Microsoft is already calling it quits with the Kin as reported by a number of places. I get this strange impression that Microsoft isn’t quite sure what its strategy is with anything these days.

It’s even being reported that the killing of the Kin could be the beginning of a number of shake ups at Microsoft. One can only hope they come out looking a lot more focused than they are right now. I can’t help but feel that Microsoft is doing as well as it is right now out of sheer momentum. Windows 7 is selling well, but it’s hard not to be when there is such a large user base to begin with. Then again, it really is a great OS. Windows Phone 7 sounds very promising but I don’t think anyone could say for sure where Microsoft is going from here.

As Windows Phone 7 gets closer to release we keep hearing more and more about what Microsoft’s Phone operating system will and will not do. For the first time that I can remember, Microsoft appears to be incredibly focused on released a product that simply works and if that means not releasing features that everyone else has in 1.0 then so be it. And I applaud them for doing so.

Not everyone feels the same way however, pointing out some of the features Windows Phone 7 will initially lack such as copy and paste as well as multitasking. Although both are important features, neither are required for Microsoft to release a successful product.

It’s hard to argue that when the iPhone was introduced back in 2007 it destroyed everything else on the smart phone market, despite not having copy and paste or multitasking. It also didn’t have any way for developing native applications and developers were expected to build web applications to be run on the iPhone’s web browser. Speaking of the web browser, the iPhone still doesn’t have the ability to run flash which so many people claim is simply required for a proper web experience.

Apple’s iPhone of course has been a run away success, despite missing all of these “required” features. What the iPhone lacked in features it made up for with an as yet unseen level of polish, responsiveness and thoughtfulness in the smart phone market. With just two physical buttons it was incredibly easy to use and understand compared to other smart phones available at the time.

Unlike Google’s Android, which was already in development when the iPhone was released, Microsoft’s mobile phone OS was in no condition to compete with either and for Microsoft to compete properly in the smart phone market they really had to start from scratch. Windows Phone 7 is that from scratch effort and it makes sense that they’re going to have to cut some features in order to release a solid mobile OS in a timely fashion. Microsoft is always accused of simply buying or copy features from someone else and this time it is no different. Microsoft is clearly running the same plays from Apple’s play book and I don’t see anything wrong with that. When Microsoft releases Windows Phone 7 they’ll have a product that is neatly situated right between what iPhone OS, now known as iOS, offered initially and what it can do today. It should also be able to more quickly adapt and even out do its competitors in future releases. My only remaining concern for Microsoft is whether or not hardware makers can create new devices that can match or even rival that of Apple. That I think, will be the key to it’s success.

Last week I helped someone rescue their computer. The striped disk set had gone wonky and would only occasionally boot properly. If it booted at all it would run fine, but getting it to boot was the tricky part. They wanted me to fix the issue and as long as I was doing so, upgrade the system to Windows 7.

After some effort, I got the computer to boot and promptly created an image of it using my favorite disk imaging software. I then broke the raid set and used the one drive that was still good to install Windows 7. Once installed I copied the appropriate data from the old Vista system on to the new Windows 7 system. All seemed well until I got an email claiming the computer wouldn’t download files or play flash videos.

While attempting to download a file they’d get the following error.

Internet Explorer cannot download from
Internet Explorer was not able to open the Internet site. The requested site
is either unavailable or cannot be found. Please try again later.

After much trial and error I found the solution. Rename the Temp directory located at %userprofile%\AppData\Local. Once this was done IE was able to download files and play flash videos once again. I’m not sure what the real issue was but this fixed it.

Apple throws Adobe a bone — on the Mac: “

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Adobe’s Flash Player has never performed as well in Mac OS X as it does on Windows-running PCs. The traditionally poor performance of Adobe’s plugin on the Mac has led many iPhone and iPad users to support Apple’s decision to keep Flash off of its mobile devices. While the upcoming Flash 10.1 does boast some significant performance improvements over its predecessors, the performance is still pretty terrible compared to h.264, which has access to hardware-accelerated video decoding via the GPUs in Macs.

Adobe’s stance has long been to blame Apple for the poor performance of Flash on the Mac, citing Apple’s unwillingness to allow third-party developers access to APIs necessary for hardware-accelerated video. Adobe no longer has that excuse to fall back upon: Apple posted a technical note back in late March that removes this restriction and allows third-party developers access to hardware-acceleration APIs for h.264 decoding in compatible GPUs. The technical note describes ‘a C programming interface providing low-level access to the H.264 decoding capabilities of compatible GPUs’ — meaning only the latest Mac GPUs, the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M and GeForce GT 330M. ‘It is intended for use by advanced developers who specifically need hardware accelerated decode of video frames,’ the note continues.

