tech thoughts

No Organization – Not News

If you write by yourself, you aren’t writing news according to Google.

But, it turns out, that Google has a rule about the sites that it includes in Google News: They can’t be one-person operations, and they have to appear to be “organizations.” Never mind solo shops practicing entrepreneurial journalism — Google wants news with overhead!

I’m no Dan Frommer, but someday I might be. Google’s take on News aggregation is definitely not pushing the industry forward.

October 5, 2011
by Ben
Comments Off on Reality Check

Reality Check

I’m already sick of people saying “is that it?” or “just an iPhone 4S?”

If I was an Apple engineer I’d be insulted. Let’s look at the iPhone 4S compared to the iPhone 4:

  • New A5 processor
  • New dual GSM and CDMA world phone
  • New antenna design with switching
  • New camera with better still image capture and video recording
  • New bluetooth 4.0

Did I miss anything? This is a completely new phone. The only thing that isn’t new is the industrial design. So why does this one thing not changing, trump the monumental engineering effort that went into the iPhone 4S? Answer: it doesn’t.

People say that it has been so long since the last iPhone release that the new one should have had a new industrial design. Let’s not forgot that while Apple released the GSM version of the iPhone 4 in June of 2010, they also released the CDMA version of the iPhone 4 in February of 2011. Just 9 months ago. As someone who works in product development, I am always impressed by Apple’s release schedules, and the iPhone 4S is no exception.

And why do people care so much about its outward design? 99%[1] of them are just going to hide it away in a hideous case[2]. So for most, no one will be able to tell what phone one is using without looking at the screen, and that’s where magic of the iPhone really is. The software. The iPhone 4S will be the best hardware vessel ever at experiencing that software. That’s why I can’t wait to get my iPhone 4S, along with millions of other people.

[1] Data from Thin Air Marketing Research
[2] Myself NOT included

October 5, 2011
by Ben
Comments Off on The User and The Stockholder

The User and The Stockholder

The iPhone user in me is most excited about the iPhone 4S.

The Apple stockholder in me is most excited about the $0 iPhone 3GS. Apple has just opened up the free phone market to the iPhone and I think millions of people who would previously get a cheap flip phone will step up to the iPhone 3GS even with the additional $15 per month data fee.

The iPhone user in me can’t wait to upgrade my now 2+ year old 3GS. Faster, better camera and Retina Display!

The Apple stockholder in me can’t wait to see the sales numbers on a $99 iPhone 4 that will be available on not only AT&T, but also Verizon and now Sprint.  This will be the first time that these CDMA customers have had access to a $99 iPhone.

September 13, 2011
by Ben
Comments Off on Common Errors – iTunes Sells DRMed Music

Common Errors – iTunes Sells DRMed Music

I’ve had a few conversations lately with people who say they won’t buy music on iTunes because they think it has DRM.  This is simply not the case in the US and hasn’t been for some time.

While most downloaded files previously included restrictions on their use, enforced by FairPlay, Apple’s implementation of digital rights management, iTunes initiated a shift into selling DRM-free music in most countries, marketed as iTunes Plus. On January 6, 2009, Apple announced that DRM had been removed from 80% of the entire music catalog in the U.S. Full iTunes Plus availability was achieved on April 7, 2009 in the U.S., coinciding with the introduction of a three-tiered pricing model; however, television shows and movies are still FairPlay-protected.

iPad Orientation

Ben Brooks has an interesting post about tablets empowering users (really it is about iPads empowering users). It’s based on some interesting survey data he collected that shows that users are using both iPad orientations very regularly. But I think there is something he missed that is influencing the data.

For the very first time in computing, the user has been put in control of how best to utilize the display portal they have been given — not the manufacturer.

This isn’t true for the iPad 2. The Smart Cover most certainly affects how I, and many others I’ve witnessed, use the iPad. Because it is so easy for me to setup in a meeting and take notes in the landscape orientation, that is almost always the orientation I use, and it is the one I checked on his survey. But if I didn’t have a Smart Cover, I think I would certainly use my iPad in portait orientation considerably more.

If the Smart Cover didn’t exist, I think more then a few of us landscape users might have fallen into the Portrait camp.