Thursday, June 13, 2013

iPhone5-PF-Pyramid_Features_PRINTIt took a horrible user interface and ripped-off features to draw me back to my technology blog.  Yes, Apple’s update to the iPhone’s operating system is such an irritation that I just couldn’t keep silent.  Unlike a spec of sand inside a clam, this irritation sadly will not produce a pearl.

Bowing to pressure on an old a tired interface, Apple finally previewed its first significant update to the mobile phone that changed the smartphone world at its developer conference WWDC last Monday.  No one was surprised by the announcement but the lack of excitement was obvious when it was unveiled. Aside from the first few rows of Apple employees and friends of the company, such as Board Member Vice President Al Gore, smiles were far and few in between.  Shock was a more common expression.  Ironically enough, the acclaimed designer Sir Johnny Ives seemed to have let some elementary children create the icons for iOS 7 as simplistic was used to the extreme.  Like a sixth-grader confined to his or her world, one finds the need to inquire with the little chap to solicit what the four bubbles icon represent.  Oh, that’s for Game Center?  Yes, bubbles totally convey that message.  The petaled color wheel for Photos is not much better.  This is from a company that prides itself on the principle that anyone can pick up its product and start using it.  I’m not sure how many people are going to tap a compass icon expecting Safari or that other compass icon expecting Safari.  What a mess.

Gone is any depth, though Ives is quoted as saying iOS 7 has more of it.  The shadows and texture are all gone – characteristics of depth – leaving flat bland colors.  There is more blinding white backgrounds than ever and baby blue all over the place.  Tappable items such as “buttons” are simply now just text and one just has to assume tapping the word will execute the command.  Again, not a feature any computer illiterate could figure out on their own.

Speaking of features, where were the new ones?  I mean the real new ones and not the stolen ones!  Every feature Apple mainstreamed on the big screen at the Moscone Center could be found on an Android device, today.  Not this fall.  Today.  SVP Schiller came out introducing the newly radically designed Mac Pro shooting off a comment about not innovating any more, “My ass!”  Granted, the new cylinder super Mac is pretty amazing, but were was that same type of attitude with iOS 7?  It’s lacking was because of the clear absence of Apple innovation.

Control Center, the ability to do things like disable Bluetooth, adjust brightness, and select Wi-Fi, is nothing new but something iPhone users have begged for ever since seeing it in Android’s Notification Center.  In fact, when Apple announced its Notification feature last year, many thought this ability would be found in it.  Nope, users will end up waiting another 18 months from that release for it.  Almost two years!  That’s crazy.

True multitasking comes to iOS 7 and the ability to see running applications looks just like it does on an HTC device.  An Android.  If you’d like, you can go back even further to 2009 when Palm first introduced the “card” concept with webOS.  It’s nice to have real multitasking on iOS – in the Fall – but again, this is far from a new feature.

I found the new simple lock screen somewhat comical since Apple has made such a big deal of “Swipe to Unlock” in the Samsung lawsuit.  Now iOS 7 will have a very simple lock screen with a large display of the time…just like Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich.

The update to the music player with iTunes Radio looked so much like Google Music it was comical.  The concept of streaming music isn’t new and in fact the market is crowded with choices.  After Steve Jobs bemoaned the idea of steaming music because, “people want to own their music”, Apple finally enters the game (with four bubbles?) after the dirt finally hardened on Jobs’ grave.

Not even that tricky looking 3-D background is new.  Nope, the feature known as Parallax has been available for Android for sometime in the form of a third-party application called 3D Image Live Wallpaper.  Heck, take a look at it in action from SlashGear’s videon on YouTube.  Yes, fully disappointing that something so cool STILL isn’t an Apple innovation.

I’m sure like the makers of 3D Image Live Wallpaper, other vendors were not happy seeing their hard work and ideas up on the Keynote presentation branded Apple, either. Mailbox campaigned brilliantly for its simple and powerful application with its easy to use swipes that – gasp! – are coming to iOS 7 Mail as well.  Go figure!  Oh, there’s more swipes – pun intended – buried in iOS 7 including one that draws from one the companies Apple has nearly put out of business, BlackBerry.  Like BB10, if you swipe to the left, you’ll be taken back to the previous page.  Amazing.

Now all these features taken from others that are available today on a competing hardware won’t even grace an iPhone until this “Fall”, whenever that is!  That’s three months at best, SIX at worse!  By that time, I guess  there will be a slew of new features for Apple to pick off the tree from Android for iOS 8.