So there you have it, Adobe. The one thing that’s supposedly been holding you back from getting decent Flash performance on the Mac is now gone. Now that Apple has removed this ‘stumbling block’ and you’re unfettered by Apple’s restrictions, the onus is on you to prove that you can deliver a well-crafted Flash plugin for the Mac — preferably one that doesn’t crash constantly or send my fans into a cyclone any time I try to watch full-screen Flash videos.

It will be interesting to see how Adobe responds to this. If Adobe takes advantage of the hardware-acceleration APIs, how much improvement Flash’s performance sees as a result will settle the debate once and for all over who’s been at fault for Flash’s subpar performance on the Mac. Even if Flash sees substantial performance on the Mac as a result of this move, though, there’s probably no chance that Apple will relent on its stance regarding Flash on iPhone OS.

[Via MacRumors]

TUAWApple throws Adobe a bone — on the Mac originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Thu, 22 Apr 2010 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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(Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW).)

If you spend any time reading tech news at all then you’ve noticed that Apple’s iPad has dominated the news. This apparently upsets a great number of people and they just don’t understand why people are spending so much time talking about the iPad and really wish they would all stop.

Well good news! The JooJoo was also recently released into the wild and if you find yourself hating the iPad because it lacks flash or you can’t stand Apple’s App Store then point your browser right over here and order one.

But before you do, should probably ask, “is the JooJoo any good?” Well apparently, despite being what so many seem to want, a 16:9 format display, a USB port and a camera, it doesn’t quite make it. It turns out the JooJoo is actually quite a turd. The Engadget video review is particularly interesting because it shows exactly what the device is going to be like for an average user.

So what happened? Well it turns out that throwing features into a device just so they can show up on a spec sheet doesn’t make for a good product. It’s the software and how it works with the hardware. It’s the total package. What’s the point of having flash support if the system can’t actually handle it? Or using a 16:9 format display on a device meant to be held in both orientations?

iPad naysayers are quick to point out the shortcomings of the device without thinking about everything it does right. Unlike other companies, Apple isn’t attempting to out do anyone based on specifications. Instead, Apple is attempting to provide the end user with an excellent end-to-end experience. Apple spent time making sure the device did exactly what it is capable of. Meaning, if flash doesn’t work perfectly then it is better not to include it than give the end-user some half-assed experience.

A lot of people give Macs grief because they included mouse doesn’t include a right mouse button. Apple mice have supported right click in some form since OS X was introduced, it’s just designed differently. In fact, cI often find that people who don’t like an Apple product simply don’t know anything about the product they’re so fervently against or have been misinformed. Maybe they heard from some source that the device lacked some arbitrary item on a spec sheet or maybe they just don’t see past the marketing hyperbole and have since written Apple off completely. If you fall into this category, I invite you to head on over to Apple’s site and read through the features while keeping in mind that every feature listed works and works well. Anything you think is missing from the device was more than likely left off because they couldn’t perfect the experience.

To be fair, the JooJoo is but one competing tablet on the market and there are many more on their way. Android devices have the best chance at competing and competing well with Apple. However, the key with Android devices is if to get rid of the fragmentation in the market and make sure that the majority of Android devices are running a compatible feature set and OS. 2010 will be the year of the iPad, but 2011 will be the year of the tablet.

As pointed out by this article on Slashdot.org a good number of Linux based tablets are also on their way and set to compete with Apple’s iPad. Of the mentioned tablets I think Android based ones hold the most potential simply because Android was designed from the ground up around the idea of touch input.

The other interesting thing, as always, are the comments on the Slashdot post. I just can’t help but feel the majority of tech savvy people simply don’t understand what the iPad is and why it will be a success. According to a large number of the tech savvy, people want a device they can tinker with, install whatever they choose on and is open. Anything else is evil and you’re dumb if you don’t agree. What they tend to forget is there is a large market of people who just don’t care about openness. They just want a device that works without the need to tinker.

My wife isn’t someone who wants to tinker. She wants results. As a tech savvy person myself, it took me a number of years before I fully understood why turning on the TV, stereo, selecting the right input, turning on the DVD player and selecting the right remote for each device in order to watch a movie simply wasn’t acceptable to her. It had to be simpler. The entire setup was so simple in my mind and I had complete control over the system, it all seemed perfect to me. Getting everything turned on so we could watch a movie together seemed like a small accomplishment each and every time. To her it was a complete chore. The answer, in the end, was a Logitech Harmony remote. One button turns on the needed equipment, automatically selects the correct input and the one remote then correctly controls each device without further work. Turning it all off is equally easy. Today I’d never give up that remote because of how it simplified the entire process.

My point is that eventually, getting things done becomes more important than openness or the ability to tinker. I’m more than willing to give some of that up for a more pleasurable experience. I think Android based devices, including phones and tablets, will be successful, but in the area of tablets the iPad will lead because it provides solutions with the least amount of resistance.