Google Tweaks Algorithm As Concern Over Bing Grows
Um, there's a problem with your logic. If you consistently do the following:
1. Search using Google
2. If you find your desired result, you stop. If not, then you:
3. Search again ('resort to") using Bing
4. Find what you want on Bing!
Then Bing (or any other search engine) will magically seem better, because you only use it when your first option fails!
To truly determine quality for yourself, you'd have to choose the search provider in some kind of blinded randomized fashion...
Google Launching Music Service Without Labels
This is a smoking gun to any pirated or "borrowed" music in your collection. Let the subpoenas begin!
Or, you can leave the music at home and use something like Subsonic, which provides almost all the functionality of GMusic ... the client just needs some love and polish.
AT&T Lowers Data Access To Just $500/GB
And the reason?
Telus: 1900MHz WCDMA
Rogers: 1900MHz WCDMA
Bell: 1900MHz WCDMA
In the space of two years, Canada has gone from way behind the US to way ahead, just because of inter-compatible, and thus competing, networks. We even get the iPhone unlocked up here with no need for stupid CDMA versions. Long live 3GSM!
Chicago's Willis Tower To Become Vertical Solar Farm
This is great if you want to buy whole new slabs of glass.
But why isn't someone making a photovoltaic film that can be applied to windows, providing a nice light tint and generating electricity in the process? Sure, it would probably have to be based on amorphous tech and still pass some light through so the efficiency wouldn't be super great, but it would be a cinch to apply and if it could generate enough electricity to charge my mobile phone every day or run my wifi router, that would be great!
Fragmentation vs. Obsolescence In the Android Ecosphere
Apple = red herring.
Even worse, there's a huge elephant in the room. The crux of TFA is that fragmentation is the price paid for "the pace of innovation." But the problem is not new releases -- it's the failure of Google's Android Market (app store) to keep up with the needs of the marketplace. This has caused a bunch of carriers, hardware makers, and iTunes-wannabes to create their own app stores -- each with their own requirements and generally making life hell for developers. The reason is that Google's own Android Market was slow to launch internationally (especially to support paid apps), has an infamously poor UX, and -- shocking for a company called Google -- poor search capability.
New hardware and OS releases are generally welcomed by developers. But if you're an Android developer, what's insane is having to support multiple app stores for the SAME hardware and SAME OS -- just because Google didn't bother to support paid apps in Canada until two months ago, for example. And don't even get me started on the joys of trying to make an app for China.
Hey Andy, before you pass off fragmentation as a necessary part of innovation, take a stroll down to the department responsible for creating Android Market and tell them to start innovating to rein in the chaos they've created.
Beaver Dam Visible From Space
I coulda sworn I saw this on Slashdot some time ago, but in any case, this "news" is at least two years old...
Purple Pokeberries Yield Cheap Solar Power
Mod parent up. What happens when you leave an inkjet printout in the sun? Those dyes fade pretty quickly, and natural dyes are probably even more prone to fading. But if they can get the technology cheap enough to be disposable, or maybe reprintable, maybe there's still a useful niche.
Open Source Router To Replace WRT54GL?
Keep your WRT54G, and just upgrade the wireless to 802.11n. I did it with an AirPort Express connected to one of the ethernet ports in bridge mode. In the real world, 802.11n rarely saturates the 100baseT ethernet, so you get almost all the speed, without having to reconfigure everything from scratch. As a bonus, you can still host a separate 802.11b/g network on the old router to support legacy devices without jamming up your N network.
Android Gets Carrier-Operated European App Store
That could be a valid argument, IF this Vodafone app store was indeed "to fill in the European gaps where Google hasn't yet launched the official Android app store" -- as the summary says.
But that's false. According to TFA, ALL of the countries targeted by Vodafone are ALREADY supported by Google Market. That is (from TFA): The Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the UK.
Android apps can be downloaded in an executable format, just like desktop apps. So why the need for an app store?
