Friday, August 30, 2013

Watching Microsoft's Death Spiral #5

Well, Microsoft is clearly continuing its Death Spiral [#1, #2, #3, #4]

Strange, Possibly Humorous News

I stumbled across some "hate" blogs this week:

Linux Hater's Blog

AppleHaters

Windows hater's blog

I HATE WINDOWS

Like everything else in the computing world, there's better hate support for Windows. :-)


Would you like your own tricorder? (works with iOS and Android)
Scanadu | Sending your Smart Phone to Med School


I always love it when Karma bites Apple for being so litigious.
(This first link is from a French site.)
Watchdog warns Apple over Ć¢€˜ChampagneĆ¢€™ iPhone - The Local
(The second link is from an American site.)
French wine snobs warn Apple not to release a ‘champagne’ iPhone
Perhaps they can name the color 'Maveriks'... no wait, they've already used that. :-)
I know... beige!!!!!
Yes, the new iPhone color is beige.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Strange, Possibly Humorous News

The U.S. government has finally confirmed the existence of Area 51

Basically it substitues pictures of Ryan Gosling (no idea who that is) for all the pictures on every web page you view. Definitely strange and possibly humorous.
'Hey Girl' Ryan Gosling Google Chrome Extension | BostInno

There's just got to be a reasonable limit on dpi of screens, right?
Full HD who? 2560 x 1440 Quad HD LCDs for smartphones announced by LG Display

This is odd in that it is an actual phone on your wrist. Given battery life and tissue exposure to radio waves issues, it seems a really bad idea to me.
Omate TrueSmart: $199 smartwatch that makes phone calls (Kickstarter) - Liliputing

This will let you do a 3D scan of objects up to 8 inches tall. Left unanswered is why someone outside of a few professionals and hobbyist would actually want to do this. Of course the same applies to 3D printing. Nonetheless, 3D printers are supposed to be available this holiday season. Will any of this work with the 3D television that nobody seems to be using?
MakerBot Digitizer pre-orders open, shipping mid-October for $1,400

You have to see the video to believe it... leave a comment if you actually make it to the end... I've never been able to... too awful.
The Most Embarassing Thing Microsoft Has Ever Produced (sic... should be Embarrassing)

10 Steve Jobs videos even funnier than Ashton Kutcher's movie - Investors.com

Watch: Steve Ballmer's most infamous moments

Facebook Addiction: A Shocking Cure

Yet More Benchmark Revamping

I now have Geekbench 3 results for all but Clover Trail and Bay Trail processors. Clover Trail technically sold in many Windows 8 tablets/hybrids. Apparently they did not sell well, not one GB3 benchmark.

I added some additional lower-end Intel laptop chips.
(The Celeron 847 is also the chip used in 2 of the current Chromebooks.)

Earlier I added the Snapdragon S4 Pro chip used in the 2013 Nexus 7 (but forgot to mention it).

I corrected an issue with the i7-4770 GB3 numbers.

My positioning of the Clover Trail and Bay Trail chips in the chart are probably correct (give or take a row).

Arm vs Intel Benchmarks

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Guess Who Just Dissed Apple?

I regularly complain about Apple. In particular about how stodgy they've become. About their prices. Well, about lots of things. I have pointed out that they serve an "elite" market. (A market with premium pricing that relies substantially on status and innovation for success, fashion and sports cars being traditional examples.) I have further pointed out that Apple is no longer cool... the tipping point for where the sudden fall starts in such a market.

Paul Krugman of the New York Times has just laid out a case containing many of the points I've been expounding:


True to his economist's roots, he gives his blog post a really boring title. But the post itself is far from boring.

Here's some quotes to get you to read the article:

Back in the 80s, Microsoft and Apple both had operating systems to sell; Apple’s was clearly better. But Apple misunderstood the nature of the market: it said, “We have a better system, so we’re going to make it available only on our own beautiful machines, and charge premium prices.”
--------------
So, my problem with Apple. In general, the thing about Apple is that it reflects the spirit of Steve Jobs, who knew what was good for you — and left you no way to do things differently. And if you are an atypical user, you end up putting a lot of effort into fighting iOS in order to do simple things.

I cannot think of better way for chills to be sent down the spine of the Apple faithful than him writing that post. Could it get Apple to change its ways? I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Microsoft: Ballmer Retiring - Board Now the Problem

In case you missed it (how?), Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced he will retire within 12 months. MSFT is up 7% or so... many Microsoft dependent people are rejoicing/saying goodbye as befits their personas.

