Archives for category: Apple

So here’s the short version of Apple’s announcement from its new CEO Tim Cook, today…

Image

Apple have defined the Post-PC world, and is defining the Post-PC future too with the iPod, iPhone and iPad.  They’re now selling their wares through 362 retail stores worldwide and in Q4 of 2011 these stores had in excess of 110million visitors.  

They’ve sold 315 million iOS devices, with 62 million of them being in Q4 2011. Siri now works in French, German and Japanese as part of iOS 5.1

The App Store now holds 585,000 apps and the 25 billionth download was in China. iCloud has 100million users and now supports Movies in the cloud. 

Apple TV
iCloud now supports 1080p Movies. The new Apple TV supports that. There’s a new UI, with photo streaming and recommendations based on your viewing habits. It’s priced at $99 and is available next week. 

iPad
15.4 million were sold in Q4 2011 (HP sold 15.1 million PCs in the same period). It’s less than 2 years old and everyone loves it. It has over 200,000 apps designed specifically for it. So what can beat an iPad2? The New iPad!

A Retina display (2048 x 1536 pixels) over a million more than a 1080p display. 264 pixels per inch. 44% better colour saturation. 
The A5X processor. Quad-core graphics. Fastest iPad yet. 
iSight Camera.  The 5 megapixel camera just like on the iPhone 4S. 
1080p video recording. Includes video stabilisation and noise reduction. 
Voice dictation. A Mic key on the keyboard enables English, French, German and Japanese support. 
4G LTE. Faster network connection where available – and I have to stress that “where available”. For my money this is the weakest feature because the network providers either don’t provide these speeds or charge over the odds for using them. LTE isn’t generally available I the UK. It will run as a personal hotspot though – much like the iPhone 4. 
Battery Life. 10 hours on 4G. 9.4mm thick and weighs 1.4lbs

$499 for 16Gb, $599 for 32Gb and $699 for 64Gb (WiFi)

$629 for 16Gb, $729 for 32Gb and $829 for 64Gb (WiFi & 4G)

Pre orders now, available in both black and white from March 16th. 

There’s also a raft of software updates for “The New iPad” including…

iWork – free upgrades if you’ve already bought them or $9.99 each otherwise. 
GarageBand also has updates including iCloud integration. Available today. 
iMovie. New story boarding and editing facilities. Free upgrade or $4.99. Available today. 
iPhoto. New to the iPad. If you’ve used iPhoto before then you’ll know what this is about, if not you’re in for a treat. New effects, multitouch editing, beaming photos across devices, brushes, journals. The “reinvention” of the iPhoto application.  Supports up to 19megapixel pictures. All the editing features, cropping, straightening, enhancing, white balance and red eye are still here, plus area exposure and saturation controls for specific portions of a picture. Journals is like an automatic scrap book builder for your photo collections. It’s $4.99 and available today. 


This post originally appeared here: Posterous
Advertisements

Yesterday was the 10th birthday of the iPod, and today is the launch of the official biography of the late Steve Jobs.

The story of the iPod and how it’s allegedly killed the music industry is a well told and worn one – in my opinion it’s just changed the music industry, not killed it, but what do I know?  The story of it’s creator (and I use that term in a fairly loose way on this occasion) is far less well known.  He was renowned for being a very private and secretive man which is seemingly at odds with his presence and “fame” – for want of a better word – as a company director.  There aren’t many – if any CEO’s (with the possible exception of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook) – that are as well know as he was. I’ve heard loads of theories about the reasons for his popularity since his death, but I’m not sure I click with any of them.
He was, after all, just a man, like any other who happened to be in the right place at the right time and had a drive and passion for his business. I think he was more “well known”, than popular although I think that his perceived “popularity” has a lot to do with his peer group.  Bill Gates might have owned the PC – via the Microsoft behemoth, but I’m not sure he’d be a barrel of laughs at a party. Steve beat Bill by being a “cool geek” and you can see why other geeks would want to emulate him for that reason.
I don’t really read biography’s – some people swear by them – but in this case I might be tempted to make an exception. I suppose I’m following the heard of wannabe cool geeks, but equally I’d quite like to know what went on in his head. Even if it is from another person’s perspective and not his own.
I’ll leave the subject of Steve with two points – one, and most interestingly for me, the talk in the book of an Apple Television. Not Apple TV, which he claimed was just a hobby, but an actual Apple Television. Some people have said this already exists in the form of the iMac, but I think we all know what Steve’s really getting at and I think it’s probably the the last piece of his grand plan. The ownership of the living room would be complete – whether it’ll ever see the light of day now that he’s passed, only time will tell.
The second Steve story is my favourite – and is all about the shenanigans around the release of the iPhone 4.  Some of you will probably recall that Gizmodo managed to acquire an iPhone 4 that an Apple sales rep left in a bar by mistake. Brian Lam tells of his take on Steve Jobs in this article (Steve Jobs was always kind to me (or, regrets of an asshole)), and what makes it for me is the line “Before he hung up, he asked me, “What do you think of it?””. Judge for yourself.

