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Best TV Apps for iPhone / iPad

One of the neatest things to do with an iPhone (or any smart phone) is to watch TV streams “live” on your phone.

Now saying it is “TV” is technically a misnomer–you aren’t technically receiving over the air TV frequencies with your phone and displaying them. Instead these are streaming video feeds from a variety of sources around the net that have been nicely packaged and laid out for display on your iPhone.

The apps can be sorted into a number of different types, traditional vs. Internet broadcasters, and collators vs. individual stations. It’s also worth noting that the Chinese presence in IPTV dwarfs, by a large amount, the efforts of other countries. Chinese Internet TV activity is rather amazing in that there is simply so much available. US broadcasters have not quite caught up, but recent developments by the Cable companies are a sign that might soon change.

So let’s go through a list with a few reviews:

Individual Stations

Al Jazeera English Live – Livestation — (Traditional Broadcaster) — AJE is an international news service that has really made a name for itself during the Arab revolutions of 2011. While it is still criticized by some in the West for ‘biased’ reporting on issues such as the US invasion of Iraq and the Arab-Israeli peace process, AJE has established itself internationally as a major player in the international news community. AJE is now viewable on cable TV in most parts of the US (due to the aforementioned controversy) but their iPhone app is a must have for any news afficiando. AJE has really gone to great lengths to get their voice out on non-traditional communication’s channels such as mobile phones, the Internet, and streaming media players like the Roku

FRANCE 24 – France 24 (Traditional Broadcaster) — France 24 is France’s answer to CNN and the BBC World Service. Broadcasting from Paris in English and French, France 24 offers a European take on the international news and is definitely worth adding to your iPhone collection.

DW–(Traditional Broadcaster)–Deutsche Welle is the German international broadcaster offering a mix of English and German programming throughout the day (often the same exact show just in different languages). Streams and podcasts of their programs are available through this app.

CCTV (CNTV) — (Traditional Broadcaster) — CCTV is the Chinese state broadcaster offering a wide variety of programming from sports to those long episodic soap operas. They have an English-language service but this app gives you access to a wide variety of the official government programs from China.

NHK WORLD TV Live – NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) (Traditional Broadcaster)–Made far more relevant by the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, NHK World’s iPhone app gives you English-language programming from Japan. Sometimes you get an HD quality stream too.

SKY TG24 — (Traditional Broadcaster) — This is a Turkish broadcaster broadcasting in Turkish news and other programming from Turkey. I haven’t watched it very much but the production quality looks rather professional.

AJE Sports — (Traditional Broadcaster) — Al Jazeera has a full time sports programming which includes quite a few soccer matches from middle eastern nations. Occasionally they’ll have some other sports programming but generally you’ll see football most of the time.

BFM–(Traditional Broadcaster – French). This is a 24-hour news channel based in France with a worldwide satellite audience. The coverage tends to be about French news and France or EU-related

Collators

TVU Player iPad
icon (Lite and Full) This is one of my most important apps as it gives me access to literally 100s of traditional broadcasters from around the world. You won’t find BBC or CNN in there [ usually ūüėČ ] but there is plenty on this app to keep you occupied. If you are a sports fan, particularly a soccer fan, than this app is a must have. They carry a number of matches from around the world on this app and you’ll have plenty of content to keep you busy. They also have some movie channels airing some copyright expired movies.

PPTV is another good app, eventhough most of the instructions are in Chinese. Originally I thought there were some live channels but on further inspection it appears most of it is ‘on demand’ movies, some of which you kind of wonder ‘do they really have the re-broadcast rights for this’? American and European movies along with tons of Chinese films are found throughout this app.

ELTA TV This is a Taiwanese app that has a number of pre-recorded programs, but occasionally has some sporting highlights from the NBA or MLB.

W.TV iPad
icon–This one is wild. It has all sorts of content, of questionable copyright, filling it’s directory of live and on demand movie programs. It’s in Chinese, but not all the movies are Chinese–some are still in the theaters in the USA.

Livestation (Web) This is one of my favorite websites for watching television. I strongly recommend their mobile site, m.livestation.com as a bookmark on your homescreen as they offer a number of channels in iPhone and iPad compatible streams. Euronews is on this channel, something I watch frequently to get the EU perspective on things.

