Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How's the Amazon App Store Doing?

In November, Ziggy, an Android game developer, shared his Android game income stats. With the recent popularity of the Amazon Kindle Fire, Ziggy shares his experiences on the Amazon Android store … A blog post about how my Android games are doing on Amazon (surprisingly well). Based on Ziggy's numbers, we can see that the Kindle Fire has indeed had an impact on the Android ecosystem (even thought the Fire cannot be called an official Android devices). Also, we see that even though Amazon, Android users don't pay for apps.

I have to admit, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at watching Bus Jumper take off on the Amazon appstore. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the release of the Kindle Fire provided a big boost in my Amazon downloads over Christmas. I was half expecting things to die down to earlier levels after some time. Well, it’s been a month, and while the initial spike is gone, things seem to have settled down to a pretty decent state.

Free Version

I get about 100-200 Bus Jumper downloads per day from Amazon. My daily new user count (as reported by Flurry) varies between 500-800. So roughly 25% of my new users are coming from Amazon. That’s pretty significant. The total download count on Amazon just crossed 7000, which puts it in the top 3 behind Google. Note that I’ve been listed on some of the other non-Google stores for many months now. I suspect that in another month, Google and Amazon will be my top 2 stores.


Paid Version

The paid version is even more interesting. I’ve been selling about 1 copy a day, and have a total of 46 sales so far. Almost all of that is in the last month. Compare that to Google, where I’ve had 39 sales in all the time that the game has been listed there. The paid version is listed on a couple of other stores, and I’ve had 1-2 sales in total from those. From my small sample set, I would agree with some of the comments I’ve read about appstores and buyer psychology. Like Apple, Amazon has every Kindle user’s credit card on file, and I believe purchasing an app on the Apple and Amazon stores is a more streamlined process than on Google. That seems to make a difference. I used to believe that the stereotype of Android users being cheapskates had some truth to it:)And maybe it does, but maybe the buying experience also plays a role.

Monday, January 30, 2012

TWIG - Teaching with Immersive Gaming

This is the kind of forward-thinking I love!!

D. D. Guttenplan reporting ... href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/world/europe/harnessing-gaming-for-the-classroom.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3&partner=rss&emc=rss">Harnessing
Gaming for the Classroom
Paul Howard-Jones thinks he knows the answer to a question that has long puzzled both parents and professors: Why is it that the same teenagers who turn sullen and despondent when faced with a half hour of learning French verbs or organic compounds are happy to spend hours mastering the computer game Minecraft’s physics engine or the counterfactual history in Call of Duty?

A neuroscientist at Bristol University, Mr. Howard-Jones says that
“computer games are very, very engaging. And just as nuclear fission can be used to make bombs or generate electricity, games also have a light side and a dark side.”

Speaking at the Learning Without Frontiers conference in London last week, he said that computer games stimulate the brain’s reward system to produce dopamine, a chemical “which helps orient our attention and enhances the making of connections between neurons, which is the physical basis for learning.”

Mr. Howard-Jones said that research has shown that the introduction of a chance or game element into any reward system increases dopamine production. “For generations, we educators have done everything we can to maintain a consistent relationship between reward and achievement, but the neuroscience is telling us something different,” he said in an interview.

According to Mr. Howard-Jones, students learn more, and are happier to continue learning, when they are offered the chance of a reward rather than a guaranteed reward. Instead of trying to ban portable phones or portable computers from the classroom, teachers should be trying to harness the power of games in their lessons. “We call it TWIG — teaching with immersive gaming,” he said, explaining that “I teach several of my postgraduate courses in educational neuroscience using this medium.”

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Clay Christensen on Higher Ed

This video is a bit long – just over an hour – but well worth it. Christensen's insight into how various industries have been disrupted and how educators and higher ed will be disrupted is invaluable.

Renowned Harvard business professor and acclaimed author Clayton Christensen addressed the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee this morning in the Senate building at the Utah Capitol. A Utah native, Christensen is a world-renowned expert on how disruptive technologies alter entire industries.

Drawing instructive comparisons with the steel and technology sectors, Christensen specifically addressed the disruptions taking place in higher education and how legislators can work with higher ed to help it adapt and better educate students. Christensen said online learning is an essential component in the disruption that is taking place in education, an industry that has been highly resistant to disruption previous to the fairly recent advances in online learning.

