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2011-05-07 12:28
We all know that new tech gadgets are more expensive in the beginning when demand and expenses could bring a higher price. With hard drives, it’s amazing to see just how expensive they are versus how much they used to be.

Take a look at three shining examples of how 10- and 15-MBs looked in the past both in physical form as well as cost. Could you imagine paying that kind of money to get 10-MBs? Neither could I.

Today, they’re much cheaper:

2011-05-07 12:25
Did you hear that both Google and Facebook are looking to either partner with Skype or simply buy it? Funny, because back in the day when Skype was in play (before it was acquired by eBay), Google had a chance to buy it, but Larry Page and Sergey Brin nixed the idea.

People laughed at me when I suggested back on September 29, 2010 that Facebook should buy Skype. Here’s what I wrote then, and I still think that is the real reason for a Skype-Facebook deal:

Sure, this would be a big, hairy merger, but look at it this way: In one swoop, Facebook would dominate what I’ve maintained is both the new age and classic social networking. They have people’s credit cards; they have their real-world phone information; and in the end, they have a better, more useful, social graph than Facebook itself.

The Skype-Facebook client on the desktop would mean both Facebook and Skype will be jointly in people’s faces, and take time away from other web services, such as Google. A simple search box inside the Skype client, and the two companies are starting to take attention away from arch-nemesis, Google.

Since then, Skype is much bigger, has more revenues and has a lousy new desktop client. Facebook has taken huge strides towards owning “communications” and online “interactions.” When Facebook launched its Social Inbox, I pointed out:

For the first three years of its life, the company was merely a social network, but then it transformed itself in quick succession into a social web platform and then a social aggregator of the web. Today, the company launched its “social inbox,” a new kind of messaging system that is the first public manifestation of the new new Facebook. Facebook’s newest core competency is communications — a way to become even more indispensable in our daily web lives.

There are many other reasons why this deal makes sense, the biggest being Marc Andreessen, the web wunderkind turned über-VC who sits on the board of Facebook and has investments in both companies. It would be Christmas in summer for his fund if this deal goes through.

Tags: facebook, Google
2011-05-07 10:54
Category: Entertainment
Apple reportedly made an extremely interesting hire recently. TWiT host Leo Laporte relayed via Twitter this week that he had it on "good authority" that Apple hired audio engineer Tomlinson Holman to head up audio at Apple.

Though Apple is notoriously secretive about its product and software roadmap, we can sometimes glean details about its plans from public job listings and the hires it makes.

In that vein, Apple reportedly made an extremely interesting hire recently. TWiT host Leo Laporte relayed via Twitter this week that he had it on "good authority" that Apple hired audio engineer Tomlinson Holman to head up audio at Apple.

Yoni Heisler
iOnApple
Yoni Heisler
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THX sound system inventor, Tomlinson Holman, set to join Apple
Apple reportedly made an extremely interesting hire recently. TWiT host Leo Laporte relayed via Twitter this week that he had it on "good authority" that Apple hired audio engineer Tomlinson Holman to head up audio at Apple.
By Yoni Heisler on Fri, 05/06/11 - 1:03pm.

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Though Apple is notoriously secretive about its product and software roadmap, we can sometimes glean details about its plans from public job listings and the hires it makes.

In that vein, Apple reportedly made an extremely interesting hire recently. TWiT host Leo Laporte relayed via Twitter this week that he had it on "good authority" that Apple hired audio engineer Tomlinson Holman to head up audio at Apple.

But Holman is far from your run of the mill audio engineer. The winner of the 2007 IEEE masaru Ibuka Award, Holman was the brains behind Lucasfilm's THX sound system and is also the man responsible for developing the world's first 10.2 surround sound system. Holman spent 15 years working for Lucasfilm and his audio expertise is quite varied - from his work in film to designing loudspeakers, Holman is an audio jack of all trades (no pun intended).

Hollman also teaches a course on Film Sound at USC. Further, his book Sound for Film and Television is required reading in man college film course curriculum's.

So what exactly will Holman be doing at Apple? Where and how will his audio talents be utilized?

2011-05-07 10:53
Category: Entertainment
Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of location and local services, answered questions on-stage today at the Social-Loco conference in San Francisco, where interviewer John Battelle asked her directly: So what is Google’s social strategy?

“Our social strategy is to help users connect with each other,” said Mayer (who’s pictured above at a different event).

Okay, that’s not exactly revelatory. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Mayer’s response was her statement that Google is still “just getting started,” even though it has already rolled out social products like Google +1, which allows users to recommend search results to their friends. So we can probably expect a number of new social products in the near future.

