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Monday, June 30, 2008

New iPhone Game Developer Speaks

There's an insightful interview with a former EA head, who is branching off to start his own company targeting iPhone games. It sounds like he has the right idea, develop unique gaming experiences that take advantage of the iPhone hardware, rather than compete with the PSP and DS head to head.

iPhone and the Running of the Nerds

The Annual Electronic Entertainment Expo is only a few weeks away, and although the trade show isn't as large as it once was, it still generates a ton of coverage for the video game industry. With the iPhone games available July 11th, I wonder if Apple plans on having any sort of presence at this years E3? I'd certainly expect developers like SEGA to be demoing the TDL favorite Super Monkey Ball, but wouldn't a showing by Apple go along way in helping legitimize the iPhone as a gaming platform?

Around The Loop: Get your donuts

It's important to know where to go, and where not to when visiting a foreign city. If you find yourself traveling to "The Mother Ship" I feel like I should impart some wisdom from my time working there.

In other segments I've told you what to eat at Cafe Macs, but what if you're looking for food outside of campus? What if you're really just looking for a tasty round treat. Sure, you could find a Krispy Kreme or swing by the local Starbucks but you don't need to leave home (assuming you live in a populated area) to do that.

It might also be tempting to visit The Donut Wheel because you can walk to it from campus. The Donut Wheel is a fine donut. There isn't anything wrong with it, they're product is fresh, and their assortment is very nice. Allow me to save you some time and direct your taste buds to a more pleasing place.

Head down to Homestead Rd., make a right and continue on to Stan's Donuts. It's a little unassuming hole-in-the-wall sort of place, but they're extremely serious about their donuts. The place is basically a counter and a small display case, but behind lurks a secret recipe and one addictive product. I recommend their classic glazed and be sure to get there early in the AM so you don't find them sold out.

I'm really not a sweets person, but even I can eat a few warm Stan's.

Can Apple possibly meet day one iPhone demand?

Overlooked in most of the hoopla of the July 11th iPhone 3G launch is a simple question: Will you even be able to get one?

With a launch in 21 countries on July 11th, this could easily be the biggest hardware launch in Apple history. In Spain, there are already 300,000 pre-orders according to Telefonica SA. Apple could easily be looking at a million phone opening day. Are that many iPhones ready to go? Somewhere in China, iPhone 3Gs are being "assembled" (never "made" in China). How many of those units can possibly be in place for a 21 country launch, not to mention the other 49 countries Apple has announced will have the phone "soon." It's probably also worth noting the "rollout schedule subject to change" disclaimer on the bottom of the Apple launch page.

The bigger question is, does it matter? If Apple can't get enough phones in place for day one, will buyers patiently wait, or will they consider other options. How long can Apple afford to have a Wii-like shortage of phones? Unlike the Wii, it doesn't look like there will be an easy way for people to stock up on the devices for profit on eBay. Will that help supply get to those who want it, or will phones still make their way into "alternative" channels?

More questions than answers, but if Apple is to be able to sustain phone availability from day one, across the globe, it's going to take more than a few rumors of trucks moving to distribution centers. It will require an Apple product move, the likes of which we've never seen before. Maybe getting in line early isn't such a bad idea after all...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Patent Infringement? Clear With Computers sues Apple and HP re: Online Ordering Systems

            It seems yet another company is looking for a big payday from Apple.  This time it is a Texan company named Clear With Computers and they are suing regarding (any guesses?) patent infringement regarding two of CWC’s patents. 

            CWC claims that Apple infringed on their patents that allow for custom online ordering of products and parts.  CWC claims the dispute stems from Apple’s online store, their main website and relevant sales and supply systems.  The patents together allow users to sign in to the system and build a list of products and parts, which also includes descriptions (either text or visual) of the options.  Basically, the patented system allows for customized computer ordering, making shopping easier for the customer.  CWC has also joined HP as a defendant in the above-described action claiming HP also uses a system that is similar to the patented system for the selling of their computer products. 

            The ridiculous part of the entire lawsuit is that CWC’s patents vaguely reflect the systems that Apple and HP are using for ordering.  CWC’s patent does not include online transaction; rather the company would print out the custom offer and work to make the sale in person (antiquated, I know).  It seems to me that CWC’s case is more one of wishful thinking than a legitimate patent infringement.  Further, has CWC forgotten about other computer giants such as Dell?  They also use a similar system and have been using this system for over ten years. 

            Regardless of the seemingly different online ordering systems, CWC is pressing forwarded and seeking relief through damages for deliberate infringement and a permanent injunction on both Apple and HP.  Possible dismissal?  We’ll just have to wait and see how this one turns out!


This blog is based on an article from www.appleinsider.com

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Attention Apple fans: See Wall-E

You might already know that Apple's Jonathan Ive was ased to help contribute to the design of one of the robots appearing in this Pixar flick. But beyond being a fine film, Wall-E holds many small surprises for Apple fans. See if you can find the sights and sounds of Apple in the movie. We won't give any away, but go and enjoy the movie. You'll be glad you did!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Farewell, Bill

Today marks the end of Bill Gates' day to day involvement in Microsoft. You know, you really can't talk about the history of Apple, without talking about Bill Gates. I think it's fair to say, at least from all the clips we've ever seen, Gates is not "evil." Yes, there were policies and conduct by Microsoft through the years that many of us in the Apple world might consider evil, or even illegal. But at the end of the Gates has always seemed rational, and visionary in his own way.

Plus, there's something to be said for a CEO who amasses a large fortune, then uses it to do good. Let's be honest, the jury is still out on whether Steve Jobs will ever make a similar gesture. And just in case you think Gates' decision to use his money for good is a recent development, we offer the NBC clip below from 1992. It's an interesting time capsule, anyway you look at it. Gates talks about some new fangled thing called electronic mail, and how it could become the future, if only there would be enough desktop computers. If only, indeed.

So here's a hardy pat on the back to the man who piloted the most influential technology company of the last 20 years. And also a heartfelt thank you for allowing Steve Ballmer to take over at Microsoft. Nothing ensures our continued amusement, and Apple's continued success as having him at the helm.

