Thursday, 28 January 2010

My opinions on the iPad, post-announcement.

By the time this post goes out, I'd have seen the full Apple Keynote in video (Download link:

By the time this post goes out, I'd also have read some of the opinions the man on the street or in the Media circle.

So, I thought I'd post a round-up of the flaws, the commendable, and the questions for debating on Facebook or my tagboard.
But first, 

The Flaws.
It's an Apple First-Gen product. Which means they're bound to create an imperfect product - that's how they make money from the army of fanboys and early-adopters. And here's my top few...

1. No Multi-tasking. 
One of my friends (Ren Yuan) pointed out that, yes, the iPad has Keynote and Pages, so in theory, you can start tapping reports away on this thing. But what if you need to do some research in Safari? What if you're preparing a Bibliography - you're going to go back and forth between Pages and Safari, copying and pasting, waiting for one app to open for every single bit you copy. That's going to be tedious. And what if you want to listen to Pandora/Streaming Radio/ while making a Keynote presentation? The problem is that Apple hates to make an App-killer - it shows that their OS can be unstable, like Windows or OS X.

2. No (Adobe) Flash. 
If you watched the announcements, you'd see that the audience chuckled when Steve loaded - you see the little blue lego block with a white '?' on it. You saw Steve try to swipe the icon away as that happened. Come ON! Get Adobe to port Flash over, already! [p.s.: If you watched Steve Jobs' intro before Schiller went on stage to talk about iWork, he said something about the iWork requiring lots of horsepower. Maybe it's just me, but I saw that as a prompt from Jobs to Adobe, asking them to get their act together and make Flash stable on OS X Snow Leopard first if they want to come on board.]

3. Lack of Content. Worldwide.
Perhaps this was because Apple kind-of rushed some last-minute content deals to avoid leaks (*stares sternly at McGraw-Hill*). But seriously? US-only iBooks Store? No newspapers/magazine subscription? No textbooks?

4. The Screen resolution. 
1024x768 = 4:3 = stupid resolution. That's supposed to be extinct when the CRT died. Maybe it's to keep costs low, but I really wished they got a widescreen aspect ratio instead. Your "Star Trek" or "Up!" will look really letter-boxed. And what's with the stupid bezel? It's so thick! Couldn't they trim that a bit more to recude the footprint?

5. MicroSIM?!
Apple is brilliant at locking things down, it seems. iPhone 1 was locked to AT&T/O2, their OS X is locked to the Mac and the Mac was locked to OS X, iTunes had DRM, etc. Now that they're selling iPad (the 3G model) unlocked, you'd think that equates to them raising the flag and giving up over the lockdown game. But then, they come up with a right-hook - MicroSIM means you can't slot in your current data SIM in it - you must BUY from SPECIFIC carriers who sell them. URGH! SO FRUSTRATING!

6. The Name. 
iSlate was so much better - original, unique, and most importantly, trademark-able. iPad, apparently, is Fujitsu's trademark in the US. Expect negotiations and possibly lawsuits.
[annoyingly, I thought of why Apple called the iPad the iPad. Think about it - from the iMac and iPod, take all the letters of 'iPod' except the 'o', and put in its place, the 'a' from 'iMac'. It's a portable device (like iPod), but it has horsepower and major computing capabilities (like iMac). It's meant to be the device that's between your iPhone and your Mac. The average of the two extremes = iPad. Get it?]

The Commendable.
On the bright side, the iPad has some strengths worth mentioning.

1. The Pricetag. 
$499 to $829?! Enough said. Say goodbye to those cheap and not cheerful, underpowered, plasticky Netbooks. Move over, overly-posh Vaio/Thinkpad X-series or MacBook Air. Say hello to iPad.

2. Money-making machine.
They really thought about the accessories you'll need for this thing, didn't they? Stand, Keyboard Stand, case-cum-stand, Dock-connector-to-camera adaptor, Dock-connector-to-VGA adaptor, etc. Oh, and Apps. $9.99 x 3 for iWork, and game devs are going to get another chance to make money. Oh, and let's not forget the latest addition to the iTunes family - iBooks. They've created a mall around the iPad!

