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Friday, October 22, 2010

Apple's Mac App Store: This Changes Everything

Apple's Mac App Store: This Changes Everything
Sure those two ultra-slim MacBook Airs are sexy, but the most important part of Apple CEO Steve Job's "Back to the Mac" presentation came minutes before, when the Apple CEO unveiled the Mac App Store the first-ever App Store for desktop and laptop computers. I could almost hear the collective groan from software vendors and a certain company in Redmond.
"This changes everything." rolled through my head as I heard Jobs explain the new world of desktop applications. All the "benefits" of apps on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch would arrive on your Mac desktop. Things that those of us who use Apple's portable devices take for granted, like remembering where you were when you open the app again (auto save and resume), one-click downloads, auto-installation and even auto-updates would all become natural parts of the desktop and laptop operating system.
It's not like we didn't see this coming. The App Store metaphor for finding, buying and using applications has been wildly successful. For a time, people would dismiss the App Store paradigm as only appropriate for mobile Apps. Even the somewhat diminutive "App" name gave credence to the idea that these weren't full blown applications, anyway. Having an App Store for real products on real desktop systems seemed ridiculous. The wild success of Apple's iPad and introduction of more and more "HD" apps that run full screen and offer more and more functionality (think Pages and SketchBook Pro) helped us realize that there are no limits when it comes to Apps.
Apple has successfully convinced thousands of developers to work its way when it comes to Apps and the App Store. Apple vets the products, manages the commerce and updates and collects 30% of all profits. Can you imagine any of this flying with software vendors like Adobe and Microsoft? Don't imagine, because it's already happening. My iPad, for example has Photoshop Express. Granted, this is from a full-featured image editor, but the fact that Adobe decided to work with Apple to get this app into the App Store speaks volumes.
The official introduction of Mac App Store signals the beginning of the end for traditional software-buying methods. This is more revolutionary than the transition from boxed to online downloadable software. Apple is trying to become the software czar for, essentially, every class of software. Ultimately, Apple hardware users will cease searching online for a useful Mac-friendly application or utility. The latter, by the way, will be among the first to join the Mac App Store party. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get noticed online? You have this little piece of code you and your team built for the Mac. You have to brand it, market it, try and get the word out through viral networks. You hope for a good review or two and some external links and, mostly word of mouth. Even then, you probably have to give away the utility.
Just as in the mobile space, the Mac App Store will be the great equalizer. This highly organized application store gives everyone a chance to be noticed. It's curated, manageable and almost promises quality—or at least control. Sure, if you charge, you'll have to share a chunk of your revenue with Apple, but without them, it's unlikely you would have made any money anyway.

The HP Slate’s out! « Akihabara News

The HP Slate’s out! « Akihabara News
No, you’re not dreaming: after months of speculations, rumors and leaks, HP has finally announced the Slate 500 — with a twist: it’s meant for business, not for consumers (though anyone can buy one if they’re willing to fork over 800 bucks). In that sense, I don’t think it can be thought as competition for the iPad, but if designed correctly, it might be way more useful in a professional settings (say, a hospital) than the iPad.
The HP Slate 500 packs a 1.86GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD under its 8.9-inch touchscreen, as well as 2 cameras and a special stylus, since yes, you can take notes with the Slate! Its Wacom active digitizer lets you use your stylus to do pretty much anything you want, if you don’t like handling touchscreens with your fingers. That, among others, definitely sets the Slate apart from most other tablets out there.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Apple Introduces FaceTime for Mac - PCWorld

Apple Introduces FaceTime for Mac - PCWorld

During Apple's "Back to the Mac" event on Wednesday, CEO Steve Jobs debuted what he described as a much-requested piece of software: FaceTime for Mac.
Apple first introduced the FaceTime video conferencing feature as part of this summer's iPhone 4 release. Last month, the company extended FaceTime to the fourth-generation iPod touch. All told, Jobs says, Apple has shipped 19 million FaceTime-compatible devices.
Still, one of the central complaints about the video-conferencing features on Apple mobile devices has been that users haven't been able to connect with friends and family who haven't upgraded to the new iPhone and iPod touch models. Extending FaceTime to the desktop figures to remedy that situation.
FaceTime for Mac is a new application-in a surprise to some, completely separate from iChat. The software lets you identify favorite contacts, provides quick access to recently-called ones, and of course integrates with your OS X address book.
You click on a user name to initiate a call, and you can call Mac to Mac, Mac to iPhone 4, or Mac to iPod touch. As with iChat, FaceTime calls can be conducted full-screen. If the person on the other end of the call is using an iOS device and switches its orientation, the FaceTime image on your Mac's screen automatically rotates, too.
You’ll receive calls through FaceTime on the Mac, even if the application isn’t running. You can turn off that feature in Preferences if you don’t want to receive FaceTime calls, though.

