Friday, June 29, 2012

Beef Warms the Climate - Not An Issue Environmentalists Will Win

Source:  KPCC.

Okay, cows fart and release lots of methane.  And we keep cows around for milk, cheese, and other dairy stuff that come from cows.  Oh, and we eat them too.  And that seems to be the issue as far as global warming is concerned.

However, the real issue seems to be deforestation - not their fart or anything like that.  But while this makes a lot of sense, there is an issue that a lot of entrenched interests will fight tooth and nail over - not in the least, consumers who love beef.

Raising the point to the consumers, politicians, farmers about the inefficiency of raising cows, which takes up 60% of the agricultural land and only get back 5% of the protein while feeding only 2% of the world, ain't gonna work.  Burgers are just soooo good! (I'm a vegetarian by the way).

I think the only way to address this is one day when we can get our meat products grown in labs or special facilities and won't have to raise animals to satiate our carnivorous appetites.  What am I talking about?  There are already efforts underway to find ways to clone meat products in labs.  I think that is where we are going anyway.

USA Today reported back in Feb that we should have the first lab-grown burger by fall, a couple of months from now. Even if it works - the greasiness, taste, and texture is the same as a patty now, it'll be years if not decades before this takes off - to be joined by chicken, pork, etc.

Until then, the protection of the environment is best served by focusing on other efforts.  That's just the reality today.

Nexus 7 Review From The Verge

Thanks to Dave the Mobile Warrior for the link to The Verge review of the Nexus 7.

Is there really anything that needs to be said about this?  Google has a good thing going here even if they won't be making money on the hardware.  However, they'll have a strong foothold in the tablet market and force competitors back to the drawing board on redesigning the hardware, the OS (both for Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft), and as well as the marketing and pricing.

My main concern about the Nexus 7 is the battery life and from what I can gather, it's not better or worse than any other tablets of this size.  I actually thought the Tegra 3's power saving feature would give the Nexus  7 a leg up but I reckon the various operations like trying to make sure the UI stays fluid negates that.

Other than that, there are no concerns.  This is definitely the 7" tablet to for other companies to beat or at least live up to.  I think Google will likely release their own 10" Nexus as well in about a year to compete with the iPad.  I expect also competitive pricing as well that end.

And by then, Google will have gained a highly favorable impression among users that selling the Nexus 10 would be much easier than what Motorola and Samsung has been doing with their tablets.  For Google, the Nexus 10 would be like the Nexus 7 but only better.

The Verge had some concerns about it - none of them are deal breakers for me.  If anything, my issue is with the bezel and how huge they look.  And it does look a lot like the Kindle Fire.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blackberry OS 10 Delayed Again - Middle of 2013

This is a very bad day for RIM workers.  First, there was the 5K job cuts that's coming.  Then, there's also the more than half a billion dollar loss by the company during the last fiscal quarter.  Well, expect more pain, guys.

Blackberry fans who wanted the same OS that runs on the Playbook to run on their Blackberry superphones will have to wait until the second quarter of 2013.  You've got another 9 to 12 months of waiting to do.  At the current page of mobile innovation and competition, that's a life-time.

RIM will be going up against the iPhone 5 and maybe even the Galaxy S IV.  On top of that, Windows 8 phones could prove more popular than Windows Phone 7.5 devices now.

I don't want to say that we should close the book on the iconic messaging device company but certainly, I hope someone scoops them up.  Some with deep pockets who can make it work.

Who will benefit the most now that RIM's missteps has begun to put the company's livelihood in danger?  Apple will be Apple as Google's hardware plans like the Nexus 7 and Motorola become more clear.  However, it could be Microsoft's Surface tablet that benefit the most.

Microsoft with its strong corporate reputation could try to position Windows 8 devices as a strong Blackberry alternative.  Traditionally, Microsoft has been more willing to acquiesce to individual government and corporate needs where as Apple is well, Apple.  And should Windows 8 phones gain traction, that halo effect could bring in Surface tablet sales.

We'll know in time how well Apple and Google will be doing with their iOS 6 and Jelly Bean devices.  No matter now you look at it, at this point, RIM's portfolio of mobile and messaging patents are more valuable than its hardware and service businesses.

With Affordable Care Act Ruled Constitutional Today, Chief Justice Roberts (Inadvertently) May Have Set Up An Obama November Loss

Here's some food for thought that I like you to consider in what's being billed as a historic decision by the Supreme Court of the United States today.  In a 5-4 decision, a major lead by chief justice John Roberts ruled the President's healthcare law constitutional because it was an issue about taxes.  While one might want to count this as a major victory for the Obama administration, I am not so sure.

In fact, I ask this:  Did the chief justice inadvertently set the President up for a loss in November?

Consider this.  With the Citizens United ruling that created today's Super PACs that has so far favored the GOP, they are likely to outspend the incumbent president.  Money wins elections as you well know.

Now, with the ACA ruling, Mitt Romney may have an issue that conservatives can get excited about and rally around.  Today's decision is sure to galvanize the GOP and conservative base and it could only be a good thing for Romney.  On top of that, the Tea Party and libertarian wings of the political spectrum could view ACA as another overreach by the Obama administration.

Romney has declared overturning President's initiatives once he becomes president as his main election pitch and with the healthcare law still very much unpopular, the Romney campaign is sure to try to score as many points out of this as possible.

Money?  Check.  An outrage that certain to rally behind Romney?  Check.  Roberts' court certainly align the stars for the GOP.  However, at the end of the day, this election will still be about the economy.  Last check, 6 in 10 thinks the President Obama inherited this mess.

Quiting Facebook? Hard But Doable

I’m thinking of setting a website for folks who wanna quit social media like Facebook, for whatever reasons that are yours, and this way, we can kinda support each other through the process.  Then I thought “why, that would be like a social thing occurring online which in and of itself is a media”.

So, no.  Instead, I’m gonna go through it myself and share whatever anxiety that I may feel during the whole process.  I’ve quit Facebook two other times and its for the same reason as this third time:  Facebook is just fraking with the users.

In the latest episode, they purposefully changed your e-mail without tell us.  Why, Zuckerberg?

Then there’s the Facebook-sanctioned stalking app.  I’m sure if it is used in the right way, it can be fun and engaging.  However, as with any tool, it can be used in dark ways.  Now, when Google unveiled it’s Buzz and Wave products that allow tracking and opened up many privacy issues, there was a huge media storm.  So, Facebook should have known better than to try this in such a way.  What Google did was stupid and what Facebook more stupid is that it thinks it can get away with the same exact play.

Quitting something like Facebook isn’t easy.  For even moderate users, there is an emotional attachment to it.  I know folks who don’t necessarily post but they do check on it daily.  It’s become a norm.  I do check just about every day and post about every other day and half of the time, I’ve got something unkind to relay about Facebook and reasons why my friends should switch over to Google+.

And with my decision to quit yet again, I felt a slightly elevated level of anxiety.  Okay, I lied – quite a bit more because I’ve met new friends on Facebook recently.  So, I went for a run and that helped.  And I’m gonna go through with it.

First thing I did was to change the password in such a way that made it very difficult to remember.  Then I logged out of all the apps so I would not have access on my phone or tablet.  And in leaving the password at home, I can’t log in.