Giz_ip4

On the work front, IIWII and WAWWA, which for the regular readers means it’s not great, but that’s life. I am starting to get rather swamped though.  The work I’m doing with pooh obviously takes priority, but I’m covering for one of our number who is on vacation, pooh is going to take some time out to have his honey-covered paws cleaned up and there’s more work on the horizon. I’m perceiving a pressure that doesn’t yet exist – not a good place for my brain to be.
Daughter’s in court today. Not for something she did (thank heavens) but for something she saw. This is what happens when you patrol the mean streets in your spare time. She was a little nervous before she set off – but she’d never say so. I’m sure it’ll be fine and they’ll lock up the bad guys and let the good guys go.
Her companies attitude towards her having time off to attend court has been less than satisfactory though.  She’s performing a service for her local community, free, gratis and at no charge. This translates into not only a safer, happier place for all those that live on her patch – many of them work in the same company – but also a direct saving in each of their pockets by way of a lower level of council tax.
Clearly a forward thinking company would recognise that safe and happy staff are more hardworking and reliable staff and as such be supportive of her venture. Attending court as a witness / arresting officer isn’t something you can choose not to do – it’s a legal requirement. So, a day off without pay – rather than taking holiday (which let’s face it, is supposed to be for your holidays) would seem to be the correct thing to do when these circumstances arise.  Not a bit of it.
However… the police have been called, HR will be summonsed – they’re surrounded and there’s no escape.

Police

There’s also currently no documented policy within the business to deal with it – and so hopefully it will be resolved in a speedy and logical manner.
It seems the business just needs some edumacation in the way their community works.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

So what happened?…..    Just in case you haven’t heard it yet here’s the short(ish) version…

 

So they started off with Tim Cook taking the stage and talking about two new Chinese Apple Stores and the new one over in Hong Kong too.  They like to big up the numbers first.  He ran a video and got his first proper round of applause.

 

Then the new CEO went on to discuss their products. Starting with the desktop OS (OSX Lion) and comparing it to Windows 7. Lion has been downloaded 6 million times. It took Windows 7 20 weeks to reach the same point that Lion reached in 2 weeks.

 

Mac: The MacBook Air – the best macbook ever. Mac has outgrown the PC market by almost six times and Mac has outgrown the PC every quarter for the last 5 years.

 

iTunes and iPods: In 10 years the iPod has become the number one music player in the world. More than 70% of the US market belongs to the iPod and they’ve sold over 300 million iPods worldwide.  Sony sold 230,000 walkman cassette players in 30 years. iTunes launched 8 years ago with 200,000 tracks available, and now it holds 20 million. It’s the number one music store in the world.

 

iPhone: The iPhone 4 accounts for 50% of the iPhones ever sold. The number 1 smartphone in the world. 93% of the Fortune 500 companies are deploying the iPhone in their businesses. The iPhone has 5% of the mobile phone market worldwide – not smartphones – but mobile phones. That is one hell of a lot of phones.

 

iPad: The iPad has a 95% customer satisfaction rating. They’re everywhere. Schools, Pilots and Medicine. 3 out of 4 tablets sold in the US are iPads. As AllThingsD said “People want iPads, not Tablets”, And this morning, the passed 250 million iOS devices sold.

 

iOS: iOS accounts for 43% of the mobile OS installed base. There are over 500,000 apps in the Apps Store and just over 140,000 of these are specifically designed for the iPad. There have been over 18billion apps downloaded – over a billion a month.  There’s also now a “cards” app, in which you send your photo and it’s then delivered via the postal service.

 

iOS5: There’s over 200 new features as we already know. They include notifications and  iMessage (like BlackBerry Messenger) which will run on all the iOS devices. There will also be Twitter integration (not Facebook) and ….

 

  • NewsStand: NewsStand will download new publications in the background so they’re ready and waiting for you when you want to read them.  
  • Camera: My favourite feature – The volume buttons as a trigger for the camera, but there’s also autofocus and autoexposure along with grid line to align your shot.
  • Game Center: which is the place where iOS gamers get together. There’s 67 million users on there now.  
  • Safari: has had a refresh, and includes the reader feature which exists on the desktop version already.

 

It’ll run on the iPhone 4, 3GS, iPad 1 & 2, iPod touch (3rd & 4th Gen) and will arrive on October the 12th…  bit annoying because I wanted it before I jet off – but so be it.

