Friday, January 15, 2010

Smoking Apples

Apple stores don’t have “no smoking” signs. Legally they need them but they “ruin the design of the store”, so for every apple store in the UK they pay £50 a day to keep their windows sign free. Crazy shit.

EDIT: I forgot to include the source, it’s a friend who works in the Apple Store in Norwich, The evidence is the fact that they aren’t actually in the windows.

Source: Lewis King

Well you could try a different design of the sign, such as:

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Sparkle Second Life to iPhone

Genkii Announces Sparkle IM, a Virtual Worlds Communications Tool for iPhone and iPod Touch

TOKYO, Mar. 24 -- Genkii today announced Sparkle IM, an easy-to-use chat and communication tool for the iPhone and iPod Touch that allows you to access the Second Life and Opensim virtual worlds over Wifi or 3G networks.

"Second Life and Opensim rely on high-end computing hardware and broadband for a full, immersive virtual world experience," says Ken Brady, CEO of Genkii. "But what about when you're away from your computer, at school, at work, traveling, or when you simply don't have the time to launch the full application?"

Sparkle IM allows you to do exactly that. You can use the following features immediately: send and receive IMs, send and receive offline IMs, region chat, send teleport requests, accept friend requests, and change your start location.

Sparkle IM supports Second Life, SL Beta Grid, OSGrid (Opensim), and any other custom server connection compatible with Opensim/SL.Sparkle IM launches with a special introductory price of $4.99 and is available in the iTunes App Store.

As we develop new features, Genkii will post additional announcements and information at

About Genkii

Founded in Tokyo in 2008, Genkii is a cutting-edge group of geeks working on a wide variety of mobile, virtual world, and social media applications.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

iPhone number 1 Social brand 2008

Reblogged from: The iPhone Blog

The headline says it all, Virtue’s #1 Social Brand of 2008. Steve Jobs scored huge in general, not only with the iPhone at #1 (can’t get tired of typing that!) but Apple at #3 and iPod at #7 and Mac at #16. (Our best frenemies, the BlackBerry, show up at #20, along with Microsoft at #11, and Google, Nokia, and Palm… um… er… Is the list really complete?)

The Vitrue SMI calculates scores about the brand’s social conversations. We apply a series of algorithms to reflect the frequency of usage, the size of the social media environment, and the magnitude of the conversation. The result is a single numeric score for each brand: the Vitrue Social Media Index (SMI).

(via Macworld)

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Microsoft losing online battle

Microsoft is loosing the online battle. First and foremost, they're losing it to Google but (maybe a wee bit of a surprise), Apple is regaining authority on the web as well. A recent stat analysis by Net Applications showed that the Internet Explorer marketshare has dropped to an all time low of just (cough) 67,55% amongs the surfing crowd.

Most notable online competitor of course is the Mozilla Firefox, with a 21,53% market share. Take heed, Firefox is not the adversary from the old days, Netscape (which is down to a mere 0.57%), but a Google funded open source community thingy, which is rapidly reaching its end of life status. Chances are it will eventually be replaced with Google Chrome, which is up from nowt to 1.12%. As said in the introduction, Apple is slowly gaining weight again, with its popular iPhone and iPods, more and more people start the like the Apple way of life. In the last year, the Safari webbrowser increased it's market share from 5,82 to 8,29%.

Mind you, we're talking percentages here of web broswer users, so every percent counts for tens of millions of users. The image below is a summary of the first and last line of the Net Application results, showing the statistics for January 2008 (topline) and January 2009 (bottom line).

The upside of losing millions of customers

What we're looking at is a bunch of statistics, numbers and percentages. However, when you translate it, Microsoft has lost millions of customers on the online market in the past year. However, this loss may hold a bright spot for Microsoft in the European Union.

Microsoft and the European Union have been clashing heads over Microsoft's market dominance for years on end now. The EU has been investigating to see if the company has taken advantage of its position by offering the Internet Explorer as an integral feature of its Windows OS and deliberately straying away from internet standards making other browsers to work incorrectly.

Microsoft has noted that it's marketshare is going down and isn't as oblivious as it was before, hence there can be no talk of unfair competition.

