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Showing posts from June, 2011

Web Or App? Who Uses What?

You're probably aware of reports this week that mobile users are more likely to be using apps then mobile browsers to access information stored on the internet. Bad news for those betting on an html 5 future. Turns out that, much like any statistic you see trotted out these days, a bit of digging into the data reveals a completely different picture. The report is based on figures from Flurry, using Comscore figures for web utilisation against the US mobile phone users based, compared to app users from its own database of users with apps... So in effect they've managed to compare a group consisting of users of apps only - which by definition is a group likely to score high per user activity, against a wider group where users with non-smartphones (a majority in the US) are going to massively reduce the per user browsing time. The comparison isn't valid in any way shape or form. It only tells us that Flurry records a lot of people using a lot of apps... I'm willing to bet that…

One More Thing... Or Perhaps Not. Peter Falk RIP

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Peter Falk passed away today at the age of 83. The actor best known for his role as Columbo overcame the loss of an eye to cancer as a child to build a lifetime acting career despite being told that it would be an insurmountable problem.

Columbo was an iconic role played by an iconic man, he will be missed.

Senna: A Powerfully Emotive Film

A documentary spanning the ten years that Ayrton Senna lit up F1, this film comes pre-loaded with strong emotions for anybody old enough to have experienced the events first hand. The actions of Alain Prost in securing the 1989 world title by crashing into his team-mate Senna in the penultimate race of the season disgusted me then, they still make my blood boil now. It was the first time that such a thing had happened and what was worse than the crime was the way that the British motorsports press condoned the action, led by Nigel Roebuck, then Grand Prix editor for Autosport magazine. The sycophantic Roebuck crucified Senna in a seemingly endless stream of critical editorial none of which was based in fact.  One year later those of us who saw the injustice of the previous year felt a certain sense of revenge as Ayrton drove Prost off the road at the very first corner of the 1990 title decider in Japan. The title went to Senna and Prost would be sacked by his Ferrari team less than a ye…

F1: Button Claims Brilliant Victory In Canadian Chaos, Should Lose It Anyway

At just over for hours start to finish it will probably go down as the longest Canadian race in history but today's Grand Prix had just about everything.

And whilst there's no disputing that Jensen Button's victory was well deserved, there have to be questions about his collisions with team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso that remove some of the legitimacy from his victory.

Last time out Lewis Hamilton was roundly criticised for his overly aggressive overtaking manouvres and Button's collision with Alonso was the equal of any of those. Made especially painful for the Spaniard as he gave Button plenty of room on the apex of the corner yet still ended up being punted off the track.

The collision with Hamilton was remarkably similar to the Schumacher-Barrichello incident last season, for which Schumacher was penalised and roundly lambasted. Button claimed not to have seen his team-mate, but having made a mistake in the previous chicane he should have…

iPad 2: Nice, Not Magical

The more I use the iPad 2, the more I find myself bumping up against its shortcomings. Which is a shame because at the same time, the more I use it the more I feel that with a bit of flexibility on Apple's part this really could be the end of the consumer PC.

My argument against the original iPad remains intact. It's too big to carry around comfortably, even in a case it's a burden and putting it in a bag to carry removes the spontaneity from it's use.

Apple could easily fix this by releasing a 7" version. But they aren't going to do that.

I'll add in another problem that I've found with the iPad 2 which didn't affect the original: it's painfully uncomfortable to hold. The thin edge of the device dogs into the palm of your hand, concentrating all that weight into a small point of contact. The only solution I've found has been to ditch the Smart Cover and get a folio style case which covers that uncomfortable corner in padded leather.

On the…

F1: Bahrain Nonsense Continues

Is it on, is it off, who decides? The F1 community has come off with little credit from the Bahrain GP fiasco, appearing more than happy to forego moral and ethical concerns about the behaviour of the government there in exchange for petro-dollars and the promise of a safe passage.

It's not surprising though and the FIA's decision to continue with the race should shock no one.

These are the same organisations and people who were happy to defy the Apartheid boycott and race in South Africa through the worst years of troubles in the sixties, seventies and eighties...

Is The FT Carrying The Flag Against Apple

Apple's draconian terms and conditions for applications aiming to appear in the iTunes App Store have never sat particularly well with mainstream media publishers, who need to own the customer relationship if they are to make a successful business of publishing.

So the recent changes to the operating terms which gave Apple 30% of ongoing subscriptions as well as app purchases was bound to provoke a response and it has duly arrived, courtesy of the FT's launch of a web app version of its daily newspaper.

