October 2012

This Hour Has 22 Minutes’ “iPad Mini” Skit

by Joey deVilla on October 17, 2012

While others have written speculations about whether Apple’s upcoming announcement will be about the rumoured-to-exist iPad Mini and when it might be launched, the folks at This Hour Has 22 Minutes did one better and speculated what the “Timnote” at Apple’s October 23rd event will be like.

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You have to remember that when he said this, it was still an unusual thing to see a computer in the home, the internet was not a household word, the web lived on a single server in Switzerland, hard disks were finally beginning to become standard equipment on PCs, and mobile phones only made calls…barely.

You say, “Why should I learn these difficult technical skills when it’s all just gonna change? Let me know when it’s settled down.” Problem is, by the time you catch on that it’s *never* gonna settle down, you’re five years behind, with no real way to catch up, and you feel like a one-person Soviet Union.

Stewart Brand on The WELL, circa 1991

Found via The Technium.


Lots of Surface News Today

by Joey deVilla on October 16, 2012

How Much?

TechCrunch managed to catch one of those “oops, posted the web page too early” moments at Microsoft, and it seems to reveal the prices for its upcoming Surface RT tablets. Here they are, listed alongside similarly-priced iPads:

Surface Model Price Similarly-priced iPad Price
32 GB, no “Touch Cover” (cover with touch-sensitive keyboard) $499 16 GB Wifi-only New iPad / 16GB Wifi + 3G iPad 2 $519 / $549
32 GB with “Touch Cover” $599 32 GB Wifi-only New iPad / 16GB Wifi + 3G New iPad $619 / $649
64 GB with “Touch Cover” $699 64 GB Wifi-only New iPad / 64GB Wifi + 3G New iPad $719 / $849


As promised, these models are priced competitively against the iPad. That leaves the hurdles of coming almost three years late to the market, lack of mindshare, smaller app ecosystem, an app store that has to get its act together, developers who’ve jumped ship to other platforms, a remaining developer culture that’s got a lot to learn about UI and the fact that they’re Microsoft (the vendor whose stuff you have to use, not the vendor whose stuff you want to use). On the plus side, Surface is probably the easiest tablet to develop for; Microsoft has to convince developers of this and get them to bring their A-game when writing Surface apps.

It should be noted that these are the Windows RT models, which means they’ll only run RT applications and not any software written for previous versions of Windows. The Windows Pro tablets, slated to come out next year, will run both.

How Many?

They’re building 3 to 5 million this quarter, according to the Wall Street Journal. Once again, for comparison’s sake, Apple sold 17 million tablets last quarter. I will remind the reader that the tablet market is young, and anything can happen.

Any Ads?

Microsoft’s first TV spots for Surface were scheduled to appear last night, according to The Verge. Here’s the first one, a Stomp-inspired dance bit with lots of Touch Cover attachings and detachings, whose message is “Surface is cool”.

Microsoft is reported to be spending at least a billion dollars on the campaign to promote Windows 8, and Surface will undoubtedly be a big player. Hopefully that money will be more effectively spent; we were once told they were spending a half billion on Windows Phone 7’s campaign, with pretty sad results.

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This Chinese iPhone Store Needs a Better Translator

by Joey deVilla on October 16, 2012

They probably got the “Because you have more money than sense” from a Google search. Still, it’s not as bad as this restaurant sign:


Someone Figured Out My Password…

by Joey deVilla on October 15, 2012

Here’s a good reminder to use passwords that aren’t made of names or actual words.

The joke in this poster is also a hint as to why biometrics isn’t the answer. If your password is compromised, you can make up a new one. If your fingerprint data is compromised, you can’t change your fingerprints.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.


R.I.P. Michael O’Connor Clarke

by Joey deVilla on October 14, 2012

Michael O’Connor Clarke was the “Good Guy Greg” of the Toronto blogosphere. He was part of the social glue that held the Toronto tech community together, even before its DemoCamp days, friend and trusted advisor to so many of us who specialized in corralling eyeballs, pixels or code and organizer of HoHoTO, a regular charity event that brings tens of thousands of much-needed dollars to the Daily Bread Food Bank. On top of that, he had an impressive resume and was a husband, father of three children and sole breadwinner of the household.

Michael was diagnosed earlier this year with esophageal cancer, an aggressive variety of the disease, and he died last night. My heart goes out to his wife Leona and his kids, Charlie, Lily and Ruairi.

I owe Michael all sorts of debts for his help throughout the years, from referring the Globe and Mail to me to giving me the best damned media training ever in a half-hour over coffee to always greeting me with a smile and a joke whenever I saw him. I plan to repay those debts by following his example as best I can.

I’ll leave you with AKMA’s words about Michael:

Michael is already a winner, a bigger winner than ’most anyone I know, and he will always be. We have a job to do, now, of holding him and his dear ones tight in an embrace, a solidarity, a real, effectual net woven by our caring and our love — but we can’t lose sight of the real goal, to which Michael gives so much time and energy. We have to build out the network of our effectual love and caring till it avails not just for people we know first-hand, but reaches even to strangers and eventually even to f*cknozzles, because none of us can stand alone against all the forces of corruption and exploitation and violence. Michael’s drawing Toronto further toward that, contributing his skills and resources and energy to the Daily Bread Food Bank; by all means let’s rally to Michael’s side, show him our respect and solidarity, and by sharing in his spirit of generosity and love, share with him in winning something vast and vital and imperishable, something that cancer can’t touch. Help Michael and his family. Make someone laugh; feed someone; give a hand to someone who needs a boost; find a way to hire someone; knit us all together more kindly, more securely. That’s the win; that’s what I have to say for Michael: a champion, an unbeatable champion.

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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Hypothetical Videogame of the Day

by Joey deVilla on October 12, 2012

Game box design by FancyHam.

Imagine a videogame adaptation of Blade Runner, as made for the #1 console of that time.

Then again, it might not be such a good idea:

This article also appears in The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

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