3. iWork on a tablet. 
That'll make the device more attractive to students, doctors, insurance agents, news presenters, etc. Oh, and thanks to Brushes, artists might start striking Wacoms off their wishlist and get this instead.

4. ePub. 
For the technologically-challenged, ePub is not an electronic pub where you can order electronic drinks and get electronically drunk, before you get eHangovered the next day as you realised how much you spent on eDrinks. It's not like Farmville. No, ePub is a new open standard for eBooks. So you can take all the eBooks you bought from iBooks, and bring it onto your other eBook readers, like the Sony ones. Think of ePub as DRM-free eBooks.
[Correction: apparently, (according to a quote from a disgruntled Adobe blogger via, at least) Apple is applying DRM on their ePubs. aww...]

5. The Jack-of-all-trades gadget. 
The iPad does a lot of things - eBooks reader, gaming device, music/video player, netbook, photo frame, telephone book, diary, notebook, TV, portable storage drive (albeit a clunky one), Wacom-tablet replacement. They're really blurring the lines with this device - what category do you fit this into, other than a tablet?

6. Unlocked!
Not only is there a 3G-less version, but the 3G version is unlocked and not tied to any contracts! (though, yes, it has a hardware lock in the form of a smaller SIM slot, but since it's a new standard, I'd expect more phones and telcos to switch to MicroSIM in the near future.)

The Questions.
I still don't know how to call on these points, so I thought you should write your opinions on these points. What do you think about these aspects of the iPad?

1. The screen?
I'm not talking about the resolution - it's so 20th century, no questions asked. I'm interested in hearing what you think about the 9.7" size and the IPS technology. Is 9.7" too big, because it doesn't fit in your jeans? Or maybe it's too small (and underpowered) for you to want one in the house? Is IPS a good thing, because of increased viewing angles and colour saturation, or is it bad, because it uses more transistors than other LCD tech, thus increasing power consumption? Which brings me on to my next point.

2. The battery life?
10 hours seems a lot compared to a notebook, but the iPhone lasts longer. Will this thing still have juice if I were listening to music from it all day long via a Bluetooth headset? Or is it not so important since it'll probably never leave the house?

3. Where does it belong?
If the iPad were an appliance, where does it belong? In the toilet? Kitchen? Living room? Study room? Or maybe it sleeps in a bagpack? Or is it not a consumer product? Does it belong in the corporate environment? Or the Education sector? Arts, perhaps? What about healthcare? Or for Science, via the SDK and some specialised instruments? So many possibilities, one device. But where will it succeed?

4. 3G? What for?
Why would anyone buy the 3G version if it's not going to be used anywhere else other than the home, the school, the workplace, or the café - places which probably have some form of Wifi? Heck, what will it do to the battery life? (That's a bit of a rhetorical question, isn't it?)

Well, what do you think, overall? Good product? Or is it a misfit? Comment away...

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

iPad announcement: scorecard

The Apple "Come See Our Latest Creation" Announcement Exam Scorecard.
Section A: The Tablet. Maximum marks = 100m
1) Connectivity: GPS, 4G, and 802.11n (10m)
Award 2m for GPS. [Assisted GPS will do]
Award 2m for HSDPA/3G 
Award 4m for 802.11n
Total = 8/10

2) UI & Software: Multi-touch, OS X, App Store, Book Store, Interactive Books (30m)
Award 2m for Multi-touch
Award 4m for Book Store
Award 4m for interactive books / incorporation of videos/web technology in books. [via apps]
Award 1m for iPhone OS
Award 8m for App Store or SDK plans
Total = 19/30

