Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Apple Event: Transformative or Just Really About Music

I know there are those who think tomorrow's Apple event will be a game changer in mobile tech and transform how we consume media, specifically, video. While I hope for that to happen, I am no in that camp. As a matter of fact, I think tomorrow's event will be routine.

Well, for Apple, it's routine. For other companies, it might be extraordinary. But that's a post for another time.

For now, we can expect Apple to push consumer technology further by bring some iPhone 4 features over the iPod Touch. That much we are certain. Anything else would just be icing on the cake.

Anyway, tomorrow's event will be streamed live over the Internet. I think that alone should make this a memorable Apple media event.

Monday, August 30, 2010

No Bing For Me, Or Other Non-Verizon Users

I like trying new things, especially new apps and mobile tech. So when I learned that Bing will be available today, I waited patiently for it. When it didn't appear in the Marketplace, I started to dig around.

It turned out that Bing is only available for Verizon Wireless customers with Android phones. Hen this fact hit me: the Marketplace isn't equal for all.

In fact, Microsoft acknowleged the desire to bring Bing to all Android devices, the Marketplace filtered out non-VW queries.

The implications of this is pretty big. It means that developers can be locked out of some carriers depending on whatever deals are agreed upon.

Some apps may be denied because of carrier-specific feature. Others may be if a carrier signs deal with a developer. Today, it is Bing, Microsoft has a search deal with VW. But what about tomorrow? It may be the next hottest game.

Imagine if T-Mobile has an exclusive lock on any new EA games for a period if time. Or if ATT decides it wants to lock out some content because another part of its empire is having some licensing dispute with the content owners.

I am just not sure Google in trying to vie for mobile dominance should allow carriers so much control. Sure, Bing is a Google search competitor and wouldn't mind seeing as little of Microsoft on the mobile platform it fathered (or mothered), this app store policy may backfire some day when it is an app that all Android users want but find that they must be on a specific carrier in order to use it.

- Posted using Blogpress

Foursquare, Despite Facebook's Best Effort, Refuses To Go Quietly Into The Night

By now, Foursquare has over three million users. In fact, the rate of signups have increased since Facebook unveiled Places. What's Places? Just another tool by Facebook to erode our sense of privacy.

I am an avid user and supporter of Foursquare and Yelp and I am glad they they remain just as viable today was they were a week ago. The demise of location-based services predicted by many in light of Facebook's entry into the market remains to be seen but I think FS announcing that they're doing better now is fantastic.

So continue to support MyTown, Foursquare, and Yelp if you haven't yet. As a matter of fact, Yelp is currently experimenting with local coupons and deals. I think it'll be worthwhile to jump into this social phenomenon and expect some sort of returns. 2011 could be a good year for these services.


-- Post From My iPad

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Battery Saving Tips For Laptops

I found a 3-year old post on battery saving tips for laptop users. I came across it when I googled about the battery life saving potentials of adding extra RAM.

It's been a while since I've talked about battery life and tips. I was beginning to sound like a broken record. Having said that, battery life has increased in the last couple of years especially those offered by Apple (drawback is that they don't allow users to easily change out the battery). Typically, Macbooks ranges from 9-10 hours of use. I only see HP and Dell advertise use of 9-cell batteries which I think do well enough for most folks working under a normal load.

But more battery life the better I say. And frankly, this post ain't all that much more different anything that I have written up in the past year for laptops, iPhones, or other mobile devices. Dimming, defragging, conditioning. I'm sure you've heard all that before.

And while battery life has improved through a variety of technical advances, the fact that we are still using the same battery-saving techniques say volumes about the state of battery development. It's 2010 and we still haven't see methane-powered fuel cells. Or even hydrogen powered cell phones.

So, while I have also shared my opinions and news about green tech and the enthusiastic push from some quarters of the government and entrenpreurs, I like to see a mini stimulus for trying to make a giant leap forward for mobile devices. Perhaps we might see that in the course of researchers trying to find a way to store renewable energy source, miniaturization will still be required to apply any new technology.

For now, I leave you with a 3-year old post on saving battery life that is very much still relevant today.

More at Fried Beef (I know, weird blog name).

