Monday, September 30, 2013

Woman Woman Short By Rainfall Films - Whoever They Are, The Short Was Too Short!

Here's a short clip.  I wouldn't call it anything else but that.  Clip of their re-imagining of Wonder Woman.

Acting.  Well, what acting?  But totally dig the costume.

What do you think?  Recognize the actress/model?

How Much Cable Companies Pay Per Subscriber To Media Companies To Carry Channels

Source:  NPR.

Here's a neat breakdown of just how much cable companies have to pay per subscribers to carry certain channels from media companies like Disney and NFL.  What's interesting is how much companies have to pay for Fox News.  You'd think it's more of an entertainment ("feel good (let's get angry together)" channel) than a news channel.

Also, more on why ESPN is able to command such a bigger subscription rate (NYT).

You would think that maybe some other new players (oh, you  know), certain high tech companies with huge ad or hardware profit margins, could step in, pay more or even upfront, to secure new deals to provide users with a new business model to compete against the bundling that cable guys have been forcing down our throats for decades.

Considering how little the NFL channel costs, getting a deal together for the top ten or twenty cable channels is nothing for Apple, Google, or Microsoft.

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's Official (I Think): Galaxy Note 3 Is Regional Locked But...

Source:  TNW.

Alright, I nearly cancelled my Verizon Wireless Galaxy Note 3 because of the breaking news yesterday that the Note 3 from the EU and the US are regionally locked in.  Well, it certainly ticked off a lot of users.  But there is an out.

So long as the Note 3 that you bought is first activated a sim card in the region in which it was bought, the regional lock will be released.

And it's not only the Note 3 but also the Note 2 as well as the S4.

It's insane that this is happening.  Makes zero sense that Samsung would do this.  You have to believe that the carriers are behind this but Samsung is probably all too happy to oblige.

Found this pic on Twitter. Not sure how authentic this is or even if it applies to the Note but it makes a lot of sense.

I may yet cancel my Verizon order because of this.  I'm hoping that pressure of Android users will for Samsung's hands.  In fact, I'm hoping competition pressure will speak loudly.  There are alternatives to the high end Galaxy line.

Nexus 5, anyone?

Just as we never apologize for Apple, Google, or Microsoft, no one, including Sammie, should either.  This is especially true of we are loyal long-term customers of these carriers or bought the phones outright.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Star Navy Commander Disgraced and Arrested For Betraying His Command

ABC News reports a Navy commander, who could have been a future captain, traded his position and betrayed the trust of the American people and military for a few Lady Gaga tickets to a foreign defense contractor.

Michael Misiewicz, a Cambodian born native, who was once highlighted by the Navy for his personal story as an immigrant from a war-torn nation to lead men as commander on a missile cruiser, USS Mustin.

How stupid do you have to be to think you would get away with it.  And for sex and Gaga tickets, you betrayed your country and career.

And this case is bigger than just a dirty officer.  there's an dirty NCIS agent involved as well.  Oh, I already mentioned sex.  So there.

Something we can see on CBS's NCIS shows.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

64 GB Gold iPhone 5s: It's Here!

Just like a couple of minutes ago!

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Mobile: iOS 7 Does Not Make Your iPhone or iPad Water-Proof, Fake Apple Ads Led Stupid People to

There is global warming.  And science isn't a religion.  An as a spiritual person who believes in God but ain't a nut about it, the world and the reality as we know it was not created in the mere hours/days the Bible said it was.  Damn there are many stupid ignorant folks out there.

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 16.59.09

Having said that, it is very sad for me to hear how there are folks who believe that by installing iOS 7, it makes your iDevices water-proof.  First, those folks do not deserve to own an iOS device.  Second, the sheer naivety of these folks is just shocking.

NO!  There is no OS, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry, or Android that will make devices water-proof, fire-proof, baby-proof, drop-proof, and, obviously, stupid-proof.

Source:  Cult of Mac.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fake iMessage App For Android - AVOID!!!

Apple's iMessage implementation is one of the most useful features on the iPhone, iPad, and Macs.  But it leaves out those with are not a part of the Apple ecosystem - like Android devices.  So, I had been wondering how long before someone figures out a way to get iMessage working on other platforms.

Well, it's happened in the form of an app.  It's called iMessage Chat (Google). Oh yes, everything about this app goes through China.  Does it work as advertised?  Not at all.

It works by spoofing a Mac computer and pretends to be sending messages to iOS users.  However, that isn't the case.  In fact, testings have shown that messages are sent between Android users of this app but messages never reach real iOS users (Appleinsider).

That Google allows this through Google Play is beyond me.  No fact, many websites, including us here, are saying to avoid this at all cost. And really monitor your iCloud accounts or, better, change your passwords if you have already attempted to download and use this app.

To me, this is one of the biggest and most obvious malware I've seen.  What's more, the message traffic isn't even reaching Apple's servers at all but within the developer's domain.  They've got your messages,  your iCloud credentials, and, likely, can make use of all the information you've got with iCloud should they choose to.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Surface 2 Is About Specs And Power - May Not Be Enough To Overcome "Experience" Factor Users Want From iOS and iPad

Did Microsoft mess up with the Surface 2 introduction and the Surface 2 itself?  I hope articles like this because the writer seems to suggest that they know better.  I've been guilty of this but I tend to be more optimistic than other writers and I always give a product or service the benefit of the doubt before making bold predictions.

Here in this post from Read Write, the writer suggests that Microsoft has failed once more with the Surface 2 by not connecting it with the users.  Instead, it walked about what kind of horse power it has.  I admit that at one time, that would have been enough to sell me on it.  But no more.  And for the more sophisticated mobile society we have today, that is also true.

There is one main issue here and that's the effect the iPad has on the user.  There is an element of joy that you get from using the iPad that is not matched like other tablets. The same can be said of the iPhone when you hold it in your hand.  You want to do something with it.

Whereas with my Windows Phone device, it somehow feels different.

A lot of times with my iOS devices, I feel it is such a waste if I'm just using it to watch a video.  I feel that as well when I'm using the iBooks app.  I feel that while Apple's mobile devices are good for these things, it feels beneath them.  Maybe this is why some users feel inspired and creative with Apple products than with others.

The main point of the Read Write post is that Microsoft is trying to convey an PC message to a largely tablet market.  Power and speed.  Oh, and it has Office.  None of those are enough to dislodge the iPad aura that Apple has created. If anything, Microsoft would serve the Surface better by demonstrating the Surface can be empathetic with the users.  There just doesn't seem to be a lot of joy that users experience when they're on devices Apple's competitors create.

Recent Surface commericals comparing the Surface with the iPad and using Siri as the whipping boy is a good move away from the clicking Surface keyboard ads.  Those were awful and many thought they were actually ads for the iPad.  And while these newer Surface ads reminded me of the Mac-verus-PC ads, it's still not enough.

Over all, I think we do have to take a wait-and-see attitude towards Surface 2 and give it a chance.  Perseverance, after all, is Microsoft's middle name (last name?) and while many, if not all, of its products are not the best on the market, it's "good enough" philosophy has been very successful.  It'll be keep coming at the market until it finds a way to win.

Surface 2 Is Out. Great For Microsoft. But Tablets To Clobber PCs In 4Th Quarter. Bad For Microsoft.

As you know by now, Microsoft has just released its new Surface 2 tablets, RT and Pro, looking to try to gain a foothold in the surging tablet market.  Based on specs alone, the Pro model has a better shot but folks can still buy cheaper Windows 8 laptops if they want a keyboard.  RT is better and could help Microsoft convince Redmond fans this is the Surface worth buying.

Both are good for Microsoft. 

What's not good is my prediction:  iPads and Android tablets will dominate the Holidays/Christmas sales and really show the tech industry what the post-PC era looks like.  And that is not going to be good for Microsoft.  It'll be very bad for Microsoft.

While I have said before that there doesn't appear to be much new innovative features that Apple or Google could bring to their tablets, iPad and Nexus, (or even Samsung), they will continue to improve on previous models with new OS and add features that will further enhance tablet productivity and close any gap between tablets and laptops running Windows.

So, while I don't see tablet makers going for a fast merciful kill, the PC makers,starting this year, will experience a new, slow, and ever more painful reality that their best days are over.  And Microsoft will face an accelerated decline of the  Windows brand and sales. 

