Firefox Jumps on the Mobile OS Bandwagon at MWC 2013

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At Mobile World Congress, a bunch of people with ties huddled into a room in Barcelona, Spain to hear what Firefox had to say.

Firefox announced Firefox OS, a new mobile operating system that will inevitably compete against Apple, Android, and the other big names. I’m not going to go into super specific details, but here’s the important stuff:

Firefox OS has secured shipments on many different devices (many of them very cheap) from LG Electronics, Alcatel One Touch, and some other unheard of companies. It won’t be coming to any devices in the US until 2014.

The big headline of Firefox OS is that they’re ditching a typical app store and instead hoping to have an “open market” of HTML5 based apps. In essence, the OS is basically a web browser. “Apps” are actually just links to websites.

Essentially, I think this is a good idea that will succeed in foreign markets but not in the US.

I’ve covered the quality+userbase=userbase++ concept in my post about Google+. In case you didn’t read that, basically, any social networking site’s best feature is more users for people to socialize with. When you have users, other users want to join, and your user base will exponentially grow. This same system can be applied to app stores. For your phone to be successful, you need apps. For developers to make apps for your phone, there need to be users. For there to be users, there need to be apps. The more users you have, the more apps you have, the more users you have, the more apps you have, and so on.

Firefox OS has the edge here because the “apps” are all HTML based (websites). This means that anyone who has ever created a website has the knowledge to create an app for Firefox OS – so there are already 8 million developers for this OS. Removing the learning curve of a new language and new library for a mobile OS will make it much more compelling to developers and, in turn, more compelling to users.

Phones running Firefox OS are going to be released mainly in China and developing cell areas for a fairly cheap price. As a result, I think it will succeed in those markets where iPhones and Androids are often too expensive. I don’t think it’s going to succeed in America as the competition from Microsoft, RIM, Android, and iOS is very hot.

Overall, I think that Firefox OS is a controversial approach to the Mobile OS – websites as apps – and will thrive in less modernized countries, but fail in others.

 

Samsung owes Apple a LOT of Money

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If you think that Apple is too pricey for charging $1000 for a bottom line laptop, get a load of this.

After a long, heated dispute on patent infringements that took a staggering 21 hours in court, Apple’s bill for Samsung comes out to $1.049 BILLION dollars.

To put that in perspective, the US treasury’s cash balance is around 75 billion. Samsung owes Apple around 1.4% of the worth of the US treasury.

But what for? I could go through the entire list, but it basically comes down to Apple’s design patents from device exteriors to the packaging of a plethora of Samsung’s products.

For the 21.5 hour period, the jury was deciding on some “inconsistencies” on two of the products: The LTE-enabled Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Samsung Intercept. It was decided that Samsung would owe around $200,000 for the Tab, even though nobody formally noted any patent infringements.

About the Samsung Intercept, Samsung made some stupid error that isn’t really important enough to mention and they owe an extra $2,000,000 for that.

So finally, the long tale comes to an end, with an unfortunately typical ending: Money —–> Apple.

Brand over Writers? The Magnate Story

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All over the world, blogs are started, maintained, and written to. They are read, whether it be by 1 viewer or 1,000,000,000. Some eventually turn into magazines. Other times, it is a magazine + blog combo. Some just stay blogs. Others might collate their blog posts into a book.

These blogs, sites, and magazines are written by people of all kinds of ages for people of all kinds of ages. There’s fashion blogs written by experts, food blogs written by stay-at-home moms, and there’s plenty of blogs written by tech-savvy teens about tech.

Lets take an example: Magnate Magazine.

Magnate was a magazine that followed Corby magazine, all manned by Sean Spooner.

At the beginning of Magnate’s journey, Sean asked a bunch of people that he knew to start writing and give it some content. A bunch of people from many different age groups said yes, most of them fairly young.

I was one of them, along with a couple more of my friends, Jack Benson and Miramar Jackson.

All three of us volunteered and wrote a few posts for Magnate, all of which got attention and were great content.

It is now quite a while later. Magnate has grown a bit, and they’re getting ready to print their first hard copy issue, when both Jack and Miramar get this email:

Dear Jack,

First of all, I would like to thank you for contributing to Magnate Magazine. Your pieces have helped build and develop the website to the point that it is at today and it couldn’t have been done without your support and hard work.

