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Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

The Lala and Quattro Acquisitions are All About the Apple Tablet

January 26th, 2010 No comments

There has been a lot of speculation about what the LaLa acquisition could mean for a future cloud-enabled version of iTunes. Similarly, the recent Quattro acquisition has spurred a lot of conversation about what Apple might be doing with an advertising platform. While reading an article about Disney’s plans for digital content on NewTeeVee.com earlier this month, some new [no pun intended] thoughts struck me. On the eve of the event announcing a “major new product that [Apple is] really excited about” these ideas have only been reinforced by some details emerging in other rumor reports.

Disney Matters to Apple

At CES, Disney announced that they are developing a DRM technology called “KeyChest” that will allow customers to purchase a piece of digital content and unlock the ability to access that content in multiple ways. The goal is truly “anywhere, anytime” access to digital content that could be on a computer, mobile device, the web and even third-party services.  One of the possibilities touched upon by Ryan Lawler at NewTeeVee is that a purchase of a Disney DVD would unlock immediate access to stream that content to a computer or mobile phone.

Steve Jobs has made a personal fortune through Disney/Pixar entertainment. iTunes currently sells digital downloads of Disney movies and even provides the free Disney File downloads through codes that come bundled with a physical DVD or Blu-ray disc.

Is there any scenario in which Steve Jobs, as a Disney board member and the largest private stockholder, is not briefed on Disney’s plans to use this new technology to control the distribution of their media? Is there any scenario in which Steve leaves that briefing and does not decide that iTunes needs to be involved in these KeyChest transactions, including full support for streaming protected content purchased online?

Lala was not Acquired for the Lala Service

Lala was all about engineering talent and expertise. The Lala acquisition makes perfect sense if Apple wanted to bring in a team of engineers with a lot of experience in streaming content. I think that Apple is less concerned with Lala’s existing business model of syncing your own content to the cloud than it is with making sure that iTunes can still be involved in Disney’s plans to make both download and streaming protected, purchased content available online.

If this “Major New Product” (MNP for short) is a tablet, wouldn’t it be great if you could buy a movie on iTunes and immediately start streaming it to the MNP while iTunes is downloading it to your computer?

Quattro is not About iPhone Apps

When Apple purchased Quattro, there was a lot of talk about how this might impact iPhone developers who were looking to integrate ads into their products. Most arguments hinged on the idea that Apple wanted to grab a piece of the action in mobile advertising. I think Apple has bigger revenue opportunities and iPhone developers were doing just fine at putting ads into their products with some existing third-party services or even rolling their own. There’s something else going on here.

Looking at the rumors this week that Apple has been meeting with publishers like the New York Times to brief them on the “major new product” to be launched on Wednesday, what comes into focus for me is that these are the people that need help with an advertising management system. Apple is building a comprehensive platform for traditional print publishers to move online.

Newspapers and magazines were built on advertising revenue and this is a business model that print people understand. They want to hold on to their advertisers and keep that slice of the pie in the digital era. I believe Apple is courting papers like the New York Times with the message that they can offer a full service solution. AdKit (or maybe CoreAds?) will be an important piece of iPhone OS SDK 4.0 so that publishers can easily integrate advertisements into their digital content like ebooks and digital magazine editions.

Beyond the AdKit API’s, expect Apple to offer ad tracking and metrics directly into iTunes Connect so that publishers have a dashboard to track all the revenue from their products, both direct sales and display advertising within the product.

Is all this infrastructure in place after Apple acquired Quattro on January 5th? Absolutely not. But just like the Lala acquisition, Apple has bought a team that can get them a big leg up in this effort. Expect to see AdKit and the iPhone OS 4.0 SDK announced tomorrow with availability of the service to launch later in the year (think iPhone 3.0 SDK and the push notification service).

Both Acquisitions are About the “Major New Product”

Streaming media content and mobile advertising for content publishers are perfect for a tablet device. You have something to watch without requiring onboard storage of your whole library and ebooks and digital magazines have an easy way to transition content including interactive advertising. If all reports are on target, media and digital publishing are going to be big on this “MNP” to be announced.

Here’s another idea… why not show you an ad while you are waiting for Toy Story or Wall-E to stream to your MNP?

Categories: Apple, Technology Tags: , ,

Long list of stuff that you might like for the iPhone

November 20th, 2008 No comments

Pretty good list that someone pointed me to today.

