Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cloud Computing and the Future

"The Cloud"

Cloud computing is one of the hot topics in terms of the next evolution of the operating system and how we're going to use computers in the future. In short, cloud computer is Internet-based computing where the accessible data is stored on a server and accessed via the Internet and a secure connection. 

From an enterprise perspective, cloud computing makes sense because all information is stored on company servers, and this information can be accessed by using ANY enterprise computer, logging into your account, and working away without saving anything on the local computer in use.  Deploying such technology is costly, and it's tough for companies to justify this expense especially with a traditional infrastructure in place. 

From a personal computing perspective, one could argue that cloud computing might not be too practical.  Personal computers have privacy (of course, to a certain extent), and you can store your personal information locally.

What are your thoughts on this?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Glossy vs. Matte Computer Screens

When purchasing a new computer screen, one of the major decision points is whether to get a glossy or matte screen, assuming both are of high quality (i.e. IPS).  Both have their pros and cons, which I'll detail below.

Glossy Screen:

Pros: Glossy screens have a sexier look to them.  Colors appear brighter, and the display is very sharp, especially in the Apple iMacs and Apple Cinema Displays.

Cons: The glare is the most distracting thing about a glossy screen.  If your main light source is behind the screen, it can mitigate the glare, but if the main light source is in front of the screen or behind you, forget it.  Given the mentioned positives, the glare seems to be the deciding factor for most go who matte instead of glossy.  Also, it's difficult to color calibrate a glossy screen... it can be done, but you're much safer doing color editing on matte.

Matte Screen:

Pros: Little to no glare, and a matte screen is the professional industry standard for all serious photo/video editing. 

Cons: Looks plain and not as flashy as the glossy screen.  The glossy screen, especially in the new Apple displays, looks and feels high quality with the glass front.  The matte looks more dull.


It just depends on what you value.  If you can stand the glare (or minimize it to be bearable), and you don't do much color editing work in your photos and videos, glossy could work for you.  However, if you're a professional who needs a high-quality monitor, then matte is the best option.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Xmarks Going Out of Business... Maybe Not?

More than a week ago, I wrote about a free bookmark-syncing service called Xmarks.  A few days later, the Xmarks blog reported that it was going out of business because it could not sustain itself in its current model.  Lack of advertising and a method to capitalize on it were the major factors.

However, shortly after that announcement, users of the popular add-on pledged that they would pay for Xmarks if it meant that the service could continue.  Xmarks now has a link on PledgeBank where people can commit to paying $10 US a year for the service:

According to Xmarks, if they can get 100,000 people to pledge, the company can stay in business.

As for me, I enjoyed the service while it was free; however, there's no way I'm paying for it.  I can revert to other free, bookmark syncing services.

What are your thoughts on this?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Best Buy: iPad cutting into laptop sales

Has the iPad affected consumer demand for Netbooks and notebooks? According to comments by Best Buy's chief executive, Apple's popular tablet is chopping away at laptop sales.

Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn told The Wall Street Journal... that internal estimates showed the iPad had cannibalized sales from laptop PCs by as much as 50 percent.

Best Buy reported solid second-quarter earnings...thanks in part to strong iPad sales. But the company also said it lost market share for the quarter due to limited inventory for the iPad.
The retail chain started carrying Apple's tablet as the device went on sale in the U.S. in early April. But Best Buy quickly ran out of inventory since it stocked the iPad in only around half of its nationwide stores. The company announced this week that the tablet would be available on September 26 in all its retail outlets.

The comments by Dunn echo findings from other sources that notebook and Netbook demand is slowing because of the iPad.

A column in today's Fortune Magazine points to a new report from Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty saying that "tablet cannibalization," mostly by the iPad, is at least partially to blame for the downturn in notebook sales over the past eight or nine months. Huberty's latest report follows a similar one issued in May in which she forecast that tablets would prove to be a big threat to Netbooks.
Fortune quoted Huberty's conclusion that "we expect tablets to continue to pressure PCs as more vendors launch products (e.g., Dell Streak and Samsung Tab) and Apple expands its iPad distribution."
Other analysts have also been eyeing the impact on the laptop market from tablets. In early July, Barclays Capital issued a report saying that Wintel (Windows and Intel) laptops would take a hit because of the growth of the iPad and rival tablets. A June report from DisplaySearch found that the iPad was already grabbing market share from Netbooks and that momentum was shifting from Netbooks to tablets.

Demand for the iPad has prompted several analysts to up their sales forecasts for the device. In July, ABI Research said it expected Apple to ship around 11 million iPads by the end of the year, while iSuppli predicted that 12.9 million iPads would ship this year, a huge jump from its April forecast of 7.1 million units.

Of course, if the iPad is cannibalizing laptop sales, the news isn't exactly disappointing to Apple. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook expressed his sentiment in July when the company announced third-quarter earnings.

"Our guts tell us that this market is very big," Cook said. "If it turns out that iPad cannibalizes PCs, that's fantastic for us because there is a lot of PCs to cannibalize."