For example, Christensen explains how the current model of education is integrated from top to bottom, meaning if you want to change one part of the model, you have to change the other parts of the model to fit. Using technology, education can move to a modular model in which a student can take a particular course, taught by the best professor in the world, and get credit for that course. Instead of accrediting only institutions, accreditation organizations would accredit individual courses. The student thereby receives the best, most appropriate education without the limitations and burdensome requirements of a linear, integrated education.

Christensen encourages higher ed institutions to become hybrids, offering both on-campus and online courses, noting that this move would "extend their runway" and help them to enhance their effectiveness and maintain their competitiveness in an increasingly open and à la carte education environment. Increasingly, the focus will be, as it should, on helping students meet their individual needs instead of requiring students to follow a rigid factory model.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Apple and Secrecy

From Matt Rosoff - Apple is so obsessed with secrecy, it sometimes puts new hires on fake products until they can be trusted.

Clear – New ToDo App for iOS

Very cool looking new app. Very un-iPhone like – looks more like a Windows 7 Phone app.

Clear for iPhone (Coming Soon!) from Realmac Software on Vimeo.

Clear for iPhone: http://www.realmacsoftware.com/clear

Clear is designed to help you manage your life without adding clutter. It's a beautifully-designed, gesturally-driven app that we've created to improve on a pencil and notepad for flexibly keeping quick, simple todo lists.

Clear was designed and built by Realmac Software, Milen.me and Impending, Inc.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hollywood Versus Technology

Cory Doctorow shares a great Infographic: Hollywood's long war on technology that illustrates that SOPA is just the latest effort by Hollywood and media-owners to lock down their content.

a handy guide to the pig-ignorant campaigns that Hollywood has waged against new technologies since the industry's founders ripped off Thomas Edison's patents and fled to California.

Infographic: Why the movie industry is so wrong about SOPA


Thursday, January 26, 2012

How to Prevent Cheating?

Apparently, some think digital DNA is the answer … 'Digital DNA' May Soon Be Required To Take SAT And ACT Exams:

Inside the applied DNA sciences lab at Stony Brook University researchers are hard at work inventing and perfecting a system that can prevent cheating on SAT and ACT exams.

“A novel system that’s absolutely unbreakable for securing the identity of a student taking the SAT exam,” said Dr. James Hayward.

The foolproof ID plan and others will be presented to lawmakers, who have pledged to parents, teachers and students that they will work together to protect exam integrity, hold cheaters responsible and fix the fraud, following the shocking scandal that spread from Great Neck North High School to include some 30 test takers and test payers faking their own identities, hoping to buy their into top scores and top schools.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Can a Judge Compel One to Decrypt Their Laptop?

I guess the answer is yes.

David Kravets reporting … Judge Orders Defendant to Decrypt Laptop:

A judge on Monday ordered a Colorado woman to decrypt her laptop computer so prosecutors can use the files against her in a criminal case.

The defendant, accused of bank fraud, had unsuccessfully argued that being forced to do so violates the Fifth Amendment’s protection against compelled self-incrimination.

“I conclude that the Fifth Amendment is not implicated by requiring production of the unencrypted contents of the Toshiba Satellite M305 laptop computer,” Colorado U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburnruled Monday. (.pdf)

The authorities seized the laptop from defendant Ramona Fricosu in 2010 with a court warrant while investigating financial fraud.

The case is being closely watched (.pdf) by civil rights groups, as the issue has never been squarely weighed in on by the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

10 Dying or Dead Tech Skills

10 Tech Skills Heading the Way of the Dinosaur from Randy Muller:

The IT industry is one which evolves rapidly - some would say too rapidly. As a consequence of this rapid change, IT professionals must also update their skills more often than most other industries. Accountants must learn new tax laws; IT pros must learn new operating systems. Doctors learn new techniques or have new pharmaceuticals at their disposal; IT pros must learn new programming languages. Some IT skills have been around for decades - just ask your friendly COBOL programmer. New IT skills emerge faster than old ones retire. IT pros must continuously learn new and expand current skills or they will become extinct, just as the systems and applications they once supported. Let's take a quick look at some skills that are on the endangered species list for 2012.

