Friday, March 29, 2013

Forget Richards, Rodman, or Schmidt. Maybe It’s Tim Cook Who Should Go To North Korea

This picture (Tuaw) says it all.  Maybe Tim Cook should have been the one to visit North Korea all along to talk the “Great Leader” down from his cliff.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Scary Japanese Horro Movies Over Done? Here's Another That Looks Very Promising

Source:  Bloody Disgusting.

It's been a while since I've seen a horror movie from Japan or an American reboot of one.  Simply, because I'm a chicken and without people to watch it with, well, I think that kinda says a lot about other chickens I call my friends.

Here's a new one from the maker of Ringu, the original Japanese version of the US movie The Ring, called The Complex.

Suffice to say, when you hear scratching noises coming from in your bedroom wall from the apartment next door where an old creepy man lives, you get the frak out of there.  Forget your gears and the security deposit.  It ain't worth it.


Fake Pokemon Movie Trailer Has Me Thinking A Live Action One Would Rock!

Source:  Mashable.

Here is a fake Pokemon trailer for a fake live action movie called "Snap".  Again, it's not a real movie but what if Nintendo does one day do a live-action Pokemon movie?  Yes, I would be lining up for sure.

You don't see Ash and company here but you do see some Pokemons.

Help FBI Track This Child Predator Down, Human Trafficking

Last week, news surfaced that Facebook allowed a video showing the act of abusing a child on its sites and in user profiles for a good long while before public outrage on Twitter go Zucker and company to act.  Well, here's a post from NBC News about a man who produced a lot of despicable videos of children.

So far, the FBI has only one picture of this person.  There is very little else anyone knows about this man.  If anyone knows anything, you can reach authorities at 866-347-2423 or visit

Meanwhile, there's a church near where I live that on more than one weekend provided information on human trafficking.  Usually, I find out too late.  If there is such a group near where you live and they provide information on how to combat exploitation of people, particularly children, I urge you to be proactive.

Human exploitation and modern day slavery isn't something we ordinarily hear about but with social media and the Internet, we are learning more and more about it.

And folks, it's everywhere even in America.

Killing And Then Suicide: Nut Jobs' Easy Way Out And Their Private Wars Against Society

There is a new report (CNN) out today about Newtown mass murderer.  The motives why the murderer, which I will not dignify by mentioning his name, ended the beautiful lives of twenty children and six of their caretakers remain unclear. However, we can truly get into the minds of someone like this even if he was still around to explain it to me?

Of all the deaths resulting from this kind of mass killing, it is unimaginable that we as a society are willing to listen to these murderers’ explanations why they did it.  Most of them are cowards because they would commit suicide and rob us all of justice.

It’s an easy way out for them.  We can only assume that these deranged individuals are at war against society.  That is the only way to see it and that is likely how they see it as well.  Society against them.

The Newtown murderer took less than five minutes to commit his atrocity at the elementary school.  That’s 300 seconds.  What takes five minutes to finish a task for you?
Microwaving a burrito.
A leisurely half mile jog.
A shower.
To make coffee.
Change out of a pajamas into school clothes.
To grab a backpack, put on shoes, and head to the car for school.
To get out of the car and greet school mates before running into the classroom.
Time it takes for a teacher to settle down the class to start the day.
But to imagine spending more than 150 bullets in that time?  Stalking victims?  Ending 26 individual futures?  The closest thing I can come up with is war.  And in war, you make plans before you execute it.  And that’s what the Newtown guy did was just that.  He waged war on us all.  And many others like him before and those who will inevitably follow to commit their own mass murders.

And then cowardly end their own lives to avoid facing the consequences.

As a society, the answer isn’t arming ourselves as some would have it and end up with Western-style shootouts.  Seriously, do these people really want that to be happening on the streets of America and in malls and schools. Once you get past the absurdity of that, you come down to only one solution.

You try to diffuse a situation before it becomes a state of war.  And there is no one easy solution. No silver bullet like arming oneself for a public engagement Hollywood style.  There are probably many difficult and imperfect ones.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Social: Facebook To Put Ads In Timeline Starting With Desktops

Source:  Inside Facebook.

Looks like Timeline on Facebook will get more crowded and cumbersome.  Not to mention annoying as FB looks to put ads there to extra a few more dollars in its pocket.  I figure in order to do this, there will be some friendly eavesdropping on some going-ons between you and your friends.

Obviously, there are some issues that go beyond simple snooping of our lives.  We have ads in our mail for years and they already "listen" in.

The scary thing is that given the Timeline is where most users see when they log in and where they get the bulk of the updates, this is going to give Facebook the key to the kingdom and in ways that no one has envisioned before.

Of course, we knew this day would come.  All those personal information in a vast database that for all to see.  To the highest bidder.

So far, it'll be on the desktop to start but it'll eventually move onto just about any other platform that Facebook is allowed on.

Mobile: Atlantic Wire Does A "China" In Hit Piece Against T-Mobile's New Plans

This is a horribly written article from the Atlantic Wire comparing AT&T and T-Mobile's new no-contract rates.  We’ll go through the errors and come to the conclusion that the writer or even the AW is bending over backward to make T-Mobile look bad and AT&T, probably a big sponsor for the site, look good.

The gist of the post is about how T-Mobile’s new plan is bad compared to AT&T for users and even trying to point out that T-Mobile could end up costing users more.  Let’s start shredding this post apart piece by piece.

First, even if the numbers used by the writer is correct, paying a bit more to get out of the thumb of AT&T’s draconian domain is worth it.  That in and of itself is a great advertising tagline.  Fortunately for folks looking at the T-Mobile plans, it’s actually cheaper to go with T-Mobile and AT&T's plans are actually more expensive.

Second, the numbers used by AW are wrong because while they’re comparing the same device, an iPhone 5, the device can be anything others.  A Blackberry or Galaxy S 3 which both carriers have.  So the cost of the device doesn't matter.  It’s the plans.  And this is where the writer is trying to make AT&T look better.

The writer used AT&T’s lowest $40 unlimited 450 min plan to compared with T-Mobile’s $50 unlimited talk and text plan.  The writer should have used the equivalent $70 plan from AT&T.  On top of that, the writer should have also included the $20 unlimited texting plan as well on top of whatever AT&T plan a subscriber picks.  The omission of the texting plan alone blatantly showed that the post was either paid for by AT&T or something far more sinister.

Had the writer used AT&T rates that are closer to what T-Mobile offers, it would come out to $2360 for two years for the 450 minutes plan with texting and $3080 for the unlimited talk plan.  Using the writer’s $60 plan to get the 2 GB data and the total cost of $2020 for T-Mobile, that’s still lower than AT&T’s lowest plan by $340 and a whopping $1060 less than AT&T’s unlimited talk plan over two years.

Okay, let’s take this a step further.  Let’s go with T-Mobile’s unlimited $70 talk, text, and data.  That’s true unlimited data which AT&T doesn’t offer.  That cost comes out to $2350 for 24 months – beating AT&T”s 2 GB with unlimited talk plan by $730.

Let’s go even a step further and add more data on top of AT&T’s unlimited talk plan.  AT&T doesn’t offer unlimited data because it knows that its data network is crap and it knows that we know it.  But it does offer incremental higher data allotments with higher costs.  Again, nothing unlimited.

So, to come as close as we can to T-Mobile’s $70 unlimited data, voice, and texting, we would have to pay AT&T $70 for unlimited voice, $20 for unlimited texting, and $50 to get 5 GB of data.  Again, AT&T doesn’t offer unlimited data.  That total comes out to $140.

