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We love our computers — but love Macs best (I don’t make this stuff up people!)

Apple’s consumer satisfaction rating rose last year, blowing past its rivals with a score of 86, up from 84 in 2009. This year marks the seventh straight year in which Apple led the PC category. Steve Jobs must be doing something right!

“The biggest asset Apple has had for a long time is its commitment to innovation,” said David VanAmburg, managing director of ACSI, an Ann Arbor-based research group. “Others are improving, but the whole world watches Apple when it comes up with its new products each year.”

Amplify’d from money.cnn.com
chart_mac_pc.top.gifBy David Goldman, staff writerFirst Published: September 21, 2010: 3:49 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Americans’ satisfaction with their personal computers has been on the rise for the past decade, but consumers still overwhelmingly prefer Apple’s Macs to Windows PCs.

An American Customer Satisfaction Index report released Tuesday shows all PCs steadily improved in 2010, with consumer satisfaction rising an average of 4% over the past year. Consumers are the happiest that they’ve ever been with their computers, the 16-year old survey found, with PCs scoring a rating of 78 out of 100. That’s up from 75 a year earlier.

Read more at money.cnn.com

Showcasing The Urban Heartbeat Using Geo-Based Tech

For all you who said “I’m not sure I want everyone to know where I am”, but now “check-in” religiously and for those of us on a race to collect badges and titles, SpotRank in Action is doing some interesting things in with geo-location technology that you might want to check out. Yeah, I know, “you’d NEVER want anyone to have THIS much information on you” right. After that wears off… I’ll “see” you online1

Amplify’d from www.npr.org

You are here.

And so are a million other people, except, now, there’s a way to get real-time information about them.

Using anonymous location-based data compiled from tens of millions of devices, companies like SpotRank create data maps, opening an entirely new window into where those humans are.

Marshall Kirkpatrick in his related article on Read, Write, Web sums the service up like this:

Imagine being able to look blocks or miles away from where you are and see how many people are hanging out at an intersection — in real time. Add a layer of precisely located Twitter messages, Foursquare check-ins, Flickr photos and other social data and what have you got?

See more at www.npr.org

Spray-on tech could power consumer devices

Now I’ve heard everything… a spray-on that can be applied to hard glass or flexible plastic to make it vivid with color.  I’m not sure how it works, I’m not even sure if it works but I’m fascinated by the possibilities!

 

 

A new spray-on polymer could lead to the development of e-readers that display not in black and white, but in every color of the rainbow. When combined with solar technology, the new treatment could power portable electronics and even homes and businesses.

Developed by scientists at the University of Florida, the new spray-on polymers can reflect or transmit any color of light. With a simple spray, they can be applied to hard glass or flexible plastic.

“When you look at simple LCD displays or a Kindle with its electrophoretic display, you are looking at something that changes from white and non-colored to black,” said John Reynolds, a scientist at the University of Florida who led a team that developed the clear-to-black polymers.

“That’s what this newest paper is about, but we’ve also developed polymer coatings for all the other colors of the spectrum,” he added.

Most e-readers, like Amazon’s Kindle or the Barnes and Noble Nook, don’t produce their own light. That is why, like a paper book, you can’t read them in the dark. These devices instead reflect light from the sun and other light sources.

These screens have been around for a while now and work well for small, portable devices like e-readers.

For larger areas, like roadside billboards or glass windows, where flexible materials like thin plastic might be used, the existing technology is not practical. What Reynolds and his colleagues, including Andrew Rinzler, also at the University of Florida and the company nRadiance, wanted to develop was a spray-on technique that would allow much larger displays.

The clear-to-black polymer is only the latest in a series of color-changing polymers developed by the Reynolds group.

 

Read the Full Story here:

 

The Heart of Tomorrow’s High-Tech Cars: Smartphones

Last week, even GM’s OnStar decided to take the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach, announcing that it would start running popular smartphone apps such as the social-networking phenomenon Facebook and online music service Pandora on its connected car systems. I’m still not sure WHY?!?

Amplify’d from www.foxnews.com

Jeffrey Sauger/General Motors

Rather than struggle to keep pace with new technology, car manufacturers are increasingly relying on smartphones to provide tech features.

While technology races ahead, gear built into cars is increasingly left in the dust. And that’s about to change: Your car is about to join the app revolution.

For years, car manufacturers have struggled to keep pace with new technology. They add old wireless connections even as faster, newer standards are introduced. They hide hard drives in headrests while larger, cheaper drives keep coming out.