How am I feeling now?  The 5-4 SCOTUS on the President’s healthcare law has kept me pretty amped up so far and deciding if I should get the Nexus 7 has been weighing on my mind so I’ve been pretty occupied.

I’ll document how I feel over the next few days.  My deadline to officially quit Facebook starts midnight on Monday, just after the weekend.  That’ll give me time to prep emotionally and move onto other things.  Maybe after that, I’ll have more time to trash Facebook.

I am a very sociable creature that craves interaction with others – be it in person or online.  It’ll be hard (especially since I met a cute model/fashion designer on FB – though we’re not close enough for exchange of real personal info), but it’s doable.

Google Brings Manufacturing Back To the US, Kinda

Source:  Inquisitr, Google.

Today, we learn that the Nexus 7 has zero margins.  I'm sure that isn't quite true.  But we'll get into that later.  The reason I mentioned it is because of the $300 price tag on the Nexus Q, Google's robust answer to its failed Google TV so far and competitors like Roku and Apple's Apple TV.  What is also interesting is that the Q is made in the United States of America.

USA.  Again, USA.  

According ot Inquisitr, Google had it made here because of cost - China was just too expensive.  Instead of being designed in the Californa and made in China like the iPhone, iPad, and Apple's other products, the Q was designed in the USA and will be made here as its tag.  

However, that doesn't explain the $300 cost much.  I think it could be about Google making no money the Nexus 7 or even its Galaxy Nexus phone.  The margin is bulked up on the Q.  By making the Q a companion device, Google basically shifted margin from one product to another.

It's likely to come down over time if Google cannot find folks to adopt it in the numbers that competing products are.  I would stand for a $150 cost.  And if I'm right and Q's price comes down to increase adoption or low sales of Q results if Google stands firm on the $300 price, Google will not make money but will be forced to adopt Amazon's Kindle model of selling hardware at cost and try to make it back on sales of apps and content.

Personally, I think it is great as a mobile warrior who loves companies to work hard, innovate, and compete for my hard-earned money.  I wouldn't mind seeing the Fire go to $150 myself.  On top of that, the Nexus 7 is already a crazy souped up tablet running the latest/greatest Android OS. That ain't something that the Fire can lay claim to.

SCOTUS: Decision on Health Care Law

SCOTUS upheld President Obama's Health Care Law!  Wow, oh, wow!

And it's a 5-4 decision. Chief Justice Roberts could have been the swaying vote. This will definitely be a firebrand issue, more so than it already is, for November.  This is a huge win for President Obama because this is a sweeping change of the fundamental and significant part of the US economy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mobile Gaming: Infinity Blade Makes More Money Than Superhit Gears of War

Source:  Pocket Gamer.

Frak!  Seriously.  Infinity Blade, a mobile game that was born on the iPhone, from Epic Games is the most profitable game it has released.  Yes, more than mega-hit Gears of War on the Xbox.  There is a but (I think).

Given the investments versus returns, IB does provide Epic a better return than GoW.  However, I reckon GoW, given its volume, likely generated more profit.

Having said that, Apple's iPhone and iPad has done a number on the sweet racket that Nintendo and Sony has had with portable gaming, it's interesting to hear that it is also beginning to affect how a powerhouse developer like Epic sees mobile gaming.

And with all the rumors swirling around about Apple's HDTV plans (or not) and possibly of bringing iOS gaming to the Apple TV, I'm sure Epic, EA, and others eagerly look to bring more of their game craft to the home via mobile devices.

The question that mobile gamers would like to know is that with increasingly sophistication in game play and graphics, will be be paying more?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Artist Creates 3D Illusions On 2D And Videos

Source:  Visual News.

You have to check out these pics and then the Youtube video below.  I had thought about keeping it until Friday movie clips but just can't wait to share it so here it is.  Using a couple of drawing pads, an artist by the name of Nagai Hideyuki created the following 3D looking artwork.

All of this is drawn by hand.  But I wonder if it's possible for some enterprising mobile developers to come up with an app that automate the process.  Sure, you'll still have to be creative with the art but for those of us who are depth impaired, maybe it'll help, yeah?

Just utterly incredible.  And here are just a few examples and more over at Visual New.

Here is Mr. Hideyuki's personal website if you wanna check out more of his crafts.  Highly recommended.

Now, here's a cute little video of a little creature that fell from its mother's nest and with the help of the artist, tries to get back home.

Zynga Goes After Consoles, Apple, and Google With Friends Network

Source:  PocketGamer.Co.Uk.

In a pretty interesting move for Zynga that could prove to be a huge one of gamers accept is its new "Zynga with Friends", a gaming network that could have a potentially huge influence on multiple platforms from mobile to PC to consoles.  It'll compete with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and a few other gaming networks.

And with this move, it catapults Zynga, which relies a lot on Facebook for audience, can now have other options should Facebook ever go the way of MySpace.  Not only that, because of the ubiquity of casual gamers in mobile, it will have found a more secure way to generate revenues from ads and in-app purchases that Facebook and Google has failed to do thus far.

Presenting a challenge to incumbents and newcomers alike, like Apple's Gamecenter, ZwF will feature many social features like chats and stream besides cross-platform game play.  What ZwF will do is enable Zynga to create a level of engagement that I think Xbox is the only one that has been able to do.  That is all we hear about.

ZwF could, in fact, become a direct challenge to Facebook, which would be Zuckberg's worst nightmare apart from the Instagram threat.  Maybe, Zynga could be snatch up by one of the larger mobile players like Google.  Or maybe, Facebook will be forced to spend its billions to keep it away from Google.

What will be interesting is if ZwF's social initiative takes off, we can see Zynga not only as a huge mobile player but social as well.  In fact, years from now, we may be talking about Facebook being "myspaced" by Zynga, becoming a bigger challenge to Google+.

Mobile Intellgent Assistants Should Have Emergency Protocols

Siri is raw and in beta.  Could be in perpetual beta because it’ll be constantly learning new things.  Google’ rumored Siri-killer will likewise be in the same state of learning new tricks.  But there is one thing that I like any voice-enabled service like Siri to be able to do right away – contact emergency services and it should so easy that a toddler can do it.

I know that many toddlers know how to make calls these days.  It’s amazing how brilliant some children are.  But an one-click emergency service that even a three-year old can activate would be pretty useful.  In the example above, a fictional three-year old saves his mother.  It could be a grandparent, another relative, or a sibling who needs emergency medical services.

Imagine the following scenario:

Toddler finds a parent or grandparent unconscious.  He/she shook the adult but got no response.  So the toddler goes to the smartphone and presses the home button.
Intel Assistant: How can I help you?Toddler:  My daddy won’t wake up.  IA: Okay, do you want me to call for help?T: Yes, he’s sick or something.IA: I’ll connect you to emergency services.  (at this point, the IA tries to establish a connection to the 911 services).911:  Hello, who am I speaking with?T (gives 911 his/her name):  My daddy won’t wake up.  He’s on the floor.911:  Okay, I know where you are, an ambulance and an engine is being sent to your location.  Is this your home? (The smartphone has already transmitted the GPS location to 911.  T: Yes.  911: You’re doing great.  We’ll have someone there shortly.  I’ll stay on the line with you. How old are you?T: Three (or “I don’t know”.)911:  Can you hold the phone up.  Good. (Images are transmitted to 911 and first responders so they have a better handle of the situation before they arrive – if possible, the 911 operator can establish a two-way video chat with the toddler.)
Through the whole episode, the IA, whether it’s Siri or something that Google comes up with, is listening.  Upon knowing that the user of the emergency protocol is a minor and not the owner of the smartphone, a text is immediately sent to other family members on the contact list that the owner of the smartphone.