For 24 months, the subscriber gets jacked $3560 by AT&T to come as close as possible to what a T-Mobile user would have to pay.  I’ll make you do the math to figure out the difference.

That’s only the cost comparisons that matter, which the writer worked hard to avoid to make AT&T stand out.

However, the last point is the most important of all.  Regardless of whatever plan you get from T-Mobile and savings aside, the user isn't beholden to AT&T.  Again, the skewed comparison the Atlantic Wire writer tried so hard to keep users on it.  This point is pretty much the same as the first one I made above.

Yes, being freed of contracts and free of AT&T is just that important to me.

Now, this would be a perfect place to end the post.  But I also like to point out that even the writer's $1916 total doesn't make sense at all.

Note:  While you can argue that I've got an ax to grind against AT&T, that may be true but the numbers themselves don't lie.

Mobile: T-Mobile's No-Contract Plans And Phone Payments Works Offer Better Transparency

I think the $99 down payment for flagship and top-selling devices like the iPhone, HTC One, Z10, and the forthcoming Galaxy S 4 is going to be a major hit for users looking to migrate to T-Mobile's new no contract plan.  For the reason that in-depth discussion about T-Mobile's new mobile plans isn't needed here, you're welcome to visit T-Mobile for more information.

What the new plans offer is greater transparency about subsidies and where your monthly payments to carriers go to.  In the past, you might pay $80 for plan and get a phone for free, $99, or even $199.  You sign a contract with the carrier and that’s it.  Locked in for two years.  While it might be kinda nice to know the breakdown of your $80, it’s was not something the carriers are obligated to tell us.

With T-Mobile’s plans, you know you’re pay, say $60 a month plus whatever amount you owe to cover the cost of the device you bought from T-Mobile for 20 months.  You see where that money is going towards and the diminishing balance of whatever device you bought from T-Mobile.

That’s kinda nice.  In the current plans offered by AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, you pay $80 a month and even after your contract is over, you’re still paying $80 a month.  Just because you fulfilled your contract does not mean you automatically get a lower rate.  In fact, you still have to pay $80 a month to continue using the service under the same terms of your expired two year contract.  The extra money just goes into the carriers’ pocket.

After paying off your phone under T-Mobile’s plan, your rate remains the same but you’re no longer paying for your phone.  It’s how it should work.  It’s a fair deal.  And this is why I think T-Mobile’s new plans are very Apple-like in that they going to disrupt how carriers deal with its users from now on.

You pay the rate of your plan, the down payment of your device, monthly payment for the remaining balance of the device, and done.  I know many bloggers even now as looking for a “but…” but so far so good.

iWatch: It’s Not A Watch, Folks – Start Calling It iWear

Source:  Clouding Around.

I suck at naming names which is why I am not in any creative job or have ever been.  However, the more I think about it, the more I think this iWatch everyone is chiming in about is not a watch at all.  I think it’ll be a small device that is wearable and flexible in terms of where you put it on your person.

Let’s call it the iWear.

If you want to put a strap to it and wear it like a watch, go for it.  Many folks have done it with the last generation iPod nano.  Dorky looking but Apple didn’t stop you and won’t be stopping you from using iWear like a watch.  Wanna wear it around your neck?  Apple has don’t that before with the first generation Shuffle.  Looks good too.  Wanna clip it to your belt?  Sure.

iWatch is too limited.  That’s the whole point.  iWear?  I reckon it’ll spawn a whole new third party accessory industry unlike anything we have been before.  Look for Kickstarter to get inundated with accessories and add-ons for iWear.  Imagine a clip-on device for the iWear that monitors vitals or provide additional battery life.  A GPS or pedometer unit for running from Nike for iWear.

Just so you know, this is my own speculation.  But it makes a heck of a lot more sense than a watch.  And though it might be used as a watch, the idea of such a device being a GPS for your life pertains to iWear as well.

Monday, March 25, 2013

No! The End Of Reader Does Not Mean Google Will Buy Twitter

This Motley Fool post, and note that I'm stressing the "fool" part, suggests Google shutting down Reader, which I think is a mistake, is related to a buyout of a pretty big social network.  That company is Twitter.  Fool.

There just is no way this would happen.  I can't imagine Google shelling out anywhere from $20 to $25 billion for Twitter.  According to Fast Company, Twitter is worth about $10 billion today and we can see that get closer to $15 or even $20 billion by the time it goes IPO, whenever that may be.  On top of that valuation, any suitor will have to pay a premium over that to satisfy future Twitter shareholders.  It's an expensive buy.

Furthermore, after the poor execution of the Motorola buyout, I'm not sure the market is ready for this.  And can you imagine the number of defections that'll occur from Twitter if this were to happen.  

This idea is just as bad as if someone suggests that Apple buy Twitter or Facebook or another network.  And one last thing, there have been rumblings of past attempts by tech giants to buy Twitter and failed because Twitter just was not willing to sell out.  Not yet.  

The thing that has made each of these social networks so successful is that they don't owe themselves to one specific platform.  For instance, Twitter is a default social network on Apple's iOS and OS X.  However, Google+ isn't because of the ongoing competition between the two giants.  I'm pretty sure that Apple will cut iOS and OS X should there be a Google takeover.  It would be the same for Microsoft, Blackberry, or anyone else.

And the truth is the same if Apple or Microsoft were to take over Twitter.  I'm sure Google will do more to steer users away from Twitter and towards its own Google+ network or just cut Twitter out entirely.

The bottom line is that the Fool post failed to explain how Google shutting down Reader is an "indication" that a Twitter buyout is even remotely being considered.  If anything, Google might consider a Google+ lite version that essentially duplicates what Twitter already does now - limited characters for quick thoughts or links.  

A more likely scenario here is that Google may add a new feature that duplicate Reader's main RSS function and give users a format similar to readers.

I would not have a problem with the post if it simply say that it's speculation rather than try to suggest the author knows about a link between Google killing off Reader and Twitter.  

Personally, I think any self-respecting social networks should do what Facebook is doing.  As much as I hate Facebook, it's done the right thing so far.  It avoided selling out to avoid conflicts of interest within the mobile platform and has not release its own mobile device to compete with the iPhone or Android devices. It has a prominent place in all of the major mobile platforms - ensuring its main core revenue goal is intact:  making as money as it can off its users.  

And since Twitter has a similar business plan, selling ads, it makes sense to be on as many users' phones as possible.  

One thing is for sure here.  Google getting rid of Reader may have made solidify Twitter as the source of news and other social feeds for its users and it certainly would welcome us hapless Reader users.

iWatch (or Galaxy Watch): GPS For Your Life

I recently bought a very nice watch that I like very much.  It’s well built, expensive, and only tells time.  It costs more than the Pebble smart watch and will probably cost more than any watch that Apple, Samsung, or anyone else can release given consumer willingness to pay for a smart watch, which isn’t a lot.  If you’re an Apple fan, that’ll be the iWatch.  For Android fans or Galaxy fans, maybe it’ll be the Galaxy watch (and just about every tech giant out there are now said to be working on their own watches).

World War Z: New Footage Shows Just What’s Going On

I just watched the newest World War Z trailer and I’m hating myself for it.  First, I love almost everything I saw and I’m so pumped but I have to wait until freaking June for it.

I am still not sure about the undead climbing all over each other.  In World War Z the book, there was no references to anything like that.  I like that out-of-the-box thinking in this regard but I much prefer The Walking Dead type of zombies.  However, it’s not to say I’m not going to be waiting in line to one of the first to watch this at the Arclight (assigned seatings).

