Wednesday, February 27, 2013

HP Moving Focus To Tablets – Others Will Follow Giving the PC Market to Apple


It’s interesting that HP is finally getting into the tablet market.  It’s latest tablet entry into the market is an uninspiring Android tablet for a decent $170.  I think they finally figured how what they need to do and it could come from Tim Cook himself.  If the tablet market is going to cannibalize the PC market, you best do it yourself or someone else will do it for you.

Having said that, as more and more users move from Windows-based PC to likely iOS and Android tablets, who will have the remaining PC market?  It’s likely all the main PC guys will have some kind of laptops running Windows but most who truly need a PC may opt for a Mac.  Should that momentum carry, don’t be surprised if Apple ends up owning the PC market in a few years.

Don’t think so?  Consider that in five years, the tablet will be vastly different.  In fact, they may look more like Microsoft’s Surface Pro – a tablet will more robust features that one used to only be able to find on a laptop.  Not all but enough that people will buy tablets instead – for office work or gaming.

That leaves the more specialized markets to the PCs.  Probably higher end PCs where Apple is sitting.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mobile: Built-In Batteries Equal More Money For Device Makers



When Apple first made its iPods and then iPhones and iPads not user-friendly in terms of allowing us to change out the batteries, it was for look and feel of the designs.  Some what annoying but I understand why.  Also, not that many people like carry around an extra battery in their pockets.

But now, more and more of Apple’s competitors are doing the same thing except maybe for Samsung.  But why?  The same reason as Apple – design?

Maybe.

However, I have another theory:  battery cases.  They go from around $99 and up.  Meanwhile, you can buy a battery for the Galaxy S 3 for $40 from the carries or as low as $11 on Amazon.  Heck, the GS3, which has an user-replaceable battery, has a battery case as well for $99.

The last time I went out with a bunch of friends, there were plenty of iPhones about.  Half of us had battery cases.  Even if just 25% of the iPhone users also use a battery case, that's a lot of licensing money for Apple.

So, if these top device makers like Google, LG, or Sony license their names and allow for the production of battery cases and charge for more for it, it would provide an additional revenue stream.

Right now, what’s one feature of mobile devices that everyone universally complain about?  Battery life.


With Every High End Android At 1080p, Apple Cannot Afford Not To Outdo Competitors


Source:  On Apple.

Others and myself have laid out how Apple can deal with the increase in screen sizes and resolutions it has faced from competitors.  The iPhone 5 is definitely the top selling mobile computing device in the world but it's still looked up on as a phone.  Devices from Samsung, Sony, and LG with their 5+ inch 1080p screens, initially laughed at by pundits and doubters have picked up in sales and momentum largely because mobile warriors now use their smartphones as actually mobile computing devices rather than a phone as its primary function.


Having some time to think about it, I can't think of a scenario and justification from Apple or its defenders for it not to release a 5" iPhone or whatever you wanna call it and not retain a Retina Display capability of at least 326 dpi or just a bit less (because you can  hold the a 5" screen further).  Many have argued that Apple can keep the resolution of a possible 5" iPhone the same as the iPhone 5 resolution, 1136x640, and still have the same 264 DPI as the iPad.

If Apple does go this route, it will be a test of its brand power in the face of a powerful mobile momentum where its top competitors will have better technology than Apple.

Otherwise, Apple better make up for that with some pretty awesome features and improvements to iOS. Siri with a deeper sexier voice?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Abandoning Android: Samsung Folding Bada Into Tizen (Which Has Intel’s Support)


So Samsung is phasing out Bada and folding it into Tizen.

Kinda saw this coming.  Who didn’t?  Bada hasn’t been lighting the mobile world on fire and Tizen seems more promising given Intel’s into it as well.  2014 Is going to be a big year for Samsung as we’ll see more how it’ll go about switching from Android to its own OS.  I’m sure Samsung will always making Android devices to some extent. If Samsung is fully committed, this will be a multi-year transition.

But Samsung has to publicly make a declaration.  Otherwise, Samsung fans won’t bite and they’ll stick with Google as the safer choice.

Meanwhile, Google already has shown that it will make a move into the hardware business.  This is now an opportunity for it to take the high-end device mantle from the Galaxy brand.

Social: Facebook Flaw Opens Up Everyone's Account

Another reason to quit Facebook.  Its privacy policies is so convoluted and complex - this particular flaw, though fixed, likely won't be the last.  And you know what, I get the feeling that Facebook doesn't even fully understand its own privacy measures.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Lighter iPads Coming. Meanwhile, Go To The Gym And Work Your Arms

I think it's same to say that the next Apple update for the 9.7" iPad will including the fifth generation iconic tablet shedding weight. How much? It would be nice to see it closer to 1 pound. Right now, the current iPad stands at weighs in at 1.44 pounds for the wifi only version while the 3G comes in at 1.46.

If the next iPad does indeed shed about a third of its former weight, we would be looking at another engineering breakthrough from Apple. What's more, it'll like be faster and exhibit the same awesome battery.

Of course, only Apple knows when we'll see the next iPad.


Even now, I continue to use my original iPad from 2010, "Steve's iPad" I call it, and for some issues with memory, I love it still.

Until then, for those who whatever reason wanted to find something to complain about the iPad and they come up with its weight to talk about, all I can say is "really?".

Go to the gym and work on this weak muscles in your arms.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, February 22, 2013

When Free Is A Bad Deal: T-Mobile's Free Nexus 4 Deal Is A Bad One - Better Options Available


Today is a slow news day.  So, obviously, all the blogs out there are in need of clicks (I wouldn’t mind a couple) on this Friday.  That’s the only reason I can think of why more than a few blogs, mostly Android centric ones but also a few major ones, are boasting about T-Mobile’s free Nexus 4 deal.

It’s a bad deal anyway you look at it.  I like to think these blogs are doing more to protect and educate their readers.

First, if you’re signing any two-year contracts these days, it’s a bad deal.  Device makers know it, carriers know it, and pundits/bloggers know it.  The math is very clear and they’re all over the Internet.

150 Video Clips of Steve Jobs Together on Youtube


No Netflix or Hulu?  Not even willing to shell out for iTunes?  But you've got a lot of time this weekend?

Well, you can spend it watching this Youtube channel that has 150 videos of Steve Jobs.  I've seen one version or another of his most famous ones - Mac unveiling, iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.  Still, I think there are some gems in there.

I'm not a die-hard fan but just a regular Apple enthusiast.  But if you are...

Source:  Macobserver.

Google And Microsoft (Mostly Google) Move Into Hardware Is For Profit - Could Be Bad for Samsung



Source:  Cult of Android.

If you look at the chart below, you'll begin to see why perhaps Google is getting into the hardware business.  So far Google has done a fantastic job on Android but it has seen its subsidiary Motorola stuck in the mud while Samsung, its partner and future rival, reap in all the money and glory.

googleprofitvssamsung

I still believe Google's move into hardware is more about setting things up for the future, regardless of who makes the hardware (though I'm sure Google prefers we buy theirs) as long as it remains the backbone for our searches, purchases, and apps.

Maybe Microsoft sees the value of hardware sales too but it's most likely interested in making sure it stays relevant in the mobile and post-PC era.

For Android poster-boy, Samsung, the talk about moving over to Tizen in the future, becomes more and more urgent.  The trick is to one day install a non-Android OS on its Galaxy-class hardware and convince people they won't lose a beat when they move away from Android to Tizen or Bada.  It'll be hard but if anyone has shown resiliency and willingness to take risks, it's Samsung.

I think Samsung could take a hit but it won't go away.  How bad will depend on the Tizen game plan and excecution.  For others like HTC, Dell, HP, etc, boy, things don't look too good.  And if you're wondering about Apple, it'll be alright in the short-term.

Who Cares If Chromebook Pixel Doesn't Make Sense To Us (For Now)?

