Thursday, March 31, 2011

Google Taking Back Control of Android Is a Good Thing; For Open-Source Guys, I Told You So

I totally expected Google's recent move to rein in Android development and keep fragmentation (yes, it is a major problem, why else would Google want to piss off the people who had made Android such a success and possibly have the Justice Department involved) from potentially damaging the mobile platform any further.  Am I upset?

Initially, I was a bit.  No any more.  Frankly, Google's move is a good thing.  Basically, Google opened up Android and gave it the perception of being an open platform and it worked.  It probably will have the biggest share of the mobile market in a couple of years.  However, it's how that market will look like that concerns Google.

Now that it has established Android as a dominant mobile platform, it can start making changes.  Open it was not and, as far as Google is concerned, who cares now that many of the device makers as well as users rely on Android for their businesses and mobile needs respectively.  Who else is Motorola going to turn to?  It's already said WP7 isn't an option for them.

Samsung has nothing but a struggle home-grown OS that will go no where  WP7?  Sure, with Microsoft's track record of updates?  HTC started off on Android and it's in the exact same shoe as Samsung.  Heck, this is the same for every other Android manufacturer.  They can complain to the Justice Department for all they want but at the end of the day, they want to stay on Google's good side.  

The wild wide West days in the Android market are over.  There's a new sheriff in town.  (I don't know if Schmidt leaving and Page as the new CEO has something to do with this or not.)

From now on, every change will have to go through Google. And Google has gone as far as to withhold Android 3 or Honeycomb, the tablet version of the OS because it didn't want 3rd parties screwed up it with tweaks.   As an Android fan, I think that's good thing.  

But let me be clear.  From the beginning, I knew the open-sourced crowd for suckered in by the claims of openness.  It was the undeniable walled garden of iOS that has this crowd foolishly and blindly think Android is anything but open.

 I'm not sure Google can continue falsely claim that Android is an open platform.  

As a developer, you like this. Probably.  Google has a good record on this and its latest move shouldn't change a thing for you.  

As a mobile warrior, if anything, this is a positive development.  Average Joe or Jane isn't going to notice a thing but maybe that he or she won't get fooled into buying a tablet installed with a smartphone OS rather than the tablet version in the first place.

It's going to be scary for some people.  Anti-Android/Google folks will get fuel and ammunition about this but at the end of the day, I like the notion that if I buy an Android phone or tablet, I can potentially get upgrades from Google in a timely fashion, a good thing.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Can Microsoft Own the High-End Range of the Tablet Market? It May Have No Choice But To Try

In a role reversal, are we looking at Microsoft and friends switching spaces with Apple in the tablet market as they now occupying in the PC market?  See if you follow me.

Apple is known for its "premium"Macs in the PC market where Microsoft and Windows PC makers generally own the low-end and mid-range parts of the market.  And despite Apple with only about 7-8% of computer market, it owns a large chunk of the revenues and profits.

In the tablet market, iPad competitors are struggle to compete with Apple on prices, often opting for the 7" screen sizes, versus the 10" iPad, subsequently with a much smaller screen real estate.  With a smaller form factor, rivals such as RIM are able to compete with the low end iPad.

But now, with Barnes and Noble's Nook Color doing very well at $250 and Amazon looking to jump into that market, possibly with its own Android tablet, may of the sub-$499 tablet market will be owned by Android.  

Where does that leave Microsoft?  Apple quite possibly will own a large chunk of the tablet market with models priced between $499 to $829.  I don't see Windows going anywhere lower than that.  And the tablet market isn't like the PC market.  If anyone thinks that, they are in for a rude awakening.  For the foreseeable future, Redmond's partners just doesn't have what it takes to take on Apple with a competing ecosystem and a natural ease of use.  

This is why HP bought Palm so that it can try to use Web OS to create its own market.  

That only leaves Microsoft to try to position the Windows tablets at the high-end, where there is quite a smaller market but potentially higher margin for device makers.  And until Windows 8 can run on ARM chips like the iPads and Android tablets, size, battery life, and specs will not be able to measure up with the low-end to mid-range tablets.  

There will be a market for the $800 and above range but it will be small.  Near term, that's the only part of the market that Microsoft can go after.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Food Inflation Means Smaller Servings - Can it Also Mean Leaner Americans?

Food is getting more expensive. Whether people want to hear about global warming or not, there is no doubt we have been experiencing extreme climates over the last decade that has caused food shortages or, at best, lower yields. And that has led some companies to drive cost down by packing small amount in each packaging.

For the tens of American families who are struggle even in this improving (but very slow pace) economic recovery, as well as millions of children living below the poverty line, food inflation just isn't something that is going to help at all despite the US having the biggest economy in the world. No, given the level of debt, both public and private, we are one of the poorest. Still, Can there be some benefit that might come from this for the general public?

Wasting food in the West is a big issue even as starvation and suffering persists elsewhere. Perhaps The smaller portions will yield some benefits and change our behaviors, particularly in the United States for the good.

We might actually end up being leaner. Better health as a result and less strain on the medical system.

And if smaller packaging is being used, it may also mean less resources committed to food distribution.

I reckon it'll be possible that a public media campaign might be created to convince us of the benefits despite it being more about the bottom-line. At some point, downsizing food portions will yield diminished returns and benefits.

More at MSNBC.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Girl Scouts Use Mobile to Accept Credit Card. NFC Next?

