"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Linkfest - iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S RevealedToday Apple held its press conference, minus Steve Jobs, to announce the next iteration of their iPhone and iPod lines. Unlike the hype from the blogosphere, the result is just an incremental improvement to the existing devices. Almost all the improvements are software related, in part due to the iOS 5 getting released on October 12th. For the iPod line, the Nano is getting around a $30 price drop and a minor software update. The iTouch will get the new iOS 5 update.

As for the main event, the result is same looking phone with faster dual-core chip (so better gaming experience), same RAM (so unlikely to feel that much faster even if technically it is), slightly improved internet download speeds (but only if on AT&T), new camera (8 megapixels with 1080p video camera) and about the same battery life.

Most of the changes are with new apps that they are introducing. Most being incremental improvements or replacements for third party apps. iCloud is a way to save your content to the "cloud" so easier to re-download and sync to your various Apple devices. The free version is limited to apps (but not settings for those apps) and basic documents (books, word docs, pdf, pictures etc). If you are thinking of synching music and video, you will have two options. One is the $25 yearly service called iTunes Match which will let you "upload" (both virtually and literally) your music collection so you can access it at any time on any device. As for videos, you are basically SOL unless you happen to buy them from the iTunes store and just doing a re-download.

The main app event turned out to be "Siri" which is voice recognition software. Unlike previous attempts, this one actually seems to understand short but complicated requests such as "What is the weather like?" or "What are directions to...?". The idea seems fantastic but I have a feeling once the new wears off, most people will find they barely use it all.

The net result is there is little reason to upgrade, especially since the experience with the 3S shows that the real iPhone 5 is likely coming early summer 2012. It might also be a good time to test out alternative devices running Android and Windows as the reviews of the software has been fantastic (phone hardware opinion varies). The device will be available to preorder on October 7th, released on October 14th on Sprint, Verizon and AT&T networks.

Windows 8 in 8 Minutes
Watch the video below to get an edited version of the Microsoft keynote that revealed and demoed many of the new features being built into Windows 8 that may land sometime in the Fall of 2012. The main feature is the Metro interface which is integral to the operation of the system. The idea is embracing the movement to the tablet format by making Windows 8 as small but robust as possible to be used on tablets, desktops, net tops and more without requiring device specific builds. Hopefully this streamlined thinking will be applied to the product line so there are not 6 different versions of the OS like there was with Windows 7.

Lego Venator Class Star Destroyeriomedes has rebuilt a custom model from 6 years ago using 43,280 Legos resulting in a 181 pound, 8 foot long Star Wars awesomeness. The amount of detail is unreal as the video below shows.

3D Tickets May Increase Next Summer
Sony Pictures has announced it intends to quick subsidizing the cost of the Real 3D glasses used to watch all non-IMAX 3D movies. The glasses cost $.50 cents each and until now you probably thought the cost was built into the cost of the 3D ticket but turns out it isn't. Chances are this will be used as the excuse to increase ticket prices by 50 cents to a dollar across the board next summer.

Republicans Push for Another $1 Trillion in Tax Cuts
Sure the rich have enjoyed over 10 years of tax cuts with the benefit to the economy being a net decline in growth. Most believe a solution should be something that encourages the creation of jobs since the previous ten years of tax cuts didn't work. The Republican solution? Even more tax cuts of course to the tune of a trillion dollars. If it didn't work once, twice, or even five times, why not give it another go? How will this be paid for? The GOP didn't say but guessing they don't care but will try to use it as a reason to end Medicare.

Super Mario Ceremony 30th Anniversary MedleyHit the link (or video below) to view a medley of Mario Music over the years. A nice way to take a walk down memory lane.

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