31 October 2011

Nokia: The Amazing Everyday With Windows Phone

Nokia Logo             

The campaign of Nokia for Windows Phone is called “The Amazing Everyday” and it all starts with the Lumia Series. As simple the Ad looks at first, it think it is quite great for the the 25 as the mid target, with a total target audience spectrum that could very well go down to 15 and up to 35.

Nokia First Ad To Promote Their Windows Phone 7.5 Lumia Series Devices


Personally i like the Ad, and it very clear that it is a fusion of both usual Nokia Advertising Style with the up-to-now Advertising style for the WP7. A little detail that truly shows how in sync the Microsoft-Nokia partnership is..

But what is it even more interesting is the strategy from the first  Nokia Windows Phone offerings.

The first phase is all about the Nokia Lumia Series. Up to now, we have already seen 2 of them:

Nokia Lumia 710

Nokia 710

Nokia Lumia 800

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That unfortunately neither of the two devices will be seen anywhere in North America (CAN-USA-MEX) until 2012. But those in the following countries can expect to be able to buy one for  an equivalent of €250 for the Lumia 710 and €420 for the Lumia 800 before the 2011 ends:

U.K, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Hong Kong, India, Russia, Singapore & Taiwan

What Could Come Next For The Nokia Lumia Series?.

Well, thanks to some nice rumors (or first hand speculation?) coming directly to me from a friend who has a quite talkative cousin, who in turn happens to work at Nokia Mexico. I got some nice rumors to share and dish with all of you about that.  So, beyond this point consider yourself warned that everything is based on rumors ok?

How about a third Lumia to follow and be announced/shown in either CES2012 or in the MWC? Device that could or not be based on the very first Nokia Mockup pics and that will do come with a front-camera.

Could that be a Nokia Lumia 900 or a 800-something? No clue.

Apart from that, this guy said that Nokia was going to do a 4 or 5 wave roll-out for the Lumia Series and that it would take anywhere from 6 to 9 months for them roll-out in a minimum of 30 different countries. And that apart from the device specific Ads that there will be from Nokia, They would be producing a series of "The Amazing Everyday" ads for their overall campaign. The first one being the one you can watch in this very post.

And finally, That Nokia would be going with an aggressive pricing for the Lumia for the USA market. Part that apparently pissed him off as Mexico would not enjoy of any special treatment or price other than the one it already gets, even considering it is one of the Top 10 Countries for Nokia. Not that i am surprised by that part at all, if true, i also expect to be pissed about it. But even then, he said he expected that the Nokia Lumia 710 would/could be going for "FREE" with a 2 year contract or $3500 MXN ( $260 USD) without contract and the Lumia 800 for $2500 MXN ($190 USD) with a 2 year contract and $8000 MXN ($620 USD) without contract.

While we are still months away from knowing how accurate the rumors and info of this accidental source get to be. I must say that everything said makes perfect sense to me.

Reason why i decided to run with it here. Hope some of you also find all of this info as interesting as i found it. And yeah, that is all.

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25 October 2011

Vizio Tab 8: Android 2.3 Slate

Vizio logo


It is not amusing how the very best affordable Android Slates hardware-feature-price ratio wise are those that deviate the most from the usual Android OS or add a model specific OS Layer to it? Personally, i certainly think so.

You now got on this very particular category of Android Slate various good proponents:

1.-Lenovo A1  
2.-Kindle Fire
3.-Kobo Touch

With the still to come next version of the Nook Color to also join this category. All of them with prices ranging from $199 to $299 depending the configuration. Which is quite amazing i must say given how good these cheap slates are getting.

But the one that has not received enough attention is the Vizio Tab 8. Vizio's own modded Android 2.3 Slate.

Vizio Tab 8 - Vtab8

It originally was released for $329 i think. And now it is going for just $269 if you buy it at Amazon or if you buy it directly from Vizio site. And for that these are some of the specs you get:

• 8" high resolution 1024 x 768 touch screen
• VIZIO Internet Apps Plus™
• 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth®
• Front facing camera
• HDMI® video output - play video and music on your TV
• Multiple speakers for premium audio in portrait and landscape
• Built-in IR blaster with universal remote control app

1ghz CPU
• 512Mb RAM
• 4GB SSD( 2GB usable storage)
• Up to 32GB via MicroSD
• Micro USB

The key unique features in the Vizio Tab 8 being that it comes with a Built-in IR Blaster and Universal Remote Control app. Meaning that you can control ANY TV made in the last 5 years or more. Something that is actually a very great feature. That may not seem as much, but getting a touch-screen universal remote control for your Home usually cost anywhere from $50 to $99 USD. Without even mentioning that some boutique brand universal touch-screen remotes going for more than what this slate costs!

Other great features are that it does comes with both HDMI out and Micro-USB. And that mean that if you install some controller apps. You can even turn the Vizio Tab 8 into a cheap game console or media center if you want.

But that is not all. It also got full Android Market access and support for Hulu Plus and Netflix. With Hulu Plus offering a FREE 90 days trail for the rest of the year!.

Finally, if you like the iPad form factor. but wish it was smaller, this 8-incher got the very same form factor and frame style of the iPad.

How it is the new $269 USD price looking now uh?