 

iCloud” obviously is the next big thing to be discussed. iCloud is all about syncronising your iOS devices. iTunes will be in the cloud, Photo Stream, puts your photos in the cloud. You can store your Pages & Numbers documents up there and your iOS device will be automatically backed up every day. It will finally be available to all on October the 12th.

 

“Family and Friends” is a new app to help keep track of your family and friends. There are location sharing blocks of time and simple privacy controls to enable switching the service on and off. Of course your family and friends will need to be carrying an iOS device.

 

“iTunes Match” will scan your library and match it to the tracks that exist in iTunes to save you uploading them onto iCloud. Not sure what happens if you haven’t bought your tracks (ie: They’re pirated) but I’m sure that’ll become clear.  To sign up for it, you pay $25 per year but not until the end of October. And the rub here??  It’s only available in the US due to copyright law. Pah!

 

just going back to the iPods…

 

iPod Nano: new built in sensors for tracking your walking and running. 16 New clock faces for everyone who uses their iPod Nano as a watch. (8Gb = $129 and 16Gb = $149)

 

iPod Touch: Most popular iPod and the most popular gaming device. iMessage and GameCenter are both appearing here. There’s now going to be a white version. (8Gb = $199, 32Gb = $299 and 64Gb = $399)

 

And so… onto the iPhone….

 

The iPhone 4S!!!  (I hate to say I told you so).  

 

It’s the same externally as an iPhone 4, but internally there’s lots of changes.  The A5 chip (Apple designed Dual Core ARM chip), 7x faster graphics (dual core graphics processor), Increased battery life, Improved antennas for call quality and download speeds up to almost 14.4Mbps and it’s a Worldphone!…  The camera has been upgraded to an 8 megapixel sensor. 

Iphone4s

If you’re really into your camera gear – you’d be interested to know it has the following: “CMOS backside illuminated sensor — gets 73% more light than the iPhone 4 sensor, and 1/3rd faster. On top of that, we place a high-end IR filter for greater accuracy and uniformity.” – They’re complex gizmos and they’re very highly rated. HD 1080p video recording with real-time stabilisation and noise reduction. 

 

And finally…..  Voice. This is really the new innovation. Now you can talk to your device. It’s marketed as an “Intelligent Assistant” known as Siri.

 

So you say, “What’s the weather like today?” and it simply tells you…..  now, I’m happy to look up at the sky, but I get where this is going. “What time is it in Paris?” for example is far more useful. 

 

You can set your alarm by saying “Wake me up tomorrow at 6am” These are the sort of clever tricks your iPhone 4S will doing for you.

 

Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha searches by voice.

 

Basically – you ask it and it speaks back the response. Good stuff if it works as well as the demos. Other wise, http://www.DamnYouAutoCorrect.com was the tip of the iceberg. Works in English, French and German.

 

And so a worldwide launch on October the 14th… with pre-orders from the 7th October in the US, Canada, Australia, UK, France, Germany and Japan.  Oh, and the price ?

 

16Gb = $199

32Gb = $299

64Gb = $399

 

The iPhone 4 will drop to $99 and the remaining 3GS’ will be free on contract.

 

That’s it. What do you think?


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

So in a departure from what has become the norm, today saw me making a trip up to the local office for a meeting with the bad man and a newly assigned PM who will be taking things forward from here for us.

Wednesday’s have become the day for our weekly get togethers up there, but this week it’s a Tuesday. Nothing especially different about it, other than the rest of the account team weren’t there.  As things have turned out, the day went well mostly – apart from having to pick up something new that wasn’t on the original list of new things to be picking up. In the end, mid afternoon saw us finishing off at a sensible time.

Other facts we learned today*: 

  • The Channel Islands are just off the coast of Poland.
  • Lawyer is spelt L-I-A-R

It’s Apple day – so I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say about the next round of iPhones. As I said yesterday, I’m fully expecting there NOT to be an iPhone 5 (but as with everything those guys do – anything could happen)

Iphone

I reckon the best iOS5 function that’s coming (aside from the voice assitant and the enhanced notifications system) is moving the camera shutter button onto the physical volume buttons on the side of the phone. That will actually make picture taking far more natural and one hell of a lot easier to do.

Next week I’m jetting off on the annual (or in my case bi-annual) golf trip to Spain. Normally I have to lug my proper camera around with me of an evening to capture the lads in various states of stupidity. Fingers crossed that the new OS lands in time so that this year I’ll only be lugging my phone. I’m also going to get my “posting to Google+ via email” sorted out so that I can instantly share thier embaressing moments amongst the correct circles (although posting to a specific circle via email is something I have yet to figure out).

Something you may not be aware of that will help me along the path of automating such tasks it a website called http://ifttt.com (If This Then That). It’s a place were you can join sites (referred to as channels) together in the form of “tasks”.  So for example if you use instagram to take pictures and have a dropbox account (for online storage), you could create a recipe that each time you take a picture with instagram, then copies that picture onto your dropbox storage.