46 Tips for the Business iPhone User

Categories: Apple, Technology Tags: ,

Airport Update Fixes SMB Volume Drops

November 8th, 2008 No comments

I’ve been having intermittent issues with my MacBook dropping the connection to the SMB share on my Solaris server. It wasn’t bad enough for me to spend any time trying to troubleshoot it because a quick stop and start on the airport would usually allow me to mount the network volume again. The problem usually showed up a few times a week and never lasted more than a minute or two. My Windows PC, which is wired to the ethernet network, never had any issues with dropping this connection to the same SMB share.

After the AirPort Extreme Update 2008-004 that came out just a couple weeks ago, I haven’t had any problems at all. My connection to the share on the Solaris server has been rock solid. It’s one of those things that took me a while to notice, but after a week went by getting the disconnect message from the Finder I realized how nice it was to just have the connection work.

If you’re wondering why I care, it’s because I manage my iTunes library from my laptop, but have my iTunes music folder on the network share. All the content is stored there, but the library file (like an index of iTunes content) is on my MacBook. When iTunes can’t find the network volume, it saves any downloads (usually podcasts that download automatically) to the local volume on the MacBook. It’s simple to copy the content back into the assigned iTunes Music folder when it’s available, but running “Consolidate Content” takes a while and locks up iTunes while it runs.

I’m also extremely grateful for how the Finder was rewritten in Leopard to allow multi-threading for network shares. Anyone who’s had a Mac for more than a couple years will remember the pain of watching the beachball in the Finder when a network volume disappeared, or you put a notebook to sleep with a share mounted and then woke it up on another network and it spent eternity trying to figure out why this new network didn’t have the old network share available. I still occassionaly forget to put away my home network share when I leave, but now the Finder lets me know much more gracefully without any lockup of the computer while it figures out what I’ve done.

Anyways, thank you Apple for fixing this bug that looks like it was caused by the Airport driver.

Categories: Apple, Technology Tags: , , ,

Much Rejoicing Over New Version of Google Notifier for Mac

March 31st, 2007 1 comment

If you launch Google Notifier for Mac, you’ll be prompted to “upgrade” to the latest version. I’m thrilled to report that this latest version 1.9.97 works perfectly with Google Apps for Your Domain. All the links in the pull-downs will take you to the appropriate page in the hosted versions of Google Apps Mail or Calendar.

I tried to find release notes to find what else has changed in this release but have been unsuccessful in the last 2-1/2 minutes. In fact, when you get to the “What is Notifier?” page in Google Help Center, the link for information on the Mac version of Notifier goes nowhere (404 error).

I reset Safari to check for the bug where Mail notification would only work when you had logged in from Safari first. So far, no signs of that bug either.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the invaluable Gmail+Growl for Google Notifier which allows you to run all the Notifier notifications through the Growl notification notifier. 😉

Have I mentioned that I love Google Apps?

Categories: Apple, Technology Tags: , , , ,

False Alarm on Delicious Library 2

March 21st, 2007 No comments

Wil Shipley reveals in the midst of a stream of consciousness blog post that attendees at TED only received a coupon for the next version of Delicious Library. The actual app is still not finished (yet).

C’mon, Wil. We’re rooting for you!

Google Notifier for Mac and Google Apps (GAFYD)

March 16th, 2007 No comments

Google NotifierA couple weeks ago I noticed that Google Notifier was no longer giving me notifications of new email. All this started right around the time that Google launched their Premier Edition service. I was going to write about this back then, but the post sat in my drafts while I was trying to figure out what was happening. I think I finally have the full (if somewhat disappointing) answer.

I sign in with my Google Apps account (not a regular Gmail account). Unfortunately, Google Notifier hasn’t been updated to work properly with Google Apps for Your Domain. The links to open your calendar, inbox, compose a new message, and so on try to take you to the regular Gmail or Calendar pages. The login fails because Notifier is presenting credentials for Google Apps. What was more puzzling was that the new items list still worked in Calendar, but not in Mail. The notifications and the count of new mail items in the menu bar used to work and now I’ve figured out how to make them work again.

The key (for some unknown reason) is to login to Google Apps in Safari first. Yep, that’s it. I have Firefox set as my default browser and rarely use Safari so I hadn’t noticed until I logged in with that browser. Once you do that, Google Notifier will start working again for email notifications. I still can’t open my Mail from Notifier, but the notifications and unread message count work.

This a good spot to put a little plug in for Growl as well. All you need is Gmail+Growl, which will feed the notifications to Growl so you can integrate them into your other system notifications.