I'm glad to see that Ballmer is leaving - Microsoft should have ousted him in the middle of the Vista fiasco. Had that happened, things might be very different now. But as to Ballmer leaving now... it's a step in the right direction, but just one step. Letting him linger for as much as 12 months has to be the worst idea ever... hopefully it is just the board letting him leave with dignity and the reins will be passed much sooner.

The fact remains that Microsoft is in for a very grim holiday season... and if they do not move very quickly on a real reorganization, they may miss 2014's holiday season as well. If they miss both seasons, how much of a consumer/small business presence will they have left?

The most disturbing news got kind of lost in the shuffle of Steve Ballmer bashing. Business Insider covers it here:
Microsoft Becoming Device And Services Company And Microsoft Is Giving Up On The Software Business!

Basically, the chairman of the board committee that is handling the CEO search said:
“The board is committed to the effective transformation of Microsoft to a successful devices and services company,”
We are talking about a company that just lost billions of dollars on its first computers and that just had a 3-day outage for its flagship Outlook.com service.

OEM's are rebelling against Windows 8/8.1. Lenovo just announced it would be putting a partner's start button on all of its computers and that the partner would also have an app store (that competes with the Windows App Store) installed as well. Few believe Windows 8.1 will be accepted any better than Windows 8 was. Windows 8's biggest problem is that it tried to force customers into what Microsoft perceived as its future, not what the customer needed to get work done.

The entire "devices and services" strategy fits that same pattern... it is what Microsoft wants, not what the customer needs or wants. [You should have seen the salesperson at Staple's explaining to a middle-class couple that they could either pay a lot as a one time fee or pay a yearly fee for Office. The couple was clearly outraged. Guess what will happen when they discover LibreOffice/Google Docs.]

Microsoft's board should think twice before tying the hands of an incoming CEO with a "devices and services" strategy that, to date, has clearly failed.

Updated Benchmarks with Geek Bench 3

It was pointed out that Geek Bench 2 results were disadvantaging Intel chips (maybe 5%).
Where available Geek Bench 3 results have been listed.

I am ordering the results by single core benchmarks as I think that is the most relevant number in terms of speed perception on mobile devices (assuming one has at least 2 cores).

Arm vs Intel Benchmarks

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Added an Additional Bay Trail Benchmark

This one was at 1.8ghz.
Still looks like Bay Trail will disappoint... however, if it had really good power characteristics relative to the high-end ARM chips, I believe this one would be fast enough to get it to be used in Android tablets.

I'm doubting its ability to run full Windows 8/full Office very well.

Arm vs Intel Benchmarks

Non-Android Linux and Open Source News

Make sure you check out the comments on this one...
Battle of the Office Suites: Microsoft Office and LibreOffice Compared

You can get a Firefox OS phone for $80.
ZTE's Firefox OS Smartphone Coming to U.S. Via eBay

Commercial version of specialized Wine, that allows the easy running of Windows apps.
Run Windows apps on both OS X & Linux with CrossOver 12.5

First Tizen smartphone to arrive in October, despite reports of delays

Samsung Tizen smartphone to sport 720p screen, Snapdragon CPU

Microsoft finally developing for Linux:
1 Small App, 1 Giant Feather in Linux's Cap

This is a new Linux distribution. It is very different. They are actually using designers to make things be polished and usable. It will be interesting to see how this develops.
http://elementaryos.org/

This next is about CoreOS, a fork of ChromeOS that is focused on providing a minimal, secure server OS.
Linux Hackers Rebuild Internet From Silicon Valley Garage | Wired.com

Possible quality control problems in the fast-paced world of Linux Kernel development.
Is Linux coming out too fast

AMD, ARM and Intel News

I've been saying that MediaTek was a place to be watching...
New low-cost Kindle Fire models to use MediaTek MT8135 big.LITTLE SoC, report says

Basically this next says that Samsung will be delving into the guts of the standard ARM processor to make improvements (much as Apple does [though it's unclear if Apple is effective or not]).
Samsung reportedly looking to engineer new ARM-compatible Exynos processor

ARM Strengthens Grip On Phone Processor Market

First time I've seen an AMD Temash in a device.
Asus VivoBook X102BA: 10 inch mini-laptop with AMD Temash - Liliputing

I've pointed out repeatedly, that the non-tablet, non-phone, non-PC space is where I see the bulk of growth coming. I'm not sure I like the phrase Internet of Things... but that is what it is being called. It's kind of funny watching Intel scramble to get to tablets (they really are not close in phones). By the time they get there, that won't be the important place to be. Still, I'm glad Intel is trying, I don't think it would be healthy for ARM to have it all.
ARM working on low-power processor for IoT