Answer: Every good MBA is salivating at the thought of owning the eyeballs, billing, becoming the search engine, and slapping their brand on top of other people's apps. Remember the early days of the web when a gazillion "portal" sites tried to copycat Yahoo? It's the same situation here, a land grab of wannabe Apple iTunes imitators. To them, it doesn't matter that they are late to the party -- they propose some incremental benefit over Google's store and try to get everybody to come to the party at their house.
The actual innovators in mobile are the app developers, who are flat-out competing on ingenuity in a very difficult marketplace. Yet these overlapping app stores are trying to pit developer against developer in an attempt to control the market. It's a classic divide and conquer strategy, and the big loser is the user.
Android Gets Carrier-Operated European App Store
"Android fragmentation begins"? I don't think so. It's in full-swing.
Seems like every week some marketing dweeb comes up with the brilliant idea to create yet another app store. Motorola and Lenovo have their own, as does China Mobile. That's not even counting the dime-a-dozen independent entries with names like Handango, Cellmania, AndAppStore, MobiHand, GetJar, Nexva, SlideMe, etc. etc.
I am an Android developer, and get an email every week from yet another app store. Each has its own custom requirements and contract overhead, and they expect us to do the work for free for the "privilege" of joining their flock and whatever scheme-of-the-day they are concocting as their business plan.
No thanks. I dump those emails and stick with the Android Market. For all its flaws, developers need to show solidarity and work towards improving it. The alternative is to give away your work and place it in the hands of the likes of wireless carriers, who will continue their land grab game at the expense of the developers, innovators, and consumers.
Google Charges ETF For Nexus One On Top of Carrier's
Thanks, that's an interesting bit of info. That's a step in the right direction, but it still leaves the handset subsidy shrouded in a mysterious cloud of "plan discounts" and such. And, since all other North American carriers still collect the same amount regardless of subsidy, the user is still punished for bringing their own phone.
Why can't we go to a simple system like this: say a phone costs $600. You either pay that up front or add $25 to your bill for 24 months and get it for "free". If you want to terminate the contract, you pay the remaining balance, period. "Early termination fees" and "prorating after x number of months" only serve to cloud the issue and confuse the consumer, while creating a customer service and bill collections headache for the carrier.
Again, this is where good regulation could step in and set things straight. Outlawing ETFs would be the key.
DynDNS.com Acquires EveryDNS
Have you tried to contact EveryDNS lately? No one is there.
Well, I donated to EveryDNS at year-end, but my account wasn't updated to "donator" status. Repeated attempts to contact them over the last 3 weeks have gone completely unanswered.
The conclusion? DynDNS bought EveryDNS, sent everybody home, and we're just a server failure away from having to scramble to find another DNS. Maybe some of us will sign up for DynDNS's paid service? Wouldn't that be nice for the new owners...
Google Charges ETF For Nexus One On Top of Carrier's
If you buy the phone on a contract, you pay $80 a month. If you buy the phone without a contract, you still pay $80 a month.
Why aren't people questioning this practice? Carriers justify ETFs on the basis of having to subsidize handsets, but they turn around and charge the SAME amount to customers who aren't taking advantage of the subsidy. Thus artificially suppressing the market for unlocked / open phones.
The system in Japan makes more sense. When you buy a phone, you choose to pay the full cost up front, or pay in 12 or 24 installments (and of course if you want to cash out early, you have to pay the remainder of the balance, just like any installment plan). The communication charges are SEPARATE from the phone charges. So the end result is that the user who wants a "free phone" simply pays a bit more monthly than the user who paid for their phone up front.
The money the carriers would save trying to explain, justify, and collect those arbitrary "early termination fees" probably justifies switching to this more sensible system. And it would encourage a free market for phones. Why aren't the regulators/attorneys/etc. stepping in where they should?
Slovak Police Planted Explosives On Air Travelers
In Japan it happened in 2008. Narita customs officers inserted some cannabis into a passenger's luggage to check their security, but the passenger slipped through and went home with the drugs. The passenger returned the drugs, and those responsible were punished.
