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Oct 10
Video uploads from mobile devices on the rise

Photobucket Corp. (http://www.photobucket.com), a dedicated photo and video sharing service, says that video uploads from mobile devices are on the rise, based on results from the company's 2011 Summer Photo Usage survey.

Responses from more than 2,500 survey participants, as well as data garnered from Photobucket’s 100 million users and their nine billion image uploads, helped to illustrate the current attitudes and habits of those capturing photos and videos this summer. Among the findings are that video uploads are increasing rapidly on web and mobile platforms, and the lack of centralization in online photo storage continues.

According to the survey, consumers are using traditional video cameras with much less frequency, but they are using mobile devices to capture video much more often. In fact, of those surveyed:

° 45% use a mobile device for capturing video at least once a week...

| Read more »
Oct 09
Greg's Bite: Sprint and ClearWire -- Apple...

By Greg Mills

Apple finally condescended to grant Sprint the iPhone in a deal that rocked Wall Street. Sprint is betting the farm that selling the iPhone will pull the third string US carrier out of the dumps and back into the big time. Apple and Sprint both seem to be quite confidant that simply having iPhones available for its customer base will turn the company around.

That might be true if the company lasts that long. Sprint is stone broke and mismanaged, running in all directions at once. They need a firm hand at the helm and don't have one. Making an agreement with Apple to buy 30,500,000 iPhones over the next four years at a cost of US$20 billion is rather rich considering the current market cap for Sprint is only $7 billion. Not only is the Apple deal too rich for Sprint, they recently announced that they intend to build out a new LTE G4 network that will cost them money they just don't have. Confidence in Sprint's management is the problem...

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Oct 07
Greg's Bite: The Cellular Game, Spectrum and Money

By Greg Mills

Apple has clearly revolutionized the cellular phone industry since the iPhone 1 was launched. In the past, the cellular carriers had all the power and the hardware manufacturers like Motorola, Nokia and RIM simply sold handsets to them and got the best deal they could. Cell phones were manufactured to please the networks first and then the customer who would use them. Exclusives on certain handset models were common.

Three companies pretty much owned the cellular handset business not that long ago. Now, all three of those giant handset makers are in a desperate race to catch up or die in the race to provide smartphones that can compete with the iPhone. The dumb phone market is collapsing rapidly as contracts expire on old cell phones or their batteries die. People want to move up to a smartphone.

The recently reveled make-or-break deal Apple made with Sprint shows how much things have changed. Apple simply doling out iPhones or...

| Read more »
Oct 07
How about a 'Think Different' poster to...

Remember the "Think Different" ad campaign Apple launched in 1997? It was one of the most brilliant ad campaigns ever conceived -- and I'd love to see a one-off revival to honor Steve Jobs.

The "Think Different" slogan was created by the Los Angeles office of advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. It was used in a TV commercial, several print advertisements and a number of TV promos for Apple products. Shortened versions of the text were used in two television commercials, known as "Crazy Ones," which had a voiceover by actor Richard Dreyfuss. (There was also an unaired version featured the voice of Jobs himself.)

A one-minute commercial featured black-and-white footage of 17 iconic 20th century personalities: Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Richard Branson, John Lennon (with Yoko Ono), Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Muhammad Ali, Ted Turner, Maria Callas, Mahatma Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Alfred Hitchcock, Martha Graham, Jim Henson (with Kermit the...

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Oct 07
Apple patent involves data array content, addresses

An Apple patent (number 20110246787) has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office that involves obfuscating transformations on data array content and addresses.

Per the patent, in a first computer (digital) data obfuscation process, data which is conventionally arranged in a data structure called an array (e.g., a table) and conventionally stored in computer or computer device memory is obfuscated (masked) by logically or mathematically combining the data, entry-by-entry, with a masking value which is computed as a logical or mathematical function of the entry itself or its index in the array, modulo a security value.

The complementary unmasking value is a pointer to the entry's address in the table modulo the security value. In a second computer (digital) data obfuscation process, the addresses (location designations) in memory of a data array are themselves obfuscated (masked) by partitioning the array into blocks of entries and shuffling the order of the...