Internet Only

TWiT – ShiftKeySoftware–This week in Tech is a great app with great tech-related content. It’s also a massive warning shot to any traditional broadcaster. Leo Laporte and his crew have patched together ‘a tv station’ with not much more than a lot of bandwidth and a number of TV cameras. They broadcast daily, live and then stream repeats throughout the night. I would love to emulate this model with other content–just have to buy some nice bandwidth and get started. Maybe next week.

Oh man this list is going to be long. I think I’m going to have to take a break before it gets out of control‚Ķ

Here are a few others worth investigating on your own:

YUPPTV–Indian programming

RAYV TV–Random TV channels

MOSS–Random TV channels (a few good ones too)

I.TV–Links to some streams

SPB.TV–Some German or French channel.

netTV Lite–Random TV channels, paid version has more interesting bits.

MobiTV–Works in the US. Subscription model.

GrandLille TV–French Channel.

Xfinity TV–Comcast app. Works in the USA

We Stream–Random TV channels

Zappo TV–Random TV channels

MTS TV–Random TV channels

SMC TV–Chinese channels

Infinity TV–Random TV channels

On Air Live–Random stuff

Tai Seng–TONS of Hong Kong dramas and movies on demand.

UStream–Random TV and user channels

JustinTV–Random TV and user channels

Testing the Photo Dropper plugin–Creative Commons photos for blogs

One of the harder things to do with a blog, legally speaking, is to find images to use without violating some form of copyright. Searching the web for pics is easy, but finding ones you can use legally without paying a royalty is rather tough.

But now I’ve found a neat plugin called Photo Dropper. It searches the creative commons collection at Flickr. Adding photos is done from the blog update screen, like this:
Lights
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sjors Provoost

And like that I get a photo inserted with the proper attribution tags and whatnot.

This will be fun to use.

Skinning my iPad 2

While the iPad 2’s new cover is really quite a sexy thing, magnets and all, it does leave you feeling a bit naked on the back of your iPad as it offers no protection to the metal back. To rectify this, I’ve just ordered a new ‘skin’ for my iPad 2 back from the Canadian company called Gelaskins. Gelaskins is a company making covers for iPhones, Androids, laptops, just about any electronic device.

The only problem was what to put on the Gelaskin. I’ve already got the kids pictures as the wallpaper, and honestly I’m not really comfortable blasting their photo out to every person who happens to see the back of my iPad while I’m carrying it on the subway. So I started to look for some cool pictures from around the net.

First choice, and one I almost went with, was a photo of the Space Shuttle and an F-15 on combat air patrol. This one was pretty interesting because the exhaust plume of the Space Shuttle shot directly into the camera lens on the back of the iPad.

Then I thought to look at some other NASA stuff from my youth. I found a neat photo of a Saturn V being moved out to the launch pad from the VAB. It fit the iPad pretty well and offered quite a few colors.

But in the end I decided to go old school. This NASA photo graced my father’s office for many years and the stark black / white colors would just sort of fit with the grey and black iPad. In the end I picked this one which is wining it’s way over from the Great White North to Hong Kong sometime this week.

Hacking to help Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims

UPDATE: Wed. March 23. 8:00 PM. We’ll be meeting to put together the remaining kits at Boot.hk offices.

Last night members of the Hong Kong Hackerspace, aka Hong Kong Hackjam, got together at the Boot.HK offices to undertake a quick project to help victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. With electricity out in many parts of Japan, the call went out from the Tokyo Hackerspace community asking for help in providing lighting, networking and other electronic supplies for victims of the disaster.

Here in Hong Kong we settled on the quick and easy (somewhat) task of building “Minty Boosts“. These are battery powered USB chargers that can be used with any AA battery to charge a mobile phone or other electronic device. The entire hardware is soldered together and throw into a candy or mint box, thus the name “Minty Boost”.

Over a dozen hackers and technology enthusiasts gathered last night to throw together some relief supplies that will be sent to Tokyo in the next day or two. Only a couple of the devices (mine included) ended up FUBAR, as is to be expected as some of us were not that experienced with a soldering iron. But many others were thrown together by are more hack-savvy members and were charging phones by the end of the night with great success.