It seems that this is a systematic way of "quality assurance" in airport security around the world. Unfortunately, when mistakes occur, it creates plausible deniability for anyone caught with contraband.
On the other hand, maybe it brings us one step closer to realizing the stupidity of security theatre...
Toshiba Employee Arrested For Selling Software To Break Copy Limits
Notice how the article reports that the suspect is a "Toshiba employee" even though his activities have nothing to do with Toshiba (as far as we know). That's how things work in Japan (and Asia in general) -- the company, relatives, etc. share some responsibility for an individual's actions simply by association.
Android 2.0 SDK Released, Google Maps Navigation Announced
In Japan, phones have been capable of turn-by-turn navigation for a long time. When those apps first came out, there was a lot of speculation about whether mobile phone navi would kill the standalone / built-in navigation market. The car navi folks rushed to add mobile data connectivity, so they could download the latest maps and service info to compete with the "live" services offered by the mobile phones. Accessories for mounting your phone in the car in a visible position also became available.
In the end, both devices are co-existing in the market and very few people use the phone as the primary navigation device. Reasons are: (1) Inconvenience of having to launch the app, mount the phone in the car (or kill your phone's battery), and the fact that you can't use your phone. (2) Screen size. Unlike the tiny screens on North American GPS navi units, almost all units in Japan have a 5" or 7" screen. (3) The fact that most cars already have it built in anyway.
So I predict that in North America, the GPS navi units will evolve to: (1) Larger screens, (2) Data connectivity for live updates, and (3) More specialized features and improved service quality. The competition will be good. But the standalone / built-in navi devices won't just disappear.
The US's Reverse Brain Drain
Seriously, come to Canada. You'll enjoy a quality of life equal or better than that of the States, similar work / leisure culture, and an immigration process that's much more deterministic than the INS one. Information Technology has been a designated occupation in many provinces for a long time -- for example, in British Columbia you could get your permanent residency in six months through its provincial nominee programme.
I sound like a salesman to Canada but I have US citizenship and voluntarily immigrated to Canada the hard way, for what it's worth.
Google Launches Free, Legal Music Downloads in China
You don't HAVE to pay first-world prices for those things; that's what the global marketplace is all about. The catch is, you don't "have" to get a first-world salary, either.
But let's get this straight. Foreign students pay higher tuition fees. That's why colleges are so keen to get international students and their money. Of course, many of them come from places where the income level isn't high enough to afford those inflated fees, so they have to earn it through work-study or merit-based scholarships. But far from being "massively subsidized", "they" are actually subsidizing YOUR education through international student tuition.
Globalization is a bitch, isn't it?
Photog Rob Galbraith Rates MacBook Pro Display "Not Acceptable"
If any of you are looking for laptops for serious color accurate work then you might be interested in this article:
The linked article is an extremely misinformed one. Among other nonsenses, it says that 16 million colors equates to 96% of "the" color gamut, which makes about as much sense as ... (here comes the auto analogy) ... saying my minivan makes as much horsepower as a Porsche because they both have six cylinders.
I'm honestly shocked at how the writer could be so misinformed and yet purport to offer a buying guide for laptop screens. The original article is much more useful.
Bickering Blocks US Mobile Phone Payments
Basically, you can think of the phone as a user interface to your credit card. So you can check your balances and usage history easily, have multiple cards on the same phone (and manage them on the phone), and do all kinds of weird stuff like pick up coupons from NFC readers around town, and log in to karaoke machines with your favourite songs.
As you say, right now, the advantages of mobile phone NFC versus a plain old NFC-enabled credit card are presently sorta marginal. In Japan the majority of people use static cards instead of the mobile phone version. But as the services start to expand and the marketing geniuses figure out how to eek some benefit out of this system, I think you'll see the adoption rate increasing.
Some things that are essential when designing such a system are: ability to use the payment system even when the device is out of battery, recovery and transfer of the user IDs to another device, and remote disabling. Somehow, I doubt the US based folks have gotten their heads around these very important aspects yet.