3) Hardware: Screen, I/O, Internals & Externals (40m)
Award 2m for mic
Award 2m for 3.5mm headphone jack
Award 1m if 30-pin dock connector
Award 4m for capacity ≥32GB
Award 2m for LCD
Award 8m for ≥8 hours of standby battery life
Award 8m for PA Semi chip

4) Availability and Pricing (16m)
Deduct 4m if only in the US
Award 3m if available before 31 March 2010
Award 8m if less than US$699 standalone
Total = 7/16

5) Design (4m)
Award 4m if it looks good/original; Deduct up to 10m if it looks anything like an enlarged iPhone. [-1m. It looks good, but it has the frontal shape of an iPhone]
Total = -1/4
Total for Section A = 60/100

Section B: iPhone OS 4.0. Maximum marks = 50m
Total for Section B = 0/50: no announcement.

Section C: Stars, products and ads. Maximum marks = 50m
Award 10m max, where 1m is earned for every developer or Apple guy who speaks during the keynote (including Jobs himself), whether through a video clip or in person [1Jobs+1Forstall+1Gameloft+1NYT+1Brushes+1EA+1MLB+1Schiller+1Ive+1Mansfield]=10m
Award 10m max, where 2m is earned for every ad played, and 1m for every feature non-ad video clip played (Btw, this includes every time they play a video loaded on their demo unit). [Up! trailer, Features video, Star Trek in Features Video]=3m
Award 30m max, where 10m is earned for every product that Apple refreshes in the keynote (Mac, iPhone hardware, iLife, Apple TV, whatever), and 3m is earned for every Mac product mentioned from this list: [iPod, MacBook, iWork]=9m
Total for Section C = 22/50

Overall= 60/100 + 0/50 +22/50 = 82/200 [41%] Ouch.

On the bright side, the Tablet scored 60%. Just get the international availability, and it might score higher.


exams over!

Yay! Finished my exams! At last!

Well, not quite. I still have a Psychology Class Test next Tuesday. Bummer.

Anyway, I thought I'd post a list of things to remember, so that I remember them, in case I get amnesia/dementia. Which, judging from the way that my memory's been going, is quite possible.


Tonight, 6pm: Apple announcements.
Tomorrow, 28 Jan, 10am: Some Teleconferencing thingy that my College is organising with a school in Russia. Sounds interesting.

2 Feb: Psy Class Test on Eating Behaviour - Obesity.
6 Feb: First day for the Safehaven project. (Goes on every Saturday)

10 Feb: Exeter Open Day
14 Feb: V-day. B-day. CNY-Day.

17 Feb: Owl City in Concert @ Komedia!
18-19 Feb: Mid-term break

22 Feb: Owl City's Album release in the UK (at last!)
3 Mar: Warwick Open Day

19 Mar: Driving Practical Test (Subject to changes)

23-27/28 Mar: Matthew Lim coming to the UK (subject to changes, tbc)


Monday, 25 January 2010

RTFP and Help Haiti, but not via Facebook.

RTFP - Read The Fine Print.

With all due respect, please stop flooding my wall with "Help the People In Haiti Now".

In fact, I would be wary of all these Facebook apps. Why?

Did you actually read what level of access you're allowing to the "Haiti Clock donations" app? I'm guessing you didn't. Let's look at that, shall we? 

Allowing Haiti Click donations access will let it pull your profile information, photos, your friends' info, and other content that it requires to work.

Allow? You allowed an app made by someone I don't know to see my info? How are they going to use it? And what's "other content"?

It's not that I'm not sympathetic for the people in Haiti - That's why I donated to the American Red Cross via iTunes. That's why I donated when my church was collecting for the DEC - Disaster Emergency Committee (a collaboration of 12 aid agencies from the UK). I know which organisation my money goes to, I know roughly where the money is being channelled towards, and I trust that the organisations know best how to use the money to help the people in Haiti.

But please, don't fall for these suspicious apps that you have no clue about.

Read the fine print.