Here are some pics of the effort. If you want to donate other supplies or time, check out the requests from the Tokyo Hackerspace.

 

 

My iPad 2 arrives in Hong Kong

The new iPad 2 arrived today in Hong Kong. Well mine at least…

Someone's little hands are already trying to take my new toy.

My mom bought it in her hometown in South Carolina. She went to a Best Buy about three hours after it went on sale. I pressed her and pressed her to go earlier but she replied “the people in this podunk town are too poor to buy anything”. Guess what? she was right. She walked into the store, back to the iPad section, and was second in line behind a guy who walked in just before her. The clerks told her earlier they had a long line, but she timed it just right to get there when no one was around.

Fast forward a week and a few and it has arrived in Hong Kong. The post office made me go fetch and now I’m back starting the rather time consuming task of moving over all my stuff to the new device.

First quandary was how to set it up–either as a “new iPad” or “restore from the backup of the old one”. I wasn’t quite sure so I went with the restore option, though in retrospect (i.e. the 20 minutes it took to do the restore) I discovered I could probably do it either way, syncing the apps and whatnot later on.

First impressions is that it’s quite a bit thinner than the older one. The ‘scuba suit’ cover that was on the older version folds back and makes the entire iPad 1 look quite a bit ‘fatter’ than it really is. I’m still impressed when I see one of the originals without a cover (which is rare) as it looks so much smaller than mine which is wrapped in the Apple black latex.

I got the ‘smart’ cover (black leather) that I’ll be setting up as soon as the sync is done (god it takes awhile). The new screen, sans fingerprint smudges and cracker crumbs and whatever else a year of use has puts on it, looks gorgeous. Of course it is basically the same as the old one, but it’s clean.

I’m not going to sell the old one. While that’s normally my standard procedure as I’ve sold every iPhone I’ve ever owned right after buying a new one, this iPad had the secondary market take a hit with Apple’s price reduction, and we actually have a need for it in the house. The wife can’t use my computer usually as this room is too tiny, but she needs access to her email and celebrity gossip sites so iPad 1 becomes “hers” along with one of the boys, and iPad 2 is mine with the other kid.

So, let’s see…time to start the sync…and…

Apps transferring…(giving kids a bath)
Now to the music…(made a sandwich)
Now the pictures…(browsing the Internet)

and a bunch of other stuff for about an hour and a half now….

We’re done.

Some hints for your first install:

Do a backup of your existing iPad before you start this process.
Nuke any podcasts / videos / songs you don’t want to sync (saves time)
I sync’d 2000 photos faster than 1,100 songs, fwiw
Consider doing your first sync overnight when you don’t have to sit and watch the slow process.

Ok, now to play with it. The magnetic screen cover works as advertised. Open it and it comes on, close it and close it and it shuts down. I’ve already noticed that I’m still hitting the power button to turn things off rather than just close the screen. Old habits will take a bit to slow down.

The home screen now has two new icons. One is Photobooth, which you can use if you are feeling like self portraits with the rather grainy camera. The other is Facetime, which I’ve yet to check out.

I showed the wife and let her hold both of them. “The new one is heavier” she wrongly observed (iPad 2 is .2lbs lighter). It definitely is thinner. You can feel that holding it. It also feels ‘faster’. Some apps like Flipboard were really loading quite quickly, and I look forward to playing Infinity Blade later today.

But now for the most important test: how much gloating can I do with this? I’ll be heading over to a few of my haunts today to be “that guy” who has the newest toy. Feel free to call me a jerk later if you see me.

Collection of Japanese tsunami videos and live news coverage

The massive earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan has unleashed a torrent of coverage on the net.

THIS WILL BE UPDATED THROUGHOUT THE DAY–

TBS News has a MASSIVE collection of videos online


Warning maps of the Tsunami throughout the Pacific

Live Coverage

NHK World Service has an NHK iPhone app. You can watch coverage there.

BBC News is now streaming live video.

MSNBC (USA) live coverage.

