Jet-Propelled Tidbits & the White Stallion

| Particle Debris

I was in Christmas break, but I was still watching for interesting news tidbits. Quite a few have accumulated, so the effect will be, perhaps, overpowering. Gird your loins, gentle readers, and prepare yourself for the onslaught.

I’ve written previously about the internal clock drift in the Wi-Fi iPads before iOS 5.x. There’s a similar problem, it turns out, in your non-smartphone camera. It doesn’t have access to the Internet (yet), so it’s up to you to keep the clock accurate. Why? Read: “Why You Should Keep Your Camera’s Clock Accurate.”

We saw that Netflix screwed up pretty badly in 2011. TV Predictions’ Phillip Swann thinks that Reed Hastings will be forced out soon. Meanwhile, here’s the first, so-called “scientific quantification of customers’ experience with Netflix. It’s from Forsee Research: “Amazon Soars; Netflix Plummets…

Apple is suing Samsung and HTC. Everyone is suing Apple. Apple’s iOS is battling Android. Google is rumored to be coming out with its own tablet. So. What’s lonely Microsoft up to? “Microsoft in a better place than many people think, concludes Bernstein report.” Are potential threats manageable? Decide for yourself.

What did we learn about Apple in 2011? Dan Frommer has a nifty summary that puts some pieces of the Apple puzzle into a logical structure.

Have you ever wondered about all the companies Apple has acquired over the years and how much Apple paid? Here’s a nice summary and some background: “Why Apple Never Goes Big.”

Whether you like it or not, you should read a little about Apple’s competition. Here’s a review of the follow-on product to the Moto Xoom: the Droid XYBOARD. Just so you stay informed, of course. Especially now that the competition is heating up.

HP TouchPad

During the spring of 2011, many of us were enthusiastic about the prospects of the Hewlett Packard Touchpad. Little did we know how far HP had decayed under Leo Apotheker, and worse, how dysfunctional the Touchpad project was. Here’s one of those great behind-the-scenes stories from the New York Times. “In Flop of H.P. TouchPad, an Object Lesson for the Tech Sector.

This relevant to the Apple customer because of the inroads the iPhone is making into digital photography. Do we need an iPhone and a DSLR? What occasions? Will the DSLR change dramatically in the face of ubiquitous 8 megapixel cameras in smartphones? There’s an embedded video in this story: start watching at about 35m25s and see if you agree. I think this fellow is pretty astute. “DSLRs are a dying breed – 3rd Gen Cameras are the Future.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? Time for some fresh coffee? I’ll wait…

Are your social media accounts under control? Have you given permissions to too may apps? One fellow decided to do something about it, and here’s the story: “Have 2 Minutes? Check Out Who Has Access to Your Social Media Accounts.

I learned some new terms in this next article. We know about “cord-cutters.” How about “cord-shaving”? Or “cord-nevers.”? Anyway, there seems to be a gulf between what Deloitte research has found and what the cable companies are claiming. Something is happening, but we’re not sure how to quantify it yet. Peter Kafka from AllThingsD poses the question: “Where Did Nine Million Cable Subscribers Go?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Virginia Tech built a fabulously fast supercomputer from Apple Xserves. That set Apple on a short-term foray into supercomputing before the company blinked and backed out. Now, Virgina Tech has built a new one, 22 times faster, using Intel and NVIDIA parts to achieve a respectable 240 teraflops of double precision computing power. That’s no where near the fastest supercomputers these days — which are well over a petaflop. But it’s respectable given its size. If you have an interest in supercomputing, you’ll want to check: “Virginia Tech unveils HokieSpeed, a powerful new supercomputer for the masses.

Finally, from TechCrunchFor The 5th Year In A Row, Apple Wins CES. Before It Starts. Without Showing Up.” My favorite line is something the author, M.G. Siegler, tweeted: “At this rate, by the end of CES, the thing is going to be 200-inches and be powered by cold fusion.”

White Stallon

And Siegler is right. The rumors about an Apple HDTV are out of control. But the reason for that is good, and it’s just like the anticipation before the iPhone. The TV industry is such a mess, for all the reasons you know about, that the community is wishing on a star, hoping that once again the Apple white stallion will come along to save us from our misery. And as our misery increases, the hope rises exponentially. So Apple will just have to do it and make us all happy again.

Maybe the Apple executive team should be running Congress.