And for goodness sake, grab your wallet. Don't just click on an app which claims to help the Haitians, but don't show how, and then grabs your friends' info and 'other content' (correct me if I'm wrong. I'm just being sceptical because this is a potential threat to people's privacy).

Friday, 22 January 2010

The Benefits of an All-Boys School?

Thought I should share this link...
(ignore paragraph 5)

The basic gist is that apparently, boys are more likely to get involved in cultural and artistic activities which help with the development of the individual's emotional expressiveness. This is mainly because the absence of girls allow them to develop without pressure to conform to the "cool guy" stereotypes.

Seems quite true, in my opinion.

What do you think?

My fears about the "iSlate"

I've been reading the papers, many of which have at least one article woffling on about how this Steve Jobs guy will help save them all (and let mainstream journalists keep their paycheck).

So they're assuming that Jobs know what he's doing, and that Apple's tablet-cum-eReader will be a huge success.

Well, hold on a minute there, wild stallions. Let me knock some sense of reality and tell you why the tablet might not succeed. And mind you, I'm your typical Apple fanboy, so my doubts over the possibility of this tablet thing being successful must be quite strong.

1) The Form Factor.
Anything that Apple does, Apple can deliver the X-factor. Look at the iPhone. Apple came from 0% market share, to an icon that everyone tries to emulate. So I have no doubt that the reality distortion field would still be there next Wednesday when Apple lifts the veil over the iSlate. But let's be real. My theory on why the iPod and iPhone are much more successful than something like the Apple TV is its portability and convenience factor. These things fit in your pocket/handbag/man-purse/whatever - they fit right into your lifestyle, they go where you go, and as a result, you become somewhat attached to them as these things pipe music into your ears and video or web pages into your eyes.

The rumors all say that the iSlate's screen is 10" diagonally. 10" is not exactly small. It's quite massive for a device you want to carry from place to place in your purse or pocket. Even if Apple can make it thin and light, it'll still be a burden to lug around, and you'll be worried sick about cracking that screen. That's not very convenient - that's not very Apple.

If this device was meant to surf web pages on the toilet bowl, it better be cheap, or it'll only sell as well as the Apple TV. Which brings me on to the next topic.

2) The Price.
When the iPhone first came out, everyone agreed unanimously that it was ludicrously and absurdly expensive. US$599 for a phone, tied to a US$30/month contract? And you don't even get MMS with that? Everyone thought that was insane. True enough, it was. The first few days did see queues of the mental Apple fanboys and bloggers who HAD to get one. The rest of us just said 'nay'. And yes, it was US-only (I'll get on to this in a minute). When Apple dropped the price down, to $399, then $199 with the 3G, sales grew exponentially within the US (of course, we have to factor out the fact that it actually went global. Fair test, right?). Activation servers were brougth to their knees as more people bought the 3G than the 1G, probably because of the great new price tag.

Will Apple continue with their pricing mechanism experimentation with this iSlate? I suspect they will. Don't be surprised if you hear the words "Nine hundred and ninety-nine dollars for a 32-Gig model, WITH contract on Verizon or AT&T". Apple really likes to gain as much revenue as they can from the early adopters while they face supply constraints. Just watch.

3) The Availability.
Not going to say much. except that the iPhone was initially only available in the world's 4th most populous country. That's just one market. But when it went on to sell in 70+ more countries, what happened to sales figure? It doesn't take a genius or economist to answer that question, does it?

Yes, I admit, there might be problems with the telco agreements. But if that's the hurdle, then can I suggest a model without the 3G chip in it? I mean, Wifi is almost everywhere, anyway, with hotspots and MiFis (Mobile Wifi). Look at the iPod touch. It doesn't have 3G or GPS, but it's selling as well, if not better, than its bigger brother, the iPhone.

