Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘smartphone’ Category

iPhone Shmyphone

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Apparently I missed the whole iPhone 10-year anniversary celebration thing yesterday.

Judging from my RSS feeds, though, there was a lot of fond remembrances of how much the iPhone changed the world, even if the original 2G phone connections were lethally slow.
In 2007, I was still a diehard BlackBerry user — my Bold took me around the world and back again, and it did email really, really well (and worked in just about every country I flew to).

But eventually I pried my cold, live hands from the BlackBerry keyboard and migrated to the iPhone. I’d already been a Mac user since…well, I won’t say when…and it only seemed logical.

I’m not one of those who holds the iPhone up on the altar of technology worship. Nor do I denigrate the iPhone because it’s presence has led to no end of human folly and absurdities due to its use or misuse. And don’t ask me to name any of them, because I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

No, for me, the iPhone is a tool, plain and simple. A wonderous one, one that allows me to stay in touch with people all over the globe at the touch of a button.

One that allows me to watch human calamity in real-time from afar.

One that allows me, for good and bad, to respond to work email from anywhere I have a data connection (which is almost everywhere, but not completely).

One that allows me to learn new things, entertain myself, buy stuff, take pictures and videos….we all know what it does for us, personally.

What it does for culture and society and the broader world? Well, I can make a strong argument that it brings us all closer together, but others would argue it does just the opposite, that it takes us further apart.

As with anything, and as with any technology, it’s really all relative and depends on your point of view.

As I look back on the first ten years of the iPhone, I force myself to remember that these devices are called “smartphones.”

Whether or not the iPhone (and subsequent smartphones) have made us any smarter is probably still up for debate.

Whether or not I would pretty much be lost without my own is not.

Are you paying attention to me? Are you still reading this?!

Look at me and stop looking at that damned phone!

: )

Written by turbotodd

June 30, 2017 at 9:06 am

PC On Your Person

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The jokes about the new Samsung Galaxy S8 were all but inevitable.

I confess, I played as well, saying to one of my colleagues yesterday via IM, “Does it come with an asbestos burn bag??”

And that’s all the beating up I’ll do on poor Samsung — they’ve had one tough year and are trying to rise from the ashes.

The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler covered the basic speeds and feeds, its new Bixby virtual assistant, and other regular fare in his latest column.

But he also highlighted the looming possibility of the smartphone as desktop replacement:

The S8 has one other unexpected software talent: With an adapter, the S8 can transform into a computer, capable of driving a monitor, mouse and keyboard. It’s actually a Samsung-modified version of Android called DeX, which creates a desktop-like experience including resizable windows.
– via WSJ

That’s almost enough to stop your nightmares of phone batteries exploding in your pockets or while playing Angry Birds on airplanes!

Imagine, a computer in your pocket that you could take to work, plug it in, and not need to carry around a boat anchor (even today’s admittedly lighter laptop boat anchors).

As Fowler points out, at your desk, you’d obviously need a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, but other than that, you’d be good to go and you could always have your “computer” be on your person without much hassle.

Engadget put the S8 through some desktop paces during its own demo time and had this to say.

In summary, they wrote “The road to the perfect phone-desktop hybrid is littered with the carcasses of ambitious failures…” but that they were “…particularly impressed with the way Samsung has customized Android for bigger screens.”

Et tu, iPhone?

Written by turbotodd

March 30, 2017 at 9:15 am

President-elect Trump’s New “Secure, Encrypted” Device

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Well, we’re only a couple of hours away from President-elect Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States of America.

Like President Obama before him, Mr. Trump is alleged to be “trading in” the Android phone (one that has helped make his Tweets so famous) for a Secret Service-approved smartphone.

President Obama, of course, was forced to give up his beloved Blackberry upon ascending to the presidency. Anybody remember Blackberry??

No real details seem to have emerged about President-elect Trump’s new device. It is, of course, Secret-Service issued, so the details remain secret. That’s the way that whole thing works.

I just sure hope somebody load the Twitter app before handing it over to the new president. Otherwise, we could see our first scandal of the new administration, and our first “You’re fired!”

 

Written by turbotodd

January 20, 2017 at 9:09 am

A Manual Start To The New Year

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Once again, I don’t think I’m going to make any New Year’s resolutions.

I find bargaining with myself like that to be somewhat whimsical, if not purposeless.

That’s not to say I’m not optimistic about the future. I just find that being practical…being realistic, if you would…has served me better over the longitude of time.

Another thing that has served me well is the very act I’m currently engaged in: Writing.

This blog is now well into its 8th consecutive year, and trust me, if I didn’t like to write, it wouldn’t have lasted this long.

So rather than come up with a list of grand technological projections and prognostications, this year, I’ve decided to go a little more Luddite on you.

Fear not, that doesn’t mean I’m abandoning all social media and going out to live in a cabin in the woods with nothing but a copy of Thoreau’s Walden, or, Life in the Woods and some granola bars.

God, live without Facebook or Twitter for a year, are you *&^@#$# kidding me?! How in the world would I know what was going on in the world, or whose friend’s cat just took its first bath?!

No, I’d never do anything that extreme.