Once you’ve created your “tasks” you can share them to the ifttt community as “recipes”. There’s a whole host of channels available to the tool, including such sites as Facebook, Foursquare, GoogleMail, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Flickr and on and on the list goes. It’s clever stuff and I’d recommend it if you’re trying to manage your “external digital emminance” 😀

Well then – 6pm is almost upon us and so I’m shooting off to keep track of the Apple announcement. Hopefully I can get iOS5 before my travels.

If you feel like following along, you can do so here: http://live.gdgt.com/live-apple-iphone-5-event-coverage/ 

*Some items proclaimed as fact may NOT actually be facts. True Story.

 


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Onwards to my favourite subject, but one I’ve been a little neglectful of lately. All things technological.  In particular, two subjects, that of the Social network and of Apple.

 

Facebook has become THE social network. It’s slowly grown into that position over a (relatively) long period of time, as you can see here:

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]

I’m sure you’d agree that’s some pretty rapid growth. But that’s nothing.  Take a look at Twitter’s growth numbers.

[[posterous-content:pid___1]]

So Facebook went from zero to 800 million users (by far the most of any Social Network) in 7 years. You could average it at 114m users a year if you like.

 

However, Twitter went from zero to 200 million in 5 years, which again you could average to 40m a year. So that’s still very rapid growth, but not as fast as Facebook.  So what about Google plus?

 

G+ went from zero to 10million users in 16 days…..  and we can see from the trends of the other networks that growth starts off slow….  If that’s slow! then these are crazy numbers..  averaging out at 228m a year!!! Holy crud.  Of course – these are just statistics and as we know 87.4% of statistics are made up on the spot.  G+’s biggest problem is that to move people from Facebook onto G+, the Facebook crowd won’t budge until their friends are there, or until Facebook changes something major that they don’t like.

 

And guess what?  One snippet of tech news that’s not just a statistic is that Facebook is changing.  Their recent F8 conference announced a whole raft of changes which clearly show they feel threatened by the release of Google+ and that they’re running to catch up quick.  One of the more interesting is the timeline, which I actually think looks very nice – but it’s pretty creepy when stuff like this happens to what you thought was personal – and then suddenly isn’t.  

And of course, Facebook users – who are traditionally a fairly conservative bunch – won’t like the change.  At least for about three weeks and then they’ll just resort to their usual level of bland chitter-chatter.

 

Here’s what timeline looks like from Facebook’s perspective…

 

 

Now, from socialising, onto the fruit stuff… Apple…..

 

If you didn’t know already, there’s an Apple announcement tomorrow and this has served to whip the IT press into a frenzy.  Here’s what I’ve heard that seems pretty solid…

 

Steve Jobs probably won’t be there, because Tim Cook will be, now that Steve has officially retired. It would be great for him to appear to handover to Tim, but he’s probably too unwell, which is a great shame.  He’s clearly been one of the most innovative CEO’s in the tech industry over the last 10 years and turned Apple around when they needed it most. He will be greatly missed by the tech world as a whole.

 

As for the announcement, the expectation is the iPhone 5 will land – and I have to say after all I’ve seen and read – I don’t think it will. I think the iPhone 5 (which might have a curved back a bit like the iPhone 3 – or it might not) isn’t going to show up until next year at the earliest. 

 

Furthermore, the location for the announcement (Apple’s HQ) is a very small venue – too small for an iPhone launch – and this time of year is traditionally reserved for iPod announcements.  Having said that, the invite for the event looks like this:

[[posterous-content:pid___2]]

Now – lots of people have tried to analyse this image – and have drawn the conclusion that – it’s clearly an iPhone event (and not an iPod event), It’s on Tuesday the 4th at 10am in Cupertino, CA and it’s about voice recognition on the iPhone.  That seems to fir with all the other rumors pretty nicely.

 

iPhone stuff

  • There’s going to be a cheaper 8G iPhone 4 (model N90A)
  • There’s going to be an iPhone 4S (model N94) will have CDMA GSMA HSPA+ (in other words 4G capabilities)
  • Really good speech recognition. Probably not on the iPhone 3Gs or earlier.

 

Non iPhone stuff

  • The iPod classic will no longer be available.
  • A new iPod touch possibly

 

Other random guesstimate….

  • There really might be an Apple HDTV – but it’s really dodgy ground.  I’d love to think this was true, but who knows. We’ll just have to wait until tomorrow….

 

The far more interesting part of the announcement will be the arrival of iOS 5.

 

iOS 5 has loads of great new features – and as I’ve said elsewhere, since Amazon have announce the Kindle Fire – hardware isn’t where the fight is anymore.  It’s moved on to content. Once more, content is king again. 

