Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cloud: Dropbox Adds Security Features After Accounts Hacked

Source:  MacdailyNews, Techcrunch.

One of the things I find interesting about cloud security and companies that ask us to entrust them with our data is that they only act after something bad has happened.  As in this case with Dropbox where a number of accounts were hijacked.  And only after they were hijacked did they institute some additional security features.

My question is where were these security features before the hacking and why only after?  Why not before?  My Google accounts has double authentications and while it's a pain, I feel better about having it.  

I think it doesn't matter if you're an Apple, Google, Microsoft, or RIM fan.  Or if you're another cloud customer.  Wouldn't it be better to have more security than not?

In the case of dropbox, it appears that one of their employee account was hacked and then that's where the problem started.

So, this is what Dropbox will be doing:
  • Two-factor authentication, a way to optionally require two proofs of identity (such as your password and a temporary code sent to your phone) when signing in. (Coming in a few weeks)
  • New automated mechanisms to help identify suspicious activity. We’ll continue to add more of these over time.
  • A new page that lets you examine all active logins to your account.
  • In some cases, we may require you to change your password. (For example, if it’s commonly used or hasn’t been changed in a long time)
More info on their website.  

Let's hope more companies follow Google's example.  I'm an iCloud user, Amazon, and of a dozen or more other online/cloud user.  I sure would like additional security for my accounts.  What happened to Dropbox is only the beginning.  Frankly, I'm not surprised this has not happened even more.  

Last year, we had companies with breaches with a number of credit cards.  Millions.  Be it a stolen laptop, employee password stolen from a third party site, or a server that was not properly protected, hackers will find a way in.  

So, hopefully, others will follow Dropbox's example and not have to put its users needlessly through pain.  

Social: Twitter Succeeded In Being More Hated Than NBC This Week

For international mobile warriors, NBC is the broadcasting company in the US responsible for showing Olympics events here.  And because the way they show them (delayed) and idiotic talking heads, we don't have any particular love for them and we express them on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.


But Twitter has managed to supplant NBC as the most hated social entity at this moment - it basically took a bullet for its NBC partner in the Olympics by censoring one of its users who happened to be an Independent journal, Guy Adams.


What did guy do?  Nothing but express his opinion.  It wasn't vulgar.  It wasn't a threat either.  Others like Spike Lee, Shaq, and the various yahoos on reality shows has done worse.  Basically, all he said was "The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven't started yet is Gary Zenkel".


Nothing too bad, right?  Well, Mr. Adams included Gary's public e-mail.  By public, I mean anyone with half a brain could find it if they just google it. Adams simply saved us the trouble.


And for that Twitter suspended his account.  And there you have it.  Well, I'm gonna go ahead and tweet the NBC douche's e-mail and you should too.  It's: Gary.zenkel@nbcuni.com.


Anyway, Twitter gave Adams back  his account.  This is Twitter's statement on the matter:  



That said, we want to apologize for the part of this story that we did mess up. The team working closely with NBC around our Olympics partnership did proactively identify a Tweet that was in violation of the Twitter Rules and encouraged them to file a support ticket with our Trust and Safety team to report the violation, as has now been reported publicly. [..]
As I stated earlier, we do not proactively report or remove content on behalf of other users no matter who they are. This behavior is not acceptable and undermines the trust our users have in us. We should not and cannot be in the business of proactively monitoring and flagging content, no matter who the user is — whether a business partner, celebrity or friend. (via Gigaom)

Remember When They Used To Deliver Mail (For Free)?


I wrote yesterday about the US Post Office.  It was not a rant so much as an incredulous look at the inefficiency of one incident.  And now, we have this:  the USPS will require an act of Congress to avoid defaulting on some financial oblications.

How much?  This much:  more than $5.5 billion.

Delivery should not be affected.  Still, you can’t but help feel that the postal service that we have been used to will have to be changed forever.  I fear that it could be so bad that one day, we’d be telling our kids about how “these guys would go house to house delivering mail and packages”.

Mail service could still happen but they many not be free.  Would you pay for delivery if the USPS starts charging?  Heck, the wireless companies charges both the caller and the receiver based on minutes, so why would the USPS consider double-dipping, especially if it is trying to save itself.



Cord-Cutting: Hulu Plus Makes Pointless Appearance On Apple TV



Source:  Macworld.
Yeah (unenthusiastic).  This morning, reports are popping up all over the pace that Hulu Plus is finally on Apple TV.  Hey, that’s great.  Except the only way to access it is if you pay for shows you can watch for free on the Hulu website.

And then even if you decide to fork over $8 a month (that’s about three venti coffee at Starbucks there right), there’s no promise that the show you wanna watch will be available on Apple TV due to licensing terms.  Some shows are "web only".

I would not even call the addition of Hulu Plus under such conditions a step forward in cord-cutting.  Let’s see what happens this fall when Apple unveils its Christmas products and hope there will be some changes or additional options to accessing videos in iTunes like renting TV series that you can already do with movies.

For now, I’ll stick with my Macbook connecting via HDMI to the HDTV.  More about this uneventful event at Hulu blog.


Brands Flocking To Google+ Because of Search

Here's an interesting Forbes post about why brands are going to Google+ despite its users being less active than on competing networks like Facebook.

It's all about search results. This kinda proves my point further about networklets having a greater impact for users and companies than all purpose networks like Facebook.

Once Google figures out a strong mobile strategy, that will be when it overtakes Facebook with respects to monetizing Google+.


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Speculation: If the iPad mini and the iPod touch Both Cost $200, Which Will You Get?


iPod touch Versus iPad mini – If Both Comes In At $200, What Will You Get?

I love speculating and I hope you like it too because this particular one rocks.  If Apple refreshes the iPod touch like we expect, since they didn’t do it last year, and keep it at $199, and they also released the unicornesque iPad mini and price it at $199 to compete with the Fire and Nexus 7, as an Apple fan, what will you buy?

On face value, one might simply consider the iPad mini with its 7 or 8” screen to be a better value.  On face value, I’d have to agree with you.  But I’m not sure it’ll be so simple and Apple will make the choice a difficult to make.

iPod touch.  To call the iPod touch a phoneless iPhone is really disrespecting what the iPhone represents as a mobile platform that upended the mobile market and really put a lot of innovative juice into a number of markets that had grown stagnant.  The touch was released in the same year as the original iPhone in 2007 but much later.

I went out and instantly bought one and gave my iPhone to my mom.  I thought the iPhone would be a decent replacement for the iPhone.  It wasn't.  And when the current touch gained the cameras in the 4th gen touch, I was happy but disappointed that the rear camer was pretty lame.

However, as a mobile device perfect for gaming and entertainment, it was a perfect device and there has been zero competition.  And folks justified the rear-camera only being having 1MP because the kids who will be buying it don't need anything more sophisticated than that.  Bull.  Apple had its reasons and I'll leave it at that.

I'm hoping the next touch will gain at least the A5 chip that powered the iPhone 4S but with a smaller package so the CPU would be more efficient and fast with generating too much heat and requiring a lot of power.  That's likely to happen.

The screen should mirror anything the next iPhone should have.  When the iPhone 4 shipped with Retina Display, so did the touch.  There's talk that the iPhone screen will be bigger.  If that is the case, the touch will gain the same aspect screen as well.

The next main feature is the rear camera.  It's very possible that Apple could upgrade the camera this time around.  Frankly, I'm surprised last year's touch did not get an upgrade.  It made very little sense.  Even a slight improvement to 3MP or all the way up to 5MP would make sense since the iPhone 4S got an 8MP upgrade.  I'm going to believe the 2012 touch will definitely come a camera upgrade.  After two years of no change, it would be nice to see a 5MP camera.  Whatever the upgrade will be, we should see the see 1080p video recording come to the touch this year.

Also, the white touch last year, was a nice touch.  Could we see a new color?  Don't put it past Apple to introduce a new color or two.

iPad mini. Keep in mind that there is no iPad mini or iPod 7 or 8.  Steve Jobs was not in favor of this.  But then again, Steve Jobs and Apple has a history of saying one thing and doing another.  So, let's assume there is a smaller iPad coming.  What can we expect Apple to release?

