December 21, 2009
Personally, we love the idea of the Santa Cam network.
August 24, 2009
Now another blow has been delivered to these same folks: the removal of the movie theater's listings from the newspaper. In a recent story that shows the progression of this, it's detailed that papers are pulling the movie listings mainly because of one thing: they never had any control over it in the first place. Rather than the community service most folks assumed it to be (after all, movie listings had always existed in the paper) it was instead something very different: it was a paid advertisement put there by either the theaters or the movie studio in general. That being the case, the financial environment lately has necessitated lots of cost-cutting measures, and this was one of them. Apparently the movie theaters and studios think that they're already reaching most of their potential audience members via the internet.
But are they? According to recent statistics, internet usage has indeed grown to encompass the majority of the country, sitting at 74.7% as of this year. While this may initially seem to back up the action to move more data online and remove it from newspapers, consider this: that leaves 25% who don't use the internet. Or, to put it another way, a full quarter of our population. We all know who they are; they're our grandparents, maybe even our parents. They're aunt Sophie who's the nicest person you'll ever meet but never got into computers. They're the guy down the street who stubbornly refuses most technology. They're also the guy who spent years in the technology field during his career, and now shuns all high-tech gadgetry as a way to get back at the career he spent so long toiling at, a kind of middle finger as he collects his pension. These are the people who are being left out, now robbed of their ability to flip open the newspaper to see what movies are playing.
This move also pushes us more and more into the mobile internet territory. While the newspaper used to deliver all this data to us everyday, and it was totally portable and able to be accessed from just about everywhere (i.e., you could buy a newspaper in just about every town, big or small, in the country) now that data is being pushed online with certain expectations. The expectation is that you'll be able to access it, not only from your computer and your easy-chair, but from wherever you are, via your internet-enabled phone. That's right, this is the final piece of the puzzle, the cell phone. As cell phones become more like smartphones, and everybody has one with a data plan, it's expected that we'll all be able to get to this data that's been ripped from the newspaper and plunked online. It's expected that you can get your movie listings, sports scores, weather, and television listings anywhere, at any time, from your phone. While this might certainly leave out the same non-participants we listed before, that list certainly grows shorter when you're dealing with a cell phone. After all, grandma might not have any interest in computers or the internet, but she does have a cell phone in that purse of hers, and certainly someone could show her how to retrieve basic internet from it, even if it's not from a web browser but instead by something like Google SMS, which will return internet data to you in a text message. See, there's many sneaky ways to get the data you need, and not all of them involve a browser. But more and more lately, none involve a newspaper.
And when you put all that together, along with the decline in advertiser dollars in newspapers across the country, and the overall decline in their subscription base, you've got the perfect storm for the decline of the American newspaper, set out to pasture by the arrival of the internet and your cell phone.
August 21, 2009
Meanwhile, who knew social networking had a dangerous side to it? Sure, there's always the risk that you'll say something that offends, or that the high schoolers out there will post - ahem - inappropriate photos, but that was largely the extent of it. However, consider the case of the head of MI6 (that's 007's boss for all your James Bond fans out there) who's wife ousted his identity on Facebook. Wow, all those spy movies were right; you really can't trust anyone!
August 20, 2009
Meanwhile, what says summertime more succinctly than going to that drive-in on your new motorcycle? Even if you did get it at Best Buy, that is.
August 19, 2009
While you're sipping your coffee enjoying your unlimited wifi (or two hours, whichever it really is), check out one of Esquire magazine's best albums, one that every man should own, Van Halen's Fair Warning. But hey, don't feel excluded -- this is also for the ladies out there, since Diamond Dave always was a ladies man. Queue it up and enjoy it, but be ready for the opening track, 'cause it's rough and fantastic.
August 18, 2009
We've now recommended something for you to read, and to complete your breakfast we suggest you go to McDonalds for an egg mcmuffin. Specifically the one in Chicago, where they'll let you know in no uncertain terms when it's ready.
August 17, 2009
While these moms, and everyone else, are busy using their smartphones, they're not just checking calendars and schedules. They're twittering, facebooking, and using all the usual social networking their data plans can handle. There's reports now that twitter may have to adapt to survive, or be sacrificed completely to pave the way for what comes next. This seems doubtful, but it very well may adapt, and even become more mobile-central. There's also reports that past fan-favorite Myspace may be making an offer for iLike.com, which would combine two powerhouses in the online music / social networking world.
