Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Amazon Kindle is the Next Chapter in Literature

Amazon has always been one of the largest – if not the largest – online stores to ever take grasp upon the Internet.  In fact, Amazon was among the first to pioneer the concept of online storefronts.  However, many people aren’t aware that Amazon originally opened their doors (or their servers, rather) as an online bookstore.  That is, they sold nothing but books in the very beginning, and only started catering to other products as they became more successful and felt the need to expand.  Over the years, Amazon has become the online destination to purchase just about anything; from books to televisions, from clothes to musical instruments, they pretty much sell it all.

Over the years, however – even as times have changed – Amazon has not lost its grass-roots of book sales.  However, instead of selling a great number of paperbacks, Amazon has been shifting focus to electronic content delivery with their Kindle format which allows shoppers to download books onto their PC or Macintosh computer, iOS, Android, or BlackBerry handset, or Amazon’s own Kindle reader.  Over the last couple of years, Amazon has done very well promoting the Kindle device and Kindle eBooks to the point that the Kindle format has now grown to outsell paperback books on, according to MSNBC.

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Google vs Groupon: Who Will Succeed?

Recently, Google was looking to acquire Groupon, however, that deal fell through when Groupon rejected the $6 billion offer.  Now, Google is rumored to be launching its own location-based coupon service called Google Offers.  The service which is expected to launch in the near future will be directly competing with the ever-popular (and fast growing) Groupon.

So who will emerge as the dominant player in this space?  It’s going to come down to two things.  The first being the deals.  The second being the ability to scale and add more locations on a regular basis.

Groupon already has a pretty big head start, but that doesn’t matter when you are competing with Google.  They have the resources and the ability to scale at a much faster rate.  Right now, Groupon has thousands of employees going to various businesses arranging its daily deals.  Whether a deal will be a success or not is hard to tell.  Of course, if a deal goes well, they can try to run it again and hope for similar success.  However, right now, the feedback channel on a per deal basis is lacking.  Groupon also requires users to input their information (location and email) so they can get access to their local deals.

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Didn’t Get a Chrome OS Notebook? Now May Be Your Chance.

Like many, I was excited when Google officially launched the long-awaited Chrome OS and began giving out CR-48 notebooks sporting the OS as part of their pilot program.  In fact, after Jeff posted the article about the hacked-together tracker in December, I was constantly checking to see if I had been lucky enough to be selected as a member for the pilot program.  But after Google randomized the tracking codes for the notebooks, the tracker became “indefinitely disabled”, and I personally forgot about it altogether.  And now, like many, I am still without a Chrome OS notebook.

While it is still isn’t apparent exactly how many Chrome OS notebooks have been shipped out thus far and how many are still destined for lucky owners, a new glimmer of light has presented itself for users who seem to have been left out of the pilot program.  You see, Google has now partnered with a handful of sellers in the up and coming Chrome Web Store in order to make even more Chrome OS notebooks available, increasing the odds that you might be selected.

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How To: Minimize Wireless Interference

Wireless network connections, also known as “WiFi” make it convenient for users to take advantage of their local network and Internet connection from various areas within their homes.  However, wireless slowdowns and dropouts can cause many headaches and nightmares. Many things in your home can interfere with your wireless network. These devices operate in the 2.4Ghz band, a highly crowded spectrum. To give you an example of how crowded let me list some devices that use 2.4Ghz.

  • Cordless Telephones.
  • Baby monitors.
  • Wireless security cameras.
  • Wireless keyboards and mice.
  • Nearby wireless networks.
  • Clear Internet Services.
  • Microwaves. (They don’t technically operate on 2.4Ghz, but can interfere.)
  • Bluetooth devices.
  • R/C Toys.
  • Some T.V. Remotes.

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Apple’s Rise to #1 [Infographic]

Apple, Inc. has had quite an amazing journey the past 10 years with a number of new and innovative products released they have climbed to the very top of corporate success.  The company which was founded in 1976 has come quite a long way and had its fair share of ups and downs.