Dominance or Survival?

Well, we've taken out a few million IE users, so what? Microsoft still is the preferred supplier to the vast majority of websurfers. What's the big deal?

The big deal is that we're seeing the first signs of Microsoft loosing the online battle, the war of the web. And they're loosing it to Google. I've written a few blogposts on this before (see referal list below) as I wrote that Microsoft desperately needs the cooperation with Yahoo to strengthen its online position.

More blogposts on Google, Microsoft & Yahoo:

Beware of Snakes dressed as Spiders

A lot of people I know are welcoming the downfall of Microsoft and Internet Explorer. Throughout the web we're familiar with the anti Microsoft campaigns, the Bill Gates parodies and we all cheer the efforts of the European Union to crack Microsoft's market position, but in the mean time, Google crawls its way to the top. Just earlier today I wrote how Google teamed up with Nasa to get Mars into Google Earth and in November I blogged the Google Flu tracker, which they'd developed in close cooperation with the government.

Whereas Microsoft seems to get the full load from Governments, they're actually helping Google to take over the position...

and worse.

More blogposts on Google's rising dominance:

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Flash Fit For iPhone

Last week Adobe and Apple announced they were collaborating on making Flash fit for iPhone. Over the years Flash has become the application to animate content on the web and is present at almost every computer and tons of handheld devices, yet it doesn't work on the iPhone.

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Adobe Systems Inc. faces a challenge in creating a version of its Flash video software for Apple Inc.’s iPhone, Chief Executive Officer Shantanu Narayen said.

“It’s a hard technical challenge, and that’s part of the reason Apple and Adobe are collaborating,” Narayen said today in a Bloomberg Television interview from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “The ball is in our court. The onus is on us to deliver.”

Adobe’s Flash, used to view online video and animation, is installed on 98 percent of the world’s personal computers. While the software is on more than 800 million handsets, it isn’t available on the iPhone. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said last March that Flash runs too slowly for the iPhone, and a slimmed-down version, called Flash Lite, “isn’t capable enough to be used with the Web.”

Jobs called on Adobe to write a third version of Flash, in addition to the software already available for PCs and phones. [read full article]

What strikes me is that Narayen said it's up to Adobe to deliver. You'd say Flash runs everywhere except on the iPhone so it would be logical for Apple to be taking the lead here. In the handheld world, the iPhone still has a pretty modest market share, yet it has become such an important player that Adobe can't ignore.

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Hack your iPhone Apps

Hackers have succeeded to break the Apple copy protection for iPhone applications. This crack makes it possible to copy applications bought in the App Store and distribute them to other iPhones or iPod Touch.

The tool, Crackulous, scans installed applications and saves them as ipa-files. These files can be distributed to other devices through iTunes. Obviously, you'll need a jailbreaked iPhone to perform these feats.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Apple stock plunge as Jobs health dips again

Late last wednesday I the news hit the wire that Apple CEO Steve Jobs was taking a medical leave. I'm a little late in blogging, since I had to take a medical leave as well, but fortunately, a bad flu isn't as bad as Jobs is facing.

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs will take a medical leave of absence until the end of June because his health problems are “more complex” than he had thought, sending the company's shares down as much as 10 per cent on Wednesday.

Mr. Jobs, a pancreatic cancer survivor, made his announcement only nine days after he sought to soothe persistent concerns about his health by saying his marked weight loss over past months was due to a hormone imbalance that was relatively simple to treat.

Mr. Jobs said he planned to remain involved in major strategic decisions while he is away. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will take responsibility for day-to-day operations in Mr. Jobs's absence. [Globe and Mail]

Somehow the news featured in the Tech news sections as well as health news and economic news. Immediately the Apple stocks took a huge plunge as investors clearly see Jobs as the driving force behind the Apple success in the past years. Apple was down and out for the count about a decade ago and when Jobs returned, so did innovation and a range of products like the iPod and iPhone brought Apple out of its niche market to fashionable mainstream.

