Posts Tagged: Apple

Sunday Tidbits: After a bit of a lull – Apple says Game On!, Sharanya, Mie, and Fusion!

A quick round of Sunday tidbits and links for you…

1) T’would appear that Apple is waking up from its rather sleepy mobile photo lull and is declaring game on to the newly minted Microsoft Mobile (entity formerly known as Nokia Device and Services) in two sweeps with the declaration of:

Apple Patent Shows Off Unique Use of OIS for “Super Resolution” Photos

and the defection of a certain Mr. Ari Partinen from the top ranks of the Nokia Camera team

Now it should get interesting. One wonders if a certain Mr. Alakarhu and a certain Ms. Björknäs will stay put at the newly signed building in Espoo? Will Google / Samsung up their mobile camera game or will we have round ___ of the Apple v. Microsoft tech brinkmanship?

2) The ever amazing Sharanya Manivannan has published a short story, “Sweet”, in the debut issue of The Affair and is interviewed in “A Q&A with Sharanya Manivannan on her story ‘Sweet’, published in the inaugural issue of ‘The Affair’

If you aren’t already following Sharanya on Twitter or reading her blog, go do it now.

3) In my searches for good recipes for various Japanese recipes, I have found myself at Cookpad and a bit baffled by the translations that Google gives me. Thus, when I read that Mie is now the North American office / staff member for Cookpad En, I was very excited. Not only for a great position for Mie, but also that means that Mie’s excellent abilities in blogging, cross cultural exchange, and blogging will mean the opening up and un-confusing a great wealth of contemporary Japanese foodways. So EXCITED. Go Mie, Go!

4) 3QuarksDaily asks: When are you Past Your Prime?

5) Charlie Stross has two great blog posts for thinking about technology, now, the future, and the world, read the comments:
a) The Snowden leaks; a meta-narrative – A call for the internet protocol to be rebuilt before it is too late:

The trouble is, the success of the internet protocols created a networking monoculture that the NSA themselves came to rely on for their internal infrastructure. The same security holes that the NSA relied on to gain access to your (or Osama bin Laden’s) email allowed gangsters to steal passwords and login credentials and credit card numbers. And ultimately these same baked-in security holes allowed Edward Snowden—who, let us remember, is merely one guy: a talented system administrator and programmer, but no Clark Kent—to rampage through their internal information systems.

b) The prospects of the Space and Freedom Party reconsidered in light of the crisis of 21st century capitalism – Given that the U.S. spent over $4 Trillion on the most recent Iraq War, what is a few fusion reactors at $100 billion a pop?

I’ve got two candidates for such investments: (a) commercial thermonuclear fusion reactors, and (b) colonizing Venus.

Fusion: we are not fifty years away any more. We’re about thirty years and $100Bn away. Or we’re about 8-10 years and $200Bn and a Manhattan Program level of urgency away—it depends on the political and legislative framework. However, building tokamak fusion reactors (like ITER) is never going to be cheap; to get 1Gw of electrical power out implies a 5Gw thermal reactor (and a third of its power is going to go into maintaining the fusion reaction). More realistically, tokamaks will come in 5Gw power output and larger sizes, making them an order of magnitude larger than today’s big-ass 1Gw PWR, AGR, and AP1000 reactors. We’re looking at startup costs of $25-50Bn per reactor, and a requirement for up to 1000 of the suckers if we want to roll it out globally as a major energy source.

So: it’s a project that will plausibly soak up $25-50Tn and take 10-30 years to roll out while needing 30-60 years to break even and start to provide a return on the capital investment. A good way of making the Koch brothers atone for their sins while preserving the illusion of their wealth, right?

Naah, that’s small beer

Go read, people, go read. Then comment.

