Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Mobiles Saving Lives By Deflecting Bullets: That's It, I'm Wearing My Tablets And Smartphones Now - Even My New Macbook Pro

Source:  TUAW, Twitter, CNN.

Earlier, we learned that a store clerk's life was saved when his HTC Android device saved his life by stopping the bullet of a robber.  Now, we learned that an iPhone cable saved the life of a Los Angeles sheriff deputy.  This isn't the first time we've heard of smartphones saving the lives of their owners.

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Maybe I should start wearing my tablets and smartphones when I venture out.  Maybe the Google Glass will save someone from a head shot.  Who knows, right?

Back in 2007, an iPod saved the life of an US soldier when it stopped the bullet from an AK-47 fired by a terrorist.  Then again last year, another soldier who was hit in the leg was lifted away for medical attention.  The iPhone in his pocket deflected the bullet's trajectory away from his femoral artery.  Had it been severed, he would most likely have died.

By the way, supposedly HTC will replace the clerk's damaged phone with an HTC One.  Now how I'd want to get a new phone but I'm glad in all instances, the victims were all able to get away with their lives if not walk immediately away from it.

Not Surprised: Never Doubted For A Moment That the NSA Has Its Hands In Google Or Yahoo's Data Cookie Jars, So What?

Today, there are a bunch of posts regarding new Snowden docs obtained illegally that suggested the NSA has tapped data centers belonging to Google and Yahoo.  I'm surprised that people are surprised by this new revelation.  And what's more, I figure more companies are involved whether they knowingly had their data centers tapped or not. I didn't see Microsoft's name anywhere and you can get they're in bed with the government more than any other companies.

The Washington Post has a pretty good write-up on this.  What I found annoying about the post is that reporters claimed they don't understand why the NSA is doing this.  Personally, I think it's pretty clear why.

And as for American or British intelligence apparatuses spying on foreign countries, both friendly and not, I also find it hard to believe that spy agencies of friendly countries did not already know this or did their own parts to facilitate these operations.  Perhaps, it's the NSA and CIA's fault that this is allowed to be public knowledge.  But it's also likely the faults of these spy agencies for not informing their own heads of state that their calls could be tapped.

In the wake of the revelation that the US has recordings of German chancellor Angela Merkel's personal phone calls, Germany sent their intel chiefs to the US to discuss the matter.  My guess is the public and private

I'm not condoning what the NSA is doing.  I'm very concerned.  But not about what they are doing now but when their turn their attention towards Americans.  Sure, I find the NSA snooping very annoying and am concerned by it but I am more upset with companies that collect our private information to profit off of them.
I'll say this.  If the NSA or CIA starts selling ads on their websites, then I'm taking the gloves off.  Again, not surprised by this.  Imagine what we know now and what else don't know.

So far, we have not seen any direct misuse of the information collected by the NSA or anyone else towards American citizens.  I suppose my worries in this regard is that, one day, domestic spying could become the norm and the information subject to misuse by politicians or government agencies with specific agendas.  

The ability to turn these snooping technologies on Americans is there and only requires the word of someone in government to do that.  We already know that NSA analysts already spy on their love ones (Reuters).  

There needs to be a discussion about surveillance and public safety.  So far, we're not having it despite all these leaks.  There hasn't really been a great public outcry about this other than how Snowden go away with so much classified information. 

And with the American public so willingly give away information to social networks, I'm not so sure the public is going to be all that upset with the NSA "accidentally" collecting metadata, calls, or e-mails of Americans in the name of protecting them.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Australians Prefer PS4 By A Large Margin To Xbox One

Accords to CNET, Australians prefer the Playstation 4 from Sony by a 2-1 margin over Microsoft's Xbox One.

Personally, I've already preordered an Xbox One and plan on keeping it despite some uncertainties and favorable views from the media for the PS4.

For Microsoft, making sure the Xbox brand stays on top is very important. It's one of their bright spots outside of the business and Windows divisions.

Lose the next gen console badly, Microsoft can kiss the consumer market good-bye.

Remember, in the coming years, the incumbent players in the console market may have to contend with dark horses like media boxes running Google's Android. There are at least half a dozen media boxes running Android that might have potential to serve as a media box and as a gaming console like the Nvidia Shield.

Heck, maybe even the Apple TV. I don't know if Apple has TV hardware aspirations but I do know they've got their eyes on gaming in the living room.

- Posted using BlogPress

Prediction: iPad mini With Retina Display Will Go On Sale On...

I think the iPad mini with the new Retina Display will go on sale on November 15th, two weeks after the iPad Air goes on sale.  That's my own prediction and nothing more.  I think I have a perfectly logical explanation for thinking it'll be on the 15th, and not any other Fridays in November - that being the 8th, 22nd, or the 29th.

And obviously, we can forget about November 1st, this Friday since that's the date Apple picked to start selling the iPad Air.

So, what makes me think that Apple will begin selling the new iPad mini with the new Retina Display?  Just some common sense and picking the odds.  Obviously, it can't be the 29th, that is Black Friday.  Apple is not going to try to deal with a rush of Black Friday shoppers and the iPad mini crowd.  No way they'll do that.

That leaves the 8ths and 22nd.  I don't think it's the 8th because it'll only be a week after the Air goes on sale and, personally, if I run Apple, I would give the Air a bit of "air" to itself before releasing another product for sale.  And the rush to the website and the stores for the Air will continue to be fresh even a week later.  It'll continue to be quite busy for Apple employees.

Apple always has a crowd for the Christmas shopping days and it doesn't need to exacerbate needlessly the situation.

That leave the 15th and 22nd.  I don't think it'll be the 22nd because it's a week before the Thanksgiving week and Black Friday. For the nearly the identical reason why Apple will not sell the iPad mini on Black Friday, 22nd won't be either.  It's just cutting it too close.  Imagine the onslaught of the crowd and the online rush to try to get the new mini.

