Particle Debris (wk. ending 5/20) Technical Endeavours Galore


STS-134 (Endeavour) launch,  16 May 2011 (NASA)

There was a time, a decade ago, when high speed data communications in Europe paled in comparison to the U.S. Nowadays the situation is reversed — the Netherlands leads Europe and appears to be far ahead of the U.S. Here’s the story and video at “High Fiber.” The terrific video explains why fiber to the house is so important for competitiveness and employment. It’ll turn you green with envy — and maybe get you posing tough questions to your congressional representative. Would you believe high-speed broadband in the UK for (the equivalent of) US$6.00/month?

I mentioned this analysis by Horace Dediu earlier in the week, but just in case you missed it — and for the record: “iPhone share of phone market in Q1: 5% volumes, 20% revenues, 55% profit.” The title says more than I can.

We probably knew this was coming. With the expected co-mingling (but probably not formal merger) of Mac OS X and iOS, there are probably some ways to make desktop systems more iPad-like and easier to touch and use. (Even as we know about Apple’s reluctance to let our arms extend and tire.) Here’s a discussion of an Apple patent and some added speculations that’s well put together by Patently Apple:Could Apple be developing a New Post-PC Hybrid Desktop?

In this blog, I have commented extensively about the failures of the iPad competitors. This time, I’ll let Nvidia’s CEO explain it: “Nvidia CEO: Why Android tablets aren’t selling.” The real question now is, once the problem is recognized and 2nd generation tablets arrive, can they give Apple some real competition?

A source has dropped some information on 9to5Mac about upcoming changes to the Apple retail stores. Here’s what they know: “Apple Store 2.0 revealed: Startup Sessions, interactive iPad signage, new sound/display systems, new app?

There’s been a lot of coverage about the 10th anniversary of Apple’s retail store launch. It all started at the Tyson’s Corner Mall in McLean Virginia, and now Apple has over 300 stores worldwide. Here are two of the best stories I’ve seen: “10 years later, Apple’s ‘crazy’ retail gamble is a hit” and “Apple’s Retail Adventure: 10 Years Later.

Let’s see… how can I get an Apple angle on this? Hmmm. Oh, darn, I’ll just link and be done. 

Now, I can link this to Apple because the iPad seems to be the harbinger of new devices like the one mentioned. And, of course, the tricorder and small tablets were likely our societal subconscious motivation for the iPad. So it does all fit together: “$10 million X Prize to be offered to develop a medical Tricorder.” Now if we could just take an iPad and add the right kinds of sensors….

Ed Bott and John Gruber are at odds. Mr. Gruber isn’t impressed by the fuss, but the emerging scuttlebutt seems to be that Apple support forums are confirming an explosion of phishing attacks against Mac users. This was expected by the security community awhile back (I was briefed) because as Mac OS X and Safari have become very hardened and as Apple customers have been pretty good about applying the updates, the juiciest targets that remain are naive users attacked via phishing. Ed Bott at ZDNet documents some of the fuss and tries to remain rational as well. “Crying wolf? Apple support forums confirm malware explosion.”

If you missed it, I provided some advice yesterday on how to deal with phishing attacks.

Is Microsoft finally fixing the architecture of Windows 8? Are they finally building a modern basis and only allowing Windows 7 apps to run in a compatibility mode? Much like Apple did with Mac OS X, the Blue Box and Classic? I’m not sure, but this story by Mike Elgan makes me think maybe Microsoft finally bit the bullet: “Five Questions about Windows 8.”

A recent talk by Intel senior VP may have spilled the beans when he talked about the two modes in Windows 8: “An Intel x86 compatible version called “Windows 8 traditional” (the software equivalent of “Coke Classic,” apparently) will run existing Windows applications but only in a “Windows 7 mode.” And of course it will also run shiny new Windows 8 applications yet to be created.” [Emphasis mine.]

I’ve just finished reading (on my iPad) Steven Levy’s book, “In the Plex.” I consider it required reading for anyone who wants to understand how Google operates and how it thinks. So I was fascinated when our reader “Nemo” directed me to this intriguing article about Eric Schmidt: “Does Eric Schmidt speak for Google on copyright?” My take is that Google has spent so much time throwing its weight around that Eric Schmidt was probably sincere when he made his remarks. But sometimes those loose cannon remarks need to be tempered by more politically savvy people in the company.

Finally, Florian Mueller has provided a comprehensive analysis of “Is Apple winning or losing the patent game?” This is one of those articles that’s long, but worth the investment in time to really understand something about Apple, even if, as “Nemo” opines, Mr. Miller doesn’t have a complete grasp of software patents.