Instagram Bought by Facebook for $1 BILLION

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Remember Instagram, the fun little quirky photo sharing service that just released an Android application?

As you may know, they’ve been growing in size since their launch and Instagram has become an extremely large and popular service.

Because of this, it was inevitable that they would eventually be purchased by an extremely large company… and who better than facebook?

First of all, $1,000,000,000 is a lot of money. A LOT. I didn’t really think that Instagram could be worth that much.

Second, a little note to Zuck and the whole facebook crew: Please, please, please, please don’t screw this up. Please don’t force it to be built in to the facebook interface. Don’t try to stick instagram into facebook, you’d be doing everybody a disservice. Also, don’t just get rid of the entire thing to eliminate competition.

We will have to see what Facebook is hoping to do with this photo-sharing giant, and I honestly hope that they don’t screw it up.

CES: The Progress of 3D

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One of the biggest things at CES last year was definitely 3D. 3D TVs, 3D tablets, 3D Projectors. But there were a few reasons that I hated them.

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First of all, you had to wear Active 3D glasses. These basically flicker each lens so fast that you can’t see, and it does it in rhythm with the TV. That’s how you could see two different images in each eye, giving you that 3D effect. As you can see, they tended to be a bit ridiculous. They were bulky and giant, needed to be charged, and were extremely expensive to replace. They also darkened the screen you were looking at quite a bit.

The other issue with 3D was that the colors were degraded. The saturation and contrast was reduced, and you give up everything in picture quality just to get that 3D effect. Basically, you were trading the convenience of TV just so you could get two pictures simultaneously.

This year, things have changed.

Exhibit A would be LG. They have created an amazing 3D smart TV that uses passive 3D glasses. These are the same glasses that you wear in a movie theatre, and are just plastic lenses that aren’t electronic at all. In fact, LG had a giant wall of these 3D TVs playing an awesome sequence of 3D footage. They were handing out tons of 3D glasses, because each one costs less than $0.05 to manufacture in China. You can keep it, break it, or lose it, and it won’t be a disaster.

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Another benefit of passive 3D glasses is that you lose the bulk.

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These are very light and thin glasses. In fact, some people even call them stylish – you may see people walking around in these glasses with the 3D plastic lenses popped out.

The nice thing about these new TVs is that you still have that beautiful color contrast and saturation that high-end TVs are known for. The brightness is still a bit reduced, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was last year.

3D still has a ways to go – the need to wear glasses in general is a bit annoying, and the screens that don’t require 3D glasses (called autostereoscopy) are absolutely awful and disgusting. But the progress is obvious, and it seems like 3D is going from a stupid gimmick that was awfully executed to something that you might actually be able to enjoy in your living room.

Goodbye, MacBook

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No, I’m not talking about the white one (post here).

I bought an aluminum MacBook in 2008, and it has lasted me until today. I loved it, it was reliable, and has lasted through three software versions. I have used it for three years straight, rarely skipping more than 8 hours without using it.

And today, it has finally left us.

I’m not getting rid of this computer, as it was my first real computer and has signatures of apple engineers on the bottom.

You’ll get to find out what computer I get next when I write a post about it. :)

Oddly, however, today is the same day that Steve Jobs has resigned from his CEO position at Apple. Coincidence? I think not.

Where’s those thunderbolt devices?

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Fourth months ago, a new MacBook Pro line was released. And as I said here, it was a total disappointment. The biggest thing on it was probably the new “Thunderbolt” port, which is a port with the same form-factor as the Mini DisplayPort, however it allows for transfer up to 10 GBPS. Yah, that’s fast.

Everyone I talked to said that it was awesome; it would be so good to use.

My argument was that it was too proprietary – Only three models of computers have that port, so why would a manufacturer go after making products for it?

The usual argument was that “It will standardize and products will be released for it eventually.”

Okay…

So here we are four months later, and the only product I’ve ever seen compatible with the thunderbolt port is an external hard drive from LaCie.

That’s it.

So….. Where’s those thunderbolt devices?

I believe that thunderbolt was (and still is) a total failure. Nobody uses it – and because no body uses it, manufacturers won’t create devices for it. And because manufacturers won’t create devices for it, nobody uses it. It’s a total loop – a manufacturer would have to make a product for it, so people would use it, so other manufacturers would make more products for it.