Friday, August 27, 2010

Editorial on Presidential Rescues Of American Pawns...I Mean "Prisoners"

This is a mobile blog but I just have to address this international politic situation because from the view of my porch on Main Street USA, this parade of former US leaders going over to rescue American prisoners is getting moronic.

Now that we’re out of former Presidents to send to rescue dumb-ass Americans who like to be used as pawns by crazy Kim’s North Korean regime need to be warned: if you get caught, it’s over.

First it was President Bill Clinton. And now Carter. What’s insulting is that Kim wasn’t even in town to receive him because he’d rather be in Beijing! For Kim, it’s “been there, done that”. So the next American who decides to run into North Korea know this: we’re out of former Democratic Presidents. And the other two left, the Bushes who are both GOP Presidents, are probably not too keen on making any quick trips to Pyongang. Remember, W did induct North Korea into the exclusive club called the “Axis of Evil”. I don’t think he’s welcomed there.

So if you happen to be stupid enough to get caught by the North Korean secret police or get stranded within the borders of another despotic state, you’re screwed. And if the White or State Department insists on sending people over to for a quick jail-break, you better hope and pray that they’ll trade your release for a visit from a former high ranking Cabinet member (like a Sec of State or Defense) plus a delegation of liberal-ish Senators like John Kerry.

And if that doesn’t work, consider yourself fraked. Let me make this into a mobile post with a dash of this: Bring your DS or iPod Touch if you’re put yourself and nation on display for despots. You should be there for a long long time.

Note: The timing of the rescue is suspect. I hope this isn’t an election ploy by the Obama administration (yes, I voted for President Obama) for the midterms. I don’t think it is.

Another note: I refuse to name the prisoner because there’s no point in giving him any seconds of fame.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Can Green Tech Be The Salvation For Third-World Nations?

The Sahara Desert, from what little I gathered from Wikipedia, is a diverse and large desert, about the size of the United States and all of Europe. What we see is large sand dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Given the tremendous amount of heat, sun, and wind with a sparse population, it would appear to be an opportunity for renewable energy investments. It would benefit a whole region as well as drastically reduce reliance on petroleum.

I know there are a lot of politics and conflicts that are regional as well as international in scope. However, there is a saying that goes along the line of if something isn't hard, it's not worth doing. Or something close to it.

A multibillion dollar effort can go a long way in help energy starved nations while also benefitting the local populations. Of course, we should not make the same mistakes that many companies and conquering armies from first world nations often do.

This an endeavor should be one undertaken with the ultimate goal of helping all of humanity.

Monday, August 23, 2010

How Microsoft, Nintendo, And Sony Will Bring Portable Gaming to Mobile Computing Market

Some quick thoughts about mobile gaming in the age of app stores, casual gaming, and diminished support for portable gaming consoles, is it time to give thought to how Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will go on. I see a merger of platforms, birth of new ones, and a salad of old tech mixed with the new.

Which is better?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Even My Mom Is Excited About NFC

I told my mom about near field communications. You know, bring able to use mobile devices like the iPhone to pay for goods and services.

After she was done reminding me how this will help me because I'm always losing my wallet but not my phone, she realized the advantage this will have for her business as well. Of course, here business doesn't involve retail but I think NFC will go beyond retail and even get into business-to-business transactions.

I told her it would still be years before this becomes a reality. After all, it is taking Starbucks so long to roll out payment through the iPhone that is only limited to selected stores.

Now, if only the DMV will also create an app that substitute for identification or license to via mobile devices, then I can truly ditch my wallet.

-- Post From My iPad

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Economy, Ebooks, And What Else Hurting Local Economy

I went pick up an iPad 3G for a family friend since I don't mind visiting the store from time to time to check out the foot traffic and such. Afterwards, I headed over to Borders to hang out a bit and get some reading and organize my thoughts.

A couple of years ago, I would not have been able to find a table to sit down at. Last night (if I recall correctly, the last time as well) I was able to browse around and then sit down at one of three tables that were not occupied. In the past, if I really wanted to wait for a table, I would have had to hover a bit and then finally, if luck would have it, find a table just as someone was leaving.