Now, here are new footages of the Brad Pitt version of World War Z.  And I must say, I’m loving every bit of it. Again, not crazy about the water-life wave of undead coming at you but it does add to the immediacy and feeling of being overwhelmed.

Here’s the clip.  Enjoy.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Twitter Should Incorporate A RSS Feed (But Probably Won't)

As you know by now, though you may not care or have done ranting about it, Google decided to kill off one of their biggest driver for blog traffic:  Reader.  It's an RSS reader to aggregate, you guessed it, RSS feeds into one place.  I swear by it and I've since moved on to Feedly.

However, I think Twitter should pick up the mantle.  I know this is probably not something that Twitter will even remotely consider doing but I think it could work very well given that many tweets are about articles from various news sources or blogs.

Or, even create channels which allows tweets to be turned into RSS substitutes.  I've been organizing my "followings" into lists as many of you have already done so for various reasons.  I've only recently given it another look after the impending death of Reader.

Of all the social networks that can most act and capitalize on Google's mistake of killing off Reader, I think it's Twitter.  Sure, I've done something similar by organizing circles but right now, many folks are feeling uneasy of Google products and their longevity.  How many products that you've used from Google in the past only to see it axed years if not months later?

And Facebook?  Sure, Facebook that allows crap left and right.  Forget that.  Facebook is a joke and the sooner people realizes that fact and leave it, the better the world will be.

That leaves mostly Twitter to act on this.  I know there are many RSS feed providers out there but they're nothing like the kind of power that Twitter can bring for organized feeds.

Twitter has become an indispensable source for many people to get valued information in ways that it probably never considered before.  It went from people telling their friends how long they stayed in the bathroom to being a tool for organizing revolutions around the world.

So, why not add a RSS reader with deep Twitter function?

And if a RSS reader on Twitter becomes successful, don't think it won't go unnoticed by Google.  It may even make Mountain View think twice about jerking us Google app users around so easily.

Twitter, RSS reader, and mobile.  What a potent weapon that'll be.

SciFi: Twins Play Harps To The Doctor Who Theme (And The Walking Dead Theme)

Source:  Kotaku.

What can we all mobile fans agree on?  SciFi, right?  How about Doctor Who?  Yup.  That's right.  Science fiction is like the neutral zone for all mobiel warriors regardless of whether you like Android, iPhone, Nokia, or Blackberry.

What's more, about about two hot twins performing the Doctor Who theme?


As a bonus, the twins playing The Walking Dead theme, anyone?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Social: Facebook Allowed Child Porn To Get Thousands of "Likes" Before Pulling It

Source:  Tech News Daily.

I'm come straight to the point.  Any company should be investigated and fined heavily for allow child pornography on their site.  There cannot be any excuses.  And they have to do everything they can to help authorities catch the perpetrators.  Screw the ACLU.

Apparently, Facebook only took down a criminal pornographic video of a child being abused after it had been share 16K times and garnered thousands of "likes" before doing anything about it.  Probably only after users used Twitter and other social media to express their outrage.

However, Facebook stated they "swiftly" took down the video after being notified.  Honestly, that's a load of crap if you heard one before.  Swift action would not have allowed so many shares and likes.

And that's only part of the story.  In the original link to the story, a comment for The Independent (UK paper) stated that there was actually 29K shares and 9K likes.

Hey, Mark Zuckerberg, is money that important to you that you allow this video to be on there for such a long time before public outcry demanded the video be taken down?

C'mon, dude.

Galaxy Note II Or Galaxy S 4: It's About the Pen

Here's a very good post (gottabemobile) that compares two of the top end Galaxy devices.  One is the dated Galaxy Note II and the other is the yet to be released (but soon) Galaxy S 4.  Which one should you pick?

It's simple really.  It's all about the pen.  Do you need a stylus or you're okay with your fingers?

Personally, I'm waiting for the Galaxy Note III with its own 1080p screen and maybe something closer to a six inch screen.  After all, this is more of a table than a phone.  And I'm going to buy it off contract (been saving up for a while now).

The reason is because I think Samsung has something really sweet going on there not its competitors, especially Apple who isn't too keen on because of past statements like Steve Jobs saying the stylus isn't for iOS. However, the market disagrees given that there are dozens of styluses available for both Android and iOS.  I've got a couple that I use for drawing from time to time.

However, I only use the stylus for my iPad for specific tasks and I reckon that'll probably be the same for my future Note - only for some native Samsung apps like note-taking or drawing.

And given that the Galaxy S 4 is closer to being in the "here and now" than the Note III, which will launch in the fall, you have a choice to make.  If you don't need a stylus, the S 4 is perfect for you.  You also get the latest Galaxy smartphone.  But you need a pen, you've got only the Note II unless, like me, you can wait a bit.

One thing I have to remind potential buyers is that Note II apps with native Samsung stylus support seems rather limited.  And I'm sure it'll get better over time.

Also, keep in mind that while these two flagship devices may appear similar, one is still more of a traditional smartphone while the other really is a tablet.  So, the choices are rather simply.  Do you want to have a traditional smartphone or a small tablet with a pen.  And there's nothing wrong with using a third-party stylus on your Galaxy S 4.

Mobile: Sure, Why Not? There's An App To Learn Kung Fu

Source:  PRmac.

I use mobile apps for my workout.  For running, doing specific exercises in the gym, and keeping track of activities and diet.  And so why not kung fu?

After all there are yoga and other types of physical activities with dedicated apps.  I just had never considered kung fu.

App is currently free and downloadable for both Android and iOS.

Odd That Father of Sandy Hook Victim Would Go To Texas To Throw Out First Pitch

I find it odd that Texas, which is very red and very much in the pocket of the NRA, would be hosting the father of a Sandy Hook victim.  Apparently, Robbie Parker, whose six-year old daughter was slaughtered by a madman, will be throwing out the first pitch for the Texas Rangers come opening day.

Apparently, he's a Rangers fan.

Nokia CEO Throws Interviewer’s iPhone Across the Room To Draw Attention

Source:  9to5Mac.

You probably have never met Stephen Elop of Nokia.  He’s Microsoft’s viceroy over at Nokia to ensure that they push Windows Phone devices out instead of any running on other platforms, like, oh say, Android.

Well, in this video below, he’s the phone throwing the interviewer’s iPhone across the room.

Now, you know what he looks like.

I reckon this isn’t how a CEO should act or this is going to get mobile warriors excited about Nokia devices.

Watch Watch: Guess Who Else Is Making A Watch

Apparently, Google and LG are working on their watches to compete with nonexistent watches from Apple and Samsung.  Well, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Microsoft, Nokia, HTC, Acer, Lenovo, etc. are all working on watches.

I don't know how the rumors that Apple is making a watch got started.  I supposed it started when the iPod nano was so small that it could be fitted on a wrist band and be worn as a watch.  It didn't do much except tell time.

Then you've got the Pebble watch that got a lot of media attention via its success Kickstarter campaign.  Of course, when I dug deeper, there are plenty of watches out there that has similar capabilities.  

I suppose that's how it all got started.  So everyone is making a watch.  Heck, Amazon, too!  I think some of Nike's sports watches that monitor activities can be considered more of a real smart-watch than anyone currently in development at these various tech giants.  

So, there you have it. Watches for everyone coming to a Holiday season near you.

South Koean Hack: Nope, It Was Not China

Source: CNN.

As you know by now, North Koreans likely hacked South Korea a couple of days ago:  hitting banks and media companies.  Yesterday, a South Korean report indicated it was the Chinese.  Unless than 24 hours later, they changed their tune.

Looks like China was innocent this time around.  It was not involved in the hack of South Korean banks and media companies.  Apparently, South Korean authorities kinda jumped the gun in blaming an IP address coming out of China.

