Steve Jobs, the real tech virtuoso

October 6th, 2011 at 9:13 AM  3 Comments

One hundred years from now, people will talk about Steve Jobs the same way we do of Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and the Wright brothers. Perhaps, as my friend Chris helped pointed out, he was a mix of Edison and John Lennon. Maybe he was a bit like Walt Disney, or Jim Hensen, a man who was personally tied to the brand he created.

Regardless, he was an an inventor, a visionary, a man full of ideas. He was more than just any businessman, CEO to Apple, he personally held patents for many of the technologies used in their products. He was the perfect mix of creative genius and salesman. In the tech world, Steve Jobs was elevated to near deity-like status, but as cancer proved, he was still just a man.

Every CEO of every company on the planet should pay attention to this right now and ask themselves, “why won’t this happen when I die?” (@jayfanelli)

I tried to sit down and put together my thoughts on his passing last night, but couldn’t. I was too overcome with the emotions pouring out from people across the world on Twitter. I shared some of my own but it was interesting to watch the wake for a man happen in real time from people all across the world. People who loved and hated him all had emotions to share.

Even President Obama had something to say:

The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve’s wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him.

But I’m not sure those outside of the technology community could really feel the impact the way we all did. My wife didn’t understand last night why I was grieving for a man I’d never met, the founder of a company that now rivals ExxonMobil as the world’s largest. Without meeting him, Steve Jobs had a profound impact on my life. I credit him (and Bill Gates) for sparking my interest in technology… for making me what I am today.

The first computer I ever used was an Apple II when I was in kindergarden. Later, I learned how to do amazing things on some of the first Macintosh systems. I used to skip recess to go down to the elementary school library so that I could learn on devices that he helped create. And while my family can attest to later holding Apple and their products in contempt through much of the mid-90s, while pounding the drum of Microsoft, I later came back to the “distortion field” as Steve brought real innovation back to the industry.

The Apple II, the Macintosh, Pixar (who doesn’t love Toy Story), iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes. Disruptions to the status-quo. Disruptions that are all because of the leadership and creative mind of Steve Jobs. I don’t remember much about what computers were like before the Apple II or the Mac, but I know what movies were like before Pixar. I know what buying music was like before iTunes and the iPod. I know what phones were like before the iPhone, and I love my iPad. I wouldn’t want to go back to a world before the things Steve created, existed. Even if you’re a hardened Android fan, you have to remember what smartphones were like before the iPhone and thank Apple and Steve Jobs for setting a new trend. Even if you’re a Microsoft fanatic, you have to thank him for keeping Bill on his toes for all those years, and forcing each other to continue to innovate.

In my article last week, prior to the announcement of the iPhone 4S, I said this:

I still maintain that Steve Jobs will be present at the announcement, even after his recent retirement as Apple CEO. I think he will be there to hand it off to Tim Cook in some way, or perhaps participate in some FaceTime chat to highlight a new iOS 5 feature. At the very least, his presence will be felt.

There was an empty chair, in the front row of the hall, with a cloth wrapped around it marked Reserved. That was no doubt a chair for Steve, one he wouldn’t be in because of what we all now know. I think Apple knew this was coming soon, and probably played the announcement a bit low-key as to not attempt to overshadow what could have probably happened any day. That said, I have no doubt that Steve wanted to see one last keynote, one last product launch, before he passed on. His presence was felt. His presence will continue to be felt with every future Apple product.

At 56, Steve Jobs did more than most people do in 90 years. He was the original Apple genius, a master showman, and the original tech virtuoso. He will be missed.

A few days with a dead tablet

August 28th, 2011 at 9:12 AM  No Comments

Like many others the announcement that HP would discontinue all current WebOS devices surprised me. I knew it wasn’t selling as well as HP expected (especially with the Rumors about Best Buy wanting to return a huge chunk of their stock) but I didn’t think they would give up this easily.

I went on the hunt to get one after the $99/$149 fire sale started. Since I was traveling that Saturday I didn’t get my hands on one until this past Wednesday. I am not a complete newb to WebOS. My wife used the original Pre on Sprint for a year and after she upgraded to the Evo I swapped it to my account as my primary device a couple of times. I really like WebOS but the Pre’s hardware killed the experience for me. I was exited to see how WebOS had evolved since version 1 as well as the experience on a piece of quality hardware.

