Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

Apple had a great week last week when it launched the iPhone 4 to much fanfare. [URL="http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jun/29/business/la-fi-iphone-sales-20100629"]1.7 million units[/URL] reportedly flew out the door in the first three days alone setting sales records. People [URL="http://www.pcworld.com/article/199761/hundreds_wait_in_line_as_iphone_4_goes_on_sale.html"]waited in long lines[/URL]; reportedly longer lines than for the iPad debut or the iPhone 3G last year, but the glow was only momentary.

The initial good sales news was quickly followed by [URL="http://www.informationweek.com/news/hardware/handheld/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=225701876"]reports of supply issues[/URL], then came the [URL="http://www.pcworld.com/article/200206/apple_cant_wish_away_iphone_4_antenna_woes.html"]antenna news[/URL]--that you could get lousy reception if you didn't hold it correctly. Just the other day came rumors of a possible[URL="http://mashable.com/2010/06/29/verizon-iphone-january/"] Verizon iPhone[/URL] at the beginning of next year, which could mean some potential customers will hold off until then (assuming it's true, which isn't clear).

It got me thinking that when you look at all of these factors, could this eventually have an affect on sales after that initial burst last week?

[B]Waiting Leaves Time For Thinking Instead of Buying[/B]

One thing Apple should absolutely be aware of is that they need to strike while the market is hot. The company worked extremely hard to rev up demand, and people got very excited coming out [URL="http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/wwdc10/index.html"]the Keynote address by Steve Jobs at WWDC[/URL] earlier this month. The fact they sold 1.5 million units on the first day illustrates this, but what about those who didn't get one, but wanted one, and are hearing all these negatives now? Will Apple come to regret the supply issues that gave people time to think about it? What ...

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

One of the frustrations of using the Apple iPad is that there is no conventional file system on it. What's more, there's no SD card slot or USB port to connect some sort of external storage, making it difficult to get files from one device to another without connecting the iPad directly to a PC or Mac.

I decided to look at Dropbox, a tool that provides a way to share files on the iPad (and elsewhere) via the Cloud. Although the app lets you share files across many devices, this review is going to concentrate on how you deal with moving the files from your PC or Mac to the Cloud, then how you manage with those files on the iPad inside the Dropbox iPad App. Dropbox provides an easy way to get files onto the iPad, although the file management in the current app could use some work.

[ATTACH]15595[/ATTACH]

[B]Moving Files[/B]

Dropbox gives you 2 GB of Cloud file storage for free, after which you pay an additional fee--$9.99 for 50 GB or $19.99 for 100 GB. If your main goal is to use Dropbox to share files between your PC/Mac and your iPad, then the free service level should suffice. You start by installing the Dropbox app on your PC/Mac and simply adding files to it. Dropbox becomes a drive on your system, so you can move or copy files into Dropbox just as you would any drive. When you do this, the files sync automatically with ...

Techwriter10 42

Singleton,
This is an opinion piece. We also run reviews, but this isn't one of them. I disagree with your feelings about online alternatives. Tools like Google Docs are not toys. They are just as valid as Office and for enterprise users, much cheaper, for individual small business users, free.

Thanks for your comments and ideas.

Ron

Techwriter10 42

Singleton,
Let's be realistic here. I'm not saying Office is good, bad or indifferent. I'm stating an obvious fact. If you have a limited budget and you can do 90 percent of what you need to do on a free tool, you are not going to set up with expensive licenses when there are lots of free and low cost alternatives. If you need Excel, you'll buy a copy for the one or two people who need it, or you'll see if you can get by with Open Office. Excel is not the only option out there and the alternatives are perfectly fine for word processing and presentations without spending money.

Thanks for commenting.

Ron

Techwriter10 42

The Colour:
Again, you miss my point in my bluster. Bing, Zune and Hotmail all have innovations within them that will be lost after the initial hype session is over. The fact is that iPod, Gmail and Google Search will still dominate no matter how much Microsoft innovates.

Most people will continue to use their current tool because there is no real reason to switch. It's called inertia. Microsoft is swimming against a very strong current here and it's going to be very tough to make any headway.

Glad you like your like your Zune. :-)

Thanks for the comment.
Ron

Techwriter10 42

That sounds like a great approach. Thanks for commenting.