And for all that, i think the vizio tab 8 only real competition is the Lenovo A1. Making these two the very best cheap Android Slates with good hardware quality that are not tied to walled garden like it is in the case of the
Kindle Fire or as it will probably be with the next gen Nook Color.

Never thought i would start warming up to the idea of Android Slates. But at these prices and for these kind of usage. I am really starting to dig it. And with the promise of how these will be able to get a life extension via Ice Cream Sandwich, I may end up buying either this one or the
Lenovo A1. And if you want a cheap slate you don't have to worry about your kids using and abusing or to gift to neophyte users. This one, plus a good rubber case and you are all set

Linkage

Vizio Tab 8 – vtab1008

Vizio  Tab 8 at Amazon

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Stephen Elop: Perspectives On Innovation And Living Through Disruption

 

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Adobe's CTO Kevin Lynch apparently likes to do videos and interviews. As he got a whole series of video interviews in YouTube. This latest series being about perspectives on innovation from important players in tech.

This time around he got Stephen Elop. Someone that had to be easy to get for him as they are friends and former Macromedians back from when Stephen Elop was the CEO before going to lead the Business Division at Microsoft.

Now as CEO of Nokia, he is front and center in the spotlight again as he leads the transformation of Nokia from being the biggest Symbian based company to being the biggest WP7 based company. While at the same time trying to make it so that Nokia keeps the crown as the biggest phone maker in the world.

And all of that is something that he got a good chance at. Even if he has to take a lot of flak while doing it so.

Stephen Elop already has had to deal with a lot of criticism for the Nokia deal with Microsoft. And for Nokia continuing failings in a totally unjustified way. As he didn't caused the failings of Nokia for the previous 3 whole years before he got to be CEO. And he didn't had Microsoft as his first option for a deal. He went to Google as the first option, but he found out that taking on Android was a losing game on the long term. As Nokia would not be able to differentiate and stop the money bleeding fast enough if he did, Neither he was able to get any kind of securities or comfort from his negotiation with Google to justify betting Nokia's future on Android.

In retrospective, it is quite obvious now that Google made a HUGE mistake in not giving Nokia the securities and comfort it needed to have Nokia as a partner. As Nokia patent treasure chest would had been the right one to try to license out to seriously minimize two of the three wars of the Android IP dilemma. As it is the same treasure chest that won out a billion against Apple and the one that no one has dared to sue, as Nokia got lots and lots of critical patents on mobile phones.

And also in retrospect it was the better choice for Elop to not choose Android as it would had meant Nokia having to possibly go into a second battle with Apple and possibly also with Microsoft over Android. While at the same time fracturing the partnership Nokia was already cultivating with Microsoft. A partnership Stephen Elop actually built out himself with Nokia at the time he was at the lead of Microsoft's Business Division, for the past 3 years before he went to be Nokia's CEO.

Now, coming back to the interview. It is a short one with a good pace that talks about adjusting to times of disruption and on what innovation means from a practical business sense. Well worth a watch. And it should serve as a good prologue for those that will be watching and reading on Nokia's World keynote and news in some hours from now.

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24 October 2011

Windows Command Bar Tweaker: Hide The Command Bar In Windows Explorer

Windows 7 Command Bar Tweaker

Windows 7 Command Bar Tweaker is a free portable (standalone exe) app you can use to Auto-Hide or Permanently Hide the Command Bar in Windows Explorer.  Either in Windows Vista or Windows 7.

Because I have read some just don’t like the Windows Explorer Command Bar that was introduced in Vista or wish that it would Auto-Hide or Auto-Show as you may want to see it, only when used/hovered by the cursor.

tmp945F

This little (75kb!) portable app can do either one of those things with the click of a button. And you can also restore to default behavior also with a single click. Now you only need to download it,  unrar it, save it somewhere (Like your documents or downloads folder so you don’t misplace it) and then use it. 4 steps that should not take you more than 1 minute after reading this post.

Linkage

Windows Command Bar Tweaker            <—Direct Download Link

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19 October 2011

YourBrowserMatters.org

Microsoft Logo

If someone went out to the street asking what is what  they think is the most important thing in a browser. The first two answers would be  Rendering Speed and Responsiveness, just not with those exact words. The third answer is a maybe and it could well be security.  Yet, security is so equally important as Rendering Speed and Responsiveness, that they should all be tied up as a number 1.

YourBrowserMatter.org site screenshot

YourBrowserMatters is a interactive site made by Microsoft to encourage users to upgrade their out of date browsers.  Microsoft estimates that as of September of 2011, there could be up to 340 million PC with a out of date browser. Something that put these PC’s at risk of getting infected. Or that because of that they may already be infected.

In the case of Windows 7 and yes, the much mistakenly maligned Windows Vista. The Operative Systems are secure enough by default if kept up to date, specially if they happen to be 64 bits. And if they got their UAC enabled and Microsoft Security Essentials installed, they are then very well secured. But all of that  could go to waste if they are using a out of date browser.  As the browser is the main point of entry for malware and spyware infections now. And it has been so for the last 7 years I would say.