As we near the launch date of November 10th, 2012 we are looking to strengthen our online and print teams. Because of this, we are required to seek new authors who meet our target audience and due to your age, this does not factor into our ideal target age and we are saddened to say we are having to let you go.

Thanks again for your support and contributions, Jack. We are very grateful and wish you the best of luck for the future.

Warm Regards on behalf of the Magnate team,
Jonny Rowntree
Head of Online

They’re not at the ideal “target age”.

Not to mention, I was kicked off the team without them even telling me. Thanks.

Anyways, why is “brand” associated with “age”? Why do they need to be connected?

Well, here’s what magnate did.

  1. Start off with a website and get anyone we can to write for free
  2. Collect ad revenue and don’t give it out
  3. Create a print magazine
  4. Kick off everyone that was young and helped out in the beginning to make the brand seem older

Basically, they’ve used us. They used us to get them going, then screwed us off because they have more important things to deal with.

I know that this isn’t the only time that something like this has happened. It happens all of the time – people give young, passionate writers a place to write, then once they’re big enough, they forget about the young and passionate writers and move on to being a brand.

So this is what I say:

People with companies, please don’t just forget about your writers who sacrificed their time and effort for you.

People with computers, try to stay away from sites or magazines that you know doesn’t care about writers.

I’ll let you all know of more sites like this, but for now, stay away from magnate – don’t let them win. #boycottmagnate

(PSST: Click here to tweet that you disapprove of Magnate’s “brand development strategies”. )

Koush Brings us Root Free Tethering

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Koush, you have improved the lives of android users once again.

In case you don’t know, Koush is the creator of ClockworkMod, the custom recovery that is used by rooters worldwide.

Koush has now brought us a root free USB tethering solution, for all of you who are either having problems with rooting (like if you have a rooted Galaxy Nexus and you updated to 4.0.4 OTA and your root is gone and no matter what you do you can’t get it back, *cough* *cough*) or if you don’t want to root your phone out of fear of destroying it.

It’s an extremely simple application. On your phone, you download the app for free from the android market Google Play. The free app is a 14 day trial, but you can buy the full version as an in-app purchase for $4.99 (worth it!).

Once you’ve downloaded the app on your phone, you just need to get the drivers for your computer. Now, you’re probably going to be downloading this app because at the time you don’t have internet, and Koush has thought of that as well. In the android app, you can download the app files onto your phone then transfer them onto your computer for installation. Genius!

The small connection application is available for Mac, Windows, and even Linux. Ubuntu users rejoice!

Once you’ve installed the driver, you’re ready to go. Tap the USB icon on your phone, click start on your computer, and in a few seconds, your computer will be connected to the internet through your phone’s network. Easy as that!

If this comes in handy for you, I highly recommend that you buy the app. Koush has created some amazing things for android, and without him flashing ROMs would be nearly impossible.

Thank you Koush for all of your contributions to Android!

Click here to download the app for Android.

Apple Says Things at WWDC

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So Apple had some fun at the WWDC Keynote this year.

Siri did stand-up comedy to open.

No really, I’m excited about the new Samsung. Not the phone, the refrigerator.

I must admit, that was pretty funny.

First of all, Apple updated its notebooks. The MacBook Air finally got a speed boost, the MacBook Pro got a speed boost, and the 17″ MacBook Pro bid farewell.

Apple also announced their next generation MagBook Pro, which is almost as thin as an Air, has a retina display, and a new Magsafe Port. Great.

All of these computers have gotten upgrades to USB 3, which is nice for those people who actually have devices that can take advantage of that.

Then, our friend iOS got an update.

Finally, iOS has turn by turn navigation. Siri is available on the new iPad, and has supposedly gotten a bit better. Facebook is now integrated as much as twitter. FaceTime is available on cellular networks. Photo streams can be shared. A new app called Passbook allows you to store tickets for planes, movies, and stores. There’s also a few other things that aren’t worth mentioning.

Mac OS X Mountain Lion didn’t get anything new from what we knew already, except thatdictation will be available in any text field. For many people, this will definitely come in handy.

