Lots of people seem to be switching to Mac but a couple well-read geek bloggers threatened in the last week to unswitch. Cute. But the question is what can you switch to that would be close to as good?
Many of us have our differences with Apple. We don't like the suing of our favorite rumor sites and we don't like Apple's usual arrogance and secrecy. Transparency is in but Apple has 0%. They should look at OS X for a clue.
It is unfortunate, but at the moment the two main options for unswitching aren't that good. Windows XP and 2000 are ultra long in the tooth. Besides that, the spyware/virus/trojan horse issues make it incredibly painful to use. Other Unix-based options still suffer greatly in the usability department even though they offer tons of power. OS X offers power, beauty, decent Windows compatibility and lots of Apps. OS X wins without breaking a sweat and if Windows didn't have complete and utter dominance in marketshare, there would be tons more Mac users out there right now.
I would like to see all three options continue to improve and aggressively compete with each other. Windows can only get better when Longhorn's feature list finally ships. And Unix will probably come up with some good UI and more apps over time. Apparently China is big on Linux and they might get serious and do something.
I would love to see 10 - 15 - 20% marketshare for the Mac but would hate to see Apple rest on its laurels as it succeeds. What I would hope for is that all this iPod money would fund Apple's continuing innovation with computers. I also expect Apple to play seriously in the cell phone, mini notebook and home/auto entertainment arenas.
Apple is still the little guy in personal computing, so I'm glad they've got some bucks in their pockets to try new things and make beautiful, useable computers and software. I'm hoping that competition and Steve's perfectionism will out weigh the downsides of his imperial ego.
Remember that nickel-sized 4 gig drive in the last post? Well, how about putting one of those in here? This is just a concept from Pentagram Design, but I want one. I'm already wearing a large Nike watch now. Why not get some use out of all that space with some decent computing power and storage and a color screen, headphone jack or preferably wireless. Maybe a little smaller than this one. Nice. [via Gadgets Blog, News.com]
This tiny 4 gigabyte .85 inch hard drive is going to be available in quantity next month! That does seem to change things. Toshiba wants to sell these little guys to makers of mobile phones, PDAs and MP3 players.
The drive runs at 3600 rpm and weighs less than 10 grams. That is 1/3rd of an ounce. Seems like you could compete pretty well with the iPod mini with a drive like this in a cell phone. No wonder Apple is working with Motorola on an iPod phone of some sort. Looks like the disk is smaller and much thinner than a quarter or maybe a nickel.
I have to laugh when wondering if you could fit one of these into an iPod shuffle. Or... imagine carrying a 4 gig drive on your keychain. You could certainly carry around more than your entire medical history on that. Lots of xrays - whatever. Movies. When I think about pacemakers being implanted, then I think what if one of these were implanted? You could store lots of interesting stats in that thing. Researchers would love it.
This kind of miniaturization could really help create a small machine that could run OS X. Maybe that's stretching it a little. How about OS X light? [via The Register]
PodGuides.net is starting up a podcasting site featuring free spoken tour guides. Here's what they say:
You can enjoy detailed spoken descriptions of what you see while visiting the city (museum, ...) of your choice. A PodGuide is basically like a downloadable audio tour.
OK, so there is only one podcast so far. Still. This is a great new venue for wannabe podcasters. You know, citizen podcasters. You take a trip and record some audio about the places you see.
The site has a great little free tool called PodGuide Generator - a metal app, so you better take your iBook or Powerbook (or hopefully soon an iBook mini) with you while you travel (there's a version for Windows too). Record on your iPod or cell phone and write a few notes in your moleskine or sidekick while you travel and put it all together with the PodGuide Generator. Yay!
This is clearly a hybrid podcasting app. It helps a lot if there's a map, photos, addresses AND an audio track. Apparently iTunes can show the photos or the iPod photo. Great idea! At minimum, I look forward to downloading some fun tour guides. Make it easy enough and even I'll do one. Better bookmark these folks.
Oh, and if you are one of the many tour guides. How cool would it be to sell mini podcasts of your tours as loss leaders or as souvenirs for your tour participants?
Technorati explains tags as being pretty much the same as categories. If you are a blogger tagging your posts, tags are not categories. I don't want to have a gigantic list of categories. I want a realatively short list of major topics. In order to assign a category to a post, I have to add it as a category on my category list. So, I'm limited and don't assign a new category to an individual post unless I really think I'll use it often.
Tags are Different. There's no tag list - at least not yet*. When I tag my posts, I can use anything on a one-time only basis and not worry about it. I can tag for SXSW even though it's not an on-going category. Big difference. [*If there's going to be a tag list, the infrequently used tags will be tiny in my tag list and the frequently used ones will be big, so more tags can be in the list without making it unwieldy.]
Tag Language. Because this is folksonomy territory, though, speaking in the language of tags, you may want to use words that others and their software/services understand. I may want to keep a copy of Technorati's tag page handy so I can see whether to tag this as blog, blogs or blogging or tags or tagging or all of these. Since this is a bottom-up thing, I get to decide whether to (a) be casual and just tag the first thing that comes to mind or (b) go with the majority so I can affiliate my post with more posts or (3) think about it and then put the best tag on it that I can think of, not considering anyone else's nomenclature or (d) *vote* for the tag I would like to add juice to. It's very fun and interesting.
Tag Tip #1. If you put your tags into your post at the beginning, you can jump to those Technorati tags for more related info by clicking on them in your post preview.