That leave the 15th.  It's two weeks after the Air has been on sale and two weeks before Black Friday.  And since Apple typically releases new products for sale on a Friday, the 3rd Friday of this November makes the best sense for the iPad mini with Retina Display to go on sale.

Apple can obviously break its mold and start selling the iPad mini on another day of the week but I find that unlikely at this time.  So, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say it's the 15th.  Hey, I would not mind being wrong if it's the 8th but I hate for Apple to start selling the mini later in November.

Note:  I was right in my prediction about the iPad event date.  Think I can make it 2 for 2?

The Case For An iPad 2: Everyone Still Wants One

The iPad 2 will probably go down as one of the best iPad since the 2010 original iPad and, perhaps, along with this year's iPad Air.  Sorry, mini, you're, well, a mini.  It explains why Apple is still keep the iPad 2 around, at least for another year.  So, what makes the iPad 2 such a rocking indispensable tablet?

Let's get the Apple angle out of the way.  By now, the iPad 2, which from what I've been able to find out, is still in high demand.  And given that it's already more than 2.5 years old, Apple is making a hefty margin on it and adding to its growing pile of cash.

So, why are people still buying it?  It's $399.  And probably lower if they're bought on lots of hundreds or thousands.  Businesses and schools come to mind.  Tim Cook unveiled yesterday that Apple has an unprecedented 94% of the tablet share in education.  And schools are looking at the full sized iPad to give their students.  I'm willing to get a large number of those are iPad 2 tablets.  The only competition I see the iPad 2 has in the near future is from the iPad mini coming in at $299, which is essentially the iPad 2 with a 7.9" screen and a better camera.

Also, businesses are still buying iPad 2 for their workforce.  It's light, performs decently still, and, again, cheap.  If you want to use it as a transaction register (I didn't call it a cash register because the iPad 2 just doesn't take cash) along with a device like Square, it's cheaper than buying a big bulky and expensive cash register.  I've seen more and more businesses turn to iPad use in the manner.  There is no need to get a more powerful and expensive iPad 4 to do this simple task of swiping a credit card and taking money from it.

And on top of that, the iPad 2 does run iOS 7 which comes with it more features and better security which is a plus for enterprise,small biz, and schools (assuming Apple can find a way to keep resourceful elementary kids from hacking its lockdown system).

Want an example?  Check this out.  Southwest will be deploying the iPad 2 as an entertainment solution on its flights to let flyers watch shows on the Dish network. How awesome is that? (9to5mac). And how many thousands do you think the airline have bought from Apple?  And also, Dish is giving out a free iPad 2 if you sign up with it and get a Hopper too. (Dish)

The question is what happens next year?  Conceivably, Apple could make iOS 8 work on the iPad 2 and iPad mini with further limitations but it is also moving further down the road on the 64-bit roadmap.  We'll have to see how Apple deals with the $399 sweet spot that the iPad 2 as well as the $299 iPad mini sits on now.  But that's speculation for another day.

Amazon Opens Fulfillment Center In Southern California - Biz Boom Me Predicts. Also, Next Day Delivery For LA

Source:  CBS.

For years, Amazon avoided putting fulfillment centers in California like a plague even though much of its revenue comes from California. Why?  Because of taxes.  Rather lack of taxes. See, until recently, the last couple of years, people in California who buy from Amazon do not automatically pay sales taxes.  But if it has a presence here, it will need to start charging taxes.

Californians who shop online are supposed to report them when they file their tax returns with the state.  It's an honor system.  And I figure not many were doing that.

That's the short version. They know it. We the Californian online shoppers who buy from Amazon knows it. But now that the state is forcing Amazon to collect taxes, there's really no reason for it to not be in California.

And Amazon is has now opened a fulfillment center in San Bernandino County, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.  I think that's awesome.  It's about time.  It'll only employ 150 full-time positions but that's okay.  It's a start.

More importantly, I think we could see next-day delivery on some products because of the proximity.  This is especially true for Prime members like myself who get free two-day delivery.

Welcome to Southern California, Jeff. I get the feeling you'll gonna need to expand the facility some more in the near future.

Monday, October 28, 2013

GOP May Be Better Off By Kicking Tea Party To the Curve And Become More Moderate

Right now, the Democrats has numbers.  The Obama campaign and their ground game really helped during the last 8 years even though the GOP did manage to take back the house in 2010 and undermined the filibuster proof that the Democrats had during the first two years of the first Obama term.  Right now, the Democrats are looking better, not great, going into the 2014 mid-terms.  You can bet the ground game is going to be very important.  And it will look like the Democrats will hold serve in the Senate and has an outside chance of taking the House.

The thing is the GOP put themselves in this position.  I respect the Tea Party movement.  I do except for the parts where there are hints of racism to outright extremism.  And that right-wing intolerance is something the GOP has to get rid of.  And if it does, it should do it quickly.

This is something that I've been thinking about for a long time now.  The GOP can still be conservative but also moderate at the same time, something that isn't possibly with the Tea Party rebels within its own ranks.  Consider this poll in Virginia where Clinton loyalist, Terry McAuliffe, leads the GOP candidate by a margin of 51 to 39.  Pretty bad for the GOP.

However, it might have been closer if not for the libertarian candidate who has 8% of the votes.

Even without a third party spoiler, the Republican candidate, Ken Cuccinelli II, probably won't win next week on November 4th when Virginians go to the polls because of the wave of discontent towards the GOP lead government shutdown.

But consider this.  Let the Tea Party break off and form their own party.  They'll probably take anywhere to the 8% to 10% of the electorate.  Maybe, oh, 5% of House seats if that.  While that might seem like a big loss to the Republicans, if the party moves towards the center, right of center, and is more sensible regarding working with the Democrats, they could potentially capture more of the middle and have a better time at attracting the independent votes.

The Republicans can still be for small and efficient government that is fiscally responsible but without the constant threats of trying to shut down the government and always pushing the US government closer and closer to a default on its debt obligations.