Dutch Cartoon Fokke and Sukke featured the news yesterday in the "De Wereld Draait Door" show on television. The image was taken from the Dutch iPhone Weblog. In English the cartoon reads: "No We'd like a Macbook as thin" "as Steve Jobs"

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Macworld Highlight: iTunes DRM Free by Q2

This week it's MacWorld, which is the place to be for Apple fans. For the first time after Steve Jobs' return to Mac, the MacWorld had to do without its charismatic inspirator. Instead, the Macadelic fans had to work their way through the keynotes by Phil Schiller.

Image: iJustine @ Tasty Blog Snack

Steve's Health

Image: iJustine @ Macworld Flickrstream

With Jobs not on the spot, and only a cardboard representation present to adore, the absense of Steve Jobs led to speculations about his health, some of which included the return of cancer, untill finally Apple released a statement.

By finally deciding to talk about Steve Jobs' health, Apple may have opened a Pandora's Box.

After insisting for months that Jobs' health was a private matter, Apple changed its tack in the face of widespread speculation regarding its CEO's weight loss. On Monday, the company issued a statement that Jobs was suffering from a hormone imbalance that was "robbing" proteins from his body. That news cheered Apple investors, who dreaded far worse news regarding Jobs' health after a report last week that his health was "declining rapidly."

The disclosure was clearly painful for Jobs, who wrote in an open letter, "So now I've said more than I wanted to say, and all that I am going to say, about this." That might not be so simple.

[CNET Steve Jobs' health now a public matter ]

Taking Jobs out of the Apple Equasion would be a sure thing to upset investors and stock market as he brought Apple back to life upon his return to the company in 1997 after an absense of 12 years. Smash hits over the past years have been the iPod and iPhone which has put Apple back in business.

Apple's DRM Policy

With the iPod Apple launched the iTunes store where users can buy music. The catch has been that Apple included a DRM feature so the songs could only be played with Apple software. Although Apple itself has called its DRM policy 'Fair Play', it met strong opposition. Following actions in France and Germany the Norwegian Ombudsman ruled the Apple DRM to be illegal, according to the Register.

Apple's digital rights management lock on its iPod device and iTunes software is illegal, the Consumer Ombudsman in Norway has ruled. The blow follows the news that Germany and France are joining Norway's action against Apple.

The Norwegian Consumer Council, Forbrukerradet, lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman on behalf of Norwegian consumers claiming that the Fairplay DRM system acted against the interests of consumers. It said the fact the technology stopped songs bought from iTunes being played on any player other than an iPod broke the law in Norway.

The Ombudsman has now agreed, according to Torgeir Waterhouse, senior advisor at the Consumer Council.

In Februari 2007, Steve Jobs himself posted a lengthy article with his thoughts on the DRM which might be good to read to get some background info, but too lengthy to quote here. There's one paragraph thought which I'd like to quote:

The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

We're two years on and Apple finally has made a deal with the record companies and announced the iTune products will be distributed free of DRM.

DRM Background

This act by Apple is a step forward, but it's a long way off in solving the DRM issue, because Apple isn't the problem here, it's the Music Industry itself. A good guide to catching up with the situation would be to read "The Starfish and the Spider" by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom.

Digital rights management (DRM) is a term that refers to access control technologies used by hardware manufacturers, publishers and copyright holders to limit usage of digital media or devices. Whereas copy protection only attempts to prohibit unauthorized copies of media or files, digital rights management allows the issuer of the media or file to control in detail what can and cannot be done with a single instance. For example, an issuer can limit the number of viewings, number of copies, which devices the media can be transferred to etc. Digital rights management often depends on cryptography and on-line activation. Blu-Ray and some recent game titles by Electronic Arts are an example of each. Digital rights management is used by content providers such as Sony, Microsoft and the BBC. [Wikipedia]

Back in the early 20th century we did not have recordings of music and when we would like to hear a piece we would go to the theatres and opera halls, or the streetcorners to hear the music being performed. If we paid to listen, we paid directly to the musicians.

When recording devices and carriers such as vynil records arrived it opened up a whole new world. You could bring the music home. Record companies arose liked webdevelopment shops in the late 90's. A few years later it boiled down to the big 5. Five major companies gained control over 80% of the entire music industry.