Tidbits :: Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tech Crunch on Guest post: Symbian OS – one of the most successful failures in tech history
Qt Developer Blogs on Experimental packages for Symbian development on Linux
Qt Mobile Development Online Training
O’Reilly on HTML5 Mobile Web Development
Sarah Parameter on Designing for iOS: Life Beyond Media Queries
asymco on What has Android done for Apple?
Think Vitamin on 23 Essential HTML 5 Resources
Chris Heilmann on A call for quality HTML5 demo markup
Tech Crunch on Why Sunsetting Delicious Matters
Jeremy Keith on Home-grown and Delicious
Userfocus on 7 myths about paper prototyping
FeldThoughts on Just Make it Faster

Over the Air Updates, Too Much Kit, & Mobile UX

Forgive me for last night’s storytelling rant/praise about Over the Air updating of one’s mobile / smartphone. But one point that I would like to pick out from the story’s threading is that of ease of use for the customer.
Many in the mobile and computer technology space complain about how users do not update their computers, mobiles or software thus making it more complex, difficult, and at times more expensive for creators, designers, and developers to provide great experiences (giving the the stink eye to IE6). But we can’t complain if we are part of the problem in making updating difficult or more complex than it needs to be.
Apple has solved the problem of updating by making syncing between one’s iPhone/iPod/iPad as close to automatic as possible when you dock or plug it into your computer. But it creates another problem in that one need’s to have access to a computer to update or sync one’s Apple mobile products and it can also create problems if you don’t want a full sync or update. I have heard quite a few friends complain about both, either not having a regular computer or by syncing unique data on the mobile is wiped out by the sync. Apple makes it very easy but they have control over how the update happens.
Google’s Android has solved the problem by making all their updates to any Android phone happen over the air. As I detailed out last night, Android puts a little notice up in the top tool bar that updates are available, the user can then click on the tool bar and a drop down menu will give one the alerts as to which software and/or firmware has updates available. Google makes updating very easy and gives the user the control on when and how much they want to update.
My complaint of the last four years about Nokia’s Symbian S60 devices and updating is that the updating can only occur when one has the mobile phone attached by USB cable to a Windows PC/laptop. If one does not have access to a PC or one does not wish to find a PC to update one’s mobile, then one goes without. Once one gets a PC of which to conduct the update on, it becomes a multiple step update process that usually includes updating the Nokia Updater software and then updating the phone. Most of the time this takes at least 3-5 times longer than an Apple or Android update. Unnecessary kit, steps, and time just to update.
What was so exciting to me and praiseworthy yesterday was that the Nokia N900 with the Maemo linux-based OS uses the Android model of OTA (Over the Air) updates. The user clicks on the alert in the top tool bar, one chooses the updates that one wants to have updated, and as long as one has data connection it will update. As stated last night, this whole process for a major firmware update took less than 10 minutes. It was truly efficient.
From the user experience perspective, we as creators, designers, and developers cannot assume what the user will have for ‘kit’ or a computer to update with and what access to connection they will have. Thus I suggest the following for updating of software and firmware on mobile phones and computers:
1) Let the device that needs to be updated be the only device involved. If a mobile, don’t force the user to find a computer to conduct the update.
2) Make the available updates be readily noticeable to the user on the front or home screen of the device.
3) Allow whatever connection is most convenient for the user to do the updating. If wifi, then let the wifi do the job. If data connection through a mobile carrier, then let the sim chip do the job. Don’t force it to be through the mobile carrier as some folks have very spotty 2G& 3G connections. Don’t let the user fear that a spotty connection will brick the device. Conversely, if it doesn’t work for the user to do the update only through a mobile connection, then give them steps to get around this.
4) Allow the user to choose how little or how much they want to update. If a major firmware update, then say so in plain language, not the internal language of your company or specialty.
By taking these four steps we can encourage users to update and make the update painless. Painless updates that just work make for a good user experience, excitement for new features or bug fixes, and in the end for brand affection and loyalty.