Meanwhile, all this data being funneled through your cell phone means a bottle-neck of one thing: your privacy. With all that data coming through one pipe and one provider (whatever cell company you use) some are saying that this could be the end of privacy.
July 22, 2009
July 10, 2009
And far far away on the sexy scale, we find evidence of George Lucas having a bit o' fun with his characters in a Disney world. However, we do not want to see Mini in Leia's slave girl outfit. No, no no.
July 09, 2009
Also, when you finally get that shiny new OS, here's some helpful-hints for why you should always think twice before you send that nasty email (use Google's mail goggles if you must), and how to digitize your life and get rid of clutter.
July 08, 2009
At it's heart, this will likely be a resurrection of the networked thin-client which was so heavily hyped in the mid 1990s.
It didn't work then.
But this is Google. And it's going to be one heck of a ride.
Geocities is perhaps the one to lament during this; it was the one site that truly hearkened back to the origins of the user-generated web. It was one of the first sites where anyone could set up shop, grab some online real estate, and start writing to their heart's content. Although not specifically credited with it, it was probably the originator of the blogging c0ncept, as that's what most of the sites actually were. The Heartland/Hills neighborhood (all the pages in Geocities were subdivided into neighborhoods, which gave Geocities citizens a way to relate to this new online paradigm, and also organize it's content) was where The Revision Bar started out, and we'll always have a fondness for it, even though it's now been digitally razed. Heck, we can't even go and pay homage to the parking lot where it used to be, as it's all just digital bits, and they've been returned from whence they came.
Yahoo 360 comes as less of a surprise, although it too was a nice service that's being discontinued. To be fair though, all the functions are all just being moved over to Yahoo Profiles.
But here's some actual good news: Google's Apps, including Gmail, are now officially out of beta. At last. It's only been, what, years?
June 30, 2009
June 22, 2009
Now don't get all depressed on us, we're just showing off our knowledge of the way the seasons work -- there's lots of time to play in the sun. As a matter of fact, since summer's only a day or so old, we're all just getting started. And speaking of getting started, check out how some people over at Stonehenge ushered in the summer solstice. The pictures pretty much tell the story, and it's pretty incredible.
June 21, 2009
- A tie, the gaudier the better. Gaudy with Disney characters is a plus.
- Hand-made ashtrays they made in school, regardless of whether dad smokes (actually, those are kind of cool)
And be nice to dad today. If you were a seahorse, you would owe him big time.
June 20, 2009
In other news, but no less dramatic, Pixar proves it's the coolest movie-making company by granting a dying kids last wish, to see their new movie, Up. They put together a DVD and trucked it over to the kid's house, since she was unable to even get to a theater. This speaks volumes about the good people at Pixar.
And then, on the other side, there's Microsoft, who apparently won't even let owners of their upcoming Windows 7 Starter Edition change the wallpaper on their netbook. You'll apparently be stuck with whatever they give you as the default. That alone should make peole want to upgrade to a costlier version. But hey, apparently Microsoft is sticking it to the people buying the cheap version. How novel.
June 19, 2009
But in the last few years, something happened. The phones started doing all this, and they were doing it in real-time. From the lowliest Virgin Mobile T9 puke-white clamshell to the almighty iPhone, it seems that net access with a cell phone is all too easy these days. Sure, there's a price to be paid, but most people seem to ante up at one time or another in any number of various ways. There's the $5 monthly plan from Verizon on their lowest phones, there's the $30 smartphone/Blackberry bundles that just about every carrier has these days ("oh, we didn't tell you? That's on top of your monthly voice plan") and then there's the cream of the crop, the iPhone plan, which near as we can tell involves some kind of revolving credit line and a Swiss account. Different methods, different price points and devices. There's even free services from Google which use text messaging to deliver results from the net. For free, no less. Have they no shame?
In the end, it seems that AvantGo's demise may well be the last vestige of the old PDA age, and herald the bellwether of the true smartphone age, as more and more people rely on their phones for data services and connecting to the internet. It's been forecast for years, but now it's finally coming true.
So farewell AvantGo. We knew you well, we used the hell out you, and we loved you. You did us proud.
