Thursday, January 30, 2014

Nifty Chome Packaged App for Developers and Consumers of Rest APIs

The app lets you easily experiment with REST APIs, storing your explorations and settings on Google Drive.
If you want to see the news link for a review of the app, you'll need to look at my
+Computing Compendium page on Google+.
This is the place I'll be putting things like that from now on.
If you are interesting in this sort of thing, please consider following the page.

Monthly Device News Roundup

This is a monthly round-up of news, mostly about Linux-based devices (Android, ChromeOS, and many others). I try to limit it to interesting or important devices.


This epitomizes what I don't like about the current crop of wearables... it has a 3-4 hour battery life.
Short battery life is why I'm down on most wearables (Google Glass for example). I recharge my Fitibit Flex once a week.

Ah, TechEye... continuing to tell it like it is:

One of the few current wearables I'd actually consider buying:

Not out yet, but looks promising... supposedly 7-10 day battery life.


This should make all those iPhone users that prefer it's smaller size, sit up and take notice:
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact Review | Stuff

A highly secure Android phone.
Blackphone promises complete privacy, but what will it deliver? - Liliputing

Huawei has made great strides in the US smartphone market and is huge in China and many other places. This game console is new territory for them. It is currently targeted at China. Cost: $120.
Huawei unveils its own Android-powered micro-console, the Huawei Tron

A new usage for Android.
CES 2014: Gigabyte BRIX MAX is Haswell based Android NAS Device | PC Perspective

This article from CES 2014 should end any doubts you might have about Wintel being in retreat.
The LenovoThinkVision 28 is an Android all-in-one using NVidia's new Tegra K1.
It has a 28-inch 4K display. (Let all of that soak in.)
First Tegra K1 benchmarks appear courtesy of the Lenovo ThinkVision 28
The K1 soundly beats Apple's latest processor, but get this, the K1 has faster graphics than Intel Haswell!

Smartphone pricing is dropping rapidly.
How low can smartphones go? Xiaomi said to be looking to bring $50 smartphone to the market
I'm seeing numerous reports saying that smartphone prices average selling price is expected to be $150 in places like China and India (the #1 and #2 markets in 2014) and $250 in the #3 US market by 2015.
Given the $179 Moto G, I can easily believe that.
AnandTech | Google Announces Moto G Google Play Edition
If this had been out, I might have got it instead of my $350 Nexus 5. IMO, people carrying $600 phones are just crazy - why spend so much on something so easily dropped, lost, or stolen?
Motorola is making it clear that they intend to be in this market, talking about $50 smartphones.
Motorola CEO promises even cheaper devices and enhanced customization
The ASP for an iPhone is said to be $636.
[Logical conclusion: Make Carl Icahn poor - sell AAPL stock now. :-)]

Well, it does constitute a new use for Android... to be clear, this is an android, controlled by Android.
Meet Keecker, an expensive, smart Android projector robot that follows you around to entertain you


Lenovo plans big Chromebook push for 2014 | CES 2014: Computers and Hardware - CNET Blogs

Lenovo Announces Two New Rugged Chromebooks for Schools – Chrome Story

Other Linux

8 Innovative Linux-Based Products Demoed at CES |

This scanner:
SDG Systems Announces Yocto Project Participation and Rugged Linux Scanner
Contains a customized Linux distro, that was built using this:
Yocto Project | Open Source embedded Linux build system, package metadata and SDK generator

General Device News

Nintendo kills a patent troll - Now has its magic beans | TechEye

MIT develops unique transparent display technology - Android Authority

Google is testing smart contact lenses to monitor glucose levels - Liliputing

World’s smallest 3D Depth sensor could redefine gesture based control of mobile devices | Android Authority

I consider touchscreen laptops and all-in-ones an abomination (hybrids excepted). Even so, I do think this guy makes some good points...
Why Your Next Laptop Should Have a Touchscreen

Developer and Mini Devices

Intel's new NUC mini PC is bigger, but more expandable - Liliputing

CompuLab launches fanless, Haswell-powered Intense PC2 - Liliputing

MSI J1800i is a Bay Trail board and CPU combo for just $60 - Liliputing

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Most News Link Posts Moving to Google+ - Please Follow +Computing Compendium

News link posts seem to overwhelm many people. For some reason, they try to read every link.
They are also time consuming for me to create.
I also seem to have better luck getting people to comment on Google +.
So, I'm trying a new way.