While tech giants work out how they want to incorporate near field communication capability to allow mobile devices ranging from regular cell phones to high-end devices like iPhones and who has the final control over data, some folks just are not going to wait around until that day comes.

The Girl Scouts in Ohio are now accepting credit card payments via GoPayment from Intuit, the folks who brought us Quicken And TurboTax, a dongle that can be attached to the the iPhone.

This is just the beginning.  I wonder what'll happen once more devices like the iPhones become NFC-capable?

More at Greenjava.

Digitimes Wrong Most of the Times but Bloggers Will Not Call Them Out

So, DigiTimes, a Chinese tech publication that's often linked to by bloggers, especially Apple-centric sites for the claims itself and its analysts make that is wrong virtually every time.

Personally, I am still waiting for my 7" iPad that digitimes said was coming even after Steve Jobs dismissed such a possibility.

More often that not, I get the feeling that DigiTimes just goes around and time certain posts to generate traffic on Apple. Perhaps they have quotas they are supposed to meet for their advertisers.

The amazing thing is that some posts that link to DigiTimes also make a disclaimer that DigiTimes does not have a good track record regarding Apple products and plans.

And more than that, some of the things that DigiTimes come up with are so out there that not even Wall Street analysts dare put those things down on paper.

In the latest report, they claim that Apple is seeking to secure screens out of Taiwan due to the northeastern Japan earthquake even if it means a price nike.. Makes sense right? Sure until you read the little post that offered no sources whatsoever. It's always according to "this or that". Nothing to explain the nature of such a deal. Thing is, folks, that Apple has been sourcing from the Taiwanese for years. There really nothing new here. The rumor made it sound like this was the first time Apple is dealing with the tech folks there.

Now, don't get me wrong, I like Apple rumors. The best rumor so far this year is the one that we might get a 5" iPod touch. And it came from blogs that claim to have their own sources that they've used in the past. And that this will be a part of a greater fall surprise that Apple is planning. This latter part is also a rumor but detailed enough to be credible.

And how is this different from what Digitimes posts? Rumors from these blogs have a chance of actually being true whereas Digitimes offers nothing to suggest anything other than that Apple posts will generate links and traffic. Digitimes information never turns out to be true.

Knowing this fact as most bloggers do, that virtually everything DigiTimes reports are wrong, why share it with your readers?

Hit your regular sources for the juicy stuff. Because these days, I don't even bother reading your rumor posts if the source is DigiTimes.

Note: If you want to know more about the Digitimes post I referenced to above, you're welcome to Google it. I'm just not going to link to it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Creating a Mobile Warrior's Cafe

It's my dream that some day, I'll be able to own my own cafe. Actually, it had been a dream of mine to own a superstore like Borders but given how that has turned out, I've had to scale down my plans.

Nevertheless, I still have ambitions of coming up with a coffee shop of sort for mobile warriors to be able to "jack" in whenever they like and work on their homework, the next Google, or just want relax and leisurely enjoy their ebooks.

More at Greenjava.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Macs: To Guard Against Certificate Attacks

I came across this post regarding digital certificates.  After Microsoft's trusted Comodo Certificate Authority issued fraudulent certificates that effected many top sites.

So here are some instructions that you can use to protect yourself if you're on a Mac and use Safari as your main browser.  Honestly, I don't know how serious this is but if it's got Microsoft's attention, I'd worried somewhat, enough to continue looking into it.

It's amazing this does not happen more often if you ask me.  So the instructions provided at Sophos basically enables certificate revocation.  

There really isn't much we can do about this.  We rely on a system that is based on an honor system and require these security and certificate companies to audit and continually beef up their protocols.  

More at Sophos and how this happened.

Note: Firefox and IE 9 users should be fine even though Microsoft has issued an update.  IE 8 users needs to act to protect themselves.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Buttons: Steve Jobs War On Them But How I Love Them Too

I’m torn on buttons on mobile devices. You’ve got Apple on one end that detests buttons so much that it has only one click on the mouse while the iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad has just the home button on the surface.

Buttons – I love them. At least when I was a kid, I love buttons. See, I grew up watching anime, the kind with spaceships, giant robots, and futuristic command centers. And they have tons of button and flashing lights.

When it comes down to it, it reallly depends on what you do with your mobile device. I can write just as long a letter on the iPhone as I can on my G1. The only difference for me is that I spent years playing the piano and I like to keep what's left of the life of the joints On my fingers for the piano, not the smartphones.

So I definitely like the touch-type on a glass surface than buttons. No need to push down on a button. No need to exert pressure with the thumbs.

And you're constantly using your thumbs, there is no escaping that on a mobile device. On a phsyical keyboard for a smartphone, it can't be good in the long run if you have to produce dozens of emails or text a day.

Still, a part of me does like the idea of having physical buttons to work with, which for me, provides a sense of accomplishment. And honestly, until the iPhone came along and showed the world that you can create content on glass just as easily as a stylus or physical keyboard.

Right now, I am writing on the iPod touch. I am typing in portrait mode. And I can easily switch over to landscape.

What it comes down to is personal preference. Blackberry users swear by the physical keyboard while some prefer the slide-out keyboard. Android users have the best selection of devices with different keyboard layouts. So, you really have to pick your device when it comes to buttons.

