apple

On Being Overpriced

In the recent hubbub over Motorola Xoom pricing, I started to think a bit more about the current landscape of tablets on the market today—the iPad, and the competition.

Obviously, the iPad has won round 1. And it looks like round 2 is starting with Apple throwing all the punches—even though there's been no word on a second revision from the horse's mouth (yet).

But I was thinking to myself, "Why (and how?!) is Apple the only company selling a worthy $499 tablet." Apple's always been known to most people in the world as a luxury brand—and they are, in some senses—but why is Motorola introducing a tablet that retails for $799 minimum at launch, and will someday have a $599 version?

Motorola, and others in the 'actually working / almost shipping' tablet manufacturing market, probably see that the mid-range iPads are more popular than the cheap ones, and they target this price range/feature set. So, in a sense, what they're doing makes sense: target the large part of the bell curve of tablet sales, and make a great sub-$800 tablet.

However, I think they neglect to see one of Apple's greatest advantages: the upsell.

On Developing for Android... or Not

After having jumped into the pool of mobile app development head first (more on that to come), I finally have a little more perspective when it comes to developing for iOS vs. Android.

One of the first things that I did when I started developing an App for iOS is purchase an iPod Touch. There's no way I wanted to be using my iPhone for all my development work, and I needed a device I could acquire quickly, at a low cost (i.e. without a contract), and not worry about battery life, durability, etc.

Plus, I know tons of people with iPod Touches already—most are people who don't want to spend an outrageous amount of money on a 'smartphone' plan with one of the major US carriers, but want a great mobile computing device/PDA/media player.

So, buy the iPod Touch for ~$200, download Xcode, and you're good to go for iOS development. Plus, the whole App Store process, while it's a bit convoluted at times, is very well structured, and offers developers easy avenues towards getting an app from development to sale to success with little effort required.

Of course, as I'm getting nearer and nearer the App's release, I'm hearing calls from all corners of Geekdom, "When you gonna release for Android?!" And the more frequent the cries of distress, the more frequently I look around for ways that I can/should start developing for Android.

Developer Experience on the Mac App Store

This year, one of my resolutions is to become a more experienced programmer—not only in web development (I can hold my own with PHP, server scripting, and web design languages)—and one of the measurable achievements I'd like to accomplish is having apps on the Mac App Store and iOS App Store.

I submitted a new Mac App, Visibility*, on January 9, and was hoping the app might be reviewed quickly so I could experience a few days on the Mac App store soon after its launch. Well, after more than two weeks of waiting, the App is still 'Waiting for Review.'

Following the advice of some other developers on Apple's Developer Forums, I submitted an expedited app review support ticket... and didn't get a response for over a week!

From the response email:

Thanks for your email and feedback. In order to get as many developers into the Mac App Store as possible we are reviewing apps on a first-come first-served basis. The size of any individual app or its fixes do not have an impact on when the app will enter In Review state.

We will get to your application as quickly as possible.

Mac App Store - Real Reason for It?

Mac App Store Icon - LogoThis might just be too crazy to be true, but I just thought, after reading that some of the bestselling games for the Mac were added to the Mac App Store, if there might be an ulterior motive to the Mac App Store...

Besides adding some revenue to Apple's bottom line, offering a convenient means to Mac users discovering and purchasing new software, and making the Mac more in-line with the iOS device philosophy, what if Steve walked into an Apple retail store one day last year and said:

Switched back to Safari from Chrome... Again

Google Chrome No MoreGoogle lit up the hornet's nest yesterday when they announced that they were dropping built-in support of H.264 for their own 'open' WebM and OGG video formats.

I reconfigured Xmarks on all my computers (to sync all my bookmarks between FireFox, Safari and Chrome), and I'm back to using Safari full-time, with FireFox as my main backup. (FF 4.0 can't come soon enough).

It was good knowing ye, Chrome. I actually had my sights set on using Chrome indefinitely until yesterday.

Ripping Movies from Blu-Ray, HD-DVD and DVD, Getting them onto Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, etc.

DVD to iPhone Apple TV and iPad - Ripping

For many years, I've been in search of the 'digital nirvana,' where all my videos, songs, and photos were accessible on any device, anywhere, at any time, without having to do a complicated digital dance with wires and different sychronization tools.

I am getting ever closer to the realization of that dream... today I will introduce you to a few tools I use to help me get all my videos (be they plain old DVDs or newer high definition Blu-Ray discs [edit: I found I can even rip HD-DVDs on my Mac too!]) converted and stored on my computer so I can play them on my computer, my iPhone, my iPad, my Apple TV, my Xbox 360, a Playstation 3, and do so from anywhere in the world.

There are a few key applications you need before you can do this on your own - I'll describe the programs you need for each step of the process, and how to do everything you need to do to get your videos digitized and readily accessible.

New Apple Store at the St. Louis Galleria

After having visited New York's four very large and unique Apple Stores, coming back and visiting the St. Louis Galleria Apple Store was somewhat of a letdown. The store has been reported to be the world's smallest mall Apple Store, and it was quite apparent upon entering.

The Galleria Store was known for being incredibly cramped, and one would often see many Apple employees training Mac users in the common areas around the Mall. One was lucky to be able to grab an Apple employee to simply make a quick purchase within 5 minutes of entering the store!

No more.

Apple Store Galleria - opening day

Now, the Apple Store inside the St. Louis Galleria is likely one of the largest, if not THE largest, Apple Stores in a mall, in the world.

New Article/DIY Guide Posted: How to repair your Intel iMac

Over in the Articles section, I posted a detailed tutorial/guide on how to replace the hard drive inside a 24" Intel iMac with an aluminum enclosure (the process is similar on other aluminum iMacs). It's a rather intricate process, so in addition to a few illustrations, I posted a video of the process on YouTube (it's embedded in the article as well!).

Intel iMac Teardown and Hard Drive Replacement - DIY/Guide

Have fun repairing your iMac! (Please be sure to leave comments on the guide post, and not here).

Intel iMac Teardown and Hard Drive Replacement - DIY/How-to Guide

FSCK -y didn't help.
Yeah... that was a no-go.

My iMac's hard drive was recently borked (I was getting node errors and i/o errors when I ran fsck in single-user mode, and I couldn't format and reinstall OS X), so I had to replace it. Rather than spend a few hundred dollars to get the drive replaced, or using an external FireWire drive to boot the iMac, I decided to replace the drive with a larger/faster model myself.

iMac - Guts Exposed
The 24" iMac is large. VERY large. I can't imagine repairing the 27"!!

I used the instructions found on the Amfiteatar website to compile my more condensed instructions here. I won't go into any gory details of hard drive types, speeds, recommendations, etc. I'll simply inform you of my decision to use a 1 TB WD Caviar Black drive (7200 rpm, 32 MB cache). I don't need a ton of storage space on the internal drive, as I have multiple externals for different uses.

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