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Technology Round-Up: June 1st, 2012

Posted by: Jason Tate (06/01/12)
I'm currently watching the All Things Digital video podcasts they put up of all of Steve Jobs' appearances at the conference, in the background while I post news today. The rest of this week's Technology Round-Up can be found in the replies. As always, check out my blog if you're interested in a more frequently updated round-up of stuff I enjoy during the week.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 9 of 9.
01:02 PM on 06/01/12
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Jason Tate
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Quotebook for iPhone and iPad
The app syncs quotes between the iPhone and iPad using iCloud, which I love. For me this app would be used just as much for capturing song ideas and lyrics as it would for quotes.
Be careful who you listen to
In other words, on Twitter and Facebook, we become who we follow. Or perhaps more accurately, we envy who we follow. The big problem with this is that none of us are really who we portray ourselves to be online. We are all the better, happier, more successful versions of ourselves.
D10 Video: Tim Cook session highlights
Tim Cook learned a lot from Steve Jobs, and one of the big takeaways seems to be: Don’t tip your hand. The Apple CEO was unwilling to tackle questions about any future product plans during his first appearance on the D10 stage Wednesday night.
Nest thermostat available from the Apple Store
A very nice Apple-like product.
The EFF: ‘Apple’s Crystal Prison and the Future of Open Platforms’
The whole room-and-board analogy is not a good one, so let’s stop stretching it. But my point is that people choose to buy an iPhone. No one chooses to go to prison. And if you happen to be in a situation where you’re “forced” to use an iPhone or iPad (by your school or work, say), it’s highly unlikely that any alternative platform they might have issued you would be any less locked down.
Skype’s future isn’t too bright
However, its position at the top isn’t cemented. There are dozens of upstarts who want to eat into Skype’s future growth.
It's Coming.

Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs Movie Probably Won’t Be “Cradle To Grave” Biography
So before Sorkin has gone through this process (and before the screenplay goes through the rewriting that’s endemic to Hollywood) it’s hard to know exactly what the film will be about. He did say that he probably won’t follow the “cradle-to-grave structure” that’s common to most biographies. Instead, he’s “going to identify the point of friction that appeals to me and dramatize that.” (It doesn’t sound like Sorkin has chosen that “point of friction” yet, though I’d imagine that it will either be the founding of Apple and/or Jobs’ return in the 1990s.)

Sorkin also said that he hesitated before taking on the project, because it’s “a little like writing about the Beatles.” In other words, Jobs is admired by so many people that they will end up questioning every choice that Sorkin makes: “I just saw a minefield of disappointment.”
Death To The Dock Connector? Apple Is Looking For A Connector Design Engineer
Even without this job posting, it’s pretty much accepted that the Dock Connector is nearing the end of its life. Even though there are better options, it will still be sorely missed. Just think of all the iDevice docks that will fall silent when their owners upgrade to the latest hardware — well, unless, Apple releases a pricey Dock Connector to Mini Dock Connector adapter.
Want To Be Like Steve Jobs? Well It’s Probably Not Going To Happen, Says BFF Larry Ellison
“He wasn’t trying to be rich,” Ellison went on, “Apple became one of the most valuable companies on earth and it wasn’t even one of Steve’s goals. Steve was always talking about products. He was a creative artist, engineer and entrepreneur unlike anyone else,” he mused, relaying an anecdote about how when Apple passed Oracle in market cap, Steve called up and joked with him about how CEOs in Silicon Valley measure their manhood in market cap. “He noticed [success]and he was proud of it but it wasn’t a motivator at all.”
Collected Videos of Late Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs at D, Now Free on iTunes
In these onstage conversations, Jobs explained his — and Apple’s — evolving philosophy of where the digital world was heading, and of business itself. He discussed competitors, controversies and his own sense of what matters most. He stressed the importance of building products for their actual users, not “orifices,” like corporate IT departments or cellphone carriers. He explained why it was often more important to decide what products and features not to build than to pick the ones that were built. He even appeared jointly in a historic conversation with his lifelong rival, Bill Gates.

