iPhone mute switch kerfuffle

Ringing Finally Ended, but There’s No Button to Stop Shame

The unmistakably jarring sound of an iPhone marimba ring interrupted the soft and spiritual final measures of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 at the New York Philharmonic on Tuesday night. The conductor, Alan Gilbert, did something almost unheard-of in a concert hall: He stopped the performance. But the ringing kept on going, prompting increasingly angry shouts in the audience directed at the malefactor.

After words from Mr. Gilbert, and what seemed like weeks, the cellphone owner finally silenced his device. After the audience cheered, the concert resumed. Internet vitriol ensued.

Many people have been commenting on this event for a while now and Marco Arment pulls many of the various issues and sub-issues together here: Designing “Mute”.

No doubt how the mute switch works relative to all sounds is a meaningful design discussion but what interests me is that few if any of these discussions about the event recommend turning the phone off. Turning electronics off not only solves the unexpected alarm/ring problem, it also solves the problem of people silently texting their friends during a concert.

If I spend the money to go to a concert at Avery Fisher Hall the last thing I want is to be sitting next to someone with a lit up smartphone texting his or her friends.

The answer here is to turn off all electronic devices at a concert like this. Not sleep, not mute, but power down. That takes care of the texting problem and users who don’t know that they’ve set up an alarm to go off during a concert.

Google TV

Google TV product manager Rishi Chandra: ‘Android is going to be a successful operating system on TVs’

Watch the video. Nilay Patel interviews Rishi Chandra on GoogleTV, Android’s future as an OS for televisions, cable boxes, DVRs, and other TV add-ons.

Not a single mention of AppleTV, iOS, or any of Apple’s work in this area except to say that they believe Android will dominate in the tablet area (toward the end of the interview).

If you listen to the interview, the complexity of the various things Google is doing sounds much like listening to Steve Balmer talk about how Windows will be integrated into everything. As many know, Microsoft is having difficulty in this area and while Android may be doing well as an OS, the universe of gadgets that run various flavors of it is a mess.

I love the simplicity of AppleTV, AirPlay and using my iPhone or iPad as a remote. Did you see those Google TV remotes? Ugh.

No doubt the internet is affecting the future of broadcast and cable TV and it may be a wide open market right now. I can tell you that the Bravia operating system Sony builds into its TVs is awful and I stay out of those menus on my TV as much as possible. I want to use my Sony TV as a dumb flat screen for some future Apple device (AppleTVX) that controls everything simply and easily. No doubt that’s coming soon.


Young Entrepreneur Has A Better Idea. Now What?

Meredith Perry turned 22 this month. She just graduated from college and started a new company built around a technology she recently invented.

There’s plenty of bad economic news these days, but Perry and her company, called UBeam, are trying to defy it — she’s hiring and entertaining funding offers from investors.

Perry’s invention: A transmitter that can recharge wireless devices using ultrasonic waves. It’s like Wifi, she says, except instead of a wireless Internet connection, her’s transmits power over the air.

Fantastic. UBeam for an iPhone. I hope she makes it, we really need this.

Golden ragwort

Golden rag wort

Taken with a Canon Powershot S90 camera

On the Appalachian Trail near Sheffield, Massachusetts. I’ve been taking pictures like these with my iPhone and Instagram because it’s fun and easy to upload them to both twitter and flickr this way but in doing so I miss the quality of a “real” camera. Of course, calling the S90 a real camera compared with a Canon 5D and decent lens is almost laughable except in a relative sense (relative to an iPhone’s camera).

Interesting how ease of posting can influence tool used.

Golden rag wort

Taken with an iPhone and Instagram

Apple iPhone-maker Foxconn ponders big Brazil move

Apple iPhone-maker Foxconn ponders big Brazil move

Tech companies are keen to sell to Brazilian consumers hungry for high-end electronics, but gadgets are often priced out of the market because of high production costs and import tariffs. Apple’s cheapest iPad, for example, retails for about $860 in Brazil, versus $400 in the United States.

India had or still has similar stiff import tariffs making it prohibitively expensive to sell even low priced electronics there.

Real audiophiles don’t multitask while listening to music

Whatever Happened To The Audiophile

I have a dedicated two-channel listening room. My passion is for vacuum tubes and this set up consists of a KT88 based tube amp, tube preamp, tubed CD player, tubed digital-to-analog converter that is partnered with an iMac for digital files and wonderful pair of very efficient speakers. Power to the room is on dedicated lines.

Listening to music used to be a plop-down, stay-still event. Now it’s something people do while doing something else, like eating while driving or chatting on a phone while walking. The experience of listening to music these days, says Timothy Doyle of the Consumer Electronics Association, is “not unlike personal computing: It’s a 24/7 multilocation proposition; people are taking their music with them, and as a whole, the world has changed so that there are simply fewer and fewer ‘old school’ proponents of sitting down and listening to music.”

When sound equipment moved from tubes and records to iPods and mp3/AAC we not only lost fidelity, we lost the need to single task listening to music. Portability led to using music as background noise rather than foreground signal.

To this day I cannot hold a serious conversation over music, even in the lo-fi car. I have ADD but I think there’s something else going on here: I listen to music actively and when I’m listening I’m listening, not talking. I would never consider myself an audiophile but I am a single tasker in many domains.

Apple products and price sensitivity

Prepaid Touch Panels Could Be the Secret to iPad’s Success in 2011

I disagree with the premise even though its a fact that Apple prepaid for a huge amount of flash memory and now touch screens. The premise here is that people are choosing the iPad because of price and that competitors who didn’t pre-pay for components will have to use more expensive components and so, will be charging higher prices. This is true, the competition may cost more because Apple has bought components up front in bulk but also because Apple is manufacturing on a larger scale (they sell more units).

However, as we know with other devices Apple makes, when people want that particular device or want an Apple product because its compatible with their other Apple products price is not at the top of their list.

Example: rumor has it that Apple will be announcing a new line of MacBook Pros this coming week and I’ll be in the market for one. I’m not going to consider a Sony or Dell no matter how much they cost (the rumor is that they’ll be lower cost than current models but that’s not going to sway me). I’ve made a commitment to Mac OS since 1984 and that’s where I am.

The other piece of this is that I already have an iPhone and an iPad and have made an investment in iOS and collecting iOS apps for iPhone and current iPad. People like me would not jump to Android if Apple raised the price of the next iPad slightly. They probably won’t but the point is price sensitivity isn’t something I’m thinking about.

As in the computer world of old, price is meaningful for new users who haven’t made a commitment to an OS, to users who are considering moving from Windows/Android to an Apple device, or in the world outside of Apple where Windows or Android will run on a variety of devices one can choose from. But, once you’re hooked into the Apple world (for any number of reasons) there you are.

David Pogue on the Verizon iPhone

For iPhone, Almost Heaven

Pogue has written the clearest piece I’ve read yet on the differences between the AT&T iPhone and the new Verizon iPhone. Many who think it’s a slam dunk need to read this piece, it’s really not. Of course, if your iPhone drops calls regularly it may be. We have terrible reception at home (like Pogue does) but my guess is AT&T will get another tower in our area at some point and improve it. Even with our terrible reception our iPhones don’t drop many calls. If we were starting from scratch again right now (no penalty for quitting our AT&T contract) I’m not sure what we’d do because my guess is Verizon has a better signal here at our house. For now, we’re sticking with what we have.