Just look at GPS navigation: A new $170 portable navigation device is more accurate and has more features than the built-in $2,000 option the dealership wants to sell you. That’s because it takes years for a car to make it from the drawing board to the showroom, while new gadgets and apps appear every day.

So automakers like BMW, Ford, and GM are changing their tack. Instead of trying to stuff dashboards with the latest technology, like gigabytes of memory or dedicated computer systems, they’re designing more streamlined systems that simply connect to drivers’ smartphones. 

The idea is to rely on those devices to provide the communications

and computing power to deliver new services and features. After all, what’s more current, your iPhone or your 6-year-old SUV — which was designed before there was such a thing as Facebook, or Twitter?

Read more at www.foxnews.com

Flash Defeats HTML5 in Round One by a Knockout… or so they say…

I get it, Adobe Flash is kicking HTML 5 in the butt. This is not good news for our team, who has to develop products for our clients. It’s great news for our sister company, a design team, because they get to charge double the price for double the work to come up with two versions of the same product. Personally, I long for the day when HTML 5 can raise the bar and set the standard but alas, I don’t think that day is coming… at least not anytime soon. Now, let the Apple haters take center stage… I’m ready for you!

Amplify’d from www.fastcompany.com

Developer Chris Black made this video showing how Adobe Flash and HTML5 perform head-to-head on a simple Web animation (in this case, a bouncing ball). He uses both an iPod Touch and a Google Nexus One–the latter of which is tested both on Flash and HTML5–to test frame rate and smoothness while zooming and panning.

The results are pretty interesting. Many key figures in the tech industry, most notably Steve Jobs, have forsaken Adobe Flash, mostly used for Web video and animations, in favor of the possibility of HTML5 performing those same duties more efficiently, sometime down the road. Google’s Android supports Adobe Flash, though reports on its usefulness have been mixed (most say to only use it when needed for video, otherwise load times will be painfully slow during normal use). But most people haven’t seen HTML5 in action compared head-to-head with Flash.

This video shows Flash absolutely crushing HTML5 in frames per second, as well as in its ability to continue to play the animation while zooming and panning. HTML5 is consistently several times slower in framerate, and often stops completely during a zoom, not to mention requiring far more battery life than Flash.

The caveats, well laid out by Wired, are many: HTML5 is a very early project, and probably wasn’t optimized properly for this test. Black even admits that some things, like “Gradient fonts, drop shadows, basic video and simple transitions are probably better suited for HTML5.” But his conclusion is that HTML5 won’t necessarily destroy Flash and that some applications are better suited for Flash than HTML5 (and vice versa, of course). Maybe that’s why Apple allowed Adobe back into the App Store.

See more at www.fastcompany.com

Making The Web A Better Place: Guidelines For “Green” Web Design

“What needs to be highlighted here is the fact that the richer and more interactive website experiences we are creating are not going unnoticed. The files we create to build websites are stored on servers, viewed by personal computers, and connected via networks”. This all requires energy to then house, cool, power and deliver the data that makes up a website.” So, how we go “green”?

Amplify’d from www.smashingmagazine.com

Dr. Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist and Environmental Fellow, has researched the environmental impact of computing and calculated the CO2 emissions caused by individual use of the internet. His research, published in 2009, indicates that viewing a simple web page generates about 20 milligrams of CO2 per second. This rises to about 300mg of CO2 a second when viewing a website with complex images, animations or videos.

“So, when you are sitting in London viewing a website hosted in California, there are power plants on at least two continents actively pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in order for you to watch that video or read that online newspaper…

Since millions of people are surfing the web every hour of every day, that carbon footprint adds up to an astounding 2% of international emissions each year. In fact, according to the American research firm Gartner, the carbon footprint of information and communications technology exceeded that of the global aviation industry for the first time in 2007.”

Now while scientific measurements of CO2 and kilowatt hours are, to the average person, still a foggy area to get our heads around, what is important to consider is simply that every website we produce has a consequence. According to figures from worldwidewebsize.com, as of the 31st August 2010, there are at least 15.26 billion indexed pages. A very simplistic analysis here would be that, contrary how fast my broadband service is, because we make our graphic files larger together with the fact that we are producing more web pages, any new efficiency is counteracted. As noted, this would be a very generalized conclusion to draw.

One measuring tool

Dr. Wissner-Gross has co-founded CO2Stats, an online “environmental trustmark” calculator, designed to allow web designers and bloggers make their sites greener in an accountable way. CO2Stats says that it automatically monitors and neutralizes the end-to-end carbon footprint of websites — “not just the servers, but the visitors’ computers (while they are on your site) and the networks that connect them”.