 



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tim Cook told Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco that, ”Innovation is strong as ever and in the DNA of the company.”  This from a company that has been playing catch-up and suing it’s competitors for the past two years other than really innovating. Noting that the smartphones and tablets are the backbone of Apple’s cash cow Cook underlined its “experience” is the true force of Apple’s innovation. ”Apple has skills in software, hardware and services. The model that grew the PC industry where companies specialized. That model is not working for what consumers want today,” said Cook. “Consumers want this elegant experience.” Why service definitely helps pack Apple Stores and customers snap up shiny new products, it’s not the only thing that keeps them buying.  No, true innovation keeps them coming.

Apple brought itself into a new era, and market, with the iPod.  It innovated a product that the founder of the MP3 player, Rio, couldn’t manage. Then again Apple innovated a product that was birthed elsewhere and took away the smartphone market from Palm.  Lastly, it showed Microsoft, the company that first brought the tablet to us in 2001, how to really innovate.

So now Apple has over $100 billion in the bank, packed stores, and enjoys the majority market share for tablets, smartphones (hardware), and even still for audio players.  But all those numbers are slipping and show little sign of reversing.  Sure, Cook can tell worried investors that the market is just increasing in size and it still has a larger chunk than it originally had, but those are excuses, not innovation. Instead of showing the world anything of great significance in the last three years, we simply hear how great Apple is and nothing more.  No talk of the future.  No talk of pushing the envelope.  No talk other than a nice shined marketing speech.

Apple’s last true innovation was the release of the iPad in 2010.  That’s three years ago and in that time, the Android Army has been hard at work chipping away at Apple’s market dominance and even forcing Apple into a product it bad-mouthed later that year.  Steve Jobs famously told investors, “7-inch tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad. ….7-Inch tablets are dead on arrival.”  Dead, huh?  As not to further damn his himself, Jobs went on to state, “While one could increase the resolution to make up some of the difference, it is meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one-quarter of their present size. Apple has done expensive user testing on touch interfaces over many years, and we really understand this stuff.”  Last I saw in the Apple Store, the iPad mini does not come with sandpaper. No, Jobs didn’t understand that the market actually DOES know what it wants sometimes – another famous saying Jobs liked to quip – and Apple’s own Eddie Cue urged Jobs to his death bed to let Apple make a 7″-ish tablet.  Clearly, innovation was ignored, bad-mouthed, and fought before it was it acknowledged.  Of course, in classic Apple style, it was quick to point out that the iPad mini isn’t really a 7″ tablet and it has “features” that improve the experience of an Android tablet.  Please…

Moving on, let’s look at the iPhone now.  Again, a truly innovative product when introduced, Apple seemed to slow down the gears of innovation and trickled out features year by year. Even though 3G was active in nearly half of AT&T’s network, Apple waited until the second generation to release a phone that supported the faster data speeds.  Outside of that, the iPhone 3G had little more to offer than a new look.  The camera still sucked, battery life was still dismal, and the OS had little advancement.

Apple continued this little-by-little strategy with each release all the way to the iPhone 5.  Instead of caving into the larger screen that has pushed sales of the Samsung Galaxy S III to a market leader and the talk of the town, Apple stretched the screen and chimed about how it was still easily used one-handily. That, was its innovation.  Apple’s previous yearly trickle of innovation was Siri.  Siri, the voice-to-text software, was an application in the App Store for about a year that gained much attention when it first was released.  Quickly scooped up by Apple and re-established as an integrated aspect of the operating system, Siri was reborn an Apple innovation.  No, excuse me, as a beta.  Now as we near two years – in beta – Siri is nothing more than a feature to ask it silly questions and become extremely irritated at its inability to send a text message that is even 40% accurate or – heck – even finish your sentence as it often just gives up leaving a partial text output.  In the meantime, Google released it’s Google Now app for the iPhone with stunningly quick and accurate speech-to-text.  No, it’s not beta, either.

I could go on about how iLife, once considered a stunning collection of multimedia applications for the Mac, hasn’t even been touched in over three years and languishes away or how its extremely expensive Thunderbolt technology two years later lacks a plethora of accessories.  Financial analysts bonked Apple over the head on the market a few weeks ago after Apple produced its best quarter ever.  Why?  Analysts see little in the future to hold Apple up and the numbers are indicating this.  Apple continues to be mute on future product and shows little innovation in the last three years.  Sure, the Retina display has dawned screens across the board, Bluetooth 4 graced wireless devices, and a great camera  in the phones.  But it’s not enough when compared to the competitors.  Instead of really kicking its competitors butt, Apple sues them.  Real innovators respond with, “Top this!”