4) The Utilitarian Device Beyond Toilet Bowl.
What is the purpose of a tablet? Yes, many of us (fanboys) will swipe our debit and credit cards for an iSlate. But what do we do with this slab after we pull it out of the box? Do we just sit on the toilet bowl and read books/surf the web with this thing? I thought we had similar devices that do the same thing already? The Kindle, the iPod/iPhone, or if you're not fortunate/interested enough to afford/invest in these tech stuff, the newspaper. What's wrong with these things? Nothing. And they are what the iSlate is going against.

There has to be a convincing reason why I would want to drop my iPhone and use the iSlate instead. And I just can't think of any right now. It'll be too big to go anywhere, and it's not meant to replace the desktop. So what is it?

Sure, Steve-O and Co can think of something to say - "The iSlate can cure cancer patients (i.e.: can be uses in a hospital). It can lead you from Nuremberg to Edinburgh, something the Nazis couldn't do. (i.e.: It's got GPS.)". It's the reality distortion field effect that you get from watching the announcements, you see. It hypnotises the Apple fanboys into saying "Take my money". But for the people who think about opportunity costs all the time (i.e.: Main Street), what is the benefit of buying this device? I, for one, am not interested in a Kindle-esque or iPhone-ish device. I don't need a netbook. And frankly, I think the whole world's had enough of these things, too.

This iSlate is supposed to answer lots of questions that people in the Tech circle have been asking: What is the purpose of a tablet? What is the way to interact with one? What size/shape should it be? If we see imitations, then this question's probably been answered. Otherwise...

5) A Load Of Hype Over A Journalist's Pipe Dream.
I now see why the iSlate is getting more hype than interest (from me, at least) at this point.

We all know that the Print Media industry is starting to suffer. It's been on a downhill ever since they started posting news stories on the Web - Why would anyone want to pay for a dirty, grey piece of paper about the news stories from 24 hours prior to 3am this morning, when you can check for the latest update (often for free, I should point out) on the website of the newspaper in question? Some have responded to the threat of Online. Rupert Murdoch, owner of News Corp and News International, has long been threatening to charge for access to their online content. And I suspect more will cave in to the demand of profits soon, too.

But imagine being able to keep profits (and shareholders) happy by charging for the electronic content, presented in a new and awesome device that consumers will all go gaga over. This device that the CEOs of media companies dream of, ladies and gentlemen, is the iSlate.

I really believe that if the iSlate becomes a hit, it'll do to the publishing industry, what the iPhone did to basement-based iPhone developers. And I'm guessing the media industry agrees. That is why, as I said in the beginning of this post, I've seen at least one article from each of the leading newspapers mention something about the iSlate, even though it's all just rumours at this stage. All of them really want this to happen, because it could very well save them from being a dying trade. That's probably why Apple gets a lot of press, even without saying a word.

In a SuperFreakonomics way of thinking, what incentives do journalists/newspapers gain from giving a company (which said nothing, did nothing, nada) so much hype? Normally, none. But in this case, quite a lot (A revenue stream that will help them survive the digital age, for example). Which is why I'm guessing that a lot of journalists will try to create their own reality distortion field to get people onto this platform.


Maybe I'm just being overly pessimistic. Maybe I'm being cynical.

But maybe, just maybe, for once, I am right. Maybe this iSlate is another "hobby" of Apple. Just like the Apple TV - too good to be .... well, good.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Apple Announcement predictions!

Yes, it's that time of the quarter! You know the drill - Apple sends invitations to an announcement, I post my predictions, and I grade myself at the end of the announcements!

I'm going to do something different this time. Since this announcement is supposed to have a new product, I'm going to make a scorecard of what I EXPECT from the announcement - everytime Jobs & Co. announces something that is in my list, they earn marks. Then, we sum up the scores to see how well the team's reality distortion field fared.

So, let's start, shall we?

(Mark breakdowns are shown for clarification. Each line shows how less marks may be rewarded if the full criteria is not met.)