Some people were unhappy with the absence of an iPhone 5. But I think we should be content with iOS 6, and expect the new iPhone this fall – along with the public release of iOS 6.

I’ve been playing around with iOS 6, and so far it works well. Siri works just as expected, and the Facebook and twitter integration is also very handy.

The MacBooks that were updated are available now, but iOS will be available in fall. Mountain Lion will be available this July.

MacBook Pro

Macbook Air

iOS 6

Mountain Lion

How to Wirelessly Transfer Files to a Galaxy Nexus

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As you may know, the Galaxy Nexus does not have an option for USB Mass Storage. To transfer any files directly from a computer to the phone, it is necessary to plug it in with a USB Cable and open Google’s proprietary Android File Transfer application.

But what if you don’t have a cable? What then?

There’s a couple things you could do. Email works for smaller files, however for larger files things may go slowly and fall apart.

If you have a server or CloudApp or Puush account, you could upload it and then email  the link to yourself. This would work usually, however the Galaxy Nexus’s download manager often will download most of it, then suddenly fail at the end.

There’s also Bluetooth, which is often unreliable. I can’t transfer any files between my Mac and my Nexus over bluetooth, as it gives me a random warning which is just not worth trying to figure out.

There’s really only one good way: DROPBOX.

In case you don’t know, Dropbox is a service that allows you to have a folder on all of your computers that constantly stay in sync. When one file is added on one computer, it magically appears in the Dropbox folder of all of the other computers too. You have 2GB of space, and the real important part is that they have an Android app as well.

Simply open your Dropbox folder, transfer the file in, and wait a few moments for it to upload to the cloud. Then, open the free app on your Nexus. Tap the file that you just uploaded from your computer, and it should download and open. Voila, that’s how to wirelessly transfer a file from your computer to your Nexus without using bluetooth, servers, or anything else that’s ridiculously unreliable and confusing.

Download Dropbox for your Computer

Download Dropbox for Android

The Galaxy Nexus Problem: Battery Life

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I’ve always been wondering what the big problem with the Galaxy nexus is. It has an amazing dual core processor, a glorious screen, flawless software, and LTE speeds. The camera is less than impressive, but it’s really not that bad.

But now, I’ve found the issue. Battery Life.

The Galaxy Nexus lasts for about 3 hours and 40 minutes. That’s a new record for the shortest battery life of a smartphone. Ouch.

Apparently the issue is actually related to software, where android 4.0 is keeping the CPU from sleeping. While verizon is busy trying to work out those kinks, they’re selling an extended battery for 50% off (not $25 from $50). I’ve ordered one and am awaiting it in the mail.

The only fear of mine is that Verizon releases an OTA (over the air) update for the phone that fixes the issue, then I’m not able to download the update because I’m rooted. This was the case on my Droid Incredible, but from what I’ve read it shouldn’t happen with the Nexus. I’ve also read that I’ll need to re-root, which shouldn’t be a problem.

Of course I’ll keep everybody in the loop about rooting and OTA updates, but until then be careful when buying a Nexus – you should probably get an extended battery as well.

How-to: Hack the Apple Smart Sign

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My friend Amit and I set all of the Smart Signs to GMG!

If you were recently at an Apple Store, you may have noticed their new “Smart Signs.” These are iPads that have information about the Apple product you’re looking at, however these iPads are locked in the smart sign mode. The iPad’s physical buttons are embedded into the plastic stand, and the home button has been disabled.

Sources say that there is a “secret gesture” that gets the iPads out of this mode, but after a ton of online research and asking many different Apple store employees, I still couldn’t figure it out.

So I went the easier way – I had to figure out a way to push the buttons.

I pushed as hard as I could on the edge of the iPad’s bezel, and this activated the lock button in the top right and locked the iPad. The plastic of the stand pushed against the button, so I wouldn’t be damaging any of the inside contents.

After I successfully locked the smart sign, I turned it back on and I was greeted with the lock screen. However, after unlocking the iPad I was returned to the same Smart Sign mode. Darn.

So instead of just locking it, this time I held down the bezel and got the “Slide to Power Off” slider. I swiped across, let it shut down, then held down the bezel to reboot it. (Check out the video at the end of the post for more detailed instructions.)