History shows that Apple is on a four-year cycle of innovation.  The iPod, iPhone, and then iPad.  That gives us about a year before the next big thing.  Many think it’s a TV and I can see that.  Apple’s true innovation is taking something that already exists and making it better.  TV sales have declined and consumers aren’t fooled by bells-and-whistles such as 3-D. The networks are the issue for release just like the labels were for the iTunes Music Store.  I feel Apple can overcome that opposition but without Jobs, it will be tougher.

What after the Apple TV television? I can’t imagine that the road map goes dry after that.  I’m sure what ever it is, it’s already on the books and is being ironed out.  But will anyone care by then?  While the four years worked in the last decade, competitors and patent trolls have changed the landscape accelerating change.  Apple has already shown with the last two iOS updates, iPad mini, and the iPhone 5 – to a point – that it does better at catching up than pushing the competition.  If it doesn’t wish to become the next Sony – one of Steve Jobs’ biggest fears – then it needs to stop this madness of its delusional outlook on innovation and actually innovate again.  Stop riding the gravy train and trickling out features.  Apple had the money to demand LTE chips that are low power consuming a year before it finally hit the iPhone.  Apple had the money to make Siri actually work…upon initial release.  Apple has the money to force new technologies to market quicker than the other guy.  Jobs pushed Corning for a glass iPhone when its own CEO said it couldn’t be done.  Apple shoved a desktop operating system into a handheld device while others said it couldn’t be done.  Apple can do it.  If it wants.  Right now, it looks like it just wants to pats its own back. Ask Sony how that’s working, Tim.



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WritePad and new iPad users can be excited about today’s update to PhatWare’s note taking prowess app for Apple’s latest tablet. Updated to take full advantage of the Retina display, WritePad will capture your handwriting and convert it to text like never before. Your input will look and feel more accurate than before with the WritePad 6.2. Taking notes and using such improved features such as the magnifying glass will reveal the amazing resolution of the new iPad before your eyes. The update is free and the details are below.

View Press Release »

PhatWare Releases WritePad Optimized for iPad’s New Retina Display
New version of popular note-taking and handwriting recognition software for iPads has been optimized for new iPad’s retina display and features improvements in handwriting recognition quality.

Spokane, WA – March 28, 2012 – PhatWare Corporation announces today the immediate availability of WritePad 6.2 for iPad, optimized for the new iPad’s Retina screen and providing even better handwriting recognition quality. WritePad also now features an improved magnifying glass/text selection feature and better digital ink rendering.

WritePad is an advanced note-taker for iOS which converts practically any handwriting into computer text. Notes created with WritePad can be sent via email, tweeted, saved, posted on a Facebook wall, printed, exported as PDF, translated to other languages, synchronized with Dropbox, and exchanged directly between two or more iOS devices. WritePad also features integration with events, contacts, maps, and other iPhone resources.

WritePad supports handwriting recognition in 11 languages, including Danish, Dutch, English (UK and US), Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Spanish, and Swedish. Additionally, application’s user interface has been localized to 7 languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

With WritePad, users can:
· Create and edit text documents using the advanced handwriting recognition engine or iPad keyboard for text entry in landscape or portrait mode.

· Improve productivity by using inline gestures, spell checker, context analyzer, and shorthand features.

· Improve overall handwriting recognition quality using WritePad’s Statistical Analyzer, which addresses common recognition errors. When enabled, this WritePad feature learns and adapts to the user’s own handwriting style.

· Email, Tweet, print, or post Facebook updates directly from WritePad

· Synchronize WritePad documents with Dropbox, Evernote, and iTunes, or upload documents to Google Docs.

· Translate documents to 13 supported languages using Bing Translator.

· Change WritePad’s appearance by manipulating text, page, and ink colors using the customizable Styles feature.

WritePad Availability and Pricing
WritePad 6.2 for iPad is available now and can be purchased via the iTunes App Store for $9.99. The price includes handwriting recognition in a language of the user’s choice. Support for additional languages can be purchased in-app for just $2.99 per language. The US English Medical dictionary is also available for WritePad 6.2 for $4.99. WritePad for iPhone is also available and is sold separately for $3.99. For more information about the WritePad product line, please visit PhatWare’s web site at http://www.phatware.com/writepad.

About PhatWare
Founded in October 1997, PhatWare Corporation is a leading provider of easy to use powerful software products and professional services for the mobile and desktop computing marketplace. PhatWare specializes in handwriting recognition, digital ink, note taking and database, and network management software development. PhatWare’s products include such popular titles as CalliGrapher®, PenOffice®, PhatNotes™, PhatPad™, WritePad™, and others. PhatWare Corporation is a Microsoft Certified Partner, and Intel Software Partner. To learn more about PhatWare, visit www.phatware.com.



