The 11th company with the largest market cap


The NY Times has an interesting visual on when and how big the 11 companies that have held the top market cap spot were. Apple’s $338.9 billion market cap is top dog now, but it pales in comparison to Cisco’s $707.9 billion market cap of 2000.

via Daring Fireball

A few weeks with the FitBit

The FitBit. It’s tiny, it’s beyond portable, and it tracks how active (or inactive) you are. I bought this little guy after seeing various bloggers around the web falling in love with theirs, and I had to get in on the action. What made it so appealing?

The answer to that comes with the territory of the crowd I was following: techies. We inherently love numbers. Indisputable numbers is a quick and dirty way to compare things, and the FitBit caters to our love to a letter. It tracks the number of steps taken, miles travelled, number of calories burned, and the flights of stairs walked for the current day. Best of all, all of those metrics are immediately available for consumption on the device. However, the site is where the real depth comes in with sleep effectiveness, calories taken in, and a 30-day graph of the previously mention bits of data. After a few weeks of use, you can really get a sense of where you are on the scale of daily activeness.

Although the numbers are a fantastic way to monitor progress, that goes the other way and it’s easy to see regression, for better or worse. If you don’t cheat the system, you’ll see exactly when you took fewer steps in one day, or took in significantly more calories than you burned. And that’s the best motivation for anyone trying to get fit. But that requires a lifestyle change.

Fitbit data

The downside to owning a FitBit, at least for the first week or so, is remembering to actually incorporate it into your daily routine. As you can see from the picture I provided, there were more than a few occasions when I completely forgot to track the foods I ate. Once or twice, I left it on my desk or in another pair of jeans.

At $100, it’s a rather steep entry price for what is essentially a pedometer on steroids. Yes, this pedometer does have wireless syncing, altimeter for tracking stairs climbed, and says adorable things like “Hug me,” but it’s still $100. That being said, I can’t really say that I don’t like it. Heck, I love my FitBit.

PS – And for those wondering, I get around 4.9 hours of sleep each night.

Dell: ‘We’re no longer a PC company’

PC Pro

Dell’s enterprise solution group Brad Anderson:

“We’re no longer a PC company, we’re an IT company. Dell’s changing very quickly. We are dramatically changing the make-up of our business. It’s no longer about shiny boxes, it’s about IT solutions [that let companies drive efficiencies].”

Funny. HP looked like they were jumping off that same ledge last year only to step back and not take that plunge. Dell is also keeping their consumer business around, but it’s clear that selling low-margin mass produced consumer PCs just isn’t working — just ask HP, who just got burned financially last quarter.

Many moons ago, IBM had the wherewithal to spin off their consumer PC business early and they’re doing all right, last time I checked.

Will it work this time around? Maybe. Who knows, really? What we do know is that the way most companies sell computers isn’t financially viable in the long run. Dell probably won’t have to resort to drastic measures, as Gruber notes, but it’s funny how drastically the climate can change.

HTC’s new design


HTC announced today the HTC One series of Android phones. To be honest, I haven’t been excited about HTC’s design for some time now, but this trio (particularly the HTC One V) have me very excited. Bulky seems to be a thing of the past.


The evolution of Windows logos


Paula asked us a simple question, “your name is Windows. Why are you a flag?”

In some ways you can trace the evolution of the Windows logo in parallel with the advancements of the technology used to create logos. From the simple two color version in Windows 1.0 to the intricate and detailed renderings in Windows Vista and Windows 7, each change makes sense in the context in which it was created. As computing capabilities increased, so did the use of that horse power to render more colors, better fonts, and more detailed and life-like 3D visual effects like depth, shadows, and materiality. We have evolved from a world of rudimentary low resolution graphics to today’s rich high-resolution systems. And what started as a simple “window” to compliment the product name became a flying or waving flag.

But if you look back to the origins of the logo you see that it really was meant to be a window. “Windows” really is a beautiful metaphor for computing and with the new logo we wanted to celebrate the idea of a window, in perspective. Microsoft and Windows are all about putting technology in people’s hands to empower them to find their own perspectives. And that is what the new logo was meant to be. We did less of a re-design and more to return it to its original meaning and bringing Windows back to its roots – reimagining the Windows logo as just that – a window.

OS X Mountain Lion

Just as Apple did a few years ago, upgrading the Mac operating system from one type of Leopard to another, the company is announcing a followup to Mac OS X Lion with another type of lion: Mountain Lion, version 10.8. Although the change from Leopard to Snow Leopard was slight, the jump from Lion to Mountain Lion looks to be more thorough. Gone is the “Mac” from the “Mac OS X” nomenclature, leaving us with just OS X Mountain Lion.

Around the web, the likes of John Gruber, Harry McCracken, Nilay Patel, MG Siegler, and the fine folks at Macworld have taken Mountain Lion for a spin and the consensus is generally positive.