Now I know what I'm going to do in the background of work in the next few days. - JT
★ Let’s Have Some Fun Reading Way Too Much Into the Preliminary Schedule for WWDC 2012
This implies not just that Apple will be announcing new stuff (duh, it’s WWDC), but new stuff that will fill the biggest room in the building with two-and-a-half days worth of sessions.
Unconventional Learning with iPad, Mac, and iPod touch
Apple products have become an essential part of how students learn at Flitch Green Academy, a public elementary/middle school located just outside of London. Flitch Green’s unique approach is taught through open-ended “experiences” where students use iPad, Mac, and iPod touch, alongside more traditional media, to work on cross-curricular learning projects.
Once Deemed Evil, Google Now Embraces "Paid Inclusion"
Back when Google was an upstart search engine, one way it distinguished itself was to fight against a pay-to-play business model called “paid inclusion.” Indeed, paid inclusion was one of the original sins Google listed as part of its “Don’t Be Evil” creed. But these days, Google seems comfortable with paid inclusion, raising potential concerns for publishers and searchers alike.
→ Sweep the Sleaze
Or do you seriously think that in ten years we will still have those buttons on every page? No, right? Why, because you already know as a user that they’re not that great. So why not get rid of them now? Because “they’re not doing any harm”? Are you sure?

This is a very interesting argument. - JT

→ WWDC app may be showing a new UIKit iPhone theme for iOS 6
Cult of Mac posted screenshots of the WWDC app. The same visual style is also in the purported iOS 6 Maps photos.

I’d love to see a modern refresh of the iPhone UIKit widget styling. The blue-gradient style doesn’t look bad, but it does look dated. It was probably designed in 2006, and it shows.
→ Tim Cook at the D Conference: Between the Lines
Great article from Dan Frommer on the not-very-subtle hints that Tim Cook dropped last night.

Within a year, I’d expect an Apple TV set, Facebook integration in iOS 6 and Mountain Lion, and the cancellation of iAd and Ping. (It wouldn’t surprise me to see iAd canceled as soon as iOS 6’s release.)
How big can the Internet get: Exabytes? Zottabytes?
Over at Gigaom, Stacey Higginbotham highlights this chart on the monstrous growth of the Internet. According to Cisco, the world is on pace to generate 1.3 zettabytes of data by 2015. That’s four times the amount created in 2011 and it’s the equivalent of “more than 38 million DVDs streamed in an hour.”
Coda 2 and Diet Coda. Now available!
Looking at it today I think I can finally start to feel that it was worth it. It’s not everyday you get to launch what we just launched. I’m super excited and proud of what we put together.
Latest Identity Theft Scam: Fake Tax Returns
The criminals, some of them former drug dealers, outwit the Internal Revenue Service by filing a return before the legitimate taxpayer files. Then the criminals receive the refund, sometimes by check but more often though a convenient but hard-to-trace prepaid debit card.
Adam Lashinsky: ‘How Tim Cook Is Changing Apple’
It might also simply be the result of the shift in scale at which Apple is operating today. They sold 35 million iPhones and 12 million iPads last quarter. Is it not inevitable that global-supply management would grow in importance and influence with numbers like that? The question to ask is whether these changes are because of the differences between Tim Cook and Steve, or the differences in the size and scope of Apple’s business a decade ago versus today.
Tim Cook Gives Up $75 Million in Dividend Income
One can only presume he did this to avoid any suggestion that he instituted the dividend to enrich himself personally.
Facebook Camera vs. Instagram
So the Sofa team got to Facebook a little under a year ago, and I’m guessing, soon started work on Facebook Camera. A year ago, building a Facebook version of Instagram sounded like a good plan. “We should have an app like Instagram for taking and sharing photos on our social network”, more or less. But after another year of growth, I think Mark Zuckerberg saw that an app was not enough. Instagram’s own fast-growing social network was a threat. That their own well-made, well-designed Instagram-like app was on the cusp of release made no difference.

Yahoo had a chance to buy Google in 2001 but then-CEO Terry Semel didn’t pull the trigger. I don’t think Instagram is the next Google, but Zuckerberg sure as shit doesn’t want Facebook to be the next Yahoo.
Jim Dalrymple on the 7-Inch iPad
Analysts and media types insist that Apple needs to bring a smaller tablet to market to ward off the threat from Amazon.