Each day I'll select up to 3 important news links and post it to this blog's Google + page.
You can access this page by searching for: +Computing Compendium from your Google+ home screen.
Please "follow" this page and the posts will appear in your Google+ stream.

The following "News Link" posts will continue to be posted to this blog:
"Strange, Possibly Humorous News"
and the monthly posts:
"Device News"
"Chrome App News"

Longer pieces will appear on this blog, with links being posted to the +Computing Compendium Google+ page.

Open Source Office News

This is a set of links that have been building up for a while. It's amazing how many interesting things are happening in the open source world, while MS Office is essentially stagnant.

Seven free, open source video editors for Linux - Network World

10 open-source alternatives for small business software | PCWorld

Kdenlive Delivers Near-Pro Video Editing - If You Have the Right Stuff | Reviews | LinuxInsider

GIMP review: This free image editor is no longer a crippled alternative to Photoshop | ExtremeTech

LMMS - Linux MultiMedia Studio

The 5 Best Free Word Processors

13 highly productive Android apps that play nice with your PC | PCWorld

Why I may never install Office for Mac again | ZDNet

China's Kingsoft gets $50 million funding to help push its Microsoft Office-like apps in the US

AndrOpen Office is a full office suite for Android (based on Apache OpenOffice) - Liliputing

One for all and all for free - Mumbai Mirror

Now you can run LibreOffice in a browser » Muktware

Tools for when Linux goes mainstream

Now two articles about governments switch to open source office packages:

'Like driving a Ferrari at 20mph': Why one region ditched Microsoft Office for LibreOffice | ZDNet

UK government once again threatens to ditch Microsoft Office | The Verge

Linux News

Including Android under Linux this time.
Android PCs and other Windows-alternative desktops are for real | ZDNet

SteamOS is the latest Linux variant taking the world by storm:
These 14 Companies, Plus Valve, Are Making Steam Machines |

Many governments are taking a look at a move to Linux.
China reveals COS: a government-approved operating system designed to break the monopoly of foreign software

They did quite a thorough review, this is worth reading if you care about security.
UK's security branch says Ubuntu most secure end-user OS | ZDNet

The gist is you won't have to go through the pain of a full upgrade very often.
Taking the long view: Why I'm moving to CentOS Linux on the desktop | ZDNet

Helpful info for those that want a cheap way to get a Linux laptop:
How to run Linux on a Chromebook | ITworld

Firefox OS keeps moving along:
Firefox OS expands to TVs, new phones, and other platforms - Liliputing

Meet the first Firefox OS tablet prototype - Liliputing

Probably not much to hear from Tizen or Ubuntu Touch in 2014.
Major setbacks for two new smartphone OSs, Tizen and Ubuntu Touch

Two articles by the same author about his use of a Jolla smartphone:
Twenty Four Hours With The Jolla Smartphone - Forbes

Jolla Review: Some Rough Edges, But This Linux Smartphone Shows Promise - Forbes

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Apple Dwindling, Makes Desperate Claims of "Record" Sales.

Apple released it's latest "record" sales numbers in its latest earnings release, proving even to Wall Street that Apple is a dwindling entity. AAPL is down 8.11% as I write this. More significantly, AAPL was down as much 9% in after-hours trading last night. This is more significant, because after-hours trading is done by the large, serious investors.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Strange, Possibly Humorous News

There was an unusually diverse and large collection of weirdness this time. Believe it or not, I don't actually go looking for this kind of thing... they just show up in my news feeds.