The new .mac and we don't mean mobile me

Most people don't follow meetings of the forces controlling domain extensions. (.com, .net, .tv, etc.) However, a decision by ICANN now allows for the creation of a multitude of top-level domains, and yes, one could be .mac

The consequences of this decision will be huge for the domain squatters of the world. Will the expansion of all this virtual real-estate lead to a plummet in squatting because so many domains will be available, or will existing companies have to buy more domains to protect their trademark/image? Apple for example, may have to buy apple.sex, apple.xxx , etc . Will it be a major headache, a democratization of domain names, or much ado about nothing? We don't know, but we'll definitely be watching what happens to .mac... the domain.

El Gato turbo.264 review

One of our pet peeves here at TDL is the large amount of h.264 encoding we need to do to get our content on-air. So since January, we've been anxious to try El Gato's turbo.264. It's a standalone hardware encoder that plugs in to a USB port, and you're ready to go. Any skepticism disappeared when we saw the speedy results. Whatever is inside this thing should be standard on every pro machine from Apple. It saved us from buying a new tower just to boost encode speeds. Check it out:

Starting your Friday gently: a robot band!

I know, I know. It's Friday. You'd rather not be in the office. You know what you need? No, not a fake doctor's excude to get out of work. You need a pick-me-up in the form of something that will restore your faith in humanity while getting you up and dancin' . I speak of course, of a robotic band:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Psystar could change Macs forever, or get consumed by the lawyers

The very curious case of Psystar... Several months ago they announced the availability of their "Open" and "Open Pro" computers, shipping with Mac OS X installed. At first, the Mac community scoffed, and many found reason to believe the whole thing a hoax. But Psystar still exists, and they've upped the ante with the availability of their new xServe "clones."

The world wonders though, why hasn't Apple done anything? Could it be, that maybe, just maybe Psystar has found a legitimate loop hole in Apple's licensing agreement? Is Apple concerned that if they try to sue and lose, and the floodgates will open to other unauthorized clones?

Or, let's pretend for just a minute, that Apple may at some point bring OS X to PCs themselves. Yes, this rumor has been floated out there for years, and now of all times, it seems LEAST likely to happen. But what better way to gauge interest than tacitly allow a small manufacturer to dip their toe in the market, and presumably they will talk about sales numbers at some point, and Apple will be able to gauge the interest in OS X for PC. Given the success of the Intel Macs, it would seem silly for Apple to license the OS to others now. But the question remains, why hasn't Apple brought any kind of legal action against Psystar? We know when product shots leak, the attorneys respond within days...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Not All Apple Stores are Created Equal

I came across this story over at The Consumerist describing a customer's experience at one Apple Store versus another. It seems the ball was dropped on a repair issue that forced the customer to take his computer to another Apple location where the repair was expedited and completed immediately. As a former Mac Genius, and current Apple Store customer, I do believe Apple provides the best customer service experience in all of retail today, however sometimes the quality of service may vary based on a few things.

When. The time of day you arrive can greatly affect your service. I found I provided my best service earlier in my shift, either 9am or 1pm if I was closing. Also typically the Genius Bar is less busy when the store first opens (although there may be a flood of broken iPod customers) and less busy on weekdays.

Where. If you happen to live near multiple Apple Store locations, I'd pick the one that is typically less crowded. Not only will you probably receive more time with a Mac Genius, but they should have less repairs in their queue, ensuring you get your repair back faster.

Who. Sometimes is all comes down to the Mac Genius who helps you. The reality is some do a better job than others. Some are more knowledgeable and experienced, and just interact with customers better.

If you do have a bad experience at Apple retail let them know about it.
http://www.apple.com/retail/feedback/ Believe it or not they do listen.

Will you be in line for the new iPhone? We need your help!

As we inch closer to the release of the iPhone 3g, and the App store, I wanted to let everyone know our gameplan for coverage. We'll be posting reviews of as many of the new apps as possible as soon as the app store goes live. We'll also do some live video segments, highlighting what the apps can do.

It's not entirely clear whether the App store and 3G phone will launch at the same time, but we have both covered. Matt and Sidney from theilife.com will be bringing us live updates from the front of the line at one of Apple's NYC locations.

But, we want to get a feel for the launch at other locations, and around the world. If you plan on heading out to an Apple store, or AT&T store for the phone launch, send us an email: feedback@thedigitallifestyle.tv

If Apple didn't exist...

I know, I know, it's a broad title, and could go in a million different directions, so let's just think about portable devices today. Wipe Apple off the map. Would we be living in an alternative universe where the Zune is the top music player? Or would we still be going along buying CDs? Would anyone be manufacturing mp3 players or phones with sealed batteries (and thinking about it, does anyone else do this now?). Who would have the most talked about cell phone right now, and would it have a touch screen? Would Sony have remained the dominant name in portable music? Would minidiscs become the next big format?
Just some food for thought to start your Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Will iPhone unlocking continue?

With the official App store launch presumably little more than two weeks away at most, many iPhone owners are content to wait for the Apple-sanctioned App store to start adding new software functionality to their devices. From day one though, there's been an unclear number of people who have chosen to "jailbreak" their phones, allowing them to try a variety of programs and features, some of which won't be available to the masses even with Apple's software store.

However, with what's expected to be a wide range of software, much of it free, available in the App store, will there still be a reason beyond just for fun tech exploration, to jailbreak the iPhone? It's one thing to go through the steps and risk "bricking" the phone to use a wide array of programs, but if most of those same programs are available through the App store without fear of damaging the phone, can the jailbreak scene survive/thrive after the App store?

Let us know what you think.

New product launches from the genius' perspective

Soon, Apple stores around the world will be swamped by people looking to buy the new iPhone. What kind of preparation goes into that kind of launch by the people who have to troubleshoot the devices as they're potentially seeing them in person for the first time? Find out in this segment of Root Access:

The iTunes music store could have some competition, if only...

