Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Key to Windows 7's Success

This is my opinion to what may or may not make Windows 7 a successful operating system. Well, actually it's just a common knowledge or result that you'll see in a few month. Anyways…

(Jump to the end if you want to just read the conclusion. I won't be offended. Probably.)

So, why did Windows Vista fail? Well, first of all, what does it mean that Vista failed? Microsoft is the dominating giant; whether it does a great job or not, people will move on and buy the latest product. Go to the store and buy a new PC, the consumer has no choice but to buy what's there. Most people I know have Vista, unless they're a Mac owner. However, when it comes to commercial, which I mean bigger organizations, the IT department has some power and knowledge to choose a certain OS and stick with it for some time. Also, hardware and software vendors/developers also get to decide for themselves with which OS their product will work with.

So, again, why did Windows Vista fail? 1) the users complained out loud, so it seemed like it failed; 2) IT departments didn't buy it, so it did affect sales; 3) a lot of third-party hardware and software did not support Vista and interestingly this made Microsoft look bad rather than the developers.

On the contrary, Apple's Mac OS X series seem to be praised. Aside from the fact that the operating system is in fact slick and intuitive and appeals to the users, it seems to have relative good support from the developers. The recent updates from Tiger to Leopard and on to Snow Leopard were pretty smooth as most software worked just fine, or the developers were quick to solve problems which lead to happy customers. But it's worthy to note that Mac OS X install base is still very small especially in commercial areas which amplifies the outcry of poorly developed operating systems.

Conclusion: what is the key to Microsoft Windows 7's success? Unlike Vista, it needs good support from third-party hardware and software vendors. The primary reason some stuck with Windows XP was because their hardware/software didn't support Vista. If the cost is not a significance and the third-party vendors happily support Windows 7, it will succeed.

Say what, Apple? Not a threat to Microsoft, just yet. Post Windows 7, maybe…

Friday, August 28, 2009

Some Noteworthy Music

I like music, as many do, and here are some of my picks from kinda-got-lost-in-the-pile collection. (Links to iTunes Store USA.)

  • Electronic/dance genre helps to stay awake on occasions working all night. Some vocals are great too from this indie album; check out this track:
    Sally Shapiro - My Guilty Pleasure: Looking At The Stars

  • Here is another electric shock for you!
    Goose - Bring It On: Bring It On Down

  • Michelle Branch goes country:
    Michelle Branch - Sooner or Later - Single: Sooner or Later

  • My favorite genre is actually Jazz. This is a great album for a great deal:
    Nat Adderley - Autobiography


Thursday, June 11, 2009

iPhone Push Notification — AIM

Apple is conducting a massive PNS (Push Notification Service) test again. This time with AIM, AOL's (or MobileMe) instant messaging app. More like it, as this is interactive and much more meaningful using PNS. Below is what it looks like:

a) You can see an IM message sent from me via the Alerts and Badges.

b) This is the Alerts shown when the iPhone is locked. Notice the unlock slider says, "slide to view". When you slide, the app automatically launches immediately after unlocking; no, the app does not launch until you take this action. (I'm not sure if this is an improvement over the previous AP News app or something that is controlled by the app developer. Or maybe I just missed it…)

c) If you don't want the app to automatically launch when you slide, you can ignore it by pressing the power/sleep button. Turning the iPhone back on shows the regular "slide to unlock".

Previously, I complained that after receiving the notification, you still have to launch the app and it was annoying, especially due to the time it takes. But if the iPhone 3G S is truly faster at starting an app, it might not be such a big deal. We'll see about that…

Friday, May 22, 2009

How the Push Notification Works on the iPhone

If you are curious on how the Push-Notification works on the yet to come iPhone 3.0, here are the details.

Apple has been testing their push notification system with a preview edition of the AP News app; this app is made available to selected developers only on the iTunes Store. Of course, this new app requires iPhone OS 3.0 and breaking news is supposed to be notified even when the app is not running. So here is how it looks like:

1) When you launch the app for the first time, you're asked if you want to enable push notification. Let's answer OK.

2) Well, you are good to go now, but lets see what can be configured. Go to Settings (of your iPhone) and you'll see a new item called "Notifications".

3) Then you will see a list of apps that uses the push notification service.

4) You can then configure three settings for each app; you can be notified by: 1. Sounds, note that the app developer decides what the tune will be, not you, 2. Alerts which is a pop-up, 3. Badges, the little red circle with a number of unread messages like the Mail app.

So now, how does this work in live? Badges, there is no need to explain. The Sounds, umm, it would be nice if the user can choose a tone like the ringtones; it probably will depend on the app, but the AP News buzz sound is not good for ones heart. Also, it might be nice to have a time schedule in which you can turn it off at night. Alerts is like when you get a text message; it looks like below:

BTW, if you are curious, it does work with both carrier network or Wi-Fi. In the above picture, the phone is in Airplane mode with Wi-Fi on, although the Wi-Fi icon is not on. (May be it works without any Internet connectivity. You know, Apple is very innovative so…)

Now, my opinion on this: I think this really does not replace background processing. For example, with the AP News app, you launch the app after receiving a notification which takes at least few seconds. Then, the app really doesn't show you the related article; or at least it wasn't obvious to me. Think about using this with an IM app, constantly switching apps going back and forth with another app, each time logging in and out of your IM session. The notification is not delivering messages to the app, it's just a notification; after the app is actually launched, it still has to load information via the Internet and the app has to be well developed so that it actually is in sync with the notification message. All this is going to take so much time that users will defiantly start to complain.

