Apple Not Killing Spotify Softly?

Have we seen this before over the ‘arrangements’ Apple made with e-book publishers in the recent years?

Apple, the company name that originally agreed to not operate in the same business as the Beatles, sic. music, will be launching its own music service in June 2015. Obviously the biggest competitor in this field is Spotify, those dastardly people who have actually been giving stuff away for free since 2008. Having recently splurged $3 billion on Beats Music, Apple’s fruits will have to find a way to repay their poor shareholders of course, so remember them for a moment. Continue reading “Apple Not Killing Spotify Softly?”

Ending the iPod Classic .. the reason behind: obsolete parts

Ending the iPod Classic

During the event, Cook was also asked why Apple recently stopped selling its iPod Classic device, which although overtaken by newer products like the iPod touch and iPhone, remained a symbol of Apple’s comeback as a consumer electronics company.

We couldn’t get the parts any more. They don’t make them any more,” said Cook, according to Engadget. “We would have to make a whole new product… the engineering work to do that would be massive… The number of people who wanted it is very small.”

Doesn’t bode well for repairs then, does it?

original article on the Guardian

Original iPhone was? retired in June

just before its sixth birthday, meaning owners won’t be able to have it repaired or serviced at Apple’s store. However, US owners who still need their original iPhone repaired can still do so if insured at any other authorised service outlet that isn’t Apple.

Libre Office your complete Microsoft Office suite replacement is completely #free

Recently received a query about having to pay for a Libre Office update!it is of course totally FREE, as in speech, beer and lunch ..
In this article I am actually focusing on a version known as Libre Office Portable, not the full hard disk install. This product is currently a minor step behind the mainstream version, 4.03 as opposed to 4.04.

This is how mine looks if I try to run the updater – NOTE: it is NOT possible to update the portable version using the automatic update tool

For more information about Libre Office loveliness, see for more about prices, features, background, etc.

You can of course make a contribution to support them,

From their website:

  • It’s free – no worry about license costs or annual fees.
  • No language barriers – it’s available in a large number of languages, with more being added continually.
  • LGPL public license – you can use it, customize it, hack it and copy it with free user support and developer support from our active worldwide community and our large and experienced developer team.
  • LibreOffice is a free software community-driven project: development is open to new talent and new ideas, and our software is tested and used daily by a large and devoted user community; you, too, can get involved and influence its future development.

LibreOffice gives you high quality:

  • The roots of LibreOffice go back 20 years. This long history means it’s a stable and functional product.
  • Thousands of users worldwide regularly take part in beta testing of new LibreOffice versions.
  • Because the development process is completely open, LibreOffice has been extensively tested by security experts, giving you security and peace of mind.

LibreOffice is user-friendly:

  • You get a simple-to-use yet powerful interface that is easy to personalize – Microsoft Office users will find the switch easy and painless, with a familiar look and feel.
  • Compatible with all major competitors’ file formats. You can easily import files from Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint and many other formats, and can easily save to Microsoft Office and other formats when needed.
  • LibreOffice is supported by a big worldwide community: volunteers help newcomers, and advanced users and developers can collaborate with you to find solutions to complex issues.

It is incidentally available for Windows, Apple Mac: Intel or PowerPC, Linux

#Apple rejecting #opensource coded apps from #appstore without reason #ulteo

Here is the edited extract from an email received today. It certainly looks like they aren’t interested in the factual situation, but will heavy-handedly take a swipe at anything that could be perceived as a risk.

But I guess this is a symptom of any large company, once it has out-grown its ability to see the person, instead seeing just the customer.

For some reason Android/ Google Play hasn’t been affected.

Early 2012, we published our first Ulteo OVD Active
Client for the Apple iPad, quickly gaining a significant
following of Ulteo mobile users

For the early development of the iPad client we chose to
use FreeRDP libs (v. 0.9) from the popular FreeRDP
project. Subsequently, a software company raised a GPL
violation issue relating to the use of these (now
superceded) libraries and requested that Apple remove
the Ulteo OVD client for iOS from AppStore which, they
claimed, included traces of their registered but now,
out-dated code.

Earlier, the FreeRDP project addressed the copyright
issue by removing the few identified copyrighted lines of
source code and had since released a complete, stable
version of its libs, published under an Apple App Store
compatible license.

Following requests from Apple, Ulteo engineers
immediately migrated the client source to the latest
stable FreeRDP code-base and after testing, released a
compliant, high-quality, stable iPad active client.
This was published on the App Store on April 28th, 2013.