Business is hard. The digital music business is really hard. Or is it? On paper at least, you need to create an easy user interface, have a wide selection, and offer unique features. There's one other part of the equation everyone seems to keep forgetting though: advertising.

Amazon has a decent mp3 store. It has a fine selection of tracks, and the best way to get your music into your iTunes library without using the iTunes music store. So why then, isn't it more popular? No one knows/remembers it exists! Other than the promotion with Pepsi, (which didn't have the same ad support as the previous Pepsi deal with Apple) have you ever seen an ad for the service?

Now Amazon is expanding to the UK, where we're told most digital downloads are in a protected Windows Media format. What a great opportunity for Amazon to expand their marketshare, but if the y make the same mistake as in the U.S., they will be a very distant second place at best.

The only digital music competitor to sink any real money into advertising was the failed buy.com music store. Maybe the failure of Buy caused everyone else to be gun shy. The problem with Buy was never the advertising though, it was a clunky store with a small selection, of wildly varying price points. Any company serious about taking on Apple will have to match ad for ad with them just to make any impact. Think about all those Coldplay commercials from Apple, who easily has the #1 position. There's no magic wand to make your music store competitive with Apple. People need to know the store exists, and then be reminded of that at every turn. It's a simple business principle

Monday, June 23, 2008

FireFox 3 Video Review

Our friend Gary Rosenzweig from macmost.com had a chance to put Firefox 3 through it's paces. Here's a look:

It's a trojan horse! Run!

Yes folks, it's that time again... Time for news of a potential Trojan Horse for Mac OS X. First, my apologies to the builders of the original Trojan Horse. You had no way of knowing cleverly loading up soldiers in a wooden horse masquerading as a gift would be turned into shorthand for anything online that makes the user do something stupid. A piece of history you may not know though: no one's quite sure if the original horse actually existed, or is the product of writers/poets.

So maybe it is fitting now and then Mac users are hit with a sensationalized story of what may or may not be an actual danger for OS X users.

Real or not, I'll take one Trojan Horse over thousands of viruses any day. Never enter your password unless you know why you're doing it, and never allow a program to run that you're not familiar with. Problem solved.

A different take on the value of the iPhone

A few articles have been quick to point out that in the long run, the iPhone 3G will actually cost more than the previous iPhone. While that's true, and it's a point we've made here many times, I have a new perspective on the value of the iPhone.

I want to an AT&T store this past weekend with a friend, switching to AT&T, and not waiting for the new iPhone. The salesperson quickly showed us several options, from free phones, to about $200. What did they have in common? None were particularly memorable for starters, and all shared the same cheap plastic feel. Thanks to the RAZR, some models now have solid metal buttons though.

My friend ended up going with the Sony Ericsson Z750a: A flip phone with camera, video recording, 2MP and stereo bluetooth. A few of these features are better/missing on the iPhone (the full bluetooth support, and video for example.) Final cost for the Z750a: $99 after rebate. It struck me that this situation is very similar to the whole PC/Mac debate. while the "pc" phone was half the price, the build, operating system, and interface are far beyond anything else out there. In the Mac world, people are used to paying a premium for the OS, and maybe the cell phone market is catching on as well.

The bottomline is, an extra $99 for the iPhone with significantly greater storage, (Z750 is bundled with a 1GB card) the most hassle-free interface on any phone, and the ability to hold something that actually feels solidly built is well worth the extra money. While many people have compared the iPhone to other phones at the same/greaer price point (like the Voyager), the real market for the phone may very well be people who are considering getting a cheaper phone, realizing for nearly the same price (without rebate) they can have so much more.

Apple and Klausner Technologies Settle Visual Voicemail Dispute

Ahhh, another lawsuit has come and gone for Apple regarding patent violations.  In December of this past year, Klausner Technology accused Apple of appropriating Klausner’s patent for visual voicemail and joined eBay and AT&T in the suit.  The technology references the visual voicemail feature used in Apple’s iPhone.

Apple, eBay and AT&T settled the suit agreeing to license the visual voicemail technology under a non-exclusive deal.  The financial negotiations of settlement were not disclosed.

        Klausner has already licensed the coveted technology to Time Warner’s AOL for AOL voicemail services as well as Vonage for their Voicemail Plus services.  Comcast and Cablevision Systems Corp. are rumored to be in negotiations with the visual voicemail giants.  Comcast is looking to use the technology to send a visual alert your computer or cell phone when you have a new voicemail.  It seems there are never-ending possibilities to being connected.

this article based on information found at www.newsfactor.com

Friday, June 20, 2008

Root Access now on iTunes

If you've enjoyed Root Access on the channel, or on the shows page, you can now get it (for free of course) directly from the iTunes store. We'd appreciate it if you'd take a moment to subscribe, or leave your thoughts through the iTunes review system.

Here you go!

Software Review: ReQall for your brain

It's time for another DigitalLifestyle.tv software review. This time I take a look at a web app to keep your sh*t in order. Are you someone who forgets pretty much everything (except to bring your iPhone with you at all times)? If you are (I'm not) ReQuall is for you.

Cost breakdown: FREE

ReQall is a web based organization platform with a social netowrking tie-in (what doesn't these days). The web end is very web 2.0 offering To-Do's, shopping lists, notes, photographic memory (what?!?!), and contacts. It has email, IM, calendar, RSS, and text message integration (pretty much covers all means of communication).

To-Do's, shopping lists, notes and contacts are pretty straight forward. Anyone who's used a pen and paper understand what this is all about. Photographic memory is a pretty slick feature that allows you to link to a Picassa (thank you Google) web album so you can remember stuff. I like to think of it as an idiots guide to shopping. For example, if you need cereal you can put cereal on your to-do list (BORING) OR you can take a picture of the cereal box after you finish it and then email the picture to your picassa web album which will sync to your ReQall and BAM, you've got a picture shopping list. I'm sure there are other things you can do with it too...