Ron

Techwriter10 42

Ndoom:
Thanks for the comment. I think Microsoft and Verizon have to come in very low in terms of price for this phone if they have any chance at all of selling in large numbers, but as Seldon said, as hard as they try, they simply don't have a cool factor and that will be the downfall of a phone aimed at teens.

Thanks again for commenting.
Ron

Ndoom commented: Thanking me for commenting is just nice since I'm just a newbie here =) +0

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

[ATTACH=right]14357[/ATTACH][B]Product[/B]: Apple iPad 32GB Wi-Fi

[B]Price[/B]: $599 for reviewed model
[B]Pros[/B]: Fantastic screen resolution, responsive touch screen, great battery life.
[B]Cons[/B]: Need to connect to iTunes on a computer for first use, finger prints, not all app store apps are tuned for iPad, no Flash support.
[B]Stars[/B]: 7 out of 10
[B]Reviewer's View[/B]: The iPad is a new type of device. Out of the box, it's a joy to hold and look at and the apps are the great differentiator. It's not perfect. Flash is conspicuously absent, for instance, and finger prints abound, but it's a wonderful little device, despite its flaws and people should enjoy using it.

After all the hype before, during and after the launch of the Apple iPad, I had high expectations when I went to my local Apple Store last Thursday. My goal was to buy an iPad. I had planned on getting the 16 GB Wi-Fi model for $499, but they were out of stock, so I went with the 32 GB Wi-Fi model instead for another $100. I also purchased 2 additional years of Apple Care protection for $99, which I've done with other Apple products and found it to be well worth the extra cost. I skipped the Mobile me account discounted from $99 to $69 at purchase because I wasn't sure we would use it enough to justify the additional cost.

The thing about the iPad is it doesn't really fit into any conventional computing category. It is ...

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

The other day I was writing a [URL="http://www.daniweb.com/reviews/review271593.html"]review of an online backup product[/URL], and I wrote about the advantages of backing up to the cloud. Even though I have two external backup drives, they are both tied to the same electrical system in my house as my computer. If the house were struck by lightning for instance, it could hose my computer and my backups in one complete and utter disaster. My sister's house was hit a few years ago and it turned her TV, VCR, DVD player and several other pieces of electronics to toast.

This got me thinking that a cloud backup system would give me peace of mind I don't have now. If that worst case scenario happened, I would be covered because all of my data would be safely stored in the cloud. It occurred to me that enterprise users could extract that same benefit from cloud backup, that assurance that your data files are always secure and ready to restore.

[B]Getting Past the Fear[/B]

There is still a lot of fear and uncertainty about cloud computing among IT executives. It's all about command and control, right? If it's on your servers, it's in your control. You have a vice president and management you can call into your office should something go wrong. Where do you point the finger of blame if something goes wrong with your vendor's software or servers? The lines of authority aren't quite as clear. But the flip side of this is ...

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

[B]OS[/B]: Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7
[B]Cost[/B] $4.95/month or $49.95/year for 250 GB
[B]Reviewer's View[/B]: Overall this a fine backup choice. It provides a generous amount of space for a fair price. They could do a better job of defining how to get started, and the web site recovery could be better integrated with the desktop software, but after you get going, it's a very straight-forward process.

There's a lot to like about backing up to the cloud. I've got two external drives I use for backups, but I've been thinking it would be good to have a cloud solution too. After all, it's not that far-fetched that an electrical spike could wipe out my computer and backups in one horrible step. With a backup in the cloud, you're always covered. If you can get past security/privacy concerns, having a backup offsite on somebody else's servers actually makes a lot of sense.

Acronis Online Backup is one of many options, but for $4.95 per month or $49.95 a year for a generous 250GB of space, it's an excellent choice. Getting started could be confusing for the non-technical user, but once you've got it going, it runs automatically. When it's time to restore files, it's a simple, straight-forward process.

[B]Getting Started[/B]

You start by registering, after which Acronis sends you an email with a link for entering your payment information. Once you're registered, you can access your account page where you download the backup program. This is ...