When I learned about Chinese involvement in this, I was very perplexed.  I find it unlikely given the delicate political situation that China would do something this juvenile.  The timing of the hacking and the targets seem more like the street-style bullying of the Kim Dynasty in North Korea.

Having said that, how did this happen?  How did the Korean authorities get it so wrong?  Well, apparently, initial examination of one of the banks showed that there was a malicious code that did originate from the Chinese IP address.

So, the Chinese did hack a South Korean bank but at a different time.  China was merely accused of the wrong crime.

Go figure.  If not for the threat of nukes and million+ armies just outside a demilitarized zone, this would also seem comical.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Social: Facebook, Weather, More Money (At Your Expense)

Source:  Tech News Daily.

Facebook is tracking your every step through the Web because it wants to sell that information to advertisers.  We already know that.  It’s not so successful check-in feature is to get you to tell Zucker where you’re at.  As if that isn’t enough, Facebook now wants to know where you are going.

How?  Adding a seemingly innocuous weather feature.  Don’t think that if you’re in NY and you’re checking the weather in Seattle, the next ad you won’t see is a hotel or a car rental ad.

I’ll give FB this:  well played.  Pretty sly if you ask me.

You think that’s it?  Forget that Facebook is tracking and trying to find out where you’re going.  That’s not the worst part.  Now that it’s creating updates on your behalf: imagine if you had bought a ticket, booked a hotel, or rented a car via Facebook’s ad and it decides to tell all your friends about it.  Suppose you didn’t want anyone to know.

Well…sucks for you.

Don't think that will happen.  Facebook has been recycling your "likes" and faking them as posts to your friends.

Note:  The picture above is the Web search feature I used in Facebook to get Seattle's weather.  I don't know what the final look will be like but I reckon it'll be similar and even easier to use.

Security: Two-Step Security Verification Now Available For iCloud

Here's here. According to 9to2Mac, Apple has finally enabled a two-step verification for iCloud.  I've been using this for Google accounts and it's seemless.  I know I'll feel mucho better about iCloud now.

Right now, Apple's website for Apple ID is up but there's all these weird strings.  My advice is to wait a few hours until the dust settles before sign up for it.  But do sign up for it.

The way it works is that you type in your ID and password as you normally do.  You already do this.

Then Apple will send to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad a second code that you'll have to enter to gain access to your account.  Enter that access code and you're in. If someone else tries to log in with your credentials, even if they have the password, without the access code, they're still locked out.

Sponsored Posts Should Say So Right At The Top (In Titles)

Lately, I've fallen prey to posts from a number of blogs, even major ones you probably frequent, that have interesting posts.  Catchy titles that drew me and others in.  It's only after reading it and clicking through that we realized those aren't real posts.

They're sponsored posts.  I've been approached a number of times to do this.  No way.  Not here.

However, it's a practice I fear will only increase as competition does.  So, I think these blogs should do their readers a service and say right at the very top of the post and mentioned what they're reading are ad posts.

Better yet, add the word "sponsored post" in the title of the post.  Believe me, I might still click through if I really find it interesting and the blog is honest about it upfront and I'm sure others will too.

What we don't like is being duped.

Who Cares About Forking? Only Google's Android Matters

I'll be the first to admit that I've been concerned about forking by Google's Android partners, non-partners, and folks who use Android in ways it just wasn't meant to be.  But you know what?  At the end of the day, only one version of Android matters:  the one that has Google's apps and Play store on it.
Android Mascot
Sure, Amazon has done a really great job with their version of Android and created a very successful ecosystem for its users in terms of apps and other media.  However, that is competition for Google just like Apple's iOS, Microsoft's Windows Phone, and Blackberry is.  And they're all competing against each other.

For Google, competition from Amazon is a nuisance but it's better for Google to see a user use the Kindle running on a forked Android than on an iPhone or Nokia device.

And as for those Chinese companies taking apart Android for their use? Well, it's not like Beijing and Google are going to be buddies any time soon.  Once more, better some form of Android and another platform entirely.

I think the only angst now for Google is trying to position itself for what comes after Android for some of its partners.  Microsoft, even with limited success if you can call it that, continues to be a viable alternative for some Android partners while Samsung which recently unveiled the uninspiring Galaxy S 4 made no mention of Android at all.  And Samsung is in a multi-year process to move away from Android towards its own mobile OS, Tizen.

Google cannot worry about forking or how Samsung will eventually compete with Android.  In the here and now, Google has a few things going for it.  The Nexus line is doing well and the partnership with LG seems to be on solid grounds.  LG has no where else to go but Android.

Furthermore, we can expect good things from Google's Motorola division.  This much talked about X phone may be what Google needs to show that it has what it takes to turn out a flagship hardware.  We may see it in the next quarter.  And the Galaxy stumble by Samsung has opened a very wide door for Google.

So for hardcore Android users or folks who like to tinker around with their devices, forget what anyone else is doing.  Forked Androids are usually very closed off.  There only one version of Android that matters.  It's one that is released by Google itself.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Space: Jeff Bezos Funded, Led, And Found Saturn Engines That Took Americans To the Moon, Restoring Them Now For NASA

Source:  Yahoo News, Spacebezos Expeditions.

Regardless of how you feel about Amazon or even its CEO, Jeff Bezo, you gotta love the guy for what he’s doing here:  he launched an expedition that recovered enough parts to rebuild two Saturn V engines that took Americans to the moon during the Apollo program in the 60’s.  You know, a time when we put country first and felt that if we set our minds to anything, we can accomplish it.

Interesting thing is that NASA will continue to retain ownership of the engines that will be put on display as museums.

The Apollo 11 Saturn V space vehicle climbs toward orbit on July 16, 1969, bearing astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. Armstrong and Aldrin would make history as the first men on the moon.

According to Bezos' update:

What an incredible adventure. We are right now onboard the Seabed Worker headed back to Cape Canaveral after finishing three weeks at sea, working almost 3 miles below the surface. We found so much. We’ve seen an underwater wonderland – an incredible sculpture garden of twisted F-1 engines that tells the story of a fiery and violent end, one that serves testament to the Apollo program. We photographed many beautiful objects in situ and have now recovered many prime pieces. Each piece we bring on deck conjures for me the thousands of engineers who worked together back then to do what for all time had been thought surely impossible.

I cannot underscore what an achieve this is.  For Bezos, I am hoping his interest in this field will lead to Amazon or one of his many other investments lead to future projects actually in space.  Who knows?  This could be where the various tech giants turn their attentions to after the mobile war is over.

North Korean Hacks in South Korea Should Be A Wake-Up Call To Allies

North Korean hackers, likely with Pyonyang’s blessing, attacked South Korean media companies yesterday.  Hit were banks as well.  A couple of things are disturbing about this which leads me to believe South Koreans are not taking North Korean threats as seriously as they should.  Like maybe they need to take it up a couple of notches.

First, this is 2013 and we have known about the coming cyber wars.  Actually, it’s here.  And it is simply unfathomable how vulnerable a high-tech economy like South Korea’s is so easily rattled.  The lack of vigilance is appalling to say the least.  At least government and military computers were not affected.  However, they simply may not have been the targets to begin with.

Second, it’s surprising that the United States, who North Korea dreamt of burning, or American companies were attacked.  Given the attention the public and Congress has given, and especially with constant Chinese hacks, we might be a bit more prepared than most other countries.  The same goes for Japan, another sworn enemy North Korea cooked up.

