DigitalOutbox Episode 8

DigitalOutbox Episode 8
In this episode the team discuss Microsoft loves Yahoo, Twitter and some Apple hate. Honest.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
– Microsoft & Yahoo deal
– http://www.choicevalueinnovation.com
– http://kara.allthingsd.com/20090729/yahoo-ceo-carol-bartzs-letter-about-the-yasoft-deal/?mod=ATD_rss
– All about competing with Google
– Leaves Yahoo looking pretty weak – if they don’t do search what do they do? Mail, Flickr. Link/lander page?
– 10 year agreement – long time in internet timeline
– Google AdWords vs. Microsoft AdCenter and Google AdSense vs. Microsoft PubCenter – thats it
– They don’t mention Google by name – “the market leader” or “the competitor’
– There’s no upfront payment.
– The deal requires regulatory approval and isn’t expected to close until 2010.
– The company’s don’t expect to see the full benefits of the deal until 24 months
after regulatory approval.
– While the companies claim Yahoo! “will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers”, most of the value is and will be derived via the self-service channel – which Microsoft will
now control.
– The deal could put Yahoo!’s affiliate/syndicated search business at risk.
– The deal’s 10 year length may put Yahoo at Microsoft’s mercy given that there’s only one other supplier — Google.
– Combined they have 40% ad market share in the US, 8% market share in the UK.
– We have a plan where some Yahoo engineers over time may move over to Microsoft.
– Yes, there are certainly many Yahoo search employees who will be asked to take jobs at MSFT. There will also be search employees [who get redeployed]. Unfortunately there will be some redundancies in Yahoo. This is a transition over the next 2 and half years. Nothing will change until we get regulatory approval, but yes, there will be redundancies, but in the future.

– European Windows 7, XP and Vista owners get to choose browser
– http://www.engadget.com/2009/07/29/microsoft-giving-europeans-with-windows-xp-and-vista-choice-of-b/
– Choose from 10 browsers – IE8 installed but on first launch users get to choose a different browser
– Update to XP and Vista users means they will get same option
– MS bending over backwards…looks a good solution though

– Broadband UK
– http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8171074.stm
– http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/4014-ofcom-finally-publishes-final-broadband-report.html
– People still not getting advertised speeds
– Virgin Media (10Mb) fastest compared to the others (8Mb)
– Doesn’t take account of throttling etc
– Sky – customer base increasing
– O2 & BE – customer base increasing

– Palm Pre
– Web OS 1.1 – iTunes syncing works again
– System: … “Resolves an issue preventing media sync from working with latest version of iTunes (8.2.1).”

– Twitter
– Twitter 101 guide for business
– 1000’s of spammers deleted from twitter
– New homepage coming soon
– Launched Wednesday
– Search focussed
– See popular topics by minute, day, week
– Changed ‘updates’ to ‘tweets’
– More aggressive Twitter?
– Be careful what you tweet – person is being sued for their tweet – http://mashable.com/2009/07/28/woman-sued-tweet/
– O2 launched their text tweet service early – Monday.

– Apple
– Tablet
– September launch or early next year
– 10 inch touchscreen/tablet
– Same OS as iPhone
– This has been rumoured for years
– Cocktail – interactive booklets, sleeve notes alongside music
– Prize – still rumoured at $800-$900

– Time Capsule now 2TB
– http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MB996/Time-Capsule-2TB?mco=NzE0MTY
– 2TB for £349 – same price as 1TB was
– 1TB now £229
– 500GB discontinued

– Suicide factory worker at Foxconn
– 4G iPhone lost
– Family claim worker was beaten and bullied
– Family got $52,600 + $4385 every year while a parent is alive compensation and girlfriend got a free Mac laptop

– iPhone Hack Alert
– http://mashable.com/2009/07/30/iphone-hack/
– A text with a single square character – turn off phone
– Apple told about this at start of July
– No fix yet
– Couple of weeks before hackers build tool to exploit this?
– http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8177755.stm
– O2 announce Friday that a fix will be available on Saturday to address issue
– Hear nothing from Apple
– 3.0.1 released on Friday
– 250 Meg download
– Allegedly addresses the text security issue
– The also release a statement – We appreciate the information provided to us about SMS vulnerabilities which affect several mobile phone platforms. This morning, less than 24 hours after a demonstration of this exploit, we’ve issued a free software update that eliminates the vulnerability from the iPhone. Contrary to what’s been reported, no one has been able to take control of the iPhone to gain access to personal information using this exploit.

