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When Smartphones Are The Wrong Tool For The Wrong Job

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 31 May 2013 6:40 am
When Smartphones Are The Wrong Tool For The Wrong Job

Normally I am all for using smartphones to make you better at your job or businesses more efficient. But sometimes things just cross the line.

The Chicago Sun-Times, a newspaper with a long and rich history, just fired its entire staff of photo journalists. It their place? The Sun-Times is going to teach every reporter the basics of iPhone photography. 

“In the coming days and weeks, we’ll be working with all editorial employees to train and outfit you as much as possible to produce the content we need,” said Sun-Times managing editor Craig Newman in a memo to the staff, according to media critic Robert Feder in a Facebook post.

This comes under the category of, “just because you can do something and it will be cheaper and easier, doesn’t mean you bloody well should.”

I take a lot of photos for articles with my array of smartphones. That doesn’t mean all of them are any damn good. Sometimes it can be damn hard to take a professional photograph of something with a smartphone for publication. You become a lot more aware of lighting conditions, distance, hand movement and stabilization. These are things that a good photo journalist with a decent camera just knows how to take care of to produce much better quality work than me and my point-and-shoot smartphone hack jobs.

In comparison to large newspapers, ReadWrite’s staff is small and we can only do so many things. Yet, we have a person on a photo desk (that serves other SAY Media-owned properties, as well) and we have been trying to be more proactive with original pictures and visual elements in our story. The Web is more and more a visual place, and quality photos are what make publications stand out from the dreck of social media and amateur blogs. Add in the fact that the Chicago Sun-Times actually prints a paper newspaper, and the matter becomes complicated. You ever seen a pixelated, blurry iPhone picture blown up and printed on newspaper parchment? No? There is a reason for that.

If newspapers are going to turn reporters into “backpack journalists” (where everything they need from camera, to notebooks to computer,smartphone and tablets is in  backpack), then they need to equip reporters better for photos than just a smartphone. The industry has made tremendous strides with smartphone camera technology (with Samsung, Nokia and HTC’s recent flagship smartphones all boasting terrific digital point-and-shoot apps).

For the most part though, they just aren’t going to be good enough for the professional-grade photography a major American newspaper is supposed to have. It would be better if the if the Sun-Times reporters issued high-quality digital cameras like the Samsung Galaxy Camera. They would be much better equipped to enter the fray than just with their smartphone. 

We can extend the bad decision of the Sun-Times to a variety of industries. Just because mobile might be cheaper, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to be better. The right tool for the right job makes everybody’s lives easier and more efficient. Sometimes, perhaps most of the time, that tool is not going to be a smartphone. 

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Google Doodle celebrates the man who created the Petri dish

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Friday 31 May 2013 12:13 am

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET)

The man who discovered how to grow bacteria in a small dish is the subject of the latest Google Doodle.

Julius Petri, who would’ve turned 161 years old on Friday, May 31, created the laboratory place-setting that bears his name. Working as an assistant to bacteriologist Robert Koch in the 1870s, Petri developed the process of applying bacteria cultures onto a dish to see how they grow. Such a process paved the way for researchers to learn which bacteria were responsible for different diseases.

The interactive Google Doodle simulates how little beasties progress through their formative moments in an actual Petri dish.

Clicking on the Play button among the array of dishes in the doogle triggers a hand that swabs all the dishes with a dose of bacteria. After watching the cultures grow, you can hover over each dish to reveal the source of the bacteria, including a stinky sock, a door knob, a PC keyboard, a dog’s tongue, soil near a plant hit by rain, and a sponge.

Shuttleworth Fixes Ubuntu Linux Bug #1

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Thursday 30 May 2013 5:55 am

Mark ShuttleworthFrom the ‘Mission Accomplished’ files:

The very first bug that Mark Shuttleworth ever entered for his nascent Ubuntu Linux distribution back in August of 2004 has now been fixed.

Microsoft has a majority market share

Microsoft has a majority market share in the new desktop PC marketplace. This is a bug which Ubuntu and other projects are meant to fix.

With the rise of new forms of embedded and portable computing, most notably Android smartphones and Tablets, the market has shifted and Microsoft no longer dominates all forms of personal computing.

In his bug note explaining why he considered bug #1 fixed Shuttleworth stated:

“Android may not be my or your first choice of Linux, but it is without doubt an open source platform that offers both practical and economic benefits to users and industry. So we have both competition, and good representation for open source, in personal computing. ..

Even though we have only played a small part in that shift, I think it’s important for us to recognize that the shift has taken place. So from Ubuntu’s perspective, this bug is now closed.”

While I agree with Shuttleworth that Microsoft isn’t the force it once was, I disagree that this bug is anywhere near to being fixed.

The reality is that if you walk into any major computing retailer in the world, the vast majority of PCs offered are still Microsoft Windows based. With Windows 8 and the Secure Boot fiasco, I think it’s safe to argue that the landscape for non-Windows PCs is now more hostile than it was in 2004. After all, I could easily buy any PC in 2004 that I wanted and simply install Linux on top of its. I can’t do that anymore.

