Are Apple and Google creating a crisis for the open Web?

February 10th, 2012

A CNET article, W3C co-chair: Apple, Google power causing Open Web crisis, says that “The dominance of Apple and Google mobile browsers is leading to a situation that’s even worse for Web programming than the former dominance of Internet Explorer, a standards group leader warned today.”

The problem is that both the Safari and Chrome browsers, and their counterparts on Android, iPhone and iPad, use the WebKit layout engine. WebKit supports many non-standard CSS features and Web developers are building sites and pages that take advantage of them.

Daniel Glazman, co-chairman of the CSS Working Group, described it this way.

Not so long ago, IE6 was the over-dominant browser on the Web. Technically, the Web was full of works-only-in-IE6 web sites and the other browsers, the users were crying. IE6 is dead, this time is gone, and all browsers vendors including Microsoft itself rejoice. Gone? Not entirely… IE6 is gone, the problem is back.

WebKit, the rendering engine at the heart of Safari and Chrome, living in iPhones, iPads and Android devices, is now the over-dominant browser on the mobile Web and technically, the mobile Web is full of works-only-in-WebKit web sites while other browsers and their users are crying.

He issued a call to action that describes the steps that the web community of authors, designers and developers can take to support an open web based on standards.

Smart phones to absorb credit cards with RFID?

October 5th, 2010

iphone + RFID + credit cards Fastcompany has an article, Credit Cards Will Go Electronic, Then Disappear Into iPhone 5, predicting the merger of RFID-enabled credit cards and smart phones.

“Nokia plans to add antennas and RFID communications chips into its phones soon, and Apple has been patenting the heck out of the idea, but both companies were probably going to rely on an in-phone antenna loop. It seems increasingly certain Apple is going to bring RFID into common usage with the iPhone for 2011 (the iPhone 5) because there’s a new patent that shows just how far Apple has gone with design thinking for RFID. The patent shows how an RFID loop, powerful enough to act as both RFID tag or a tag-reader, can actually be built right into the complex layered circuitry of the iPhone (or iPod Touch) screen. We know Apple is fond of highly-polished design and integration, and this innovation is no exception. The screen has to be exposed by its very nature, which is good for RFID purposes — the wireless signal is unobstructed by other bulk in the smartphone, and it frees up Apple to do what it likes with the rest of the phone’s design.”

Maybe building RFID into smart phones will finally unleash the potential the technology offers for cool people oriented applications, as opposed to boring inventory management tasks. However, I don’t like the idea of not being able to use my credit card because my phone ran out of power.

Transformers: revenge of the Wozniaks

June 25th, 2009

This is not your father’s Macbook.

Macbook Wheel pushes HCI envelope

January 6th, 2009

The new Macbook Wheel is really pushing the Human Computer Interface envelope.

I want the iPhone NG, but …

June 12th, 2008

I admit — I was following along on engadget’s liveblog of Jobs’ WWDC keynote, looking for iPhone news. Most of what he said, though, was fairly old news to those who had been reading the tech blogs for the last month or so — 3G and aGPS, besides of course the already announced software upgrades. The big thing was the $199 price, which was out of the blue it seemed. I figured I would go out and get one pretty much as soon as they were available without having to stand in a line. The teeny voice in my head however was expressing skepticism, which eventually was proven correct. The $199 cost factors in a subsidy from AT&T, and the phone now apparently needs to be activated when bought.  No more buying it without AT&T service and then getting it unlocked.

I wonder why that is, though. The big claim is that the revenue model has changed, and so Apple no longer gets an ongoing cut of the revenue from AT&T. If so, why not also sell unlocked versions of the phone sans subsidy, like every other manufacturer ? How will this work in other countries where handset subsidies are not common ? Apparently AirTel in India is the preferred partner and will launch this phone “soon”.  So will AirTel sell it for more than $199, but unlocked ?  Maybe I can get one from them ? Or wait for Xperia X1 ? Or for TouchPro ?

Mac Mini to evolve into Mac Nano: smaller, cheaper, faster

October 5th, 2007

Smaller, cheaper, faster. Don’t you wish that automobiles would do this too?

Mac OS Rumors predicts and others concur that Apple will the end of the year will see the Mac Mini replaced by a Mac Nano which is both cheaper and smaller.

“Also, the entry-level model will be dropped to $249 with a 60GB or maybe even 80GB HDD (depending on market conditions about six or seven weeks from now), and two other models at $299 and $399 sporting 120-160 and 200-250GB drives respectively. … the new Mini will be as small in the horizontal as an internal optical drive will allow, and a little over 2/3 the height. Overall volume will be shrunk almost 25%, weight by about 20% and an all-new enclosure will be strikingly different from the design that has been the Mini’s defining feature since its introduction.”

The ebqiuity lab does pervasive computing projects and often need to have a small box to collect data and provide services and control things. This sounds like it will be a good choice for many of these tasks.