Saturday, July 27, 2013

Videos That Make Me Happy

I was feeling a little under the weather last night, so I decided to share two videos that helped pass the long sleepless night.



Steve Jobs: We don't ship junk!



Come on, who doesn't love some flying toaster?!

Monday, July 22, 2013

WSJ: Apple Testing Larger Screen, Smaller Screen Devices

In this morning's edition of the Wall Street Journal, a story appeared stating that Apple was working with one or more suppliers to develop different sized screens for prototype devices.

From WSJ.com (subscription maybe required):
"People at Apple's suppliers said it asked for prototype smartphone screens larger than its current iPhone in recent months, and has asked for screen designs for a new tablet measuring slightly less than 13 inches. Whether the designs will make their way to market is unclear, but they could lead to Apple phones and tablets that are larger than the current 4-inch iPhone 5 and 9.7-inch iPad."
Shocker.  Is anyone really surprised that Apple is not standing still and working on prototype devices?  My guess? This is a "strategic leak" to get the spotlight off of the recent developer portal website hacking.

[Via WSJ.com...]

Apple Developer Center Hacker Identified

Earlier today, Ibrahim Balic, a "security researcher" identified himself as the hacker who breached Apple's Developer Center portal.

According to AppleInsider, Balic identified himself as the person who hacked into Apple's servers on the TechCrunch website.

"Balic said he found a total of 13 bugs on Apple's site, one of which provided him with access to user information. He claims to have taken 73 user details — all of whom are Apple employees — and given them to the company as an example."

"Security researcher" or "hacker," I think we should let the courts decide, don't you?

[Via AppleInsider.com...]

Samsung Announces Developer's Conference

Earlier today, consumer electronics giant Samsung announced a cross-platform developer's show, Samsung Developer's Conference , or SDC.

Scheduled to take place October 27-29 at the Westin St. Francis Hotel, Union Square, the event is being billed as a cross-platform event that will cover topics including their Android-powered Galaxy smartphones and tablets, Windows PCs, Windows Phone smartphones, and even their SmartTV and Boxee offerings.

If I was Larry Page, I'd be more than a little worried that my largest Android partner is "going rogue."

Bottom line: still looks like Samsung can't come up with any original ideas.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Microsoft Surface RT with Touch Cover Now $379

I can't say that I'm a "fan" of the Microsoft Surface RT tablet, but I am intrigued by it.  But, even at $349 for the entry level 32GB version, it still is a bit expensive to buy at a toy.

But if you are in the market for a Microsoft Surface RT, you might want to also consider that the Redmond company is now selling referbrished 32GB Surface RT tablets, with the $100-ish Touch Cover, for $379.

Check it out now in the Microsoft Online Store.

Apple Developer Portal Attached By Hacker

Apple's Developer Center portal has been offline since Thursday, and now, iMore's news team has the reason: the website was attacked by hackers.
"Apple has sent an email out to developers addressing the reason behind the ongoing multi-day outage of their developer portal, confirming suspicions that it was the result of a security breach."
The email that was sent out by Apple reads:
"Last Thursday, an intruder attempted to secure personal information of our registered developers from our developer website. Sensitive personal information was encrypted and cannot be accessed, however, we have not been able to rule out the possibility that some developers’ names, mailing addresses, and/or email addresses may have been accessed. In the spirit of transparency, we want to inform you of the issue. We took the site down immediately on Thursday and have been working around the clock since then. 
In order to prevent a security threat like this from happening again, we’re completely overhauling our developer systems, updating our server software, and rebuilding our entire database. We apologize for the significant inconvenience that our downtime has caused you and we expect to have the developer website up again soon."
Before announcing that the Developer Center was attached by a hacker, Apple posted a generic system maintenance page that appears below.


[Via iMore.com...]

Taste the Rainbow: Leaked Photo Shows Low Cost iPhone Shells


At this point is seams more like a "when" rather than an "if" Apple develops a low cost iPhone model.

BGR, following up on a post from China's Phone Arena, has yet another leaked photo of the "iPhone Lite" candy colored shells.

It is rumored that Apple will introduce their next generation iPhone models this fall along side iOS 7.

[Via BRG.com...]

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rumor: Apple Having Trouble with iPhone 5S Biometric Sensor

DigiTimes, which has a spotty track record with regard to their Apple rumors, is reporting that the iPhone maker is having trouble with low yield rates with the rumored fingerprint reader that is said to be part of the upcoming iPhone's Home button.

