Reign of the iPod Over?

21 06 2008

Is it possible to imagine a world where Apple isn’t dependent or even manufacturing the iPod anymore? This may be approaching a lot sooner than one may think. If you look back at the keynote from Steve Jobs almost two weeks ago, he outlined the three central items that make Apple who they are: Mac, iPhone and “Music”. What’s interesting here is that he did not explicitly mention the iPod during this. Which is surprising, considering for one, that 40 percent of Apple’s profits ($24 billion) were generated through iPod and iTunes sales – the other half being from its iMac, Mac Pro and MacBook series, which have been increasing in sales immensely due to poor acceptance of Windows Vista and the popularity the iPod has created for the company. In 2007, the personal computer division sales rose around 40%. Now, if you contrast this with iPod growth, you see a totally different story. In 2004, the year-over year sales growth topped 500%; in 2005, it was around 207%; 2006 it was 50% and in 2007 it was only around 6% increase. Based on these trends, it is completely feasible that the iPod may reach a 0% increase, and even possibly a decrease in the iPod’s sales y/y.

Apple has obviously realized that the seemingly endless rise of the iPod can’t continue forever, seeing as they excluded even the title “iPod” from the keynote. They have begun to focus on the “new gadget” – one which they will try to repeat the phenomenon displayed by the iPod. The iPhone in essence, is an iPod, but with many more capabilities. It is where the current market is quickly heading – the all-in-one device. As society has progressed, we have seen more and more creations being packed in to smaller and smaller packages. Prime example – the calculator. How many people, unless they’re still in school, still buy a calculator? What’s the need? Most devices carry them in some form or another: computers, cell phones, even the iPod touch has one. Is this the direction the iPod is headed? I believe so.

If you take a look at cell phones nowadays, they already have the built in MP3 capabilities of an iPod plus the functionality of a phone. Why would anyone want an iPod when they can get a similar MP3 player with a phone included. Also, a large amount of people use their cell phones as their lifelines – all the more reasons to have everything in one device. A well designed interface can’t stave off the incoming challengers forever.

Instead of placing all of their eggs in one basket, Apple has done the right thing and hasn’t put itself into a corner where it can’t escape. Instead they’ve branched out into other markets (eg. iPhone) and tested the waters there. So will there be a day when children ask their parents, “What’s an iPod?”. I believe this future is closer than we think.





SketchBox – Sticky Notes on Steroids [Cool Mac App]

16 06 2008

Mac OS X Only: Here’s a neat little app that takes the simple of an idea of a sticky note, digitizes it and adds some really neat features.

SketchBox, by omz:software, allows you to first of all, type generic sticky notes that can be neatly organized in their sleek user interface and sorted into corresponding folders. They’ve also incorporated a drawing mechanism so that you can draw little doodles, take handwritten notes or make wacky shapes because you’re bored. Also included with this feature is tablet pressure sensitivity, line thickness variation and an eraser. If that wasn’t enough, wach sticky note has the ability to take a screenshot, which they implemented quite ingeniously. If you click the camera button in the bottom right of the sticky note, it transforms the entire note into a resizable frame where you can take your photo. Finally, the last feature (that I’m aware of) is a timer that you can set to go to a maximum of 30 days, 23 hours and 60 minutes.

Combine all of these features into one small package and you’ve got yourself one killer app, my friend. Also, as a final note, I programmed Quicksilver to invoke SketchBox when I press alt+cmd+z, that way I can call it up whenever I find anything interesting and take a quick screenshot and type up a few notes. Overall a fantastic tool for any mac user to have in their arsenal of productivity applications.

You can download SketchBox from omz:software here, and if you enjoy it, be sure to leave a donation.





Adding More Entries To Your Opera Speed-Dial

14 06 2008

Most people are content with the given nine speed dial possibilities, but I found an interesting tip that allows you to add more. All you need to do is follow a few basic steps and it’s all done – virtually pain-free.

Step One:
Open Opera and type “about:opera” in the location bar, without the quotations.

Step Two:
Note the Preferences Path and go there in your file browser.

Step Three:
Close Opera (mandatory) and find the file called speeddial.ini. Open this in your favorite text editor.
Insert the following into the code, around the top. (P.S. Columns are vertical and rows are horizontal):
[Size]
Rows=5
Columns=5
Adjust however many rows and columns you want based on your needs. I personally only used a row amount of 3 and a column amount of 5. Also you may need to play around with it to see what works best, formatted on your screen. Finally save the file.