With buttons, you've got the Blackberry variety which works well for a lot of folks. And honestly, it's very good. Then you've got the Pre version which can be frustrating after a while. You really don't want to be writing an essay on it. Then you've got the ones that slide-out like T-Mobile's G1 and G2, and both keyboards work well. Droid keyboards are too stuff for me to imagine writing anything other than text messages or tweets.

And for iPhoners, let's be honest. Apple is driving the trend with the chiplet keys on the desktop and laptop markets. Works well. Even the keyboard before that. But if you go back even further, Apple is really kind of hit-and-miss with them. I've experienced the sticky type on the Powerbook 500. Then I've gotten a few years in with the Powerbook 1400cs. They were a nice change but Powerbook was a Powerbook and it was running Mac OS. And not everyone liked those keyboards.

So there really is no way of knowing what kind if keyboard Apple will come up with should there ever be an iPhone with a physical keyboard. And there definitely is no way for us to be sure that we're even going to like it.

But give us mobile warriors a device with a top notch OS with a great keyboard, I promise it will do well.

Note: For the record, I no longer dig flashing lights.

Another note: RIM sued Handspring back in 2002. And in turn, it has also been sued in the past. Maybe Apple or anyone else might just as well avoid the headaches by avoiding making a device that looks similar to the Blackberries. Nokia and Samsung does have similar layouts but not being a tech/patent attorney, I think I'll leave the issue open and at that.

Mashable: Things To keep Mobile Gears And Other Belongings Secure

I don't have much in way of any security devices to keep my mobile devices secured.  When I'm out and about, I've got my backpack with me at all times.  Even when I need to go to the restroom or just go to the car for a sec when I'm at a coffee shop or somewhere I'm doing work.  

The point is, never leave your valuables out of your sight.  I've seen folks who leave their stuff to go browse books or even just to grab another cup of coffee.  It makes me nervous when that happens.  I usually take it upon myself to watch their stuff even though no one asked me too.

And on a few occasions, I've been asked to watch their stuff which I'm more than happy to do.  But nice looking couple or a grandfatherly figure, no way I'm asking them to watch my things.  

Take a look at these gadgets.  Some are worth considering.  But note that at any time, a clever determined opportunist can still beat the best security system or gizmo.

More at Mashable.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Between Hulu, Netflix, and Unrelenting March of Online Videos, Who Needs Cable?

For streaming video, Hulu's biggest draw is that it offers current TV episodes while Netflix offers a richer library of movies and TV shows. Many of these shows are available on TV and cable.

But if one was to pay for both Hulu Plus and Netflix streaming, the cost would come out to about $16 a month. This beats most cable packages that I've been advertised to in the last year.

For a fraction of the price, I get most of the shows I want to watch. SyFy shows, a few Primetime shows like Castle and Fringe. Oh, and dynamic duo of Stewart and Colbert are back (yeah, yeah, I know I can watch them on Comedy Central's website - but this is about convenience).

And I'm winning to bet that Amazon might get in on the act.

So who needs cable and satellite TV anymore? No wonder they're scared. No wonder the studios are having to figure out what they need to do about new media.

AT&T To Keep T-Mobile's Price Structure - But For Who?

This is out of CTIA.  And pretty interesting or not depending on what you think of it.  AT&T will allow T-Mobile to keep the price structure as they exist right now.  Certainly, that sounds like a great thing if you're a T-Mobile like myself.  That is to be expected.  For publicity alone, grandfathering in existing user plans make sense.  Otherwise, it would make AT&T look bad and the outcry would certainly crippled the merger even before it got started.

So, if this is all that AT&T mean, as reported by some blogs, then the story ends here.  However, could there be more to it?  The mobile warriors I know will want to know.  I am sure the regulators are also anxious to learn just what a super-sized AT&T is about and what the T-Mobile part of it will look like.

Let me map out a few scenarios.  First is the one I've already mentioned.  T-Mobile plans will continue to exist for T-Mobile subscribers, prepaid or post-paid.  That simply makes sense.

The second scenario is that T-Mobile is sort of a subsidiary of AT&T and it is entirely possible it will be allowed to operate as it exists now, within reason.  So long as T-Mobile do not interfere with the bottom line of the bigger AT&T mobile arm, things will be fine.

Here's the thing that AT&T can do over the course of a couple of years, the length of a two-year contract that post-paid users sign up for.  It can easily and slowly bleed T-Mobile and compel current users to switch over to AT&T.  For instance, it can continue to offer the iPhone or certain high-end Android devices on AT&T but relegate second tier devices to T-Mobile customers who refuses to budge.  Over time, these users will move to AT&T, which would be a lot easier than going to Verizon Wireless or Sprint, which may not be around as an independent company as we know it now.

The thing is that in either case, AT&T will get what it wants at the end.  It'll get most of the T-Mobile customers under AT&T terms.  It's possible that AT&T might make it easier for T-Mobile users to stay.  For instance, it might continue to offer unlimited data plans if they want the iPhone but the voice plans or, in my case, myFaves will have to go away.  

Obviously, what we hope, which has a slim to none chance of happening, is that AT&T adopts T-Mobile's influence rather than the other way around. Imagine gravitational shift in mobile world if this is to happen.  AT&T can leverage its greater economy of scale to make it happen.  