 

If you count an OS as content, then Apple are going to do something awesome in this space. You can read about the advertised changes here: http://www.apple.com/ios/ios5/

But one last minute feature that I hadn’t heard about until this week is iOS5’s new locking features – including shapes. Drag your finger in a shape to unlock the screen.  Android does this already – so it’s a welcome addition.

 

So – 10am PST is 6pm UK time. The only absolute certainly is the tech press will still be talking about it and wondering what Apple will do next.


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

First of all, streaming TV & Movies from OSX Lion to Apple TV (or apparently a Mac Mini, and probably anything else)….

I have an iMac which hosts my iTunes library on my home WiFi LAN. This has an external HDD that contains all the media files and usually streams quite happily across the LAN to my first generation Apple TV in the living room.  This setup has worked flawlessly for the past 3 or 4 years and all well and good.  

Since I’ve upgraded to OS X Lion, this hasn’t been quite so smooth.  In fact, any video streamed to the Apple TV seems to stutter and requires re-buffering every minute or so, making watching it almost impossible. In short – it’s become a useless brick.

Now, after some digging, reading of log files and testing of suggestions it appears I’ve found the culprit, who is none other than our good old desktop search friend “Spotlight”.  It appears that the spotlight indexing process is constantly mounting and unmounting the external HDD.  This in turn means that the content is unavailable to iTunes and thus un-streamable to the Apple TV.  Apple TV attempts to re-read the data which forces a mount of the HDD and all is well again until spotlight unmounts it again – about 30 seconds later.

The solution (for now) seems to be to switch of indexing of the external HDD. This can be done via System Preferences -> Spotlight -> Privacy and specifically excluding the drive (or drives).  Once that’s done, a quick reboot and everything is working as it should do.  I’m sure this is a short term fix until the wizards at Apple fix the problem with spotlight – but at least my ATV isn’t just a brick anymore.

I’m also considering an upgrade to a second generation Apple TV during my forthcoming US trip – but time will tell.

Now, on to my second point today….  A name…  Finally I’ve been suspended from Google+ for using my very well know nickname instead of my real name.  Seriously quite annoying.  This means the only way for me to continue using G+ is to come clean.  Very disappointing, but such is the way of things…..   What I can’t understand is why this is so important to Google?   As I’ve said before, outside of work, everyone but everyone knows me as Golfy (or Golfyball if you’re not into the whole brevity thing). 

Gplus

I’m sure that one day, when G+ is truly opened to the masses I’ll be able to go back to my more well known name – but for now – I am who I am who am I ?


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Those of you with a keen ear, will recognise the line from the Wizard of Oz, and one thing is for certain, this most definetly isn’t Kansas anymore, by which I mean, things have changed…..

Lionsntigersnbears

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that Winnie-the-Pooh and I have been on a great adventure.  High up the hill above the village, we’ve seen woodland creatures of all shapes and sizes and we’ve run-off from the hedgerow in search of that mystic and majestic beast – the neliphunt. For our (sort of) first expedition, you’d expect this to be a ramshackle mess of a journey with nothing going right and everything going wrong. In truth, this hasn’t quite been the case.  There have been moments of danger, but generally speaking all has gone very well.  So it comes as a great surprise to all and sundry about, that we have actually caught us an neliphunt which is as I speak locked up in Pooh’s cellar while we decide what to do with it. I may have said too much already – although anyone with half a brain and a google search box might be able to figure it out. 

Wt

We both need a bit of a rest ofter all the excitement, (Pooh probably more than I as he’s had to patiently ignore my obvious observations and listen to my less obvious one’s with apparant interest) so he will be off to the New World for a break, while I have the “Change is as good as a rest” option, to cover for him while he’s gone. Luckily for me, the cover means I too, will get to see the New World by way of a handover.  I think this means I’ll have to be sharing the tusks with our cousins, but so far that’s not being made very clear.  It’s been 4 years since I’ve been across the pond.  I’m both daunted (Not sure how I’ll get on with tusks in customs) and very much looking forward to it. While I’m not in love with it, I do realy quite like America…. a lot….  But that’s in the future….

Our friends of the fruit – Mr Jobs & co, have unleashed Lion upon us.  Now, me being a tigger (and tigger’s are wonderful things) I’m not in the least bit daunted.

Osxlion

Many apple folks of old have warned that being an early adopter can cause pain – and having been an early adopter of technology for many years, I am all to aware of that fact.  I only have to think of the agony of a failed recording of Coronation Street thanks to Microsoft’s Media Center glitches to bring it all flooding back.  Personally, I wasn’t the least bit worried about a missed episode – but hell hath no fury… as the saying goes.

Still, unpreturbed – or perhaps that should be unhindered by hindsight – I was amongst the first to hand over my 20quid to download the latest offering for the App Store.  A very interesting move by Apple to have walked away from traditional methods of software distribution.  This is a first for such a major OS, and not something I could imagine MS doing (given their control freakery).  Besides, MS probably want to justify the extortionate prices they charge – but what do I know?

