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Apple iWatch Set To Leapfrog Industry With Stunning Flexibility

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Best New Feature of OS X Yosemite

by: Mark Reschke | Aug 25, 2014

Os_x_yosemite_dark_mode

For many in the U.S., the fall is a season highly anticipated. There is the NFL and college football, and for others it represents the fishing season kicking into full swing. Then there is the tech geeks, and those that look forward to what Apple, Inc. will bring to market. Among the new goodies Apple showcased at their World-Wide Developers Conference in June was the newest desktop operating system, OS X Yosemite. This fall OS X Yosemite will launch with my favorite new feature: dark mode.

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Yosemite: SpotlightIn 2011 the world was introduced to Siri — your personal digital assistant. Siri works on iPhone 4s and forward. Siri lets you use voice, instead of touch, to make appointments, call friends, send texts, and much more. It is the “much more” that is particularly interesting, because this is exactly what a search engine does. You type in a particular request and returned to you are several (hopefully) relevant results. Google has been the king of search for nearly 10 years now. No one, not even Microsoft or Yahoo!, has been able to make a dent in Google’s search dominance. But that may soon change.

Siri could do “much more” such as look up a baseball score or let you know about the nearby dry cleaners. In order to do this, Siri uses partners to return outside-the-iPhone type requests. Siri’s original partners included (info provided by wikipedia):

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Apple-tv-channelsRecently, Apple TV has added quite a few high profile channels. Just yesterday NFL Now was introduced. Before that was Fox Now, Watch ESPN, Watch ABC, Watch ABC News, History, A&E, HBO Go, PBS, Lifetime, Smithsonian and much more. Apple TV has become very popular with consumers but also with networks.

However, Apple TV is being positioned as a secondary TV device. Most of these channels offer some free content but in order to watch all the content, an ID from a cable or satellite provider is required. Instead of Apple TV being a device that lets consumers “cut the cord”, Apple TV is enhancing the value (and need) of cable and satellite subscriptions.

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Steve Ballmer's Need To Be Relevant

by: Mark Reschke | Aug 20, 2014

Steve_ballmer_clippersWe just can not get rid of this guy. Like a nagging winter cough, a bad back or rheumatoid arthritis, Steve Ballmer’s need to be relevant seems insatiable. With his recent overpaid L.A. Clippers acquisition, it sadly appears he will be in our consciousness for some time to come. 

Yesterday, at the Clippers Fan Festival, Steve Ballmer brought out his nearly trademark maniac appearance. Going quasi-crazy on the fans, followed up with a 13 minute speech that did not excite anyone, but probably scared many. Some say Ballmer is simply an extremely passionate guy in whatever he gets into. That’s one apologetic opinion. The other is Ballmer simply cannot get over himself, and since his rise and reign at Microsoft is over, he needs the spotlight now more than ever.

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Tim Cook's Time for Making History

by: E. Werner Reschke | Aug 19, 2014

In the mid-90's when Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy, then CEO Gil Amileo, chose Steve Jobs’ NeXT, Inc., and the NeXTSTEP operating system over former Apple fellow Jean-Louis Gassée’s BeOS. Jobs joined Apple’s Board of Directors, and with the NeXTSTEP operating system set as the foundation of what would become OS X he went to work on hardware along with regaining his CEO status. Gil Amileo was sent packing within a month of Jobs return, branding himself as Apple's iCEO, and soon thereafter the introduction of the first iMac.

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Tim Cook, Changing The Culture At Apple

by: Mark Reschke | Aug 18, 2014

Tim Cook: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

In his latest support of all-things-for-the-social-good, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, took the Ice Bucket Challenge at Apple’s fundraising bash to fight ALS during the company’s diversity week. Cook became CEO of Apple in 2011, and over the course of his reign he has had a major impact on the culture of the Cupertino company.