– iPhone 3GS security
– Encrypted but ‘easy’ to hack
– Can copy all disk contents within 2 mins
– Demo’d to Wired magazine

– Google Latitude
– Not an app but a web app
– No location in the background – real shame
– Google said Apple requested Latitude as a web app, not an actual applicaiton
– Surely Brightkite is a better option?

– Spotify for iPhone
– http://www.spotify.com/blog/archives/2009/07/27/spotify-for-iphone/
– Waiting for Apple approval – will it get it?
– Playlists sync’d, updated pushed automatically
– Offline playlists – download music to iPhone for playback later
– Premium subscribers only (£9.99 a month or £119.88 – no saving but you get 30 invites – wow, not)

– Official Google Voice App blocked
– Other Google Voice app’s removed from App Store
– Is AT&T behind the move but still stinks?
– http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/27/apple-is-growing-rotten-to-the-core-and-its-likely-atts-fault/
– http://www.riverturn.com/blog/?p=455
– Blog post from developer of Google Voice app that was pulled
– Horrible conversation with Apple rep
– Want Google Voice? There is no app for that. Except on Android and Blackberry. Blackberry on AT&T.
– Will this encourage jailbreaks? Switchers to Palm/Android?
– One of the unofficial Google Voice app’s now on Cydia – jailbreak time if you use Google voice?
– http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/31/i-quit-the-iphone/
– Now the FCC are to investigate the Google Voice issue:
– Earlier today, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) sent out letters to Apple, AT&T and Google, readable here [FCC’s letter to Apple, to AT&T & to Google] asking each company about its involvement in the Google Voice app rejections. The agency is asking Apple to explain why the Google app was rejected and the third-party apps removed, if any VoIP apps have been approved, and whether there are general rules and regulations covering application approvals (something many developers would also love to know).
– Will ask Google if other Google Voice app’s were allowed, whether Apple explained why the rejection took place and what is Androids approval process
– Will ask Apple why Google Voice was removed as well as third party app’s, if any VOIP app’s have been approved (Google Voice isn’t VOIP) and also what general rules covering approvals are in place
– Will ask AT&T whether they were consulted on this, if any VOIP app’s run on their network and for a list of rejected app’s while explaining how some are approved for 3G enabled services like Sling

– iPhone dev’s backlash?
– http://www.polarbearfarm.com/blog/?p=124
– http://carpeaqua.com/2009/07/28/where-do-i-sign-up/
– http://stevenf.tumblr.com/post/152606616/im-furious-with-apple-and-at-t-right-now-with
– Rejections are final straw
– Turning into a $0.99 store – consumer expects app’s to cost this now
– Why would you spend months developing an app for it to be rejected?
– Poor developer relations
– Is it sour grapes from the established Mac development community?
– Hardly. If your app connects to 3rd party server or the web it needs a NC-17 rating. Instapaper now comes with a warning. Where’s the warning in Safari, iTunes or Mail?
– http://dashes.com/anil/2009/07/apple-secrecy-does-not-scale.html
– Where’s the Apple bloggers?
– Microsoft, Adobe all have their dev’s blogging and being open to a certain extent, open once they’ve publicly announced something at least
– Jailbreaking could disable towers
– http://theappleblog.com/2009/07/29/apple-claims-jailbreaking-could-disable-transmission-towers/
– Desperate
– Surely bull?

– Secret of Monkey Island hits the iPhone
– 350mb
– Swap between new and old graphics with one swipe
– Space Invaders Infinity Gene

– Wipeout

Picks
– LittleSnapper 1.5 and Ember
– LittleSnapper
– http://www.realmacsoftware.com/littlesnapper/
– $24 ($15 off)
– Capture desktop (full, area, window, timed), webpage
– Create collections, add tags
– Annotate pictures
– Store in library
– Export to flickr, pdf and Ember
– Ember
– http://emberapp.com/
– Inspiration rather than Flickr type images
– Focus on design, screenshots, websites etc
– Explore via collections or tags
– Free and paid options
– Limited amount of uploads and collections
– 1Password

DigitalOutbox Episode 7

DigitalOutbox Episode 7
In this episode the team discuss Windows 7, Virgin Media, naughty Amazon, Apple news and app’s and Console streaming. Blimey.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
– Windows 7
– On sale
– Euro website crashes
– Surprised at how many people are buying…the OS that will replace XP.
– Was £50 at PC World at one point. Bit of a rush on getting the best deals.