From DigiTimes:
"Volume production of fingerprint-recognition and LCD driver chips for the iPhone 5S should have started at the end of June or early in July, but issues related to yield rates will delay commercial production of the two chips to the end of July, therefore affecting the initial supply of the iPhone 5S, the sources explained."
Many people, myself included, expect Apple to follow last year's September announcement of a new iPhone followed up with October shipments.  If that is true, and full production runs of the iPhone 5S are just now ramping up, there should still be plenty of time to build the millions of iPhone 5S handsets that will be needed globally in October.  If that is true, one had to wonder how a device that Apple has not yet publicly talked about or announced be considered 'late' if it ships in October and not September.

I think that there are two more important things to consider here.  The first is that Apple really does leverage last year's acquisition of Florida based AuthenTec to build and include a biometric fingerprint scanner into their smartphone.  I would love to be able to use that technology to secure my iPhone with a finger swipe rather than a clumsy PIN code.  That would be an amazing feature that will be a head of the competition.

The second thing to consider is whether iOS 7 is ready in time to be installed on the new hardware.  If the software takes longer to work the major bugs out, it could impact the ship date as I don't see Apple launching the iPhone 5S without iOS 7.

[Via DigiTimes.com...]

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Rumor: iPhone 5S Said To Begin Production This Month


With iOS 7 still cooking, Apple is said to on track to begin building the next iPhone, largely expected to be the iPhone 5S.

From BGR:
"Apple’s manufacturing and supply chain partners are reportedly gearing up to begin mass production of the iPhone 5S later this month. The news comes from a new research note issued by well-respected Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek, and it closely follows an earlier report that claimed Foxconn is currently hiring more workers to accommodate heavy iPhone orders from Apple."
It is also largely expected that Apple will launch the iPhone 5S in late September or early October.

[Via BGR.com...]

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New BlackBerry OS 7 Smartphone On the Way


"Wait, what?!" was my reaction when I saw the news the BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, or BlackBerry LTD as they like to go by now a days, was releasing a new phone running BlackBerry OS 7.

If reports from BGR and Crackberry are correct, the new phone will be similar in design to the BlackBerry Bold series devices, but actually be associated with the consumer Curve family of devices.

The new phone is rumored to have the following specs:

  • It's listed as the BlackBerry 9720
  • Full QWERTY keyboard
  • Display resolution is 480x360
  • Runs BlackBerry OS 7.1
  • Supports: 802.11b / 802.11g / 802.11n / 3G
I've carried a handful of BlackBerry devices over my many years in IT, from the pager-like devices to the Curve, and even the Storm 2 (Which, believe it or not, I liked.)

I want to see BlackBerry do well enough that they can at least stay in the corporate game as their devices really are good at messaging.  But I'm having a hard time getting excited about to seeing customers getting excited about a phone running an outdated operating system.  The only way I see this working is if this new phone is the new, cheap - as in low low cost - entry level device to "emerging markets."  Coming in at north of $300 I don't see the Q5 doing that.




Monday, July 8, 2013

HP Releases a Minor Software Update for HP webOS

It's no joke, webOS fans, HP has release the smallest of mandatory updates for Palm's smartphones and tablet computer.

I received an email today from HP's webOS Team letting me know that there is a minor update available for webOS to correct an expiring root certificate that allows our webOS devices to connect to HP's backend servers for things like Backup/Restore and the App Catalog.  The certificate is set to expire on July 23, 2013.

HP TouchPad w/ webOS 3 after the update
Palm Pre w/ webOS 2.1 after the update
HP TouchPads running webOS 3 will be upgraded to App Catalog version 5.0.3500.  HP and Palm branded smartphones running webOS 2 will be updated to 2.1.10000.

The email contained directions for devices running webOS 2.1 and later as well as for devices running a version of webOS that was released prior to webOS 2.1.

Full details on how to update your webOS smartphone or tablet can be found on the HP website.

Anyone who plans to keep using their Palm webOS devices after July 23 of this year are encouraged to charge up your device and either install the automatic software update using the Software Update application or by manually going to the App Store and installing the App Catalog Update utility.

The email is copied below:


Mandatory webOS system update
A certificate used on webOS devices expires on July 23, 2013. For the system to be able to use cloud services such as Backup/Restore and App Catalog the certificate needs to be updated.
Beginning June 6th an automatic update to the Application Catalog has replaced the certificate. That means that if your device is running webOS “2.1” or greater you can have the certificate installed automatically by activating your device and accepting the update.
If your device is running a webOS version older than “2.1”, or you want to manually install, go to the HP App Catalog on your device and select the app called “App Catalog Update”, download and install it on your system.
To install the new certificate, download and install this application.
After July 23rd, 2013, it will be necessary to take special steps to install this update. Details will be available on the HP support site (https://developer.palm.com/support/applicationupdate?sssdmh=dm13.346142)
We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.
webOS Team

NASA's Final Space Shuttle Mission Launched Two Years Ago Today


The NASA space shuttle program, officially known as the Space Transportation System, or STS, has always been very near and dear to my heart as it is partly responsible for why I'm in the computer field to begin with.  (The Atari 2600 game console is the other, if you're wondering.)