YourBrowserMatter site comes with good and well explained information on Browser security and it also will score your browser, just by visiting the site, letting you know where it stands in terms of security. And yes, the point of view is from the Microsoft side of things.  And yes IE9 is indeed the browser with the best score in security. So yes, Microsoft is also using the site to cross-promote IE9. But it is also true that IE9 has been found the most secure by the last 3 browser security tests widely reported. With two of them not being Microsoft sponsored. Making it so, that regardless what it is said elsewhere, when it comes to Browsers in Windows. Internet Explorer 9 is the most secure browser. All thanks to how it integrates with the OS and because of its SmartScreen system.  Of course that  the degree of Security will vary from your OS being 32 or 64 bit based and you having your OS and plugins up to date. Something that is true with ANY browser.  In anyway, it is worth a visit.

And  the final message from the site should be that even if you use Chrome, Iron or Firefox as your main browser, be sure to have it up to date and have Internet Explorer up to date as well. Microsoft will obviously not articulate it that way, but that is what I am telling you the site is also about.

Linkage

YourBrowserMatters.org

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18 October 2011

On Novell vs Microsoft Round 6

Novell vs Microsoft

KSL.com on its Utah section got this report by Dennis Romboy on the trial for the sixth round of Novell vs Microsoft describing the current state for the trail, and the fact that Bill Gates is more than probably will have to appear in it.  Novell will be looking for a settlement that can go from 500 million to 2.5 billion USD. 

Well worth a read and watch. 

Bill Gates may be in Utah for Novell, Microsoft antitrust case

The fun thing about this trail is that it was only executed because the procedure for it was started. But it was so long ago that at this point many in Novell said they didn't even really care or that Novell as a whole cared. As they are now a division of Attachmate who acquired them almost a year ago.

Part of the gist of this round case is based on the assumption of Microsoft delaying Win 95 launch to stick it to Novell. assumption that is both wrong and right.

Wrong, because it was not their main intention. They just wanted for both Windows and Office to be released at the same time. And for the at the time biggest software ad campaign ever made to also be ready.

Right, because it was a happy byproduct for Microsoft of their dual-launch with big campaign plans.

Just that at that point Microsoft had to already know they were going to win against Novell long term anyway.

Don't really see how could Novell win this trail as there should be lots of way to prove that it was not Microsoft main intention to do that. But even if somehow Microsoft lost it. They still get 2 chances to appeal. one to throw away the unfavorable judgment. one to seriously reduce whatever the amount. But again, i think Novell chances of winning this trail are slim unless they got serious smoking gun evidence. And if they had, the trail would had been expedited and happened around 2 years ago. And evidence like that would already been whispered out by Ex-Microsoft employees from that time.

= The actual final verdict for this matter could still be a year away from now if Microsoft loses. Or some months away if Microsoft wins, as it is the most likely scenario.

While there are also other arguments to this case, they are as incredibly circumstantial as the delay argument.

It is still interesting how much time the trails for this multi-battle have taken and how old are the events they are based on. 15 years is a lifetime in tech. I mean, Novell don't even exists independently anymore....

And also interesting that regardless of anything, Novell would still had lost to Microsoft whether or not the launch of Windows 95 and Office 95 had not happened the way it did. Simply due to their own incompetence around 1994-1997.

The only difference would had been that they would have got an extra 2 or 3 years of life on that market. But the idea of they being able to resist the Killing Shots that were Office 2000 and Office XP, even if they had not fallen to Office 97 is quite preposterous.

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via +Chocka Greenfield.

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14 October 2011

Google To Get Rid Of Buzz, Jaiku And iGoogle Social Features

Google logo

On October 14 of 2011, Google announced they would finalize the closing of the Google Labs site, Google Buzz, Jaiku, Code Search and the social features in iGoogle

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/fall-sweep.​html  

And my response to that is: FINALLY

iGoogle Social

I first wrote about this back when i was still in Widgets Lab -- when it was an actual Widgets Blog -- back in mid 2009 i think. At the time it was a good idea. Google had this very broad Widget strategy and as interest went from widgets to social widget-apps -- like most in Facebook -- to mobile apps. Google lost interest and never did something with it. The same with what could had happened with Open Social + Friend Connect + Web Elements. Nothing really came out of it for the full web. Too bad as it could had been great on that model. Yet i do realize that the same tech were also later part of the inspiration for Google Wave and Google Buzz.

And since they never really did much with them. The awareness was low with iGoogle users. Users that more than likely defected over Facebook.

Jaiku

Ugh, this one is a sad story. Google says that they don’t fear competition and that they are all about pushing innovation and that they are not evil. But what happened with Jaiku and Dodgeball for that matter was the opposite of that.

Most don't know it, but Dodgeball (now Foursquare of course) played a part as inspiration for Twitter evolution and for the creation of the Pownce.

Jaiku was even more significant as it was also inspiring for the model brought by Pownce. You know, the very same social messaging network model used in Google Plus?

When Google acquired Jaiku, they were more interested in killing Jaiku, taking their tech and using the team that created Jaiku for Android. As the key ones were talented ex-nokia. But as actually killing it would had looked bad back then. They instead just stopped allowing sign ups. And let it rot.

Jaiku should had been very big. If Google had put their full weight behind it, i think they would had been able to keep up with Twitter. But on the positive side, the locking of Jaiku was what sparked multiple derivatives  like Identi.ca, Status.net and Plurk, among many others around the world.