Study: Macs to increase enterprise market share by 57 percent | Business Center | Working Mac | Macworld

Study: Macs to increase enterprise market share by 57 percent | Business Center | Working Mac | Macworld
Though the iPad is getting its fair and growing share of business adoption buzz right now, it may be time to also shine the IT spotlight on Apple’s core computer business. According to a new study from the Enterprise Desktop Alliance (EDA), 2011 will be the Year of the Enterprise Mac.
In June 2010, the EDA surveyed 460 IT administrators from business and government departments that manage anywhere from 200 to 200,000 computers. The advocacy group found that Macs could be the fastest growing systems in the enterprise through 2011. EDA predicts that 25 percent of all new systems added to organizations will be Macs, causing the Mac to climb from 3.3 percent of all enterprise systems in 2009 to 5.2 percent in 2011.
Unsurprisingly, EDA believes that much of the Mac’s enterprise growth will come from organizations that have already embraced the platform. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of the study’s respondents fall into this category.
As for the key issues that IT administrators consider when adopting the Mac, you should also not leap out of your seat to hear that, in a survey done earlier in the year, the vast majority cited “parity in integration and management between Macs and PCs” at the top of their lists. Most (79 percent) checked off both “file sharing between operating systems” and “security” as “very or extremely important.” Other topics like client management, Active Directory integration, and, of course, the complexities of cross-platform support rounded out the list of things that keep administrators up at night, or at least doing a little overtime.

Apple Releases iLife '11 - PCWorld

Apple Releases iLife '11 - PCWorld
Apple on Wednesday unveiled iLife ’11 at its Back to the Mac event in Cupertino, demoing three of the suite’s updated applications—iPhoto, iMovie, and Garageband. Features showcased included a new, iOS-like full-screen mode for iPhoto, redone audio editing and trailer templates in iMovie, in addition to revamped recording and teaching tools for GarageBand. The updated suite was released Wednesday and will cost $49 for users of iLife '09. It will also come preinstalled on all new Macs.
In a lengthy demo that consumed nearly half of Wednesday's press event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was joined by Senior Vice President Phil Schiller, Randy Ubillos, chief architect for the company's video applications, and Xander Soren, GarageBand's product marketing manager, who each took one of the suite's flagship programs to demonstrate.

Google logo is dedicated to jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie, the father of bebop | TOP BUZZ NEWS

Google logo is dedicated to jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie, the father of bebop | TOP BUZZ NEWS

Who is Dizzy Gillespie? Well Dizzy Gillespie is the old style trumpetist, the father of bebop. Dizzy Gillespie, trumpetist of the jazz music is celebrated by Google in the honor of his work. Google is celebrating one of the greatest jazz musicians in the world, Dizzy Gillespie the trompetist on the anniversary of the birth. John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was born in fact in South Carolina October 21, 1917 and was a trumpet player, pianist, composer, singer, percussionist and bandleader. A musician at 360 ° together with Charlie Parker can be considered the father of bebop and modern jazz. “People do not care whether you play a chord of the thirteenth fractured, as long as can dance,” read Gillespie. In the late forties Dizzy Gillespie became interested also in the Caribbean music and South American rhythms mixing Afro-Cuban jazz. Yusef Lateef has in the past repeatedly expressed negative about the term jazz. The narrow definition of the word includes in his view not enough room to be creative and hybrid experiments indicate. However, the music of the American multi-instrumentalist deeply rooted in jazz, blues and even ethnic folk music. Someone in the past with Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus and Cannonball Adderley has cooperated, it can hardly deny that he played no part in the development of jazz music.A life dedicated to music, dies at the age of 75 years for pancreatic cancer. To his memory was a star in the Walk of Fame in Hollywood at 7057 Hollywood Boulevard. Dizzy Gillespie will live in our souls with his musc.

Apple previews upcoming Mac OS X Lion | Mac OS X | MacUser | Macworld

Mac OS logoImage via WikipediaApple previews upcoming Mac OS X Lion | Mac OS X | MacUser | Macworld
At a special Mac-focused event in Cupertino on Wednesday, Apple previewed the next version of its OS X operating system, called Lion.
Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)
Lion will bring a Mac App Store to the Mac, similar to the App Store for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. You’ll be able to purchase and download Mac apps the same way you do on iOS devices, with integrated app updates. The Mac App Store will be one way to get Mac OS apps, but developers can still sell apps as they do now.
Apple plans to open the Mac App Store within 90 days from Wednesday for use on Snow Leopard.
Lion also brings the ability to use full-screen apps, a Launchpad for launching all of the apps on your Mac. Like iOS devices, it has multiple pages, you can organize app icons on the screen, and create app folders.
A Mission Control feature expands on Expose, and gives you a view of open full-screen apps, your Dock, and your desktop. It also displays app clusters that take multiple windows from the same app and puts them together.
Apple plans to release Lion in summer 2011.