Suddenly there was Napster, a rogue internet company offering music for free. The big 5 were terrified and sued Napster and broke it down. Pandora's box had been opened though and peer to peer (p2P) networks like Kazaa and eDonkey took over. Stealing music had become common practise.

The question is, is downloading music and films for free actually stealing? Yes in my opinion it is. But then again, it is no different than selling music at the current prices. It is the record companies themselves which are the biggest thieves here. They steal from both the Musicians and the consumer. As consumers we have to pay massive amounts to acquire a legal copy of an Album, whereas the performer gets just a fraction of what the Record Companies receive.

As long as this practise continues, there will be p2p distribution of music. The sole reason I think p2p has made such a big bang is because of the absurd amounts of money the big five made off the backs of the consumers and the artists. In this way, whatever DRM measure you implement, it will be prime target to hack. If we further decentralise and more and more artists start to distribute their own music through social networks at a fair price (in the Netherlands a CD is now about 24 Euro), let's say they'd sell them directly for 5 Euro, with DRM. This means a significant pricedrop, yet a substaintial gain in income for the artists. Would the download community accept that?

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Friday, February 15, 2008

A mobile world: SL on the move?

Today I came across this youTube video and article on TechDigest:

No, your eyes aren't kidding you. That really is the processor-shredding Second Life virtual world running on an iPhone. But how? And why is it so slow? Well, the answer is that it's a concept demo produced by mobile technology firm

In a layman's nutshell, all the processing is being done NOT on the iPhone, on a central server. All that's being streamed to the iPhone is the visuals - essentially, a video feed of the Second Life environment. Then, when you tap the
on-screen buttons to move, or type in a message, that's sent back up to the server for processing.

So, it's not a Second Life client on the iPhone - it's just streaming Safari-friendly video of your SL session, with you able to send your commands back in the other direction. That's why it's this sluggish at the moment, because you're one step removed.

Second Life is too resource-consuming to go mobile right now. Especially its streaming technology requires quite a lot of bandwidth to render the simulation you're in. For the time being this is a nice gimmick to show your friends, but not of any real use.

But the virtual worlds will get on the move sooner or later. For the virtual workspace to have an impact on our busy lives they will have to go mobile. It will require lighter interfaces and more bandwidth on mobile phones, but we'll get there. Why?

Well, I'm on my way to a meeting, and I'm stuck in a traffic jam. I'll be missing this important meeting. Time to pull over and log into our virtual world and do this meeting there...

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I, You and Wii trends 2007

It's december now and a spectacular year of booming business is coming to an end. Here and there the first anthologies are starting to appear. You may have guessed; it's been a good year for Apple. No big surprises here, aside from the smash hit "Guitar Hero"

From: The Year of I, You, and Wii
  1. YouTube
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Facebook
  4. iTunes
  5. iPod
  6. iPhone
  7. Nintendo Wii
  8. Xbox
  9. Sony PlayStation 3
  10. Guitar Hero
Another list with no real surprises is the Celebrity Downslide list, also by Yahoo
  1. Britney Spears
  2. Paris Hilton
  3. Anna Nicole Smith
  4. Vanessa Anne Hudgens
  5. Nicole Richie
  6. Amy Winehouse
  7. Rosie O'Donnell
  8. Tara Conner
  9. Michael Vick
  10. Owen Wilson

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Friday, September 07, 2007

iPhone price drop & refund

From Engadget (but also from almost every other US techblog)

El Jobso is "confident" Apple's made the right decision to lower the price of the iPhone yesterday -- and really, we can't fault them for knocking some cash off the top to attract new buyers, why is cheaper gear a bad thing all of a sudden? But even given the outcry, we definitely didn't see this one coming. In another open letter to his people, Jobs states that he's giving all iPhone owners a $100 Apple gift certificate (details to follow in the next week -- it goes without saying this will only apply to people who bought before the price drop). Well, that's mighty kind of you Steve. And definitely unprecedented in the consumer electronics industry that a company would give cash back to early adopters -- those most accustomed to buying a gadget first, asking questions later, and bottling their complaints when said gadget later drops dramatically in price.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Apple Inside?

