AMITIAE - Wednesday 21 November 2012
Cassandra - Wednesday Review - The Week in Full Swing
By Graham K. Rogers
Opening Gambit:Apple and iOS success. OS X duds, and the next version: Lynx? Rumours on iPhone 5S and iPhone 6: perhaps false. iMac delay rumours shown to be untrue. OS X Notifications Center: needs adjustments. Hints on wifi. Beware Facebook photo sharing. Samsung and Apple patent woes again. Feds will be able to read your emails if Leahy's Bill goes through. Intel's Otellini to retire: three execs in two months (Forestall, Sinofsky and Otellini). Microsoft's Surface: oh . . . that. HP defrauded? iPad mini in Bangkok.
Apple StuffWhile all the news in local media was about the visit of President Obama to the region, just before he left the US for his whistle-stop tour he met with a number of industry leaders including Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, Kelly Hodgkins reports on TUAW. Also there were JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffet. They talked about "the need to find a balanced deficit-reduction solution".
This week there was news of two mapping apps: Nokia and Google. The Google one is coming soon and it is expected by many that Apple will open the gates. The Nokia one sailed through without problems and a number of sources reported on this, including Kelly Hodgkins on TUAW. However, I did see a Tweet on Tuesday from a Microsoft man who is based in China who downloaded this and opines that it is not as good as the Apple one. There's praise for you.
Another app available for the iPad allows users to control robots from iRobot (that Will Smith movie was on last night coincidentally). Steven Sande reports on TUAW that a number of settings, including a medical scenario, are available and there is a video of the robot in action.
However, work is under way on the next version of OS X, 10.9 (which some rumours suggest will be called Lynx) and Chris Foresman on Ars Technica reports that it may be the update could incude Siri and Maps. On Siri, Apple is hiring translators, iPodNN reports and there is a job listing asking for those "native or fluent" in Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Korean, Norwegian, and/or Swedish (and English of course). But not Thai. Not yet.
All of these devices have to be built somewhere and while China is the top source for most, Foxconn is reported to be expanding in Brazil as well, we read in an AP report carried in The Times of India. My source for this was MacDaily News. The report did not say where in Brazil this was, but this weekend the Brazilian GP is to be held in Sao Paulo. I hope that I shall be watching.
A report on Patently Apple tells us that apparently the iPhone 5 is shipping faster in the USA but not in Asia. This refers to orders made via the online stores although the Thai online store now shows shipping of 2 weeks, down from 3 earlier.
I still think it is a false depression with the shares being kept low so that some people can make lots of money when the price springboards back.
I also have an RSS utility that sends feeds right to Notification Center where I can click on them and the browser opens a page. All OK except for one slight problem: the maximum number of items that can be displayed is 20 and I may come home to see 37 from one source, 20 from another and then some more from a third: but still I see only 20 in the listing. The others are gone. I have looked for a PLIST file wondering if I might tamper with that, but so far no luck and I am getting cross.
By a lovely coincidence, Christopher Breen on MacWorld had an item early this week on how to evaluate the strength of your AirPort network, which I forwarded to Indonesia.
Half and HalfA report on Inside Facebook this week, by Brittany Darwell, tells us that a feature that has been available for Android users for a while is now available for those with iOS devices. We can now sync photos from our iPhones and iPads to our Facebook pages which sounds to me a recipe for disaster. I already have Apple's PhotoStream and on more than one occasion have had to rush round devices to clear an embarrassing shot or two: not all photos are well composed and focus can be a problem. Imagine those wild moments that some of the younger members of the species have: ten minutes later these are plastered all over Facebook for the world to see. No thanks. Mercifully at the moment it is something that a limited number of users have to turn on: not activated by default.
Other MattersThey are at it again. After many attempts by UK and US authorities to extend the abilities of law enforcement to access online traffic, a report tells us that the Senate has rewritten a bill on privacy that allows the Feds to read your email. The report that MacDaily News has on this (with a link to the source) carries the famous Benjamin Franklin quote: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
I was not the only one thinking along these lines as I later found an item on Patently Apple that refers to this retirement as the Third Tech Titan to Fall in Q4 2012: the others being Sinofsky and Scott Forestall. The article includes the comment, "Otellini's inability to sway Apple to use Intel's architecture for any of their hot iDevices such as the iPhone or iPad was a troubling trend for Intel and today it exacted a very high price. In hindsight, the writing was on the wall."
Adding to this is Robert X. Cringely who also makes the point that dealings with Apple may have hastened the end of Otellini, but thinks the whole board should have gone and has some quite fascinating background to the recent history and moves within this essential part of the IT industry: and where Intel was going wrong.
A lot was written enthusiastically about the Surface when it was first announced, as had been on the Amazon Kindle Fire. Since which, of course, many of those writers have been walking their comments back.
A biased commentator, although sometimes on the mark, is MG Siegler of Tech Crunch who admits he loves the iPad but still wanted a look at the Surface (I would too, if only for the experience). He went and bought one, but should have saved his money as he writes, "it's a strange, buggy, and clunky product that I simply can't imagine many people buying after the initial hype wears off."
As I read through the not so good review, I kept seeing the word, Buggy, and this was not a reference to old transport technology. I did a search and he uses this word four times which itself is revealing in a not nice way. He trashed it: literally.
On the NYTimes, Damon Darlin had a collection of reviews with all except Walt Mossberg being fairly negative.
In another comment on Microsoft, Slash Lane of AppleInsider looks at sales of Windows 8 which are apparently falling far short of what was predicted: there's that Ballmer bluster again. And note the departure of Sinofsky might figure into this picture somehow.
In among the critics it is hard to find any words of good about the Surface, so who should we turn to, apart from Oprah Winfrey Tweeting its praises (source Alex Wilhelm, TNW and others) from her iPad (that sure fell flat): why not Steve Wozniak who is always good for a soundbite or two with his long experience in computers? He apparently thinks it is OK, which prompts Kate MacKenzie on PixoBebo to ask, besides him, is there anyone who likes Microsoft Surface more than Apple's iPad? She is actually rather forgiving as it looks as if the Woz may have been taken out of context again.
Note to self: do not fly Emirates.
Oh there is much more to this than meets the eye.
Local ItemsAlthough they have just arrived, and are sold out in some stores here, I saw two iPad minis in use this week: one in the print shop I use in Siam Discovery, Italia Design; and another in one of my classes. A year 2 Mechanical Engineering student had one sitting next to his iPhone. This was the same class where the previous week another student had a new iPhone 5. Smart kids these.
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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