Saturday, January 21, 2006

Saturday reading...

Want to Marginalize the iPod? Ask Steve Jobs How! []: "There are a million iPod killers floating around. Some feature more capapcity, some feature more gizmos, and some feature lower price points. None of the iPod killers are actually doing any iPod killing because they’re too busy trying to be more iPodish than the iPod. ... Nothing lasts forever, certainly some day the iPod/iTunes duo will be challenged and soundly defeated. That day isn’t today and unfortunately, if you’re Microsoft, it isn’t even this year. " - quite an interesting point of view I dare say. while I do agree that it may seem hard to break into the iPod/iTunes market these days, it's certainly not impossible. especially the iTunes music-store does have some weaknesses, here in Europe it's mainly the price which can be up to 30% more than in the USA. additionally many people (including myself) don't like being locked into a single company for all their digital music needs (player, software, store). I'd much rather have something of an "open" approach where I can choose from a variety of hard- and software-solutions, after all "consumer choice" is what capitalism is all about, right? so while the author's article might see licensing as somewhat of a risky gamble for Microsoft, I think it's their biggest chance. with their extensive product portfolio combined with a single standard people could access music stores and file-collections from their office-PC, HTPC-setup, XBOX360 or even Mobile Windows powered mobile-phones and PDAs. as I'm also looking for a new MP3-player I'll be keeping an eye on this market.

First Lab Tests: iMac with Intel Core Duo processor []: "Macworld Lab’s tests do show that the new Intel-based iMac is faster than the iMac G5 when running native applications. However, we found that those improvements are generally much less than what Apple claims is a 2x improvement in speed.
Instead, our tests found the new 2.0GHz Core Duo iMac takes rougly 10 to 25 percent less time than the G5 iMac to perform the same native application tasks, albeit with some notable exceptions. (If you'd prefer, that makes the Core Duo iMac 1.1 to 1.3 times as fast.) And we also found that applications that aren’t yet Intel-native—which must run using Apple’s Rosetta code-translation technology—tend to run half as fast as the same applications running natively on the iMac G5."
- having read earlier performance analysis of Intel's Core Duo platform I'm not surprised by these results. Apple has been caught with their hands in the performance cookie-jar several times and so one knows that they aren't to be trusted when talking about the "outstanding" performance of their latest and greatest products. given that I'm waiting for the Intel based Mac mini I'm still quite happy with the results though, if Apple can get a 20% performance boost from moving from G5 to Core Duo, I do expect a similar (rather even more) improvement when the Core Duo Mac mini replaces the G4 version that we have now.

Google + Facebook + alcohol = trouble []: "What can you do to keep yourself out the crosshairs? The obvious first step is to internalize the idea that no section of the Internet is your private playground, and to keep your mouth shut in public forums about information you would rather the rest of the world did not know. Beyond that, though, it can be difficult to eliminate traces of stupidity online. Good luck getting Google to remove all links to that embarrassing office karaoke video that comes up first when you search your name. It ain't gonna happen. The moral of the story is: don't expect privacy on the Internet and you won't be disappointed." - hehe, very nice story indeed. does remind me of things I've seen around here. one of the highlights was probably when me and a buddy were having lunch at university and suddenly his drunk face showed up on one of the large-screen plasmas that provide news, information and party-reports. I had a good laugh! the article's conclusion about not expecting privacy on the net is certainly very true and I wish some people 'round here would understand that concept...

Surveys show open source popularity on the rise in industry []: "The popularity of open source software is increasing around the world, but for many different reasons. European companies seem to value the flexibility of open source solutions, while American companies value the savings. Many companies are using open source software on proprietary operating systems, but the Linux adoption rate is definitely expanding. Finally, the results show that user demand for customizable software does exist, despite the claims of proprietary software vendors." - while I can't really comment on the issue of TCO and savings in companies, it's quite obvious that downloading kubuntu and a bunch of applications from the net is significantly cheaper than going down the M$ route and buying tons of extra software. I'm however convinced that in the long run the possiblity to customize software is the most interesting aspect here. I'm not just talking about the high-profile projects like hacking Sony's PSP to run Linux, or Nokia's 770 tablet which allows for many customizations. being able to mess around the with software and adapting it your needs is certainly a great possibility for both individuals and companies. especially in the embedded market where many products these days are based on customized versions of Linux.

Screening the Latest Bestseller []: "In the end, whether the Sony Reader winds up kick-starting the e-book market depends more on Sony's marketing and pricing decisions than on the sexy E Ink technology, according to Gartenberg. "The technology looks like it's in place. What it comes down to is if they can deliver enough content at a reasonable price," Gartenberg said.
Books have been written on sheets of dried, mashed plants for about five millennia. Paper is a cheap, relatively durable and versatile technology. Sony's new Reader will not spell the end of that long history, but it could be the opening of an interesting new chapter."
- it's still way too early to decided whether Sony's e-book reader will attract enough attention and customers. I certainly like the idea of such a device but as pointed out in the article the content distribution model will most likely be the bigger problem. I think the market would need something that's indeed similar to the iTunes store. I'd also rather not be dependant on having to use my own computer to download content, that way I could also grab new books while I'm on the road or on holidays. additionally I'd like to see format like PDF being supported (or at least some type of conversion tool) because that would also allow me to read university material, technology whitepapers, etc. with the e-book reader. again, somewhat of an "open" approach to the technology and content distribution could make this device very appealing.


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