Nowadays, the only other computer line with a thunderbolt port is the most recent line-up of iMacs, which few people have.

But there still is hope for Thunderbolt. If every single Mac gets a thunderbolt port, after a while every Mac that is in use will have a port – that’s when manufacturers will start making products for it.

But until then, don’t expect much from Thunderbolt.

Notification Revamp for iOS 5?

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I’m not the only one that says the iOS notification system is in DIRE need of a revamp. Apple’s current notification system is flawed, to say the least. Issues that seem to plague the user range from lack of information, to disruption in the middle of a game or video, to a lack of management. A few users have even gone to the extent to draw up some concepts of systems they would like to see implemented. The rumor mill is spinning up with the addition of widgets and a notification system change. iPhone users everywhere hold their breath for a total redraw of the system. But what are the top things users are looking for?

 

Home Screen Availability

iOS supports being able to push notifications while the phone is locked, but you can only ever see one at a time. Users have to unlock their phone and scroll through all of the apps that might have sent them at notification in order to find what they were notified about. Many concepts have combated this issue by putting all the user’s notifications right on the home screen as they happen. They’ll offer a just enough information for the user to get a sense of what the notification is about (emails show sender/title, tweets show the mentioner and the beginning of the message, texts show the sender and the beginning of the text). However, these notifications should be hide-able by the user on their home screen, in order to keep a minimalistic feel to the iPhone, and as not to block your cute cat lock screen wallpaper.

 

Minimalistic Notifications

One of the most annoying parts of Angry Birds, despite missing that last pig, is when your gameplay is interrupted by an annoying text message or notification. These concepts tackle this issue by allowing a customizable list of applications that while that app is running, the user will not have any notifications pushed to them. Concepts of a redesign of the notification message altogether put the messages unobtrusively at the top of the iPhone screen, as opposed to stopping everything and putting them right in the middle. Clicking them will allow a drop down of your usual options.

 

Management Area

All of these concepts also show a management area for notifications. Users are able to see all of their recent notifications, and clicking on them will result in an appropriate action. This allows a quick and easy way for users to see what notifications they might have missed while watching a video or playing a game. This helps to streamline notifications from a black hole of tones and pop ups to short snippets of information relating to the user.

 

 

We’re hoping to see some, or all, of these changes in Apple’s notification system during WWDC. If you can’t stand using the current notifications (or, worse, if we don’t see an update at WWDC) and you don’t mind voiding your warranty, you can jailbreak your phone and download MobileNotifier, which seems to be the front runner in jailbroken notification systems. Ssshhh, but don’t tell Apple!

 

Too many apps in the app store?

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As we all know, Apple has been boasting about their 200,000 apps in the app store.

This is cool, but a little too many.

Actually, no. Ironically, I feel that too many apps are being accepted into the app store.

My theory: An app should only be accepted if it either:

  • No other app has the same functionality
  • It is better than another app with the same functionality

So we don’t get copycats cluttering the store.

With all of these copycats, the store is harder to search. When you want something, you usually have to turn to a third party to figure out which one is best.

Also, what’s up with these lite applications? They are like trials but they are completely different applications. I think that there should be a trial link in the full application description page. Because after all, the lite version is just a disabled version of the full one, and it doesn’t deserve to have a completely separate entry into the app store.

Do you agree?

Comments welcome.


Rent an iBook?

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Apple has been boasting about their iBooks app featuring the iBookstore. I’m soon going to be taking a trip to Japan, so i’d like some books to read on the way there. So instead of csarrying around books I’d love to just take my beautiful thin iPad.

But all of the books in the store are about $15 (varying on the book). I could just go down to my local library and get it for free and just give it back when I’m done.

So woultn’t it be great if there was an iLibrary instead? How about you can download the book for free, but just like rented movies it could only be on one device. How about you could send it to someone else if they want to read it? And how about there’s a due date, and you can renew it 2 times before it needs to be sent back to the library. And if you don’t want to send it back or you are saving it, you could just buy it?

Now as good as this sounds, I doubt that the publishers would be in much favor. After all, the iLibrary wouldn’t be paid for by taxes.

But how about the libraries offer books in ePub format, and you can rent them and sync them to your iPad? Apple would have to add support for rentals, but they wouldn’t have to deal with the publishers.

Sounds good eh?

Hopes and dreams…