At the end of the 12 months, I doubt there will be much surprises, much less pleasant ones.  Which is why I've said in the past that this presents other carriers, particularly Sprint, a golden opportunity to take advantage of the confusion that is already growing and potential chaos that happen.

Mobile Devices With 3D - A Draw?

I know there are going to be a couple of smartphones and tablets with the ability to display 3D without glasses on their screen.  And the biggest draw is that the Nintendo 3DS will also have 3D gaming.  Personally, after some consideration, I find it perplexing that some device makers are pushing them out now.  

HTC for Sprint and LG for T-Mobile.  

I guess what I am saying is that if it's there, I'll use here and there because its a novelty.  But I'm perfectly happy with just plain old 2D 720p video or pictures san 3D.  After all, if I upload them to Shutterfly for printing or to Youtube, there's no way this gimmicky feature is going to translate there.  

And to my knowledge, I don't think the 3D pictures and videos captured on these mobile devices will work on 3D HDTV. 

Plus, we're just at the start of the 3D revolution if you can it that in the living room.  If anything, the 3D screen on the mobile devices will be a bigger draw for gaming than watching videos.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sprint Might be Winner If ATT Occupation of T-Mobile

If you didn't already know by now, ATT made a surprised bid to gobble up T-Mobile for $39 billion. And after a couple for bloggers, tech pundits, and myself to digest all the information, here is where many stand.

Regulators will have to look at this very carefully. Competitors will make demands. Politicians will chime in with their usual buffoon-ish manners. Consumer advocates will have their day that is like going to be ignored.

Right now, the meat is fresh and bloody and everyone will wait a piece of this in the morning. Dozens of blog posts and online newspaper articles have already been written about this.

And Sprint had already had its say. But let me offer this opinion about the deal with respect to Sprint.

Earlier, as I sat thinking about this, I said to myself that if ATT takes away from me the better deals and options that T-Mobile now has, regardless of whether I am taking advantage of it or not, I'll head on over to Sprint.

So there. If ATT does bungle this deal by alienating current T-Mobile customers like myself who have been happy with things the way they are, we will head on over to the no. 3 mobile provider who offers WiMax and competitive plans/options.

In the end, Sprint may benefit to some extent. Sprint has to continue to be aggressive and now may be a great time for it to launch an offensive campaign for the hearts and minds of confused (betrayed) T-Mobile subscribers.

However, keep in mind that no one knows just how this deal, when and not if it will go through, is going to look like when it is finally wrapped up. Though I am not hopeful, one such as myself hopes that T-Mobile will have a better influence on ATT and not all the bad things and worst case scenarios will come to pass.

More important than regulators, it will be the bloggers with legions of readers who can shape how this deal takes place. And we will work hard to make sure that if politicians allow themselves to be bought and a bigger badder ATT is looking out to screw more users, we will point to other options as best as we can.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Social Media & Japan Disaster; Which Twitter Accounts To Follow

It started with the ability to tell friends when you’re taking a shower, going grocery shopping, or how your day was going. Then Twitter grew up. As did Facebook. When you think of social media on the Internet, it was these two.

Governments feared them. Ask Tehran during the Green revolution when the conservatives stole the election from the voters. And then in Egypt just mere weeks ago when the government of more then decades were toppled by protests passed through the Internet, and specifically, Twitter and Facebook.

And since the 9.0 earthquake that struck Japan, ravaged the eastern coast of northern Japan with a powerful tsunami, and created a nuclear disaster that has already achieved the level of the Three-Mile Island incident in the US.

How did Twitter and Facebook changed things in the aftermath of the earthquake in Japan this week? And which Twitter accounts to follow to get the best information on the latest nuclear and humanitarian news from Japan?

More at Greenjava

Japanese Artist Uses "Nuclear boy" To Explain The Nuclear Disaster To Kids - With Poop And Farts

At the moment, we await word on just how the new power line will work by supply power to help cool the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants.

Through the whole ordeal faced by the Japanese people (earthquake, tsunami, nuclear meltdowns, cold weather, and hunger), I wonder how the children are. Add to that, the scary nuclear situation that even adults have a problem understanding at times (just look at the reporting by seasoned reporters).

So, Kazuhiko Hachiya made this cartoon that does an adequate job of explain the situation to the Japan children - using poop and farts. As a matter of fact, not only it is cute and explains things well, I encourage even adults to watch it to get a better understanding of the situation at surrounding the nuclear disaster in Japan.

And don't worry, there are subtitles in English.

So meet Nuclear Boy who has a stomach problem.

Source: Salon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

RIM In Conflict With Carriers Over Where To Store NFC Data, How About Device Makers?

Supposedly, RIM is butting heads with some GSM carriers over where near field communication data, NFC, would be stored. The bottoms here is who will have control over the customer, the data, and what promises to be a very lucrative revenue stream for both carriers and device makers.

NFC capabilities will increasingly become available in not just smartphones but regular cell phones as well. This NFC is important for mobile payments. And billions in transactions will be made this way.

Gone may be the credit cards. So who will win this fight? And where does Apple's closed iOS system and Google's Android fit in all this?

More at Greejava.

Harper Collins To Charge Libraries For Being A Library That Lends eBooks

I want to reserve judgment on this until we see where this goes. HarperCollins is gong to start charging libraries for licensing fees. That means they want taxpayers like you and I to pay for a service that some folks use on a regular basis.