And in his waning days as CEO of Microsoft, Steve Balmer will be there just long enough to see just how badly a shape he left his company.

Blackberry To Be Be Sold for Less Than $5 Billion

A Canadian insurance company, Fairfax Financial, will by the iconic but down on its luck smartphone pioneer, Blackberry for $4.7 billion. It works out for the Canadian government as BB will remain in Canadian hands (NBC).

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Surface 2 Surfaces - Microsoft's Quiet Launch, But Looks Promising

I'll be first to admit this.  When Surface came out, I thought it was promising.  It was going to get Apple and Microsoft to go head-to-head in the tablet market.  I'll admit this. It has been stagnant.  And look at how long since Apple has released a real update.  That was last spring in 2012 with the iPad 3.

And Android tablets are not lighting the world on fire.  Sure, lots of sales in the low-end but Apple still dominate the money share and the tablet app market as well.

So, I'm glad that Microsoft has decided to stick with Surface.  Then again, it's not like it has any other choices.  This is do-or-die for Redmond.

With Surface 2, Microsoft has something that Surface last year should have.  A real feel of mobile that the Surface just didn't have.  Even when Apple came out with the original iPad in 2010, you can see that it was a very polished device.  No so with Surface.

With Surface 2, both the RT and Pro version, you have better software as well as specs that could really let apps loose.  And check out this Surface cover just for music creators  (Engadget).

As far as specs, the RT's biggest improvement is the screen.  Microsoft tried to pull a fast one on us with the lame screen in last year's model.  No one believed them for a second.  Not even die-hard fans could say it was a good screen.  It was a 2000 resolution.  Today, Surface 2 sports a 1080p screen.  

More importantly, the battery life on both models has greatly increased.  Even the Haswell-based Pro 2 has around 8 hours of use.  Not bad for a laptop-like tablet.  Ball is in your court, Apple.

And on top of that, there is a $50 price cut from the entry price last year at $450 for the RT version (TheVerge).  What makes more sense is the storage which starts at 32 GB for $450 and 64 GB for $550.  You have to realize that you're not getting all that storage because Microsoft's OS and apps takes up around half of that.

Here's what's interesting.  The new Surface will be out 10/22.  This will be around when Apple updates its iPad lineup.   And this time though, Apple will have iWork for the iPad. While Microsoft will continue to crow about how its RT Surface has Office, it still might not be enough to unseat Apple.  At least not this year.

If history is any indication as in the case of Surface, Zune, and other failed products, it is that Microsoft's first version of anything is almost always a fail.  Sometimes, even the second. However, it keeps coming and coming until it has something that works well enough.  Look at IE and Xbox.  Windows and Office as well.

I'm not counting Microsoft's Surface 2 out at all.  I think it could be a commercial success if Microsoft does away with stupid cover commercials and continues its assault on the iPad with its current commercials that compare the Surface to the iPad.  This could be even more interesting with the Surface Pro 2.

But I don't think Apple has been sitting on its hands for the last 18 months.  I'm eager to see what Tim Cook's iPad will look like and what it can do.  From the looks of things, the iPad intro event will focus on iWork and iOS 7.  That could be enough to put Surface 2 out of the minds of regular mobile warriors.  In fact, I'm very interested to see if Apple somehow leverages the A7 chip, its new 64-bit process that is currently sitting in the iPhone 5s, to greatly enhance productivity.

How about Android fans?  Any love from Google on this front?  It's hard to see that at this point other than Kitkat that we can look forward to.  Google did just make Quickoffice free (CBS). But I'm sorry to say that it's more of a "me too" move.  Where Google can really make a splash is if it can get more tablet specific apps from third-party developers.

It'll be an interesting October and Christmas shopping reason.  For Microsoft, even as the iPad dominates sales, if it can get Surface 2 into the minds of some consumers, that could be all it needs now.

Apple Store Line And iPhone 5C

I went to the Apple Store in Pasadena yesterday to get the battery on my iPhone 4S checked out. No other intentions.

I had a mid-afternoon genius appointment. It should have been easy. Get in, hand over my iPhone to a genius, and get out.

Wow. A line! It was around 3:30 in the afternoon. And the crowd inside the store was just as crazy.

Neither of these pics did justice to the craziness both in the store and outside. Apparently, those people in line wanted the 5s and while Apple did have them in stock, it was a slow go as far as getting the eager iPhone owners paired with the right iPhone configuration.

There lots of folks there for the genius stuff but even more from folks checking out the iPhones. And if you're wondering, I didn't see a old version of the iPhone 5s on display to touch and handle. Plenty of the silver and space gray versions.

What I was really curious about was the iPhone 5c line. If you recall, I have been unkind to the colors that were online from various leaks. Since I was waiting for my appointment, I walked though to take a look at those awful colors.

Boy, was I surprised. They look alright. Except for the pink. In this order, they are my favorite: green, yellow, blue.

Someone mentioned the pink looked a cut-up fish. I couldn't agree with it more. It should have been lighter or darker. Red would work well.

Maybe someone will make a case for the iPhone 5s and then I can get the green that I like.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 20, 2013

Time To Call It: Blackberry, It's Been Great Knowing You. This Is A Lesson for Apple and Google

Source:  Marketwatch.

Apple and Google showed that you can disrupt the norm by offering new services that solve problems, creating new industries, or create chaos in existing ones.  Anyone can do that.  Look at Twitter and how it has become so ingrained in society today.  Then there are companies that show that if you don't try to get out ahead of everyone else and feel safe about your situation like Palm did, you can find yourself quickly relegated to nothingness.

Today, that company is Blackberry.  When the iPhone hit the market back in 2007, no one including Nokia, Palm, Microsoft, and RIM (before they became just Blackberry) thought Apple could offer anything in the phone market that they did not already offer that was better, including the fact that many smartphones then had physical keyboards while Apple's iPhone did not.

Steve Balmer, "ousted" CEO of Microsoft, famously suggested that he looked at the situation, what Microsoft had to offer, and what the iPhone offered, and he liked his position better.  We have talked about Microsoft before and I'm sure we will again but this is about Blackberry.

Today, it's stock took a big hit.  When WSJ reported Blackberry was about to rid itself of 40% of its workforce, the stock shaved off about 2%.  No one thought much of it.  I didn't but I'm an optimist and I think the WSJ report should have been taken with a grain of salt because, well, you know, the media, print or anything else.

But Blackberry did come out and warn about a huge short fall and major cuts.  How bad?  It was supposed to make around $3 billion in revenue.  Instead, this ain't a typo, it's going to make $1.6 billion.  And this also isn't a typo:  expect to lose about $1 billion.  And WSJ was right.  Blackberry will let go around 40% of its workforce.

I looked at to see their take on this.  They only reprinted Blackberry's finanial press release.  I had hoped for more comment about this.  I did look at the forum a bit.  One user thought news of a buyout was pending or a breakup of the company was coming when BBRY stock was halted for trading. I don't think anyone thought this was coming.

I think for Blackberry fans, this is still a bit of a shock.  A big, big shock.

I had hoped that I can get a successor to the Q10 but right now, I'm not sure there will be one.

It looks like the end could be closer than anyone expected.

For the top dogs in mobile, your stay there is temporary.  You're bound to slip up just as an upstart is getting ready to strike when you least expected.

Note:  I looked through the Crackberry forums.  It's a live with activity but also kinda sad.  Lots of issues.  There was even one about how seeing someone else with the Q10 for the first time in the wild.  One poster mentioned he saw someone with a Q10 in DC and another asked which part of DC because it might be him.

Social: Virtues (Or Lack Of) Waiting In Line For An Apple Product Launch

Last night, I took a small nap and woke up just before midnight Friday to order my iPhones.  As I've said before, it was seamless for me.  Maybe it's because I'm in the same time zone as Apple.  But as I was waiting to order and even after for about an hour or so, I followed many of the online forums and Twitter to gauge what's going on outside - in the hundreds if not thousands of retail locations where people were lined up, waiting for that moment at 8 am or whenever the Apple or reseller stores would open, and get inside and buy the iPhone of their choice.

Once, I lined up at the Manhattan Beach, California Apple store to pick up my original iPad pre-order.  A couple of friends went with me.  That was fun but I got there at 5 am which was nothing like what others have done to get ahead of the line.  Lining up even day before.  Or days.

