have this issue. I myself would easily fit in the top 5% of mobile power users of computer users and I no longer have this problem as Paul describes. Both my phone and netbook can last a whole day with moderate to heavy usage and they charge while I sleep. Ready to be unplugged and run on battery as I leave in the next morning; and as an added bonus they sync and backup their data as I sleep.
5. No unified notification tray
I agree with this too. Each OS should have a standards based tray that notifications and basic info can be sent to. Mix Growl and widgets together, standardized cross platform support and I’m happy.
6. Lack of standardized hardware targets for gaming
I choose games I like, I don’t really care if they make the most of my computer hardware, and I can rad the Minimum requirements on the box to see if the game is too much (it never is). So I don’t really care one way or the other.
Yeah, we all wish Microsoft wasn’t a virtual Monopoly, but all the free alternatives still suck. Besides thanks to deal watching I haven’t spent more than $100 in OS’s since Windows 98. And I’ve done it all legally and running Professional or other Advanced/Ultimate/DataCenter versions.
8. Complexity leading to click abundance
Agree 100% +1 +1 +1
Photoshop and the new MS Office suite piss me off trying to find what I want to do. And it’s always simple stuff, like trying to find the setting so that Word doesn’t double space for this frigging post.
9. Independence from mobile phones
Skype, Google Voice, other VoIP options kind of do this already.
The big hold up here is the fact that nobody I know has VoIP solutions or like most of us are tied to the Cell providers because they run as a consortium making sure competition to their monopoly is un-challenged. I agree with Paul here too but I’m a realist, this will never change, you’ll always have a cell provider ripping you off for either phone service or mobile data service. As Austin Powers said, “Yay Capitalism!”
10. Lack of purpose and excitement
I was excited with Windows 7. It improved just about everything it could.
The Problem that Paul and many others who want something “New and Better” is that:
A – They don’t know what they actually want, they’re just hoping Jobs will tell them. And
B – when it actually comes it will be a whole new learning curve that will contrary to what they know and like.
The second point is the key here. Microsoft did it with Office 2007. We were finally getting used to finding everything with Office 2003 then they changed everything in a relatively small way and now we all have to retake those moronic Computer Basics college classes just to find where they put the Spell and Grammar Check section (seriously, why are so many frequently used settings not on the main toolbar!?!)
If there’s anything I’ve learned in the tech industry is that when you put out a major change that you think will “excite people” they’ll revolt because it’s different than what they’ve learned over so many years, just read the feedback on facebook whenever they make an update.
Now I know that it sounds like I’m just pessimistic about change and innovation and who knows maybe my 30’s will be the start of the grumpy old man phase of my life. In reality I’m really excited with all the technology developed in the last 10 years and the potentials just beyond the near horizon. But as tech geeks lets not get too involved in hoping that our Hollywood techno worlds come true. And definitely don’t fool yourself that Steve will make it come true next week, you’ll only be either disappointed or you’ll end up forcing yourself to believe it’s all that when it aint.
Like the adage we had in the Army, “Remember that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder.” in the tech world we need to remember that Hollywood sci-fi tech was designed by a prop artist for the purpose of plot development. It’s in no way tied to reality or practicality. No scientists have researched it, no programmers have beta tested it, and no company in their right mind would try to market it knowing how much it would cost when compared to a desktop and mouse.
The world as we know it runs by one rule, whatever is cheapest and simplest will be what people prefer.
Still I’m excited, cheap touch screens have finally brought us to the point where the keyboard and mouse will finally be joined with direct input into the computer. And while I predict that Jobs won’t revolutionize the computing experience as much as most zealots would like to think, it will still be more cool new toys and ideas to work with. And even if the next year is not one of revolutionary change it will be a great step forward.
Ok, it’s not that futuristic but it’s a nice little step.
I can’t believe I’ve never seen these before, it’s basically an electronic whiteboard. But it’s not like a full touchscreen device, it doesn’t use power to keep it’s image, just to covert and erase. So it uses a watch battery for power that lasts 50,000 erase cycles.
The thickness if 1/8 of a inch and it’s half the size of a piece of paper. Because of the nature of how it works it’s not good for long term notes, any additional pressure will cover your existing notes (don’t put it in a bag). But that’s exactly the same problem of a dry erase board.