Of course, that's just a pipeline dream scenario.  It's unlikely that such a model political party will emerge even if the Republicans excise itself of the Tea Party elements.  It'll always be about money and power and party politics.

Also consider this.  For this governor race in Virginia, the polling data showed support for the respective candidates are not so much as voting to support him but rather seen as casting a vote against the other guy. The GOP brand is so damaged now, it's not likely to recover in the near-term to win a national office.

Politicians Increasingly Use Terror And Mob Tactics (I'm Talking Figuratively) With Increased Frequency

Source:  Politico.

This is directed at politicians from both parties.  This instance I'm providing as an example is by no mean directed at just the GOP because I KNOW the Democrats have pulled the same crap.  See, what they do is hold up business of the people who elected them by extortion or simply holding citizens as hostages to their games.

Of course, I'm speaking figuratively but I'm sure most of the readers will agree.  Here, South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, who at times at least make a bipartisan effort along with pal, senator John McCain, will be holding up judicial appointments until his questions regarding Benghazi has been satisfactorily answered.

Oh, and the Democrats have held up President George W. Bush's nominations as well, so again, this is a game that both sides have engaged in.  Except now, it seems to be more frequent.  And of course, Graham is potentially facing a tough challenge within his own party from the right.  So, he has to say things like this and also act the part too.

But we're all getting hurt by this.  And it's all about political wins and losses for these guys.

It's always one side trying to jam the other or play games of chicken like they did a few weeks ago with the debt ceiling.  Oh, yes, even a former junior senator from Illinois (gosh, what's his name again?) once voted against raising the debt ceiling.

Again, it's all a fraking game to these guys.

iPad Mini With Retina Display Ship Date Clue In Financial Call

There is an ongoing financial call between Apple and analysts right now.  One of them asked  a question about the iPad and Tim cook mentioned something about iPad mini with Retina Display shipping later in November.  He might have also mentioned late November.

I'll be listening in tonight to review the financial call. I'll check back if there is anything new about this.  I think we should get a definitive ship date from Apple next week, after the Air has had a full week of sale.

My guess would be 15th, two weeks after the iPad Air has gone on sale.

Cloud: Obamacare Finds Cloud Not An Easy Thing, Data Center Malfunction Hits Gov Care

I think the government is finding that it's too big to function.  Regardless of what you think about Obamacare, you have to admit the issues that are preventing a smooth sign-up could end up killing it.  Right now, a serious malfunction at a Verizon data center is doing just that.

I think it'll take version 2.0 of this whole process for things to be ironed out.  Take Apple for instance.  It took them years from iTools to MobileMe to whatever to iCloud as we know it.  It's not an easy task. What's worse and harder for the government is the dozens of older databases spread throughout different agencies and branches of the executive departments that are being tied together.

If anything, maybe the Obama administration should have asked Google or IBM to do this.  For some reason, I can't see Verizon being up for this job.

Source:  CNN.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Social: Pasadena Bear Avoids Capture and Tweets About It

Source: SCPR.

Ah, social media.  You rock when you're not trying to steal our personal information.  And this Arroyo bear, named about a street in Pasadena, California, shut down part of a freeway and adjacent streets simply by taking a stroll down from local mountains.

And of course, he has a Twitter account.

And he's got quite a personality as well.  He's got more tweets if you wanna follow him.  I wonder if he's the same bear that this guy, who was texting, ran into. It's quite close.

Green: Wind Turbine That Mimics The Dragonfly Capable of Generating Power In Wind of Less Than 5MPH

Revamped Wind Turbine Takes Design Inspiration From Dragonflies [Pics]

I haven't talked about green tech or living for a while and this is as good a place as any to restart that.  And it's a very innovative one.  A wind turbine that can generate electricity from wind below 5 miles an hour - four to be exactly.

Meet the "Dragonfly" wind turbine. It's capable of generation enough sustaining power of 55kW.  And again, because of its innovative design, it can do that with only two blades in winds around 4 miles per hour or 2 meters per second.

That's about a brisk morning walk.  I'm around 5.5 to 6 mph when I jog.  So, this wind turbine is very unique on what it can do.

wind 4

And it's small enough that it just might fit in your backyard.  The post from Inhabitat didn't say how bit the yard would have to be.  Probably not mine since I've got an tiny one.  And it'll probably draw too much attention from my neighbors.  But who knows.  Right now, it's being tested Pisa, Italy.

And to put it into perspective how small this is, it stands more than 60 feet tall, about 20 meters.  That's about as tall as your average flagpole people install for their homes.  So, it's not so tall that it sticks out at all.

The Dragonfly will be tested for 12 months.  And at the end of the twelve months and if it all goes well, production will start and first be marketed in Italy and then beyond.

We'll be keeping an eye out on this one.  I've got a small solar generator I got from Costco for emergency use but it's nothing compared to what the Dragonfly is capable of. And plus, I figure wind turbines can generate power at night.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

iPad Versus MacBook: Air What?

Lots of people had the same reaction when Apple told us the next iPad would have a new name: iPad Air. Momentary silence and then polite applause.

Me? The same. Then I thought "iPad Pro, next?"

Then the next thought was "iPad Air versus MacBook Air".

9.7" Versus 11.6" screens. Not a big diff but the iPad wins because it had a Retina display. Both have long battery lives: 10 hours versus 9 hours for the iPad and MacBook respective.

The iPad Air wins on weight but the MacBook Air runs Mavericks.

While the IPad starts at $499, a 128 GB model moves it into the MacBook Air price range. Even closer if you had the cellular version.

Oh, yeah, the iPad has a cellular option that the MacBook doesn't.

In a few years, with Apple improving the iOS and the iPad, especially with the 64-bit chip, the line between what we can do on the iPad and the MacBook will be further blurred. The computing and graphics power of the iPad has been increasing faster than on the PC side. It's unlikely the tablet will catch up to the PC anytime soon or if at all. But it may not have to. Closing some of the gap might be enough.