Not happy with just threatening to do deliveries via drone:
Amazon wants to send you stuff before you've even decided to buy it

iPhone users are a lot like avid golfers -- if it's expensive enough you can sell them anything. This crazy accessory weighs in at $149:
Review: Motrr's Galileo motorized iPhone dock for panoramic photo taking

Monday, January 20, 2014

HP Now Default Shipping with Windows 7

Wow, things must be really, really bad in the Windows world!

HP is now preloading most of its PCs with Windows 7 as standard, with Windows 8 having been relegated to an optional customization.

HP brings Windows 7 back 'due to popular demand' as buyers shun Windows 8- The Inquirer

Oh, here's a related story:

Windows 9 in 2015: Desperation isn't pretty - Computerworld

Friday, January 17, 2014

Intel Caught Cheating and Other Intel News

Intel used ARM chips in wearables demos at CES | CNET News
No, really, you read that title right, and yes, it means what you think it means.

Intel Is Being Soundly Beaten By ARM

Intel had it's earnings call yesterday and then dropped 5% in after hours trading. They said a number of interesting/disturbing things. Reading between the lines, the following is clear:

  • ARM is soundly beating Intel in mobile and will do so through at least 2015.
  • Bay Trail is a failure.
  • 64-bit ARM has a reasonable chance making significant inroads in both desktop and server areas.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Updated and Added Benchmarks

I've updated numbers for the BayTrail chips because we now have a fair number of commercial products using them.
The number for the z3770 (which, alas, is barely available) has gone up significantly. The number for the z3740 went up slightly.

(I am angry enough at Intel for the lack of z3770 products that I seriously considered removing it from the chart. I wish they would just explain what is going on.)

I added two Ivy Bridge chips that are popular in current best-selling inexpensive laptops: Celeron 1007U and Pentium 2127U.

I added the Haswell i5-4250U from the MacBook Air.

As usual, you can find the Benchmark Table here: Arm vs Intel Benchmarks

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Apple's Market Share Problems

The last few days have seen a number of interesting revelations about Apple's market share.

Microsoft, Just Not Worth Watching Any More

In my recent "Legacy News" post, I said there really wasn't much in the way of Microsoft News. Well, I was right beyond what I knew at the time.

Microsoft has essentially admitted that it cannot function any more. They obviously didn't send out PR announcements proclaiming this, but nonetheless, they have now made it clear.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Legacy News (Apple iOS, MacOS and Microsoft Windows)


Only boring and bad things happening at Apple.

For example, more than 3 months after the release of iOS 7, we are still seeing articles like this:
iOS 7: Common Problems Users Have and How to Fix Them (Updated) | Digital Trends

I'm glad I'm not an Apple developer:
Apple orders developers to use iOS7 - Freedom, they have heard of it | TechEye

Nokia pulls Here Maps from App Store, claims Apple's iOS 7 harms user experience

Encrypted chat service Cryptocat for iPhone rejected by Apple | The Verge

So the iPhone 5S is supposed to be hot stuff?

We continue to see reports of it needing to be discounted:
Best Buy drops iPhone 5s to $125, 5c to $0 on contract - news

And it is clearly not loved in China:

Initial Apple iPhone orders on China Mobile underwhelming AAPL CHL -

Hon Hai assembles iPhones and iPads.
Hon Hai shares down on lackluster iPhone pre-sales in China

My favorite is this comparison article... it really shows just how weak the iPhone 5S is:
Galaxy S4 Versus iPhone 5S - Business Insider

And Apple Market share is down, despite the hyped launch:
iPhone market share shrinks as Android, Windows Phone grow | Apple - CNET News

Apple claims to have good security, but apparently that's not even close to true:
The NSA Reportedly Has Total Access To The Apple iPhone - Forbes

Apple even claims they didn't know there were problems. Do they really want to claim that?
Apple denies working with NSA to create back door - MarketWatch

And let's not forget:
Macbooks use cameras to spy on owners - Apple's legendary security strikes again | TechEye

I guess we'll know a lot more next month after earnings reports and IDC/Gartner report. But I don't think things are going well for Apple.