1. Email

2. Computer Hardware Support


4. Adobe Flash Mobile

5. Windows 2000 and before

6. Traditional Telephony

7. Networking

8. Silverlight

9. Software and Network support

10. ColdFusion


Developer Adds Animations to iBooks Author

Sencha Animator in an Apple iBook from Sencha on Vimeo.

From Daniel Eran Dilger … Sencha embeds interactive CSS3 animations in iBook Author:

Web developer Sencha has now demonstrated how to use its graphical Sencha Animator tool (below) to build Flash-like animations with interactivity using the features of CSS3, which can then be incorporated into iBooks.

This lets non-programmers create interactive, animated content they can include in their own titles. Once created, users currently have to add an info.plist descriptor file and set the file type to .wdgt, identifying it as a Dashboard widget. The component can then simply be dragged into a iBooks Author page within an HTML widget.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Anatomy of Credit Card Numbers

Michael Gilleland dissects the Anatomy of Credit Card Numbers

Very interesting – I learned something new!

Classical Music Visualized as a Roller Coaster Ride

This is very cool! From Maggie Koerth-Baker

ZKO Rollercoaster // GREAT EMOTIONS from virtual republic on Vimeo.

Classical music visualized as a roller coaster ride:

This great short film by the Zurich Chamber Orchestra illustrates the intensity behind a lot of classical pieces by turning the first violin part on the fourth movement of Ferdinand Ries’ second symphony into a looping, whirling roller coaster ride.

Travel Charger Suitcase


Self-generating Travel Charger Suitcase by Jung Inyoung

Shared by Radhika Seth

Why All the Anti-Apple Sentiment Over iBooks Author?

Ed Borasky doesn't think much of Apple's new initiatives in education – This Is How You Disrupt Education, Not iBooks Author!:
My take is that it was 100% Apple marketing and zero “disrupting education.” It was all about selling overpriced tablets to schools that are struggling to keep teachers on the payroll. It was all about forcing authors to buy new Macintosh machines or upgrading existing ones to MacOS X “Lion”. And it was about a restrictive EULA for authors.
Of course Apple is in the business of selling their products, but if you've experimented with or even watched the videos demoing the new iBooks or iBooks Author, it's hard not to think that these will impact what we do as educators. To cynically dismiss iBooks2, and iBooks Author as "100% Apple marketing" is missing the mark and way too hyperbolic.
As for the restrictive EULA (End User License Agreement), it has gotten a lot of press, but much of it overhyped. If you create an ibooks e-book (that will only work on the iPad) and you want to sell it, you have to sell through Apple – just like you would an iOS app. If you want to give it away for free, there are no restrictions. As for fears that the the EULA gives Apple ownership of your content, that's just reading way too much into the terms and extrapolating them to the most draconian outcome. I've read the EULA and I don't see it. Your content is yours; you can do whatever you want with it. If you choose to produce a rich, interactive multimedia e-book using iBooks Author you can either give it away or sell it through Apple. Want to sell it for the Amazon Kindle, use another tool to format the book and publish to Amazon. How's that different from an app developer? Sure, I'd like to see Apple put this all to rest by revising the EULA, but even as is, people are reading way too much into it.
He points to a couple alternatives that he feels are truly disruptive – (1) free textbooks:
Textbooks should be free! That’s one way to disrupt education. And CK12.org provides Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) textbooks for free. These are textbooks developed by educators, not marketers. They work on iPads, Kindles, PDF readers, or you can read them on line in your browser. There are authoring tools on the web site as well. The current CK-12 FlexBooks Library lists 38 mathematics textbooks, 34 in science and 20 in other subjects. Some have both student and teacher editions.
and (2) free software:
And education software should be free! The most comprehensive collection of free educational software I’ve found is openSUSE Linux for Education – openSUSE:Education-Li-f-e. This is a LiveDVD that will boot on most PC-based hardware with at least 1 GB of RAM.. You don’t even need a hard drive – since it’s a Live DVD, Li-f-e doesn’t touch the hard drive unless you explictly direct it to do so. If you want, you can copy the DVD to a USB drive and boot from that.
and he concludes …
Given that these free tools exist, and have been around since well before the iPad, I don’t see how Apple marketing can claim to be disrupting education. There’s real disruption if you know where to look.
Where do I start? Free is great, free books, free software, but that doesn't necessarily mean free is best. If these tools (free books and open source software) are truly disrupting education, where the data. Where's the proof? Open source software has been around forever – I teach Linux, so I interact with open source every day, but my colleagues in education? No so much. Maybe MoodleRooms has made a tiny dent in the Blackboard empire, but teaching your classes using a Live Linux distribution – as Borasky suggests – it just not happening.
The books available through CK12.org look promising, but a few questions:
  1. where's the multimedia, the interaction – since these are web-based, this would be a great opportunity to include content and resources to enrich the e-books, but instead these appear to be no different than print books except for the fact that they're free, online, and include few links to external resources,
  2. the textbooks can be downloaded as PDFs, as ePub files for iPads and other readers, or purchased (for $0.00) from Amazon's Kindle store,
    • Why not offer as a .mobi file to download directly to the Kindle?
    • Why is it OK to distribute through Amazon, but not Apple? Is Amazon less evil?
    • Do kids need Amazon accounts, and credit cards to access these materials?
  3. The CK12 project seems to have been around since 2007. If as Borasky claims, "there's real disruption if you know where to look", how many school districts, teachers, students, etc are using CK12 textbooks?
So we've had free – books and software – but not disruption. That doesn't mean that iBooks, iPads, and iBooks Author are the answer, but let's at least give it a shot.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Profile of a Master Thief