I'm not sure why some people are dumping on the Chromebook Pixel Google unveiled yesterday.  I seem to recall that when Samsung released the Galaxy Note, it was laughed at.  And now, Note 2 has taken off and "phablet" is becoming more ubiquitous both as a term and in use.  And so much so that those same folks who lampooned it are now asking where Apple's phablet is.

Google Chromebook Pixel Criticism

For the record, I'm a Macbook user and I seriously doubt I'll be getting the Pixel. Having said that, the Pixel isn't for me.  Maybe not even for 99% of the laptop/netbook market.  But for that 1% who sees the value in what Google is doing, it makes sense.

Also consider Google's Glass project along with what it's going now.  There is a strategy to this seeming madness.  I don't know if it'll pan out but I love risk-takers and Google is doing just that, being a risk-taker.  Google is looking at selling to consumers years from now, not today.

Glass and Pixel are both "hobbies" like Apple TV has been a hobby for six years.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

LEGO Michael Jackson Dances!


Source:  Mashable.

This could be the start of something new using Lego pieces to create dance routines.  But first up, my man, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson!

Woohoo!!!

So It's True: Google's Chromebook Pixels

Source:  Google.

Wow...just, wow...I did not think this was going to happen this quickly.


More thoughts on it later...for now, know that it's main competitor is Apple. Specifically, the Macbook Pro with Retina Display.  Here are the more important specs:

  • 13" -ish display with 2560x1700
  • Touchscreen - not even Apple has that. However, you may never see a Macbook with touch display.  
  • 3.35 lbs
  • Intel Core i5 running at 1.8Ghz, HD 4000 integrated graphics - same GPU as those on Apple's Macbooks (those without dedicated GPU).
  • 4GB, 32 GB onboard storage, 1 TB cloud storage for three years
  • 5 Hours of battery life - Apple's are closer to 7 or 8 hours.
  • 100 MB of wireless data via Verizon.
For now, we know who Google is gunning for with this - Apple and Micrsoft.  At $1,299, I wonder who its target audience is.

China's Boneheaded International Move: Kowtowing to North Korea And Forcing Japan To Reexamine Military Role

Source:  CS Monitor.


Here is a very good post on the state of what's going on in the region of the Pacfic Ocean where China, the Korean peninsula, and Japan meets.  Specifically, the Senkaku Islands where China, Japan, and Taiwan all claim sovereignty over.

China has allowed the North Koreans to run amok while itself has becoming increasingly belligerent towards its neighbors.  Case in point.  Despite improving relations between its semi-independent island province of Taiwan, it still has hundreds of missiles pointed at it.  And more recently, a Chinese warship locked weapons radar on a Japanese defense ship.

So now, Japan is looking beyond the restrictions imposed upon it by its pacifist constitution and turning its self-defense force into more of a regular military that any other nations might have.

And with the US obligated to come to the aid of its friend, which may include Taiwan, don’t think a few hawks in the US government aren’t looking to knock China down a couple of steps by simply targeting China’s military infrastructure in a limited engagement.

So now, Japan has to worry about both North Korea and China's juvenile behaviors.

Just saying…Beijing, boneheaded moves, dude…


Note:  Not to mention the hacking by the Chinese military.

Another Note:  For those who would protest that Taiwan in a country, puleazeeee...Taiwan's president governor Ma Ying Jeou doesn't even make Beijing's representative call him "president". On top of that, he's allowed economic investments to come at the expense of the average Taiwanese's political future, not to mention freedom.

PlayStation 4: Event Was A Disappointment But Potential Is There; Sony Should Have Provided More Details

Source:  Engadget, Insider.

I thoroughly loved the PlayStation 4 demos yesterday.  I eagerly await its arrival in November or just before the Christmas shopping season starts.  But, boy, to say that the whole PS4 unveiling was a sorry affair is an understatement.  There are plenty of questions that Sony needs to answer so my personal judgment, and maybe yours too, should be put on hold.

PlayStation 4

Apparently, others are not so kind.  Such as Goldman Sachs who was not blown away.  I’ve got a few issues but again, I don’t think we should judge until we know more and right now, Sony is holding its cards very, very close to its chest.

So much so, in fact, that the US head of PlayStation sounded weary. And this is the guy who will lead Sony’s PS4 effort in the US!  In fact, he doesn’t know what the specs are but he hopes that it won’t cost $599 like the PS3 did.

Given the specs that Sony has laid out so far, I reckon the cost cannot be more than $250-300 if you grab similar components from online electronic retailers.  Sony should be able to market it at $399 a most.  Maybe even $299.  Sony should forget about trying to make money off the hardware entire like Amazon and Google and go after making money from media and game sales or ads.  After all, isn’t that why Sony seems to be making a big push for indie development?

Heck, there are even signs that Apple is heading in that direction.  Sure, Apple will make wants its pound of flesh from hardware sales but that’s Apple. Sony could have been Apple but that’s another story entirely.

Social: State-By-State Map Of Best Place To Hook Up

Source:  The Dish.

Best place to hook up depends on where you live - but wow, Walmart, like the Republicans, has the South locked up.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mass Killings - Media Attention Is Both Good and Bad

Source:  CNN.


Although dismissed by authorities, a CBS report is suggesting that Adam Lanza, the cowardly and, hopefully is burning in hell now, shooter, may have in part been motivated by another mass killer, Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian killer who slaughtered 77 people.

After reading this CNN post, I still think we have a lot more to learn about the Newtown shooting so right now I don't know what to make of the CBS report.  But it got me asking questions about the Norway mass killing and what the future holds. Like if more of these copycats or mass killings are going to be more frequent.

Just today, a man went in a rampage in my Southern California killing and hurting people in Orange County, south of Los Angeles.  So far, police have no motive for why he did it.  Just like other killings, the gunman committed suicide.

I had questions about how a guy managed to go around killing another 69 people after his initial bombing.  So, I did a bit of digging to see if there was anything about how he managed that before the authorities arrived.  And why was he given such a light sentence of only 21 years?

I don't want to get into it here and there is plenty that you can google, bing, or duckduckgo on the Internet.

The frequency of shootings seemed to have picked up lately in the US.  It could be because we are now more conscience about gun issues and news due to the senseless slaughter of twenty children and their caretakers at school.  Perhaps, it's because a girl who sang at President Obama's second inauguration was shot back in his home state and that the sister of a woman who went to listen to the president speak was shot and killed hours later.

Or like this senseless killing of three in OC and last week's killing of bystanders and two police officers by a former Los Angeles Police Department officer.

I have a lot of questions and I don't know the answers about these killings and future ones.  And I am afraid of what they may be.  Surely, gun control is something that Washington has to address.  Also, the state of our society where individuals see fit to act out their rages in such destructive manners.

Unfortunately, I'm not hopeful.  I think the president and his party would like to curtail ownership of some guns.  The GOP are against it but it doesn't appear that they are in any mood to work with the White House.  Or that even the White House sees an opportunity to score some points for 2014.

Meanwhile, gun deaths will continue, maybe even accelerate.

Frugal: Time To Oil the Gears And Check The Tires On My Bike

My last fill up from near empty was $72.25.  Looks like $5.50+ a gallon is possible for 2013 is likely (CNBC)...

My Kmart bike will be getting plenty of workout starting this week.

Apple's Macs Hacked Via Java Bug

According to Reuters, Apple confirmed it was hacked via a Java bug.  A new tool from Apple will be released to fix the problem.

Wanna bet it's from a five-lettered country that starts with third letter of the alphabet, ends with the first letter of the alphabet, and "hin" in the middle?

According to Daring Fireball, Java is the means of the attack.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Samsung Out Innovating Apple? Depends


Source:  CNN.


This CNN posts declares that Samsung is innovating faster than Apple has.  It points to the split screen feature in the Samsung Note 2 that allows for more than one app to be used at the same time.  Over all, it's not the greatest example but I do feel that it is a fair argument.  But it really depends on where you're coming from.

I think a fairer argument is that Samsung has more models than Apple on the market with a variety of screen sizes.  Even that is also oversimplifying things.