Tag Tip #2. I like to illustrate my posts and decorate my post/feed with a graphic for each post. Technorati tag-surfing may help you quickly locate that little graphic for your post. That's how I got the graphic for this post which I copped from a Flickr photo of Peter Morville's great slide.
By the way, I much prefer to newsread, browse, search or tag-surf blogs than the bigger webspace. Googling floods me with low signal-to-noise ratio info-stuff. Sorting through all that feels too time-consuming now that I have better alternatives. Sometimes I need to search in that big noisy space, but not all that often. With that in mind, I've added the Technorati Searchlet to this blog page.
Today I've been mucking about in the tagging space. Kicking the tires. Exploring. As I was wandering around, I noticed that Flickr announced that they have indeed been acquired by Yahoo! A few more millionaires for the world's economy, that. Russ Beattie going to Yahoo! should have tipped us off to expect great things from Yahoo! in the next couple of years.
At one point, I was over at Kottke.org and found myself sending an email to Jason to see whether he would like cash or a gift of Studio Manager 7. If I, a light user of Kottke.org, am contributing, lots of money must be flowing in Jason's direction.
These two things plus many more drove me to the conclusion that lots of careers will sprout up in this portion of the electronic universe. I'm sure blogging will be an important node in this careerspace, but maybe tagging will be a node and who knows what else? Somewhere today I read that a key feature of the web starting now is collaboration. This is a rich area of possibility. Not a flash in the pan.
So, bloggers, all that time you are putting into this blogging stuff. All that reading, blogging, commenting, emailing, flickring and tagging might just amount to something. Maybe all these things you are doing passionately have something to do with the career you are inadvertently building for yourself.
What I'm seeing is that besides the amazing and many small and large benefits bloggers get from raising their own profiles in cyberspace, real meaty careers may be starting to sprout. Of course, Kottke can support himself with blogging. I'm not saying we'll be blogging for a living, necessarily. Though, I'm sure many will. I think we'll be working in this emerging field - creating new products, organizations and services, consulting, researching, negotiating, marketing, developing software and contributing our experience and knowledge to in-house projects that haven't been invented yet.
There's a lot going on and we are in a great place to find our own preferred spots in the action.
OK. Apple has the store, the great iTunes software, synchronization, the iPod itself and the coolest brand. That's enough to win in any segment of this rapidly growing portable music market.
The only way other players will gain a foothold is if they do something more or better than iPod does. And those competitors can be quickly dispatched by new targeted iPod offerings.
Here are some spots Apple may want to address and dominate:
flash player with screen
The flash player with screen will come within 6 months I would guess. The video-capable may be as soon as that too. The iPod cell phone has already been previewed by Motorola but, unfortunately, the power of cell carriers diametrically conflicts with Apple's strategy of controlling all major pieces of an offering. I'm betting on Steve's salesmanship and rep as a visionary to find a way to twist some carrier arms and get something insanely great out the door in the next 9 months.
I really like Technorati tags. Maybe it's the addition of the photos from Flickr. I don't know. I like the layout.
Another thing I'm attracted to that I first enjoyed in 43 Things, are the lists of tags whose sizes vary depending how often they are used. I want one of those lists on my own blog page and wish they were on every blog. Hoping that Marsedit will jump on this an make it easier for me to tag and that TypePad will make it easy to summarize all my tags as a multi-sized tag list. If this meme gained adoption, you could grok a blog's nature in a single glance.
Today I started putting some tags into my latest few posts. Once they were there, I could click on them and instantly get to the Technorati page for that tag. I like that. It feels like a great expansion of the connectedness my posts have to the rest of the web. Of course, it would be handy to write the tags into someplace in Marsedit and be able to immediately link to those Technorati tag pages. It would help me write the post.
I like trying various words as tags to see which one has the most tag-juice. I'm really enjoying this tagging trend right now. And... I created a category called Tagging which was the most popular tag about tags and tagging.
It seems to me that any blogger would want to tag their posts. In the overall scheme of the work associated with creating a post, putting tags in is a small part that would almost surely pay for itself in increased readership. Tags hook you into the blogspace in a wonderful way. Looks like a no-brainer to me.
Even if I'm the only one who clicks the tags, I like it. I like to treat me blog as a homepage of sorts anyway. It's one of my launchpads. Tags add a whole new dimension to my homepage.
This is the most important thing. It is typical for a podcast be composed of a series of topics, pieces or bits. All I ask is that each piece have a bookmark at the front so that when I hear a song I don't like or a piece that doesn't interest me, I can skip it. Remember skipping? Otherwise, podcasting is two steps forward and one step back.
I've been getting more and more into listening to podcasts in the last 30 days. But my listening process needs work. There are many more podcast listeners than podcasters. So far, the only single word I've seen for podcast listening is *podcatching* which will do as long as everyone uses it. But they don't. Probably because it is kind of lame and very lame compared to podcasting which has a certain ring to it.
Right now, I have more podcasts on my iPod shuffle than I do songs. That ratio works great for listening in shuffle mode - as long as I eliminate *old* - already listened to - podcasts.
I'm looking for the ultimate podcast listening app. I'm using a mix of NetNewsWire 2 beta and iPodderX. I'm thinking maybe a dedicated app like iPodderX is better but right now it's a mess trying to use both. I've eliminated a lot of the podcast feeds from NNW2 but iPodder seems to not be set correctly, because it's not getting the podcasts over to iTunes consistently. As usual, there are a few trials and tribulations when using new technology. If I weren't such an infogeek, I would probably give up on it. I don't even commute so I don't have as much motivation as some to get this stuff working right.