Friday, December 2, 2011

Siri

Apple made a big splash at its iPhone 4S keynote with the introduction of Siri, the voice assistant Apple integrated into the iOS from its acquiring of Siri 18 months earlier. I remember when the Siri app first arrived and I dwell upon how little it worked for me when it was 1.0. Now that Apple was able to throw money, in both purchase and development, at Siri and has taken its time with presenting the updated version, I was excited to see what 2.0 would be like. Well, first we were told it was a beta, not a revised version. Second, it no longer would run on anything but an iPhone 4S due to the need for a hefty processor (which has since been proven wrong with the many hacks floating around the Internet.) But that commercial shown at Moscone Center definitely made it look like it was going to be the sweet deal nevertheless.

Now, I wasn’t expecting perfection from Siri when my white 32GB iPhone 4S arrived at my door step via UPS upon the day of release. No, I had used Android’s voice-to-text without much success and, again, the original Siri app wasn’t all that impressive. In short, my expectations were honestly low.

After removing the phone from its packaging and activating it on the third attempt – third time’s the charm, AT&T – I of course asked Siri if I would need an umbrella tomorrow even though it was sunny and in the 80s outside. Siri responded with the weather for the next week. My family and I then went on to ask it more of the silly questions such as what is the meaning of life and what do yo look like.

When it came time time to really test it, this is where the shine began to fade. I attempted to text my wife a short message to which it understood who my wife was but didn’t even have any of the text for the message. I tried again and then it got it. Well, most of it. The end of the message was just chopped off as if I hadn’t even said it and the last two words were incorrect. I chalked it up to a busy day for Siri as this was her/his debut.

Over the next few weeks, I used Siri in the truck, in my home, in stores, in offices. I used it in many different environments and pretty much received consistent results. Poor ones. My truck gave me the worse and I attribute that to the cabin noise since I have a large Ford F-250. My wife’s Yukon isn’t much better with its Flowise pipes so results were about the same there as well. In a quiet environment, such as my bedroom, the accuracy was improved but not by much. To gain near perfect accuracy, I found I had to be holding the phone near to my mouth, about a foot or two, angled with the mic toward me, and not to use conjunctions such as you’ll. When using this method, I obtained near 90% accuracy. But the problem with this is that it’s more like a lab than real life.

Let me be clear, I did not just use the iPhone 4Ses built-in microphone or supplied wired headset. I also employed the use of third-party hands-free sets such as my Alpine IVA-W505 (my review), SuperTooth buddy (here’s that review), and the Magellan Premium Car Kit (yup, reviewed that, too.) I live in California where it has some of the most stringent laws against distracted driving so I engage technology to help me be safe and avoid unneeded fines. In reality, one would presume this is the point of Siri as we watch the jogger run along the bay with Treasure Island in the background. Siri is our assistant when our hands and eyes are busy doing other things.

What it comes down to is the best place to use Siri is not the best place to use Siri. The most common place to use Siri, chatter filled offices or noisy homes, gives you the most common errors. I also found myself flustered many times when speaking to Siri and correcting myself mid-sentence and boy did that make things even worse. From what I gather speaking to my other Siri using friends, I’m not the only one that suffers from the same tongue-tie issue. Part of it is that our brain thinks we need to sound like a robot when speaking to Siri but the other part is Siri needs to recognize human short comings and prevail as well.

I have also noted the lack of punctuation. If I speak more than a single sentence, even with proper pause, Siri doesn’t get the period. It either ends taking my dictation or makes a run-on sentence. I have discovered that I can state the needed mark, such as period or question mark, but it doesn’t always get it. If I give Siri too much, either via the Siri interface or the Mic icon on the keyboard, it will simply double beep and translate what I have said up to that point. Sometimes, it comes up completely blank! This leads me to wonder about the articles I’ve read on ZDNet and the Sun Times by Andy Ihnatko that claim they dictated the entire article to Siri. I would sure love to see a video of that because I really do not think it’s possible without much interaction with the Home or Mic button. Maybe I’m missing something but Apple is well known for it’s ease of use and Steve Jobs was found of saying, “It just works”.

What it comes down to is that Apple has advertised something that really isn’t. Sure, these keyword tips help your accuracy but note how short the sentences are.

