Tuesday, December 28, 2010

wacky app

Disney has an app for Disney World and Disneyland that shows wait times, directions to attractions, etc.: "Mobile Magic".  And you won't find it.  Why?  Because you are almost certainly looking in the iOS app store.  This app is for certain Verizon phones only.

To see the app, you can look here.  I wonder what Steve Jobs has to say about this (or, perhaps, this was done to show that Disney does not overly favor Apple).  Not having it on the (true) app store more than a year after its Verizon release is startling.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

airplay theory on daring fireball

I really like Daring Fireball.  But one post today didn't really make sense.  Mr. Gruber posits that the reason iPhone may not be able to push recordings from its video camera to Apple TV might be because "the iPhone doesn’t have the processing power to compress movies" tight enough.  He knocks down the theory on other grounds (because the same video streams just fine after being imported) but I would note that the iPhone seems to compress video on its own anyway - remember how an emailed or uploaded video gets compressed.  Perhaps he meant high quality compression (not the grainy stuff in emails).  Just a small note and of no consequence as the theory was rejected anyway.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What is Pastore's background?

I just read a remarkably well written piece.  The substance wasn't important (open table, market power, and restaurant finances).  But I was struck by how well it was written (to be clear, I'm not claiming I have any skills here - I'm not a qualified judge or practioner).

So, I was wondering what Pastore's background was.  I could look it up but am too lazy.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I'd like to be like Charlie Rangel and walk out of things just because I feel like them.  And I wonder if his lack of money to pay counsel will somehow, magically, be consistent with a comfortable lifestyle in the coming years.

Liar and buffoon.  A truly evil guy.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

a crazy idea

Is the reason Apple, in a surprise, is streaming the keynote because they are showing off their new delivery capabilities?

Friday, August 27, 2010

3x3 mystery apple screen

Is this screen for a new remote? 

Monday, August 2, 2010

handle for the iPad

I've been waiting to see if a third-party flip-down handle will be released for the iPad (or if the next generation will have one) because I can't yet see a comfortable way to hold it with one hand.  But I do like the thumb-hole idea.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

iPhone 4 pre-orders

The press release indicated that more than 600,000 iPhones were pre-ordered on June 15.  Will be interesting to learn how many more (and if 600k was understating or about right).  Given the difficulties of ordering, assuming that it wasn't due to the rumored AT&T security changes the weekend before, perhaps it was far higher?

Note that the iPad sold about 300,000 on its first day (I know this includes both walk-ins and pre-orders but I have to believe that for iPhones, pre-orders largely substitute for walk-ins) Which makes 600,000 seem somewhat unimpressive and, in fact, low.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

cloud computing and iPhone pre-orders

How is cloud computing really supposed to work if Apple can't even get pre-orders to work for iPhone4 - a PLANNED surge for something relatively simple (no streaming, etc.).  If it turns out the problem is simply with the AT&T account confirmation (which it might be), then less of a concern.  But if it is a broader problem, work needs to be done on the cloud.  Or at least Apple's implementation of its cloud efforts.

Separately, I did find out how to order the iPhone.  Although it seems like the ordering process dies midway (after confirming the selection of a phone), the order has actually made it to the shopping cart at this point.  One can't change the account plan but, at worst, this is a one-time $15 cost (or perhaps no cost if one were planning on keeping the unlimited data plan).  So mine is schedule to arrive on Thursday!

Monday, May 17, 2010

iPad video mirroring

Why isn't there video mirroring on the iPad?  All I want is to be able to plug the iPad into a monitor and see the same thing on the monitor and the iPad's screen.  For me, it's for the kids (they can watch the same programming in the car using the existing screen).  For others, it's for academic efforts (electronic whiteboard).  Or for business presentations.  Etc.

This must be trivial to program but, unfortunately, isn't susceptible to third-party app solutions because it has to be part of the OS.

This is a real stumbling block to buying an iPad...

Monday, April 19, 2010


Why is anyone (outside a few isolated examples like the google voice app that were rejected by the app store) still making webapps for the iPhone?

2010 iPhone grooves

Lots of reports today of the discovery of a future iPhone (gizmodo, engadget, etc.).  There's been a lot of discussion on the authenticity of the photos and the likelihood that the device really is the next iPhone.  With extra focus on several grooves on the case.  My guess:  this will make it easier to mount accessories to the bottom.  And, for those accessories that need a little more security, there is a groove on top.  I guess we'll see in a couple months...