Japan’s Meteorological Organization(?) is on Ustream now.


Video chat rooms at Ustream


Free live streaming by Ustream

Recorded Videos

Youtube has a “channel” for breaking news called Citizen Tube:

http://www.youtube.com/citizentube

iPad v. Kindle v. Nook

I sent out an email the other day about the very important piece that ran in Engadget following the iPad 2 launch. This article really recognized the seminal shift that is underway in technology as it relates to tablets, and correctly identified that the new arguments for which machine to buy or not buy will be based not so much on silly specifications but on overall user experience.

I sent this to some friends and one replied asking about whether to buy an iPad or a Kindle for their kid. Because I was up in the middle of the night I actually took some time to write a pretty detailed response.

Hi,

I was thinking of a line from the movie Contact earlier today for some reason, and now that I see your email I guess I must be psychic.

In the film, Jodie Foster is basically an astronaut put into a space ship to travel through time and space and hang with some aliens. She’s handed a cyanide pill and her boss states:

“There are a thousand reasons we can think of why you should have this thing with you, but mostly it’s for the reasons we can’t think of”

The same is true of the iPad. No it won’t cause you to kill yourself, but the usage of the iPad is something that is being governed by the things you cannot think of just yet, not the ones you already understand.

Buying an e-reader would be great for your son. It’s an awesome problem to have that he is consuming too many books, and the e-reader would certainly save some money in the long run and on trips to the library.

But everything an e-reader can do an iPad can do better. You can read the ‘epub’ digital books that you download from the store, but you can also read PDF files “like a book” or a magazine, swiping from page to page as you go. And that is just the beginning.

We bought “Green Eggs and Ham” for the iPad. I hemmed and hawed for awhile saying “why buy a $5 book online when I can get it cheaper somewhere else in paper”. But then I did it and wow was I wrong. Seeing the book on the iPad was a world of difference than just “reading” a book. First the ‘app’ will read to you. It has a voice over that goes through the book and reads the story to the kids. They can then use their finger and touch each and every word and the narrator pronounces it for them: “Ham!” “Green Eggs” “Sam I am”. Or the kids can click on the pictures items in the book and the narrator announces them: “Car, Train, Boat” whenever they click.

And the apps go into an amazing world from there. Our youngest has an app that shows him each letter with “–” dashes so he can run his finger along them and draw the letters himself. He has another app that is basically a coloring book, letting him free draw ‘outside the lines’ with digital crayons or dump into pre-laid out shapes bulk colors. Youtube movies are also a favorite, allowing their insatiable hunger for Japanese Bullet Trains to be fed daily (seriously–you can show the oldest a photo of any Japanese bullet train and he spews out the name and model number–“Nozomi 500!” “Shinkasen E5!”). We have never purchased a children’s DVD or video in our life, and probably never will. There simply is no need. He also is playing with a visual periodic table of elements, though generally he just likes the large letters. “H! C! Au!” There are also math apps that drill the kids in numbers, and astronomy programs to learn the stars. It is making huge inroads amongst educators who are reporting that the iPad is really getting to a number of kids in ways books never could.

http://www.apple.com/education/ipad/ (Watch the Video here)
http://theikidsblog.com/blog/2010/06/14/top-10-educational-ipad-apps-for-kids/
http://sonoma.patch.com/articles/teaching-technology-the-ipads-best-educational-apps

Unfortunately, as you pointed out, you are talking a $139 vs. $399 price difference between Kindle and an iPad (they dropped the price on the existing iPad last week to $399). Basically you are talking two Kindles for the price of one iPad.

I think one thing you should factor is your wife’s technology usage patterns. Mine simply no longer has time for a computer, nor do we even have space for her to have a computer in this tiny place. My iPad has become her computer for email, occasional web browsing, etc. She takes it to bed with the kids some nights and catches up on her digital life while lying in bed, etc. I’ve more than paid for the iPad with magazines. Here in Hong Kong a single issue of Wired costs $10 US imported. I buy or obtain copies of digital magazines for a fraction of the paper cost. I have literally saved hundreds of dollars on magazine purchases alone over the last 12 months.