Green-Certified-Site-by-CO2Stats 12822368450051 in Making The Web A Better Place: Guidelines For Green Web Design

CO2Stats allows web designers and bloggers to analyze their websites and put in place greener measures. It monitors and neutralizes the end-to-end carbon footprint of websites.

The changing face of an average web page

Results of various web optimization studies published at websiteoptimization.com in July 2010 state that:

“In 1997, 90% of videos were under 45 seconds in length (Acharya & Smith 1998). In 2005, the median video was about 120 seconds long (Li et al. 2005). By 2007, the median video was 192.6 seconds in duration (Gill et al. 2007). The median bit rate of web videos grew from 200Kbps in 2005 to 328Kbps on YouTube in 2007. So by late 2007, the median video weighed in at over 63MB in file size. On YouTube, the average video size is 10MB, with over 65,000 new videos added every day”.

The conclusion of the report is:

“Within the last five years, the size of the average web page has more than tripled, and the number of external objects (EO) has nearly doubled. While broadband users have experienced faster load times, narrowband users have been left behind. With the average web page sporting more than 50 external objects, object overhead now dominates most web page delays. Minimizing HTTP requests by using CSS sprites, combining JavaScript or CSS files, reducing the number of EOs, and converting graphic effects to CSS while still retaining attractiveness, has become the most important skill set for web performance optimizers”.

Read more at www.smashingmagazine.com

Weekly Whitepaper: How to Build the Business Case for Virtualization

This from the ReadWriteCloud channel, which is dedicated to covering virtualization and cloud computing, and

Amplify’d from www.readwriteweb.com

vmwareintel.whitepaper.jpgWhat do you need to do to build a case for virtualization? It can be a cultural shift for a company to adopt virtualization. It requires different skill sets and an approach that turns a data center into a network that optimizes an infrastructure according to the principles of a shared infrastructure.

But there are steps you can take that provide executives with a clear path to return on investment.

It starts with telling a compelling story.

Read more at www.readwriteweb.com

Google Docs Coming to iPad in “the Next Few Weeks” to Slap iWork Around

It’s time for a new laptop. My current Mac Book Pro is four years old, it is on borrowed time and it will only run for about seven hours before it starts to make the most awful sound that you do NOT want to hear coming from a computer. With that in mind, I’ve been struggling with the idea of just getting an iPad as a replacement for my MacBook. Can I get away with not having a full blown laptop? Now with Google Apps coming on board and playing nice with the iPad I’m leaning more and more towards the iPad and less and less towards a new MacBook. Thoughts?

Amplify’d from www.fastcompany.com

iPad Google DocsThe iPad is slowly moving toward full laptop capabilities. With the release of the newest firmware update, the iPad can now both print and run multiple apps at a time, two of the shortcomings most frequently cited by those wanting to use the iPad as a full laptop or netbook replacement.

Though the iPad may never be quite as able a workhorse as a laptop, Apple has done its best to bring productivity tasks to the platform with iWork. iWork is a suite of three apps, including Pages (word processing), Numbers (spreadsheets), and Keynote (presentations), sold separately at $10 per app. The three iWork apps are consistently near the top of the iPad App Store charts and are very well regarded, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement–or competition.

Google‘s Docs web apps are widely used, from consumers to business to government, and praised for their low (or free) price, cloud-based benefits like simultaneous editing, and flexibility. Up until now, Google Docs has had a very limited presence on the iPad, allowing documents to be viewed but not edited. Today, however, Google very casually (as in, mentioned among small updates in a blog post about a European cloud-computing convention) announced that Google Docs will be coming to the iPad as well as Google’s own Android.

Read more at www.fastcompany.com

Bing Overtook Yahoo in Search Share but Google is still KING

Did Microsoft’s Bing just overtake Yahoo as the second-largest search engine? And after the two are integrated this fall, does that really matter?

Amplify’d from adage.com
On the heels of a $100 million branding campaign, Bing actually overtook Yahoo in August with a 13.9% share in the U.S. search market, compared to Yahoo’s 13.1%, according to data released today by Nielsen Co. Bing gained 2% from July to August, while Yahoo lost 8%. Google gained a percentage point and rose to a 65.1% share.Read more at adage.com

YouTube Launches Live Stream

How will the launch of YouTube’s live streaming impact Ustream? Will the Flash/HTML5 battle keep me from uploading a YouTube live stream to my iPhone? These and other burning questions “As The World Turns”.

Amplify’d from www.mediaweek.com

YouTube’s tagline has always been “broadcast yourself.” Now  video site is taking that concept to another  the launch of YouTube live streaming as it looks to  upstarts like Ustream.