Over the Air Full OS Updates, or Why I love Maemo (Soon to be Meego)

The ability to update one’s mobile phone / device is an excellent service that a handset manufacturer or operating system can offer a customer as it not only extends the life of the mobile but it also expands and builds on the array of services and software available on the mobile.
One of the big enticements for me to consistently choose Nokia mobile phones over other manufacturers has been the high quality cameras, the great hardware, and the software/OS updates that are available for your mobile even a year or two after purchase.
Only one not so small, not so wee problem…
Up until the last year, all of the updates have only been available for Nokia customers with access to a PC / Microsoft Windows based computers, as one would have to use a Windows machine to update the Nokia in question.
Now, I don’t know about you, but if you are a Nokia Nseries owner in the US, you are possibly not a PC owner. If you prefer to buy hard to find, high end, well designed hardware, then you have been mostly buying Apple for years and used to paying extra premium for great devices. If you are a Nokia Nseries owner in the US, you may be a creative surrounded by other creatives with Macs, not PCs. And on top of all of that, the PC owners around you might be the sort who don’t own or ever run anti-virus and so you wouldn’t want to hook your precious, expensive Noka up to their virii-addled PCs even for an update that will take 45 minutes to set up.
On top of hunting down a PC to update one’s Nokia, there is the added irritation that every time one wants to update on a borrowed or ancient PC, the Nokia Updater software on the PC wants to be updated itself. And given that the lame computer in question is a Windows machine it means a lengthy download, a restart of the machine, plug your Nokia back in via USB cable and START ALL OVER AGAIN. SO ANNOYING.
Can I type it again? SO ANNOYING.
30-45 minutes to just get one f*ing update. UGH.


Mobile in 2015 and Charlie Stross on Apple and the Cloud

If you don’t already read it, I recommend putting Charlie’s Diary in your feed / RSS reader, as Mr. Stross is erudite and can pin any bug through the carapace with wit & speed.
Mr. Stross recently tackled “The real reason why Steve Jobs hates Flash” wherein he talks about how Mr. Job’s severe control addiction appears to have several strategic as well as personal reasons:

“It’s probably no exaggeration to say that Apple’s draconian security policies are among the tightest of any company operating purely in the private sector, with a focus on secrecy that rivals that of military contractors. But even so, the control freak obsessiveness which Steve Jobs is bringing to bear on the iPad — and the desperate flailing around evident among Apple’s competitors — bears some examination. What’s going on?
I’ve got a theory, and it’s this: Steve Jobs believes he’s gambling Apple’s future — the future of a corporation with a market cap well over US $200Bn — on an all-or-nothing push into a new market.”

For as much as I enjoy owning a good Apple MacBook Pro computer, as the hardware is so very nicely designed and the OS is not Microsoft (this is a theme for me, not MicroSquash, see other blog posts). But the last few years of watching what had been a potentially interesting mobile platform, the iPhone, turning into a closed cult that now involves cops, I must say I am more than turned off.
As my readers know, for my mobile devices I prefer Nokia (such lovely hardware & great camera phones) and Android (such lovely software) and I am eagerly awaiting the Meego linux based mobile platform that Nokia & Intel are currently working on. I am also excited right now for Nokia’s open Maemo and future Meego, as there is plenty of room for a web designer / photographer / developer hybrid, like me, to develop mobile applications in python.
I want great hardware and an open software architecture as well as a whole open ecosystem that welcomes a variety of creative folk to get involved. The future as Mr. Stross envisions where Apple will go in his article makes me sincerely hope that Nokia will make several more iterations of the lovely Booklet with Meego as the linux based OS rather than the current Windows 7, so that I won’t have to be stuck in a distopian Job-sian closed cloud-based future for my work and main machine.
As for mobile devices in 2015, I sincerely hope that there will be a diversity of open architectures & ecosystems that inspire creativity, connection and ease of use rather than another great computer world battle that is Apple v. Google or some other such nonsense.
As for other things I hope for in a mobile ecosystem in 2015:
1) I hope that all devices will come with their own solar battery charging array where the solar cells are on the case of the device so that you can flip it over and it will charge while it is not being used.
2) I hope that I will have a small handheld mobile device that will fit in my pocket or hand and it will have a fold out screen that will when full out will be the size of a sheet of office paper be it 8.5×11″ or A4.
3) I hope that the OS and software that will run the mobile devices of 2015 will not be a closed system, not just in concept & app store but also not in execution. I hope that Palm’s WebOS idea set will be propagated across the mobile landscape so that folks with training in web design & development will be able to code mobile apps and not just C++/Java/Cocoa/Symbian folk.
I hope this because the mobile and telecom worlds have been quite closed due to carrier strangleholds and the high barrier to entry for mobile applications, whereas the web world has had a large flowering of creativity and innovation because the barriers to entry were quite small. If the barriers to creating apps and sites for mobile are low, then in 2015 a 19 year old could create the mobile version of a future Facebook to scratch an itch in his or her community.
4) I hope that carriers will not continue to have such a vise grip on the North American market, but as I suggested in my thesis, that I can buy my mobile device from any number of stores and buy the ‘gas’ / connectivity from any number of other separate operators/carriers.
5) And then I have a ton of hopes for cameras with complete connectivity in 2015, but I won’t go there now… ;o)