The Apple "Come See Our Latest Creation" Announcement Exam Scorecard.
Section A: The Tablet. Maximum marks = 100m
1) Connectivity: GPS, 4G, and 802.11n (10m)
Award 2m for GPS. 
Award 4m for 4G; 2m for HSDPA/3G 
Award 4m for 802.11n; 2m for 802.11g)

2) UI & Software: Multi-touch, OS X, App Store, Book Store, Interactive Books (30m)
Award 2m for Multi-touch
Award 4m for use of Project-Natal-esque UI control
Award 4m for Book Store
Award 4m for interactive books / incorporation of videos/web technology in books.
Award 8m for Mac OS X Leopard; 4m for new flavour of OS X; 1m for iPhone OS
Award 8m for App Store or SDK plans

3) Hardware: Screen, I/O, Internals & Externals (40m)
Award 2m for front-facing camera
Award 2m for mic
Award 2m for 3.5mm headphone jack; 1m if headphone jack is recessed
Award 2m for MagSafe; 1m if 30-pin dock connector
Award 2m for USB port (mini or input)
Award 2m for SD slot
Award 4m for capacity ≥32GB
Award 4m for OLED or colour e-Ink screen; 3m for OLED; 2m for LCD; 1m for monochrome e-Ink
Award 4m for ≥300ppi; 2m for ≥160ppi; 0m otherwise
Award 8m for ≥8 hours of standby battery life; 1h for every hour if less
Award 8m for Nvidia Tegra or PA Semi chip; 4m for Core i3 or Atom; 1m for anything more powerful than i3/ less powerful than Atom.

4) Availability and Pricing (16m)
Award 4m for Worldwide release; 2m if in the UK; deduct 4m if only in the US
Award 4m if available immediately; 3m if available before 31 March 2010; 2m before Q2'10; minimum 2m if a firm date is given, regardless of period. 
Award 8m if less than US$499 on contract OR US$699 standalone; 4m for either; 0 if more

5) Design (4m)
Award 4m if it looks good/original; Deduct up to 10m if it looks anything like an enlarged iPhone.

Section B: iPhone OS 4.0. Maximum marks = 50m
1) Features of updates (30m)
Award 4m if Home Screen is updated
Award 4m for syncing over WiFi
Award 6m for multitasking of any sort
Award 6m for new UI
Award 10m max, where every 2m is earned for every additional feature they can list/name, excluding the ones listed above

2) Availability of updates (20m)
Award 10m if available immediately; 8m if within 1 week of announcement; 5m if within 1 month; 3m if within Q1'10; 1m if within 2010
Award 10m if available for all iPods & iPhones; take 2 points off for every iPod/iPhone model not supported / where payment is necessary for update

Section C: Stars, products and ads. Maximum marks = 50m
Award 10m max, where 1m is earned for every developer or Apple guy who speaks during the keynote (including Jobs himself), whether through a video clip or in person
Award 10m max, where 2m is earned for every ad played, and 1m for every feature non-ad video clip played (Btw, this includes every time they play a video loaded on their demo unit).
Award 30m max, where 10m is earned for every product that Apple refreshes in the keynote (Mac, iPhone hardware, iLife, Apple TV, whatever), and 3m is earned for every Mac product mentioned from this list: iPod, MacBook, Mac Pro, iMac, Newton, Apple TV, iLife, iWork, MobileMe, Snow Leopard

So te overall maximum is 200m. Let's see how Apple fares next Wednesday, 27 January 2010!

Saturday, 16 January 2010


Another quickie post.

Couple of things I just discovered recently, that I thought I should share on my sort-of-dying blog (hey, I have exams!)

First up - iPhone App. 

"Moodagent - Automatic Playlist DJ for your music, your mood" (whoa, that's a mouthful) is an alternative to the Genius playlist maker. It uses 5 'mood' scores (Sensual, Tender, Joy, Aggressive, Tempo) to make up a playlist of 25 songs, based on what's on your iPod touch/iPhone. You'll need more than 25 songs, and you'll need to make sure they've all got accurate metadata (or your results will just be rubbish - rubbish in, rubbish out). But the great thing is that you can save the playlist in-app, and then you have a setlist for whatever mood you configured! Oh, do get this app quick, because it's FREE (for now).