I’m sure other protocols could be written in for the IA to follow as well.

I hope the purveyors of mobile platforms will build something into this that will make it easy to contact and enable 911 services to quickly respond – a few seconds or minutes could make the diff between life and death.

And this doesn’t have to take years of development for this to work.  I think this can be done relatively quickly if all the innovators put their heads together with authorities to make this happen.  So yeah, the technology is within our grasp.  All it does is to take the might and political will to make this happen.  It’ll take the involvements of the FCC, emergency responders, device makers like Apple and Google, and the carriers.

The government already has an emergency alert system in place.  I reckon it would take another upgrade to the system and to 911 to make this work.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Friday Movies: Political Ads From Game of Thrones

Tis the Season  Political ads to be exact.  And it's not late night that is drawing inspiration from real ads but TV shows that are getting into it.  Rather it's fans that are getting into it.

The following are three humorous ads based on the popular HBO show Game of Thrones.  And yeah, they're very well done, especially the first one about who the real king is and if he's even fit to be king, a play on the birthers.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Source:  Blastr.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mobile War Far, Far From Over

While it’s half time now in America, according to Mr. Clint Eastwood, we’re probably in the middle of the second quarter in the mobile war.  For a while, folks, tech pundits, bloggers, and analysts, have kinda given Android a 50+% share of the market with the iPhone somewhere around 25-30% and the rest to be split up between RIM, Windows Phone, and others.

Well, I’m gonna tell you that is very premature.  The dynamics of the mobile market, both smartphones and tablets, are is great flux.  No need to recap what’s been going on.  Just know that the latest development in mobile is Microsoft’s entry into the hardware business.

And Microsoft is a company that has a reputation for not necessarily getting it right the first time around but doing whatever it takes to get it right.  Patience and persistence.  Microsoft doesn’t really have a choice.  This is not a market that it can afford to lose out.

So, we just learn that Amazon is furthering its reach with the Kindle Fire by offering its app store in Europe.  This ought to be very interesting given that updated Kindle tablets should be ready for the upcoming Christmas shopping season.  So, Amazon’s mobile plans are definitely in its infancy despite dominating the ereader market.

Then there’s also Apple that just launched its App Store in 32 other countries or territories.  You would think by now, Apple has already circled the glove within its iOS ecosystem.  And there are definitely more carriers and countries where iPhone and iPad penetration has not started.  And given Apple’s focus on the Greater China market, Apple has a lot more innovating and growth to go through.

Obviously, there’s Google.  Android is the most popular smartphone platform in the world but, somehow, I doubt Google is happy with the way things are going.  Lawsuits galore but it is also the feeling that things are slipping away from Google with respect to control of Android.  The core Android OS has been forked for various use that not only do not have necessarily any benefit to Google’s mobile plans or bottom line but are increasingly becoming competitors.

What Google has in store for Motorola.  It’s a card that has been held closely to its vest but we should know in short order.  As a mobile fan, I can’t say that I am happy with the deployment by hardware makers and carriers of Ice Cream Sandwich.  It’s just horrendous.  Maybe Google’s Motorola devices will get timely Android updates the way the Nexus devices have been.  And this ought to light a fire under its quasi-partners to step it up.

Lastly, Microsoft.  I know, there’s also RIM.  Blackberry 10 is a story for 2013 rather than 2012.  And that is assuming RIM is still around in 2013 as it is now.  More and more, RIM’s technologies (patents) and the Blackberry brand is more valuable in pieces to be sold off rather than trying to recapture its glory days.  And its corporate stronghold is slowly being eroded by the iPhone and will soon have to contend with Windows 8 smartphones as well.

So, that brings us back to Microsoft.  This week’s Windows 8 developments certainly has the desired effect – if raising eyebrows is what Steve Balmer intended.  Microsoft’s only major point at Monday’s LA special event where they unveiled its Surface tablet is this:  we’re doing hardware.  Many questions were left unanswered and the biggest one is will Surface be more of a Nexus or serve to further growth Microsoft’s revenue and profit like the iPhone/iPad has been doing for Apple.

And remember:  Microsoft can be persistence.  Stubborn, in fact.  And Surface will not be its first try into the mobile market.  We’ve seen it with Windows Phone 7 which has kind of served as a reset, new era for Microsoft in mobile.  We’re currently at Windows Phone 7.5 so Windows 8 should be Microsoft’s third try at mobile.

With Surface tablets, it shows that Microsoft has learned something valuable in the last couple of years.  Once Microsoft’s tablets go on sale, maybe we can finally call that the start of the third quarter in the mobile war.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Nexus Versus Surface: Where Microsoft Is Headed, Where Google Could Go with Android

As you well know by now, Microsoft is going into the hardware business.  With the launch of Windows 8, Microsoft will be releasing two types of tablets - one running on ARM chips, likely the Tegra 3 from Nvidia, and Intel chips.  What is not clear is why Microsoft suddenly change more than two decades of practice:  write the OS and license it to hardware partners.  

And it's been pretty much confirmed that many of Microsoft's partners were either not notified about Monday's unveiling or were notified but given very little details.  One rationale is that Microsoft is attempting to light a fire under its partners to innovate and get excited about Windows 8 and its tablet potential.  Another rationale is that Microsoft's Surface is its Nexus.  Basically, the Surface serves as the template for its partners to follow just as Google uses Nexus as the model for a device running pure Android.

Or it could be a combination of the two because Microsoft came late to the smartphone market with Windows Phone 7 but is quickly catching on what Apple and Google's mobile platforms offer and, so far, it has zero modern-day tablet presence.  Coming out with its own hardware, even in limited fashion, allows Microsoft to have a finger in the hardware pie if tablets, be it the ARM or Intel versions, fail to catch on.

After all, Windows is the product upon which Microsoft is built on as a company.  It's where its other products like the lucrative Office runs on.  And even Office is under assault from Google's Docs and a myriad of other online office suite options.

For Google, answering Microsoft will come in the form of Android 5, codenamed Jelly Bean.  What is interesting about Windows 8 is that its one OS that will run on the smartphones, tablets, and PCs.  It's even more all encompassing than Apple who has one OS, iOS, for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and a separate OS X for the Macs.  The popular thinking is that iOS and OS X could one day become one OS.

Google offers Android 4 for both the smartphone and tablet market.  But don't forget that Google also offer Chrome OS for PCs like netbooks.  It'll be interesting to see where Google takes Jelly Bean and if the future of Android and Chrome OS becomes one, say Google OS.

Right now, there is the Galaxy Nexus capable of running the latest Android OS.  We're going to see a tablet from Google.  My guess on what it'll run on and what the hardware specs is just as accurate as all other conjectures/rumors.  That is to say we don't know with certainty other than that it's coming.