At home we have a dry erase board on the side of the fridge that we write what is needed from the grocery store. Then when somebody makes a trip they can add those items to the list then clear the list.
Next to my computers I leave a pad of paper as a quick scratch pad to write registration codes or IP addresses when I’m fixing computers.
Both situations I’d love having a device like this. Replacing 50,000 sheets of paper with a cool electronic gadget is what I’m talking about!
I’m not a big Hilary Clinton fan but I definitely agree with some of her statements that the internet should be open and free. If anything I’ve learned from my decade and a half of message boards, mailing lists, and chat rooms is that the internet’s key feature is the ability of people to gather and discuss, with all the good and bad that entails.
Of course the comments are a thinly veiled threat at China and their firewall blocking anything that paints the country in a negative light. China has already reacted, probably because of the stir Google caused earlier, by denouncing Clinton’s statements as damaging to bilateral ties between the country calling it “information imperialism”.
Boy, talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
Ma defended China’s policies promoting the Web, saying the nation boasted more than 380 million users, 3.6 million Web sites, and 180 million blogs.
“The Chinese Internet is open and China is the country witnessing the most active development of the Internet,” Ma said, adding that China regulated the Web according to law and in keeping with its “national conditions and cultural traditions.”
The mind boggles. Somebody needs to tell them that the number of people using the internet has absolutely no bearing on how much freedom those people have.
It’s amazing that China has effectively been able to rewrite their own history through information control. Most Chinese don’t know the significance of Tiananmen Square, the protests there, or the massacres that occurred in the area in 1989. I remember watching a show where they interviewed students at the China University of Political Science and Law, where the protesters originated from, and showed them the iconic picture of the man standing in front of the tanks the day after the massacres asking them if they recognized it.
None recognized it, and only few knew that it was tied to an important event in China’s history. Most thought it looked like a parade, exhibition, or some celebration.
To think that even with the masses of information the internet makes possible, the Chinese state has been able to keep its citizens from learning recent history. The anonymous man who is seen as a hero for freedom and peace through the world is unknown in his own county.
The second thing that amazes me from a technology standpoint is how much power google has now where their actions and simple refusal to continue to bow to the government of China can put the Chinese and American Governments so much on edge that simple discussions on the freedom of the internet by the US can be damaging to bilateral ties.
Clinton is right, the internet is a new world where people can freely come together. The power of the recent events with China is proof that freedoms in the real world need to be carried over to the virtual world.
Damn this site is skinny.
I won’t go into it too much, it’s shocking that Apple would integrate a Microsoft product into their market dominator bla bla. I just wanted to point out that I’ve seen alot of positive feedback on Bing recently in addition to my own. They’re quickly catching up to Google in terms of product, then it’s just a matter of drawing customers away. It’s hard, firefox still has less market share than IE when it’s an arguable better product.
Still, even if Apple and Microsoft are able to strike a Bing-on-iPhone deal, Apple may have its own search solution up its sleeve. A source for BusinessWeek said that Apple has a “skunk works” to build its own search, and that a deal for Bing is merely “buying itself time.”
The point is that bing isn’t just a failed attempt, it’s a legitimate product worth checking out, enough that Apple will let it sit on the iPhone until they have another alternative to google.
Lala was recently acquired by Apple and now everybody is wondering how Apple will bring it to bear on the market. Michael Robertson makes a post at TechCrunch with some interesting tidbits on how this will play out.
Almost everybody assumed that iTunes would integrate lala’s 1 full play, then 30 seconds for every replay after that. However:
Lala will play a critical role in Apple’s music future, but not for the reasons cited above. Lala’s licenses with major labels are non-transferable, so they’re not usable for any new iTunes service. The 10 cent song rental model never gained traction and does not cover mobile devices thus is of little value to Apple.
That is an excellent point.
am was a long time lala user and when the new streaming features came I really wasn’t interested in it. Last.fm handles all my music streaming, and even Pandora has a better service IMHO. Lala is a bit more on demand but I don’t like taking the time to make playlists and usually listen to my own music on shuffle anyway. Last thing I’m going to do is rent songs for 10 cents.
And the fact that the streaming license doesn’t carryover is something I totally overlooked. Of course the big labels would never let their music be streamed free over the net to a mobile device, it’s so obvious now that it was never a possibility.