And a couple of more iterations from now, when people talk about the Air, they could be referring to the iPad rather than the MacBook version.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Cloud: I'll Be Download And Backing Up All My iTunes Purchases Tonight Because The Studios Can Take Them Away At Any Moment, Disney Took Away Lion King From iTunes

I've pretty much stopped downloading stuff I buy from iTunes onto my hard drive at home because of the cloud, specifically, iCloud.  With the ability to re-download movies, TV shows, and music from iTunes, I did not find the need to store them locally.  That is until today.  And frankly, I'm surprise it took this long for the story to get traction and, even then, it's still not widely being reported.

Apparently, a few movies from Disney are not longer available for play or download.  Disney.  Apple's best buddy, Disney.  It's almost like Buzz and Woody.  Their association has to do with the fact that Steve Jobs was the CEO of both Apple and Pixar and Jobs eventually sold Pixar to Disney.  On top of that, Bob Iger, Disney's CEO, is on Apple's board.

So, I'm was perplexed and skeptical that this 9to5Mac post about a user who found himself unable to download Lion King.  It was one of the first posts I saw this morning.  I quickly did a search and found no other site has reported on it so I thought maybe this was nothing.

Now, it's been confirmed.  And Disney is working to make sure those who have bought movies from them can still do once a fix is avaiable.

The question is why is this happening.  Most folks think this is a licensing issues as Amazon is apparently suffering from the same thing.

So, I'll be firing up the old backup hard drive and putting it to work tonight.  All my movies.  Screw streaming from the iCloud.  This just isn't what I got into when I began buying from iTunes.

Uh-Oh - 35 World Leaders Had Their Phones Monitored By the US

This isn't good.  The Guardian, king of NSA leaks courtesy of that Snow guy, reports that the US has monitored the phone calls of 35 world leaders.

So, yeah, this is not good especially if a few of those presidents, prime ministers, and chancellors are allied nations.  At the same time, I have to ask this question.

Surely, some of the intel agencies in these native countries, especially ones that we're friendly with, knew that we were and are actively engaged in monitoring communications outside of the US.  And we probably even share intel with them.

I guess spy chiefs of these countries likely were in the know but couldn't exactly tell their heads of state about it.

Source:  The Guardian.

Corruption In China: Time To Throw In The Towel

Source:  Reuters.

The new Chinese president, Xi Jinping who I guess isn't that new anymore, has been on a public binge in trying to do away with corruption.  On one hand, it's really for show just like most political plays in the world, and on the other hand, it's only highlighted how Chinese government corruption is a fact of life and may be essential to its economic viability and there may be nothing the Chinese can do about it.  And without it, the Communist elite will not survive.

This Reuters story about how an engineer was tortured for 39 days in an effort to extract a confession out of him show just how jaded the Chinese are dealing with corruption.  And the officials responsible for the engineer's death were charged only after reports of the man's death came to light.

Detained under a system called "shuanggui", Yu Qiyi essentially disappeared.  And he's only one of a number of unheard folks who have disappeared into this shuangui system.  And on one knows where these detainees end up.  And its use has been increased because of Beijing's directive to weed out more corrupted officials and businessmen.  What's worse is that the system is ripe for corruption and greed in and of itself.

Xi noted that corruption threatens the Community party.  However, given that corruption is an essential part of Chinese economy and political system, doing away with it may also end up with the collapse of the system.  And with this shuangui system, it's being used as a threat against anyone who isn't loyal to whoever is in charge.

Yu's death is only the limelight only because of the outrage generated by public interest.  The truth is that most other prisoners will go on to confess their "crimes" whether they did it or not and the winner at the end of the day isn't the Chinese people.

The winners are the officials who will step in and continue the business as usual.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Amazon Rival, Target, To Do Pricematching And In-Store Pickup For Online Orders

Source:  Yahoo.

This is great news and this is what competition is all about.  Target will be doing two major things this Christmas shopping season that they should have done a long time ago to combat online only shopping experiences like Amazon.

And as a consumer, I say bring it on.  Where are you in all this, Walmart and Sears/Kmart?

See, Target is currently offering consumers the opportunity to buy something online and then go into the store to pick it up without having to wait too long for it.  This move is something Target and other brick-and-mortar stores should have offered a long time ago.

Imagine what it would have been like had Borders, which no longer exists, and ailing Barnes and Noble had done this like 15 years ago against Amazon or others during the dotcom era.

By November 1st, Target will expand the in-store pickup option to all its stores.  Now, it's not guarantee that it will be a win against Amazon.  So, in addition to letting users get their stuff earlier than free ground shipping, Target will do price matches for purchases that take place between November 1st and December 21st.

It's a limited window to be sure and it makes more sense for Target to try to expand to year round but it's unlikely that is feasible financially.

I'm talking about this here and now because of the intended target in all of this:  Amazon.

Jeff Bezos and Amazon has done for consumers in terms of offering deals, services, and pushing the online shipping services in innovative directions.  And let's not forget its ebook, video, and music services that is now the Kindle ecosystem.

It's unlikely what Target is doing for the 2013 Holidays is going to be enough.  Online shopping experiences offered by Amazon and others have been to ingrained into the minds of shoppers these day.  The convenience of clicking a few keys or touches on a tablet and your product just shows up a few days later is just too hard a habit to break.

But the possible convenience of being able to pick it up at a store quicker might help Target a bit.  I can count three Target stores in my area that I can drive to to do just that.  In fact, one is on my way to the gym.

Mobile: T-Mobile In Its "Unleash" Plan Will Offer 200MB of Data To All Its Tablets

Initially, I thought it was just the iPad but it looks like T-Mobile will offer 200 MB of free data a month to all. I think this just about says it.  Supposedly, they've got a $10 a month plan as well.  I can see them going with one GB for $10.

This pic from T-Mobile's twitter feed just about says it.

