Monthly Archives: August 2011

Microsoft Implements Ribbon UI in Windows 8 Explorer

There’s no denying the fact that Microsoft has been walking on egg shells a bit in the last couple of years after having publicly humiliated itself with the failure of Windows Vista (something that many people still refer to even to this day) and the less than admirable reputation that many of the company’s other offerings have earned over the years.  Nonetheless, I honestly think Microsoft is poised for a comeback of awesome proportions.  Windows 7 has been a highly adopted update for users around the world and has even managed to make up for criticism that Microsoft got for Windows Visa, the Windows Phone product line has been revamped to better accommodate a larger variety of users (the “Mango” update is especially promising), and Internet Explorer doesn’t suck (as much) anymore.

All that said, Microsoft still has a lot of work to do in order to fully restore consumer faith and show that the company can be the powerhouse that it once was.  The company’s reputation is ultimately going to leverage on the success of the upcoming Windows 8 release and Microsoft’s ability to stand tall in the mobile industry by making their full-scale desktop operating system foreseeable on tablet computers.  And for all of the criticism that I personally direct towards Microsoft, I really must say that the last few months have made it very apparent (to me, at least) that the company is indeed on the right track.  Even as a Mac OS X user, I really must say that there are a few things that we’re seeing in Windows 8 that the minimalist in me really likes.  But the implementation of the Ribbon UI in Windows Explorer, as shown off yesterday by WinRumors, certainly isn’t one of them.

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Why I Avoid the Mac App Store

When I first heard that Apple was working to put out an “App Store” for Mac OS X following the incredible success that the company had with a venture of the same name and stature on the iOS platform I was initially very excited.  Such an organized system for buying, downloading, and updating software seemed like it would be an ingenious idea, both for consumers like you and me and for the developers that deliver software as well.  In all honesty, the App Store was one of the first things that I opened when I first received my MacBook Pro earlier this year, and from the get-go I was very impressed with it.

But after having had my MacBook for some time now and having bought a handful of applications over the past several months, I really must say that I’m not a horrible fan of the App Store; at least not to the extent that I thought I’d be.  In fact, whenever possible I will avoid buying applications from the App Store if at all possible, rather electing to go through the developer’s website if the application in question isn’t exclusive to the App Store.  Sure, I lose the “convenience” updates from the App Store (I’ll discuss this later) and often-times it’s a bit more of a pain to give a website my credit card information each time I’d like to buy an app, but to me the downsides of the App Store seriously outweigh any advantages.

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7 Reasons I (Finally) Updated to Lion

I didn’t want to do it.  Really, I didn’t.  After having bought my first Mac and fallen in love with the clean and crisp user interface of Mac OS X (10.6, Snow Leopard) I was less than eager to update to the latest version (Lion) when it came out last month.  Don’t get me wrong, I acknowledged that Apple had progressed very far with Lion, but when it came down to it I just didn’t feel it was for me.  At first the iOS-like scrollbars and overall style of the operating system seemed like a step back from where Apple had been before.  But this week, about a month after the release of Lion, I finally took the plunge and updated my MacBook Pro.

Admittedly, my main motivation was simply to stay up to date with software that I realized was focusing development towards Lion-specific features.  But after having been “behind” for an entire month there were several other things that I wanted to try out in Lion for myself, having seen countless screenshots and video tours of the latest release of Apple’s flagship operating system.  In this article I’ll go over seven of my favorite features in Lion; features that, for me at least, were enough to justify an update that I previously tried to avoid.

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I’m Confident Apple Will Continue to Grow, Even Now That Jobs Left the Throne

Having had been away from my computer for a good chunk of the afternoon yesterday I was pretty surprised to see a pile of unread messages in my Twitter feed that far surpassed the “regular” number of messages I’d see after such an amount of time.  “Wow,” I thought to myself, “did the east-coast have another earthquake?  Perhaps another musician overdosed, or maybe Justin Bieber released another single.”  But when I actually started reading from my newsfeed I was quickly taken back by the news of Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Inc., resigning from his position of chief executive officer.