The screen is likely going to sport a 1024x768 resolution, the same as the original iPad and the iPad 2.  We're not likely going to see a Retina display resolution of 2048x1536 found in the new iPad.  It'll be expensive.

We'll probably see the same A5 chip found in the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2.

The mini will be light and thin.

We'll have a Facetime camera.  For the rear-camera, it'll be hard to know for sure.  Just like Apple will keep the resolution at 1024x768, which is not that bad at all, Apple could try to keep the cost down so don't expect a great camera.  It would be nice to have a 5MP camera.  My mom recently took her new iPad to Japan and it was her "camcorder".

I reckon it looked awkward shooting pics with a 10" tablet but it should look less conspicuous with a smaller form tablet.

I guess the picture I'm painting you is the mini will be a smaller iPad 2.  And it could be enough for Apple to keep the cost low enough to compete with the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire priced at $200 each.  Neither the Nexus or the Fire have rear cameras.  The Fire has no camera at all (when I searched to confirm about the Fire lacking camera, there were many users who asked how to operate the camera.  I feel bad for them.  And I wonder how many Nexus users will realize there is no rear camera).

Cost.  By now, Apple knows just how much they will charge for the 2012 touch and the iPad mini.  I think they're gonna try to keep it around the $200 price point to keep the competition at bay.  This is why I don't think we should expect too much in terms of hardware specs.

There has been a lot of debate about this and whether Apple will go for margin or will not "leave a price umbrella for competitors".  I'm gonna go with the latter.

And with two key products, the touch and mini both at $200, it'll be hard for some folks to decide.  With the touch, we get a newer screen along with a potentially better camera.  And you can put the touch inside your pockets.

On the other hand, the iPad is already very portable and, with the mini, you have an even more portable device.  The Galaxy Tab 7 weighs in at 345 grams or 12.2 oz, the 7.7 version weighs 340 grams or 12 oz.  Those are two sizes that the mini will closely resembles.  Compared to the iPad, the mini could weigh about 50% less.

The mini will be vastly more portable but not by no means will it fit inside anyone's pockets.  If you're lying down and you doze off, the mini will still hurt your face when you drop it on yourself.

Outside of portability, there is also productivity.  When it comes to productivity, I would have said the mini would be more productive before iOS 6. With both devices sporting iOS 6, Siri and dictation could have a huge difference in equalizing how productive an user can be on either devices.

It's something that you have to get used to. However, once you start using dictation on a regular basis, you don't really want to go back to anything else.  In fact, much of this post was done via dictation.  It has saved me a lot of time, allow me to think, and visualize ahead of time what I want to convey.

Over all, the mini with its larger screen would be ideal.

So what portability, the touch has an advantage. However when it comes to productivity, the mini has the edge.

And the touch will have a Retina Display while the mini will have a pretty good screen but it won't be Retina at all.

So, what will it be for you?  I'm leaning towards the mini at the moment.  Who knows?  Maybe Apple will blow us away with a new innovative iPod touch.  Anyway, this is all just fun speculation now.  We'll know this fall exactly what Apple mean to grace us with.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hobbit Movie: And Then There Were Three...


Great news, hobbitses, orc, elves, and men.


Mr. Peter Jackson gave us some really great news.  Instead of two Hobbit movies, he worked out a deal with the studios to produce three movies.  Now, fantastic news and all.  But really, did the studios really need a whole lot of arm twisting to make more money than they could have with just two movies?

Say each movie makes a billion dollars on the backs of the popularity of the three Lord of the Rings movies (the only fantasy movies I have ever seen), that means instead of two billion worth of pie, there will be three billion dollars.

Movie-making theatrics and politics aside, I am really looking forward to the series on big screen but at the same time, we will end up paying for more to watch them.  But hey, we ask for it, and we got what we want.

Imagine the two originally planned movies as DVD releases.  And you know some time later, the studios will released special versions of the movies with deleted scenes.  Well, it's like that except we'll get to watch the extended versions and bypass the DVD releases.

This video below is the first of about eight video blogs published so far on and definitely worth taking the time (even if you have to do it at work) to watch them.  It'll be a longer wait for a few months longer - December 14th, 2012 is the first movie release.




When news surfaced that Peter Jackson was talking to the studios about making three movies instead of two, there was no question in my mind about this.  What I wanted to know next is after the three Hobbit movies are done and over with, what's next in for Middle Earth?

There is surly plenty of materials in the world created by J.R.R. Tolkien for sequels as well as prequels.  The closest thing that comes close to this in modern day is the Star Wars series.  We all know how the prequels were received by the general public and by the more vocal fans.

I'm sure Peter Jackson will be most faithful to the vision created by Tolkien as far as the Hobbit movies are concerned because he made the Lord of the Rings movies.  Beyond that?  Whoever will take over next is going to have a tall order following Jackson's footsteps.

And then after that, can you imagine that talks of remakes?  The Fellowship of the Ring was released back in 2001.  By the time the three Hobbits movies are done in the theaters in 2014, it will have been thirteen years.

Whatever happens, I'd say bring it on.  I'll start saving up.  It's like the title for the Hobbit book says, "There And Back Again..."

Note:  According to CNN, the three movie release dates will be as follows:  the first movie titled "An Unexpected Journey" will be released this December 14th.  The second movie will be released on December 13th, 2013 and the final movie will be released during the summer of 2014.

Why Was My Mailman Followed Around By Another Carry Only A Clipboard? Post Office May Not Be Savable


This has happened in the past and I don’t get it.  A few times a year, our dear mailman, a Vietnam vet who I love chatting sports with a couple of minutes once or twice a week, is followed around by another guy from his post office.

Dude had the smell of middle management.  Wearing dark glasses, unsmiling, looking rather like a bully, and carrying a clipboard, he just follows our guy around.  He doesn’t help out our mailman out.  He just hangs back and watches.

He’s walk in behind our mailman, hangs back while our guy takes care of our business.  And then he follows the mailman out.

Again, he just stood there and does nothing.  He doesn’t write on his clipboard.  And he definitely doesn’t help carry mail.

Why?

With all the problems I am hearing about the USPS, I don't know if they could afford guys just following mailmen and mailwomen around on their routes all day.

In its most recent quarter ending, the post office lost $3.2 billion.  Maybe they should get this guy off his ass and back on the street with a bag full of mail instead of just a clipboard.  Can you imagine the hundreds of millions in overtime pay savings if these guys are put back on the street instead of sitting in the office?

I know I am oversimplify it a bit.  But I think it's just a tiny bit.

Let's inject a little politics into this.  If the USPS was a private business and suffering from the kind of losses, what would Mitt Romney do if he was still at Bain?  First, he'd have to decide of the USPS is worth buying and saving.  Second, once he's done with it, for better or worse, postal delivery will not be the same again after that.

No matter how you look at it, the USPS as is it now will continue to bleed and lead to a slow agonizing death with nothing to replace it.

Apple, Google Makes Cord-Cutting Easier - More Needs To Be Done


I’ve cut the cord a long time ago.  The only paid service I’ve got is Netflix streaming )and at times, I don’t even know why I have it given the limited content).  Netflix, Hulu, and an assortment of other online video content that is available, maybe you should take a long hard look at your entertainment needs and consider cutting your cord if you haven’t already.

Consider this: Google’s Nexus Q has sold out even at the high price of $300.  And the Q is really nothing more than a very expensive device for Android users to stream videos and images onto your HDTV from an Android devices.  Again, at $300 per unit, which is more than Apple’s hobby, Xbox 360, and PS3, the Nexus Q managed to sell out.

And speaking of Apple’s hobby, the Apple TV, does a bit more and while it costs only $100, it does have a new function when Apple released the latest OS X.  Rather, newer Macs gained a new function:  Airplay ability – allows users to mirror whatever it is on the screen of their Macbook through the Apple TV and onto the HDTV.