Monday, April 12, 2010

no OS 4 for original iPhone and an unusual problem

The possibility that the original iPhone will not be able to upgrade to iPhone OS 4 is not that big a deal - in the US, phones are basically on a 2-3 year cycle and so the fact that there is a user base of any size for a three year old phone is remarkable and a testament to the quality and cutting edge nature of the original iPhone.

The unusual problem is related to one of the iPhone OS's strengths - the iPod touch.  Although less expensive, I would guess that the normal expected life is longer than that of a phone.  For example, I'm still using (albeit in a sort of back-up, for the kids way) a relatively old iPod (it uses a firewire connector...).  And, if the iPhone news is correct, it seems likely that at some point these touch users are no longer going to be able to upgrade their devices either.  All of which would be fine without the other strength of the platform - the app store.  As new apps start depending on the features of the newer OSes, these old devices will become less and less viable even though their owners may not think of them as expired.  And, although there will be a giant universe of app choices, a "grass-is-greener" perspective will still make them feel shortchanged.  I (irrationally) feel somewhat shortchanged by not being able to take advantage of apps that require a compass (only on the 3GS and not the 3G).

Finally, this will all get worse with the iPad which should have an even longer expected natural lifespan.

The price points for these devices are less than that of a computer (mostly) but still I'll analogize to Windows XP and its continued support and large userbase.  I wonder if iPhone OSes two strengths might someday end up as (modest) handicaps.  Having three strong devices plus the app store is a high class problem (Queen of England kind of class) but, as the platform continues to bring in users, I wonder what happens as normal device obsolescence kicks in for these (at one time) futuristic devices.

To be clear, there is no other phone that has a userbase and set of user expectations large enough to have an obsolescence issue.  Phones were too rudimentary and people were so unattached that they got left behind pretty easily every two years.  But the number of people using original iPhones as touches must be substantial.

iPad system requirement [addendum]

The requirement of OS X 10.5 is particularly baffling as iPad works with Windows XP.  Which is pretty ancient.  What can the iPad (and iPhone OS 3.2 and, presumably iPhone OS 4.0) possible demand that 10.4 can't deliver that XP can?

iPad system requirement

Whoa.  Didn't even bother to read this as I would never have guessed it matters.  iPad requires OS X 10.5.  I knew it would need the latest version of iTunes but the latest OS?  I haven't bothered to install 10.5 for my mini as it runs fine on 10.4 with all the software I need. And it just raised the price for an iPad substantially.  And, sadly, may actually encourage me to buy a new mini (how's that for a somewhat unintuitive response to a price increase - choose to pay MORE?).

Thanks to the consumer reports review for noting this.

Friday, April 9, 2010

iPad keyboard

I hope they release an os update that shrinks and splits the keyboard in portrait mode so it effectively mimics the iPhone keyboard.  It's hard to reach across the large screen with one's thumbs and having one less layout to familiarize oneself with is also a plus.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Wow.  Although this was largely expected, it still feels weird to realize that Apple is going to be deeply involved in advertising.  And, it's actually hard to describe their position - I think it is selling advertising space (but, because it is Apple and the tight control that comes along with it), advertising services, and the medium itself.  It is like Panasonic manufacturing the television, owning some (but not all) of the channels, having control over a certain type of channel (those that opt into iAd), helping create/approve the advertising, etc.  It's a very global system and very much shuts google out of advertising on apps that go the iAd route.  And, if built very neatly into the SDK, will be hard to resist simply opting into iAd as a default for occasional developers.  Google will really need to create a drop-in ad system for apps that goes beyond display ads.

Separately, it never occurred to me until two seconds ago with Google's auto-complete, that the "App Store" is two letters away from the "Apple Store".

Thursday, April 1, 2010

South Korean success

I wonder how much of Korea's success in the recent crisis is a function of having very good but often not the very best products (and being able to price more competitively as a result).  Not merely because as rich country consumers "traded down" they saw the value in Hyundais over Hondas, but also because, for a large part of the global economy (emerging markets) Korean products are their products.  And so, with a different export and customer and a bias towards the customers who survived, Koreans did exceptionally well?

Friday, March 26, 2010

iPad battery

Assuming improved iPads are released over time, doesn't this (that Apple will just ship a new machine rather than actually replace the battery) mean iPads are expected to drop in price significantly (or, extremely unlikely, that Apple will somehow keep a large inventory of obsolete iPads)?  Otherwise, each time there is a new version, owners will suddenly "discover" that their iPads no longer hold a charge and require an exchange (which, naturally, will mean the new version of the machine as the old ones disappear).  I'd recommend waiting a few months to clear out the refurbs and old inventory before trying this gambit...