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

Say what you will about Apple, love 'em or hate 'em, you have to admit they have a special magic when it comes to creating gadgets that consumers clamor for. They have a unique mix of design, build-up and marketing that when combined drive popularity and sales in huge numbers. People have to have these devices. They line up for days outside of Apple Stores. This is no ordinary curiosity. They create a lust for their products.

The next in line is the iPad. Now, I haven't held one in my hands yet, but I've seen enough to know that the key ingredients of the Apple recipe are there. What I don't get is how they always seem to produce devices that everyone else could have, but didn't.

[B]Superior Design[/B]

Apple products look, feel and (generally) work great. They are intuitive to use. They feel good in your hands. They have a cool factor that no other manufacturer seems to be able to match. The iPhone was not the first touch screen phone, but it was the one that is most oft imitated.

In a couple of weeks, [URL="http://www.apple.com/ipad/"]we will see the first iPads[/URL], yet another product that everyone could have produced, yet Apple somehow beat the market again. There will be other similar products, no doubt, but once Apple has everyone's attention, it's hard for other manufactures to be heard.

[B]The Big Build-up[/B]

My friend and colleague Joe Brockmeier lamented i[URL="http://www.dissociatedpress.net/2010/02/09/cheap-tactics-apple-store-down/"]n a blog post[/URL] earlier this year about how ...

Techwriter10 42

I go back to this argument: Why exactly do we need this device. Aside from the fact it's cool technology, I'm still wondering if you have a laptop or netbook and if you have smartphone/iPhone, I'm still not clear why you need this. And how many of us can afford to have a phone, a laptop, netbook and tablet/iPad? Do we really need a device for every situation?

See my post: [URL="http://www.daniweb.com/news/story251568.html"]Does a Tablet PC Market Exist for Apple and Others?[/URL]

Techwriter10 42

Studentx:
First of all, Adobe makes Mac and PC versions of most of its products. Second of all, 90 percent of Flash is not video. That's a common misconception. There are whole web sites built on Flash, and you probably don't even have a clue that it's Flash. Flash is much more than animation and video, it's a whole complex development platform. HTML 5 could at some point take away from Flash's dominance as a video streaming tool, but as I wrote, it's far too ubiquitous to think that it will simply kill that part of the Flash market. So many people use older browsers that don't run HTML 5 and so many will for years and years. Past behavior has proven this. I think you will find that rumors of Flash's demise will have been greatly exaggerated.

Thanks for your comment.

Ron

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

I love books. My house is full of bookshelves overflowing with them. I have countless cabinets stuffed with them and they pour off my wife's and my night stands. We have spent many a night in book stores just perusing the shelves, spying the new releases and I've discovered some of my favorite authors just wandering through the stacks at my local library pulling random titles off the shelf. When my daughter (now 18) was just a day or two old, I sat her on my lap and read her a little plastic book called Donny Dolphin.

I also love gadgets. I'm fascinated by the Kindle, the Nook and the Sony Reader. I'm enchanted by the iPad and the new electronic book shelf and book store. Yet part of me fears that I'm witnessing the beginning of the end of my beloved paper books as these devices become more pervasive. I worry that future generations will not experience the same joy I've had browsing, collecting, holding and reading the paper book.

Should I be worried? Are we witnessing the inevitable march toward electronic media or is it just another chapter in the long history from Gutenberg's press to the present day?

[B]The Market will Shift[/B]

eBooks do not have to mean the death of the paper book, but it very likely could begin to take a back seat to the electronic variety. Over the next 10 years, I'm guessing as devices like the Kindle, iPad and other electronic book-reading gadgets ...

VITRUVIAN commented: Awesome topic. Awesomely written. Techwriter10 out of 10. +0

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

In a [URL="http://www.businessweek.com/print/magazine/content/10_04/b4164028483414.htm"]very interesting read[/URL] in BusinessWeek last week, writer Peter Burrows describes what he sees as the start of war between Apple and Google with the big prize being the Mobile Ad market.

Burrows further speculates that it's possible this could escalate to the point where Apple will make Bing its default search engine on the iPhone. Hard to know whether this will happen, and if consumers would stand for it, but it certainly could mark a new chapter in the ever-shifting alliances among Google, Apple and Microsoft.

