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?

Tobias

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God Jul

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

Tobias

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!

Tobias

Trailer Trash…

A while back we were asked by a lecturer to write the cover text for our own biographies. Needless to say, that excercise turned out to be pretty pointless in the end. But it did give me an idea. Why not try to write the trailer for my life? It should be fun, right? Let’s have a try:

 

- Black screen opening with Chuck Riley type voice
saying -

 

In a land, pestered with mediocrity

- When the word mediocrity is said, it zooms into view
on-screen, to then zoom past after a short pause -

 

“Where political correctness and polite violence are everyday horrors”

- Fast clips showing political correctness and polite
violence -

 

“One man rose from the ashes of a broken home”

- Flashes of an eye, a lock of hair and a belt; all from a
panning close-up camera -

 

“He dared to be a geek”

- Camera going back, man flashing backlit and only visible
as a dark figure, standing with hands on hips. In flashes
logos such as Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Palm, Wikipedia,
Firefox and Google are visible in the shadowy fog surrounding
the outlined body -

 

“He became the friend of women”

- Camera continues backwards -

 

“He could handle irony”

- Close-up of mouth, one side going up in wry smile -

 

“He is…”

- Screen dark -

 

“…The Nice Guy!”

- Text zooming onto screen, then exploding away -

 

Coming October 22, 2010. Check at your local theatre or at Fandango.com. Rated R!

- Said text showing small on the screen -
- End -

 

Do you think this has any potential?

Tobias

PS If you don’t know the name Chuck Riley, have a listen to this clip from VoiceHunter.com, and you’ll know…

Yupp, it’s an iPhone!

I’m sitting here in my room relaxing to some Internet radio. Is it playing via my MacBook? No, it’s coming via my iPhone!

There you have it, I went for the iPhone. I check-out some of the Android phones, mainly HTC, and also had a quick look at Blackberry, Nokia N9x and some Windows Mobile phones. The iPhone is, at this moment in time, the best you can get in Scandinavia. I leave room for the Pre possibly being more to my taste, since judging by the videos I’ve seen it might. However, it is not yet available up here.

So what did win me over to the iPhone in the end? It was a combo of many things, and it has to be said for full disclosure, price did play a part since I got the 3G rather than the 3GS. But after doing my research I can say this to for the iPhone. It has, by far, the most vibrant developer community today. Both in the form of web apps and actual downloadable apps. The geekerati may think Apples practices concerning approval of apps is idiotic, and mostly I agree with them, but that does not detract from the fact that they have more, often better, and cheeper apps than all the other platforms. (An app for S60 can easily be something like €5 …) In short, the iPhone is much more mature than any other platform. Which ironically includes platforms much older than iPhone OS, such as Windows Mobile and S60.

That the iPhone is a better looking device than most of the others help a lot too…

Another area where Apple is way ahead, and I don’t see anyone else, again with the possible exception of Palm, catching up, is hardware add-ons. These are expensive to make and therefor works best in a highly standardized environment. The iPhone has a standard UI, a standard iPod connecter and Apple certifies the stuff! Android is touted as the main threat to the iPhone, BUT all Android phones have variations when it comes to UI. All Android phones have different hardware with different connectors and so on. It’s a mess, and I don’t think Google will even think to standardize this.

So, as a brief summary: right now, there is little doubt that the best smartphone on the market from a usability POV is the iPhone. Yes other phones have better cameras, better screens, better what ever. But the iPhone is one of very few phones, possibly the only phone, that is more than the sum of it’s parts. For me, it’s well worth 299 SEK a month for two years. After that? Who knows.

Tobias

Halloween!

I feel a little like Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter right now. I’m sitting here thinking about death. Yes, dear readers, it’s that time again; Halloween.

I just had a small, informal ceremony by the fire under the oak. I prayed a little, I thought a lot, gazed at the moon, remembering the dead. I even had my wedding rings out, to try to say goodby to that life. It is time to move on. It will be tough, it will be hard. But I want to find someone new, and I need to let my old life go. I think today was a step in the right direction.

Another thing I did, was thinking about my previous lives. I am a believer in reincarnation, though I can’t claim to know how it works. I do believe one of my recent lives was that of a lowly soldier, in either the French or British army. I think I died during the Great War, and I think I bled to death from a shot in either my chest or my stomach. Why do I believe this? Because I’ve done some self-hypnosis, some meditation etc. on the topic, and this is one of the lives I’ve found. I can remember what it felt like to bleed to death. Does that make it true? No, it could be a false memory of course, but to me it was an extremely vivid experience. I can’t really explain it as such, but please feel free to ask about it! Some day I hope to do a “real” regression, and see if I can find out more.

This was just a short musing over death and Halloween. I hope you enjoy it, if you have anything you want to ask about this samhain thing, or have anything you want to tell me about what you think or feel about death, Halloween etc. please, I love to discuss it!

Happy Halloween to everyone!

Tobias

Self confidence

Self confidence. Some people have it, some seem to not even know what it means. Where does it come from? I, personally, should be fairly self confident. My parents are, I’ve been brought up to believe in my self, and it has had some effect. I have a great sense of self worth! I do not find my self worthless or unimportant. BUT, when it comes to confidence, I just can’t seem to get it right.

This is most evident in relation to relationships, and how to engage in romantic ones. And I of course realize that this is stupid, but when ever I am faced with the issue, I crumble. I have no problem addressing high-flyers at the University, but faced with a woman I am interested in, and I don’t seem to have any guts at all. It’a a tragic thing.

I would seem I am not alone in this. A literary reference (or I could be wrong and this is a quote from the movie) would be for instance Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, where Ron bemoans the fact that Harry stoutly fights dragons, but just can’t muster the courage to ask a girl to the Yule Ball.

Why do females intimidate us men so much. We are supposed to be capable of fighting, hunting and be heroic in general (I mean, let’s face it, genetically the purpose of men are to shag for babies and fight each other…). But, faced with a woman we have feelings for, and even the strongest man shrink at sight. Why is this? Is it some sort of a mother complex, are we really so weak?

In my own case I’ve also started to see a pattern concerning my friends. Many of them, both men and women, have, independently of each other, told me I am a rather strapping young man and definitely a bit of a catch. Why is this so hard to take in? Why is the positive stuff so much harder to listen to than the bad. And the bad is just in my head! The more I think about this the less it makes sense. Whoever came up with the preposterous idea that humans are, on the whole, rational beings didn’t really observe humans, now did they? We are emotionally driven creatures, with abnormally large brains.

At the end of the day, it may be a very simple solution that is required. And that is to channel the genetic courage from millennia of surviving (after all, we are the best based on darwinian principles) tigers, wolfs and fleas. What the world needs now, is love, sweet love, and a gargantuan portion of courage!

Thobias