Mountain Lion (v10.8) is ostensibly a deeper marriage of what Apple is learning from the iPad and the Mac than Lion (v10.7). And that isn’t surprising considering iOS and the iPad are bigger than the Mac in raw units. Notably, it’s iOS’s Notification Center, Game Center, Reminders, AirPlay, and the Share Sheets “share from anywhere” functionality that are making the jump to desktop.

Address Book, iChat and iCal are getting renamed to Contacts, Messages and Calendar, presumably to keep it inline with their iOS counterparts. The more interesting of the three is Messages, which’ll be amalgamating iChat on the Mac and iMessage on iOS. One application for your chat conversations and iMessages. If you’re feeling adventurous, Messages is available now as a beta download.

Remember iCloud? Well, it’s getting deeper integration into the operating system, and it’s becoming more and more apparent that iCloud will be the foundation on which Apple’s strategy is built going forward. And that’s exciting. iCloud has never been anything fancy in Lion, but in Mountain Lion it’ll be the first thing you’re presented with after a fresh install. And you can count on better document, photo, and bookmark sync, however Patel noted the lack of a file system can somewhat hamper the document sharing experience.

Lastly, (of the major inclusions) there’s Gatekeeper, which cleverly rounds out the Mac App Store concept with a new way to attack the malware problem before it becomes an issue.


This is an entirely new security feature in Mountain Lion. While Apple feels like they’ve largely avoided some of the major malware problems out there, they acknowledge that the threat is still very real. With Gatekeeper, they offer a solution. And it’s going to be controversial.

Essentially, Gatekepper gives you control over the kind of apps that can be installed on your computer. There will be three options: allow apps from anywhere (the way it works today), allow only Mac App Store apps, allows Mac App Store apps and identified developers.

The reason why this will be controversial is because the final option will be the default one. To be clear: this means that by default, you won’t be able to install any app from the web on your machine.


My favorite Mountain Lion feature, though, is one that hardly even has a visible interface. Apple is calling it “Gatekeeper”. It’s a system whereby developers can sign up for free-of-charge Apple developer IDs which they can then use to cryptographically sign their applications. If an app is found to be malware, Apple can revoke that developer’s certificate, rendering the app (along with any others from the same developer) inert on any Mac where it’s been installed. In effect, it offers all the security benefits of the App Store, except for the process of approving apps by Apple. Users have three choices which type of apps can run on Mountain Lion:

  • Only those from the App Store
  • Only those from the App Store or which are signed by a developer ID
  • Any app, whether signed or unsigned

The default for this setting is, I say, exactly right: the one in the middle, disallowing only unsigned apps. This default setting benefits users by increasing practical security, and also benefits developers, preserving the freedom to ship whatever software they want for the Mac, with no approval process.


Apple says Gatekeeper is a response to the growing threat of malware that relies on clever social engineering to get users to run malicious code hidden within another seemingly-innocuous app — the company doesn’t think it’s a huge problem now, but it’s trying to ward it off at the pass.

The developer preview is available now, but for the rest of us OS X Mountain Lion will be available this summer. Apple hasn’t yet disclosed the price, I wouldn’t rule out Mountain Lion being priced at $29.99.

Notice that this release date is exactly one year after the release of Lion. This is Apple’s new pattern. The company has been telling journalists that OS X is now being iterated on a yearly basis. And you better believe that this has been coming for some time now. As Gruber notes:

As soon as Schiller told me the name, I silently cursed myself for not having predicted it. Apple is a company of patterns. iPhone 3G, followed by a same-form-factor-but-faster 3GS; iPhone 4 followed by a same-form-factor-but-faster 4S. Leopard followed by Snow Leopard; so, of course: Lion followed by Mountain Lion.

The major-upgrade-every-other-year is Apple’s thing now. However refined and broad the changes Mountain Lion look, it’s the off beat in Apple’s release schedule. Whatever’s next will be even bigger.

Sony apologizes for Whitney Houston CD price hike

BBC: Sony ‘sorry’ for album price hike

In a statement, Sony said the albums had been “mistakenly mispriced”.

I usually keep my manatee-sized grain of salt ready for situations like this.

Samsung just doesn’t get it

Electronista: Samsung: image quality would fend off possible Apple TV set

In an interview with Pocket-lint, Samsung audio/video lead Chris Moseley stated the following in response to the rumors of Apple building a TV:

“TVs are ultimately about picture quality,” Moseley said. “How smart they are…great, but let’s face it that’s a secondary consideration. The ultimate is about picture quality and there is no way that anyone, new or old, can come along this year or next year and beat us on picture quality.”

Picture quality?

There hasn’t been a major leap in picture quality in years, and 1080p seems to be here to stay. The next logical move is to make TV’s better at being the center of your home entertainment. Netflix has already proven that streaming content is a real thing now, so unless higher resolutions (at affordable price points and in broadcast technology) are right around the corner how smart one’s TV is cannot be a “secondary consideration.”

Shades of the past, isn’t it?