[B]Each Company Has Its Strengths[/B]

Google is a search and ad company. As such in any play that involves advertising, Google should have the advantage. But Apple has its App Store and a growing eco system of developers and applications. There are more than 100,000 applications available today in the App Store, a number that dwarfs any similar venture, including the one for Android. It's hard to imagine Google ever catching up in this regard.

Meanwhile, while Google worked with HTC to create what looks like a feature rich phone, it's never going to be able to compete with iPhone. In fact, [URL="http://blog.flurry.com/bid/29658/Flurry-Special-Report-Google-Nexus-One-Launch-Week-Sales"]Flurry reported in a blog post[/URL] last week [URL="http://www.daniweb.com/news/story253140.html"]Google sold an embarrassing 20,000 Nexus Ones[/URL] the first week out. Even when you combine the big three Android phone releases this year--the Nexus One, MyTouch and Droid--first week sales only add up to 330,330 units sold the first week.

Compare that with the iPhone 3GS, which sold an astonishing 1.6M ...

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

Last post of the year from me and I've decided to ask five questions that could have some bearing on the areas I cover in this space in the next year. If you read me regularly, you know I write a lot about Google, Apple and Microsoft. I'm also fond of eBooks and cell phones (and assorted other technologies).

So I decided to ask five questions, and if I remember a year from now, perhaps I'll revisit my questions and see if there were clear answers.

[B]Can Apple sustain white hot earnings growth?
[/B]
I've written [URL="http://www.daniweb.com/news/story233180.html"]several times[/URL] this year about Apple's incredible earnings growth during what many have called the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. That Apple has been able to sell high-priced gadgets and computers in this environment bodes well for them, but can they maintain this growth in the coming year?

I'm betting they can, especially if they release the highly anticipated Tablet, but nothing is guaranteed, and you have to wonder at what point you reach market saturation and the growth stops.

[B]Will Microsoft find a way to capitalize on mobile computing?[/B]

One of the hottest areas in computing these days is mobile computing, but it appears to be a battle that Microsoft is losing badly. [URL="http://news.zdnet.co.uk/communications/0,1000000085,39877964,00.htm"]Gartner reported[/URL] that Microsoft lost close to an astounding one third of its Mobile OS market share in 2009 and reviews of Microsoft Mobile 6.5 were so bad, even Steve Ballmer had to admit [URL="http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9138520/Ballmer_We_screwed_up_with_Windows_Mobile_"]the company screwed up ...

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

One of the great things about the iPhone is of course the App Store, which is a growing eco system of interesting applications. I tend to stick to the free ones, and not long ago I went and downloaded a bunch of new freebies. These are my favorites from that bunch:

[B]Louvre[/B]

This is one cool app for art lovers. It opens to a picture of the outside of the Louvre with famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) glass pyramid, then displays a cover flow with the different parts of the app. You can explore Louvre artwork, take a tour, or explore rooms inside the museum. It's amazing, comprehensive and the navigation is elegant and simple. You can even bookmark favorite places, so you can find your way back easily.

[B]Nasa[/B]

If you want to keep up with news from Nasa, this app is a must-have for Nasa fans. It has information on missions and includes images and educational video. For instance, this month it features a video on the Crab Nebula, which is visible in the November sky using a telescope. Like the Louvre app, it's fun and educational, but it also is a very smart move by Nasa because it lets people know what they're doing with our tax dollars (and a lot of it is pretty neat, let me tell you).

[B]ESPN Score Center[/B]

I don't know how I missed this one before because it's an essential application for any (American) sports fan. It takes a ...

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

[ATTACH=left]12481[/ATTACH]The New York Times [URL="http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2009/11/06/technology/tech-us-france-apple-louvre.html"]reported today[/URL] that Apple has opened its first Apple Store in Paris, underneath the Louvre no less, and just two weeks after Microsoft opened up a [URL="http://www.engadget.com/2009/10/22/microsofts-windows-cafe-opens-its-doors-in-paris/"]Windows 7 cafe[/URL] in Paris in another location. The idea of these two companies competing in a retail environment, and especially a Windows-themed cafe, got me thinking about what would happen if three cafes opened each run in the same style of the operating system it was named for. I figure it might look something like this:

[B]Windows Cafe[/B]

The Windows Cafe is in a bland store front. The furniture consists of straight wooden chairs with tables with sharp angles. Unfortunately, every so often when you sit in a chair it crashes the to the floor, but you get used to this and figure it's just part of the experience of going to the Windows Cafe. (To be fair they have been testing chairs from a new manufacturer and they are reportedly less prone to breaking in this fashion.) Pictures of a smiling Bill Gates and Windows logos adorn the walls. The coffee tastes fine most of the time, but a surprising number of patrons get sick there, so that it's become standard practice to use hand sanitizer before you go in to protect yourself. The coffee is expensive, and refills are definitely not free, but it's a known quantity, and many people are comfortable going there.