Second Life is a place where looks matter, maybe even more so than it Real Life itself. Thousands of residents spend lots of money on looking good. Money is spent on clothes, housing and cars. Lifestyle icons are important to the general Second Lifer.

And when looks and lifestyle get more important than functionality and usability, Apple shouldn't be far away. And it isn't... is it?
Well, there's an applestore in the SL search. And it brings genuine Apple replica's for absolute rockbottom prices. gPhone L$ 50, gPod L$ 20 and gMac L$ 500. Note the "g" as it isn't an official Apple outlet, but a "Grape"

Which in my opinion is a missed chance. Is it worth going into Second Life? For a lot of companies probably not. But it would have been for Apple. Second Life is about lifestyle, but even more so, it's userbase is largely an applecrowd; Creatives, Bloggers, Designers and Geeks.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

iPhone Bills come in a box

Over at iJustine the supersized American life gets another dimension. AT&T, the sole provider of iPhone stuff has a neat billing system - that comes in a box - so you can fill a whole new scrapbook putting together a month of iPhoning

Fortunately, AT&T is going to simplify it's billing. This will help save the rainforest!

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

United States of Apple

For readers in the United States of Apple, this blogpost may hold nothing new. Let me just wish you a happy 4th!
For readers here in Europe, or even closer to home, the Netherlands, here's an update on the iPhone craze in the States.

Mitch Wagner (Information Week) quotes:

For you who have a more visual approach, have a look at Justine Ezarik's "Tasty Blog Snacks" running a number of great vids on iPhone.

Also Robert Scoble keeps on rambling on the iPone (and this is just the last 3 days)

So...? Does it makes me want to buy an iPhone? Nah, don't think so. I have enough entertainment already seeing a complete continent sucked into a slick PR machine.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Pownce, Facebook and iPhone

Okay, here's a non SL post again. I've finally gotten into POWNCE!
Thanks to Vincent Shore of Squawknest.

Pownce is still in Alpha, but looks like it's gonna be the next big thing.

Pownce is a way to send stuff to your friends. What kind of stuff? You can send just about anything: music, photos, messages, links, events, and more. You can do it all through the web site, or install the desktop software that lets you get out of the browserbox.

The past weeks there's been a lively discussion at twitter on Pownce, which is seen by many as an enormous improvement to twitter (or as someone said: "if Twitter upgraded the things that users wanted, you'd kinda have pownce ")

(sorry couldn't grabcapture the client, but trust me, it looks slick)

The other thing that's taking up some of my time is Facebook. It's originally a Harvard Who's Who but is rapidly expanding and replacing myspace in some ways.

"Facebook isn't about college stuff anymore. I have no college network and enjoy the software as an organizational tool. "

If you'd like to know more, Danah Boyd wrote an excellent article on Facebook.

Finally, it seems like every US based friend I have on twitter has been suckered into the iPhone craze. Again, I'd have to admit it looks slick but I wouldn't buy one immediately --luckily it isn't available in Europe yet, so I'll have time to see how it develops.
It seems heavily overhyped at the moment in my opinion, though Steve did a good Job on fuelling it by stating that there might not be enough iPhone's available.
Here's a little reader question:
If you're reading this blog, could you tell me if you've bought one?

Finally, if you'd like to know more on iPhone or Pownce I'd recommend you'd visit Scobleizer's page at FastCompany magazine. Todays bloglinks give you an excellent overview on these apps / sites.
His current column is titled The New Web War.
"Perhaps the hottest debate in my circle today centers around the technologies we'll use inside, or outside, the browser to build a new kind of rich Internet application. We're talking mostly about video, because that's where the action is."
Part of his column is on Adobe's Apollo platform which is used for Pownce as well.
Robert Scoble is one of the leading ubergeek bloggers. Scoble is best known for his popular blog, Scobleizer, which came to prominence during his tenure as a technical evangelist at Microsoft.
So, again Web 2.0 which should be about integration is getting diversificated again.

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