There are a couple of things to consider with this argument. First, people that use that as the basis for the release of a 7-inch iPad are full of shit. Second, using that argument shows they don’t understand Apple and how the company works.
➤ The Facebook phone
Wouldn’t it have made more sense to simply focus on making the best search engine and other services, thereby making yourself a must-have on all mobile devices? Or is that just too hard? [..] Deciding that you have to build a phone seems like what an entrenched company that feels it can no longer innovate does in order to protect its position as platforms shift.
Online advertising: “I’ve seen the future, and it’s awful.”
I am (slightly) less bleak on this topic — I think there is enough evidence of content creators selling their goods directly to their readers/listeners/viewers that we’ll start seeing a slow but steady shift away from traditional online advertising.
Coming Attractions: Windows 8
Microsoft has declared Windows 8 a tablet operating system “without compromises” because it runs on tablets and desktops and toaster-fridges and can run desktop applications on any Intel-based hardware. Surely any operating system that has a matrix to let you know what features are available in which version can’t be compromised, right?

But running Windows 8, it often seems that what’s been compromised is your sanity.
→ JC Penny’s “Fair and square” pricing isn’t working
No more coupons or confusing multiple markdowns. No more 600 sales a year. No more deceptive circulars full of sneaky fine print. Heck, the store even did away with the 99 cents on the end of most price tags. Just honest, clear prices. …

Shoppers hated it.

The campaign, which launched on Feb. 1, appears to be a disaster. Revenue dropped 20 percent for the first quarter compared to last year. Customer traffic fell 10 percent. Last year, the company made $64 million in the first quarter; this year, it lost $163 million.
Google+ As California City
In other words, stop trying to build a weird Facebook/Twitter hybrid on top of Google products and instead focus on the individual (and natural) social elements of the already-in-use products.
Bitly Launches New Bookmarking Features, Profiles, Search & iPhone App
The focus of today’s launch is clearly on giving its users more curation features. The new “bitmarks” allow you to easily go back and look at the links you’ve shared on Facebook and Twitter. You can also, of course, still organize these links into bundles – a feature the company introduced in 2010. With this release, Bitly also made organizing these bundles more collaborative and now makes it more obvious “that you can invite people to collaborate and edit a bundle with you.”
Watch Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg Deliver Her Speech To Harvard Business School Graduates
Sandberg talked about how hard it was for her to find a job in Silicon Valley when she first moved there from Washington DC in 2001, not least because it was just after the first bubble crashed. “My timing wasn’t really that good,” she said. “One woman CEO looked at me and said, we wouldn’t even think about hiring someone like you.”
Talking (And Rocking) With gTar Creator Incident
Kindly, they obliged. I have no experience playing the guitar whatsoever, and my greatest claim to musical fame would be completing Free Bird on expert in Guitar Hero. Now, I won’t say my rendition of Blackbird a la gTar is the best in the world, but for having absolutely no practice or experience, my few moments with the hardware should be a testament to the gTar’s potential.
Apple Responds To DOJ eBook Lawsuit, Calls it “Fundamentally Flawed” and “Absurd”
Apple, however, argues that the government “sides with monopoly, rather than competition, in bringing this case. The Government starts from the false premise that an eBooks ‘market’ was characterized by ‘robust price competition’ prior to Apple’s entry.” Before the iBookstore, Apple says, “there was no real competition, there was only Amazon.”
01:13 PM on 06/01/12
#3
youenvydoug
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The Nest is so awesome.

And I'm going to be sad when the dock connector is going to be changed. I think it's fine how it is, but I guess I'll be open to change.
05:39 PM on 06/01/12
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Formatfun
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Too much Apple news for my taste.
11:01 PM on 06/01/12
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hypa_dude
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With the availability of wireless charging and bluetooth, apple needs to move past the connector. Ipods could be so much smaller and lighter if they eliminated the enormous connector backplane. The inside of the ipod nano is literally 25% connector.
11:10 PM on 06/01/12
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With the availability of wireless charging and bluetooth, apple needs to move past the connector. Ipods could be so much smaller and lighter if they eliminated the enormous connector backplane. The inside of the ipod nano is literally 25% connector.

If the nano was any smaller I would lose it in my pocket.

Also, this Microsoft 8 thing is just. I just don't get it. Laptops and tablets are so very different, that the operating systems need to be designed differently. It
sounds like it'll be a confusing train wreck. But whatever.

Also, Steve Jobs said straight up in the biography there's an Apple TV in the works. I'd expect it relatively soon.
08:44 AM on 06/02/12
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Jason949
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Should just be labeled the Apple Round-up.
11:17 AM on 06/02/12
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Jason Tate
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Too much Apple news for my taste.

Hard to do a tech round-up with out talking about the biggest company in the country.
08:46 AM on 06/03/12
#9
woominlee2
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Too much Apple news for my taste.
Yeah, I'm with you.
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