Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Windows Server 2008 looks like a much more robust competitor for VMware, when we finally get the full deployment and tools. But one things that strikes me as a real bonus for creating a stable host cluster is the availability of a minimal install, sans GUI and stripped of pretty much everything by default. Performance, security and reliability are all bound to be improved by such a deployment, not to mention the much reduced need for constant patching, which plagues all Microsoft system centres and makes running a large scale operation a gargantuan task.
And as a platform for virtualisation using Hyper-V? It can only be a benefit, build the server (under 15 minutes by Microsoft's measurements) throw a couple of command line (or remote management) switches and you have a virtual server host with cluster support. Pretty neat huh?
Now the licensing for such a box, that's a whole different ball game!
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Nokia's transmitter supports all its handsets that use the new slim barrel power connector and 2.5 or 3.5mm heaadphone sockets.
I tried it with the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet and found it to perform well. There was little of the background hiss that plagues cheaper (and some more expensive) transmitters. Power was good enough to overcome interference from both a remote low power radio station and a nearby alternate transmitter on the same channel.
Use is easy - plug into the cigarette lighter socket, connect the power and headphone sockets and select a channel on the control unit (simple up down buttons here, plus a LCD screen to show which channel is selected). Tune the radio to that channel and its done.
The two tricks that the Nokia unit has in its favour are the positioning of the control unit (about six inches down the cable from the plugs) and the self reeling cable ( which makes the unit more portable and tidier in the car - just pull out the length of cable needed ton reach from power socket to the mounting point of your source).
A neat solution from Nokia, who seem to put more thought into their accessories than some manufacturers do with their mainstream products.
Which suggests even more strongly that iPhone 3G is on its way, with the current 16Gb version set to drop to entry level in the new iPhone range.
The question is: How long till it arrives? If the more expensive model is all that remains on the shelf and people are generally waiting for the 3G version, then iPhone sales on a downward trend again.
The smart money remains on a WWDC launch in June, but frankly I suspect a special European launch scheduled mid-May, with June availability. Otherwise Apple Europe and its partners may not turn in the kind of financial figures through Q2 that the iPhone has previously been allowing.
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
Now we're hearing that the new iPhone will be a radically different device to the current phone.
Which seems like a good bet to me. Apple may have changed the face of mobiles by moving to a touch only interface, but there's no substitute for a proper keypad, especially if you're looking for a way in to the corporate market.
I'm expecting the new iPhone to be much more like Nokia's N810, marrying a functional touch interface with a proper keyboard for text entry.
Saturday, 19 April 2008
I'm not inclined to believe this figure. If for no other reason than the fact that Pocket IE has had a whole Micro-Internet grow up around it in the last seven or eight years.
Windows Mobile, Palm and Blackberry devices far outnumber iPhones in the market today and even though most of their standard browsers make no attempt to deliver a desktop like experience they do a much better mobile browsing experience in the real world, making a good fist of displaying the important information from normal pages. The story doesn't finish there though, as most platforms have a choice of alternative browsers, depending on the sort of experience that a user is looking for.
The most common by far is Opera Mini. Whilst Netfront also offers an alternate solution for multiple platforms. A third, almost unheard of mobile platform exists and it manages to take on Safari at its own game and comprehensively beat it.
Picsel Browser originates from Glasgow and is available fur both Palm and windows Mobile platforms. I say available, but that's only true if you are a device manufacturer, Picsel either can't or won't sell to end users. I have tried if on both platforms though and it is undeniably the best product available for either.
Like the iPhone's version of Safari, Picsel manages to display a web page exactly as it would appear on your desktop. You can zoom in and out by drawing your finger or a stylus up or down the screen or by drawing a box around the area you want to zoom in to. But where Picsel scores is its ability to do the same with pdf files as well as office documents and images. Tie this in with the high resolution VGA screens that proliferate on Windows Mobile and you have something that matches Safari's features, adds some of its own and manages So look better in to the bargain.
Given the choice of hardware and the high-speed connections available for the Windows Mobile platform, if Microsoft licensed Picsel for web browsing the iPhone 3G launch would be much less of a significant event.
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
With the current information security climate its almost inevitable I'd end up on an infosec course at some time this year and this week is the week. Being a conscientious sort of guy I make copious notes at this sort of thing and this time around I decided to take them on my OQO. After an early start and a late finish my OQO had ploughed through a 9 hour day, of which 6 had been spent note-taking in Windows Journal and another using a bluetooth phone to VPN back to the office. At packing up time the double capacity battery was still reporting 31% charge available. Now that's what I call endurance.
Its something that often gets missed when people look at smaller laptops and UMPCs, but your usage pattern is likely to be quite different from a normal laptop or even a PDA. You are much more likely to be using it for extended periods away from mains power, so longevity is a key factor which sometimes drops off the radar.
Either find something which runs as long as you need it to from the standard battery, supports an extended battery which meets your criteria or (worst case) pack multiple batteries to ensure your needs are covered.
When buying ultra-portables I would always suggest trading off performance for longevity. A power-less portable is just a brick in your pocket and the juice is guaranteed to run out just when you need it.
Its yet another sign that the 3G iPhone can't be long in coming, just as it signals that sales haven't been as good as Apple, O2 or Carphone Warehouse had hoped.
Interestingly the price cut is good only until June 1st, suggesting that there's a need to clear stock ahead of an announcement at Apple's WWDC that month???