Tmonews has more information. The gist is that you can get unlimited data for $10 a month with the first 500 MB at LTE speed.  And you know what happens after that, right?  It's down to EDGE speed of course.  For none intensive use like messaging or e-mailing, that ain't bad at all.

Then there's the T-Mobile scheme that allows you to pay for the tablets over the life of 24 months.  Already know that part.  Nothing new there.

This definitely is a game changer.  Guess which network I'll be getting my tablets from from now on?

iPad 2013 Line-Up, $299 and Up, Will Be One Of the Richest But Most Difficult To Settle On (Part 1)

Apple's iPad event yesterday did not disappoint.  I got my target Macbook Pro and an assortment of new iLife and iWork. But I also need a new iPad.  Sure, I've got two of them in my mobile arsenal but I'm gonna be passing my 4th gen one to my nephew.  And as for my 2010 original iPad?  It's getting a lot of mileage as a home tablet for streaming videos and whatnot.

So, I'm in the market for a new iPad.  Before the event, I was gunning and hoping for an iPad mini with Retina display.  I love the Retina Display on the iPad but that thing weighs more than twice that of the mini.  And I'm not that particular about using my tablets with one hand, not like I do with my phones, so that isn't an issue.

See, I carry around lot of gears and notebooks still.  So, any less weight off would be great.

Then Apple dropped the iPad Air.  And with it, comes a new form factor that comes in at 1 pound.  And to make matters worse, while Apple did offer the iPad mini with Retina Display, it also increased the weight to about .75 pound.  The different is only about a quarter pound.

There are a couple of factors that might drive me towards the Air.  One is that it will be available sooner rather than later.  Also, I've might be more productive on the iPad than on the mini.  Third, bigger screen also means bigger text.

One caveat for me about the iPad is the charge time.  It takes a freaking long time.

Anyway, I'll go check it out on November 1st at my local Apple Store.  It does sound like I'm settle on the Air.  I'd say it's more like 55-45 that I'm leaning towards it.

For now.  I'm sure more info will leak out over the next few days as Apple insiders gleefully share much coveted information.

Air: iPad Versus Macbook

There's so many direction I can go with this and I think I will go with all of them.  Because it's fun to speculate about Apple products and how this will impact mobile warriors.

First, I've got a late-2010 Macbook Air, the original iPad, iPad 4th gen, and an assortment of iPhones and iPods.  I'm just an Apple fan like that.  In general, I'm a huge mobile fan.  Got Google and Microsoft gears too.  But Apple has been more fun to talk about because of its history and secrecy.

So, imagine the surprised looks on many people's faces, those at the live Apple event, those watching them on their Apple gears, and those following the live blogs, when Apple announced the "iPad 5" will be called the "iPad Air".

So then I got to thinking almost immediately once the shock wore off.  Air?  Doesn't Apple already have a successful product called the Macbook Air?  Two of them if I remember correctly.

So, it's Air versus Air.  iPad versus Macbook.  Is Apple trying to tell us something?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Who the iPhone 5c Is Really For

It's been nearly a month since I've got my iPhone 5s.  Been using it extensively.  That's obvious since I'm a mobile warrior just like you and it's been like that since my iPhone 4.  Having said that, I have to admit that thought I had the iPhone 5, I was looking pretty hard at the iPhone 5c - the green version.  I didn't go with it because I wanted the newest that Apple had to offer with the 5s, the speed, the upgraded camera, and, of course, Touch ID.  And I wanted 64 GB.

Still, the 5c is in its own right something that works for many people.  I think some folks were disappointed in the fact that the iPhone 5 form factor is no longer available and in order to get one, you have to go with the 5s.  Also, the colors may not be for everyone.  Perhaps, this is why the 5s schooled the 5c in the beginning.  After all, which iPhone that Apple has ever released been outsold by last year's model at a lower price.  The 3gs outsold the 3g in the same period.  The iPhone 4 outside the 3GS.  The iPhone 4s outsold the iPhone 4 and so on.

So, this is why many in the media and blogdom are using the fact that the 5s has outsold the 5c by a factor of 3 to 1 to click-baiting themselves to get more eye balls.  It's a low hanging fruit.  They don't want you to remember that newer iPhones has always outsold the older ones.

So, who are the colorful iPhones for?  Kids.  That's who.  I came to this conclusion largely because of what I saw with Nokia's Lumia phones, the low-end devices with its color choices.  It could help explain why the cheap Lumia devices are selling better and why Lumia devices are also so colorful. Sure, they cost less but they also aren't the high-end iPhones.  The Lumia offers a stark contrast to what Apple offers.

With the iPhone 5c, Apple is attempting to address the color gap.  It's only the first step.  Right now, the cost of an iPhone 5c is much higher than the low-end devices that Nokia is selling.  I was able to buy a decent one for $200.  A 5c costs around $500.   That's this year.  Next year or the year after that, Apple may well offer versions of the iPhone 5c at a lower price.

Right now, the iPhone 4s can be had for free with a two-year contract.  It's arguable one of the most popular iPhones out there.  It's wrecking havoc on Android device makers in that segment of the market.  Then there's the 5c that one can get for $99 with a two-year contract.  And right now, sales of the 5c has picked up as the consumer realized its value.  Imagine next year what the mobile market will be like when Apple offers the 5c for free on contract or $350 or $400 contract free?

Suddenly, Apple will have a premium-ish device that caters to the low-end market.  Apple is never going to compete with the $99 or $199 smartphones.  That's not them and not their market.  But at $400 for an iPhone, Apple will capture anyone who has interest in entering its walled garden, the iOS ecosystem.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

iPad or iPhone, Airplay, Bluetooth: The Future of The Truck

I've been thinking about getting a new Macbook. I'm considering moving over to the Pro version. Right now, I've got the 11.9" MacBook Air. The main reason is that I think I can use more power in the graphics department and also I really have been spoiled by the Retina Display on the iPhone and iPad. Even so, I can't help but wonder the customer base for traditional PC is shrinking by the day.