However, once the Nexus tablet comes out, we can expect a lot of comparisons between Google's Nexus line of hardware and Microsoft's Surface tablets.  And don't be surprise if Microsoft does surprise us with a Windows 8 smartphone under its own banner later this fall.

What I do find interesting is that the dearth of information from Microsoft about Surface is making it difficult for bloggers and analysts to speculate about the chances of Surface to succeed in the market.  That has not stopped that from happening.  Microsoft, by virtue of the fact that it is Microsoft and given its historic dominance in the PC market, is giving a lot of benefit of the doubt and has been granted a very good chance to mount a comeback against Android in the smartphone market and take a sizable pice of the tablet pie from Apple's iPad.

NBA Finals: Heat Won Because Wade/Miller Made Sacrifices

Congratulations to the Miami Heat for winning the 2012 NBA Finals!  It's players like Dwayne Wade who despite for going tens of millions so that the team can make salary cap room to bring in talent.

All along, Wade and others on the Miami team could have left or demanded to be traded.  They could have gone on national television to humiliate Miami about how which team they were going to leave Miami for.

With Wade's sacrifice, tonight's win could not have been possible.  Wade remains one of my favorite players of all time in the NBA because he didn't quit on his team, fans, or city when things got tough.

Concept iPhone With Translucent Back - Well, You'll See

Source:  Forbes.

Forbes thinks this is stupid but they want it. I think it's brilliant and I want it.  It's a concept iPhone with a clear black that when you look at the iPhone, you can see clear through whatever is on the other side.

Again, I want it!  I think this is possible (eventually) and it could really make even today's thinnest smartphone look obese thickness-wise.

Obviously, there are gonna be issues like making the circuits, memory chips, CPU, and a bunch of other stuff really, really small.  I reckon it'll  have to be like 10 to 20x smaller than what we have today and up to 50x more power efficient.  If you look at this thing from the side, there really is no place for you to put a battery.

Having said that, I've always believed that we can reach this level of tech sooner rather than later.  Look at how calculators have shrunk over the years.  Look the collection of calculators from laurentian.

And remember those HP scientific calculators?  Yup, and now, we have calculators that run on the smallest most inefficient solar cells like the ones you can get for a few bucks at Office Depot.  We even have calculators on watches!

So, the question of whether we'll see this the-through concept iPhone or any other device isn't if it'll happen, rather, when it'll happen.  One think I believe whatever make such a device should do is allow the option to opaque the background so it can be less distracting when the user wants it.

So, iPhone 10 or 15, anyone?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Microsoft Tablet: Surface Demo Froze, Too Early To Call It "Fail"

I'm still waiting for more details to come out before chatting up (or down) Microsoft's Surface which I think has a lot of potential - so much so that I think Apple/RIM/Google fans could be in for a rude (maybe wonderful) surprise.

Meanwhile, these videos are circulating the Web - a Surface tablet that froze during Monday's demo in Los Angeles.  It's quite interesting to watch because the poor MS exec had to cover for the Surface freezing on him during one of the most critical demos in Microsoft's history.

While Youtube videos are calling this a fail, which it kinda is, mere points to the attention that Surface is generating.  I can totally see my next tablet being a Windows 8 device but there are a lot of issues that Microsoft has to work out and provide much more details about what the Surface tablet is really capable of.

Obviously, you can go with a safe choice in the iPad.  And Android fans can go with the Samsung Tab 10.1, the only Android tablet worth our hard-earned wages.  However, Windows 8 promises to provide something that neither the tablet market has seen.

Obviously, the details from Microsoft could ruin all that - like battery life, crashiness, costs, etc.  Until then, anti-Microsoft camps can enjoy this "epic fail".  I think it's all in good humor and we'll have to see if Redmond can really deliver.

This Surface freeze isn't an epic fail.  An epic fail would be Microsoft's tablet efforts in the 2000s.  This time around, hmmm, we'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Apple Standalone Podcast App Could Be Disruptive For Content Producers Especially Studios

I don’t want to get into rumors but I would like to speculate on this one:  Apple may be giving podcast producers and listeners their own app.

And if this is true, wow, this could be a huge deal depending on how far Apple wants to take this.  I think it’s quite possible that this could be a part of what Steve Jobs said to his biographer when he said he cracked television.  If I’m right, Apple could be cracking more than just television but video and audio broadcasts as we know it.  And broadcasts would no longer be known as “broadcasts” but as podcasts as well.

When I learned about this standalone podcast app, I started digging through Internet tubes to find out as much as I can about it.  They all kind of reported the same rumored details.  So, it left me to wonder and do what I love to do: speculate wildly.  Here goes.

More at On Apple.

Apple & Facebook - Privacy Protection Or Open Floodgate?

I like that Twitter was integrated into iOS 5 and I use it quite a bit.  With iOS 6, I’m not as crazy as with Facebook integration largely because the lack of safeguards by Facebook to protect its users.  And now, they’re looking into lowering the age bracket that can join the social site, I’m afraid things could will be much worse since Facebook isn’t interested in protecting the children from predators and the bad elements of social media.

So, it falls to Apple and what it is doing to safe guard iOS and Mac users, many upon many are children.

So, Apple, I ask you this:  what is Apple doing to safeguard the privacy of its loyal users?  Is Facebook free to figuratively walk through Apple’s data centers and literally sift through the millions upon millions of bits of information about us?

I understand that if I share something via iOS 6 through Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg would have access to that information.  Well, what if I don’t want to share my location or contact list?  Right now, I am who I am with my Facebook account but I do everything I possibly can to avoid giving up any detail about me that I don’t think Facebook has the right to know.  I fear that by integrating Facebook in iOS 6, Apple will force those who wants easier Facebook access to give Facebook more information.

I suppose I always have the choice of not using Facebook via iOS 6.  But if using Facebook on my iPhone or iPad means that I have to give up contact info like I am forced to do on Android, then Apple’s Facebook integration is no better than what Google has.

I’m hoping that Apple is aware of this and will give us more options to use Facebook or  others without giving social media access to everything.  I like Twitter on iOS 6 because it don’t have access to everything.

Supposedly, iOS 6 would give the user more privacy control.  I think that’s a great thing, something I like to see Google and Microsoft provide for its users.  If implemented correctly, users would be able to dictate which apps can have access to contact lists and, hopefully, other information like locations (App on iOS now asks for permission to locate users but I like there to be a more case-by-case option).

I hope this privacy control also works against Facebook's prying eyes as well.

One more thing.  While I was completing this post, I came across this Patently Apple post.  Apparently, Apple had been working on a new way to counter websites that try to connect user data.  PA dubbed it the Anti-Brig Brother surveillance patent.  I’ve read through the long-ish and detailed post a couple of times.  I had to because it was pretty interesting and you get the sense that Apple is trying to go that extra mile to protect (maybe hoard for itself) iOS and Mac user data.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Stunts By GOP Activists Borderline on Dangerous (Dems Also Guity Too)

Note:  I consider myself a conservative. Not cray ones like those currently steering the Republican Party down the crazy nutty path that even Jeb Bush stated that President Reagan and his father would not have been able to succeed.

