Written by Nick Heer.

Archive for April, 2012

Linus Torvalds on the MacBook Air

Linus Torvalds:

That said, [I] have to admit being a bit baffled by how nobody else seems to have done what Apple did with the Macbook Air—even several years after the first release, the other notebook vendors continue to push those ugly and clunky things. Yes, there are vendors that have tried to emulate it, but usually pretty badly.

I, too, have been amazed at how poor the MacBook Air’s competition is. However, it’s not a surprise when you look at the focus of Apple versus that of their competitors.

“Here’s Why Apple Stores Won’t Work”

Horace Dediu works his magic on Apple’s retail numbers. My favourite part is the top chart.

The title comes from this oft-mocked 2001 Business Week piece:

“I give them two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake,”

Obviously, the Apple of 2001 was in a different position than they are today. Hindsight is incredibly revealing. But these naysayers were prevalent at the time, and they persist today, as John Moltz notes:

It was pretty conventional to bet against Apple back in 2001. And, based on the previous 10 years, it was a decent bet. What amazes me is that people are still doing it without consideration. Sure, Apple may screw something big up in the near term, but the odds of that happening are pretty slim.

Tumblr to Launch Ads Starting May 2

Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica:

In 2010, [CEO David Kamp] famously said, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, that the company was “pretty opposed to advertising. It really turns our stomachs.” […]

“[Kamp] was scheduled to talk for a half hour, but I think the whole thing lasted 7 minutes,” he continued. “He cited some growth numbers, mentioned how much he appreciates the creativity within the advertising community, and then broke the news that Tumblr would be opening up that spot to advertisers.”

One of the strangest elements, Sorgatz said, was how Kamp ended the presentation: “He flashed his email address on the screens, took no questions, and then zipped out the building.”

Seems like even the CEO is not happy with this decision.

The Biting Reality of RSS

Speaking of RSS, William Vambenepe mourns:

The disappearance of RSS is pretty much the topic of every comment on the two MacWorld articles (for Mail and Safari). That’s heartening. It’s going to take a lot of agitation to reverse the trend for RSS.

The Mountain Lion setback, assuming it’s not reversed before the OS ships, is just the last of many blows to RSS.

Aside: in a bout of irony, I opened this article from my RSS reader.

FeedBurner Uglies Up Clean URLs

FeedBurner likes to put a bunch of analytics garbage at the end of perfectly clean URLs. For example, this post from The Loop has the following added when opened from the RSS feed:

?utm_source=loopinsight.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+loopinsight%2FKqJb+%28The+Loop%29

Shawn Blanc has a good workaround for FeedBurner feed owners. For users, try Alexander Kirk’s Clean URLs Safari extension. It removes YouTube and partner tracking crap from URLs, including FeedBurner-related parameters. Very clever.

Innovator’s Patent Agreement

Marco Arment has some sharp words regarding Twitter’s IPA:

First, it’s interesting to read their definition of “a Defensive Purpose”, [… which leaves] a lot of room for interpretation.

Arment has some good points here. I’m not sure if Twitter’s intent was to be vague, and if it wasn’t, their position should be clarified and loopholes should be removed. I suspect they wanted some room for negotiations and legal purposes, though.

You’re Not Helping

Dieter Bohn:

A trusted source close to Microsoft tells us that is absolutely not the case, that instead there will be no upgrade path from Mango to Apollo. This matches up with a previous report from Mary Jo Foley and explains the particular language Microsoft used when it responded to the story earlier today, saying “We have stated publicly that all apps in our Marketplace today will run on the next version of Windows Phone. Beyond that, we have nothing to share about future releases.”

If this is true, it isn’t going to help their market share, or their reputation amongst users. Furthermore, this creates issues for the saving grace Nokia phones.

Something from Nothing

Hip hop didn’t invent anything. Hip hop reinvented everything.

Can’t wait for this film. Directed by Ice-T, and featuring seemingly everyone except Jay-Z, it’s sure to be an inside look at the history of the art of rap.

Why Do We Think Apple Will Make a TV Set?

After months and months of poorly-researched, patently ridiculous rumours, Philip Elmer-Dewitt sorts out the clutter:

I can can think of a half dozen explanations for each of Misek’s reasons that have nothing to do with Apple making TVs.

More to the point, there are plenty of very good reasons Apple would not want to get into TV manufacturing business.

Good points here.

Not Good Enough

Vlad Savov, of The Verge:

Put in starker terms, they don’t believe that Nokia’s Lumia phones are “good enough” to compete. An executive in charge of mobile phones at one of the big Euro carriers is cited as saying, “no one comes into the store and asks for a Windows Phone,” placing at least some of the blame for the tepid start to Nokia’s reboot on Microsoft’s shoulders.

No amount of advertising can change the total experience of using the phone every day.

30 Days With The New iPad

After spending two weeks with the new iPad, I wrote:

I cannot see a reason to purchase any competing tablet right now. The new iPad is a nearly-perfect product. Apple has managed to put a faster processor, a bigger battery, and a display that was unfathomable just a couple of years ago in a $500 package you can buy today.

Dan Frommer has spent a full month with his new iPad:

Apple was right with the idea that this thing — as powerful as a laptop, with incredibly natural feeling touch-based controls — is finally the computer that people will want to carry around with them. And it has been amusing to see the competition fail to understand or replicate the iPad’s magic — not one particular feature or quality, but the entire story — and flop in the market.

I completely agree. In the past year, I’ve been leaving my laptop on my desk and leaving the house with only my iPad and phone. It’s the lightest, easiest way to get work done from anywhere.

Progress

Russia’s main automaker Lada said on Monday it was pulling one of its classic 1982 models from production after sales shrank for the boxy vehicle, which was dated from the moment it was introduced.

Announcing the Windows 8 Editions

For PCs and tablets powered by x86 processors (both 32 and 64 bit), we will have two editions: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.

All editions of Windows 8 offer a no-compromise experience.

Multiple editions for ostensibly the same experience?

Windows Media Center will be available as an economical “media pack” add-on to Windows 8 Pro.

But not Windows 8 non-Pro? seems like a compromise to me.

By the way, this is the actual chart you’re supposed to use to determine which version is right for you.

Toning It Down

John Moltz:

Yes, there are aspects of technology that have to do with democracy and freedom of speech and people’s livelihoods. But the degree to which people throw around phrases like “company X’s evil move” and “why company Y should be terrified” and “product Z is giving competitors explosive diarrhea” (admittedly this is rarer) is eye roll-inducing.

I absolutely agree.

Fix Radar or GTFO

We need to talk. We love your software, we really do. Or maybe we don’t but we want to tell you why so you can try to improve it. We are developers ourselves and we know how hard it is to write software, to find and fix bugs, to know what your users want from your software. We want to file bug reports and feature requests for every bug we find or feature we think of. As a community we want you to know what is important to us, in a way that doesn’t require you to trawl through countless blogs and tweets. Unfortunately you’re making it so incredibly hard to do so.

Finally: an internet petition I can get behind.