Really interesting story from Joshuah Bearman ... Art of the Steal: On the Trail of World’s Most Ingenious Thief I find it interesting because I see students all the time with similar inate mechanical, electrical and computer aptitudes and my challenge is to harness that aptitude in the classroom.
Drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of surveillance and electronics, Blanchard became a criminal mastermind. The star was the heist that transformed him from a successful and experienced thief into a criminal virtuoso.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Apple Eyeing 802.11ac Gigabit WiFi for Products

Daniel Eran Dilger reporting … Apple working to adopt 802.11ac 5G Gigabit WiFi this year:

Apple is expected to rapidly deploy support for the new 802.11ac specification this year, adding so called "Gigibit WiFi" to new AirPort base stations, Time Capsule, Apple TV, notebooks and potentially its mobile devices.

The new 802.11ac standard achieves much faster wireless networking speeds than the existing 802.11n specification (in use on the latest Mac, AirPort and iOS devices) by using 2 to 4 times the frequency bandwidth (from 80 to 160MHz), more efficient data transfers through sophisticated modulation, and more antennas (up to 8; existing standards support up to 4, while Apple's Macs currently use up to 3).

While not yet finalized as an official standard by the 802.11 Working Group, progress on the new 802.11.ac standard is occurring faster than previous efforts in wireless networking have.

Multiple suppliers have already issued chipsets supporting 802.11ac for consumer grade applications. Key Apple component maker Broadcom announced chips supporting the standard earlier this month at CES.

In addition to reaching networking speeds above 1 Gigabit (about three times as fast as 802.11n networks can manage), 802.11ac promises better networking range, improved reliability, and more power efficient chips, thanks to parallel advances in reducing chip size and enhancing power management.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Geek or Nerd - Which Are You?

I was at a conference recently and a colleague from across the room sent me a quick text message "I seeing a new trend at these conferences - geek pride". Maybe it's the popularity of the Big Bang Theory or the old adage "the meek will inherit the earth", but it does seem to be a good time to be a geek.

Geeks vs Nerds
From: MastersInIt.org

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iBooks Author First Impressions

Yesterday, Apple announced and released iBooks Author – a free e-book authoring tool for Mac OS X Lion. I downloaded and experimented a bit with the application. It's very easy to use, and very powerful.
You can add content via the following tool bar or by just dragging-and-dropping into the project
The widgets are particularly powerful, allowing you to add a number of multimedia and interactive elements very quickly and effortlessly. In a matter of 5 minutes, I was able to create a simple e-book with a fully-functional Keynote presentation embedded in the book, along with a review quiz, and an interactive 3D model created in SketchUp.
This is a game changer for self-publishing!
See the official iBooks Author tour video below.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

ICT Education in the UK a "Mess"

ICT – Information and Communications Technology is a term used in the UK to describe what we typically call IT or Information Technology. In the US, we've been moving away from IT and towards ICT – a better fit for the work that we do in networking, security and communications. Unfortunately, it looks like ICT education in the UK is not working and there's an effort underway to move to a program more well-aligned with computing and computer science.

