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Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

Will We Use Voice Control on the iPhone 5?

September 27th, 2011 No comments

It looks like the new iPhone 5 will be announced on October 4th. One of the stronger rumors point to ‘deep’ voice command integration with the new iPhone. Accurate voice command of our devices has always been a goal of tech visionaries, so it’s only a matter of time before we get there.

But will we actually want to control our iPhones with our voice?

Voice control exists for simple commands on the current generation iPhone, but how often have you used it? I haven’t hardly at all. Is it that I don’t think the phone can understand my commands accurately? Or is it because I don’t want to talk to my phone?

I think about where I use my phone and if I’d feel comfortable blurting out commands. Standing in line at the DMV do I really want to say, “Open Safari – go to” Or at work, do I need to let the office know that I’d like to, “Text Mom – I’ll call you later when I’m not busy.”

Maybe these are extreme examples, but one of the best things about using a smartphone is their silent nature. Being able to discreetly communicate, play games and browse online without anyone knowing what you’re doing.

Don’t get me wrong, better voice control definitely has benefits. Further enabling visually impaired users and hands free car control just to name a couple. But how often will we use it for everyday applications? If it works as good as I know Apple wants it to, we’ll find out soon enough.

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iCloud – Twenty Years in the Making

June 3rd, 2011 2 comments

Until the keynote at this year’s WWDC, the particulars of iCloud are uncertain.  What is clear is that we will be moving one step closer to a vision that Steve Jobs first publicly articulated in 1997.

On the last morning of the that year’s WWDC, several months before re-taking the reigns as interim CEO of Apple, Jobs was invited to host a “fireside chat” – a free flowing Q&A session with developers.

In a telling segment, Jobs describes his personal computing environment at the time:

“I have computers at Apple, at NeXT, at Pixar and at home. I walk up to any of them and log in as myself, it goes over the network and finds my home directory on the server and… I’ve got my stuff wherever I am…”

“…we were able to take all of our personal data, our home directories we call them, off of our local machines and put them on a server, and the software made that completely transparent…”

“…so in the last seven years, do you know how many times I have lost any personal data? Zero. Do you know how many times I have backed up my computer? Zero.”

Watching the video, it is interesting to note how many of the philosophies and ideas are still part of his message today.

Relevant bit starts at about the 13 minute mark.


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The Plasticine iPad

March 30th, 2011 No comments

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Mixxx – Free DJ Software That’s Actually Good

March 3rd, 2011 No comments

If you’ve ever wanted to play at a being a DJ without the commitment of buying equipment or expensive apps, this app is worth checking out.

Mixxx is a free app from the Mac App Store that makes mixing your music fun and intuitive. It includes auto BPM matching, looping, hot cues and an easy to use mixer with the basic effects.

The interface is easy enough to use for first timers and those with any prior DJ experience will find themselves instantly at home.

While there are tons of DJ apps out there, for the price, this one can’t be beat.

[ Mixxx ]

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Apple Store’s New Consultant Referral Policy

February 22nd, 2011 No comments

The Apple Stores have changed the way they refer consultants.

Before, the Apple Store would direct customers to members of the Apple Consultants Network (ACN) and they would pick the consultant of their choice. Now, the Apple Store is solely working with a third-party company called OnForce to provide consulting services.

How does it work?

When a customer wants to get in-home service or other consultant help, Apple directs them to OnForce. OnForce then sends out a request to consultants in their network to bid on the job.

So why did Apple make the change?

Apple wanted more oversight over pricing, quality and service. By using a single third party company they can have more accountability and metrics on the services that were performed.

Why is this good?

Apple is trying to drive down the cost of in-home consulting and deliver a more unified experience to their customers.

Why is this bad?

In the consulting space, you get what you pay for. Driving down the price by having consultants compete with each other through a single company may lead to lower quality consultants under-cutting each other on price.

The experience may be more unified but that doesn’t make it necessarily better, just look at Geek Squad.

ACN members who do work with OnForce can’t represent themselves in any way with the customer. They can’t leave behind any info on their business or even show up wearing their own branded polo.

If ACN members don’t sign up with OnForce, they can’t be referred by the Apple Store.

Any member of OnForce can respond to the call meaning even those with no Apple certifications could be sent to do the work.

So why do we care?

In our early years, MyService was very active in the consulting space. We were ACN Members that worked with our local Apple Store in Palo Alto to help build our customer base. We survived our first two years in business by doing house calls and setting up Airport Base Stations, very glamourous stuff:) By providing great service to the individuals and businesses that were referred to us we were able to survive and grow.

While ACN members that don’t signup with OnForce can still independently market themselves outside of the Apple Store, the reality is most of these are individuals that are going to have a hard time surviving outside of the Apple Store ecosystem.

