Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Read Newsstand Magazines for Free on the iPhone

A very resource friend e-mailed me to let me know that Zinio is letting iPhone and iPod Touch users (and everyone with Safari installed) read mainstream magazines online.  

      

You're certainly not out of luck if you're not an iPhone user.  Some mobile devices allow you to install third party software.  If that is the case, you may be able to check out webkit or your mobile phone manufacturer to see if there's a solution for you.  Some Nokia phones have Safari-based webkit as their browser.  

And if you're a Windows users, Safari can be downloaded here. (Fatwallet has a forum talking about this and it seems like people are trying to figure out how to read the magazines without the iPhone or the iPod Touch.)

Zinio has a great selection.  US News, PC Magazine, Car & Driver, Macworld, Esquire.  And much much more. 

Yes, even Playboy.  People subscribe to them for the great articles.

No more need for that stack of magazine in the john.  Isn't technology wonderful?

Monday, May 26, 2008

EyeTV Streaming

I recently bought a Slingbox AV (from Amazon.com) because my mom wanted to be able to watch her international channels when she's at work (it's her business. She's the boss. So, hey).

Before that I was recording TV shows for her with my EyeTV 250 Plus. For those of you new to the Mac scene, El Gato's EyeTV 250 Plus is an excellent TV tuner that works great with the Mac and is integrated seamlessly with OS X, iTunes, and Apple's family of "i" portable gadgets.



Because her iPhone has only 8GB, I can only put about 4 hours of video for her (san the commercials - I'm a good son). But I got tired of the editing. It's very boring and tedious. Hence the Slingbox.

But the other day a friend e-mailed me with instructions on how to stream EyeTV videos to the iPhone or iPod Touch. I was excited. (It may be possible to watch live EyeTV stream from another computer over LAN.)

But I started thinking about the opportunities the Mac (I've got a Mac Mini) and EyeTV are missing. What if iTunes or EyeTV allows remote streaming? I've asked about this but there isn't a simple way that I have found that lets users stream recorded or live TV streams to another computer or iPhone.

If there's a way to do this easily, drop me a line.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

3G iPhone Is Here Already (Soon...maybe)

Import Genius is reporting the possibility of certain vaguely phrased shipping container manifests as possible signs Apple is stocking up on 3G iPhones.

It is not a tall leap to make this assumption. Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference is mere 16 days away and iPhone 2.0 will make it's debut out of beta and it will involve the new version of 3G iPhone.

Evidence has been building to support this assertion for months and from multiple sources. References to a 3G chip began to appear on iPhone 2.0 beta software released to a month ago. Many mobile carriers from Japan to Europe and Canada with 3G-only networks have recently announced plans with Apple to release the iPhone in their territories. AT&T employees are being asked to defer vacation or time-off for the early summer months (the same thing was done last year for the iPhone launch.

With billing of lading numbers and customs declarations belonging to Apple or partners it has done business with on the past, Import Genius has built on a collection of information without actually saying the products in those containers are actually 3G iPhones.

It may well be true. However, it is conclusive evidence. Apple has long find its position and its products innovative and it could well be another way Apple is saying conventional customs declaration does not do justice to its consumer electrontics. Apple executives has said that the multitouch iPod and iPhone represent a new mobile platform.

Import Genius also provided dates as far back as March when Apple was still in its 3rd quarter of selling the current iPhone and investment banks were speculating a slowdown in iPod and iPhone sales during that period but Mac sales blew past Wall Street expectations.

It is also entiring conceivable these additional containers for Apple could be the result of Mac growth and recent analyst reports on renewed iPod growth. The fact that these containers were shipped to Ingram Micro offers stronger likelihood that most of these containers contained Macs and iPods.

The 3G iPhone will be announced on June 9, 2008 and further information will be released whether it will be immediately available. The current iPhone was announced at Macworld 2007 and released on June 29, 2007 to great fanfare.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tricorders - Soon in Med Kit Near You


Say you’re on a camping trip with your family. It’s a nice spring day and everyone’s having a great time. Then your uncle decided to be adventurous but he took a little tumble and some unfortunate forest plants happened to be there and they happily broke his fall.

Then he said, “I think I broke something.”