Tada! The iPad booted into its normal mode, and I was able to open the default applications and such. Unfortunately, the Home button is still disabled – so if you open an app, you won’t be able to get out of it without rebooting the iPad.

While we were at it, my friend/helper Amit decided to help me out and assisted me in setting every smart sign in the Apple Store to Good Morning Geek. Because the home button was disabled, the customers either had to browse my site or scroll up and find the URL bar. Also, the screens are set to never turn off – also handy!

By the time we were done, an Apple Store employee came up to us and nicely said “Would you guys please stop messing around with the smart signs?”

In the end, it was really fun. I tried to jailbreak it with jailbreakme.com, but that site is blocked – :(.

So if you’re ever in an Apple Store and want to either a. Annoy the employees or b. Show your friends a cool trick, this is a pretty fun and easy hack.

I hope to eventually find out the actual gesture, and after trying everything I could possibly think of, it must be fairly complicated.

Apple Board Member Confirms new iPhone in October – That’s plural

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Everyone has been waiting for the new iPhone for quite a while now. But at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit today, Apple board member Al Gore said that the new iPhones come out in a month.

Oddly, this all makes sense. Would Apple really skip their usual Summer update to bring us just a performance bump?

This is what I think – there is going to be a model of iPhone with a performance bump, however there will also be a new iPhone 5 that is a complete do-over. 

The performance bumped iPhone 4 would most likely be called the iPhone 4S, and would sell for cheap – $99-$150 ish. Then, there would be the long-anticipated iPhone 5 for the usual price of $199-$299 with the complete reinvention thing going on.

That’s the interpretive, bright side of this quote.

However, we don’t really know Al Gore’s actual perspective. It’s possible that he could have accidentally added an S to the end of iPhone, and/or it was just amplified by the sound system. It’s also possible that he meant next iPhones as there will be one model of new iPhone, but MANY will be sold.

The one thing that couldn’t have been a mistake is the fact that he said “next month.” That means October – So for those of you who have been waiting months and months for the next iPhone, it will be coming next month – whether it has an extra model or not.

MacBook Air

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As you may have read in a previous post, my beloved MacBook of three years has finally bit the dust. That MacBook treated me well, and with an SSD and upgraded RAM it was able to work wonders.

Now, however, it is time to move on. And as you may be able to tell by the title, I have decided to continue my Mac collection with the newfangled MacBook Air.

Which one did you get?

One of the big reasons I wanted the MacBook Air was because of its portability and the offering of an 11 inch version. Due to this, I got the 11 inch MacBook Air with a 1.8 ghz Core i7, 256GB flash storage, and 4GB of ram.

I can hear a lot of you saying “Isn’t 11 inches a little small?” Why yes, it is. However, when I’m at home, I have an LED Cinema Display to hook it up to – no lack of pixels over here.

Design

The design of the MacBook Air does NOT fail to amaze. It feels so thin and light in your hands, but at the same time it feels incredibly solid. Because it’s a “unibody” MacBook, it was manufactured from one single piece of aluminum – it’s strong. Tapering from 0.68 inches down to 0.11 inches, you can bet your bank account it’s thin. Thanks to this, I can finally accomplish my dream of slipping my computer into a manilla envelope. The one problem with this pencil-thin design, however, is that on the whole computer you get a total of five ports. On the left side, we have a MagSafe power adapter, USB port, and microphone/headphone jack. On the right side we have a thunderbolt port and a USB port. Sorry, disc lovers!

Upon opening the computer, you get some more goodies.

The first thing you’ll notice is the screen. It’s bright and, well, beautiful. It packs a very nice DPI, featuring a 1366 by 768 resolution squeezed into 11.6 inches of glossy glory.

Next, you’ll notice the keyboard. The keyboard is full-size, featuring every key you’ll find on that thick MacBook Pro. In addition to being full-size, the keyboard is also backlit – a feature that was definitely missed on the previous version of MacBook Air.

The next thing you’ll notice is the giant trackpad. This trackpad resembles that of the MacBook Pro, although on the 11 inch version of the MacBook Air it’s a tiny bit thinner. The glass surface is a cinch to move your fingers across, and is extremely responsive to say the least.