Pulling the plug on Jaiku now is just symbolic. As the service has been comatose for a long long time.

Google Buzz

Ah yeah, the poorly made, thought and implemented afterthought of Social Stream concepts, Jaiku concepts and of course Google Wave tech. The one that got Google in hot water for their horrible decision of integrating it and implementing it inside Gmail. To the point were lots of civil and small business complains were made on it. And a lawsuit was also won over it against Google. Among who knows what else behind the scenes.

But in the positive side it served up as a test to Google Plus just like Google Wave.

I remember the first time i entered Google Plus and saw there was a Google Buzz tab. I actually groaned out loud:

"What the hell is this thing doing here?"

And from my first comments about Google Plus, i recall saying that the two things that should be instantly purged out of it, had to be Google Buzz and Sparks. Google seems to now fully agree with one, now i hope they agree on the other one and remove Sparks too.

Conclusion

The question is not why Google is removing those services now, it is what took them so long. With the case of the mentioned projects in this post being those that were the most long overdue.

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Hulu Equity Owners Decided To Not Sell Hulu

Hulu Logo

As of October 13 of 2011, Hulu Equity Owners have decided to not sell and effectively terminate any sale processs for Hulu

http://blog.hulu.com/2011/10/13/hulu-equity-owners-announce-decision-to-terminate-the-hulu-sale-process/

Hulu Equity Owners released statement reads as it follows:

“Since Hulu holds a unique and compelling strategic value to each of its owners, we have terminated the sale process and look forward to working together to continue mapping out its path to even greater success. Our focus now rests solely on ensuring that our efforts as owners contribute in a meaningful way to the exciting future that lies ahead for Hulu.”

And to all that above i say:

Called it!

Back in September 8 of 2011, i posted on the news of Google entering big in the bid for Hulu, choosing to do it with a out-of-track power bid. In essence disrupting the bidding process for the sale of Hulu. Even before that i had already correctly projected out what the value of Hulu could be for those bidding in. And based on the max amount going around at the time -- at either 1.5 to 2 billion -- I then calculated that Google would offer twice whatever the top amount was at the moment. Later on the reported -- but not confirmed -- amount Google bid was said to be indeed 4 billion.

You can read the full post here for the full details on that part of this news story:

Google Bidding In Big For Chance To Acquire Hulu


Those in the initial race were not entirely disclosed but it was widely reported it included Yahoo and Amazon at first. But the rumored top bidder had it at DISH Networks. The very same one that bought Blockbuster at a firesale price of $320 million. Instantly getting cheap floor space to put out their DISH network modules, a better video streaming network tech and property that the one they had or could had come up with and even more pull when doing content agreement deals.

But then Google did their power bid. Doubling the amount at the time while at the same time asking for longer content agreement deal time and better terms for the deal. Making the previous "Auction" pretty much null. An action that Hulu Owners could not have seen in good light at all. As it meant that they now only had a single bid. One they will have to either counter with a final desired amount or reject it by closing down any sale process.

Being the later what they decided. Which is what i said would be more likely to happen as selling to Google was not in their best interests compared to just keeping growing Hulu themselves. As Google has not been the favorite partner for them to work with, to say the least from those in the TV and Movie industry. After what happened with Google blindsiding them, back when they launched Google TV without doing any proper content deals, previous to launch. Or so it is said.

I see Hulu Equity Owners decision as the right one. As Hulu got lots and lots of potential and room to grow. And it is still growing well. There was no good reason to sell it to begin with. One had to wonder if they started the sale just in spite for not agreeing with some of their CEO (Jason Kilar) outspoken "polarizing" ideas. That are right on as he has done a good job so far. Hope they let him continue to do so.

Now, there is always the chance and possibility that Google was not really craving Hulu as bad as they led everyone to believe. And they just wanted to make sure that neither DISH or Amazon acquired Hulu, by doing an offer they knew Hulu Equity Owners would turn down. Or at least that was what i also was thinking while writing this post.

But anyway, Hulu is for now Safe and unchanged. Something that makes me happy as i have been using it every day since it was invite only.

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13 October 2011

Lenovo Knocks Down Dell And Becomes Number 2 In PC Sales

lenovo logo

+Joe Wilcox over at Betanews got a nicely detailed post on the last numbers of the IDC and Gartner. That show how Lenovo sales have gone up fast. Effectively taking the second spot in the PC sales ladder passing over Dell

Apple and Lenovo make shocking Q3 PC sales gains


Lenovo has come a long way in the past 3 years. From my own experience while visiting multiple Government Offices here in Mexico and from gossip from some people here i know third hand, that do all their business by providing networking services to Government Offices. It looks like they are specifically attacking DELL by going more aggressive in capturing Government PC buying contracts. Contracts usually won before by DELL. And it is not only here in Mexico, but also in South America.

Before i would see DELL everywhere in any Government Payment/Registration/Procedures Office. Now i see Lenovo everywhere. And this is not a sample of 3 or 4 places i have seen, but like 30 different ones in the past 3 years. I just cannot help myself and always look over any room and see what PC brand they have got anywhere i go. Even if am only passing by and do not enter the place.

But in Banks and Businesses receptions and modules i do still see mostly DELL or HP.

Second to Lenovo creeping in everywhere, i also have seen more Acer again.

