Tuesday, May 31, 2011

AR for tourists and A look into the future of AR

We have been in St Augustine last weekend, and besides that I was happy not to be addicted to my electronic gadgets, I missed something which would have been really cool.

St. Augustine is a city in the northeast section of Florida and the county seat of St. Johns County, Florida, United States. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer and admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, it is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United States.

When you walk through the oldest American city main street (St George Street) then it is hard to imagine how it was back in time.

The houses are still there and some people wearing clothes from the 18th century, but there are so many tourists that you just don't get the feeling how it used to be.

Would it not be nice to have your iPad with you and hold it in front of you and you could see a reenacting of 1794 or 1565. You could walk through the street and see all happening again through your iPad.

Your iPad could be a time machine. The process would be pretty simple. The city would only need to close St George Street for one day and hire some volunteers to to reenact one day. A camera team would walk the street from north to south and from south to north.

The iPad app could be interactive and the user could touch a house or person on the screen to get more info.

Suddenly a street full of people would be replaced with a few people three hundred years back in time.

I found an interesting AR idea, when I was researching, if there is already an app for this.

Autoglass did produce a video how AR could work in 2020 on windshields. See video below (just click on image - you need flash).

Here is a no flash version.

The concept idea is good but the UI needs in my opinion to change. I watched the movie on my iPhone which is a small screen and I could not follow the traffic because I was concentrated what the screen displays. I thought the issue was the small screen. Therefore I watched it again on my iPad and on my 54 inch screen. All the time the text was distracting for me. Too much to read, the brain needs to long to translate the info.

I like the idea but, if it comes to a product like this, then there should be no text but signs and symbols. Easy symbols which can be easily recognized.

Find out by yourself how easy you can follow the AR. Autoglass did mark pedestrians with a red arrow and bicycles with a red arrow but it was still not easy to recognize. The best part was the broken windshield. The whole lower screen got red, this I instantly saw. But as a driver I might have been scared and hit the break for nothing and then not only my windshield would be broken.

The video is a sign in the right direction and many people are interested in this. The video got within 2 weeks over 100k views.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:S Legacy Trail,St Augustine,United States

Monday, May 30, 2011

Is technology always good?

I have been this weekend in St. Augustine, FL with my family. We had such a great time and I was glad I left my iPad and iPhone in the hotel. During these three days I learned a lot, a lot about the human factor for communication. In a time where everything gets easier with electronics we miss a lot. Till today a smartphone or computer can not replace the human factor. We can open our living social or Groupon app to see specials, we can use google to find infos about St. Augustine and we are able to pay and buy tickets for attractions without even to talk to somebody just by using our phone. But how good is it?

St. Augustine opened my wife's and my eyes. It started with the car train tour around 24 attractions in St. Augustine. I played in the morning golf and my family went to downtown. It was already 4:30pm till I met them. Emile and my wife bought already tickets for the tour and did one or two half rounds in the train. I went to the ticket stand to buy myself a ticket, because we decided to do a whole round which is about 60 minutes. The lady at the ticket service (a ticket is $20) was so kind to tell me that the tours are ending at 6pm and asked me if we are back the next day (tour tickets are valid 3 days). Unfortunately we had to leave the next day. She told me it would be waste of money to buy for just one hour a ticket. But my son did want to go on the train (he loves trains). The lady was so kind and gave me a free ticket. I am pretty sure this would not happened with an electronic butler over the phone. I was so pleased I tried to give her $5 tip, but she declined.

During the sightseeing tour we stopped twice and took different trains, the guides on each train had other stories to tell, it was just great to hear different stories about the same attractions. It was so human and individual. We could have bought an iPhone app which tells to each stop the historical background, it might have been more accurate but less interactive with the guide.

After we were done with the whole sightseeing trip, we went to a small coffee shop. My wife bought for her a mocha and a double espresso for me. When the bar tender asked how I want the coffee, she told him what would usually say "Like my wife, black and bitter" and that she usually then responds with "and I like my coffee like my husband white and weak". The guy liked the story so much that she got my double espresso free. Try to do this when you buy a coffee at a vending machine.

On Monday morning I went with my son into the hall of fame of golf, he is under 5 and did not need a ticket. I got with my ticket a free shot to a replica of the seventeenth hole of TCP Sawgrass and a free round of 18 putting holes. And guess what, at both attraction my son got it free too, even if they had a sign everybody regardless of age has to pay.

We had many other situations in and around St. Augustine, which have been so nice and human.

I am not a geek, but I love gadgets and any new thing i can get. And I even had tons ideas about AR when we went through downtown, but at the end I enjoyed the non electronic weekend. This weekend showed me that all these new things will take us some of the most important part in our life. Communication and human not rational behavior.

Maybe in 5 or 10 years the government will establish the "human day" when we are not allowed to use any electronic device for one day. When it comes to this point then something went wrong with us.

Maybe in 20 years we have human robots which can be so irrational and unpredictable that it feels human again. we will then send them on vacation and to work. And then watch all the stories they saved in their private cloud. How appealing.

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Location:S Legacy Trail,St Augustine,United States

Sunday, May 29, 2011

One year blogging, what a great time

I bought last year in April my first iPad. Just two month later I decided to start a blog. The reason for this was that many people told me I should blog, because i always had an opinion on Apple, Internet and social.

My blog of course is small but I had almost 390 posts in one year. The blog did grow almost 50% every month.

The biggest break through came in February 2011. So far I am totally amazed how many people are reading my blog. I average now 1,000 people a day which is really good for a blog just one year old. The most read post was about my complain of the New York Time app.

I never thought how much time a blog does consume. I need in average an hour to write a post, but research can take up to 5 hours. In total (with research) I did spend in the last year 700 hours blogging and reading, this is almost 2 hours a day. But the most amazing part is that I found new friends through my blog. People form Australia, people working at Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple.

Some people even asked me for advice. It is just great.

A few things I learned during this year.
I get more readers when I blog at least once a day, and I get the most when I blog 3 times a day. I lose readers when I don't blog.
I get more readers when my blog title is unrelated to my topic but contains names of famous people.

I want to say thank you to all my readers. Without having such a big reading group, I would not blog anymore. But all these feedbacks, positive and negative keep me running. My three main topics are mobile, social and of course Apple. I will try to keep these topics, but of course will still include things about NFC, AR, geo-caching and QR codes because these are the big technologies in 2012.
I don't hunt my own meat, I don't wear always a blue jeans but I wear every Monday a pink shirt and every Friday a hat. Not sure why, but I do it.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:S Legacy Trail,St Augustine,United States

Thursday, May 26, 2011

CRMs are getting social but one important piece is missing

As I wrote in an earlier post last week, Salesforce.com is getting more and more into social business. SFDC leader of the Enterprise CRMs with social integration is not alone, MS Dynamics, Oracle and Sage are fighting as well for the social integration. Most famous product is chatter for SFDC.

With chatter you can subscribe feeds and find relevant people you want to follow. Vibe.com offers similar product for other CRMs like Dynamics CRM.

Another great feature is jigsaw which keeps your contacts clean. SFDC has over 26 million contacts in their DB which get with jigsaw updated and cleaned.

However an important part is missing in each CRM. As a sales person I don't want to read every day tweets from my contacts or their status update on linkedin.

The next step (for CRM) is to do it for me. The perfect CRM would work like this.