So how did it go?  Is my mac now a quivering jumled up mess of bits all over the floor, failing to boot up and awaiting new drivers for some piece of hardware I’ve owned for 5 years without any problems ???  (See MS Upgrades elsewhere for more on that).  Of course not. It’s awesome. And it’s encouraged me to spend a further sixty quid with them on a magic touchpad.  Now that my firends, is some darn clever marketing. 

My interation with the OS is now all swipes and hand gestures (no, not that one) – and it really does feel surprsingly natural. Pinching and zooming (just like the iPad, iPhon and iPod) is great, and a two fingured swipe to the right while web browsing is the most natural back button in the world. I’m suitably impressed.  On top of that, the full screen apps make great use of my desktop real estate and the whole system feels snappy and smart.  

So – no pain at all???  Well, one thing – and it’s a tiny one.  Internally on my home network, I run a web server to share various things – and after upgrade – I wasn’t able to get this working again.  At this precise moment I still haven’t figured it out – but that’s due entirely to having to work for a living and not being able to procrastinate all day long.  I’m sure I’ll have it sorted on Sunday.  I am tempted to take the “clean install” approach, just because upgrades are known for doing the unexpected. I’ll give it some thought.

Google+ is also with us, and I’ve prattled about it here already. The iOS app arrived this week, which you can pick up here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google/id447119634?mt=8 .  If you haven’t got on it yet – it’s up to 20million users now (in about 3 weeks – it took Facebook three years to do that) and I’d highly recommend that you become one of them: http://plus.google.com. Feel free to add http://gplus.to/golfyball to one of your circles.

Mrs G and I have had our Wedding anniversary as well – all good… Choclate and Iron.  I didn’t buy her an Iron as violence often hurts, and I would have been subjected to some if I had.  Today however, will see us off to a food festival.  and I’m starving just at the thought of it.  http://www.gloucesterquaysfoodfestival.co.uk/

Toodle-pip old bean!


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

I only have two things to say on the subject of current work at Starfleet….

Firstly this:

Dilbert.com

And secondly, this:

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”

Now, to more geekery.

Tomorrow (Monday) is WWDC day!! WooHoo!  Rumour has it, we’re going to hear about iOS5, OSX Lion, iCloud and all sorts of other fun stuff. 

Recently I was asked for a list of iPhone apps by a friend of mine for his newly acquired gadget. Whats good and has longevity? At least, that was the question I answered, even if wasn’t quite worded that way. In the end, the list is actually quite useful, so here for you delectation(and with apologies in advance to the non apple fans) is Golfy’s list of really quite good apps for the iPhone (and an additional few for the iPad)… Enjoy…

Base Apps
This is the stuff that currently lives on my home screen and gets all the usage. That space is some very valuable real-estate..

BBC News
News stories by geographical region.
News by category including business, technology, entertainment and sport.
News in other languages including Spanish, Russian and Arabic Video including one minute news summaries to keep you informed on the go.
You can also personalise the app to suit your interests and download content for offline browsing

 
TomTom
TomTom’s patented mapping and routing intelligence is at the core of the TomTom App. TomTom is known the world over for the accuracy and extensive coverage of its maps. TomTom maps have been rated highest in terms of quality and reliability. No mobile signal or data plan is required to browse your map and navigate to your destination. And, only TomTom offers IQ Routes, which evaluates routes based on actual traffic speeds rather than posted speed limits, and recommends the fastest route based on the time of the day.
 
TV Guide
TVguide.co.uk, the UK’s number one TV listings website, brings you a FREE smart and sexy application that allows you to see what’s on now and next, at one glance. If you prefer, there’s also the option of a full day’s listings on one screen. Check out programmes for all channels on Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat. Not only that, TVGuide.co.uk comes with its own special features, including alerts, catch-up and options to share your favourites TV shows with friends
 
Wikipanion (although to be fair, I pretty much just Google for wiki entries now).
Accessing Wikipedia has never been faster and easier than with Wikipanion, designed for easy, search, navigation and display of Wikipedia entries. Streamline your browsing with history grouped by visit date, and bookmarking that not only bookmarks individual entries, but individual sections within an entry.
 
Tweetbot
Tweetbot is a full-featured iPhone (and iPod touch) Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it’s the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds & animation, or features like multiple timelines & smart gestures, there’s a lot to love about Tweetbot.
 
Instagram
3.75 Million users love Instagram! It’s a free, fun, and simple way to make and share gorgeous photos on your iPhone. Pick from one of several gorgeous filtered effects or tilt-shift blur to breathe a new life into your mobile photos. Transform everyday moments into works of art you’ll want to share with friends and family. Share your photos in a simple photo stream with friends to see – and follow your friends’ photos with the click of a single button. Every day you open up Instagram, you’ll see new photos from your closest friends, and creative people from around the world.
 