Another time, I went at 3 am to line up at the Pasadena store for the iPhone 4S.  But that was not on launch day but the day after.  It was a bit scary because it was such a crazy thing to do.  I mean, sure, it was an iPhone but it was just a mobile computing device and I had the iPhone 4 in my pocket!

But once I got there, there were already folks lined up about fifty deep.  Half the folks there wanted a 4S because they were upgrading from a 3G or 3GS.  Even the original iPhone.  The other half wanted to get their hands on them and sell them to the Chinese overseas who would pay top dollars for it.  Oh well.  It's a free country with a free economy.

I tended to ignore those folks.  However, I did have a good time talking to others who shared my enthusiasm for the iPhone and other Apple products.  Some were getting it for themselves and others for their love ones.  Some didn't quite understand the cult of Apple but understood that their love ones do.

It's an experience.  It's fun.  I think if you're an Apple fan, go do this once at least to see what it's like.

iPhone 5s Still Very Much Available For Shipping In The Next 10 Day Time Frame

I was able to order a silver 64 GB iPhone 5s for my brother who has courageously served this country.  He deserved it.  And after that, I was happy.  I also got one for myself.  If there's anything I don't cut back in, it's my mobile devices.

And even now, you can still get iPhone 5s (iPhone 5c models as well if that's your color) with a 7-10 day ship time if you go with a carrier.  The unlocked T-mobile models, ones that I bought, will take a bit longer.

All in all, it was a wonderful ordering experience not seen in previous years.  Getting the iPhone 4s was an ordeal and I don't even want to talk about the iPhone 5.

I still have a mind to see if I can get to an Apple store to get one and cancel my online order if there are still stock left this even or sometimes this weekend.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

iPhone 5s Preorder: Apple Store! It's Down!!!

Nothing more to say...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Man's Own Beer Belly Fermented Own Beer - Gets Drunk Without Drinking

Source:  SCIRP.

I'm not a beer drinker.  I don't drink whatsoever.  For fun or otherwise.  Just a personal preference.  But I find this story interest enough to share.

A man, 61 years old, somehow without drinking, is able to get drunk.  His wife used a breathalyzer is able to document alcohol level in his blood as  high as .40.  Apparently, he was suffering from Gut Fermentation Syndrome also known as Auto-Brewery Syndrome.

Apparently, presence of a bacteria, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is able to use the carbohydrate diet the man eats and turn it into alcohol. It's a wonder the man didn't die of alcohol poisoning. This is essentially caused by an excessive growth of yeast in the man's gut.

How Fast Is iOS 7 Adoption? Fast. Very Fast.

Thanks to Dave the Mobile Sage, he sent this website (mixpanel) that tracked iOS adoption.  Specifically, iOS 7 is what we're interested in.  In less than 24 hours, it's already at 1/3 of the iOS market.

That's fast.  Can you imagine this kind of adoption for any other platform.  Certainly not Android and, even with closed ones like Blackberry, Web OS, or Windows Phone, you can't get this kind of adoption rate.

It's good for the platform.  Great for the end users.  And all around high-fives for developers.  

$189 Quad-Core 5" Android Device: Better Than Most Mid-Tier and May Even Keep Up High-End Devices

Source: The Droid GuyKogan.

This is a very decent Android device if you want some high-end looking features but don't exactly wanna pay $650 or $700 for it. Meet the Kagon 5" Android phone which can be yours for only $189. Crazy, I know. it's at least worth $300. My guess is that this is a first-over device priced to get folks into the door, say a lot of great things about it and over the next few generations, slowly jack up the price. It is not a bad move.

Consider Blackberry's new Z30 that will be out soon.  This probably has Blackberry beat given that it runs a native Android instead of a potentially dying platform.  You know Android will be here next year and the year after that.  But

Agora 5.0" Quad-core Smartphone

Now, Kogan is not running the latest and greatest but it ought to be enough to get you through a couple of upgrade cycles.  One thing about the device that I'm not hot on is the 2000 mAh battery.  You'll get through a morning of moderate use I think before it does on you.  But you can't complain given the price you're paying for it, right?

Quad-core, 1 GB (again, you get what you pay for), 4 GB (again, you get what you pay for) of internal storage but you do have a micro SD slot, 5" (1280 x 720) screen - par with even some high-end devices,

Agora 5.0" Quad-core Smartphone

It's also got a 8MP camera which I don't think you'll be writing home about.  For non-pro or even semi-pro folks like me, this is great.  Good enough.
Agora 5.0" Quad-core Smartphone

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

No Pixar Film Next Summer: This Blows. Now, What Am I Suppose To Do? "The Good Dinosaur" Delayed Until 2015

Source:  CNET.

"The Good Dinosaur" likely would have put Pixar back up on top of the box office chart in 2014.  Monsters U was great and made tons of money for Disney but it was no Despicable Me 2.  Regardless, "The Good Dinosaur" will probably continue Pixar's string of wins but it just won't happen until 2015.

It also means other Pixar movies will be pushed back as well.

Now, folks.  People are talking about how Apple without Steve Jobs and under Tim Cook is not innovating.  I personally do not subscribe to that line of thinking.  However, with Pixar missing its first ever scheduled release, one might also blame the lack of Steve Jobs as Pixar cracking his whip and lack of his reality distortion field as cause for this.

The video below isn't a trailer, it does provide some info about the movie.

Social: Binge Watching Of Shows Through Online Video Services On the Rise - Duh? It's The Only Way To Watch Shows

This CNET post about binge watching of TV shows seems to suggest that its a Netflix only phenomenon but it's not.  It's happening on other online video services as well.

(Nielsen Chart)

This should not come as a surprise.  Folks are watching shows on Netflix, Hulu, and others through their phones and tablets.  Maybe on their TV too.  And the ability to watch these shows anywhere, at home, on the go, or even at work makes this new video watching behavior easier.

But while mobile is important, what's more important is that online services makes the whole season of a show available at the same time.  With all two seasons of Scandal on Netflix, I would not have been able to binge watch it since Sunday night.

Should Windows Phone Go Open Source? To Buy Time But Still Need Something More To Turn Things Around - It's Own iPod Moment

Source:  Wired.

Here is an interesting Wired post about what Microsoft should do about its mobile situation, which is bad, and maybe to turn things around, it should open up Windows.

The post has a thing or two to say about past attempts at open source.  It's likely, in my opinion, Steve Balmer, current and outgoing CEO, didn't go for it.  Just like he didn't go for projects that could have put Microsoft ahead and put the iconic software company in a stronger position.

It's why the post believes a new CEO could utlimately do what Balmer was too afraid to do.  It's unlikely.  I'm tell you that now.  But even if somehow, the new CEO was brave enough to try, it would only be the first step.  It may slow the bleeding but won't stop it.

Microsoft will still need something new that convinces hardware makers, software developers, and, more importantly, businesses and consumers that it has something new and innovative.  The new CEO will need its iPod moment.  It's the only way to turn Microsoft around in the eyes of the media and public.

It can't not compete with Android and iOS head-on.  It's losing big time and will continue to. And the wearable computing device revolution on the horizon is a good place to start.

When Steve Jobs came back to Apple, it didn't try to hit back at the PC market.  Apple first stopped the bleed and found that it could be a big player in the rising MP3 player market.  And it used that to launch an innovative device to get the company back into the public's mind set.

Sure, Microsoft would have to continue to release new phones and Surface tablets. New Xbox devices will need to be released and updated.  But it's this new product or service that is needed to get Microsoft back on the path.

Why is this important to Apple and Google fans?  Well, word is that Blackberry is looking to sell itself off and may be looking to lay off 40% of its workforce, we can no longer count on the former smartphone champ to put up a fight in the mobile market anymore.  Only Microsoft remains with the muscles and, yes, smarts, to do it.

We want more competition.  Not less.

Cyanogenmod Is A Company Now - Could Be More Open Than Google, Offer Better Security, And Promises No Crap

Source:  Engadget, Cyanogen Blog.

This is fantastic news and it could be what Android fans envision since Google announced Android.  Truly open Android free from the shackles of carriers, device makers, and, quite possibly, even Google in some respects.

The company is being supported by Boost Mobile co-founder Kirt McMaster.  From its blog, CM recalled its early days.  Mods for the first ever Android device, the iconic and epic G1.  Yup, I had one.  Still do.  Brown.  Even power it up from time to time to see if everything is okay.