We create our contacts and save with them their twitter account, linkedin profile and eventual Facebook address. Then we can input some important terms like relevant to the business we want to do with the contact. Maybe I want to sell my client an ERP solution, then some of these keywords would be "CRM, Oracle, Microsoft" etc. I might work for Microsoft therefore I want to have my competition as keywords.

Everyday my CRM would scan the internet like linkedin and twitter for these keywords assigned to the contact.
When I open my contact in CRM I would see a word cloud with the most relevant keywords big and the least relevant keywords small. Similar like the image below.

I could instantly see that my contact has my major competition as biggest word. When I click on it, I could see my contact has 3 news contacts in linkedin which are working at my competition etc.

The word could visually give us a feedback about our contact without the need to read. The CRM could even send an Alert if a certain world gets a certain size. The possibilities are endless. Sales Managers would not need to read every tweet, blog etc. And still get in a grasp the most important message. Maybe we see in the word cloud that the keyword for our company is big and green. We click on it and see a lot of positive comments about us (this person did post in twitter) or that two of our contact linkedin connections are already using our software or just bought our software.

For me, this would be the ultimate CRM for prospects and existing contacts. The last thing i like, is to spend hours on the computer to put thousands of notes and info into my CRM, nor do I want to read hundreds of blogs or tweets. I want to sell and the CRM which helps to sell easier is the best. I strongly believe a function like the interactive word cloud would be a killer app. Granted, not everybody has a twitter account, linkedin profile or a Facebook page (I know Facebook might be tricky if you are not befriended with the person), but companies who are using the CRM for b2b can be sure that the people they contact are either on twitter, have a blog or are in public through newspaper etc.

The perfect CRM does the pre-work for me, does all the scanning and reading and just provides for me a snapshot of the most relevant data.

Is there something like this out there? If yes, let me know, if not, then I will happily provide my complete concept to SFDC, Dynamics, Sage etc if they are interested. Or do I just not get it, and my idea is ridiculous?

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Angry Birds Rio - a drug

I can't believe I did fall for Angry Birds Rio. Angry Birds is almost two years on the market and I never want to play it. I did want to use my time for something which is more useful, like writing a blog.
Bit I started a few months ago and now I played (since the latest level is out) at least an hour or two every night.

Angry Birds is kind addictive. Such a simple game with no instructions needed. But it has multiple phases.

First I started to blog about it, which was a big mistake.

Angry Birds has in my opinion 5 phases.

1. Finish it
When you start you want to finish it. As soon you mastered a level you want to master the next level.

2. Get all stars
Finishing the levels is not so hard, but you might sometimes only get one star for a level. You then want to get 3 stars for each level. I played some levels 200 times. You try one way then another way to see which one is more effective. The goal is to use as less birds as possible for a level. The hardest level for me was the last level on stage two. To get the big white bird you need to think outside the box. I was almost ready to google for help.

3. Collect the special items
Each of the 3 stages have 15 hidden items (either pineapple, banana or water melon). Sometimes you have to zoom out the screen to see a hidden banana which could be behind you. You don't need to master in this phase the levels you just want to collect the items.

4. Extra points
Angry birds gives you extra points when you reach certain things, like a special high score or hitting a bird with another bird or watch all credits.

5. Points
This is the hardest of all phases. At this phase you want to optimize your points, you go through one level to another and try your best just to use one bird to finish the level or to destroy as much as you can, I call it "angry cleaner".

I am tight now in phase 3. But I look as well to master at the same time some of phase 4. And of course I look all the time at the high score. I am right now At 8 million points which puts me 72,382 position, which is in the top 3% of players, but not high enough :(

I can't wait till I mastered phase 3 and 4. Then I will be in top 200 and stop playing. It is so addictive that you sometimes play a level 200 times and restart the level as soon the first bird leaves the sling, because you know it was not a good shot.

I decently wrote less posts for my blog which is bad, I don't want to lose the momentum and I did spend too less time with my wife.

The The Landover Baptist Church Forum Mobile believes Angry Birds is even evil:

A SEX Training Game!
Angry Birds is played by slowly moving your finger over the surface of your phone. As the game progresses you need to move your finger over the surface faster and faster. When the game progresses even more you also have to touch a certain spot over and over to get your reward. Those who have, reluctantly, studied the ways of sluts, whores and harlots will recognize female masturbation here! That's right! The best way to play Angry Birds is also the best way to make a women climax! So Angry Birds is training both men and women in how to get a women to orgasm! And as we all know only SATAN Gives Women Orgasms! God clearly disapproves of masturbation! Matthew 5:28 "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

This is not why God gave us fingers!

Angry Birds has over 200 million downloads and makes people to do stupid things.
Two Scottish pet shop employees were sacked yesterday after a report in the Oban Times revealed that they had been using dead birds as projectiles while playing a physical version of hit smartphone game Angry Birds. The fired employees allegedly took parakeets and mice from an industrial freezer to use as props in a lunchtime game, which Pet Island manager Sharon Renton described as "radge" - a common Scots dialect word meaning 'egregious'.

I went to YouTube after I finished my 3 stars phase. And basically people uploaded tons of Videos showing tips how to get three stars.

I am just happy that it is soon over for me and I will not play new upcoming levels. I need a life.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Apple store redesign

I wrote last week of a potential new shipment to Apple and the redesign of the Appel store.

We know now the answer. Every Apple store has now modified iPads as interactive displays for the other devices at the Apple store. These iPads are iPads 2 and have a special app running. You can't use the back camera and the home button is not reachable. They are all sealed into clear acrylic.

What a waste. Why not using the old iPad? We have still weeks waiting time for the iPads and now we know why. That Apple can use them for their displays. I counted in the international mall store 32 iPads 2 as displays. With over 300 stores we come to almost 10,000 iPads. 10,000 unhappy waiting customers.

I understand that Apple want to show how you can use iPads as displays, but give us a break. First should come your customer and then fancy displays.

At least you can go now to Apple and play with a modified iPad till you get yours.

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Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Your car get social

AP is reporting that Toyota will make their electric car social.
Toyota, Salesforce and Microsoft are working on a social system for your car which reminds you when to charge the car and let you know on your phone when your car is charged.
Toyota is using using salesforce.com as their CRM. In the future the sales representative can see in his SFDC account how many issues the owner has with his car and then eventual call the owner to remind him to go to inspection or to sell a new car.
What first looks like a nice tool for the consumer is in reality a tool for Toyota and SFDC to collect more information about their customer. They will exactly know where the consumer is with the car. If they see that the consumer goes to multiple dealerships, they could call to make an offer for a new car etc.