As a taxpayer, I think libraries are great but I'm not sure I like companies to make money off of public institutions like this. And perhaps, HarperCollins is simply using this as a negotiation ploy or they're just afraid like every other old media about the new media future.

More at Greenjava.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Apple To Delay iPad 2 Shipment (Reuters)

Developing at this time but it looks like Reuters (via CNBC tweet) that Apple will delay fulfilling iPad 2 shipments.

Many facilities in northern Japan were damaged or remained offline due to lack of electricity.  Apple is not the only company affected by this.  

The economy today has a global structure where parts are filled from various countries and then assembled in one central location.  

Due to the ongoing humanitarian crisis and potential for greater nuclear disaster, it is understand companies as well as government officials will proceed cautiously.  

As always, people first.  

Note:  Ordinarily, I don't like to base my posts off rumors or even tweets but given the anxiety many of my fellow mobile warriors are feeling about their orders, I thought I put this out there now.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Apple Stores In Japan Become Hub For Quake Update and Refuge For Employees

Make no mistake that many corporates are doing the right thing in the aftermath of the 9.0 earthquake (it was upgraded from 8.9) that rocked northern Japan and has inflicted suffers and damages on the survivors.  Google has used its expertise in cloud computing and set up a website to help pass information to love ones and victims.  But Apple has literally open its doors to the public and provided aid and comfort to its employees.

According to numerous reports, Apple stores is providing charging stations for mobile devices and provided financial aid, such as travel expenses given that the public transportation system is still down, to employees.  
And as one of the few locations in Japan that offers free WiFi, it was not unusually to see crowds near the Apple store to use the Internet and get information on love ones and media/government updates.  

I truly like that companies like Apple and Google are recognizing that their responsibilities as publicly traded companies go beyond maximizing profit for their shareholders.  I am particularly impressed with Google's generosity and its green initiatives.  And now, Apple recognizes that its responsibilities to its costumers doesn't end the money they walk out the door with its product.  

And these two being Californian companies, I am particularly proud as an American.

As for WiFi, I think there is something we can learn about its role in a disaster.  I think mobile WiFi stations for public use during natural or any kind of disasters could go a long way in saving lives and comfort to the population.  I know that ATT has mobile cell towers but I think WiFi stations work better since WiFi enabled devices outnumber cell-based devices.  Not everyone has an iPhone but a lot of folks have laptops and even WiFi-only iPads.  Perhaps, a fleet of WiFi mobile vans would work well.

More at Appleinsider, TUAW.

ATT and Veizon To Offer Free Calls And Text To Japan; Other Companies And Web Media Helps

ATT and Verizon will both offer free calling and texting to Japan for a period of time to help those in the US contact love ones and friends who may be affected by the 8.9 earthquake and the tsunami.

  • Free calling and texting until March 31th
  • 60 Minutes of calling for landline subscribers.
  • Subscribers can text "redcross" to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross.
  • TV Japan will be accessible for U-Verse customers through March 17th.
  • Calling and texting free to most post-paid and residential customers.
  • Free MM messaging and texting.
  • 10 Aid groups to donate to.
  • FIOS subscribers to get TV Japan for free until March 17th.
More information here at ATT (BGR), Verizon, Macnn.  Also Huffington Post has a detailed (though messy) page of how else we can help.

Also, Google has set up an excellent page for helping victims, love ones, and up-to-date information on the Japan earthquake.

Separately, Apple is accepting donations to the Red Cross through iTunes.  Apple also did this during the Haiti earthquake as well.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

EVIL ATT To Start Capping DSL Services In May

This post from Electonista says it all.

Starting in May, ATT will start capping DSL use at 150 GB. A $10 fee will be assess for an additional 50 GB.

Does this affect you and how you use the Internet?

Let me do some simple math on this. This comes to 4.93 GB a day. Frankly, I think this is so bogus.

We are increasingly relying on our Internet services for streaming media and to get pertinent information. Heck, I don't even own a TV.

This just isn't right. Unfortunately, I think ATT will get away with this given the political atmosphere in Washington and the GOP not want the FCC to do anything at all.

Make no mistake about this. This is about GREED. And this can potentially destroy the Internet and innovation.

If there was ever a time for anyone in Washington to show some backbone, coming out against this would be an easy win.

More here.

Green: DIY Back-Up Battery Solution?

Anyone out there have information on solutions for a back-up battery system for a home? Maybe a consumer product solution have created one for yourself?

I got to thinking about what's going in Japan with the earthquake, tsunami, and problems with their nuclear facilities, I think even in LA, there is something we can do individually.

After all, Japan is a first world country and look at what's happened since the 8.9 earthquake from last Friday. Though I cannot be certain if the media reports match the facts on the ground, you'd think this earthquake has broken the back of the Japanese society and economy.

My idea is to get going on a solar leash with one of those solar companies like Solar City. I'll be doing some research on this to see if this is the right solution for me. But if it does work out, my idea is this:

I want to create or buy (hopefully affordable) backup battery or something that can sustain my household needs a few hours at a time should natural disaster hit and we end up being without power for weeks.

Any help in point me in that direction would be great.

International iPad 2 Launch Should Go On As Planned But Don't Expect Much

CNet is wonder just how things are going to be like for international mobile warriors looking to hook themselves up (or sell them on eBay) with the new iPad 2.