Last night the traffic there was light. Okay, it's a Monday night. I'm gonna try to go a couple of more times this week to see how it really is during the week day but I've got a feeling things are not going to be any better.

I also noted a cut in hours at Borders as well. It used to be opened until eleven PM each night while it closes at midnight on Friday and Saturday. Now, it closes at ten every night except for Sunday, which closes at a shocking seven PM.

I wonder if this is just more than a bad economy at work here. Perhaps the shoppers have gone online to Amazon with better deals, free shipping, and not taxes in some states like CA (you're suppose to report your sales tax amount when you file your tax returns but let's be honestly, very few folks do).

How about ebooks? Can that also impact book sales as well?

I see places like Borders, much like the library was a generation or two ago, as the epicenter for social interactions. Regardless of where you get your books these days, bookstores, even mega chains like Borders and Barnes and Noble, offer an opportunity to discover books.

I like the people there and I hope things turn around soon. I happen to live in an area with access to three or four other bookstores and cafes (with a bit of driving) but not everyone will go to the length I would to try working in different environments.

Again, I really hope things turn around soon. I think I will rethinking options about buying ebooks and supporting the local economy a bit more. Also about saving trees versus the pleasure of flipping through a magazine or a book.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

MP3 Market Here To Stay For Decades

One day, Apple will retire the iPod. However, I'm willing to wager that it will not be for a long long while.

And what will the market look like?

I was the gym this morning. I saw a lot of iPhones and iPod Touches and a few iPods. Definitely more iOS devices than just regular iPods. There were a couple of Blackberries but the people were listening on their iPods and only used the RIM devices to make calls. Only one did while the other didn't did anything with her Blackberry at all.

That got me going about what the next few years will hold for MP3 players, specifically, iPods in general. It'll take years before smart devices overtake traditional cell phones and anyone who wants to carry around their music library is going to have to have an mp3 player or iPod. The market should continue to do well.

For Apple, the iPod remains a lucrative business year in and year out. It won't be a while until Apple thinks it's no longer in its interest to carry the iPod line and decide to do away with it.

But I think the iPod will take another form and evolve with the needs of its users. Take the iPod Touch. It's is an iOS device rather than an outright iPod. A few things are like to happen.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lost Decade - When Does It Start?

We're a couple of years into the recession. Okay, officially, we're out of it with some economic growth. For us on Main Street, the recession is ongoing. The job market is weak and the Feds are a bit worried that we might slip back into more economic contraction.

So, the worry how is that the United States might slip into a "Lost Decade" much like what Japan went through in the 90s.

Will we? And at what point will we are we officially in it?

The WSJ has a good post on what happened to Japan and what they went through provides us with a good lesson on how to avoid it. However, with the country so polarized, GOP and Democrats rather play poltics than work for the national economic interests, and a general feeling that the US has lost its edge, things cannot be looking good.

At least not from where I'm standing.

However, I have to confess that economic policies might stave off a worse economic calamity, it will be up to the American ingenuity and can-do spirit that will bring the US back from this slumber.

For now, I think the public is a bit tired. Tired of Washington, broken promises, and just a general breakdown in trust.

But it's okay. We'll be back. We always do. Each time, stronger than the last.

More at Yahoo (WSJ).

Dedicated News Apparatus From Fox For Mobile Users

Two facts. The iPad is a game changer. Rupert Murdoch likes what he is seeing with his newspaper empire and has embraced the tablet. So it's not surprise to hear that he's creating a newspaper that is dedicated to serving tablet market and hoping more users with their iPads and, soon, Windows 7 and Android tablets will embrace a new way to consume news and media.

There are questions about this new venture. Why can't News Corp just put together something from all of its properties? And what about the competition?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Being Mobile Even In An Office

At home or work, I can seem to sit on one place for a long time. A few hours here and a few hours there.

Unfortunately, we don't use laptops at work. WiFi...nope. But I do have my iPhone and G1 With me at all times. At times, I bring my iPad with me. I can work on docs, emails, and even spreadsheets.

Efficient? No. The reason is that there is a lot of print to be done. I'd have to email docs to my desktop and then print from there. All of this can be done through tethering though my G1.