Going back to that jogger and the way he made a meeting so natural and so easy, this is what Average Joe and Mom Consumer will see. They don’t watch keynotes. So how much higher will their expectations be than mine? Apple has done well with its products in the last decade from the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad, and I’m certain Siri is what will set the next decade for Apple, but beta or not, Siri needs to get it and get it quick.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

turnthis.png

With the introduction of the iMatch setting on iOS last week, Apple is getting ready to flip the switch on iMatch, the service that lets you store all of your music easily on iCloud and even upgrade songs purchased or ripped outside of iTunes. Rinse has been introduced from RealNetworks to clean those tracks up you may have ripped prior to GraceNote’s help or songs “gifted” from a friend. With Rinse, it will find the correct metadata, such as incorrectly spelled song titles or missing album art. Heck, if the MP3 is completely missing everything, then Rinse will still be able to use “fingerprint” technology to find a match and correct it. Cool? For $40, you can clean up your library now, too!

View Press Release »

Get ready for iTunes Match™ by cleaning up your music collection with Rinse from RealNetworks

Rinse music clean up product removes duplicates, fixes misspellings and identifies songs without titles so iTunes Match – and the Apple Siri™ digital assistant — works best

Seattle, WA—October 27, 2011—Users who plan to use Apple’s new iTunes Match music product to stream their matched songs from the cloud should consider using Rinse to clean up their music collections first, according to RealNetworks (Nasdaq:RNWK).

Rinse can fix misspellings of song title and artist names, identify songs without titles and remove duplicates, enabling the iTunes Match service to correctly identify songs in the user’s collection and allow streaming from the cloud.

“As cloud services like iTunes Match from Apple and other music services from Amazon and Google become popular, having an accurate music library will allow users to more easily sync and enjoy their music on all of their devices,” said Daniel Strickland, RealNetworks senior director and lead developer for Rinse. “Rinse is incredibly easy to use, so cleaning up a user’s music collection can be completed with just a few clicks.”

In addition, Strickland said Rinse will help the new Siri personal assistant, incorporated into the iPhone® 4S, be more effective for users. The Siri voice recognition software lets users verbally ask for a song to be played from iTunes. “Siri can play any song for you on request, but it works best if that song is correctly identified in your collection.”

RealNetworks also announced a new version of Rinse that incorporates advanced acoustic fingerprinting technology powered by Gracenote. Rinse can now identify and clean up songs without any titles or artist names — the “track 01″ songs that clutter a library — by listening to the audio data and identifying matches in an online database.

With Rinse, users can:
Remove duplicate songs in a music collection, even if the titles or artists are missing or misspelled.
Repair misspelled songs, artists and album details, making it easy to browse the collection without having to remember exact names. For example, users don’t have to remember that Steve Miller is actually “Steve Miller Band.”
Add missing album art to a music library. Rinse automatically finds high resolution album art so users can enjoy it on their computers, in iTunes®, on smart phones and other devices.
Identify a song even without titles or artists names. Rinse can identify a song’s “fingerprint” by examining just a few notes of a song and then matching it with its industry-leading, 100 million track database.
Edit entire collections at once or song by song — it’s the users’ choice.

Free Trial of Rinse
Rinse is a downloadable product available for $39 at www.rinsemymusic.com and is compatible with iTunes collections on both Windows and Macintosh. A free trial version is available that cleans up 50 songs in a user’s library.

Follow Rinse on Facebook: www.facebook.com/rinsemymusic

Follow Rinse on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/#!/rinsemymusic

Read the Rinse blog: www.rinsemymusic.com/blog

About RealNetworks
RealNetworks creates innovative applications and services that make it easy to connect with and enjoy digital media. RealNetworks invented the streaming media category and continues to connect consumers with their digital media both directly and through partners, aiming to support every network, device, media type and social network. RealNetorks corporate information is located at www.realnetworks.com/about-us

RealNetworks and Rinse are trademarks or registered trademarks of RealNetworks, Inc.

iTunes, iTunes Match, iPhone and Siri are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.

All other trademarks, names of actual companies and products mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.



Take Control of iCloud

Author: Sven Rafferty
Thursday, October 27, 2011
iCloud.gif

If you’re wondering what iCloud is or know but just need to know how to use it, then you may be interested in the new book from Joe Kissell entitled Take Control of iCloud from TidBITS. The 143-page ebook will help you understand the differences between MobileMe and iCloud and what stays, goes away, and what’s new. Examples of how to configure aspects of iCloud, such as syncing your calendar, are all part of this new digital release. Get it and learn the iCloud.