Both companies take different approaches to how their release products to their customers.  Apple obviously has one model but in all likelihood, it has also many prototypes that they work with in their secret lairs that will never see the light of day.  They then decide on one that works that works best for their customers from a hardware, design, and experience standpoint.  At that corner where all the factors meet.

Samsung, and not just them, likely take the same approach but has a more liberal view on what to give its customers.  Hence, you’ve got a range of devices with varying capabilities and screen sizes from 3” all the way up to 5.5”.  The good thing about this is that it gives users plenty of choices.  The danger is, obviously, having too many choices.

For Apple’s users, it’s easier.  Just the iPhone 5 at the top and iPhone 4 or 4S at the bottom.  It’s not a lot of choices but you don’t hear a lot of complaints about it either.

Where I see Google and its friends doing much better is working on adding new features and services faster than Apple.  Between Apple and Google’s cloud services, I have to say that Google is years ahead of Apple.

Furthermore, the article made a very good point: with the 5” and up devices, Samsung and others have entered into a category of mobile devices that is changing with the times.  People are using their devices to consume data more than making calls.  And to communicate, they're doing video or text, not calling as much as before.

And trend is growing in that direction.  Consuming content and communication beyond voice.  On this, Apple is lacking.  Sure, Apple has the iPad mini for that in some respect but it’s not exactly easy to fit into one’s pocket.

Somehow, since 2007 with the original iPhone debut, Apple has become an underdog in eyes of some.  Well, Apple does  have its advocates but, lately, it does seem like they’ve been playing defense when making argument on Apple’s behalf.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Samsung's Chances with Tizen and Without Android - Not Good

This Computerworld post analyzes and speculates about how Samsung can go about incorporating its new and untested mobile OS, Tizen, into its lineup that comprises of mostly Android devices with a sprinkling of Windows phones. In a couple of words: not good.
The post started off talking about the general direction of the smartphone market and where it has headed and who has been making all the money. And the truth is that while Apple has done well with the iPhone from a profit standpoint, Google makes money through its ads and apps while Samsung makes money off the hardware. And Samsung by most accounts is doing very well in that department.
The fact that Samsung could be pushing Tizen shows just how the relationship between Google and its Android partners have changed and how the Android economy is shaping up. Samsung, as is said in the post, has a loyal following because it is perceived to make the best Android device. But that loyalty extends only to Andoid on the Galaxy devices only.
Samsung maybe have some Apple envy as the post indicates but that is oversimplifying things. Google bought Motorola not only for its patents but also its proven engineering/design teams. The new Google/Motorola has made Samsung weary and it should. Motorola will be releasing a flagship device to challenge not only Apple but the Galaxy S 3 and 4.
If Google succeeds in displacing Samsung as the top Android device maker, it leaves Samsung nowhere else to go. Windows? That's Nokia territory.
So, that leaves it with Tizen. And even talking about a defense move by Samsung is also oversimplifying it. We are talking about a whole ecosystem here. Not just about hardware, software, and media.
In time, we will realize that the mobile market is just the beginning. This is why Samsung may well advocate an aggressive campaign to get users to trust that it knows what it's doing in moving over to Tizen. Luckily for Samsung, it will have Intel as a partner in all this.
We'll have to see what role the giant chip maker will play in all this for the short run. Intel is also looking down the road when it will not only be about the mobile market but into others where its chips could play a vital role. For Intel, the writing is on the wall for the PC market.
Still, the Computerworld is a very good read and I highly recommend it. Samsung is slated to give a Tizen demo at the Mobile World Congress at the end of February.
Until we see more from Samsung, we have to conclude for now that Samsung will have a difficult time at it. But since we like competition, one can only hope that they have some kind of success.

Friday, February 15, 2013

iWatch: Cannot Tell From Website If One Is Come


So, all the rage is about Apple working on a watch with connectivity to other iOS devices or what not.  I've been a bit behind on it because there just is too much going on from the NYT and WSJ to former Apple designers who are opening up about what an "iWatch" would be like.

So I decided to check on a URL that I think Apple might call its watch.  First up is obvious "iWatch.com".  This is what I got.



Okay, so iWatch is a bit too obvious.  Still, don't be surprise if Apple does pick up this URL.  So, URL and trademark squatters, ready, set, go!

Next up, I gave igrab.com a try.  Why not.  The watch will be on your wrist and it'll "grab" anything your hand grabs.  Also, one of Apple's watch's main function will be to "grab" notifications from your Mac or iOS device.


Finally, I gave iWrist a try.  You know...the watch sits on your, well, wrist.


Interesting about iWrist, no?  Forbidden?

As a bonus, I decided to give iGlass.com a try and this is what I found.



Interesting how there's a fold called "tim".  Hmmm....

Anyway, I'm did not bothering checking out who owns any of these URLs or who might own the trademarks.  Even if Apple owns these URLs or trademarks, it's likely created layers upon layers of companies and lawyers to keep us from knowing the truth.

Hey, don't be surprised if Apple does call its watch "iGlass" or go with "iWrist".  But I like "iGlass" better than iWatch or anything else because Apple's watch will be much more than that.

So, what do you think?

Google To Open Retail Stores


This is very interesting.  Many Android blogs including Droid Life is reporting that Google will be opening up retail stores in time for the 2013 Holidays season.

I'm not sure what to think of this.  We'll have to see what Google says about this.  We have many questions about it.

  • Will it be a retail store in the traditional sense?
  • Will it be a showcase store like Microsoft?
  • Will it be like Apple's strategy?  If so, will it have a genius-like bar?
  • Will it focus on its own products or will Google also carry competing Android devices from HTC, Samsung, and/or Sony?
I'm sure Google will also try to showcase its tablets as well as Chrome OS netbooks, which is just about the only device that it does not make.  Also, if you've been to a Microsoft store, they have PCs, tablets, and laptops that are made by its partners.  I reckon Google will do the same.

Google will likely have a section of the store that shows off its Nexus and Motorola products while the rest of the store will be dedicated to its partners.

According to 9to5Google, Google already has mini stores at Best Buy, which I admit I did not know.  The focus of those stores were to help educate consumers.  

Regardless, it looks like Apple and Microsoft employees will be joined by Googlers at a mall near you soon.  One can only hope.

Creator Of Instapaper Makes Good Argument Apple Can Ship A Non-Retina 5" iPhone - Good Argument But...


Source:  Marco.orgOn Apple.

This is post from the creator of Instapaper, which I use and think is a great app, argues that there is no reason why Apple can't ship a 5" iPhone with the same resolution as the current iPhone 5, which is 1136x640.  He listed many reasons, among them being that it's close to 720p that most users won't care.

I agree.  And I also think he has made a very compelling argument.  However, I also question why Apple isn't above going 4X on the next generation iPhone isplay.  Meaning that the 5" iPhone resolution would increase to 2272x1280, essentially doubling the resolution and four times the pixels.

After all, when Apple went from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4, that was exactly what they did. And it's been two years since that happened and will probably be another year from the release of what comes after the iPhone 5.  I really think a compelling argument can be made that Apple has been working on trying to make this possible.

And Apple many not necessarily need to go 4X on a bigger screen iPhone.  As I've said before, 3X works perfectly fine.  Even at 1704x960, we are looking at a resolution close to 1080p which is what high-end Android devices will be shipping in 2013 from Samsung, HTC, Sony, and perhaps even Nokia for the Windows Phone.

On top of that, Apple already has the chips to power such a device.

I think for sake of speculations, all sides, including the ones mentioned here and ones that I've come up with, are valid.  There are a couple of points I like to add to that.

One thing we have to remember is that Apple is an exceptional company.  Sure, one of the points that Marco made that ran counter to pundits have said was that Apple would not release a non-Retina display device.  Well, Apple did just that with the iPad mini.  However, that is not to say that Apple will do the same for a 5" iPhone.  Apple has invested billions in buying manufacturing equipments as well as billions more in R&D.  I believe that Apple could well have been laying the groundwork for this all along.