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Oct 06
Jobs was co-inventor of the 'three state icon...

As noted by "AppleInsider" (http://www.appleinsider.com) one of the last patents to bear Steve Jobs' name (along with Timothy Wasko) as inventor was patent number 201000281415 for a "three state icon" for a computer.

A three state icon for a computer is disclosed. The icon prevents inadvertent starting of an operation on a computer. Per the patent, the icon has a first state that conceals a second state. Upon selection of the first state with a computer pointing device (i.e., mouse), the icon will change to the second state.

Upon selecting the icon in the second state, the operation on the computer will start. Accordingly, only upon selecting the icon in the first state and then the second state, the operation will commence on the computer thereby preventing accidental startup of the operation. Once the second state has been selected, the icon will change to a third state which indicates...

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Oct 06
Apple eyeing ways to beef up remote capabilities of...

An Apple patent (number 20110246891) has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office for pushing a graphical user interface to a remote device with display rules provided by the remote device. In other words, Apple is working on ways to beef up the remote control abilities of iOS devices -- and incorporate new abilities along these lines.

The invention relates generally to accessories for portable media devices and in particular to allowing a portable media device to provide a user interface for controlling the media device to an accessory. Per the patent, a graphical user interface ("GUI") can be presented on a remote control accessory device that has user input and display devices. The portable media device can provide the accessory with a GUI image to be displayed. The accessory can specify the configuration of the remote GUI image and send that information to the portable media device.

The portable media device can generate a GUI image based on the...

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Oct 06
Greg's Bite: Regarding Steve Jobs

By Greg Mills

Steve Jobs drew strong opinions about himself and his ideas. He knew what he knew and come hell or high water, he stuck to his opinions. The taste and marketing wisdom he espoused led entire industries that correctly followed his lead or suffered for it. Confidence based on true genius has great value, and Apple is the result of a series of Steve's visions that resulted in "insanely great products" and the world's most valuable company.

Steve Jobs learned the concept of focusing on a few important things and letting the mundane issues take care of themselves with crisp detailed orders to subordinates. Reportedly, you made Mr. Jobs repeat himself to your own injury. He didn't suffer fools very well.

The flap over the recent "disappointment" over the iPhone 4S was, in my opinion, subconsciously in the public mind due to not having been pitched by Steve Jobs. Steve could have said, "If you think iPhone 4S is no big deal, consider...

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Oct 06
About those Mac OS X 10.8 features I wanted...

On Sept. 27 I listed (http://macte.ch/IRxgk) some of the features I wanted to see in Mac OS X 10.8. Robert Meyers had some interesting feedback on my ideas that I'd like to share with you.

I wanted an expanded Disk Utility that can optimize and defrag Mac volumes. However, Rob says Apple doesn't see the need for optimizers/defrag utilities (see http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1375). So don’t expect to see this feature built into Disk Utility any time soon.

I asked for the ability to start up from a Time Machine back-up and carry on working, like we can when using SuperDuper! and Carbon Copy Cloner. In other words: system cloning. Rob disagrees.

"Yes, Apple should provide an easy way to clone a system be it from another hard disk drive, a Time Machine backup, or even a different computer," he says. "However,...

| Read more »
Oct 05
Greg's BIte: Apple expectations, Sprint

Posted by Greg Mills

The Apple rumor mill, which we at MacTech contribute to, tends to build expectations for Apple product launches that sometimes go over the top. Had Apple called the iPhone 4S the iPhone 5, there would have been a very bad buzz in the press that the update was insufficient to get the name iPhone 5. The rumors that seek to fill the information void that Apple intentionally creates, generate expectations that each product launch is the end all, do all electronic bunker-buster of all time.

Sometimes, technology in chip development, for example, holds up an Apple product. Some analysts are speculating that the LTE G4 chips available today are just too big to fit the iPhone's slender form factor. Cost is also a consideration when you are planning on building 75 million of anything. Apple has gross margins to kill for, just ask any competitor forced to sell things at a loss to be competitive with them.

The roll out of the...

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Oct 05
Some thoughts on the 'Let's Talk iPhone...

Apple held its "Let's Talk iPhone" event yesterday, so here are some random thoughts on what transpired -- and what didn't.