For instance, right now, I'm am writing this post through the iPad. I'm using a Bluetooth keyboard. Lots of people already do that. Well, the difference here is that I'm mirroring the iPad screen to the HDTV that I'm beginning to use more and more.

All this is made possible by the ease of use Apple provided with Airplay and the Apple TV. If you've got an iOS device capable of mirroring its screen and have $99, you can do the same thing. You end up with a pretty neat "PC setup" that works brilliantly.

The only issue that I can't help but wonder if Apple will eventually resolve in the mirroring of apps. See, with the HDTV display serving as the main display, I'm also seeing the same thing on the iPad. This is absolutely unnecessary. I like Apple to provide the tools in future iOS and SDK that will allow developers to offer added functionalities to their app and use the iPad screen as a secondary display.

This could be necessary for business apps as well as gaming apps as well. In fact, I can't help but wonder if this is coming sooner rather than later. All that depends on how Apple still sees the Apple TV. Right now, it's still a hobby. A hobby that is doing quite well in its own right. Perhaps with its own ability to run apps or allow developers to beef up their apps with Apple TV and Airplay integration, Apple could allow iOS users to be able to expand their mobile horizon if you will.

Right now, the iPad is dominating the tablet market in ways that matter. People who use their iPads in enterprise. People use their iPads to replace their laptops. Apple can solidify its position in the tablet market and the mobile market in general if it can also give users the option to tie their iPads with this added functionality.

And this is not just for iPads. iPhones can work just as well as too in this setup.

Apple will hold a press event on Tuesday. I don't think we'll see what I'm talking about next week but I hope that Apple will see that while the iPhone and iPad is not a truck, with the right tools, it can become one.

One more thing. Apple moved the iPhone 5s' chip ARM architecture to 64-bit. With it, it will beging to have PC like computing muscles. This chip, the A7, will soon make its way to the next iPad.

Note: If you don't get the truck reference I'm talking about here. Steve Jobs used the difference between a regular car and a truck as an anology to the PC and mobile devices. The PC being the truck and the sedan being the mobile device. He simply was saying that as the mobile advances, not all mobile worriors need a PC (a truck) and devices like the iPhone and iPad would be enough to serve their computing needs.



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mobile: T-Mobile Killing Off Older Plans and Forcing Users Onto New Ones Even If It Ends Up Costing More

Source:  T-Mo News.

The Internet is bursting with new that T-Mobile is ending grandfathered plans and forcing users over to its newer Value Plans.  It's still too early to tell just how this will impact a vast majority of its users and the level of "evilness" is involved  here, we should give T-Mobile the benefit out of the doubt given that it's been one of the more friendly, or less evil, of all of the major carriers.

It did acknowledge that for some users, it'll end up costing more but also with added benefits as well.

Personally, I could care less about added benefits like unlimited talk and text since I hardly use either. Come to think of it, only T-Mobile texts me about payment and account updates.

I'm currently on a $30 prepaid plan that offers 100 minutes of talk time. But get this.  I also get 5 GB of high speed data.

Imaginary Friends For Kids Are Fine And May Be Helpful So Long As They Aren't Evil

Source: The Verge.

Lately, I've been writing a lot.  Fiction.  I start something and don't finish it.  Usually, it's a problem or issue I need to deal with and my characters have different perspectives on it.  It's helpful in a way. And then I read this today.  A study has shown that it's good in some instances for a child to have an imaginary friend.

It helps with their complex thinking and problem solving skills.  Later on as they grown older, oh, about seven or so, these friends become just private thoughts in their head.

I definitely can see this being a good thing.  A friend of mine who's daughter had all sort of imaginary friends, some of them kinda freaked me out, is how a very precocious and brilliant little girl.  And another child I know seems to develop a close relationship with his stuffed animals and has learned to deal with certain issues at home in a productive and constructive manner.

The study involved nearly 150 children. And you can read more at the link above. But the results did not surprise me at all.

Of course, you want to monitor this situation if your child has an imaginary friend. You still want them to be able to develop real relations with other real kids as well. And also, you want to make sure the imaginary friend isn't some thousand year old demonic force hell bent on using your child to further its devilish aims.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Obamacare Isn't Like Slavery, Tea Tax Maybe

There no doubt that Obamacare isn't perfect. It's pretty bad. And the implementation is even worse. But the GOP comparison of the law that is changing the social and economic landscape of the United States to slavery makes no sense.

I understand the economic argument of this but already workers have lost economic freedom through decades of the vast majority wealth in America concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority.

This social problem is at the root of social and economic problem in America. The short-sighted attempts to defund and delay Obamacare just had been a waste of time and only served to increase the anger and dismay of the American people. And worse, the government shutdown and increasing likelihood of an American default underlines just how out of whack Washington is.

The long-term problems of the country continue to get kicked down the street.

No. This is not about slavery. This is more about being held hostage to party politics and where American big businesses and special interests play out their games.

- Posted using Mobile

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Are There Better Ways or New Features Delivery Companies Can Offer To Help Customer Track Packages Once They're On Trucks?

Tracking packages are fun especially if it's something you've been waiting for eagerly.  At times, it feels like it's Christmas, you know?  Kids have been using NORAD to track Santa for years.  However, while Santa does make door-to-door delivery and you lose track of him just before you go to bed on Christmas Eve, we don't lose track of UPS or FedEx in the same way.  Once our packages get on the trucks, we do lose track of them.  

I think there has to be a way for the delivery companies to offer a way for customers to track when they are thrown into trucks for delivery.  Now, while some of the folks who have been online in forums talking about similar situations, some want UPS and others to offer GPS information about their packages.  I don't think that works but I wonder if there is an alternative solution that might work better and safer for the drivers.

Little more than two weeks ago, I was eagerly tracking my iPhone 5s delivery all the way from Zhengzou, China to Anchorage, Alaska to Louisville, Kentucky and, finally, to Ontario, California where when my iPhone got loaded up into a truck somewhere closer and finally to my doorsteps.