Folks, right about now, content owners should be quivering and panicking right about now.  Instead of being respected by the Hulu app, Mac owners can how use the Web-based Hulu site to stream content.  The same goes for shows on ABC, NBC, FOX, and anyone else that had previously respected viewing access on mobile.

Obviously, users with devices that support HDMI has been doing this for a while now but the ability to do this without making sure your device is sitting next to your TV does take this to another level.

The question comes back to cutting your cable or SAT TV cord.  There are still definitely more desktop-based contents than for mobile.  But content owners will have to realize that the living dynamics has changed.

Soon, everyone will be streaming content.  Artificial restrictions like this placed on Hulu will go away.  Makes zero sense that content you can watch freely on the Hulu site is not available on the Hulu app.  And to top it off, not all paid content are available for the mobile apps.  

Soon these barriers will have to come down.  And the sooner more of us cut off the $100 a month bill to the cable guys, the faster these walls will crumble and force newer consumer friendly business models.

And as competition between Apple, Google, and Microsoft heat up in the living room, I think whatever innovations and new features that will be coming out will also hasten this cord-cutting phenomenon.

iPhone 4/4S: Buy Now or Hold?


It’s practically August now.  Well, we’re about 48 hours from August 1st and for mobile watchers trying to decide when Apple will release new iOS devices this fall, it is going to be a feeding frenzy of rumors in the next four to six weeks.  Obviously, the choice is clear for those who are considering switching, buying, or upgrading to a new iPhone:  don’t buy anything for the next couple of months until Apple finally releases the 2012 iPhone, iPhone 5, or whatever they want to call it.

That’s for people in the United States and maybe Canada.  The decision could be a little obviously for European customers and definitely harder for Asian mobile warriors because of the way Apple staggers their iPhone launches.

It comes down to a couple of factors.  For instance, I needed a new iPhone last summer, 10 weeks before the new iPhone 4S came out and I went ahead and got the iPhone 4.

No regrets.  Because I needed it.  I did get the 4S three weeks after it was released, used it for a while and gave that to my mom.  Right now, the iPhone 4 is one of my main mobile devices.

Today, there’s specific talk about when Apple will be unveiling and releasing the next iPhone and juicy details about other products.  So, it’s that time of the year and while we’re still in July, it is already beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Bottom line:  if you can wait, please do so.  If you need something now, buy it, enjoy it, and don’t look back.  Even at 9 months and 21 months old, the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 are two of the best mobile devices on the market respectively.

Note:  I love reading rumors but won't traffic in them so you'll have to look through the pipes that is the Internet and find them for yourself.  Today's rumors are quite specific so you won't have any trouble.  My recommendation above is based on what I know at this particular time and based on Apple's history.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Social: Apple Needs To Add Google+ To iOS and OS X


I know I am going to get some pushback for this but I think Apple should include Google+ as part of its wider integration with social media and networks. The other day, I talked about the values of "networklets" like Foursquare and Yelp that offer values to users beyond anything that Facebook and even Twitter can hope to achieve at this time (even Twitter has had better success than Facebook).

Well, despite Google claiming Google+ having a couple of hundred million users, not many uses it on a consistent basis as Facebook, Twitter, and networklets. However, Google+ works more like a networklets because it is composed of a variety of subgroups of audience and users that geared towards specific interests. Writers, sports fans, tech pundits who following one another, etc.  Artists often share their latest work. This is why I even use Google+ on a regular basis.

And this reason alone is why Apple needs to include Google+. These subgroups have strong passions for their causes or work. And this fits right into what Apple's users are like. Talented, motivated mobile users that has a lot to share.

I know that what I am suggesting is highly unlikely to come to fruition. There is just too much animosity between Apple and Google at this point over mobile patents. A deal of this kind ole old benefit both companies immensely.

Apple gets another network and a new set of data about its users. A strong Google+ contingent in Apple's work gives a strong counterweight to Facebook.

For Google, well, Google+ will get millions of new users, talented, motivated, and a willingness to open up their pocketbooks.

Could this happen?  Yes.  Not for a while.  For Apple, Google is the main threat than Facebook, Microsoft, or anyone else poses right now. Until the patent war is over and the result is one that Apple can live with, we won't see this happen. Even now, Apple is purging one Google app or service after another from iOS.

We already know what Twitter interface in Android, iOS, and OS X looks like and how it works. It's likely Facebook integration will work in a similar manner.  Should Google+ be added, just imagine being able to update all three or more social networks with just one clip.  Right now, you have to go through different apps and that just is a pain.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Apple Needs To Add Google+ To iOS and OS X

I know I am going to get some pushback for this but I think Apple should include Google+ as part of its wider integration with social media and networks. The other day, I talked about the values of "networklets" like Foursquare and Yelp that offer values to users beyond anything that Facebook and even Twitter can hope to achieve at this time (even Twitter has had better success than Facebook).

Well, despite Google claiming Google+ having a couple of hundred million users, not many uses it on a consistent basis as Facebook, Twitter, and networklets. However, Google+ works more like a networklets because it is composed of a variety of subgroups of audience and users that geared towards specific interests. Writers, sports fans, tech pundits who following one another, etc. Artists often share their latest work. This is why I even use Google+ on a regular basis.

And this reason alone is why Apple needs to include Google+. These subgroups have strong passions for their causes or work. And this fits right into what Apple's users are like. Talented, motivated mobile users that has a lot to share.

I know that what I am suggesting is highly unlikely to come to fruition. There is just too much animosity between Apple and Google at this point over mobile patents. A deal of this kind ole old benefit both companies immensely.

Apple gets another network and a new set of data about its users. A strong Google+ contingent in Apple's work gives a strong counterweight to Facebook.

For Google, well, Google+ will get millions of new users, talented, motivated, and a willingness to open up their pocketbooks.

Could this happen? Yes. Not for a while. For Apple, Google is the main threat than Facebook, Microsoft, or anyone else poses right now. Until the patent war is over and the result is one that Apple can live with, we won't see this happen. Even now, Apple is purging one Google app or service after another from iOS.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Social: Don’t Talk To Strangers, Unless It’s Me


I tell my nephews and nieces don’t ever talk to strangers.  I’m sure their parents have done that already but you can never say it enough with all them weirdos and creeps out there.  And don’t be shy about offending or rebuffing anyone who needs help finding his or her puppy.  In fact, many times, adults don’t talk to adults either who happen to be strangers.  I think that’s a great policy.

Unless I’m that stranger.

Having said that, I was in an elevator with a dad and his son as we rode up to the connecting bridge to the Gold Line in Pasadena (metro train).  I was with my friends and I decided to make small talk.  I asked the kid where he and his dad were going.  He answered “I don’t know…” to which the dad let out a chuck and asked his son “you don’t know?”.

The dad said they were going to a theater where you can watch old movies for $2.  Two bucks!

There I was thinking I pay between $15-$20 for assigned stadium seats.  I would do $2 even if I have to wait a couple of months.  These days, I generally avoid the opening weekend of a big movie, the week after that, and also the week after that until I forget about it altogether.  Plus, the dad told me the popcorns and drinks there were cheaper too.

So, there they were, father and son, riding public transportation, to watch a picture that’s a few weeks old for only $2 per tix.  I’m gonna start going there from now on!  In fact, I can bike there!

But I would have missed this bit of good news had I just kept my mouth shut, avoided eye contacts, and hope “they” don’t start talking to us (I was with a couple of pretty girls).

I guess I’m saying that many times, we’re more and more distant than before because of the way society is headed.  Not getting to know neighbors or getting into friendly chats with folks you stand in line with for coffee or waiting in line at the Apple store seems to be the norm now.

I think as adults, you need to decide for yourself what’s good for you and striking up a conversation with people around you is actually okay.  In some cases, I can imagine other people appreciate it.

So, if you’re a kid, don’t talk to strangers. EVER.  Definitely don’t. But if you’re an adult and feel safe about it, I’m okay with that.  Especially if I’m the stranger and you’ve got great local tips to share with me.