May 06, 2009
Twitter stories continue to roll in also. While previously there's been a firing for someone who called in sick and then used a social network (Facebook, in this case), now it seems that employers might not want to get annoyed if their workers use these networks even while they're at work. And yep, that includes Twitter too. Anyway, employers might not have that much to worry about, since quitting Twitter seems to be the new "in-thing".
April 30, 2009
Meanwhile, Twitter's rise continues. Sarah Palin's begun her Twitter journey, LSU football coach says he''ll Twitter when he should be coaching, and some Giants players get the smackdown for Twittering when they should have been playing. Ah, there's a fine line between appropriate and inappropriate Twittering, just like the fine line between appropriate use of Facebook photos and those that aren't. Just ask this guy, who's now single again. You've been warned. It's anarchy out there!
April 18, 2009
[a moment of silence]
Kinda gets to you, doesn't it? Hopefully someone will help this woman out. Any Revision Bar readers in England, please lend a hand! The auction takes place today.
April 17, 2009
If your kid's got a cell phone, be careful of those text message fees. One dad was so surprised at his daughter's bill he took a hammer to the phone and smashed it. But he's still on the hook for $4,756.25, unless the folks at Verizon take pity on him.
Lastly, this isn't totally silly, in fact it's downright cool. Check out the newest web sensation, Susan Boyle, that spunky contestant from Britain's Got Talent, who totally shut Simon Cowell up and won over a crowd of dubious onlookers at the audition. Nice job Susan, and apparently she's been doing it for years now. Who knew?
April 06, 2009
There has recently been a suicide attempt, which popped up on Demi Moore's Twitter page, of all places. While Moore and husband Ashton Kutcher were justifiably concerned, some other fast-acting Twitterers saved the day and called 911. The high-visibility of Moore's page no doubt gave the issue higher visibility than it otherwise would have. One can't help but wonder if posting something like this to Twitter is the modern-day equivalent of jumping from the highest central point in the town, or doing some other nasty thing in the town square, just so you'll be noticed. Has Twitter become one of the highest-profile places on the internet, and thus the best place to be seen?
Speaking of unusual uses of Twitter, there's a volcano that posts it's own tweets. Yep, Mount Redoubt in Alaska is set up so any unusual activities sets off an automatic tweet. Interested parties can subscribe to the posts (just like any other Twitter account) and be instantly notified that something very bad may be happening to the volcano. A pretty neat idea, actually. How much longer until we get our cars to tweet ("I'm low on air pressure", "I need more horsepower")?
Stephen Colbert's gotten into the fun, Twittering away while on his show (he called it "Twatting" when speaking to the Today show's Meredith Vieira), at the same time as interviewing Twitter's founder, Biz Stone. During the interview, Colbert compared Twitter to the old internet crash and burn sensation, Pets.com. Ouch. Let's hope Twitter does better than that. There was a rumored sale of Twitter to Google, but although there were some talks, Twitter's at the moment saying no dice.
Finally, amidst all the Twitter fun and success stories, there's also signs of it's own shortcomings. The site has always been prone to failures, since the infrastructure wasn't truly built to withstand the amount of users it has today; it's growth has just been too fast for the service to keep up. And with site outages comes grumbling, and some say there's a bit of a Twitter backlash going on. Some blame Shaquile O'Neal, one of the highest-profile Twitters around. Others just make mocking videos, which are sarcastic and tongue in cheek, but have more than a shred of truth.
April 01, 2009
What's even more interesting is that Google also had some info today about what Gmail will bring in terms of advancements in the next five years. One has to wonder if that was just another April Fools.
Now, if you want to get all geeked-out about it, check out this list of the best flight tracking sites out there. Sure, flightstat is included, but wait--there's more. There's sites out there that let you watch a representative picture of the plane as it flys its route, some even show you the ups and downs of altitude, and even bring Google Earth into play. And oh yes, one in particular lets you listen to the live air traffic control (ATC) audio feed. Very cool indeed.
March 30, 2009
Their service supposedly works no matter how powerful (or not) your system is. There's minimum requirements of course, but the company says you don't have to be running the latest or greatest gaming machine. Any old PC will do. So far the company has 16 games ready, including such top-notch titles as Burnout Paradise and Fear 2: Project Origin.
