« January 2008 | Main | March 2008 »

iPhone Apps I'd Love to See

Apple is scheduled to release the official iPhone/iPod Touch SDK at the end of the month soon, which means we should see the first "official" iPhone/iPod Touch applications shortly thereafter.  Here are some apps, I'm can't wait to see:

  1. TI-8X Graphing calculator
  2. iPhone as Modem
  3. Gesture Commands (also here)
  4. Voice Commands ("Call Steve", "Next Track", "Volume Down", etc..)
  5. A2DP Support
  6. Pandora player
  7. Some games (sudoku, tetris, etc.)
  8. Hulu Player

Keep reading for more on the Graphic Calculator idea.

this entry continues

Updated MacBook Pros Finally Arrive


MacBook Pros were just released sporting faster Penryn processors and the Multi-touch trackpad.  Also, the base configuration starts with a 256MB video card (up from 128), while the faster models have 512MB.  Oddly, the remote is now a $19 add-on (it used to be free).  MacBook Pros are still sporting the same design as PowerBooks from 2003, and there's still no high-resolution 15" display option.  I can't help but see these MBPs as just the appetizer before the all-new MacBook Pro feast that should be served up with the new Intel Chipset Montevina (or Centrino 2, or whatever).

Palm Foleo - when bad PR attacks


This recent article on CNET comparing the failed Palm Foleo to similar, and arguably successful, sub-notebooks has me thinking that the problem wasn't with the Foleo itself but how Palm described the product.  At its core the Palm Foleo was a lightweight (2.5 lbs) Linux based notebook with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 10" screen and full size keyboard.  It was to be bundled with a solid web browser, e-mail application, and basic office applications.  In reality, the Foleo is not that different from the EEE PC. But from the onset the Foleo was described as a "mobile companion" for your smartphone, not a standalone device.  By contrast, the EEE PC, and other sub-notebooks, have been marketed as nothing less than a small, simple, cheap, easy-to-use PC.  The Foleo was met with skepticism and criticism, while EEE PC enjoyed overwhelmingly positive reactions.

If you want to destroy a product's perception there's no better word to use than "companion."  To many consumers "companion" means overpriced, limited compatibility, limited-use, and unnecessary.  Much of what Palm did seemed to emphasize that it was not a standalone device: in photographs, the Foleo was almost always pictured with a Treo by it's side; even in in this video with the CEO of Palm, Ed Colligan, the first thing he said was that it's a mobile companion.   Colligan goes on to make some very compelling points, but I think he lost most people after the companion part, and, by the way, it only works with Palm smartphones.

this entry continues

Study confirms Mac users like Starbucks, cosmetic dentistry

This new study about Mac users pretty much confirms what most of us already knew from watching Best in Show:

Still this new study by Mindset Media hits a little too close to home.  Here some of the trends among Mac users:

  • More likely to use laptops. Check (my last 3 computer have all been notebooks).
  • Buy organic food. Check
  • Pay to download music. Check.
  • Have bought 5 new pairs of sneakers in the last year.  I'm at 3 and counting...
  • Drive a station wagon.  Check.
  • Drive a hybrid.  Maybe one day...
  • Use teeth whitening products.  Nope
  • Liberal. Check
  • Frequent Starbucks.  Nope, their tea selection is lame, but (much to my embarrassment) I do get their Chai Tea Latte from time to time.

Man, am I really that much of a cliche?  My next computer might have to be a Dell Latitude E just to shake things up.

DS Game Downloads


For Christmas this year, my amazing girlfriend gave me a Nintendo DS Lite.  It's my first portable video game in ages and I (we both actually) love it.  But the one thing I'm not so wild about are game cartridges.  Initially the cartridges were quaint, but now they just seem inefficient and annoying.  Nintendo should really offer DS games downloads and a way to load a bunch of games on a single cartridge.  Actually something like that already exists, sort of...

this entry continues

Recycled Energy Development - Turning Waste Factory Heat into Useable Energy

RED - Recycled Energy Development, has proven methods for converting the heat that normally goes out factory smokestacks into useful energy.  Here's how it works:

We basically use the heat to boil water and make steam, we use the steam to drive a turbine, ... and the turbine drives an electric generator.

The energy can power the factory itself or be fed into the energy grid to power homes. RED estimates that if all the waste heat from US factories and plants were captured it could make up 20% of US energy use, which is roughly the same as 120 coal-fired power plants.  That could mean that the US wouldn't need any new coal fired plants, and some existing plants could be taken offline, creating a huge reduction in CO2 emissions as well as other pollutants.  If factories can reduce their energy costs, or even make a profit by selling their energy back into the grid, overall manufacturing costs could go down dramatically.  That could mean more manufacturing jobs could stay in the US.  This is one of those ideas that's so good it's almost frustrating.  I strongly recommend downloading the Living On Earth interview with RED chairman, Thomas R. Casten.  He discusses some of the challenges with electric congeneration efficiency in the U.S.   One of my favorites Quotes in the interview:

CASTEN: I'm an environmentalist who tries to make my living as a capitalist. I want to have those rules be as cost effective and as environmentally effective as possible. My larger comment is that global warming is such a huge problem; it's hard to believe we're going to solve it if our only answer is that people must make sacrifices. We're offering an approach that profitably reduces greenhouse gases and that's much easier to persuade people to do - to go improve their own economic lot and do good. We just need to be a little smarter about how we're doing these things.

RED - Recycled Energy Development via Living On Earth (Download the entire Podcast or just the RED segment)

Ads for Cars you Can't Buy

Recently car companies have taken to advertising cars they don't sell.  Like this one for the BMW Hydrogen 7,

or this one for the Honda FCX Clarity, and lastly this one for the Chevy Volt. 

When I first saw these ads I was outraged.  None of these products can be purchased, and they could be nothing more than empty promises.  However, after reflecting on these ads, I concluded that they could actually improve things for fuel efficient vehicles.  Read on for why.

this entry continues

Publishing to the Kindle Store is Dead Easy


In my last entry about the Amazon Kindle, I wrote that Amazon should make it really easy for publishers to make their content available on the Kindle.  Amazon's Digital Text Platform does exactly that, it enables publishers to upload their content to the Kindle Store.  Did I mention it was REALLY easy? You basically just fill out the details of the publication, upload the file (supported formats include HTML, PDF, even Word Documents), and set the price.  I'd love to see small magazines, professional journals, universities and even museums take advantage of this; it could be a great way to reach a larger audience and have a permanent archive of content.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2