Next up, music. 

I know that by now, you're probably getting sick of me expressing my addiction to Owl City. Hey, there's nothing wrong with uplifting music being piped into my ears. But now, I found an antidote to my Owl City drug. 

It's an up-and-coming electronica (oh goodie!) band from Manchester, and they're called Delphic. They were 3rd in the BBC Sound of Music 2010 round-up (if you didn't read about the BBC Sound of 2010, I suggest you do. It's basically a title which goes to a music act that's been predicted by most of the music 'geniuses' of the UK, ranging from radio DJs to journalists, to do very well in 2010 on the UK charts.), but what makes them different from number 2 and 1 is that they actually have an album out now. It's called "Acolyte", and it doesn't have a cheerful tracklist (that's quite evident when you look at the album art, actually). It's intense, it's dark, and yet, it didn't fall into the 'overly emo' trap (I'm looking at you, Paramore). It's a new band with a promising future, at least in 2010, if not in this decade. And they've been off to a great start. Rating: 9/10

I especially recommend these tracks from the album: Doubt, This Momentary, Acolyte.


One last thing.

As you probably know, there was an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 on the Richter Scale that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010. The death toll has been estimated to be in the thousands, and there is a desperate need to get aid into the country as quickly as possible. So let's all help in whatever way we can, little or big.

If you'd like to donate to support the disaster relief efforts in Haiti, there are a number of ways to do it, including some online means of donation. Google has links for donations to UNICEF and CARE; In the UK, 12 charities have come together to raise funds for their efforts in Haiti via DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee); if you shop on iTunes, you might have seen the link on the iTunes Store which lets you donate to the American Red Cross.

At this point, I also hope we can pray for the survivors in Haiti, the leaders in Haiti, as well as those involved in the relief efforts in Haiti. Let's pray for peace and stability in the country as recovery efforts are underway. Let's pray that the people of Haiti can pick up the pieces and get back on their feet as swiftly as possible, as they continue on their pathway of progress.

Let's support each other, especially in times of need.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

quickie- links

Just a quick one (need to get to bed to fix to UK time soon).

MobileMe Gallery of photos from past few days in SG:

YouTube video of the Vermonster preparation "ceremony"...
[Watch in 720p, if your bandwidth and PC/Mac can handle it, if you want.]

Facebook & Flickr Gallery should be on their way...

Monday, 4 January 2010

Music lists of 2009. Not by me.

Yes, I hear you breathe a sigh of relief. It's not one of my hastily-prepared chart that I randomly come up with willie-nilly.

I decided to scan through the news sites that I frequent on the World Wide Web and compile a list of links that I thought you music fans out there might find fascinating, especially if you're looking for the next big thing in 2010, or if you prefer, a look back at 2009/2000-2009.

One word of caution - Music is subjective, and people's preferences differ according to their age, influence, etc., so you may or may not agree with some of the writers who come up with these lists. Me, too.

So, let's stop this chatter, and on with the show, shall we?

(Not sure what's up with me. For some reason, Pepper Lunch Express gives me the propensity to use language that is not normally expected of me.)

BBC Sound of 2010 [BBC]:

There. Links.

Probably more than your brain can absorb.

But seriously, do check some of these out if you're bored when you're free. Especially the BBC Sound of 2010 Longlist.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Me being my tech analytical self again...

It's a new year! What does this mean? New technology galore, we have lots of announcements coming from Tech companies scattered across the year! So, with that in mind, I have decided to write up a list of things to look out for in 2010.

Let's start with...

1) 3D everything.