With consoles going for about $249 these days, and high barriers of entry for game publishers to actually develop, market and get their boxed games into stores, this method looks to alleviate many of those problems. The games are all hosted on OnLive's servers, which means there's no boxed software. The games are streamed, which makes it easier to get them into user's hands, since distribution is taken care of. It's also cheaper for the game publisher, who hasn't had to worry about packaging or shipping. These savings may get passed onto the consumer.
Another plus: as soon as a game is released and put on their servers, it's available for play. No pre-registration or long midnight lines at the EB store. Just good streaming goodness.
We'll see how this plays out during the year. There should be some activity this summer and it should be fully available this winter.
March 28, 2009
And it turns out that all that Twitters is not gold, either. It's been reported--unsurprisingly enough--that some of the celebrity twitterers, are in fact one or two things: 1) ghost writers for the real person, or 2) outright imposters, using a celebrity's name for notoriety and followers. Twitter's been quite good at revoking these accounts, but it worth noting that you need to be careful who you're following. They may not be the real deal.
March 27, 2009
With so many people using the popular social networking site, it's no surprise there's lots of different opinions about it. What is a bit surprising (and I'm sure it's very surprising to the Facebook folks in charge) is just how unified they are on one point: the site redesign. It seems it's almost universally hated. Groups have sprung up, on Facebook itself naturally, to proclaim their hate for the new design and send a message to bring back the old one. Such a coordinated and unanimous effort is just a little shocking in today's complex web world. Well, it seems that all is not lost, and the naysayers are getting their due: Facebook has announced some subtle changes to the redesign based on user feedback, and said that there may be more to come; it's still a work in progress.
March 25, 2009
Now, for some true Science Fiction: During a rash of UFO sightings years ago. the British Defence Ministry took such an interest they briefed their Ministers of Defence. Showed them pictures, video, interviews with eyewitnesses. And then kept it to themselves, lest they create a commotion amongst the townspeople. How long did they keep this secret? Oh, about 20 years. Now the information is being made public, since they're sure the aliens must be gone by now.
And, if you see Race to Witch Mountain, make sure you look for Whitley Strieber at the UFO convention. It's a small cameo, but nice to see.
March 23, 2009
Live or die by the consumer, Saab.
However, some products (and companies) are having an easier time. The Flip video camera, which is low-cost and easy to use, has been bought by Cisco, who's looking to aggressively get into the consumer electronics space. This amounts to a big payday for the parent company, Pure Digital Technologies, and shows that even in a recession, well-thought out ideas can yield success. Hopefully this will also hold true for Palm, when it finally releases it's Pre device later this year. It needs it to do well to survive.
March 21, 2009
Sound familiar? Well, for a while Google's had this thing called Mail Goggles, available in Gmail's Labs section. Someone over at Google figured out that if you had to figure out math questions, the type you can hardly answer when you're wide awake and sobre, you'd be less able to send those ill-advised emails. And hey, if you can do the math, then more power to you -- send that email and be damned. So we'll call that offering #1, which gets a thumbs up from David Pogue after some hands-on experience. Fair enough. Now Google is offering an "undo" option if you still sent that email and want it back. You have to enable it via Labs, but then it gives you a 5 second failsafe to stop the email.
Hmmm...5 seconds. Is that really enough? Heck, it sometimes takes that long to figure out you've made a mistake (then you think about what you want to do...check some web sites...check more emails... bounce ideas off your social network friends, grab a snack, then decide what to do -- it's an involved process).
There really should be an option here to increase the time, but for now, you'll have to act fast if you want to use this.
March 20, 2009
OK, campers, you long-suffering shivering creatures of the night, huddled underneath your blankets for warmth. The wait is over. Although our handy spring countdown timer doesn't say it (it's set to record the first FULL day; that's something we'll have to fix) it is now officially spring! The blessed event happened in the northern hemisphere (so your mileage may vary if you're reading this from Shanghai) as of 7:44 AM EST today.