Everyone rushed over to see how he was. To the naked eye, he looked fine. Still, your uncle seemed to be in quite a bit of pain. You’re calm and in control and you asked for the first aid kit. Cousin Sylvia handed it to you and opened it up took out a palm-sized device that every mistook for a cell phone.

Everyone wondered if you were trying to call for help. You opened up the clam-shelled device and it immediately turned on. You pressed a few buttons and the device cheerfully beeped back. You directed the device at your uncle and there was some readouts on the LCD screen.

You read it and said, “Looks like you have some cuts but they’re not deep. We can take care of it here. There’s nothing broken but you did sprained your left ankle.”

Such a device will one day be standard in a first aid kit, doctors’ offices, hospitals, or the pockets of any health care providers if the new multispectral imaging technology from Georgia Tech is as promising as researchers have indicated.

Provided with specific parameters and standards, the device can be an effect diagnostic tool in a myriad of different fields. FDA inspectors, chemical engineers, and law enforcement investigators will have a power weapon that allows them to make on sight analysis that might otherwise require samples be collected and sent to laboratories for test results.

This new technology, dubbed the “narrowband filter mosaic”, is capable of scanning different spectrums that would otherwise require bigger machines and time. This will no doubt remind Star Trek fans of the ubiquitous device known as the “tricorder”.

Due its low cost, this “tricorder” technology could be one day be a standard feature on mobile phones that help specialists out in the field without carrying additional equipments, providing additional savings.

Now if they can only tell the difference between human and Romulan life signs, then we’re money. Get to it, folks.

More Information here:



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Napster to Apple and Amazon: Take that and that!

Why…won’t…you…die?

                    

Once the bane of the music industry, Napster has been shut down, given a second chance at music scene, then put on virtual life support, and now it’s back again.

Millions of DRM-free MP3 songs are now for the taking (after paying 99 cents for each song.  Then it’s for the taking).   Six million songs to be exact. 

While Amazon has had a lead in the DRM-free MP3 for months, it has done well but yet to catch Apple’s music store due the ease of use of iTunes and iPod’s dominant position in the portable music device market. 

However, Napster, the former MP3 bad boy, could have the name recognition in music that Amazon does not have.  Only time will tell if Napster can still matter but with more players in the market, it’s a big win for music lovers.  Some details:

  • 256Kbps encoding
  • Album art
  • No software support for importing into iTunes (Amazon has support for iTunes)
  • Watermarks

Could this also put a dent in piracy and loosen iTunes’ hold on the legal downloadable music market or will this be a battle for second with Amazon?

Here’s what others are saying:

  • ·Wired – details about watermarks
  • ·CNet – some information for current Napster customers
  • ·Electronista – Napster leads with 6 million DRM-free songs, followed by Amazon at 4.5 million and iTunes trailing at 3 million.
  • ·Apple-friendly sites believe Apple is being punished for not accepting terms more friendly to the music studios, thus only half the available DRM-free music of Napster is offering.  Apple still boasts the largest online music store for downloads.

Where do you buy your music?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bill Gates to OLPC: Meet Windows

The worst kept secret in open source laptop, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), is finally official. It wasn't really a secret as working on getting XP to install in the XO received a lot of attention from OLPC enthusiasts. The XO laptop can now happily boot into Windows XP and happily endorsed by Nicholas Negroponte and OLPC program.

CNet (newest member of the CBS family)
NY Times (A lot more details)

While it remains to be seen just how this will impact deployment of XO laptops and what flavor most nations/organizations will go with, Microsoft's participation is an endorsement of the effort to bring affordable technology to children in third world nations.

So far, deployment of the XO laptops in its current form has fallen short of expectation given the high profile attention granted OLPC when it was initally announced in 2005. Saddled with delays and rising costs, it was finally settled at less than $200, more than twice the lofty goal of $100 laptops. Nevertheless, the XO laptop is a great engineering achievement for a nonprofit organization and its stringent guidelines.

The success of the Give One Get One (G1G1) was also a testament of the viability of this concept. In late 2007, the G1G1 gave users in North America the opportunity to purchase an XO laptop at $400, included a tax-deductible contribution of $200 as donation of another laptop to a child. (However, G1G1 was marred with numerous delays and avoidable mistakes)

Details are still not clear what the drama is that finally led to this. Negroponte is not known to be Microsoft-friendly. It is possible that Negroponte realized the state of OLPC as not as promising as he had hoped and having Windows XP could change all that. Perhaps, it also explain the exodus of OLPC executives in the last six months.

