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April, 2010

Six reasons why Steve Jobs is wrong on Flash

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Jobs-small“Steve Jobs just hates Adobe, personally. That’s all there is to it.”

That’s what I heard, from the mouth of a former Apple employee (who would not wish to be named), shortly after the whole stink about Apple and Flash blew up a few weeks ago. And I can well imagine how Adobe’s persistent refusal to run its business to Apple’s timetable throughout the past decade has been a source of personal infuration for Jobs.

So to me it rings true. It makes more sense than the explanations Steve Jobs wheeled out yesterday in his “Thoughts on Flash”, anyway.

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HP buys Palm: too little, too late?

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Palm Pre The announcement that HP was buying Palm for a mighty $1.2 billion provoked plenty of reactions across Twitter and the rest of the tech media: first shock at such a surprising move, and then a wave of incredulous statements suggesting that HP has wasted a colossal amount of money.

A closer look, though, reveals that Palm could prove a wise investment. HP is a huge corporation that makes good hardware and is relatively adept at marketing it properly. Palm, on the other hand, makes excellent software but is about as good as marketing as I am at skiing: not very.

HP has already stated its intentions for Palm. Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP’s Personal Systems Group, said that “Palm possesses significant IP assets and has a highly skilled team” which, inevitably, will be used to kick-start HP’s latest attempt to enter the growing smartphone market. It’s also been hinted that webOS could be adapted for us on slates and even netbooks.

There’s plenty of potential in this deal, then – which is set to be completed at the end of July – but HP has to move fast if it’s to make a success of its latest acquisition.

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Posted in: Newsdesk, Rant

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Why Freeview HD isn’t free at all

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

20101worldcuplogo

The World Cup in HD, for free? It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But with Freeview HD currently rolling out across the UK, that’s exactly what football fans across the country should be looking forward to.

There’s one teeny tiny problem, however. It’s been five months since Freeview HD started broadcasting in my area, and I still haven’t had a sniff of HD. Nope, not even the most tantalisingly brief whiff of it. Doctor Who in HD? No chance. Coronation Street in all its crisp, pixel-drenched glory? Dream on.

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Posted in: Random

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Joojoo tablet: first look review

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Tablets, or slates as we’re now supposed to call them, were the talk of the town at CES in January. It seemed every major laptop manufacturer was readying one for launch and, of course, we’ve just reviewed the main player –  Apple’s iPad.

But, not having the privilege of sampling the delights of Las Vegas, I didn’t get the chance to play with one until Apple’s beauty turned up in the office. Well, now I’ve laid hands on my second slate in as many weeks – the joojoo.

joojoo tablet

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Posted in: Hardware, Just in

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McAfee makes a (poorly timed) stand

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I’ve just got back from InfoSec, the annual IT security expo at Earls Court. Many major companies were there, including Symantec, Kaspersky, Cisco, HP… and McAfee. No reason on Earth why McAfee shouldn’t be there, of course, but in light of the company’s recent embarrassments, I couldn’t help but smirk at one unfortunate piece of stage dressing on the company’s stand:

McAfee

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Posted in: Random

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Pivot: the future of Internet Explorer?

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Pivot

Being a tech journalist, it’s easy to become disillusioned by technology. Mind you, being a person, it’s easy to become disillusioned by people – the trick, in both cases, is expectation management.

I stalk through the tech world warily, automatically translating every “revolutionary” to “uninspired” and every “magical” to “probably pointless” until proven otherwise. Contrary to accusations, I’m neither cynical, nor hard-bitten. I’m experienced. And, more importantly, still sane. Which is why I still throw up in my throat whenever journalists cheer at press conferences.

This tactic had served me well these past years, but even so the recent product launches from Google and Apple have managed to be underwhelming. The iPad is the answer to a question never asked, and offered few surprises beyond the ridiculous price tag. Buzz and Wave were comically inept and so badly implemented I’m beginning to wonder if Google isn’t doing it on purpose to see how many times it has to kick the FTC before the privacy watchdog bites back.

Funnily enough, the only company getting it consistently right is Microsoft. Office Web Apps is shaping up nicely, Windows Phone 7 has a personality all its own and Windows 7 just works, unlike Vista – not so much an OS as a series of really bad ideas explored in painful detail. I’m still dubious about Internet Explorer 9. You can only judge a horse on the races run, which would make Microsoft’s next browser a three-legged mare with one eye and rabies, but otherwise the signs are positive.

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Posted in: Rant

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What’s happened to Adobe CS5 Web Standard?

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

After digesting the various standalone CS5 reviews, most designers will tend to stick to one of the themed CS5 editions that reflect today’s cross-application workflows and offer considerably better value. However traditional web designers are in for a shock as Adobe has ditched the most popular entry-level suite, Web Standard.

flash authoring in CS5 Web Premium

Adobe is playing down the significance of its decision and seems to be hoping that no-one will notice and will simply upgrade to CS5 Web Premium. However it’s not just a fundamental repositioning, it’s the end of an era: effectively it’s the end of the veteran Macromedia Studio combination – Dreamweaver / Fireworks / Flash (and to a lesser extent Contribute) – which has played such a crucial role in building the web as we know it today.

So what is Adobe up to? Is it right? And what should end users do?

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How to stop Spotify shaming you on Facebook

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Spotify FacebookIf you’ve got friends on Spotify, your Facebook homepage probably looks something like the screenshot above this morning. This is because Spotify has just upgraded its software with a battery of social-networking features, and has taken the rather obnoxious decision to make everything you do public by default.

If you don’t want to be responsible for cluttering up your friends’ Facebook pages with inane announcements, or let the world know about your Barbara Streisand Greatest Hits playlist, here’s how to protect your privacy:

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Posted in: Random

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Adobe: friend or foe of the web design community?

Monday, April 26th, 2010

cs5 photoshop content aware fillIt would be easy to see Adobe as the injured party in its current war with Apple over the absence of Flash Player from the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. With the release of its flagship CS5 series of products, however, it’s clear that Adobe is a company with ambition and plenty of ideas intent on continuing its own brand of world domination. Ironically, the world it dominates is “Planet Apple”, with products such as Photoshop and Illustrator as synonymous with the web design community as Apple’s iMac and MacBook Pro.

As a developer, my main interest when it comes to CS5 is the new release of Flash Builder (aka Flex 4) and its interaction with Flash Professional and Flash Catalyst, and I’m looking forward to seeing whether Adobe has succeeded in creating the new, more productive workflow it was aiming for.

However, I’ve recently been attempting to peek through the fashionable spectacles of a young web designer so that I can advise a particular individual on how to get started in their own freelance business. And it’s a frighteningly expensive vista.

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The £600 thumb drive: would you buy one?

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

IMGA0002

Every once in a while a product comes along that makes your jaw drop with incredulity. Not in terms of its beauty, design panache or game-changing technology, you understand, but because of its incredibly high price.

Recently, products falling under this umbrella include early SSDs, and the first OLED TV ($2,499 for an 11in screen anyone?). If you look further back, you can include LCD monitors, the first PC-based CD-writers and LCD monitors in that list.

I have another one in my hand today: the Kingston Data Traveller DT310. It’s a 256GB USB thumb drive. And no, that’s no typo. The only thing giving its massive capacity away is a slightly porkier profile than most. That and the 256GB label on the side.

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Posted in: Random

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