Archive for the ‘Companies’ Category

Apple and “Adult” Apps

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Well, there appears to be a another shift in Apple’s App Store policy. First, they wouldn’t let anything in the store that was provocative. Then they opened the floodgates and thousands of explicit apps started showing up. Then, just a couple of days ago, they banned explicit apps. Today, we hear from CultOfMac.com that there is a new “explicit” category for App Developers when submitting their apps. Does that mean that adult apps are on their way back again?

In a previous rant, I lamented the poorly implemented Parental Controls and App Rating system on the iPhone. To recap, setting Parental Controls Age Restrictions on the iPhone would hide screenshots of apps that have a more “mature” rating, but continued to show the apps with their provocative names and icons (NOT kid-friendly). It also removed unrated apps from the iPhone, including some very kid friendly apps (such as Horse Lover).

My goal was to have Apple completely hide apps with an age rating higher than the setting in Parental Controls. Hopefully, the events of the last couple of days are an attempt by Apple to do just that.

Read more about this ongoing story:

MacRumors.com: Apple Adds ‘Explicit’ Category for New App Store Submissions

CultOfMac.com: Is Apple Preparing To Add An ‘Explicit’ Section To The App Store?

Apps Make Your Phone Special

Friday, November 20th, 2009

VentureBeat has a post titled Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie: Apps don’t make your phone special, where they mention Mr. Ozzie’s comments at the Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference. Mr. Ozzie is said to suggest that apps are not what will differentiate mobile platforms. His apparent take is that all apps will, at some point, be ported to all mobile systems. This would switch the driving force to something more than what apps exist. That is Windows Mobile marketing crap.

Google’s Vic Gundotra is quoted in the post too, and he seems to indicate even Google won’t develop for all mobile platforms due to cost. Many developers will develop for the Android and iPhone platforms, and maybe even the dreaded Windows Mobile. I think most won’t. Some long time Mac developers have already pulled out of iPhone development.

I can’t get an official Google Voice App on the iPhone. That app alone would make my phone special, to me. If that app was important enough, I might go with an Android handset. Are there other considerations in picking a mobile smartphone? I hope so. Network, OS, multi-tasking, feel, build quality, manufacturer, and more. I think Ozzie has a got ‘a’ point. The mistake is, he seems to indicate it is ‘the’ point. Ask any iphone user if they like their phone and they will generally respond yes, often following with a mention of Shazam.

Lets look at the history of the desktop platforms. If I want to use Aperture to manage my photo library: Mac only. If I want to use Microsoft Visio or Access: Windows only. Apps matter Ray, and sorry about the Windows Mobile insult.

Based on info from MacRumors, MacBytes & VentureBeat

Verizon iDon’t Ad & Other Tech Mistakes

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

I recently read a Chicago Sun Time’s Article by their tech writer Andy Ihnatko. It takes a close look at the latest Verizon ad for the Motorola Driod. Great writer and a great article. It got me thinking about the ad. By now, I think most of us have seen the iDon’t Driod ad.

I found the ad irritating the first time I saw it and found myself wondering why. I use an iPhone and love it. Was I irritated because of the attack on the iPhone? Talk about fan boy. I don’t think that was it. The Driod looks ugly in the ads to me. Square and kind of clunky. I have not seen it in person so I could be wrong. I think what irritated me is that I really want the iPhone to have some competition. I think it is better for any geek if Apple is pushed, and then Apple pushes back. We get better toys, and we all love toys. It seemed to me, from the moment the ad ended, that the designers just didn’t get it. iDon’t have this, and iDon’t have that. The ‘iDon’t’ list is pretty long too. But here’s the thing… I don’t care about half the things they list.

I don’t need a physical keyboard. The Pre has a keyboard and it’s crap. Seriously, try it and then picture an ad saying ‘Buy a Pre for the keyboard’. Comedy. A physical keyboard means nothing. A useable keyboard is the claim I want to hear. Blackberry users aside, most people, that give a virtual keyboard the time it takes to learn it, end up likening it. The Driod has a virtual keyboard too, but they were pushing the physical one. Just tell me you have a great keyboard and I don’t care what form it takes.