I did a little digging around in the package for Notifier and there are several hardcoded references to the gmail page. Along with the dependency on having a valid cookie with Safari, this makes Google Notifier less than perfect. Hopefully, someone will get around to updating this utility to work properly with mail.google.com/a/ as well as mail.google.com/accounts.

Delicious Library 2 is Finished!

March 11th, 2007 No comments

Don’t run off and check the Delicious Monster site or the unofficial forums just yet. Still, I think I’ve got the goods on Delicious Library 2. In Wil Shipley’s latest personal blog post, he talks a lot about his visit to TED this past week and how he’s completely infatuated with Meg Ryan. After obsessing about whether Matt Groening really thinks he’s funny or Meg Ryan digs his buns of steel, Shipley dropped a innocuous comment that Delicious Library 2 is included in the TED swag bag.

He also mentioned that Peter Gabriel is going to save $60 in upgrade fees (and yes, I’m sure that is pretty important to someone in his position). I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that means the upgrade fee is $20 (or half the cost of a full license) and Gabriel owns three licenses (which is three more than anything I’ve ever sold to an A-list celebrity). Still, I’m not sure why receiving one copy of DL2 would remove the need to upgrade other licenses. If Gabriel doesn’t need separate upgrade licenses, why did he need separate full licenses in the first place?

So why do I care? Well, I like collecting stuff. I’m a bit of a bibliophile (I’m working on a Master’s in History, so this should be no surprise) and Delicious Library is a fun app. The need for it isn’t so great since I’ve discovered LibraryThing last year, but I still enjoy it. I also have a modest CD and DVD collection. DVDProfiler, which I love, hasn’t been updated in a while and Listal seems to cover most of my needs, but I still like the offline access in DL.

I still think that the next generation of collecting software needs to be online, or at least an online/desktop hybrid. Collecting is in the sweet spot for social software concepts. I’d like to manage my collection, but also share it with others, see what my friends like, get recommendations based on the collective wisdom of the crowd, leverage a shared database of detailed information collated by OCD collectors (the great success of DVDProfiler), write reviews to share, rate items, etc. All those things work better online.

There’s still room for desktop software and offline tools, but I’d love to see something like bi-directional sync with DL2. Here’s to hoping!

In any case, we should find out what DL2 can do as soon as the upgrades are made available to the unwashed masses who didn’t make it to TED this year.

Forget AppleTV – Mac mini as Video Server

March 10th, 2007 No comments

I ran across this podcast/article at HTGuys today. It gives a pretty good high-level description of a working home theater system that uses the Mac mini as the hub for video and audio. The system is primarily used for movie viewing (ripped from DVD’s) and the bulk of the conversation is about this, but it does mention recording TV as well.

This article highlights some of the advantages that the mini provides over the AppleTV. In particular, the mini allows for AC3 audio passthrough to your receiver for surround sound. There doesn’t appear to be a way to encode surround sound into AppleTV-compatible files. The mini also allows for the possibility of TV recording and central storage that can be shared out to the rest of the house (the AppleTV has a 40GB hard drive for caching content shared from another computer’s iTunes library). With a wired network, the system here is able to stream HD content to three computers at the same time.

As much as I’d like to dump my cable DVR and roll my own, I still can’t make up my mind which approach to take. More and more, I see disadvantages to the AppleTV approach.

Streaming HDTV from the HDHomeRun to the Mac

March 6th, 2007 No comments

HDHomeRun GUI for MacAn enterprising user at the Silicon Dust forums has created a GUI for tuning the HDHomeRun to a particular channel and launching VLC to play the stream on your Mac. This doesn’t allow for timeshifting or PVR features, but it does let you watch live High Definition on the Mac. Now we just need integration with the IR remotes that come with newer Macs so we don’t have to touch the keyboard and mouse to change the channel. I mean, really, what is this? 1977?

Props go out to TUAW for posting the story first.

ZFS Missing from the Latest Build of Leopard

March 6th, 2007 No comments

According to the caption on this screenshot in Think Secret’s latest Leopard gallery, ZFS is not present in the latest build of OS X 10.5. This is a bit disappointing because I’m excited about the improvements in ZFS. It would be a bummer if the OS X port of ZFS didn’t make it in the final release. I hope that ZFS makes it back into Leopard.

Regardless, I’m going to continue my project to build a Solaris server using ZFS for the shared storage pool. I should be able to post more about that later this week or early next.