OLPC News (headline "Windows XP on the XO Laptop - Microsoft Buys Out OLPC") was blunt in its criticism of this development while others took it more in stride, perhaps waiting for more details from OLPC. Microsoft has indicated XO laptop with Windows XP will start rolling out of factories in June.

Sugar Versus XP. Sugar, the Linux OS that is being replaced with Windows XP was part of an open source project with the participation of many developers who proudly strove to make it a success. In a sign of appeasement to original adopters and developers who would certainly feel slighted by this latest development, OLPC said future XO laptops will have the ability to dual boot into Windows XP or Sugar.

If history is any indication, Sugar will receive less support over time but a core group of devotees will make a stand and continue to support it even without official acknowledgment.

In the end, the face, or rather the interface, of the XO laptop will be changed forever - only time will tell if this new alliance between OLPC and Microsoft will have the effect that Negroponte hope for. For the sake of its intended target, if this does not work, it would be a considerable blow to bring affordable technology to children in third world nations.

Facts:
  • Microsoft will receive $3 for each copy of Windows XP deployed in an XO laptop.
  • Production of XO's installed with XP will begin in June.
  • There will be additional cost added to the final cost of the XO due to hardware changes to run Windows XP.
  • Some information from laptop.org on working with Micrsoft. Porting was done entirely by Microsoft.
  • Original promise battery life for the XO was 24 hours.
  • Hardware specifications
  • Current news on the state of the OLPC project




Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mac Touch or iPhone X2?

Original Source:  ZDnet Germany

ZDnet Germany  has quoted Intel’s German chief confirming Apple will be using the upcoming Atom chip from Intel in its new iPhone.  A quick spin around the Web realed this story was picked up by a quite a few sites but not as much as one would expected for a story of this magnitude.  Perhaps, it points to the improbability of an Apple product announcement that did not come from its messianic CEO. 

Gizmodo

The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Macworld UK

  Appleinsider

MacRumors

So, what’s being reported.  A device larger than the current iPhone with higher resolutions is being fitted with the yet to be released mobile Atom chip from Intel.  Please visit Appleinsider for a mockup.  Given the rumors swirling around the design change of the new 3G iPhone, it is anyone’s guess what the final form factor will be like.

Knowing Apple’s almost close attention to detail on designs in the past, the form factor of this new device, iPhone X2 (that’s what I’m calling it), will need to work hand-in-hand with the features.  The design that works for the iPhone or the iPod Touch does not mean it will work for the iPhone X2. 

So,  there is it.  Directly from Intel Germany.  Not Apple itself. 

 

Different takes on it.  When Apple releases this device, it will not be just another iPhone that’s supersized.  It may simply be called Macbook Touch as it is possible that it will include more advanced features than the iPhone. 

 The Atom chip will afford Apple the opportunity to inject functionalities that the ARM chip inside the iPhone is too underpowered to do.  Multi-tasking, more multi-touch abilities, and even a real desktop environment that makes it more of a Macbook than an iPhone. 

 As far as the media and consumers are concerned, exciting things are being cooked up by Cupertino with whatever chip ingredients Intel can supply Apple.  Regardless of which this new device more closely resembles, iPhone X2 or Son of Newton, there have too many rumors and innuendos to not believe Apple will be developing a competitor to the UMPC's with their new mobile platform.

 But this device will not be coming on June 9 when Steve Jobs delivers the keynote for the Worldwide Developer Conference. 

 

Roughlydrafted’s Take from yesterday.  Only yesterday, Roughlydrafted pointed out the unlikelihood of another Apple device this year.  Some of the arguments makes sense.  You’re already coming out with the 3G iPhone.  Apple likes to make sure their product launches do no overshadow those of another.  One except was the launch of the Motorola ROKR phone that supported iTunes.  Even then, that was overshadowed by the iPod Nano.  It was not difficult to surmise that Jobs did not care for that particular crippled phone. 

