Why didn't Apple bump the iPhone 4 problem away?
By Alex KIDMAN
The release this week of US Consumer Reports (think Choice, but in a US accent) testing into the iPhone 4's reception issues reveals the gulf between what Apple would have liked folks to think -- that iPhone 4 reception woes were software based -- and the reality, which is that they're hardware based, relating to where the antenna is on the band around the phone and how you hold it. Nice try, Apple, but some credibility is shredded by this whole debacle.
What really surprises me, though, is that Apple didn't seize on this as an opportunity to make good by simply throwing a few hundred thousand of its bumper cases at iPhone 4 buyers. Tie it in to registering the phone (or if you're particularly control mad, an iTunes software update that identifies the phone) and deliver en masse. Apparently covering the affected area with a case removes the problem entirely. An easy solution, and given a small rubber case purchased in sufficient quantities can't cost Apple more than a few cents each, a particularly cheap one. I doubt the lawyer fees will be quite so affordable, even for a company with Apple's deep pockets.
Accessories for any smartphone are obviously an area where money can be made by the bucketload. After all, it didn't take a day of official iPhone 4 release for cases to be announced. If you want a case, sock, speaker or battery for your smartphone, there are more than enough places willing to sell them to you, even if your smartphone of choice isn't an iPhone at all.
I recently had the chance to buy an iPhone 4 -- or quite probably a fake -- which I've documented at MacTheMag. Leaving aside the fake argument for a second, I didn't buy one anyway. Not because I don't believe in importing, but because I didn't want the fuss of having to stay a step ahead of the curve in jailbreaking terms and the known reception issues in one package, especially when the "real thing" is technically due within two weeks. That's presuming Apple doesn't pull an iPad on us and delay the iPhone 4 launch due to the popularity of the device in the US.
What it does give in the portable space is yet more ammunition to the competing camps, especially Android. I'm awash in Android review phones right now, and it seems not a day passes when a new announcement isn't made. Apple's marketing strategy has long demanded eyeballs by being noteworthy, but I suspect that letting Android handsets shine this bright this wasn't part of the overall game plan.
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3D or not 3D. That is the vexation. Or, my wallet is staying shut.
By David HAGUE
Reports over the weekend suggest the take up of 3D TV has not been the roaring success everyone seemed to expect. Sure, the State of Origin (for those who care) and some of the soccer matches were broadcast in 3D ? actually processed 2D I am told reliably ? but only to a small viewing footprint, so this is hardly a gauge.
The questions is simply this; would you have coughed up a few thou’ to watch a couple of football matches and a game of backyard cricket? Damned if I would.
We would be led to believe that the switch to 3D will be progressive and ongoing, but really, when you think about it, apart from perhaps the initial novelty, what sorts of programs would you think would have value added by being in 3D? Oprah? The Chaser Boys? Masterchef (gawd forbid)!
No. They would have no further redeeming qualities in my opinion, and because of that, as a film maker and occasional TV shooter, I would not invest in the equipment to make a change as I did from say, analogue to digital or SD to HD.
3D is a specialist niche ? much like IMAX I suspect ? and is suited to footage that will benefit from it. And this appears to be sport. As has been previously mentioned, I did see footage shot in true 3D (as against the Australian programs that as said were “processed”) of laps of the Nurburgring, and that was impressive.
But for the life of me, I cannot imagine Home in Away seen the same way.
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Anyone still feeling green?
By Ian GRAYSON
Back in the good-old days before the GFC, many businesses spent lots of time pondering ways to be 'green'. Are they still doing it?
As the financial storm clouds deepened, attention shifted from saving the planet to saving the business. Protecting market share became more important than protecting the planet.
True, some activities did benefit both. Cutting power and paper usage reduced costs and also helped the planet. But more far reaching projects with the potential to do a lot more were often put well and truly on the back burner.
Trouble is, in many cases they're yet to make a comeback. And now, with growing talk of a double-dip recession, it's not likely they'll be seen any time soon.
Have we seen the last of the green IT revolution?
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Following le Tour on le iPad
By Adam TURNER
The iPad makes a handy couch-side companion for the three grueling weeks of le Tour de France.
