Tag Archives | Technology

The peril of ‘showrooming’

Interesting dilemma faced by physical retailers who have to deal with people coming in to try products before going home to buy them online.

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Chinese man steals iPhone from bicyclist using chopsticks

Yes, you read that right.

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What Bitcoins Are All About

A handy explanation from Mac Observer if, like me, you’ve been wondering just what all the fuss is about. I’m still not entirely sure I get it mind you, but anyway!

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Ron Johnson “Leaves” his Position As CEO of JC Penny

Not surprising considering JC Penny’s performance since he took over, but, as others have pointed out, they didn’t really give him time to turn things around. Still, his former position at Apple is still open. Just sayin’

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Scientists develop biological transistor that can command living cells

One step closer to Cylons. Just Sayin’!

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Quadcopter Fleet Creates StarTrek Logo in the London Sky

Quadcoptor Fleet over london

Image courtesy of Ars Electronia

Capitalising on the dark skies created by this years Earth Hour, Ars Electronica Futurelab’s computer-controlled swarm of  quadcopters took to the skies on Saturday to promote Paramount’s “Star Trek – Into Darkness”

From the Press Release:

“This production was a really big challenge, but that’s exactly what made it so fascinating,” was the enthusiastic response of Ars Electronica Futurelab Director Horst Hörtner. “And this assignment from Paramount Pictures also attests to the worldwide sensation we’ve created since our debut show last autumn at the Klangwolke.”

It has to be said, it’s a pretty impressive feat, although I’m not sure the environmentalists will be particularly impressed with Paramount cashing in on Earth hour, but anyway. They produced a video of the event intercut with the trailer for the movie:


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The Lifespan of Google Products

In the wake of the Google Reader kerfuffle, Charles Arthur from the Guardian talks about Google’s tendency to kill it’s software offerings after a short period of time.

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Windfarm sickness spreads by word of mouth

Australian study finds that the health complaints from people living around turbines shown to be psychological effect of anti-wind lobby making people worry

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Cube Sensors

Amazing idea and cool looking piece of technology. Basically a little cube containing sensors that monitor your indoor environment, measuring everything from humidity to air quality and sending the resulting data to your smartphone or tablet. As someone who has a lot of problems with indoor air quality where I work and live, this could be a great little tool to help analyse the problems.

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For Just 2 Million Dollars You Can Have Your Own Underwater Plane

Bond villains of the world rejoice!

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Apple TV Updated with Bluetooth Keyboard Support and More…

Dropping along side the iOS 6.1 update, Apple has also released an update to the Apple TV, adding among other things, bluetooth keyboard support:

Here’s the list of what’s new from the software update information:

  • iTunes in the Cloud: Browse and play your purchased iTunes music directly from iCloud.
  • Bluetooth keyboard: Use your Apple Wireless Keyboard to control your Apple TV. See this article for more information.
  • AirPlay audio for videos: Send stereo audio from movies, TV shows, and other videos on Apple TV to AirPlay-enabled speakers and devices (including AirPort Express and other Apple TVs).
  • Stability and performance: Includes performance and stability improvements with the iTunes Store, AirPlay, Netflix, iTunes Match, and wired Ethernet connections.

I’m hopeful that this update might finally resolve the ethernet issues that have been plaguing my Apple TV for the last few versions.

9 to 5 Mac has an interesting list of recommendations for bluetooth keyboards to use with the Apple TV

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Samsung being investigated for ‘coverup’ in overnight fatality at semiconductor plant

I’m sure this will generate the same level of indignation and outrage that any of the accusations levelled at Apple have in the past. Yep, absolutely sure.

( The Verge)

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Apple puts eye into iDevices

Inspiring story from the Sydney Morning Herald about a blind iPhone user and how Apple devices help hip go about his normal routine

Apple puts eye into iDevices.

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The Dearth of Certain Retina Ready Mac Apps

Having recently upgraded my ageing MacBook Air to a shiny new MacBook Pro with Retina display, one of the things that has struck me is the lack of retina ready mac apps. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know it’s early days, so it’s quite understandable as the retina MacBook Pro has only been out for a short period of time, but on the other hand, it’s curious to see just what has and hasn’t been updated. Apps that you think should be easy enough to convert, haven’t been, while apps that seem far more complicated have.

