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Apple Inc has undoubtedly become one of the world’s most powerful business entities. Design, aesthetics, and coolness has affected the company’s weed-like growth, however, its manufacturing and logistical efficiencies was its key to market share dominance in the past decade.

But as a leader and in the name of progress, Apple has had its share of controversies especially its assumed acknowledgement of its partner manufacturer. FoxConn is a Taiwanese registered business, working several factories in China The persistent speculations on violations afflicted to its workforce still strongly resonate in the air, amidst Apple’s gargantuan successes.

Read more from The New York Times:  HERE

2011

2010

2010

2008 Documentary on Workers’ Landscape Evolution in China.

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Smart TV Upgrader vs. Roku vs. Apple TV

LG, the maker of so many popular home electronic devices, has now put their hat in the “smart TV” category.

Announced at CES 2010, as a concept, the LG ST600 Smart TV Upgrader is now officially available for purchase.

Just like the Apple TV and Roku boxes, the LG ST600 is a compact black box (11cm x 11cm) which acts as a conduit for multimedia functions through LG’s current smart tv connectivity platform. This device works with any TV with an HDMI port. Offers WiFi connectivity, multiple ports, and access to most popular content providers (i.e. Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, etc).

It’s an alternative box to consider, in a world which more and more demand multifaceted functions of their TV sets.

Here’s LG’s promotional video.  NOTE:  Be ware of the “Mario Brothers” like audio might get to you, as it did me LOL.

Resource:  CNET, LG Electronics

Steve Jobs... meet Steve Jobs Action Figure

Deep Thinking Steve Jobs.

Apple is threatening the maker of the Steve Jobs action figure.

The very closely matched (and maybe a bit creepy) figurine is 12 inches tall, and comes complete with Job’s fashion get-up of blue jeans, sneakers and black turtleneck sweater. It’s the creation of the Chinese based company InIcons. It is set for sale in February for a targeted $99.

However, legal action is looming from the Apple juggernaut.

But InIcons isn’t afraid. The company demands that “There is no copyright protection for a normal person. Steve Jobs is not a product…so I don’t think Apple has the copyright of him”.

Apple begs to differ, and implicitly states that Steve Jobs and the idea of Steve Jobs is the package completely owned by Apple.

Sources:  Wired, MSNBC, TUAW

Blackberry 10 rumored mock up (TheVerge.Com)

  • Eggs in… check.
  • All eggs in… check.
  • All eggs and the Hen in…. check.
  • Produce eye popping, earth shattering, people quaking, heck of a smart phone, which will sell like hot cakes … unknown.

Research In Motion the parent company of the Blackberry smart phone devices will announce to the world the benefits of its brand new Blackberry 10 (BBX) device at MWC, end of February 2012.

Worried so much, is RIM, they’ve put all in one basket, canceling other projects such as Colt (reported by BGR) and scrapping a phone named Milan.

Do Or Die

The damaged and leaking market share giant of the mobile device world, is hurting. Hurting so much, that RIM will have to have a winner with the Blackberry 10. If not, the damages for the company will decidedly put the company in turmoil.

The stats aren’t kind to RIM. Sales are down and going down even further Fast.

A double teaming by both Apple and Android built phones, have decimated RIM’s slight hold on its majority market share prominence (the rank it held for the last 15 yrs).

Market Share Comparison. Smart phone devices (Nov. 2011)

  • Apple holds 28.6 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, up slightly from 27.9 percent in October.
  • BlackBerry OS slipped again in November to 26.1 percent, down from 27.4 percent in October and 33.9 percent in June.
  • Android OS reached 25.8 percent in November, compared to 22.7 percent in October and 15 percent in June.

Game of Attrition

The name of the game is inevitable- if RIM’s Blackberry 10 does not succeed to hit a chord with its fan base and the skeptical public. The company’s market share will shrink to nothing quickly, and the hoards of Blackberry customers will convert to either iOS (Apple) or Android based phone makers. There’s no place for RIM, any longer- at least in high end consumer handheld smart phone devices.

Especially when the Tsunami called the Android phones, is relentless.

At the end of the day, the tech pundits’ predictions are towards the end of RIM, and left standing are three dominant mobile OS services:  iOS, Android, and Symbian platforms.

Expectations for the RIM Blackberry 10 device is high as ever. For the life of RIM hangs with the success of it.

Sources: GigaOM, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, TheVerge, CNET

Apple will be seeking an exclusive streaming rights agreement with the Premier League, the cream of the crop of British Football.