But I did do this: I ordered a new ribbon for my old Royal manual typewriter.

For you kids in the audience who have never seen a typewriter, it’s a small portable machine we used to use to put down our thoughts.

It’s a contraption that…I know, get this…requires NO batteries or electricity (unless you bought an electric typewriter, in which case you were bound to the grid).

Now, again, I want to be straight with you: The typewriter didn’t have a “Like” button, so for many of you, I know, that’s a dealbreaker.

In fact, it had no share function whatsoever, other than taking the piece of paper you were writing on and mailing it to another person. So yes, it was essentially useless for any kind of crowdsourcing.

But, what it WAS good for was sitting down, thinking through an idea, focusing, and actually starting to tell a story or pull together a thesis with no interruptions (instant messages, Facebook messages, direct Tweets, SMS messages, smoke signals…) other than those created by your own imagination

I know, it’s a hard notion to comprehend, focusing, especially when you’ve never had to focus.

And the idea of doing one thing at a time…well, yes, it’s almost heretical in our multitasking times.

But that is one of the things I wish for in 2013.

Because I’ve seen what happens when people become possessed by the multitasking smartphone demons. They remind me of Linda Blair’s head turning round and round in “The Exorcist.”

It’s not pretty to watch, and yet there’s no priest you can call for smartphone demons. You just have to watch the poor person suffer until their multitasking becomes so overwhelming they just have to let their iPhone run out of juice.

Yes, that’s what I wish for in 2013: For people to have the opportunity to focus.

Instead of trying to do everything, and doing it mediocre, I wish to see more people do just a few things, or even just one thing, really, really well.

Come to think of it, at minimum, I’d like to see more people doing just one thing at a time (especially while they’re on the freeway).

Multitasking is highly overrated. There are very few humans who can do it and do it well, and the odds are pretty high you’re not one of them. And studies suggest that people who smoke marijuana do better at cognitive functions than people who multitask.

Put that in your iPhone and smoke it!

So my recommendation: Consider revitalizing American productivity by using a manual typewriter.

No, you won’t be able to directly enter that blog post into WordPress (although perhaps that’s a new widget Matt Mullenweig and his team can consider for future versions), but writing that first draft without electricity and with minimal interruptions will be good for the environment and your psychological wellness.

The other thing you might consider is to keep a journal. When I was traveling across America in 1987 in my Volkswagen bus, I used a manual typewriter AND kept a journal, and that period is one of the few times in my life I can actually go back and account for because there’s an actual record.

If you use a Mac, DayOne is a great journaling app that makes it very easy to journal and allows you to even synch up your entries into the cloud (if that gives you even a small sense of permanence).

It’s January 1st, and I promise I’m going to get started on all this just as soon as that new replacement ink typewriter ribbon I had to order off the Internet arrives via the mail.

Those things are harder to find than an iPhone 4 case these days!

Written by turbotodd

January 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm

iPhone 5 Highway Robbery

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So I followed some of the liveblogging for the Apple announcements earlier today, with the Apple iPhone 5 being the headline announcement.

I hope to later go back and watch the video webcast, as much interested in the theater of it as the details.

Overall, I walked away with the impression that it was a relatively impressive update from the iPhone 4, but I wasn’t convinced it was enough to compel people to upgrade.

I mentioned in a post a while back I’ve gone native, now using a “dumb phone” (an LG), because I had left AT&T, toyed with an Android on Virgin Mobile, before deciding on the LG dumb phone primarily for phone usage.

I still have my iPhone 4, which I use sometime for checking email and calendar, and reading or watching a movie on plane rides, but because I’m not as mobile as I used to be (not traveling as much), I didn’t feel compelled to need a smartphone.

Back to the 5. I didn’t see a compelling reason to upgrade with the new features — the bigger 4″ screen, the thinner form factor, LTE support, the new camera (including the admittedly cool panorama mode).

But just for grins, I clicked on the Apple application that let me checked what it would cost to go ahead and upgrade ahead of my current pre-rebate date (the date for which I could upgrade with the device actually being subsidized by Verizon).

Here’s what I found in the graphic you see here…hold on for the sticker shock:

I couldn’t get into a 5 for less than $649 until December 9, 2013…by that time, I suspect there will be an iPhone 6.

Even jumping back to the 4 would cost me $375!!!

And therein lies my distaste with the current mobile phone economics in these United States.

Hey, if I was traveling all the time and depending on those services the iPhone could offer remotely, I would consider it.

But recognizing I have other devices (the iPhone 4 using wi-fi, an Android tablet AND an iPad), no way, no how.

I suspect many Apple fan boys and girls will pay the pre-rebate price, and more power to them.

But my money would be better invested in a new mini iPad (apparently coming in October) or even the new iPod Touches also announced today.

But if you get an iPhone 5, be sure to give me a demo the next time you see me.

Written by turbotodd

September 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Waiting For The New iPhone 5?

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So tomorrow’s the day.

We find out what the Apple iPhone 5 is all about.

Before we discover what the details behind the new Apple smartphone are, I thought it might be interesting to provide a quick glimpse at the state of the mobile marketplace here in the U.S.