New CEO Tim Cook and the gang (Scott Forstall, Eddy Cue and Phil Schiller) did a fine job at the presentation. They showed that you don't have to have Steve Jobs (still the ultimate showman) to put on a gee-whiz event, especially when you divvy up the duties among such a talented bunch of Apple execs.

My crystal ball was a bit cloudy. I predicted an iPhone 5 with built-in voice technology, and perhaps a 4-inch screen and beefed up camera. The revamped iPhone was dubbed the 4S and does have built-in voice technology and an enhanced camera, but retains the 3.5-inch screen.

I predicted there would be no low-end, contract-free iPhone. There's still no contract-free Apple smartphone. However, the iPhone 4 will also be available for US$99 and the iPhone 3GS will be available for free with a two-year contract.

I predicted that Sprint and...

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Oct 04
Apple patents involve server provider activation, DMA...

Apple has been granted three patents by the US Patent & Trademark Office. Following is a summary of each.

Patent number 8032181 is for a server provider activation with subscriber identity module policy. Systems and methods for activating a mobile device for use with a service provider are described. In one exemplary method, a mobile device having a currently inserted SIM card may be prepared for activation using a signing process in which an activation server generates a signed activation ticket encoded with SIM policy data that corresponds to the combination of the device and one of a number of SIM cards belonging to a set of SIM cards defined by the SIM policy data.

The activation ticket is securely stored on the mobile device. In another exemplary method the mobile device may be activated in an activation process in which the device verifies an activation ticket against information specific to the device and SIM card in accordance with the...

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Oct 04
What I'm expecting at Apple's 'Let...

Apple will hold a special "Let's Talk iPhone" event today at 10 am Pacific. Topics rumored to be discussed and/or unveiled include iOS 5, iCloud, an iPhone 5, an iPhone 4S, iPod updates and Apple TV updates.

Here's what I'm predicting:

° An iPhone 5 with 1GB of RAM, built-in voice technology, and perhaps a 4-inch screen and beefed up camera.

° No low-end, contract-free iPhone 4S.

° The announcement of Sprint and T-Mobile as iPhone carriers.

° A specific release date for iOS 5 and iCloud (though they won't roll out today).

° New iPod touches and iPod nanos. No Apple TV updates.

We'll be covering today's special event so check back in and see how well my crystal ball works.

-- Dennis Sellers

| Read more »
Oct 03
Greg's Bite: Zune is dead, Sprint gambles the farm

By Greg Mills

The high tech miracle, a true cosmic wonder (pictured in the brown jacket), has officially been rendered obsolete. Actually, the high tech wonder on the right is the now obsolete item, Microsoft's Zune Music Player. Bill Gates, also wearing a brown jacket, shown on the left, is still alive and doing his best to spend his money well, as Ballmer is doing his best to run Microsoft further into the ground. I wonder if Gates will relent now and allow his kids to own an Apple iPod now that the Zune is dead?

The history of Microsoft's Zune is similar to a street with so many pot holes the notion of it ever having been blacktop is long forgotten. The Zune was to be the Microsoft carbon copy of Apple's iPod and allow Microsoft to make a lot of money selling Zunes and music on-line. The Zune never really took hold in the market place. Microsoft could clone the electronics, but not the Steve Jobs sizzle, the chemistry that made everyone want an...

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Oct 03
The Northern Spy: looking at HP, RIM, Nokia and more

By Rick Sutcliffe

Hewlett Packard appears to have taken comments made here last month seriously enough to take defensive measures. But let's be realistic.
First, changing CEOs at this juncture (nearly 50% share value lost) is like tossing a single sandbag into the raging torrent pouring through a broken dyke.

Second, hiring Goldman Sachs Group to plan a takeover prevention strategy is a whistling in the wind. As the Spy said, they have transformed themselves from predator to prey. What remains to be seen once the various interested parties have done their due diligence is whether the takeover attention will come from a turnaround specialist, a breakup artist, or someone in the industry for whom the technology, talents, and patents have residual value.

Third, when you are but reactively defending against the consequences of your own errors and failures, you tend to create more new problems than you fix old ones.