Stallion: iStockPhoto

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I can speak for myself to the DSLR debate: no way is my iPhone 4S a substitute for pro gear. It’s a great little snapshot camera, and there’s no reason fantastic pictures can’t be snapped with it, but these mobile cams still pale in comparison to what a medium or large format DSLR is capable of - and I’ll go so far as to proclaim that no real photographer would ever even allude to the article’s premise.

I constantly find myself wishing I had something the 4S lacks, and if I’m going to drag around a bunch of accessories I may as well go with my Canon. A true portrait, wide angle, or macro lens, a really good strobe flash, these just can’t be (currently) replicated on such a small scale, and that’s just scratching the surface of what is offered by a truly high end SLR.

The high end photography market already services a fraction of the market overall, and I highly doubt that will change. For the hobbyist or prosumer, though, I do agree that cool mobile tech will push the merely curious away from plunging into the depths that are high end photography. wink


Jamie, you must work for Kodak. It wasn’t many years ago that the film guys were saying similar things.


I bought a D7000 last year and it well may be my first and last DSLR.  It will be a long time though before I replace it but I’ll probably be leapfrogging the mirrorless phase.  I’m really looking more towards lightfield cameras.

Right now though, a lightfield cam with a 10MP sensor takes a photo that is effectively about 2MP because of the amount of light information (I made up that term) it captures, only a fraction of which is used to display a particular focus distance (made that up too).  Once 60+ MP sensors become cheap enough, I expect lightfield cameras will basically blow away the existing tech.


oh what nonsense John - comparisons to Kodak? Not even valid at all. Film to digital is not the same as cheap, crappy digital to high end digital.

It’s true that the best camera is the one you have with you, and a talented photog with a smartphone is going to be better with a hack with a DSLR. But the simple fact is that there are limitations to an iPhone, with a tiny, low-quality lens, sensor, processor etc etc.

Of course they may not crank out as many junky low-end DSLRs as the smartphone quality improves but there is always a market for good gear, in any field, for obvious reasons.

Of course this doesn’t account for the fact that for the vast majority, mediocre banality is perfectly acceptable.


Dumb comment, John. The digital to film paradigm is not at all the same as comparing cheap crappy digital camera phones to high end digital cameras…film died (among other reasons) because the quality of digital began to approximate that of film, and then added a whole bunch of other benefits.

I can’t see the same parallel with low-quality digital cameras completely supplanting high-quality digital cameras. There was always a place for cheap film cameras but THEY didn’t kill high-end film cameras.

Then again, society as a whole now is do dumbed-down, so embracing of the banal and the mediocre (Twitter anyone?) that perhaps you have a point.


Oh and everyone is saying that for sure the Apple HDTV is going to be premium priced and only hedge-fund-trustee babies need apply.

My money’s on the new HDTV coming out with a price tag that blows everyone away.  Just like iPad did.

Finally, I agree with Dan Frommer’s 10th thing we learned about Apple.  They really are thinking big.  Bigger than what most of us thought was realistic or reasonable.  About 6 years ago, I predicted that eventually our lives will be lived through Apple.  Or Apple devices.  Seems like we’re firmly headed that way.  And what’s the end point for Apple?  The devices and supporting infrastructure that do exactly what the computer aboard the starship Enterprise does.  And Apple will be at least 4X bigger than it is now.


I can speak for myself to the DSLR debate: no way is my iPhone 4S a substitute for pro gear. It?s a great little snapshot camera, and there?s no reason fantastic pictures can?t be snapped with it, but these mobile cams still pale in comparison to what a medium or large format DSLR is capable of - and I?ll go so far as to proclaim that no real photographer would ever even allude to the article?s premise.

I guess you based this opinion article on John’s editorializing, you might want to read the actual article. In the article, he’s actually talking about the latest, interchangeable-lens cameras that aren’t SLRs, such as the ?4/3 system, Sony NEX, et al, not smart phones like the iPhone.

And speaking from experience, I can say that the vast majority of my shooting, since I moved from my Canon gear when the original E-P1 came out, has been on my Pen. At the time, I moved entirely to Olympus, buying both an E-P1 and an Olympus E-30 (with the awesome 12-16 lens). I only pull out my honkin’ huge E-30 when I need the 5fps, or the extreme focus speed, or the viewfinder. In fact, the Pen does much better at high-ISO than the E-30. Supposedly, the larger-sensored Sony does even better at high ISO. And the speed of the latest generation of these cameras, together with their EVFs mean that soon, the one remaining benefit of the SLR—the optical view finder—will be negated. That is the premise of the linked article. Give it a read if you haven’t read it yet. I recommend it.


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