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Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Hotels offering the latest in technology

In General on May 26, 2010 at 08:19

AKA The Best Geek Hotels in the World in 2010, courtesy of Hotel Chatter. My personal favourite is the use of smart phones (iPhone, Blackberry and Android are supported) to replace room keys. A company called Open Ways provides the technology for this.

IHG, who are running the trial, are taking a cautious approach, asking not just if the technology works, but also if it alienates the customer — do customers feel less warmth towards the brand with this kind of change.

More details on that here.

With the competition in the market, particularly at the high end, tech is proving to be a real battleground.

Anthony Green – May 2010

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Apple’s Missing Piece

In General on May 25, 2010 at 18:30

I’ll admit it — I’m an Apple fan. I own an iPhone, a MacBook Pro, a couple of Mac Minis, an iPod and an iPad. Needless to say, I love them for their user-friendliness, and the way they let me do what I want to do without any serious techsupport.

TV in my house has been replaced by a Mac: using Front Row, the kids choose their TV programs using a cutesy little Apple Remote, so simple even my 2 year old can use it. They don’t know that there’s a server sitting upstairs, storing all the TV programs and movies, and serving them over our wifi. The server’s nothing special, a generic box with FreeNAS (a Linux-like operating system) and a few large hard disks.

The same system means that anyone with a computer in the house can watch movies over the wifi. This works fantastically, even on my iPad (Air Video is a killer app for this, converting files on the fly if they’re the wrong format fort the iPad).

However, there’s a serious gap in the whole puzzle. I can’t share my music from iTunes without iTunes running on another computer. I can’t view my photos on iPhoto without iPhoto running on another computer. My server is always running, but if I want to listen to music or look at photos, I have to run upstairs to switch on the computer that has that program. Either that, or i need to leave the computer with my photo and music libraries running all the time — a waste of electricity, as i have my server already running.

Likewise, I always need to use the same computer to add music and photos — in the Apple world, i can’t add to my main library from a different computer; if I chose to add music or photos to a different computer, syncing media between different computers is a pain that can’t be achieved without hacks.

Clearly, what’s needed is an Apple Home Server — a stylish white or aluminium box that sits somewhere next to your wifi router, with a couple of big hard drives, and a server version of iPhoto and iTunes. Any computer on the network could access the movies on there (through Front Row); music could be accessed from any computer on the network; any computer could be used to add photos, as they share the same library that sits on the server — plug in a camera anywhere, and zap! they’re added to the server.

This device would also handle backups, using Time Machine (which the Time Capsule already does).

Then we’d have a great way for all the Apple products in the house to freely share all content without headaches. Surely this isn’t too much to ask, Steve?

Anthony Green – May 2010

Apple vs. Adobe – or how Flash became irrelevant

In General on May 15, 2010 at 18:42

Apple Inc.Adobe FlashSurprise, surprise, Steve Jobs has been causing controversy, again, as only he knows how, sticking it to Adobe about how bad Flash is, and how it will never appear on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Well, never say never, but for technology professionals tasked with implementing websites and mobile applications, the current situation is clear — steer clear of Flash if you want people to be able to access it on iPads, iPhones, or iPod Touches. Read the rest of this entry »

Flash – how we got here

In General on May 10, 2010 at 22:00

Let’s go back to the end of last century, and look at how people accessed the web. Without a doubt, it was a desktop or laptop computer. However, that ignores the fact that there were many different competing browsers, and no established standards. Most famously, Microsoft and Netscape were engaged in an arms race to develop the best browser, with Internet Explorer and Navigator respectively. Each came out with new features to wow users. The downside of this was that the browsers displayed pages completely differently, and worse than that, pages written for one browser would often fail to work at all on a competing browser. JavaScript was still relatively immature, not capable of the fancy tricks that we expect from it these days. Many people turned it off due to the perceived security risk — remember that? Read the rest of this entry »