Microsoft no longer seems to exist in the consumer/SOHO realm. There is no news. Few mentions at CES.

Here's what little I could find:

Ford's Mulally rejected the CEO job, so:
Microsoft succession speculation focuses on internal candidates | Reuters
But don't look for Ballmer to leave soon:
Microsoft CEO Selection Unlikely to Come in January, as Candidate List Contracts and Expands | Re/code

Microsoft did report one cheery piece of news, they sold 3 million Xbox Ones in 2013 (in about a month and a week, but during the busiest of the holiday season). For perspective, Apple sold about 5 million iPads per month in 3Q2013. iPads have much better profit margins than an Xbox One. In fact, in any long term sense Microsoft has never made a profit from Xbox... so this seemingly good news, really doesn't mean much. But you'd think with the title they gave the press release that something big happened:
Thank You for an Epic 2013
However, Sony then reports:
Sony says sold 4.2 million PS4 game consoles as of December 28 | Reuters
The PS4 released a week earlier than the Xbox One in the US, but later elsewhere, making the two numbers roughly comparable.

Even Paul Thurrott is down:
Microsoft Windows Big Problem | Windows content from Windows IT Pro

Here's a quote:
Can you guess what the biggest problem facing Windows is? Here's a clue: It's probably not what you think it is. 
It's not the lackluster response to Windows 8... [rational omitted for brevity] 
It's not Linux, which never emerged as a force on the PC desktop. 
It's not Mac OS X... [rational omitted for brevity]
It's not tablets, though I'd pinpoint this latest move to simpler personal computing to be a major contributing factor: People realize that they don't just not need the complexity of Windows, they don't even need most of the power of Windows. 
Windows is in trouble because people simply don't care about it anymore. It's not outright hostility; there's far less of that than the anti-Microsoft crowd would like to believe. It's ambivalence. It's ambivalence driven by the nature of "good enough" mobile and web apps. It's ambivalence driven by the allure of anytime/anywhere computing on tiny devices that are more cool to use and even cooler to be seen using.

So that's it... no news because no one cares about Windows anymore.
I agree with Paul, after all I'm writing this from my Chromebook!

Strange, Possibly Humorous News

To refresh your memory, Zune was Microsoft's very failed attempt to compete with iPods. Some guy made a desktop to imitate Zune and submitted it to LifeHacker:
The Zune Tribute Desktop

That such a game exists is of course strange and a bit humorous:
New iPhone game warns of dangers of surveillance state | Fox News
Even stranger, but not at all humorous is the possibility the NSA may be watching you play:
The NSA Reportedly Has Total Access To The Apple iPhone - Forbes

Device News

List is long this month as overflow from my CES post is included. Some things not listed in this post are here:

Note, I called it Device News not Android Device News this time. Probably it should be called Linux-based Device News, but too many people won't realize that that would cover Android, ChromeOS, Firefox OS and Tizen as well.

Google Glass

At least personally, I'm much more interested in smart watches (especially with fitness tracking) than Google Glass.
Why Google Glass is doomed. - The Next Web

Even Google Employees Are Giving Up On Google Glass - Business Insider

CES 2014: Trail of wearable fails a warning for Google


Fuhu's kids tablets are very popular here in the US, being carried in Best Buy, Target and Walmart and often making Amazon's Best Selling Tablets list.
Fuhu Nabi 2 kid's tablet grows up, gets Google Play Store support - Liliputing

Closer look at Fuhu's DreamTab tablets for kids - Liliputing

It was probably the best mid-range tablet available in 2013, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition taking high-end spot.
If you want a tablet, just buy Google’s Nexus 7 already – Quartz

Especially if you don't know what the K1 is, you want to read this one:
NVIDIA Tegra K1 reference tablet has 4GB RAM, full HD display - Liliputing