So for now you might want to save the money and consider the Kindle, especially since 3/4 of the child users in the house you have now might not be as ‘delicate’ in protecting something they probably regard as little more than a remote control (and I’m sure you have stories of how the remote flies around the house). But I also think that in the next five years, you’ll be buying a tablet for your kids that is far more capable. There will likely be no pure e-readers left on the market in the next few years.

Anyway, long answer to a short question.

New Macbook Pro vs. Macbook Air

The new MacBook Pro

Apple introduced the new line of MacBook Pro (MBP) laptops last night and like a lot of folks, I’m now stuck in a big debate. Do I buy the most recently updated MBP or do I go with the far sexier, cheaper, and less powerful MacBook Air (MBA)?

So I started to make a list. ¬†Note this is based on my usage patterns, my needs which may vary greatly from yours, so a few of these things you’ll be saying “ok, but that’s not important to me”. ¬†Fair enough.

There are a few “free throw” decisions you can make that will ease the discussion. If you want an 11 inch machine, the smallest they make, then you have no choice but the MBA. Conversely, if you want the 17 inch screen, your only choice is the MBP. So that leaves us with two flavors of the MBA ’13 and a MBP ’13 & ’15 inch. Again, if screen size is important, you can make a decision right now and pick the 15′ inch MBP.

So let’s compare 13 inch MBA and MBP

First things first: what is this computer for? For me, this is something in between my iMac on the desktop (where I do my heavy lifting of video editing, photo processing, server-like testing, etc). The laptop I have, an old MacBook Pro, is basically when I go out and need to do something more complicated than what I can do on my iPad. If was just browsing the Internet, replying to emails, and checking the news and social networks, it’s the iPad. The laptop comes out when I’m writing memos or doing some coding, rarely playing with images or video (but sometimes).

MacBook Air

First, the processor. The MBP are using the Intel processor codenamed “Sandy Bridge” under the more common name Corei5 and Corei7. This compares to the MBA which are running Core 2 Duo processors, which are somewhat less powerful than what you’ll get in the MBP. Of course it depends on what you are doing, but really I have to say the MBP is quite a bit more powerful. The top of the line MBA is 2.13GHZ and the the bottom of the line MBP is a 2.3GHZ Core i5.

Advantage: MBP

Second the memory. The problem with the MBA is that the memory is basically soldered to the motherboard. Unlike other computers, adding new memory is not a do-it-yourself project, and has to be ordered from Apple directly when you buy the machine so they can make it special. The base configuration of the MBA is 2gb RAM which is rather minimal, whereas the base install for the MBP is 4gb. The MBP can handle 8gb as an option but the MBA maxes out at 4gb

Advantage: MBP

Display resolution. Surprisingly this is an area where the numbers look better on the MBA. The screen is 1440×900 whereas the base 13 inch MBP is 1280×800. You do get slightly more megabytes shared with the main memory of the MBP vs the MBA (384mb v. 256mb) and they do run different chips. The 15 inch MBP uses AMD Radeon Chips, breaking away from Nvidia which is what the MBA is using. ¬†The 15 inch MBP does have the same pixel numbers as the MBA however.

Advantage: Your call. How important is the screen resolution vs. the different graphics chips.

Storage: The MBA has a very sexy SSD instead of a bulky hard drive. The advantage of this is blazing fast speed, but limited storage. In fact the base model has only 128gb of storage available vs 320gb in the base MBP.

Advantage: Really a toss up based on usage. If you have an external drive (and who doesn’t now days) or you use the cloud, then storage really isn’t an issue and the added speed will be nice from the MBA. But having to lug around an external drive and a cable negates one of the beauties of the MBA, the small form factor and weight.

Battery: Both claim 7 hours of wireless web, but with the MBP having a DVD drive and a hard drive I will have to see it to believe it.

Other bits:
* Thunderbolt is what Apple and Intel are pushing as the new standard for massive data transfer from external drives, cameras, etc. Will it become the new standard in a few years? Maybe. But you won’t find it on the MBA just yet. Advantage MBP

* The MBP has an “HD” webcamera built in, so if doing talking head videos of yourself is important this is something to consider. For me it makes no real difference. Advantage: moot

* Ethernet. There is no ethernet on the MBA, you need an adapter which I find annoying as I live in a world of Cat5. But if you are wireless then it probably doesn’t make a big deal. Same goes for firewire. No port on the MBA but there is one on the MBP. If Firewire is important than advantage MBP.