For example, Pixelmator, which is a pretty complex image editing App is available as a retina ready version, while Amazon’s kindle reader, which basically just displays text, isn’t. In fact the Kindle App looks horrible. Whatever is being done, text isn’t being rendered using he systems text engine, so they’re obviously using their own rendering, presumably out of some sort of copy protection fears (maybe not, who knows) but it’s terrible.

Anyway, I’m sure the situation will improve, but I’m just a little concerned that certain developers  might consider a retina version a low priority. I can’t help but suspect based on some of the comments I’ve read, that the thinking in certain circles is along the lines of “well, it’s only one high end machine out of the whole range, so why bother”, but that line of thought, if it is the case, misses the point. The whole line will eventually go all retina. It’s going to happen. By releasing it on a limited basis, Apple is giving developers a chance to get up to speed. I just hope everyone is paying attention.

(And yes, I’m aware that this site is not yet fully Retina Ready, but I’m working on it)

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Embrace Your Inner Fanboy

I finally finished reading the Steve Jobs biography last night. While some have criticised the writing of Walter Isaacson, I have to say I enjoyed it. What’s more I come away from reading it with a new found respect for both Jobs and Apple. On the flip side of that though, I feel angry about the amount of rubbish and nonsense that is written every day about this greatly misunderstood company. I feel that this cacophony has robbed the technology industry, or at least the reporting on it, of much of the passion and enthusiasm that it once had.

For me personally, I used to love writing about technology. On my personal blog, I used to write with passion and intensity whenever I found a topic that interested me. I wrote a lot about Apple in particular, but I had begun to notice that over the last few years I have found it harder and harder to work up the enthusiasm to write like I used to. Recently I had started to give things another shot, but I am still finding it difficult. Something has been bugging me about my writing, and about the subjects I once loved, and having finished the book, I realise now what that is.

There is an awful lot of stupid nonsense being written in the technology web these days, about Apple in particular. It’s not just the company though. The diatribes have been increasingly targeted at Apple’s fans as well. Having failed to influence others about the company that they despise, those who are anti-Apple for whatever reason now seem intent on attacking Apple’s fan base as well. I don’t like my writing any more because it seems that I have made the mistake of responding to it. In fact responding to this constant stream of, what can only be described as bullshit, seems to be most of what I’ve been doing lately and I hate it. It’s negative and unpleasant and it sucks the joy out of the subjects I used to love. Unfortunately it also seems to be the dominating emotion running through much of the technology web and press these days.

I have long held a disdain for certain technology blogs. I’m not down on blogging in general, but those publications that hide behind the term “blog” to get away with shameful journalistic practices and fundamental lack of both ethics and responsibility. The wider blogosphere bears some responsibility too though, especially when it comes to Apple. It seems that these days facts and rationality get lost in a sea of re-commenting and re-blogging.

The pattern is probably all to familiar to you. Someone writes something stupid. This gets picked up by other blogs, and what started as an opinion or a suspicion gets quickly presented as fact. People who don’t know any better or are too lazy to find out, believe it, and get outraged over something that was just a suspicion or a theory. Suddenly this outrage is now the story. This spreads like a virus, because much of the tech news now is made up of blogs re-posting and commenting on other what other blogs have already re-blogged and commented on. It’s a wordpress fuelled circle of life kind of thing. And yes, I’m as guilty a the next person.

Somewhere along the way the original intention of what has now become the mythical original post (if you can find it) is lost in the faux outrage and wave of accusations and counter accusations. It’s like the evolution of folk tale played out in super speed and in record time by thousands of computers all across the web. Instead of stories handed down through generations, each one slightly more colourful than the previous, it’s blog posts re-posted, each one slightly less factual. The reality of subjects has become ever more distorted by the echo chamber of the internet, by the few who have an axe to grind and the masses who love to tear down the successful.