[B]Linux Cafe[/B]

The Linux Cafe is a funky place in an artsy neighborhood ...

Brenden. commented: haha cooool +0
Nick Evan commented: Great article +12
mvmalderen commented: Superb! +7

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

[ATTACH=right]12439[/ATTACH]
Leslie Stahl had a piece Sunday night on 60 minutes on the supposed impact of piracy on the movie industry. (You can watch it [URL="http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/30/60minutes/main5464994_page2.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody"]here[/URL].) Her piece was so slanted toward the Motion Picture Association of America, it was almost laughable (if it weren't so maddening).

At one point, Stahl explained P2P networking using Bit Torrent in a way that made it sound like it was used exclusively for movie pirates and that it was the brand new gee-wizz technology--neither of which is true. In fact, many mainstream media companies are using P2P technology to deliver their content, and have been for years, because it's cheap and efficient.

[B]BitTorrent is Mainstream, Baby[/B]

[URL="http://www.bittorrent.com/"]BitTorrent[/URL], the software that Stahl shows off in the piece was developed by [URL="http://www.bittorrent.com/company/management"]Bram Cohen[/URL], who is Chief Scientist and company co-founder of BitTorrent, the company. His company, the one if you listen to Stahl's piece is responsible for moving pirated content around the internet, has many media companies as its clients.

According to its web site, clients include Fox, MTV, Warner Brothers, Lions Gate and Paramount. If the movie industry is so worried about piracy on BitTorrent, it certainly has no problem using its 100+ million client network to distribute content.

The MPAA flacks interviewed in the piece who suggest that pirates are stealing their profits neglect to say MPAA members are using the same technology the piece was demonizing.

[B]Understanding P2P[/B]

[URL="http://www.girlgeeks.org/technology/tech0324.shtml"]P2P[/URL] (or peer to peer) networking is nothing more than a technology for distributing ...

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

A few weeks ago I received a Google Wave invitation from my friend [URL="http://www.knopf.com/"]David Knopf[/URL] (after publicly begging for one in my post [URL="http://www.daniweb.com/news/story227584.html"]Hoping to Surf the Google Wave[/URL]). Since then, I've had a chance to use it and I've seen the good, the bad and the ever-present potential of the tool. While it does have tremendous potential, I think some of my initial concerns as outlined in my post [URL="http://www.daniweb.com/news/story220576.html"]A Curmudgeonly Look at Google Wave[/URL], have proven true.

[B]The Good[/B]

Just the other day, I was invited to be on a panel to discuss Google Wave at the [URL="http://gilbaneboston.com/"]Gilbane Conference[/URL] in Boston on December 3rd. [URL="http://lehawes.wordpress.com/"]Larry Hawes[/URL], the Gilbane consultant organizing the panel, invited me to participate on Twitter and moved the conversation to a Wave. There, the participants were able to get an idea of the scope of the panel discussion, the logistics and organization of the panel and we were able to exchange bios and pictures for the conference program. We did this quickly and efficiently all inside a Wave.

As John Blossom, a panel participant who is president of [URL="http://www.shore.com/"]Shore Communications, Inc[/URL] and author of the book [URL="http://www.amazon.com/Content-Nation-Surviving-Thriving-Technology/dp/0470379219"]Content Nation[/URL], pointed out, we were able to use Wave to do in a few minutes, what would have taken hours and many emails back and forth to achieve with traditional email. It certainly proved the power of Google Wave, but at the same time, it also proved its weaknesses.

[B]The Bad[/B]

As you exchange information back and forth, ...