– MS Spotify rival
– Microsoft to launch a music streaming service
– no clear info yet, could be free with ads, but could be paid for service, nothing confirmed

– Virgin Media
– DOCSIS 3.0 rollout almost complete
– 50Meg drops to £38 without phone line, £28 with a phone line, still no throttling or bandwidth caps
– Trailing 10mb upload, 200mb download services
– Change to target hardcore downloaders
– Will contact those that abuse between 9 and 21

– Amazon pulls books from Kindle
– Orwell books too – Irony
– 1984, Animal Farm remotely wiped
– People who bought it had it wiped from their Kindle, money refunded
– Say they won’t do it again
– So much for owning the media….
– These books were added to our catalog using our self-service platform by a third-party who did not have the rights to the books. When we were notified of this by the rights holder, we removed the illegal copies from our systems and from customers’ devices, and refunded customers. We are changing our systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers’ devices in these circumstances.

– Apple
– Apple apparently called MS asking them to stop running Laptop Hunter ads …
– iTunes 8.2.1 blocks Palm Pre – get out
– Palm Pre sdk released, weak compared to iPhone but out very quickly compared to Apple
– My Location now enabled on iPhone safari browser
– iTunes D45
– new D45 section launched, discounted price for 2x songs: a hit song and a less common or previously unreleased song – App Store – 1.5 billion downloads
– Slow 3.0 for 3G and older?
– Tunewiki for iPhone
– Free app
– Music streaming, lyrics database, youtube charts
– Purchase music from stream your listening too
– Tweet the current track your listening too
– Music maps – who’ listening to this track around the globe
– User interface – nasty

– Twitbit: another Twitter app,
– £2.99, includes Push notifications, all or nothing though, future updates will allow customisation
– Resident Evil Degeneration on iPhone/iPod – £3.99, rather good apparently
– DropBox iPhone app almost complete: view, modify and download your files + sync iPhone photos
– SweetFM now open source (was $29)
– http://www.chocomoko.com/
– Last.fm client with iTunes integration
– Great design
– Rips the stream – 128kbps copies to iTunes with tags and album art

– Games
– Activision – Modern Warfare 2 – £54.99 in the UK. Fuckers. EA won’t raise prices of holiday titles…this year.
– Battlefield 1943 – Glorious now that it works
– Wipeout HD Fury – Expansion pack, July 23rd, 3 new modes, 12 new tracks, thirteen new ships. More than original game?

– Console Streaming
– PS3 – bluetooth remote
– Xbox 360 – noisy
– Streaming from Mac – Connect 360, Medialink, Rivet
– Quality
– Issues?

Picks
– Parachute Panic – .59p, hand drawn graphics, really simple, really addictive – nice music too
– AppMiner – FREE – bargain hunter

DigitalOutbox Episode 5

DigitalOutbox Episode 5
In this episode the team discuss the Pirate Bay, iPhone app’s, game news and a bit more on Mobileme.

Playback
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Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
– Pirate Bay Sold
– http://torrentfreak.com/the-pirate-bay-sold-to-software-company-goes-legal-090630/
– https://thepiratebay.org/blog
– http://torrentfreak.com/the-pirate-bay-closes-its-tracker-removes-torrents-090630/
– http://torrentfreak.com/pirate-bays-peter-sunde-discusses-the-sites-future-090630/
– You can buy shares in the company
– New trackers – originally closing tracker but then moving to new tracker tech
– Monitisation options
– Potentially massive implications – TBP tracker contains over half of all torrent users
– We would like to introduce models which entail that content providers and copyright owners get paid for content that is downloaded via the site
– Talking to the BBC, Pandeya said that he plans to make legal file sharing (which is what The Pirate Bay will be focused on from now on) more attractive than illegal file sharing by paying the users for sharing files. He also plans to pay the content providers that provide the files, and he plans to raise money from the ISPs by reducing their traffic overload.
– “Let’s say a popular song comes out. Rather than a million downloads from a site – which would cause a considerable strain on that ISP – we can take that song and put it out on P2P,” he says.
– Spokesman for Global Gaming Factory X said they would remove all illegally hosted content – but Pirate Bay has none according to their legal argument, no?
– Sounds like Napster 2………but is it bull? PirateBay do like to play games.