TOKYO – Toyota is setting up a social networking service with the help of a U.S. Internet company and Microsoft so drivers can interact with their cars in ways similar to Twitter and Facebook.
Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. and Salesforce.com, based in San Francisco, announced their alliance Monday to launch "Toyota Friend," a private social network for Toyota owners that works similar to tweets on Twitter.
In a demonstration at a Tokyo showroom, an owner of a plug-in Prius hybrid found out through a cellphone message from his Prius called "Pre-boy" that he should remember to recharge his car overnight.
When the owner plugged in his car to recharge it, the car replied, "The charge will be completed by 2:15 a.m. Is that OK? See you tomorrow."
The exchanges can be kept private, or be shared with other "Toyota Friend" users, as well as made public on Facebook, Twitter and other services, the company said.
The companies did not give details of how the technology, such as the content of the talking car's dialogues, will be managed. A launch where such details will be offered is set for Tuesday.
Toyota is investing 442 million yen ($5.5 million), Microsoft Corp. is investing 335 million yen ($4.1 million) and Salesforce.com 223 million yen ($2.8 million) in the project.
Many cars are already equipped with navigation and other network-linking capabilities, and can function as a mobile device just like an iPhone or a Blackberry.
Toyota's service, built on open-source cloud platforms that are the specialty of Salesforce.com, as well as on Microsoft's platform, will start in Japan in 2012, and will be offered later worldwide, according to Toyota.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda, a racing fan, said he always "talks" with his car when he is zipping around on the circuit.
With the popularity of social networking, cars and their makers should become part of that online interaction, he said.
"I hope cars can become friends with their users, and customers will see Toyota as a friend," he said.
Salesforce.com chief executive Marc Benioff said social networks can add value to products and companies. It can also help Toyota gain massive information not only about their buyers but about how the car is working or not working, he said.
"I want a relationship with my car in the same way we have a relationship with our friends on social networks," he said.
Toyoda, who has always been interested in telematics, or the use of Internet technology in autos, has been aggressive in forging alliances with new kinds of companies, including one with U.S. luxury electric carmaker Tesla Motors that he announced last year.
Partnerships with dot.com types have been a bright spot in Toyoda's bumpy career as president. He has faced growing doubts about reliability and transparency because of the massive global recalls that began two years ago, shortly after he took office, and which now affect more than 14 million vehicles.
Toyota is also battling parts shortages after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan destroyed key suppliers, hampering production.

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Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Monday, May 23, 2011

How much costs social media?

I found a cool info graphic on digitalbuzz.com which shows how much social media costs.

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Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How much can we trust Facebook?

Facebook has over 600 million active users (internal FB talks about 850 million) and might go in public 2012 . Facebook is already world biggest photo sharing site, biggest social network and has more traffic than google.

74% of American Internet users are on FB and 1 out 13 people World Wide has a Facebook account. 250 million users are using FB every day. 2.11% of all Internet searches are done in FB, which would make FB 5 biggest search engine in the US

According to one law firm, over 20 percent of new divorce petitions contain references to Facebook. Mark Keenan, Managing Director of Divorce-Online said “The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to.” While I’m not sure how people get caught having inappropriate private chats with others, the technical details were not described by the law firm.

All these numbers are impressive, but do we really understand what consequences are behind this?

Facebook makes us to use our real name (more or less) to have an account . Facebook does know a lot of us. Do you really believe, when you set your privacy that only your friends can see your posts, that FB does not see your posts?

FB is a big portal with thousands of servers and DBs. Don't you think they can access your data? Don't you think they use your data to sell better ads? of course and this is fine, I believe in targeted advertisement. But do we know what they do otherwise with our data. Facebook has more information about us than the government.

Who is controlling FB? Should not somebody from the government control and audit FB? How do we know that the data get deleted when we hit delete. We already know that google mail does keep your deleted data at least 10 days in their database. If Google is doing it why should not FB?

I use FB, but I am trying to be very careful what I do in FB, which we all should. I don't care that certain people can see my posts and images, I know who can see my stuff, but what makes my nervous is what I don't know. I don't know what FB is doing with my data. Do they have profiler software running? Am I flagged as a certain interest group?

Facebook does know from 10% people of the world, where they live, when they are born, which school they went and where they work. If we are married or divorced, if we like drugs, what our favorite music is. The name of our beloved dog, our political opinion, our sex, etc etc. The only institution which might know the same or more is Google, but no government knows so much like them.

Facebook does not only know what you'd post or who or what you tagged in your photos, they know what you search and know your FB friends. They even know which of them are your real friends and which are just FB friends.

It scares me, not that they can know everything, but that I don't know exactly what they are doing with my data.

I think companies like Facebook and Google should be more controlled by the government. Ok, this does not sound good. Let me rephrase. Companies like google and Facebook should be required to encrypt certain data with a key only an institution of trust has access.

Or better, we the users should be in charge of the keys. Basically when creating a Facebook account we could generate our own encryption key. When people want to friend to use we send the key to them (best as analog snail mail).

I love the total connection and that my phone knows where I am and displays me coupons related to my interest and geo position. But I want as well be sure my data is not misused.

Mark Zuckerberg is under 30 and has more power than an individual government. Not sure I can trust him. But I am sure he can access all data he wants within his Facebook databases.

Sure, he is not interested in my profile, but he and his team has other power we should not ignore. Facebook can, if they want, influence the next presidential election by showing in FB search only results which could help a certain party to win the election. Facebook is now at the point to be as big and influence as Google. Granted FB has no mobile phone, but most smart phone users are using Facebook for status update. FB knows when and where we do these. FB has already more than 300 million mobile users and growing.

We all should be aware that there are right now 3 companies which do know a lot about us. Google, Facebook and Apple. Apple main business is today much different than Google and Facebook but this can change. The biggest difference is, we can just not buy an Apple device and don't use iTunes and we are fine. But Google and Facebook are services device independent. We could stop using Facebook and google services but I don't think this is the answer. Of course there are other search engines and social networks, but again none of them have such a high market share like Google and Facebook.

Am I to negative? Does it really matter that FB knows everything about us? Is it our fault that we put too much information on FB?

In the 90es schools did start to educate children on AIDS and it's risks. Commercial did run to educate us how to protect us. I think it is time to educate everybody what risks we have by exposing us in the Internet. And this should be paid by Google and Facebook.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Facebook for kids

In April I talked about the Facebook problem of underage kids and one solution i offered was to create a FB just for kids.

Today I did read in cnet.com that Mark Zuckerberg is thinking exact this.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview this week he would like to create a safe and educational social networking environment for kids younger than 13. (According to Consumer Reports, 7.5 million such American kids already use Facebook by lying about their age.)
"That will be a fight we take on at some point," Zuckerberg reportedly said of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which mandates parental permission and other protections for young users. And here we thought China was Facebook's next big controversy...

I think it is smart to find a way to allow kids to use FB instead of forcing them to lie. Human beings are constantly evolving. In 1985 we had a class photo session of our 9th grad. I compared this photo with a recent photo of my nephew class. Even if the kids in both photos are the same age, there are big differences. We looked like kids, today they look much more like adults.

When I was 3, we had no TV and there was no such thing as VCR or electronic devices. The first computer I played with was with 13. My son is 3 and a master of the iPad, DVR and other electronic devices. As an example, last week his favorite Lightning McQueen flash light did stop working. He instantly knew how to open the flash light and asked me to give him new batteries. I am sure I did not know what batteries are till I was 5. He will know more about computers when he is 10 than I know today. He might build our webpages till then. One of my nephew is 20 but when he was 14 he asked me to teach him how to build websites, I bought him a good book and worked with him a few weeks on the simple idea of HTML.

My other nephew is 12 and he already knows how to build a simple website and how to make a simple flash file. But more important he knows the concept of HTML and that pages are stored on servers etc.
Of course it is easier today to build websites than when I started in early 90es, but it is evolution that we get earlier exposed to such things.

A lot changed then and today.