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Iphone-launch-steve-jobsApple is a unique company, and anyone who would deny that just doesn’t understand the company's history. While IBM created the first personal computer, it was Apple that made the PC useable by people who weren’t programmers. Yes Apple leveraged the idea from Xerox (and then Microsoft from Apple), but does anyone think we would have seen mass adoption of PC’s in the 90’s if Xerox were leading the charge with the GUI interface? And it wasn’t just the GUI interface. Apple delivered files, folder and a trash can, in easy-to-understand icon format. Apple then linked the PC with design software and laser printers and an entirely new way to publish documents was born.

Fast forward two decades and Apple launched the iPod. Apple did not create this product category either, but took it to the next level and made it a must-have for an entire generation. Once again the iPod portable music player was not a standalone device. iPod  came with iTunes vertically integrated, quickly followed with the iTunes store, and the music industry was transformed overnight.

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Amazon's Major Miss "fire"

by: Mark Reschke | Aug 14, 2014

Amazon_fire_phoneAmazon CEO confidently strolled onto the stage on June 18, and introduced the world to Amazon’s first-ever smartphone — the fire Phone. The fire Phone shipped with a few novel ideas, such as tangle free earphones (that’s the claim), a 3D display, and an easy way to channel any online purchase right into Amazon.com. Then came the fire Phone reviews — and they were not pretty. Next came the actual product launch, and sales have equaled or fallen even shorter than the poor reviews it had been given. Amazon’s fire Phone is already in massive trouble, which seems more than strange, given it is the latest in a line of never-ending Android smartphone launches. Why would fire Phone fail to do well within the large Android crowd?

Amazon launched fire Phone exclusively with AT&T wireless. Amazon targeted its launch at millions of iPhone owners currently on month-to-month payment plans or iPhone owners whose two-year commitments were and/or are about to expire ahead of iPhone 6’s launch. This would appear to be a perfect time for Amazon to swoop in and steal away iPhone sales, converting a healthy dose of AT&T customers to fire Phone. But either Amazon executives ignored, or did not believe one major piece of data  –  iPhone loyalty figures hover around 90%. The idea that Amazon could somehow deflate that figure by converting iPhone users who are no doubt waiting for iPhone 6/air to launch is a bold miscalculation. AT&T is struggling to sell the fire Phone to anyone, let alone loyal iPhone users who are, in, out, or nearly out of contract.

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Pick New Home Paint Colors

by: Mark Reschke | Aug 13, 2014

BehrPicking new paint colors for your home can be both challenging, fun and yet frustrating, all at the same time! Yet with so many options it is sometimes hard to pick the right one. Keeping all of the different color scheme ideas organized can also be difficult, and with so many color scheme apps in the app store, that often is not a help. For this task, users need a good, easy to use paint app, so here are a few of the best.

Behr is the main brand of paint that is sold at Home Depot (and Home Depot's own brand). They also have their own app for both the iPhone and iOS called Color Smart. With Color Smart, users can explore colors, photo match, preview colors, and select favorite colors and schemes. All these features help users find and organize their color ideas in selecting the best paint color. Behr is not the only one who has a mobile app to help customers. Lowe’s paint brand, Valspar also has their own app. Sherwin-Williams mobile app is called ColorSnap. Color Capture is Benjamin Moore’s mobile app.

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It has been somewhat amusing to watch, but Microsoft’s horrifically managed businesses and Johnny-come-lately practices may actually be coming to an end. That isn’t to say Sayta Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO, won’t make his own set of mistakes, but if his rhetoric matches the actual direction of Microsoft’s overall business, the slow motion train wreck Steve Ballmer was engineering over the past decade may be grinding to a halt.

Steve Ballmer’s idea that Microsoft could truly be all-things to all people in every market was pure folly, mixed with a heavy dash of hubris. His belief that the software giant continued to be the only 800 pound gorilla in the tech world was absolute arrogance and denial, culminating into one undefined direction for the company. So far it appears Nadella has a better grip on reality and a shaper focus for the company moving forward, as he is preparing to axe the irrelevant.

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