Archive for December, 2009

Tech-predictions and wishes for 2010

I thought that we at the TwilightShadows might as well do one of these too… And since I’m a MacHead, let’s start with some Apple related predicitons and wishes.

  1. Just as everyone else I’m hoping for the Apple Tablet. This is a device that by now has to come out weather Apple want’s to build it or not. Come on Steve, give us a Tablet! The eReader category is slowly taking off, but I seriously think it need someone like Apple to work out how that space needs to look, work and think. The reason is, Apple is pretty much content agnostic in many ways. Google wants to sell ads, Amazon wants to sell books, Apple is a hardware company, they want to sell the Apple hardware-software experience. Sure, content might be tied to the iTunes Store, but anyone can sell stuff through that. Wether you like it or not, Apple did whip the music/MP3 business as well as the smartphone industry into shape. It doesn’t really matter if you like iTunes/iPod/iPhone. Without them there would be no Microsoft Zune, no Palm Pre and probably no Android, at least not as we know it.
  2. The second thing I hope for from Apple is iPhone OS 4.0. I think this is a pretty fair bet for this summer. In it I would like to see some app multi-tasking allowed. Especially concerning music-playing apps like CBS Radio, Y! Music, SHOUTCast and Spotify. For these it makes sense to be able to run as back-ground processes, and they are not helped by push-notifications. I also wouldn’t mind a more flexible lock-screen of the types found on some Android phones, with some Web 2.0 widgets etc. running. When it comes to the iPhone hardware I think they might actually baffle us. We’ve been given better and better versions of essentially the same hardware now since the original iPhone, it’s time to revise the design a bit. Though arguably, it is just a touch-up needed, the real improvements could just be in software. For all the talk of Apple as a hardware-company, they’ve always seem to have viewed the iPhone as a software driven platform.
  3. iTunes Store music subscriptions, and e-books. And why not, audiobook subscriptions? At any rate, I think 2010 will be a big year for the iTunes Store, that will change the game in the eCommerce industry once again.

When it comes to other predictions they are more sporadic. I think we might see the next gen gaming consoles demoed, though not released. I think Google will continue to dominate the world, and if they as promised start to implement some of the new technologies such as GPS-based search, Google Goggles (please Google, make a version for the iPhone! Please!) and Voice search, things will become really interesting! (I know they already use this to some extent, but a wider use and more mashing of various Google services.)

The irony with the search thing is that it may bring Microsoft and Apple closer together! The Bing app (it’s been removed from the Swedish store. Does anyone know why?) for the iPhone is actually a very good looking app, and it seems to work pretty well, though for me it has been much more crashy than the Google app. I think that Microsoft in their heart of hearts realize that Windows Mobile is dead. They still keep at it because no one wants to be the one to tell Ballmer it’s over. And a quick look around will inform anyone that right now the platforms to be on are Android and iPhone. Sure Nokia might make a comeback, Palm could find traction and if hell freezes over Windows Mobile 7 could revolutionize things (ok, unlikely, but I wanted to throw it out there…), but all that remains to be seen. For now, it’s Google and Apple. Now, in the choice between developing for Apple or Google, I think there is much less shame from Microsofts POV to go with Apple. After all, they’ve made Macintosh software for years, since 1983-1984 actually, and for the Apple II before that. Granted, the quality has varied quite considerably, but when they actually try to do it well, it tends to be pretty solid. If I were MS, I’d drop the Win Mobile platform and go 100% iPhone with Live, X-box integration and Office 2010. They could own the mobile office space if they team up with Apple and do it right.

Other than that 2010 will be the year of two things. The first is eReaders. We will see plenty of new eReaders, and it will be the Wild West for a while, ’til standards start forming. It will be a very intresting development to follow, and I think the Kindle has shown the correct model, ie. built-in internet and a store, but I also think the Amazon DRM and proprietary format shows what we do not want. We tried that with the iPod and music, and it sucked! This will be where someone is still to find the right balance between protecting authors (or should that be publishers…?) and usability (what if I want a new eReader, do I need to buy all my books again?). This is where Apple could be instrumental, should they choose to put their thinking-cap on once again!