Space Shuttle Atlantis, on mission STS-135 to resupply the International Space Station, lifted off on July 8, 2011 as the historic final flight of the 31 year old NASA STS program.

Atlantis' four member crew included Commander Christopher Ferguson, Pilot Douglas Hurley, Mission Specialist 1 Sandra Magnus, and Mission Specialist 2 Rex Walheim.

Atlantis touched down at her home base, the Kennedy Space Center, on July 21, 2011 after a fourteen day mission in space.

You can read more about Atlantis' final flight on Wikipedia.  If you are visiting Florida, you can see Atlantis as part of a new public exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Font Squirrel


I was working on an website development project today and I need to track down a font.  I did a quick search and I found, as you might expect, many sites offering free fonts.  And that's when I found Font Squirrel.

From the Font Squirrel FAQ:

ARE ALL THESE FONTS REALLY FREE FOR COMMERCIAL USE? 
As far as we know, yes. Please read the license on each font before you use them to be sure. And if you happen to find one that you think is not commercial, then please tell us. Also, some licenses may allow more uses than others. We have tried our best to mark fonts for different common uses. Read FAQ #8 below about embedding for more info.
Check out Font Squirrel the next time you need a font for your project.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

This Post is Not a Rant (But It Could Have Been)


This post is not a rant about freemium games, in app purchases, or ads in games.

Oh, it was.  I was on a roll about how annoying freemium games are, games that are free to download, install, and play and then encourage you to purchase power ups, new levels or show you an ad exactly at the wrong moment.

I was about to go off on Rovio for Angry Birds: Friends.  I'm competitive and pitting my bird flinging skills against my friends and family is an opportunity I couldn't pass up.

But the ads when you reset a level, and now the inclusion of new video ads, really put me over the top and I was about to give both barrels to Rovio for not giving me an in app purchase way to get rid of the ads...until I found out that they did.


So, this is a much tamer post to simply say that if you enjoy playing Angry Birds: Friends, and want to get rid of the ads, all you need to do is do an in app purchase for the gold coin pack that costs $2.99.


That's it.  For a reasonable $2.99 you can disable the ads.  Hopefully if enough fans pay the $2.99 that will give the developers enough bird seed to keep making great Rovio games for us.

You can download Angry Birds: Friends for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch from the App Store (link).

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Apple Opens iWork for iCloud Beta to Registered Developers


Apple started sending out emails yesterday to registered developers announcing that they now have access to the iWork for iCloud beta.

If you watched the WWDC keynote, you know what iWork for iCloud is.  If not, you've had your head under a rock.  iWork for iCloud is web based versions of Apple's iWork productivity suite (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) published in the iCloud portal.


iWork for iCloud is still a beta release and is expected to ship this fall along side Mac OS X Mavericks 10.9 and iOS 7.


Happy 4th of July!


Happy 4th of July from Smartphone Fanatics!

Monday, July 1, 2013

"iWatch" Trademark Application Filed in Japan

In this morning's Wall Street Journal, a report has been filed that Apple has applied for a trademark for the term "iWatch."
"The trademark application was filed on June 3 and made public by Japan's Patent Office on June 27. The application was filed under a product category for a computer or watch device. An official at the Patent Office said the application needs to go through a formal examination process before it can be approved."
Apple's interest in so called "wearable" computers or computer-like devices has been out there for a while now.  Most recently at the All Things D conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook briefly mentioned that he wears a Nike+ Fuel Band and that the wearables category is "ripe for innovation".  Long time observers know that is Apple-speak for we are working on something in the lab.

But the question that I have is whether or not now is the right time for iWatch?  I'm not talking in a sense of should they or shouldn't they make a device you wear on your wrist, but rather is the device on track for a near future release?  My guess is no, the iWatch is still at least 5 - 6 months away.  I don't expect such a product to be released this holiday season.

If such a product is under development, I would be most concerned right now about the screen size (I have one of those gigantic Palm OS-based watches) and battery life.  Apple knows a little bit about custom battery design, sure, but how will the battery and the display impact the over all design of such a device and how will the software integrate with iOS running on an iPhone in your pocket.  (I believe that the software APIs, or application program interface "hooks" have been slowly added to iOS for such a personal device over the life of iOS 6.)

Look, we all know that Apple has been looking at a watch-like device for a long time.  The wearable computer sector is heating up.  Just look at Google Glass for confirmation of that.  So the question here is not "if" Apple will make a move in the wearables sector, it's a matter of "when" will they feel ready to announce the product to the world.

[Via WSJ.com...]