Bringing me to the question:

What has been your experience on that regard in the last year? If you do have noted let me know. Am really curious about that.


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On IE9 New Ad Campaign

tmp4B49

I think it is a very good thing Microsoft is now doing ads for IE9. Also good they are even deciding to respond to Chrome Browser Ads. It may not be obvious how. But this new Ad campaign was made as a counter message to Chrome Marketing.

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So far i have seen the ads appear here in Appatic and in Hulu. But some say they are also running on cable in the U.S.A.

And just before you say : "Chrome is better in all the way".

I can tell you it may be better in some ways like having a really good extension platform and avant-garde support to edge parts of Web Stack tech.

But other than that. IE9 in W7 is as fast, is more secure (as proven by 3 different tests so far) and just as responsive thanks to having Full-Hardware acceleration.

It is about preference and the only right answer is that both of them are great if you are using Windows 7, just different. Can we agree on that without starting a war?

No? Oh ok. At least i tried.

What do strikes me as odd on the latest browser wars is how Mozilla is on a Brand Auto-Destructive mode with all their strange strategy changes and trying to copy Chrome strategy when they shouldn’t and at the same time piss off developers, businesses IT and the enterprise IT. They are the ones that should come with an Ad Campaign themselves. Even if only for Online Ad Displays, YouTube and Hulu. They really need it, as all indicates Firefox is wounded. And Chrome and IE9 are chipping away at it. I think they were very lucky that Microsoft had not made a version of IE9  for Windows XP.

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12 October 2011

About The Netflix - Qwikster Debacle

Qwikster logo

 

On October 10 of 2011, Netflix decided to revert the decision of separating DVD by Mail in the U.S.A to a new entity to be called Qwikster

Now, i do not live in the U.S.A, so my opinion on this is from an outsider view. But man if there was an excessive non-stop whining about both the price change made by Netflix months ago and Qwikster, that would separate the business of DVD-by-Mail of the Video Content Streaming.

If that was not a "first world problem", then i don't what could it be called. The reason i say this is because in the case of Mexico and Canada. We could only have dreamt to have those kind of services working the way they do in the U.S.A for such low prices, thanks to the quite incredible USPS.

But anyway, i know that opinion will maybe make some reading this a bit angry. But i can only call it like i see it. Also considering how much things like regular Cable or going to a single Movie or even something as simple as eating at Popeye's or wherever cost.

Now leaving my own rant on that aside.

What Netflix should had done to avoid this Netflix - Qwikster Two-Parter Disaster?

1.- Streaming should had never ever been free

They were wrong wrong wrong in giving it away at first. Even if they had charged for it something like an extra $1.99 or $2.99 for it would have made NetFlix customers to been used to the idea of Streaming and DVD-by-Mail being two different services.

Making it a whole easier for doing such a dramatic -- yet necessary -- price change as they did,  possible without people getting SO riled up. Yeah, there would have still being defections. But they would have been minor comparing to what happened.

2.-Do the Price Change and the separation of DVD-by-Mail at the same time.

Even without they having the caution stated in (1). If they were going to do a dramatic shift. then they should have done it at the same time. Not wait until people anger starts to wane and then piss them off yet again. Who thought that one out?

3.-Put DVD-by-Mail with a better brand

Ok, lets obviate (1) and (2) as if they never even passed up the mind of +Reed Hastings

Qwikster, Qwikster?, Qwikster!!!??.

What a horrible name and brand. Why not MailFlix or DVDpost or Anything more descriptive of the service?

That alone would had made a little bit of a difference. Yeah, acquiring a better brand would had been harder and more expensive. But it was worth it.

Oh well, i actually do supported the rationale of both decisions as they are not really Reed's fault. And they were no-brainers. But he may have forgot about emotions being at a high in the present times of economic crisis. Not just from customers, but the press, bloggers and even wall street. The later hiring people to feel for them in order to know when to be mad --of course ;)

4.-Offer Some Choice In The Account Management

(1), (2) and (3)? Never even considered.

Bringing us the closest to our actual reality and present situation.

Back when they announced Qwikster and apologized. They could have simply said that there would be an opt-in option to keep your account bridged. And for encouraging the separation of accounts, they could have offered a way to backup your ratings and account info to be used in Qwikster.

= Problem not solved, but minimized by a good enough measure.

Instead, they went for a Catch-22 situation not once, but twice. And i bet they still were as shocked the second time as they were the first on how bad both situations went.

They counted too much on their "We are really the only good choice for Movie Streaming and DVD-by-Mail. People will have to eat that bullet" mindset and attitude.

Linkage

DVD's Will Be Staying At Netflix.com      <—Netflix Official Blog

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Lenovo A1 Android Slate Now Up For Preorder

lenovo logo

As much i don't really like Android. This Android 2.3 Slate from Lenovo is special:

It got good specs, good quality and great price.

You can get one with 16gb for $250. The reason that is a great price is because this Slate got almost the same specs -- minus the 3G -- from the first generation Galaxy Tab 7-incher. The very same that goes for $399 unlocked or $199 with a plan.

Lenovo A1 Android Slate

I wrote it up more in detail back when it was announced:

Lenovo A1 Android 2.3 Slate

Needless to say it is quite a deal. As this got access to the Android Market and Google Support. And you also get a one-year Lenovo guarantee.

