Monthly Archives: November 2010

Would A Windows App Store Catch On?

One of the biggest announcements at the “Back to the Mac” event in October was that Mac OS X was going to get an “App Store” in which developers could market their software applications and users could purchase and install them with relative ease.  While there are definitely some flaws with the idea, I think that the OS X App Store will be relatively successful.  There are a few great things that such a store can bring, such as the ability to ease the installation process, create a universal distribution system, allow software vendors to sell their products, etc.  With Microsoft in a desperate need to phase out the Windows Installer, I think it would be wise of them to follow Apple (and Linux, which has used a repository system from the beginning and now starting to see better distribution systems) and ponder if the universal distribution system is indeed a viable solution for Windows.

As I’ve already mentioned, Linux has taken advantage of the “repository” system from the get-go, allowing users to download software from trusted sources.  In Windows, this would eliminate the number of people who download misleading products such as rouge software that poses as an anti-virus product but is in reality a piece of malware in itself.

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How To: Configure Multiple Monitors in Ubuntu

About six weeks ago I did a tutorial on configuring multiple monitors in the Microsoft Windows operating system using the built-in monitor configuration tool as well as a couple of third-party tools that offered more features.  This tutorial was not done on my personal computer, however, because the article revolved around Microsoft Windows – an operating system that I do not personally use.

So today I’m going to cover the same process of setting up multiple monitors, however this time I am going to show you how to do so in the Ubuntu Linux operating system.  While this tutorial is demonstrated in Ubuntu, the same process can be done in pretty much any Linux distribution.

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Mobile Computing: Out With the Old, In With the New

When Apple first announced the iPad earlier this year, many critics acclaimed that the device was going to fail, calling it nothing more than an enlarged iPod Touch.  However, since April of this year the iPad has had a tremendous success; selling twice as many units on its debut day than originally expected, and has continued to have steady sales a time has progressed.  The success of the iPad has been one of the contributing factors in crippling the once-promising netbook market, and has inspired other traditional PC manufacturers to enter the tablet market as well.  This has been a major indicator that the focus on tablets by both the PC manufactures and consumers has been increased, while traditional computer systems have been left in the dust.

Today, Gartner – an analytical firm that specializes in the technology field – drew a conclusion that based on the current trends of the PC and tablet markets, 2011 will see higher sales of tablets; sales that will cut into those of PC’s.  What does this mean?  While PC’s will still have decent sales numbers, the growth of the tablet market will be greater than that of the PC market.

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How To Get the Best Cyber Monday Deals

For ages now, “Black Friday” has been an important day in the sense that large retail stores discounted their prices significantly in an effort to bring their finances from the “red” into the “black”; hence the name “Black Friday.”  However, as society as a whole has drifted towards online shopping, many have neglected to engage in “Black Friday” promotions simply because they could get the same (if not better) deals online.  After all, who would want to subject themselves to crowds of people on a cold Friday morning when they could just as easily do their shopping from the comfort of their own homes, all whilst wearing PJ’s and slippers?

In recent years a new trend has emerged called “Cyber Monday.”  This is a day where many online retailers opt to lower their prices in order to get users to purchase goods from their sites.  Cyber Monday takes place on the Monday after Black Friday.  This year, it is November 29th.

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Will Black Friday Remain Relevant?

Black Friday is a day which happens once a year.  It’s a day when people traditionally wait on extraordinarily long lines and fight with each other over products in an attempt to get the best deals on their holiday presents.  However, today, with the Internet, it’s much easier to find deals online.  In fact, it is easier to find deals online every day of the year – not just on Black Friday.  And let’s not forget that there are no lines to wait on when shopping online.  And the only fight you may encounter really comes down to who can click the fastest.

What am I getting at?  Well, is Black Friday as relevant today as it has traditionally been in the past?  Perhaps from a retailer standpoint, it’s the time of the year where they are “in the black” due to increased holiday sales, but, from the consumer aspect, does it really matter?  Deals are plentiful online.  More often than not you are able to find some kind of coupon code to save some money on a purchase.  Granted, they may not be as “good” as during Black Friday, but still, there are some awesome sales and exclusive online deals throughout the year.

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Chrome OS: Not Just For Netbooks

It has already been made perfectly clear that Google’s upcoming Chrome operating system is going to be a miserable failure if it is used exclusively for netbook computers.  With the market for tablet computers expanding at a rapid rate, competition in the mobile computing field is undoubtedly going to become a big thing.  So it should come as no surprise that Linus Upson – the vice president of engineering for Chrome – has recently announced that Google’s web-intensive operating system is going to expand past the netbook market and onto handheld computers, tablet computers, and television systems.  But when looking at the big picture, Chrome OS still looks a bit repetitive.

First off, let’s look at the first type of device that the Chrome OS would be a candidate for installation on.  In short, a handheld computer is simply a mobile computer that has a relatively light-weight OS.  Way back when, a “handheld computer” was simply a fancy name for PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), most notably the Palm.  However, as times have progressed and communications have become a must-have with mobile computers, the market for smartphones such as the has far surpassed that of the PDA market, simply because a smartphone is simply a beefed-up PDA with the ability to make calls.  One of the biggest contenders in the smartphone OS market is Google’s Android OS; the same universal operating system that powers both low-end smartphones, as well as powerhouses such as the Droid 2.

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Acer Gearing Up to Enter the Tablet Market in 2011

After the success of Apple’s iPad, many people rumored that computer manufacture Acer was working on developing and marketing a tablet PC of their own.  While this has only been a rumor for quite some time now, Acer today announced that they are indeed working on tablet PCs and that they plan to have three models on the market by April as next year, with possible release dates being as early as February for select products.

