Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Longhorn name calling

So Robert Scoble is calling for one and all to take there best shots making fun of Longhorn. He says he's fearless, speaking from a position of strength, cause he knows what's comign in Longhorn and implying that it will kick ass. Sorry Robert, but when I read your posts, I though jeez that sounds desperate. Maybe Longhorn has some whiz-bang feature that will be great, a real innovation. But I am not drinking the kool-aid, and MS execute near perfectly in the details to match the stuff that's already in the Mac. And we don't even know whats in Leopard yet. I am far more excited thinking about what Apple has up their sleeve there vs. MS just catching up to Tiger with Longhorn. Here's a Longhorn name for consideration: Longshot

Microsoft's Longhorn Promises

Mary Jo Foley has posted an article stumping, I mean leaking, some performance promises from MS about Longhorn:
  • Launch Apps 15% Faster
  • Boot PCs 50% Faster and Resume from Stanby in 2 seconds
  • Patch with 50% fewer reboots
  • Migrate users [to Longhorn] 75% faster than with previous Windows releases
  • Clean install in 15 minutes
Hasn't this nearly exact list been touted for every Windows release in memory? Lets take the first one. If Firefox for example launces in 1 second (fairly typical for my pretty heavily loaded laptop right now) and you save 15%, Firefox now launches in .9775 seconds. I am gonna dance a jig with all the time I saved right there. Really, who is going to care about this? Other than that, you can't really complain if MS hits these targets, you have to patch, reboot, and clean install so much the world might get back a few hours of life with Longhorn :) You have to hand it to Ms. Foley for fulfilling the role of mouthpiece for MS beautifully. Will she take MS to task if under imperical review these claims are not met? Of course not, but she sure generated a lot of page views this morning with the article, nice.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Forbes catches on to my Apple Wireless idea

Well it looks like Forbes by way of MacDailyNews has finally caught on to my Apple Wireless idea from March. They suggest Apple buy network access from Sprint, become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MNVO). I dismissed this as not viable since Apple would be competing with Sprint for big dollars. Yeah, Sprint already competes with Virgin Mobile US, which uses it's network and is successful. I can be totally wrong on this, but I think Apple wouldn't want to be at the mercy of its mobile network operator. They have the cash, buy one of the few remaining smaller carriers, like T-Mobile. I know, they can get most of the benefit by being an MNVO, but the scenario I am thinking of protecting against is when Sprint sees Apple significantly eating into their revenue, what happens then? Does Sprint prioritize their own traffic over other companies it resells bandwidth to? Does it cancel Apple's contract, leaving Apple high and dry? Buying T-Mobile solves these problems, but you do have a phone company to run. I don't think there is any question long term, the phone and iPod are going to merge. Phone makers are already trying to do it, but they are at the mercy of the carriers and an HD-based phone costs to much. The problem with integrating both is the UI. A keypad just sucks for music, the scroll wheel on the iPod is near bliss for navigating large list of information. The keypad has to be real buttons, or something that acts close enough to real buttons that it just works. One way is a keypad slids out of the bottom of the iPod, similar to what Business 2.0 was proposing. If I remember right, the print article had an image of a keypad sliding out of the bottom of the phone. There are other ways, but the sliding keypad seems the most economical and doable now, anything else involves bluetooth and disconnected storage, interface, and headphones, which just feels like it has to cost more.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

iTunes 4.9 Review

As most into tech now know, Apple released iTunes 4.9 on Tuesday with podcast support. Until iTunes 4.9, I hadn't listened to a single podcast. Sure I knew about them, just didn't have the time to figure this stuff out. iTunes solves all that. The Good
  • Apple updated all iPods to support Podcasts, even back to the original with scroll well. A friend of mine has the click well "brick", and podcast support seems to work here just like in my 4G
  • Subscribing couldn't be simpler, just like buying an album, only free. Same thing with episodes, one-click easy and free
  • Good organization. Searching only works when you have an inkling of an idea as to what you want, good taxonomies can still be helpful.
  • Podcasts in AAC format. Bookmarks, art at bookmarks and links. They make the MP3 podcasts look dated and this is just getting started. Check out Podfinder and New Music Tuesday for example
  • Getting new episodes and synching, just as you would expect, just work, very sweet
  • iPod Integration. With AAC Podcasts, bookmarks are really sweet. Plus you have the show notes if you click on the middle button enough, real nice. And the fact that shows resume from where you left off, exactly like Tivo and what you would expect, is great.
The Bad
  • Glitches abound. Don't get me wrong, these don't detract from subscribing and listening to podcasts, but they still need to be fixed.
  • Podcasts Settings Default. The Keep setting should default to All unplayed episodes. Feels closest to Tivo but recognizing you don't want an episode once it's played, could just be me.
  • Time. How come the Music Store doesn't have time for each podcasts? I don't think this is that important, but it annoyed me.
  • Release Date. This should just work, every episode should have the release date in meta data without issue. Don't know what the problem is here, but needs to be fixed in a lot of podcasts
  • Descriptions. The need to have links. Adam Curry's The Daily Source Code is most in need of this, silly not to have them in the description, even in the pop-up
  • Click on Podcasts in the left on iTunes, the summary data on the bottom says X Songs, this should be X Episodes
  • Subscriptions are locked up on a copy of iTunes. I have 3 different computers, why can't iTunes at least use .Mac to keep them in sync, ideally the iPod. This is the same complaint I have with me having 3 computers and wishing iTunes, via the iPod , kept all the libraries in sync. I would buy so much more music at work if I could just get it immediately.
Conclusion iTunes 4.9 with Podcasts is a great addition to the program, and it really demonstrates Apple's agility. Are all the features you can think of in iTunes 4.9? No, but they don't have to be since the basic functionality is here now and works. Properly prioritizing functionality according to user need is one of Apple's great strengths, I can't wait to see what they add next.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Opera in Apple iWork Pages?

So I am using Apple's Pages, part of the iWork suite, and I have to justify a whole bunch of text. Mouse slow, keyboard fast, Apple-Shift-| I use. I also have to underline the same text I am centering, so I am hitting Apple-U, but one time I hit Apple-Shift-U and boy am I surprised when Opera, yeah the browser, launches. I don't even have Opera installed, Spotlight can't find it, but this is completely repeatable. Anyone figured out how Opera is in Pages? I haven't dug in too deeply, I did browse through the Pages bundle, but Opera is nowhere to be found. It's almost like an X-File. Where's Scully when you need her?