Another point is that the resolutions we're seeing here today may well be changed at any time.  Sure, people from pundits to developers will moan and groan about it.  Obviously, for the pundits and bloggers, that is their job.  For developers who are on their way of being paid about a billion dollars a month if not more by Apple, I think that kind of money does take the sting out of it all.

Plus, by going further than anyone expects, as in going 1.5x or 2X on the resolution for a theoretical 5" iPhone, it shows the market that Apple can at least keep up if not get ahead of the competition.

At the end of the day, Apple will have weighed in on all the factors that we have laid out and others that we have not considered like manufacturing yields, OS updates, battery lives, etc.  Apple will deliver and millions of us will go out and buy it even if some of those are tech pundits or bloggers who will complain about it.  But they'll still happily hand over their hard-earned money to Apple.

The Other Asteroid That Missed Earth

We got a rude awakening as the human race when a meteor exploded over Russia today injuring hundreds and served as a reminder to just how little we are and how it could all end in a split second.  Luckily, the impact today was nothing like the 1908 one that devastated 80o square miles of Siberian forest.

Now, this is the other asteroid, 2012 DA14, that came uncomfortably close to hitting us.  And how big is 2012 DA14? Here are some notes of interest.

  • Discovered on February 23, 2012.
  • It is only 150 foot long.  That's what?  1/2 a football field?  it also weighed about 190,000 metric tons.
  • It was only 17.2K miles from our surface.  It came well within orbits of geosynchronous communication satellites.
  • 17,500Mph
To be sure, it's an event that we really need to pay attention to but it was upstaged by the Russian explosion. And one more thing, the two events are not related.


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Meteor Impact Over Central Russia - 1K Hurt

Source:  CNN.

Wow, this is an incredible sight.  More than one thousand people were hurt when a meteor exploded over central Russia.  You'll want to watch this video from CNN.


If you recall, one of the biggest explosion in recent memory was the 1908 Tunguska impact that leveled 80 square miles of Siberia.  Meanwhile, a near-earth asteroid will be making its closest pass to Earth around 11:24 PST.

And yes, folks, this meteror was a itty-bitty tiny one.  This second video here offer more dramatic views of the impact.  Hollywood ain't got nothing on the real thing.


Privacy: Google Sharing More Play Information About Users Than Developers Need To Know

Source:  News.au, Mashable, ZDNet





If you buy apps from Play, you might want to reconsider though you don’t have a whole lot of choices. Google has been passing along app buyer information to app developers?

To what end?

So far, Google has been pretty quiet about this which isn’t a good thing.  I like to think that this is a flaw but the stories about when this started happening and the fact that it could be a deliberate move by Google has me worried.

However, I do question why it's taken so long for someone to speak up.  Now, if you're a malicious developer looking to steal user information or perpetuate some sort of criminal activity like identity theft, you probably thanks Google silently and go about your biz and not say a word about this.

Google has said that they could potentially share user information with magazine publishers but this is going beyond that.


Bigfoot Versus Zombies: Fake DNA, Crazy Supporters, Bad PR


Source:  Live Science.

I’m a paranormal buff.  I love the X-Files and still do.  And like Agent Mulder, I also “want to believe”.  However, it will take a lot to convince me.  I’m not a religious person but I think to think I’m spiritual.  So faith really doesn’t have a great hold on me in any discipline.  So again, while I want to believe there are things outside the fringes of nature and science, prove it to me before I actually believe.

So, Bigfoot, if you’re real, you need to fire your current PR agency and hire a new one.

See, when a supposed science journal publishes an article about proof of the Bigfoot as it is stated in this Live Science post, I was like “wow”.  But then you quickly realized it was another instance where a cryptozoologist Melba S. Ketchum tried to pull a fast one over scientific community and the rest of us.

So it really got me thinking about the cryptozoological field.  I wonder just how big the Bigfoot market is.  I’m not talking about the whole paranormal market but just the Abominable Snow Man, or sasquatch,  I think it’s one thing to try to pass something off as real when it’s probably and very unlikely to be real as in this case versus the current zombie craze that is sweeping through right now.

One is pure entertainment and the other is entertainment trying not to be.  Because they sound crazy, the Bigfoot people are sort of losing out because a large segment of society want nothing to do with them.  There are books, lectures, and an occasional cable documentary or two about Bigfoot but they generally generate bad PR.

I can think of one way to fix Bigfoot without resorting to fake DNA studies.  Someone should write a novel about a Bigfoot going out of his or her clan and falling in love with a human and make a movie from it. Oh yes, a 9” tall female sweeping me off my feet, literally?  Why not?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Never Count Out Microsoft


Windows 1.0 didn't work so Microsoft went back and worked on it some more.  Then after a couple more tries, Windows 95 took the world by storm and has not relinquish control of the PC market since.  And it never will.

Xbox was okay but Microsoft learned quickly, put together some exclusives like Halo, and Xbox 360 pushed out Sega, relegated Nintendo as a second class console maker, and really turn up on heat on Sony.

Those are example of Microsoft, even when down and seemingly out, always has a way of getting back into the game.  It clawed, scratched, and fought really dirty to make it happen.

Here is another example.  The browser war.  Netscape who?  It's Internet Explorer all the way and despite competition from Firebox, Chrome, and Apple's weak Safari challenge, IE still dominates the browser market.

And right now, Windows 8 devices, smartphones and tablets, does not appear to be doing so hot.  And as we transition away from the PC market to the mobile market, Microsoft's game face is on.  Windows Phone 7 was okay but Windows 8 devices appear to be gaining traction.  And Microsoft will come at the competition again and again until...well, we've never seen Microsoft really fail just yet.

It's the same for the Surface tablets.  I honestly did not believe for a second that the current crop of Windows RT tablets was going to do any major damage in the tablet market this past holidays.  Maybe not even Surface Pro.  But it's still early and there's plenty of time left.  Microsoft will come at Apple and Google as hard as ever.

If there is anything that will hurt Microsoft's chances to get back into the mobile game, it's likely its CEO, Steve Balmer.  Guys is smart.  And he has made a lot of money for its shareholders since he's been on control.  But he has also made many missteps that allow Apple and Google to dominate the mobile market.

Frankly right now, Microsoft's main threat could be itself.  However, it's competitors cannot count on each other or Microsoft to falter in order to stay ahead.

I look forward to increase competitive pressure from Microsoft and its partners in 2013 with a better game plan and lessons learned from 2012.

Samsung's Tizen Devices May Split Android Alliance

Source:  Appleinsider, Tizen.

Google or Samsung could be in for a rude awakening.  See, Samsung could be in the process of unfriending Android as Google become more and more of a competitor than a partner as Google is looking to dethrone not on the iPhone but the premier Galaxy devices as well.

First a little history of how these tech giants used to be friends but changes and advances in technology has forced their hands and shifted alliances.

So we know that Apple and Google don't get along these days.  It wasn't always like this.  Back during the PC days, it was Apple versus IBM and then Microsoft.  As Apple floundered and came back to life again with Steve Jobs' second coming, newcomer Google and Apple buddied up to take on Microsoft.  

The Apple-Google alliance was one to be reckoned with.  It would take on mighty Redmond and relegate Microsoft to the fringes as computing, both desktop and emerging mobile, shifted to browsers and apps on mobile devices.

Of course, Microsoft fought back as best as it could against the iPhone.  RIM gave no heed to Apple. Nor did Palm.  Things were good until Google's Android began to take hold of the market.  Well, it's more complicated than that but the gist is that Apple and Google began a multi-year process of splitting up.

Then there's also the Apple-Samsung alliance where Samsung made much of the little components that goes into the iOS devices.  It was a relationship for both until Samsung decided to copy Apple's designs and look of the iPhone.  At least that is Apple's side of the story.  It's a lot of "it said, it said" from both sides.

