Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'm Waiting For The Next iPod Touch, Not The iPhone

I hate the mobile phone carriers. I think they are bleeding us dry with their exorbinate data and voice rates especially when AT&T said they would throttle unlimited users for too much data, that just sounds dumb. Why would a business offer a service only to punish their most loyal customers? I think the moment someone finds a way to distribute data at high speeds wirelessly for a reasonable price will be the day everyone will celebrate.

This leads me to the upcoming iPhone release which is expected in the next month or two. I hope Apple has something big up it's sleeve, I mean something more than a faster processor and better camera. I hope they will open up their device to more carriers and introduce more competition. I'm also holding my breath for a 3G iPod Touch. I know there are so many reasons why Apple would never do this, but I can think of one big reason why they would - To stick it to the carriers.

Apple (Namely Steve Jobs) loves to have control, and lots of it. Depending on the carriers must eat on him every day, especially when AT&T plan to make his famed device unusable via throttling. I know he would love to give AT&T less power and divide it among other companies that could share more of Apple's vision.

Whatever Apple's next move is I'm planning for it to be a game changer. The time is right for someone to make a big splash in a way no other company would dare to, I have my money on Apple.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Google + Is A Keeper

Last week I Tweeted a request for a Google + invite and was granted one by a nice man named Sumit. Once inside I started exploring Circles. This feature is a cross between the Facebook news feed and Twitter lists, you get a graphical.

Right now I'm having a hard time personalizing my Google + experience since I only have two friends on the service and neither one of them are visiting it very often. Right now Google + looks like a glorified Twitter with feeds coming from tech people I'm following.

One thing I see that needs to change about Google + is the ability to sond someone a direct message. I don't know if it's hidden or just not available, but I know people are going want to send personal messages to each other without having to broadcast their message to everyone else in a circle.

I'm also not sure who is able to see what I post. I'm not sure how to control what my followers see versus what my two friends see. I think Google will need to create a series of Youtube tutorials that will help users understand how to use Google + more effectively.

So what does Google have to do to make this shiny new toy as successful as Facebook, they must make it very simple and transparent. This is what made Youtube so successful, to make contributing and consuming as simplistic as possible. They also need to put Facebook on their heels by giving users the ability to download their data and set privacy setting in a more intuitive way.

What about you? Have you had a chance to check out Google +? I'd love to know what you think. I'd love to create a Geek Dad circle and have us all talk Geek stuff.
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Monday, March 7, 2011

Will I Buy An iPad2?

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase
There is no doubt the iPad is the world's greatest gadget, it's almost incoceivable that any other tablet manufacturer will get even close to Apple's market share for several years. Given the familiar ecosystem of IOS and the calculated tweaks Apple makes to it's products, I can only expect more great things from this company for a long time.

The big question is how many more iPads will be sold this year over last. I think with improvements over processor and GPU speed I think the second generation will be an even bigger hit than the first. Other enhancements to Garage Band and iMovie look to be even more impressive than ever before. I'm curious enough to walk into the local Apple store just to check out those two apps alone.

I am totally put off with the $40 cover. How could this cover possible be worth this much money. Anyone who would buy this expensive cover is a fool, wait a couple of weeks until other manufacturers build their own magic cover models for a fraction of the price.

There is no doubt I would like to have one of these tablet wonders, but am I willing to part with at least $500 to have one? I'll have to weigh the positives and negatives:

Positives - Video editing. I love the fact that Apple put some horsepower behind the iPad2. Hopefully it is enough to edit video from my Canon 7D. I don't see myself using the cheesy built-in camera, I would likely import my footage from outside sources.
Apple iPad MC497LL/A Tablet (64GB, Wifi + 3G) 
                Surfing the Web. I think it would be great to share the web with the family, to be able to pass it along as we see cool photos, videos, and articles.

               Photos - Just like the web I love the idea of sharing a photo by handing it to someone. The iPad makes sharing albums easy and intuitive.

               Lots of Apps - Everyone knows about them, no need to go on about it.

Now the negatives- No Flash. This is still a sticky point and makes me look at Honeycomb based tablets. I use lots of Flash on websites I maintain as well as several other websites I visit throughout the day.

                             Not enough disk space. The biggest hard drive available is 64 gigabytes, that will not be enough space if I'm going to import video from my Canon 7D. I'll have to import video, edit, export, then delete the raw footage. That would get annoying quickly.

                            Apps, not applications. I said earlier that apps were one of the positives, but it is also a negative. I wish the iPad would run mac applications as well as apps

Well there is the short list of the iPad's good and bad points according to me. Will I buy it? Maybe after tax season and I find myself with a spare $500 and I find out it will edit my Canon 7D footage. If it won't edit the footage then I'll be happy with a first generation iPad for around $250 (I heard is snatching them up like crazy).

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Zero Point Energy

Tesla's Polyphase Alternating Current 500 hors...Image via Wikipedia
I couldn't help myself, I had to know if the claims were true about Zero Point Energy. Supposedly you can build a electric generator that is powered by mangnets, an idea developed by Nikola Tesla about 100 years ago. The claims show all you need is $100 in parts and a little patience to build the generator, apparently anyone can do this! My curiosity got the best of me this morning and I purchased a DIY ebook for $49 (Magniwork). There was a money back guarantee so I wasn't too concerned if I was in over my head.

After spending 30 minutes reading this book my head was spinning. It turns out I'm going to have to spend an additional $200 to buy the tools necessary to finish this project, not to mention a month to build the moulds, jig, and stator (whatever that is). To it's credit the ebook is comprehensive with lots of drawings and some photos to help you along. The only problem is every idea is new to me, I'm going to have to carefully read each page and explanation to make sure I'm doing everything right.