The second main thing is GPS. Now I know GPS has been around, and been touted. But I think it will go even further. Things like Gowalla and Foursquare are just the tip of the ice berg. We will see more social integration with the internet in your pocket through devices that know where it is, what you do, and where your friends are. This has risks of course, but also benefits, and I think that given time, we will work out a nice balance between privacy and public life. (Just don’t let Facebook do it…)

Those are some of my main wishes/thoughts/ideas for tech in 2010. What are your thoughts?



God Jul

Merry Christmas – Happy Channucka – God Jul – Merry Yule – Merry Saturnalia – Happy Winter Solstice


Winter Solstice 2009

And so, once again we are faced with a winter solstice. Who could’ve guessed a year ago that this would be where everything would be now? Well, to be fair, in the world at large nothing much has really happened. Most things that sucked in 2008 still sucks, and most awesome things are still awesome. Google grows ever more big-brotherish, people keep losing interest in Microsoft, Apple is the only company ever to successfully combine a hippie attitude with fascistic leadership and control, and so on.

I guess one difference is that SAAB won’t be around any longer. As a Swede and SAAB fan, this is sad. But I can’t seriously say I’m surprised. They haven’t turned a profit for years, and closing the factory down is the only sane thing to do at this point. Let the brand die with some dignity intact. I do feel for the workers in Trollhättan though. It’s not a fun Christmas for them…

Anyway, 2009 has in many ways been playing on the line “That’s one small step for mankind, one giant leap for Toby!”. This has, as I’ve been more than alluding to for a while, been one of the thorniest years I’ve ever known. The personal tragedies have reached an all time high in my life, and all I can hope for is that it will start to numb off after a year of being alone. That’s what all the books, therapists and doctors say, anyway. I wish I knew. Right now I want nothing more than to not be alone, especially during the holidays. But at the same time, I don’t think I would do any girl any justice at the moment. I still hurt too much.

I still ask myself how I could let one person hurt me so. And the answer is simply, I let her into my heart. I’ve never done that before her. Sure, friends and so on, but no matter how good a friend, there are always places they can’t go, where a lover can. Not just physically, but in every way! I just hope I can repair the damage enough to dare let some one new in.

At the beginning of this whole debacle, I almost admired my then wife for actually daring to do it. In my state of numbness that was all I could do. It’s like when I had to people who were very important to me die within two days of each other, and at the funerals all I could think was that the guitar playing was squeaking, and I almost burst out laughing at it. Emotional overload. As I still loved my wife, I thought, hoped that we could still be friends, and that maybe one day she’d see the error of her way and come back. Foolish, I know.

Instead all sorts of shit happened. To not go into slander, let’s suffice to say that she calls it an honest mistake, I call it being devious, two-timing and backstabbing. I have more or less broken all ties with her, and my therapist, my doctor and some of my friends are adamant that I keep to that. And I intend to. I’ve seen her on her own, and her and the man she, according to me at any rate, left me for. It leaves me cold, tear-stained and unable to think clearly for a week or more. So, no, that will not be something I will take up again.

My main problem with that is that we are Goddess-parents to a little girl. Both I and my ex knew the mother before we met so I believe we both feel obligated to be there. I will be there for the girl, but I will not attend her first birthday party, because my ex-wife will be there, and for all I know the person I for legal reasons will reefer to as her boyfriend. Don’t know how that will work-out in the long run, but for now it doesn’t matter all that much. She turns one in February.

Anyway, 2009 was crap. And I even thought it would be a great year. Shows you how much I know… Well, at least 2010 can’t really get any worse? That’s something, isn’t it?

So, since it is the Winter Solstice, Yule, I have this to say:

I hail thee, Goddess of the land,

I hail thee, the newborn God,

I hail thee, oh holy trinity of Earth, Moon and Sun,

You will rise again, I will rise again,

We will not be beaten down like grain,

Like Spring, we will rise from the ashes, stronger and more powerful than ever before,

The world shall look on in awe, as the power of the God grows, as the splendour of the Goddess becomes apparent,

And I will bathe in your glory, as will all things that are good and true!

All Hail the Universe, All Hail the Goddess, All Hail the newborn God!