This is important for the publishing industry because if it succeeds then it breaks them free of Apple's yoke (and to a lesser extent Google's) and gives them control of the interface with readers once more. Buyers 'download' the app from the website and deal with the FT direct for the subscription.

Its ironic that it comes immediately after Apple's launch of newstand which is designed to be a one stop shop for newspapers and magazines.

Other than the loss o…

IOS Updates Play Catch-up

Apple delivered pretty much everything that was predicted at WWDC this afternoon: iCloud, Mac OS X Lion and iOS5.

The changes to iOS were surprisingly weak. Or rather the changes that didn't happen kept Apple from being able to reclaim the technology lead in the smartphone arena.

What was announced was good - notifications match what Android launched with in 2008, iMessage riffs on Blackberry Messenger and integration into the cloud was good but offers little over Google's suite. Even the automatic load to the cloud mimics Microsoft's Windows Live suite for WP7.

The decision to deliver iTunes Match seems a bit strange to me. For users who have only legitimately acquired MP3 files you're paying $25 a year to upload stuff you already own to the cloud. For users who have acquired their libraries through other means its an opportunity for Apple to collate how much illegitimate music you hold and, at some point in the future, let the music industry know how much you now ow…

Breaking: Sony Networks Hacked Again?

The BBC is reporting that another Sony online property has had it's
security breached and more than a million customers details accessed
from an unencrypted store.

This is getting pretty embarrassing for Sony coming as it does within
days of the company's promise to get it's Playstation Network back
online worldwide in the next few days.

I'm having a hard time feeling sorry for Sony though, a lot of this
damage seems to be the result of it's own actions, some very dodgy
business processes and some unfeasibly lax security for a company of
such standing.

Beggars the question about the habits of the other big online stores
that we allow access to our personal data. If one company can be this
easily targeted, what about the others?

What Does Apple Have Lined Up For Monday?

In an uncharacteristic piece of open-ness, Apple forewarned
journalists and web sites that it would be announcing it's new iCloud
service and new versions of both iOS and Mac OS X at Monday's WWDC
keynote given by Steve Jobs.

That's a little bit on the unusual side for a company which goes a
little bit further than anyone else in maintaining secrecy of it's new
products. Which has inevitably led to speculation that Apple has
something else up it's sleeve for Steve Jobs to reveal in his usual
'one more thing' keynote ending spectacular.

So what could this be? There are a few options, some possible, some
highly improbable.

On the possible side we have the appearance of an updated iPhone 4 or
possibly even the iPhone 5. It's about the right time in the products
lifecycle for Apple to be thinking about replacing it. Alternatively
there could be some updates to Apple's Airport range of wireless units
and corresponding AirPlay support. My best guess is a …

Can Elop Be The New Steve Jobs

Nokia is having a pretty bad time of things at the moment. Symbian has
run it's natural life and is now beyond the point where it can run as
a usable smartphone platform; Meego has failed to deliver any phones
at all and the company has seen a massive fall in both market share
and market value - a pretty sorry place to be for the company that led
the mobile phone boom for the last twenty years.

There are remarkable parallels to Apple Inc., a company who in 1997
were on the ropes, with investors calling for the company to be shut
down and it's large cash pile to be returned to stockholders; with
market analysts comparing it's products and strategy to Dell's in a
less than favourable light and even Apple evangelists talking about
the imminent collapse of the company.

Then Gil Amelio pulled off a (possibly unwitting) master stroke, in
acquiring Next Computer and with it engineering the return to the
company of Steve Jobs. Jobs took the reins of the business, launched
the …

What Is It With Windows Naysayers?

One of the most common reasons I hear for people switching platforms is that they avoid the virus/malware/slowdowns/reboots that plague Windows.

Really?

I've had my laptop for nearly eighteen months now and spend most of my days on the internet with it, install lots of software and uninstall a lot of it too; yet I've never had a virus nor suffered from any malware and I've never had to put up with slowdowns. My laptop only ever gets restarted when Windows downloads updates so probably rebooted no more than monthly. All in all I'd call the experience excellent.

And with it being Windows I've always been able to find just the right program out there to perform any of the weird and wonderful tasks that I ask of it.

So what are these people doing who are continually running into problems with their PCs? I have a hunch. When I used to do support as my day to day role I was regularly asked to look at users home computers which were misbehaving or running slow or otherwis…