On Sunday (Sept. 12) YouTube kicked off a test of the new  with four partners: Howcast, Next New Networks,  Young Hollywood.

Through the end of day Monday, each will stream several live programming blocks. For example, at 10:30 PST on Monday,  will broadcast an interview with skateboarding legend Tony Hawk live from the company’s studio. Besides live video, the new streaming platform allows users to post comments in realtime.

While starting with professionally produced content, YouTube is billing its streaming platform as a way for anybody with a Webcam to become a broadcaster. It’s that open access that has driven the success of Ustream, Justin.tv and live-streaming outlets.

YouTube officials said that it will review the results of this weeks test, but plans are in the works to roll out live streaming to more partners.Read more at www.mediaweek.com

 

Twitter’s new look… does it remind you of something?

Twitter has revealed it’s new design. They tweeted us (how else would we get this information) that these changes “will be rolling out over the next several weeks”. In a sneak peek into what’s to come, Twitter posted the video below to spark our interest.

I have no complaints about the new design. We’ll be able to embed photos and videos directly to Twitter from a variety of third party multimedia partnerships. Among them, some of my favorites to include Flickr, TwitPic, USTREAM and YouTube. We will also have more content details and a quicker, faster, easier way to read bios. This is all good stuff. But suddenly, Twitter is starting to remind me of the “social utility” we call Facebook.

I’m one of those rare people who love Twitter and Facebook equally. Usually you get a die hard Twitter fan and a loyal Facebook fanatic but rarely do people enjoy using both. I happen to enjoy both of them for many different reasons. I get my news, social media, technology and gadget information from Twitter. The folks I follow are very cutting edge and they keep me informed and on my toes. On Facebook, for my own page and the ones I manage for my client, it is more about community building, community involvement and the sharing of ideas, events, resources and interests. If you asked be to chose between the two I really could not do it.

Then, there are all the geo-location based apps that I suddenly can’t live without. I have at least seven on my iPhone but Foursquare is the clear front runner for me. Then, Facebook added “location” as did almost every other site that has started running towards the latest and greatest “next big thing”.

I’m starting to wonder if things will trickle down to just one social network of choice. I remember being asked this question during the interview for my current social media job. I thought to myself, “what a silly question. Of course people won’t chose between Facebook and Twitter and there will never be just one social networking site that dominates the space.” Foursquare, Gowalla and the others where not even on my radar at the time. Yelp, another favorite of mine, was just about reviews with very little “social” networking and the use of apps wasn’t as widespread as it is now. I’m talking just 18 months ago.

Now I’m starting to wonder if maybe my boss was on to something. Will we end up with just one social network that meets all of our needs? Will one of these giants knock the other out the game? I tend to think that as much as the human mind can stretch and grow there will be more sites than we can keep up with. Although, I really would like to have just one tool that will interface with all of my social networking sites. Of course, if I need it I would imagine someone is working on it as I type this. That is… after all… the mother of invention right?

Amplify’d from twitter.com

An easier, faster, and richer experience.


New design

You will now find @mentions, retweets, searches, and lists just above your timeline – creating a single, streamlined view on the left of the screen. On the right, you can see the features you’re familiar with, including whom you recently followed and who recently followed you, favorites, and Trending Topics.


See more at twitter.com

YouTube Launches Live Stream

How will the launch of YouTube’s live streaming impact Ustream? Will the Flash/HTML5 battle keep me from uploading a YouTube live stream to my iPhone? These and other burning questions “As The World Turns”.

Amplify’d from www.mediaweek.com

mw/photos/stylus/151371-youtubeLiveMed.jpg

YouTube’s tagline has always been “broadcast yourself.” Now the
Google-owned video site is taking that concept to another level
with the launch of YouTube live streaming as it looks to compete
with upstarts like Ustream.

On Sunday (Sept. 12) YouTube kicked off a test of the new live
platform with four partners: Howcast, Next New Networks, Rocketboom
and Young Hollywood.

Through the end of day Monday, each will stream several live
programming blocks. For example, at 10:30 PST on Monday, Young
Hollywood will broadcast an interview with skateboarding legend
Tony Hawk live from the company’s studio. Besides live video, the
new streaming platform allows users to post comments in real
time.

While starting with professionally produced content, YouTube is
billing its streaming platform as a way for anybody with a Webcam
to become a broadcaster. It’s that open access that has driven the
success of Ustream, Justin.tv and live-streaming outlets.

YouTube officials said that it will review the results of this
weeks test, but plans are in the works to roll out live streaming
to more partners.Read more at www.mediaweek.com