Judith Burns reporting … UK Schools ICT to be replaced by computer science programme:

The current information and communications technology (ICT) curriculum in England's schools is a "mess" and must be radically revamped, the education secretary has announced.

From September it will be replaced by a flexible curriculum in computer science and programming, designed with the help of universities and industry.

Michael Gove called the current ICT curriculum "demotivating and dull".

He will begin a consultation next week on the new computing curriculum.

He said this would create young people "able to work at the forefront of technological change".

Speaking at the BETT show for educational technology in London, Mr Gove announced plans to free up schools to use curricula and teaching resources that properly equip pupils for the 21st Century.

He said that resources, developed by experts, were already available online to help schools teach computer science and he wants universities and businesses to devise new courses and exams, particularly a new computing GCSE.

The education secretary said the inadequate grounding in computing offered by the current curriculum was in danger of damaging Britain's economic prospects.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mobile Phone Market Evolution

Another great video from Horace Dediu - best to watch full screen:

Mobile Phone Market Evolution:

The evolution of Shipments, Revenue, Profitability and Cost structure of eight vendors selling mobile phones between second quarter 2007 and second quarter 2011.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More on Apple's Education Event

Accord to Philip Elmer-Dewitt, Apple's education event is getting seriously over-hyped. In particular he references the numerous headlines proclaiming that Apple is getting ready to "digitally destroy" textbook publishing. He tamps down the excitement very quickly - disappointing if this is the real story. Elmer-Dewitt is usually pretty spot on in his reporting, so get ready to be underwhelmed. While this might improve the e-books we get from publishers, what I was hoping for is a tectonic, structural disruption of the publishing industry and a giant leap forward for self-publishing.

MacInnis also mentioned GarageBand in our interview. But what he was describing was a sample iPad textbook, produced in-house and packed with pedagogical bells and whistles, that would serve as a reference design for textbook publishers, much in the way GarageBand for the iPad showed iOS developers what the new platform could do.

MacInnis does expect Apple to unveil new tools for creating iPad textbooks, along with a new content repository to make e-textbooks easily available to teachers. But the tools are not a "GarageBand for e-books." And according to MacInnis, they're designed to support the textbook industry, not to do an end-run around it.

A Brief History of Computing Platforms

Horace Dediu shares A Brief History of Computing Platforms:

Apple Set to Launch 'GarageBand for ebooks'

Exciting if true!

From Chris Rawson … What to expect from Apple's education event: Digital textbooks, 'GarageBand for ebooks':

Reportedly the event will focus on a new type of digital textbook providing a greater degree of interactivity than has been offered in the past. The iPad is of course the perfect medium for consumption of such content, and the iTunes Store is a ready-made outlet for delivering that content. Apple has already provided all the tools for digital textbooks to get into the hands of teachers and students, with one exception: an easy way to create that digital content in the first place.

Tools for creating ebooks from scratch or converting standard books into digital versions have traditionally been confusing to use, delivered inconsistent results, and haven't played well with anything more than basic multimedia integration. Speaking from my personal experience in trying to create a simple text-only ebook using iWork, I've longed for a simpler and more user-friendly tool; I can only imagine that textbook publishers have been clamoring for such a piece of software even more stridently.

According to Ars Technica, Apple is set to deliver that final piece of the puzzle in crafting digital textbooks, which the site characterizes as sort of a "GarageBand for ebooks." Apple is expected to announce support for the EPUB 3 standard -- it currently supports EPUB 2 with some HTML5-based extensions to allow grafting of basic multimedia content onto ebooks. While this may render such ebooks incompatible with other ebook platforms (Kindle, most notably) it should also make it much easier for textbook makers to deliver interactive content in their ebooks.

Both Ars's sources and people within the digital publishing industry agree that Apple is set to introduce a tool designed to make the process of creating digital content for ebooks as easy as GarageBand makes it to throw together a song on your Mac.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Twitter Growth

Nancy Messieh reporting … Twitter Adding 11 New Accounts Per Second

For Some, iPad Replaces the Laptop

I'm not there yet, but there are a number of tasks for which the iPad is the go-to device.

