In MobileViews Podcast 61, Todd Ogasawara, Jay Stone, and Emil Reyes (none of who claim any expertise in investment) wonder aloud and speculate about the steep multi-month decline in Apple’s stock price. It closed at $702/share on September 19, 2012. And, its share price on January 25, 2013 was $439.88. That is a $262 price drop in four months for a 37% loss of value.
FYI: Emil runs a 3D printing design business. You can find some of his recent work here:
Microsoft released free apps for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone to request help or offer help (in a variety of ways).
The HelpBridge mobile application simplifies the process of notifying loved ones by simultaneously sending an e-mail and SMS to the communities you select & posting a message to your Facebook wall. You can even include your GPS coordinates so that message recipients will know where you are and the circumstances surrounding you.
The apps are named HelpBridge.
It took over
a year 7 months but Android Jelly Bean (the 4.1.1 version, not the 4.2 new flavor) finally appeared for my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 tablet.
4.1 includes Google Now but does not include 4.2′s Multi-user, Daydream, or Photo Sphere. And, while the 4.1 update does not include 4.2′s Gesture Typing, Samsung added a gesture typing feature to its proprietary Samsung keyboard. This feature is turned off by default.
Samsung retired its handy screenshot applet in favor of the less handy but standard screenshot (press Power + Reduce Volume buttons simultaneously) function introduced in Jelly Bean.
Jelly Bean (4.1) feels fast and smooth on the Tab 2 7.0 so far. And, it is good to finally have a stable Google Play apps update function. Google play frequently stalled and froze in Ice Cream Sandwich and required forced Android restarts to get a series of apps updates completed.
Earlier today Amazon announced their free CD AutoRip service that places some of the CDs you’ve bought over the years automatically in the Amazon Cloud for streaming to your desktop or mobile device. If you have an Android or iOS device, you can download a free player to play these automatically ripped songs. But, what if you have a Windows RT tablet like the Surface?
In that case, just open up the IE10 browser and point it to the Amazon Cloud Player just as you would on a desktop or notebook computer. The IE10 browser will play it just fine on the Microsoft Surface tablet running Windows RT.
News Bento for Windows 8/RT is a simple news aggregation app that is easy to navigate and presents news items from a variety of sources in a clean view. And, yes, it is free.
Bento lets you select news feeds from a variety of well-known news sources and blogs. The app can also draw any or all the RSS feeds you might collect in Google Reader to let you personalize the news collection even more. While it does not have a way to deal with your Facebook, Google+, or Twitter sources, it is as close you can get to a Flipboard experience on a Windows 8 or RT device. I don’t think it is a stretch to say it may be one of the most useful third party apps available for the Metro UI on Windows 8 or RT.
Microsoft launched a version of its MSN website optimized for IE10 on Windows 8/RT today (Jan. 8, 2013). Most site redesigns are ho-hum at best. But, this version specifically for Windows 8 is a marked improvement over what we see in other versions of Windows and IE.
The most notable aspect of this redesigned site, however, is that it does NOT use the awful horizontal scrolling used by almost every other site and app for Windows 8. This Metro design affectation works fine for Windows Phone where the horizontal scrolling permits a sliding view into a larger window. But, this is completely unnecessary on a device like a tablet or notebook PC that actually has a relatively large display. Fortunately, MSN.com scrolls vertically Windows 8/RT. This makes for a pleasant navigation experience on a nice clean site design.
I’ve been using my Microsoft Surface with Windows RT daily since getting it in October. So, I’m no Windows RT hater. But, I will readily admit that the Windows RT app story is terrible. There aren’t very many apps for the platform. And, many of the ones that are available are terrible. This is even the case for some major developers who have produced very good apps for other mobile platforms like iOS and Android. However, I’ll return to these offenders (*cough* Evernote *cough* comiXology *cough*) in a future post.
This first featured Windows RT app, however, is a pretty good one. It is the free Netflix app. The user interface (UI) for the Windows RT version is usable and nearly as good as the apps for iOS and Android. It does, however, have two relatively minor issues:
1. It sometimes stutters during playback where the iOS and Android versions do not (same network)
2. Starting or resuming a video consistently results in the audio starting before video is visible
These issues aside, the app deserves the 4-star user rating (out of possible 5) given it by 48061 users (as of Jan. 7, 2013).
I’ve spent a full two months using the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT (check out my review of it on BYTE linked below). The tablet is still something I carry and use daily. However, while the Touch Cover I bought with it is “usable,” it is not optimal. After two months I still make a lot of typos that don’t occur when using a “real” keyboard. So, I bit the bullet and spent another $130 to buy the Type Cover for the Surface. It arrived this afternoon (Christmas Eve 2012). It is far too early to pass a judgement. However, I can say it feels better than the Touch Cover and the number of typos is much less using the Type Cover.
Todd Ogasawara and Jay Stone discuss Waze and MotionX Drive navigation apps for the iPhone and iPad, Flipboard, comiXology, and Angry Birds Star Wars (which we learned is a recent favorite for both of us).
The Verge and other tech sites have been talking about the problems created for Microsoft Windows Phone by Google’s decision to discontinue support for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS). EAS currently lets Windows Phone and other devices sync email, contacts, and calendar items.
This will not be an issue for iOS and Android users since both support the CardDAV and CalDAV protocols Google plans to use instead of EAS. Google says that they will continue to support devices already using EAS. However, it will not allow activating it on new Windows Phones. However, Windows Phone may not be the only Microsoft platform affected by this problem. Users of the new Windows RT (based on Windows 8) for tablets may be affected too since RT uses EAS to sync email, contacts, and calendar information too.
Sending and receiving email from a Windows RT device through Google mail should continue to work using IMAP4 and SMTP. However, contacts and calendar will stop working.
Speaking of SMTP, while, while sending email through Google’s SMTP server works for me, I have been unable to send email using the two other SMTP servers I use. And, I’m not the only one. The thread on Microsoft Answers below indicates that this is a confirmed problem for other people and their SMTP servers too.
The Windows RT mail app is an exercise in poor user interface (try deleting multiple messages using just the touch display) to begin with. Starting next month, it may simply be unusable for some Surface owners.
I’ve been hauling my Surface RT tablet to the office each day in backpack designed to hold a standard sized 15-inch notebook. This is not the ideal way to carry it during the day to, for example, meetings. After looking around a bit, I decided to buy this bag/sleeve from Amazon for $25.
The Surface tablet slips in easily and the bag fits over it snugly but allows for easy zipping. This STM bag has both a shoulder strap (removable) and a handle. It also has a small front zippered pocket to carry a few odds and ends (including a phone).
I’m quite pleased with it after using it for about a week. It has a 4.5-star (out of possible 5) average customer rating (24 reivews) on Amazon.