Fourth, can HP (or...

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Oct 03
Tech can't fill all the needs of life

A recent Cisco Systems survey found that video systems and interaction are taking an increasingly larger portion of a person’s day and overall life.

Workplace chaplains employed by Marketplace Chaplains USA are finding that while everything is changing, becoming more efficient and moving faster, some things don't change. Personal chaplain interaction with employees is the best solution for helping each one with the many personal problems hindering workplace progress and efficiency.

In the Cisco survey, Senior Vice President Marthin De Beer, said most people and employees use video technology to access essential and professional services.

"Video is happening and it’s happening today," he said in his report. By comparison, more than 2,500 Marketplace Chaplains in 43 states serving more than 2,400 client locations report most employees still seek out chaplains for face-to-face discussions about the hurts, joys and hopes of life.

"The fact a chaplain has...

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Oct 02
Greg's Bite: iPhone leaks galore

By Greg Mills

As I write this Sunday morning early, all the Apple news sites and a lot of regular news sites are running leaked information about the iPhone launch, scheduled for Tuesday. The normally tight new product security has been breeched by even Apple in a couple of ways. What seems clear is that Apple is moving to capture greater market share with more cellular carriers to be offering iPhones and with both a lower end and higher end offering. The iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 appear to be the two new iPhone models to be announced Tuesday.

There are two main markets the cellular carriers all support. They call the two plans "post-paid" and "pre-paid." Generally, the post-paid segment is the cream of the crop and the real money for the networks. This is the plan with a contract, generally for two years, where you get a red hot deal on a phone, or a free cell phone in exchange for signing up. With iPhones, you just pay a portion of the cost of the...

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Sep 30
The iPod classic, shuffle probably coming to an end

A new rumor underscores what I've suspected for some time: the iPod classic and iPod shuffle are coming to an end.

The former -- though the very best value in iPods (160GB for US$250) -- uses a hard disk drive -- and Apple's current, true love in storage is sold state drives. As for the shuffle, it's basically an iPod nano without a screen.

I'll miss the iPod classic. It bears the most resemblance to the original iPod. It goes back about 10 years and has seen six generations. So take a bow, iPod classic, you've served us well.

As for the iPod shuffle, I've never owned one and never seen the point. I like my digital music players to have screens, so I can have more options. The shuffle debuted in 2005 and has gone through four generations.

If you're a shuffle fan, feel free to scoop some up before (assuming I'm right) they disappear. As for me, well, sorry, iPod shuffle, but I hardly knew you.

-- Dennis Sellers

| Read more »
Sep 30
Greg's Bite: RIM pulls the plug on PlayBook?

By Greg Mills

Rumors that RIM is pulling the plug on PlayBook and letting hundreds more employees go have been denied by RIM. Collins Stewart analyst John Vinh thinks the PlayBook is about over. He wrote that RIM has “stopped production” of the tablet and is “actively considering” getting out of the tablet market. This rumor was supported by those in the know in Asia, so there must be something to the rumors ...

However, rumors aside, prices for RIM's PlayBook at Best Buy have been cut again, down from US$499 to $399 to $299. The latest cut was to respond to the Amazon Kindle Fire that will sell for $200. It is thought Amazon will lose about $50 each on every Kindle Fire they sell.

You don't cut prices on products that are selling well. You cut the prices to unload soon to be discontinued products. (See...

| Read more »
Sep 29
Apple to beef up head-to-head comparisons in online...

Patent number 20110238699 at the US Patent & Trademark Office shows that Apple is working on head-to-head comparison features for its online stores.

The invention provides a comparison of a set of similar items includes: receiving from a first member of an online community a selection of a stored prior comparison created by another online community member of a set of similar items; providing to the first member a template for the comparison, the template being at least partially pre-populated using data from the stored prior comparison created by the other online community member; and receiving from the first member a submission of the comparison, wherein the comparison includes one or more modifications as made by the first member to the template. The inventors of the patent are Kenneth N. Chang, David A. Koski, Pedraum R. Pardehpoosh and Ralph E. Zazula.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "In the context of online stores, a user or...

| Read more »
Sep 29
Apple eyeing gyro-facilitated video stabilization

Apple is working on a control system for video processors that selectively control the operation of motion stablization processes, per a new patent (number 20110234825) at the US Patent & Trademark Office.