Well, I think they should not have to worry about that. Apple isn't likely to jerk us around like that. However, I would start lining up. You guys, the lucky few who are slated for the next round of launch like Britain and Japan, will get the new iPads just like Steve jobs said but supplies will be limited.

No. Let me back that up. Supplies will be severely limited.

What prompt this is the fact that online orders from Apple is now a 3-4 weeks wait.

Just a recap for those who just want the high lights of the iPad 2 launch so far: the iPad 2 went on sale last Friday, March 11th - online at 1AM PST (4AM EST) while in-stores sales at Apple Store, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy started at 5PM local time.

The local stores, including Apple stores, quickly drew lines and were sold out quickly. I can attest to that.

I was able to place my iPad 2 orders online around 1:10AM with ease. After examining the forums and comments of various blogs, I was able to determine that for the next couple of hours, the ship time was 3-5 days with an estimated delivery date between March 18th - 25th.

The situation quickly deteriorated as people wake up and the lead time went to 1-2 weeks. Before long, the wait timebeas extended to 3-4 weeks.

As it stands now, most local places are dry. ATT locations are accepting orders with a 2-3 week wait while Verizon has a 3-4 week wait.

Sucks, I know.

-- Post From My iPad

More People Are Texting And Calling While Driving

I think the government has done a great job educating drivers of all ages about the danger of distractive driving, like using their cell phones or mobile devices.

I think for a while, there was a drop in the number of people driving while "multi-tasking" but I get the feeling things are on the rise again.

Recently, I was in the vehicle a couple of times while the drivers were yapping away. In one instance, I did say something because a police cruiser had pulled up next to us. Regardless, I should have said something right from the start. And I should have said something the other time even when there was no law enforcement presence around.

And let's face it, even with hands-free tech, it's not something a lot of people use as often as they should. It is just too much for some people to deal with. In one of the two times I mentioned above, the Bluetooth connection failed. I mean after all these years, how can BT still fail to connect. It was a link between an Android phone and a Lexus car.

That just blows the mind that companies still can't get that right.

Also, I see more people brazenly drive with one hand at their wheel while the other is attached to their ear. I think this has picked up pace since the new year. I even saw a lady tried to fit her Landcruiser into a tight parking spot while continuing to talk to someone on her phone.

So come on, folks. If you're one of them, you're endanger others around you.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Case for the iPad (Not iPad 2): It Just Works and It’s Cheaper

I have the original iPad and while I'm not looking to upgrade it just yet because I haven't seen or touched it yet.  The iPad purchase last year was a bit more of faith and Steve Jobs' reality distortion field.  This year, the draw is there but not as strong.  

So, I'm making a case to folks who are on the fence about upgrading their iPad.  I'm also making a case for anyone thinking about the iPad but cannot decide which to get:  the cheaper iPad or the newer iPad 2.

Why you should continue using the iPad?  Because quite simply, it just works.  Until tomorrow, the iPad continues to be the fastest iOS device on the planet.  And for a multi-media device that plays music, movies, and games while allows the user the freedom to be untethered to the wall socket, the iPad simply is second to none, again maybe until tomorrow.

Furthermore, as a productivity tool, I don't see how adding a couple of cameras is going to make the iPad 2 let the user write better or more creatively.  Maybe numbers can be crunched faster in Numbers or other spreadsheet apps on the iPad 2 over the iPad but any heavy duty work will probably be done on a laptop or Macbook anyway.  

Software and gaming?  Right now, there is nothing in the App store that can take advantage of the dual-core CPU and the 9X increase in graphics performance in the iPad 2.  And if you're a gamer on the iPad, you know that things are very good already with the current A4 chip.  

As for iOS, we just go the latest and greatest iOS 4.3.  It means faster surfing for some websites as well as some awesome new features for content sharing at home.  And all that is before iOS 5 and next year's iOS 6 which I am sure is compatible with the iPad.

One more thing: accessories.  Tons of accessories.  One of the thing about Apple products is that they lend themselves to allow the users to be very creative.  Maybe it's the assurance that the devices won't fail and crash in the middle of a marathon workflow, the ease of use, or that it does what the user wants san any complications  Also, I find that customization of the devices also helps.  New case or stand.  I know some people even likes to have covers with awesome designs.  

So far, I've covered why people with iPads already should not be in too much of a hurry to upgrade.  Now, for people who are on the fence who cannot decide which iPad to get:  the original iPad or the iPad 2.

Two things here.  The iPad 2 is future proof.  Dual cameras and if you're the type that likes face-to-face contact, this is it.  That was what was missing from the current iPad.  Slimmer, faster, and offers the same great user-experience as the first iPad.  

However, if you don't care for that, the iPad is a viable option with an added exception that works in your favor:  it's $100 cheaper.  For the same memory and connectivity configuration, you can get the original iPad for a lower price while supplies last.  Before March 2nd, that was not an option.  

Looking at the iPad with 64GB for only $599 wherever they're still being sold, it's looking like one heck of a deal.  

Note: Xoom is a viable (and only true iPad competitor) Android option but at $799 for 32GB, that's a lot to swallow.  I'm hoping competition from the iPad and iPad 2 will compel Motorola and Verizon to drop the price.  Nothing short of a $200 drop to $599 will work.  After all, it's only got 32GB and  beta-ish Android 3.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

FaceTime And Especially Skype To Benefit Huge From iPad 2

iPad 2 is huge but more than that, it will be even bigger for video conferencing. Likely yo benefit is Apple's own FaceTime. And Skype is likely to have much more to gain than ever.