– One size fits all mobile charger in Europe
– http://news.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/hi/technology/newsid_8124000/8124293.stm
– Phones won’t come with charger, buy one if you need one
– MicroUSB to be standard
– Not legal, voluntary
– Under the accord, the companies, including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Apple, Motorola, Research in Motion and Samsung, are committed to developing the charger.90% of euro market

– News
– Poor Palm Pre build quality: http://forums.precentral.net/palm-pre/188040-horrible-build-quality.html
– Palm Pre coming to O2
– XHTML2 is officially dead, HTML5 is the new king
– http://gdgt.com/ – Gadget site – review/wikipedia for gadgets, users control specs, review, aggregator – already a big community
– That Microsfot ad – http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2009/07/02/microsoft-makes-users-sick-pulls-ad/

– iPhone/Mac
– Steve Jobs officially back at work
– Birdfeed: yet another Twitter app for iPhone, £2.99, caching
– iPhone 3GS jailbreak with PurpleRa1n
– Augmented reality using 3GS compass
– Pocket Universe
– http://web.mac.com/john_kenn/craicdesign/index.html
– http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=306916838&mt=8
– Plot position of planets, stars, constellation outlines
– Nearest Tube
– http://www.acrossair.com/apps_nearesttube.htm
– Still to be approved
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fZk0HaIs4s
– Another giant robot in Japan, Wakamatsu park will get a Tetsujin robot in October http://www.kobe-tetsujin.com/
– F-22 Raptor photographed going super sonic http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=73057

– Games
– Fable III ? rumours
– Worms 2 – Fantastic update
– Battlefield 1943 – Wed 8th July, 7 years since 1942, three maps with 4th released once 43 million kills have been registered

– Mobileme
– Do you use
– Whats good and bad
– Ease of use
– Calendar sync
– Contacts
– Bookmarks
– iDisk
– Photo Gallery
– Online tools
– Application sync
– Back to my mac
– Find My iPhone
– Alternatives
– Costs?

Picks
– GeekTool – http://projects.tynsoe.org/en/geektool/
– GeekTool is a PrefPane (System Preferences module) for Panther or Tiger to show system logs, unix commands output, or images (i.e. from the internet) on your desktop (or even in front of all windows). Use File mode to monitor MacOS X activity with /var/tmp/console.log or /var/log/system.log, or Shell mode to launch custom scripts or commands like “df” to check space left on filesystems, “uptime” to monitor load of your machine… FInally, Image mode helps you monitor bandwith usage, CPU loads, memory availability of your server, via tools like MRTG or RRD.
(closest Windows equivalent – Rainmeter http://code.google.com/p/rainmeter/)
– Flogr – http://code.google.com/p/flogr/

Paper Toss

PaperToss1Paper Toss is a simple yet highly addictive game for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The concept revolves around the popular office past-time of chucking a crumpled up paper ball into a waste paper bucket.

There are 3 difficulty levels with the waste paper bucket placed further on each higher difficulty level. The paper ball will always travel as far as the bucket, so the only thing the player has to be concerned with is the horizontal angle of your .. erm .. toss! Swipe your finger from the bottom of the screen upwards at the desired angle. Sounds simple enough, but extra challenge is provided by a desk fan which varies in it’s fan speed and randomly switches between left and right at each turn.

The game is very easy at Easy level, but Medium and Hard levels are quite challenging. Your score can be submitted, along with your location, to an online scoreboard, which can be viewed locally, nationally or globally. For a game that is currently available for free, this is incredibly good and comes recommended. Grab it while it’s still free!

iPhone 3GS Review

It’s more than a week since the iPhone 3GS launch so it’s high time to post up a review. Most readers are well aware of the iPhone 3G so I’ll focus on the differences between the two and also on some niggles that I still have with the iPhone.

The S in 3GS stands for speed and it doesn’t take long to feel the benefits of the upgraded processor and ram in the 3GS. Best way to highlight the difference is via video. First up is a test of Safari speed. Comparing 3G vs 3GS both using OS3.0 there is a considerable difference on 3G networks and also wi-fi.