This is the year of the smartphones, specifically, the iPhone and the “iPhone killers”.  For business users, close attention will be paid to the 9000 model for an August launch and the unnamed/unannounced/rumored full-screened Blackberry.  Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 is one to watch for consumers.  It’s been a bit quiet from Nokia and Motorola lately on this front.  Palm has not made much noise either and will likely continue to bleed cash until 2009.  

Please visit and read their article.  It also pointed out how we will not be seeing a console from Apple (because it already has.  It’s called Apple TV).


What my take it.  What I want to see if this is true.  I don’t just want a super-sized iPhone.  It doesn’t do it for me.  It’s limited in scope and knowing the attention to detail and easy-of-use Apple will demand out of such a rumored device, it will not simply be a bigger version of the iPhone, iPhone X2.  

Apple does not need any advice from the media or users such as myself but here is it anyway:  take your time as you always do and make it right.  Jobs, terrorize your people.  Make them cry.  Make them miss their dinners.  Kids’ soccer games.  Church.  Just kidding.  Seriously, we want it today but it’s not going to happen.  We’ll be waiting just the same.

It will be telling when we do find out what Apple is going to be calling this new device.  A lot can be said in a carefully crafted name by Apple and where it sees this device taking the mobile computing industry.  To be sure, this iPhone X2 or Mac Touch will fit neatly between the different lines of Apple products and its launch carefully choreographed in the media and the minds of the consumers.  I’m sure the word “tablet” will not having anything to do with it.

So, it’s all conjectures on the part of everyone.  That’s what makes it so fun.  One thing about this tablet (oops!) is whether it exists or not:  the battery is not user serviceable.

Will I be getting one if by some miracle, Apple introduces iPhone X2?  Does the Earth go around the Sun?  


Summary:  Apple isn’t about to overshadow the 3G iPhone and launch of application store with the product of every gadget lover’s wet dream.  Sorry, everyone.  I want one too but I just don’t see it happening.  WWDC 2009, maybe.  Even Macworld 2009.  As an Apple fan and AAPL stockholder, I hope I’m wrong!

Lesson:  Unless its from Macworld, Worldwide Developer Conference, the usual one or two special media events, or Apple’s website (unless it’s been hacked.  To date, that has never happened), nothing is confirmed.  And if it sounds too good to be true, it always is when dealing with unconfirmed news about Apple.

Update:  Macrumors has posted a denial from Intel.  Told you so.  Their source came from Fortune

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New Full-Screened Blackberry?

 Original Source:  The Boy Genius Report

This BGR rumor has been circulated by dozens of Internet sites from Wired to Apple-centric rumors/news sites.  So, it’s why there was no real update on mobile phone units yesterday. 

 Basically, RIM is rumored to be developing a full screened Blackberry.  Verizon Wireless will be the initial carrier.  No word on what consumer-focused features or how much memory it will have.

 Oh, I’m sure that when this happens, there’ll be something in the press release along the line of  “we decided to have a full screened phone and our customers love the bigger screen.  And someone will ask about the keyboard and we’ll get some baloney.  Just be honest.  You are playing catch up with the other players and realize there is a place in the Blackberry lineup for a full screened smartphone.   

Anyway, please visit Boy Genius for the specs.  I don’t’ want to list it because it’s his/their great work.  And in case you don’t read that article through the end, they’ve noted the big mockup of the Blackberry 9500 is a mockup.  Oh, I already said that by calling it “big mockup.

In our segment I like to call, Wishful Thinking Unless We Find Out Later  It’s True, Swisscom will has set up a page for the iPhone!  Here’s the wishful thinking part.  Le Matin Online has “concrete” features that will be included in the iPhone.  Video conferencing, GPS, and TV.  Yes, I too am doing my share of wishful thinking.


Mobility War

        VERSUS     

In the ongoing Mobility War, LiMo Foundation added Verizon Wireless as one of their newest members and will be sitting on the board of directors.  Could be that Verizon is looking to expand the number of OS’s that their phones run on and not really a diss against Android.  But it probably is.  It does say a lot about who they think their biggest problem in a year or so from now is going to be.  Palm, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile has so far done everything asked to do by the wireless giants.  So, the chess game continues.  Press release here and here.

This came after Google listed their round 1 winners of the Android Developer Challenge.  Here’s the same list but with a bit more description for some of the winners.


Okay, coffee breaks over.  Go back to work.