Unfortunately, Apple decided to unilaterally remove our
application from the Apple App Store
, disregarding the
withdrawal of the copyright action.

We are very disappointed by Apple’s decision and are
actively exploring all legal and technical options to
resolve this matter and we hope it will be back soon.

Be sure to check out our great HTML5 OVD (zero-install!)
client and our OVD active client for Android
(available on Google Play) – enabling platforms around
the world!

Tech news & thoughts this week #restart #opendata #windows8 #4g #restart

EE 4G fieldtest results: Is it really as fast as the network claims?
Unsurprisingly, we found that the more congested the location, the slower the download speeds as more people are using their devices.
With 24-month consumer contracts starting at £36 per month and including a monthly allowance of just 500MB, 4G is expensive considering the speed on offer. If you commute into one of the major cities with 4G from surrounding towns, you’ll drop down to HSPA+ connectivity.

Microsoft Windows Phone 8 review: First look

Drawing lessons from Sandy’s wrath
The greater New York area is one of the world’s most important concentration points for internet traffic. This nexus of networks and data centres supports businesses far beyond the US East Coast, with data centres, “carrier hotels” and internet exchanges both in New York and New Jersey; the area is home to 150 data centres, according to Datacentermap. A number of large companies, especially in financial services, have their backup and disaster recovery facilities in the New Jersey area.

EU data proposals
These plans would give EU citizens new data protection rights as set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the Lisbon Treaty. .. Sir Alan Beith, MP and chairman of the Justice committee said that the current data protection laws for general and commercial purposes need to be updated as they do not account for the digital world. .. It will be 2014 before any changes are made to the law in the UK. Final regulation will take effect two years after being adopted.

Government bodies must comply with open standards
The UK government has moved to make all governmental bodies comply with open standards to avoid vendor lock-in and promote government IT .. £409 million has been saved on IT services in the first six months of this year

TV-on demand being problematic
Virgin Media getting it in the neck over ‘peering issues’ that mean download speeds drop like a rock at peak evening times then magically restore after about 11pm.
However, we are also hearing reports iPlayer, etc. are almost unusable for ADSL (T) customers too: when they complete the BBC’s own speedtest, they pass with flying colours. Could some of the problems actually stem from the broadcasting sites themselves?
Test it yourself and left us know.

PC sellers struggling to shift new machines – we just dont need ’em any more
IHS iSuppli, a market watcher, this week said it had found that only six per cent of the desktop PCs that have been and are yet to be sold this year are what techies might call a “performance” machine – a computer based on the latest processor, graphics and storage technologies. For notebooks, the figure is slightly higher: 9.2 per cent.
Instead, punters are focusing their interest on what iSuppli calls the “value” and “mainstream” segments – defined, respectively, as machines cost $500 (£314) or less, and those in the $500-1000 (£314-629) band – of the desktop and laptop markets. Each accounts for more than 45 per cent of the whole.

People really are finding their 2-5 year old computer can do everything they need, so why spend hard earned cash when money is on such short supply?
Sure computers slow down and performance worsens with time, but simple, regular and appropriate maintenance fixes that. How many times have our clients been amazed at their old machine when the OS has been re-installed and returned to factory-new condition? No hardware changes!

Modern software however can be an issue (especially on certain Macs where OS upgrades are demanded by the fruity maker). Here perhaps the finger can be pointed at sloppy programming – dont get me started on today’s webpages needing to 100-200kb in size … what about people on dial-up? Dont laugh, the gods will make your broadband go pair-shaped.

It is one of the greatest advantages a desktop machine has over a laptop, the ability to easily swap out older hardware and upgrade the individual components. ‘Franken-machines’ as some call them, like my old Grandad’s hammer, only had 4 new handles and 2 heads, best hammer I ever owned.

We regularly run courses on computer maintenance around N. London, and work with to help save servicable machines from landfill. Drop us a line.

Or stick Linux on it .. (whatever ‘Linux’ means) 🙂

Google Android open-love
In addition to flack over paying taxes, along with many other companies at the moment, there’s more and more talk about the alleged true openness of Android: its supposed to be ‘free and open source’ as per Linux. Google’s latest bug-bear has been ‘fragmentation’ of Android, perhaps aimed at Chinese manufacturers producing their own cheapo versions and cutting Google out of the profit line. Many point the finger in fact at Google, for having too quick a release cycle (3 in 2 years) and at phone OEMs who customise ‘user experience’.
It is noted the likelihood of phones going the same way as PC hardware: what differentiates one computer from another? The OS or the hardware (eg. PC/Windows or Apple/Mac/iOS? If the phone hardware field levels out, as is likely in a few years (unless someone massively improves batteries), it will only be features built into software (the OS) that will make punters choose on over the other.