That just leaves the odd ability for lala to work as a cloud storage for your personal music as a potential benefit to Apple.
When this first came out on lala I was skeptical about the legalities and the privacy concerns for individuals uploading the music. Here’s how it works (or how it worked when they rolled it out).
Everybody doesn’t upload their full collections. There doesn’t need to be 1.5 million copies of “Toxic” by Britney Spears, just one copy that is registered to 1.5 million people. So when you’re uploading your music you’re really only uploading what music isn’t already in the cloud, it makes things easier on lala and is actually quite logical. Much like multicast vs. broadcast it makes use of the design of the internet to make more optimal use of data. Unless the uploaded copy is crap, in which case everybody with good music is forced to make do with bad music because somebody didn’t know how to rip.
All this works great if you listen to top 40 radio. If you’re like me and 20,000 of your 40,000 songs are from overseas and not available in the US, you’ll be uploading a lot of music. Which is how I found out that you can only upload 5000 songs before it quits (hopefully they removed this cap, or else you may only have A-C of your library in the cloud).
Add to this the fact that the lala software didn’t ask me to upload my music, it just assumed and started uploading without my consent. Now we see where my legality suspicions come in.
-First off I’m not sure from their description but they made it should like this pool of uploaded music was where their streaming service pulls from. Thus if I upload a Japanese indie band that is not available anywhere online, lala now has a copy and can stream their music in the radio (in addition to me and others who “upload” their libraries).
-Second, it seemed shady to take peoples music without their knowing. It’s like what got Kazaa shut down but in reverse, automatic sharing.
-Third a lot of people have music on their computer that they didn’t acquire legally. So if I rip my legally purchased copy of “Cosmogenesis” by Obscura, another person with a downloaded copy will be able to listen to my nice legal rip free of charge. Also people who download illegal music will be able to upload it to lala for themselves and others to listen to, thus lala is streaming illegal music.
The first point may not be illegal based of the way music royalties are paid, which contrary to logic or common knowledge is so backwards and double handed that it makes RIAA’s arguments against piracy seem incredibly hypocritical. So long as you pay your royalty to Sound Exchange you can play any music you want no matter what or who the artist is because theoretically the artist should get paid for it (but often doesn’t).
The second and third point may get under peoples skin when it comes to privacy. Basically lala’s cloud storage is creating a giant list of what music you have, and previously was doing this even without your knowledge. If a virus ran without your knowledge and catalogued your system’s files, then uploaded the info to a private business to use for their monetary gain would you approve of the action?
This doesn’t really bother me, but the “Tin Foil Hat” part of me doesn’t want to give that info out to a company. Especially a company that is so desperate to keep its license for streaming that it may make a deal with the record industry to share its database of ownership.
That is that valuable market research data that I don’t like being given away without letting me wet my beak with the money it makes. And imagine if you’re unfortunate enough to be one of those people who are served with a cease and desist or are sued for illegal downloading. A simple subpoena to lala and the record industry has proof that not only were you on a torrent tracker for a new album, but you downloaded it, kept it, and listen to it regularly.
Still, for apple to harness the power of every iPod, iPad, and iTunes connected device into a giant online cloud of accessible music is a massive achievement. This doesn’t just cement its position as a media provider it sets Apple up to be the media hub for the distribution of content to the world.
Considering that advertising while distributing is traditional media’s bread and butter this has to be have content holders shaking in their boots. Or at least they will when they realized that jobs can clinch even more control than he has now.
Ha Ha! Fooled you into reading!
With the big news just a week or so away I wanted to get all this down and time stamped so I could play “How right was I?” later on.
90% or more = Minority Report Precogs
75% or more = Nostradamus
50% or more = Miss Cleo
25% or more = Nicholas Cage in that stupid movie where he sees 2 minutes into the future.
My Apple iPad predictions:
2. 10” screen plus or minus a fraction of an inch.
3. No OLED
4. Thickness of .5 inch or less.
5. WiFi + Bluetooth. WiFi may required for certain web streaming features (to appease service providers)
6. iPhone to iPad Bluetooth tethering so that people don’t need to get a second data plan.