This week has been busy with Spring preparing to bloom and all, so here's some tips to get you back on track. First, since it is spring, start by doing some spring cleaning. No, not in your house (we trust you do clean that from time to time -- however that milk is probably past its prime) but on your PC. Actually, your PC can help get rid of the physical clutter in your house, so consider that a two-for-one. While you're offloading all your junk onto your PC, consider the use of a USB drive to handle most of it, just make sure it's properly encrypted and has all the apps you need on it. Portableapps.com is a good resource once you're ready. Finally, your operating system may need to be upgraded, but if you've been hanging onto XP because of the Vista horror stories. you may want to look closely at Windows 7.
In the rumors-come-true department, AT&T mentioned that it IS going to offer a no-contract iPhone. That's the good news. The bad? It costs at least $599. Now we know what the cost of a subsidy really is from the handset makers. Still want it? Nah, we didn't think so.
March 16, 2009
March 11, 2009
From newspapers, then on to magazines. PC Magazine has already gone online-only, having made the switch in January. Yes, there were throngs of hate mail, sobbing, why-me, why-now, complaints. But in the end it still doesn't change the economics of the situation: it costs money to operate printing presses and produce a physical magazine, and then ship it all over the world. With that as the background, at least we still get the content, even if it is on our monitor only, and not laying flat on our coffee table. At least we still get John Dvorak's column. In his most recent posting, he talks about how one of the latest Linux distros, Ubuntu 8.10, blew him away, and should replace Windows as his, and your, operating system. That just might be worth checking out.
Finally, if you thought that everything that could be virtual already was, then check this out: Topps baseball cards. Enough said.
March 10, 2009
Meanwhile, in development-land, there may be even more reason to look forward to the next version of Windows. Not only does it replace Vista with a better version (at last!), including being less power-hungry, but there's also going to be lots of things you can turn off, thereby customizing your environment even more. So far, Windows 7 is looking better and better.
March 09, 2009
While you're getting all your social networking accounts set up and polished, what will you do for an avatar? For those that don't want to share their real picture, but need something in the little left hand box, you should try iconize me. See, it's kind of like you, but not...really you. And isn't that what we all want on the net?
March 03, 2009
While you're thinking productively, think about how much paper you use, both at work and at home. Paper seems to fly into our possesion from a myriad of sources, and all of it wants your attention. There was once the dream of the paperless office; sadly that hasn't really come to pass. However, one writer has advice on a paperless home, and the good news? It's (almost) possible.
Other digital strategies for maintaining order? How about digitizing it all? You know, all those receipts, interesting articles from magazines (heck, even the whole magazine), your taxes, bills, etc. It's all there and available to be stashed in digital form. Get scanning.
And, not even the best planning in the world can save you sometimes. We're sure George Lucas is a pretty organized guy and has a pretty top-notch organization. However, bad things can happen, and mistakes can still be made. Really -- would you pay 195 dollars for a statue of Goofy as Jar Jar Binks? Let's say it together: NO.
March 02, 2009
Other interesting tidbits: Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill, admits to having iPhone envy from time to time. You think she could stash one away in her purse, and the boss would be none the wiser?
The rumors are solidifying now, and so there will be a Ghostbusters 3. Details are still trickling out, but we'll see if Bill Murray is up to the task. Can he still be the charming, wise-cracking grey-jumpsuited scientist with the nuclear fusion pack on his back? And just where has Eagon been all these years?
Finally, check out the new Dutch commemorative coin. What a great design, totally different.
February 27, 2009
Late Night TV is just changing all over the place, and when Conan O'Brien takes over the coveted Tonight Show he'll bring back an old friend -- Andy Richter. Seems Richter has had enough of doing the TV-pilot routine. The question is: is O'Brien better without him? And is he so set in his ways from being a solo performer these years that this won't work?
For something different, the Today Show did a piece on the "Jedi Workout". At first this sounded interesting, but the way they're doing it doesn't look like much of a workout. Maybe in the right hands, a true Jedi would emerge...
And, in tech news, Google shuts down more apps (Google Shared Stuff), and Microsoft says it's going to make it's desktop version of Windows and it's Mobile Phone versions share a common codebase. This probably will result in much better phone UIs, since this platform has been largely stagnant for years. Innovate, people!
February 25, 2009
If all this e-book and Kindle talk is getting to you, and you want to get in on the fun but don't have $359 to spend, check out these online book sites. No Kindle required.