These next two are about "Avoton", Intel Atom chips that are intended for servers.
Intel 'Re-imagines' The Data Center With New Avoton Server Architecture, Software-Defined Services

Atom "Avoton" processors to launch in Q3 2013

I find this a bit sad... it takes 17W which is simply not very good these days. I'll be glad when the ARM-based ones become common... or perhaps Intel Avoton can fill this role? I really want decent mini servers to be available. One of the problems with getting ARM-based ones is that the high-end chips are in mildly short supply, and this market is small and less lucrative. Perhaps Bay Trail might have a home after all?
Intel Celeron powered mini-PCs for under $200 - Liliputing

I suspect this announcement means that Bay Trail is going to disappoint. It's a pattern Intel seems to have fallen into... ship late such that the chips really aren't competitive, then say but wait until "code name", we're shipping it sooner than we've said. It's ironic, Motorola used to play that role relative to Intel.
Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) May Speed the Launching of Improved Smartphone and Tablet Chips

This appears to be pricing for Bay Trail, but labeled as Celeron and Pentium... if it's real, it's outrageous. Of course, that's list price... but even if the actual price is half that, it looks like to me Intel is pricing itself out of the market.
Intel to launch J1750, J1850 and J2850 ULV processors

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Microsoft: The Agony Continues

August is generally a very slow tech news month. But that doesn't stop Microsoft from making all sorts of bad news.  You don't need to read all the links below, just take in the headlines and ask yourself, would I base my business on products from this company?

Please note, the list isn't exhaustive, it is just the articles of important news I've collected about Microsoft over the last couple of weeks. I know of no part of Microsoft's business where they did not experience embarrassment - truly amazing for part of August. There really wasn't much in the way of good news.

Tablet featured by Microsoft at BUILD 2013 has to have a price cut.
Acer Cuts Price of Its Windows 8-Based Iconia W3 Tablet - X-bit labs

Acer will cut back its Windows presence.
Acer to focus on Android and Chromebooks | T3

Nothing makes your largest, most loyal (well, locked-in) customers happy like a 28% price increase.
Microsoft ups price on Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter by 28 percent | ZDNet

Microsoft, having already annoyed gamers with Xbox One's large price, will also charge $60 a year or most new features won't work.
So, Is Microsoft Trying to Kill the Xbox One? | TechNewsWorld

Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 is almost entirely dependent on Nokia.
(For details see: Nokia May Die, Taking Windows Phone 8 With It)
Nokia Lumia 1020 Sales Analysis: Is the Lumia 1020 already a flop? | BGR

3 reasons why Microsoft is crazy to keep comparing the Surface RT to the iPad | TabTimes

After his "phenomenal" success with Surface, Ballmer doubles down.
Microsoft may expand hardware lineup, as Ballmer pushes 'family of devices' - Computerworld

Class-action suit filed against Microsoft over Surface RT | ZDNet

Windows isn't dying, it's just becoming irrelevant | ZDNet

This next had Windows fans asking why October? (The answer: "buggy".)
My question is, why should I believe it won't still be "buggy" in October?
Windows 8.1 to be made available in October | The Verge

Almost finished' build of Windows 8.1 still a mess - InfoWorld

Microsoft just can’t win on Windows 8 whatever 8.1 update brings - V3.co.uk

Windows 8.1 fall release won't save Microsoft - CBS News

Sorry, Robert Scoble, The Least Of Microsoft's Problems Is Its "Cool Factor" – ReadWrite

Lenovo is heavily into Android.
World's largest PC vendor sells more phones, tablets than PCs (Lenovo) - Liliputing

Developers Keep Hating On Microsoft's Revamped MSDN – ReadWrite

Zune Marketplace Begins the Long, Slow Goodbye - SuperSite for Windows

Microsoft says it’s providing Office 365 performance stats, without actually doing it - GigaOM

Windows 8 users are averaging only 2.5 app downloads from the Windows Store | CITEworld

Outlook.com was down for 3 days. Remember this is the company that wants large enterprises to use their cloud services! Oh, it happened back in March as well.
Google Goes Down For Minutes, Microsoft's Outage Lasts For Days - Business Insider

This next is from the Investor's Business Daily's technical writer. Plenty of places have called for Ballmer to leave, but when a major writer for the IBD starts saying it explicitly like this, you have to wonder if it might not happen soon.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer needs to make a graceful exit - Investors.com

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Android Apps: Availability, Sales and Profits

Android apps were in the news a lot last week. One factor was a report from Canalys on the top 50 paid and top 50 free apps on iOS. I was amazed that an analyst firm would get things so wrong. Their findings in summary for the top 50 paid and top 50 free are:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Strange, Possibly Humorous News

A lot of fun stuff this time.