The infographic below highlights some pretty interesting facts.  For example, did you know Apple originally had 3 founders?  Oh, and the last part is kind of surprising.

Check it out, let us know what you think.

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Why Verizon Can’t Afford Failures on the iPhone Launch Day

If you’ve been following technology news much (or at all) lately, I’m sure that you are more than aware that the Apple iPhone – which was originally exclusive to the AT&T mobile network in the US – will be coming to the Verizon Wireless network come February 10th; two weeks from today.  And while the iPhone will likely do a lot of good for Verizon in the long-run, the fact of the matter is that the carrier has a lot riding on the success of day one, and must flawless transitions and activations if they are going to have any chance at going anywhere with the iPhone.

Having said this, it is important to realize the competitiveness that we have seen between AT&T and Verizon in the last couple of years –  even more so after AT&T had introduced the iPhone.  Verizon even went as far as to specifically attack AT&T’s service and network in their advertisements, and added to what became a huge level of bad PR for AT&T.  Now that Verizon will be carrying the iPhone itself, it is more important than ever for them to make sure that they have all of their ducks in a row, because if they don’t they will stand the chance of looking very hypocritical come launch day.

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Should MySpace Be a Prospective Acquisition for Google?

After once having been a symbol of society’s social lifestyle, MySpace has lost a great deal of business and traffic over the last couple of years, and has ultimately become left in the dust as newer social networks such as Facebook steal the spotlight. Even after the overhaul that MySpace underwent a number of months ago, the fact still remains that MySpace is nowhere near as relevant in today’s society and culture as it was just a number of years ago. Things have gotten so bad for MySpace that News Corp – the company that currently owns the once prestige social giant – has handed out a series of pink slips to long-time MySpace employees and has even gone public that they would be more than willing to sell off the company if the right opportunity were to present itself.

Another company that is struggling in the social networking field is Google, Inc., who many people believe is gearing up to form a full-blown social network of their own, despite having tried (and failed) with a number of “social” ventures such as Google Wave and Google Buzz. With more recent news suggesting that Google is hiring a number of employees to work on social networking (among other things), it almost seems all to logical for Google to remedy their bad luck with social networking by purchasing and building upon the existing brand recognition and infrastructure held by purchasing MySpace.

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Five Rules for Writing a Killer Blog Post

It seems that every time you turn around, another blog or website has popped up somewhere on the Internet.  Don’t get me wrong; it truly warms my heart to know that people are able to share their ideas, opinions, and points of view with the world.  That’s what the Internet is for, right?  However, I have recently noticed a troubling amount of sites that have poorly structured articles and posts that ultimately lack in content and usefulness.  Last July, I wrote a post (as part of larger series) about what drives users to websites.  In this article, I did my best to hammer in the fact that a website’s success revolves entirely around the quality of its content.

But what is quality content?  And better yet, how can you create it?  Yesterday my 150th post for BestTechie was published, and given this milestone number I have decided to put together a list of five rules – many of which I have learned by trial and error – that help to create the type of unique and insightful content that ultimately brings traffic to a website.

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Google Needs to Step Up Their Game in Result Relevance

I don’t think anyone (especially a reader of a blog such as BestTechie) would argue against the statement that the Internet has changed the way we as a society function and live.  While finding information only a matter of years ago meant consulting books and visiting a library, Internet users are now able to do a vast majority of their research online.  Not only does this give the end-user the benefit of saving a substantial amount of time in research, but it also opens the doors for more and more people (such as myself) to share information and opinions, meaning that someone doing research into a particular topic or subject can have access to as much information as possible – all without breaking a sweat.

With seas of information readily available on the Internet, it is important for users to be able to find the most relevant information online without sifting through piles of information on their own.  This is where the concept of search engines – the mechanisms that index and allow us to search the Internet – come into play.

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Quora: What’s the Big Deal?

I’ve asked this before, but I think it needs to be asked again.  Can someone (anybody) please explain what it is about this Q&A site craze that is going on these days?  Every tech guy (except me it seems) is hyping up Quora as the next big thing. While I admit I said the next big thing will involve communication, I don’t think this is it.  Let me explain.