That G1 one was no looker but it was a workhorse especially after applying Cyanogen's mods.

Taking Cyanogen in this direction happened when Steve Kondik, the developer of these mods, was contacted by McMaster about making CM less of a hobby of sort and really dedicate more time and resources with it.

Who could say no to that?

Honestly, this is something that is definitely more inline with what open source advocates are after.  This is what I'm after.  And above all, it seems CM is more serious about security than anyone else.  The new company will focus on core goals:  security, no junk, and build features wanted by users (not corporate hacks and apologists).

For now, CM is focusing on building an easier installation app.  Yes, that is a welcoming piece of news.

What do you think?  Cyanogenmod or Android for you?  Because folks, there is a diff.  For me, if this works out, it is CM all the way for me.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Want To Get Rid of A Murderous Dictator and His Chemical Using Army? There's An App For That

This pic says it all.  Not sure what iPad app the guy is using to fire the mortar.  Maybe it's Angry Birds.  More speculation here at MacDailyNews.

Syrian rebels, who’ve improvised their own tanks in the past, have found a new way to use Apple iPads.

Google Wallet Works For All Android Now (Almost) - Potentially Killing NFC

Source: CNetGoogle Play.

Looks like NFC is a dying tech that really never had a chance.  Google has made Wallet accessible to almost every Android device out there in the wild now.  And this could be the thing that's needed to move mobile payment along.  Finally, my dream of leaving my wallet at home (when I'm not driving) when I go out and about.

Google Wallet - screenshot

If you're running Android 2.3 or higher, which is probably 95% of the Android market, then you're in.  And this could be the future of mobile payment.  In fact,  Wallet also now works like Apple's Passbook but potentially more powerful if don't right and with better ease of use.
Google Wallet - screenshot

According to its updated page on Google Play, "Google Wallet holds your credit and debit cards, offers, and rewards cards. With this latest release, you can use any card from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover in conjunction with the app".

What also potentially more important with the new updated Wallet is the ability to send money from one user to another who has an e-mail in the US.  You can send it through one of your bank accounts or credit cards.  It's not clear how the person on the other end will be able to access the fund yet.

This could open up a whole new dimension in true mobile payment that the NFC could not provide.

Mobile: Google's Gutsy Move To Tether Google Glass To Android, Paving Way for Future of Wearable Device Data Access

Source:  Phandroid.

As you know by now, Google Glass is a very neat idea but also controversial because of the privacy nature of the device.  However, unlike what stuff like Facebook is doing, Google is actually advancing technology and a potentially useful device in society.  But this isn't about privacy here now.  It's about the technology itself.

See, Glass need a data plan to work.  Carriers are more than happy to accommodate user's hunger for data. As long as you pay a separate plan for it.  Stupid right?  Because they won't just let you tether it off your mobile devices, your Android smartphone.

Until now.  Google made a gutsy move by releasing an app that would allow Glass to tether to the smartphones running Android.  In the latest Glass update, you can pair Glass to the dedicated app on your device and have it pull information that way.

Neat.  It's a tether to an app so carriers cannot object, right?

We'll see.  In the future, devices like watches and other wearable gears will essentially work the same way.  I'm glad that Google, someone huge that carriers cannot ignore or make go away, is doing this.  By going after the carriers now even before they're ready, say making users add an extra $10 or $20 just to tether their weable devices, maybe Google can do enough so that users are trained with the idea that they can just tether outer devices to their phones without paying extra for it.

It'll be interesting to see how this play out.  As soon as Apple releases its own wearable devices, even iOS and Mac users will benefit from this move.

Social: Facebook Loves Privacy, As In Lack Of As It Has Collected Quarter Trillion Photos

Source:  Mashable.


That's a big number.  A quarter trillion.  Two hundred and fifty billion.  That is how much user pictures Facebook has amassed.  To get to this point, users have freely uploaded pictures at a clip of 4K per second.
And you still think the NSA is who we should worry about?  Okay, we should keep an eye on it but we need to keep both eyes on Zuckerberg and friends.  They're the ones that we should worry about.

And yeah, I trust Batman/NSA more than Facebook.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Obamacare: Trader Joe's Explanation On How It Is Changing How It Covers Its Crew Members

Obamacare got you scared?  With the media itself confused and talking heads going for the worse case scenarios on cable news, you'd think the Affordable Care Act was only designed to screw Americans.  Personally, I like that people who do their best to stay health and, if they get sick, don't have to worry about going bankrupted when they need to get care.  I just don't know what's the best way to go about it.

I'm sure there's a middle ground.  Whatever it is, here is one company's take on it without necessarily looking like it's trying to screw employees out of benefits.  It's Trader Joe's.  

It's a must read (Washington Post).  The gist is that Joe is trying to explain to someone who write it about a supposed cut in health care benefits.  It offered a couple of examples why it did what it did and was honest about who was going to get screwed by its changes under the law.  

I'm sure when President Obama and his team tried to craft and pass the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare if you prefer), I really don't think they were looking to screw over anyone.  Nor do I think they see this as a perfect solution.  I'm sure they believe that they were doing what they thought was best for most Americans.  

Having said that, those opposing it likely thought they too were trying to do what they thought was best for America.  

Unfortunately, politics is also at play.  

We're weeks away from the full force of Obamacare happening.  Look for lots more politics and confusion.  Look for a lot of scare tactics and rosy pictures painted for you.  At the end of the day, it's the law of the land and you have to educate yourself, see where your (and your family's) health fits into all this, and choose. That's your job.  No one else can do that for you.

Each Year, I Say This Year's iPhone Is The Perfect One But I Always End Up Upgrading The Follow Year

There is something about Apple's method of upgrading its iOS devices that has made me upgrade each and every single year since the original iPhone except for the 3GS.  What is it about each year's upgrade that compelled me to do this?  And it's not just me.  Others I know as well.

Granted that for those locked into contracts, I get that your upgrade cycle might be different.  Of course, you can still upgrade like I do by buying the iPhone outright from Apple or your carrier, paying for the full price.  I do this by convincing myself that I'm worth it.  And for the most part, I'm frugal and I hardly splurge.  On top of that, my $30 T-Mobile plan likely has your $70+ plan beaten.

Still, once the iPhone 4 came out, I have said to myself, "5 megapixel camera.  That's good enough.  And it's retina display.  How much better can it be for the next one?  What? 4S?"

I think it over and this was even before the 4S is close to being out.  I loved my iPhone 4.

Then the 4S.  Crap. Siri.  8 Megapixel but better lens too.  Siri.  Wow.  The promise of a digital assistant with artificial intelligence.  I gotta get that.  Plus, like my mom said about the iPhone 4S, "it's Steve Jobs' last iPhone".

Then the iPhone 5.  Bigger screen.  Even better camera without upping the pixel count.  This is too much of a draw.  The disappointing thing was that the battery life did not improve.  Oh well, still, lighter, runs all of the latest and greatest of iOS 6.  GPS turn-by-turn was awesome even though Apple Maps was doing more damages to buildings than giant Japanese monsters ever dreamed of.  Plus, I had a couple of friends who I was trying to convince to get into Apple's ecosystem.  And the more I told them about the virtues of Apple's ecosystem and pointed out the bad things about it, I was convinced of upgrading by my own arguments.  So, I upgraded it.

Now, the iPhone 5s.  Boy.  Not a whole lot to write home about right now if you only follow the tech and financial blogs.  But if you truly were spend a bit of time going over the iPhone 5s introduction, you'd realize that the iPhone 5s may actually be Apple's most "forward looking" device and not a Steve Jobs-less reality distortion field at work.

A newer innovative camera system to make it one of the best on the market - even better than some point-and-shoot cameras.  Forget the 64-bit architecture and what it means for the future but its M7 coprocessor is just waiting for the right apps to take advantage of it.  Then there's the ability to take advantage of the newly redeveloped UI in iOS 7.

Now, I'm not all that drawn to the new color schemes with the silver, space gray, and gold.  So, that would not convince me one bit.  Nor is the slight improvement in the battery life.  Yes, we did get an improvement from 8 hours under LTE use in the iPhone 5 to 10 hours in the 5s, over all, I was expecting much more.

Sounds like a draw, right?  I got some of what I want and some stuff that left me wanting in the 5s.  Well, in the grand scheme of things, we are still talking about a whole new mobile experience if you're willing to look at what the future Apple is offering with the 5s.

