MonthMarch 2011

How to ‘ditch wireless’ and go ‘completely wired’ in your home

It may seem ironic give the fact that I’ve given seminars on setting up wireless home networks, but I agree with a lot in this Lifehacker post. My desktop machines are all hard-wired, and I have a spare port for plugging in laptops when I need wired speeds. My AppleTV is still wireless, but that’s only because it’s in a location that makes it difficult to run a cable.

Most homes will still need a wireless network for things like laptops, iOS devices and handheld game platforms. The Lifehacker headline is unnecessarily dramatic: nowhere in the article do they actually propose going completely wireless. Still, there’s good information in there, including a look at Powerline adapters, which let you run network connections through your electrical wiring.

For those interested, the slides from my 2008 Macworld session on setting up a WiFi network are still available and mostly still relevant.

AT&T to buy T-Mobile for $39 billion

Good news for customers happy with T-Mobile who want iPhones. Bad news for just about everybody else. Less competition is not what the mobile carrier market needs right now.

I am curious to see if they’ll address this in those T-Mobile/iPhone commercials where they bash AT&T and Verizon. (Maybe the anthropomorphized carrier and phone finally get together.) (via New York Times)

The ‘Every Other Year iPad Club’

Almost two years ago, I wrote a piece for the Mac Observer entitled “The Every Other Year iPhone Club.” In it, I explained not only why I was upgrading my original iPhone to the then-new 3GS, but why I hadn’t upgraded to the 3G a year before.

This year, I find myself in a similar situation: I love my iPad, and though I’d love it even more if it were faster and had two cameras, those new features are not enough to warrant buying a whole new device. Projecting a while further into the future, I’d be surprised if the iPad 3 had enough new bells and whistles to make me move from an iPad 2. But going from an iPad 1 to an iPad 3? I suspect that’s going to be a no-brainer.

And it seems like I’m not alone. Early reports say that up to 70% of iPad 2 purchasers were first-time buyers. That’s also great news for Apple, because it means they’re expanding their installed base — making it even harder for competitors to catch up, if and when they start actually shipping.

The phrase “evolutionary not revolutionary” has become cliche in describing the iPad 2, but it’s accurate. It’s also a smart strategy. By focusing on moderate but incremental improvements, Apple will continue to grow its customer base, while minimizing the backlash from its installed base (“Whaddaya mean I can have all these great new features — I just bought this thing?!”)

Apple’s resurgence and continued success has been built on the idea of introducing a revolutionary concept (iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad — even the MacBook Air) in a basic — almost vanilla configuration — and then gradually to add significant features to it.

That steady, sustainable growth strategy is a concept that seems so simple and so obvious, yet it’s one that amazingly few others in the tech world seem to grasp.

Now: back to saving up for that iPad 3.

‘Video of cracks opening and closing in the earth. This is terrifying.’

Agreed. It’s also surreal.

American Geophysical Association Blogosphere (via @Digeratii)

Get GPS on Wi-Fi-Only iPads Through iPhone Tethering

I didn’t know this:

If you’ve got a Wi-Fi-only iPad or iPad 2, you’re generally unable to use GPS to get more accurate location pin-pointing. Unless you also happen to own an iPhone and use its Personal Hotspot feature to tether—which, it turns out, passes along GPS data.

(via LifeHacker)

New York Times introduces tiered subscription plan

From Macworld.com:

Each month, users will freely be able to read up to 20 articles at the newspaper’s Website, though links from Facebook and Twitter will not count against this quota. If you want to read more than the allotted number, you’ll need to sign up for the NYTimes.com Plus Smartphone App plan at $15 per month. As the verbose name suggests, that plan will get you unlimited browser access to the Times’s site via all the devices you own, as well as unlimited access via the company’s official smartphone apps for iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android.

If you want to read via The New York Times’s iPad app, which gained access to most of the pubilcation’s content last October, you’ll need the NYTimes.com Plus Tablet App plan, which runs $20 per month. This plan also offers unlimited browser access to the Times’s site on all your devices. But while it enables you to read the publication via its iPad app, the Times Reader 2.0 app for traditional computers, and the NYTimes Web app for Google’s Chrome browser, it does not include access via the smartphone apps.

If you want ubiquitous Web and app access to The New York Times, you’ll need the All Digital Access plan for $35 per month, which includes all aforementioned apps across all supported platforms.

If it takes 217 words to describe what you’re selling, something’s seriously wrong.

Update on how to help Japan: no room for more funding.

From the GiveWell.org Blog: (via Paul Kent)

On Friday, we recommended that donors wait to see how the situation unfolds before giving. At this point we are ready to make a recommendation, though of course this is subject to change as the situation changes.

Makes a lot of sense.

Chris Breen gives GarageBand for iPad 5 stars

Speaking of superb reviews, Macworld’s Christopher Breen pens the definitive look at Apple’s GarageBand for iOS as only he — accomplished writer and musician — can.

GarageBand for iOS is what I’d always hoped it would be on the Mac. We’re no longer limited to just stringing loops together; now it’s possible to compose actual songs, with chord changes, without real instruments. The new version truly makes it possible for anyone to create real songs. I can’t say enough about it and it looks like Breen agrees with me — I don’t remember the last time I saw a full five-mouse review in Macworld.

Macworld reviews iMovie 1.2 for iOS

Superb review of the new iMovie for iOS by my friend Jeff Carlson at Macworld. He mentions that the new version doesn’t run on the original iPad. True enough, but there are several workarounds that will let you get around that limitation, including at least one that does not require a jailbreak. (via Your Mac Life)

Use iPhone tethering to allow 3G iPad to do FaceTime?

Jordan Yee ponders: “I’m just putting two and two together here, so hear me out: if an iPhone 4 can only make FaceTime calls over WIFI like the iPad 2, could an iPad 2 make a FaceTime call over 3G by connecting to an iPhone 4’s Personal Hotspot feature which is WIFI?” Absolutely. This already works on Jailbroken iPhones with MyWi installed. Um, that is, so I’ve heard. (via Daring Fireball)

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