This year, we saw the spread of 3D technology, with big major 3D movie releases like "Up" and "Avatar". Now, it's time to bring 3D from the silver screen to the home. Yes, expect to shell out that credit card and wear dorky glasses, because 3D's the new big thing in TV. There has been 3D TV prototypes on display in various exhibitions, and 2010 is probably the year this technology matures and goes a bit more mainstream. You can start thinking about watching the World Cup in South Africa or Singapore Youth Olympic Games in stunning 3 Dimension. Oh, and your PS3 or XBox 360? They might go 3D, too. Just make sure you look at the price tag first before you say you're buying one. I mean, as with any new tech, it makes a debut with a high price tag, before it starts to depreciate and become outdated with newer models. Take the "wait-and-see" approach with this one. For all you know, it could all go heading for the rocks as HD-DVD did.

2) Apple iSlate.

So many analysts have been talking about this. Heck, it's been talked about in mainstream media. And the rumours say Jobs has been working on this for years, and he's happy with it, and thinks it's ready now. So, this has to be either a really good product, or a big media hype, or just a hoax that the fake-rumour mill in Cupertino has been putting out to make the analysts look like fools. But I think this is real. I mean, the last time Apple introduced something revolutionary, it's the iPhone, in 2007. Before that, it's the iPod in 2001. it took 6 years to go from iPod to iPhone, so maybe it should take 3 to go from iPhone to iSlate as their new big thing. The big question now is: what's the big selling point of the iSlate? The iPod was a music player, which then evolved into a video, music, photo, web browsing, games, and tip calculator device. What does the iSlate bring to the table, other than a larger screen? Many have said it'll be a nice book reader, to compete with the Kindle. Could that be it? Speaking of the Kindle...

3) Digital Books - eReaders.

We have the Sony eReader. We have the Amazon Kindle. We have the Nook. We have lots of eReaders to look out for at CES next week. Maybe the Apple iSlate, too. The eReader seems to be to 2010 what the Netbook was to 2009. Or at least that's what you might see, according to Tech blogsites. Let's just wait and see as various tech companies throw their own device into this tech cauldron.

4) 4G.

Not much on 4G actually reaching your hands (unless you're in the US, in which case, get ready), but I suspect you'll hear more about 4G being tested by telcos worldwide. Look out for this!

5) HD video.

Yes, 3D is coming. But until there's more HD content, 3D (which is using HD) will still lag behind HD adoption. You'll see more HD video recording devices, especially prosumer devices like the Canon PowerShot G12 or maybe an upcoming Canon 60D.

6) Google.

The web company that's trading at $620+ per share (as at 2 Jan 2010, 1:22AM, After Hours Trading). They'll probably have a couple of things coming in 2010. Does the Google Chrome OS netbook excite you? OR perhaps their Android OS/Google Nexus Phone? What about Google Wave? I mean, love it or not, Google is Google.

7) Green Tech.

Copenhagen didn't work out as well as anyone had hoped. But that's no excuse for not going green. Low energy-consuming LED TV/monitors, improved GPU/CPU/battery tech, etc.

8) App Stores.

Ever since Apple opened up the App Store for the iPod and iPhone, every other manufacturer of consumer devices have been trying to emulate their accidental success. Android has their Marketplace, BlackBerry has App World (it's not a theme park), Nokia has Ovi, you get the point. This year, App Stores will continue to grow from strength to strength, as we see more app stores, and apps to go on these app stores.

9) Social Networking.

Will Twitter start to die out? Will Facebook be the new Friendster? Will something else catch on with the average consumer and take over them?

10) Airport Security.

With the recent Christmas Day 2009 foiled terrorist attack, we have seen the US, Netherlands and Nigeria tightening their airport security. Specifically, they are adopting the Full-body X-Ray scanners. These things might go global in 2010. We'll see.

11) ?

Nobody saw the Mac catch on from 2006, with the abrupt Intel switchover. Nobody saw the Zune become a flop, in spite of Microsoft's experience from other media devices, like the XBox. I didn't see the netbook becoming the "in" thing of 2009. What will 2010 bring, apart from the things I mentioned above? Only time will tell...

So there, 10 things (plus one unknown) to look out for in the tech arena in 2010!