I am the youngest kid in our family of 5 kids. My oldest sibling is 12 years older than me and the youngest is 5 years older. What I learned at school in mathematics in the 8th grade, my sisters did not learn before 10th grade. I was good in mathematics. I had 4 courses at the university in advanced mathematics. I would say I know it well.
My sister called me once from Germany over Skype that I should help her son, who is in the 9th grade, in mathematics. I said yes, when I looked at his homework. I was blown away. He had to do stuff (just 18 after I finished) which I did not before my final year at school. And guess what I had first to read in a book before I could help him.

Back to FB, it is clear kids are much earlier exposed to technology and internet that they will try to be in FB or whatever the latest hype is.

The best thing for FB would be to create a safer FB for kids but where parents have admin control over it. This allows the kids to be a part of the latest hype but as well parents to monitor what is going on. If we forbid to be on FB then they will find anyway a way to be in and we parents would not know what is going on and this is far more dangerous. At the same time, we as parents need to talk with our kids about the danger to expose them in the wide world of Internet. We need to talk to them like adult to adult. This helps a lot, believe me.

A friend of mine, his daughter was on FB since she was 13 and guess what, she is deleted her account with 15 because it is cool not to be on FB.

Either way, we can't really stop kids to go into FB, they will find ways, but if we can educate them and can be a part, then we know at least what is going on.

Back to my little son. He is a master of the iPad, but because I allow him to play with his kids games on the iPad, he does not try to open any other application which is not intended to be for him. But the thing he likes the most (which I am proud of), is being outside and playing. Pure nature no computers.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Friday, May 20, 2011

2001-2011, 10 years Apple Stores

When Steve Jobs announced to open Apple Stores the critics were big. Analyst did not see that the stores idea will work out.
Critics were that Apple will have big store filled with products which fit on one big table. 10 years later, Apple has over 300 stores and is still growing.
And within the 10 years the look and feel of the stores did not change. Even the amount of displayed products is not much more. The biggest difference is that there is no red phone behind the genius bar and no cam corders or handhelds because they are replaced with Apple products like iPad and iPhone.

What made the Apple stores so successful?
First of all the design. Going to an Apple store is like going to a Ralph Lauren store. All is very exclusive. White walls open space and each product looks like a painting in a museum. Then there is the genius bar, which got copied by stores like Best Buy etc. However the people behind the genius bar are very knowledgable. And not only them. Every employee in the store knows enough about the products that the customer feels comfortable. Never is anybody left alone.
Another big difference to all other computer stores is, that the consumer can touch and play with the products, they are always on and working. If you go to BestBuy, and you want to test a computer, then either they are password locked because some kid thought it is funny or the computers have no real software on it and if they, the Internet connection is not available, that surfing the internet does not work.

I admit, I seldom buy anything at the Apple store, I usually buy online, but still I go once a month to the store just to see the products and dream about all these new 27inch displays and MacBook Airs I want to have.

And then I look around. Mostly everybody is just browsing through the store and playing or enjoying the Apple products. A few kids are playing games at kids table (which is still there after 10 years). Another handful people are waiting for their call to get their genius bar appointment and then maybe a few at the checkout.

Going to the Apple Store is like making (in the mall) a stop at Starbucks just without the coffee. If you are in the mall, you have to go to the Apple store. Period.

I guess the main reason of the success is, that Apple saw the store concept different than all others before (I think Sony was actually first to do their cool stores). Apple did it like with the computers. Take the dark looking room with some boring background music and one product after the other, and paint it white to get more open space. Throw half of the products out and display only a few, but ensure they work fully. And then replace the boring music with good songs through iTunes. Voila, here is your success.

The Apple employees seem all the ways nice, but returning a product is not as easy as at BestBuy. You have to pay a 10% stocking fee when returning, but mostly they won't replace your broken item, they first try to fix it. If it is not possible, then they replaced it with same model. If you have in times of the iPhone 4 a broken iPhone 3GS and Apple might need to replace, they will do it with a 3GS. This unfortunate but fair.

Apple is changing sometimes something over night in the store. If it is not a new product launch, then for sure they might change the look and feel of the stores.

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Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Everybody talks about Silicon Valley - do you know indeed.com in Stamford, CT?

I am not on job hunt and pretty happy were I am right now. I am now almost three years at my company and not really up to date what are the best websites are to look for a job.
I remember 10 years ago, back in Germany, Monster was the big thing to post your resume and to search for a job.
3 years ago "the ladders" was the right place to go if you want to earn more than $100k a year. I unfortunately have to admit I had no luck with theladders.com. I paid a lot of money for no results and found my job through a headhunter.
If you search in bing for "theladders scam" you get 2.5 million results, this tells a lot.

Last week a friend of mine asked me if I could recommend him a website because he's is on a job hunt. I said linkedin.com. He did not like it, because there were too many IT jobs and too less jobs in Tampa.
Of course under my friends and family I am the designated Internet expert, therefore I made a research and came across of indeed.com.
If the website would not say indeed.com then I would think it is google.

It is amazing how fast the results are coming back, how easy to search, it has even facetted search. Different than all other job searches indeed.com is just like google.com. You only get results and these click away to the company which did post the job. But you can upload your resume and use it through this site.
And because it is only a search engine you can't see for which job you already applied for (I can't be sure because I did not apply for any job).
You can sign into indeed.com using your Facebook account or setting manual a new account up. Under trends you can see where your job is most needed.

I instantly liked indeed.com and was wondering since when they are around and how they are doing. I imagined they should do well because they use same method like Google.com. Companies only pay per click.

I went to Crunchbase.com:

Indeed did get latest funding 6 years ago in 2005 ($5m). On their website they claim:
Indeed is the #1 job site worldwide, with over 50 million unique visitors and 1 billion job searches per month. Indeed is available in more than 50 countries and 26 languages, covering 94% of global GDP.

They have more traffic than monster, simplyhired, theladders or yahoo jobs.

Indeed is a private company and does not disclose their revenue. But it seems to go well, no new funding and no planned IPO yet. And this company is even not based in SV. According to linkedin.com, indeed has at least 234 employees but less than 500.
However the business is growing and they have a lot of open positions.

I think (as well a few others) that indeed.com is one of secret success story. Almost no top management changes since 2004. Founders still on board in active roles. Bigger in traffic than monster and very good revenue model. If it works for google why should it not work for indeed.com.

We should keep an eye on indeed.com and when beginning 2012 the big new hype of Internet IPO starts (or better social IPO), then indeed.com might be one of the companies and if so then they will do very well.

It is fascinating how everybody talks about Facebook, twitter, linkedin, foursquare and many new start ups, but nobody seems to recognize indeed.com which is already 6 years old and eventual makes more money then all of them.

It would be interesting how much revenue per head count they make.

Let us assume indeed.com gets per click in average $4 and every search results in 0.1 click on sponsored links or sponsored jobs. The claim to have 1 billion search results a month.
1billion x 0.1 x $4 x 12 months = $4.8 billion

Almost $5 billion in revenue is surely possible. Keep your eyes and ears open for indeed.com in Stamford.

And my friend is now happy I could help him.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

10 years Apple retail anniversary - what are they up to?

Apple seems to plan something big, at least a big change in their retail stores. Maybe just some confetti and birthday signs, but maybe more.
Supposedly on May 19th something will be revealed. Employees have to work the night before and need to sign NDAs, black curtains will be put on the windows and some secret shipment is coming.