The iOS devices haven't gain the ability to print, via WiFi, Bluetooth, or any other means. Perhaps, in the next major update, we will be able to do that.

But with a couple of devices, I have been able to put together my own portable and wireless solution.

Before 2008 or so, I would not have thought this possible. I didn't find out I can tether with my G1 until about nine months ago.

With my contract with T-Mobile fulfilled, I think I'd be interested in other options including getting a wireless modem that can act as a router to support two or three of my mobile device.

I guess sometimes we have to make our own space and create our own solutions.

-- Post From My iPad

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cheaper Readers Coming. Maybe Even Free And New Store Models

I've got three different Audible.com accounts. Essentially, if I sign up with Audible for a year, I got a $100 credit towards any MP3 player I wanted from Amazon. So can Amazon or Barnes and Noble essentially do the same thing with ebooks?

Subscriptions. If publishers can be persuaded to offer books at a lower price in exchange for volume or a promise of minimum cut, it is possible for ebookstores to offer subscriptions to books much like Audible is doing and give users a discount on compatible readers.

And with pricing dropping due to competing readers and stores, i wouldn't be surprised that prices may drop to $99 for the WiFi-only Kindle or Nook in 2011.

Bundles. An alternative for attracting readers may be to bundle books based on authors or series.

For instance, buy the whole Ender series, the buyer can knock off $25 of the Nook. Will this work? If SciFi doesn't fancy the reader, maybe the whole Jack Ryan series will get you $50 off a Kindle.

For years, game console makers, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony, have bundled hardware with selected accessories and games or services. Therefore, publishers of literatures like their video game counterparts would, should, be open to such an arrangement.

As booksellers, Amazon, Borders, and BN should do whatever is necessary to embrace the new ebook market. There is still a lot of growing to do. That means mistakes but it also would mean opportunities to experiment with new business models.

If you are offered a discounted or free reader from ebook sellers but in exchange, you have to buy books you're going to buy anyway, why not take it?


-- Post From My iPad

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Google-Verizon Net Proposal Smells of Lobbyists Crafting It To Be Law For Congress - With Loopholes Included

Having read the net neutrality proposal from Google and Verizon, I can’t help but wonder who’s hands were behind this.

If I had to guess, I think it’s mostly lobbyists that Verizon typically use to convince the Federal government to do its bidding. Yeah, my words aren’t so nice and if you’ve read my posts in the past, I care very little about the interests of wireless providers (I like T-Mobile but only because it’s less evil today than all the rest).

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sophisticated Cars Soon Will Be Target For Hackers

Imagine driving and suddenly, you lose control of your car. Literally, you have control over your car. Gas break. Nada. Ignition. Forget about it. You can't roll down the window to cry for help. Someone has remotely hacked into your car. Well, that's not quite likely to happen at all, well, no for a while.

Nevertheless, a Texas man earlier this year did managed to remotely disable 100 cars. And this is the concern that we are likely to be faced with in the coming years as vehicles gain more wireless features - Bluerooth, RFID, WiFi, and cellular signals.

security researchers in the US have managed to hacked into tire-pressure monitoring systems. And that's just the beginning. The fear isn't that hackers can launch an attack in vehicles and take it over, though I have little doubt of that years down the line, hackers can listen in and monitor communications, track where vehicles went or are in transit to, and provide false information to the driver.

How far away are we from this? I honestly don't know but computers have been a part of motorized vehicles and, only recently, some models are gaining wireless access. So a remote hack is likely to cause very little damage if at all in the beginning. But it's likely to come a day when people will wake up and find that a whole fleet of vehicles will not start because of a hack, just like what this Texan man did, or find vehicles stolen because car thieves have managed to disable the security system.

Yeah, it's a very scary and soon to be real scenario. I don't know how careful manufacturers are in providing security but while computers in cars are a blessing, it can also be a nightmare.

Plus, imagine if there was a software patch and something goes wrong and the whole OS is corrupted. Just something to consider when you go to a car dealer and the mobile warrior in you is enticed by the latest and coolest computer-enhanced vehicle.