View Press Release »

Sebastopol, CA—The rollout of Apple’s new iCloud service has not been without problems, and many people have questions about how best to sign up, switch to, and use iCloud. To answer those questions, TidBITS Publishing Inc. is pleased to announce the release of Take Control of iCloud ($15.00 USD), a 143-page ebook that helps readers successfully migrate to iCloud and its many services.

Written by tech expert Joe Kissell, Take Control of iCloud explains how to handle a variety of setup scenarios and concerns (including multiple Apple IDs and upgrading from MobileMe, iCloud’s predecessor), and how to best use the many features in iCloud: iTunes in the Cloud, iTunes Match, iCloud Backup, Photo Stream, Documents in the Cloud, Find My iPhone, Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and more.

Readers will learn the answers to questions such as:

What are iCloud’s primary features?
How do I set up iCloud-based calendar and contact syncing on my iOS device?
How do I share calendars with people who are not using iCloud?
How quickly should I expect iCloud to sync my data?
How do I configure my email software to use my iCloud email address?
How do I add files to my Photo Stream from Windows?
How can I configure my AirPort Extreme to work with Back to My Mac?
And for those making the jump from MobileMe, Kissell also explains:

How iCloud’s feature set compares to MobileMe’s.
Which MobileMe features will disappear after you switch to iCloud, and which will stick around until June 2012, when Apple has announced it will shut off MobileMe.
Handling old data stored on MobileMe, such as photos in Gallery and files in iDisk.
Converting a MobileMe Family Pack to iCloud accounts.
Replicating MobileMe-based group calendar sharing in iCloud, especially if not everyone can upgrade to iCloud.
For a review copy or more information please email takecontrolpr@oreilly.com. Please include your delivery address and contact information.

Additional Resources
For more information about the book, including table of contents, author bios, and cover graphic, see: http://oreilly.com/catalog/9781615423958

Take Control of iCloud
Publisher: TidBITS
By Joe Kissell
Ebook ISBN: 9781615423958
Pages: 144
Ebook Price: $15.00
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938
1-707-827-7000

About Take Control Ebooks
The Take Control series is published by TidBITS Publishing Inc. TidBITS co-founders Adam and Tonya Engst have been publishing highly regarded news and editorial since 1990 when they created the online newsletter TidBITS, which covers Macintosh and Internet-related topics. The Take Control series has helped many thousands of readers with high-quality, timely, real-world, cost-effective documentation since 2003.

About O’Reilly
O’Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O’Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying “faint signals” from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.



Tuesday, October 25, 2011
fetch2335.jpg

One of the most popular file transfer clients for the Mac has been updated. Fetch now allows user to find a specific file on a remote server and work specifically with it without the need to stumble over other unneeded files. Also new to original Mac file transfer app is an overall upload progress indicator to give you a better idea when all those files will be done.

Give Fetch a try for 15-days free and then purchase it for $29 or $10 if you are upgrading.

View Press Release »

Etna, NH (October 24, 2011) – Fetch Softworks announces the latest release of Fetch, the original Mac file transfer app. With new features designed to provide greater control over the user’s file transfer tasks, this release continues the Fetch tradition of steady, relentless improvement.

Fetch now offers users better control over files. A simple but very useful way Fetch does this is by preserving the modification dates of uploaded files, making it easier to tell when a file on a server matches the local copy. Further, Fetch’s new Find field enables users to zero in on just the files they are working with.

Fetch also helps users better monitor the progress of file transfers. While previous versions reported the transfer progress of each individual file, Fetch now displays the progress of the overall transfer, making it easier to see when the entire operation will be complete.

Finally, Fetch now makes it easier to use Fetch on multiple computers without having to manually update shortcuts on each one. Fetch introduces support for syncing Fetch shortcuts using Dropbox, enabling individuals and groups to access an up-to-date collection of shortcuts no matter which Mac they use.

Fetch 5.7 is compatible with Intel Macs running Mac OS X 10.5 or later, including Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, and can be downloaded from http://fetchsoftworks.com or from the Mac App Store.

Fetch is free to try for 15 days, and a single-user license is $29. Upgrades are free for Fetch 5.5 and Fetch 5.6 users and customers who purchased Fetch after January 28, 2009; otherwise, upgrades are $10. Free licenses and upgrades are available for educational and charitable use.

About Fetch Softworks:
Developer of Fetch, the original Mac file transfer client, Fetch Softworks has been helping customers transfer videos and other files since 2001. For more information, visit http://fetchsoftworks.com.

Trademarks are the property of their respective owners.



Friday, October 21, 2011

Siri-iphone-4s-img1.jpg

1. Be prepared to act fast. If you want the new iPhone, be prepared to act fast on the date of release. After the announcement of the iPhone 4 pre-orders sold out within a matter of hours and those who procrastinated got left out in the cold. Pay attention to Apple news sources and pre-order your new iPhone as early as possible.

