Friday, September 30, 2011

Amazon Versus Google

Dan Frommer on Why the Kindle Fire is actually good for Google:

in the foreseeable future, as long as Kindle Fire users are still doing their web searches with Google, and as long as the Amazon Silk browser still displays Google’s ads, it’s still good for Google. Probably notasgood as if they were using a Motorola Xoom, but better than not using the web at all.

I don't see this as reason to celebrate in Mountainview. While web services and search will still benefit Google - Amazon's Android Marketplace, audio and video content, and expertise selling to consumers is a real threat to Google.

Don't expect Jeff Bezos to get a holiday card from Larry Page.

(Via SplatF)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kindle Fire First Impressions

Dan Frommer at SplatF - Kindle Fire: No big threat to the iPad, but should sell well:
Bottom line: The Kindle Fire isn’t much of an iPad threat yet. The real trouble will be for companies like Barnes & Noble, RIM, and Samsung, which are trying to sell 7-inch tablets that either cost considerably more or have poorer content and apps ecosystems.

I think the price point is going to attract a lot of buyers. Amazon has been very careful to position this device as a Kindle, rather than a table - NOT an iPad competitor. For some, this will take the place of a tablet, but for the vast majority of buyers, I think this will serve as a companion device to their existing iPad.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Steve Jobs and Xerox PARC

Great New Yorker article from Malcolm Gladwell. He dispels some of the myths and long-held beliefs regarding Jobs' visit to Xerox PARC. While Jobs was clearly inspired by what he saw, had he actually copied the work done by the engineers at Xerox PARC, the Macintosh likely would have been a failure.

gladwell dot com - creation myth:
This is the legend of Xerox PARC. Jobs is the Biblical Jacob and Xerox is Esau, squandering his birthright for a pittance. In the past thirty years, the legend has been vindicated by history. Xerox, once the darling of the American high-technology community, slipped from its former dominance. Apple is now ascendant, and the demonstration in that room in Palo Alto has come to symbolize the vision and ruthlessness that separate true innovators from also-rans. As with all legends, however, the truth is a bit more complicated.

The difference between direct and indirect manipulation—between three buttons and one button, three hundred dollars and fifteen dollars, and a roller ball supported by ball bearings and a free-rolling ball—is not trivial. It is the difference between something intended for experts, which is what Xerox PARC had in mind, and something that's appropriate for a mass audience, which is what Apple had in mind. PARC was building a personal computer. Apple wanted to build a popular computer.

Amazon's Tablet

I hope this report is off the mark. It would be a shame for Amazon to launch a dud after all this hype. As much as I love the iPad, the tablet-space needs competition to drive innovation forward.

Amazon's Tablet Is A "Pretty Poor" "Stopgap" That The Kindle Team Didn't Even Work On

Just before Amazon officially reveals its tablet, Ryan Block at GDGT has a report on what we can expect, and it does not sound good.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What Happened to Bill and Dave’s Company?

From Jean-Louis Gassée How Bad Boards Kill Companies: HP:
While early-stage companies are especially fragile, one would hope mature ones, having survived childhood diseases, are less vulnerable to the Bad Board malady. But no, for a large company, a dysfunctional Board of Directors can be just as toxic as a divided investor syndicate is for a startup. We have two Valley icons to prove it: Yahoo! and HP.

The entire post is worth reading.

Solving the Energy Crisis ...

One guinea pig at a time ...

About as a Relevant as a Handspring Visor

TechCrunch's Matt Burns on leaked photos of an upcoming Motorola Xoom 2 tablet.

If A Motorola Android Tab Leaks And It’s Just Like The Rest, Does It Really Matter?:

The old one is nearing its eight month birthday and thanks to the rapid Android aging process, it’s about as a relevant as a Handspring Visor at this point. But in all seriousness, does anyone care any more? I ask that with void of snark or sarcasm. I’m serious: Does anyone care about Honeycomb tablets anymore?

Honeycomb was supposed to be the iOS killer. It was supposed to stand-up, challenge the mighty iOS and ultimately slay the champion through a power combo of multitasking and openness. But it didn’t happen mainly because consumers don’t care about that nonsense. They want apps, which Honeycomb has very few. So here’s Android tablets now, sitting on retailers’ end-caps and shelves, huddled together, sharing the warmth of a single power brick just hoping someone will figure out how to unlock their screens.

The specs sound nice: an 8.2-inch HD IPS screen, an unnamed 1.2GHz CPU, faster RAM, Netflix HD, 1080p cam, and an IR emitter just in case you want a massive TV remote. Per ThisIsMyNext, all this comes in a casing that’s 9mm thick. That’s 0.2mm thicker than the iPad 2′s 8.8mm thickness in case that matters to you.