Weight. Oh this is the big one. Really big. As much as I have advantaged nearly everything to the MBP this is one issue that might turn everything on its head.

The MBA weighs 2.3 pounds. The MBP is 4.5. Here are a few numbers to help realize that:

  • A gallon of milk weighs — about 8 pounds.
  • 500 pieces of paper (a ream)–about 5 pounds
  • A Canon digital SLR camera — about 2 pounds
  • An navel orange — .5 pounds

First, the device is never as light as advertised. You have the power cords and external drives, and it goes in a carrying bag that also adds some weight to it. My backpack that carries my laptop probably weighs a couple pounds in its own right. But the advantage of the MBA, and its slim form factor, is that this can be carried in basically a large envelope or a smaller bag. It’s not going to be a pain at the airport like a full sized laptop. Anyone who has done a long distance flight and slung a laptop over their shoulder knows that after an hour or so walking through airports you start to notice the ‘gallon of milk’ on your back.

Advantage: MBA.

Finally, Price. If I was buying a MBA, I would get the 13 inch, with extra memory and the larger SSD drive of 256gb. This means my final price would be $13,268 HK. For $11,388, I could get a 13 inch MBP with the same memory, a more powerful processor, and a large hard disk. Even if I doubled the RAM to 8gb I’d still be only $12,948.

Advantage:  MBP

So what am I going to buy? Honestly I’m not sure I’m going to buy either. I don’t “NEED” a laptop right now. I’m not traveling extensively, my old machine is still more than capable, and I fear that the next MBA update will address some of my concerns (better processor, Thunderbolt) and that the next MBP update will be a major revision to the form factor, shrinking the size down a bit and reducing the weight (maybe finally getting rid of the DVD drive I really have no use for).

Guess this means I’m on the fence for another year or so.

 

UPDATE SUMMER 2011

Well we have a new Macbook Air and it specs out pretty nicely. ¬†We’ll write a new review shortly, but the hints of a new Macbook Pro for Christmas (sans DVD player and thus a hell of a lot smaller) is going around the net. ¬†Still on the fence for now, but here is the new MBA from Amazon.

 

Steve Jobs & Barack Obama photo? Maybe.

So the White House has released one photo from the meeting between Barrack Obama and Silicon Valley tech leaders. It’s a picture of Mark Zuckerberg and President Obama, but the question everyone is asking is “Where is Steve Jobs and how is he feeling?”

Well he might actually be in this photo. Take a look over Obama’s shoulder. You can see about 4 inches of someones slightly balding head. Could this be Steve Jobs’ scalp? I’m sure the Apple rumor boards will soon be analyzing this for clues. Maybe the National Enquirer will hire a scalp reader to issue a claim based on his hair line.

Or maybe it is just some other balding tech guy. What do you think?

UPDATE. New photo released on Flickr. Thanks to slodge for the link.

Why Android v. Apple isn’t like Microsoft vs. Apple

I was up in Sham Shui Po today, looking to buy an Android tablet. ¬†The reason I didn’t buy one was kind of interesting.

Sham Shui Po is basically Shenzhen’s outlet in Hong Kong. ¬†The Golden Computer arcade is a collection of “China Generic” computers and parts, and you can pick up pretty much anything technically related from the iPad down to things like cables, iPhone cases, and other tiny computer parts (what we referred to as the “pocket lint of the tech industry”). ¬†In the street markets around there you have dead ducks hanging from a hook next to a hook full of HDMI cables. ¬†It’s pretty wild.
I’m not really in the market for another tablet, but if I saw one I liked I was ready to shell out to buy an Android tablet primarily for some projects I’m working on. ¬†But I’d have to see the right one before I’d buy as I wasn’t out to just get any Android tablet–I wanted the best I could buy (and one that I could eventually run Honeycomb on safely). ¬†So what did I see?