Let's stay in the realm of books of fiction for just a while longer: science fiction fans everywhere will no doubt be saddened to learn that Philip Jose Farmer, a pioneer in the genre, has died. It was peaceful. It was in his sleep. And yet, the world has lost a great writer and source of entertaining stories.
Finally, magazines and newspapers certainly haven't been immune to the economy. Some have been laying off workers or even shutting down. And, just like we mentioned yesterday, that's where things can get creative. Some journalists from Arizona are doing just that after losing their jobs -- and starting their own web-only publications. The upside? They get to green light the stories that ordinarily wouldn't be. Nice.
February 24, 2009
The Amazon Kindle 2 is out now, and early adopters are being notified that the unit is in the mail, which means lots of people will have their hands on one soon. CNET got a unit to do a quick review on, and it came out looking pretty good. In the next week or two, we should get some hands-on time with one and give you our impressions.
If your iPod Touch is lonely and aspires to be a recording studio, you might be interested in the Alesis ProTrack, although it's going to pretty much double your investment. Really -- a $200 add-on? For a $200 device? That's a little excessive.
And finally, the death watch for Circuit City continues as they try to unload all their merchandise. The problem is, they're not offering very good liquidation prices; it's almost as if they're not really trying -- and that's the whole reason the company is going under. For years, when you walked into a Circuit City it was as if the salespeople didn't want to be there, couldn't care less about truly helping you, and sometimes didn't know the product information well enough. Adios Circuit City, you'll not be missed.
February 19, 2009
In other entertainment news making headlines today, Joss Whedon's new series Dollhouse premiered recently, and predictably got lackluster ratings. This just proves that the show will go on to critical acclaim right after being canceled. Then again, Whedon's been pioneering the iTunes distribution channel lately, so it could continue on from there. Go Joss!
February 18, 2009
From the truly bizarre department, check out the e-cigarette. You know, for when you want to look like a dork while being completely environmentally friendly.
February 17, 2009
However, as always, every idea has it's detractors.
In other news, the Digital TV transition may have been postponed, but many channels are opting to switch now anyway. Here's your guide to figuring out what's going on. You know, just in case your favorite channel suddenly isn't there [shudder].
February 14, 2009
Here's hoping you've prepared well for Valentine's Day, because there's nothing worse than a big letdown on a day like this--
or the aftermath that comes with it if you're the one who dropped the ball. Speaking of disappointments, here's a unique twist on Valentine's Day, with no mention of life partners, wives, or husbands. Check out the list of gadgets that broke our hearts.
And you thought we didn't care.
February 12, 2009
Interestingly enough, Charles Cooper from CNET is advocating that cell carriers drop the required data plan altogether, as a way to entice people to buy those higher-priced phones. Now that seems like a good idea.
February 10, 2009
Lots of viewers were disappointed with last season's Heroes, which was only exacerbated by the season itself being cut short by the writer's strike. This season seems to be going better, but still complaints seem to be forming and getting passed around the 'net. If you'd like a different take on this whole hero thing, keep your eyes out for Powers, which should debut later this year. The creators certainly have the chops to pull this off; one of them cut his teeth writing The Avengers and Spider-Man for Marvel comics. The initial concept and story art look good.
Last week we discussed e-Readers and the general decline of the publishing industry. One bright spot in all this has been the Kindle, Amazon's eReader that makes eReading fun and quite simple (further proof that a narrow focus and good execution trump all in one solutions every time). Yesterday they announced the successor, the Kindle 2. Not much in the way of upgrades, but a step in the right direction.
The Live Blog during the event was actually quite humorous. Very little buildup, just a quick announcement, a quick demo and some words from Stephen King, then bam! All done, thanks for coming, drive home safe now, y'hear?
February 06, 2009
Now that the smartphone market is really heating up, people are starting to wonder what the next big thing will be (hint: Palm Pre), but also looking back at what could have been. Could the ill-fated Sony PSP have been the iPhone and beaten it to the punch by simply adding a cellular radio and marketing it as a phone? Considering that it couldn't even beat the Nintendo DS, it seems unlikely.
Moving away from smartphones, books, magazines and newspapers are facing hardships like most other businesses. There seems to be a movement underway to create a new hybrid which is a cross between a real magazine a web page, using Adobe's AIR program. Sounds like a neat approach, but I'm not sure I'm wild about yet another standard and another browser plug-in that I must install.