Firday Movie: 6 Min of Cloud Atlas Trailer

Source:  Blastr.

It's been a while since I've explained about our Friday Movie post.  See, back when I was still a TA and a research assistant at UCLA, we used to sneak out on Fridays for after movies.  With premiums happening at the time there and like with about ten or so theaters, you get a wide range of selections of movies.

Awesome time.  Obviously, can't do that no more.  However, I've decided to bring this tradition via Friday trailer or shorts.  And this, it's from Cloud Atlas (wiki) starring all time favorite actor, Tom Hank, based on a book by the same title.

It's a series of stories that are intertwined and about how it affects. According to Wikipedia, the plot for the novel "...consists of six nested stories that take the reader from the remote South Pacific in the nineteenth century to a distant, post-apocalyptic future. Each tale is revealed to be a story that is read (or observed) by the main character in the next. All stories but the last are interrupted at some moment, and after the sixth story concludes at the center of the book, the novel "goes back" in time, "closing" each story as the book progresses in terms of pages but regresses in terms of the historical period in which the action takes place. Eventually, readers end where they started, with Adam Ewing in the Pacific Ocean, circa 1850."

I think it's one of things where you have to read the book too, which I am considering doing this weekend.  Well, enjoy the movie below!


Looking forward to the movie in October!

Social: "Networklets" Purposes and Recommendations Are Better Than Ads

When Facebook bought Instagram for like a gazillion dollars, you have to ask why.  I know all the talks out there about how it was a threat to Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg just kinda bought them out because he somehow knew that it would be a huge benefit to Facebook in the long run.  I don't buy it.

Instragram was a threat but it's other social networklets (a term I should trademark me thinks) like Foursquare, Yelp, and others that have their own social networks, albeit not as big as Facebook but big enough to be a threat.  And, furthermore, these networklets are much more useful than Facebook alone.

Clearly, Foursquare has figured out just how it wants to monetize the network of eighty or so million users via businesses paying to show up as recommendations.  Its intrusiveness is the key to winning users over and provides a more measurable tool for Foursquare and its partners on the effectiveness of the campaign.

And with Yelp, it clearly wants to leverage the user-generated reviews and suggestions, something of which Foursquare also has, to help it drive users to businesses.  Oh, and it also has a check-in system as well.

Both Foursquare and Yelp are prime examples of apps that mobile warriors can directly benefit from.  And because paid services to both networkslets are disguised as recommendations with tips/suggestions mostly generated by users, they offer a direct benefit to users and businesses.

Another networklet that I've been pushing friends to adopt in addition to Facebook is Path.  Wow, what an app.  Awesome UI and features that Facebook should have seen more as a threat than Instagram.  Path limits the number of friends you can have which forces you to be more careful about who becomes your friends.  And since they're mostly folks in your contact list, it's more personal and intimate.

However, a new update just became much more useful and a greater threat to Facebook.  With Path 2.0, the app gained the ability to pull in news streams from other social networks like Facebook and Foursquare.

Another feature that on face value seems out of place but it is right up with the recommendation features that the two above networklets are banking on to drive traffic and revenues.  Now, users can tell friends what they are reading, what much they're listening to, or what movies/TV shows they're watching.  It could become a source of revenue for Path going forward.

Taken together, these networklets offer a greater range of services and benefits that Facebook alone is unable to match.  Even with integration with iOS, Facebook will likely grow more chaotic, offering little value to users as directly as networklets can.

So, based on its lastest financial quarter and lack of direction from Mark Zuckerberg, don't be surprised of Facebook's murky outlook becomes very, very clear:  black storms ahead and with no way out.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Movie: Dark Knight Rises And It’ll Be Fans Who Makes Sure It Stays There

Source: Blastr.

The “last” of the Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, has been opened just a week ago (amidst the Colorado shooting tragedy) and fans are clamoring for more (I haven’t seen the movie yet but looking forward to it this Saturday!).  And it could be a while before Warner Brothers and its partners get their act together and figure out where they wanna go.

Hopefully, gone are those bat-nipples and may they never made a return.  Having said that, don’t worry.  I’m sure WB will continue to feed our insatiable appetite for all things Batman.  And if that’s not enough, maybe fans will get in on the act.

Take for instance, this Nightwing take by a fan.


How fraking cool is this?!  I love what’s happening and what’s sure to happen.  Technology, a few clips here and there, some ingenious costumers and how-budget effects, and you have more materials for Batverse.

Okay, you creative fans out there, give me more of this!

Mobile: Upcoming Apple-Samsung Court Case Will Be Felt Beyond the Mobile Market, Could Have Far Reaching Effects On Other Industries As Well


Big news in the mobile struggle this week between Google and Samsung versus Apple isn’t which company sold what or release new products – although Nexus Q selling out at $300 is awesomely impressive (one has to wonder how many Google actually stocked initially).  It’s what happened in the courts and this could have far reaching ramifications in the next year or two.

First, a judge ordered a really prejudicial jury instruction in an Apple versus Samsung court case going to trial.  It stated that Samsung destroyed some e-mail (evidence) and that the jury has to assume the destruction of this evidence that could have helped Apple prove its case against Samsung. Oh, and Apple is asking for $2.5 billion in damages.  Not a big deal for Samsung's money printing machine but still, it's about pride, you know? (WSJ, TheDroidGuy)

Second, in a brief filed by Apple, which is very damning, it stated that even Google thought Samsung’s products were too close in resembling Apple products like the iPhone. The thing is that Samsung's counterclaims against Apple kinda don't have relevance in the case.  Essentially, Samsung was saying that if not for its technology, the iPhone would not exist.  The same can be said of anything that Samsung makes too. If not for other tech, it would not be able to make chips, HDTV, frigs, etc.  (CNet, AllThingsD)

Obviously, we’ll have to see how it plays out in the courts, not the court of public opinion.  One has to wonder just where this leads.  Already, tech pundits and bloggers that favor one camp or another have jokingly (or not) stated that the design of the Galaxy S III was designed by lawyers.

Obviously, Samsung denied it.  Personally, I was underwhelmed by the design (but I do consider the Galaxy S III is the best mobile device on the market right now, iPhone 4S is dated by now).  As far as design on the Android side, the Galaxy Nexus is second to none.

Having said that, sales of the GS3 hasn’t suffered at all.  The ball really in Apple’s court next.  It’s next iPhone has not blow people away and it has to prove its case convincingly.

No matter who wins or loses, the trial and the eventual verdict will have wide-reaching effects on not just mobile but also other industries where patents and designs play a big part.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Retina Macbook Pro: Display Yield Improving Or Sales Stalling?


I've wondered when the supply and demand for Apple's new Retina Display Macbook Pro will equalize.  And it's happening quicker than I expected.  Others have wondered about the same thing and as Apple shorten the time to get the Retina Display Macbook Pro to about a week, you have to wonder what's going on.


Has supply and demand getting closer to equalizing or something more ominous ahead for Apple?  I started on this post over the weekend and there has been some new developments.

So, which is it? (On Apple)

Social: Foursquare Goes After Mobile Users With Sponsored

Source:  Macworld, TheDroidGuy.

Looks like Foursquare is finally making a move to monetize all the data from the check-ins I've helped them amass.  Well, actually, not just me but twenty million mobile users who use the Foursquare app for the Android devices and iPhones over the years.  And this is a winning strategy that is more potent than anyone, even Twitter, has been able to come up with.

Exactly because of two things:  location and user willingness to share with Foursquare.

See below from my Facebook app.  This what what Facebook lamely came up with.




That's right, sponsored likes that I am never going to click on.  It's just awfully lame.

On the other hand, Foursquare's more social and mobile network offers a more targeted and potentially fruitful sponsor integration that gear towards mobile users who will actually be able to see value in the recommendations and ads - exactly because mobile users are "mobile" and will go places.

Twitter has had some success with its revenue model and Facebook is slowly down but it looks like Foursquare could be on to something there.  This is something not even Google can duplicate at this time.