Battelle also wondered whether Google might start using social data from Facebook. Mayer responded that the results of that kind of partnership would be “very interesting.” However, she said that she feels “skepticism” about whether it will ever happen, because Google’s relationship with Facebook hit a bump last year. The problem was that Google allowed users to import their Gmail contact information into Facebook, but Facebook didn’t allow a similar swap — so Google decided to block contact sharing in the other direction too.

“We said, ‘We still would like to be open,’” Mayer said. “Let’s be open if there’s reciprocity. And there was no reciprocity.”

And Google doesn’t seem to be letting this go. The company tried to increase the pressure on Facebook earlier this year by preventing Nexus S owners from seeing Facebook Contacts in their Android address book.

Before taking on her new role last fall, Mayer led Google’s search efforts, so Battelle also asked her about the recent news that Google’s new chief executive Larry Page has renamed the search group the knowledge group. Mayer said the name change was another way to communicate the bigger vision that Google has for search. Many users still think of search as typing a query into a box and getting a list of links, but Mayer said Google wants to “reimagine search as something that’s much more expansive” while staying true to the core idea of “how can you find and explore information?”

And Mayer touched on how Page is performing as the new CEO — there haven’t been any big changes.

“Larry’s very focused on technology and on products,” Mayer said. “I think this really brings that to the forefront.”

In addition to her interview, Mayer announced a new product called Google Business Photos and demonstrated Google Earth for Android tablets.

Tags: facebook
2011-04-01 16:34
Some iPhone owners were heading in to work late on Monday after a glitch caused their alarms to malfunction.

Users found their wake-up alert coming one hour late, one hour early or not at all.

The problem, related to the clocks going forward for British Summer Time, does not appear to have affected everyone.

Apple has yet to comment on what caused it, but similar problems have previously hit iPhones in the US.

Many of those whose alarms went wrong turned to social networking sites to vent their fury. One Twitter user wrote: "iPhone alarm failed twice. 1) went off at 5.45 instead of 6.45. 2) Didn't go off at all when I reset it. Time to update software."

Another unimpressed owner wrote: "Thanks iPhone. I didn't really want that alarm to go off anyway."

According to user reports, the glitch has affected non-recurring alarms set within the iPhone's calendar application, rather than its dedicated alarm clock.

The problem first came to light in the United States last November during the switch from Daylight Savings Time.

Despite promises from Apple to correct it, a similar issue hit iPhones on 1 January 2011.

2011-04-01 16:19
Amazon has unveiled an online music service that lets users upload songs and play them from a range of devices.

The internet retailer launched its Cloud Player in the US, ahead of rivals Apple and Google which are rumoured to be developing similar systems.

Users are given 5Gb of storage space, roughly equivalent to 1,200 tracks, but can opt to pay for additional capacity.

The Cloud Player is currently only available through web browsers and mobile devices running Google Android.

Commenting on the launch, Amazon's vice president of movies and music, Bill Carr said: "Our customers have told us they don't want to download music to their work computers or phones because they find it hard to move music around to different devices."

Rival systems
Although a number of smaller cloud music services already exist, such as mSpot and AudioBox, Amazon is the first of the big technology companies to venture into this area.

Speculation has been rife that Apple would launch a cloud based version of iTunes since it purchased the online music service Lala in December 2009.

It is widely expected that Apple's offering will form part of a broader re-launch of the MobileMe platform.

Google, which already offers cloud services in the form of Gmail and Google Documents, is also believed to be testing a music storage system, or "locker".

Format shifting
It is not known what agreement, if any, Amazon has reached with the four major record companies, regarding users uploading copies of their music.

Making online copies of tracks is known as format shifting. While the practice may violate copyright, in the US, it is generally defensible under the principle of fair usage.

The same rules do not apply in the UK - meaning, for example, it is technically a breach of copyright law to copy music from a CD onto an MP3 player.

However the music industry has generally turned a blind eye to users copying legally purchased music, not least because of the difficulty in policing infringement.

If Amazon Cloud is to launch in the UK, the company may have to address those issues, say lawyers.

"I am guessing that what they are doing in the US is using the fair usage laws that cover format shifting," said Brett Farrell, a technology and media lawyer at Barlow Robbins.

"Technically you do not have the right to format shift in the UK.

"If a major player moved into town and wanted to encourage format shifting then I think the record companies would use that as a way of getting them to the negotiating table," he said.

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