Now, I'm tracking my Galaxy Note 3.  It's on a FedEx truck.  It'll be delivered by the end of the day.  They've promised me that much on the website.  I've got meetings.  I've got breaks and whatnot.  

GPS locators on truckers for customers to track is dangerous.  You don't want crazed customers to follow their delivery guy around or hound them by showing up during one of their deliveries or cutting them off of the road so that you can grab your stuff.  Heck, bad guys will be able to know which truck contains what and hijack them.

Plus, just because you see the truck that has your package appear in your neighborhood does not necessarily meant you're next.  It could go off somewhere else and come back to you later.  I think they follow certain predetermined routes.

GPS feature would be a bad idea.  

However, I think I've got a solution that might work better.  When you call into a company for support, sometimes, the automated system tells you how long you are likely to wait until an operator becomes available to take your call or how many calls are ahead of you.  

I figure the UPS guy probably has as schedule or route he has to follow.  Just the the mailman.  One walks while the other drives.  Perhaps, delivery companies can offer estimated delivery times based on how the delivery folks are doing out in the field, weather, and traffic conditions.  Maybe provide information about how many deliveries the driver has to make before he gets to you.

It's an added service that could make live easier for customers, like me who just watched two FedEx trucks passed without stopping to give me my Note 3.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mobile: Man Waved Gun Around But No One Noticed - Why?

Source:  Yahoo.

I've done this before.  I'm so absorbed in my book, tablet, or whatever in public that I sometimes I notice what's going on around me.  I'm a perfect victim for a pickpocket for worse.  Well, that's what happened to a group of commuters on a train.

As surveillance video showed,a  man took out a gun and waved it around but no one noticed.  Then he sort of gave up and put it back inside.  

"These weren't concealed movements — the gun is very clear," District Attorney George Gascon said. "These people are in very close proximity with him, and nobody sees this. They're just so engrossed, texting and reading and whatnot. They're completely oblivious of their surroundings."

He even wiped his nose with the gun in his hand.  Just seem so casual.  I can't imagine what he was thinking.  In a way, he was probably shocked that he was getting away with it.  Until he decided to escalate things and shot a college kid.

Here is a more indepth report on the dangers of being too absorbed into one's mobile world and not be aware of what's going on around them.

I'll be the first to admit as I've stated above.  It doesn't have to be mobile but many times for us today, it's our mobile devices that have our attention and the main source of distraction.  This is not just about standing around looking down on your mobile device, become a victim of a crime, and then not being able to identify the assailant because you didn't see it coming.

It's not only about standing around.  It's about texting and walking.  It's about texting and driving as well.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Newborn And His Mother's Love Saved Toy Story 2

Yes, we have all seen Toy Story 2.  And if you haven't, stop reading and go watch it and then come back to read the rest of this post.  Actually, watch the rest of this post about how "rm*" (for you Unix/Linux wizards) killed one of Pixar's most iconic and memorable movies before being saved because of a mother's love for her newborn.

Apple 5th Generation iPad Event: Window Between Last Year's iPad Mini Event And Invitation Was One Week


It's a new week.  So it is worth noting that we are inching closer and closer to the October iPad and even Mac event.  I just want to quickly point that that the date of the invitations sent out for the iPad mini event and the event itself last year was a week apart.

Today is Tuesday,  obviously.  October 8th. That means for an Apple event to take place next Tuesday on October 15th, we need to see the privileged few bloggers and journalists receive and brag about their Apple invitation today.

This pic here was from the invitation last October.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, Apple is likely to host their event on October 22nd and with the new iPad will probably go on sale on November 1st.  Plus, Nike, a close Apple partner, will be hosting their own event next Tuesday.  It's unlikely the two companies will host concurrent events even if they are not necessarily competing events.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Social: Girl Goes Nuts At Coffee Shop And Was Unable To Control Her Telekinetic Powers

You've got to see this!!!  There are those among us who have abilities beyond what's confined by physical laws and, you know, whatever.

You've got to see this to!

Friday, October 4, 2013

When Siri First Learned She Was Herself - Meet The Woman Who Gave Voice To Siri

I wasn't not aware of this but with iOS 7, the voice of Siri has changed.  It's too bad but again, I couldn't tell.  However, Susan Bennett does.  See, she's the original voice of Siri.  And for the longest time since 2005 on July days in Atlanta, she recorded voices that would later be known to millions for those who iPhones and iPads and even to those who don't.

Siri has become a social icon and we have Bennett to thank for that.  Here's more on CNN.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Nike Fuel Band Event Set - Going Up Against Possible Apple iPad Event?

Nike is hosting an event to unveil it's second generation Nike Fuelband, which I'm am a fan of (Redmond Pie).  That and in of itself is nothing to get all that excited about given that the American public has a weight issues and are more comfortable being couch potatoes, but rather the date of the event:  October 15th.

October 15th is one of the two days that are likely to be used by Apple to host its iPad unveiling.  The second one is October 22nd (On Apple).

Here's the thing.  It's unlikely that Nike takes its cue from Cupertino so it sets its unveiling date any day it's pleased.  Having said that, Apple and Nike are good partners and likely in close consultation.

If both companies unveil their products on the same day, I can tell you whose products are going to get a lion share of the attention from bloggers and the public at large.

Assuming that both companies have spoken and worked out their schedules, October 22nd would likely be the day Apple unveils the latest and greatest iPads.  The 4th generation iPad was unveiled on October 23nd, 2012 and went on sale ten days later on November 2nd.

And if the October 22nd is the Apple event, the iPad will probably go on sale on November 1st.  Also ten days later.

App Stores Becoming Incubators For Mobile Players

It was just announced that Apple bought Cue (Appleinsider), a Google Now-like service.  It occurred to me that the app stores, whatever you call them, have for years been a sort of service incubators for mobile players.