Last and, well, least, would be the FaceTime camera embedded in the bezel of the screen. Apple decided not to put in one of the new FaceTime HD cameras, and will probably bring it back in the next version of the MacBook Air. Nonetheless, it’s still a standard functional webcam that is definitely a good addition.

Performance

In addition to being quite the looker, it gets a high score in the area of performance as well. As far as processing goes, the 1.8ghz hyper threaded dual-core i7 works wonders. The 256GB SSD performs at ~250mbps Read/Write speeds. The 4GB of RAM is sufficient.

For comparison, I’ll test the performance of the Air versus a pro using Geekbench. I first ran it on my mother’s MacBook Pro (Late 2009), which features an intel Core 2 Duo and 8GB of ram. It scored a Geekbench score of 3002. Not bad.

Then I ran it on the Air. It scored a whopping 5200 – which is a 70% increase from the pro, in 30% of the space.

The one setback of the Air’s performance would be graphics. It’s running an Intel HD 3000 chip, which is integrated so it doesn’t boast the same performance that you might get with an nvidia card. Although it might not be on par with an nvidia, it’s still a perfectly good graphics card nonetheless.

Watch out!

If you’re thinking of buying one of these, there’s one thing that you might be at risk of. The SSDs in the Airs are provided both from Toshiba and Samsung. This would be no problem, however the Toshiba SSDs are about 100MBPS less than the Samsungs. Yeah, that’s a big difference.

Here’s a video to find out if your Air boasts a samsung or a toshiba:

Conclusion

The MacBook Air combines the two most wanted/needed components of a notebook computer: power and portability. The powerful processors and fast memory give it some meaty specs, and then the 0.68 to 0.11 inch body makes it a lean, mean, working machine. I definitely recommend this computer to everyone, whether you’re a professional video producer or an under-appreciated artist living in a college dorm.

Apple MacBook Air Homepage

Magic Trackpad Getting Jumpy? Here’s a Weird Fix

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As you may know, Lion recently came out. Lion relies heavily on multi-touch gestures to be taken full advantage of. So I decided to break out the magic trackpad and try it out.

I’ve had many problems with the magic trackpad recently, mostly with it jumping around the screen a lot – I would touch it, and suddenly it would be on the other side of the screen. This time was no exception.

So why does my trackpad keep doing this? I’ve replaced the batteries, cleaned it off, and even tried someone else’s.

After a bit of research, I finally found the problem:

Time Machine.

I don’t know why, but after I read this I noticed that Time Machine was backing up. Hmm…. I stopped the backup and Voilla, the trackpad is back to its normal, behaving self.

This is going to get in the way, considering that Time Machine likes to back up every hour; make sure you keep an extra USB mouse on hand just in case.

To tell you the truth, I have absolutely NO idea why Time machine causes a problem with the trackpad. Time Machine connects over WiFi, and the Trackpad connects over Bluetooth. They’re totally seperate antennaes – why are they interfering with each other?

Although there is no explanation to this solution, it’s still a solution. So remember – if your trackpad is acting up, check to see if Time Machine is backing up. (HEY THAT RHYMES!)

Parrot AR.Drone

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The AR.Drone is a french developed electronically advanced quatracopter. It’s a helicopter, but it has three blades. It is controlled via an iOS device through WiFi.

And It’s fun, but hard to fly.

I could go farther into depth with this, but I’m not going to.

Although it’s cool, it’s also ridiculously time consuming and expensive. Now, the AR.Drone itself is only $300. But over the course of three weeks it’s costed me over $500. Did I mentioned that I probably only got about two hours of time being able to fly it?

The real reason it’s so expensive is the repairs. You’re going to break every single piece of this thing, and the pieces aren’t too cheap when they all add up.

First, I broke a crosspiece. $30, plus two days shipping and an hour replacing it.

Then, I busted a gear. $30 later, I waited two days and spent about ten minutes replacing it.

Next, one of my batteries went bad. $40 and two days later, I fixed it.

And now, my main board is bad. But after all of those repairs, I’m not going to even order the replacement, as it’s $160 and would of course take another two days to come. Then I’d break something else and pay for another part.

This thing is fun when it works, but that’s a very small amount of time. That’s why I’m not going in to detail about it, as I’m going to save you the trouble to tell you this: Unless you have a college fund built up to repair it, don’t buy an AR.Drone.