In practice I’ve found the same sort of difference on most sites and it makes a big difference in day to day browsing. More telling though is application launching. On the 3GS application load times are greatly improved especially with games and the larger applications. The following video highlights a massive difference when loading Tiger Woods.

So speed is great on the 3GS but then it should be. The next biggest change is the camera. Now 3 megapixel but it’s the video support that will capture most attention. The video is easy to use and with YouTube support it’s makes it trivial to capture and upload content.

When uploading to YouTube the video is compressed to make it quicker to upload but the quality of the source video is actually pretty good.

The camera controls are a marked difference over the 3G. Click to focus makes it easy to take photo’s and the auto-everything approach Apple has taken to the camera settings again make taking good photo’s trivial. The images below show how the click to focus make quite a difference to your image.

3GS Focus on V Key3GS Focus on BottleiPhone 3GS GardeniPhone 3GS Close UpThe quality increase over the 3G is marked and the ability to take close up photo’s should lead to a range of barcoding and price comparison app’s. I also expect a range of photo app’s that will offer finer quality control over the camera settings – HDR app’s on the iPhone 3GS? Probably.

The voice control is hardly a new phone feature but it is to the iPhone. it does work but I can’t say it’s been reliable. A 2-3 second button press will bring up the voice control app. You can then call one of your contacts, play a track, artist or playlist or ask for more by this artist via the genius feature. When it works it’s good but some words no matter how I prenounce them will register accurately on the 3GS. One trick is to make a playlist that sounds like no other so if you do want to get to some music quickly you can add it to that list and know by using voice control it will launch.

Then there’s the digital compass. It’s a bit of an odd addition really. Hardly one for the masses I actually think it’s a bit inaccurate. North is found but it’s rarely a repeatable North. Rotating also seems to highlight some inaccuracies. I have noticed that the 3GS seems to be greatly affected by magnetic sources around me, more so than the compass I was using to verify how accurate it was. Also odd is how it’s been added to maps – press the location button in maps and then press again to see the direction cone. Even odder – it’s not added to street view which I expected to be a given. Maybe in an update, or shudder, maybe that’s in next years model.

That’s the rub. It’s undoubtedly a great phone but if you’ve got a 3G it’s not an essential upgrade. I’ve no regrets in upgrading as I’m loving the extra room by going to 32GB and I use it so much that the speed increases actually make a big difference but this really isn’t for everyone. Battery life seems to be a touch better but not so great to justify upgrading wither. As we speculated in the podcast, Apple are fond of revolutionary products followed by incremental upgrades and the iphone is following that path. I expect to see some fundamental platform changes every 3-4 years with improvements in between. That might mean that next years model is the one to wait for.

However if you have an original iPhone or have yet to move to the iPhone platform, the iPhone 3GS is a great phone and one which you’ll get many hours of enjoyment from. Coupled with the range of app’s available for it and it’s hard to see anything better on the market today. It also makes calls too.

Real Racing

I’ve shied away from other racing games on the iPhone as I always felt the lack of physical controls plus the screen size and potential performance issues would mar the experience. However the video’s and reviews for Real Racing were good so I made the purchase and I’m glad I did – it’s an excellent game.

You have a number of control methods – use either touch or accelerometer to steer, auto acceleration or touch to accelerate and there’s braking assist too. Thankfully they are disabled. I prefer to use the accelerometer to steer with touch to accelerate and break. You can also change the sensitivity to suit which is a nice addition.

Graphically the game is very polished with up to six cars displayed on screen. Viewed from in car or out the game keeps up a good speed, although in car looks a lot better. There’s quite a bit of track detail too with speed penalties for going off track and trying to cut corners. There are a number of different game modes – a career mode with a total of 57 events, time trials with online scoreboards, local wi-fi multiplayer (hopefully an update with peer to peer multiplayer will drop soon) and online leagues. Very impressive for a game on the iPhone that costs £5.99.

What makes it special though are the controls. They are excellent and really make the game. It’s also pretty challenging although the AI is not the best and very much on rails the whole time which can lead to some off putting moments. It still feels quite arcadey to drive but your not going to get Forza-esque physics in an iPhone game…yet. With 12 tracks and many online challenges Real Racing offers great value for money too. One more thing….you can upload laps to YouTube.