The title summarizes, but you really need to click and look at the picture.
Hyetis Crossbow is a $1200 Swiss smartwatch with a 41MP camera - Liliputing

If you can remember the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati, there was an episode where they dropped live turkeys from a helicopter as a Thanksgiving publicity stunt, not realizing that turkey's don't fly. This reminds me of that fictional event... alas, this one is true.
World War G: 20 injured after LG publicity stunt goes awry in Korea

People are actively making Apple Newton apps. Really, it's sort of like SteamPunk, but limited to electronics... Don't worry if you don't have yours any more, there are simulators.
Apple's Newton Just Won't Drop
Nostalgia project connects Apple Newton devices to OS X | ZDNet
Dashboard

And of course don't forget the famous Doonesbury cartoon that played a significant role in the downfall of the Newton.
Doonesbury comic strip on Newton - CHM Revolution

I'm not sure how to summarize this... it involves a Google Earth mapping car and a dam project and swearing on a Buddha statue... probably not a typical day, even for a Google employee.
Thai Villagers Apologize for Blocking Google Car - ABC News

HTC being strange about their name. [The article title below is playing off HTC's ad theme of "What does HTC stand for?"]
HTC: Hell That’s Confusing | TechCrunch

I can only wonder how many they sold of this next device. Oh, and for Apple fans, does he have a white model? It does seem to me to be the ultimate iPhone accessory. [It's universal, will work with iPhones with the original connector and the lightning connector.]
Artist pranks LA Best Buy stores with 'useless' gadget | Crave - CNET

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Nokia May Die, Taking Windows Phone 8 With It

Nokia is in trouble any way you look at it. Losing money, losing revenue as feature phones shrink, having to accept very low profit margins in order to gain attention for their phones [to offset the fact that they have tied themselves to Microsoft's not very popular Windows Phone 8].

Let's start with the good news. Nokia is making some very nice smartphones. According to IDC, last quarter, Nokia had 86.1% of Windows Phone 8's market share (which would be about 7.5 million phones). This was nearly twice the unit sales of the year before. So, things are going great? No.

First of all they are losing money. Over 5 billion euros in the last year [though the last 2 quarters they only lost 500 million euros].

Second, Nokia is still primarily a feature phone maker and sales are plummeting. Gartner reports sales this last quarter of 61 million phones, down from 83 million the year before, a 27% loss. Overall the mobile phone market grew about 3% year-to-year. (These numbers were for both feature and smart phones.)

Third, Nokia's bond ratings are now less than junk status.

At this point they can only hope their Lumia 1020 really takes off in a big way.
As it is $299 on AT&T contract, I'm not sure that will happen.

And finally:
Nokia's Head of Developer Relations Leaves for Gig at Amazon

UPDATE: Found a Seeking Alpha article from yesterday with a similar opinion:
Right now, Nokia is teetering upon the precipice of bankruptcy and operates with little time to lose. ... Nokia cannot "float the note" forever. 
UPDATE: Nokia is being kept afloat by a strange deal where they bought entirely a company they partially owned so that they could raid its cash. This maneuver is why their bond rating was recently downgraded.

UPDATE: this Reuters story provides a good explanation of the strange cash acquisition and Nokia's current state. The article says that Nokia could run out of cash next year.

UPDATE: a further debt downgrade, and this quote:
Nokia reported net cash of 4.1 billion euros at the end of June. The company has total debt of about 5.1 billion euros, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
To be clear, the company is operating at a loss each quarter and has more debt, than cash.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Microsoft's Best Buy-based Windows Stores - Impending Spectacular Failure

In case you've missed the news, Best Buy will open about 600 Windows stores within its stores. In fact some have already opened. [The store in my local Best Buy is expect to open late this month.]


Microsoft Windows Store Inside Best Buy
Microsoft's press photo of a Windows Store inside Best Buy

Saturday, August 10, 2013

OK, Something is Definitely Wrong with Apple

Some of this article will repeat things I've shown in earlier posts. I'm trying to give you an overview of just how bad things are.

Some will think that I'm being too hard on Apple, but I really think that it's more likely, I'm not being hard enough. I'm far from alone, consider this article from a MacWeek founder: Apple Needs A New Roadmap, Again.

UPDATE: You might also want to read this 2006 post from David Pogue about the last time Apple failed:
One quote he uses that is particularly relevant is:
* Time Magazine, 2/5/96: “One day Apple was a major technology company with assets to make any self respecting techno-conglomerate salivate. The next day Apple was a chaotic mess without a strategic vision and certainly no future.”