For Shuttleworth to declare ‘Mission Accomplished’ now is a bit pre-mature.

Yes there is a shift underway and certainly the decline of the PC overall is a key factor. Linux never did beat Microsoft dominance on the PC, though it has clearly beaten it everywhere else.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Motorola CEO: The Moto X Smartphone Is Coming By October, And It’s Made In The USA

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 29 May 2013 5:30 pm
Motorola CEO: The Moto X Smartphone Is Coming By October, And It's Made In The USA

Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside today confirmed the rumored Moto X phone as the company’s next big product launch, and its first “hero” product since being acquired by Google.

Speaking today at the D11 conference in Los Angeles, Woodside teased that he had the phone in his pocket, “but I can’t show it to you,” and that the Android smartphone would be built in a plant near Fort Worth, Texas, fomerly used by Nokia. Woodside said the X Phone will launch “by October” along with a handful of other new Motorola smartphones.

(See Also: 4 Ways Motorola X and Sony’s Xperia Z Can Still Win)

Designed to compete with high-end offerings from Apple and Samsung, Moto X will feature an organic LED display, thinner and lighter than older LCD displays, and be packed with sensors used to help the device “know what you want to do before you do,” Woodside said. For example, the phone will be able to tell when it’s in your pocket, in your hand, or inside of a fast-moving car, and subsequently trigger appropriate user interactions.

Woodside also mentioned that the device will be the first smartphone built in the United States, with some 70 percent of manufacturing taking place at the Texas facility. 

Image via Motorola

Facebook pulls pages depicting violence against women

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 29 May 2013 11:26 am

Several Facebook pages have popped up that encourage or make a joke of violence against women, pages like Fly Kicking Sluts in the Uterus, Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs, and Raping your Girlfriend.

Facebook has now decided to take these pages down.

“In recent days, it has become clear that our systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively as we would like, particularly around issues of gender-based hate,” Facebook’s VP of Global Public Policy Marne Levine wrote in a blog post Tuesday. “We have been working over the past several months to improve our systems to respond to reports of violations, but the guidelines used by these systems have failed to capture all the content that violates our standards. We need to do better — and we will.”

The social network’s decision is the culmination of a campaign and boycott by activist group Women, Action and The Media (WAM). WAM kicked off its campaign last week with an open letter to Facebook that spelled out the organization’s concerns and listed what it wanted the social network to do to address violence against women — specifically recognize pages with gender-based violence as hate speech and remove such content.

“We are referring to groups, pages and images that explicitly condone or encourage rape or domestic violence or suggest that they are something to laugh or boast about,” WAM wrote in the letter. “Images appearing on Facebook include photographs of women beaten, bruised, tied up, drugged, and bleeding.”

WAM cited recent United Nations statistics that show 70 percent of women and girls around the world have experienced violence in their lifetimes. The group argued that allowing such content on the social network added to the normalization of domestic and sexual violence against women.

After sending off the letter to Facebook, WAM and its followers contacted a slew of advertisers asking them to boycott the social network. Fifteen companies, including Nissan UK, Specialty Natural Medicine, and eReader Utopia, agreed to pull their ads from Facebook.

Under Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, hate speech is prohibited. The social network actively pulls pages and comments that are offensive to different people’s race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. However, until now, gender-based hate speech wasn’t necessarily removed.

In addressing WAM’s concerns, Facebook said that it would take immediate steps to halt those pages that encourage or make fun of violence against women. WAM has since applauded Facebook’s efforts and will be working with the social network to be part of an ongoing conversation about gender-based violence.

“We are hopeful that this moment will mark an historic transition in relation to media and women’s rights in which Facebook is acknowledged as a leader in fostering safer, genuinely inclusive online communities, setting industry precedents for others to follow,” WAM wrote in a blog post. “We look forward to collaborating with these communities on actions both big and small until we live in a world that’s safe and just for women and girls, and for everyone.”

[VIDEO] Former Microsoft Exec Embraces Linux for Networking Software

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Wednesday 29 May 2013 5:25 am

From the ‘Resistance is Futile’ files:

For more years than I care to count, I read statements and saw Microsoft server events where Bob Muglia declared why Microsoft’s server was so good.

Muglia no longer works for Microsoft (he moved to Juniper two years ago) and he no longer oversees a software portfolio that is based on Windows either.

Juniper, like nearly every other networking vendor on the planet — uses Linux.

So after two decade of being a Microsoft-guy, Muglia now oversees a software portfolio that relies on Linux.

Check out the video below for Muglia’s comments on Linux:

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

What Will Follow OpenStack Havana?

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Tuesday 28 May 2013 11:39 am

OpenStack - RoundedFrom the ‘open source naming’ files:

The current OpenStack open source cloud platform release is named Grizzly – due to the fact that OpenStack had a Summit in San Diego, which is in California, which has a Grizzly bear on its flag.

The next release of OpenStack is codenamed Havana, which an unincorporated community in Oregon where the last OpenStack Summit in Portland was held.

