Boxee Box

Boxee announced the internals of the Boxee box today:
http://blog.boxee.tv/2010/01/07/boxee-box-internals-revealed-nvidia-tegra-2-ftw/

Looks pretty solid – little disappointed with the no IR option for the remote (therefore it won’t work with Harmony One) – but I am pretty impressed with the remote they came up (full QWERTY keyboard on the back).

More info on Boxee:
http://boxee.tv/

Reports of Qualcomm’s Chips in Verizon bound iPhone …

I’d like nothing more than see the iPhone on Verizon, but I’m call bullsh** on the report from MacRumors regarding Qualcomm and Apple.  Full disclosure, I work for Qualcomm in the IT department – so I have no idea what our chip division is up to or any other kinds of dealings that we have.  My speculation below is completely my own based off of simple research via Google and press releases.

First, Qualcomm all ready makes chips that support GSM/WCDMA (UMTS)/CDMA – so saying that Qualcomm couldn’t produce them in time seems erroneous. In my informal research, it looks like Qualcomm has been producing said chips since at least 2002 – google ‘gsm cdma’ and see what you get.  Now, would I believe that Apple is looking for LTE chip that is multi-mode – GSM/WCDMA/CDMA/LTE – so they can use the phone on any network including AT&T and Verizon’s future networks? Sure, I’d buy that.

Qualcomm is indeed working on such a chipset:

http://www.qctconnect.com/newsroom/news/2009/091112_hspa_plus_lte.html

Now, would I buy that these parties haven’t or couldn’t come to terms because of timing and quantity. Sure, I’d buy that too.  However, it clearly states that these chips are projected to market in 2nd half of 2010. Now I have no knowledge of Apple or Qualcomm’s roadmaps for the iPhone or chipsets – but they aren’t automagically going to line up without some partnering. So I wouldn’t expect to divine what’s happening from press releases, but the timing of what’s been announced and Apple’s usual release pattern would suggest that they’re not quite in sync.

I do think that the analyst’s report/rumor has enough errors that it cannot be trusted.

Tablets and CES

Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the HP Slate during Ballmer’s keynote at CES. Microsoft called it a ‘Slate PC’, which has deservedly caught the attention of the Mac faithful as that is one of the rumored names of the mythical Apple Tablet. Regardless of what they call it, I’m still disappointed. I’ve been extremely interested in tablet computing for the past few years, and been looking for the ideal device. What Microsoft and HP have rolled out is the 2010 equivalent of Windows CE machine from 1997.

They’ve crammed the desktop interface onto a tablet form factor and are leveraging the new multi-touch features in the Windows 7 OS. Yes, Windows 7 is much prettier than Windows CE – but it’s Microsoft still not understanding that different form factors require different interfaces. Why would I go to the start menu in the lower left corner to initiate any interaction on a tablet? The whole thing is touchable – it seems silly to hit a little button, then have menu that occupies 1/6 of the corner of my screen pop-up, that I then need to select a tiny shortcut with my finger (or more accurately my fingernail).

So what is it that I want? I want something that is essentially an e-reader on steroids. Kottke had a great post about e-readers not long ago that I’d like to quote:

The correct single use is reading. Your device should make it equally easy to read books, magazine articles, newspapers, web sites, RSS feeds, PDFs, etc.

Basically, I’m looking for a device that’s easy on the eyes (design-wise for sure, but I’m referring to the screen’s readability and eye fatigue), has a long battery life, that allows me to read e-books, and my normal feeds from Google Reader and Instapaper without any hackery. If I’m getting greedy, I’d like to have multimedia capabilities too – i.e. let me use it to watch video – but that’s not really what I want it for – that’s just pie in the sky gravy. I really want an e-reader that’s more flexible than the Kindle, but not a desktop OS metaphor slammed into a new form factor.

I for one am waiting to see what Apple does in this space.  I think of anything I’ve read so far – Gruber’s piece on The Tablet was the most prudent speculation any one has written up. I think he’s right on that Apple is going to tailor the interface for that form factor. If it turns out to be ‘fourth factor’ – not a desktop, not a notebook, not a smartphone – I’ll be curious to see how they tailor the experience for that medium and make it compelling versus the other form factors. They’ve done it with the iPhone/iPod Touch, so I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Else, I’ll wait around for a Mirasol enabled Kindle 🙂

New Year’s 2010 …

Welcome to 2010! I was more than ready to put 2009 behind me and move into a new year.

I’ve seen some commentary about why people bother to make resolutions and that the New Year is no big deal. I disagree, the New Year offers an important psychological reset point. It’s a clean break with the previous year. Of course, you’re free to make changes in your life at any time you wish but there’s definitely something reflective and inspiring about it being a new year.

My resolutions this year are pretty simple …

  • Not to be in the same place I am now next year.
    • This was a rough year professionally and emotionally – career setbacks, humbling situations, and the loss of family.
  • Produce more, consume less (this is may seem in direct contrast to the next resolution)
  • Establish a habit of reading.
  • Be mindful.
    • People think I’m kidding when I say this is my resolution – I’m not. This is inspired by Buddhist concept of mindfulness, and by our friends the Jedi. The point is to be focused and in the moment, rather than infinitely distracted.

Some goals – these aren’t as much resolutions as things I want to make sure and accomplish this year:

  • Conquer the stack of books that I’ve built up over the past few years.
  • Weight down to 155 – this would push me back to 2002 before Breakfast Burritos took their toll.

More to come, but this is where my head is at Jan. 1, 2010.

Dream it all up again …

The name of this blog comes from U2’s final concert of the 80’s on Dec. 31, 1989. ‘The Joshua Tree’ and ‘Rattle & Hum’ had catapulted the band to unprecedented success when Bono says:

we have to go away and … and dream it all up again

They then went on to complete reinvent their sound and ‘themselves’ to a large degree with the ‘Achtung Baby’ album.  This blog is intended to chronicle my journey of reinvention and self-discovery – well, and generally give me a platform to mouth off with.