I'm sure all will be watching Foursquare to see how successful local businesses find this opportunity to be.  One thing I like to see from Foursquare is the ability for sponsors and businesses to gauge the successes or failures of its targeted campaigns.

And Foursquare's link to Facebook as well as Twitter would help as well.  It'll be interesting to see where this is headed.  I've already used Foursquare check-ins to help me to some 15% off at Souplantation each time I visit.

Foursquare's new feature will benefit users because of its relevancy and proximity to a business.  Say I like Mexican food.  I would to see opportunties and deals based on where I go from Foursquare and its partners.  However, I wouldn't want to see salons and other businesses bombard me with things that I care nothing about.  And Foursquare will ensure this.

I definitely check in from time to time and am willing to give up a small part of my privacy if I get deals out of it.  This is definitely more beneficial to mobile users than Facebook's lame "sponsored likes".

When I first started using check-in apps likeFoursquare, I envision opportunities for users to explore and benefit through deals while helping businesses connect with them.  And it looks like it's happening.

- Posted using BlogPress

Green: Heat Dome In North America Turned 97% of Greenland Ice Sheet Into Slush

Source:  Popular Science.

No one knows exactly why but I'll venture a guess:  global warming in a huge way?


This is a picture of the Greenland ice sheet with about 97% of it turning into slush as scienists at NASA call it.  And it could be a great concern for everyone.  And here's the thing, typically, we're supposed to only see this happen to 40% of the ice sheet in a typical summer.

Now, remember the current heat wave continental United States is going through?  Well, that could have been the reason why this has happened.  And this has been confirmed by other sources and scientists.

I know there are folks who deny any kind of global warming.  I can only guess it's for selfish reasons.  But even if you don't think there is warming happening, isn't it better to play it safe?

Anyway, we'll know soon enough just where this is headed.  Summer comes every year and we'll see where this is headed.  On the right side, if the ice sheet goes away, I know exactly the spot in Greenland that I wan to build my vacation home.

Apple Failed To Meet Unrealistic Wall Street Numbers: That's A Good Thing


As some of you may know by now, Apple failed to meet Wall Street's unrealistic expectation for the last financial quarter.  And you know what?  It's a great thing.  Here's why it's great for the company and mobile warriors in the long run.

Apple doesn't do things quarter by quarter but more of on an annual basis.  iOS devices are updated on an annual basis.  Macs now has a longer shelf-life than ever before.  Just as the folks waiting for new updated Mac Pro units how long they've been waiting and still are waiting.

iOS is updated on an annual basis as it OS X.

Oh, even Apple's hobby, the Apple TV, is updated on such a schedule.

So, it's clear that there will be quarters where numbers get blown out out of water and quarters where numbers are more muted.  However, by any measuring stick, Apple's disappointing quarters are the envy of its peers on exchanges and competitors.  Wouldn't HP, Dell, RIM, or Samsung want Apple's $7 billion or so in profit?

Wall Street will have to learn to deal with the new Apple under Tim Cook who will provide more realistic numbers.

What's the benefit of Apple beating its own expectations but not meeting insane Wall Street predictions?  The focus will be on products that Apple will release throughout the year and less on rumors that mostly don't pan out.  Apple will force more responsible reporting and, hopefully, more soul searching by bloggers and pundits and highly paid analysts who are often wrong anyway.  It'll force investors to stop listening to these guys.

And it'll force everyone to focus on what's at hand, that Apple makes insanely great products.  Stop focusing on rumors that are often made up what's available today.

As an investor who owns a few Apple shares, I want a steady rise in share prices and not the insane Wall Street numbers.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mobile: Old Versus New Google – Will It Deal with Rampant Android Piracy?


It has come to light that the piracy situation is untenable.  Maybe that’s not the right word.  It’s really, really bad.  Take that times ten.  Developers are wondering if it’s worth their time to invest in developing for Android when clearly, many users rather pirate the apps than to pay even a buck for it.  That’s the case with game maker  .  I’m absolutely in the came that privacy isn’t what Android users are about but users who play games on Android aren’t willing to pay for them.  I’m sure it’s the same with other apps as well.

And let’s face it.  Outside of Angry Birds, I’m not sure many people are making a heck lot of money on free apps trying to score ad revenues.  And that’s what Google’s about anyway.  Where does Google stand on this issue.  Publicly, they have to condemn these pirates and those who are unwilling to for apps so they go out and download a copy for free.  Privately, it is a lot more complicated.

It’s about old Google versus new Google here.

I’d have told you before Nexus 7, it would be the old Google that would prevail.  Back then, Google was about trying to make ad revenues from search and apps.  And to maximize their investment in Android, they would need as many deployments of pure Android with Google apps and search in it.  What ever its successes or failures are in this business model, there was always search that would prevail.

Now, there’s the new Google.  It’s the Google with hardware ambitions.  No matter what folks say, it will eventually have to leverage its Motorola assets beyond just the wireless FRAND patents.  Clearly, the Droid and RAZR lines are going strong as is the default Android device, the Nexus.  That’s a lot of hardware.  And this is where the new Google comes in along with the Nexus brand.

The Nexus 7 is essentially selling at cost.  It is likely we’ll see a Nexus phone that will follow with a near-cost price point.  Why?  It’s the Amazon strategy with the Kindles.  The Fire is also selling at near cost because Amazon is hoping to make money back through media and apps sales.  And with Google working hard to line up video, since it’s already got a music, ebook, and app store, Google is looking to follow this path as well.

In fact, Google does have a very good strategy here that trumps that of Amazon.  Amazon may have a mega online store that sells just anything you can think of, it doesn’t have the lucrative high-margin search and ad business that Google has.  You couple that with an incredible and insatiable appetite for all things mobile and media/app sales, Google can afford to sell hardware cheap.

And between ad sales and app/media sales, Google is finding that it can make more money with the latter.  On top of that, with companies like Amazon, Baidu, and Barnes & Noble forking Android for their own use with Google benefiting at all from hardware or media sales (and maybe not even ad revenue), Google has to rely on its own ecosystem to make a buck.

This is why I’m looking for Google to take crackdown hard on piracy in mobile.  In fact, I think Google could leverage any anti-piracy measures that would eventually benefit only its own hardware and those of trusted partners like HTC and Samsung.  Google might not completely do away with piracy but it could make it hard enough for the pirates and users who use pirated apps to think twice or go elsewhere.

However, Google has to move fast.  As more and more developers become discouraged and interests in Android development wane, Google could find itself not being able to get them back.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mobile: Knight or the Scared Little Boy - How Do You See Your Favorite Mobile Platform?


Right about now, RIM and its Blackberry fans are feeling pretty small.  I’m sure its employees are not feeling all that secured about their futures.  Picture this as a cartoon:  RIM like a little boy cowling in a dark corner as three large ominous shadows, accounting for the iPhone, Android, and Windows, loom over top looking to deliver the final blow.  I’m sure Palm folks felt that way.  I know I did.  And I’m sure we Mac fans felt that way before the return of Steve Jobs when Apple were months if not weeks from not being able to pay its bills.

How do Apple, Google, and Microsoft fans feel?  Do they see their favorite mobile computing platform in the same light as how I’ve described RIM or is the iPhone or Android dressed up as a shiny knight on a warhorse striking back against mutli-headed dragons, with each head representing its competitors, fighting gallantly with confidence?

Perhaps, Apple and Google fans can feel this way rather than how I see RIM since they’re the two biggest mobile platforms in the world and have a lot of exciting new products and services that promises rosy futures.  RIM really is just trying to survive long enough for Blackberry 10 to come out and I’m not feeling all that confident it’ll happen or that it’ll matter when it does.

As for Microsoft, I can’t say if it’s more like the little boy or the shiny armed knight trying to bring light to where it has been dark.  Only time will tell.

Of course, as galvanized as fans are and bloggers/pundits like to fuel that particular fire, most of the mobile warriors don’t care one way or another.  They just want whatever they chose to work and will pick the platform that best suit their needs.