As a matter of fact, Skype should send Apple a Thank You gift for releasing the iPad 2 with dusk cameras.

More than just boring old video conferencing for enterprise, FaceTime an Skype will gain from the home market. Consider how easy the iPad is robust already, it's icon focused UI allows for an 1-click access to either of the two apps for the less than tech savvy people like our parents and grandparents to stay in touch with their children and grandchildren.

I predict that Skype is likely to make an announcement about a spike in new users and downloads after the iPad 2 goes on sale on March 11th.

Apple's FaceTime offers a seamless sign-in process that will be welcoming to everyone. And its video quality is second to none.

And while FaceTime might have an edge over Skype in simplicity, Skype will dominate because of the tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of users that use its services already.

Skype or FaceTime, the ideal screen size of the iPad 2 for video chat may finally usher in a big change in social interaction.

And I reckon it will be the grandparents who will lead the way.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Garageband Will Only Work on iPads And Other Questions Answered

The main question for me is whether the Garageband for iOS can work on the iPhone or iPod touch.  Well, the answer was a simple know.  And I got the answer from this FAQ-like post from PC World.

I recommend you check it out if you're interested in the iPad 2 or have questions regarding Apple's forthcoming iOS 4.3.  

More at PC World.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Mobile May Be The Way To Fix The DMV and Possibly Other Government Sevices (And Ineffiencies)

I am at the DMV now. And boy, is this going to be a long long wait. And there really is no reason for me to be here that was my own doing. However, that is a story for another time.

But sitting here and looking around, I wondered about government services and why people like myself dread coming here. It takes time between the day you make an appointment and the actually appointment date. And getting to a DMV is just horrible. I had two cars steal my parking spaces!

And yes, I did go to the AAA to see if my business with the DMV could be taken are of there but it was simply something that was beyond their scope of services.

So I wonder, can't more apparatuses like the AAA be be empowered to take the load off the DMV. Maybe the local supermarket can get into it. Perhaps, Walmart as well.

And sure why not? Slap on a fee for this convenience. I don't have an issue with that.

I can totally see a company that can contract with the state or federal government agencies to help provide services to the citizens and still manage to make a profit.

But that is only going to alleviate some of the congestions at the local offices. To really change things, technology needs to be brought into the equation.

And not just new technology but better and efficient use of technology is the key. Since this is a mobile blog, I really like to have many services that now require local visits to offices move into the digital realm.

I look forward to the day when something that needs to get done and I am able to say "nice, there's an app for that".

Today, I was able to help my boss check into his flight with the app provided airline. I mean, just how cool is that!?

Eye exams for the DMV? Why not. Mobile devices have cameras for video conferencing. The DMV with the help of optometrists can create an app for eye exams when license renewals. Other simple issues and tasks can also be relegated to video-to-video contact than requiring drivers to march in drove into the local DMV office like we do now.

And you know, if the DMV wants to charge a bit for this convenience, I think many people will be happy to make use of this service.

And this goes beyond one segment of government services. Healthcare and Medicare, immigration, and Social Security are just a few that quickly comes to mind. I reckon the public services will embrace this eventually but it will be private sectors that will lead the way.

Right now, this is just the pipe dreams of a frustrated citizen sitting in a waiting room at the DMV

-- Post From My iPad

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Clue On Who's Getting The iPhone Next: T-Mobile Disses iPhone Carriers But Sprint Doesn't (Second Sprint Post Today)

I don't write a lot about Sprint because it kind of chugs a long but doesn't do much else exciting. And it's on WiMax so it like it is off to one side doing its own thing. So here is the 2nd Sprint post of the day.

And ironically, I am writing about what Sprint isn't doing. While T-Mobile is off dissing the networks that the iPhone runs on on TV and Web commercials, Sprint doesn't seem to say much of anything else about CDMA iPhone.

After all, Sprint's WiMax is faster than what Verizon and ATT's 3G networks. So it has just as much marketing weapon as T-Mobile.

So I wonder if this is indicative of who is getting the iPhone and who isn't? About fourteen months before Verizon go the iPhone 4, it did the same thing with some cute animations.

At this point, I am just not hopeful that my network will be getting the next iPhone. And if Sprint is supposed to get the CDMA iPhone next, it would not make sense to diss a phone that it might be getting next.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Prediction: Sprint To Do Smart Thing and Move to LTE (First of Two Sprint Posts Today)

There has been talk that Sprint is nearing a deal with Clearwire on use of its WiMax network. All along, there was also talk that Sprint might try to find an LTE route. I think they are more than posturing. Sprint really has to go LTE eventually. That’s my prediction.

Heck, even Clearwire will do that as well because in the US, it just makes sense to do that.

First of all, if Sprint stays with WiMax, it will effectively be isolated, more so than T-Mobile for years to come. And though T-Mobile’s 3G network doesn’t worth with virtually anyone else’s in the US, it is still a GSM network, a vastly more popular network than CDMA and WiMax.

And from what execs at both Sprint and Clearwire has indicated in the past, transitioning from WiMax to LTE is financially feasible. As a matter of fact, Clear has “clearly” started work on that as far back as fall 2010. These things take time but I do see it happen.

