Friday, March 2, 2012

Viewpoints on Changes In The Magazine Industry, AT&T Recent Announcements, Apple Announcements, Quantum Computers and Thermostats (For Good Measure)....

I find myself bookmarking articles of interest as I peruse news sources. As is normal for most, I tend to gravitate towards articles relating to posts I have written about recently. In many instances, others I follow, have written substantiating, as well as refuting, posts, on topics I have covered. In the spirit of giving exposure to  fellow tech commentators and to give you additional insight (even when it doesn't support my commentary), here's a recap of articles which have caught my eye in the last several days:

If you enjoyed yesterday's commentary on AT&T's decision to stop unlimited data plans for all (including its most loyal, original,  iPhone customers), a great tech blog, GigaOhm has written an interesting piece regarding AT&T's push to get App Developers to buy into their ridiculous "800" plan. This push to monetize their cellular service ties in closely with this company's announcement yesterday of the death of unlimited data plans. To read more, here's a link to the GigaOhm article.

The ripple effects of metered internet usage continue.... This article from TNW makes an interesting, and in my opinion, highly relevant, connection between cellular company imposed caps and the chilling effect it may have on App development for the new iPad. For those not interested in reading the full article, "the street" already has taken it as gospel that the new iPad to be announced next week will sport a much different higher definition screen. Many believe it will be a full blown retina display identical in specs to the iPhone 4S (but larger of course). I believe the screen will fall short of the retina screen's (2048 X 1536)  specification but still have a full 1080p (1920 X 1080) screen resolution. (This link provides a visual representation and further discussion of the screen resolutions.)

You can imagine this higher quality screen will also require higher quality graphics. Today, AT&T imposes a 20 Gigabyte download cap on apps of all kinds accessed via its 3G network. It will be much more difficult to deploy apps which take advantage of improved graphics and stay under this 20 Gigabyte limit! Add to this customers concern about "maxing out" their monthly download quota and this could have a chilling effect on app development and distribution.

A few days ago, I  gave my impressions of  how  magazine publishers are embracing changing subscriber behavior. I ran across this well thought out piece written by Andrew Rashbass detailing how The Economist has successfully redefined itself and added reader engagement and subscribers in the process.  If you are interested in reading a real life study which substantiates my observations, this is an excellent article!

To date, I have refrained from adding my two cents to the far flung speculation about Apple's announcements of March 6. I admit that I generally dislike gossip, and even well intentioned rumors regarding Apple announcements, strikes me as akin to gossip. TNW has written that based on a credible source a new Apple TV is slated to be announced next week (in addition to the iPad3, or "iPad 2S" depending on how evolutionary, or revolutionary, the next release turns out to be). This makes sense to me in so far as the current Apple TV cannot support 1080p video and its seems like a "sure thing" that the next iteration of the iPad will include this level of video playback. As for this article's musings about a new, enhanced, Apple TV remote... time will tell....

Quantum computers are still the stuff of science fiction but we are inching closer to reality. Fast Company details IBM's provocative progress in this field and what it might mean for you and I in the not too distant future. Fun read.....

Everybody likes creating wish lists. It doesn't matter if it is for Santa or Apple, it is fun to let  your imagination take flight. Some technological  musings are so fanciful Vegas wouldn't put odds on seeing things come to fruition in the next decade (several "lifetimes" in the IT world). That is why I really enjoyed reading this post by Federico Viticci in Mac Stories. His iOS 6 wish list is grounded in a healthy mix of practicality and possibility. I fully expect several of his ideas to find their way into Apple's next mobile OS. After reading this article, I won't bother writing my prognostications, I will just refer to this post!

Nest Thermostat

Nest has built the first thermostat I have ever gotten excited about in my life! (I don't have one yet, so anyone who wants to "donate" one for the cause, send it my way and I will give some firsthand feedback!)  This Apple inspired product "is just a thermostat." Some people have actually asked that the company add functionality  and this blog is their public response to these requests. If you are among the 89% of programmable thermostat owners who haven't successfully programmed your device for energy savings, you owe it to yourself to look at this device and read this post. I know this will be my next thermostat! How about you?

Kindle Fire

I am a huge Amazon fan. I practice what I preach and wholeheartedly believe in this company's business model and the value it adds to my life personally and professionally. I have a Prime Membership which provides significant benefits for $89/year ranging from free second day delivery on any item shipping from Amazon warehouses, free monthly book rentals on your Amazon Kindle, free video streaming (similar to Netflix) and more. (Full disclosure, I belong to Amazon's affiliate program and have a long position in AMZN.) Bloomberg recently wrote that Amazon had fewer Prime Customers than many analysts thought.  I remain an Amazon Prime "fanboy." Membership in this program is the single most cost effective subscription I make each year. If you shop Amazon even a few times a year, a Prime Membership can more than pay for itself in shipping charges alone. The company's pricing is always highly competitive (and clicking on affiliate links such as those used by MRT does NOT change the pricing in any way). Still, if you are considering an investment in Amazon, this commentary may sway your opinion.

Finally, this humorous article, "Why Look At The Road When You Can Stare At Your Tablet While Driving?" may bring a smile to your day! (I know I had to laugh before finishing this post!) If you think you need a mount like this for your car after reading this post, this link will lead you to a unit which is currently in stock.Enjoy!

For those of  you in middle Tennessee and surrounding areas now in the high risk zone for severe storms and tornadoes, please be safe! We wish you the very best. Stay informed and err on the side of caution. I want you all back tomorrow for the next installment of Music Row Tech.

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I have a long position in $AMZN

Companies:   Amazon, AT&T, The Economist, GifaOhm, Nest, TNW

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