The ad goes on to mention the iPhone is lacking a 5 megapixel camera. Again I say, so what. It was not long ago I had an actual camera that was 3 MP. I am happy with the camera I have. What do I gain from 5 MP? A larger print. I don’t print my phone photos. More detail? I have an SLR if I need a real image. My phone camera is not for critical images and if it was, the 3 or 5 has nothing to do with it. Tell me you have the greatest image quality ever on a phone and you’ll have my attention. The Driod does have a flash, and that would be cool.

I should say that I have not used the Driod. For that reason I should stop here. I just wish tech companies would listen listen to their customers. I will have a 99 mega-pixel camera soon and that is crazy. Give me 15 megapixels and great low light quality. Give me a cell phone that doesn’t drop calls simply because I was breathing. Let me own the movie or software I ‘buy’ so I can view it, or use it, when and how I want. Don’t tell me you don’t have a “system” for me to block a prank caller, and then tell me you do have a “feature” that costs $8.95 month. Google Voice lets me do it for free. Don’t fight Net-Neutrality with claims it hurts business, and then lobby Washington to pass legislation blocking the FCC from enforcing a neutral internet. AT & T should not be allowed to block me from using my internet connection when it conflicts with another area of their business. This post took a weird turn somewhere. I was going to just point you to the Andy Ihnatko article. I hope the Driod is a good phone, but it has to give me features I want. You sell a product by fulfilling the customers needs. When will they get it?

Apple’s New Magic Mouse – A Quick Review

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

I helped switch my mother-in-law from Windows to Mac this past weekend. She bought a new 21.5 inch iMac. Ooooooo. Ahhhhhhh. Very nice and very fast.

What stuck out in my mind was the new Magic Mouse. I have heard a number of people mention that having a touch surface on a traditional mouse sounded interesting. Of course they also expressed some reservation over it’s practical use.

As soon as I un-boxed this thing it felt cool. It even has an on/off switch to save battery! I was able to use it, without even thinking about it, almost instantly. I want one, now. The scroll, both horizontal and vertical, was very smooth. Flicking is amazing. When scrolling it senses your speed and continues as though you threw the page. If you hold the Control Key while scrolling, the screen zooms in or out. This is a feature that has existed for a while, but which is now being advertised on the product page. The new Mac grandmother will have it much easier. Swiping, using two fingers to move forward or back through web pages and photos, was a bit more difficult to use. You have to use two fingers, moving left and right, while still holding the mouse. It took a while, but once you figure out what works with your hand, it just works.

The Magic mouse was originally only available with a new iMac but, as of today, is shipping as a stand alone product priced at $69. It will require users to have OS 10.6.2, which is not available as of this post, or to install a wireless mouse software update .

I did run into a few issues during the switch. The Windows machine itself was most of the problem, but moving certain types of data did prove problematic. I guess that is the topic of a future post.

T-Mobile, Sidekick & Microsoft = Danger – Updated 2x

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Let me start with a note from T-Mobile:

“Sidekick customers, during this service disruption, please DO NOT remove your battery, reset your Sidekick, or allow it to lose power.”

If you haven’t heard, there’s trouble in Sidekick City. The data for T-Mobile’s Sidekick users is stored on the cloud servers of a company called Danger, or I should say was stored there. This weekend, a server glitch (we’ll get to that in a minute) caused an almost certain loss of Sidekick users personal data. That means that contacts, calendar entries, photos and to-do list entries for a lot of people are gone. Did anyone at T-Mobile look at the company’s name? I mean storing important customer data on a company called SOL would not be allowed, right? But Danger is OK simply because it is Microsoft/Danger?

Microsoft acquired Danger in 2008 and, according to PCWorld,  their position is that it was Danger’s technology that failed and not Microsoft Technology. I don’t think there are a lot of Sidekick users thinking that makes it all OK. Most companies have backups, but it appears the company called ‘Danger’ did not. The T-Mobile note continues:

“Regrettably, based on Microsoft/Danger’s latest recovery assessment of their systems, we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device – such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos – that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger. That said, our teams continue to work around-the-clock in hopes of discovering some way to recover this information. However, the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low.”

Someone at Microsoft must have wondered “could you have just said Danger instead of Microsoft/Danger”. Not good.

So how could this ‘glitch’ happen?

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