Years ago, long before the dawn of the DVD or Blu-ray formats, consumer video was strictly all-analog, from the very first broadcasts right up to the introduction of the LaserDisc. The 12-inch, double-sided LaserDisc looked like a giant CD, but the video was analog encoded on two single-sided aluminum discs layered in plastic. The discs that debuted in 1978 had analog audio soundtracks, but later discs featured stereo digital sound. Millions of players were sold in the U.S., but LaserDisc was, even during the height of its popularity, a niche format that appealed mostly to videophiles. It had much … Read more
Home audio was strictly a single-speaker pursuit from the dawn of recorded sound through the late 1950s, when stereo changed the way we listen to music. Multichannel home theater's popularity peaked in the late 1990s, but starting with iPods and sound-bar speakers, mono was back in style. More recently sales of battery-powered, mono Bluetooth speakers started to take off. While these lo-fi systems may contain stereo pairs of … Read more
Way down in the fine print about Apple's upcoming iOS 6, you'll find a little note that says new features like Flyover and turn-by-turn directions are only available on the iPhone 4S, or the iPad 2 or higher.
A note immediately below that says Siri is only available on the iPhone 4S or third-generation iPad.
Since the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPad 2 are all actively for sale and still being marketed by Apple, I have to wonder: is Apple on the road to fragmenting the iOS experience? Could there come a future when not only do … Read more
Features like Bluetooth audio add value to products, so they raise the price of BT-equipped gear. I don't have a problem with that, but I'm surprised how much sound quality people are willing to give up just to have wireless audio.
Cheap Bluetooth add-ons like the $25 Belkin Bluetooth Music Receiver or the $40 Logitech Wireless Speaker Adapter can stream tunes from a smartphone, iPod Touch, iPad, or other tablets sans wires. That's nice, but the processing sounds awful -- gritty harsh, limits bass oomph, and has unpleasant treble -- compared with just running a wire to … Read more
Update: May 17, 2012 Do I get results, or what? Less than a day after this column posted, Comcast announced it would ditch its 250GB data cap in favor of a 300GB cap with the option to buy additional 50GB chunks for $10 each. Not bad, although it's amusing timing given their current fight over Net neutrality and cap-free Xfinity on-demand streaming.
Bandwidth caps, the death of unlimited data plans, throttling, "data hog" accusations...I get it. Pay-per-use bandwidth is inevitable: the end of unlimited Internet access is at hand. Bandwidth is a limited resource, especially on … Read more
Last week, I wrote about a Dell summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the moderator of the event, Mads Christensen, "entertained" the crowd of IT professionals with a barrage of sexist jokes, and exhorted them to go home and tell their wives to "shut up, bitch."
This week, Dell posted an apology on its Google+ page, saying the company would be "more careful selecting speakers at Dell events."
Update: May 15, 2012 In the wake of this article, Christiane Vejlo's English-language account was posted on Reddit, and Dell has apologized on its Google+ page for hiring Mads Christensen to speak at its Copenhagen summit. "Dell sincerely apologizes for these comments," they wrote, saying also, "[g]oing forward, we will be more careful selecting speakers at Dell events."
Update: 11:31 a.m. PT
A lot of women in tech, including me, don't like to spend a lot of time talking about being a woman in tech. In fact, on a panel of … Read more
As I write this column, I'm on my seventh day of waiting for a Nordstrom package to arrive, and I am fuming. My order was received April 6, it didn't ship until three days ago, and it's still not here. And all I can think is, "I wish I'd ordered that through Amazon."
That's the sentence that should, and probably does, strike fear into the heart of any company doing e-commerce retail today. So why is Amazon still one of the few companies successfully executing free and timely shipping?
"Free shipping is … Read more
Wal-Mart this week ushered in a high-profile outing of Hollywood's UltraViolet scheme for digital streaming of movies and TV. And it's the same old song it ever was: complicated, restrictive DRM with a big side helping of "pay me again."
In theory, UltraViolet gives you an easier--or at least, legal--way to digitally stream your movies to multiple devices. The UV standard, developed by the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, offers dizzying promises of an easy-to-access digital library, "total freedom" to view your UV-enabled movies on any device, and future-proof DVD buying where every disc includes … Read more
Recent weeks have seen a lot of (overdue) talk about privacy and technology. There was the flap over Path and other mobile apps uploading your phone's address books to their servers without your permission. A follow-up story noted apps might be able to slurp up photos and their location data on iOS, too.
There was the discovery that Google overrode some cookie settings in Safari in order to track users for ad serving. And Congress is still figuring out a response to last fall's concerns over software on phones that could share your location or other data without … Read more