Google's relationship with most Android device makers like Samsung were good in the early days.  But after Google purchased Motorola, you can fee the change in the air.  The news was met with chilled responses at best from Google's partners.  

And we come to today.  A new alliance was formed last year between Samsung and Intel and the result is a new mobile OS called Tizen (wiki and website). It's another Linux-based open source operating system.  It's one that Samsung is looking towards as Google becomes more of a competitive threat by the day.  And Samsung will be unveiling and selling Tizen-based devices this year.  

Of course, as mobile fans, we want to embrace this.  More OS on the market means more competition.  It's a good thing.  A great thing.  We've got Android, Blackberry 10, iOS, Windows 8, and Tizen along with a few other smaller ones (Firefox OS, Ubuntu) looking to break out one day.  

No one knows for sure what Samsung is hoping to do with Tizen here.  Is Tizen just shot at Google to warn them over Android competition?  Or will Samsung really begin the shift from Android to Tizen?  No one really knows right now.  It really depends on the market.

For the foreseeable future, Android and Samsung smartphones are joined at the hip with Samsung making a few token Windows 8 phones.  We'll have to watch carefully just how hard Samsung pushes Tizen as an alternative.  

What will happen if Tizen does take off?  Again, it's great for us because competition is good for the market. It'll drive Apple, Google, and anyone else to continue innovating as hard as ever.  It'll prove that the mobile  landscape can change overnight.

However, for Android, there could be come big changes.  Perhaps there will always be a Samsung device running Android but should Tizen take off, Samsung will start making more devices, especially high-end ones like the Galaxy S and tablets.  And what's also interesting is that Android apps can run on Tizen devices.

That is key. Apps.  And you bet Samsung has already considered this issue.  

In the future, Android users will have to choose if they had been following the brand or the OS.  If they wanted high-end devices, they'll likely have to see what Google, LG, and Motorola has to offer.  For Galaxy S devices, obviously, it could be just Samsung's Tizen.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Canadian Parliament Ready For Zombie Outbreak

Yup, the title says it all.  Well, I think this zombie craze has gone too far and way too mainstream now.  The US military is prepare for it as is the CDC.  And now, Canada.

They're ruining it for everyone.  But hey, can never get enough of The Walking Dead, of course.

Social: LinkedIn Gave Every Employee an iPad mini - Hey, Zucker, How About Facebook Employees?


Source:  Business Insider.

LinkedIn Logo.svg

Via Twitter, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner gave each of his 3,500 employees an iPad mini.  That's about $1.2 million which I am sure Apple gave him some sort of a discount.  At least, I hope so.


And why not?  LinkedIn is on a tear and there really is no end in sight as the social network has found a way to monetize is service and actually provide value for its users and partners.  Whereas Zucker is still trying to figure things out and Facebook continues to deploy shady schemes to sell out its users to the highest bidders.

Yeah, I just don't see Facebook ever doing something like this.

Who Will Make the iCar?


Today, all the media seems to focused on Silicon Valley and advances in moble technology but it’s the greening of the auto industry that may be more exciting.  Furthermore, they represent the early days of a revolution in how we view cars and the energy it takes to power them.

I consider the Priuses, Volts, and Leafs just the early stages of this new auto revolution we are witnessing.  Cars before the hybrids were like regular cell phones.  Single purpose.

Hybrids came along.  The mobile parallel would be like the old 3COM’s personal digital assistant, the Palm Pilot.  You can do a bit more.

As we go down this road, it’s tempting to call the Telsa all-electric cars the iPhone of the auto industry but I don’t think we’re there yet.  Maybe the Telsas are more like Blackberries.  Because the Telsa cars are expensive, only a few can afford them.  Just like the early days when Blackberries existed mostly in the corporate world.

The true “iPhone” vehicle, iCar is still sitting in someone’s lab or possible garage waiting to roar onto the road.  And who will make this “iPhone” car?

For the record, I doubt it’ll be Apple in case you’re wondering.  I don’t think it will involve any of the tech giants except for perhaps Google.  The auto industry is a vastly different market after all.  I do believe that this iCar will encompass all the characteristics that has made consumer products so desired.

Sleek design, revolutionize the one or two things that makes a car a car and how we operate it, and provides features that we did not previously know we wanted.  It would revolutionize personal transportation not seen since the saddled horse.

Maybe we’ll have to look to George Jetson for inspiration in this area. Oh wait, doesn’t Google already have a self-driving car?  Or does Apple have what it takes to disrupt another market?  Also magine Google Now- or Siri-controlled vehicle that can plot out an efficient course for you based on your workday and dinner plans?

Green: When Green Cars Become Just Cars



Today, most cars being sold on the road are still gas drinkers if not outright guzzlers.  The inroads being made by hybrid vehicles has been slow but the march forward is assured.  In the last couple of years, the hybrids were joined by electric cars like the Volt and Leaf.  Lately, we’re hearing more about Tesla as it has gotten its house in order and actually started shipping their electric versions.

And it’ll only get cheaper over time as availability, costs, technical advancements, and competition drive the price down and green vechicles become more common.

Even then, fuel efficiency as mandated by the US government and others around the world improve for regular gas engine cars, you have to wonder at what point do we drop “green” from the hybrids and electric cars and just call them for what they really are?  Eventually, the fuel efficiency requirements will increase to the point that they may well exceed today’s hybrid vehicle standards or reduce much of the carbon emissions.

50% Of the market?

And when will we get to that day?  I brought this up now because it’s something I’ve been thinking about as I look through some pretty rosy lens for the future.  The answer is no one knows but I do reckon it’ll be a while.  Hopefully, I’ll still be able to drive and appreciate it.

Also, recently, a couple of people I know bought Tesla cars.  Each approaching $100K.  Now, I don't have anywhere near that kind of money.  But I'm hoping in 4-6 years, the prices will drop so much that they will be so ubiquitous and average joe like myself can finally affording to go green.

Amazon Prime Not Worth It Unless You Shop A Lot And Don't Already Have Netflix

This CNet post wondered if Amazon Price is worth the $79 annual fee.  It's a good read and very fair in its praises and criticisms.  Personally, I don't think so.  Here's where I'm coming from.

I'm a Netflix subscriber and I enjoy the experience thoroughly if not for the occasion video that I want to watch that goes missing.  Case in point is that I'm a science fiction watcher.  And the very popular Stargate TV shows are not gone from Netflix.  I irked me immensely.  However, that had no made me quit the service and go over to Amazon Prime where the Stargate TV shows are still available for steaming.

Sure, Netflix cost more but it also has a wider selection of videos.  On top of that, Amazon's video is not available for streaming on most major platforms.  Like the post said, it's not on Android at all.  You have to buy into Amazon's Apple-like ecosystem if you want to stream videos on a tablet.  And yes, you can now stream Amazon's videos on iOS devices san the Apple TV.

Also, as for book borrowing that is available to Prime users, I'm not a big enough reader that I would join up.

And lastly, I don't buy enough to justify the 2-day shipping.  Honestly, unless I can get something overnight, waiting two-days is too long.  If I need something really bad, I need it and I'll get it locally, say, at Best Buy or a local department store like Target, Walmart, or Costco.  For anything else, I can deal with the 5-8 days long free shipping.

So, what will get me to become a Prime user?  More videos obviously.  More original content but not necessarily exclusive content like Downton Abbey (Engadget) which Amazon will carry exclusively soon.  Then again, if Amazon is willing to fork over more money to obtain more shows I want to watch and it's exclusive only to Amazon, yes, I might consider jumping ship.  At the same time, Netflix is showing that it ain't no pushover - developing its own shows and getting more movies than anyone else.

As for the other features, I like to see Amazon opening book borrowing on other devices and stream videos to Android devices.  That plus add more videos that I want to watch.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pokemon On iOS (And Coming to Android Soon)!!!

Source:  Joystiq.