The battle for the billion-pound project will be joined. The contenders which Apple will be competing against will be SKY, ESPN, and Al Jezeera.

The legacy distribution partner is SKY (a Rupert Murdoch company). It has had a strong hold on the contract with the Premier League ever since the leagues’ formation in 1992.

Apple’s possible gain is adding premier content which is planning for its Apple TV services focused on the UK market.

Intriguing and interesting.

A morsel of truth, for future strategies perhaps for the US market, doesn’t it?

It’s called Ask Ziggy and is an app developed by Shai Leib for the Windows Phone 7 platform.  The core of it is to mimic the purpose of Siri, the Apple iPhone 4S virtual companion.

What do you think? It’s iffy. But that’s part of progress, no?

Below are videos on the Ask Ziggy app, and an interesting Siri trial in the cockpit of a car, for your entertainment.

Ask ZIGGY

SIRI

It’s a big world.

However, there are only a finite number of rules or “laws” to follow when it comes to business.

In the terms of the highly incindiary and competitive world of consumer technology, there’s nothing that is sacred- as we all know.

There are 2 such strategies:

(1) Invest and try to develop Brand New technologies or products. Or, (2) invest and develop better ways of copying (template-ing?) already (and most importantly) successful market penetration strategies.  After all, #2 is a “template”, and templates cost Less money to produce.

Samsung has, in this latest saga, decided on strategy #2, with a bit more “obviousness” by developing advertisement with the same talent, in the commercial (known as CF in Korea).

The shame was palpable, for the company had deleted the spot immediately after criticisms rained down on its actions.

There’s no permanent damage to Samsung, of course.  And lets be honest, there are many such business examples from other companies (name the company, and they’ve employed the same strategy as Samsung did- even at Apple) which have done the same thing.

Samsung and Apple make great stuff for us to enjoy, no doubt about that. But gaffes like this makes it fun for all of us sometimes. But isn’t such egg on face situation, just fun to witness? Yes. I agree. (Oh, I can imagine what that post staff agency meeting was like at Samsung).

Well, here’s the Samsung version, for comparison with the Apple version following.

Read even more at:  SlashGear

I try not to be or become too “gadget” oriented. I try to do my work, with what I have and which I can afford, at the time.

However, that doesn’t mean I can’t dream about those ooey gooey fun and gadget-y machineries, right?

Anyway, I can say that I love gadgets. If I was a millionaire I’d be looking into many things gadget (but I’d be lying, because I’d be getting custom cafe racers, a Ferrari, and many other finer things, in addition to this list).

That is why below are my next “kinda-realistic” gadgets I’d think I could/should be able to afford in the near future” (knock on wood), office equipment (I’ll do a “Tier 1” level gadget wish list later).

Drobo, Maschine, Canon, oh my!

Suffice it to say, my list here is a bit eclectic. It isn’t catering to a pure single category, for sure. It does however does cater to some tastes of mine- both practical and indulgent.

This list would satisfy my data security dreads, my data processing/collecting power trip fantasy, my taste-making old skook hip hop fantasy, and my Speedy Gonzales  output proper.

I think, all in all, these practical gadgets will quell any guilt for the new owners because of the practical and usefulness of existence, and also satisfy the purity of owning some of the most powerful consumer electronics out in the market.

So, cheers all.  Lets try and get there. I sure will.

Drobo Pro (Drobo)

Easily add up to 24TB of storage to a workstation or small office server without having to learn anything about storage administration. Just insert up to 8 disk drives into the DroboPro.

It’s a RAID system, so hot swap away! And from Drobo’s PR department, this machine will be able to efficiently use the maximum amount of the total space available from the inserted HD. This means, data will be duplicated on multiple HDs, correctly preventing any one HD failures from ruining a perfectly good day at the office.

My initial thought of this came from paid and non-paid sponsorship of the brand from pro photographers. I’m a photographer, as well, so when you think of all your hard earned images being destroyed, the Drobo (or systems like it) would be a good way to go.

I think it is a sensible way to go.

One of these 8 Bay models will reel you back about $1,300 (which is without the cost for the 8 HDs). But as witnesses tell, it is one of the more easier NAS systems out there. Which is important for us non-server geeks.

Canon 1D X (Canon USA)

The 1D X is for the moment, the new flagship of Canon’s EOS professional line of DSLR.

