Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Archive for July, 2012

Google Fiber Launches in Kansas City

A gigabit per second up and down, a terabyte of Google Drive storage, and some television stuff for $120/mo. This is an industry in desperate need of this kind of shakeup. Only available in Kansas City right now, however.

Side by Side

A new film from Keanu Reeves, of all people:

Since the invention of cinema, the standard format for recording moving images has been film. Over the past two decades, a new form of digital filmmaking has emerged, creating a groundbreaking evolution in the medium.

I’m very excited for this.

Apple Claims Google Warned Samsung

John Paczkowski reports for All Things D:

In February 2010, Google told Samsung that Samsung’s “P1” and “P3” tablets (Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1) were “too similar” to the iPad and demanded “distinguishable design vis-à-vis the iPad for the P3.”

Ouch. There’s more:

In 2011, Samsung’s own Product Design Group noted that it is “regrettable” that the Galaxy S “looks similar” to older iPhone models.

These are from Samsung’s own documents.

Google Fiber

Google wants to bring fiber internet to the home, for everyone. It’s a nice gesture. What’s to bet it’s ad-supported or subsidized, though?

This is an announcement for an announcement they’re making tomorrow, by the way. Really.

This Bubble Ain’t Gonna Last

Douglas MacMillan writes for Bloomberg:

Shares slumped as much as 42 percent in extended trading, dragging Facebook’s stock down as much as 9.7 percent. Sales were $332.5 million, Zynga said today in a statement. That missed the average $343.1 million analyst estimate, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Profit excluding some items was 1 cent a share, less than the 6-cent estimate.

“How does Zynga make their money?” you may be asking.

Zynga, based in San Francisco, makes money by selling virtual goods within its games — say, a gun in “Mafia Wars” or a tractor in “FarmVille.”

Yeah, that’s stable.

Postbox and the Mac App Store

The Postbox Store is powered by Fastspring, Campaign Monitor, Google Analytics, Wufoo, Zendesk, and our own in-house apps. While it took more time and effort to develop, this custom store enables us to offer…

A bunch of features over the Mac App Store, according to Postbox founder Sherman Dickman. Apple clearly wants to make the buying experience through the Mac App Store as simple as possible, but it means that there are no free trials, and no upgrade pricing (amongst many other drawbacks). It’s great for the average application, but terrible for intermediate-level users and developers.

Safari 6.0

Safari 6 is a giant improvement over the barely-usable Safari 5. But I believe I’m one of the three people who wished they would have stuck with separate URL and search fields. In Safari 6, I can no longer type “apple/ipad”, and have it redirect to the correct “http://apple.com/ipad”. Nor can I type “cache:” into the Google search field, then paste in whatever URL happens to be Farked, Fireballed, or otherwise down at the moment.

The MacStories Review

Federico Vitcci wrote an insanely long review as well. Where Siracusa’s is full of developer nitty-gritty, Viticci’s is about the user-facing features.

Turning Off Ads in Parallels

Parallels apparently serves ads to their customers, who already paid $80 for the software. The only way to turn them off is through an arcane Terminal command (defaults write com.parallels.Parallels\ Desktop ProductPromo.ForcePromoOff -bool YES according to Reddit). Any reference to that preference setting gets deleted by Parallels Support if it’s posted in the related forum thread. Via John Gruber.

Lightweight Embedding of Facebook Page Updates

A client of mine would like updates from their Facebook page to display on their website. There are a few ways of doing this, including the officially-sanctioned Facebook activity widget. Unfortunately, this widget is pretty resource-hungry, and fairly ugly.

The lightest way I’ve found to do this is with the page RSS feeds. I’ve had Kayla Knight’s Facebook RSS parser bookmarked for a while, but at some point, Facebook quietly disabled getting RSS feeds via the method you’d expect. The page ID that Kayla uses is the one that you’ll find in photo uploads by that page. It’s the 360554127319590 in 544979_360554127319590_637526006_n.jpg. But, as I said, this was depreciated.

Happily, “stacey” on Stack Overflow has a solution. Simply place that ID into the URL http://graph.facebook.com/that-id-goes-here and use the second ID shown in the feed. For my example, visiting http://graph.facebook.com/360554127319590 shows the following:

 {
 "id": "360554127319590",
 "from": {
 "name": "Fallacious Logic",
 "category": "Website",
 "id": "360553933986276"
 },

If I substitute the 360553933986276 ID above into Kayla Knight’s parser, and include that PHP file in the usual method, it works wonderfully. Quick, lightweight embedding of Facebook page updates into a website.

Apple Reports Third Quarter Results

Apple PR:

The Company posted quarterly revenue of $35.0 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.8 billion, or $9.32 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $28.6 billion and net profit of $7.3 billion, or $7.79 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 42.8 percent compared to 41.7 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 62 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

The Company sold 26.0 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 28 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 17.0 million iPads during the quarter, an 84 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 4.0 million Macs during the quarter, a two percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 6.8 million iPods, a 10 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

26 million iPhones and a record 17 million iPads are good by anyone’s standards. But, as Philip Elmer-DeWitt notes, analysts were expecting more.

Closed for Business

Yesterday, the developers of Dead Trigger, and Android and iOS game, announced that the Android version was going to be dropped to a price tag of nothing:

In a statement on Facebook, developer Madfinger Games says that even at $0.99, the piracy rate on Android devices was “unbelievably high.”

Matt Gemmell reflects on high piracy rates:

Piracy isn’t a symptom of social disease. Well, it might be, but your bank manager won’t care about that inconsequential detail. Piracy is a symptom of failure to find an effective business model. “Effective” here means the whole gamut of product quality, availability, platform, marketing, price, delivery, support and so on. It’s not black magic.

Very good points in this article. I’m sure there are ways of making lots of money on an Android app, but for many developers, setting up a means to do that (say, by cross-referencing a unique user ID with a known purchase receipt) is more difficult and time-consuming than their app warrants. It’s simply harder for the average developer to make money with a paid app on Android than on iOS.

The Nonsensical “iPhone 5” Name

Marco Arment, referring to this image by Louie Mantia:

I’m guessing, like the third-generation iPad, that the next iPhone will simply be called “iPhone” in marketing and “iPhone (6th generation)” in technical and support documents.

Almost certainly. I’ve always thought it odd how Apple used any version numbers with their line of iPhones and iPads. They don’t do so for any other product line.