AMITIAE - Friday 1 June 2012
Cassandra: Friday Review - The Weekend Arrives
By Graham K. Rogers
Opening Gambit:Welcome to June. And to the rainy season. Tim Cook at All Things Digital: consolidation, not revelation. Steve Jobs (audio and video) at All Things Digital: podcasts. Apple buying companies: music editing and swipe technology. An iOS app from Mutt Romney. Microsoft Office for iPad: this year; maybe. More ideas about using iOS devices; and syncing with Macs. RIM decline: Heins' bean counters. Epson sponsors Asian Football for 4 more years; Nokia stops sponsorship of World Rally Championship. Bureaucracy and the Thai tablet project.
Apple StuffThere was a lot of coverage this week of Tim Cook's appearance at the All Things Digital Conference and his interview by Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg. This was never going to be about revelations and Cook himself said as much: there was lots coming up was all he would say. I read some of the many feeds and looked at some of the video as this was perhaps the best way of looking at Cook the man and Cook the CEO of Apple. He did say that, while Apple was secretive under Steve Jobs, he wants to make it more so. I expect some of the leaks from China have been of concern.
If there were any doubts concerning his abilities, his commitment to Apple and to "excellence", his great regard for Steve Jobs (BBC) and his determination that he would move on, they were dispelled here. So was his apparent humourlessness that some claimed. His answer when asked about patents, was that they are " a pain in the ass" and this had many laughing. One of the lessons he learned from Jobs, we read also in an item from Alexia Totsis on Tech Crunch, was "focus". That is the key.
Others at All Things Digital included Larry Ellison of Oracle and Pixar's Ed Catmull. Both spoke about Steve Jobs and, according to Steven Musil, remember him as a "tireless perfectionist."
Cook also talked about patents and that he did not want Apple to be the designer for the world: which is fair enough. When people steal innovation, there is no desire to innovate. He also discussed the need for fairness in FRAND licensing: it is not a way to exclude another company, but should be licensed fairly to all involved in using that technology: he of course mentioned mobile phones.
One of the things Cook said when discussing Steve Jobs was that he was a flip-flopper (although the Register only managed to repeat the second of those two linked words): subject to change if he thought it was right and not dogmatic if the time was right (Steven Musil). A good example I can think of is the idea of the apps. When the iPhone first came out, this idea was an absolute no-no; but after a few months there was enough data to see that there were possibilities there. The rest is history of course.
As for what is coming next, the most Cook would say was to imply that we ain't seen nothin' yet. But he would say nothing more than that. There were some good reports and video links from the conference on The Verge. I found that the videos from the original source (ATD) were not good enough for me to waste time on as they had that infuriating Flash panel that keeps asking me for space on my computer -- I mean, how badly made was the software that it needs this? -- but every time I clicked "Deny" (as I always do) up came the panel again. I could hear the speakers in the background, but the level was so faint that this plus Flash, had me close the page. I went to the Verge offerings later, but even these had a low enough volume that I needed headphones. Nonetheless, the All Things Digital videos are available online.
There was also a report late on Thursday that Apple was to buy Neonode, a Swedish company that holds a "swipe to unlock" patent according to David Price on CopmputerWorld.
iOS at HomeI keep finding out more and more about the iPad and iPhone myself. At the weekend, I mentioned on Monday, I had installed Note Taker HD and as a result am looking for a suitable stylus -- few and far between in Bangkok, believe me. A reader of a Tweet I put out, who teaches at one of the International schools in Bangkok, wrote me email and suggested the Ozaki stylus. The Wacom Bamboo is not here, and when I wrote to Wacom a long time ago, had no reply.
At 800 baht, the price would work for me. He tells me that he is finding it fine for what he does, which goes a long way indeed. A look around shows that Jeremy Horwitz at iLounge was not over-impressed with this product, but at least I now have a picture and I am pretty sure this was one that I saw at the .iLife store.
There is also a Thai review for the product on iMod Net (not that I can read Thai, but I like the pictures) and there is a link in that article for an online store that carries it. They lost a sale: the ordering is all in Thai. For those who can read Thai or have Thai girlfriends/boyfriends that iMod Net site may be worth bookmarking.
A blogger at learn amniisia (I think I have that right) also used one of these and has nothing detrimental to say.
I started with the iPad and set up a Dropbox account, then downloaded Dropbox onto the iMac (I did this for the MacBook Pro when I came home): then the iPhone. By saving any WriteRoom documents into the DropBox folder on the Mac, all the devices (2 computers, iPhone and iPad) are syncronised.
When I use PhotoStream, that works OK, although I have Aperture set up so that it does not stream automatically (this could mean a couple of hundred images if I have been busy) and I select those I want for that service. Keynote is a little different as presentations on the iPhone and iPad are synchronised, but not those on the Mac. Users need to use a browser and access iCloud to bring down any changed presentations. Apple needs to smooth this out and provide full cloud access to Keynote. I do not use Pages or Numbers on the iOS devices.
The cloud is beginning to form here.
Half and HalfWe had a long mention or two about Adobe Lightroom earlier in the week, when a photographer who lives locally tried to buy a legal version from a source here and ended up banging his head against a brick wall. As if to emphasise my advice about buying it online, Adobe has released an update this week, to version 4.1 according to Electronista. The new version has several bug fixes and a few new features. The local man has put the whole thing on the back-burner: discouraged I shouldn't wonder.
Other MattersWe mentioned the slow crawl that RIM was having, slouching towards its fate, shedding execs and members of the workforce on the way and trying to stop the rot by suspending trading in its shares. My link to the Financial Times will not work as I will not register for something I am only likely to use once in a blue moon, so will keep to the reliable MacDaily News for this item. Rapid deterioration we are told, but some were surprised. As with the item (above) concerning Apple prices, I think that much of Wall Street doesn't have a clue when it comes to tech companies.
The report on the troubles at RIM by Paul Kunert that appeared in The Register this week was a gem for its title. I normally hate the titles at the Register as they are sneaky, cheap and sarcastic in the worst way. This however was lovely and made use of the name of the new CEO, Thorsten Heins: "RIM seeks bailout buddies as banks count Heins' beans" and as a subtitle we had, "CEO predicts more half-baked finances".
For those not from the UK, there is a famous product from Heinz: Baked Beans. This is the source of the pun of the title. Great Scott, it has its own website: Beanz Meanz Heinz.
While we are on Blackberry -- and put in the back of your mind the Thai Pads for Kids project -- there was a move in the UK a while back to give policemen on the street Blackberry handsets after the riots last year when the police were out of touch (literally and metaphorically) with the Twitter generation. The government spent £71 million on RIM products "to reduce paperwork" but the whole thing was a failure. Mind you, it sounds a bit better to me than the PYE UHF radios we had when I was a policeman in the 1970s.
The article by Brid-Aine Parnell on the Register reads almost like an article on the execution of One tablet per Child (or child over 12, or child over 12 where there is internet...) in Thailand. Do see below.
In both cases, politicians and senior bureaucrats make decisions without consulting those who are actually going to be using the things.
Local ItemsIn what is hardly a surprising revelation, Don Sambandaraksa writes on Storage Asia about the One Tablet per Child (OTPC) project which has been bugged by bureaucracy. The longish article is well worth a look as there is a lot of valuable background to the project as well as some insightful comments.
Late NewsThere has been another setback for Oracle in its fight with Google we are told by Anick Jesdanun on Huffington Post. "U.S. District Judge William Alsup said Google's use of the APIs wasn't covered by copyright law in the first place." This is still not over, but Google is coming out of this better than many expected.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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