Monthly Archives: May 2014

Before the iPhone, there were good MP3 players, good phones and good PDAs that could browse the Internet. But efforts to combine all that functionality into one device failed, because software and hardware weren’t ready for that convergence.

To replace several devices with just one device, the replacement had to replicate the functionality of those focused devices well enough to justify its existence. The iPhone was the first to succeed, and today you no longer buy MP3 players or mobile Internet devices; you just buy smartphones.

For the last several years, Microsoft has been trying to do the same trick for laptops and tablets. It’s been trying to create that one replacement device, and that device is called the Surface.

Read Full Article

This article on WIRED — also highlighted on the respectable Techmeme — sucks. Take a read and then come back here. Done? Let’s do a tear down.

Clearly great features are trickling down. But what’s more interesting is how these cheap phones are going to trickle up. Put Internet-connected, app-capable smartphones running the same major operating systems the rest of us use and there will be all sorts of unforeseen ripple effects on us that we can’t even anticipate.

We tend to think of the ways our technology will affect them. That’s arrogant. We’re the minority. It’s incredibly likely that they’re going to have just as big an effect on us.

The tone is already so annoying.

Read Full Article

I love gadgets. Having worked at Microsoft in Redmond, WA for a little bit (on Windows 7), I have a soft spot for the Evil Empire. Nevertheless, I’m a consumer first and an advocate…tenth, which is why I’ve bought seven iOS and four Android devices.

Excel and PowerPoint matter a lot to me. It’s the main reason I could never get used to Macs; I have grown so reliant on keyboard shortcuts that the Mac experience feels frustratingly alien.

I also travel a lot for work, so the idea of a highly mobile, Office-capable device is appealing.

So unsurprisingly, I jumped all over the Surface Pro when it came out. Good machine, but the battery life was a deal breaker and it was too heavy for such a small tablet. Surprisingly, I also realized I hardly used anything outside of Office on desktop — the screen was just too small. And so I got the Surface 2.

Read Full Article

Meredith Levien, the executive vice president of advertising for The Times, dropped a mini-bombshell yesterday at the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ public relations forum.

She said that in some cases, ad-sponsored posts have done better than traditional news stories. Ouch!

It’s yet another nail in the coffin we all suspected we were already buried in: quality does not always equate with popularity. Sometimes people don’t really care about serious reporting all that much.

Read Full Article

Quick recap: Sony and Microsoft launched their next generation consoles late last year. The Playstation 4 is outpacing Microsoft’s Xbox One by millions and that gap is widening, partly because the Xbox One is $100 more expensive than the Playstation 4. So Microsoft just announced a version without Kinect to match the Playstation 4 in price.

I like my Playstation 4 and am planning to purchase an Xbox One. I still am, with Kinect, but less enthusiastically now.

Read Full Article

Technology needs to be more like anti-lock brake systems in cars, which do exactly what we need them to do, when we need them, without us realizing they are even present…We don’t have to mess with it. We just say here’s what we want. When technology reaches that level of invisibility in our lives, that’s our ultimate goal. It vanishes into our lives. It says: ‘you don’t have to do the work, I’ll do the work.’

That was Google X leader Dr. Astro Teller speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt about that “wonderful technology moment” when artificial intelligence makes decisions for us invisibly in the background. Google X is the moonshot division in Google pioneering driver-less cars, which makes Teller’s comment especially interesting.

Read Full Article

Microsoft will hold an event on May 20 to debut the mini version of the Surface. Rumor has it that in addition to the Surface mini, Microsoft will reveal a new SKU. CNET reports that SKU to be Intel-based.

A true Windows experience on a Surface 2 form factor would be ideal for many who need the OS. However, I echo Paul Thurrot in hoping that the screen size of this new SKU is 13-inch and upwards. In fact, I think the entire tablet industry should go in this direction.

Usage for tablets can be divided into two categories: one-handed and two-handed.

Read Full Article