It boasts 18.1 MP CMOS sensor and new Dual DIGIC 5+ image processors for high grade image quality. The shutter pumps out 12 fps. A ridiculous 51,200 ISO range (which can be adjusted to hit a whopping 204,800 in H2 mode).

The big change is the new 61 point High Density Reticular AF system and 100,000 pixel RGB metering sensor (with dedicated Digic 4 image processor).

In addition, there is an improved HD video capture standard, numerous connectivity options, combination of processing power, durable/weather sealed construction, and a 400,000 cycle battle tested shutter durability.

The debate whether Canon or Nikon makes the best flag ship DSLR, will always rage on. But the Canon 1D X, no doubt, has high marks for the “drool factor”

It surely is a beauty in practical application in photography. Kudos.

Oh and this one will cost around $7,000 (just the body).

HP Laser Jet P4013n (HP)

I usually don’t prefer All-in-One printers of any kind.

In the past, All-in-One printers just was average at all of its functions. They were done satisfactorily, but not at their best.

Unlike working for a big company, at the home office, it’s easy to look past those All-in-One blues. For it’s more efficient to get one of these, then shell out for multiple printing machines.

The HP Laser Jet P4013n is a good one. It’s HP, a great brand for printer category, it spits out 21 pages per minute (black and in color), holds around 2,500 regular stock sheets in its ‘belly’, quality is very much acceptable from other sources, and at around $700, it looks cool and it does its job. This printer also is a Laser Jet, so it is the quality of print that we mortals are seeking, day to day.

So, lets make those invoices shine for the clients!

Apple Mac Pro (Apple)

“The Quad-Core Intel Xeon “Nehalem” processor is available in a single-processor, quad-core configuration at speeds up to 3.2GHz. For even greater speed and power, choose the “Westmere” series, Intel’s next-generation processor based on its latest 32-nm process technology.”- Apple PR

Choice of 3,6,8 GB models, 1TB of memory, ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB GDDR5 card, and one Server model is also available.

The Mac Pro has been a favorite of designers alike for many years and still is a gold standard for designers everywhere. Hands down the most elegant, in my opinion, as well as powerful.

As do any Mac, the pro model demonstrates its power from its OS X.  From many many USB, Firewire, built in wi-fi, bluetooth, the Mac Pro is stacked in standards. Plus, it is expandable to a very high level of performance. Make it a small group server, with just an addition of OS X Server software.

Nice. And so cool sitting on the office table.

The Mac Pro towers will set you back, starting from $2,500 and up. No monitor included of course.

Native Instruments Maschine (Native-Instruments)

I am not a full musician of any kind.

Sure, I’d dabbled with my Ibanez bass & some acoustic guitar during my high school “Battle of The Bands” stint. But I am not, by any means, skilled at making repeatable and original beats, as the pros.

Not until I saw a video promo made by Native Instruments, the marketer of the Maschine line of music producers. At least I could try to be like the pros, on this Maschine, machine.

Some sources say that there are 2 eras in hip hop production: one BEFORE Maschine (BM), and one AFTER Maschine (AM). There was a time beat producers had to choose from MPC style machines and non-tactile computer softwares.

Then came Maschine and producers everywhere, didn’t have to choose any longer.

I can’t explain how cool the Maschine is. So, go click HERE and see some demos on vid.

The Maschine line starts from around $400, but it has so much packed in power, it’s like having all your essential instruments in one. Bass, drums, percussions, guitar, synthesizer tools, and etc.

So, go try it, and you’re surely closer to hip hop beats stardom.

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”- Winston Churchill

Oblivious>>It wasn’t like I hated Apple products. I was just oblivious to them (Apple products), back then, like many millions.Sure, I’d heard and played around with some Apple products (Macintosh in grammar school), but never got around to thinking Apple computers and products would be influential in my future daily life.To me Apple was the “other” computer company, back when. It was the “alternative & much smaller” computer manufacturer and marketer in a large field of computer makers and marketers. It was for “designers” and “creative types”. And for sure, Apple’s business and marketing model was exactly that.

“Golden Age”>>It was the “golden age” of computer makers (aggregators) in the 90’s, as I recall. We, consumers, were drenched with new computer makers/brands every month (it seemed).Do you remember these computer brands? Apollo, Convex, Everex, Micron, Systemax, Wang? I surely do (FYI, I had bought 3 computers from Micron, way back when =D).Well, these were companies riding the Microsoft platform, and technically just “aggregators”. But hey, they marketed in magazines like “Computer Shopper” (remember how thick this tabloid sized magazine was?) like crazy! You can see the legacy in “aggregators” still today, for companies like Dell started, just as an aggregator.And this is what I’d thought our computing lives would be, forever. Filled with junky PC based computers, with just bad service and products.

