09
Aug 11

Apple’s European ad slogan: Buy iPad because it’s all you can get

“Apple asserted in German court that Samsung’s tablet had imitated the iPad so closely that it infringed on Apple’s intellectual property rights. The court agreed with Apple … block[ing] the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the European Union…” [via Apple blocks sale of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe]

This is the kind of bullshit “Intellectual Property Rights” that discourages the hell out of me and innovators in general. No longer does the best product, a melting pot of all the best ideas executed, rise to the top on its own merit. This instance with Samsung has hit mainstream media because it’s one big player against another.

As far as Apple is concerned, I have long since strongly disagreed with their uber proprietary worldview. This news further fuels the fire that this company is, at the core: greedy, secretive, anti-entrepreneurial tech mongers. Epitomizing “If you’re not with us, you are against us.”

For more on the extremely sorry-state of IP & patent rights, I encourage you to hear This American Life’s “WHEN PATENTS ATTACK!” podcast containing some eye-opening investigative journalism that has certainly colored my optimism a shade darker. Or, for the hard and fast version from the same reporters, Planet Money’s “The Patent War“.

The source of the madness ultimately lies with faulty copyright legislation. It’s unlikely to be resolved anytime due to the state of big business which has evolved to coddle and encourage patent-rights beginning most strongly with Microsoft’s infamous rise to (one of) the world’s largest software makers.

You can bet your ass we won’t see any ambitious young startups who may employ early-Microsoft like tactics obtain success. They will be dealt a swift strike from the cease & desist ban hammer. Not to say it is utterly impossible to make it as a startup; hundreds of young companies continue to weather the storm. I’m just saying it’s is a stifling environment these days.

As for the big players, they’ve their “hands” full with the highest cards – armed with an arsenal of patents. But, I digress: there is a bit of positive news in the Apple slaps Samsung injunction. Samsung has its own arsenal of funds and patents. Maybe, together, they’ll tear down the acrid system unintentionally whilst fighting the tablet market-share war.

Unsurprising UpdateApple is also suing Motorola in Europe over the Xoom tablet’s design


12
Apr 10

How to win at the “platform” game

A contemporary story brought to you by Twitter… who arguably, would have never risen to its present great heights in popularity, and thereby valuation, if not for the labors of its creative users… and now, we shall see their true colors…

“…Twitter investor Fred Wilson speculated that Twitter would edge out third-party developers whose add-ons for the microblogging service merely filled feature holes that the company ought to have built itself. Then Twitter, which previously hadn’t developed its own mobile apps, bought Tweetie, a popular Twitter service for the iPhone, and released its own BlackBerry app.”

With apparent lack of long term reputation strategy, their latest purchase is not well timed as “…these announcements came right before Twitter’s big developer conference, Chirp, which opens in San Francisco tomorrow.”

Twitter also purchased Summize nearly two years ago to fill the former void of search.

And the lesson to gleamed from Twitter’s totally tubular tale is… “The real reason to build a platform is to boost your company’s valuation. An open application programming interface lets third-party developers donate their labor and ideas to the cause of enriching your investors. And through their creativity, investors get inspired about the potential to make money.”

The moral of the story is: be the foundation (platform), not the pretty structure that sits above it. Because if you’re a company building off of some other company’s platform, being bought out is the only way to achieve a big pay day. Good luck with that.

Quotes from VentureBeat’s “How Twitter won the platform gamble“.

Also worth noting, as another prime example, Apple’s App-store.


25
Feb 10

“Reflex review” of Final Fantasy on the iPhone

Post game-release, Feb. 22nd ’10, Video:

The Great:
– The graphics both sprites and surroundings.
– Touch control in shops.
– The music & sound effects are fantastyc
– Nostalgic.

The “Bad”:
– The touch D-pad looks very tedious for controlling around the world. I’m annoyed just not being able to see the entire screen. I’d definitely miss the tactile feedback, as well.
– Also, it is painfully clear that battles are just as tedious as ever. A double-tap on ‘attack’ to attack a random enemy instead of explicitly tapping a guy would’ve helped a great deal.

Don’t own this platform, and not going to pick it up anytime soon. Oh well. Fun to think about for me and fun to play for many others. Nice to know this generation gets a sweet taste of the RPG classics. Just you kids wait until they re-release “US” Final Fantasy III (or VI for those in-the-know). It’ll blow your Chucks off!


12
Feb 10

Final Fantasy on the iPlatform

This marks the first moment I wished I possessed a device capable of hosting this platform. That which I call iPlatform is the underlying system that the iPod/iPhone/iPad runs. It is intimately interfaced with Apple’s various stores.