My Initial Thoughts on the iPad After Observing it in the Wild

Until yesterday the only thing that has been intriguing to me about the iPad is the ability to create drawings and digital paintings mostly due to James’s posts on iPad Creative, so screen size would be paramount.
After watching Valdis Krebs and Shawn Joyner use their iPads this week at the Nokia workshop event, I must say that I am not that intrigued.
For some reason, it must have been the angles of Apple’s adverts, I thought that the actual screen size would be larger more like a sheet of 8.5×11 / A4 paper and not the size of a medium-ish moleskine or my current small-ish Wacom tablet. Why pay $499 for an animated version of my 7 year old Wacom tablet?
I would be much more intrigued by a mobile device the size of a Nokia N97/N900 or an iPhone that had a 8.5×11/A4 sized screen that folded out, so that it could both fit in one’s pocket and also fold out to a full paper sheet size for drawing, writing, multiple apps open at once, plus a larger viewing area.

Apphole, or Jon Stewart digs down to the Essence of the iPhone Leak

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c

Thurs 04.29.10 – From last night’s Jon Stewart show, as usual Mr. Stewart gets to the essence again, this time his love for Apple & when did Apple become The Man. The best part is when Stewart calls Gizmodo’s iPhone review “whole video tech prostate exam”.
I will use term, “whole video tech prostate exam”, about any and all future mobile video reviews and possibly about unboxing videos.

A Tale of Two Leaks

Mon 04.26.10 – I find the tale of the two leaks of the last week to be very instructive of the respective companies, countries, & cultures of which they occurred.

Leak #1: The ((**GASP**)) iPhone Leak.
OMG! The iPhone 4 has been leaked. The Oh Holy Jobs and Cupertino Silencers get the cops on the beat. Gruber waxes prolific…
Because OMG the next Holy Artifact has been leaked!
8.8 earthquake surely will hit Jason Chen’s house next week. And he is not even boobylicious.

Leak #2: Eldar M. at Mobile_Review leaks the next Nokia high end mobile – The N8.
Eldar gives the prototype of the non-yet announced Nokia N8 a Russian Rant treatment. Various bloggers & commenters react & rebut.
Helsinki is still waiting for a few spring flowers to spring out.
Quietly, the FCC gives the Nokia N8 the seal of approval.
Espoo wonders if there will be another snow storm before the trees leaf out.
No earthquakes or police raids in Moscow or Helsinki, nor any clerics nor cleavage. No news at 11.
Elgar possibly picks his nose, which is full of snot from Spring pollen & creates a bugger sculpture in the shape of not-yet-announced iPhone 4.0, hoping that Steve Jobs will send the Cupertino Police after him.

p.s. People, please wake me up with the iPhone X.x has a real camera.
p.p.s. To quote me from last night: “Eldar has made his reputation on scooping everyone’s scoop & Nokia is famed for have wonderful devices 3 months AFTER release.”
p.p.s.s. Tomi Ahonen, last Thursday, on “So bloodbath in smartphones continues: Q1 results from Apple, AT&T and Nokia
Tues 04.27.10, 8:07am PST – Nokia speaks and requests the return of their N8 prototype.
Bless Espoo, the money quote is: “We are not the Secret Police, and we want to maintain our culture of openness.”
Eldar, return the N8. Nokia’s culture of openness and lack of scary Cupertino style closed-ness is one of their unique Finnish treats to the rest of us, let’s help them keep it.