Apple’s head is in the right place by trying to deliver their customers more accountable service, but they might not be able to retain the quality and personalized service that a good Apple Certified Consultant can deliver.

As for MyService, we’ll continue to refer our customers to members of the Apple Consultants Network when they need consulting and training for their Macs.

[ Via AppleInsider ] [ ACN ]

Donated MyService MacBook Pro in Cambodia

February 11th, 2011 No comments

Our friends at Groundwork Opportunities sent us this article from the Sao Sary Foundation that shows one of our donated MacBook Pros in use at a project in Cambodia. Awesome!

You can check out the article here.

The Sao Sary Foundation teaches children new skills.

[ Groundwork Opportunities ]

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A Future for MacWorld Expo?

February 1st, 2011 No comments

Another MacWorld Expo is in the books and as expected, the show did not resemble those of the past. Accurate attendance figures are always hard to come by, but the compact booths and overall scaled down exhibit floor made for a crowded, if not energized, event.

Macintosh products were a bit scarce, and it was hard not to notice the lack of representation from big, mainstream companies. There was plenty of gear aimed at iOS users and depending on one’s interests, there were a few gems to be found. There were grumbles about the lack of swag (top finds seemed to be pens and cleaning cloths) and no big news-making hits, but most attendees appeared to be enjoying themselves. Overall, there was a nice entrepreneurial flavor to the show.

The future of MacWorld Expo really depends on the manufacturers and publishers exhibiting. Will they see MacWorld as an effective way to reach customers and generate interest in their products? Are conference programs and workshops sustainable? Will the next show draw enough people?

It is possible that a trip across the country to visit MacWorld may no longer be justified, even for those looking to escape winter snows for a visit to San Francisco. However, with the large installed base of Apple users and fans in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and surrounding areas, and enough companies that don’t scoff at getting in front of fifteen or twenty thousand people, it’s quite possible that MacWorld can continue to operate, even if it becomes a more “regional” show.

With MacWorld 2012 already scheduled for January 26-28 of next year, I guess we’ll find out.

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Philanthroper – Donate $1 To Charity

January 24th, 2011 No comments

Philanthroper is a website that makes giving back cheap and easy. It’s kind of like a Woot! for charity.

Here’s how it works. Every day Philanthroper chooses a new non-profit to highlight. Through the website you can donate $1, and only $1, to the cause. 99 cents of the donation goes directly to the cause (the other penny goes to the transfer parter for fees.) None of the money goes to Philanthroper.

The website keeps track of your donations displaying graphs that show what type of charities you’ve given to over time.

Today’s charity helps get old computers into the hands of those that could really use them, something that we do as well.

[ Philanthoper ] [ Gizmodo ]

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What Steve Jobs’ Medical Leave Means for Apple Users

January 18th, 2011 No comments

Steve Jobs is taking another medical leave from Apple. While he will remain CEO and be involved in strategic decisions, Tim Cook will be once again taking over the daily reins at Apple.

Love him or loathe him, few deny that Steve’s vision has been responsible for changing the way we use technology for the better. While we hope this break will lead to a more robust recovery, we’re left with the thought of Apple without Steve.

So what does Steve Jobs’ medical leave mean for us?

In the short term (next couple of years) Steve’s departure won’t impact much. Most of Apple’s new products and updates are already in the pipeline. With Steve still being involved in the big decisions, Apple should continue to deliver the kind of products and services we’ve grown to expect from Apple. A strong management team, including equally obsessive and already proven Tim Cook, should keep things moving in the right direction.

The long term impact of Apple without Steve is harder to predict. With the explosive success of Apple in the last ten years, anyone following Steve will be hard pressed to top his performance. Will employee devotion, media attention, and partner relations be as strong without Steve? Probably not.

In technology, you can’t just protect your lead (look at Microsoft,) you need to constantly be at the forefront. Apple has a strong, well defined vision of producing products that work, feel and look great. A lot of the credit for these products is given to Steve, but Ive and others are well versed in this deign philosophy as well.

If Apple stays true to their heritage, as they most likely will, then they should continue to produce the kind of products that we Apple users love. Will there be another Steve Jobs at Apple? Probably not and there really doesn’t need to be. Sometimes the philosophy of one person (trying to avoid religious comparisons here:) is enough to carry forward and grow the vision.

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What’s Your Top Mac Disaster of 2010?

December 31st, 2010 1 comment

Coffee spill? Tripped holding your laptop? Bad hard drive crash? Animal attack?

While often painful, frustrating and at times embarrassing, your Mac disaster story is one we want to hear. As an added plus, they often get funnier with time.

Help us ring in the new year by sharing your top Mac disaster story of 2010.