That’s all there is to it. Just fire up Opera once again and you’re ready to start surfin’ the net with a customized web browser.





Why I Chose Opera Over Firefox, Safari

14 06 2008

Ever since I bought my iMac, I’ve debated between what browser was the best. At first I thought the choice was obvious and decided to go with Safari. I soon realized that it was not my favorite though, as the new Firefox 3 rolled into town and I gave that a whirl. I also tried Camino, based on some recommendations from friends, but I wasn’t very happy with it (I didn’t like the bookmarking system). Finally I thought Flock was the answer to my prayers – my favorite Web 2.0 sites built right in, but the interface soon became clunky and over-complicated. Yesterday, I read about the new Opera release, 9.5, and decided to try it out. To my amazement, it was almost perfect. Below are listed some of my favorite things about Opera 9.5 and some reasons why you might want to consider it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Firefox is incredible and I’m not surprised in the least that many people use it as their primary browser. I personally used to think this before I tested out Opera 9.5. The main things I’ve noticed in Opera are the sleek blending into the OS X interface, the minimalist look, and the incredible speed.

Firefox 3 has tried to blend their browser into the OS X and Windows Vista interfaces and have done a fairly good job of that – more specifically with OS X. I personally just feel that Firefox can get a little chunky at the top which may sound surprising, but just wait until you check out Opera’s sleek user interface. This is a similar point to it being very “minimalist”. And when I say minimalist, I mean it. Since there is no Bookmarks Toolbar in Opera, that space is eliminated. Also, the main header, which contains the main controls and address bar is extremely small and can fit two times over inside of Firefox’s. It is pretty much equivalent to Safari’s but once again, has no Bookmarks Toolbar. Now this feature may shock some of you, because I know it shocked me. Instead, Opera has opted to go with a “speed-dial” which basically places your favorite sites in thumbnails that are clickable when a new tab is opened. The initial amount of programmable sites is nine, but is easily modified to larger numbers (I will be covering this in a later article).

Finally, this brings me to my final point, which is speed; one of the most important aspects of a successful browser. Kevin Purdy of Lifehacker did some testing with the leading web browsers and came up with some great results that point to Opera. In every test that he conducted, Opera came in either first or second, which none of the other browsers can tote.

Now on to the favorite features!

As I previously mentioned, the Speed-Dial feature in Opera is really nice, though it does take some getting used to. It also gives each site a keyboard shortcut depending on which spot it is placed in, ranging from Cmd+1 to how ever high you set it to. Another feature which is great is the trash can, located on the right of the tab bar. This allows you to go through and find tabs that you may have closed accidentally and wanted to re-open – very handy. And yes I know Firefox has this capability as well, but its not as neat and welcoming as the Opera version. Finally, built into the browser are things called widgets, which are simply put, almost identical to Dashboard widgets – just from Opera. They are free-floating mini applications that handle everything from the weather to your to-do’s and they sit neatly on your desktop.

After reading this article, I hope you consider giving Opera 9.5 a chance, and it’s definitely far from last place in the browser war. You can check out there web site here and it will run on OS X, Windows and Linux. Happy browsing.





Cool T-Shirts from No Con

4 06 2008

I just wanted to point you guys to a cool site with some funny t-shirts. They’re hosted over at Zazzle, and their name is No-Con. I actually really enjoy all of the one liners (eg. “I’m a PC” or “Oregano – Mistaken for weed since 1962”) and I’m planning on buying a couple in the near future. If pissing off your Mac-fanboy friends with an “I’m a PC” t-shirt makes your day, be sure to check out their site here.





Mac OS X 10.6 to Make Appearance at WWDC 08?

3 06 2008

The people over at TUAW are stating that they have received some ‘insider information’ on the fact that Apple plans on seeding an early development of the new OS to developers during this year’s WWDC, scheduled for June 9 -13.

They claim that it will not be a major overhaul but they will merely focus on “stability and security”. This would also apparently be an important landmark for the company, assuming that this release would be completely PowerPC free, leaving only Intel for the future. TUAW also believes that this is a plan in order to release 10.6 during the Macworld Expo in January ’09, only 15 months after their 10.5 release

Who knows how believable this insider source is, but you never know what Apple might pull out of its magic bag of tricks at WWDC this year.








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