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

It's supposed to be Windows 7's big week, but other news just seems to keep getting in the way. And it's not just competitors like the news coming out of Apple this week, it's big announcements coming from inside Microsoft too. You would think that Microsoft could at least keep its own house in order, but that doesn't seem to be the case this week.

[B]Apple's Earnings Surprise[/B]

As [URL="http://www.betanews.com/joewilcox/article/Apple-declares-war-on-the-entire-PC-industry/1256063102"]Joe Wilcox writes in Beta News[/URL], the timing of Apple's news this week was not coincidental. On Monday [URL="http://www.macworld.com/article/143380/2009/10/apple_4qearnings.html?lsrc=rss_main"]Apple released its quarterly earning reports[/URL] and it blew analysts' expectations away. Not only did they do well, they did freaking incredible scoring their best quarter ever. In the middle of the biggest recession in 50 years, Apple generated a whopping $1.67B profit.

Consider that Apple sold more than 3 million Macs and 7.4 million iPhones in the quarter. The only bad news was that iPod sales were down 8 percent as people gravitated toward the iPhone. Beyond that, the only thing Apple has to worry about is unrealistic expectations for next quarter.

[B]Apple Releases new Toys[/B]

As though the outstanding earnings report weren't enough, Apple released [URL="http://www.businessweek.com/technology/ByteOfTheApple/blog/archives/2009/10/apple_announces.html"]a new line of Apple products[/URL] on Tuesday generating yet another wave of publicity. There was the new Mac Book, the updated iMac, the new Mac Mini server and of course, the superbly named, Magic Mouse (who wouldn't want one, so much cooler sounding than Mighty). The social networks were buzzing with folks talking and talking ...

Techwriter10 42

Good point Shade01. Definitely not the best name!

Ron

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

To put it mildly, it's been a bad week for cloud computing. First of all word got out that Microsoft, the keepers of the data for users of Sidekick phones [URL="http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Microsoft-T-Mobile-Sidekick-Data-Lost,8832.html"]completely hosed the data.[/URL] I mean kaput, gone, vanished. See you later, bye. If you don't have a back up, you are pretty much screwed because the keepers of the data have committed the ultimate sin and lost it.

Meanwhile, the The Unofficial Apple Weblog reports that [URL="http://www.tuaw.com/2009/10/12/mobileme-mixup-address-book-snafu-exposes-personal-data-to-stra/"]MobileMe might be having a data leak[/URL] and letting people randomly see the contents of your address book. This is the kind of nightmare scenario that cloud computing naysayers always seem to bring up, but we quickly dismiss as not likely to happen. Well, it did happen and it happened twice in one week.

[B]We're Not Talking an Outage Here[/B]

Last month, I made fun of they hysteria that developed when Gmail went down for a few hours in my post, [URL="http://www.daniweb.com/news/story221425.html"]The Day Gmail Stood Still: A Tale of Horror,[/URL] but losing a service for a few hours is a minor annoyance. Losing your data? That's catastrophic and there is no sugar coating it. That these two cloud computing doomsday scenarios were perpetrated, not by some Mom and Pop cloud company, but by two of the largest computing organizations, Apple and Microsoft, makes the situation all that much worse.

[B]Tough to Defend[/B]

As a fan of cloud computing, I tend to dismiss the control arguments I hear when people say they won't let ...

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

The[URL="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703298004574459380459235704.html?mod=rss_Today%27s_Most_Popular"] Wall Street Journal reported[/URL] yesterday that Dell plans to build its own cell phone running Google's Android operating system, and release it some time next year. It's worth noting that Dell has tried to get into the gadget business before. They made a couple of failed stabs at the MP3 player market. They also tried a PDA back in the day. None of these attempts made much of a dent in the market. That's why I'm wondering why they think they can succeed in the crowded cell phone market.

[B]Partnering with AT&T[/B]

The announcement includes news that AT&T will distribute the phones, which like the iPhone, will boast a touch screen, but even though Android phones have gained in popularity, if for no other reason than the sheer number of them, they will be competing at AT&T with some fairly heady company including Apple and Blackberry, not to mention the very nice [URL="http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/cell-phone-details/?device=Samsung+A767+Propel+-+Blue&q_sku=sku3030226"]Samsung Propel[/URL]. I've been curious about Android phones for some time, and up until recently they were only available from T-Mobile and Sprint. There are also plans for [URL="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2353826,00.asp"]Verizon to offer Android phones very soon[/URL]. That AT&T now has at least one in the works certainly makes sense, but is Dell the right partner?