The three models are as shown:

  1. 7″ compact design; Android OS, 1280 x 800 resolution, 1.2 GHz Qualcomm processor (dual core), HDMI output, 5 megapixel camera, WiFi and 3G connectivity
  2. 10.1″ design; Android OS, 1.2 GHz Qualcomm processor (dual core), HDMI output, 5 megapixel camera, WiFi and 3G connectivity, Aluminum (iPad-like) case
  3. 10.1″ Windows 7 version; Windows 7 OS, AMD processor, 2x 1.3 megapixel cameras (one on either side), WiFi and 3G connectivity – possibly available as soon as February

Acer has always been a well-known computer manufacturer, and was able to make quite a name for themselves during the explosion of the netbook market.  However, as Jeff pointed out in a recent post regarding why netbooks sporting Chrome OS are doomed for failure, the netbook industry is simply on its last leg.  For this reason, it makes sense that Acer would be looking to enter a new venture, as it will be a challenge for the company to survive (much less expand) if they do not make innovations to their product line.

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“Wats ur emergency?” – 911 to Implement Text and Video Calls?

In 1968, the 911 system as we know it in the United States was launched in an effort to make it easier for emergencies to be reported and for police and fire services to be dispatched efficiently.  However, a lot has changed in the forty-two years that the 911 system has been alive, including how we contact emergency services.  Now, with the communications revolution happening before our eyes, SMS text messaging and mobile video communications services such as Facetime have suddenly become a de facto for personal communication.  And now, the United States Government is pondering the idea of bringing emergency communications “into the 21st century” and accepting SMS and video calls.

According to a Federal Communications Commission release today, more than 70% of calls to 911 dispatch centers are made from mobile phones.  With phones becoming more and more efficient and feature-packed each and every day, it makes sense that 911 dispatchers should be able to take advantage of mobile features in order to better assess the situation when someone calls in.

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How Amazon Could Improve and Expand Their Business

When it comes to online shopping, one of the most well-known online retailers is, Inc.  Amazon, a company that started as an online store in 1994, has grown to become a huge multi-million dollar corporation that dominates the Internet.  One of the things that really intrigues me about Amazon is the fact that they are able to not only make money by selling products as a traditional online store, but are also able to make money as the store back-end for sites that use Amazon for their storefronts.  Moreover, services such as Amazon Web Services show that the company is able to “shoehorn” themselves into other sub-industries in order to become a “big player.”  But how could Amazon take this market dominance to the next step and cut their costs while doing so?

To answer this question, we have to look at the business practices of eBay, Inc. and evaluate their wise business ventures in the past.  You see, in October of 2002 eBay bought PayPal, an online payment processor.  The implementation of PayPal into eBay has allowed people to buy and sell goods without the level of hassle seen before.

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UStream Producer (Pro) Sucks. Telestream and UStream Should Be Embarrassed.

Earlier this year UStream announced their own white label version of Wirecast called UStream Producer Pro.  Of course, I bought a copy for $199.  I also bought the $99 HD video plugin.  Approximately $300 later, I had what I thought would be the ultimate in live streaming software.  When I purchased Producer Pro I knew it would only work on UStream and I was (and still am) completely fine with that because I have been using their service exclusively since it launched back in 2007.  That being said, I did not know UStream would fail to maintain the software or have such terrible customer support for it.

A quick look at the UStream Producer support forum will show that there are many threads with zero replies – many of which are complaint or software problem threads.  In addition to that, the company (Telestream) which white labeled their product to UStream claims on their site under the FAQ section that both Producer Pro and Wirecast (Telestream’s version) are almost identical in terms of features.  Well, they aren’t.  Producer Pro is very much watered down, it’s much more buggy, it’s barely updated/maintained, and it just flat out sucks.

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Web-Based Television is the Future

Sites like Hulu and Netflix’s relatively new streaming service appear to have started a revolution in how we consume media.  Is this revolution complete?  Absolutely not.  In the future, I expect to see more open standards for viewing television online and through products such as the Google TV and the Apple TV.  More importantly, however, I am confident that web-based television will ultimately surpass traditional antenna, cable, and satellite television services.  Why is this important?  The fact of the matter is, that TV networks that neglect to open themselves up to electronic distribution will be left in the dust.

First off, web-based television is truly a win-win for advertisers, producers, and consumers alike.  As it stands now, television advertisers are only able to target their advertisements to consumers based on the televisions show and network they are watching.  While this is better than not having targeting at all, the fact of the matter is that web-based television would open the doors to my dynamically targeted advertisements and would allow the advertisors to get better impressions as apposed to simply a high number of them.  By targeting their audiences, advertisers will ultimately have a better chance at getting a better return on investment.

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Ubuntu Unity is Going to Fail

In April of next year, we are expected to see the release of the 11.04 version of the Ubuntu Linux operating system.  This version, codenamed Natty Narwhal is going to be like most updates of the popular Linux distribution in the sense that it will have better hardware support, updated applications, a handful of bug-fixes, etc.  However, one thing that is going to be a milestone for 11.04 is going to be the completely overhauled user-interface.  While many will argue that Ubuntu can use a new look, I personally feel that the implementation of the “Unity” interface will be a step backwards for what is otherwise a successful and respectable open-source project.

Many of you may be wondering what “Unity” is.  In short, the Unity interface is a dock-like layout where applications reside on a launcher (located on the left-hand side of the screen), and the workspace takes up the remaining screen real-estate.  While this may sound amazingly similar to the AWN navigation dock that I wrote about yesterday, the fact of the matter is that Unity is no where near as clean-looking as AWN and seems to “dummy down” the entire operating system.  While I have yet to try Unity on a desktop as of yet, I along with many others have tried Unity (and developed unfavorable views towards it) in the Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

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