2. Avoid the lines: order online and deliver to your home. There are going to be lines around the block for the new iPhone. Don’t let fear of expensive shipping fees or late deliveries stop you from buying online. Apple has a great track record for getting new iPhones delivered to customers on time and delivery is free.

3. Buy from alternative sellers. If Apple’s pre-ordering system gets bogged down, buy from Verizon or AT&T. Whenever you buy from authorized retailers your new iPhone will come with the same one-year limited warranty and will be fully serviceable at Apple locations. Be aware, however, that return policies and procedures may differ from Apple’s so you should take a moment to read the retailer’s return policy.

4. Sell your old iPhone. If you’re upgrading from an old iPhone consider selling your old one for cash on eBay, Craigslist, or other channels such as sellyourmac.com. There’s plenty of demand and a used iPhone can fetch as much as a few hundred dollars. You can also trade in your iPhone with companies like Gazelle.com, which offers hundreds of dollars for well-kept models.

5. Buy with a credit card that offers additional protection. Many credit card companies (such as American Express) offer additional protection plans on purchases made with their cards. As long as you pay off your card balance so you don’t accrue interest or other fees that offset the benefit, it may be a good idea to take advantage of this service.

6. Hold off on AppleCare. AppleCare is Apple’s own service plan, which it offers for most of its products. The iPhone AppleCare plan currently costs $69 and can be obtained at any time for up to one year after purchase. Apart from the additional telephone technical support available beyond the 90-day complimentary period, there is little benefit to buying AppleCare before the one-year limited warranty is about to expire. Consider saving a date 11 months after you purchase your iPhone and decide then. It’s a waste of $69 if your phone gets lost, stolen, or damaged in a way that would void coverage (for example, by water damage).

7. Invest in a good case. Whether or not to equip your iPhone with a case is a matter of personal preference and risk assessment. If you do decide to buy a case take some time to read the reviews and choose one that is both aesthetically pleasing and offers sufficient protection for the types of environments you envision taking your iPhone into.

8. Learn iOS 5. The iPhone 4S’s operating system, iOS 5, is just as important—if not more—than the new hardware features in the iPhone 4S. All smartphones, not just the iPhone, are capable of far more than most users give them credit for. Take time to read up on the capabilities of the iOS and pay particular attention to the new features.

9. Do your research and read the reviews. Whatever iPhone(s) Apple releases this fall it’s important to research whether a new iPhone is really right for you. Online Mac sites are a great place to start because writers will be covering Apple’s release and sharing ideas and opinions for weeks before and after the announcement.

10. Look out for defects and be an informed consumer. Always be on the lookout for defects and get them addressed when they first arise. Stay informed by keeping up to date on problems, issues, bugs and breakdowns other Mac users may be having through Mac web sites (such as Cult of Mac.com).

Jonathan Zschau is a Boston-based attorney, a lifelong Mac enthusiast, a writer for CultofMac.com, and an outspoken advocate for consumer rights. Buying and Owning a Mac: Secrets Apple Doesn’t Want You to Know is available at bookstores online in print, PDF, EPUB, and Kindle formats. For more information visit http://www.cultofmac.com or http://amzn.com/0983107009



Friday, October 21, 2011

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Travelers know how crummy electronics can be when it comes time to pack in all the stuff that keeps it going, aka, chargers. Some are small but those pesky prongs that stick out make packing difficult. Some have collapsible prongs but are large. Shesh, can some one give us a break? As David Lee Roth use to say, one break, coming up! XtremeMac has released the InCharge hOme USB which is slim and has a collapsible prongs for easy traveling and packing. The cable can also be be removed and used on any Mac or PCs USB port for charging and syncing. It can be yours for $29.99.

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Oakdale, MN – October 18, 2011 – XtremeMac, a leading designer and manufacturer of accessories and audio solutions for Apple devices, is thrilled to announce the new InCharge Home USB Wall Charger, the perfect travel charger, slim and full power. With 10 watts of power, the InCharge Home USB provides rapid charging for iPod, iPhone or iPad as well as other USB powered devices.

The compact InCharge Home USB features a slim design with collapsible prongs for easy portability and convenience when traveling. Additionally, the low profile InCharge Home USB allows access to a second wall outlet. The included 4ft detachable USB to 30 pin cable can be used for charging/syncing with a computer.

The InCharge Home USB is available now in the U.S. for $29.99 at www.XtremeMac.com.

