Feb 26

Jeff LaMarche on the Nexus One:

“Multitasking” is one of the much lauded benefits of Android over the iPhone. Of course, it’s not really multitasking. Everybody except most “tech pundits” knows that the iPhone’s Mach kernel supports full preemptive multitasking and also knows that at any given moment there are somewhere on the order of twenty daemons and other processes running on a stock (non-jailbroken) iPhone.

What people mean when they misuse this term is the ability to run more than one GUI application at a time, the way we do on our regular computers. And the Android certainly allows this. Only, it’s not really a point in Android’s favor. When you hit the home button, the previous application keeps running, which means it keeps eating memory, keeps using processor cycles, and keeps eating battery. To truly quit most applications requires a multi-step navigation that is neither intuitive nor well-documented. The ability to have more than one GUI application at a time on a device with such a small screen isn’t as important as some make it out to be, since you can’t actually interact with more than one a time.

Lots of interesting points in the post.

Feb 24

Though the overall mobile market is slowing—sales are down about one percent for 2009 year-over-year—a slight fourth quarter sales jump balanced the dips during the rest of the year. The good news is all in smartphones, as sales were up a whopping 41.1 percent for the fourth quarter and 23.8 percent overall, according to the latest data from market research firm Gartner. Nokia still commands large but declining chunks of smartphone and overall mobile phone sales, while iPhone and Android devices saw big leaps last year.

Overall mobile phone sales were down about 11 million units for 2009—perhaps good news for the growing concern about the contribution mobile phones make to the growing e-waste problem. Three of the top five vendors saw sales decline over the year, with Nokia down a couple points, and Motorola and Sony Ericsson seeing their shares cut almost in half. Samsung’s share of the mobile phone market is up to almost 20 percent, and LG bumped up a couple points to 10 percent. Gartner told Ars that Apple doubled its share of the overall market from 1.2 percent in 2008 to 2.1 percent for 2009, though it wasn’t enough to put it in the top five.

[From iPhone and Android biggest winners in mobile market in 2009]

Don’t forget RIM.

Feb 20

IMG_5185.JPG IMG_5186.JPG IMG_5188.JPG

Safety wear is essential.

Feb 19


Overnight Snow and slippery slush. Big wet lumps are pattering off the trees constantly.

Feb 17

Jim Ray:

More importantly, though, with something like browser rendering engines, I’m philosophically opposed to a monoculture.

First, I was observing more than celebrating. (But if any one rendering engine had to win the whole mobile shebang, I’m delighted it’s WebKit. But I’d love to see Mozilla get its mobile balls on.) But, bigger point: if any individual WebKit platform vendor disagrees with the direction of the mainline WebKit trunk, or simply thinks they can do better, they can do so. Real open source.


For one, replace “WebKit” with “Flash” and suddenly the iPhone is the holdout.

Really? Every WebOS, BlackBerry, and Android phone today ships with Flash? I didn’t know that. (Not to mention Windows Mobile 7, phones with which aren’t shipping until “holidays 2010”, and which apparently aren’t going to ship with Flash.)

[From Jim Ray on the WebKit Mobile Browser Monoculture]

On the desktop Adobe had years to develop a Flash player to run properly on Mac OS X and Linux and failed. If they can’t provide a good implementation for more than one desktop platform how can they possibly provide a half-dozen or so mobile versions that aren’t dreadful?

Feb 12


Nearly six months old.

Feb 11

Chris Hudak

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Take your latest CGI of an improbably-hued accretion disk and shove it. I wanted to watch future or other-world parents ragging on their conflicted, rebellious teenaged offspring;


Caprica DVD
Jane Espenson

[From Down To Earth: An interview with Caprica Executive Producer Jane Espenson]

I’ve seen the first few episodes of this now, and it’s very good. Good enough that cancellation is inevitable I fear 🙁

Feb 11

What Do the Experts Say?

Ben Goertzel, Seth Baum, Ted Goertzel

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When will human-level AIs finally arrive? We don’t mean the narrow-AI software that already runs our trading systems, video games, battlebots and fraud detection systems. [From How Long Till Human-Level AI?]

It’s been RSN for a long time 😉

Feb 10

Insightful reporting based on interviews with current and former Microsoft employees:

“When I started at MSFT in 1996, there were six people between me
and [Microsoft cofounder] Bill Gates,” Boris said. “In 2009, there
were 13 people between me and [Microsoft CEO] Steve Ballmer.” Fred
said, “the number of managers between me and the CEO went from six
to 10,” during the last decade. Another long-time Microsoftie,
whom I’ll call Barry, saw his reports go from six to 12.

Fascinating stuff, too, about the bizarre incentive structure for Microsoft employees. I think this gets to the nut of exactly what’s wrong with Microsoft. They’ve evolved a powerful, deep bureaucracy that has lost any sort of focus on creating great products. Worse, for obvious reasons Microsoft’s management is unlikely to see itself as the problem. As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

[From Joe Wilcox on Microsoft’s Glut of Middle Managers]

Interesting stuff.

Feb 09

Bumper year for finger-friendly phones The world’s smartphone makers shipped more touchscreen models in Q4 2009 than at any time in the past – and more touchphones than devices with buttons.…The power of collaboration within unified communications [From Touchscreens take lead in smartphone biz]

And Apple is the leader in touchscreen smartphones.

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