Monday, 14 April 2008
He then reportedly threatened public broadcasters like the BBC that if they don’t pay a premium to gain faster access to Virgin Media’s customers, their service would be put into “bus lanes”
I'm sure that Virgin aren't the only ISP performing this 'service' on behalf of their customers, but I think its the most brazen example. I suggest its time that the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and other content providers disclosed which ISPs have bee taking this line so that we, the buying public can avoid them in future.
Sunday, 13 April 2008
But this particular piece of news is so bad I couldn't really not comment. Against a predicted Q3 loss of $14m Palm has now had to revise its reported figures to show a disconcerting $57m loss - prompting analysts from two independent brokers to suggest that the company isn't long for this world.
Hopes of a takeover seem remote, after all the company is a sitting target until its new Linux devices arrive, more so because its product line (750W excepted) is so badly behind the times. Why pay money to buy Palm when you can eat their lunch for free?
So it all hinges on Palm Linux, a product which won't give them a marketable producy for 18 months.
Seems an awful long time to be sitting on the rifle range with a target painted ob your shirt to me...
Friday, 11 April 2008
Rupert Murdoch's News International is rumoured to be in on the deal too, alleged acquiring a chunk of the potential new company in exchange for a cash injection.
But Microsoft appear to have had enough of the complex courtship ritual and has given the Yahoo board three weeks to comply with its offer or otherwise find its Redmond based suitor courting shareholders directly.
Time to drop the pretence guys, Yahoo's value is heading South and quick under the onslaught of a dominant Google. Microsoft is the only sensible way forward - and even then you have to wonder if Microsoft are really getting a good deal for their cash. Cash those chips in, whilst they're still worth something.
At the same time details have emerged of Orange France's sales figures for the first quarter of its iPhone contract. On the face of it overall sales are impressive, at 96,000 but of those 70,000 sold in the first month of availability, meaning that subsequent months have seen sale at around 13,000 a month, well short of the numbers Orange needs to deliver on its initial 400-500k annual sales target.
Put these together and its clear that Apple need to get a 3G European iPhone out of the door very quickly indeed, otherwise their credibility in the telecomms workspace is going to seriously damaged.
Thursday, 10 April 2008
I'm hoping it will herald the arrival of the Universal replacing, and much rumoured Omni. But I'm not holding my breath...
Tuesday, 8 April 2008
Of course the Mini 2133 has to overcome HTC Shift syndrome and beat the size/functionality compromise which has defeated so many others.
Another potential issue could be the EeePC from Asus. Whilst not yet having Windows (something the Mini packs from day 1) the Eee has sold fantasically well, which begs the question: Is there anybody left out there who would find this a must-have purchase?
Wired magazine's review is pretty unequivacal, calling the Shift on almost all fronts.
Which isn't that surprising if you look at the specs - its a UMPC and, as we've seen in the past, the 7" screen format just doesn't work - its not portable enough to justify the small keyboard/touchscreen vectoring compromises necessary to carry one.
Thursday, 3 April 2008
Of course the problem is now going to be managing the expectations of customers sold on super high speed lines who will now be experiencing even greater slowdowns as everyone looks to fill up on IPTV, music and video downloads and of course VoIP services. I'd suggest a close look at the terms and conditions of any high speed link to ensure you're not going to be running out of bandwidth halfway through a month.
Consumer broadband is set to hit 24Mbps as a new standard over the next 18-24 months so at least we'll all be feeling that much better connected in the near future.
N:Gage faces stiff competition and having tanked once as a hardware platform Nokia can't really afford to get it wrong again. At the moment Nintendo's DS owns the market, with the PSP sometimes challenging. Waiting in the wings is Apple's iPhone platform which will certainly see massive games development given its popularity and foolproof software delivery method. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft will look to its Windows Mobile platform to provide an XBox mobile platform, given the struggles with the Zune and the burgeoning Windows Mobile gaming ecosystem I suspect it won't happen.
Nokia's N95, N82 and N81 are supported from today, whilst the older N73 is also likely to feel the N:Gage love before the big games roll out this summer.
Wednesday, 2 April 2008
So, for those lucky people in the few areas of the US which will recieve Sprint's WiMAX service there are now three choices of form factor for your wide area wireless: small (the Cloud Book); very small (the oqo); and tiny (the N810).
It would be nice to see some kind of WiMAX announcement for the UK though. Especially now its been confirmed as a 3G technology and could therefore be used to fill in the holes in existing data networks. Of course the better quality of the UK HSDPA rollout: which has seen large areas of the country boasting 3.6 Mbps speeds and some metropolitan areas already at 7.2 Mbps there's really not the urgency that the poor old EV-DO ridden US requires.
That's only a very small consolation though...
Tuesday, 1 April 2008
Updates in this revision include threaded SMS messaging, a new Pocket IE engine based on IE6, with better zoom options and some background fixes to WM6 issues.
Nothing then that couldn't have been pushed out to existing devices via an update.
Still Microsoft and the manufacturers would much rather you went out and bought a new handset instead...
CTIA seems the likely place to do it and today has been the day when most commentators expect it to happen. Which rather beggars the questions: what will it connect to? What's the battery life like? And how long from launch can we actually expect to see one?
Given that Sprint is still talking about a WiMAX network in the US, there's a fair chance it will have something to connect to eventually but on this side of the pond WiMAX has had less of a positive reception.
Remembering that OQO had a WiMAX device sometime ago I'm guessing that this Nokia announcement won't have any great import for a little while yet.