What got me on this post is this morning, I was looking at the Jawbone Up page to see if they have a replacement for the first one that many users have complained about that forced Jawbone to refund buyers or offer free replacements.  Then I starting looking to more research on Nike’s Fuelband and the Fitbit.  I dove into the comments on blogs and community boards where rivalry between these fans of these high-tech pedometers rages on.

We’re talking about pedometers here, folks!

Blastr: Bootleg Trailer for Man of Steel

According to Blastr, this is the full length trailer of Man of Steel.  So, watching it before it's gone.  It might be gone by now...unless it's not.

Enjoy!


Can't wait!

Gartner (Microsoft Ally) Has One Word On Window 8: "BAD" (Not In The Good Way)

Source: The Register.

"Bad".

That's how Gartner, a Microsoft friendly analyst firm, described Windows 8.  It looks like more and more people will be opting for Windows 7 and wait it out to see what Windows 9 will offer.

There's more.  Gartner tried to make the best of it.  Windows 8 could be good on a tablet but definitely horrible as a desktop experience.

This will give competitors, well, Apple, a very good opportunity to capture a larger segment of the PC market with its upcoming Mountain Lion which has many new features that both home and enterprise users will really like.  And Apple has retained the familiar look and feel of the Mac OS X even as it lightly peppered a few iOS features as not to annoy users - more like beta testing them to see how well they do.

To be fair, Gartner has been more wrong than right.  Only DigiTimes is worse.


Should Apple’s Patents That Have Become Standards Be FRAND Patents?



Google argues that the valuable mobile patents that Apple owns which makes the iPhone an “iPhone” should be fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory and subject to standard essential patent rules. I can’t say that I agree or disagree because of the patent system, which essentially lets anyone’s grandmother patent just about anything without really looking into the background of these so-called patents and whether they really are worth patenting.

I do know that companies that patent just about everything and everywhere do spend billions upon billions to patent them.  So, who is to say what patent, hence, which features should be licensable by the patent holder’s competitors.  Furthermore, what if a patent holder simply says its ball can only played on its court and nowhere else, it is no one’s rights, a corporation or government, to come and force the patent holder to open up.

I don’t know Google’s strategy in this.  Intellectual properties are essential for innovation.  Apple suing folks is within its rights to do that just as Google, Microsoft, or anyone else should be allowed to do the same.  I’ve always contend that if anyone finds Apple ripping them off, sue them.  And if one company runs into a patent roadblock, innovate around it.

On the other hand, Apple is very stingy about its patents and it has thrown its weight around the world in various legal jurisdictions on mundane things like product designs.  I’m not a patent or trademark attorney so I don’t know how firm a legal footing Apple has had.  Judging by its win-loss record, not very.

At the same time, one has to wonder if patents, trademarks, or other intellectual property rights mean anything to Google at all.  Sure, its competitors have used patents to try and stifle Android advances (not very successful) in the mobile market but Google continue to disregard them through its partners.  On top of that, Google bought Motorola largely for its patents and it realized much of what Motorola owns are essential standard patents, not like those that Apple owns that makes the iOS devices singularly unique from the rest of the market.

Hence, Google now wants Apple’s patents invalidated if possible but barring that, it wants the government to force Apple and others to label their patents as FRAND.

Why this now?  Well, Google is very late to the patent game regardless of whether it’s the video or mobile market.  And it has tried to use its own technology to build its own standards, albeit with much success.

Having said that, Google does have a point but I don’t think they’re arguing it correctly.  They need to attack the issue at its core which is the broken patent system.  Until then, everyone should play by the same rules regardless of which end they’re on.

Google’s argument is a very big danger to innovation.  My guess is that if the shoe was on the other foot, Google would not be making this argument.  If that’s the case, since Google owns a large portion of the search market, it should be forced to open up its search patents as well? Bottom line is this:  innovate, innovate, innovate regardless of the state of the patent system.  Learn to change the rules of the game all you want but you still have to bring your best to the market.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mobile: Billions In Charity From Gates & Google, Should We Buy Them Over Others?

I happened to venture onto this Reuters post via Huffington Post about how the super-rich amassed as much as $32 trillion in offshore havens to avoid taxation.  That's quite a lot of money. If you consider just how much taxes various government entities missed because of this over more than four decades.  But this is an issue that will never get resolved but I that's not why I mentioned it.

It got me started thinking about the hundreds of millions in Google's case and billions in Microsoft's Bill Gates' case that were spent to help better the human condition, I kinda asked myself if we should do more to support their goods and services.

As you know, the technology market, for consumers and enterprises, is carved up into various smaller segments with each having supports from users that go beyond just how the technology serves them.  Yeah, I'm talking about fanboys.  I like to think that I'm a mobile fanboy in general but in some particular instances, I can see myself supporting one device or platform over another.

For instance, I like Xbox while I favor both the Android and iPhone in the smartphone market.  I really like my iPad.  On the desktop, I am a huge Mac user but I am very interested in looking to upgrade my Windows XP machine to Windows 8.  And Google dominates the search and, as far as I'm concerned, Google+ is far superior to Facebook.


But at the same time, some companies do more for society in general than others.  Google has green initiatives that were far ahead of everyone else.  Google's various side projects like helping experts track diseases and do its part to fight cartels.

Then there's the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation that has over the years spent billions in helping the poor of the world with education, farming, and vaccines.  And the extent to which I'm talking about this only scrapes the surface of the the Gates Foundation has done and will be doing.


So, what has Apple done?  Well, it's hard to say because for a better part of Apple's existence, it was under the guidance of Steve Jobs who we all know is super secretive with his personal life and what he may have done with his billions.  And there is evidence that Steve wasn't just amassing wealth without consideration for his fellow humans (or even just Apple fans).

Under Tim Cook, Apple has begun to publicly do more.

So, should corporate responsibility or what its officers do help sway which tech as buy or support?  To some degree, it should be.  Push to make our tech and gadgets more friendly not just for users but also for environmentally friendly is definitely something Apple and others have tried to push for.

We need to consider all of this and decide if they are doing enough.  Many tech companies, especially mobile players, are on the West Coast of the United States where there it is more left leaning.  With still a sense of responsibility for not just the shareholders, these companies and their officers could be further persuaded to do more make the world a better place for everyone.

Companies could see that fans would find their products more favorable should they do more on social issues like poverty, health, and the environment.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

iPod touch Will Still Be Around Even With iPad mini Is Released


I love my iPod touch and do so millions of touch fans.  So, there is no reason to think that Apple will abandon it in favor of the iPhone and/or the iPad mini that is supposed to have about an eight inch screen.  Here's why:  millions upon millions of users opt for it who either don't want to buy the iPhone or cannot afford it and Apple needs it more than ever to fight the mobile market war and the coming living war.


More at On Apple.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dumbass No 2: Louie Gohmert (R-Tex) Using Massacre For Poltiics

Source:  Huffington Post.

Okay, we've got ourselves another dumbass and it's Congressman Louie Gohmert, a GOP from Texas.  He basically called the shooting an Aurora, Colorado attack on Judeo-Christian beliefs.  How did he come to this conclusion?

Does it really matter?  He comes from a red state in a very, very red district.  So there is no chance of this dumbass getting thrown out of office short of, well, an act of God really.

Oh, and to top it off, he seemed to be blaming the audience for this.  He questioned by no one in the theater had a gun to shot back with Colorado being one of those states that allow its citizens to carry concealed weapons.

So, he somehow thinks the deranged shooter was attacking Chistianity and blames the moviegoers for not shooting back.

So far, he's a bigger dumbass than ABC News' Ross.  Anyway, HP has a video which I am not going to link to out of fear that Gohmert's dumbassity is contagious.

Reconciling Science Fiction And Reality In Mobile And Social: Siri, AI, and Search

Our devices are already smaller and easier to use than a lot of what Captain Kirk or the guys on Star Wars had.  Sure, our "communicators" are not able to communicate with a starship but we could link up with the ISS.  And certainly, with its communication devices or tablets, our devices definitely look sleeker.