You want to know if the GOP base is energized?  Well, given that the Republican Party has been taken so far to the right now, you can say that the base is energized and it’s being populated by crazies.  Now, I’m not saying there are those of us who want sensible policies that are right of center that will truly solve the country’s fiscal problems that are fighting to be heard.  However, it’s these crazies that are wagging the tale and the GOP establishment is afraid to stop it out of fear that they’ll be reprimanded on talk radio and Fox News.  And they also fear it’ll stunt the enthusiasm of the base.

Unfortunately, the base isn’t what it used to be.  Jeb Bush was right when he said Presidents Reagan and Bush (the first one) would not belong in today’s Republican Party.  Jeb Bush would not belong either.

More than that, the fringes, which include the left, has made Congress such a dysfunctional institution, more so with each election cycle.  Have Republican leadership forgotten about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords already?  Though the act of a lone crazy man, I cannot shy away from the politically charged environment created national and state leadership (that’s right, Sarah Palin comes to mind).  And again, I’m not only blaming GOP congressional leaders but also Pelosi/Reid as well.  During President George W. Bush’s terms, they could every bit as venomous towards the President.  The Democrats offered nothing but criticism and worked to undermine President Bush for the benefit of the American people but for the Democratic Party.

The average Americans want solutions to the economy and dismal job picture.  We don’t want Romney to blame Obama or Obama’s people to make us focus on Romney’s Bain days.  We don’t want stupid pledges that handcuff Congress or election year stunts from the White House.

Governor Jeb Bush was forced to clarify his statement when he criticized the GOP by saying that this blame is to be shared by both parties.  I agree.  There are plenty of good representatives and senators that really want to embrace common sense policies but are hammered by party politics and fearing that they will earn the ire of activists who are used to having their ways.

As for party politics, if your policy cannot stand on its own merits and all you can do is try to confuse voters by deflecting arguments and try to create hate towards the other party, your policies have failed.

And for those who used effigies or paint targets on the opposition and claim they're all in "good fun", sure it is until one of their followers takes it literally and goes too far.  By then, any kind of soul searching or attempts to dial back the hate would be too late.

Maybe it's not changes in Washington that is needed. Maybe it's a change in each of us and just how far we are willing to tolerate those cancerous behaviors.
Animosity shown by GOP

I’ll tell you this.  You want to know if the GOP base is energized?  Well, given that the Republican Party has been taken so far to the right now, you can say that the base is energized and it’s being populated by crazies.  Now, I’m not saying there are those of us who want sensible policies that are right of center that will truly solve the country’s fiscal problems that are fighting to be heard.  However, it’s these crazies that are wagging the tale and the GOP establishment is afraid to stop it out of fear that they’ll be chastised on radio and Fox News.  And they also fear it’ll stunt the enthusiasm of the base.

Unfortunately, the base isn’t what it used to be.  Jeb Bush was right when he said Presidents Reagan and Bush (the first one) would not belong in today’s Republican Party.  Jeb Bush would not belong either.

More than that, the fringes, which I know include the left, has made Congress such a dysfunctional institution.  Have Republican leadership forgotten about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords already?  Though the act of a lone crazy man, I cannot shy away from the politically charged environment created national and state leadership.  And again, I’m not only blaming GOP congressional leaders but also Pelosi/Reid as well.  During President George W. Bush’s terms, they could every bit as venomous towards the President.

The average Americans want solutions to the economy and dismal job picture.  We don’t want Romney to blame Obama or Obama’s people to make us focus on Romney’s Bain days.  We don’t want stupid pledges that handcuff Congress or 2012 political stunts from the White House.

This is what I like to see done.  Incumbents that want to remain in office should run on their previous two years, four years, or six years of record.  And for the challengers, they should only be allowed to talk about their own policies. And no one is allowed to talk about the opponent’s policies to try to confuse the issues.

Idealistic and na├»ve.  I know.  But it doesn’t mean we should just take it.  That’s what the political parties are counting on.

Possible Nexus 7 Details Emerge

Source:  GottaBeMobile  via The Verge.  

 Okay, so there’s the iPad and an assortment of Android tablets today.  Oh, and let’s not forget the Kindle Fire.  That’ll be joined by some new Windows 8 tablet soon which will be announced today by Microsoft at 3:30PM PST.  Now, these are likely spy-pics of Google’s Nexus tablet.  Looks like a 7” variant (I say variant because I’m sure we’ll see other Nexus tablets in various sizes). 

From the pic, it looks like it’s called Nexus 7.  From the imagine, we can gleam that the resolution is quite possibly 1280 x 960, which is at a much higher resolution than its likely closest competitors with the Kindle Fire’s and Samsung Tab Plus 7’s anemic 1024 x 600.  If I may go a step further into the rumor world, Apple’s unicorn iPad coming in between 7-8” is suppose to have only 1024 x 768. 

Is this pic for real?  I hope so.  And there’s chatter that Google could price this to compete with the Fire at $150.  With the specs I’m hearing and at this price, it could be going after not only Amazon but Apple and Microsoft as well.  Personally, I don’t see an iPad or Windows 8 tablet priced at $150, much less $200.

Below is a video showing us what we can expect from Nexus 7.  The experience is likely to be similar.  I cannot way to see this tablet and how others from Apple to Microsoft to Samsung to Amazn/BN responds.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Can Apple Be Stopped? Who Will Win With Microsoft Bring Windows 8 to the War? Can Google’s Android Brush Off Redmond?

The day Steve Jobs returned to Apple, no one then could have thought that Apple would still be around today let alone remain one of the most valued companies in the world.  And through it all, Apple has resurrected its Mac computers, disrupted markets, created new devices, and continue to innovate to this day.  Easy, right?  Definitely not.

Sure, Steve Jobs, now Tim Cook, and the rest of Apple made it seem easy but I’m sure it’s the challenges of creating the perfect Macbook or crafting a device that they themselves would want to use and the continual assaults on its position is what is driving them forward.

Today, Macs are selling at a healthy clip but its still computers installed with Windows that dominate the market.  Apple just refreshed its Macbook lines from the Macbook Pro with the new Retina Display to the Macbook Air, it’ll look like the back-to-school season is going to be a blow-out one for Apple.  Still, the PC market will be dominated by Windows-based PCs.

The story is more rosy for Apple’s mobile devices. Fom the iPod to the iPhone to the iPad, Apple has withstood challenges after challenges to its dominate position.  The iPod remains the top selling MP3 player with over 70% of the market.  What of the iPad?  It has continued to retain 60 to 70% of the market as challengers from the Xoom to the Galaxy Tab to the Kindle Fire tried to unseat it.  Oh, and let’s not forget HP’s Touchpad or RIM’s Playbook.

And while Apple’s iPhone doesn’t have the market-share the iPod or the iPad currently enjoy, Apple did manage to become smartphone seller in the Holidays quarter of 2011. Today, it has about 70% of the mobile profit.  Depending on who you talk to, the iPhone has taken back share from Android when it started selling on Sprint and Verizon or, at the very least, stunted Android’s growth.  And the game between the iPhone and Android is not over yet.  Apple is expected to release a redesigned iPhone with a new body, bigger screen, and with LTE support this fall.  Samsung’s just released Galaxy S III may have the whole summer to itself, down the home strech to Christmas of 2012, it’s likely going to be all Apple’s.

