Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Apple Explosion!

I don't want to make this into a "ooh, look at what Apple is doing" blog, but today particularly (and the next few weeks) promise to be some of the coolest announcements this half of the year.

First of all, that "D: All Things Digital" conference I mentioned earlier is happening (look for an interesting discussion between Jobs and Gates tonight) and Steve Jobs took some time during an interview to let loose some noticable announcements (Engadget coverage via Digg). The most important thing he discussed was the introduction of iTunes Plus, which Mac Rumors reports, via Digg again, will have the new ability to strip the Digital Rights Management off of EMI owned music tracks and add about twice the bit rate. The long and short of this tech jargon is that music can now be purchased online from a major music label that is at least somewhat comparable to buying a CD and ripping it. Also, users who had previously bought EMI tracks can now upgrade those tracks for 30 cents each. This give you a new copy and allows you to keep the old file as well.

Interestingly, The Unofficial Apple Weblog shows that the new .m4a format carries the name of the user who purchased the track. This could prove interesting in the world of filesharing, as anyone who shares iTunes purchased music would be easily linked to tracks found on someone else's computer. I believe this type of coding is known as "watermarking."

This announcement follows up an article I wrote for the Broadside's Business and Tech section and can be read on my personal blog here. It is more concise than I will go into here.

Also, in lesser news from the Apple interview, Jobs mentioned that the AppleTV, Apple's computer-to-tv streaming box, will now have Youtube content integrated so one could view Youtube videos from the comfort of their living rooms.

I'll write another post for the Jobs v. Gates interview if anything interesting happens in it.

Edit: Nothing interesting happened :(

Edit Edit: Now that I've actually watched the video (instead summaries online) I think the interview was pretty awesome in its own right. While there are no staggering product announcements to make the geeks drool, I did like the really candid conversation with these two tech icons. I suggest you watch it for yourself (freely available on the iTunes podcast directory, but a warning: it's a 1gb file) and please comment if you too thought there could have been a better pair of moderators.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mark Your Calendars

This isn't so much news as its a reminder to those who care to watch:

There is a week in June that is going to be incredibly exciting. Both the WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference, read: humongous Apple conference) and E3 (used to be a big conference, but now only open to a select few) will be occuring on the same week. The WWDC website lists their dates as June 11-15 and Gamewad, via Digg, lists mini-E3 as June 11-13.

Why does this matter? Well two words for you: Product Announcements. Yes, this is when big hitters like Apple and Microsoft to announce new products, updates to current products, or updates to services. Also anybody else invited tends to do the same if they have something to announce. This is always a fun week because for once the tech websites can barely keep up with the sheer quantity of rumors and press releases being hurled at them. Things of iPod, iPhone, Vista, and even XBox callibur tend to get released at these things.

I'll try to cover the biggest stuff as well as I can, but I will be off at the beach so I won't be able to do too much direct coverage. Maybe I'll do a sum-up later in the week after I get back. If you're interested in the news and want to find it yourself, just look around on the internet...specifically Digg and Slashdot will have most anything you need.

Have fun in June!

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Mr. Apple and Mr. Microsoft Faceoff!

Ok, first story, let's go!

I first heard about this on's Buzz Out Loud Podcast (Episode 481) and also read about it in a article via Digg.  Apparently two of the most legendary icons in the consumer tech industry, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, will have a 75 minute moderated conversation for all the world to see.  This will occur at the "D: All Things Digital" Wall Street Journal conference in California from the 29th to the 31st of May.  Based on the agenda from the conference website, the most likely time for this event will be 6PM on the 30th, during the "Dinner and Special Event." 

Personally I'm pretty interested in this meeting.  Gates and Jobs have only had a few public meetings over the years and while pictures on the web indicate that they can have a friendly dinner like any two guys, their companies couldn't be more different.  Microsoft Windows and Office are the dominant forces in personal computing.  Its new verson of Windows, "Vista," has yet to take off, though, as many users are having problems meeting the hardware requirements or simply don't see why they should upgrade.  Mac OS X gives users a different user interface and is rapidly becoming interoperable with most mainstream software makers (games excluded unfortunately).  On the flip side, Apple has taken over the music player industry with the iPod and the iTunes Store.  Soon they will be releasing the iPhone, which may not have the same effect on the phone industry as the iPod did the music industry, but nevertheless will further extend Apple's reach into non-PC sectors.  Microsoft has "responded" to Apple's move into music and video players by creating the Zune.  Similar to the iPod, the Zune has not reached any sort of market dominance because the player's functions and services do not meet the expectations of many users.

Will Jobs and Gates show their rivalry on the inverview floor?  Probably not...they are always very professional at public keynotes.  Hopefully, though, the first thing these two tech icons say will be:
Jobs: Hi, I'm a Mac...
Gates: ...and I'm a PC.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Kick it off on the right foot...

Hey there internet. Hey there Mason!

This blog, soon to be officially friendly with the Broadside's effort to have a more web-based outreach (check out their website), will cover all the big stories of the new electronic frontier. Well...all that I have time for anyway...there are a LOT of stories....

Anyway, if you'd be so good to bookmark or subscribe to this blog and I'll try to add a little of my personal insight to your perusal of the great and mighty internets.

Check back in a bit.

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The content of this page is completely the creation and opinion of James Rogers. He is affiliated with Connect Mason and formerly Broadside Online but the relationship only governs republication, not content.

Further, in the interest of full disclosure, this author holds minor financial investments in Apple, Inc. and Advanced Micro Devices.