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Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Up in the cloud

October 1, 2008 Leave a comment

Microsoft has a number of core business revenue streams – otherwise known as cash cows. Despite strong indications that regardless of the recent lightweight application paradigm shift to the ‘cloud’ Microsoft have remained staunchly of the view that the operating system, as we know it today, will still be present in the future. So todays announcement indicating a potential branching from the desktop application centric philosophy is quite astonishing. According to ComputerWorld, Microsoft are looking to unveil a version of Windows codenamed  ‘Windows Clouds’ within a month. It will be very interesting to see the approach Mircosoft take with this project considering they are were quite keen to emphasise this will not detract from the ongoing Windows 7 work which is the planned successor to Windows Vista.

I previously weighed in on my opinion on cloud computing and very little has emerged to change my mind so far. I recently tried gOS v3 codename Gadgets which is the lightweight Linux distribution formally its own flavour based on the Enlightenment DR13 window manager and I am not that impressed. I found the integration between Google services (presented via barely concealed HTML widgets) and the operating system felt very amateurish. This coupled with the fact that version 3 is based on the more feature rich Gnome window manager, any assertion of this being a ‘stripped down’, light weight operating system for ‘netbooks’ sounds rather strained.

I do not doubt that one day, a certain percentage of desktops and laptops will be light weight (or thin client) systems accessing storage, applications and processing power from a ‘mothership’ in much the way cloud computing is evolving now. However it seems to make much more sense for a family or household or even a group of people to buy a central ‘home server’. This will however be very different to Windows Home Server and will resemble more the old style dumb terminals where multiple clients connect to one central machine.

Well that is my prediction, we will talk in ten years! For now, long live monster power rigs! :) As a final note, it will be interesting to see where Apple fit into this in the coming years. iSlim? iWeb? iJot?

Leaked iPod preview on the money

September 10, 2008 Leave a comment

I found on the BBC today a video preview of the next generation of iPod nanos and iPod touch. It seems the leaked images I posted a little while back were spot on, for a less blurry version, check out BBC’s website.

Not sure whether I like these new designs much, but credit to Apple for constantly refreshing (or just changing slightly to encourage people to buy new iPods every year) their range. When I get a chance, I will have a play with one of these ‘in the flash’ and report back.

UPDATE : I am starting to get the impression this market has matured drastically in the last few months. Apple have been making iPods for 7 years now, improving on the design and functionality as they go along, but is there any real selling point to these new iPods apart from the fact they are new? Sure the screen is slightly better, sure they have a motion sensor… but so what? When it is in my pocket, am I really going to care enough about how different it is to my 3rd gen nano?

Categories: Apple, News Tags: , , , , , ,

New iPod design leaked?

August 29, 2008 1 comment

I normally don’t pay much attention to ‘leaked’ designs or pictures as they invariably turn out to be fake or photo-shopped. However, I do trust some sources more than others and the following picture caught my eye.

Apple’s strategy of radical redesigns every couple of years form a clever strategy for separating people from their money periodically. This built in redundancy by design is quite remarkable, just look at the first generation nanos if you don’t know what I mean. Anyway, it may be real, it may be fake, but I thought I would share it.

The ‘new’ iPod nano (3rd generation presumably) … not sure if I like it much, although it is hard to tell from this blurry shot. The orientation is interesting and might suggest a landscape style view for movie playback.

Categories: Apple, Hardware, News Tags: , , , ,

The pride of Chinese Fakes

April 28, 2008 3 comments

I want to briefly share an interesting story about a fake iPod I came across earlier in the week. At work, it turns out someone had tried to return a Apple iPod Nano 8Gb they had bought, substituting the Apple iPod for a cheap fake. The circumstances surrounding this are a bit sketchy as I was not there at the time, the first time I came across it was when the fake iPod nano was returned by Apple with a polite and bemused letter to the effect that Apple only services original hardware. Intregued, I took another look at the iPod nano.

As you can see, from the outside it is a very good quality fake – the screen looks a little strange but there are no marks or variations which would immediately suggest this product is a fake. The back plate is engraved correctly with the appropraite logos and serial numbers, although there is a small circular hole on the back plate which should not be there.

On switching on the iPod however, it becomes immediately apparent it is not a geniune article, the unit took a few seconds to boot during which it displayed a strange egg time icon immediately followed by an odd screen with an Apple logo and an animated message saying ‘Loading…”.

The low resolution screen looks awful and the user interface, although trying to copy the iPod interface, clearly fails to impress.

The scroll wheel doesn’t work, nor does the middle button. To move from entry to entry, you have to press the left and right buttons (for up and down respectfully) along with ‘Menu’ to enter into an option.

Entering any of the menu options results in this bland and annoying message for a few seconds.

The Music section looks as though the skin has been copied from WinAMP. Apart from the initial menu, no effort has been made to recreate or emulate the Apple iPod interface in any of the ‘functions’ of this device. Song and albumn navigation is rudimentary and feels more reminiscant of a portable CD player than a modern MP3 player.

The photo / picture option takes you to a very unfriendly file browser with no previews.

I never did get far into the movies function given that the machine appartently was devoid of movie content. Next up is the radio function. I didnt test if this would tune into anything but at least it is a feature not found in original Apple iPods.

Voice recording, another first for the clone! Unfortunately it didn’t seem to want to record anything and I quickly moved on.

The eBook feature simply took me to a screen saying Empty Disk and promptly switched off the machine.