All joking aside, I really do like this next feature. ReQall has integrated voice access so you don't need to wait for Edge to add something to your shopping list. Instead you can dial into your ReQall and speak your action and item. ReQall then places your voice action into the appropriate section of your lists. I tried this feature out and didn't run into any usability issues.

Props to ReQall for getting their iPhone optimized page right. I don't need a special URL like m.losemymindrememberingthisurl.com or mobile.nonsense.iphone.com. ReQall site recognizes you're using an iPhone and redirects you to their iPhone optimized site . . . lets be honest, this is the way it should work.

In all, I'm not sure how much I'll end up using this software but it is pretty slick and the voice integration takes it to the next level. I think you should give it a shot . . . those folks at QTech put out a polished Beta.

5 Billion songs sounds like a lot, but...

Apple announced this week they have now sold over 5 Billion songs. That is a huge number, and a huge feat in a space that was practically non-existent before the iTunes store launched.

With that said, some people, especially stock holders, might want to get out the calculators for a minute, and consider the ramifications of a rental or subscription service instead.

For this discussion, let's assume Apple's cut of rented music vs. purchase would be roughly the same. And we'll assume all those 5 billion tracks were purchased individually, meaning the sales brought in roughly $ 5 billion.

Today there are roughly 175 million iPods and iPhones sold. Let's say 150 million are still in use. Now let's assume 40% of those iPod/iPhone owners would be interested in a $15/mo rental program. $15/mo x 90 million would give Apple revenue of $1.25 billion per month.

There are a lot of unknowns here, so let's take a look at far more conservative numbers. Perhaps as few as 5%, or 7.5 million ipods/users would subscribe to the service. That would still mean more than $112 million in revenue each month, or $1.34billion per year. It would take less than four years to match the per song revenue.

This isn't meant to suggest Apple should abandon per track pricing, but rather they should offer a rental system as well. Traditionally Apple has been set in creating hardware or software, then telling the consumer why they needed it. Why not, just this once, give the consumer a choice. A choice that could ultimately lead to far higher revenue.

iPhone 3G countdown widget from theilife.com

Our friends at theiLife.com have put together a slick countdown widget for those of you waiting to get in line. You can download it here. Available in black or white, and the best part, unlike the iPhone, there's no extra charge for the white version.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sharing the Wealth

There have been some rumbling in the past about Apple having problems hiring enough engineers, which in turn caused delays with the release of Leopard and the iPhone apps. Now it turns out Apple's inability to hire enough people may be related to how much they are willing to pay.

$89,000 doesn't seem like an awful lot when you consider all the hours the engineers work, how little public recognition they receive, and the general high cost of living in Silicon Valley. With Google and Yahoo offering almost $20k more, it's understandable how the talent could be spread thin at Apple.

When myself and other TDL members worked for Apple the pay was definitely good, and particularly for retail. But near the end of my run, I was aware that new genii were making almost $15k less than me. We also went from having multiple full time Mac Specialist to almost none. Quarterly bonuses were removed and replaced with a one time pay raise, which was great for existing personnel, but didn't do squat for new hires.

Don't get me wrong, Apple is still a great company to work for, and I just hope it stays that way, and that their ability to consistently wow us isn't affected by their purse strings.

Apple Store Sydney Opening : Video

Finally Apple has made to Australia, and TDL viewer C.Park was kind of enough to point us to his video of the event:

We couldn't sum it up any better

I just wanted to share a YouTube find with everyone. We're always fans of frustration best told through video. So here's an iPhone 3G ad parody pointing out some "shortcomings" compared to other phones. You know what's coming, but still worth a chuckle.

MobileMe: Is it worth it?

So awhile back I posted about .Mac and the value for what you're getting. Apple has now announced .Mac will be making the migration to MobileMe. We lose some features in this process like iCards, but we get 2x the storage and we get push email, calendar, and address book.

I ask the same question . . . is it worth it??

The answer depends on what's important to you. If you don't care about push and don't need to live in a NOW NOW NOW world, MobileMe doesn't seem like a compelling offering.

If you do care about push and want/need to live in a NOW NOW NOW world, MobileMe is probably the best and least costly solution. You can get free push email from Yahoo! but you don't get calendar or address book with this offering. If you want to pay for exchange (push) hosting there are many offerings out there. The least expensive solution that specifically calls out support for the iPhone is about $11.00/mo. This totals $132 for just the push service.

The verdict: If you want push MobileMe is a great solution that also gives you online storage and Apple iLife integration. If you don't care about push . . . still not worth it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sims DJ iPod Game Review

Ryan's spinning the ones and twos (at least that was the plan) with a review of The Sims DJ for iPod. Will it make you the next star DJ? Well, no, but you'll learn about dance floor lighting, pouring drinks, and buying things. Enjoy the review:

Apple and Adobe, say you're sorry, and shake hands

Apple, I want you to look at Adobe. Adobe, look at Apple. Now both of you have been misbehaving lately. Adobe, there's no need to upset the Apple faithful by claiming there won't be 64bit support in most Adobe apps anytime soon. Apple, shame on you for pinning Safari quits on Adobe (see image above)
Apple: "But he does! Adobe always crashes Safari!"
Adobe: "I do not! You just need to let users disable/enable plugins."

Stop it both of you. Now let's talk about the iPhone for a minute.
Adobe: "I don't wanna!"
Apple: "I'm not allowed to speculate!"

Ok, ok. Adobe, you said you have Flash working on a jailbroken iPhone, right?
Adobe: "Yeah, and we'd release it too, if Apple would let us!"
Apple: "Your app is nothing but a battery-draining, web clogging, poopy head."
Adobe: "Oh yeah, you're just scared people will prefer Flash and it will become a mobile standard just like on the web!"
Apple: "Am not!"
Adobe: "Are too!"
Apple: "People prefer QuickTime anyhow."
Adobe: "Oh yeah, then why do I have an installed base of nearly 98% of all computers?"
Apple: "Oh yeah, well QuickTime powers iTunes, the world's biggest online music store!"
Adobe: "Yeah, and you have to use Photoshop to make the graphics because Aperture's stinky!"
Apple: "Aperture isn't for making graphics, stupid."
Adobe: "Fine. I'll just develop my apps for the PC only!"
Apple: "Fine. and I'll make the iPhone Microsoft Silverlight friendly."
Adobe: "Fin-- oh wait. you don't mean that do you?"
Apple: "No... I guess not. It just came out.

