21/05/2010

iPad's are naked without one

A San Francisco company called Dodocase has released what looks to be, THE, case for the iPad and iPad 3G.

It has a leather exterior and bamboo interior that snuggly holds the iPad. With the case open and flipped on its back, it positions the iPad at a good angle to type.

When closed it looks very similar to a traditional Moleskine journal.

At $49.95 they're not even in the silly bracket, every discerning iPad owner needs one now.

Yahoo and Nokia in bed together

Nokia will announce 'Project Nike' on Monday (Nike being the Goddess of Victory rather than anything shoe related). Though it's all rumour, it's expected that Nokia are working on offering services based on Yahoo Mobile.

Microsoft have their mobile OS and that ties into Microsoft's back-end services such as Bing and such like, Google obviously has Android that ties into Google's back-end services (and the phone doesn't really work nicely unless you tie it into Google).

Nokia has err, Nokia which comprises of the Ovi store, Ovi maps and maybe some Ovi email. Yahoo might just give them the back-end mobile services they need to compete in the very competitive smart-phone arena.

Coincidently Gary Gale who was Director of Geo at Yahoo is leaving on Friday and moving on, is it just a coincident, or are the two related?

The Future of Web Design has past

Last week saw the return of FOWD to London (May 17th to 19th). The first day consisted of workshops at Wallace Space (which I didn't attend) then 2 days of conference at the Brewery in Chiswell St.

Compared to last year, well there was no comparison. The venue was great and could easily accommodate the number of attendees (600 plus), even the supplied food was pretty good. Every usable room also had wired or wireless networking that worked throughout the conference, though it slowed a bit at peak times (though being reasonably stable with the number of users was an accomplishment in itself).

There were companies demo'ing their products and all had a hosting/prototyping bent.HammerKit showed their prototyping system which allows a user to rapidly develop a prototype site with working elements, unfortunately you cant take the finished product off their hosting platform, maybe that will come in time. HotGloo have a nice wire-framing on-line system that again allows prototypes to be built on-line to test usability with some sophisticated actions for objects. Adobe were also there with Business Catalyst their on-line web building tool that allows designers to delegate authority to various aspects of the site, so copy writers can add text, but not play with the style etc. Adobe have some sensible pricing plans for the service as they allow an organisation to host their site and their customer sites.

Though there were some excellent talks, some were disappointing such as Paul Boag's which just seemed to be a rant, and not even a rant giving out useful information just a rant with some incorrect information.

Carsonified launched their Think Vitamin Membership service whereby customers subscribe and get access to at least 4 on-line conferences per annum, on-line tutorials and discounts to Carsonified conference such as FOWA/FOWD etc all for $25 per month. Allegedly 1,000 people signed up at FOWD.

Anyway overall definitely recommended even though it's an expensive event, there's always a good glass of speakers and generally a better class of audience where most of the value comes from. Looking forward to next year's event and also FOWA which takes place in the same excellent venue in Oct 2010.

19/05/2010

Google buys GIPS, Skype quakes?

Google has acquired GIPS (Global IP Sound) a vendor of high quality voice and video codecs used by many VoIP players (except Skype).

Skype have over 600m users and developed their own HD voice codec known as SILK.

Google bought Grand Central and then based their Google Voice service on top of it. Google already had their Google Talk service which is just their implementation of Jabber (or the XMPP protocol). It was possible to 'talk' to other users on Google Talk with their Jingle extensions (which Google published). Google Voice is their preferred and proper VoIP service. Unfortunately they didn't have a nice front-end for Google Voice so they acquired Gizmo5 the service from Michael Robertson. Gizmo5 had a reasonable user base and it was standards based using SIP as the VoIP protocol, though the back-end was meant to be based on Asterisk and other open source technologies. Google Voice has a very good back-end and so the tie-up with Gizmo5 gave them a nice front-end and Google could drop the Gizmo5 back-end stuff.

Now with the purchase of GIPS giving Google 'free' access to high quality voice codecs, they look to really threaten Skype's dominance of the VoIP market, especially if the launch Google Voice outside of the US.

Ofcom propsoes to reduce Earth Station regulation

Ofcom is proposing to reduce the regulation on Satellite (Earth Station Network) licenses.

The power limit of a VAST terminal will be increased from 50 to 55dBW EIRP, though limitations still apply within airport boundaries and 2 specific areas (in the UK).

Current applications should be made in the normal way.

17/05/2010

Froyo to be released this week?

Google's Android operating system is to get a new upgrade to version 2.2 (from 2.1 codenamed Eclair) on the Google Nexus One in advance of Google upcoming I/O developer conference in San Francisco this week.

Froyo is meant to be up to 4.5 times faster than Eclair in some cases which should help it support video services better. It's also expected to come with both USB and WiFi tethering so turning a Nexus One into a MiFi device.

Google are trying to remain a step ahead of Apple in terms of software, though they've dropped selling devices directly from their site and will go with the existing channel sales model by selling through carriers. Initially Google were going to sell lots of Android devices through Google directly, but sales of the Nexus One have been slow and customers want support which Google seemed to forget (at least initially).

Other devices will have to wait for the carries or handset vendor to release updates.