[B]Apple Didn't Make Phones Either
[/B]
It's worth pointing out that before the iPhone, Apple was famous for computers and MP3 players. They had never delved into the phone market, yet they've done extremely well by any measure. So there is a precedent ...

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

I'm not a web developer by trade, but I visit web sites all the time, and as journalist I'm looking for a couple of key things. First of all, I want to find your press page and a press contact. Short of that I want to find an email address. Note that I don't want to find a form, which could as far as I know never be seen by a human and rot in the IT dustbin for all time. In short, you want to make it really easy for people to contact you.

[B]Don't Use A Form[/B]

Some companies seem to have a real fear of contact, but social media marketing guru Seth Godin [URL="http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/10/promiscuous-dispersal-of-your-email-address.html"]writes in his blog this week[/URL] that having a real email contact is essential to a successful web site. He points out that too many sites use an email form, some of which even limit the number of characters a person can write. What could be more unfriendly than that? You want to make it easy for your customers (and yes, journalists) to find you.

Godin guesses that many companies use the form because they are afraid of Spam. He's probably right, but as he says, you can filter the Spam a lot easier than you can find customers (or journalist s who really want to write about you). He even offers a trick of using a mailto: to link with a built-in subject line to help you identify email from interested parties.

[B]Don't ...

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

[I]I have watched you on the shore
Standing by the ocean's roar
Do you love me, do you surfer girl
~Beach Boys, Surfer Girl
[/I]
[URL="http://wave.google.com/help/wave/closed.html"]Google Wave[/URL] invitations went out last week to 100,000 lucky people and I didn't get one. I'm stuck on the shore line while the fortunate few are riding the first Google Wave. I don't mind telling you, I really want to get my hands on an invitation. I know what you're thinking if you're a regular reader: 'Aren't you the guy who wrote [URL="http://www.daniweb.com/news/story220576.html"]A Curmudgeonly Look at Google Wave[/URL] when it was first announced?' Well ya, I was and that post (which is my second most popular ever with over 50,000 views) represents a snap shot of what I felt at the time, but I'm also a technology journalist and I'm innately curious, and I want to try this dammit.

[B]What's This All About?[/B]

If for some reason, you're not familiar with Google Wave, you can learn more in this[URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6pgxLaDdQw"] 8 minute Google video[/URL]. It is an elegant looking email/communications/social/collaboration platform. You have the ability to share email and communication in a single interface, so instead of sending multiple emails or messages to multiple people, you point them to a single wave, which acts as a central communication hub where you can share text, documents, pictures and video (which you can edit and share in real time). Using the platform, you can build widgets. Some early ones allow you to run your Twitter stream (or ...

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

In a strange part of what was otherwise and interesting and insightful [URL="http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/09/24/microsoft-ballmer-interview-exclusive-techcrunch-bing-mobile-azur/"]interview with TechCrunch[/URL] this week, [URL="http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/exec/steve/"]Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer[/URL] went out of his way to avoid naming Google, instead referring to them repeatedly as "the incumbent." This seemed to be a deliberate strategy and left me shaking my head wondering why he couldn't refer to Google by name. (The whole interview is interesting, so I encourage you to watch it, but the part I'm referring to begins at around 6:30.)

[B]The Harry Potter Strategy
[/B]
This reminded a bit of [URL="http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/"]Harry Potter[/URL], where of course they refer to the evil Voldemort, as "he who must not be named." Perhaps by not naming Google, Ballmer (and by extension his strategy team) believe they can demonize the company and maybe reflect some of its own bad karma back to Google. It's important to remember that Google started this whole thing by inserting the "do no evil" nonsense into its business charter, which was no doubt a subtle dig at Microsoft.

These two companies could back on forth on this all the live long day and you wouldn't have a definitive answer. When companies get as large and rich as Google and Microsoft (and yes, Apple), they have the capacity to do great good and they have capacity to be evil. When the nature of the business is to destroy your competitor, some nasty crap can go down in the process.

[B]The Advantage of Not Being the Incumbent[/B]

What Ballmer said ...