Google worries me much more especially because of the insidious nature of Google’s lock-in tactics, which most consumers (and indeed journalists in the tech media who should know better) will be completely unaware of until they buy a device a few years in the future. Apart from the dubious reputation on privacy and the forced use of Google services for location awareness and backup etc., one aspect that most concerns me is application DRM, meaning that in 5 years time when there is a good fork of Android out there, most user’s paid apps will not be compatible due to being DRM-locked to the Google Play Store which will not be legally permitted on their devices.

oh, and Apple’s been done for trademark infringement
by Swiss Railways, for ripping off their clock design and using it on iPads, to the tune of a $21m fine.

whilst registering the turning of pages as a unique idea
True: the US Patent and Trademark office has granted Apple a new design patent, D670,713, entitled “Display screen or portion thereof with animated graphical user interface”. see here
Or maybe Apple haven’t understood ‘prior-art’ either.
Putting in an Apple flavoured comment always increases visitors too .. can I patent that?

Also in trouble with Applecare
especially in Italy where is has been withdrawn and is now unavailable. W shall see if many other ‘extended warranties’ have similar problems, a clash with the U regulations requiring 2 year warranty in electrical goods. This policy is well established in Italy, and theory at least are enforcing it: previoulsy Apple had only recognised the first year of use as covered should a fault appear (although apparently often extended on a case-by-case basis).
In the UK for example, the Sale of Goods Act provides even greater protection than the European directive so the 2 year clause is redundant.

read more about consumer rights here

and finally, replies have been switched on for bone fide readers, for a trial period ..
PS I think I’ve broken my keyboard

@Metro_Online modern #computer screens causing #depression #health #co2 #Apple

exposure to light at night may cause depression
– commenting on an article from today’s Metro newspaper, page 37.

A new study suggests special cells in the eye respond to bright light, elevating stress hormone levels and affects the brain’s centres for mood, memory and learning.

This is not the first news on this topic, there has been talk for some time as modern LCD screens, and in fact more and more lighting products not computer related, use ultra white (6000K-plus virtually ‘full spectrum’) LEDs as their light source. The older screens used cold cathode tubes, and all? new laptops having a long battery life have LEDs now as they use so much less energy. These screens are also in computer LCDs, televisions, mobile phones, tablets and ereaders. To make it worse, how many of these devices would we routinely reach for if we cant sleep .. doh!

This is great is you suffer from SAD (you dont so much have to buy expensive daylight lamps), but it’s also known that if you cant sleep at night you need to avoid such white lights: I know of people who have to switch their day-lights off by 6pm or they feel wired all evening.

Gone are the days of cosy yellow tungsten lights (hello energy saving LED), but it does raise a worrying question: should we be exposed to this intense white light so much?

Of course, in many devices there is the option to turn down the brightness (or in ereaders to reverse the colours), and this makes a dramatic energy saving too. But many, the young especially, influenced by companies such as Apple (ok, prob not true, but had to mention them somewhere) are used to enjoying the strong vibrant colours of fully bright screens.

I shall be giving my evening activities some thought on this, but hopefully it wont keep me awake at nights. Perhaps start work earlier in the morning and avoid late nighters. Maybe the paper-publishing industry demise is further away than we thought.

#Apple prototypes #iphone #ipad

iPad images

iPhone images

These the design Christopher Stringer presented in the current Apple-Samsung dispute over alleged copying of designs.

Speaking personally, and appreciate this will annoy many, I think think this is going too far. All the concepts in modern phones (any of them) have been around for years, and modern technology makes to possible to build smaller and more ergonomic designs. I wouldn’t be surprised, if you surveyed people who had never used a phone before what shape they would like to hold in their hand, they would come up with something similar .. its only a (slightly wider) flat screen version of the candy-bar. Take modern tech, strip it down to its smallest form-factor and what so you end up with? A square tile-shape would be good (better screen shape) but it wouldn’t fit the pocket!

This dispute is about design not technology: should we then start arguing about the shape of televisions, laptops, books even? Where was Apple when their computers were tower units with square monitors, wired keyboards and mice? None of these Apple invented. Sure, and maybe this is why they went for their iconic white look of the 2000’s, but the kit remained basically the same.

