Particle Debris (wk. ending 6/25) An Explosion of Nerdiness

Apple’s update of the Mac mini that includes an HDMI port has once again gotten people talking about the consumer’s home theater, the Apple TV, and the role of the Mac mini in such an environment. Does the HDMI port signal a change in thinking by Apple? After all, they delayed such an option for a long, long time. Do average customers really think about a US$800 box connected to their Plasma and LCD HDTVs? These questions and more are raised in “Why the Mac Mini is not, at all, an Apple TV.” When discussing these Apple products, the key seems to be differentiating between tech savvy Apple customers and the average consumer.

Once again, interesting questions are raised by SAI in its Chart of the Day, this time, showing how “Print Misses The Ad Recovery.” One explanation, provided, for the poor performance of Magazines and Newspapers is that it’s harder to quantify the response of the readers to ads. But a larger question is, is there anything at all magazines and newspaper can do about that, ever? If not, then they should all just close up the presses and move to the iPad right now before it’s too late.

I mentioned David Pogue’s review of the Sprint Evo 4G earlier this week, but in case you missed it, here it is again. The review is full of insights into the design and marketing of modern smartphones. That is, you can either have a lot of sexy, but half baked features, or you can elegantly merge software and hardware, like Apple does, to provide a better user experience. Geeks who love living on the edge tend to go for the Android phones. But ask yourself if you’d enjoy using this phone after reading Mr. Pogue’s review: “A Bold Phone Fades a Bit in the Details.”

We’ve all read stories by tech writers about how they “cut the cable cord” and went all Internet. But is it a global experience? Once again, SAI provides some data in “Where Are All The Cable Cord Cutters?” that suggests that “giving up on cable has not grown in the last two years.” As I’ve always maintained, it’s crazy to believe that one, cheap draconian solution is best. The real challenge for writers or consumers is to figure out what their needs are, then mix and match technologies to obtain what they want. That’s why I have DIRECTV, an Apple TV and a Blu-ray player myself. The last two being connected to the Internet, and the Blu-ray player Netflix enabled.

Even with an optimum mix and match of components, we still have to deal with the move to Internet enabled and Internet updated consumer products. For example, the flap over Blu-ray player firmware upgrades still isn’t over. Will it ever be?

HD Radio is popular in some markets, but my perception is that it has generally failed to take hold in the U.S. Could Apple kickstart HD Radio they was it has with other nascent technologies. A recent Apple patent application suggests that that’s what Apple may be up to. But then Apple patents many things that never see the light of day. Judge for yourself.

I have a lot of respect for Dan Frommer at Silicon Alley Insider. He does great work. But I disagree with his assessment of AT&T in “Here’s The Latest Way AT&T Is Screwing Its Wireless Customers.” The core issue, it seems to me, is that, for example, Comcast is not supplying me with iPhone data services, AT&T is. Somewhere along the line, Comcast turns over iPhone data to AT&T, and AT&T has to make a business decision about how to handle data from its customers that enters its network. Once you think about it that way, it’s hard to be critical of AT&T.

There has been a lot of fuss about the iPhone 4’s antenna components on the outer rim. There has been some calm, intelligent discussion, but no consensus from real-world measurement and testing. It all reminds me of my favorite quote from an Aviation Week author, paraphrasing, “An abundance of anecdotes is not scientific data.” That’s good advice to live by.


TWoW: Nerdgasm (n.) “When someone has experienced just too much nerdiness at one time, they are said to have a nerdgasm…. A nerdy climax deep in the brain.”