There, now see, you both have something in common. I'm going to go back inside. Why don't you two play in the sandbox for a bit and see if you can come up with a solution...

Both of you, stop it. Seriously.

Forstall bests Schiller in Walken look-alike contest (again)

We're just sayin...

Monopoly iPod Game Review

Macgirl's been playing Monopoly non-stop the last week to bring you this review. Find out how it stacks up against the board game original. And yes, it still takes a long time to play:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TDL Live This week: (6/16) Not all iPhone!

If you missed it live last night, here's this week's TDL Live. Adam and Ryan have the roundup of tech news and rumors, and thankfully, it's not just the iPhone.

Also, you may have noticed this isn't our standard video player. We're experimenting with different video hosting companies. Today, it's Viddler.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ignite Philly roundup

Last week, in addition to the live WWDC coverage, we did a live broadcast of Ignite Philly. If you're not familiar with the Ignite format, the events allow people to present for precisely five minutes on any topic they wish, while backed by a Powerpoint/Keynote presentation, automatically advancing every five minutes.

I was struck by the breadth of offerings from purely technology projects like iSepta, to community efforts like The Food Trust, and plenty of hybrids of both like the 100K House project. It was great to say hello to TDL watchers in person, and get better plugged in with the creative minds in our own backyard. If there's an Ignite event coming up in your city, I'd highly suggest checking it out. For those in the Philadelphia area, check out ignitephilly.org to find the next Ignite event.

To get you through the work week, Here's a look at all the presentations from Ignite Philly:

Sean Buffington, The University of The Arts. Watch Video

Brian Lang, The Food Trust. Watch Video

Nic Darling, 100K House. Watch Video

Mindy Watts & Leah Murphy, Interface Studio. Watch Video

Randy Schmidt, Chris Conley & Jason Tremblay, iSepta. Watch Video

Sara Selepouchin, Etsy. Watch Video

Alex Hillman, Indy Hall. Watch Video

Marisa McClellan & Scott McNulty, Fork You. Watch Video

Kirstin Thomson, Future of Music Coalition. Watch Video

Blake Jennelle, Philly Startup Leaders. Watch Video

Rick Bannister, P'unk Avenue, Watch Video

Jeff Stockbridge, Photographer. Watch Video

Slavko Milekic, University of the Arts - Touch. Watch Video

Robert Cheetham, Avencia. Watch Video

NO CARRIER aka Don Miller, 8-bit music. Watch Video

Pete Tredish, http://prometheusradio.org/. Watch Video

Brittany Bonnette, Philly Bike Share,. Watch Video

Evan Malone, FAB@Home. Watch Video

Jeff Burk, Neat Receipts. Watch Video

Sunday, June 15, 2008

This Week in Apple Lawsuit History: Flashback to Carl Sagan v. Apple Computer Inc.

            In my attempt at a “retro” blog, I ask you to take a spin in your time machine and see if you remember when Carl Sagan, famed astronomer and scientist, sued famed technology giant, Apple Computer.  It was this week in history that Apple settled with Sagan in 1994 regarding two defamation suits.  The legal battle began when Apple’s internal minds decided to honor Sagan by code-naming the Power Macintosh 7100 after him.  The name was used internally only and therefore posed no problem until Apple released models of the Power Macintosh 7100 code-named as “Cold Fusion” and “Piltdown Man.” 

            When Carl Sagan learned of the names he sued for defamation claiming that the names defamed his character.  A defamation suit with a public figure plaintiff such as Sagan against a public giant like Apple is normally protected by the First Amendment.  Such a case leaves the plaintiff to prove that Apple had knowledge that the information was false and that they advertised the names with reckless disregard of whether or not the names were false.  In this case, Apple won the lawsuit but then changed their Power Macintosh 7100 to an equally defaming internal codename: BHA or “Butt-head Astronomer” 

            The name change lead to the Sagan's second lawsuit against Apple. Sagan again, had to prove that Apple stated the name with knowledge that it was false and that the name was with reckless disregard of whether or not the names were false.  Sagan lost the suit on the grounds that Apple claimed the right to free speech under the First Amendment, which protect big names like Apple from suits of defamation.

            Apple’s last word was when they changed the computer’s internal name to be “LAW,” which is better known as “Lawyers Are Wimps.”  Sagan was again offended by the name and Apple eventually settled in June of 1994. 

Information for this blog found on :


Friday, June 13, 2008

Genius Bar makes a cameo in the new iPhone ad

There it is! No, not the phone... Look at the background... Do those two monitors and logo look familiar?
Thanks for the tip, lanaka.

AT&T to blame for iPhone "delay"?

From the moment Steve left the stage at WWDC, we were shocked that neither the iPhone 3G, or more surprisingly, the Apps store, was ready for immediate use/purchase.

During our live coverage, we even wondered why Apple would've moved the WWDC up to June, then had the most important product launches in July anyhow. The answer, according to one source, could be AT&T. AT&T has been working around the clock to get 3G service to as much of the country as possible. However, that breakneck pace may not have been enough. Because of the integration between the 2.0 phone software, and the 3G iPhone, it would've been cumbersome to launch one without the other, not to mention lessening the PR value of the launch: after all, why would you want to give people a month to realize all the fun new stuff they can do with their current phone, before trying to sell them on a new one?

So the "delay" (if that's truly the case) should mean a better 3G experience, and added hype for Apple.

WWDC All Over Again

Maybe you missed out on our live coverage of WWDC the first time around. Maybe you think if you watch it again, this time Steve will announce the Apps store is available immediately, or maybe you just want something to listen to get through the work week.

In any event, below are the links to our live WWDC video coverage and analysis. Enjoy it, all over again...