For more information on the InCharge Home USB and all of XtremeMac’s award winning products, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About XtremeMac:
Celebrating its 10 year anniversary, XtremeMac is a portfolio brand of Imation Corp. (NYSE:IMN). Founded in 2001, the same year Apple introduced the first iPod, XtremeMac provides innovative solutions to protect, power and play Apple devices. The brand’s award winning cases, speaker docks and charging solutions incorporate leading edge design and advanced technology to enhance customer experience with Apple products. Additional information can be found at XtremeMac.com, Facebook/XtremeMac and Twitter/XtremeMac.

XtremeMac, the “X” logo, and InCharge are trademarks of Imation Corp. iPhone, iPod, iPod Classic, iPod nano and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc, registered in the U.S. and other countries. iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc.



Friday, October 14, 2011

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In light of the passing of our modern-day genius, Steve Jobs, core member of the Apple Macintosh team, Andy Hertzfeld, takes you on a journey that is as fascinating as it is historical. Hertzfeld brings drawings, images, and stories, with the help of the 34 team members and Steve Jobs himself, to compile and amazing story of an incredible computer that brought us WSYWIG, the graphical interface (GUI), and the famed mouse. Having met Hertfeld (yes, he signed my copy of the book :) ), I was unable to even get even a glimpse of what he achieved in that short time with him. With Revolution in the Valley, it will be as if you have been friends with him all your life.

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Sebastopol, CA—There was a time, not too long ago, when the typewriter and notebook ruled, and the computer as an everyday tool was simply a vision. Newly released in paperback form, Revolution in the Valley takes this vision back to its earliest roots: the hallways and backrooms of Apple, where the groundbreaking Macintosh computer was born. The book traces the development of the Macintosh, from its inception as an underground skunkworks project in 1979 to its triumphant introduction in 1984 and beyond.

The stories in Revolution in the Valley come on extremely good authority. That’s because author Andy Hertzfeld was a core member of the team that built the Macintosh system software, and a key creator of the Mac’s radically new user interface software. Dubbed the “software wizard,” Hertzfeld was the ultimate insider.

Revolution in the Valley evolved from stories that Hertzfeld wrote and collected on his website, folklore.org, combining his own stories with those contributed by others to tell short snippets of a long tale.

“When I began to write stories for my website in June 2003, I had no intention of trying to publish them in book form,” Hertzfeld says. “I was excited by the idea of developing a web site to facilitate collective historical storytelling, where a group of participants could collaborate to recollect an interesting event. I chose the format of numerous interlinked anecdotes because it seemed natural for the web and better suited to a collaborative effort than a single, continuous narrative, allowing a tale to be elaborated indefinitely without compromising the voices of the individual authors.”

When Revolution in the Valley begins, Hertzfeld is working on Apple’s first attempt at a low-cost, consumer-oriented computer: the Apple II. He sees that Steve Jobs is luring some of the company’s most brilliant innovators to work on a tiny research effort, the Macintosh. Hertzfeld manages to make his way onto the Macintosh research team, and the rest is history.

Through lavish illustrations, period photos, and Hertzfeld’s vivid first-hand accounts, Revolution in the Valley reveals what it was like to be there at the birth of the personal computer revolution. The story comes to life through the book’s portrait of the talented and often eccentric characters who made up the Macintosh team. Some 30 years later, millions of people are benefiting from the technical achievements of this determined and brilliant group of people.

With the recent death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Revolution in the Valley is a particularly resonant recollection; in fact, Jobs helped Hertzfeld collect the unique archival photos gathered here. In Revolution, Hertzfeld describes Jobs’ “reality distortion field,” how the first Macintosh was influenced by Porsche and Louis Comfort Tiffany, and how the initial machine was autographed inside the case by each of the 35 team members. Steve Wozniak wrote the book’s foreword, framing the extraordinary story of the extraordinary young men who changed tech—and the modern world???forever.

About the Author
Andy Hertzfeld was a graduate student in computer science at UC Berkeley in January 1978 when he purchased one of the first Apple IIs. He quickly lost interest in grad school as he began writing programs for his Apple II, eventually leading him to join Apple Computer as a systems programmer in August 1979. He joined the Macintosh team in February 1981, and became one of the main authors of the Macintosh system software, including the User Interface Toolbox and many of the original desk accessories. He left Apple in March 1984, and went on to co-found three companies: Radius (1986), General Magic (1990) and Eazel (1999). In 2003, he developed web-based software for collective storytelling that he used to write the stories in this book. In 2005, he joined Google, and was one of the main creators of Google+.