Holy Cow!  Pokemon, the company which is not related to Nintendo, has just released the Pokemon TV app that allows viewers to watching videos, including the Pokemon cartoons ANYTIME and ANYWHERE!

iPhone Screenshot 1iPhone Screenshot 2

I've already downloaded it and I'm freaking watching Pokemon on my iPhone!  Woohoo. Guess what I'll be doing at the Lakers game tonight against Phoenix during time-outs!

I've got a few comments to make about it.  The video seems a bit off for some episodes and, right now, I am not getting any sounds out of the iPhone app.

Also, I don't see how I can access season one where is where I want to start - from the beginning.  According to the press release, there are more than 700 espisodes and it looks like they'll be refreshing new episodes on a weekly basis.

Hey, nothing to complain about.  It's free.  It's Ash, Pikachu, and the gang.  What more can you ask for?  Oh, yeah, Pokemon games on iOS and Android.  Yeah, that would be super.

Cord Cutting: Intel Gets Into Online Video Service


Source:  CNBC.

Intel-logo.svg

This came out of nowhere.  Intel will be getting into the video biz.  We're talking about live streaming video.  Stuff we already see on cable/sat TV.  Okay, it's not cord-cutting but its still quite interesting that the world's premier PC chip provider is doing this.

I don't know why they're doing this or why they think they will succeed but I like it a lot.  Thinking outside of the box.

So, when?  Well, we just got a vague "this year" from CNBC and that Intel is still talking about it with content providers.

So, why?  This is fun.  Well, as Apple and Google move into the living room along with console makers like Microsoft and Sony, these devices, Apple TV, Xbox, and Playstation will be sitting in the living room without "Intel Inside".  On top of that, Google's efforts also like involve ARM-based chips.

By providing a bundled video service along with a set-top box, Intel is trying to assure it has a place at the table, or at the very least, in the showrooms.  In a way, Intel is trying to sell chips.  And if providing a video service, and I'm gonna go out on a limb here, also video games and apps, Intel is trying to create another platform.

Tizen logo dark.png

It'll be interesting to see what kind of OS Intel uses.  It's conceivable that it could go to Microsoft or work its own Android OS.  Keep in mind that Intel does have is own mobile OS called Tizen that is it working on with Samsung, the largest provider of smartphones even a rival chip maker.

Whatever or however Intel implements this, folks, this is very good.  It's competition and it is a very good thing.  I'm hoping it is another step towards cord-cutting somehow and unbundling of services and channels.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Battery Life - Size Matters

Source:  GSM Arena.

I came across this post from GSM Arena when I was looking into the Droid DNA's battery life.  It was adequate but it was the comoparison between the DNA with the iPhone 5 and Motorola RAZR MAXX that got me going a bit.

In the post, the iPhone 5 and the RAZR never went head-to-head in the battery tests.  The RAZR blew away the field of Android devices in just about every category.  The iPhone 5 dominated in the Web browsing categoy but the RAZR was not a part of it.

Based on the information provided in the post and what Apple listed for the iPhone 5 in its tech specs page, we can surmise, though scientifically inaccurate, that the RAZR with its 3300 mAh battery has about a 60% advantage over the iPhone 5's 1440 mAh battery.

Here's what I gather and I think I've been right about this.  Companies sacrificing battery life in the name of the thinness and lightness race.  I'm glad Motorola came out with the MAXX.

Also, Apple has done an incredible job with the battery life for the iPhone 5.  The iPhone generally has one of the smaller battery among competitors in the high-end of the mobile market.  It's advantage comes from the fact that it owns both the OS and hardware teams that is capable of working together to get the most mileage out of the system.  This results in giving Apple a pretty good increase in profit margin.

To that end, I think Motorola engineering team should also be able to do great things with with Google's Android operations.  After all, they're both a part of the same company now.  I see great things in terms of efficiency and battery life for future Motorola devices.

This is also why I think Microsoft will eventually release its own smartphones given that it can achieve the same things Apple is doing and what Google's Motorola will be able to do.

What is disappointing is that Blackberry's Z10's battery life (from early reviews) has so far failed to live up to standards we've expected from Blackberry devices and the it's chief competitors.

SOTU: What Will President Obama Say About Tim Cook Or Apple Tomorrow?


Apple’s Tim Cook will be joining FLOTUS for President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress and America (and the world).  I’m sure it’s about giving lip service to innovation and entrepreneurship.  But what if it’s more?

I don’t think it’ll be about President Obama saying something like “Apple has given me permission to tell the world about the iWatch…”.  So, it makes me wonder about why Tim Cook is flying across the country for this.

Obviously, when you’re invited by POTUS for an event, you don’t say no.  And it helps Apple’s agendas to have your CEO chatting up the President.  I’m sure Tim Cook whispered a thing or two about Apple’s feelings on immigration, corporate tax holiday and rate, and patent reform.  And maybe about the dismal state of American schools and how having and iPad the hands of eager students will help propel America back to the top again.

In 2012, Steve Jobs’ wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, was a guest of Michelle Obama.  In his speech, President Obama highlighted the need to find the next Steve Jobs.  While the sentiment was likely appreciated, the mention of Steve Jobs proved problematic as Apple off-shored much of the manufacturing of its products if not all of it.

Perhaps, Tim Cook’s presence means that Apple could well return some of those jobs to back to the United States.  Apple has gone on record to say that it will manufacture some Macs here.

Whatever the reason Tim Cook will be in DC tomorrow, it’ll be interesting to see what the President has to say about Cook and/or Apple.

Immigrants Come To US To Give Birth - Yup, Very Much Legal


Source: Inquisitr.

Some pregnant immigrants, particular those from Taiwan and China, come over in visiting visas and overstay in order to have their babies born in the US to obtain US citizenship.  It's been fraking going on for decades. Aside from zoning issues that many maternity home operators violating, it's no illegal.

Not illegal?  How about violating immigration laws?

Now, it's getting more complicated.  An agency based on Taiwan is now openly promoting this.

HTC One: That's One Good Looking Phone

Source:  Source:  GSM Arena.

I was really impressed with the Xperia Z from Sony but this HTC One is one good looking phone.



On top of that, it's gone one of the best specs on the market for an Android device. Heck, for any device on the market now.  We're talking 2 GB, 4.7" screen with 1080p, and q-core running at 1.7 GHz. Details are sketchy as far as storage goes, which should be 32 GB.

As for the battery life, we are looking about an average size for this sized device.  So, that's gonna be a major concern for mobile warriors.  Nothing comes close to the RAZR MAXX, you know?

One major concern I have is the Ultrapixels camera scheme that HTC is employing.  It's trying to create a 13 MP camera with three separate 4.3MP sensors.  It figures it can create a 13MP quality pictures sized at a 4MP picture.  Who knows?  Maybe it'll work because HTC is building this up as one of the One's major features.

For now, we enjoy the beauty that is the One.

Media Fail: WSJ, NYT Reports Apple Testing SmartWatch – But So Is Everyone Else Like Samsung, Microsoft, Google


Here is another opportunity for me to discuss a rumor in a different context other than to spread them and take a jab at the media by pointing out how stupid they are.  WSJ and the NYT both reported that Apple is working on a smart watch, AKA iWatch as it is called in the blogworld.  But then again, who isn’t working on a smart watch either as a replacement for the smartphone as another mobile device or as an extension to the smart devices like the iPhone, iPad, or Galaxy devices?

I bet that Apple is working on this but so is LG, Sony, Samsung, and even Google and Microsoft.  There will be plenty of these smart watches on the market soon enough.  It’s not certain that Apple will be among them. You never know what Apple will or will not do.  At the same time, do expect a bunch of these smart watches running Android, Linux, and, perhaps, Windows 8.

Another point I like to make is that not only are these guys, Apple included, play around with watches, they are looking at glasses, HUD, televisions, and other house hold appliances to make them all smart in one form or another.

I reckon Apple is even working on an iCar just to see what they can do with one.  We already know Google’s ambitious plan to make me a car that drives and parks itself (I totally suck at parking).