Overall the WebOS interface hasn’t changed much, but it seemed much more polished over version 1.45. The hardware seemed solid but I was surprised to experience a little lag when doing some basic tasks. I would think the Dual Core Snapdragon system wouldn’t have small performance issues like this. Even with the performance shortcomings I didn’t use my laptop for three days after bringing the tablet home which surprised me.

The HP Touchpad had potential to be a great device, but with the previous price point I can understand why it wasn’t selling as well as it’s competitors. VPN Functionality and LAN Printing are great features but without apps like Remote Desktop, no support to access network files (CIFS Support is available in a Homebrew kernal, but no file manager supports it yet) and the crazy limitation to only be able to print to HP Printers it almost renders these features useless. There were also a number of applications in the HP Market that I was surprised not to see.  No Google Voice (there was an app to send SMS messages through your Google Voice account), no LogMeIn and no Dropbox just to name a few.

Overall I am happy with my purchase.  Would I have paid $499+ for the device?  Absolutely not but I don’t think I would pay that much for an iPad even with it’s ever mounting list of applications. Will my Touchpad force me to leave my trusty Thinkpad on the charger? I am not sure, but after using the Touchpad I do know some tablet (not sure which at this point) will.

Fake iPad purchased from Walmart cannot be returned

February 14th, 2011 at 9:49 AM  1 Comment

  1. Man wants iPad
  2. Man goes to Walmart to buy iPad
  3. Man gets home, opens box, realizes the iPad in the box is a store demo unit
  4. Man tries to return fake iPad that Walmart sold him
  5. Walmart says “no way José!”
  6. Man sues Walmart
  7. Man buys second iPad at local Apple store

And all this time I thought Walmart would take anything back!

One of these tablets is not like the other, one you can buy right now

February 9th, 2011 at 8:06 PM  4 Comments

Today was an interesting day in the tablet world. We learned that what was left of Palm has now officially been smashed into HP, and that HP is serious about really building on the momentum that Palm had started to build with webOS. HP announced a plethora of new things today (which you can read more about over at Engadget, who I stole/borrowed the wonderful chart above from) but the most interesting today was their new tablet, the HP TouchPad.

I have been getting a lot of crap from people for talking a lot about Apple on this site recently. If you’re bothered by this, feel free to stop reading now, or write your own articles. Fact of the matter is, they’re key to a lot of the technology I’m interested in right now and they execute it better than anyone else.


Apple seeds first beta of iOS 4.3, what you need to know

January 12th, 2011 at 6:06 PM  5 Comments

Apple has released the first beta of iOS 4.3 to developers, hot on the heels of the Verizon iPhone announcement. While it’s probably too late in the game to expect 4.3 to come on the Verizon iPhone, chances are it’ll reach the general public sometime after that. All of the demo phones that the tech press got to play with are running iOS 4.2.5, which is probably going to be a VZW only version, coming all back into sync with the release of 4.3.

If Apple could get away without releasing betas of their operating systems, they’d probably do it, because it’s the first chance many of us outside of their private layer get to have to look at what’s coming down the pipe.

What you should know:

  • Apple has not seeded an update for the second generation iPhone (3G) or iPod touch. Only the iPhone 3GS and 4, iPad and Apple TV. This could mean one of two things —
  1. It’s just not out yet. Apple is either lazy or they’re going to hold off until the next beta release.
  2. There will never be a version released. In which case 4.2.1 will be the end of the line for those devices.
  • The Personal Hotspot feature of the Verizon iPhone 4 is integrated into 4.3 for all models including those on AT&T, however it’s going to cost you extra on your plan.
  • FaceTime has it’s own icon.
  • iPad users can now get a choice between the physical side switch being a mute switch or an orientation lock. In iOS 3.2, which was iPad only, the switch functioned as an orientation lock. When the code tree was unified under iOS 4.2, it was changed to a mute switch. Users complained (rightfully so) and now Apple is giving people an option. Frankly I prefer it as an orientation lock on the iPad and a mute switch on the iPhone.
  • On the iPhone, when in silent mode a text message will generate three quick vibrations and an email will generate one. This allows you to quickly distinguish the difference when it’s in your pocket. Personally, I turn email notifications off completely because I get too many.
  • There are some new font choices as well as some new multi-touch gestures on the iPad. The gestures seem to enable a lot of functionality that would negate the need for a home button. Perhaps a clue to the future of the iPad 2?
  • AirPlay for video in applications is a welcomed addition for AppleTV users. Soon you’ll be able to stream just more than the built in videos application. This will open the door for VLC (if it returns to the App Store) and others to enable this functionality.
  • There have been reports on Twitter about applications not being allowed to update with the beta installed. While I’ve not confirmed this myself use caution before trying out the beta on your primary device.