7. Optional 3G slot in case people want data only plan but don’t have iPhone.
8. MicroSD slot for storage expansion.
9. No USB ports. Dock/charger only. Headphone jack of course.
10. No video out. HDMI would have been awesome but “content must be controlled”
11. Front facing camera and mic for internet video calls. Well if a netbook can pull it off why not the iPad?
12. iPhone based OS, possibly identical to phone OS (think of version 4 being updated to handle resolutions larger than the iPhone but otherwise basically the same).
13. iPad will be able to handle HD video, but screen will likely be only capable of 720p (1280×768). 1080p will be shrunk to fit.
14. Main focus of the iPad will be multimedia. Video, music, TV (through appleTV or something, no integrated tuner), games, and e-reader stuff like magazines and newspapers. Major emphasis on video and games, secondary emphasis on e-reader functions.
15. iPad will also have full internet browsing functionality, not just iPhone optimized screens.
16. iPad will have Flash support. This will be a main focus of the device unveiling.
17. App store will allow apps that run on both, but existing apps would obviously need to be updated for larger interface. The store will list iPad compatible apps, so you will have iPhone only, iPad only, and both.
18. Non-iPad apps will run in a small interface, or 1/4 screen or something. With the Os so similar it’d be so easy to do that if Apple doesn’t it will be a missed opertunity.
Future Predictions in the week that follows announcement:
19. Jobs will hype phone to tablet tethering like he invented the idea. Although the reality is because people barely tolerate the plan prices on the iPhone alone and won’t spring for another data plan for a tablet.
20. High DPI (149 DPI by above HD resolution) will cause people to say “It’s the most beautiful screen on a portable device” even though many smartphones do better (mine has a DPI of 285, iPhone has 164).
21. In commercials and press images there will be many pictures of people in bed with their knees up and the iPad on their thighs. This is the only comfortable way to watch movies on a tablet for very long. Otherwise you may as well use a normal screen.
22. Everybody will ignore the elephant in the room that typing on the iPad soft keyboard screen is a bitch and a half. You not only have to set the tablet down on a flat surface, but the glare makes typing hard unless you hover directly over the tablet.
23. Similarly, people who badmouthed cramped keyboards on netbooks will be mum on the fact that two handed “ASDF JKL;” typing is hard as fuck on a touchscreen. But won’t stop touting that apple’s error correction algorithm makes up for it.
24. Apple’s typing error correction algorithm will be great and people will wish normal keyboards had it.
25. People will wail and moan how cool “augmented reality” would have been if the iPad had included a camera on the back.
26. Regardless of anything bad about it it will sell like hotcakes and become the bar upon which all tablets are measured.
27. I will continue to bad mouth the over-hyping of the iPad even though I post way too much on it. Hey, even I realize it will be a game changer, even if I don’t like it
And on that note I’m out (hopefully this is my last post on the damned thing till we actually see it).
Edited to add numbers. Predictions weren’t edited.
Devin Coldewey at CrunchGear has a mini rant on why the Dell 5” slate is too small. Actually it’s not a mini rant, it’s actually quite detailed and well thought out; but he’s still wrong (still a good read).
Basically he’s saying that the 3.5’ iPhone and 10” iPad define what people want so if any company comes out with something different from the mold they must be idiots.
I may be putting words in his mouth a bit but read it yourself; it’s very much to the tune that anything to different from apple is destined to fail. In other words don’t “Think Different”.
And from a sales perspective he may be right, PMP’s and small computing devices have traditionally sold like crap. A lot of people think this may even be the failing point with the Apple Tablet since so nobody has been able to make that form factor mainstream except maybe the Kindle.
But he makes a lot of the same wrong assumptions that other tech journalists have been making; let’s break a few down.
Small size and small price are coming together.
First off is the general ideal that PMPs are always destined to fail; while this has traditionally been true times are a changn’. Netbooks and smartphones have created a perfect storm for the era of the PMP and mid sized computing devices.
Historically it was very expensive to shrink full computers into sub-laptop sizes; nobody did it with much success other than a few expensive Sony devices. And then you’re stuck with a slow computer that costs more than a laptop. However now people realize that when mobile they don’t need full gaming computer functionality, just the basics of your average office computing and internet surfing. Average processing power and good battery life can now pack more feature than you need into a tablet sized device.
Second people didn’t think they needed advanced capabilities in a portable device. I remember showing my HTC Wizard to friends in 2005 and how I could surf the internet from anywhere in the US without a computer. Their reply was, “Why would I surf the net on such a small screen? All I need my phone to do is make calls and send texts.”