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Where are the Apple apps?

I think we're almost out of our version of "one more thing" regarding the WWDC keynote. But there's been one more discussion going on here at HQ I wanted to open up to everybody: Where are the iPhone apps from Apple?

The iPhone offers a lot of cool opportunities (at least we assume) beyond porting programs from other platforms. How about a lite version of iMovie intended for the YouTube crowd: record short video clips, then do basic cuts before posting directly to your YouTube or (get used to it) Mobile Me account.

And what about iPhoto? For the megapixel size of the camera, the iPhone takes great pictures, but why not allow the user to do basic image adjustments?

There's always the chance that Apple held back on their own software given that this was the Developer's Conference: focused on getting others to create apps for the platform. That said, is there any other way to showcase what the device can do than to show off Apple-created apps? We also hear how quick it is to develop for the phone. Developers come out and talk about only working on something for a month, and how easy it is to program. But how about showing us something that's been in development, possibly for years at Apple? Why not show us what's possible when a programming team can devote full attention to creating apps. With time, we'll either start to see these apps, or we'll have to wonder if maybe the SDK doesn't allow for the kind of groundbreaking development we had hoped.

Dragon Suite with Shadow: Review

Dragon Suite promises to be an all-in-one solution for burning CDs and DVDs, backing up DVD movies, and just for the heck of it, file/hard drive backups as well. A lot of this functionality is already in OS X 10.5 so does Dragon Suite bring something new to the table? Well, I'd love to say you have to watch the review, but I can't do it. The short answer is no.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You have a tumor... Or maybe just a dead pixel

Alright. A few days have passed, and everyone has had a chance (us included) to point out the shortcomings from the WWDC Keynote. There was one area though, that seemed far more advanced than perhaps we'd expected: specialized iPhone apps.

The applications demoed, specifically the medical applications proved to be the most interesting. While most iPhone users will never need to use the apps from modality or MIMvista shown at WWDC. These products though, may represent the most cutting-edge use of the iPhone as a platform that we'll see anytime soon.

Mark Cain's look at the the MIMvista projects in particular, showed the potential of the iPhone, while it might take longer than we expected (meaning later than the launch of the apps store) to see this kind innovation. Porting Cro-Mag Rally is one thing. The ability to view, analyze, and adjust CT scans, x-rays, etc. from anywhere is the first step towards seeing a legitimate "third platform" to go along with the Mac and Windows.

Becoming a successful podcaster and more

Now that's it's so easy to share your thoughts with the world via podcast, how can you cut through the clutter of all those voices, and build a solid and stable audience? Where can that success take you? We asked the highly successful Disney podcaster Ricky Brigante, the host of "Inside The Magic" for his podcasting secrets, and find out how he's taken his interest to the next level with a new print magazine. And of course, he does it all on his Mac:

Live broadcast tonight

A quick reminder, especially for viewers in the Philadelphia region, we will be broadcasting live at 7PM ET today from Ignite Philly, an event bringing together some of the most creative minds in Philadelphia to share five-minute presentations on everything from community media, and social programs, to video blogs, and iPhone software. If you're in the Philly area, it all happens at Johnny Brenda'son Frankford Ave.

See you there! (or here!)

Forgotten Tech: The MiniDisc

(This is a new blog feature. From time to time, we'll take a moment to look at a forgotten piece of technology, that may or may not be Apple-related.)

Before there were iPods. Before there was even mp3 players, there were minidiscs. You may have heard of this mysterious format, or you may have been one of it's devout users. The technology holds a special place in my heart, and in some ways, the convenience and versatility of the minidisc is still unmatched.

Now wait, I know what you're thinking... how could I possibly think the minidisc is/was better than CDs or the iPod. Well, I don't.

No, the real beauty of the minidisc was in producing audio. In my college years, I hosted the morning radio show. The station ran on two things: minidiscs, and the beloved "cart" (a cartridge used in radio that's essentially a modified 8-track). In this environment, music could be split into different categories: Heavy, medium, light, for instance, and placed onto corresponding minidiscs. When a song was no longer needed, that song could be deleted without affecting the other tracks, and new music could be added. This was far quicker and more robust than CD-R's, and far more affordable than hard drive-based systems at that time.

Additionally, standalone units allowed for four-track mastering on minidiscs. This meant small radio stations could master things like promos and commercials directly onto the playback medium in perfect digital sound. (Later versions of minidisc used a ridiculous amount of compression, unsuitable to the pro/semi-pro audio environment.)

So someone could record a commercial in four tracks, take the minidisc to the control room, and it was ready to play. To duplicate this simplicity today, you would need a computer network, with computers in each room, significant audio shielding, bulky monitors and towers, and a way to reduce the noise from the towers. This is the march of technology.

Outside of radio, I used a portable Sony Walkman minidisc with recording capabilities for wedding videography. While it was a pain to sync up with the video, the full sound captured by a portable recorder/microphone worn by the groom sounded miles better than anything available today from a wireless microphone system.

I should also point out that same Walkman served as my first digital music player. I was able to hook it up via an included usb/optical adapter to my mac, and play the music from a CD in iTunes, while recording it onto the disc. powered by one AA battery, I could listen to the same 15 songs (or change discs) for days...

So here's to you, minidisc... You'll always have a special place in our hearts here at The Digital Lifestyle.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Inside scoop on Snow Leopard

Sure you watched the keynote, but you didn't get to see the afternoon session in which Apple unveiled a few details about OS X 10.6, or Snow Leopard. Fortunately, theilife.com was there:

What started as a rumor, then revealed at the WWDC Keynote: the next iteration of Mac OS X, version 10.6 will indeed be called Snow Leopard. Snow Leopard will “..build on the incredible success of OS X Leopard..” by “..focusing primarily on new features, Snow Leopard will enhance the performance of OS X”. Rumors say that this means no PowerPC support, and could possibly mark the end of existence for Carbon UI.