At first, I could have steered this post towards how we have come science fiction tech here already today but I would like to examine just we are we are from technology that have not been realized yet today that exists only on TV or movies.

Let's start with voice commands.  Google voice search is very enticing as is Siri but neither is anything close to Hal or the Enterprise's computer (but Siri does have a better personality than the computer or Hal).  And while Apple likes to talk about the artificial intelligence behind Siri, I really don't know if we are really that close to Hal, the Enterprise computer, or even the computer in War Games as far as the sophistication and intelligence.

I'm not expecting Siri to be like Data in Star Trek or the droids in Star Wars that has even the most rudimentary level of awareness but as far as true learning, we are far, far away still.  However, given our ingenuity, we can disguise it so well that end users could potentially be fooled into thinking that future voice interactive systems are actually conscious and capable of learning.  In reality, it's still human engineers upgrading hardware and tweaking codes.

In this instance, we can quite possibly come close in the next four to five years as competition between Apple, Google, Microsoft, and even IBM heats up.  Today's Siri and Google Now will look like the idiot children in the realm of AI compared to what's to come.  As a matter of fact, I really think IBM has a huge role to play in all this - its Deep Blue that was followed by Watson.  And work on the sucessor to Watson has continued.


Enough about Siri.  What about Google and Microsoft's answers and will they also have awesome apps like Siri?  I've mentioned this in the past:  Google isn't likely to have an app that works like Siri because of the nature of its business model.  Siri could potentially put a big dent in Google's ad search revenue and coming out with a Siri competitor will only exacerbate the situation.


That really leave Microsoft.  I think it really has the ability to copy, improve, and even innovate a bit on works on top of its Bing search engine with a bit of Siri-like features.

So, the march towards true AI-like abilities looks rosy, I still wouldn't call anything we'll be using a few years from now having real awareness but enough that it can fool us into thinking that a little person truly lives in our  mobile devices.


Dumbass at ABC News Suggested Tea Party Link At Colorado Shooting

Source:  Huffington Post.

We said we would call out those that try to politicizing the tragic Aurora, Colorado shooting at the Dark Knight Rises viewing.  And now, we have our first hated man:  Brian Ross of ABC News.

Apparently, he suggested Tea Party connection to the shooting.  Well, apparently, there are more than one Jim Holmes in the state of Colorado and dude didn't do his homework more thoroughly.  Okay, Ross didn't try to make this about politics exactly but he jumped the gun on this without making sure if the name could be a coincidence.

Still, you would think that a news organization like ABC News would have to the professionalism to be more careful at a time like this.


So, everyone, Brian Ross of ABC News.  Bravo, you dumbass.

Note:  Honestly, I would have thought it'll be one of those idiots on Fox News.  

Aurora, Colorado Tragedy: Prayers For the Victims and Families


Americans are one people.  While political forces will try and divide us, they only succeed for a small time ever couple of years.  Otherwise, we are one.  And unfortunately, tragedies are the only way these days where the media allow such portrayal of unity.

I am glad that President Obama has set aside momentarily his reelection campaign and I expect governor Mit Romney to do the same.  POTUS said declared that politics is for another day.

I hope operatives from either side won’t try to capitalize on this national tragedy.  Today, it’s about the victims and their family.

Our prays are with them.

Note:  If anyone tries to use this for their own political advantage, we will not hesitate to point them out and rip them a new one.

Another Note:  Let's avoid reporting or repeating every new development we hear on the Web or in the media.  Most reports are just so raw that often time, they get revised or end up being false.  We don't need to jump to conclusions.  The media does enough of that on their own.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Street Art: Awesome Dark Knight Rises Art

Source:  Mashable.

Google's Voice Recognition Advantage Over Siri


Source:  MacDailyNews.

Here's an interesting post from NYT regarding voice commands and recognition and Apple's Siri.  As we well know, Apple's Siri is a significant addition to the mobile experience even if it's not ready for prime time.  I've used it often and it's good enough for the most part.

However, many have suggested that Google, which doesn't have a direct competitor to Siri (yet), offers a better voice recognition advantage.

The reason is simple:  Google offered a free Google-411 service and voice search that essentially allowed Google to capture tons of voice requests years before Siri came onto the scene, even before Apple bought Siri.

It'll be interesting to see if we'll see Siri evolve with better artificial intelligence that what we have now and what we saw at Apple's WWDC demo when iOS is released.  Right now, there is a lot of apps in both Google Play and iOS app store that compete with Siri that delivered results that is just as good as Siri (in some cases, better).

Mobile Gaming: Dark Knight Rises


Source:  9to5Mac.

For a number of us mobile warriors who are also scifi and comic fans, we’re looking at a weekend of bats – as in Batman, the Dark Knight, Bane of Gotham’s underworld.  This week is when Dark Knight Rises will be released, the final saga to the current arc of Batman story.

And you can get that Warner Brothers is going all out to make sure DKR has Avengers like numbers at the box office.  But before we get to that, part of any superhero movie release will be games.  And while traditionally, the consoles and PC get all the fun, today, it’s vastly different as mobile gaming has taken the video game realm by storm.

Hence, the Dark Knight Rises game, by Gameloft, is here.  Look for it in your respective app stores. By that, I mean Android and iPhone users only.

Here’s a video teaser for the game.


What do you think?  For $7 for the movie of the summer, yeah, definitely worth it.  It's unlikely we're gonna get the full movie experience or the console. It is $7 but hey, this is Batman we're talking about.  

I eagerly await its availability in the US app store. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Social: Ultra-Right Sean Hannity of Fox News Gets Zimmerman Interivew

Source:  mediabistro.

I don't know why George Zimmerman's defense attorneys are allowing this but Sean Hannity of Fox News will get an hour to grill Zimmerman.  By grill, I mean lob softballs, probably with questions that have already been agreed to.

And the thing is I'm not sure if this is a great idea.  By appearing on Fox News, you end up prejudicing the public against the defendant and getting ripped by the blogs and other national media.

On second thought, this might be a stroke of genius.  Already, the social elements of the Internet already assumed that by associating with Hannity and Fox News, Zimmerman is attempt to appeal to the public for support - the "right" kind.  It could be an attempt to poison the public view and, thereby, influencing a potential jury pool.

It's a calculated risk.  Otherwise, there really is no reason for Zimmerman to appear on any media, television or otherwise.  All-in-all, it's not something that is advisable under any circumstances.  After all, it didn't appear Zimmerman was a racist.

A dumb ass to be sure but probably not a racist.

Mobile: Is E-Mail Still Relevant? Probably Not Anymore

For the rest of the month and, maybe through August, I'm gonna get rid of e-mails on my mobile devices - phones, tablets.  Every device that I've got and only check e-mail at work via webmail for iCloud and Gmail and on the Macbook Air at home.  I think I can save myself quite a bit of space this way.

More and more communications are taking place via texts, group messaging apps like Whatsapp, and social networks like Twitter and Google+.  Once in a while, I will get an important e-mail but they are usually not something that requires my immediate attention.  A lot of the more interesting ones that I get daily are from Groupon and Livingsocial.

I get notifications about monthly bills and what new comics are out and like the Groupon/Livingsocial e-mails, they can wait.

I do occasionally get a mass e-mail for birthdays and evites. These group of mails, too, do not need me to deal with them right there and then.

In doing so, I avoid a lot of needless distractions while save battery life when no mail is being pushed to me.  Also, I'm saving memory space allocated for e-mails and attachments that I don't need right away.  And speaking of attachments, there are ways for me to send them without having to use e-mails.

All in all, I don't think I will miss e-mails all that much when I'm on the move.  I think for a lot of mobile warriors who do not use their e-mails for work or business, you likely won't miss them much either.  I, two to six weeks, I should know if e-mails play the big roles it once did.

Social: Mermaids? Yes, They Exist...On TV

Source:  WebProNews.