Two full years later the iPhone came out and now the same people rave about how much they can do with it. People want more than SMS in their pocket now.
Usage and interface
I’m not sure exactly what the draw is to small-screen devices like this. With phones and PMPs, the idea is that you operate them like an iPod: in your palm, with your thumb or the index finger of your other hand. Usually there is one point of contact, so UIs are designed around that.
Actually I use mine “Blackberry Style” thumb typing. Since my phone has a slide out keyboard it spends more time in landscape than in one hand stabbing at it with an index finger.
5” and 6” are the PERFECT size for this.
I could kind of do it with my 9” netbook but it was awkward. If you want to type on a 10” device you need to set it on your lap or something.
Optical track nubbins? Stylii? You’ll never break through with that kind of anti-fun going on with your device
I think anti-stylus sentiment is the mark of somebody without much imagination, or more likely just an iPhone junkie. If a stylus is REQUIRED for input it sucks donkey balls. But if it compliments a touch screen interface as a secondary input it’s far superior to a fat finger, much like adding a touch screen interface to a desktop OS is a nice added feature. It’s nice to have the alternative to use a stylus for delicate work, which is needed on small touchscreens no matter how nice the finger interface is. Plus my current phone has double the resolution of the iPhone in a .7” smaller screen, so a stylus allow much greater interaction when drawing or writing. When I quick sketch a diagram in One Note it doesn’t look like a 3 year old’s fingerpainting.
The reason I can play XCOM:UFO defense on my phone is thanks to the stylus. On an iPhone or finger only phone you don’t have the precision for RPG gaming. It also makes complex kanji on my Japanese input possible.
Most people bash WinMo because things like the close button are too small to hit without a stylus. But this isn’t true, you can still fat finger the button and the software estimates the center of pressure, just like capacitive phones. I’ve been thinking of making a video just to put online so that people can see that the difference between capacitive and resistive is minute.
People say putting a full desktop OS on a tablet will cause the same problem but it’s mind numbingly easy to remedy that, even without skinning the phone with a new interface. Just adjust the fonts size and accessibility settings and you can make those icons big enough that any monkey can hit them with their finger.
I agree, Apple WILL define what a tablet is…
…But I think it’s a bad thing. They’re under powering the tablet with a Phone OS. Many including Devin are already setting up Apple for the win by trying to convince people that this is a good thing and that only a 10” Apple iPhone Tablet can truly be defined as a tablet.
Other tablet-like products out there — convertibles, Windows 7 tablets, MIDs, high-end smartphones — either shrunk the desktop OS or added some functionality to a mobile one. So you’ve got a TG02 with a nice big 4″ screen (it’s gorgeous) — is that a tablet because it’s bigger than any other smartphone? No, it runs WinMo. Similarly, is a 6″ MID running XP a tablet? No, because XP and its applications aren’t tablet-friendly; maybe 7 is more so, but it’s still a desktop OS at heart.
Guess what Devin, Apple is likely going to be running iPhone OS on their tablet. So will this be a tablet because it’s bigger than the iPhone? By Devin’s own criteria, no, it’s just an iPhone, albeit a big frickin iPhone (I’m sure to him because it’s a still a tablet because a 10” iPhone is different than a 10” WinMo).
Using a full desktop OS on a 10” screen isn’t hard, many people have done it before in the days when VGA graphics and 13” screens were the standard on the desktop. Most people used XP on screens that had less resolution that many new tablets have. Squeezing that into a tablet isn’t a bad thing, and now that Desktop OS’s are a bit better at scaling to different screen sizes you can easily make icons finger friendly.
However many people are mistakenly thinking that tapping an icon is gong the way of the Dodo and multi-touch swipe gestures are the new thing. This is a load of crap, add too many types of gestures to learn and it’s no longer intuitive. Tap and Double tap make sense, pinch zoom is good, even two finger scrolling makes sense. But when you have “three fingers rotated 1/4 counter-clockwise while swiping up to maximize” you’ve gone too far.
When I say Apple will define the tablet, I mean that literally: it’s going to create definition. It’s actually much the same as with the iPhone: a stagnant device class with lots of potential, weighed down by traditional UI and input elements. Apple comes in like Alexander and cuts the Gordian Knot, defining an entirely different experience that resonates with consumers. Apple didn’t create the smartphone, but smartphones are now defined in terms of the iPhone.