Don’t think it’s all smooth sailing for the Cupertino-based company from here on.  Like video games where levels get progressively harder and harder, nothing Apple has seen since the Android onslaught will be more determined to knock Apple out of the game.  And that is?  You guessed it.  Microsoft.  For Apple and  Microsoft, the coming  battle between these two old foes will be every bit as epic as the personal computer war waged in the 80s and 90s which Microsoft has taken the crown.

Apple thinks its ready for this and, while there is no signs of , Tim Cook and company are confident with this final match.  It has the feel of the last battle between two bosses like in the video games.  And it is a final match for either Apple or Microsoft.  The winner will most likely be king of the hill for a long while.  This war will be waged on more fronts than that fought between Apple and Google.  It’ll be fought in the social media market, PC market, mobile market, and even the auto industry will feel its effects.  It could redefine content distribution and home entertainment.

And the brutality of the Apple-Microsoft match is going to be for our benefit.  It’s about an all out competition to convince us they have the best products and services.  Blog surrogates will

Should Apple stumble, it will prove that Microsoft’s residence, as it has shown time and time again, has paid off.  Redmond’s patience helped it win the PC war.  And when it was under assault by AOL, Netscape, and Sun, with the help of some illegal monopolistic moves, Microsoft won the browser war and rendered all those companies inert.

Want more proof that Microsoft is patient and resilient?   How about the search market?  Sure, Google has the lion’s share of the search market and while Yahoo and Altavista, to name two are no longer threats to Google, Microsoft has launched volleys after volleys at Google with MSN,, and, now, Bing.

Apple’s war with Microsoft will commence in a couple of months when both iOS 6 and Windows 8 are released and products based on them flood the market.  Even if Apple does win 2012 or even 2013, it can expect Microsoft to try and try again to beat Apple’s products.  Tens of billions of dollars will be wage this war on both sides.

It’ll be a tug of war the likes we have never seen before in tech history.  The reason is simple.  Neither can Apple, Microsoft, or, for that matter, Google afford to lose.

Certainly, Google’s Android is not suddenly going to go away.  In fact, Apple and Microsoft will continue have to deal with Google, RIM, or anyone else.  It will certainly be dangerous for either them or anyone else to discount a comeback by any company.  We’ll certainly hear a lot from Google this fall with its next version of Android that will pit itself against iOS 6 and Windows 8.

Apple will come at its competitors hard with new innovative products year after year.  Microsoft knows it has to be patient and work deals.  And it has billions in the bank to drag this out.  The same goes for Google.

However, of the three, only Microsoft has the most to lose.  The momentum is in Apple and Google’s favors.  Let’s face it.  The PC market is growing but slowly and has at times shrunk due to global economic conditions.  Apple has the tablet market all it itself and there is proof that its cannibalizing laptop sales.  And what is one of Microsoft’s biggest money making?  Windows.


As for Windows Phone, Microsoft’s proxy, Nokia, has done well with the Lumia phones but, so far, they have not stopped the iPhone or Android.  At best, Windows Phone devices from Nokia has only managed to replaced Symbian sales.  Android devices has over 50% of the market with Apple trailing at around 30%.  Windows Phone devices are still truggle to get to 2%.

This is why the launch of Windows 8 is so critical for Microsoft.  We’ll know this late fall and winter if Windows 8 has the makings of a Vista or Windows 7.  If it’s another Vista debacle, Microsoft risks being made even more obsolete and may even give consumers more reason to look at the Macs as their next PC purchase.  However, if Windows 8 with its new Metro UI is a hit, Microsoft could hit two birds with one stone.  Windows 8  could gain traction in the tablet market, something that Android has failed to do.  And it could give consumers reasons to give Windows 8 phones a along hard look over the iPhone or Android devices.

Perhaps with Windows 8, Microsoft only has to show that it is willing to stay in the game and fight. Any traction, no matter how little in the tablet and smartphone market could be all the difference.  It would harkens back to the original release of the Xbox in 2001.  Against the Playstation and N64, it didn’t do much but slowly, it showed the market that Microsoft was offering something different.  A choice that was not previously available.  Today, the Xbox 360, released on 2005 is the best selling console.

While Microsoft has proven it is capable of developing decade long strategy to win a market, the Xbox is different from Windows.  It is Windows where it derives its profit and it’s the platform where other software like Office runs on.  So this is why Windows 8 cannot only do well in the shrinking PC market, it has to show that it can compete against the iPad in the tablet market and become a viable competitor to the iPhone, Androids, and Blackberries.

We don’t know who will be left standing at the end of the day.  It could be another decade before we can crown a winner.  Maybe there won’t be just one winner but two.  Or Apple, Google, and Microsoft could be locked in a stalemate with equal shares of the market and profit.  However, I know one this for sure:  we mobile warriors will greatly benefit from the innovation and rapid speed of hardware and software releases.  The market needs competition.  The more the better.

There is so much war to talk about.  Xbox, Playstation 3, Wii, and whatever follows will have to contend with Apple TV and Google TV.  Apple is looking to move Siri into your car while Microsoft is already there. And don't forget Google's self-driving car either.

Friday Movie Clip: The Expendables…Two!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve put up any awesome Friday movie clips and while I’ve got a few more zombie-themed ones, I think I’ll go in a different direction.  No Pixar stuff this week either.  It’s from a movie that I didn’t think much of but, more and more, I think when I first saw it, I did it know.  Yup, that’s right.  I watched the move wrong.

The Expendables 2 Poster

I wanted great acting, smooth dialogue, and a Oscar caliber story.  But with a bunch of anging former action stars, all you’re gonna get are loud over the top explosions with our heroes winning seemingly impossible battles and bad guys who cannot hit anything at all with their guns.

That was The Expendables.  And now, I can’t wait for The Expendables 2 to come out.  This time around, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger will be joining the fight.  I saw the commercial for it during either the Stanley Cup Finals (which the LA Kings won its first ever championship despite East Coast bias of the crappy NBC Sports announcers) or during one of those NBA playoff games.

Now, now The Expendables 2 coming to a theater near you on August 17th.  I can’t wait!  And this time, I’m gonna watch it the right way.  My mind and any sense of realism checked at the door.

Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

RAZR Versus Nexus

Google owns Motorola outright now.  We aren't likely to hear anything from Google regarding what it plans on doing with Motorola's brands and how they'll fit with Google's own Nexus.  Nor will we know just how RAZR and Nexus will be marketed and, quite possibly, be pitted against others like the Galaxy and One.

There are a couple of things we know with certainty of as today.  Google is a corporation.  It has to maximize the value of its stockholders.  At the same time, it has to balance the various moving parts of Google's revenue/profit generating apparatuses to maximize returns and deal with out factors like competitors and partners alike.

More at On Android.

My Impression of the Macbook Pro With Retina Display

My iPhone 4 died yesterday so I went to the Apple store hoping that they would replace it with an iPhone 4S as I’ve heard from various online reports.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  There was some kind of part that the Apple genius replaced quickly within a couple of minutes and I was sent on my way.  However, I did not leave without getting a good look at the new Retina Display Macbook Pro.

My impressions?

Wow, oh, wow, oh, wow…

More at On Apple.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Where is Google’s Siri Response?

