So, it’s been almost a year since my last post (again!). Reading through the archives of the site, which has been up for a little over 3 years now, I’m tempted to post an update to some of the older posts. What better way to restart blogging?

In November 2007, I wrote about the iPhone and the hype surrounding it. I suggested looking at alternatives. Since then, Apple has released the iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4. Some of the issues I had with the 1st iPhone version were that it didn’t support 3G, corporate sync and 3rd party apps. The next iPhone release (iPhone 3G) addresses all these, and so I went out and bought one. I owned it till recently. I now have an Android device – the DroidX on Verizon. As an engineer (a Java one at that), I absolutely love the Android OS. Also, Verizon is so much better than AT&T. I hope Verizon’s networks don’t get clogged when the Verizon iPhone comes out next year. I am waiting for the 2nd generation of iPad though.

Fast forward almost a year to September 2008, when Google Chrome was first released. I posted an initial review of the browser (within minutes of it being available for download). A couple of days later, I discovered that my laptop was randomly BSOD-ing when Google Chrome was playing a video. [BSOD = Blue Screen Of Death]. A lot of other users faced the same problem, and that post is, till date, the most commented post on this site.

Apple was dominant then (PC manufacturing and iPhone apps among others), and Apple is dominant now.

In September 2008, I had a look at the initial draft of HTML5 and decided it was a game changer for the whole web experience.  HTML5 is becoming more common with Apple deciding to shun Flash, and more internet-enabled devices (Google TV, for example) appearing on the scene.

One day before we rang in 2009, I wrote about why Wikipedia should stop appealing for funds and place text ads to generate revenue. This post was slashdotted and brought in over 5000 visitors that week, which was pretty impressive considering it was the holiday season. It’s almost time to ring in 2011, and guess what? Another campaign appealing for funds – and this time, there are bigger banners, more people and more money. They were looking for $6 million back then. They’re looking for $14 million now. Wikipedia is an amazing resource and I would hate for it to close. There are a lot of people out there who would like to help, but cannot afford $50 or $100 (this is like a months salary for the labor class in developing countries). These campaigns are becoming more frequent and more intrusive (even more than a simple text ad display).

That’s pretty much a current update on some of my past posts. It’s interesting to observe that technology is advancing everyday and is become more and more ubiquitous and unified. And then, there are some things that don’t change.

In today’s day and age, when Apple is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is usually between iPod, iPhone and Steve Jobs. Despite this, Apple has now risen to the 6th largest PC manufacturer in the world, and 3rd largest in the United States, behind Dell and HP, according to Gartner’s latest report on the topic. In the United States, Apple recorded a staggering 38% growth between 2Q07 and 2Q08.

In late 2004, Gartner predicted that 30% of the top PC manufacturers will not survive. In other words, 3 of the top 10 will not survive by 2007-08. Back then, the top 10 was Dell, HP, IBM, Fujitsu, Fujitsu-Siemens, Toshiba, NEC, Apple, Lenovo and Gateway. That prediction was quite accurate. IBM sold their desktop and laptop division to Lenovo. NEC is struggling. So is Fujitsu-Siemens.

Apple may well be on their way to #2. But, to overtake Dell is a tall order. Apple has to do more – especially in the pricing department. Dell’s aggressive pricing is probably the largest contribution towards their #1 position. But, do they want to be that big? At present, it is cool to own an Apple computer. If it become ubiquitous, will it retain the coolness factor? Isn’t that what it’s all about?

According to Don Reisinger at TechCrunch, Apple is projected to sell 1 billion Apps quicker than 1 billion songs.

Steve Jobs recently indicated that over 100 million downloads of apps have already been recorded, with 70 million in August. At this rate, 1 billion will occur sometime in 2009, within a year of the app store opening. Songs reached that landmark in its second year of existence.

Why are apps more popular? Aren’t there more iPods and other portable MP3 players out there? Songs can be played on PCs and Macs too. With the hundreds of millions of computers and portable media players owned by people of the planet, why are apps, which are restricted to the iPhone and iPod touch (the number of these sold are a mere fraction of computers and media players) more popular?
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So, I managed to snag Google Chrome 8 minutes before noon PDT (the official release time). The link was live, and I downloaded it in a flash. Currently, people are reporting that the server is under extreme load and they are not able to download it.

Initial thoughts:

– The installation imported my bookmarks automatically without my permission. It only notified me. I’m disappointed with that. If it was a confirmation, it didn’t follow the usability standards.

– The browser opened up quick, unlike most others which take time.

– The rendering of pages was quick, but the fonts on many pages were not smooth – they had jagged edges and were a strain to read. I checked sites like cnn.com, cnbc.com and even Google’s search engine. I’m using Windows XP SP3, on a Dell Latitude D820 with a resolution of 1280×800

– It was a bit difficult to find the task manager built-in to the browser.

– The Acid 2 test passed. The Acid 3 test failed, with a score of 61/100.
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HTC Touch CruiseSince the Motorola RAZR, no phone has generated so much buzz as the iPhone. Congratulations to Steve Jobs & Co. for once again showing off their marketing skills and generating so much hype. Ordinarily, when one thinks of a two-year data plan contract with a cellular carrier, they are not willing to spend much on the phone itself. Not only does the iPhone aka Jesusphone cost an arm and a leg, but you would have to sell your kidney to pay 2 years worth of AT&T subscription fees. If you travel a lot internationally, add roaming fees to that and you’re not left with much.

So, why did people spend so much on the iPhone? I guess it’s the cool factor. The phone has an attractive user interface (credit must be given where due – iPhone probably has one of the best interfaces I’ve seen on a mobile device), and consumers seem to like things which look good, irrespective of whether there is a better alternative or not. OK, so the iPhone has touch-navigation and during Steve Jobs’ demo of the phone, the sliding of his finger over the display of the phone to unlock it generated so many ooh’s and aah’s. Come on people, you can do better than that.
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