There is one thing that sort of pushed me over to upgrading to the iPhone 5s:  it's that my iPhone 5 is limited to only 16 GB.  It's not where nearly enough.  I have had to compromise my mobile experience by deleting apps or not installing some apps because I just don't have the space for them.

I'm planning on ordering the 64 GB version come midnight Friday this week.  I think with the new camera, iOS 7, 64-bit chip with the M7 coprocessor, and more storage, I see the beginning of a new dawn of a whole new mobile experience.

As for iPhone 6?  New form factor.  Bigger screen a possibility.  128 GB storage.  iOS 8.  And who knows what new camera or battery experience, I don't know.  I think we may be visiting this upgrade issue again.

Best News Today (Maybe All Week): The Walking Dead Spin-Off Is Happening!!!

From Blastr here, it's gonna happen.  The Walking Dead spin-off has been green lit by AMC.  This is nuts but in an insanely great way!  With TWD entering season 4, you get the feeling that while the series is still fresh, we are probably towards the midpoint of the gang from Atlanta.

But to have another series take place in tandem is fantastic.  Reminds me of Star Trek The Next Generation with DS-9 and Voyager all going on.  Or Stargate SG-1 seasons and Atlantis overlapping.

And not only that.  The TWD series has open-ended possibilities.  What's going on in other parts of the world?  How did it happen?  Is there still a major human population with thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands in a city safe from the walkers, all waiting to be infected?

The possibilities for such a series or even more materials are endless.

Google Should Sell Motorola While Moto X Is Doing Well, Google Edition Devices and Nexus Are All It Needs To Keep Android Pure

Google fan or not (Android fan or not) or Apple fans, it doesn't matter which camp you fall under.  I think it's universally agreed upon that Google bought Motorola because of patents.  But Google soon found out that while Motorola lots of patents, it doesn't have ones that it needs to defend Android and its partners against Apple, Microsoft, and others on the mobile patent war.

But forget the patents.  Google simply doesn't need the drag that Motorola is creating now.  It's causing friction among Android partners and creating concerns among its investors.  But from a mobile perspective, it's got things going well on the Android front with two key tools:  Nexus and Google editions of high-end devices from HTC and Samsung.  Soon, others like Sony might sign up as well.

And here's the thing. Google is getting the best of both worlds as far as Android and mobile goes.  Sure, the Google edition of phones are high-end and cost more.  But they're also catering to users who are likely more affluent and prone to spend money on apps and services.

Young, rich, and pure Android fans.

Whereas with Motorola devices, that is not necessarily the case.  But then again, what I wouldn't give for a Google edition of the Droid Maxx with its awesome battery life.

Coulrophobia: It's a Real Phobia and This English Town Is Afraid of Its Clown

Source:  Inquisitr.

Something about clowns that is down right weird and creepy.  Maybe it's despite the painted happy face, we know deep down, they're sad and could explode at us at any given time.  Whatever the reasons, this down has its very real creepy clown problem.

Residents of this English town, Northampton, has had sightings of a couple of clowns that are just freaking out its town folks.  So scary in fact that there are real police warnings about it.  Eyewitnesses claim that the clown or clowns just stand and stare.  The clown doesn't do tricks, juggle, or ride a unicycle.  It just stares at you.

2016: Election That Started In 2008 For Some, Polling Data

Elections today are like these four-year sporting events.  Olympics.  World Cup.  Various other cups of other sports.  It's like that now for US elections.  Not everyone gets to participate so there are like mini-playoffs that teams has to do to get to the bigger leagues.

Here, it's called primaries.  And there are fifty of them in the United States all taking place the year of the election to the run-up of the party conventions and, then eventually, the election in November.  Even before that, players, sorry, candidates, are all jockeying for position in the polls with various attacks and promises to ensure that they get the best chances to advance.

We've got some numbers from CNN.  For the Democratic side, they look like 2008 with Hillary Clinton, maybe you've heard of her, is in the lead.  What kinda sucks is that the current vice president of the United States with all-around-good-guy image isn't even close.  And if these numbers continue, it'll only get worse for the rest of the field.  Aside from Joe Biden, the rest are looking to hitch a ride on the Clinton bandwagon as VP.

On the GOP side, if they don't go with a more moderate-ish conservative, they're gonna get clobbered in 2016.  That guy is looking like the popular New Jersey governor, Chis Christie.  While he is in the lead, he's only up by 1%.  The rest of the field doesn't matter for the moment because they're trying to duke it out as a Tea Party guy.  The dynamics could change if Jeb Bush gets involved but Bush fatigue isn't quite over in the US yet.

Despite not being a Tea Party fav, those guys are still a minority.  Vocal but minority.  It'll be up to their individual super PACs and actual individual benefactors to prop them up.

I don't know much about Christ Christie but from what I've seen in the media, dude knows how to throw punches.

This sort of my Sunday night political version of a sports summary of college team rankings.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Siri Still Needs Work - Does Not Deserve To Be Out Of Beta

Lots of chatter this weekend about No more beta references about Siri on Apple's digital assistant's page. Frankly, I had always assumed that Siri will stay in perpetual beta because of the nature of the service and its on-going learning process.

So with Apple giving the official work, I thought there was only one way to find out.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, September 14, 2013

64-Bit Versus 64-Bit - Impact on Mobile

Apple announced this week that they are going with a new chip in their iPhone 5s, the A7. That was somewhat expected. What was not expected was that the chip would be 64-bit.

While there was some controversy about whether going from 32-bit to 64-bit in the PC market was really beneficial to the end user, Apple had indicated that iOS 7 had been built to take advantage of the 64-bit chip architecture in the A7.

I'm sure some of that is true but there is likely some embellishment as well.

But not to be outdone, Samsung also announced that 64-bit chips are also on its roadmap.

My question is this: is Android 64-bit ready? If not, is Google working on that?

A quick Google search showed that Android is indeed not far behind Apple in the 64-bit race. However, one note of interest is that many of our apps on the PC, including Apple's OS X, are still running as 32-bit apps. And the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit started almost ten years ago and we are not quite there yet. (The Verge)

However, Apple could hold a greater advantage because of its ironclad hold on its own ecosystem and software and hardware development. Even so, it remains to be seen what kind of mobile experience and UI improvement is felt by the average mobile warrior.

One thing for sure. iOS, Android, Chrome OS, or other non-Windows OS, we are still a way off from seeing performance parity with desktop/laptop if ever.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 13, 2013

This Is Bogus: China Gets To Preorder The iPhone 5s and Probably As Many Units As It Wants Too

Thanks for nuthin', Apple.  American company that does its art in California is what Apple advertises itself to be.  And I get that China is a very important growth territory now and in the future.  I get that.  So, while I also get that Apple will allow the Chinese to begin preordering the iPhone 5s on September 17th (9to5mac), three days before anyone else in the world would be able to order online or in the store.

That just doesn't sit well with me.  Apple is an American company through and through.  I get that it is a multi-national company now and the "American" part has become much more fuzzy over the years.  It's why it specifically mentioned that devices are designed on California rather than the USA.

The 9to2Mac post mentioned problems with previous launches - like scalpers, gangs, and unruly behavior.  I'll be honest, folks.  The last time I went to wait in line at the local Apple store for a launch, there were plenty of Chinese scalpers here in the US.  I can understand some Chinese and they were not saying how much they love Apple and how they were the biggest fan boys/gals in the world.

Just saying...

Plus, with the iconic devices being Apple's, I had always assumed that we would always get our hands on any new devices first.  Remember back in the 90s and 2000s when Nintendo and Sony reigned supreme in the console and handheld gaming devices?  Japan always got it first and it would not be months later until we get it here.

I just thought those days were over.

Why Can't My Next iPhone Look Like The iPod nano? That Would Rock!

This Youtube video of an iPod nano has been making rounds.  Ordinarily, such a video would not make me excited at all.  But for the fact that this is the "space gray" that is supposed to be the same color as the black iPhone 5s, folks want to see what their black iPhone 5s will look it.

I had not considered the new black/space gray version until I saw this nano. The main reason is all the focus on the gold model and now nice looking it truly is in person.  Also, the white/sliver looks very nice if you're not into the gold.