While I can’t exactly say that I was surprised by the revelation, especially when taking Mr. Jobs’ health concerns into consideration, but the fact that this news came completely out of the blue without any warning really did make me do a double-take.  Even though Steve Jobs isn’t leaving the company entirely but rather pursuing the company’s board to become the board chairman, the fact of the matter still remains that this move and announcement is going to be one that goes down forever in Apple history.  Naturally, my first instinct was to question why Steve Jobs was stepping down.  Had his health taken a turn for the worst?  But without any answers to that question, the first instinctive question that popped into my mind was how Apple would fare without Steve at the throne.

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Open Source: Constructive or Harmful to Competition?

When we look at the success of businesses and projects – both from the standpoint of those with interest in a business and the consumers that buy and use their products – competition is one of the most important components in any market.  Working in retail, competition is what forces me to offer my prospective customers fair prices because I know that if I don’t I’ll lose business to my competitor down the street.  But competition between businesses in the same industry doesn’t stop there.  Competition is what allowed the small business I work for to get off the ground instead of fall victim to monopolies within the industry.  And perhaps most importantly competition is what drives innovation, forcing engineers and product developers to not only produce more feature-rich goods, but products that are priced reasonably for consumers as well.

Even as much as I like competition, though, I realize that there are always going to be situations where working together produces better end results for everyone involved because if people are willing to work together instead of against one another the combined resources and efforts can go so much further.  It’s for this reason that I have always liked the concept of open source software.  After all, when people with different skill sets and experiences make their work available for others to use and improve upon their work becomes exponentially more valuable.  Not only do others get to make use of the work of others, but through sub-projects, branches, and development groups what would have otherwise been nothing can become something invaluable to millions of users.

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Even at $99 the TouchPad is a Bad Buy

But as I’m sure you’ve heard, HP recently made a pretty stunning announcement that they were intent on removing themselves from the mobile industry, and as reports have also speculated, the larger hardware industry altogether. And now that the company is looking to root itself into the software industry HP has taken a number of steps to tie up their loose ends in the hardware sector.

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Should (or Will) Google Start Playing Offense With Its Patent Arsenal?

When Google first launched their patent search in December of 2006 I don’t think many people believed or even thought it possible that Google’s own patents would come to flood the search results only a few years later.  But now in 2011 we’ve witnessed Google, a company that has grown to massive proportions over the years, going on a rampage buying up patents left and right.  Be it the purchase of 1,000 IBM patents earlier in the month – something that I viewed as entirely hypocritical – or the even larger move to purchase Motorola Mobility and gain an estimated 17,000 patents there’s no denying that Google has been quite busy recently.  Just last month some people were predicting a “patent war” between Apple and Google, both of whom have expressed an interest in expanding their patent catalogs, and as of right now Google is definitely winning by far.

And Google isn’t bashful about letting their true intentions being known, either.  Larry Page has been quoted as saying that the “acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable [them] to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.”  Of course the reference to anti-competitive threats comes after Google has been taken to court for violating patents that have been granted to other entities.  But really I have to wonder if Google really intends to simply sit on all of those patents.  I get the fact that they’re looking to protect themselves, but the question still remains; will Google flex their now super-sized muscles in court and go after other entities (e.g. Microsoft and Apple) for violating patents that Google now owns (or will own in the near future)?

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How To: Block Ads On Your Website

If you use Google’s Competitive Ad filter (found in the AdSense control panel), you can easily block specific URL’s of websites whose ads you don’t want to appear on your site. While this is great if you advertise a particular product and don’t want a competitors ad to show up, this is also great for people who care about the types of ads shown on their site. Let me explain.

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Here’s Why HP Is Moving Into the Software Business

It’s clear to us that HP is looking to focus on the software industry now and while many sites and blogs have been attempting to dissect the actual words HP used in its announcement that were discontinuing the TouchPad, WebOS devices, and planning to spin-off its PC business, I’ve thinking about what they didn’t say.  It all starts with the company’s new CEO, Leo Apotheker, who is the former head of SAP, the giant German enterprise software company.

If one thing is clear, Leo Apotheker knows the enterprise software industry very well.  Do you truly expect him to change his expertise because he’s at HP a company known for its computers and printers?  The short answer is no you wouldn’t.  And there is no reason Leo should try and get out of his comfort zone.  Stick with what you know well – it typically works out better in the long-term.  But aside from that there’s several reasons why being in the software business makes more sense from a business perspective.

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