I wish there was a video series to accompany the ebook, I searched all over Youbube for such a video but all I found were bogus videos that had nothing to do with the generator I'm trying to build. I suppose if I make a run at making this thing I should also document the effort with a short video for the geeks after me who find themselves with the same curiosity about Nikola Tesla's fabulous invention.
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Who Benefits Most From The Verizon iPhone?

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase
February 10 marks the fist day the iPhone will be available for Verizon subscribers. As the months go by and Apple nearly doubles its sales of the popular smart phone, I wonder who will be happiest from this long anticipated carrier addition:

1) Verizon - I read somewhere that Verizon will lose hundreds of millions of dollars in the first year for subsidizing the iPhone. I understand it's all about the long vision, but I know Verizon is holding their breath about their stock numbers and whether or not it was a good idea to include the iPhone in their lineup.

2) Apple - No doubt they will double their sales of the popular device and break into the Android market share, but I think they too are holding their breath a little. The iPhone may be the most popular smartphone on the planet, but it is not without it's flaws. The most popular problem is the antenna and the dropped calls. AT&T blamed Apple for the unreliable signal quality while Apple sat back and pointed the finger back. If the iPhone continues to drop calls on Verizon then Apple has a big problem on its hands.

3) Google - Android is a Google product, the biggest opponent to Apples iOS that runs the iPhone. I know Android phones are building market share at a surprising rate, but no doubt having the iPhone on Verizon will slow that increase. I liken this mobile race to that of Microsoft and Apple for the last 20 years. Apple focused on quality and design while Microsoft dominated most of the world with affordable products that everyone had access to in all shapes and sizes. I wonder if Google even cares about this Verizon/Apple partnership, further I wonder if Apple learned from it's mistakes with the Microsoft fight.

4) AT&T - These guys are probably giving a sigh of relief with the scores of people that plan to make the switch to Verizon, especially all those bitter people with terrible service in San Francisco. Still those people who are left over might see a bump in service with all the heavy users off the network. I heard AT&T has been working for years to build up their network from all the iPhone users, now they're poised to offer the best service in the U.S..

In the end the real winner will be the consumer. The battle for cheaper devices will bring the prices down along with the competition for cheaper and faster mobile Internet service. Consumers will read the online reviews and wait until summer when the next iPhone will debut. If it's a winner the eyes will be on the carriers, if it's a dog, Android will have the biggest smile.
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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tablets At CES - Will They Bring Down the iPad?

The popularity of the iPad brought a slew of tablets hoping to get a piece of market share from Apple. Engaget has a great article including a comparison of the tablets featured at the Computer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Regardless of the manufacturer or features, one thing is fore certain, personal computing is about to make a big change.

Years ago personal computers were large and disconnected. Before the Internet sharing information was limited to a few kilobytes on floppy discs that had to be physically brought to the other person, the process was as slow as snail mail.

A few years later in the 1990's the Internet was born and file sharing became so much easier. We could email messages in moments and share images created by our new digital cameras. The problem was most people still found computers to be confusing and difficult to use.

Apple computers tried to make the process easier by creating the iMac computer, a more user-friendly device that wasn't prone to viral attacks or constant crashing. That computer ultimately came in the form of the iPad, a computer that is not about creating or managing content and more about consuming all that the Internet can offer in the form of text, video, and photos.

Now companies like Sony and Dell are working to become the #2 tablet maker with a host of features that might trump that of the iPad, but still has to match the incredible user interface that Apple developed.

My prediction? The race for tablets will be similar to the fight for smartphones. Apple creates a better product and makes calculated upgrades (with the exception of the latest iPhone 4). Other manufacturers  work hard to compete but they end up competing with themselves. In the end Apple's market share in the tablet market will decrease, but their sales will double what it was last year.

Friday, December 31, 2010

My Top Prediction For 2011 - Death of the Internet

net neutrality world logoImage via Wikipedia
Happy New Year! As with most blogs and podcasts, it is time for some new year predictions:

1) Net Neutrality will be the biggest story of 2011. With sites like Netflix and Youtube gaining popularity, more people will be ready to cut their cable services and stick with their broadband Internet connection to deliver their entertainment content. The problem is broadband services are controlled by the same people who give us regular cable, and that service is far too profitable for the cable companies to give up.

The problem of Net Neutrality is a far larger one than anyone could imagine. This problem alone could wipe out the Internet as we know it. Basically the problem has to do with the cost of distribution, according the the economics of the Internet it costs more to deliver content to more people. This is not the old days where a station would broadcast a signal and all the antennas within range would watch the show. Now to watch a show on the Internet bits need to move along a pipe which is metered on mobile devices, but not on home connections. This would all change according to new Net Neutrality guidelines developed by the cable companies.

Imagine having to pay per page you view. Pay $.05 for that Youtube video, or $.02 for the sports article. At the end of the month your paying for every page view which could amount to much more than the normal monthly subscription cost. Within a month or two people will notice the change in their bill and wonder what is going on and begin to make changes to their Internet usage immediately sites like Facebook will suffer massive user declines and Youtube will become a ghost town.

At first people will get upset and try to do something about this outrage. Companies like Google will continue with their effort to provide broadband to the masses, and new opportunities will be there for companies that can give the people what they want. 2011 will be a pivotal year for Net Neutrality as profits remain stagnate and economic recovery is still far off on the horizon. In the end it will be the cable companies that will win to keep their share of the pie leaving the rest of us wondering if we will ever have our cake and eat it too.

Don't get me wrong, I believe an open Internet is what our world needs most for communication and innovation, but at this point I don't see any way out of this mess.

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