Really, if you’re not a developer, or a bleeding edge kind of person, stay away. Honestly, if you’re not a developer or testing things for a developer you shouldn’t have access to this anyway (why people risk installing operating systems from public torrents is beyond me) — also, if you’re someone who exercises their ability to jailbreak or unlock the phone, don’t update, because there is no telling if you’ll ever be able to go back to 4.2.1, or if an exploit for 4.3 will even be released.

iPad, Android, still slightly more popular than Justin Bieber

December 13th, 2010 at 9:49 AM  1 Comment

At least according to Twitter, the Apple iPad and Google Android are still slightly more popular than teen pop idol Justin Bieber. Good thing too, because for a while there we were considering changing the name and focus of the site to BieberVirtuoso.

via 9to5mac

When old media embraces new media, The Washington Post iPad app

November 9th, 2010 at 8:05 PM  No Comments


When one of the most respect names in journalism gets into the iPad game, it seems they go all in. Bringing out big guns like Bob Woodward to pimp their latest adventures in new media.

From the look of the previews and reviews thus far, the app seems to be top notch. It’ll be interesting to see how other papers embrace new media into the workflow as their traditional distribution methods begin to dry up.

Microsoft admits iPad cutting into netbook sales

November 4th, 2010 at 12:16 PM  2 Comments

Does this really shock anyone?

Nick Eaton over at Seattle PI got Windows product manager Gavriella Schuster on record as saying that that the iPad is cutting into netbook sales:

“These are definitely getting cannibalized,” she said. “These are really a second device. But they are getting cannibalized.”

As they should. Netbooks, for the most part, have sucked. Under powered, small screens, stripped down Linux OS or Windows XP. Compared to the iPad or other tablets for similar price, who wouldn’t make that decision in favor of the iPad?

Apple dominates global tablet market

November 2nd, 2010 at 3:01 PM  1 Comment

Tablets are nothing new, Microsoft has had them around for years. But despite their best efforts they were nothing more than laptops with screens you could write on with an ugly stylus. They were reserved for business, hospitals and education. The battery life was horrible. They weren’t something your grandma could pickup and figure out how to use. They weren’t sexy.

Enter the iPad.

The iPad is everything Windows tablets were not. Designed for consumers, no stylus required, with an awesome battery. And being mostly glass and aluminium it sets the definition of sexy in the tablet space.

And as such, it has done what Windows tablets have failed for nearly a decade to do. Sell.

Apple now, just six months after launching, dominates the market according to research firm Strategy Analytics. At 95% Apple is now the monster to beat. Best of luck to the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the BlackBerry PlayBook, and the HP Slate (in either Windows 7 or WebOS flavors) — you’ve got your work cut out for you.

via Computer World

iOS 4.2 is golden, should be released in the next week

November 1st, 2010 at 7:02 PM  No Comments

Apple has posted the gold master version of the iOS 4.2 firmware to the Apple developers website.

With this release, the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch will all be unified under one code base and have more feature parity. However the most important part of this release is that the iPad will gain the much coveted mutlitasking abilities that have been present in the iOS firmware since version 4.0 on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

As Engadget points out:

if you’ve got a friend with an iPhone Developer Program subscription, now would be a greattime to get cozy

Indeed. Typically the gold master will run on any device, not just ones which are registered to a developer account. Also, the gold master is typically released to the public within a week or so of hitting developers, so expect this to be finalized very soon. Apple promised 4.2 would be out in November and they seem on track to deliver.

And just in time for me to buy an iPad this week.

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