Lastly, if you put the two together, I have to ask if this was an inside job.  North Korean agents, given the proximity to the South and with wider access, were able to upload malware that allowed this attack to happen.  It would be easier to find sympathizers there than anywhere else like Japan or the US.

Hope this serves as a wake up call for our allies.  It Does not matter if it’s China or Iran, imagine allied computer networks taken out even before the first missile takes off.

CNN: Z10 Won't Save Blackberry

Source:  CNN.  


CNN tried to be generous about Blackberry’s Z10 but you can tell that they’re just coming up short of tell you not to buy it.  They like the hardware even though they acknowledged that it’s behind its rivals like the iPhone, Galaxy S 4, and the HTC One.

This must be very disheartening for once dominant Canadian mobile giant.  The problem seems be the OS itself.  CNN believes, it has some polishing to do while it lacks some major native apps that its competition has plenty of.

The post ends with the fact that Blackberry lacks the infrastructure that Apple and Google has to make distinctive features like Google Now and Siri.  Personally, I would not have mentioned Apple in the same breath as Google when it comes to web services and infrastructure (Google is so far ahead of everyone else) but we get the point.

You cannot help but feel that the current BB10 hardware, and there are only two, is Blackberry’s attempt to stem the bleeding and show investors and consumers that it has the staying power to keep up with the big boys.

Regardless of how Blackberry does in third word markets, it has to hold ground in Canada and somehow demonstrate it can keep up with the Jones.  All Blackberry has to do is to show that it can be a strong distant third, ahead of Windows Phone.  It should not be too hard.  But if it screws that up, you can forget about 2014.

We're not going to see any major flagship Windows Phone devices from Nokia at least not until the second half of 2013.  We might see a Surface phone but Microsoft might hold that off to see how its partners do this time around.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Yahoo Should Buy Vimeo Instead of Dailymotion

Source:  Cnet.

Yahoo wants a piece of online video streaming to compete with Youtube.  So, it’s looking to buy a part of DailyMotion.  I think Vimeo is a better buy if it’s available for sale.

After all, Vimeo is the default video service for iOS and OS X after Apple dumped Youtube.  There’s gotta be a reason why Apple picked Vimeo.

Recently, Vimeo enabled a service, Vimeo On Demand, allowing providers to charge for their content.

Who Wouldn’t Want Calvin And Hobbes To Come to Life On Your TV (or Tablet)?

Source:  Slate.

 I love the comic and I still read them but I still would like to have this iconic comic animated. Forget the part about the money but to see Calvin and Hobbes come to life. It would be better than anything Hollywood can ever hope to come up with.

 Much better than that trashy Ted.

Looks Like No 7 or 8” Windows RT Tablet Unitl Windows 9

Here’s a post from TabletPC Review that suggests we aren’t going to see cheaper, smaller, and lighter Windows RT tablet until Microsoft releases the next version of Windows.  It’s an interesting suggestion but I am not sure I agree.

Right now, the Surface RT has a screen size of 10.6” (Apple’s iPad has a 9.7” screen) and 1366x768 resolutions (the iPad has 2048x1536).

So, why can’t someone out there make a screen with 7 to 8” and still have 1366x678?  Apple’s iPad mini is 7.85” with a 1024x768.  Heck, even the smaller 7” Android have a higher resolution.  The Nexus 7 has a resolution of 1280x800.

So, as an average mobile warrior, my question is why no 7” or 8” Windows RT tablet yet?

Tablet: Windows 8 Isn't Helping Microsoft Enter Post PC, Maybe Next Version

Microsoft has not always been very good at its first time out in almost any market it enters.  Even in the PC market, it took a couple of tries before it eventually knocked Apple out and nearly for good.  The same for the browser market and the console.

So, I haven't been all that surprised by the degree of success that Microsoft's own tablet effort, the Surface, so far.  I'm not even sure the Surface Pro, which runs the full version of Windows 8, will either.  I'm hoping perhaps, Windows 8.x or Windows 9 could do the trick.

And even now, Windows 8 is in danger of being marginalized in favor of its older sibling, Windows 7 and, of course, OS X, iOS, and Android.

Samsung has largely shunned it.  Even now, Lenovo has machines with Windows 7 installed instead of making Windows 8 users do the hard work.

So, Surface 2?  Well, the issue isn't that Microsoft's tablets are not good.  They're very decent but they're also priced like iPads. Between Surface and iPad, people have been flocking to Apple's tablets.  On top of that, Surface has to compete with low-cost Android devices with similar specs and a bigger library fo apps.

I had hoped that Microsoft would have by now dozens of models on the market from partners that will drive the price down.  Not only has that not happened, some partners  have withdrawn plans for Windows 8 tablets, regardless of those running on ARM or Intel chips, from the market.

What's worse is that Microsoft may not even be able to compete in the sub-10" segment of the tablet market, like 6-9" sized screens, because Windows 8 might not be able to support it.  We may have to wait a full year for that to happen.

What's at stake is Microsoft's dominance in the future of mobile computing.  In fact, let me back that up a bit.  What's at steak is Microsoft's relevance in the future of mobile computing.  However, I think the jury is still out.  I can't believe in a world where Microsoft won't be a major player in the smartphone or tablet market.

For anti-Microsoft people, you have to understand the tremendous competitive force that a juggernaut like Microsoft has on its competitors even if it doesn't sell nearly the number of machines its competitors do.

And we want competition.  More the better.

Social: Whatsapp Move To Subscription Closely Watched By Competitors

Whatsapp doesn't sell ads but it does sell its app for $1.  Sometimes, you can get it for free.  However, all that's ending as it moves to an annual subscription-based service.  It's $1 per user for a year.  It's not a bad deal in the grand scheme of things but it is more expensive than just paying $1 now and getting grandfathered in.

Send media

I'm sure this new subscription implementation will be closely watched by others.  Obviously, its competitors could be looking at how well Whatsapp does with this and if users are receptive.  It's got a big enough market share that it could stand to lose a few that might jump ship.

However, social services that offer messaging or even updates like Path could look at this and see it as a potential source of revenue in the future.  Yes, even now with Facebook charging users to broadcast their updates, they may even get in on the game.  With hundreds of active users, Facebook may be looking at millions in revenue.

Of course, it could all back fire on Whatsapp as well.  I'm hoping that they'll find success with this model.  I'll explain why at a later time.

Source:  Whatsapp.

Monday, March 18, 2013

No New iPhone Coming Until Two Months Before It Happens, Apple Starts Discounting

For anyone waiting for a new iPhone, my guess is you've got a long wait.  Apple's industry leading device is selling well enough, even in India, that it doesn't have to worry about slowing sales other than what's seasonally adjusted.

However, if you're looking for possible signs that new iPhones are coming other than waiting until fall, there could only be one.  And it's not from rumor sites either.  When every authorized iPhone resellers begin to discount them, that's a pretty good indication that Apple is trying to drum up last minute sales before new models arrive.

For instance, we can see anywhere from $50 to $100 in discount on the iPhone 5.  This happened the last couple of years.

And it's probably anywhere from six to eight weeks ago when Apple starts doing that.  For those who are hoping that Apple will release new models in June, Apple will have to start discounting current models right around the beginning of April.

Another time frame that rumor sites have indicated is August.  So, right around Apple's World Wide Developer Conference in June, that'll be when Apple and partners starts discounting.

My money is still late September.  Even with Samsung releasing the Galaxy S 4, there just isn't enough competition from competing flagship devices for Apple to worry about shortening the window of annual iPhone refresh.  Don't get me wrong, the newest Galaxy is very awesome and should get Android fans fired up.  For anyone else, choosing between an iPhone versus a S 3 or S 4 is not that big of a difference.

