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Product Review: Apple's New iPad

Hector Noesi throws to a Colorado Rockies player as seen live in the DirectTV iPad App

I checked out the newest Apple product last night in between shots of Jameson and bottles of Karl Strauss IPA. Note, the product review occurs about 20 hours following my date with Ms. Jameson, allowing for maximum recovery and typing capabilities. When inebriated, I type about 8 words per minute. Often it is unusable garbage.

The first thing I checked out on the new iPad was the camera, which at 5 Mega Pixels leaves a bit to be desired. They could have at least put the same 8MP camera that is in the iPhone 4S. But, no. So, the image is a little grainy and lighting not great at night or indoors. It's cool to take a picture with a huge 9.7 inch screen, and yet feels strange at the same time.

Video on the new iPad is incredible. Crystal clear, clean, bright. Love it. The DirectTV app allows you to control your home television from your iPad. You can also watch shows, movies, games, etc from the DirectTV app on the iPad. 

The paid version of the pinterest application was pretty sick. The images display super colorful and the page allows for multiple images and boards, where the iPhone app is just a single image at a time.

I was seriously impressed with the browsing speed of the internet when using Safari. Also, viewing using the new iPad seriously increases your viewing experience. Everyone needs one and everyone needs to hit up WSC when using it. I promise you'll love it!

That's about all I had a chance to check out. Again, this was between shots, greasy Mexican food, IPAs and good old fashioned socialization, not the kind that takes place on facebook and or twitter. I know, I didn't know that kind of communication still existed. OK, now back to my instant messenger.


Yahoo! Sues Facebook over Patents

Guest Post Written By: Brian Finnegan, Austin, TX

Yahoo Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Facebook that alleges their entire business model infringes upon 10 of Yahoo’s patents. The most widely quoted excerpt from the lawsuit says, “Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo’s patented social networking technology." Yikes! This is sure to cause some massive ripples in the tech world, and comes at a crucial time for Facebook with its looming IPO. I have always found the intersection of tech, law and sometimes politics to be fascinating and I hope this case will not disappoint. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is hoping to raise 10 billion dollars with it’s IPO and that the total worth of the company could be between 75 to 100 billion dollars.  All those zeros equal a big incentive to get this settled fast. The big question in my mind is, “What does Yahoo want out of this?”   

I seriously doubt they are going to try and block Facebook from continuing operations, so they are likely looking for either shares of the stock, or a cash settlement. They most definitely have their proverbial hand out, and would very much like a slice of the pie, please and thank you.

If Yahoo is successful in their lawsuit, how many other companies can they go after?  I’ll bet companies like Google, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. are going to be watching this case very closely.

This case also highlights what's wrong with the patent system with regards to software innovation. It just doesn’t seem like creating user profiles to interact with each other should be patentable because its way too broad. It’s just people connecting with people which seems built into the very fiber of the Internet, dating back to the origination of email and the early AOL days. Longer if you want to get technical, as the Internet was always about connecting people. That sort of connectivity just plain does not belong to Yahoo, it belongs to the world.   

That’s my take anyway, we’ll see what the judges say. 


Lions, iBooks and iPads, Oh my!

I procured my MacBook Pro in the spring of 2010 which makes it almost 2 years old. If it were a Dell, I would have shot it in the desert by now and bought another computer. Alas, it's not. It's an Apple and I love it!

I recently spent the extra $30 to upgrade to the Lion OS X (operating system). It is freaking sweet. The trackpad now acts like your iPhone, with two finger swipe movements, pinching to zoom, etc. My computer is now running faster, despite having more data on it. I recently added a bunch of photos, movies and apps. The newest app I downloaded was iBooks Author. It allows you to design your own e-books and customize them for the iPad.

I'm working on a version 1.1 of WestSide Culture's Unofficial Guide to Spring Training. It will be available soon in the iBooks store. The version will be for the iPad only, but the new features pack quite the punch. If you downloaded the original guide and have an iPad, I encourage you to check out version 1.1 when it's complete. You'll get a lot out of it, and can take your iPad to the games with you.

As a side note, keeping with the Apple theme (and full disclosure), I bought more Apple stock a few weeks ago. $500/share is a mighty tough bullet to bite, but sitting on the sidelines and watching it skyrocket is even worse. Trust me. 

iPad 3 comes out soon with rumors of iPhone 5 and the Mountain Lion OS to follow. Exciting time to be an Apple fan and shareholder. 


Holiday Sweets: Droid RAZR, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Android 4.0

Don't get me wrong. I love my new iPhone. I am a little upset the the iPhone 5 will come out in about 6 months, hence making my phone out of date less than a year after purchasing it. But that's ok. You expect that when buying any new tech gadget. 

What I may end up having the biggest buyer's remorse over is not waiting until the Galaxy Nexus came out. That phone looks sick. (I use the word sick here in a good way). One of the coolest features to me is the facial recognition software which can be used to actually unlock your phone. For many of us, this is the closest we may ever come to a "high-level security clearance" like NASA and other government positions. 

In Q3 52.5% of all smartphones sold was an Android device (LA Times)The Galaxy Nexus uses Android 4.0's Ice Cream Sandwich OS, which allows you to resize widgets, easily multi-task and actually eat the phone. OK, you can't eat the phone. It is pretty sweet though. (Pun intended).

The biggest loser in all of this might be the Droid RAZR as it will be released with an old mobile OS. The RAZR uses the Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread OS featuring none of the afore mentioned 4.0 capabilities. The best part about it is it looks really, really cool. There is stainless steel and Kevlar on it. Umm, bad ass. Did I mention it's incredibly thin? Like 7.7mm thin. 

All in all, I think one would be happy getting any one of these three items (iPhone 4s, Droid RAZR, Galaxy Nexus) for their Holiday present. Personally, I just want a blue ray player. Yes, I'm sans blue ray. Sad I know.


Life just got easier: Apple's Siri and iPhone

So, one of my new favorite things to do just before bed is to rattle off a to-do list of reminders, appointments, emails and calls I need to make the following day. 

Generally it's about 10:30-11pm and my girlfriend and I just finished watching a little hulu (we don't believe in cable). She'll get ready for bed and I quickly run through in my head what I need to accomplish the next day and who I need to follow up with.

I'll pick up my iPhone, hold down the button and say, "Siri?"

She's dependable. I know I can count on her. Sometimes she's busy, but she always comes through. After a moment, she responds, "What can I help you with, Kevin?"

Siri looks remarkably like Rebecca Hazelwood for Outsourced"Remind me to call Stephanie about the Football Brat site."

"Very well, I shall remind you at 9am tomorrow", Siri dutifully replies.

"And cancel my appointment to find an outsourced assistant in Mumbai. You'll do just fine."

"Your appointment has been canceled."

Such is life in our new tech savvy society. I picture Siri to be smart, funny, intelligent and a citizen of India. She has that dry, robotic humor and speaks with a dialect that lets me know English is not her first language. It's okay. I don't care. 

The other night, I was upset and told Siri she was a whore. She paused, calmed herself and said, "I am?"

"Please allow me to find you some escorts in your area, Kevin."

And she came up with two of them for me. I decided I didn't need an escort, but something tells me if I ever do, Siri would be glad to call her up and schedule an appointment for me.