AMITIAE - Wednesday 2 January 2013
Cassandra - Wednesday Review - The New Year in Full Swing
By Graham K. Rogers
Opening gambit:Apple rumours and speculation: an iPad stylus and iPhone pico projector. First hints of iPhone 6 and iOS 7. Apple EBooks arriving in Japan. Apple stuff stolen in Paris. Digital art exhibition. More end of year maintenance: cleaning out the dust and dirt. Enderle on the wonders of RIM: Android and iOS to falter? Apple, Samsung, patents, Google, EU and the ITC. Tizen: another free OS for Samsung. TrueVision's new ultra-thin TV guide: lots of fastfood ads; few details of programs.
And a happy new year to all
Apple StuffRemember how Steve Jobs said that Apple was not interested in a smaller sized tablet device? That iPad mini is doing quite well, eh? And remember how with the iPhone announcement, he said that if you need a stylus, you blew it? Patently Apple comments on a filing by Apple for an advanced "Active Stylus." The article explains how the pointing devices used now are passive and that this can "significantly improve stylus sensing on a mutual capacitive touch sensor panel". I must admit, with my stubby fingers I have considered a stylus for drawing apps on a couple of occasions.
Also on Patently Apple is a comment on the Samsung iPhone 5 advertisement. Not that Samsung made an ad for the iPhone, but they made one commenting on the new device and suggested it was uncool, especially the headphone port on the bottom. However, there are suggestions now that moving the port was done to make room for something else, and the article speculates that this could be a pico projector.
I saw a Tweet from Federico Viticci of MacStories on Tuesday wondering when the iPhone 6 rumours would start. I thought we had seen some of those in December. But there is more. When new products are used, they leave a trail across the internet and Matt Brian on TNW reports that some developers have informed them of a new iPhone identifier (a unique device type number) for the iPhone 6 (or is that 5S?) and evidence of iOS7 use, which is pre-beta software run by Apple personnel as the IP number identifies it as coming from Cupertino.
Now the trend for forcefully breaking in to Apple's stores has spread to Paris and Edward Moyer reports on an armed entry via the janitor's entrance: a robbery. The thieves knew what to take and had boxes of goods, to the value of about $1.32 million, loaded in under an hour. More on this to come, methinks.
As Apple has all the serial numbers of whatever was taken, the moment these appear online, the new owners (innocent or not) will be brought in: And just where did you get that shiny new Apple toy, and how much did you pay?
He does not mention it, but one of the utilities I use is KeyboardCleanTool (I reviewed this last February) that locks the keyboard so that I can clean between the keys with no spurious input. It can be downloaded from the CNET Downloads site.
Half and HalfI was sent into a coughing fit in the early hours of 2013 when I saw that Rob Enderle was quoted as saying that 2013 is RIM's Blackberry year. Kate MacKenzie is not really convinced by his arguments and nor is MacDaily News. The comments by both the editor and the readers are worth reading.
Like a fool, I actually read the Enderle article which seems to need some fact-checking or opinion rerouting and was not surprised to see that he had been talking to RIM and probably taking all their comments at face value. It has all the feeling of PR spoon-feeding.
I do not actually understand his comment that Apple is "a firm that has never learned to spell "IT," unless he is referring to iTunes; and to drag up the Lisa (and the Apple Server) as Apple's biggest failures, seems a bit tardy. And tawdry: the Lisa was in started in 1978 and despite what Enderle claims, Jobs was forced out of the project, so trying to blame him is disingenuous.
Other MattersWe know that certain western governments are, shall we say, unsure about Huawei: uncomfortable with its possible intentions. Not that anything has been proven, it is just that nasty feeling that if you let Huawei in, the secrets will flow out. As most of the companies here using Huawei equipment have strong Chinese connections already, that does not seem to be of concern in these parts.
However, the West may well become apoplectic following the news that the company has been linked to restricted equipment that is being sold to Iran, including HP computers, Steven Musil reports. While Huawei claims it complies with all laws, there is enough smoke for some to sense there could be more to this.
Local ItemsThe Thai dictionary app I have been using for a couple of years has begun to show a panel in Thai which had just one button under the text marked ok. When that was pressed, the app quit. When I asked a Thai friend he translated the panel and said I had to be a Truemove member. As I was using true wifi at my apartment I thought this was a given. But obviously not. I did a search in the iTunes store and that came up with a large selection of alternatives. I downloaded one called Thai Dictionary Free which is bi-language (English and Thai, depending on keyboard, they tell me) and has a database, so I do not even need to be online; and it is not from True, so there are advantages all round.
TrueMove's Thai Dictionary app went in the trash. Thanks guys. I now have one fewer way to link with True.
There is lots and lots of advertising, mainly from fast-food delivery companies, but the real content took a major hit with a compact display of programs. What that means is that the channels shown in the guide have a small window of a couple of hours of evening viewing, as if customers only ever watch at those times. [If you have a Mac with a trackpad double tap with 2 fingers to make the image zoom out.]
As I examined the pages, it got worse. Page by page, day by day, the listings do not match, either by channels or columns, so it is even harder to make viewing plans. Does no one at True understand design?
Part of the TrueVisions operation should accept the inevitable monetary losses of a print guide as the information is supposed to help the customers, but the company seems seriously set in the old ways that everything needs to show a profit.
They are not the only ones: the 290% price rise that the first company here (DataNet) handling adsl modems imposed as they had to show a profit, lost me permanently as a customer. They were willing to lose a few ordinary consumers as they calculated that businesses would absorb the cost. DataNet? DataNet. Anyone hear of Datanet these days?
The opening page of the TrueVisions site is such an over-designed mess that it is hard to find anything easily; and to venture further users, are also expected to log in. I want TV not a surfing experience, especially a bad one. Even the supposedly English pages are loaded with Thai characters that not everyone from outside can read, so there is a certain arcane experience here. This is almost impossible to use.
Trying to find a contact address is also not easy, but by waving the cursor over a few possible entries on the Contacts page, I found an email address: not linked of course (the code you need, guys, is "mailto")'. I sent most of the above comment to firstname.lastname@example.org and am waiting for a template reply.
I ended that email with the closing, "Service: ever heard of that concept?"
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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