And that seems to be the driving force right now, especially when it comes to Apple. As the most successful company in the world, it generates the most resentment and desire to tear it down. More and more people are buying Apple products, and clearly a great swath of the world loves what Apple does, yet you wouldn’t know that when you read about it. Yet despite this, the most valuable company in the world is constantly perceived to be one step away from total failure, and one decision away from being satan’s first cousin. In my opinion, never has the reporting of a company been so at odds with the sentiment of real people on the street. If it was a scientific rule it would be that the amount of bullshit written about a company or person is inversely proportional to the amount of success he, she or it has.

Of course, someone will say one of two things about this argument. Either “why are you defending a big corporation” or “You’re just a crazy fanboy”. This line of reasoning has become the de-facto response for the purveyors of the negativity. It’s a get out of jail free card that allows you to write anything you want no matter how false or how nonsensical, and if anyone disagrees with you then they are just confirming the stereotype of the crazy fanboy. It’s ingenious in a way, but like much of tech blogging, its not original. It’s the same technique Fox news uses to demonise the “Mainstream Media” and get away with saying whatever they want. In fact if you look at the devolution of the tech news blogosphere over the last few years it directly mimics the kind of nonsense taking place in the regular media.

The most extreme example of this that I saw recently was when Josh Topolsky accused MG Seigler and John Gruber of engaging in “class warfare” because of a negative review of an Android product. It was an argument that was so completely and utterly ridiculous that no sane person would have ever believed it, yet on the technology web it spread like wildfire, and hoards of commenters on Topolskys “The Verge” applauded his gusto for standing up to the “crazy fanboys”.

The worst about this approach is it works. People temper their opinions and thought to give the appearance of balance. To appease those crying “fanboy” they will tone down reviews and ignore facts so as to appear unbiased. As John Gruber once put it: “Grading on a curve”. The problem is though, that for the people they are trying to appease, balance isn’t what they are looking for. They see the absence of bias as bias. In their minds unless you take their skewed view then you are biased. To be balanced to the far out views of one group, you have to sacrifice any reason or argument that puts you in the centre, because to them the centre is biased. Capitulating to this way of thinking just sucks you in and skews the perception of reality to those who no longer have a grounded reality to judge from. And this is true, not just of the technology media, but the wider world of reporting and news.

Of course, not every corner of the tech blogging is bad. Not everything is negative and demonising. I’m not trying to vilify all blogs. This isn’t an argument against bloggers per se. This is a blog right here. There is certainly great work being done by both big media organisations and tech bloggers, but it’s getting harder and harder to find the wheat from the chaff.

Responding to it just makes things worse. That’s the mistake I made. You end up sounding like a crazy old man standing on your porch shouting at “those damn kids” to get off the lawn. This just further proves the point of the hate pedlars. (And yes, I see the irony because that’s what I’m doing right now) Nope, instead it’s time to think differently. It’s time to stand up to the bullies of the technology world, not by trying to reason with them, or correct their nonsense, but by not giving up on the passions for which you stand and believe in.

It’s time to fight back by changing the game. If I want to write good things about Apple, its products or technology, then I’m not going to apologise for it. Not any more. If you want to call me an “Apple Fanboy”, then I embrace your insult as a badge of honour. I love Apple’s products so I’m not going to try and pretend that doing so is some great controversy.

I want to go back to a world where you could open your RSS reader first thing in the morning and there were more positive articles than negative… Where you could read about the latest Mac or Printer or Headphones without having to trawl through a sea of moaning and paranoia… I want to be enthusiastic about the technology world again. I’m not saying that people can’t criticise or speak the truth when companies do the wrong thing, or release bad products, but it’s time to stop putting a negative spin on absolutely everything. It’s time to stop reporting every success as a secret failure, every bug as a hidden conspiracy, and every development as really a setback. And for those that do, ignore them. Commenting on their nonsense is what they want. It just feeds the animal.

For me it starts right here. From now on, I’m not going to respond to the bullshit. Im not going to point out the stories that point out the comments that point out the stupid nonsense someone has somewhere re-blogged from someone else. It’s time to stop feeding the beast. I’ll be critical where it merits, but it’s time to bring the enthusiasm back.

This humble little blog might not have an influence in the rest of the world, but I don’t care. I do this for me and the few people who like reading my thoughts and opinions, because if I don’t like reading them, then how can I expect you to? Big things start small, and if I can do one small thing, then I will have achieved something, even if it’s just for me.

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