I unearthed a blog post from TechCrunch from September 4th, citing the “latest data” from comScore that suggests Apple’s smartphone market share has grown to just over 33 percent, up 2 percent since April of this year.

That study surveyed over 30,000 U.S. mobile phone subscribers, which revealed that Google’s Android continues to keep the pace, holding 52 percent share, a 1.4 percent increase since April.

RIM, the maker of the BlackBerry, decline some 2.1 percent, down from 11.6 percent to 9.5 percent.

Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform also saw a 0.4 percent decline in the same data, dropping from 4.0 percent to 3.6 percent.

And Symbian brings up the rear, down 0.5 percent, from 1.3 percent to 0.8 percent.

Despite the recent patent verdict, device maker Samsung is holding steady for smartphone device share at 25.6 percent in the latest period while Apple stood at 16.3 percent.

So what does Apple’s introduction of the iPhone 5 portend for the device market?

AppleInsider’s Neil Hughes wrote earlier today that the new iPhone will have “major implications throughout the personal electronics markets,” suggesting that existing LTE smartphones will come to be seen as “bulky and subpar” while stealing share not only from other smartphone makers, but also from PC makers like Dell and HP.

Hughes also cites J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskovitz in suggesting that the iPhone 5 “will offer better battery performance in a smaller form factor.”

In finding its way to new customers, Apple is also moving away from existing GPS service providers, and will instead transition to the new Maps application for iOS 6.

But will extended battery life and an Apple-owned GPS service be enough to lure loyal iPhone users to the new device, never mind Android loyalists happy with their current devices?

The answer to that question probably lies more in the emergence of new cloud and application offerings than the device characteristics themselves.

More interesting to me this past week, for example, was the report from The Wall Street Journal that Apple was looking to build its own streaming radio service, a move that seems to have helped drive Pandora’s share price down from a recent $12 high to just under $10.

Or consider the expectation Apple will introduce further synchronization between its iCloud offerings into the iOS mobile sphere, apps like Reminders, Notes, Mail, Calendar, and a new “Lost Mode,” which helps itinerant iPhone users find their lost phones.

I know I’ve found that Web-based services like Evernote and Remember the Milk, which synch across multiple devices and/or computers, provide much more utility than those dependent upon a single platform or device.

Whatever the details of the iPhone 5, the world will be watching closely, but my recommendation as one who’s used smartphones across the range of top competitors, including Apple, Android, and RIM, is to look beyond the device and underneath that larger intersection of IP-based services which transcend platform and help unearth the riches of true and unbound universal computing.

Scanning For Deals

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A sample IBM self-checkout system. In partnership with Honeywell, a new smartphone application will let shoppers scan items as they move through the store, then check out themselves using a similar IBM self-checkout system.

One of my first jobs in school was bagging groceries at a local grocery store.  The irony was, it was one of those grocery stories where you were supposed to sack your own groceries, and, presumably, save some money doing so.

But the store was so popular when it first opened that it had its store assistants sack groceries to help move the lines along.

Those were the days when they didn’t have the fancy scanners — everything was still checked by hand.

So when I saw this announcement this morning IBM made that allows consumers to scan items as they move through the store, all I could think about was the Jetsons.

This new retail technology not only allows consumers to scan items with their mobile phones as they move about the store, it then lets them check themselves out at an IBM self-checkout station (yes, those exist today, but not with technology that allows consumers to scan the items as they’re shopping!)

Designed to help retailers provide a more customized in-store shopping experience for smart phone shoppers, the IBM Mobile Shopper application incorporates Honeywell mobile scanning technology capable of scanning virtually any bar code, no matter what background it is printed on, the direction it faces, or the packaging covering it.

The solution currently runs on the Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems.

According to a recent IBM Institute of Business Value study, self checkout is the preferred way to shop for most consumers today, and they are very specific about the way they want to use mobile technology while shopping.

More than 50 percent say they want to use a mobile device to scan while shopping, and to do final checkout at a self-checkout station.  More than 40 percent want to scan samples and retrieve shopping items for pickup, or have the items delivered directly to their homes.

“Retailers can now deliver a more personalized shopping experience that is less of a chore and more of a convenience for consumers,” says John Gaydac, vice president, IBM Retail Store Solutions.  “By enabling consumers to scan and check-out a wide variety of products at their own pace, retailers can not only create a more customized shopping environment, but also increase in-store traffic.”

The new mobile phone application is powered by IBM ACE Store Integrator software and the newest release of IBM Self-Checkout software, which provides shoppers the same access to digital coupons, loyalty programs and special promotions at self-checkout stations that is traditionally available at fully-staffed point-of-sale checkout lanes.

The IBM Mobile Shopper, or “digital shopping assistant,” incorporates Honeywell’s high-performance SwiftDecoder Mobile bar code decoding software, one of many patented technologies that have helped secure the company’s  leadership in camera-based bar code decoding.  Among them is the practice of decoding bar code-related information from a real-time video image, such as the display of a smart phone or other mobile device (U.S. patent 6,015,088).

The IBM Mobile Shopper solution with Honeywell mobile scanning is available immediately.

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