Push Notification is probably for applications such as emails or news updates. If you are playing games, doing some research on the web and wanting to IM chat with someone going back and forth, this is not yet the solution.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Microsoft's Laptop Hunters Ad Not Impressive

I have to say, the Laptop Hunters series ad from Microsoft is really not impressive. (I have the official video clips down below.) Well, true, in this economy, it must be very appealing to the general crowd and I think Microsoft is being successful in that aspect. But basically, what Microsoft is saying is that Windows computers are simply cheap; that's it, nothing more. For a while, sales will go up, but in the long-term, will the "PC" manufacturers be happy for what Microsoft is doing for them?

Side note, although I'm a fan of Apple products and do some development on its platform, I do depend on Microsoft products and they are equally important. So I'm not trying to say Apple is the best and Microsoft always sucks, but Microsoft is kind of doing that on its own.

Can Microsoft ever have a branding image that ties to keywords like: "innovative", "gorgeous", "easy-to-use", instead of "cheap", "copy-cats" and "frustration"? Oh, BTW, Microsoft itself doesn't tie to "cheap" at all, but their sales channel, "PC", does. No wonder why PC manufacturers are exploring Linux flavored OS and some even installing Mac OS!

The first of the series. Yes, direct comparison with Apple.

Actually a different Lauren. I'm starting to wonder if Microsoft is hinting a new operating system named "Lauren"…

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Microsoft Kumo – Meanings behind the word

You may know, but Microsoft is trying to rebrand it's Live Search service. The name that has been rumored is "Kumo". (It's already on Wikipedia…)

Why Kumo? Although Steve Ballmer irresponsibly said he doesn't know the reason, it makes perfect sense to Microsoft because it's a word for "cloud" or "spider" in Japanese. The web and cloud computing! Despite these deep meanings, the crowd did not like the sound of it and probably Mr. Ballmer felt embarrassed, thus made fun of the word himself.

Another word in the rumors is "Bing". Bing! Bing, bing! Sure does sound annoying…

Personally, I really don't mind Live Search. Front page design looks beautiful compared to Google's. The results, umm, looks like Google; is that bad? Usefulness? Not really. Name? Don't think it matters at this point. "Google it" means to search on the web and people will still use their favorite search engine or search bar, not necessarily Google Search; my preference is Google by the way…

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

12 Mac Apps for $39 – MacHeist 3 Bundle

Please don't tell me you don't know MacHeist? If you are a Mac user, you have to take advantage of this offer: MacHeist 3 Bundle!

This time, if all apps are unlocked, you will have 12 apps, a total value of $1,000 for just $39. And as the name implies, this is the 3rd time offer. First timers, you've been missing on a great deal! Don't miss this time!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New iPhone OS + iTunes Allow Encrypted Backups

I had a chance to install iPhone OS 3.0 beta that Apple just released today. and turns out you can encrypt your backups. I don't think this was mentioned anywhere, but here it is a screenshot from my Mac:

iTunes take a backup of your iPhone each time you sync with your computer. Some people did not necessarily feel comfortable with this since if you had sensitive data on your iPhone, now it's also on your computer which may easily be stolen; this is especially the case if you use a laptop or just because malware is a common threat nowadays. But no more worries, right?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Google Talk + Voice = Unlimited Free Calls

As myself an evangelizer of what I say "telecommunication 2.0", I am happy to see the proof of GrandCentral not being killed off by Google. Yes, Google launched their Voice service as a "preview" based on GrandCentral and it's existing users.

Although Teleflip, an email-over-SMS service, is a goner, Google has integrated SMS in to their Voice service. Well, it's no replacement of Teleflip since the concept is pretty much the opposite, but with push email becoming more common, this type of service is probably unnecessary. However, the other way around would be useful; you can receive text messages on Google Voice number even though it is not a mobile phone number. Now, only if this feature would forward messages to your email account, I can really get rid of my text-messaging plans.

As I pointed out in my earlier post, you can use Google Voice and Gizmo5 to make free calls within the U.S. Now you can also make cheap international calls; maybe cheaper than Skype.

BTW, what do I mean by "Google Talk + Voice = Unlimited Free Calls"? Well, this is the case with Google Voice and Gizmo5 as of now. But will Gizmo5 be happy about this model? I doubt it as this brings traffic to Gizmo5 without any immediate revenue. If this becomes an issue, Google can always turn to itself, Google Talk which is it's own VoIP service. Then, totally within Google's own hands, it can provide a free VoIP (Internet-to-landline) service.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Got Macworld Expo 2009 Badge?

Steve Jobs is not giving the keynote at Macworld this year and will also be the last year Apple would be participating. Yes, this is official. Less exciting? Well, I'm sure still going:

Badge pick-up started today. Saves time; not a single person in line when I went to Moscone Center today.

No matter who gives the keynote, it really doesn't matter. I'm a "Expo Only" attendee anyways!

BTW, I do hope Macworld continues to live with a nice and cozy community character.