The $38 Android Tablet Is Coming to the U.S. | News & Opinion |


HP announces Android-powered Slate 21 Pro - Android Authority

Lenovo launches 20 inch, 28 inch Android-powered all-in-ones - Liliputing

Acer launches 27-inch all-in-one Android PC | Business Tech - CNET News

This next is ChromeOS, NOT Android:
CES 2014: Hands-on preview with the LG Chromebase desktop |

Wearables (some run Android others connect to Android)

Bluetooth Bracelet Monitors Sun Exposure -

Belkin shows Linux powered smart slow cooker at CES 2014 » Muktware

Samsung will bundle wearables with its high end offerings:
Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 4 to launch with accompanying wearables, Samsung exec says

Razer introduces Nabu smartwatch and activity tracker - Liliputing

E Fun introduces $100 NextOne Smartwatch - Liliputing

Main Stream Linux Devices

Lenovo Beacon $199 home media server has XBMC pre-loaded (and up to 6TB of storage) - Liliputing

Valve announces over more than a dozen Linux-powered Steam gaming boxes | ZDNet

Oddball Android Devices

Google will put Android in cars in 2014. Audi, GM, Honda are on board

Samsung launches Galaxy Camera 2: Android camera with more horsepower - Liliputing

Ampeq SoundPad 2 Android media player sports stereo 3W speakers - Liliputing

The $11,999 Dacor 7-inch Android tablet also doubles as a 48-inch oven

ZTE marries hotspot device and projector with ZTE Projector Hotspot

Vizio announces portable Smart Audio players, powered by KitKat

ARM and Intel News

First some sad news:

ARM server chip pioneer Calxeda shuts down | PCWorld
This is unlikely to majorly damage the ARM-based server movement though.

Looks like politics is rearing its head in the semiconductor market.
Qualcomm confused over Chinese antitrust action - We have still not been told why | TechEye

Now, a bunch of new ARM chips:

The K1 seems to have the most buzz:
NVIDIA introduces Tegra K1 mobile chips with 192 graphics cores - Liliputing

Tegra K1: an in-depth look

AnandTech | NVIDIA Tegra K1 Preview & Architecture Analysis

Snapdragon 805 (Adreno 420 GPU) video demos show what late 2014 Android devices will do

The 802 in this next article is NOT a typo, it is a different chip than the 805:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 802 chip for TVs, set-top-boxes - Liliputing

MediaTek to demo chipsets for LTE, wearables and 4K TVs at CES | PCWorld

Switching to Intel news, things are really quite awful.

I've complained here before about Intel not meeting its promises about shipping Bay Trail systems for the holidays. But even at CES, there really were no shipping Bay Trail Z3770 systems [though 1 announcement that I saw]. Lots of people are asking where's the Bay Trail Intel? The Z3740 that is is shipping in a dozen systems or so is for some reason limited to 2Gb and is not competitive with high-end ARM chips. Something really stinks here, but Intel isn't coming clean about it.

Worse! Intel appears to be rapidly losing the mobile market:
Intel Corporation (INTC): Intel Loses The Galaxy Tab [SAMSUNG ELECT LTD(F)] - Seeking Alpha

Intel Corporation (INTC): Intel's Merrifield Looks Dead On Arrival - Seeking Alpha

Developer Boards and Mini-Devices

This next isn't hardware, but rather an alternate OS to Linux for small devices:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

CES 2014 News Roundup

CES seems to have been rather boring this year... not nearly as much interesting things delivered as last year.
However, there is exciting stuff about Android and Chrome OS. Next to nothing interesting about Windows, which in itself constitutes news. Intel also seems to have embarrassed itself there.

CES seems to have tried to bill itself this year as the rise of wearables. This largely flopped.
Intel led with a keynote for wearables. People like me that wanted Intel to explain what happened to its promised ARM competitors this holiday season and just what is the status of low-power Intel chips were justifiably displeased:
Intel Corporation (INTC): Intel's CES Keynote: That's Nice, But... - Seeking Alpha
Look for bad news when Intel reports earnings on the 16th.