Signs that something is definitely wrong with Apple:

A Change in Blog Format

I've decided that the blog is defined too widely to really cover the areas and the "link" posts I do are often too long. So instead, I'm going to write more synthesis pieces that tie what used to be in the more important links together.

I will likely keep the "ARM and Intel News" and "Strange, Possibly Humorous News" posts as they are as they tend to be low volume.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chromecast Currently Amazon #1 Best Seller

Looking on Amazon.com, I discovered that Chromecast is now the #1 Best Seller in Televisions & Video Products.

It now appears to be sold out:
Amazon Chromecast orders apparently delayed by 2-3 months

Wow!
Paul Thurrott will be so disappointed (see the end of this article).

Chrome News

If you didn't already know not let your browser (not just Chrome) store you passwords, then please learn that now. The first two articles are about how easy it is to get a view of all stored passwords in Chrome. I am ambivalent about Google's response here. They are correct from the standpoint of a security expert. However, in real life, people might do something bad (like peek at your passwords) if it is easy, but will think twice if you make it a bit harder. This is not a security issue in the strictest sense of the word. Yes, Google is right, you are always dependent on platform security (your user account and password) if your browser stores passwords (true for all browsers). But other browsers don't make it so easy for someone walking up to your computer to view all your passwords. To people who are not security experts, that seems a big difference and from a human interactions perspective they are probably right. (Insert you favorite security expert not understanding human interactions joke here.)
Google leaves your Chrome passwords unprotected to promote security | The Verge

Why Everyone Is Pissed Off About Google Chrome's Sound Security | Threat Level | Wired.com


Android And Chrome OS Could Reap Big Windfalls From Slowing Worldwide PC Economy | TechCrunch

Google Chromecast Tips and Tricks - Chrome Story

Chrome bears down on Firefox, again threatens to take the No. 2 browser spot - Computerworld

Amazon Chromecast orders apparently delayed by 2-3 months

Linux and Open Source News

Firefox Marketplace and alternatives

8 of the BEST Android apps for Linux System Administrator

Use open source tools to create your own eBooks

Review: Apache OpenOffice 4 vs. LibreOffice 4.1

Samsung co-CEO: We want Tizen to be on everything

The last two are about a solar powered Linux laptop. I'm a little surprised they didn't use an ARM processor.
Penguins, I give you: The SOLAR-POWERED Ubuntu laptop

SOL: The $350 Ubuntu laptop that runs on solar power

Android News

Android one-click Google authentication method puts users, businesses at risk | PCWorld

I very nearly put this next article in my Strange, Possibly Humorous News:
Insanely high 2098PPI OLED display from Sony makes your 1080p smartphone weep at night - Android Authority

The proprietary code issues are Qualcomm related.
Android open source maintainer quits over proprietary code issues - Liliputing

This next article talks about tablets replacing much of smartphone usage. I find this is true for me as well. It doesn't mean my phone isn't necessary, but I am starting to question if I always need the latest and greatest.
Why I'm using my smartphone less and less every day | ZDNet

Acer the latest to turn to Google after poor Windows sales | CITEworld

Android And Chrome OS Could Reap Big Windfalls From Slowing Worldwide PC Economy | TechCrunch

Took them long enough, but it's here and it works!
Android Device Manager Goes Live, Finds and Rings Your Device Remotely


Android Device News


Lexibook Laptab is an Android tablet, notebook, kids computer - Liliputing

Moto X to release on August 23 on all four carriers. Moto Maker exclusive to AT&T until early November – sources

A tablet the rough equivalent of last year's Nexus 7 (then $199) about 1 year later costs $129.
Hisense Sero 7 Pro drops down to low price of $129, LT model just $79

Arm and Intel News

The big question this week is: Will Intel let us down? (Again)

The latest ARM vs Intel Benchmarks show the lower-end Bay Trail chip somewhat slower than last year's ARM speed champion the Exynos 5250. We have seen no signs of faster Bay Trail chips. We have seen no real announcements of tablets or systems with Bay Trail. In fact, Intel's latest reference tablets had Medfield chips in them (yuck!). You may have seen that Bay Trail was breaking records on the Antutu benchmark... well, that was because of some funny business in the Intel compiler. Those benchmarks were simply way off from reality. Corrected benchmarks show the Bay Trail to be much slower. It appears that Intel will launch Bay Trail chips on September 11th. In times past, it would be well over a month before systems shipped using the newly announced chips. Intel is still not announcing TDP numbers. If they were actually winning in speed and/or power over ARM, surely we would have heard numbers by now.