Personally, I had hoped that the Galaxy S 4 would have blown the lid of the mobile market and force Apple's hands. From all indications, that probably won't happen.

Nukes: Some Wants A Nuclear South Korea, Must Be Music To China's Ears

There's talk within South Korea that maybe it should have nukes to counter North Korea's bullying.  I doubt it'll happen but I also know this can't be making Beijing happy.  Hey, the Chinese have no one to blame but themselves.

North Korea is their Frankenstein.  Maybe Taiwan should too.

Friday, March 15, 2013

My UN Congratulates New Chinese President

Oh, please...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Social: 2005 Versus 2013 - Pictures Before And After iPhone/Android

Source:  Soff via The Loop Insight.

I think these are two separate photos for the Catholic selection of popes.  In 2005 and now in 2013.


Yes, it is different.  However, the source link, Soff, has put a negative spin on it.  The author went on to say he had disabled notifications on his phone only recently.

I've been doing it for more years.  Cuts down on those weird awkward moments and definitely saves battery power too.  I know which apps get notifications and which are important that I need to check on a regular basis like my e-mails.  Then for the rest, I check on them, like Twitter/Path, when I get bored.

As for the photos, I think it's fine.  It's the times and you are your own guide as to how far you want to take your mobile behavior.  But I do think that it's good to put away your devices during dinner with friends and family.

Tablet: Android Verus Chinese Android, Who Developers Should Focus On

Source:  Techpinions.

Here are two distinct charts regarding tablet market size that could be of interest to not only mobile fans for trashing talking and consumers who want to know where the market is headed but developers who want to best put their limited sources to work.

The first is an IDC chart that has the breakdown clearly between Android, iOS, Windows, and others.

The second one here is one that shows Android deployment with and without Google Play as its default store.  What's interesting is that the official Android deployment ends up with a smaller piece of the tablet market share.  However, given the similarity between Google Play and Amazon's own app store, the two could be put together.  The only thing is that Google does not benefit from sales in Amazon's Kindle app store and the same is true for Amazon not benefiting from Google Play.
On a whole, iOS does remain the largest tablet deployment because of how Apple operates, developing the iOS and iPad hardware and managing the iTunes ecosystem.

Techpinions does try to state that it's trying to stay objective about how Android is forked.  However, I cannot help but think that some of those Android apps in Google Play and Amazon's app store won't find their way into the Chinese Android app stores.

For Apple, it has its own business plans and strategy regardless of what Amazon, Google, or even Microsoft does.

As for Google, it has to recognize that it will unlikely benefit from much of the deployment in terms of media/app sales and could lose out if other brands take hold.  For instance, in the phone market, Samsung clearly has the upper hand among the Android device makers.  Should Samsung decide to fork and open up its own app store, Google will continue to lose out.

That has got to be the fear for Google.  Even now, Amazon's Kindle tablets presents a danger to Nexus tablets because of Amazon's more closed model.  Should Amazon achieve the level of grand awareness in the tablet market that Samsung has clearly done with the Galaxy and other Android devices it makes, Amazon's size of tablet market as well as app store purchases will increase further.

The one with the biggest problem is Microsoft.  It could remain a distant third as its Surface RT has failed so far.  For the rest of 2013, it has got to show consumers that Windows is a clear choice.  The RT and Pro confusion has to be dealt with.

Of course, Apple's share isn't safe either.  Hardware aside, iOS has to continue to show consumers it has what it takes to become a modern mobile computing platform, not just a media consumption device.

Galaxy S 4: What's Happening Now, Event Later This Evening

Source of videos: Engadget.

For those who want to watch Samsung's Galaxy S 4 unveiling live tonight, you can follow it on Samsung's Youtube page.  Honestly, I do hope more folks do their media events this way.  Live blogging is fun but only for the snarky comments from readers.

Here are some supposedly leaked videos of the next Samsung flagship Android device, the Galaxy S 4, in action.  It’s enough to wet our appetites until the official unveiling tonight.  There’s a lot of festivities going on prior to tonight’s main event.

Obviously, we have the leak videos as well as some interesting Samsung videos to promote the S4.  I won’t put them up.  It was unfortunate that I had to sit through it already.  I won’t make you do the same.

Oh, and there are obviously a lot of bloggers across the wide spectrum of fanboyism chiming in on this.  Let’s not forget the pundits, both paid and click-baiting ones.

And of course, let’s not forget Apple’s Phil Schiller’s offensive/defensive (depending on which side of the Android or iOS you come down on) against Android in general with some unprecedented interviews with the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

Already, Samsung’s competitors like LG has some media disruptions planned already with billboards in NY.

And for those of us looking at the dry well from Apple lately, if Apple wanted to draw attention from the Galaxy S 4 unveiling, today would be a good day for them to announcement some kind of forthcoming media even for whatever they might have up their sleeves.

Anyway, we know what Blackberry has in store, HTC with its One, Nokia already has its fleet of Windows 8 devices, Apple with the iPhone 5, and Google with the Nexus 4.  Now, it's Samsung's turn.  And believe it or not, the onus is on Samsung to wow us.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

This Blows: No American Pope, First South American Pope, Other No European Popes

Source:  Washington Post.

I'm not Catholic but I was still very disappointed that we're not getting an American pope this time around.  I don't get it.  We've got a lot of elected officials who are Catholic.  Even an American president.  Our current vice-president is Catholic.  My brother's family too.  Given our history with the Catholic Church, I thought it was time.

This time.  Now.

Still, I guess it takes a while for these things to happen.  Maybe not even in my life time.  The WP has a list of non-European popes.  Pope Francis I would be the first South American pope.

What do you think, America?  Did we get robbed?

Ad Dollars: Samsung Beating Apple Here, Rest of Market Don't Stand A Chance

Source:  CNET.

The iPhone is still one of the best selling device on the market with the Galaxy S III coming in probably pretty close.  And on the whole, Samsung does out-ship Apple in terms of units while Apple has more than 2X the industry revenue (or was it profit too?).  It's a tug of war.  But in terms of ad dollars spent, Samsung has Apple out-gunned by almost $70 million.

But that's not the issue here.  The issue is the $410 million that Samsung spent and the $333 million that Apple spent to promote their gears.

Seriously, I just don't see this kind of arsenal from Nokia, Blackberry, or HTC.  It's no wonder the mobile race has come down to iPhone versus Android.

Oops...I mean iPhone versus Galaxy.  With the Galaxy S 4 coming, looking for Samsung to promote the heck out of it and Apple to continue to show users what they can do with iPhones.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Society: Horse Meat Could Lead To Better Health (As In Scandal Means Less Meat Consumed)

Source: BBC.

A survey showed that in light of the horse meat scandal, 60% have changed their meat buying habits.

In buying less processed meat, it could lead to better health.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Today's Curiosity Announcement Only Confirms What We Already Know - Let's Really Make Some Breakthrough In The Search For Alien (Not Necessarily Intelligent) Life

I’m not suggesting that we humans should take our rightful place among the various galactic races out in the universe but, come on, someone in the high up should come out and admit that we have discovered life outside of our planet.

Okay, first, I’m not some alien nut.  I just want to get that out of the way before we continue this discussion.  I’m of the mind in the scientific community that just because we are unable to fit something within the frame works of our knowledge or the scientific methods, it therefore cannot be possible or exist.  I’m in favor of leaps and the use of our most valuable tool of our mind, our imagination and to go from there.

Now, let’s continue.

Life out there, though I believe exists, may not be intelligent at all.  I’m just saying that after centuries of knowing that we are not only not the center of the universe, we may not be God’s only creation or that of the Big Bang or whatever you chose to put your faith in.