Apple says that by optimizing the new OS X for multi-core processors and tapping into the potential of graphic processing units (GPU) OS X become faster and more reliable and allow more vast amounts of RAM. Additionally, Snow Leopard will ship with Microsoft Exchange support out of the box and features QuickTime X, a “new, modern media platform”.

For the full story, plus pictures from the event, click here.

TDL Live This week: (6/9) WWDC reactions

Last night Adam and I left our thoughts be known on the Apple WWDC keynote. While Adam ws taking a more thoughtful tone after considering the keynote a few hours. I stuck by my word of the day: "underwhelming." Enjoy:

Monkeys on the Brain

Am I the only one who thinks Super Monkey Ball stole the show yesterday? Yea MobileMe is interesting and the new phones are certainly sweet, but I can't stop thinking about those damn monkeys. I think it's the perfect game to show off what the iPhone is capable of. With Sega, EA and now Ubisoft on board as developers, Apple has a real chance at becoming the dominant player in U.S. mobile games. While I don't think Sony or Nintendo have to worry about anything (yet) I can see Apple changing the way people acquire their portable games. Don't be surprise when Sony and Nintendo copy many of the iPhones features in the coming years.

MiND TV and the future of television

The iTunes store, YouTube, and other online outlets are quickly changing the landscape of television/video. However, cable and broadcast television aren't going away overnight. The public's new-found appeal for short-form content could just end up being perfect for television.

We had a chance to interview Howard J. Blumenthal, CEO of MiND TV, the new mind programming concept of WYBE in Philadelphia:

Dear Apple: Please free the keynote

Many moons ago, Apple keynote day meant huddling around the computer, and watching a live feed of the proceedings. What would happen!? What would Steve reveal!? How would the crowd react!? This was in the late 90's early 00's. Then in a strange technological step backwards, just as more people could watch the broadband presentation, and just as Apple's popularity began to soar, the live feeds disappeared. Now we're left with the clipped text of bloggers in attendance to fill us in, as to what's happening as the event unfolds.

Granted the surge in popularity also would mean increased bandwidth concerns if the event was live. At the same time, bandwidth costs have fallen dramatically, and continue to do so. Also, Apple has increased it's "rainy day" fund to over $20 billion. Granted there are plenty of ways people would suggest spending that money, but providing a live feed (especially when the event is already professionally taped for later download) would be a literal drop in the iPod bucket.

Apparently though, it's not the money that keeps Apple from providing the stream live. For WWDC, just as we did for MWSF, we asked Apple to allow us to stream the keynote live, with our humble little site footing the bandwidth bill, and taking the heat for any performance issues: All we asked was to tap into the feed from the production company. Those requests were, denied - a surprise to no one, including us.

The point isn't whether we ever stream these events, but rather that it only makes sense for Apple to make them freely available. Wouldn't be better for the first impressions of the keynote to be directly from Apple? (At least from Apple's standpoint) Wouldn't that be better than having the information passed on by bloggers who could err with specs/pricing, as well as add their own commentary/spin to the coverage?

We're not asking Apple to do something groundbreaking: we're asking them to return to a previous practice that was ahead of its time, and in the process, they will gain more control over the message taken from each keynote.

In the meantime, we'll continue to provide what we believe is the next best thing: Live video coverage before, during, and after the event. If Apple wants a tiny site to be the first with live video of new products via our correspondents at these events, that's perfectly fine for us. But for Apple fans in general, it's a shame we can no longer hear the latest and greatest straight from Steve's mouth.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ready for a phone buying trip to 1992?

Many years ago, the only way to buy a cell phone was to go into your local carrier store, pick a phone, get it activated, and leave. If you want to take a trip back in time, it looks like Apple might be ready to fulfill your wishes.

Curiously absent from the phone info, is any mention of purchasing the phone online. Further, reports are starting to surface indicating you have to activate the phone in the store, and there might be a penalty if you don't activate within 30 days.

The original iPhone broke new ground, and Apple showed the industry an all-new, and for the consumer, far more convenient way to activate phones. What seemed to be a bold move towards a new customer-empowered world, has fallen back to the old bricks and mortar purchase and activation model.

At the original launch this may have made more sense. After all, the phones could be sent anywhere in the world to be unlocked and used. Now that 22 countries will have the iPhone with several more before the end of the year, the black/grey market for the phone is shrinking. It's a terrible time to decide to fall back to the old way of doing business. Although come to think of it, we didn't have copy and paste, or MMS on phone in 1992 either. Thanks for the trip, Apple.

Exclusive Interview with the iSepta creators

Those of you in the Philadelphia area, rejoice! If you're an iPhone owner (or even if you just have an internet connection) iSepta has made navigating Philly's Regional Rail system far easier.

Watch below and meet the guys behind iSepta. And if you live anywhere near a mass transit system, pay attention: They might be making your commute easier next!

All (or most) of your .mac to Mobile Me questions answered

If you're like us, today's Mobile Me announcement left a lot of unanswered questions. Fortunately Apple has now addressed those concerns / issues here:
.Mac Support Article.

What we got. What we expected.

And so the WWDC Keynote is in the books. The 3G iPhone was announced. The rumored video chat features were not. The GPS was there, the apps store is there, although not today, and Apple did manage to hit the $199 price point.

To call it underwhelming would be an understatement. We were staffed, and prepared for an afternoon of putting the new applications through their paces. Of showing people just what wonderful things they could do with the new phone. While the new phone, especially the price point will increase sales, especially in new markets, frankly there's very little reason for existing iPhone customers to run out and get one. (even though you can't. Not 'til July.)

This was one of those keynotes that raised more questions than it answers: why can we still not copy and paste? Why is there no mms? Why is mobile me any better than say push email, and why does it seem like such an awkward .mac replacement?

All we know is, the phone will be here next month, along with the apps store, although not even all the demo'ed apps will be available then.

And so, along with mundane things like copy and paste, we didn't hear anything about iChat for Windows, a new tablet, or iPod touch changes. We didn't even get the traditional "up and to the right" sales graph. And no "one more thing."