Competition is good for consumers in general.  And specific to the mobile market, the continuous battle between the various tech giants has been great for us mobile fans.  And with Apple’s Siri, it was an answer to Google’ voice commands.  And Siri, with its beta problems, is clearly setting the mark to hit.  So, I wonder where is Google’s , or Microsoft’s, response to Siri?

Yesterday, Apple unveiled iOS 6 with a marginally improved Siri.  I reckon it’ll still be a beta feature through the life of iOS 6 because I think there is just too many basic functions, that while works, require more improvements.  And this has offered Google an opportunity to upstage Apple, RIM, or Microsoft.

Perhaps, we’ll see Google’s Siri killer baked into Android 5 when Google releases it later this year.  Or it could operate as a standalone app being made available on competing mobile platforms.  Right now, we just don’t know yet.  In the past, there were rumblings of an app or project called Majel, named after Gene Roddenberry’s wife who was the voice of the starship USS Enterprise’s computer.

I think given the hyper-competitive atmosphere, Majel should prove to be ever bit as robust as Siri and likely offer a few tricks that Siri won’t be able to do as we know it now.

Personally, I like to see how Google’s take on a mobile assistant will differ from Siri.  On top of that, what kind of personality will it have.  Because, if you don’t already know, Siri definitely has a personality.  However, that is just one aspect.  There are plenty that Google can make Majel stand out from Siri.

Given my experience with voice search, Android already does an awesome job understand its users.  I reckon Majel will be just as good if not better.  And that could be better than what we know Siri to do now.  On top of that, Google has its own voice tech that could give Majel a more natural feel.  Perhaps Siri’s robotic, albeit femine voice, is a Pixaresque quirk, who would not want a digital assistant that sounds more natural?

From the WWDC keynote, the Siri demo was neat but I get the feeling that Apple could be holding stuff back for a bigger unveiling in the fall that could be used as a wow-factor to help it sell the next iPhone.

So, which Siri at this time seems like a low hanging fruit for Google’s Majel to meet, Apple has a habit of going to where the puck is going to be, and Google better do the same with Majel as well.  Siri in the fall will not be standing in the same spot today’s Siri is currently.

Verizon Shot Self In the Foot, Likely To Kill Post-Paid Market for Many

Mark this day.  Verizon’s ridiculously expensive shared plan is going to do in the wireless providers and give more boost to the prepaid market.  Why?  The stupid $30 a pop cost for regular phones and $40 a pop for smartphones.  And considering that many industry observers believe the rest of the big four would follow suit, it looks more like this is about the carriers trying to “meterize” data.

Remember, AT&T regretted going with the unlimited data plan and I’m sure its competitors at the time were like “what are you thinking”?

So, what happens now?  As a Verizon subscriber, I find this plan to be idiotic and once my  service is up, I’m likely to shop around.  So far, my family plan only has onewo smartphone and if I were to add more and be forced to switch over to Verizon’s new plan, I will definitely be leaving.  Grandfathered unlimited data plan be damned.  Obviously, I could go the unsubsidized route and keep my current plan.  What happens depends on what I find more appealing from Verizon’s competitors.

If anything, I can see myself switch a few of our lines to more affordable $45 Straight Talk plans which also offers unlimited talk, text, and data (again, unlimited data means 2 or 3 GB of high-speed use before metering starts).

I currently pay $175 to Verizon for 1400 minutes and texting for two lines plus one unlimited data plan.  If I switch over Verizon’s new scheme, I could end up paying $220.

Not very appealing.  And judging by the chatter in forums I've visited so far, no one is jumping all over this.  It's likely Verizon has taken the first step towards killing off the post-paid market and will drive tens of millions mobile warriors into the arms of Walmart and Target for cheaper and more sane pre-paid plans.

Monday, June 11, 2012

New Macbooks: New Features Like Retina Displays More Important Or Battery Life

Considering that this is a focus on social and mobile warriors, new Macbooks coming out of Cupertino (headquarter of Apple Inc) are always welcoming news and drives traffic for Mac and mobile blogs such as this one.  As of now, we are a bit over an hour away from Tim Cook kicking off Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco.

So, let's do a bit of speculation on what new Macbooks will have and what is more important to us mobile users.  Retina Display has been much rumored/speculated about in the blog world.  Even mainstream media, which now relies on us for much of their news, are beginning to pick up on this.  So, I ask you.  Between Retina Display and battery life, which is more important to you?

As the proud owner of an 11" Macbook Air, I am quite happy with the screen quality.  I have never made the mistake of comparing it with my iPhone 4 Retina Display nor my mom's 2012 iPad with its own Retina Display.   Sure, I would be amazed if Apple added Retina Display to the Macbook line and I would be excited to upgrade in a year or so, it would not make me do it right away.

However, as someone who likes to roam around a bit, I would like to see longer battery life in the Macbooks.  Currently, the 11" Air is rated at 5 hours while the 13" has 7 hours of battery life.  I would like that see the Macbook Airs increased their battery life by a two-hour increment while the regular Macbook line go well over 10 hours.

I think if Apple wants to blunt any kind of Windows 8 and ultrabook assault that is sure to come for the second half of 2012, battery life, more than anything, could be a differentiator in the battle for the PC dollars.

Newer features like Retina Displays, Thunderbolt, and better Intel chips might help but as more of us go mobile, it's going to be the battery life that could be the deciding factor.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

iOS 6: Will Apple Replace Youtube With Vimeo? How Should Google Respond?

What Apple has planned for iOS 6 will largely be known by Monday after the keynote.  New features, new apps, and, hopefully, some surprises as well.  For instance, there is too many in the media that has reported on Apple replace Google Maps with its own implementation for that not to be true.  Furthermore, Google’s hastily put-together media even to showcase its own future mapping offerings suggested this as well.

How about other Google apps?  The other one that quickly comes to mind is Google’s Youtube app.  Will that be replaced soon enough?  After all, Apple has replaced Youtube with Vimeo on the desktop iMovie app.  They haven’t done it yet on the iOS app but you can bet that’ll happen sooner rather than later.

I reckon it’s possible that Apple could displace Youtube with Vimeo starting with iOS 6 since that’ll also happen with an iMovie update once iOS 6 is released, likely this fall.

However, Youtube remains a popular app and destination for iOS users.  So, it’s possible Youtube’s popularity could save its spot on your iPhone or iPad.  Then again, it wouldn’t be all that difficult for Google to release a Youtube in the App Store for download by users who want to use.

Should Apple kick Youtube off iOS, don’t be surprised if Google not only release a Youtube but also an iOS movie capture all that allows users to directly upload videos to Youtube.

What do you think?  Google Maps disappearing an isolating case or will Apple do a wholesale cleansing of Google apps including Youtube?

Aside from Google releasing a Youtube app, what else could Google do.  Quite a bit actually.  Not having to deal with Apple's iOS directly could actually free up Google to do more app development for the iOS in ways that a contract agreement with Apple might have prevented.

Depending on the circumstances, Apple replacing Google Maps, maybe Youtube, could be a good thing for both companies.

WWDC: Confirmed - iOS 6 To Highlight, What To Expect

Cnet and macstories have pics showing iOS 6 banners being put up for Monday's keynote address by Apple's execs.
What will Apple unveiling?  There's a lot of chatters/rumors/speculations as to what Apple will offer iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users.  New features like Apple's own mapping app is often speculated about as is the possibility of a link up with Facebook, finally.