So, today’s NASA’s admission, I hesitate to call it a “discovery”, that Mars could have supported life in its ancient history.  Let’s go a step further, guys.  Let’s look for life on Mars that may exist today.  The same ingredients that made life possible in the past are still around.  Maybe not in the right (or same amount) but they’re still there.  And given the resiliency of life, my money is that even the little guys, those microbes, will find a way to survive.

It’s interesting that we keep looking for life as “we know it”.  However, the fundamentals of biochemistry does allow for life to exist in ways we cannot fully appreciate. Even here on earth, we continue to be surprised by how life can exist at the bottom of oceans, the coldest parts of our world, or even in insufferable volcanic environments.

And even with life that exists as we understand it, we still don’t know how everything works.

Given that the vast environment in the universe that has conditions that are hostile to us, maybe it’s time to admit that life exists else where but not really like us at all.  That intelligent life forms that we may one day encounter will be oxygen-consuming beings.

Note:  Please understand that I totally appreciate the undertaking of the hundreds if not thousands of scientists and engineers who works (worked) on Curiosity, other rover or deep-space programs, and other endeavors on our behalf.

Tablet: Microsoft, Give Up On RT

Source:  Investors.

I genuinely was rooting for Surface RT to take root.  I really thought there was something there.  Maybe there still is.  But right now, I'm not so sure.  The IBD article pointed out something important that Apple and Google seemed to have avoided so far:  With Surface RT and Pro, Microsoft is bungling the message to consumers.

Apple has iOS for the iPhone and iPad.  OS X for Macs.  Message there is clear.  Google has Android for mobile devices while Chrome OS for netbooks.  I'm even fine with Google merging Android and Chrome OS (it'll happen too, mark my word).

However, none of the above mentioned products really compete with one another.  In some cases, they complement each other.  That's not the case with RT and Pro.

Rather, it's RT versus Pro.

Leaked Video of Samsung Galaxy 4

Source:  Appleinsider.

Here's a leaked video of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S 4.  It's typical Samsung design but for some reason, I think it's better than the S3, which is a very good thing.

It's approaching the size of the Galaxy Note 2, so you'll have to decide if you putting this thing next to your head is something you want to do.  I've already decided any calls I make will be via a headset for devices that are 4.5" and up.

As you can see, it's definitely comfortable to use with one hand for some functions.  I personally never bought into Apple's stance on the iPhone having to be used with one hand.  I get what they're trying to say but you can design a phone and apps for one-handed use especially if you do a lot of scrolling.

Samsung has recognize that phones aren't just phones anymore.  They're mobile devices for a fast evolving society that wants to do more on the go.  They figure bigger screens could be key.  I agree.  There's still a different between these phablets and tablets.  The line is still quite distinct if somewhat fuzzy.

Still, consider this is the size of a moleskin notebook, I'm gonna welcome it as a productivity and media consumption device, but not as a phone.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Prophecy: The Next Pope The Last According To Hundreds of Years Old Vision

Source:  MSNBC.

Hey, it's Monday, so cut me some slack.  And who doesn't love a bit of conspiracy and prophecy at that?  This one coming from none other than the man himself:  Nostradamus.

Retina Display Macbook Pro's Battery Life Outlasts Competitors - No Surprise Here

Source:  Which via Macdailynews.

Which is a new site to me but their results on the Macbook Pro with Retina Display's battery life should be no surprise to anyone.  Apple's legendary battery life in Macbooks is well known but it's good to see this fact affirmed once more.

Their result gave the 13" model 388 minutes or 6.5 hours, 30 minutes short of Apple's own numbers.  However, you don't want to read too much into that because testing methods likely vary.  For the most part, my own experience shows that Apple's numbers are conservative but right on target.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Social: Scam on Facebook Promising Facebook Gifts

Source:  cnet.

Be careful.  Someone is running scams on Facebook promising iOS devices and headsets.

Of course, this is something Facebook ought to deal with but I find it unlikely.  It relies on "likes" and other personal details to sell ads.  I'm sure it'll the absolute minimum to placate the public and, like other Facebook privacy traps, it'll unfortunately blow over soon.

Frauds or hoaxes.  These things need to run their courses.  Sure, I like laws to deal with this but politicians can overreach and do more harm than not.

Anyway, just be careful.  So far, I've ran across nothing even remotely like this on Google+.

Mobile - iPhone Reliablity: Something To Brag About But Cupertino Probably Won't

Source:  Tamba Bay Times (NYT).

Apple's iPhone's reliability rating is almost 3X that of its closest competitor.  1.5X, okay.  2X would get a wow from me.  However, the iPhone being three times better than Samsung?

Well, it'll be interesting to see how FixYa's rating methodology came to this conclusion.  Regardless, it's pretty safe to conclude the iPhone is very reliable and Apple's legendary quality persists under Tim Cook's reign.

However, I don't think it's something that Apple should brag about.  Nor will they.  First, word of mouth is probably good enough.  Second, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Battery life.  Yup, that's our main concern.  Come on, Apple.  With iPhone 5S or 6, try for 4X better than anyone.

The Next Pope

We all know the next pope will have to come in and whip people back into shape. There will be PR issues. There will be skeletons FB bury. There will be people to bury as well.

That's the next pope will be a conservative until he can clean things up before allowing the church to continue with a clean slate regardless or which direction the flock wants to go down.

Think of the second coming of John Paul II with muscles.

The church, if he is successful, could see a renaissance in ideas, optimism, and trust from the people.

It will take up the vast majority of this pope's attention and time. The pope will have to have the stamina and stomach for it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, March 9, 2013

iPad Now or iPad In A Few Months - Yes, Now Is Still A Good Time To Buy An iPad

The latest iPad (4th generation, or iPad 4) was introduced back in November of 2012.  It's only been four months since the last update, which was not all that different from the 3rd gen iPad except for some component updates over the 3rd generation iPad.  In fact, I think iPad 4 was the iPad with Retina Display that Apple wanted to release in the first place.

Having said that, is now still a good time to buy an iPad?  The answer is yes.  I just bought one a couple of weeks ago.  It's a white WiFi-only iPad 4 with 32 GB.  As you can see, I've got my original iPad from 2010 in the background playing an anime on Crackle.  

I bought the iPad 4 now because I needed it.  That's first reason for buying any tech.  If you need it and you don't have the time to wait another week, month, or even just a big longer, get it.  I bought it and had Apple came out with a new one today, there would be no regrets.  Simply put, the iPad 4 is awesome with its beautiful display.  Now, the original iPad has been relegated to a backup role or as a remote for the Apple TV, streaming videos, and some simple gaming.  The battery life is still pretty impressive by even today's standard so it'll be around as one of my main mobile arsenal for a while.

The second reason why I would still go out and buy today's iPad is because it's only been four months.  Now, if you want to wait until June or summer to pick one up, well, the problem with that is we just don't know when Apple will release a new iPad.  There's just too many moving pieces going on at Apple, the competitive environment, the economy, and who-knows-what that makes trying to game an iPad release particularly hard.  What has also made it difficult to decipher is that Apple did release the iPad 4 less than a year after the iPad 3.

And lastly, let's not forget that Apple just added a new 128 GB iPad to the lineup.  The move was particularly interesting.  Did Apple add the 128 GB iPad just because?  Did it do it to signal to the market that this was the first half iPad release in 2013?  Or did Apple do it to screw with Microsoft's Surface Pro debut?  However you look at it, it's only been three months since the iPad 4 and a newer 128 GB version came out about a month ago.