AppleInsider | Apple's iPad shaking up hard drive industry - report

Behold the iPad in All Its GloryImage via WikipediaAppleInsider | Apple's iPad shaking up hard drive industry - report
As Apple's success with the iPad continues to grow, hard drive makers warn that sales of Apple's tablet will continue eating away at sales of hard drive-equipped PCs.
Western Digital Chief Executive John Coyne told analysts Tuesday during an earnings call that tablet computers such as Apple's iPad are slowing the hard drive business, especially on the low-end. The iPad could cause as much as a 10 to 20 percent reduction in shipments of low-end laptops and netbooks over the next few quarters, Reuters noted Coyne as saying.
"What I would say to investors is to look at the long-term demand for storage, the fact is the most appropriate solution for mass volume storage is hard drives and to look at the long-term progress the industry has made over the last 10 years," said Coyne in an effort to reassure investors.
Both Western Digital and rival hard drive manufacturer Seagate watched their stock price steadily drop during the early part of this year, although rumors of buyouts have helped the stocks rally in recent weeks. According to Reuters, some analysts view Western Digital as a "good candidate for a leveraged buyout" because of its low share price and strong cash flow. Western Digital's stock price has fallen 35 percent since January.
Several private equity firms have reportedly expressed interest in purchasing Seagate and taking it private, Reuters reports. The company has been down that road before; it went private in 2000, re-entering the public market in 2002. Seagate will report its quarterly earnings on Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Google Chrome stable build updated to v7 | Electronista

Google Chrome IconImage via WikipediaGoogle Chrome stable build updated to v7 | Electronista
Google has released a new stable build of the free Chrome browser, v7.0.517.41 for the Mac, including full Applescript support for UI automation and an updated HTML5 parsing algorithm. "Hundreds" of bugs were fixed, according to the developer blog, and users now have a new dialog for managing blocked cookies en masse.
This release fixes a total of 826 bugs across all supported platforms, according to Google's "issues" tracker. The team have also now published the File API, and added support for directory upload.
Product Manager Jeff Chang added that regular stable releases of Chrome should come every six weeks henceforth, in the spirit of getting fixes and improvements into users' hands as fast as possible. Among the key bugs fixed in this release are a reproducible crash with forms and memory corruption with animated GIFs.

Computer servicing privacy assumed, not mandated  |

Computer servicing privacy assumed, not mandated |
If there is stuff hidden on your computer -- that video of an embarrassing karaoke performance, that Abba greatest hits collection that is a guilty pleasure or pornographic images of children -- it’s never wise to leave it on a hard drive taken in for service.
University of Georgia student Kyle Thomas Glasser, 21, recently learned this when he sent his laptop to a Minneapolis, Minn., technical support company for repair last month. Technicians allegedly found child porn while servicing the machine, and Glasser ended up in jail.
The incident was not only disturbing for the content said to be involved, but raised a couple of privacy issues:
What right do computer repair companies have to rifle through someone's personal files? And what happens if they find something criminal and look the other way?
No law protects someone's data from being accessed, with or without permission, or requires that companies seek out authorities when finding something questionable, said Paul Stephens, policy director for San Diego-based non-profit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. Consumers usually have to rely on customer-service agreements for any privacy safeguards.
"If you willingly turn over a computer to a company and it has something on it that implicates you in a crime, there's nothing that precludes that company from turning [your computer] over to a law enforcement agency," said Stephens, whose organization protects consumers from electronic privacy abuses.
And with no Georgia law requiring computer repair companies to report pornography or anything else illegal found during servicing, most of these businesses set their own policies and simply follow their own moral convictions.
Electronic retailer Best Buy, based in Minneapolis, offers technical support through its Geek Squad, and its policy is to contact law enforcement, which the technicians did after discovering what UGA police said were pornographic photos of children on Glasser's laptop.
"We got a call from Minneapolis law enforcement and they sent us the computer," UGA campus police chief Jimmy Williamson said.
Glasser has been charged with three counts of felony sexual exploitation of a child and bonded out of the Clarke County jail on Thursday, authorities said.