But specs do not sell tablets.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stallman on Android - Maybe Not So Free After All

Ricky reporting at the digitizor - Richard Stallman: “Android Phones Do Not Respect Your Freedom”:
In an article for The Guardian published today, Stallman is questioning if Android is really free software as claimed by Google.

In the article, he said that even though Google has released the source code of the kernel, as required by the GPL, the fact that they have no intention of releasing the part under the Apache License means that Android 3 is not a free software.
Google has complied with the requirements of the GNU General Public License for Linux, but the Apache license on the rest of Android does not require source release. Google has said it will never publish the source code of Android 3.0 (aside from Linux), even though executables have been released to the public. Android 3.1 source code is also being withheld. Thus, Android 3, apart from Linux, is non-free software, pure and simple.
Stallman also raised the issue about the handset manufacturers locking down their device to make sure that only their codes run on the hardware. Many Android handset manufacturers, currently does this. They ship their device with locked boot loader so that custom ROMs will not boot.

Some device models are designed to stop users from installing and using modified software. In that situation, the executables are not free even if they were made from sources that are free and available to you.
Stallman concludes by saying that Android is major step for free-software on phones - but right now, it does not respect the users' software freedom.
Android is a major step towards an ethical, user-controlled, free-software portable phone, but there is a long way to go. Even though the Android phones of today are considerably less bad than Apple or Windows smartphones, they cannot be said to respect your freedom.
Do you agree with Stallman's assessment of Android? Let us know your views in the comments.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Google Wallet

Very clever ad for Google Wallet ...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Friday, September 09, 2011

Cigar Feet

I'm not a smoker, but this is a cool series of images

Cigar Feet -

20110908 2471 940px ashton maduro 40


NBC Adds Full Episodes to iPad App

Ryan Lawler reporting NBC gets smart, adds full episodes to iPad app:
Back when NBC first debuted its iPad app, we called it a “missed opportunity,” mainly due to the lack of full-length episodes available. But with the fall TV season soon to kick off, the broadcaster has corrected that error, now making all content that had been available on also available on the iPad.

The latest update, which was released on Thursday, has all the same features that were available in the first iteration: It features information about NBC shows, schedules, exclusive images, games and some short-form video. The big addition will be full episodes, which will let viewers catch up on all of their favorite NBC shows, like 30 Rock, Community and Parks and Recreation, without a subscription from the iPad.

Flash: Apple Versus Adobe – and winner is …

… Apple according to Darrell Etherington

The day Apple won the Flash fight:

Adobe announced its new Flash Media Server 4.5 late Thursday afternoon, and it’s an iteration that Apple device owners should be very happy about. For the first time, Flash Media Server now enables same source video delivery to both Apple devices and Adobe Flash-compatible destinations. Basically, Adobe is acknowledging that Apple has won when it comes to Flash.

The new version of Flash Media Server will repackage content automatically for Apple’s mobile products, which lack Flash support, and implement HTTP Dynamic Streaming or HTTP Live Streaming, both of which are compatible with iOS. In theory, that should allow iOS to have its cake and eat it too, meaning that future Flash content will playback on iOS devices, without the slowdowns and battery drain that are part of what made the technology unappealing to Apple to begin with.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Demise of the US Post Office

Steven Greenhouse reporting for the New York TImes – In Internet Age, Postal Service Struggles to Stay Solvent, and Relevant:
The United States Postal Service has long lived on the financial edge, but it has never been as close to the precipice as it is today: the agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress takes emergency action to stabilize its finances.

I rarely use the post office anymore - I pay most of my bills online, and use UPS or FedEx to ship important documents. I don't think there's a solution to their problems. It would be painful, but I think they need to make huge cuts in services, costs, and unfortunately staffing.


04092011012.jpg by vanderwal
04092011012.jpg, a photo by vanderwal on Flickr.

Facebook and Patents

ZDNet's Emil Protalinski reporting on Facebooks' small patent portfolio and the patent challenges Facebook and other web-service companies could face. One would think that Google should hold a number of data center patents, but I'm not sure that's the case.

VMware CEO: Facebook will also have to fight a patent war soon:

Relatively new Web companies such as Facebook don’t hold many patents and could soon face data-center-related legal battles. VMware CEO Paul Maritz, who has witnessed a number of patent skirmishes in the 1990s when he was at Microsoft, believes that many patent confrontations are coming, and Facebook may find itself in the midst.

Quickly-growing services like Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, LinkedIn, and Groupon have so far avoided becoming casualties in the ongoing patent wars, which have centered on mobile devices, but the honeymoon may not last. “When the continents shift and new players come into a space, it results in an unstable situation,” Maritz told Business Week. “If you want to be a permanent fixture of the landscape, you better get some defense.”

Social media websites have weak patent portfolios: Facebook has only 12 patents to its name, while the totals for the other guys range from zero to two each, according to filings with the US Patent and Trademark Office.


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