My gut tells me that only the lower-end of Bay Trail will actually be shipping in quantity for the Holiday Season. Unless Intel lets them go at really cheap pricing, I have doubts we will be seeing many Android or ChromeOS systems using it. Sadly for Windows 8, I fear the lower-end Bay Trail chips just won't do the job. The problem is that Intel chips will need to run the full Windows 8 and the full Office and that may just be asking too much... think early Netbooks all over again.

Intel News



Intel Corporation (INTC): Did Intel Miss The Mobile Boat? [QUALCOMM, Inc.] - Seeking Alpha

Intel Bay Trail-T processors to launch on September 11

Intel Corporation (INTC): Revisiting The Potential For Bay Trail - Seeking Alpha


ARM News


ARM and TSMC tape out 20nm ARM Cortex-A15 multicore processor

Annual shipments of ARM processors to skyrocket

AnandTech | The ARM Diaries, Part 2: Understanding the Cortex A12

Apple News

Note to Rush Limbaugh: 4 of the 8 articles below come from AppleInsider.

Caught by iPad cannibalization, Apple, Inc. gambles on Mac inventory safeguards

Apple's iPad lineup slipped to 32% of tablets shipped in Q2 2013

Apple outages affect App Store, iTunes & FaceTime for hours

Apple Faces Hurdles Attracting First-Time Smartphone Buyers - Ina Fried - Mobile - AllThingsD

Apple’s Stores Are Lame, Tired, and Emotionless | The Exchange - Yahoo! Finance

Note, developer services are still not fully back... its been like 3 weeks now!
Apple plans to reinstate most remaining developer services this week after lengthy outage

How The iPad Stalled And Android Took Over The Tablet Market – ReadWrite

Android Presses Ahead In Q3, While Apple Seems To Squander Younger Shoppers - Forbes

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Microsoft News

So, the death spiral seems to be continuing... Microsoft feels the need to resume Financial Analyst Meetings,
and lots of articles about Microsoft failing and dissing Surface.

Microsoft seems really intent on destroying Xbox. It's true they've never managed to make money with it... but you'd think they would just sell it off. It's already expensive, and now:
Microsoft will charge $60 a year for many Xbox One features | The Verge



Good News



This is a cute gimmick to get people to visit a Microsoft Store...
MakerBot takes 3D printing nationwide via Microsoft | Crave - CNET

Well, it's a try, but it is likely only to get more low-end junk apps.
Microsoft Tries To Spur Windows Phone Development With New App Studio – ReadWrite



Bad News


Former Microsoft Evangelist Blasts Company For Losing Its 'Cool' Factor

What to watch for at Microsoft's September 19 analyst meeting | ZDNet

Microsoft’s Surface tablets should have been ‘Nexus’ devices | ExtremeTech

This is an interesting article. Office complexity in general is more than just a drain on productivity.
Microsoft's Excel Might Be The Most Dangerous Software On The Planet - Forbes

Rogue hotspots can steal your Windows Phone's saved Wi-Fi passwords, Microsoft warns | PCWorld

Strange, Possibly Humorous News

The unusual flood of strange news continues...

High-tech toilets vulnerable to hackers - CNET Mobile

10 Most Expensive Android Apps In The World

Google's Sergey Brin bankrolled world's first synthetic beef hamburger | Science | theguardian.com

The Newtonians: Worldwide Cult Ditches iPhone for Apple's Distant Past | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com

The apps that Apple does not want you to use - Telegraph

I personally would be a bit concerned about the large electrical fields that would be necessary.
Electric avenue: Korean buses now wirelessly charge as they drive | The Verge

Couple says app lets the iPhone communicate with ghosts

Surely you remember the HTML <blink> tag? This guy made it come back...
Resurecting the blink tag

Monday, August 5, 2013

Strange, Possibly Humorous News (Special Edition)

News Flash
Rush Limbaugh's House, Palm Beach, Florida

Today a great conspiracy was uncovered, the culprits -- SAMSUNG, GOOGLE, ANDROID BLOGGERS and the MAIN STREAM MEDIA.

Apparently we have been (quote from The Guardian article below):
"Pro-Apple bloggers are looking at the way the pro-Samsung, Google, and Android bloggers write, and they're now starting to write about the media bias … they're chronicling how these pro-Samsung and Google, Android guys are faking data, faking news to make it look bad for Apple when it really isn't."
Rush Limbaugh claims high-tech bloggers 'hate' Apple

Is there a conspiracy against Apple? Rush Limbaugh thinks there is

When pushed, Rush, wouldn't name what blogs were doing this.

Really, it's just hilarious. You don't have to make up news or data to show that Apple is doing badly.