And again I agree but while it excites Devin it saddens me the same way the iPhone’s popularity did.
The phone I had BEFORE the iPhone was released was a more capable device, it literally was a computer that was shrunk down to fit in my pocket. The PDAs I had before that were even more capable, the Dell x51 had a larger screen than an iPhone, double the resolution, a separate 3D graphics acceleration chip. I could telnet into routers through WiFi, stream music and video across my network, play games, surf the net, sniff and hack wireless APs. The only thing it was missing was a 3G mobile phone connection (and GPS but that’s less important).
iPhone came and set a standard but it set the bar low, unlike PDAs which were shrunken computers the iPhone was just a beefed up feature phone. Even now with the app store I’m frustrated with how limited they are in the way of capabilities and the locked down nature of or the OS itself, you can’t customize anything. At least if you don’t like Windows Mobile you can load a thirdparty program that skins it into an interface you like.
With the tablet Apple is looking to do the same. We can fit the full features of a desktop OS in a tablet, my Netbook runs Win7 professional for goodness sake. Why in the name of all that is wonderful would Apple port the already limited iPhone OS into it?! Even adding a few features like Flash, HD video, and a full browser doesn’t make up for it if it can’t be customized into MY device. It will always be what Steve wants to you to use.
“But Dustin! You will have more multitouch gestures to
Meh. I’d give up pinch zoom if it meant I could
copy/paste install my own apps, or customize the interface.
Or synch with third party software.
Or interact with open source frameworks.
Or add software that uses hardware on the phone.
Or add software that improves upon the phone’s software…
I’m moving the blog over to wordpress. As soon as I can pretty it up I’ll make the switch.
Old internal links might not work so well, and images may be lost until I can fix them.
I mentioned in a previous post that I was going to start trying out Microsoft’s bing search at work as the default search field in firefox. I’m starting to like it, enough that I’m converting over my home computer browsers as well. Apparently they’re getting more market share now and while it’s hard to say if most of that is because MS pushes it as the default in their OS I think some of it must be others like me who see some definite advantages over the almighty google.
I like the look a little bit better, I hate to think that it’s just a little background picture that is making such a big difference but the single column of google against all that whitespace is kind of irritating by comparison. It bugs me because I don’t watch TV much and the one Bing commercial I saw made a big deal out of this. The commercial was stupid but it was right.
Same with their tag line, “Make a *decision* with Bing” or whatever it was. I’m a master of finding what I need on google but it usually takes some time to trackdown useful data; like pouring through raw data to find hidden nuggets of useful info. Bing seems to parse what I need a little bit better without being an epic fail like Wolfram Alpha was. I’m not sure if it’s google’s popularity ranking for searches but they seem to bring a lot of the pointless chaff to the surface, when what I’m looking for is the actual data the chaff is based on (sorry if that is a bit confusing, it’s hard to describe).
The layout is a bit nicer with Bing; having a lefthand column again was cluttered at first but indispensable one I was used to it.
The video section plays an excerpt of the video when you hover over it, that’s a nice feature. It’s low quality preview thumbnails but that means it doesn’t take 20 seconds to download a preview. Type in your favorite band and try it out.
I don’t like the image search section as much as google, but mostly because I’m not used to the way they open the image back in the same window. I have to train myself not to middle click images into new windows, very annoying.
Google maps feature beats Bing hands down. And my two most used sections in Google, iGoogle and Google Reader don’t even exist in Bing.
I always liked google because it was a simple search engine but at the time things like Yahoo’s annoying ultra sponsored search was the comparison. Google is always making their search seem more simple but it’s still actually quite complex, all they change is the looks and frankly making your search engine into a giant whitespace is visually irritating to me. And even with the results all you have is a single column of result, the only other column is sponsored ads. Bing is still simple but a bit more visually appealing and the results seem to fit what you’re looking for a bit better.
Which is ironic because Google just started making their searches more location specific and it seems to have made searches worse in my opinion. Another instance of them over thinking a basic job and making it worse, maybe I’ll write a post on that later.
But for general web search, video, and possibly image search I think Bing actually has the better engine. I think people should give it a try for a couple weeks, they might be pleasantly surprised.