The 8-bit remakes never looked so slick. I’d definitely take to (re)playing these games in this medium over the more clunky Nintendo DS. Granted, I have been there and done that…


05
Feb 10

iPad to raise the cost of eBooks

With all the hype, leverage potential and uber proprietary platform, why wouldn’t publishers jump ship to Apple?  It’s a rather sad state of capitalistic greed, out to scrooge the consumer.  Isn’t more competition suppose to reduce prices? Seemingly not, what with a third [large] publisher set to switch from camp Kindle (Amazon) to iPad (Apple).

ipad_vs_kindle

Apple’s infamous stance on DRM makes the move seem sadly inevitable, as it stacks up as another reason why they begin to hold a majority of publishers favor.  Amazon on the other hand, is renowned to fight for DRM-free low cost content – check out their awesome mp3 store for example – thusly taking the side of the consumer.  While Apple’s stores oft take to exploiting its platform popularity to permit for higher cost content and superfluous copyright protection.

Furthermore since dinosaurs still roam the free market, their influence is impossible to outright ignore.

“We don’t like the Amazon model of $9.99 . . . We think it really devalues books and hurts all the retailers of hardcover books . . .And now Amazon is willing to sit down with us again and renegotiate.”

Ahh Rupert, Mr. Murdoch you stay classy, what with your intense inability to expand beyond your traditional business models.   Paid web content?  Not going to happen, at least not the way you invision.   But, I digress.

A lower priced product makes perfect economical sense, lower the cost to the consumer and you’ll sell more.  Raise prices, sell less, profit less.  Amazon already takes a loss at the current price point of $10 for new book releases.  I imagine this is in effort to promote their own platform’s (i.e. Kindle) vitality.

And that’s ok, because they understand the economic balance. So, this means either publishers are simply getting greedier, as the cost to produce an eBook is about as close to $0 as it gets.  Or Amazon is expected to make up for the cost of producing a hardcover book that is predominantely sold at retail stores that are far & wide going out of business.


27
Jan 10

Apple’s new shit, the iPad

Apple has officially become predictable and trite.  Their newest product was unveiled today, by the big Apple ego, Jobs.  It is a super-sized iPhone/iPod.

big iPod

big iPod

It can’t play Flash, is tied to Apple’s various stores, intended for AT&T’s network, can’t <acronym title=”Meaning: only one application may run at any one time”>multi-task</acronym>, and its design is utterly and completely devoid of originality.  It is a “giant” [~10″] iPod touch with 3G [certain models only].  Thankfully MadTV already made fun of the name, which also screams of routine.

I’d love to see this product flop, but I hold no such delusions.  Apple’s golden age is in full effect.  Their shit is gold to a vast array of much-disposable-income consumers.  It will sell and probably pretty well.  Fact is, there isn’t anything quite like it.

My biggest complaint is that there are zero surprises.  None of that unique innovation that got Apple where it is today, is evident in this “new” device.  Do not pass go, but somehow collect $200 million dollars.  We know you’ll find a way.


02
Jan 10

Considering the usefulness of computer lights

Are computer hardware activity indicators (in the form of flashing LEDs) an antiquated level of abstraction? Notifying the user ought to be left up to the software layer, i.e. the OS.  It is the best position to relay relevant information as directed by the level of user knowledge and interest.

Modern Apple computers got rid of nearly all the external LEDs.  But they didn’t go far enough for all users, as I have oft missed the flashy hardware-is-busy indicators.  Especially when the system is loaded-down and unresponsive; wtf’s going on? Hard disk activity lights are fairly good for this; oh, it’s caching to disk-hell.  MacBook’s have none and that swirling beach ball [of death] definitely doesn’t cut it.

IBM/Lenovo machines, namely the ThinkPad line, excel at these, possibly to the point of excess.  On my X200, there are sleep, A/C, power-on, battery, hard drive, caps lock, num lock, WAN, bluetooth, wireless, SD card, and ethernet LEDs.  They can be a bit distracting.  But my main quip is that even with all the lights, there’s much to be desired in terms of system-to-user info transfer.  As a computer hardware aficionado, I need to know what my system is doing.

many green lights

many green lights

Something in the system tray would serve just as well as all these LEDs; I don’t always want to see them.  Process Explorer, for Windows, is the best I know of.  It lives in the sys-tray and is an indicator light, of sorts, for processor/system load.  That little app’s feed back in tandem with the hardware lights provides a quick overview of my machine.  process_explorer
(For Linux, top and system-monitor serve nicely.)

If the little chart isn’t peaking and the hard drive light is flashing a bunch, the bottleneck is in the I/O layer, and vice versa.  While this is a rather simple generalization, it usually serves well enough to answer the wtf’s.

All things considered I rather have em than not. Also, the blinky lights provide some nostalgic value, like being on the bridge in the enterprise. Nostalgia sorta explains why that ridiculous *bong* Mac start up sound still lives on.