Okay, if you're flipping through the channels and you come across, say Animal Planet, and you see the video below, totally out of context as they say it, you'd be like "WTF???  Mermaids?  They're real?!"

Obviously, not.  Well, maybe in legends and certainly on TV and in movies.


Ain't computer graphics grand?  Anyway, someone should announce that they're going to Mars and totally fake the landing.  As we well know (tongue in check), we've done the fake moon landing.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why Wireless Carriers Are Evil: AT&T Looking To Charge For FaceTime Over Cellular Data

Source:  Macrumors.

I think I can safely say that 99% of the mobile warriors who read this blog would agree with me that wireless carriers are evil.  For that 1 out of 100 readers still doesn't think so, get this:  AT&T is looking to see if they can profit off Apple's FaceTime communication over cellular data.


For Android, Windows, or Blackberry users, you might think what this has to do with you.  This is an issue that may not pertain to just Apple's FaceTime.  It could eventually affect Skype, Google Hangout, or any other video communication apps. 

I've been using Skype over 3G for a while now and I love it.  Quality varies by a wide spectrum for video calls but certainly VOIP works very well most of the time.  

So, yeah, if Apple, Google, or Microsoft allows the carriers to reassert control in this matter, we could be in for some very expensive times ahead.

Wireless carriers need to know their place in the mobile market.  Namely, as dumb pipelines that they are.  Zero innovation from these guys and are only operated by greedy execs looking for short-term gains.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I Wanna External Battery Case But With the New iPhone Around The Corner...


Source:  TUAW.


I want this battery case.  It has plenty of juice and best of all, it looks like something that Batman would use. Again, it's all about the battery life or lack there of in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S has me considering getting this.

This Mophie Juice Pack Pro for $129 packs a punch that is unlike most other more anemic battery cases.  I've help off getting them because they just didn't give me what I wanted given how I think mobile devices, particularly the iPhone, ought to be used.


For some comparison to the awesomely long battery life that the RAZR MAXX from Motorola has, the iPhone 4/4S really doesn't measure up.  The RAZR has 3,300 mAh battery while the iPhone 4 has 1420 mAh and the 4S has 1432 mAh.  A huge diff.

With this juice pack, the iPhone will have its battery life augmented by the pack's 2500 Ahm.  That'll give the iPhone roughly 3900 Ahm.

Right now, we ration power when we know we're going to be away from the power plug for any length of time.  I had an older battery case that I used with the iPhone 4 over July 4th and with some regular use and videos and photo captures, I ran out of power just half way through the firework display in Long Beach.

It didn't matter since we got back to the car 15 minutes later and I had a car charger that was able to get me back up and running in no time.  Still, had the time gone on longer, I would have been out of luck.

This Mophie pack is the answer. So, why not get it?  It's not the $129 because you are getting quite a bit of juice for this.  rather, it's that the next iPhone is 3 months away.  I can probably get quite a bit of mileage out of this for the next three months but I really hate to spend this kind of money and know be able to use the case with the iPhone that is likely to have a radically different form factor.

I hope that Apple is able to significantly increase the battery life for the next iPhone but I am not all that hopeful.  With speculations about the 2012 iPhone sporting a bigger 4" screen and, quite possibly, thinner, any extra battery capacity Apple adds will go towards powering the bigger screen, a better CPU, and new iOS 6 features.  It's unlikely Apple will be able to match what Motorola gave to the Max.

Apple will attempt to squeeze as much juice out of this bigger battery to at the very least maintain parity with the iPhone 4S usage.

Maybe, just maybe, I should hold off until Apple unveils the next iPhone and Mophie come out with a Juice Pack Pro for the new iPhone.



Toys with iPhones And Macs

Source:  Cult of Mac.

Here some light-hearted pics of assorted action figure toys from Woody to Star Wars to even Steve Jobs.  Each with an iPhone and sometimes with an iMac or iPad.

If Toys Used Instagram On Their iPhones, It Would Look Like This [Gallery]


Those are just a couple of the ones I like.  More at the link above.  The one below is the best of the lot.  And very fitting...Buzz and Steve together.

If Toys Used Instagram On Their iPhones, It Would Look Like This [Gallery]

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Green: Make Cities Green, Solar, And WiFi


Source:  Yahoo NewsTreehuggerMy Modern.

Always love talking about solar and mobile and there is another opportunity with my bit of twist.  


Remember the above pic?  It was Toyota's solar flowers to promote the Prius.  And it was awesome!  I don't know if they're around still but Toyota could have and should have build more of them all over.  It was absolutely brilliant and I am somewhat disappointed that we haven't seen or heard more about this or similar concept.



Now, New York City is kinda doing something similar.  So far, it has converted 10 payphones into WiFi hotspots for the public to use.  And more will come.  


No word on whether this is powered by solar but since it wasn't mentioned, I highly doubt it.  Still, I reckon as more and more of these free WiFi hotspots come online and this pilot program works as planned, I'm hoping other cities will follow.  And there is absolutely no reason to think that this won't work at all.  

In fact, I like to see cash rich tech companies jump on the bandwagon.  I mean this is right up Google's alley.  And there was also a time when Steve Jobs thought about establishing his own wireless network powered by WiFi hotspots.  

This really is something we see coming.  Right now, ubiquitous wireless connection is only possible through 3G or 4G networks operated by gatekeepers that really don't have the public's interests in mind.  WiFi will be the key first step to wrestle control away from them.

When those super WiFi you might have heard about, those using White Spaces, that have wireless ranges that are not measured in feet but in miles (I'll be honest:  I'm excited by opportunities that White Spaces networks represent but finding out the exact range has been hard to pin down.  Probably because the tech is so new.)

So, just imagine this: a city like LA, SF, or NY (for you international readers, here's a shout-out to London, Paris, Vancouver, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Dubai, Berlin, HK, Singapore, New Delhi, Cairo, Rome, etc) blanketed in White Spaces networks powered by solar.

That is a mobile  future worth working towards.  Maybe also then, I can get a mobile device that doesn't require me to subscribe to those evil wireless carriers.

Hacker Alert: Yahoo Lost 400K Passwords



Source:  Reuters.


First, I didn’t know there was such a thing as Yahoo Voice but apparently, if you use it, you could be a victim of Yahoo’s negligence which has resulted the lost of 400,000 passwords.

So, if you think you could be one of these victims, best to do something about it really quickly. This comes on the heat of Sony’s PS network blunder last year and last month’s LinkedIn loss of more than 6 million passwords.

Truly, Yahoo doesn’t need this right now and it makes somewhat suspect just whether these companies really have their acts together or know what they are doing.  You’d think after Sony, LinkedIn, and others, companies would be scrambling to do audits on their security.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Charles Is Right: Dream Team Would Whip Today's 2012 Team Or Anyone Else

Source:  ESPN.


1992 Dream Team would whip today's US men's Olympics basketball team.  There really is no room for debate.

Anyone who doesn't agree didn't watch the Dream Team played in the Olympics.  And while there have been a number of other teams since, on so many levels, the Dream Team of 1992 for the Barcelona Olympics Games would beat the pants off so many other teams that has been assembled so far.  Not it wouldn't be just on the scoreboards but in class as well.

Whatever else, you just have to let the stats speak for themselves.  And the Dream Team was just suffocating.  The only time the DT had any problem was just a brief couple of minutes against Croatia before opening up a 33 points lead on the way to the gold.

The team that the NBA will send to London simply don't have that kind of killer instinct or the disciple to maintain a game long momentum like the DT did.  Sure, there was egos back then but the DT players knew business came first.  Today's squad is full of individual talents but as a team, they just don't put up the kind of entertaining value the DT had.

The showtimesque style of play was great from the opening tip to the final second regardless of the lead, 30, 40, 50, or 60 points.

Sorry, Kobe, on a good day, any Olympic team you were a part of might come close to beating the DT but a baby-hook from Magic, a three from Bird, or an awesomely incredible shot from Jordan would have finished you guys off.