A couple of things to watch out for.  How will Apple address app screen resolutions if the iPhone gets a new screen size and resolutions?  At the same time, will there be features that Apple won't talk about that it might hold off until October when the new iPhone is expected?

Also, Tim Cook offered very little on Siri other than that there is much that it can do.  When will we hear more about that?  Monday or in October?

More at macstories and cnet.

Facebook Partnership With Microsoft & Nokia – If It Doesn’t Work

Source:  Wall Street Cheat

Ask Google how things are with Apple?  Well, the relationship between Apple and Google is like the US and USSR at the height of the Cold War at best.  Not long ago, the two were allies in a war against Microsoft.  Then mobile war with  iOS and Android trying to get ahead ruined everything.  Now, proxy wars are being waged and there are blogs that are dedicated to tracking them.

But this is about Facebook, the current reigning social media king.

You’d think that Google and Facebook’s competition would mean that Facebook and Apple could hook up.  That has not been the case.  In fact, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg likely fought over how they could work together and nothing came of it.

However, last week, there is signs of that but Facebook’s main patron has always been Microsoft.  Tim Cook complimented Facebook and asked for patience on what Apple and Facebook could be working on.  

And now, this post is suggesting a potential alliance between Microsoft and Nokia be added with one more:  Facebook.

It’s a dangerous spot for Facebook to say the least if it wants to work with Nokia and push Microsoft's Windows Phone and Windows 8 over those operated by its current mobile patrons.  There are a few reasons why Facebook and Nokia could be natural partners but there is only one reason why Facebook should not go for it:  Android and iOS with its 80-90% of the mobile market.

If both Apple and Google see Facebook as a threat (and they already probably do), you can bet that Cuperino and Mountain View would make it their mission to undercut anything Facebook wants to do on their mobile platforms.  Google will obviously continue to push Google+ and its apps while Apple could promote its relations with others like Twitter and even push ahead with other app alliances.  Both Apple and Google, while battling each other, would each wage their own individual wars against Facebook, Nokia, and Microsoft.

So, that’s what it is.  Facebook risks alienating what little foothold it’s got in mobile in exchange for Windows Phone with even less market-share and an uncertain future.

Monday, June 4, 2012

How the Console Market Can be Saved

Here’s a crazy idea that I got from reading this Toucharcade post that said Microsoft might release an app that will allow the Xbox to stream content to phones and tablets.  While that’s interesting and all, I think it is a small step towards what Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony should be doing with their console ecosystem and the first one to implement what I’m about to suggest could have something that will not only save their gaming business but possible dominate it.

The TA post suggests that Microsoft’s Xbox app could augment the game playing experience.  The example provided is one where playing Halo could allow content to be streamed to a tablet and display maps or other information pertinent to the game play.

However, with us all being on the go these days, even for some hard-core gamers, I think it would make sense to give users more content away from the living or bedroom.  This is why I suggest that if one of the big three console makers could allow users to play games on their tablets or smartphones, it would be a boom to their business.

And obviously, in order to enjoy this experience, the user would have to own a console to begin with.  It’s sort of like LiveOn but from within your living room.  Believe me when I tell you that Apple could well begin their gaming assault on the living with this kind of game play.

One of the features many mobile gamers want these days is the ability to pick up games playing from one device to another without having to start the game all over again when you move, say, from the smartphone to the tablet.

For Microsoft, Nintendo, or Sony, it would naturally make sense for them to extend console entertainment from the living room to mobile just as Apple and Google are converging on the living room from mobile.

Obviously, this is not going to be easy.  It'll take a lot of brave and forward thinking execs who are willing to risk job and reputation at Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony.  It will require someone who is willing throw away decades of conventional thinking and embrace such a radical change in how the console business operates and realign thousands of developers towards this new console enterprise.

I'll be honest.  I don't see Nintendo this doing.  Sony has shown some willingness with the Android device, Xperia Play.  After all, it isn't a traditional gaming device Sony puts out.  Of the three, I think I would put my money on Microsoft making this difficult but ultimately innovative choice.  I find that Microsoft does its best work when pushed up against the wall.  And mobile now has the Xbox maker painted into a corner.

Friday, June 1, 2012

It's Official (Almost): iOS To Have Facebook Integration

Source:  Techcrunch.

It's official.  Given what TC is saying and what Tim Cook said earlier this week at the D10 about Facebook.  Essentially, Tim had some kind words for Facebook and asked the audience, those present during his live interview and those of us watching from the Web, to "stay tuned" about collaboration between Apple and Facebook.

iPhone Screenshot 1

When Apple graced us with Twitter integration in iOS 5, it was not surprising that Facebook or Google+ were part of it.  After all, there was some falling out between Apple and Facebook, mostly between Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckie (boy billionaire who lost 40% or so if his net worth since Facebook's IPO), over Ping that left Ping pretty much dead from day one and Facebook looking very much weakened without any mobile strategy to speak of.  

As for Google+, well, just one word:  Android.  No way Google+ will find its way into iOS outside of official apps.  No way Google+ will be integrated into iOS or OS X the way Twitter, Facebook, RenRen, Weibo, and an assortment of other foreign social networks have been.  

As a mobile fan, I think Apple should integrate Google+ just like it has with Twitter.  Apple should want to level the playing field and perhaps even play one social network or microblogging apparatus against one another.  

Personally, I'm not thrilled about Facebook's integration.  I'm just not nuts about giving Zucker, has zucked over users on so many over privacy and his partners over financial dealings, stuff that I don't mind sharing with Twitter or on Path.  Needless to say, there could be a couple of hundred million iOS users from iPhones to iPads to iPod touches that don't mind having the walls of privacy tear down around them.  If so, good for them.

The question I have now is just how Apple intents to protect information shared by users with Facebook.  Apple has an unique opportunity here to provide iOS and OS X users a social platform that has much more privacy protections than the non-existent ones that Facebook gives its users.  In fact, your run of the mill Facebook users are pretty much naked as far as others being able to see their profile and personal information.  

Perhaps, the best way is for Apple to create a new social app that integrates Ping, Twitter, Facebook, Game Center, Messages and allow the users to choose how they can share and who they want to share with on a case-by-case basis.

For instance, I don't mind letting Facebook, Twitter, and other iOS users know that Facebook is overvalued by $30 billion but I don't want anyone but trusted contacts know that I'll be celebrating with other LA Kings fans, hopefully next week, when the Kings win the Stanley Cup.  

Apple will hold its keynote at the Worldwide Developer Conference on June 11th, Monday, that should shed some light over just how Facebook will be integrated and what social push Apple has planned, if anyone.

Note:  Regardless if whether Apple and Google are fight over Android and patents, Google+ is an entirely different deal that I hope Apple will seriously consider integration into iOS and OS X in the future.  Plenty of iPhone users embrace Google+ over Facebook, like myself.

Pic: Shuttle On the Water

Source:  Gizmodo, DVICE.

This must have been some sight for the folks to see.  A space shuttle on a barge being towed towards its final resting place at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

This shuttle is called the Explorer.  It never went into space.  It was essentially just a replica.  Still, what an awesome sight this must be.

One weird photo: a space shuttle on a boat

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