So, I think now is a good time to get an iPad because it simply is the best tablet out there on the market.  You can't go wrong with it.  Given the improvements in speed and graphics, you're future-proofed for a couple years at least.  

Look at me, two weeks ago, I was still hacking/swiping/touching away on the 2010 iPad.  

If you wait, what can you expect from the next iPad?  Well, you'll assuredly be rewarded with a redesigned form factor, possibly lighter than previous iPads.  Conventional thinking also suggests faster CPU, graphics, and maybe better camera.  

Personally, the only that that could have made me wait for this 5th generation iPad would be even longer battery life.  Now, that I've transferred the bulk of my work onto the iPad, 10 hours of battery life is great but I would like an additional 2-3 hours of insurance. 

I'm Waiting For A Nexus 7 With Smaller Bezel

It's time that I get a new Android tablet.  I was looking at the Nexus 7, foregoing the Nexus 10 or a Galaxy device because I do like the smaller form factor.  However, having play around the iPad mini for months, I kinda want a new designed N7 with small bezels.  

I have to admit that when I first tried the iPad mini, I was not sure I would be able to avoid touching the sides of the screen by accident and mistakenly input something - type on an extra letter or two, clicking on a link, or make a bad move during an intense gameplay.

But none of that actually happened. While I think the N7 and other 7" tablets are small enough, I think they can get smaller and lighter.  And with technology having about a year to improve since the Nexus 7 went on sale on the market, I think this is doable -lighter, smaller, and still in keeping with the performance and battery life.

And who knows, we might be looking at a cheaper updated Nexus 7 in 2013.  Furthermore, I like to see what Motorola can do given that it has not really done anything in the 7" tablet market.  It's likely that Google will keep Nexus phones and tablets away from Motorola and allow its engineers to develop competing devices separately.  

So, who wants a smaller, lighter Nexus 7 that cost $150?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

White House Positioning Rand Paul As GOP Nominee In 2016?

Rand Paul filibustered President Obarack Obama's nominee for the CIA, John Brennan.  He did it for 13 hours and the White House could have stood its ground and out of amusement see how long Senator Rand Paul could have kept it up.

But it didn't matter.  Both the senator from Kentucky and the Democratic Party got what they wanted. The filibuster ended after Attorney General Eric Holder submitted a letter saying the president does not have authority to use a drone to blow to bits an American not engaged in a terrorist act.

Rand Paul identifies with the Tea Party element of the Republican party.  They're the most vocal and engaging of the conservatives.  And they play a big role in primaries, which is why the establishment Republicans are having such a tough time these days.  And whole Ron Paul has not had any luck with his presidential aspirations, his son Rand has been mentioned frequently as a possible candidate.

Standing up to Obama certain gave Paul some street creds.  But getting the White House to cave?  That’s priceless.

And the White House certainly was willing to oblige if it meant Vice President Joe Biden or former First Lady, former NY senator, former SECSTATE will run against a Tea Party candidate in 2016.

Believe me.  Rand Paul would be labeled as a Tea Party candidate, not a Republican candidate.  For this reason, establishment guys like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie will be pressured to run.  And even if Paul doesn’t win the GOP nomination, he’ll likely push the whole field further to the right.

Anything High-End Like iPhones, Purses, Cars Are Huge In China - So Why A Need For A Low-End iPhone?

No one denies that China is a big market for just about anything you can sell.  Take this report from NBC News that China is on the verge of coming the world largest luxury car brand.

China is already a big market for high-end European brands like Louis Vuitton.  Rolex is huge there too.  Apple reports that China is about to become its biggest market.

Cars, high-end fashion likes purses and watches, and Apple devices.

I still don't see a need for a cheap-ass iPhone, do you?

Apple Patent Allows Reselling of Digital Content

Source:  CNet.

The impact of this Apple patent that allows users to sell their digital content to another is very important, more than just getting of things you no longer want:  music, video, apps.  And it could lead to lowering of prices of expensive TV and movies over time.

First, music and apps in app stores are very cheap.  You can't argue against ninety-nine cents.  However, I do have a beef with TV and movie prices that cost more to buy and download than to have to go to Best Buy and picking up a copy, be it DVD or HD versions.

That just doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  And over time, prices will come down as physical media sales continue to nosedive.  However, if Apple implements this patent, it could drive costs lower.

Essentially, this is how Apple's patent would work: you buy a movie and you own the digital rights to watch it.  But you're disappointed with the quality of this crap out of Hollywood so you sell it to your wife's father who you hate.  He pays you for that rights and it transfer to him, gaining him the ability to watch that movie, and you no longer can.

What's ingenious about this patent is that a portion of the transaction fee for the resale could go to the original content producer/provider.  This would negate any whining from music studios or movie/TV makers.

What's interesting is Amazon has a scheme to allow users to resell their own content.

I guess the next step is for Amazon and Apple to negotiate with content rights owners and producers to enact this.  Personally, I can't wait.

It's stupid that I have to pay for a $20 HD movie that is a year old when Best Buy may have the Blu-Ray disc on sale for $5 on a given week.  I'm not one to have to go out and buy a movie right away. I'm cheap and so I can wait.

I hope we see this sort of reseller market soon.  It'll very dynamic and could even lead to sort of an exchange based on demand.

Twitter's App Upate Is Very Meticulous and Applesque

Source:  iMore.

Twitter just updated their iOS app in ways that is very Apple-like and so much so that I started writing this post with "Apple just updated their iOS app...".  What is much improved is search and a bit on looking at a webpage within the app.

Small incremental updates to an improving app.  so much so that I've deleted one other Twitter app because the official one is already good enough.

What also very Apple like is removal of features.  Additional video upload services is now gone.  Remember now Apple sometimes get rid of competitions from their Macs or iOS?

One feature I really would like for a future update (sooner rather than later) is the ability to have more than one account.  It would really become the one true Twitter app for power users.  This isn't something that the average mobile warrior would need but it would silence that vocal minority once and for all.

Back to the Apple-like improvements.  There were more than a few folks who about a year ago talked about how Apple should acquire Twitter because it would be a natural fit and that Apple would have its own social media platform.

I found that to be very unlikely to happen as it is not in Apple's DNA.  After all, Apple wants some form of control on iOS and OS X but it also wants to place nice with the likes of Facebook in the very competitive mobile market.

And that is what Tim Cook did even when Steve Jobs wouldn't play ball with Facebook's Zucker (I know that's not his name but that's my pet name for MZ).

It also says a lot about how Apple's influence has changed its competitors and those who are striving to be like Apple.

Wonder What Dennis Rodman Thinks Of His Buddy's Suicidal Nuclear Threat

Source:  Guardian.

So the UN, including North Korea's puppetmaster China, has approved a new round of sanctions against Pyongyang - namely, little Kim and his little circle of friends that he has to keep happy in order to stay in power.

A couple of things.  I wonder what Dennis Rodman thinks about his buddy threatening to kill him.  Also, why does China continue to tolerate a regime that continues to make it look bad in the eyes of the world.  Trust me when I say that other despotic governments are looking at Kim and saying "at least, we're not that crazy".

But back to China a bit.  The new round of sanctions includes banning sale of luxury products to North Korea, which obviously was meant to be directed at the North Korean leadership.  Having said that, what did we have to negotiate with Beijing about?

And we all know this is an empty threat which made things all the more crazy and makes the Chinese look even worse.  So far, NK has not developed the ability, that we know of, to mount a nuke on one of their long-range missiles.

History will look back at this and other episodes and realize this has always been China making all the wrong moves.  And not even Dennis Rodman will deny that.

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

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