After watching the video of the space gray nano below a couple of times, I'm giving the black version another look.  My current iPhone is back.  Then I got thinking further.  Why can't Apple make an iPhone with the same body as the nano but only bigger for the 4" screen, or maybe even the future and rumored 5" version next year?

Wouldn't that be awesome?  Well, one can only hope.  Check out the video and see if the black version of the iPhone 5s would interest you.  I'll be honest.  I am very interested now.

Friday Movie Clip: Last Days On Mars

Source:  Blastr.

I guess with a title called "Last Days On Mars, the movie has got to by a science fiction flick.  And it's gotta have alien monsters or creatures.  You'd be right. And this looks not half bad.

It's another iteration of an alien infection of a space crew, kinda like Prometheus or Alien.  In fact, not only that, many movies based on Mars has a similar story line.  Still, I can dig this given the lack of good space movies lately.

Apple Stock Price Cut Because of iPhone 5C Availability and 5S Stock "Issues" - We'll See

Today, a dumb Wall Street firm downgraded Apple stock because of the following reasons.  One, iPhone 5C preorders are still happening without sell-outs and, two, because the iPhone 5s isn't available for preorder, the ongoing thinking is that Apple did not make enough to accommodate the demand.  Having said that, this nameless firm did not heed Tim Cook's warning regarding using only a couple of data points in the supply chain to try to discern the bigger picture.

Here is a bit of the bigger picture I doubt Wall Street is seeing.  The iPhone 5C is the iPhone 5 with colorful plastic covers. A heck of a lot easier to manufacture than the iPhone 5s I'm sure.  And given previous demand for the lower tier iPhones, Apple likely made damn sure it has ample supply.

Furthermore, Apple is including a couple of new elements in its first wave launch.  First, NTT Docomo, the last major Japanese carrier hold out, will be launching the iPhone along with its competitors on September 20th, like everyone else.  In case you're not away of this, it's also the biggest carrier in Japan.  And top of that, it has made a big promise to Apple to sell as much as iPhone to accoutnt for 40% of its smartphone sales.  Given that a plurality of its customers defecting to competitors is due to the iPhone, it should not be too difficult.

Then there's also this.  China.  Yeah, the Chinese market will be among this initial wave of iPhone launches.  The first time ever. According to the press release, "Apple’s retail stores and select Authorized Apple Resellers. iPhone 5s will be available in the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK on Friday, September 20".

And that doesn't not even include the 600 million-strong China Mobile as a carrier yet.

So you can bet that iPhone 5s supply is going to be an issue.  But there is also one additional reason why the iPhone 5s did not get a preorder window.  For the first time ever, Apple is launching two new iPhones - 5C and 5s.  And though the 5C is essentially the iPhone 5 with colorful plastic covers, it is a totally brand new product.  Apple likely did not want to confuse things for buyers.

So, we'll see who's right?  Wall Street or common sense?  Anyway, iPhone 5s sales starts on the 20th, including online order.

Blackberry Event: 9/18, Better Dazzle Or Else

I don't know. I get that this year unless Blackberry does something spectacular during the holiday sales, this may well be its last Christmas. On that note, it'll be hosting an event on 9-18.

So far, based on what's out there and leaks, it'll doesn't have anything that truly stands out from the crowd.

But I'm a hopeless optimist. Yes, folks, we want more competition, not less. So far, people aren't all that excited about this year's Galaxy and iPhone updates. This is a window of opportunity for the iconic Canadian smartphone pioneer.

- Posted using Mobile

HK Bans Shark Fin Only For Official Banquets - Switching to Whale?


Hong Kong will no longer serve shark fin at official banquets. Unofficially, it's still game on.

As someone who enjoy good food, I don't get exotic food being eaten for status sake. I've seen enough. My share of it. But I still don't understand.

I don't get why not a total ban. It's time for those Chinese fishermen to move on.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Despite Having The 8MP As the iPhone 5, 5S May Still Be Among the Best in the Mobile Market

Boy, that was a long title. I came by scientific background with the title can be a paragraph long. Just ask anyone on published a paper. Yeah, enough bragging. During the live blog of Apple iPhone event, learning the iPhone 5S has the same megapixel as my iPhone 5 was pretty disappointed.

Despite what Apple has said at the event, I cannot help but think that Apple was trying to pull a fast one on us. You know, using the famed reality distortion field.

However, upon reading more posts from experts. I think Apple I had done the right thing. Sure, Apple's competitors have been hammering the new iPhone by comparing megapixel on their own cameras. But if you're not aware, megapixels being nothing at all. Maybe just a little bit. But there are other factors that work.

This post from Anandtech provides a very detailed analysis and initial thoughts on the iPhone 5S' new camera system and sensors. Essentially, the writer was pretty optimistic about the direction that Apple has taken with the iPhone 5S camera.

Anandtech is a very respectable tech site that many go to for the final say. Of course, will have to see how the new camera works out in the field. For now, I'm mildly optimistic.

I look forward to do my own analysis. By that, I mean putting the camera though its paces and see if my mundane eyes noticed any major difference.

In today's social media dominated society, having a good camera phone it's very important. On top of that, it's unlikely that haps will allow users to upload 10, 12, 15 megapixel pictures to the website. It may be more important to have the very best 8MP picture to show the world.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Mobile: T-Mobile Shows Being Consumer Friendly Helps As "Uncarrier" Plans Added Record Number of Subscribers

Source:  BGR.

T-Mobile's consumer friendly plans, though not as perfect but close to what we all want, is paying off as it recorded a record number of new subscribers in August.  That's great news.  We'll have to see just where these customers are coming from and if it's enough to get its larger competitors off their butts and following T-Mobile.

It could be a while before you expect the likes of AT&T, one of the most unfriendly companies as far as consumers are concerned, does anything.  However, T-Mobile's lower monthly plans, because it no longer subsidizes devices, has created transparency never seen before in the wireless carrier industry.

For those new subscribers, what's not to like?  No more two-year plans that lock you in.  You pay for the plans you want and the cost of the phone is a separate line item charge if you pay T-Mobile on a monthly basis for the cost of the phone.  Once you're done paying off the phone, you only pay for the wireless plan.  Unlike other carriers, they continue to charge you even if you aren't upgrading your phone.

Boy Genius Report, the source for this post, also earlier called T-Mobile's disruption "gimmicky".  It's not perfect but I don't see where it's a gimmick, do you?

And with new devices like the Note 3 and iPhone 5s leading the charge, the more consumer friendly T-Mobile could benefit greatly.  I see AT&T suffering as a result.

Social: Twitter Just Filed With SEC To Do An Initial Public Offering

Twitter filed to do an IPO...took a while.  Almost thought they would try to remain private and grow organically.

Rejoice! JK Rowling Fans (Unless You're Just Potter Fans) Can Expect More Magic Movies

Source:  NY Times.

JK Rowling signed a mega-deal with Warner Brothers.  Lots of stuff happening.  Boring stuff to Harry Potter fans I'm sure.  What isn't is that films based on the wizardry world that Rowling created are coming and the famed writer herself, who made wearing circular glasses and owning an owl cool, will be penning the scripts.

It'll be based on adaptations of her "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" book.  However, it will not be a prequel or sequel of the Potterverse.

Essentially,  "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them", as if you don't already know, is sort of like a guidebook to the world Harry lives in.  Think of it as a companion book and money printer for the Rowling enterprise.

Future of Mega-Corporations Likely To Be Privately Owned - Greater Power Could Lead To Good and Bad Things For Society

There a lot of private money out there buying up companies.  Like them or not, the Koch Industries come to mind (as a fiscal conservative who looks towards the future progress, I think they're holding back the US with their dirty energy).  But I think we're seeing a trend that no one in the media is really reporting on.

Recently, Apple began buying back large chuncks of its own stock.  Dell is going private (well, it has to).  Even Blackberry is considering going private or selling to a private entity as an option.  And just today, we near that Disney will do the same.

A company buying back one's own shares on the open market is a way to boost the remaining shareholders' stock values as the value of the company remains the same but there are less shares being traded or spread around.

Eventually, a couple of decades down the line, some companies may be in a position to just buy everyone out or close to it and essentially go private even if they continue to be as successful as ever and make boat loads of money.

Companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft generate cash in the tens of billions.  While I agree with the need to save up for rainy days for individuals and families, and I think Steve Jobs had the same mentality when he was hoarding cash for Apple.