Of all these companies, I would not bet on Apple to spread iOS love about in just about every direction.  It’s not in their DNA.  However, I do see Google and Microsoft try to seed its OS, apps, and vision further.

So, WSJ/NYT, go a step further and report how Google will eventually own its network of satellites that will reignd own free wireless broadband all over the world.  In fact, maybe they all have to so they can send data to the smart mobile devices, tell when the appliances needs to turn on, and where the cars need to go.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Macbook Discounts So Soon After Christmas - Wonder If It's Fall Sales Or New Models


Source:  Appleinsider.

Over the Holidays, you could have gotten a good deal on Macbooks.  After that, prices go back up to where it's high Apple usually likes it.  But according to Appleinsider, you can get a $200 discount off the most basic Macbook Pro with Retina Display.  That would put the Retina Display model at about a $300 premium over a regular Macbook Pro on the low end - much better than the $500 premium we were looking at.

There is no word on how long this will last.  But what's the reason behind the price cuts?  Apple's regular Macbook Pro and Air models have not been discounted much to such an extent but where were still inline with the Christmas discounts.

So, I'll just the basis here for you.  And depending on the reasons for the cuts, it could be a good time to buy.

One theory is that Apple's Mac sales have fallen on hard times.  First quarter sales were off by 1 million units.  Much of that could be attributed to the  inability page for making the iMacs for the quarter.  In fact, you for the iMacs has not improved.  Test, this could be Apple's way of trying to improve Masson's in terms of units.  If this is the reason, no you're good scientific new MacBook if you like.

Another theory, is that Apple has found a way improve yields on the Retina Display.  All along, Apple has been working to lower the cost of Macs for years now. We always knew Retina Display prices would drop.  The $500 premium for the retina display shocked everyone when first released.  Honestly, I thought it would add almost $200 premium.  Of course, I totally discounted how Apple would redesign the Macbooks.

Thirdly, it could be that Apple is on the verge of releasing new Macbook models.  The 15 inch MacBook Pro retina display was released in June 2012. The 13 inch MacBook Pro with retina display was released in October 2012.  It's been about seven months since Apple has updated the 15 inch model. So it is possible Apple is looking to refresh at least a 15 inch MacBook Pro model.  It is unlikely, no let me correct that, it is IMPOSSIBLE Apple will update the 13 inch MacBook Pro only after three months on the market.

Other three series that I laid out for the price discount, I believe the first one is the most likely scenario: Apples MacBook sales have slowed. Discount now will help Apple to meet financial obligations.

Here will be a good place for me to end this post I suggest to my readers what they should do.  But, I am going to offer my "one more thing".

That is, Apple is looking to put another nail in the PC market's coffin. Well PC sales has been dropping, tablet sales have been skyrocketed. As we know, the iPad models is dominating the tablet market. At the same time, people are looking to cabinets as laptop replacement. That would mean more sales for Apple, less sales of laptops, and it will put Microsoft is a very difficult position.

It is not as if Microsoft own hardware plans is doing all that well. The Surface tablet have not been generating the kind of buzz and sales that Redmond had hope.

On top of that Apple has been on the offense lately.  Just last week Apple released the 128 GB iPad models.  This was a direct challenge Microsoft Surface Pro.  Furthermore, by reducing the price of Macs at a critical juncture for Microsoft's Windows 8 sales, Apple is putting more pressure on it's own PC follow.

For instance, with the discount on the 11" MacBook Air, Apple has position it's low-end MacBook Air as another direct alternative, along with the 128 GB iPad, to the Surface Pro.  Both models offer strength for mobile warriors that the Surface Pro is unable to provide.

Apple's offerings has better battery life, larger selection of apps, and first-class designs its competitors cannot offer.

Maybe the Macbook price cuts are about Apple looking to beef up sales, lowering prices due to better yields,  about to release new models, or it is looking to challenge Microsoft.  For potential Macbook buyers, there is no time to buy a Mac than when you need it right away.

Plus, my Spidey sense isn't tingling at all.  I don't think Apple about to release new models.

Microsoft's Halo Movie Proves Decent Movies Can be Made Cheap

You probably know that the video game franchise Halo is Microsoft's backbone for the Xbox.  What the Xbox is today owes much to Halo and the teams behind its development.  It's no wonder that Microsoft has tried to make Halo grow beyond its gaming and into the movies.



But you can bet a Hollywood style movie would have cost upwards of $200 million which means unless the Halo movie brings in a healthy $1 billion globally, you're not going to be able to call it a success.

So, Microsoft made a $10 million version of it.  Hence, we get "Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn".  It started off as a weekly series that lead up to the release of Halo 4 and eventually onto DVD.  So, this is why you and I haven't been bombarded with movie trailers on TV or previews when we watch movies in the theaters.

First, let me say a bit about the movie.  It wasn't bad.  It definitely wasn't Hollywood.  It had the feel of a SyFy movie that they produce and show from time to time.  The movie started off following a squad of cadets training to become officers.  They were told they would be trained to put down a rebellion.  Instead, they were attacked by aliens, the Covenant.

H4 reminded me of a series that you probably have heard of:  Starship Troopers.  It was produced in 1997 for more than $1 million and probably lost a bit of money.  And I'll be honest, the quality and acting of Halo 4 to that of ST.  There have been subsequent ST movies that went direct to video that likely cost closer into the tens of millions instead of hundreds.

A lot of people will be watching this.  In trying to promote Halo 4, Microsoft may have inadvertently opened a new distribution route for film makers that either cannot go the Hollywood route or find someone willing to distribute it.

Another series that has done well is the Resident Evil franchise.  It's movies has made hundreds of millions each while it's video games have done very well and Sony has managed to keep the cost down while going the traditional route.  If the RE series want to go direct to video like some a couple of its CG videos have, it like can continue to do well on conjunction the video games.

Here are the clips released by Microsoft via Youtube.  I'm surprised it's still on Youtube given that it's available for sale in digital and DVD formats.  But hey, who am I to complain?

Enjoy!









Friday, February 8, 2013

Are We Being Prepared for Alien Encounter As Space Technology and Chance Encounters Improve?

Can you imagine President Barack Obama asking the networks for a primetime spot for a speech from the Oval Office or a special joint session of Congress.  And he tells us that the government has been in contact with intelligent life from another world.


You’re sitting at home, at a friend’s house, a bar, or just shopping for a TV at Best Buy when it happens.  “Oh, shi…” would be about right.

According to a new study, world governments and agencies are not ready for the close encounter.  You know, aliens.  And encounter or discovery with extraterrestrial life could happen in the next decade.  As much as I like to believe that, well, let’s just say I won’t be putting any wager on it.

Still, you can’t help but think back over the last decade as space science has advantaged, trips to Mars, Voyager leaving our solar system, various governments releasing UFO files, and even the Vatican saying it’s possible that God created life elsewhere in the universe that all of that put together is a mentioned but meticulously planned and eventual unveiling of the truth about alien life.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the asteroid on earth showing possible ancient bacteria from space, evidence of Mars having a vibrant past capable of supporting life, and discovery of more and more Goldilock planets.

Also, from the picture above captured by Curiosity, we need to prepare ourselves for the day when one of these pictures do show proof of life beyond Earth on Mars or one of the moons of the gas giants in our solar system.  Or proof of life can come from one of our deep space telescopes.

From CNet, this picture is from the Curiosity.  There is nothing to suggest this is anything artificial.  Still, I'm sure NASA and fans get pretty excited whenever one of these pictures or sightings suggest the impossible.

If there is alien life and with advances in our space technology, our chances of spotting this life gets better each day.  And with the trickle of scientific revelations and media revelations, you just can't help feel we are being groomed for that big day.

The Super Rich But Spoiled: Allen Iverson Is Prime Lesson For Us All

Source:  The Inquistr.

I'm a Los Angeles Lakers fan.  My first real notice of Allen Iverson was when the Lakers played the 76ers in the 2001 NBA when he played the Lakers really tough.  Dude single-handedly won game 1 and shocked the basketball world.