So what will the next release of OpenStack be called? The next Summit is in Hong Kong so something China related?

The four candidates currently being voted on by the OpenStack community are:

* Icehouse
* Ichang

In case you were wonder, all of those names are streets in Hong Kong.

Voting is happening here: https://launchpad.net/~openstack/+poll/i-release-naming

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Tablets Killing Desktops Faster Than Ever

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Tuesday 28 May 2013 4:39 am
Tablets Killing Desktops Faster Than Ever

The contraction of the PC market continues faster than ever, eaten by the rapid growth of the tablet market, which is expected to outsell laptop and notebook devices for the first time this year and all PCs by 2015. But portable PCs may still be the saving grace for PC sales in the years ahead.

If there is anything new about the news coming out from IDC’s Quarterly PC Tracker, it’s the increase of the rate of the PC’s decline. IDC had initially predicted a decline of “1.3% in 2013 followed by a gradual increase in volume.” Now the analyst firm is predicting a sharper decline of 7.8% in 2013 and 1.2% down in 2014.

2011 may have been the “peak PC” year, when 363 million units shipped. In 2012, 349 million units shipped, with only 321.9 units predicted for the 2013 calendar year. The market is expected to recover a little – by 2017, IDC estimates that 333 million will ship.

These numbers include shipments on both desktop and portable PCs, which is what IDC labels notebook and laptop PCs. That 2017 recovery will have no help from desktop PC sales: shipments are expected to drop from 148 million in 2012 to a predicted 134 million in 2013 and 124 million in 2017: a 16.5% contraction over five years.

Any recovery in the market will fall squarely within the portable PC sector: shipments were 201 million in 2012, and will be down to 187 million this year, but possibly up to 210 million in 2017, which is a net 4.3% uptick for the portable sector.

But where the real growth in portable devices is in the tablet sector. “T]ablet shipments are expected to grow 58.7% year-over-year in 2013 reaching 229.3 million units, up from 144.5 million units last year,” [according to the press release, “IDC now predicts tablet shipments will exceed those of portable PCs this year.

“In addition, IDC expects tablet shipments to outpace the entire PC market (portables and desktops combined) by 2015,” the company reported.

Tablets are not only going to be more prolific, they are going to be smaller. The IDC data is already seeing a sharp decrease in sales of tablets in the 8″-11″ size range, and a healthy increase in tablets with less than 8 inches of screen size. As you can see in the table below, by 2017, 57% of tablets will be in that sub-8″ range.

Worldwide Tablet Market Share by Screen Size Band, 2011 – 2017

The shrinking of tablet size means that a lot less productivity will be getting done on these devices, as smaller tablets are very much consumption devices. This may explain the predicted increase of notebook sales: people will still want portability, but they also will need a platform on which to actually work.

As for the desktop PC, there looks to be no bright future in sight for the once-mighty platform. That which does not move, it seems, dies.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 could offer more advanced camera

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Monday 27 May 2013 10:37 pm

Will the successor to the Galaxy Note 2 beef up its camera?

Will the successor to the Galaxy Note 2 beef up its camera?


Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 could see some major enhancements to its onboard camera.

Due out in the second half of 2013, the next Note may sport a 13-megapixel camera with an anti-shake feature designed to capture higher-quality pictures. Citing “industry insiders,” Korean site ETNews claims that Samsung’s mobile communications team is developing technologies to bring OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and shutter functions to the Note 3, putting it more on par with traditional digital cameras.

An official from the communications division reportedly told ETNews that “we are pondering various technologies at this stage — for example, OIS and shutter functions. But, nothing has yet to be confirmed, so we cannot conclusively say that those functions will be added to the
Galaxy Note 3.”

Samsung is also eyeing a 3x optical zoom but concedes that packing such a camera into the Note would be challenging given the phone’s thin design.

CNET contacted Samsung for comment and will update the story with any further information.

Is Google Code In Trouble? No More Open Source Downloads For You

Posted by eXactBot Hosting | News | Sunday 26 May 2013 10:18 pm

From the ‘Don’t Download This’ file:

Google Code got started back in 2006 as an alternative open source code hosting repository and google codecollaborative development site. At the time of its creation, I had thought that it would competitive with Sourceforge (which it was), but as it turns out Sourceforge will now get the last laugh.

This week after seven years of enabling developers to host code that could easily be download, Google in its wisdom is shutting down the Google Code Download services.

“Downloads were implemented by Project Hosting on Google Code to enable open source projects to make their files available for public download,” Google stated. “Unfortunately, downloads have become a source of abuse with a significant increase in incidents recently. Due to this increasing misuse of the service and a desire to keep our community safe and secure, we are deprecating downloads.”

Google is now recommending that developers use Google Drive to host files instead. Yeah good luck with that Google, remember Sourceforge?

Sourceforge is now offering Google Code devs the ability to host download code on Sourceforge.

Personally, I think developers want to have code development and hosting download in the same spot — it’s just easier. Though of course, open source software has a long history of mirror download sites and such, so perhaps this isn’t a big deal after all?

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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