I put this as the other option to getting a Kindle Fire. If you are not head-in on the Amazon Ecosystem. Want Android, Want it to have dual-cameras, gps, etc AND a low-price. This could be the "droid" you are are looking for.

Am really curious on seeing how well these do in this last quarter. But given that price and what they offer, they deserve to sell a million of these.

Linkage

Lenovo - IdeaPad A1 tablet              <—Pre-Order Link At Lenovo’s Site

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On What Is Known And Rumored So Far About “ Xbox Next / Xbox 720”

Xbox 720 logo

There have been many blogs reporting about Gematsu's scoop of a scoop of some LinkedIn resumes of Microsoft employees that mention they have been working on the third version of the Xbox

http://gematsu.com/2011/10/microsoft-resumes-menti​on-next-gen-xbox

And that is pretty much all the news they got. The same goes with most of the Blogosphere echo chamber. But am not going to give you that. Am going to give you a report based on what is known as fact and what has been rumored the past 2 years on this subject.

Fact 1: The Next Xbox is already mid way or further of its development.
Fact 2: The Next Xbox started being conceptualized in 2009.
Fact 3: The Next Xbox started to be developed at one point in 2010.

Now i will give you the most solid of the unconfirmed and the rumored. All coming from more than one source:

Rumor 1: At one point in 2010 it was rumored Microsoft was mulling over using WEC7


Rumor 2: It was also rumored early this year that the next xbox will be using DirectX 11


Rumor 3: At the same time of R2, there was the rumor Microsoft would instead be using -- at the time unknown but for those few that knew or had seen leaked documents, like yours truly -- W8.


Rumor 4: Also this year it was widely reported in the hardcore Xbox spheres that Microsoft was looking at going with AMD. But the truth is that if the next Xbox is going to be out in 2012 fall. By the start of this year Microsoft should had already decided or be deciding what CPU/GPU they were going to use.


Rumor 5: A little later some said that if they were going to go with AMD, they would be using a special 3.2ghz hexacore AMD processor.

Rumor 6: The very newest rumor is on what will use as disc tech. The rumor said it will be using a HD-DVD with new DRM and hardware protection. It is a very interesting rumor. And it would make perfect sense for Microsoft to go with that: HD-DVD tech is cheap, reliable and got just enough space for next gen games. And boy if it would be a big F U to Sony. And not adding Blu-ray would also entice users to use Microsoft or Microsoft partners streaming content.

My Take on this:

Every source i have looked at for over a year has pointed that the next Xbox will be released at Q4 of 2012. So I still do believe that.

Another thing i also still believe to be true is that the next Xbox will not be a 10x jump in computation power as it was from Xbox One to Xbox 360. But just 3 times as powerful. All indicated that given the new regulations and politics in electronics energy consume and cost make it impossible to go beyond that.

Microsoft is also adamant on making the next Xbox as reliable as the Xbox One was. Everything will be about optimization. Finally, Microsoft has never been keen on losing their shirt on the actual hardware. They are ok on losing it on development, software and promotion. But not hardware. They are not Sony.

Beyond that there is really no way to know for sure unless you work at Microsoft, in Seattle or in a department with access to what the Entertainment Division is doing.

But hey, only 4 months for stuff to really start leaking out on that.

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Samsung Series 7 Slate: Up For Pre-Order At The Microsoft Store

 Microsoft Store Logo

No need to say more that what my title describes. but if you want to know why the Samsung Series 7 Slate is awesome. you can check out this post i did on it.:

On Samsung Series 7 Slate

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What i do want to say is how i wish Microsoft shipped to Mexico City, just like that.

Because in any other way i will end up having to pay overhead. Anywhere from $50 if i get someone to send it to me. To $150. Plus the always flip-of-a-coin chance i have to pay %17 in taxes of the declared price on it..  :(

For that reason, i am also forced to wait for either late November or January to import anything that happens to be for me to keep.  :(

But, for those reading this that live in the U.S.A, you should check it out. Remember this thing is also future proof and it will work with W8. Also buying from the MSFT store gives you a clean and well configured W7 install, plus a better guarantee. No, no one paid me to say that, if only  :P

Linkage

Microsoft Store Online - Samsung Series 7 Slate

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11 October 2011

Should I Change My Password: Know If Your Email Has Been Compromised

Should I Change My Password logo

What do Sony, Gawker, Fox and MySpace have in common?

No, not that you just thought. But that all of them have been hacked and had an e-mail database downloaded from them and put online somewhere. With passwords and all.  Making anyone with a an account with them possible compromised. Something that could result with info or money getting stolen. And if you happen to had an account there, you could potentially be in trouble.

Shouldichangemypassword.com site screenshot

Should I Change My Password is an online e-mail checker, where you do input your e-mail address, and the site checks it against databases of E-mails that have been compromised by hackers.

All  it takes is filling a field form and clicking a button for your to know the answer to the question this site uses as a name.

As of this post, the site currently check an Email against 23 databases. If you want to check out what databases are those, you can check out the sources for this online app.

If you got some questions or you are wary about the site.  Also check out their F.A.Q to get some direct answers on that.

