The tech / reality gap is getting wider
By Ian GRAYSON
Anyone who works in the technology industry should make a point of regularly talking to people who don't. If nothing else, it'll help you keep a sense of perspective.
With the pace of change in the world of IT increasing daily, it can be hard enough for those involved in it to keep up. High-level trends, technology breakthroughs, product launches and good old marketing hot air makes the industry ever busy.
But spare a thought for those who don't work in technology. Rarely (if ever) delving into the IT press, they rely on mainstream media and friends or co-workers to keep them updated on the latest developments.
While there's nothing wrong with this, it means there's often a gap between those of us who follow technology closely and the rest of the world.
This point was brought home to me on three occasions during the past few months. Firstly, I had a series of casual conversations with people about mobile phones. It quickly came to my attention that they thought Android was a brand of phone, rather than an operating system, and were unsure about where they could check one out.
I've also been interested to find out people's level of understanding of tablets and e-readers. While you'd have to have been living under a large rock not to have heard of the iPad, it doesn't mean that everyone knows what one is.
When I travel I always take my old faithful first-generation Kindle e-reader with me. On more than one occasion I've been asked by an interested fellow traveler what the device is and, on occasion, whether it's an iPad. A few minutes of chatting shows they have little understanding of the current tablet war that is raging across the tech world.
More evidence came this past week when the IT community paid its respects to Steve Jobs. At a social gathering that very evening I was talking with two highly intelligent and successful academics who, not only did not know that Steve Jobs had died, but had no idea who he was.
This was the moment when I realised just how large the gap between the tech and the non-tech worlds has become.
But what does it mean? Obviously, the gap can't be easily closed, and you can argue that trying to do so would be a complete waste of time.
What it does mean, however, is that technology companies trying to market to non-technical people need to be sure they know their audience. Just because something is the latest and greatest techno-marvel on the block, doesn't mean that the majority of people will know ... or even care.
And just because you managed to completely change the world of consumer technology, doesn't mean that everyone will know your name.
Food for thought really.
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Steve Jobs - the man who shaped the future
By Adam TURNER
Regardless of your technological allegiances, we should all pay our respects at the loss of the visionary Steve Jobs.
This week marks Hydrapinion’s 5th birthday, which would normally be reason enough for a spot of introspection. Hydrapinion is also saying goodbye to award-winning freelance tech journo Alex Kidman, who leaves us for cubicleland as the editor of Gizmodo Australia. They’re big shoes to fill, but we’re very pleased to announce that the (also award-winning) David Braue is taking his place - the man who took home the coveted Gold Lizzie at the 2010 ITJourno awards.
Looking back at five years of Hydrapinion posts, it’s hard to find someone who has had more influence on technology than Steve Jobs. Hydrapinion tries to cover the technological spectrum, and it’s clear that Jobs has shaped the way we both work and play.
Part Henry Ford, part Walt Disney and part P.T. Barnum, Jobs forever changed the way we see personal technology. It's a shame he didn't survive to celebrate the upcoming 10th anniversary of the iPod, as it's the device that reshaped the personal technology space. Regardless of make or model, practically every consumer electronics device we have today has been in some way shaped by the iPod and its descendants - all of which Jobs helped bring to life.
Religious metaphors have always dogged Jobs and the Cult of Apple and will continue to so in his death. Just like Moses, Jobs lead his people out of the wilderness but died within sight of the promised land. It seems cruel that a visionary like Jobs didn't live to see his vision fulfilled.
Unfortunately for Apple, the loss of Steve Jobs comes as the Android hordes gather at the gates. Considering this, it's disappointing that the new iPhone 4S is mostly playing catch up rather than leading the way. There’s now a lot riding on the mythical iPhone 5, which will have Jobs’ fingerprints all over it even from beyond the grave.
The man might be gone, but the spirit of Steve Jobs will live on for years to come.
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iCloud confirmed for Mac next week - Lion 10.7.2 too?
By Stephen WITHERS
Along with the iPhone 4S and the revamped iPods, Apple announced that iCloud will be launched on October 12 US time, or October 13 here - just before the iPhone 4S ships on October 14, and alongside the iOS 5 update for existing iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models.
For Lion users, there will be a free download to enable iCloud functionality. My expectation is that it will arrive with or shortly after the Lion 10.7.2 update which is currently in a late stage of developer testing.
But the Mac does seem under-supported by iCloud at this stage. Apple's announcement gave no indication that Mac applications such as Pages will be updated any time soon to support Documents in the Cloud, nor is there any sign of iCloud Backup being more than an iOS function. How about a Time Machine 'pass-through' feature that would send copies of your most important files to iCloud for off-site backup? Preferably including Versions support too.
Photo Stream sounds good, especially if you use an iPhone or iPod touch as your main camera or as a travelling photo album. And the extension of Find My iPhone to include Macs running Lion might be useful if you can't remember where you left your MacBook or if a desktop Mac appears to have sprouted legs.
Come on, Apple - isn't it time to pull something out of the cloud for Mac users to get excited about?
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The iPhone 4S isn't the iPhone 5. That's not Apple's fault.
By Alex KIDMAN
I covered the launch of the iPhone 4S this morning -- quite early this morning -- and so far, there's been a lot of backlash surrounding why it's not the iPhone 5, why it's not LTE -- and predictably quite a bit of snarking from the Android community.
The thing to bear in mind with this, as with anything else Apple does, is that while rumours feed the hype cycle, and that serves Apple well in the main, when expectations outpace the reality of the product, folks get disappointed with something that they were never actually promised -- something I've also written about at the ABC today.
So what then, of the iPhone 4S? I wish I could be all mysterious and deny having one under NDA, or anything like that. But I don't. It seems like a decent small step improvement over the iPhone 4, and I never bothered getting one of those. Which makes me wonder -- should I jump back from Android into iOS? Hmm. Don't know -- and for now, I've got some sleep to catch up on.
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Corel VideoStudio Pro X4 Ultimate ticks the boxes
By David HAGUE
When you buy a new camcorder, the editing software that comes with it (if any) is usually pretty shabby. That’s why it’s free. In other cases it may be a cut down version of a “larger” package that get any decent functionality out of you have to upgrade. At your cost.
If you get serious about your video, and many do, to get access to the tools available for some of the more in-depth work editing can require means spending some serious money to get something along the lines of Sony Vegas Pro 10, Adobe Premiere, Grass Valley Edius and so on. Thankfully, in the last few years has seen a slew of mid level programs – many are ‘lite versions’ of their siblings eg: Sony Vegas Movie Studio, Premiere Elements, Avid Studio come to mind.
In the background has always been Ulead/Corel who have never been seen to be really be serious about really attacking this market. Sure they have always been there, but there applications in the past smacked more of trying to look too cute rather than have heavyweight functionality. You know, the “make a Hollywood style movie in 3 mouse clicks” type of thing.
The latest from Corel, grandiosely called VideoStudio Pro X4 might just crack the barriers, especially the so-called Ultimate’ version which retails for $149 and can be upgraded to from only $89.
Most of the higher end bells and whistles are there and offered in a reasonably designed user interface, though still with the cutesy black ebony style interface sadly. The inclusion of Smartsound technology and plug ins from Boris and proDad take it out of the kiddie application toy bucket however, as do such things as multi-trim, colour correction and stop motion/time lapse.
Input and output options are extensive too, making VideoStudio Pro X4 Ultimate (whew!) worth a look.
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