Siri bought by Apple.  Bump by Google.  Google also bought an office suite or two like Quick Office.  I seem to recall that both Microsoft and Samsung have also dipped into the app store and plucked out an app maker or two.  Both Apple and Google have bought map app makers too.

Even Facebook, a mobile player of sort but not a mobile platform/device maker, even went into the app store and bought out Instagram for $1 billion.

More of this is going to happen in the years to come as competition in the mobile space as well as the future of computing in general continue to become a bigger and bigger slug-match among these cash rich tech and platform companies.

So, if you're an app maker or is considering it, keep this in mind.  Selling to mobile users is great but getting bought out because your service or app is so freaking awesome that Apple or Google finds you irresistible is even better.

Samsung Caught Cheating But Issued "Nu-Uh" Response. Does It Matter? Yes

Does it matter that Samsung is cheating on benchmarks for its Galaxy Note 3?  No.  Not to me since I assumed that they did, would, and will.  And I've not cancelled my Verizon Galaxy Note 3 order.  However, the question many are asking and taking sides on is whether this matters that they're cheating or not.

And the answer is absolutely it matters.  And this is why so far, Apple and Motorola/Google (Macrumors) has not gone into the benchmark game.

Most of us don't buy our smartphones or tablets based on just benchmarks.  Okay, in the past, some of us might make that decision to go with a certain PC maker or customization based on that.  However, most of today's mobile devices does not allow chip or memory customization like the PC market.

So, being able to claim on a benchmark test that could be important to some device makers, especially Samsung because it is facing public relations pressure because if patent issues, copying issues, and competition from the likes of not just Apple but other Android device makers like LG, Sony, and Google.

And coming out first is very important to them.  And if you were force to pick whether you trust Samsung's words (BGR) or that of tech sites like Arstechnica (post on Samsung's cheating), I'll take the tech guys any given day.

Furthermore, given that Apple's iPhone 5s sports a 64-bit chip architecture which gives Apple a head start in the next stage of mobile chip race and experience, Samsung probably found itself having to respond in mind.

And being able to say that you've got the fastest device makes it easier for the marketing guys to sell it to the public.

I'm not sure where Samsung's insecurity is coming from. They're the biggest phone maker in the world in terms of market share.  It's unlikely anyone will come close any time soon.  And the Galaxy brand is right up there with the iPhone.

The benchmark scandal, if that, will only confuse the issue for its fans.  And the public is not going to care one way or another if one device is a bit faster than another.  What they will be irked about is stories about cheating.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Social: Path Spams Users, It's Not Okay And It'll Happen Again

Source:  Media Post.

I used to be a Path user and supporter after all the privacy-busting moves that Facebook made to rape every bit of information and pictures its users uploaded in the name of making a buck.  It's outrageous and I stopped using it and found Path.

However, I've become disenchanted with it after a series of moves to increase users.  Mostly through unethical means like spam-texting an user's contacts.

If you don't know what Path is, and it's likely you don't, it's a private social network that limits you to a specific number of users in order to make sure that your timeline doesn't become a while orgy of people praising whatever deity they worship, pics of their babies, or whatever has been annoying users on Facebook.  And oh, there's no ads and it appears there probably won't be.  Path makes money through value-added services and products like stickers.

But it's no Facebook.  So, in trying to increase the number of users, Path took questionable and ethically challenging "paths" to spam users who share their contact list on their iPhone or Android device.  It's just wrong.

Even not legal.  And there are lawsuits pending to determine that.

But I get the feeling that this will not be the end of it and Path will not be the last ones to try this.  The fact of the matter, like many things that companies will try to win users over or make money in general, is that unless the punishment is so severe and outweigh the risk of fines or backlashes, they'll give it a go.

When caught, they'll try to explain away their actions.  Say that others are doing it or that there's a loophole for them to do the unethical but not illegal things.  Or apologize and backtrack and try again when they think no one is looking.  Facebook is famous for trying this.  Change privacy policies on the fly or claim ownership of pics or other bits of information users share. Then when there is a backlash, they'll feign misunderstanding and explain away their actions.

They chip and chip away a bit at a time.  And unfortunately, the users allow it to happen.

Mobile: Blackberry Tells Wall Street What Main Street Already Knows But Was Surprised Anyway

The title of the post didn't quite get it.  Essentially, Blackberry is in a lot worse shape than they thought.  Worse than Wall Street expected as well.  Essentially, things are unraveling at a rate that Blackberry had not expected and the pace is picking up as customers look else where for their mobile fixes.

How's this to wake up to.  A $400 million charge out of its cash reserve, which Blackberry is burning through rather quickly, is 4x the expensive it thought it would cost to cut about 40% of its workforce.  Essentially, someone screwed up majorly.

It also says that the company could be worth less than what the Canadian insurance/financial company, Fairfax Financial, is paying for with the deal valued at $4.7 billion.  As of this moment, Blackberry has dipped below $4 billion.

The worrying thing is the defection.  I know this feeling as I expected it as an Apple fan back in the late 90s when many around me, particular the university environment which I was working in, began hooking up HP PCs in labs, replacing the rooms and rooms of Macs that were there before.  And while some of the professors and post-docs remained true, the departments were beginning to save money by going with cheaper Windows options.

Unfortunately for Blackberry, the smartphone market and is current situation is vastly more different than the one that Apple faced.  While Windows 95 and 98 had their issues, Apple was still able to convince enough of its fans that it can turn things around.  Sure, the Macs then were not that great but they were still enough to make us stick around.  And then, of course, Steve Jobs came back to Apple.

For Blackberry, the alternatives to Blackberry was not like Macs and Windows PC.  The iPhones and Androids are very good.  Not to mention that Windows Phone is beginning to take hold in certain markets.

It is over for Blackberry.  I'm hoping that we will see another refresh in the hardware before everything begins to unwind.  I'm hoping there is an improved Q10, maybe a Q30 that I can pick up before Blackberry abandons hardware development and focuses exclusively on software and app services.

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...