Linkage

Should I Change My Password

SICMP Sources

SICMP F.A.Q

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10 October 2011

2 Years Of Appatic

Appatic.com Logo

It has now being two years since I started Appatic.com.

24 months and 386 blog posts later here we are.  Something that has been a good experience, but that got me torn between being happy of having managed to keep the blog growing month in and month out. And the fact I am mad the blog got only 386 blog posts two years in. If things had gone according to plan it would have reached around 1000 posts by now. Or at least 500 posts, keeping in tune with the 250 blog posts done in the first year. But life happens and you need to adjust.

What I am indeed happy about is that starting next year, I will not be longer having to take Blogging gigs elsewhere.  Meaning that Appatic and my other blogs will start booming. 

There were other stuff I would have liked to do to celebrate this anniversary. Like some giveaways I was going to give out. And get several guest posts in for the month. But that will not be, as I prefer to start preparing for next year mark.  Then, I will indeed be doing something special for the whole month.

Now, I am in the brink of changing Appatic to make it a stronger blog.  Changes I have detailed in another post.

But in the meantime, I thank you all, from those who visit occasionally, to those that visit everyday. 

Now it is all about working harder to make the next year of Appatic better than the past two.

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Changes On Appatic

Appatic.com Logo

I have done some changes lately in the content being served here in Appatic. They are not random and they represent one of more changes to come in Appatic.  I want to lay them out here in this post:

 

1.- Updating the blog

The look of Appatic  has always been strikingly minimalistic, but neo-retro in a way. That is how I liked it to be. I will infusing a little bit of Metro Design into the blog, apart of giving it new features here and there.

2.-Comment System.

The only thing I really hate about Blogger is how incredibly outdated the Comment System is. And what is worse is that I cannot longer be hacked to be as good as it was possible in 2006!.

Bloggeratto of 2006 for example had things like picon support,  numbered comments, reply-to, live-preview, editing and inline photo-embedding. No, seriously. All hacked-in thanks to my then collaborator Aditya Mukherjee.  How on earth is possible that Blogger Comment System don’t has any of that in 2011?

I really don’t know.

But anyway, because of those kind of lack of features. I have decided it is time to migrate Appatic Comments to Disqus. At first I was thinking Facebook. But I really have never  liked facebook.  If Google revamps the comment system, I would then consider reverting back.

3.-Ad Square Sidebar.

Yes, There will be one.  I have now received enough offers to start it and I also want to try some stuff out with it.

4.-Facebook Widget.

I don’t like Facebook, but a huge lot do.

5.-Tech news/commentary/opinion.

Before, I didn’t really covered much tech news beyond some specific Software & Tech news. Now I will be covering Tech news more broadly.

6.-Microsoft Coverage.

In turn of change #5, you will be seeing a lot more of Microsoft News coverage too.

7.-Widget/Gadget/Embeddables Coverage

I wrote 1000 blog posts on this 3 things for Widgets Lab, from those 875 of them I published. I know the stuff. And since Widgets Labs is now really more of an Android blog. I decided to retake on that.

Also because of the news of Microsoft deactivating the Windows Live Gallery.  Which represents an opportunity to take on that niche too, now that there will be thousands upon thousands searching for these everyday.

8.-Guest Bloggers

I will be opening Appatic for guest posts. Will do another post about this to explain how that will work.

9.-Sponsored Posts

This is something I mentioned in the App Submission post. There are some App Studios interested in this, so I will be integrating that in Appatic. All will be notably disclosed as Sponsored Posts.

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This changes  will help the blog grow faster and stronger.  In turn allowing me to offer you more content.

 

Thank you.

-Avatar X

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07 October 2011

PrivyTalks: A Great And Simple Online Secure Private Chat Service

PrivyTalks logo

A long time ago, around 1995, there was this little Command-line looking app called GhostConnect.  You would download the app and it would then let you have anonymized one-on-one chats.  Your nickname would just be Ghost + a random number.  And you were encouraged to not use names and talk in references.

The chats connections were then handled  by a logless server. Once you finished a chat, the chat was gone.

Right now it don’t actually reads as that private. As anyone could still be snooping around and you could be still found to have used the app.  But back in 1995 it was as private as you could get thanks to obscurity and to the tech level of the times.  There were no search engines, the apps were primitive and the only one who could trace you – and not easily – were the FBI and the CIA. So, unless you were doing something really bad. It was  99% private. 

Now there is an online version of what GhostConnect did, and it goes a lot further to keep your Chats private in today’s modern and more complex world, while keeping it easy to use.

 

PrivyTalks site screenshot

PrivyTalks is an Online Secure Private Chat Service that allows you to create a encrypted and anonymized online chat rooms that can only be connected between two users  and that only exists temporarily between those two users. The only gateway for the private chat room is an also disposable web address in short url form. Making it possible for two persons to talk at ease without the worry of the chat existing beyond the point of them closing their browsers. While also being at ease of anyone snooping around the chat, as everything is encrypted and the chat uses anonymous  generic nicknames.

How does it works?

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PrivyTalks is a just website gateway for the service that is then used by two browsers. Your browser, any browser. And the browser of the person you will be chatting with.  The first person starts up a chat using PrivyTalks website, and once the chat room is generated. The first person shares the disposable short url link to that chat. There can only be two connections per chat and if anyone else accidentally or not tried to load up the same chat room url address once there is a conversation going. The chat will simply not connect and nothing in it will be shown. As the conversation only exists in the browsers of those having the chat.  And the connection to it is encrypted.

