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Rest in Peace, Steve October 5, 2011

Posted by Matsu in Apple, Business, History, Information Technology, Mac, News, Technology.
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Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011) passed away today. The co-founder and long time CEO of Apple Computer succumbed to illness after a two year battle with cancer.

MacWorld without Apple? December 16, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Apple, Business, Information Technology, Mac, Technology.
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Yes, it’s a little strange to think of it, but Apple announced that the MacWorld Conference in January 2009 will be their last one.

What will this mean for the must anticipated and often exploited (by Apple) product announcements each year at MacWorld? Is this also the end of the Steve Jobs show and big product announcements? Or, will he just perform them for a closed audience of invited guests and media as he needs to roll out new products in the future? Probably so.

What affect will Apple’s absence have on the MacWorld conference? It will most likely kill it. If not immediately, it will die in less than two years. How can I say that? Do you remember that there used to be a MacWorld conference on the East coast? Do you remember what happened when Apple had a disagreement with the conference organizers and so Apple pulled out? Well, that conference quickly died. So will the West coast MacWorld conference.

Here’s what Cnet wrote about that event:

IDG and Apple have had a rocky relationship in the past. Apple used to participate in far more Macworld events than the San Francisco event, and a rift developed between the companies when IDG made the decision to move the Macworld event in New York to Boston, near the company’s Framingham, Mass., headquarters. Apple promptly pulled out of that event, and the East Coast Macworld was canceled in 2005 due to lack of interest without the star attraction.

Gone are the days of Apple trade shows and announcements for the rest of us.

iPod Touch – The best new PDA on the market July 24, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Apple, Business, Information Technology, Mac, Technology, Uncategorized.
17 comments

Almost two weeks ago I downloaded Apple’s new update to the iPod Touch (known as version 2.0). The release of the 2.0 software occurred at the same time Apple released the new iPhone 3G and the iPhone 2.0 software.

It took me more than a day to actually get the software update (through the iTunes application) because Apple has some major problems with their update serves. They still have not fully disclosed exactly what happened, but industry experts think that a combination of crashing servers and high demand caused the significant delay in people being able to update their iPhones and iPod Touches (they essentially use the same software). But, after a full day of trying to download the update, I was finally successful and an hour later, I had an updated iPod Touch running the new 2.0 software.

My greatest interest in getting my iPod Touch upgraded was to test the new “enterprise” support, which simply meant that it would work with the Exchange server. Second to that, I was curious about the many different applications that would be released through the new Apple App Store, which is essentially the iTunes store but instead of music, you download programs for the iPod Touch (and iPhone).

I work at a college and I was off campus when I first set up my iPod Touch 2.0 to connect to the Exchange server. I don’t know if that was the reason it didn’t work at first or if it was something else. But, after playing around with the settings, I started to get login errors. So, I went to my laptop computer and tried to log into my Exchange account and discovered that I inadvertently locked out my Exchange account by attempting to log into it with the wrong password too many times.

That was a frustrating delay because it was on a Saturday and I didn’t want to either drive the 20 miles (one way) to reset my account (unlock it) nor did I feel it was urgent enough to ask someone on my staff to stop by the office to take care of my Exchange account. I knew it would reset itself in a few hours, so I shut down everything (the e-mail client on my Mac laptop, my iPod Touch, and my cell phone/PDA that accesses my e-mail and synchs to the Exchange server). About 24 hours later I was able to get into the Exchange server from my laptop, so I stopped experimenting with my iPod Touch setup for Exchange and spent the rest of the weekend just testing the new App Store function and downloading various free applications.

Once I was back in my office after the weekend, I once again tried to set up my iPod Touch to synch with the Exchange server and it worked flawlessly. Ever since then, it has just worked. In fact, it’s worked exceptionally well.

Between the clarity of the screen and the ease of use factor that Apple engineers into every one of their products, I find that the iPod Touch is THE best PDA on the market. I have had this iPod Touch for more than six months. And, while I used it from time to time for listening to music or podcasts, I didn’t really use it all that much. That all changed the minute it began to provide me with easy access to my e-mail, calendar, and contacts. Now, it has become a great new productivity tool that I am becoming dependent on for my work.

You might think that there is nothing special about the iPod Touch when it comes to synchronizing data with the Exchange server. You would be wrong. The experience of reading and responding to e-mail on the iPod Touch is significantly better than using any of the PDA’s on the market. I’ve been using PDA’s since the mid-1990’s and this is different. I don’t know if it’s the way the software looks and works or if it’s the user interface and the large touch surface that makes the difference. Maybe it’s both. But, the entire experience is different — better.

If you have no interest in changing cell phones or for some other reason don’t want to consider buying an iPhone, then look seriously at getting an iPod Touch. If you use an exchange server where you work, it is definitely worth it, but even if you just use it for personal e-mail, it works well with Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail, etc.