Not sure if there will be a new product launched, because in the last 18 months Apple was not able to launch any product without a leak before or high speculations around it. We did not hear anything about a new product, only the iPhone 5 which might come in September and a redesign of the iPod nano.

Maybe pole is introducing new free mobile.me and Apple iCloud?

Maybe Apple is just redesigning their stores. Let us stay tuned, and for sure this info is important enough, that I will go in the store on the 19th just to see what is different.

I found this interesting article on zdnet.com

In anticipation of Apple’s 10th Retail Anniversary on May 19, retail staffers have been given strict orders to protect mysterious shipments and display units that have been arriving in Apple stores this week, as told to Boy Genius Report by a “solid Apple source.”

Whatever Apple is planning, it’s apparently so important that even the staff working overnight shifts have to sign NDAs with Apple, amongst other stipulations from head office published on BGR:

There’s an overnight shift planned for around 10-15 individuals at each Apple Store to work from late Saturday all the way through mid-Sunday.
During the overnight shift, it’s going to be required that employees lock cell phones in the main office. They will also have to sign an NDA with Apple.
There are a wide variety of roles, we’re told, for the overnight shift. This includes all visuals staff, a manager, a business team member, a few Genius team members, one back-of-house employee, and a few generic Apple specialists.
Apple stores have apparently already received hardware to install, and are expecting more hardware to come on Friday or Saturday. All materials that Apple stores have received have been instructed to be under lock and key until after close on Saturday night.
Apple employees will be putting up black curtains at all stores so that people walking outside cannot see inside.
Employees have had to download gigabytes of data from Apple corporate labeled, “training” in a password-protected zipped folder that won’t accessible to managers or anyone else until Saturday afternoon.
Lastly, all Apple retail stores have mandatory meetings on Sunday, May 22nd. Most meeting are scheduled for the morning, but there are evening meetings as well.
Most speculations on this product launch seem to suggest Apple is updating its point-of-sale system to accept e-wallet payments to coincide with the 10th anniversary of opening its first retail stores in California and Virginia, as suggested by AppleInsider and BGR. According to Nick Bilton’s blog post on New York Times, a future gen iPhone could have a near-field communication chip (NFC), which would enable mobile payments via the user’s iTunes account. Mobile handsets in Asia have already been doubling as e-wallets for years so it is possible for Apple to be bringing the technology to America (well, at least to its brick-and-mortar stores). This possibility certainly fits with the theme of the occasion. But seeing as no current Apple devices are embedded with the NFC chip yet, this rumor seems to be just that — a rumor.

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Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Facebook - the beginning of the end?

Did you read the "Facebook Effect" or watch the movie "Social Network"? Or did you read any stories about the early ages of Facebook?

One interesting part was that E. Saverin as the CFO did want to monetize FB, but Mark Z. Did not like the idea and refused to allow any advertisement.

Now a few years later, Saverin long time gone, FB is full of ads and it gets more and more.

The latest step to a totally monetize website is the ability to tag images for any brand page within FB.

Right now the user has to tag the product, but I am pretty sure brands can (in the future) buy options that FB will tag images automatically. Of course there will be a privacy setting where the FB user can decide if automated brand tagging is allowed. Default setting will allow brand tagging.

The Lady on in the picture from posterous.com might have in the future not only a coca-cola tag, but as well a Crest teeth whitening tag.

All these product tags will link to the corresponding brand page.
Brands will start with contest how many images users are tagging with the brand which has the contest etc.

I think FB did smell the beauty of money through advertisement and learned as well that the investors want to see more and more revenue, but the challenge is to find the fine line to make a lot of money and not to piss your users off.

If it goes too far, then in a short term, the revenue will explode but then the users are going away and the revenue will go down.

I see companies which don't produce anything with value and have no productx which can't be touched with my fingers are following almost same wave behavior like the stock market. I believe such companies will have every seven years a down and some can survive and some can't. When the company down comes in parallel with the market down than there is nothing which can help.

Google once the Internet star is not really straggling but has had not the best year, just 6 years after IPO. The stock went 30% in 6 months in 2010 down.

And look at AOL and Yahoo, once the big Internet companies are now straggling to survive and firing thousands of people. Both make their money withs advertising.

If a business is build solo around ads then you are relying and your users, brands and agencies.

I give FB not more than 24 months if they keep going the direction as they are today. We will find other places where we will have fun if needed.
Especially that there are no costs for the user to switch.

If you have a computer or car and you don't like the type you have, then the switch is not easy and costs money. But switching from google to bing or from FB to another social network does not hurt and costs nothing.
MySpace or friendster could tell stories about this. They started before FB and were many years bigger but lost a lot of their users to FB.

Companies like Google and FB have to invent constantly new revenue streams which cost at the end a lot of money and can be exhausting.

Mark Z. And Facebook did many mistakes with privacy or stupid campaigns against Google. But now everybody sees FB as a grown up and stupid mistakes can't be done anymore, the freebee effect is over. Let us hope FB will stay a platform to socialize and does not move totally in a advertisement platform.

I personally like the idea of product placement tagging and if I drink a coke in a photo why should the brand not have the right to be linked to it, I am just afraid that Facebook will soon go too far.

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Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

One PC for everyone, less than $30

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a UK registered charity is developing a PC for less than $30. The PC has a size half of a package of a cigarette and has a TV output or can be used for low cost touch screens and comes with Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python).


700MHz ARM11
128MB of SDRAM
OpenGL ES 2.0
1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
Composite and HDMI video output
USB 2.0
SD/MMC/SDIO memory card slot
General-purpose I/O
Open software (Ubuntu, Iceweasel, KOffice, Python)

It is notable that the PC is very cheap and a will be available for low income people, schools and children to learn how to develop software.

Another interesting aspect is the size and costs and low power usage. Give the mini PC a box and suddenly there is the opportunity to build robots or other smart electronic devices at home, just stick multiple of these "PC" together. The possibilities are endless.

How would you use an ultra-low-cost computer? Do you have open-source educational software we can use? Contact them at info@raspberrypi.org.

Or respond to my blog and tell me what you would do with a small PC like this.

A social toaster? When ever you make toast it would be posted on Facebook?
A beer coaster which counts how many beers you drink in one hour?
An intelligent light bulb which does dim the light according to the amount of people in a room or how much natural light comes into the room?
A t-shirt with intelligent touchscreen?

The ideas are endless.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Confirmed: iPad 3 comes with Retina Display

Samsung Reveals Prototype HD Display For Tablets and as we know Samsung biggest customer is Apple. Apple is buying all their iPad displays from Samsung.

Yes I know, it is not confirmed that the iPad will have a retina display, but the news below from information week does imply such.

The new display from Samsung is 10.1 inch, slightly bigger than the iPad Display, however the iPad case could easily host a 10.1 inch display without being bigger.

The 300-dpi, high-definition LCD panel uses red, green, blue, and white subpixels and requires 40% less power than traditional RGB displays.

We might get the iPad 3 for Christmas around November or beginning December time frame.