Scumbag (noun), definition: Sony Music

VentureBeat: Shameful: Sony raised prices on Whitney Houston’s digital music 30 minutes after her death

Sony chose to raise the price of one of her most popular hits collections. The Ultimate Collection album in the U.K. jumped in price by more than 60 percent from £4.99 to £7.99 within 30 minutes of Houston’s death, according to Digital Spy. The album price fell back down to £4.99 some time during the weekend, but it’s unclear when it happened.


Denial isn’t just a river in Africa

The Globe and Mail: Roger Martin: Defying RIM’s critics

The combative Mr. Martin forcefully rejects that view, challenging the notion that last month’s resignations of the embattled Mr. Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis as co-CEOs and chairmen was a case of too little, too late.

“I laugh at the vast majority of critics when they say ‘Oh, you should have made this CEO transition, like, four years ago.’ Yeah, right – like, to who?” Mr. Martin scoffs over lunch at Mideastro, a favourite restaurant in Toronto’s Yorkville.

“So we’re supposed to hand it over to children, or morons from the outside who will destroy the company?” he says. “Or should we try to build our way to having succession?”

SNL’s Verizon 4G skit

Kayak ending BlackBerry support

Kayak blog:

When we started KAYAK in 2004, we issued BlackBerries to the entire engineering team so we could communicate instantly 24/7. Today we’ve all switched, and it seems our users are doing the same. Our audience of BlackBerry users has been declining precipitously, and we can’t justify the cost any longer.

Yahoo is still losing market share, Google is gaining


Browser market comScore jan 2012

The trend continues: Google and, to some extent, Bing are gaining marketshare at the expense of Yahoo search.

Thirteen and counting

Aaron Greenberg:


Joystiq: January NPD: Sales down without big launches, Skylanders a hit for accessories

Both hardware and software video game sales were down by a great deal in January, according to the latest report from NPD. Both categories dropped 38% year over year in the US, and video games sales in total dropped from $1.14 billion in January of 2011 to $750 million this past month. NPD’s Liam Callahan attributes the drops to a lack of new launches: Last January, Microsoft’s Kinect propped up hardware sales, and Dead Space 2, LittleBigPlanet 2, and DC Universe Online did the same for software, but there weren’t equivalent launches in the market this year.

It’s not all roses in the gaming industry.

Related: A visual history of gaming hardware sales

Ice Cream Sandwich: Google’s one percent

9to5 Google: Android Ice Cream Sandwich now installed on 1 percent of all devices

Android software spread feb 2012


Tim Schafer and Double Fine to develop game with Kickstarter funding


All money raised will go to make the game and documentary better. Additional money means it can appear on more platforms, be translated into more languages, have more music and voice, and an original soundtrack for the documentary, and more!

Over a six-to-eight month period, a small team under Tim Schafer’s supervision will develop Double Fine’s next game, a classic point-and-click adventure.  Where it goes from there will unfold in real time for all the backers to see.

I really love the idea behind this unorthodox experiment, and I’m glad it got the funding it needed (and more) — being Tim effing-Schafer doesn’t hurt, either. It’s a totally different model wherein gamers pre-fund a project (purchase before completion) as opposed to post-fund (purchase after completion). Now everyone knows what’s it’s like to be an investor. Although it does happen that investments never yield any fruits of labor, I’ve got faith that Tim and his team will deliver the goods.

Kodak ending camera business


[Kodak] plans to phase out its dedicated capture devices business – comprising digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames – in the first half of 2012. Kodak will instead expand its current brand licensing program, and seek licensees in these categories. Following this decision, Kodak’s Consumer Business will include online and retail-based photo printing, as well as desktop inkjet printing.

Goodbye cameras, hello $100 million in cost-cutting.

What happened to

ReadWriteWeb: Were and “Group Listening” Just a Summertime Fad?

New data suggests that’s popularity was indeed short-lived. Rather than growing continuously over time, the site’s Web traffic, search volume and Alexa rank all spiked in July and then trailed downward from August onward, according an analysis from Digital Music News.

Now that I think about it, what did happen to The buzz around it certainly did peak during the summer, and nary a peep was heard from it afterward. Talk about an echo chamber.

Obama fires marshmallow cannon

Hey, Samsung, styli aren’t in style anymore

Time: Note to Samsung: The Pen Doesn’t Sell

Here are the problems with using the pen as a selling point for Samsung’s Galaxy Note:

  • It conjures memories of the Palm Pilot, a product and a brand that became obsolete a long time ago.
  • You can’t explain the subtleties of the stylus in a flashy television commercial. The important detail — that it’s used for specific applications and doesn’t just work in place of your fingers — is lost upon the average viewer.
  • The stylus appeals to niche cases, like artists who want to sketch or journalists who want to take notes. Those are tricky ideas to convey to a large, mainstream audience, especially in the span of one TV commercial.
  • Having a pen means having an extra accessory to worry about — something viewers may consider as the actors pass their gadgets around for everyone to try.
  • Just a guess: nobody in the history of consumer electronics has ever squealed with amazement the words “IT’S GOT A PEN!?”