Am I worried?  Not at all.  But it is something we need to start thinking about.

More at Technology Review.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

This About Sums Up Google And Verizon's Broadband Deal

A friend posted on his Facebook about the deal between Google and Verizon which originated from the New York Times.

I commented: this is not cool, right?

He commented: not cool

This is a friend who has been through a lot of startups and been with big name companies like Napster, Sony, and TRW. Just in case, I'll be check with Dave the Mobile Sage about this but I'm sure he'll say the same thing.

Google has denied such a deal happening but Verizon was more forthcoming. I think Google' motto about "Doing no evil" should have a "*". "* so long as it's good for us and convenient".

Of course, this isn't the end of it. I'm sure the White House, the FCC, and even Congress will have a few things to say about this. And we've yet to hear from either Google or Verizon's competitors yet.

More in this form other knowledgeable folks from the Internet:
  • Huffington Post: Google-Verizon Deal: The End of The Internet as We Know It
  • NewTeeVee: A Google-Verizon Deal Could Cripple Web Video Innovation
  • Crunchgear: Google, Doing No Evil, Close To Deal With Verizon That Would Kill Net Neutrality Forever
Now, there is an update from Google on their Twitter page denying any deal and said that the NY Times is wrong.

Who to believe? I can't wait to find out. Given Google's 180 decision to get back into China and continue to censor its search results, I wouldn't be surprised if this turned out just the way the NYT said.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wireless Carriers Cooperating On Mobile Payment But Others May Develop Competing Alternatives

A couple of weeks ago, I lost my wallet. I got it back almost immediately after I realized I lost it because someone was kind enough to turn it in to the supermarket's staff. Nothing was lost. What I didn't lose in the whole ordeal was my G1 and my keys. There was a ring around through which I looked my index finger through all the time I hold my keys in my finger.

And there was no way I was letting go of my G1. Nor wallet, anyway, it got lost.

So I was heartened yesterday to learn that ATT, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile USA were working on a payment system, specifically, a mobile payment system allowing users to use their phone or mobile device to pay for goods and services, replacing the current ways of how we make payments, credit/debit cards or cash.

Where are we on mobile payment?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Malware And Network Attacks Via Mobile Soon To Be Realized

Two disturbing mobile news this week should have security analysts and mobile warriors on a bit of an alert. No, I'm not talking about the Blackberry issue with the United Arab Emirates and the Saudis. That situation is looking more and more like RIM is backing away and capitulating.

I'm talking about vulnerabilities in mobile OS and systems that can allow hackers to break into mobile systems to wreck havoc or spread malicious codes.

Yesterday, a hole in the iOS so big that it allow users to jailbreak their iPhone via a Web browser. I'm not that well read when it comes to the inner workings of a mobile platform but it does sound pretty bad.

And it gets worse.

RIM's Torch Launch Over, Now Windows Phone 7 - Video Tour

Now that RIM has broken my heart by revealing it's been giving out copies of key to its kingdom, not even the news of the new Blackberry Torch is enough to make people happy and excited. Just ask the blogs and the market as investors priced down the stock.

Bottom-line: RIM is likely to hold serve and keep fans happy but its version of OS 6 doesn't have what it takes to attract new users.

Well, security issues aside, RIM will likely continue to grow at a nice pace. We'll see what the fallout of the United Arab Emirates shutdown is going to do.

Now, the focus will be on Windows Phone 7. Here a 4-part video on what we can expect. There's nothing new here that we haven't seen from Microsoft and even other mobile platforms. But the looks is a bit different. That's always good.

Enjoy.









Convincing?

More at WMpoweruser.

Monday, August 2, 2010

RIM: Security For Customers or Not

When Google said they were leaving China, I, for one, supported their decision. But now, they're back and censoring seemed to be back. "Do no evil", Google's motto, seemed to be "so long as the bottom-line isn't affected". However, RIM doesn't have this luxury as it is faced with a decision on working with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

UAE has anounced by will but Blackberry services by October and Saudi Arabia may take similar actions unless they have the ability to control access. The reason is control of information. Mostly censorship but, to be fair, a bit of crime fighting (terrorism).

So what should RIM do?