Its not like Apple haven’t been successful ‘enough’ (sure many great products) but isn’t this court case the road to domination? And we have seen examples of this before in IT (not looking at the world’s largest windows based OS too much), and for 15+ years of product hasn’t yet evolved into anything really ground breaking (nor has Mac OS or iOS for that matter). [to be clear, talking about OS/GUI not software in general]

Slightly off-topic, there are serious questions now about Apple’s commitment to making their products easily recyclable and repairable; is this a route to be encouraged? Of course, that’s not to say anyone else is a shining example, but it is important when we are talking about controlling the market.

Surely domination and vendor lock-in only results in reduction of choice and product stagnation? And isn’t this what stimulated the open-source movement that has made great strides in the past 20 years? Products that many are unaware of but that are essential to the workings of today’s world technology.

Ultimately this isn’t even about being the best – Apple have at most a 40% market penetration. This is all about money, and we know where that leads us ..

Apple & EPEAT : really green?

So after just a couple of days, in a rather rare change in direct, the fruity firm Apple, returns to EPEAT ‘eco & green recycling certification’ following a substantial customer backlash. Not that this had anything to do with their change of mind of course
[ for the record, we aren’t against Apple or Microsoft, or anyone else, but do object to hypocrisy or sales gumph ultimately designed to do nothing more for the world than improve their profits ]
It is probably worth considering that it is Apple’s success at producing ‘iconic’ products that puts it in the limelight, and that many other companies probably do similar things ..
Long term, probably Linux and open source is the only way to go .. so many devices become obsolete simply because the software is no longer available that supports them.

Maybe its just that to make things thin, they have to be glued together – is that the secret of modern manufacturing?
Perhaps its time to stop this fixation with all things thin and start worrying about a healthy planet

The Register:
.. pulled all 39 of its products from the EPEAT’s registry of “green gadgets” last week.
Teardown website iFixit speculated that the glued-on battery in the Pro is to blame. The EPEAT standards specify that machines must be easy to disassemble in order for parts to be recycled or upgraded [PDF].
iFixit writers described their experience of taking apart the new MacBook Pro:
That’s why it’s such a problem when manufacturers glue batteries into place with industrial-strength adhesive. When we originally tore down the Retina MacBook Pro, we could not separate the battery from the upper case. The next day, after a lot of elbow grease, we were finally able to get them apart—but in the process punctured the battery, leaking hazardous goo all over.
“We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake,” writes Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior veep of hardware engineering
“Our relationship with EPEAT has become stronger as a result of this experience, and we look forward to working with EPEAT as their rating system and the underlying IEEE 1680.1 standard evolve,” Mansfield writes

– the word ‘evolve’ is worrying

“I am very happy to announce that all of Apple’s previously registered products, and a number of new products, are back on the EPEAT registry,” EPEAT head Robert Frisbee

Mr Mansfield is unlikely to be involved in the effort as he announced last month that he was soon to leave Apple.
“We look forward to Apple’s strong and creative thoughts on ongoing standards development,” said Robert Frisbee.

EPEAT: (for Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display MC975)
– the Macbook got itself ratified within 24 hours of returning to the register
– several of the EPEAT certifications (ending in a GOLD award) are questionable
– several criteria can be obtained by providing extended servicing by ‘the manufacturer’, for 3 years after guarantee, or by 3 ‘approved’ repairers. 4 years lifetime does not seem very eco to us

4.3 Design for end of life
YES Required Easy disassembly of external enclosure
YES Optional Molded/glued in metal eliminated or removable

4.4 Product longevity/life cycle extension
YES Required Upgradeable with common tools
YES Optional Availability of replacement parts
– this could be true though (replaced the fan recently in an older Macbook)

Comments (just some) ..
Over 5 years is “vintage”, Apple has “discontinued hardware service” on them (except in California who apparently told them to go stuff it). Over 7 years is “obsolete” – nothing at all and even service centres can’t get parts.

How is it possible that it has attained this certification when the bloody battery is still glued to the case, has someone tweaked the EPEAT requirements while no one was looking? If the laptop cannot easily be separated into its component parts for recycling whats the point. Looking at the “End of life” requirements on the website, anything glued or requiring manual separation is only an option?
Does that mean they are no longer going to glue the batteries to the laptop casing in a way that makes them completely non-removable and non-replaceable?
Also, does that mean they are going to stop bonding aluminium to glass and plastic in screen assemblies?

That’s the thing with Apple – forced obsolescence. 10.8 is now dropping support for other models so they probably only have a year before they become unsupported. My -2 year old first gen iPad won’t take IOS6