Neil Hughes reporting … 12% of iPad owners in the enterprise no longer use their laptop:

The role of the iPad in the enterprise was explored in a new study revealed this week by IDG Connect. The "iPad for Business Survey 2012" features interviews with IT and business professionals from around the world.

The survey found that 12 percent of workers indicated that the iPad has "completely replaced" their traditional laptop. Another 54 percent said the iPad has "partly" replaced their laptop, and instead complements it on the go.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Windows 8 on ARM - Don't Hold Your Breath

From James Niccolai Windows 8 on ARM: You can look but you can't touch

For a touch-based interface it was awfully hard to get hold of. Microsoft's Windows 8 OS was shown on a handful of prototype ARM-based tablets at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, but almost no one was allowed to try it out.

Nvidia had three Windows 8 tablets in its booth but they were all behind glass. Texas Instruments showed a Windows 8 tablet in a meeting room off the show floor, but a reporter who asked to try it was told that wasn't permitted. Qualcomm, the third vendor of ARM-based chips working with Windows 8, wasn't showing it at all.

Representatives from all three companies said Microsoft has placed tight limits on how they can show Windows on ARM. It's apparently taking no chances that people might have a bad experience with the software before it's ready for release, which could harm its reputation.


Chris Flores, Microsoft director of communications for Windows, said development of the ARM version is on track and that Microsoft expects it to be released commercially at the same time as the x86 version But Microsoft wouldn't say if the Windows 8 beta due in late February will come out for both platforms.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

How Secure is Your Campus Network?

Computer viruses undetected for over ten years - wow, scary stuff from Nanette Asimov - Viruses stole City College of S.F. data for years

Personal banking information and other data from perhaps tens of thousands of students, faculty and administrators at City College of San Francisco have been stolen in what is being called "an infestation" of computer viruses with origins in criminal networks in Russia, China and other countries, The Chronicle has learned.

At work for more than a decade, the viruses were detected a few days after Thanksgiving, when the college's data security monitoring service detected an unusual pattern of computer traffic, flagging trouble.

It appeared at first that the problem was contained in a single computer lab at Cloud Hall on the Phelan Avenue campus, one of a dozen City College sites around the city. David Hotchkiss, the chief technology officer, immediately shut the lab down and reported the problem to Chancellor Don Griffin, General Counsel Scott Dickey and Board of Trustees President John Rizzo.

But a closer look revealed a far more nefarious situation, which had been lurking within the college's electronic systems since 1999.


Each night at about 10 p.m., at least seven viruses begin trolling the college networks and transmitting data to sites in Russia, China and at least eight other countries, including Iran and the United States, Hotchkiss and his team discovered. Servers and desktops have been infected across the college district's administrative, instructional and wireless networks. It's likely that personal computers belonging to anyone who used a flash drive during the past decade to carry information home were also affected.

Some of the stolen data is probably innocuous, such as lesson plans. But an analysis shows that students and faculty have used college computers to do their banking, and the viruses have grabbed the information, Hotchkiss said.

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Friday, January 13, 2012


Coney Island in 1915 from the Library of Congress Flickr pool.



... And The Knack

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The Knack

Thanks to Ann Blackman for sharing this on Facebook!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

What's Behind the Recent Surge in iPhone Sales?

Perennial Apple-hater Joe Wilcox points to the success of the iPhones – $0 3GS, $99 4, and $199 4S (all with two-year contract).

Tim Cook takes iPhone where Steve Jobs couldn't:

NPD's US retail sales data shows just how successful is the strategy. The top-three selling smartphones during October and November: iPhone 4S, 4 and 3GS. Samsung Galaxy S 4G and S2 rank fourth and fifth.

Say that again slowly – the top three selling phones are iPhones.

Weirdly, he points to the strategy of making the iPhone 4 and 4S indistinguishable from one another as key to this surge in sales. I'm not sure I get the logic. So iPhone 4 buyers think they're buying a 4S with Siri, but for only $99? I think the iPhone 4 is selling really well, because buyers see a bargain – a really great phone for only $99.
I see now that iPhone 5 would have distracted buyers rather than open up the big sales spigot. Cook has made a big play to gain platform market share fast.

