TED Talks are amazing! I should blog about them more. Here is a great one on Education.
It seems that with the launch of the iPod in 2001, the whole world forgot that until that point, Apple had not had a hit product since the Apple IIc. In fact, the company was such a looser it was flirting with bankruptcy. Failure after failure meant things were so bad that in 1997 Apple had to be bailed out by Microsoft, a fact that causes Apple fanboys to cringe to this day.
Sure the Macintosh generated a lot of hype, mostly on the back of the famous Ridley Scott directed “1984″ commercial that launched the product, but it never had any significant market share and Apple did nothing significant in the 1990s. It’s only accomplishment during that time seems to have been influencing the design of Microsoft Windows.
In 2007, Apple released the iPhone. Without question this has been Apple’s biggest accomplishment. Apple proved that with careful design, Mobile computing can be a compelling segment of the market. So what to do next?
Based largely on the halo effect generated by the iPod and iPhone, systems running Mac OS are up marginally but show no signs of displacing Microsoft on the desktop, _ever_.
Meanwhile, eReaders and Netbooks are generating a lot hype so Apple is tempted to enter that segment of the market and thus we have the iPad. As Steve Jobs infamously said in his own speech, “netbooks do nothing well”. Unfortunately, the rest of that sentence is “and the iPad does them worse.”
Basically the iPad is an over-sized iPod-touch. I don’t know anyone who uses an iPod-touch for anything useful. Furthermore, the display might be nice compared to an iPod or iPhone, but sure as heck doesn’t replace a desktop and it’s glare prone illuminated touch-screen sucks as an eReader since it won’t be visible in bright light. At .73kg, it’s three times heaver than a Kindle! Who wants to lug that around?
There is nothing an iPad does that isn’t already being done on the much more portable iPhone, or a much more versatile MacBook, or a much cheaper NetBook, or an easier to read eBook. In short, it’s an “in-between” device that’s so in between everything that it serves no purpose.
Need a truly mobile device? Get an iPhone. Need a portable computer? Get a laptop. Need a cheap portable computer? Get a Netbook. Need to read electronic books? Get an eReader.
Need to prove you’re still an Apple fan-boy? Get an iPad.
Someone finally took pity on me and sent me an invite for SUSE Studio. My first impression – Wow!
SUSE Studio lets you build your own custom linux distribution using SUSE as the starting point. The process requires only a few mouse clicks and is so fast and simple any Geeko can do it
Step 1: choose a starting point for your build. Options range from bare-bones (Just Enough OS) OpenSUSE 11, to a full blown SUSE Enterprise Server.
Step 2: Add additional packages. Of course the full SUSE package list is available which includes everything you would normally find on the DVD. But, you can add any repository from the internet including your own custom ones either uploaded as an RPM or downloaded automatically from your own site.
But the goodness doesn’t end there… All of the respositories from the SUSE build service are also avaialble. You’ll be hard pressed to find a package that isn’t already available in Studio giving unprecidented flexability for building custom appliances.
Step 3: Next you configure some basic options such as Language, Timezone, Networking, and the default users and groups.
Step 4: Overylay files. If you need to add some files to your distro, just tar them up and they will be automatically un-tared in the directory specified.
Step 5: Create your applicance. You can pick one of 4 target formats. USB/Disk image, ISO, VMWare/VirtualBox, or XEN. Then click “Build”.
It typically takes less than 5 minutes to build the appliance and when you’re done you are presented with 2 options: Test Drive, or Download.
Test drive is really neat. Your appliance launches right in your browser window. You can watch it boot up, login, and test things out. The full desktop is there! Really cool! You can go back at any time and make changes.
Once you’re satisfied with your appliance click the download link and you’re done!
SUSE Studio is truly amazing.
I have only one small dissapointment; it only supports x86 archetectures and I had wanted to use it to build a PPC appliance that would run on the Sony PS3. I suspect they’ll add support for other CPUs in the future. Afterall, most small appliances don’t run full blown processors.
According to a story in PC World “Acer remains on track to launch a version of its Aspire One netbook with Google’s Android mobile operating system in the third quarter of this year, a company representative said Wednesday.”
This confirms my suspicion that Andriod will make it’s way onto netbooks but I’m a bit confused how Google’s recently announced CromeOS fits into the picture. Why develop two separate operating systems targeting essentially the same devices?
So, my wife won an 1G iPod shuffle.
Great (I thought), I’ll copy some music on it and life will be grand.
Nope. You have to have iTunes. Jobs (aka God) forbid you can just copy files onto it and have it work.
I’ve owned an USB mp3 player for years and it works just great. Plug it in, copy. done. But not “plug-and-play” Apple. More like “proprietary-DRM-and-play”. Ya, I know there are non-iTunes software out there than can copy the files up but you’re missing the point. You should be able to plug in to your USB port and copy files over without having to do anything special.
When will the Apple fan-boys wake up and realize this company isn’t what it’s cracked up to be?
But, on the plus side, it came with two nice little apple stickers. And much to my surprise, they do not use a propriety glue that only sticks to Macs. I now have a nice Apple sticker afixed to my garbage can…
” Google Inc. is set to offer its free Android mobile-phone operating system for computers, opening a new front in its rivalry with Microsoft Corp. by challenging the dominance of the company’s Windows software. Acer Inc., the world’s second-largest laptop maker, will release a low-cost notebook powered by Android next quarter” [full story]
carrier to noise ratio
Android was a slow starter but is continuing to make waves… Inching closer and closer to that dream system.
In recent posts I’ve been lamenting the lack of the “perfect device” (one that’s the size of a phone but has capabilities of laptop, including docking to a mouse, keyboard & monitor). I’ve also debated which of the major companies would win this battle (Microsoft, Google, RIM, or Apple). I’m ready to declare a victor.
And the winner is (or will be); Google Andriod!
Even though Andriod has yet to have any major devices make it to market, the momentum is now unmistakable. Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung have phones released or in the works; but more importantly, so do companies like Acer (who just announced that they are working on several Andriod devices) and HP. That’s the critical cross-over that will win this fight. The openness of Andriod means it will dominate the vast majority of devices ending the iPhone and Blackberry dominance.
The only things standing in the way is to crack the Telcom dominance over wireless data.
As predicted, the first netbook running Andriod has been released. The WiFi networking is to be expected, but the real “killer” feature would have been 3G networking. Of course then you’d need an affordable data plan.
The Australian government has made a stunning commitment to build a nation-wide fibre network infrastructure. But not only that, it will be an “open-access wholesale only” infrastructure. This is exactly what Canada needs; or maybe we should all just move to Australia? (well except for their draconian Internet Censorship)
The network will be “open access” so retail ISPs can build their own products to sell to businesses and consumers.
Calling it, the “single largest infrastructure decision in Australia’s history”, Rudd said the project would employ up to 37,000 people a year and help stimulate the Australian economy. Private industry would contribute up to 49% of the funds, and the government would sell the company after operating it for 5 years, he said.
Of course there are a couple cautions about this story; It’s April 1st so it could be a joke and it’s only in testing so it may not see the light of day.