Even AppleInsider has finally accepted that Apple is now well behind Android in tablet sales:
Apple's iPad lineup slipped to 32% of tablets shipped in Q2 2013
Apple lost the phone race many months ago. Sadly, they are not making large gains (even have losses) on the desktop, despite Microsoft imploding.

I'll admit I am unhappy with Apple, but I am still partially an Apple user (I have three actively used Macs). My family uses iPads and iPhones, though due to Apple's stagnation, their days may well be numbered. Our main desktop system (hardly used these days) is an iMac. We have moved away from Apple because they are demanding higher margins, yet delivering less for their premium pricing

I am biased in the sense that I tend to expect bad news from Apple... the problem isn't with me though, it is that Apple keeps delivering the bad news. Even Microsoft manages to have good news occasionally... it's been a very long time since I've seen good news from Apple.

Well, Rush (and any Pro-Apple blogger that is crazy enough to go along with him), here's the last few article's I've written about Apple. They were all negative. Show me where I'm wrong. When Apple has to stoop to misdirection in its earnings call... how could it be otherwise?

Computing Compendium: Something's Wrong with Apple
Computing Compendium: Apple News
Computing Compendium: Apple Tablet Market Share May Be Even Lower
Computing Compendium: Tablet and Phone Market Share -- Apple's Share Plummets
Computing Compendium: Apple Misdirection During Earnings Call

In short, let the crazy persons' debate begin!!! :-)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chrome News

From this point on, Chrome News will cover the Browser, ChromeOS and Chromecast.

Chrome has a rather good record when it comes to security.
Has Chrome Struck Security Gold?

Yet another sign that Chrome is becoming its own platform.
The Best Apps and Extensions to Supercharge Chrome's New Tab Page

Enterprises should give Chromebooks a chance, say analysts

Dropbox to Chromecast Android app by Koush streams content directly from Dropbox, not available for download yet

Android News

Nexus 7 is the best Android tablet money can buy (and it's only $230) - Aug. 1, 2013

Battery life and a sharp screen: A 'Mini' opportunity for Apple | Apple - CNET News

Robert Scoble on the Moto X.
Google, the freaky line and why Moto X is a game-changer - The Next Web

Android Device Manager is Google's answer to Apple's "Find My iPhone" - Liliputing

Phone-finding Android Device Manager begins rolling out with new Google Play Services update - The Next Web

Suvolta’s energy-saving tech cuts an ARM chip’s power consumption in half

Shin-Etsu Chemical eyes 10X boost in smartphone battery life

Programmer News

Why Citizen Developers Are The Future Of Programming – ReadWrite

NoFlo is set to change the way programming works, but not acts. - Android Authority

Welcome To The Post-Operating System World – ReadWrite

I don't normally cover embedded systems, but found this interesting:
Yocto Project | Open Source embedded Linux build system, package metadata and SDK generator

Added a Mobile Section to Alternatives to Office Page

Microsoft just released some very weak mobile offerings, which reminded me that I had not covered mobile in my Alternatives page:
Alternatives to Microsoft Office

Microsoft News

So does this week's news show Microsoft's death spiral continuing? Well, Yes. Their failure to fully embrace other platforms with Office, having a $100 a year charge to use Office, price reductions on Surface Pro, and a very embarrassing loss of the SkyDrive brand name show a company that is continuing to diminish.

How Microsoft blundered with the SkyDrive brand - Computerworld

Microsoft Office for Android is pathetically bad, too | Mobile Technology - InfoWorld

Microsoft Office comes to Android, but not tablets - Westport News

Microsoft Office for Android officially available, but don’t get too excited just yet

Microsoft cuts Surface Pro price by $100 following Surface RT reductions | The Verge

This fellow is concerned that Microsoft's poor performance will hurt the experimentation and availability of hybrids. I pointed out in comments that he need not worry, there will be plenty of hybrids, they just won't be running Windows.
What Worries Me Most About Microsoft’s Surface Woes | TIME.com

Here's something good for Windows Phone 8 users:
This is a free ebook. It is a real book (600+ pages). It is free. Note, don't interpret the free part negatively here, Paul is experimenting with the ability to have a publication that is continually updated. Windows Phone 8 is a good subject for this as it has a small user base (i.e. he would not have made all that much if he sold it). It's also subject he loves.
Paul Thurrott’s Windows Phone 8 is Complete

Strange, Possibly Humorous News

I don't really understand this, there has been about 3 times the usual rate of oddball stories I put under this heading. Perhaps because it is summer?

