Armen Chakmakjian

Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

AppleTV what should be next…

In Apple iCloud, Random, Social Media, technology, web 2.0 on August 27, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I was reading a post today that I saw float by on my iPhone on Google+.  Mike Elgan  writes about how Apple is going to kill cable TV.  I agree that if apple turns its eyes to fully try to solve the cable TV problem, it will not be the AppleTV of  yore.  That device (an owner of a 160GB version, I am) was a sharing device.  It took pictures and movies that you made, and tried to deliver them up in the place where collective viewing was done.  It allowed you to all listen to the same music, watch the same trailers in 5.1 6.1 9.1 or whatever your setup.  It was awesome and simultaneously clunky.  you could watch or listen to your favorite podcasts…For an apple product it was half-baked.

Because it was half-baked and hackable, all kinds of garage shop operations popped up with ways for you to crack the AppleTV and add Boxee or XBMC or whatever.  They all crash under normal use.

Then Apple dumped us early adopters and created the little hockey puck Apple TV.  That removed the storage and made it an Airport Express for your TV.  With cable hooked up to the TV, and the Apple TV next to it, I’d flip back and forth…but there was one thing that kills the AppleTV that broadcast TV gives you.


What do I mean?  I mean I can turn on CNN or FoxNews or the local TV station and get the news RIGHT NOW.  The earlier AppleTV was one thing if nothing else, it was a replacement for your DVR, not for TV.  Yes yes I know, people record stuff for later use, even the news.  But when world events happen, TV is the IMMEDIATE portal.  People do not crowd around a website (even if you put it up on your 60″ 1080P TV.  People crowd around the TV when news is happening.

Now mind you, the AppleTV (both gen1 and gen2) does allow for streaming YouTube and internet Radio stations…But the truth is, until Apple can solve the immediacy problem, Cable TV (CNN HLN CNBC) will always be able to drag you back in.

Now mind you, many websites now have streaming video.  CNN and WSJ online come to mind at first.  Even our local TV stations have that.  However, to get to the streaming video, you have to go to their web page.

So the real innovation here is to solve the immediacy problem, NOT to create an apple branded DVR that happens to be built into a 55″ TV.  That’d be lame.

No what apple would need to do to kill cable would be to sign agreements with the BBC, CNN, FoxNews, CNBC, ESPN et cetera, and local outlets to provide immediate HD streaming content subscribe-able on the iTunes store.  Yes if you need to, you can mark a broadcast for later viewing, but if you really want to kill cable, you have to kill Live TV, not HBO…at this point, Netflix has already solved that problem.  Kill Live TV over Cable.

Immediacy also extends to shared gaming.  these days when you get on your 360 or Wii, you can be playing and interacting with people all over the world.  Immediately.  and  you are creating your own News (through your characters).    Twitter/Facebook and Google+ already take advantage of this giving you an almost immediate stream of what is happening now to your contacts and friends, and the current broadcast news outlets use them as a secondary point of contact (like Anderson Cooper tweeting while talking).

For apple to really kill cable TV, it doesn’t just need to be itunesy-netflix built into a TV, it needs to be live and immediate…


Tax holiday spurs technology shifts…

In Random, Social Media, technology on August 14, 2011 at 1:57 pm

So I’ve been a good consumer because of the tax holiday (and my proximity to NH a week ago)

So in the last couple of weeks, I’ve purchased a macbook air.  I’m slowly migrating my experience from my 3-year-old MacBook pro to it.  The dénouement will be when I get the 27″ Thunderbolt display to go along with it.  Finally a non-15 wire docking experience for my personal use.    In the process, I had to buy a new desk, and a new keyboard and a magic pad.

On the phone front, my time had come up on the Verizon droid to get the little discount that they still offer on the every two years (which I was told is going away) on Verizon.  So to enhance my experience, I dumped the droid for an iPhone 4.  Yeah, I know, I could have held out a month or two for iPhone 5, but I was really tired of the droid.  As I pointed out to a friend on Google+

“As a technologist I often delight in coming up with rube goldberg-esque ways of connecting technology stacks and offerings. Love connecting things back door. However, the consumer in me was craving a single metaphor without having to maintain all kinds of links. So, for example, my favorite music is on my mac, but I couldn’t render it in the same way on my droid. Yes I could put the mp3’s on the droid, but I’d have to rebuild my sort. The same thing happened with calendars, contacts and other stuff. The consumer in me got tired of bridging these things. Functionally, the same apps appear on both platforms. A lot of data can be shared. But the consumer in me wanted to enjoy an integrated (not by me) experience after 4 years of special casing things…”

Remember before I had a Motorola Droid on Verizon, I had a G1 from T-Mobile.

One thing that I admit that I will miss on the new iphone…but I can get around from what I gather, is the integrated voice on the droid.  Sending text messages on the droid was a simple one-handed operation…hit the mic, say your response, hit send.  It was quite accurate.  I know there are solutions on the iPhone, lets see if they are as neatly integrated.

The other weird drawback on the Verizon iPhone is this weirdness with the GPS.  I don’t get why they charge me to use an integrated piece of hardware.  I’m sure somebody out there has a workaround (probably google 😉

One other thing, I also found out that now that I have the new ear buds/mic for the iPhone, I can use it with my Mac when I need to do conferencing. Evidently it the mac figures out that your using the earpiece/mic and does the right thing.  Way cool.  This’ll be especially useful if I have to call into a class on Saba, or Skype with other students on a project, or call into a conference call from home for work. yay!  I don’t have to wear the Yamaha padded earphones to avoid feedback!

I also got a new Livescribe echo pen.  I could have lasted a bit longer on the Pulse pen, but the display on it started to pixellate and after the last rollout of the desktop, and new firmware I could tell it was on its last legs.  They eventually fixed the firmware flaw, but you could tell by the gap in time, that they weren’t going to be able to maintain the old platform for very much longer (anyway it wouldn’t make business sense).  That being said, I already noticed the first advantage of moving, my pen no longer rolls off the table when I put it down.  This was a true annoyance.  In the process I got a free upgrade to Evernote premium for a year.  Between that, and my discovery that I can use a single circle on google+ that only has the email address of my Evernote account, I can save away things…like doing research, in a really nice and practical way.  The Evernote desktop on my mac is really nice, and with school in the fall, I think I have a good solution for research.

Oh yeah…what will I be doing with my droid?  Well, I have a droid doc, and it makes an excellent tabletop clock radio (still can use the wifi…will still let me know if email is coming in…so I’ll leave it on the desk in the dock).  There’s an old Armenian expression used to justifying keeping old things around long after explicit usefulness “bedkuh gullah”  (պետքը կ՚ըլլայ) in english: There’ll be a need

BTW it has been a while, since I’ve blogged.  Between my vacation, weekend family things and Google+ I’ve been going 100mph.  Slots of time haven’t been long enough to sit down and write.  Oh yeah, I have to load a WordPress app for my iPhone… 🙂