By Chandler Harris InformationWeek
May 17, 2011 12:09 PM

(click image for larger view)
Samsung High-Resolution Tablet Display
The next generation of tablets might have screens that look like high-definition TVs, if Samsung has its way.
Samsung will unveil a prototype 10.1-inch, high-resolution LCD designed for tablets at the SID Display Week 2011 International Symposium this week at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Samsung claims the prototype is the first 300-dpi, high-resolution display in the 10.1-inch tablet format. While it is still a prototype, Samsung expects the screen to be commercially available for tablet applications later this year.

At Cloud Connect 2011 in Silicon Valley, TechWeb's David Berlind gets a demonstration of CA's recently acquired 3Tera AppLogic graphical private cloud deployment tool.
The screen is developed by Samsung subsidiary Nouvoyance and features its PenTile RGBW technology, which uses red, green, blue, and white subpixels to present high-resolution luminance information. The company claims the addition of the white subpixel, combined with increased subpixel width, makes PenTile RGBW panels about twice as "transmissive" as traditional red, green, and blue (RGB) color model LCDs found in most screens.
"When you go to high-definition, you usually pay the penalties of the aperture ratio getting worse and it being a bigger power consumer," said Joel Pollack, executive VP of Nouvoyance, in an interview. "Because we use one-third fewer pixels through increasing the pixel size, [and] achieve better light through our RGBW and our dynamic backlight control, we use less power than legacy RBG panels. That is critical for the tablet market."

Nouvoyance claims the new 10.1-inch tablet panel is capable of 300 cd/m2 of luminance and uses 40% less power than screens that use legacy RGB stripe LCDs in power-saving modes. This is notable since the biggest power drain in tablets comes from the screen. The power savings is helped by the use of the white subpixel, since it replaces the need for combining multiple pixels to produce white light and thus less energy is needed to create white or light colors. Also, Nouvoyance claims the PenTile technology achieves 300-dpi resolution with two-thirds the number of subpixels than other screens.
"Samsung's PenTile display technology is the only display technology that operates at 40% less power yet provides twice that of full HD-viewing performance for consumers compared to legacy RGB stripe LCDs," said Dr. Sungtae Shin, senior VP of Samsung Electronics, in a release. "There is no other commercial display technology on the market today that offers this high of a resolution and pixel density in a 10.1-inch size display."
High-resolution screens have been non-existent in tablet computers, primarily because of cost and power efficiency. The iPad 2 has a pixel count of 1024x768 running at 132 dpi, while the Samsung Galaxy has a resolution of 1280x800 at 160 dpi.

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Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Monday, May 16, 2011

Angry Birds Rio - not about the levels

Angry birds one of the most played smart phones apps. With over 100 million download world wide.
There are now multiple Angry Birds version like Classic, Seasons, Magic and Rio.

I have been never into Angry Birds till Rio came out and the Superball commercial with a hint. I downloaded Rio and mastered all levels for smugglers' dent and Jungle Escape within a weekend.

Rio seems too easy. This week came the third level out ( I had to wait a few months) - Beach Volleyball.

It took me less than 4 hours and without cheating. BTW give as much volleyballs to the dog :)

Many times i read this, but did never take advantage and i guess, because I don't want to pay for.

Sometimes, when you're playing "Angry Birds" you simply have to cheat.
Well, perhaps "cheat" is a strong word here. Let's just say that sometimes you need to bring in a little extra help from above.
Or at least, 40 percent of "Angry Birds" players do. That's how many of the game's players have opted to use the Mighty Eagle.
That is, 40 percent of players have forked over 99 cents for an in-app purchase that allows them to breeze past a level if it becomes too hard. That stat was revealed by Peter Vesterbacka, Mighty Eagle for Rovia (the company that makes "Angry Birds"), during a presentation at the Game Developer's Conference taking place in San Francisco this week.

Even if I mastered all levels it is not over yet. First of all I did not collect all pineapples, bananas and water melons. Plus I am missing 21 out of 270 stars, means I did not master the levels perfect.

And there is the ranking list. Out of 2.2 million players I am only on position 77,728.
This is within the top 4% but not within in the top 50 players. I will never reach Ahmad, but seraphyn is only 2 million points away. I am wondering how Ahmad can have over twice as much points like the other players? Is he cheating? Did he hack into it? Is he one of the game developers? A robot? There are many people asking about Ahmad, just bing for Angry birds Ahmad.

I never thought I would play for hours angry birds. A lot of people are telling me they don't like Rio and prefer the classic game. They say the monkeys are annoying. I can't say, I never played the classic game.

Rio is now as well available for Apple computers like the iMac and for play stations like PSP and Wii, but honestly the real fun on Angry Birds is that it takes advantage of touchscreen. I played it on the iMac with mouse and magic pad, but the fun is only half as much. The only good thing is the 27 inch screen and zooming out to see whole scene makes more fun than on the iPhone. Can't imagine how to use the Wii on 54 inch screen. I feel the Wii control is not good enough. The real kick comes to understand in which way you have to use the catapult how many degrees up or down etc. I usually look first at the scene and then decide how to shoot. The game uses physics of gravity. And if you have a good imagination you can easily find the best targets to get most of the monkeys etc destroyed. It takes sometimes up to 20 seconds till (after one catapult) all blocks and stones stop moving. You need patience before catapulting another bird.

The maker of Angry Birds took a simple idea to another level. The beauty is that you can restart each level any time. I caught myself to retry a level before even a bird hit a target because I saw it does not hit where I want to.

Angry Bird is sure not a game for me to spend days or months on it, but as relaxing for an hour after work is great, especially it is for me not to master a level, this is kind of easy, it is now to master each level as perfect as possible to get more points.

Different than all other games (I played before) is not only that you can play any level as often as you want, it as well keeps always track on your level high-score which adds up to total high-score. This is great, you only need to approve in one level to have a new top score for the whole game. This feature helps to bring people back.

Many other games I played before make me to start from the beginning when I was out I lifes (angry birds has no limit at all). You stop and next day you start the game wherever you want, you only needed to have the previous level finished to start the next level. This is all.

Angry Birds will eventually die in a few months. Pretty sure it is not anymore hot in 12 months, especially that this game has no ability to play against others, but the idea behind the game to have it simple and the ability to play it as often as you want at any level plus be able to get a better high score just by playing one level better than before, will be a milestone for future games.

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Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Microsoft and Skype - Microskype

There was a lot of buzz going on about the latest acquisition from Microsoft.
I predicted in January that Apple will buy Skype after FB deal with Skype went down. It was totally off with the companies but not with the type of the companies. Apple is like Microsoft a software company and FB is like Google trying to get every Internet user to their platform.

So why did Microsoft buy Skype for $8.5 billion and did not develop their own video conferencing software?

Let us first look at Apple. Apple decided to build their own Skype called FaceTime. I still think it was a mistake and Apple should have extended their iChat. However it was pretty easy for Apple to distribute their FaceTime because of the big user base they have on smart phones, music players and tablets. FaceTime is now running on 60 million devices. When Apple introduced FaceTime, instantly 10 million devices could use FaceTime. Of course a big part is missing in FaceTime. We can't make video calls to users which have no Apple device. Therefore I thought it would have been perfect for Apple to buy Skype to get all Androids and Windows users to their video call system.

But why did Microsoft not the same approach? Microsoft has over 80% market share in OS, should this not be enough to get millions of users to their video call software. The answer is no. Sure Microsoft would have a high market share in desktop, but the trend goes to mobile and Microsoft is not yet a mobile player. RIM, Android and IOS is sharing over 90% of the mobile market place for devices which could do video calls.