The Internet Of Wild Things: Introducing The First Smart Vibrator – ReadWrite

Edward Snowden cast as hero in smartphone video game "Snowden Run 3D" - CBS News

Mysterious Pentagram on Google Maps Explained - Yahoo! News

Toddler tech: How young is too young for a smartphone? - CBS News

North Korea has a tablet. No, it's not red (on the outside) - Android Authority

This may be the silliest iPhone accessory I've ever seen:
Smart Kitchen Thermometer Plugs Into iPhone - ABC News

Something's Wrong with Apple

Despite $145 billion in cash, Apple is behaving like a company that is in trouble. While there are clear signs that Apple needs to make fundamental changes to accommodate the commoditization of computing devices, I find this behavior puzzling. Could Apple sales be nose-diving beyond what they've admitted publicly? And why have they gone 10 months without a head of retail?

FileMaker discontinuing Bento, will remain available to buy through Sept. 30

Rumor: Apple subsidiary FileMaker lays off 20 employees amid restructuring

It May Be the End of the Apple Store as We Know It - Rebecca Greenfield - The Atlantic Wire

Apple Stores Glow Less Brightly - WSJ.com

Apple’s Dumb Penny-Pinching - The Daily Beast

Previously they were discounting MacBook Retinas by $200...
Best Buy giving away free Apple TV with 15" Retina MacBook Pro purchase



Other Apple News



iPhone 5 lightning strikes twice: I want my iPhone 4 back, please

Oddly, Apple Insider acts like this next things is a good thing... what it means is that Apple has made iOS 7 changes so radical that most developers have to give up supporting customers on earlier versions.
Survey: 95% of developers working to support iOS 7, over half will require it

This is in conjunction with Apple's recent conviction for conspiring to raise ebook prices.
Justice Department proposes sweeping punishments against Apple

Obama trade representative reverses ban on imports of some Apple iPads, older iPhones

Friday, August 2, 2013

Chromecast News

Hulu 'actively working' on Chromecast functionality - Android Authority

Don't get too excited... it is not publically available yet.
New Chromecast app lets you share everything in your Android gallery

Chrome Releases: Chromecast Update

Apple TV, Google Chromecast And Aereo Put Broadcast Television On Death Watch - Forbes

You can switch Chromecast to dev or beta channel - Liliputing

Android News

Actually this happened some time ago, but this is the first time AppleInsider is willing to admit it. If white box tablets were being counted, it might have been true in 4Q2012.
Android tablets outshipped Apple's iPad for first time in Q2 2013, study claims

More on the Samsung benchmarking scandal. Samsung is still probably guilty of poor judgement, but they are not as evil as it seems. What seems probable is that the GPU running at highest clock is a battery issue. So Samsung prevents apps from using the highest clock rate by default. They make exceptions for some apps. Obviously they would do so for benchmarking apps as those are trying to see how fast things go and to slow them down is obviously not in their best interest. Their main sin is they were not upfront about this.
AnandTech | Update on GPU Optimizations in Galaxy S 4

Good story showing that AppleInsider has one less straw to grasp.
Android, iOS, Samsung, and the facts about brand loyalty

Yet another story showing that AppleInsider has one less straw to grasp.
Galaxy S3 and Note 2 beat the iPhone 5 in customer satisfaction survey

Oh dear, yet another story showing that AppleInsider has one less straw to grasp.
Google Play Store downloads surpass Apple App Store for the first time

Wow, AppleInsider may soon run out of straws to grasp!
Jelly Bean passes 40% Android adoption, but just 6.5% of devices run latest 4.2 build

I've been wondering what would replace our clearly dying local newspaper...
Google testing local news for Google Now mobile app, report says - latimes.com


Motorola X Launch


My normal rule is I don't cover devices unless they are in some way innovative, unusual, or important. For example I gave a brief mention of the Samsung S4, most because the S3 was extremely important. Well, the Moto X is innovative, unusual, and important, so it gets it's own section today. Often in coverage, one sees comments about the Moto X having mid-range hardware. Phone's don't need bleeding edge chips any more. If you want to have great battery life, you need to use a "lesser" processor. Unless you play bleeding edge games on your phone, you're really not going to notice. So which do you want, the fastest processor available or great battery life? I'll take the battery life any day. On a tablet, hybrid or all-in-one I will move towards the speed over battery life.

Motorola launches Moto X smartphone, promises you can use it without touching it - Liliputing

Motorola Connect Chrome extension: Get phone call, SMS notifications on your PC - Liliputing

What Makes The Moto X The Smartest Smartphone Around – ReadWrite

When I learned of the specs and features of the Moto X, my first thought was Google has made a phone that is what an iPhone would have been if Apple were still innovative.
Should Apple Be Worried About The Moto X Smartphone? - Forbes