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

[ATTACH=right]11664[/ATTACH]I confess I'm not always kind to Microsoft. They stumble and bumble and often make bad decisions, and as such make a great target for a blogger like me, but looking back at the announcements they've made over the last couple of weeks, when you add it all up, they at least seem to be trying to move forward.

They may be awkward at times (as geeks often are), but the[URL="http://www.zune.net/zunehd"] Zune HD,[/URL] the [URL="http://www.codeplex.org/"]CodePlex Foundation[/URL], and the newly announced [URL="http://www.bing.com/visualsearch"]Bing visual search tool[/URL] all add up to a good week for the behemoth from Redmond. In fact, when you put it all together, even the most ardent of the anti-Microsoft ilk, would have to admit, it's a nice effort.

[B]Zune HD[/B]

While this isn't a perfect device by any means, the design alone is a huge step forward from its clunky (and indisputably ugly) predecessors. This one looks sleek and sexy, and from a functionality standpoint, it has a lot going for it. Sure, they should have avoided those pre-roll ads in the free apps I wrote about the other day in [URL="http://www.daniweb.com/news/story223588.html"]Microsoft Ads Mess with Fuzzy Zune HD Feelings[/URL], but this is a device that people will take a long look at this holiday season. It may end up being too little, too late from a market standpoint since Apple owns this space, but at least they're in the game now.

[B]CodePlex Foundation[/B]

When I wrote [URL="http://www.daniweb.com/news/story222521.html"]DotNetNuke Co-founder Defends Role with Microsoft's CodePlex[/URL] last week, I got some ...

Dani commented: Yay for using inline pictures in news :) +20

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

A week ago today, the unthinkable happened. That's right, Gmail went down...for two hours. You would have thought, judging from the amount of chatter on Twitter that we were experiencing an epic attack, a horrible natural disaster, perhaps the end of life as we know it; but it was none of that. Just couldn't get our email for a couple of hours. I'm surprised the Obama administration didn't step in and declare a State of Emergency. It certainly seemed plausible based on the reaction to the outage.

My favorite tweet, which captured perfectly, the level of hysteria we were seeing on Twitter as people learned Gmail wasn't working, was this one:

[I]@scalzi: MIN 30 OF GMAIL OUTAGE THE CITIES ARE IN FLAMES & PEOPLE EATING PETS TO SURVIVE.TO FUTURE GENERATIONS: WE MEANT WELL[/I]

[B]What Went Terribly Wrong[/B]

The funny thing is that this was not a denial of service attack. It wasn't a North Korean hacker trying to bring the west to its knees by disrupting this most vital of services. No, it was good old fashioned human error. I know it's hard to believe that with all of the super smart people at Google that it's possible that one (or maybe a few of them) screwed up, but apparently that's what happened.

The Official Google Gmail Blog post on the outage described the cause this way:

[QUOTE]"... At about 12:30 pm Pacific a few of the request routers became overloaded and in effect told the rest of the system ...

minigweek commented: Nice way of presenting the dependancy on web services!! Liked it! +3

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

Imagine my surprise when I learned this morning that an [URL="http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10216733-64.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5"]IBM researcher believes[/URL] that Moore's Law-- that the number of transistors on a micro processor would double nearly every two years-- could be nearing the end of its run. Amazingly Moore made this prediction in 1965 and his law has stuck pretty much dead true for almost 45 years. So it's Friday and it got me wondering, if Moore's Law is going down, what could this mean to other famous laws:

[B]Murphy's Law: Anything that Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong.[/B]

Over the next several years, some researchers believe this law will begin to reverse and anything that can go right will go right. Pessimists everywhere are up in arms about this one, saying nothing ever goes right, so how could this be true?

[B]Parkinson's Law: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.[/B]

It is now believed that time will actually expand to allow for people who can't complete work in the allotted time. Procrastinators are looking forward to technology that will allow them to simply change the time when their projects aren't done. Murphy's Law advocates believe something will go terribly wrong with this.

[B]The Peter Principle: Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence[/B]

Many people believe that George W. Bush's presidency marked the high water mark of this law and the trend has actually begun to reverse with the election of a smart, articulate president, Barack Obama. The private sector ...