The Best of the Rest…..

Blogging BlogPress, Posterous, Pages
Checkin Foursquare, Gowalla
News Sky News, NewsRack
Weather Outside, Met Office
TV&Movies TVCatchup URL: http://www.tvcatchup.com, BBC iPlayer, IMDb Flixster
Music Shazam, TuneIn Radio, Last.fm
Sport Sky Sports News, Sky Sports Football, PremRugby, ECB Cricket, Racing Post, Golfshot GPS
Shopping Shopper, VoucherCloud, Tesco Finder, eBay, Groupon
Travel MiPermit, PetrolPrices, TravelNews, London Tube, thetrainline, Priority Club, Trip Advisor
Phone Skype, Yell.com
Photo iMovie, PS Express, Diptic, Flickr, Photo synth, PhotoSync
Money Natwest, PayPal, Numbers
GPS Tools AroundMe, Glympse, Latitude
Books Kindle, iBooks
Geekery BTFon, WiFi Track, Speed Test, VNC, i-nigma, LinkedIn

and finally for MobileMe users – who are about to join the iCloud (allegedly)….

Apple Geekery iDisk Gallery Remote Find iPhone


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Well that’s almost week one of 2011 done. So far so good.  Of course as far as the Starfleet stuff is concerned it’s very early days and I find myself reading and reading and reading and just for kicks doing a bit more reading.  There’s no denying I’m very well read.  Luckily that suits me just fine. A gentle run into it is far better for my well being than dropping from a great height.

It also gives me the opportunity to keep up to date with some of the more interesting tech news. For instance yesterday saw the launch of the Mac App Store. If you’re not a Mac user, feel free to look away now. Having said that, you should really be saving up your pennies to become a Mac user. Let me just evangalise for a moment, oh and before I get going, there is no personal benefit to me should you be buying Apple, Microsoft or any other manufacturers product for that matter. I’m not actually trying to sell anything here.

<sales pitch/lecture mode ON>
Let’s be very very clear. I’m NOT a fan boy, although I have become a fan. IMHO for home use, there’s nothing better than OSX for the time being.

…And no I’m not biased either – I was an MS man through and through from way back when MS-DOS arrived all the way up through Windows 2, 3.1, Windows for Workgroups, Windows 95, 98, 98SE, NT, NT3.51, NT4.0, 2000, and XP.. Finally when Vista landed I’d had enough. Constant patching, blue screening, hanging, locking and replacing drivers was all just getting too much like hard work.. I’m even a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (lapsed now) but the point is I really do know what I’m talking about.

I was a Unix/Linux system admin from the early 1990’s and I still turn my hand to some of it from time to time. But it’s always when someone has a problem with it and it needs fixing.  Why does it need fixing!??

I hear good stories about Windows 7 and I like nix/nux platforms, but I converted almost two years ago, and I’m not going back.

Where I’m at things just work. They might have dropped that from the advertising, but it’s still very much the truth. So, I’ve told you what I know, what you choose to do with that information is your choice. 
<sales pitch/lecture mode OFF> 

Now where was I?  Oh yes. The App Store.

So what is it? Well, if you’re familiar with an iPhone or an iPod touch or an iPad then the App Store on those devices is exactly the same thing except for being on your Macbook or iMac. What’s more, once you’ve bought an application once, you can re-install on any system that uses your iTunes ID. Not only that, but the products are of much lower cost than if you went out and bought them on CD. Furthermore, once you have them, they’re updated automagically (or at least when you tell them to check for updates).

This change to the way that software is bought and managed isn’t exactly new. Microsoft have been doing something similar with their “Windows Update” service for quite some time, but the runaway success of the app store in the mobile world is likely to be repeated on your desktop or laptop for shear convenience if nothing else.

It seems to me that we’re heading towards a world in which what we buy as consumers (music, video, software, books etc etc) is stored online for us to access when we need it. In other words, good old CLOUD again. 

In the old days this was the mainframe model. Nothing was local other than a screen and keyboard (the terminal) and everything was off in a data center somewhere. PC’s changed all that and everyone started having “Fat Clients”, where everything you wanted was on your desk. This is a nightmare to manage though and while there are some fairly successful methods for doing so, the technology has in recent years been leading us full circle and back to “Thin Clients”

It’s not exactly the same model of course, more of a hybrid, but CLOUD has definetly been the buzzword of the last two years with the likes of Google trying to lead the way. I think with the launch of the App Store that Apple are attempting to get to a similar destination via a slightly different route and I fully expect to see some sort of Audio streaming coming from them in the near future and probably followed up with video. The apple TV is already their thin client of choice for the living room after all.