By buying Skype, Microsoft gets instantly access to 124 million users and to Qik which is an Android based video call software.

Qik is even partly available for Apple devices. There used to be an iPad version but it is not available anymore.

Microsoft strengths is not anymore consumer, they missed the train for mobile and maybe Skype can help them to get a food faster into consumer. And I believe the first step could be the xbox with kinect. Skype fits very well into this for online gaming.

And actually I rather prefer that Microsoft owns Skype than Google. Google is all about ads, and the last thing I want for video calls is ads. Imagine Google would have bought Skype? Before each call is connected you would be required to watch a 20 seconds ad.

$8.5 billion sounds a lot of Monet, however if Skype has 124 million active users than the costs per user is less than $70. This is actually less than Microsoft would need to invest to gain new customers through marketing channels. Usually a new customer costs $90 or more depending on the approach.

After all, even that Microsoft is a software house, it was maybe not a wrong decision. We need to see what MS going to do with Skype. Maybe they are integrating it with office 365 or use it to extend lync. Lync is right now only good for business and Skype could bring Lync to consumers.

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Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Twitter down again

How often is twitter down? Every day? Yes I think so. But not only this now I am not able to post any tweets through 3rd parties like google blogger for over two hours.

I did find nothing on the twitter blog about this issue. And nothing yet on google search, but interesting that I get over 2 billion results when I search for twitter post not working.

He twitter folks. If you want to be a big player, then get your service under control. Get more hardware or better DBs but don't have so much issues. Why should I ever want to buy stocks from you?
Do you know that many news get less readers when twitter is not working. It impacts not just your website.

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Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Zynga and Lady Gaga = GaGaVille

Mashable reported that Zynga and Lady Gaga teamed up:
GagaVille, a uniquely designed neighboring farm to FarmVille, that sports unicorns and crystals, according to Zynga, launches May 17. GagaVille visitors will get a first listen to unreleased songs from Gaga’s album Born This Way, available May 23. The full album also comes bundled as a free download when you buy a $25 Zynga game card at Best Buy.

The deal also includes a “Words With Gaga” contest in Zynga’s mobile Words With Friends game. Playing the designated Gaga word of the day — which will be announced on Gaga’s Facebook Page each day — will give players the chance to win concert tickets and a signed copy of Born This Way. Zynga is also giving players limited edition Lady Gaga virtual items on RewardVille that can be used across Zynga games.

Such a deal had been predicted after Gaga and Zynga collaborated on an earthquake relief effort for Japan in March. Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Zynga and Gaga were in discussions about a tie-in effort.

Zynga is pretty smart. Take the celebrity which has the biggest social fan base, combine it with a simple online game and make consumer to buy your products to get some free songs.
This is perfect. The only downside about Zynga, they have only their ...Ville games and a few others.
The ...ville games are too similar, And the users did recognize it too. Zynga had once all 10 spots in the top 10 apps on Facebook. Now they have just three and they are actually declining.

One reason is that people use more and more Facebook over mobile and therefore the apps don't work, or some people play Farmville outside of Facebook. But another reason is that the games get after a while boring and if all games are the same with even bother to play them.

Zynga Games

Café World
FarmVille (iPod)
Live Poker
Mafia Wars
Mafia Wars (iPod)
Street Racing
Pirates: Rule the Caribbean!
Scramble (browser game)
Scramble (iPod)
Scramble Live
Texas Hold'Em Poker
Treasure Isle
Vampire Wars
Vampires: Bloodlust (iPod)
Word Twist
Yakuza Lords

Games discontinued:

Dope Wars
Dragon Wars
Fashion Wars
Gang Wars
Ghost Racer
Guild of Heroes
Heroes vs. Villains
Music Pets
My Heroes Ability
Ponzi Inc.
Prison Lockdown
Roller Coaster Kingdom
Space Wars
Special Forces
Street Racing[69]
It Girl
Poker Blitz
Similar like angry birds. This is just one game in 10 different versions.
I see Farmville and Rovio soon losing ground and revenue (or at least no growth) if they don't come up with type of games. And not sure how long the relationship with Lady Gaga will help Zynga to grow as fast as they are used to.
At least they seem to understand that they need more different type of games and bought in last year a lot of companies, I think over 20. They bought a lot of companies in other countries to get a foot in the door. Here is a list of some (from Wikipedia).
Locations of Zynga:
Zynga Headquarters (San Francisco, CA)
Zynga India (Bangalore, India)
Zynga Los Angeles - opened February, 2010
Zynga China (formerly XPD Media, based in Beijing) - acquired May, 2010
Zynga Austin (formerly Challenge Games) - acquired June, 2010
Zynga Boston (formerly Conduit Labs) - acquired August, 2010
Zynga Japan (formerly Unoh Games, based in Tokyo) - acquired August, 2010
Zynga Germany (formerly Dextrose AG, based in Frankfurt) - acquired September, 2010
Zynga Dallas (formerly Bonfire Studios) - acquired October, 2010
Zynga New York (formerly Area/Code) - acquired January, 2011
Zynga Seattle - opened October, 2010 [34]
Floodgate Entertainment - acquired March, 2011
Wonderland Software, Britain, April 2011
There is not a month Zynga is not acquiring a company.
Zynga is valued right now around $10billion with almost a billion in revenue, but the danger is that they buy too many companies without releasing new hits.

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Google music beta released, and is it good?

Google released music beta a music cloud system similar to the Amazon music cloud. Only Verizon Xoom users will get an invitation all others can sign up for an invitation under http://music.google.com.
An user can store 20,000 songs for now for free. But the website indicates that the service might cost in the future. 20,000 is a good number. The biggest problem I have with my music collection, is that I can't carry it around with me. I have 24,000 songs which don't fit yet on my iPhone or iPad. A cloud service could help me out if the price is good enough.

The service is pretty comprehensive as the google video shows.
The user can wipe through the songs and build playlists. To be honest it looks pretty similar to iTunes. But not only this, the video shows how to import the songs to the cloud and guess, it has an iTunes import to make it easy to import from iTunes.
The video itself looks almost like an Apple video, one guy talking with white background. And then this dude is wearing a Beatles shirt or at least a shirt which looks like the famous Abbey Road cover. Is this a hint to Apple? It took Apple years till they got Beatles in their iTunes library. Does Google want to say you are able to upload instantly Beatles songs?
Google has not yet major labels signed to their cloud music, therefore you can't share your music or buy music at google through their cloud.

Google music does work with android devices, but not Apple iPhone or iPad.
You can listen to your last played songs, if you don't have an Internet connection. Otherwise all songs are only accessible with Internet connection. You can even decide what playlist should be offline available.

After all it is a nice music service and the UI looks better than from Amazon, but you need an special app to play the songs. Amazon works directly from the website. Even iPad works now with amazon music (with some tricks). Just click on cloud player for web. Click on continue when the alert message comes and then you are able to listen to the music. This does not work with Google music beta.

The last big player we are waiting on to see in the music cloud is Apple. And when they come on the market they might have an advantage of having all big labels signed up with them. We will see.

For now we have Google and Amazon, and Google version seems a clear attack against Apple and not so much against Amazon, at least with all their hidden hints in the video.