However, like companies that do buy up companies from time to time, like GE, moving beyond its traditional business.  It got into television and financial services, individuals and families do that when they reach a certain level of financial security.  They might buy a second home or something.

Well, tech companies might not necessarily do that.  And with more than enough cash to pay for daily operations and other obligations, those extra billions are then given back to shareholders as cash dividends or share buybacks.  And share buybacks seem more popular these days.

Again, we could reach a point when many of these companies buy so much of itself back that going private becomes an option.  In fact, of the three tech giants above, I see Microsoft likely to go that route should the next CEO failed to turn things around. Much in the way Dell is doing now.  Both companies continues to be profitable.

After saying all that, comes to the point I'm trying to make and have people think about.  Could a lot of these private companies in the future then end up being huge mega-corporations amassing more wealth and power than their peers today?

Look at the Koch brothers.  Like them or not, they bring a specific agenda to the American national, state, and local politics that has influenced conservative and libertarian movements in each of the last two presidential and three midterm elections.  They've likely single-handedly hamstrung environmental policies and slowed the green revolution.  They've managed to keep the Tea Party movement going while making the GOP establishment look impotent.

On the other hand, just because we don't see a lot of more liberals in companies having this kind of influence doesn't mean the same thing won't happen on the left-leaning mega-corporations in the future.  Both sides could continue to battle it out and lead to greater influence on governments.  If you thought money in politics today is bad.  Just wait you see.  Remember what Romney said?  Corporations are people too (Huffington Post)

Furthermore, private companies may also have less regulations and disclosure rules to follow than public ones.  That is both good and bad.  But when you talk about money, greed and jealousy is almost spoken in the same breath.  It does becomes easier to make money for this reason.  At the same time, private companies can go about making steady income at stable pace without the need to answer to analysts and shareholders.

I guess I'm saying that the opportunity for private companies to become bigger and more powerful is there.  But so is the opportunity to use the new wealth and greater power for good and bad.

I think this is an issue that I like to explore more in the future.  And I'm happy to share what I know and think with you over time.  This is a social issue that matters to everyone, all 100% of us.

iPhone 5s Has a Two Hour LTE Use Improvement Over iPhone 5

Source:  AppleiMore (iPhone 5 specs)

I was "meh" or mildly pleased with what we heard about the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5C from Apple on Tuesday morning.  There was one major disappointment in my mind.  Yes, the battery life.  I'm sounding like a broken record but, my fellow mobile warriors, you know as well as I do that battery life is everything when we are increasingly on the go.

After seeing Apple wowed us with the 9 and 12 hours battery life for the Macbook Airs, I had high hopes for the iPhone 5S.  I was not expecting a substantial increase in battery life.  20-25% Overall increase in battery life would have been all I asked for.

Well, well, well...I guess we sort of did.  Under LTE Internet usage, the battery life for the iPhone 5s and 5C stands at 10 hours, just like Internet use under Wi-Fi.  The iPhone 5 only had 8 hours of LTE use.

Not bad.  Would have love to see Wi-Fi upped a bit but we can't have everything now, can we?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Space: Chinese Satellites Made Unusual Maneuvers That Point To Military Purposes

Source:  Huffington Post.

China has made huge leaps in space technology in the last couple of decades.  And they are hell bent on catching up to the West, particularly, the United States in both military and space technology.  And they're doing about it in a reckless manner to achieve that goal, sometimes putting others in peril.

Recently, three separate Chinese satellites made changes to their orbits that baffled experts. But there seems to be consensus that the orbital alterations put one of the satellites, Shiyan-7, in close proximity to another, Chuangxin-3.

The purpose of the maneuver isn't known but it's probably a safe bet that it had a space military objective.  The silence from Beijing is deafening.  In 2007, China conducted an anti-satellite test that resulted in creating 3,000 dangerous pieces of space debris.

Touch ID Coming to Macbooks, Tablets, and Apple TV - For Authentication and Purchases

Regarding Touch ID, Kevin Rose has tweeted.  That's a good bet.

iPhone 5S: 64-bit A7 Chip Is About the Future, Just Not Sure What It Is Yet

Source:  CNET.

By going 64-bit with the A7 chip, doubling the processing power for the iPhone 5S, Apple knows that in the short-term, probably a year to year and half out, iPhone users are not going to see a whole lot of advantages. In fact, we may never see anything tangible at all except for a few iOS tweaks that made the system snappy and maybe only a handful of apps will truly take advantage of the new CPU architecture.

What's interesting is that Apple called this a desktop-class architecture.  Obviously, Apple is looking to turn iOS devices more into a crossover than just a regular sport car and not quite a truck either.

Think of it this way. With PC sales slowing, includ Macs though not collasping like Windows-based PC, Apple has to continue to innovate and make sure its iOS devices, particular iPads, will pick up some slacks that the Macbooks do.  

Final Cut, more advanced iWork features, and other video or sound apps will need this 64-bit power to give more sophisticated users what they need when they're on the go or don't need a Macbook with them all the time.

And yes, eventually, designers and builders will want their iOS devices to do much more.  Sure, Apple could say, "go get a Mac for what you need" but we already know where the mobile computing is headed.

And in keeping up with its philosophy for future outlooks, Apple is skating to where the puck is going to be.  Even now, as its rivals crow and boast about quad-core, even octo-core, they still chasing the puck.

By giving itself and its developers a head start, it will be able to head off competitors with new innovative features and apps with iOS devices that can do more, faster, and efficiently.

Green: Daisy-Chain Solar Modules, Small Toy Like But Love Concept

Source:  Gizmodo.

Here is a daisy-chain solar gadget that you can hook up a bunch of solar modules to charge a 500mAh battery base.  It's almost like these block toys my nephews play with all the time.  They're colorful and, of course, these solar modules serve a greater purpose than just entertain kids.

From a German company called Clicc, the Cliclite is very small.  You can add additional panels to help the unit charge faster or use an USB cable to charge it when the sun is not out.

Unfortunately, it's only available in Germany now and won't come State side until like a year later.  Meanwhile, I'm keep an tab on it and hope to see some good news about availability here eventually.

Now, it's definitely not going to be able to charge our mobile devices. Not to full capacity anyway.  But I've got a few LED devices that can sure use Cliclite to power them and use them as night lights or during power outages.

Mobile: AT&T Shamefully Used 9/11 To Sell Blackberry Z10

Source:  Arstechnica.

Talk about despicable.  AT&T is using 9/11 to sell the Blackberry Z10.  Now, if I'm Blackberry, I'm be calling AT&T to get that ad off Twitter and anywhere else AT&T has posted it.  Of course, in today's social media, it's all over Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr.

Man, what a bone-headed move.  I wonder who the brilliant guy who approved this is.  Arstechnica has a post and pic.  I'm not going to dignify AT&T's actions.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Persistence, Passion, And Perseverance: All One Man Needed To Lose 245 Pounds

See?  CNN is good for something.  Like this post here about one man's battle to lose weight.  Nearly 250 pounds of his former 405.  Damn right?  Well, it's hard work but he broke it down into simple terms.

Persistence, passion, And perseverance.  Marlon Gibson started on his mission back in January of 2011.  It's been about 30 months.  Of course, he was also on "The Biggest Loser", a reality TV show I'm sure you've heard of.  And he does have a coach helping and spurring him along.

No matter what, it was Mr. Gibson's realization that life was worth living, especially being around with his family, he had to do something.

Maybe he had help others would not get, motivations, and whatnot.  At the end of the day, he had to do all the hard work.  He's the man, minus the 245 pounds.

Definitely a must read, people.  Shows pics of Mr. Gibson before and after.

CNN Click Bait On Nokia's Impact On Mobile Meaningless

CNN has a post on Nokia and how it changed mobile.  Sure, when I watched Keanu Reeves and Lawrence Fishburne whipped out their Nokia phones and them dark glasses, I wanted both.  But that was then.  Waaaay back then.  This is 2013 and, officially, Nokia is not more as a mobile concern.

While CNN's post regarding Nokia's role in mobile phones has a few valid points, the article as a whole seemed very stretched.  You can say the same thing about any other companies in the 2000s.