What is Quora?  To me, Quora is nothing more than a glorified Yahoo Answers.  The only thing Quora has going for it is that very well-respected people within Silicon Valley are on it and answering questions as well as giving advice (and who knows how long that will last).  However, that’s great – if you’re into that type of scene, but then again, most people aren’t.

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Expecting the iPad 2 to Sport a Retina Display? Don’t Place Your Bets Yet.

Around this time last year, Apple announced the iPad – a device that arguably started the tablet and mobile computing revolution that has been gradually building up over the last few months or so.  That coming summer, the iPhone 4 was officially announced, and one of the biggest selling points was the high-definition Retina Display that delivered the best Display technology ever to be seen in an Apple mobile product.  Because of the high success of both the iPad and the Retina sporting iPhone 4, many people – myself included – naturally assumed that the second generation iPad would come with the same ultra-real display.  Apple Insider even went as far as predicting that the second generation product would hold an upgraded graphics chip in order to support the type of rending power necessary for such a vivid display.

However, CNET is now coming forth with new information from John Gruber that disputes the inclusion of a Retina display in the dubbed “iPad 2”; a feature that many of us have seen as a given since the unveiling and subsequent release of the iPhone 4.

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Update: HP Tells Users to Rethink Tablet Rumors

Yesterday I published an article about the possibilities of Hewlett Packard announcing a webOS-based tablet product at an event scheduled for February 9th.  This article discussed some of the rumors that were floating about the Internet in regards to the mysterious product, and exactly what features and specifications it would potentially have.  One of the things that I made sure to point out was the fact that the rumors regarding the product were, despite being backed by what seemed to be credible and trustworthy resources, nothing more than speculation.  I was also quick to point out that HP was being very tight-lipped about the entire event and what would come out of it, meaning that there was no verified information as to what the even would unveil.

Yesterday, however, it appeared that someone had spilled the beans, as Engadget posted an article with “exclusive” rendered images from a “trusted tipster” that showed what was presumed to be the design of the tablet.  With this post, many people immediately fell under the conclusion that the tablet had been revealed and the suspense of HP’s webOS event next month had been ruined.

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Facebook Launches Mobile Interface for Baseline Phones

It seems as if every time we as consumers turn around, manufactures are releasing new and improved smartphones; more feature-rich and power-packed than the ones they released only a matter of days before.  However, with the constant innovations that the smartphone industry is making it is sometimes easy to forget about the non-smart phones that are still sold day-in and day-out.  Call them baseline, call them low-end, call them “dumbphones” or “plain old telephones”, but the fact of the matter is that they are still in high demand and are still widely used.  You know the ones I’m talking about; the handsets that are given out for “free” with new contracts, or even the ones that you can purchase for around $20 with no contract at all.

My point is, despite all of the growth in the smartphone market, there are still quite a bit of baseline handsets out there that are manufactured, sold, and used each and every day.  And even though these phones are a big market, many people in current-day society neglect to realize the huge market that baseline handsets are in the mobile industry.  Facebook, however, announced yesterday plans to tap into this abandoned mobile market by introducing a mobile version of their website specifically for “baseline” mobile handsets.

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HP Planning to Release WebOS Tablets by March?

Before the smartphones and the mobile industry as we know it developed to what it is today, Palm was seen as one of the largest and most powerful manufactures of PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) devices – essentially smartphones without the mobile networks and mobile data connectivity.  However, as the mobile industry became packed with newcomers and new innovations, Palm quickly became left in the dust and was regarded as nothing more than a company that could not keep up with the times.  Even though Palm produced smartphones as well, they simply were not competing with the new manufacturers at the same level that they once had.

In an effort to get back in the smartphone industry as a bigger player once again, Palm developed the webOS platform which was introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2009 – along with the Palm Pre, which became much sought-after at the time.  One of the key features behind webOS, as its name suggests, was the fact that it integrated very heavily with the mobile web and Internet communications, allowing users to be connected to what mattered to them.

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