Monday, March 22, 2010

rio tinto and bribery

I have to admit I haven't read all that's available but precisely what does it mean to "bribe" an executive at a foreign company?  The idea that the executives were paid AND received secret information is wacky - paying to receive and being paid to divulge make sense.  But somehow being paid to receive useful information?  And, separate from embezzlement or corporate opportunity, what exactly is a bribe of a private individual or company?  Strange.

Friday, March 5, 2010

iPad for the car

I'd like to see a case for the iPad that velcros on (or similar) so it can be attached and detached from the headrest in front.  Alternatively, some sort of snap-in system where it goes in a bracket with cords hidden away for power (and maybe audio).  At $500, it's not much more expensive than other high quality 9" screens but it also holds a lot of media, is easy for the kids to run, and, obviously, is very portable compared to most screens.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Andrew Cuomo and corporate finance

Someone should really sit Andrew Cuomo down and explain that, even if BofA defrauded its shareholders by recklessly merging with Merrill, it only makes things worse to sue BofA and ask for payment of damages to the shareholders and the state.  I fear that Cuomo (and those before him (I'm looking at you prostie man) and most elected officials) are completely unaware that a company can't pay its own shareholders damages...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Internet in Italy

I'm shocked that significant bureaucratic hurdles that de facto make internet video services (such as YouTube) uneconomic would be imposed in Italy, a country whose Prime Minister owns its largest television group.  Shocked.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Toyota Accelerator Pedals

It just occurred to me that the Lexus ES crash that widely publicized Toyota's acceleration problems can't be a result of the CTS pedal assemblies as the ES is built in Japan and so should use the Denso units.  This isn't news (as it was this crash that triggered the floormat recall) but it is somewhat ironic that the most conspicuous event was not part of the more concerning recall.  And, perhaps, will continue to fan concerns of an electronic throttle problem rather than a mechanical problem.

Friday, January 29, 2010


A small thought on the iPad.  I actually think this makes sense as the machine you use while watching TV on the couch.  I currently use my iPhone this way and would appreciate a better/larger screen and faster response.  Of course, it seems entirely frivolous to buy something to use as a distraction while watching TV.  And yet, it actually would be useful and used often.  So, I think Apple will need to concoct a reasonable fig leaf rationale for purchasing this, even if the true reason is because we are now so easily bored that we need multiple screens on the couch.

I would note also that this means that cellular is really not important for those who would use the device this way.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I thought I had noted this before but don't see it in the archives.  The iPhone's popularity is funny because I think people are simply rediscovering the magic of a general purpose computer again.  And buying software for those computers.  I can't recall the last time I bought software other than Office, TurboTax and maybe Photoshop Elements for my PC or Mac.  It's like 1980 again.  By describing the iPhone as a phone and not a computer, consumers' expectations were reset and Apple escaped the paradigm of (expensive) boxed software.

With the iTunes system, three important benefits became available: limited piracy, immediacy and low cost (a function of limited piracy, in part).

In brief, the iPhone reintroduced general purpose computers and the world of purchased third-party software to the public after a long absence.  Now, the question will be whether the iPhone follows the path of the Apple II or is something new altogether.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

24: day 8

I had the following questions about the first four hours of season 8 of 24:
1. why not just take a taxi to the handoff rather than make an injured man walk 5 blocks?
2. how did the Russian hitman join the NYPD in the space of a few months (or perhaps weeks)?
3. why did the evil brother believe the evil weapons dealer when he said his son had radiation poisoning?
4. why is evidence of radiation poisoning a solution to the problem of: "money or goods first?"?
5. exactly how does someone create a false identity good enough to join CTU?
6. why are personal phones permitted throughout CTU?
7. how do personal phones even work in CTU?
8. how is Jack supposed to go undercover when he was in nationally televised congressional hearings?
9. why exactly would you go to the trouble of bringing nuclear materials into the US only to export them again (of course, hard to have a threat against the US if you don't bring them in, so this is excusable)?

So far, the basic plot and premise are pretty fun and compelling: good Iranian stand-in, credible bomb threat to take targets out of secure locations, believable internecine conflict (who more likely to take over than the brother after a tragic death?), customary 24 expansion of crisis by adding in nuclear weapons dealing on US soil...

Friday, January 8, 2010

future TVs

This Panasonic TV is an okay idea but misses something more useful - TV manufacturers should work to embed the camera in the middle of the screen to permit "eye contact" in video-conferencing.  This would permit true differentiation from add-on cameras beyond simple aesthetics and leverage a capability unavailable to add-on providers (and thus permit better margins).