I see the biggest problem in cloud music are the costs. To have all my songs in the cloud will certainly cost money, but more important I listen a lot to my music on the road or office (when I need to concentrate on a presentation) where I don't have wifi. I need to stream the music over 3G. If you don't have an unlimited plan, then bad for you. I streamed one week 30 hours of music through pandora.
And I went easily over the the 2GB data plan.
Streaming music is nice when you have Wifi, but most of the time we listen to music when we don't have wifi.
The biggest winner for cloud music will be the telecom companies like ATT and Verizon. I can see how they already count their new income source.

But decide yourself. I let you know more about the music service as soon I have access.

Please let me know which service you think is better.

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Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Monday, May 9, 2011

3D screen for iPad 3?

Betausb.com reported that the next iPad will have a 3D screen.

iPad 3 has 3D screen - report
Just got iPad 2? Good. So it's time for incessant iPad 3 rumours to commence, then. Here's one for you: It'll have a 3D screen, like the 3DS.

That's according to RCR Wireless, who claims 'Hollywood sources' have revealed that 3D for Apple's next tablet "is a dead cert". Why would Hollywood know? Because it's apparently working on 3D content to release alongside the device.

RCR says this info has been further backed up by several other 'close industry sources' who've apparently been told the same by the typically leaky Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn.

It seems a little too early for iPad 3 information to start leaking from a manufacturer, especially considering how early in development the iPad 3 might be in Apple's labs - the iPad 2's barely had time to settle in.

I think the idea is great and for gamers a nice extra. Apple is seeing the iPad as a mobile device for business, home and gamers. A 3D screen would make sense.

But did somebody play the Nintendo 3DS? I tried it on Sunday and it was horrible. I had to switch the 3D off because I got dizzy. The Nintendo 3DS has a slider to go from 2D to 3D very smooth. I tried many positions of the slider and distance to my eyes. I could not find any position or setting to feel comfortable with the 3D settings.
I believe the screen is just too small, it was similar like these flicker cards from the 90es, with a comic figure on it, and depending how you hold the card the figure changes. Do you remember how it sometimes flickered between the images because you are just in the wrong position to the card?

(Pictures from showbizpizaa.com)
Same with Nintendo 3DS. No wonder that Nintendo needed a disclaimer that the 3D screen is not for toddlers. If I have problems and get a headache, then for sure kids will.
3D screens without the need of goggles are new and pretty expensive.

Sharp, who does develop the Nintendo 3DS screen has as well a 10 inch screen.

I am sure I would have less issues on a 10 inch screen. But even if the technology is already in testing since two years (Hitachi started in 2009), the costs are still high. To build the 3D screen for Nintendo costs $26 and is only 3.53 inches (3.02 inches wide, 1.81 inches high) with 800 x 240 pixel resolution. 400 pixels are allocated to each eye to enable 3D viewing.

The iPad screen is 9.7-inch (diagonal) with 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi). This is almost 8 times of the size of the Nintendo screen.
The resolution for 3D must be double in both direction to allow users to turn the iPad. This means the screen would need to have 2048x1536(retina display?).
Not that I don't want to have a 3D display, but we can assume that the production costs will be at least $120 more than the iPad 2.

The iPad 2 production costs are already high with $330 (for the 32GB 3G model):
Display/Touch Screen - $127
Memory 32GB model - $65
Enclosure - $35
Battery - $25
Baseband/RF/PA $18.70 for AT&T model, $16.35 for Verizon
Application Processor (A5) - $14
User Interface - $11.90 (Gyro, Accel, Compass, Ambient light)
Camera - $4.30
These prices do not include any of Apple's overhead (iOS 4.3 support, Apple Store Genius Bar, etc) or margin provided to AT&T or Verizon.
(source tabletdudes.com)

With 3D, the screen would go up to $225, the battery would be a little more expensive to ensure still long battery life and the graphic chip price would go up.

This would lower the margin extremely, if Apple would want to keep same price than existing iPad.

The iPad 2 costs already went up by 10% in comparison to the first model (iSuppli estimated material and production costs for the various iPad models range from $229.35 for the cheapest to $346.15 for the most expensive).

I think a 3D screen might not be included in the next generation of the iPad, If Apple did not do a special deal with Sharp and did not buy the whole 3D market, or if Apple did not invent a 3D screen using the existing screen they already have (just software based). And I think given the 3D technology today, that neither the iPod or iPhone should have a 3D screen. Their screens are just too small.

3D screen on iPad - yes but only if user can decide to have 3D or not, and if the price is right. And Apple needs to find a way that kids eyes are not in danger.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What is the smart phone of the future?

My wife and I went on a longer bike ride through the country. During enjoying the nature my thoughts went everywhere till I came to think about smart phones.
How Apple changed the way how we use smart phones and how Apple defined a new type of mobile device with the iPad.
I was wondering where all this will go. I figured that actually so far not much changed. We still have an electronically device with a screen and we write to input information and to get results.
Of course it changed a lot since we had our first computer. The graphics are more realistic and partly even blended into reality (AR). And instead of of a physical keyboard, we either write directly on the screen or use apps like Dragon Dictation to speak to text.
The need of a mouse is totally gone. Devices like Nintendo 3DS can even generate graphics in 3D without the need of special goggles.

Imagine 20 years from now. Would we still have phones and computers?
Sure somehow, even more than today, but better integrated in our life.
I think a phone does not exist anymore, more likely a watch or ring serves as watch and personal computer. A few years ago and still today, it was and is important that memory gets smaller in physical size but bigger in terms of holding data. This changes with the cloud and the ability to access your data everywhere to anytime in fast speed.
In 20 years, we don't need anymore a device which can hold more than the OS. All data and maybe applications will be in the cloud. Any device can access the Internet (or whatever it will be called in 20 years). Our toaster will have build in Internet connection to get latest firmware for optimized made toast. You want to have on your toast your favorite football team logo? No problem, just download it through your toaster for only 3 credits.
Yes the main currency will be credits not $, of course (depending on the company where we will buy credits) a credit has between $0.50 and $100 value.
But online payment will be only translated into credits. Credits are a good marketing tool. Similar like clothing sizes for women, everybody has different base value for a credit. Or like today calories per serving on packages, the court will rule that there must always an explanation how much credits equals $1 that the consumer is able to compare.
The phone does not exist anymore, if we want to make a call we talk to our watch which will made the connection to the recipient . People don't have anymore a phone number. We call the email address, or whatever the unique address is we use for emails calls etc. And the recipient can take the call if he wants. As soon the connection is established we see a hologram coming out of our watch (if we want to make a video call). We don't need to carry cameras. The watch has a small camera build into it as well almost all electronic devices we have. Refrigerator, TV (if we still have them), toaster, car etc.

When we are in the office, we only use our voice. Typing is only in use when we don't want that others can hear what we have to say, which comes handy in office cubes. But then we basically wave our hands for and back to get certain documents on the projected screen and type in the air into a visual keyboard.

In 20 years we might have a life mixed out of the minority report, Star Wars and Star Trek.
But one is certain, I will still ride my bike, and think how will be the world 20 years later. The difference might be that if I need a special piece for my bike, I don't go anymore to eBay to buy the piece. I will go to eBay to buy and download the CAD file for the item I need and then print it with my 3D printer. Within an hour my bike is fixed again.

- Posted using BlogPress, please follow me on twitter @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States