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PrivyTalks uses the Socket.IO stack to make the chat room. And for the encryption and decryption that happens only in your browser, they use a standard business, enterprise and government secure level RSA algorithm that in turn uses 512bit encryption keys.  

Just so you know and to make you feel more like using it. Beyond everything I said there is also an idle timeout so the chat connection breaks if any of the persons in it is out for more than 5 minutes. And there a personal fingerprint code for the chat room  to further ensure there is no middle-man and so that the chat is verifiable.

Conclusion

PrivyTalks is a great service that can come in handy for sharing passwords or information privately. It is as easy to use as something like it can be. And it even happens to look good enough to make it pleasant to your eyes.  My only real criticism of it would be how it handles the chats, but I don’t know if it would be possible to change the behavior so there would never be more than 5 lines of dialogue from each person on screen and to make it so that the chat cannot be copy & pasted. Something I really liked about GhostConnect too.  Adding a little bit of even more privacy to it.  Other than that, it is really great as it is. And I highly recommend it. For even better results, using a private browser mode while using it should add an even higher sense of privacy.

Linkage

PrivyTalks

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via App Submission

*Update 1* (17/08/2013) : Don’t know if the service is still up. Have not been able to load it up today or yesterday.

*Update 2*  (03/09/2013): Domain was not renewed or left to lapse. A real shame.

*Update 3*  (01/10/2013): It is back online!

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05 October 2011

On Microsoft Wanting To Buy Yahoo Again

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There is a new rumor swirling around about Microsoft wanting to buy Yahoo.

I find it hard to believe. But even if Microsoft had considered that Yahoo was worth a second look. They would not buy now. They still got the Skype deal to complete.

And because of that deal and other moves Microsoft has made and it is going make. It could face problems in going through. As it would give Microsoft a monopoly on IM and Mail.

You can bet other companies would complain to that part.

IF they still would be willing to gamble on going with a deal. I think they should not pay a dime over 25 billion for Yahoo. After that, they should just sell off all the parts Microsoft don't need. Parts that could actually be sold of for up to $12 billion if sold well. But that even if sold in a firesale would fetch not less than $7 billion.

What is that Microsoft could want from Yahoo?

1.-Their Search. But they already power it, so that is not enough reason.
2.-Their Display Ad biz. That they are partnered with. But is still a valuable thing.
3.-IM. Microsoft is already #1 and is going to be getting stronger because of Skype. Not much point on it
4.-Mail. Something else Microsoft is already #1.
5.- Video properties. Valuable because would boost MSN and Bing Video to #2.
6.- Other internet properties. Valuable only for branding and marketing.

Everything else from Yahoo would have to be put up to for sell.

Things like their stake in Yahoo Japan and Alibaba.

Conclusion

Don't believe it. I don't think Microsoft needs to buy Yahoo anymore thanks to the deal they already got locked for 10 years. Deal that don't changes even if Yahoo is bought by someone else. They would still get dibs on the option for buying Yahoo Search and Ad business. No matter who would get to own Yahoo.

But if it got to happen, it could face trouble to go through. And Microsoft should not pay a dime more than 25 billion for it. Microsoft should then break Yahoo and sell off it's parts before integrating it. That way it would minimize the blow and could indeed be well worth the gamble within 3 years.

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04 October 2011

Napster Acquired By Rhapsody

Napster logo          rhapsody logo

+Tim Conneally over At betanews reports about the now finally official death of Napster, as it has been acquired by Rhapsody

Napster's finally dead: Rhapsody to acquire service/subscribers from Best Buy


Napster was one of the very first true peer2peer apps -- as in one peer to one peer sharing connected over the internet application -- Then, after all the legal woes and being shuffled around, it then became a music streaming service , that finally was sold to BestBuy for a whooping 121 million dollars 3 years ago. At the time having over 700K paying customers. BestBuy made the service a 5$ a month or 10$ if you wanted mobile access. But let the brand rot by not promoting it enough. To the point where most reading this news will be surprised that Napster was still alive. And even more will be surprised that BestBuy was its owner.

Rhapsody on the other hand is the oldest and biggest streaming music subscription service in the U.S.A. And as of this date, it was working its way to reach the 1 million paying subscribers, at around 850k as of this writing.

While it was not disclosed what was the price BestBuy sold Napster on to Rhapsody. I remember a rumor not that long ago that said Napster had lost over half of their subscribed base. If you take in count that and the stagnation of the brand and service. Based on what was worth with 700K paying customers to BestBuy. I calculate that the selling price had to be anywhere from 25 to 35 million. Let's see if i get it right.

That means Rhapsody will be jumping up to have around 1 million, 250 thousand paying subscribers after the transition is completed. By the time this happens, Spotify should be still around 1 million paying subscribers ahead. Even then, this is still a great deal for the Seattle based Rhapsody.

But a sad destination for Shawn Fanning's Napster. Which without a doubt was one the most groundbreaking internet-enabled apps to grace the 90's, yes, it is from the nineties.


Linkage

Rhapsody

Napster

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