Microsoft Launches Office 365, Makes Cloud Move - PCWorld

Microsoft Launches Office 365, Makes Cloud Move - PCWorld
Microsoft made its long-awaited move to package the hosted version of Office with the hosted versions of Lync, SharePoint and Exchange with the unveiling on Tuesday of Office 365.
Office 365, scheduled to ship next year, is now available in limited beta form in 13 countries and regions and includes Office Web Apps, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online.
Office 365 for companies with fewer than 25 employees will cost US$6 per user per month. For larger organizations, Microsoft will offer additional options, including for the first time the on-premise Office Professional Plus on a subscription basis for $24 per user per month, along with the other suite components.
Larger organizations can sign up for some accounts that start as low as $2 per user per month for a bare-bones option of basic e-mail for employees who only need that functionality, as well as for more full-featured accounts, such as the one that includes Office Professional Plus, for other types of employees, such as knowledge workers and executives.
The beta program will be expanded progressively beyond the initial several thousand companies testing it.
Later, Office 365 will also include Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, and an Office 365 version for educational institutions will also be released next year and will be an upgrade to the Live@edu hosted collaboration and communication suite.

New ACLU Report Calls On FCC To Take Action To Protect Openness On The Internet | American Civil Liberties Union

New ACLU Report Calls On FCC To Take Action To Protect Openness On The Internet | American Civil Liberties Union
WASHINGTON – Protecting the Internet against content discrimination by broadband carriers is crucial to protecting First Amendment rights in the age of modern technology, the American Civil Liberties Union said today in a new report on network neutrality. In the report, "Net Neutrality 101," the ACLU urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create strong policies that prevent Internet gatekeepers from exploiting their role for private gain. The report characterizes the need for "net neutrality" as a leading free speech issue of our time.
"In this day and age, the Internet is the main way Americans exercise their free speech rights, and until now, network neutrality principles have always been respected," said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "Unfortunately, recent developments have opened the way for giant telecoms to begin tinkering with the open structure of the Internet, threatening its role as a forum for free speech. The FCC must take action to preserve the Internet as a free and open forum for all."
Under net neutrality principles, network owners would be barred from favoring some speech or speakers while discriminating against others. But as today's report explains, a recent court decision, combined with changing technology and business practices, have given large broadband companies that provide users with Internet access not only the incentive but also the means to interfere with users' Internet data in order to further their own interests, thereby interfering with users' free speech.
"There has been a lot of confusion around network neutrality – some of it created intentionally – so in this report we have tried to provide a clear guide to the issue and why the FCC needs to act," said Jay Stanley, policy analyst with the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project and primary author of the report. "Many people don't realize that we may be entering a whole new stage in the Internet's history, where the telecoms have much more power over how people use the Internet. Keeping the hands of big telecom companies off our Internet traffic is just as important as keeping the government's hands off it."
In its report, the ACLU called on the FCC to apply longstanding "common carrier" rules that would bar network owners from halting, slowing or otherwise tampering with the transfer of data to Internet users. Common carrier rules included by Congress in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 already apply to most forms of telecommunications but are not yet applied to broadband Internet service.
"We don't let the phone company provide callers with inferior service when they disapprove of the person being called or the content of the conversation – and we shouldn't allow that kind of discrimination online either," said Stanley. "Common carrier rules have been part of our legal tradition for centuries and have long been applied to infrastructures crucial to the economic development of our nation, from canals and railroads to the telegraph and telephone. These rules have already been written into the law by Congress; the FCC should apply them to broadband."
The full text of the ACLU's report is available online here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Google bomb: A campaign weapon - Sarah Lai Stirland -

Google bomb: A campaign weapon - Sarah Lai Stirland -
How many clicks does it take to soil a candidate’s online reputation? A prominent liberal activist would like to find out.
Chris Bowers, campaign director for the Daily Kos, is launching a behind-the-scenes campaign against 98 House Republican candidates that attempts to capitalize on voters' Google search habits in the hopes of influencing midterm races.
Bowers wants the Daily Kos’ thousands of participants to dig up little-noted or controversial news stories about the candidates that could hurt their chances with undecided voters. Users would click on the links and blog about the stories with the goal of boosting their rankings on search engines, so that undecided voters will discover them more easily.
He sees the campaign as a 21st century version of pamphleteering: Daily Kos readers are simply providing informational materials that are already out there in the same way that volunteers would hand out information to voters on the street.
The use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is standard practice for companies and campaigns managing their reputations online – or news organizations attempting to drive Internet traffic – but Bowers’ focus on promoting strategically damaging stories is unique.
Bowers says that he’s already received hundreds of e-mails with suggestions and maintains an online spreadsheet with key words like “Social Security,” “hypocrisy” and “Palin.” But so far, he’s only posted links to five stories related to five of the targeted candidates.