Facebook To Hit 1 Billion User Mark in August


From Todd Wasserman – Facebook To Hit 1 Billion User Mark in August [STUDY]:

one-seventh of humanity is now within the social network’s grasp

Amazon Kindle Lending Library a Hit

This is a great benefit for Amazon Prime members, unfortunately the Lending Library is limited to Kindle devices – not Kindle apps on other devices (iPad, iPhone, laptop, etc).

Leena Rao reporting … Amazon Kindle Owners Are “Borrowing” Nearly 300,000 Electronic Books A Month:

Amazon is releasing new data on its Kindle Lending Library, which the e-commerce site says now has over 75,000 books. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a collection of books that Amazon Prime members who own a kindle can borrow once a month, with no due dates.

Amazon recently launched KDP Select, a fund that lets indie authors and publishers make money off of lending. Basically, if a KDP author or publisher chooses to make any of their books exclusive to the Kindle Store for at least 90 days, those books are eligible to be included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and can earn a share of the KDP Select fund.

According to the company, customers borrowed nearly 300,000 (295,000 to be exact) KDP Select titles in December alone, and KDP Select has helped grow the total library selection. With the $500,000 December fund, KDP authors have earned $1.70 per borrow. In response to strong customer adoption of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, Amazon says it has added a $200,000 bonus to the January KDP Select fund, raising the total pool from $500,000 to $700,000 for authors.

The top ten KDP Select authors earned over $70,000 in the month of December from their participation in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which is a 30% increase on top of the royalties they earned from their paid sales on the same titles in the same period. In total (paid sales plus their share of the loan fund), these authors saw their royalties grow an astonishing 449% month-over-month from November to December. The list of top 10 KDP Select authors includes Carolyn McCray, Rachel Yu, the Grabarchuk family and Amber Scott.

How Intuitive is the iPad?

So intuitive, even a cat can use it!

AppMag (Cat Plays Fruit Ninja on iPad An iPad turns into...):

An iPad turns into an expensive cat toy as this feline starts slicing fruits like mad manages to get a Fruit Ninja score of 128.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Prohibition of Pinball

Strange but true story from Ben Yakas … Did You Know Pinball Was Illegal In NYC For Over 30 Years?: Gothamist:

It's kind of unbelievable to think about it now, but it's true: America went through a period between 1940s and the 1970s when pinball was banned in many of the biggest cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. A fantastic piece in Popular Mechanics documents pinball prohibition—and it took a true pinball wizard (and a lot of luck) to get it legalized in NYC.

Monday, January 09, 2012

M. Night Shyamalan

From Joel Bernstein tweet of the day:

Fun fact: Bullies in high school called me Shamalamadingdong.

— M. Night Shyamalan (@MNightShyamalan)January 5, 2012

The iPhone is Five Years Old Today

Daniel Eran Dilger Five years of iPhone:

Five years ago today, Steve Jobs unveiled the new iPhone at Macworld Expo.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Mathematicians Clock

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Is the Kindle Fire Disruptive to the iPad?

Jack Chou What happens when the Kindle Fire costs $0?. While it's true that the Kindle Fire has sold well, I don't think it has yet disrupted the iPad market. In Christensen's theory of innovation and disruption, the incumbent product - in this case the iPad - has become a mature product with little room for meaningful updates, other than the sustaining incremental updates that Chou references. The iPad and the tablet market are just in their infancy – it's way too early to consider the Fire as a market disruption.

Jeff Bezos and company have no interest in charging a premium price for a product that they essentially expect to be a virtual USPS mailbox for their growing inventory of digital goods. Amazon worries about the long-term only and, as the NY Times noted, they actually mean it.

So while the question, “What happens when the Kindle Fire costs $0?” may include a bit of hyperbole, it’s not hard to imagine a day when the Kindle Fire: (1) has progressed to being a truly capable tablet that covers 90% of the iPad’s functions capably, and (2) costs a trivial sum, maybe $49 or $79. What happens then?