And of course the essential “Good Bye” screen, you will be seeing a lot of it as the battery is terrible, the clone performs poorly and frequently switches off at random. I have no idea what a fake iPod like this would cost, but the only value I can see it having would be in situations like these where people try to con refunds on their original Apple products (or as a film prop), I pity anyone who would consider using this as a functional MP3 player.

Categories: Apple, Funny, Random Tags: , , ,

Vista Bashing = Cheap Traffic!?

April 5, 2008 12 comments

It seems the web (and certainly the blogosphere) is full of posts damning Vista for various reasons and I do not believe all this harsh criticism is justified. It all came to a head when I read a particular blog entry tonight. I started writing a brief reply in order to express my feelings on the matter, but it turned into a semi-lengthy rant which I would like to reproduce in a somewhat tweaked / editing form here.

What worries me is that it is very fashionable to bash Vista. It feels like any self proclaimed Tech expert thinks it is almost their prerogative to write long anti-Vista articles based on and citing other anti-Vista articles – does anyone else see a pattern emerging here?!

For the record I should say I am a huge fan of Linux, I run more Linux boxes than Windows, but of those windows boxes, the majority are XP and only one is Vista. I am very happy with Vista as well as XP but it is about managing your expectations. It is completely unrealistic to assume Vista will run on hardware that is a couple of years old (or even some budget machines.)

Surprise surprise, it won’t, Vista has been plagued by hardware and software incompatibilities – what does this tell us? Simply that Microsoft was not lying when it said Vista is a major update to the Windows platform. Historically all major updates have had driver and software compatibility issues (anyone remember XP 5/6 years ago?!?) Drivers are the responsibility of the manufacturer NOT Microsoft, for years prior to release Microsoft were talking to hardware companies, asking them to update their drivers but most ignored them. Why!?? Very simply because they will sell more hardware if people have to go out and buy Vista certified equipment. It is not in their interest to revisit hardware they released 2 years ago – it does not make them any more money and the consumer be damned.

Saying that, there are a number of platforms / situations when Vista is clearly not suitable and for those I still run XP – it is more responsive on such hardware and has the added bonus of comfort factor (i.e. I have been using it for years and I am very familiar with it,) but lets not forget, this is old technology that has not really been worked on since 2005 (sp2.) SP3 is nothing more than a security roll up with a few extra Vista developed features added. The desktop rendering in XP (called GDI+) is based on a software stack that is several years old and incapable of hardware accelerated desktop compositing – the same thing Mac OSX and Linux have been capable of for years.

The problem is, noone seems to have a long enough memory to remember the Windows 2000 / 98 saga, or the Windows XP / 2000 saga that followed that…

There is nothing wrong with Vista*, similarly nothing wrong with XP*, nor is there nothing wrong with Linux*, and even with OSX* – it depends on what hardware you have and what you want to do with it.

* Of course it is not as black and white as this, all platforms have their inherent strengths and weaknesses.

I wish we would move beyond this fanboy like bashing, if there is merit to a discussion I am all for it, but I am getting fed up of reading the same FUD constantly. Most of it is simply fishing for cheap traffic.

/Rant :)

iPhone SDK!

March 7, 2008 Leave a comment

Well, I didnt think it would happen (or if it did, it would be a closed, crippled version thereof) but Apple have proved me wrong by releasing the iPhone SDK. For those of you who don’t know, an SDK (or Software Development Kit) is a series of tools and documentation that explains and documents the specific works of a piece of hardware. The goal is to allow third part developers (or enthusiasts) to develop almost any free or commercial application they want for the specific platform. Although Apple have in the past been very draconian with their hardware, opting instead to keep a hand on the tiller, the iPhone has really shown the ability of the fanbase to overcome huge obsticles in order to improve on an already great product.

Apple sensibly is legitimising this growing movement but in a way which they can control and support. For example, SIM unlocking programs will not receive the digital certificates required for development, but on the flipside, you can be assured any programs you do download will be malware free. Not only this, but by opening up the playing field to the third party, Apple are also allowing for great feature-adds which they will not have to pay for.

Potentially now, all the gripes and missing features (along with a long list of ‘I wish it did xyz’) can be properly addressed.

Here’s a quick summary:
– iPhone SDK and emulator available now (beta)
– Intel-based Mac required
– Microsoft Exchange/ActiveSync support coming (oh hello there, RIM)
– IM client coming
– Sega games coming (Super Monkey Ball)
– EA games coming (Spore)
– Apps available on iTunes App Store (both on iPhone and Mac/PC)
– Developer fee of $99 to publish in iTunes App Store (includes support)
– Developer sets price (paid or free)
– Developer keeps 70% of profits
– Firmware 2.0 required to use iTune App Store (available in June)
– iFund: $100 Million Dollars VC fund for iPhone software startups

One of the points on the list was that Spore would be officially released on the iPhone in September. When I heard this I assumed it would either be a 2D mobile version or the full game restricted to the amoeba stages. This appears not to be the case, although all the screen shots I could find show a 2D world. Given the game is procedurally generated, the system requirements (for running) the game would not be particularly high, although I am still dubious. If it is released in all it’s glory, I wonder is the MMORPG element would be available via EDGE?

Locational awareness is one of the key elements to the EDGE support in the iPhone, I hope that this means we start seeing games with real world based like the gizmodo originally tried. Apple have also opened up the iPhone in several ways, as mentioned, they now support Exchange servers through the license of Microsoft Activesync.

This is potentially huge because it really opens up a lot of potential for this device in the corporate world. There are many other gems that were disclosed during the conference, take a look at the full illustrated transcript here, courtesy of Engadget.

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