Apple sales top $20 billion in fiscal fourth quarter | BappProducts | MacUser | Macworld

Apple sales top $20 billion in fiscal fourth quarter | BappProducts | MacUser | Macworld
Macworld reported the following story today:
Apple on Monday reported record revenue and earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter, thanks to
strong sales of Macs, iPhones, and iPads.
The company reported a quarterly profit of $4.31 billion for the three months ended Sept. 25., with revenue of $20.34 billion. That compares to a $2.53 billion profit on sales of $12.21 billion for the same period last year.
Appleʼs earnings of $4.64 per diluted share handily beat estimates by Wall Street analysts who were expecting the company to report earnings of $4.06 a share on $18.86 billion in revenue for September quarter.
“We still have a few surprises left for the remainder of the calendar year,” said CEO Steve Jobs in a statement accompanying the earnings. Apple has scheduled a press event for this Wednesday where the company is expected to focus on the Mac.
During the quarter, Apple says it sold 4.19 million iPads; it was the companyʼs first full quarter of iPad sales. Apple also sold 14.1 million iPhones, fueled by the launch of the iPhone 4. By comparison, Apple says smartphone rival Research In Motion sold 12.1 million phones during its most recent quarter.
As for Mac sales, Apple sold 3.89 million computer, up 27 percent from its year-ago sales. Thatʼs a new record for Mac sales topping the 3.47 million mark the company set during the June quarter.

Facebook in Online Privacy Breach; Applications Transmitting Identifying Information -

This is icon for social networking website. Th...Image via WikipediaFacebook in Online Privacy Breach; Applications Transmitting Identifying Information -
Many of the most popular applications, or "apps," on the social-networking site Facebook Inc. have been transmitting identifying information—in effect, providing access to people's names and, in some cases, their friends' names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.
The issue affects tens of millions of Facebook app users, including people who set their profiles to Facebook's strictest privacy settings. The practice breaks Facebook's rules, and renews questions about its ability to keep identifiable information about its users' activities secure.
The problem has ties to the growing field of companies that build detailed databases on people in order to track them online—a practice the Journal has been examining in its What They Know series. It's unclear how long the breach was in place. On Sunday, a Facebook spokesman said it is taking steps to "dramatically limit" the exposure of users' personal information.
Many top applications on Facebook have been transmitting identifying information to Internet tracking and ad companies. Emily Steel discusses. Also, Michael Ramsey discusses skepticism about the auto industry's big bet that battery-powered cars will become big sellers.
"A Facebook user ID may be inadvertently shared by a user's Internet browser or by an application," the spokesman said. Knowledge of an ID "does not permit access to anyone's private information on Facebook," he said, adding that the company would introduce new technology to contain the problem identified by the Journal.
"Our technical systems have always been complemented by strong policy enforcement, and we will continue to rely on both to keep people in control of their information," the Facebook official said.

Can the iPhone Thrive in Apple’s Closed Ecosystem? -

Worldwide iPhone sales by quarter. Sales volum...Image via WikipediaCan the iPhone Thrive in Apple’s Closed Ecosystem? -
SAN FRANCISCO — If you want a smartphone powered by Google’s Android software, you could get Motorola’s Droid 2 or its cousin, the Droid X. Then there is the Droid Incredible from HTC, the Fascinate from Samsung and the Ally from LG.
That’s just on Verizon Wireless. An additional 20 or so phones running Android are available in the United States, and there are about 90 worldwide.
But if your preference is an Apple-powered phone, you can buy — an iPhone.
That very short list explains in part why, for all its success in the phone business, Apple suddenly has a real fight on its hands.
Americans now are buying more Android phones than iPhones. If that trend continues, analysts say that in little more than a year, Android will have erased the iPhone’s once enormous lead in the high end of the smartphone market.
But this is not the first time Apple has found itself in this kind of fight, where its flagship product is under siege from a loose alliance of rivals selling dozens of competing gadgets.
In the early 1980s, the Macintosh faced an onslaught of competition from an army of PC makers whose products ran Microsoft software. The fight did not end well for Apple. In a few years, Microsoft all but sidelined Apple, and the company almost went out of business.
Can Apple, which insists on tight control of its devices, win in an intensely competitive market against rivals that are openly licensing their software to scores of companies? It faces that challenge not only in phones, but also in the market for tablet computers, where the iPad is about to take on a similar set of rivals.
“This is a really big strategic question,” said Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein and Company. “No one knows whether openness will ultimately prevail as it did on the PC.”