We can only take comfort in the fact that Phil Schiller made an appearance on stage. At least some keynote traditions remain.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Final Reminder: Live video coverage of keynote announcements Monday

Just a quick reminder that we'll be serving up our live video analysis of the WWDC keynote beginning at noon ET / 9AM PT. We'll be your first source for keynote developments, video of the new device(s) and reaction from the Mac Çommunity. Everyone watching will be able to chat and interact with us live on-air via iChat.

If Macworld was any indication, we expect a big crowd, so here's a few tips:
1. Load the videostream early. We will need to initially cap the the video connections at 30,000, allowing more people to view depending on bandwidth/web stability.
2. Secret second stream. If our main website goes down, you'll also be able to watch the live video at www.mogulus.com/tdl .
3. There's no step three!

We look forward to a fun event, and hope you'll join us. We'll be bringing the latest and fastest reports from the Keynote that we can.

See you Monday!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

With iPhone 2 around the corner, what's in store for the iPod touch?

We're less than five days away from at least the announcement, and who knows... maybe the shipment of the next generation of Apple iPhone. We know iPhone SDK is coming as well, and we know the touch will share much of the same software functionality as the iPhone. Could that mean an iPod touch re-design on Monday as well? Take video, for example. If the iPhone is given the ability to record video, is that a function that could come to the touch too?

And if rumors of a $199 subsidized iPhone prove true, what happens to the touch price point? It can't be less than $199, or it would cut into iPod nano sales. More than $199, and why would someone buy a touch when there would be potentially more functionality in the new iPhone?

Apple has previously stated if a product is going to get cannibalized, they want it to get cannibalized by their own product, rather than someone else's. That may be true here too, but it just seems like the price points could make for a crowded product lineup between $200 and $300.

Multi-Channel Gift Card from Apple

I don't want to make too big of deal out of this, as it may have been Apple Retail policy for some time now. However, I purchased an Apple Store gift card at the local Apple Store today, and on the receipt, it was listed as "Multichannel gift card." This could simply be a change to the way gift cards are differentiated in the store (vs. an iTunes card) or it could indicate a new multi-purpose gift card that could be used in the store, for iTunes, or maybe the new App store...

Rampant speculation, but at least it's not more iPhone news...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

June Apple Fantasy Merger: Nintendo

(Each month we weigh the pros and cons of a particular potential merger for Apple. Please note the "fantasy" part of this speculation: Many times the mergers mentioned couldn't or wouldn't be realistically possible. But put all that aside and enjoy this month's edition of Fantasy Merger.)

Apple has been on a tear conquering the worlds of portable music, cell phones, and computers. There are two areas though, where Apple continues to meet resistance: The settop box (Apple TV) and gaming. This month's fantasy merger would solve both of these problems overnight: Merge/Buy Nintendo.

The Wii has been a success in large part due to the (here it comes) "think different" approach they've taken to game control. From the outside, it seems like there would be several workplace culture similarities between the two companies, more than say Apple and Sony.

Apple would immediately have a gaming hit on its hands, and a device in millions of homes (millions more than Apple TV) in which to stream TV, movies, and music.

Will it happen? As if with all these fantasy mergers, probably not. But not letting little things like company valuations, international ownership issues, and ego clashes get in the way, it looks like a great match.

Let's not forget the other part of WWDC...

iPhone this, iPhone that. As the WWDC keynote approaches, the chatter is ratcheted up even further abouth the new iPhone, and its slew of features/software.

But let's not forget, WWDC existed long before the iPhone. First and foremost, it is a conference for OS X developers. We might just be looking at a situation in which Steve sneaks something under the radar regarding Mac development, while everyone is worked up in an iPhone frenzy. We already know how the iPhone story ends: Bigger storage, gps, and probably video conferencing. So where could the surprise come from next Monday? How about a new API making it easier to run Windows apps natively under OS X? Maybe the announcement of a similar self-service Apple store independent OS X developers? Maybe some new xCode tricks making development for the Mac and the iPhone simultaneously a cake walk?

Again, even we've speculated on possible hardware announcements like newer MacBooks, or the introduction of a tablet, but it could be a quiet, under-the-radar development tweak that has the greatest long-lasting effect on Apple marketshare and stock price in the long-term.

(And don't forget, we'll have live video coverage of the keynote announcements beginning at noon ET / 9AM PT.)

TDL Live This week: (6/2) Apple News Roundup

Ryan and Adam offer have a Keynote preview, and a look at the rest of the Apple news, now less than a week from the keynote (and our live coverage.)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Jobs in the clear? SEC most likely not to file suit against Steve Jobs

As an update to the SEC’s investigation of Apple and Steve Jobs regarding stock options backdating, it appears, Steve may be in the clear. Not only did the internal audits conducted by the SEC prove to be ok, Steve has made a clear case that as CEO he may not have known about the legal subtext of backdating that may have been carried out by his second-in-command employees. The SEC sued both Apple’s Chief Financial Officer Fred Thompson and ex-General Counsel Nancy Heinen last year for apparent backdating-related fraud, leaving Jobs, at this point, out of focus.

While Steve may be in the clear with the internal audits conducted, that does not necessarily mean that the SEC does not have a case. The SEC only has to prove that the executive, in this case Steve Jobs, knew the alleged backdating was occurring and therefore disregarding the accounting rules put in place by the SEC to regulate such behavior. If the SEC feels they would have evidentiary support to make this case, they can proceed with action.

The interesting part is that the government may in fact do nothing even if some evidence is found. A few high profile attorneys commented on the case, including Anthony Sabino, who is a white collar defender and professor at St. John’s University in New York, stating that because of Steve Jobs “immensely well-known and well-respected” status in the business world, the government may not want to press the matter any further.

While it is still pending whether action will be taken against Steve or not, I’d have to agree with Mr. Sabino’s sentiments on the matter that could be facing the bar. Especially in a high profile case, where a jury will serve, the jury represents the American public’s opinion and that may leave for a very one-sided jury, no matter what the selection process.

This blog is based an article found at reuters.com regarding the SEC options suit


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