If you're a sleep-deprived cycling fan with an iPad at hand, it's easy to keep track of the action. SBS Tour de France website renders nicely in Mobile Safari, such as last night when I was watching Stage 5. The Fantasy Tour site also works nicely for Dreamteam fans who fancy themselves as a team manager.
Unfortunately the Flash-based TDF multimedia site isn't as iPad friendly. Obviously the live Flash-based TV simulcast doesn't work, although if you've got a notebook at hand it's a great way to watch the tour in bed. Even the non-Flash-based sections of the site aren't that user-friendly on the iPad.
SBS has released a free iPhone app, although it's copped a lot of flak in the user reviews on the iTunes store. You'll need to cough up $3.99 to activate advanced features such as real-time tracking and real-time alerts. Before you do, check out the free Rabo Bank Cycling for iPad app (plus there's also a free iPhone app).
The Rabo Bank app shows you a live map of the stage, marking the climbs and sprints as well as the distance to the finish line. It also reveals the riders in the peloton and those in the break away, as well as their lead on the pack. The app seems to be around 7 to 10 km behind the live broadcast, or a bit over 10 minutes (once SBS skips through the early parts of the race and catches up to live with around 100km to go). So it's handy during the race but obviously not much use during the final sprint. It's times like this the iPad's lack of Flash is really annoying, as the official Tour website offers an amazing live view of the race which is only about 1 km off the action.
As we push towards the mountains, keep your lead-out man close and your tech even closer.
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Things that get your back up
By Stephen WITHERS
One of the best things about Time Machine is that it does seem to have made less-technical Mac users pay attention to backing up their computers. They can spend around $100 on a 1TB external drive, plug it it, and let Time Machine take over. From there on, no intervention is usually needed.
The next best thing about Time Machine is that it makes it possible to recover any of several different versions of a lost or damaged file. The way Time Machine consolidates backups over time (hourly to daily, daily to weekly), so there's no guarantee that you'll be able to recover a file as it was at a specific point in time. And the quicker you delete a file after creating it, the sooner Time Machine will drop it from the backup.
Another issue is that Time Machine is very inefficient when it comes to backing up very large files such as databases or virtual machine images. The slightest change means the file must be backed up in its entirety, and that can fill your backup drive very quickly.
For example, if you have a 4GB Entourage database that gets backed up every hour, that can occupy 80GB or more for today's and yesterday's copies, then another 4G per day for the previous month. That's a running total of 400G before we reach the older weekly backups.
A 4GB virtual machine image could take up the same amount of space (assuming you have an application running all day, every day), which means your backup disk is going to be full in about a month.
Another issue revolves around how quickly you need to be able to recover from a major problem. While you can restore from Time Machine as part of the Mac OS X reinstallation process (eg, after replacing a failed hard disk), that's still a time consuming process.
If you had cloned your hard disk to an external drive, you could immediately boot from the clone and carry on working until you have time to replace the internal drive and reclone it.
But cloning isn't really a backup strategy, as it only provides very limited protection against issues like inadvertently deleting a file. Once you've cloned the drive for the day, the previous clone has gone.
And in the event of a serious incident such as a fire, you probably won't have time to remove your clone or Time Machine drives from the premises. That's when a remote backup system comes into its own.
My current strategy uses Time Machine to back up most of my data. The main exceptions are my Entourage database (copied nightly to an external drive via Apple's Backup utility, keeping around two weeks of backups), and media files such as podcasts and recorded TV shows (which I don't back up at all).
My work in progress and certain other important files are also backed up to MobileMe once a day, and I do an incremental backup of my iPhoto library to CD or DVD (using Backup) every time I import a batch of photos. (I really must get in the habit of sending additional copies on optical media to a relative for safe keeping.)
Remote backup isn't a complete answer for Australian users, largely due to the relatively slow connection speeds (roll on the NBN) and the tendency of ISPs to meter uploads as well as downloads.
Why don't I clone my hard drive? If my main computer fails, there are others that I can fall back on until it's ready for use again.
What's your backup strategy?
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