So I suspect that more than just about financial terms, Clear and Sprint might have come to an understanding that they’ll work towards LTE in the next couple of years. Also, Sprint has provided clues in recent weeks about their LTE future.

And the momentum is building in that direction.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tablet Suggestion For Android Users: Wait For iPad 2 and G-Slate To See If They'll Drive Xoom Prices Down

I almost pulled the trigger yesterday on a Xoom.  At $800, it's a lot of money but I do save and save and figure it's okay to indulge myself.  I do have an iPad but I was planning on giving that to my nephew.  (Point at myself:  Greatest uncle in the world…)


Having said that, the reason I decide it was more prudent to wait is because Apple is going to let loose the iPad 2 (or whatever they're going to call it) tomorrow.  At least that's the idea  And more than that, I'm curious about their prices and how they'll try to complete with Xoom and other Android devices. 


Perhaps, what big or little changes will impact the competitive field and get Motorola to drop the price on the Xoom.  Just look at the Samsung Tab.  That thing has been going down like a rock.  I reckon if the iPad 2 does well, the same could also happen to Xoom.


Also, T-Mobile's G-Slate with its 3D capability is said to cost less than the Xoom.  Well, if that is the case, I might stay with my T-Mobile services.  Plus, it's got 3D.


Bottomline is this.  Competition is great regardless of what the OS platform we support.  Competition from iPad aside, competition among Android makers is just as potent.  I totally see a $100 Xoom price drop if the G-Slate is really $100 cheaper that many rumors on the Internet suggests. 


So, I'll wait a week or two and see how I can maximize purchasing power of my measly savings.

Wired Goes to Foxconn To See For Itself The Work Conditions

This isn't just about the iPhone.  This is about the workers who make our Android devices, laptops, and other mobile devices.

Wired goes there to see for himself the conditions the workers face and what the issues are about.

More at Wired.

Today's Interesting Links in Mobile And Impacts

(Green) – Joule Unlimited claims to be able to make 4X the diesel and ethanol fuel as others and plan is on track to have a demo plant working this year. Though doubts about collection exists. But imagine having a plant hear power plants that take in the carbon dioxide, water, and sun to make more fuel. Good luck guys! (Huffington)

(Android) I was gonna pull the trigger on the Xoom this week but I think I can wait until Apple unveils their plans for the iPad 2 in less than two days and what T-Mobile might offer me in terms of cost and data plan for the G-Slate. I’ve got the current iPad to hold me over until then.

(Green) – New power source that allows cruise ships to plug in while at port to avoid burning fuel. Hmm…not a bad idea. Of course, I’ve always wondered what fuel is burnt to get these power. BTW, I’m still on track to look into solar panels for this year. (KPCC)

(Green) – In addition to Solar City, I’ve contacted Sungevity for a quote on my solar ambitions. I got a post card from this last week and thought I check them out. Maybe it’s a sign. (Sungevity)

(Tablet, iPad) JP of the Morgans expect tablet market to hit $35 billion in 2012. I guess this is why Apple vows to own a big chunk of that. We already know netbooks is getting their collective butts handed to them by Apple but looks like the investment bank outfit thinks notebooks are next. (Cult of Mac)

(iPhone) Looks like Apple has found a way to address the prepaid market with the iPhone. Honestly, I don’t know how their $600 iPhones are going to be able to do this. I imagine Apple mean to make money back through mobile payments, apps (hence, the 30% subscription free from publishers), and accessories. (MacNN)

(Thought on iPad) – Probably 95% wishful thinking here but I wonder how low Apple can go with the iPad pricing? A couple of things Apple can do: lower price to $400 or $450 on the original WiFi iPad and/or eliminate the 3G premium over the WiFI-only version.

(Libya) Gas was insane at the pumps this weekend. Glad I gassed up last week. Good to hear US military positioning around the North African nation. That’s right, my fellow Americans. Libya is in Africa. See here.

(Thoughts on PC Verus Tablet) It’s possible that the tablet market will become bigger than the PC market. Many have said this. Where does this leave Microsoft and Intel? Is Google going to be the biggest beneficiary or will Apple find a way to stay on top? And if people move to tablets over notebooks, will that means Apple end up with a bigger part of the shrinking PC market? Estimated tablet revenue to reach $100 billion in a few years for Apple alone.

(Green) Is distributed power going to rid us of power plants? Well, we still need them to manage things but the parallel between utilities and the newspaper industry created in this post is very interesting. (Renewable Energy)

(Mobile Tech) I just had this though when comparing the thinness (or thickness) of various mobile devices. Could future devices have their electronics embedded into the casing itself? Glass, liquid metal, carbon, to reduce weight and increase strength?

(Apps) For those of us who have yet to take advantage of the lucrative app market, NYT reports we’ll see the market explode to $38 billion in 5 years. (NYT)

(Space) Virgin Galactic to ferry scientists into space. BTW, when are the flights supposed to start?! Oh yes…2012. More than a year from now. It’ll cost about $200K per seat. Gotta get working on those apps (see one link above).

(Government, Economy, Recession) Here’s an NPR breakdown on the state fights over money, cuts, and unions. Reads almost like ESPN for politics. (NPR)

Apple Should Prepare to Leave China (There Is Still Time To Execute Such A Plan)

At first glance, you might think that the title of this article is a clickbait considering that China is the second biggest economy in the w...