There were dozens, and not a single one was even remotely worth buying, let alone being an iPad killer. ¬†They were brands I had barely heard of, and, of course, the dozens of China generics still selling themselves based solely on the ‘specs’ of the hardware rather than the overall experience. ¬†In the end I just couldn’t justify buying one of these things that would likely become a coaster in the next few months when something better came along.

I keep hearing that Android will due to the iPad/iPhone (iOS) what Microsoft did to Apple.

Do you really think so?

People tend to forget that Microsoft did not succeed because there were dozens of computer makers pushing it. ¬†There were several competing OS standards back during that time all of which could have become “the standard” if they had the ace up their sleeve. ¬†IBM. ¬†Microsoft got their biggest boost because IBM was using it.

At the time, IBM was the be all, end all of computers. ¬†No one would go wrong buying an IBM system and when they introduced their PC it was by far the market leader in the enterprise purchases. Commodore and Compaq and HP and Dell and all the assorted others were but a mere sideshow to the big boy on the block that was giving Microsoft cachet into the tech industry. ¬†Within 3 years, IBM PCs were nearly 50% of the computer industry, and their use of the Microsoft OS went along for the ride. ¬†It wasn’t necessarily Windows that beat Apple, it was the IBM-compatible that beat Apple back then.

So who is Android’s IBM? ¬†What company out there today making Android tablets is the “big boy”–the flagship for the fleet of Android tablets that are going to be coming out? ¬†Is there any hardware company that could possibly get to 50% of the tablet market share? ¬†Nokia? (nope). ¬†Dell? ¬†Wait and see. ¬†HP? Samsung? ¬†Anyone? ¬†Bueller?

Who is the 800 lb gorilla in the room this time?  Apple, to be honest.

What would have happened in the early 1980s if IBM had launched the IBM PC with their own (licensable) operating system?  If IBM was selling machines with an OS that they were licensing to clone manufacturers, do you really think Microsoft would have stood a chance?  They would have just been some company that made a few BASIC games and then went poof.

Apple, of course, is not licensing out there iOS behind the tablet, and this may prove problematic one day, but Android is not being used by any company that is a “MUST HAVE” in the technology industry either. ¬†There is no IBM tablet on the horizon, and the best of the best of the best that you see today (Samsungs, HP) are being dwarfed, by an order of magnitude, by sales of new iPads and holdouts waiting for iPad2.

So next time you hear tale of Apple’s demise due to the power of Android don’t necessarily think history is about to repeat itself again.

This is not your father’s Missile Command & Asteroids

Actually, it’s not my father’s either. In fact my dad didn’t play video games. The ‘old man’ in our family who plunked down dozens of quarters into Asteroids and Missile Command machines was me, so in a way when I say this isn’t your “father’s” missile command I guess I’m talking from the perspective of my kids. Whoa. Scary. There goes a saying I can’t use very well.

But anyway, there is a new “app” on the Apple desktop App store worth checking out. ¬†It’s called Pangea Arcade and includes Missile Command (not called that), Asteroids (not called that) and Centipedes (not called that either). ¬†Damn lawyers.

Anyway, it’s in the top ten and it is FREE on the app store, so worth checking it out if you want to play some old time desktop classics on your shiny new Mac.

Into the Apple Product time warp

iPhone with front facing camera pointed at an iPad running VNC, in case you are wondering how.
Ok, so I was sitting here surrounded by stuff and no Internet, which means basically I have to behave like it is 1992 and I can only use my computer for doing stuff locally.

So I started to make a list of all the Mac computers I’ve owned.

Apple IIc (Dad’s)
Mac512KE (1986)
Powerbook 140 (1993)
Powerbook 5300 (1997)
iMac (2000)
Power Mac G4 (2000)
Powerbook G3 (Pismo)
iMac (2004)
Mac Pro (2005)
Macbook Pro (2006)
Mac Mini (2007)
Mac Pro (2007)
Mac Mini (2008)
iPhone v. 1 (2007)
iPhone v. 2 (2008)
iPhone v. 3 (2009)
iPad (2010)
iMac (2010)
iPhone v.4 (2010)

Guess it is time to buy some more stuff.