The issue is the same issue it’s always been though. Connectivity. While the Internet is pervasive, that is only in the more well connected parts of the planet. We keep coming up with ingenious ways to provide connectivity, but so far it doesn’t have the reach of air or sunlight for example. Hell, we can’t even get fresh water everywhere, so acess to the internet should be the least of our worries. 

It’s a strange world that we live in when you see highly connected sheds in the outer reaches of Africa yet your phone signal will routinely drop in the center of any of the metropoli (is that the plural of metropolis?) that you care to think of. It maybe getting cloudy, but it’s not overcast yet.

Dilbert.com


This post originally appeared here: Posterous

Ooooooo….  that’s interesting…  loads of stuff happening with double O’s in their names.  I doubt it’s a sign of anything though.  A quick run through then:

 

Facebook announcements. Last night saw (the now slightly more famous because there’s a film about him) Mark Zuckerberg, referred to as Zuck in the IT press, announce some new bits and pieces over at Facebook. And finally it looks like they might actually be trying to get something right. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting I suddenly feel the need to trust them with anything, but they are making the right noises, al be it slowly.  There’s a full summary of what Zuck terms “Giving You More Control” over here on the Facebook Blog, but the two key elements that stood out for me are 1) The ability to download your data and take it somewhere else and 2) A new way of handling groups.

Downloading your data may not seem like a big deal, but it’s got to be useful if you decide you want out, but want to keep a copy of your facebook life. AS usual with any new large-ish change at Facebook though, it’s not available in the UK yet. When it is, you’ll just nip into your “Account Settings” and near the bottom of the page there’s a “Download” option which will generate a file on their servers and send you an email when it’s ready for you to collect.. Quite a neat way of dealing with it I think. Now all we need is a really secure, new, facebook-like site, that works the way it should, to be able to import this downloaded file 🙂

Facebook groups are long overdue a fix.  They’ve had a sort of groups system for sometime, but it’s been a headache to manage and doesn’t really work in a way that reflects the real world. Now they have this: http://www.facebook.com/groups/  I’m still not 100% certain it solves all the problems, but I’ll give it a go first before I write them off. 10 out of 10 for effort at least.

 

HootSuite. This is an interesting toolset that I’ve yet to make proper use of but I like the look of. They’ve announced some very confusing changes to their pricing structure. Anyone with a team on Twitter should probably be using it though. Can anyone figure out which bits are free and which bits you pay for??  http://hootsuite.com/

 

Flook. Here’s an idea. Take a picture of a useful, interesting or secret place and post it with geographical refrences online so that other people can find out about it.  Sort of like a do-it-yourself yellow pages but looking like post-cards. it’s a nice interface and has clearly been thought about, much like Gowalla is growing on me over Foursquare (but that’s another story). I’m not sure it’s going to meet it’s goals, which have been described as “Geo-Google”, but it’s fun trying and actually has some really neat little elements to it. While it began life as purely an iPhone app, it is now available via a web browser, so theoretically across any Internet enabled mobile device. Even plays nicely with Twitter & Facebook. Give it a go. http://flook.it/

 

Google TV @ Logitech. We’re no seeing signs of Google TV actually arriving soon, although still no news about a UK launch. Logitech have announced the pricing for their set top box (STB) to be $299.99. It’s called the Logitech Revue. Read all about it over here: http://www.logitech.com/en-us/smartTV/revue

Two other O apps for the Mac that I want to mention, but not doubles this time…

See and download the full gallery on posterous

AppOmater, which can be found here: http://www.appomator.com/ helps you develop iPhone applications without any programming knowledge. In my book, this is the lazy way, but then again, there are thousands of p[eople out there with ideas for applications that may never get realised without something like this.  

It’s not a freebie mind you. It is free to sign up and download and start using their application, but if you have something you  want to get published, you have to pay $50 to register with their service and then an ongoing fee for hosting the application you’ve developed. They also get a cut of any profits you make from the App Store, but it’s still entirely possible for you to make a small fortune with next to no development skills.

I’ve not heard of anyone else offering this kind of service yet, so it might be just what you’re looking for. Give them a go.

The other one is CronniX. This is just a tiny little freebie app to help you manage the cron. If you don’t know what that is, then you probably don’t need it. To be perfectly honest, if if you do know what that is, you don’t necessarily need it. After all, the cron is just a text file full for your Mac (or Unix box).

Imagine it’s your systems TODO list. It just helps it manage whats in it’s diary. When things need to get done, that weren’t already being done somewhere else. It’s a time-based job-scheduler. Anyway, if you want a GUI front end to your Mac cron, it’s here: http://code.google.com/p/cronnix/

Enough geekery, back to work….  These pencils won’t push themselves you know. oooooO

 


This post originally appeared here: Posterous