If we’re to believe Clayton Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma and expect this market to follow other technology markets in history, Apple and the iPad will not be able to simply innovate with ‘sustaining’ features that incrementally drive the state of the art forward. Apple will need to continue to introduce disruptive innovation into the tablet market just to compete with their lower-price, down-market competitors.

In other words, a slightly better browser, camera, or email application won’t be enough to fend off the Kindle tidal wave.


Free Programming eBooks

Nice list of 30 50 free programming eBooks from Michael Kohl:

Since this post got quite popular I decided to incorporate some of the excellent suggestions posted in the comments, so this list now has more than 50 books in it. BTW: I’m not very strict on the definition of “ebook”, some of them are really just HTML versions of books. [UPDATED: 2012-01-07]

Learning a new programming language always is fun and there are many great books legally available for free online. Here’s a selection of 30 of them

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Steve Jobs on Higher Education

It's a little long and clearly dated, but very interesting to here Setve Jobs thoughts on higher ed.

elearningpost » Steve Jobs on Higher Education:

Interesting to see what Steve had in mind for higher education when making plans for NeXT Computer. Simulations and the learning experience were high on his agenda.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Making the Case for a Flipped Classroom

Katie Gimbar makes a good case ... time to re-think your classes! - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Turn Any Surface into a Touch Screen

Jason Kottke shares ...

Touch interfaces everywhere:

This is kind of amazing: if you put a contact microphone on a hard surface and then process the sound in realtime, you can turn that surface into a touch screen...or a programmable musical instrument.


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

An Art Deco Computer

This hand-made computer is beautiful!


From Rob Beschizza … Aerodyne, a compact hand-made Art Deco computer:

Aerodyne is Jeffrey Stephenson's latest hand-made Art Deco PC. In keeping with the (modern) times, it's a compact Mini-ITX affair in mahogany and aluminum, with an Intel i3 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid state drive. Stephenson plans to make no more than a handful of them, to order.


Tuesday, January 03, 2012

No IPv6 Doomsday this Year, But Still Unprepared

According to Stephen Lawson, IPv6 Doomsday Won't Hit in 2012, Experts Say

IMG 0677

Next year will see one more regional Internet registry run out of IPv4 addresses, but 2012 will be more of a year to prepare for the inevitable shift to IPv6 than an Internet doomsday, according to networking experts.

despite the impending depletion of addresses, most enterprises didn't begin upgrading to IPv6 last year. As of October, fewer than 1 percent of all subdomains under the .com, .net and .org top-level domains had IPv6-enabled Web servers on them

Monday, January 02, 2012

Windows Security Advice

Andrei Lisnic provides some simple Windows security 101:

to keep your Windows machine secure:

  • Use your PC with a restricted user account. In Windows XP, create a simple user account in parallel to admin one (with a password of course), and when you need to run a program with admin rights just do a right click and select “run this program as…” and select admin. In Windows Vista/7 turn UAC on to maximum. It might be annoying, but you don’t install programs so often, do you?
  • Disable autorun (which is one of the most used sources of spreading viruses)
  • Use only trusted sources

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Samuel Palmisano and the Re-Birth of IBM

Great profile of Palmisano from Steve Lohr – How Samuel Palmisano of I.B.M. Stayed a Step Ahead:

behind I.B.M.’s relentless progress over the last decade is a game plan that has been anything but conservative. The company shed multibillion-dollar businesses. It chose higher profit margins over corporate size, and expanded aggressively overseas, seeking sales, low-cost engineering talent and quicker organizational reflexes.

Investors, however, haven’t been bored. The company’s stock price has surged. In November, Warren E. Buffett, who typically shuns technology stocks, announced he had accumulated $10 billion of I.B.M. shares, a stake of more than 5 percent.

All of that didn’t just happen. A large portion of the credit goes to Samuel J. Palmisano, who steps down on Sunday after nearly a decade as chief executive. During his tenure, I.B.M. has been a textbook case of how to drive change in a big company — when so much of the study of business innovation focuses on start-ups and entrepreneurs.

This column is a glimpse of the thinking behind some of the major steps I.B.M. has taken under Mr. Palmisano’s leadership, based on two recent interviews with him.

He says his guiding framework boils down to four questions:

• “Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?”

• “Why would somebody work for you?”

• “Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?”

• “And why would somebody invest their money with you?”


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