He's done well for himself in the NBA but he's got a lot of issues.  One of them is money.  He makes loads of money in salary and endorsements but his spending was out of control.  He's getting his $4.5 million home foreclosed.  You have to wonder how that happened.

He's a prime example of how you can make a lot of money and still end up sort of down and out.  He still can draw $1 million from a trust which hardly makes his destitute but it definitely has knocked him down so many levels compared to his old free-spending life.

We hear from time to time how other sports figures and actors have fallen on hard time.  Harder in fact.  Happy Day's Joanie is another example as is Curt Schilling, former Major League Baseball pitcher who lost millions in a failed video game deal.

What amazes me is that none of these guys put aside anything for rainy day.  Again, Iverson has but he's fallen quite a bit.

I think the issue is that many celebrities came into a large sum of money at a very young age.  Essentially, they're still kids.  And they never really had the maturity or developed the right senses about finance and receive appropriate guidance.  They believe they were going to continue to receive contracts or movie deals without realizing that just as quickly as their careers have taken off, they could fall just as fast.

How about the rest of us?  Many of us are in different shoes.  We may never make the kind of money that these celebrities make but because we make less, we learn to appreciate it more.  Not only that.  There is a couple of things that makes the rest of us different from those who make a lot of money but end up losing most of it.

Discipline and common sense.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Plug-Gate: Senator Marco Rubio Hates America Because of iPhone Plugs

Let me be clear.  I'm a fiscal conservative as in I think I should live within my means.  So should the government.  While I think charity and helping neighbors should be the innate duty of every American and there are some things that governments can do that is good for the people, it's not the government's role to legislate many things and overspending.

So, my political views are probably closer to the dumbass gentleman from Florida, Senator Marco Rubio. So, I don't want this to seem like a Democrat bashing a Republican.   Why dumbass, you ask?

As an US senator, he's suggesting that he would migrate over to a phone made by a foreign company from an American one.  An iconic company no less.

In this case, it's Apple and Samsung. Why migrate from Apple over to Samsung?  The reason is stupid to say the least.  It's not even an iOS versus Android issue.  It's because he thinks he has too many Apple plugs!

I have Android devices. I’m considering getting a Galaxy Note 2. My issue isn't him migrating to an Android device.  More power to him.  It's that Rubio is an US senator to tweet about it, it just seem kinda stupid.


Again, my issue isn't related at all to the mobile platform war.  It's his reason and who he stands for. And you know what?  Personally, I don't think you can have enough plugs.

And this is the guy the GOP wants to run for President of the United States in 2016.  Let's spread this around.  Let's call this "Plug-gate".

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

More Star War Movies and Spin-Offs, Lucas Out of Disney, What Happens To Star Trek?


Source:  Techcrunch.

I’ve never really posted about Star Wars but it does look like I might start now that activities is picking up on movies and other Star Wars media now that Disney is looking to milk the space franchise.  So, I’m gonna be able to kill two birds with one stone here today.

I like the original Star Wars movie and, okay, no one likes Jar Jar.  Having said that,I enjoy the prequels as well.  When I learned that Disney went out and struck a deal to buy Lucasfim, I was very excited.

Now, it looks like George Lucas is cashing out after his trust filed to sell his Disney stocks for billions.  Ordinarily, I don’t know who makes out on how much money but it’s so quick for Lucas to pull out.  Granted that he’ll be selling his stake over time, the fact that he’s doing it is interesting.

It could be just his way of diversifying but I reckon it could be more than that.  Just a hunch.  Yesterday, Disney reported its earnings and plans for future Star Wars movies which includes spin-offs that focus on specific characters in the SW universe.  Like Yoda, Han Solo,Boba Fett, and may other Jedi characters.  It reminds me of what Disney has done with the Marvel franchise.

I’m for that.  Perhaps, this was not to Lucas’ liking so he decided it was time to bolt and move on.  Star Wars was not his anymore and his input, likely appreciated, was not heeded.

The other story is, as you know by now is that J.J. Abrams will be directing the next Star Wars movie.  I don’t have a problem with that.  He’s done well enough with Star Trek.  Why not?  The thing is that he’s got so much on his plate.  Even now, he’s lining up projects to make Portal and Half-Life movies.

Yeah.

So, if you’re Star Trek fans, you have to wonder where does that leave your Star Trek 3 movie in Abbramsverse.  Oh, and Abrams is also developing TV shows as well.

Whatever. Bring it on, Disney and Paramount.  Bring it on and more often.  As for Lucas, I guess he’s still got Steven and Harrison for Indiana Jones.

Chrome Laptop With High Resolution Brilliant Idea - Go After High-End Laptop Market


Source:  UbergizmoPocketables.

A new device from Google called Chromebook Pixel has me very excited.   I'll admit that I'm a Mac guy but this could be the laptop that launches Google into the mainstream laptop mind share of mobile users and put Apple and Microsoft on a defensive for a bit.


Pixel is an internal chromebook that will have 2560 x 1700.  This is higher resolution than most laptops and only Apple's Retina Display Macbook and Macbook Pro has a higher resolution.

While this has the making of a rumor which I hate reporting but there is a video of it on Dailymotion.



And what's interesting is that Pixel is touch-based.  This is very exciting news.  Not even Apple's has a Mac with touch-screen.  Of course, it could be fake but I don't think so.  Remember, Google now has Motorola's engineers who are infused with Google' innovative juice.  Anything is possible.

And what's even more brilliant about Pixel is what it can do in the video but that Google is seeking to position Chrome OS for the high-end as well.  


A couple of things about the Pixel design as we see it in the video.  It looks awefully like a Macbook.  I don't know about you but I like to see Google work around that.  There's enough different designs out there that Google does not have to copy Apple's product looks.

How much would this cost?  It's had to say.  I figure it's gotta be at least $499 and higher.  It'll be interesting to see whether Pixel will run using ARM-based or Intel-based chips.  Also, what kind of graphics will it have.  I'm also interested in knowing whether the demo in the video is done on the OS vial HTML 5 or a standalone app.

So far, a quick search reveals nothing beyond what we see here.  Nothing on specs and a few sites are even calling this a chromebook concept.  I think it's quite possible that is the case but technology will move forward to the point that Pixel could come out sooner rather than later.

If Google does release Pixel, it will be one of many on the market.  Many Taiwanese companies already sell Chrome OS netbooks and Google got it's highest endorsement by way of HP - Pavillion 14 Chromebook.

All in all, I'm looking forward to see Google go head-to-head with Apple and Microsoft in the PC market.  This is looking like a very interesting post-PC era.



New ChromeBook - Next Generation Concept... by androidauthority

Asleep Baby Wakes Up Instantly And Dances To Gangnam Song

This is too funny. You have to watch this baby named Amaya.  Apparently, she can sleep through anything but once a particular song comes on, she wakes and dances to it.  Even in the car seat.

And yes, it's the Gangnam song.  I'm sick of the song but it's worth it to watch the video below.

As if that was not cute enough, check out her older sister laughing so hard she started to cry.  Both very adorable.

Enjoy!

 

Security: Murdoch Said WSJ Still Being Hacked


Source:  Venture Beat.

According to Rupert Murdoch, all around rich guy, said that hackers from China, are still going after his Wall Street Journal.  This is a string of reports regarding Chinese hacking activities that the New York Times first reported last week.

Since then, Twitter, WSJ, and the Washington Post have come forward about being hacked.

The thing for Murdoch is that hacking isn’t something that is new to his media empire.  His own people at the now closed News Of The World tabloid was at the center of a hack scandal that likely killed a little girl and sent people to prison.

So, hacking is okay as long as he’s the one doing the hacking but it’s not okay if he’s on the receiving end of it.

Jokes aside (just a bit), I’ve said we can expect more of this from Beijing, Tehran, or anyone else who does not like Western media putting them in bad lights.  It's too disrupt operations and, ultimately, a form of intimidation.