Grammar School>>My consumer relationship with Steve’s products didn’t start to be intimate until 2008. However, my first experience with an Apple product was with the Macintosh, in my grammar school.  As with boys, I thought the new computers were very cool. Did play some cool.
You see, the more prevalent computers that my school invested in was the Commedor 64 (oh yea, Karateka!). The C64s were the legacy computers for the school. We all liked its chunky keys and cool games we could play on it. Can’t blame us, eh?
But suddenly, there they were, two (2) shiny new Macintosh’s. And they seemed very, very slick (well, to our grammar school minds).
The school (through our teachers) told us that these Macs were for “serious” learning. Never thought about why they’d say that, but I’m sure being very expensive was one of the big reasons they didn’t want us to use it without a teacher next to us when we used it. And of course, no “drinks, food, gum, etc” allowed.
We had some good fun with them, though.
However, the fun didn’t last, for when I went into high school, they only had IBM and typewriters to play with.
Perception>>It wasn’t until 2008 that I thought of using Apple products for personal use. Of course, because of so many Microsoft computers used, it was inevitable that I had a slight bias against Apple products. My ‘perception’ from 1993-2008, was that Apple products were very hard to use, were only great for designers, didn’t offer “serious” machines (unless buying the top flight Apple computers/servers), were very expensive, and that PCs offered more in its variety. After all, my employers were using Microsoft based PCs, so they can’t be all that bad, right?
These were true for a time, but it soon changed for Apple and my outlook on its products.
Gateway “drug”>>To make it short, I’d converted to Apple products, starting with the Nano and slowly building courage to invest in the iPhoneMac Pro laptop, and iPod Touch. Plus, many products that I’d given out as presents for special occasions. Ease of use and ‘dependability’ of use (for the long haul) is paramount. And, so far, your Apple products have been doing a great job.
In hind sight, one can call my experience with the Nano was that, it was the “gateway drug” into the world of Apple products. It was very cool.
What if?>>While watching the news about Steve last night, I’d asked my girlfriend, “what if the iPhone wasn’t there to push the concept of phones to another level?”  I’d say, we’d be stuck with “stylus” pens, bad mobile OS’, hand flip Nokia handsets, forever RIM Blackberry devices (all gray & black texts only), and still have Palm units to play with.
Cheers Steve>>Well, cheers to you Steve. Was good drama through out the years. I’m sure you gave it the very best. And hope the company carries through many more years with fabulous products.
I am pretty sure you were a quirky and as nasty/focused a person behind closed doors.  Those stories of you being demanding is culminated by your past and demands of your own future. I respect that to the fullest. You sure made an imprint in the world. Your persona and drama will last far longer than your company has long disappeared (hope not too soon, though).  Cheers.
PS  By the way, I do watch his Stanford commencement speech from several years ago, for inspiration, here and there. It’s a good one. Click HERE to see it.
Jason

To celebrate (well in addition to fill one of our weekend days) the end of summer, and the return of autumn, both of us visited an apple orchard.

Yep, you heard right.

Personally, I’d never thought of visiting an apple orchard, never once in my life. Although I’d had some preconceived thoughts of what an apple orchard represented (a sun drenched plain of fields, filled with beautiful fruits of one of our most enjoyed foods), the idea of physically going and ‘enjoying’ a trek through an orchard, was far from me.

But Maiko had the idea (activity) for us to participate.

And I was pleasantly surprised. It was definitely a very enjoyable few hours.

We visited Maskers Apple Orchard in Warwick, NY. It’s about 2 hours from Jersey City (by the by, all the twisting mountain roads to the orchard, just makes it a longer trip than it should be). We packed some coffee and donuts for the road trip (oh and some chips, as well).

The road through upstate roads is one of many things beautiful about NY state‘s environment. The old school (1700’s style) buildings and the small roads leading the way, always adds that pinch of character.

All in all, the folks working at the farm was good, the orchard was good, the trip was good, and the sac of apples (quality of apples) was fabulous (yum delicious).

PS  And don’t worry, the “trunk check” is a standard. Don’t get all your feathers all ruffled over it. It’s all good.  Also, fully expect many kids on a field trip. Be patient  =D

All images copyright mediaform jasonkim photograph

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