The article begged the reader to conclude only one thing:  Nokia messed up big: first when Blackberry came to dominate the smartphone market and no one else had an answer and in 2007 when the iPhone changed the whole mobile landscape.  You can't say that this was Nokia's fault alone.  As Motorola, Blackberry, and Palm.  Motorola, the best known brand in cell along side Nokia, had its RAZR moment but then nothing.  It's on life support because its daddy is a 800-lb search giant.

Some day, such posts may well be written about Apple, Samsung, or Microsoft.  Even Google.  But what's the relevance of such posts?  If anything, it's the worst kind of obituary.  This shows why tech journalism should be left to bloggers with industry immersion and years of experience, not mass media that has very little clue what's going on in tech, social, or mobile.

Dyson Sues Samsung For Stealing Its Vacuum Design - Might Get Worse

Source:  The Verge.

Okay, Apple accusing and suing Samsung over design patents and UI implementations could be construed as anti-competitive and abuse of the patent system by some.  Personally, I think companies should steer clear of each other and do their own innovations, no matter what, and there won't be all this court action where lawyers get fat and rich.

Image containing US specific Dyson vacuum cleaners

So, while the mobile war could be counted as an isolated incident in and of itself if not for this.  Dyson, famed vacuum maker, has now sued Samsung for the same thing that Apple has sued Samsung for.  Dyson is now suing Samsung for a vacuum-steering system patent that the Korean giant just lifted and put into its own system.

This won't be Dyson's first dance with Samsung either.  It won a case against Sammie.

While this may not be mobile related, it may speak to an inherent behavior of Samsung.  And with wearable gears just beginning to permeate in the minds of mobile warriors, I don't see patent entanglement between mobile giants and other tech companies coming to an end.

At the same time, you can believe some companies in other industries are looking at their patents and maybe see if Samsung or someone else could be violating their innovations.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Winter Is Coming, Beware: MERS Kills Another Two, 50% Fatality

Source:  Huffington Post.

It's still summer and hot weather still persist but just so you know, there is a respiratory disease that has experts very worried.  It's called the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) conoravirus and it has a higher kill rate than SARS of 2003 that started in China (where else?) which had about a 10-15% kill rate.

MERS, on the other hand, has a fatality rate approaching 50%.  According to a Star Talk podcast I was listening to during one of my runs, this has folks in the medical field, especially in the Middle East, extremely concerned.

Initially tight-lipped about it, Saudi Arabia has now issued warnings for those who have weak immune systems for one reason or another (young, old, pregnant women) to avoid making this year's fall's hajj pilgrimage (CBS).

While those of us in the US have a lower risk of an outbreak, just remember to keep washing those hands and make sure you take proper precautions this winter.

iPhone Event Tomorrow: Speculations on What Apple Will Likley (or Not) Unveil

It's been a quiet day considering that Apple's iPhone event tomorrow in Cupertino is slated to be the start of the mother of all Apple unleashing of products for the rest of 2013 through 2014.  After all, that is what Tim Cook promised us.  Having said that, while rumors have been delicious, again, it has been a quiet day.

Perhaps, many leaks and rumors I'm reading have either been confirmed or deemed plausible.  And that leaves very little and little possibility of last minute surprises for today or even for the event itself.

Having said that, while combing through blog posts of recaps, summary of rumors, and speculations, I've compiled a list of surprises ranging in their likelihood of happening from "just way freaking way" to "yeah, I can see that happening.

  • Prices of the iPhone 5C - dubbed the less expensive iPhone.  Can Apple surprise us with the lower $500 advertised price?  Perhaps.  At $400?  Very plausible.  $350?  I can see that happening.  it's like slapping on a cell antenna on top of an iPod touch and charge a premium for it.  Apple already does that with the iPad - accounting for the $130 premium between the Wi-Fi only iPad model and the Wi-Fi+LTE version.  $300?  No likely but t can happen.  Remember when the iPad was rumored to cost $1000 upon release but ended up being only $499?  Tim Cook made that happen and he may well have the dark arts to make a $300 iPhone.
  • Leaked images of the colors of the iPhone 5C are fake.  The real colors are much better.  I've complained about those colors a couple of times already.  However, those colors of the iPhone 5C look more and more real by the day.  Sadly, it's unlikely Apple managed to hide the colors of the iPhone 5C and try to fake out the public with other ones.
  • 128 GB version of the iPhone?  Pretty likely.
  • Fingerprint feature?  Pretty likely.  
  • iOS 7 will probably be released tomorrow or just days bofore the new iPhones are set to go on sale.  A killer feature or two?  Very plausible.  It depends on what you consider to be a killer feature.  One surprise killer feature is likely.  Two?  Unlikely.
  • iWallet.  Passbook is only useful to me because of my Starbucks habit.  I can just as easily use the Starbucks app instead.  Yeah, you should know by now that Apple is rumored to include a fingerprint feature.  If the fingerprint security feature is to figure prominently in an Apple wallet, call it 'iWallet', we will have to see just how many of these iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 or whatever Apple calls the next iPhone is going to be sold.  And if iWallet is something that Apple wants to be quickly adopted, would it make sense that the 2013 iPhones, high-end or the lower end iPhone 5C, all have a fingerprint feature to get more of these fingerprint featured iPhones out there?  Therefore, I think Passbook is slated for an upgrade but nothing earth shattering.  iWallet is unlikely.
  • True day long battery life?  I think there's a part of me that is doing a lot of wishful thinking on this one.  We might see an incremental increase of some stand-by time but nothing on actual use despite talk that the new inner workings of the new iPhone will be more efficient.  So, not plausible that we'll get a surprise here.  Much of my enthusiasm and hope stemmed from the long battery life advantage the 2013 Macbook Air has over the previous year model.
  • A new iTunes feature - it's been a while since Apple has done any significant deal on this.  We know iTunes Radio is coming.  It'll be big.  I've been using it and love it.  The rest of the market will as well.  So, this is no surprise.  How about iTunes Streaming video like Netflix.  A subscription feature or just allow us to stream content we rent or have purchased instead of download them?  Haven't heard a bit of info on this.  So, we very unlikely to hear about a new iTunes feature.  iTunes Radio will have to do.
  • Controller for iOS devices.  Perhaps an augmented Airplay.  Yes, this is likely only because we know Apple has shown interest in this and there have been chatter that a few accessory makers have been working with Apple.  Gaming is going to be big tomorrow.
  • Tied into the iOS gaming accessories will be how games will be displayed on television.  Apple TV could get an update to support these accessories.  What's not clearly is whether it's be software only or both software and hardware.  I have to say that it's likely iOS for the Apple TV will get an update with new apps and features but the hardware will remain the same.  There's no need for Apple to upgrade Apple TV just yet.  
  • We know Apple will continue to make iPods.  The regular iPod, aka Classic.  Shuffle.  Nano.  And the Touch.  While the iPod touch could get  a mention if there is an update worth mention.  In fact, Apple probably will keep the line-up the same without mentioning it.  What everyone is going to be thinking about it what Apple will do to address wearable computing devices.  It's unlikely Apple will unveil the iWatch or iGear tomorrow.  
  • OS X Mavericks, Macbook and Mac Pro.  Unlikely.  No iPads either.  Not yet.
  • New iOS device?  A 5" iPhone or a bigger screen iPad?  Right, not going to happen.
  • iOS in cars - look for a bit more information on this but don't expect the iCar.  It's be about more manufacturers getting on board for real with specific models coming.  But this is an incremental iOS penetration and a completely new front for Apple so they're going to take it very slow.  Don't expect to be able to tell Siri to lock doors, open/close windows, or turn on the A/C.  More information on iOS in cars is very plausible.  
  • App Store for Apple isn't likely.  It does get more and more plausible through the years.  If anything, it's we're likely to see an enhanced app store for iOS devices with Apple TV support.  It means no separate store just for the Apple TV.  Separate store for the Apple TV?  Not likely.  Apps build to support Apple TV through Airplay and accessories?  I can see this happening.

I think this is enough speculation on what likely will or will not be unveiled or announced by Apple tomorrow.  Maybe some of the leaked information are out of Apple's hands but for the most part, much of the rumors and leaks has Apple PR's fingerprints all over them.  Some are real and others are to mislead competitors.  In fact, I'm willing to bet a majority of Apple, inlcuding its PR wing, has no idea what'll be unveiled tomorrow.  Only a small handful truly knows.

But until 10am PST tomorrow, all we can do is speculate.  And we are with glee.

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...