While searching around for e-books and related information, plenty of info related to digital magazines and comic books appeared. There's always Zinio, which is a great e-magazine service -- sometimes the subscriptions are quite a bit less expensieve than the normal print editions, and you can keep the (digital) issues forever with no clutter. Nice.
There's also some tips on how to find free comic books, which includes references to the sites WOWIO and the Golden Age Comics site. There's also the Collins Compendium of Free online comic books, with links to all the major comics companies. All have comics that are no longer in the public domain and have been scanned in for people to enjoy. On the WOWIO site they also have some new comics that the publishers or creators have allowed to be posted and donwloaded for free, in an effort to get people interested. It just may work. There's issues there that caught my eye, that I never would have seen otherwise.
February 05, 2009
The smartphone onslaught continues. Supposedly, in 2008 the smartphone market exploded. OK, that might be understandable given the advent of the iPhone and the various new Blackberry's (Bold, Storm, etc.). It's also true that these devices have been increasingly picked up by average consumers who aren't really corporate power users but needed a phone that did just a little bit more. And that's what the cellular providers wanted. You see, with the average phone, you can't really do much with your calendar, there's no to-do list, and you can't add many extra applications. Whatever functions the phone has, that's what you're stuck with. However, smartphones give you much more freedom to add new things and do more -- but they come at a price. Not only is the device pricier, but increasingly there's mandatory data usage packages tacked on to your monthly voice fees. In some cases this can double your bill. Which, especially in this economy, is music to the provider's ears. So yes, 2008 probably did see the explosion of smartphones. It remains to be seen whether any of these people will get sick of paying the higher fees and drop down to a normal phone. After all, you could have a normal cell phone but keep something else on you like an iPod Touch for all other functions, including wireless web browsing, to-do lists, calendar, and even tons of third-party applications. A data package for 1 year from a cell provider is $360 ($30/month), while the iPod Touch is roughly $250, and it's a one-time cost. We'll see if this catches on and becomes an attractive option.
Some smartphone-related Palm news to pass on: looks like one of the founders of the company, Donna Dubinsky, is leaving. She's been there more as a figurehead and member of the board of directors for the past few years, asd is simply making room for someone else to join the board.
In other news, the Palm Pre just might be available in March (from Sprint). Some sources are disputing this, saying it will more like June/July, so we'll see. Palm's got a lot of buzz going right now with this thing, and the sooner they can deliver it to customers, the better.
February 04, 2009
As the economy tumbles and experiences difficulties, so do longtime internet companies. Lots of net companies, including CNET, Ziff Davis, Microsoft and others have trimmed their operations, either through people or services reduction. Now Yahoo is doing the same thing, by shuttting down it's Briefcase feature. To be fair, Briefcase was something I used years ago, but in the years that followed it's paltry 30MB was eclipsed by other offerings offering 500 MB, 1 GB, or more. Storage is cheap these days, and cloud storage is at an all-time high, both in offerings and demand. It's a great way to store something and know you'll be able to access it wherever you are, on any device. All of which makes it all the more painful and bittersweet that Yahoo should discontinue this service at this particular time. One would think that now would be the time to beef it up, make it easier and more palatable to use and attract new users. After all, their main competitor Google is reportedly going to roll out it's own service any day now, called Gdrive, which is essentially cloud storage (and lots of it). Yahoo should have re-thought this, and made the necessary updates. They certainly had enough time.
I recently went in to my account and was surprised to find data there from long ago. Now that data will have to be saved and put somewhere else. Maybe Gdrive, when it's available.
February 03, 2009
Windows Mobile is having its own share of problems recently. while it's market share in the smartphone arena had been steadily growing, due to Palm's decline and stagnation over the last few years, now it's got real competition. Not only has it stood by and watched the iPhone captivate the world, but then came Google's Android in the form of the G1, and we've only just begun to see the impact that these devices will have, and there's more coming, making for even Windows Mobile headaches. Hey, when you were the only active player in town, you looked pretty good, but now these young upstarts are trying to take over the joint. And now the kicker? Palm's back, in the form of the brand new WebOS and Palm Pre. Well now we've got ourselves a real horserace. So much so that some are wondering if Windows Mobile is doomed, and whether it's time to drop it for good.