But wait, there’s more! While the main value of the iPod Touch for me is compatibility with the Exchange server, there is also growing value and significance that it can be expanded to do new things by downloading applications through the Apple App Store. I have downloaded dozens of free games, utilities, news aggregators, etc.  Some of them have been very powerful and I think are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how the iPod Touch and iPhone can or will be used in the future. It’s easy to predict that the iPod Touch and iPhone will become THE portable appliance of choice for custom applications and niche programs used in many industries. I can’t wait to see where the next innovative application will come from, but I would guess that there will be a version for the iPod Touch or a special client that will allow people to access the data from an iPod Touch.

My recommendation for anyone looking to replace or update their old PDA is to get an iPhone Touch. You will be glad you did.

This is not an advertisement for Apple. And, no, I don’t own any Apple stock, but I am tracking their stock price using the Bloomberg software on my iPod.

Apple Bento: The new personal database for Macs February 10, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Apple, Information Technology, Japan, Mac, Microsoft, Software, Technology, Windows/Microsoft.
16 comments

Japanese bentoYup, Apple is finally shipping a database for the rest of us. Yesterday they released a new product called Bento by FileMaker.

As you may know, FileMaker is an Apple company that provides database software designed for small to medium sized businesses. Now, they are selling a new $50 database product for individuals who want to track collections of things or just plan a party.

This product fills a whole in Microsoft’s offering as Office for Mac doesn’t include database software. Now, Mac users have a database program that will fill that need. I wonder how well it integrates with Microsoft Word or Excel.

By the way, did you know that “bento” means “lunch box” in Japanese? It does.

I haven’t installed the demo yet, but I will do it this week and let you know what I what I find out about integration with Microsoft’s office software.

Apple rumors spawn fake MacWorld keynote address January 14, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Apple, Business, Humor, Information Technology, Mac, Technology.
2 comments

Yes, you can see all of the latest Apple product announcements, or at least rumored announcements, at this blog site. The author (Graham Bailey) even recorded a Steve-Jobs-like-keynote and includes it in his blog post. It’s amusing, to say the least. Check it out!

And, for some more serious AiR (Apple  iRumors) go over and read this BusinessWeek article.

Did you hear the rumor about Apple’s new… January 13, 2008

Posted by Matsu in Apple, Information Technology, Mac, Microsoft, Open Source, Software, Technology, Windows/Microsoft.
2 comments

MacWorld ExpoDon’t you just love rumors about new technology. After all, you can dream about finally getting that product or feature you always wanted, but nobody will create. I think nobody spreads rumors as passionately as Apple users.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not speaking badly about Mac users. After all, I’m typing this blog post on my Mac laptop (Intel). And, I own a couple of iPods and every other member of my family owns at least one iPod, my teen-aged son owns more than one. So, my observations are not from an “outsider” nor am I some Microsoft Windows bigot. I actually see the value of all three of the most popular operating systems (Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux). And I routinely use all three. But, I must confess that for everyday use; e-mail, web surfing, word processing, spreadsheets, etc. I prefer to use a Mac. It’s just more comfortable and just works. Oh, and I use it for viewing photos and listening to music all the time. Now you know where I’m coming from.

Back to the latest Apple rumors. Have you seen the Apple banners they put up at MacWorld? Like ancient medicine men interpreting tea leaves, Apple fans everywhere are trying to guess what they mean.

I am sending two of my I.T. staff to this week’s MacWorld in San Francisco. Being the weekend before a major trade show dedicated to the Apple Mac you know everyone is making their predictions on what Steve Job will announce during his keynote address on Tuesday. It’s always a big event, but this year it may be even bigger than last year. After all, last year Steve confirmed the shipping date for the iPhone, something they had announced about six months earlier.

This time, the speculation by Fortune magazine is Apple will announce a new sub-laptop. Something smaller than the 12″ screen laptop currently available. Rumored not to have a conventional hard drive, it is supposedly a memory-chip-only (flash memory) computer. If you haven’t already seen it, you should go here to see a regular MacBook Pro that’s been converted by replacing the hard drive with a Samsung SSD (solid state drive). I’m not sure there’s a big market for something like that. I would rather see a tablet Mac, like the IBM Thinkpad tablet, only it runs Mac OS X. THAT is something I could get excited about. Although, according to this article an Apple tablet (aka Newton) is not likely to happen this week.

While I am talking about wishes I have for Apple, I can’t pass on the chance to once again share my wish that they would develop a way for Windows applications to run natively on a Mac (in Mac OS X). It’s technically possible to do, but my guess is that Apple is not willing to engage in all out war with Microsoft and provide a direct replacement for the Windows operating system. That’s my guess. If Apple won’t build in the ability to launch Windows programs in Mac OS X, then I wish they would buy or license Parallels or VMware for Mac and include it with every computer they sell. That way, ALL of their computers can run Windows applications out of the box without buying anything else. I know that you can always buy Parallels or VMware for Mac, but it would be better if it were just part of the operating system with full Apple support.

In a little more than one day we will learn which rumors were on target and which rumors were born out of the imagination and wishes of a Mac fan. I predict most will fall in the latter category.