According to the invention, motion sensor data indicative of motion of a mobile device may be received and processed. A determination may be made by comparing processed motion sensor data to a threshold. Based on the determination, motion stabilization may be suspended on select portions of a captured video sequence. The inventors are Yuxin Liu, Xiaojin Shi, James Oliver Normile and Hsi-Jung Wu.

Here's Apple's background and summary of the invention: "Video stabilization is a class of video processing that removes unwanted shakiness from videos captured from portable camera devices such as smart phones, personal entertainment systems laptop computers and/or camcorder. The goal of video stabilization is to revise an original video sequence to mimic a sequence...

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Sep 29
Apple looking into wireless interference mitigation

Apple is working on ways to lessen wireless interference on devices such as the iPhone, per a new patent (number 20110237246) for "Wireless Interference Mitigation" has appeared at the US Patent & Trademark Office.

The patent involves mitigating interference in a mobile wireless communication device by using an estimation of the performance impact of interfering signals generated by a wireless cellular transmitter and received by a co-located wireless local area network receiver. Wireless local area network frequency band usage is modified based on the performance impact estimation and the state of the wireless cellular and wireless local area network connections.

The estimation accounts for properties of the wireless cellular transmitter and wireless local area network receiver as well as operational characteristics of the wireless cellular and wireless local area network connections. Indranil Sen is the inventor.

Here's Apple's background and summary...

| Read more »
Sep 29
Apple is working on a hybrid drive

A new Apple patent (number 20110238887) has popped up at the US Patent & Trademark Office, showing that Apple is working on a hybrid drive that combines hard disk drive (HDD) and flash memory elements.

Per the patent, a hybrid storage device that includes a hard-disk drive and a flash memory is described. When control logic in the hybrid storage device receives a request from an external device to write a block of data to a logical address in a first portion of an address space that maps to the HDD, the control logic writes the block of data to the HDD.

However, if there is a change in environmental state information of the hybrid storage device during the write operation, the control logic writes at least a portion of the block of data to a logical address for the block of data in a second portion of the address space which maps to the flash memory. Note that the address space may be common to the external device and the hybrid storage device. Khalu Bazzani is...

| Read more »
Sep 29
Greg's Bite: Kindle Fire not an iPad Killer

By Greg Mills

The web is loaded today with Kindle Fire news stories, some suggesting the dread iPad killer has landed ... Not really, not for a lot of reasons. A souped-up book reader that can also run a version of the Android OS, but has a small screen and lackluster features isn't comparable to the iPad.

As Steve Jobs noted, the smaller size screen reduces actual square inches of usable surface on an inverse squared. Smaller screen sizes were tested at Apple and rejected. Keep in mind, there are rumors that the new iPhone will sport a larger screen and sort of fill-that-gap in the product line defined by the Kindle Fire. I submit that the next direction screen sizes will go is up, not down.

Apple will also introduce retina iPad screens sooner than later. The higher resolution doesn't mean much until you compare regular TV to HDTV. Wow, what a difference it makes.

Remember a year ago when the electronics shows were full of iPad...

| Read more »
Sep 29
iPad killing computer sales? Not Mac sales anyway

The common theory is that the iPad is killing personal computer sales. Actually, that doesn't seem to be the case. It's killing PC sales on some levels, but not Macs.

In fact, two CitiGroup surveys conducted November, before the iPad 2 was released, at least hints at the possibility that tablet popularity increases receptivity to other gadgets. In a November 2010 survey (before the iPad 2 was released) 3% of survey respondents said they owned a tablet.

In a new survey by Citigroup, that number jumped to 18%. Interestingly, computer ownership also jumped, from 62% to 81%. And smartphone ownership increased from 28% to 59%.

Instead of cannibalizing computer sales, the iPad may actually be making more folks more comfortable with technology. That means more Mac and iPhone sales.

Peecees? Well, not so much.

-- Dennis Sellers

| Read more »
 
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