WordPress 3.0 Released!

WordPress 3.0 was released today. I upgraded a handful of installations and it went smoothly for the most part. I did get an error message related to http.php
Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted

But following a tip here I disabled my plugins and ran the upgrade. Then I re-enabled the plugins. Other than that everything went smoothly.

The new features they’ve added (and bug fixes) are great. WordPress was already a powerful CMS and blogging platform, but 3.0 is even more polished. The new default Twenty Ten theme is a huge improvement over the old default themes and it’s easily customized without touching a line of code. I’ve switched this blog back to the default for now so I can have an out-of-box experience.

It’s pretty brilliant that you can upgrade WordPress from within a single browser window, and the upgrade takes maybe 15 seconds. This is on a system with a highly customized theme and a dozen plugins installed. Everything is so simple even a non-techie can figure it out. Compare that to a Microsoft SharePoint installation/upgrade which can take hours at best. Nice work WordPress guys!

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Apple iPhone4 Pre-Order Success

After 7 hours of trying off and on I was finally able to order two iPhones from the Apple website for delivery on June 24th. The majority of the time I experienced session timeout messages along with request could not be processed messages. Then suddenly around 3:30 PM PST the store started responding and I quickly completed the checkout process. I had to place two separate orders for each of the lines on our family plan, which is kind of dumb, but at least I got them both ordered.

Now I’m wondering: did Steve plan it this way all along? Was the website tuned to respond sporadically to instill a sense of panic among its visitors? Though technical difficulties reflect poorly upon a technology company they also generate lots of free publicity. Apple has famously exploited this type of marketing in the past. The difficulty in obtaining a device such as the iPhone makes it more coveted. Perhaps Steve is having a chuckle to himself as he watches his perfectly executed marketing plan unfold.

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Apple iPhone 4 with iOS 4 announced at WWDC

Steve Jobs announced the iPhone 4 at WWDC this morning. Woo Hoo! It appears to be a brilliant piece of engineering and should put Apple way in front of any Android based phones for the time being.

Here’s the complete live blogging from macrumors.
9:13 am Apple’s WWDC 2010 keynote about to start. We are providing live coverage.9:16 am Apple has setup their wall of app store icons across 30 Apple displays.
9:16 am Large crowd of people waiting in the hallway in Moscone West.
9:22 am The line is starting to move.
9:28 am They are starting to let people in.
9:37 am Some last minute rumors trickling in suggesting Apple TV, unannounced iPhone OS 4 features (printing?)… we’ll find out soon enough.
9:40 am Everyone is filing in to the hall, various jazz music playing.
9:44 am Vast majority of people seem to be getting seated, few people still filing in to the hall.
9:49 am Looking around the audience, absolutely everyone either has an iPad or some kind of MacBook on their lap.
9:50 am A camera is panning around the audience showing a video feed of people fiddling with their iPads on the big screens.
9:54 am Big screen camera now panning to different people in the audience holding up silly things on their iPads.
9:55 am “Hi Mom!”, “AOL IS HIRING”, various flags, etc.
9:56 am Music faded down, they’re welcoming everyone to WWDC and asking people to turn off cell phones, PDA’s.
9:59 am Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” just ramped up in volume, audience went silent.
10:00 am Massive applause as audience camera panned to four people holding up iPads with one letter on each of them spelling “WWDC”.
10:00 am Lights slowly fading just as “What a Wonderful World” ends.
10:01 am Massive applause as Steve Jobs takes the stage.
10:01 am Standing ovation.
10:01 am Steve wanders about stage wearing standard black turtleneck and blue jeans.
10:01 am “It’s great to be here.”
10:02 am Audience yells, “We love you Steve.” Steve responds, “Thanks… I think.”
10:02 am WWDC fully packed, sold out in 8 days, people from over 50 countries here.
10:02 am Over 5,200 attendees here with over 120 sessions and hands on labs by over 1,000 Apple engineers at WWDC.
10:03 am Steve giving a few updates to start with, beginning with iPad.
10:03 am iPad first, mentions how it is changing the web, email, photos, maps, etc. “A whole new way to interact with the internet, apps…”
10:03 am “It is magical.”
10:04 am Cites an email he got about a guy agreeing the iPad is magical because it got a girl interested in him at a cafe.
10:04 am Over 2 million sold, 1 sold every 3 seconds.
10:04 am iPad now in 10 countries.
10:04 am Now showing video reel of various press coverage from all kinds of network news outlets across the world.
10:05 am Video shows news anchors reporting on iPad, people buying iPad in all kinds of different countries.
10:06 am Applause from audience as video ends.
10:06 am iPad will be in 19 countries by the end of July.
10:06 am 8,500 native iPad apps currently.
10:06 am Along with the 200,000 iPhone apps, native apps downloaded over 35 million times. 17 apps per iPad already downloaded, “a great number.”
10:07 am Steve is now going through some of the latest apps such as Pulse, WebMD, Gowalla, Ebay, along with education apps.
10:07 am Now showing games, Iron Man, Avatar, Fieldrunners.
10:07 am Mentions “tremendous interest from publishers of all kinds” when showing newspaper apps.
10:08 am Developer of iPad app The Elements earned more on first day than 5 years of google ads on periodictable.com
10:08 am Audience laughs.
10:08 am iBooks being updated.
10:08 am Steve going over current features.
10:08 am In first 65 days, users have downloaded over 5 million books.
10:09 am 2.5 books per iPad, “Terrific.”
10:09 am 5 of the 6 biggest publisher in the US say share of eBooks on iBook Store is now 22%.
10:09 am In just 8 weeks, expected to increase as more iPads are shipped.
10:09 am iBooks enhancements include in-line notes that look like post it notes.
10:10 am New control in upper right to add bookmarks.
10:10 am Bookmark looks like little red ribbon, also shows in table of contents.
10:10 am Biggest request fulfilled, ability to view and read PDF’s inside of iBooks.
10:10 am Massive applause from audience.
10:10 am Selector on top left side of iBooks app, selecting PDF’s brings up new book shelf for PDF.
10:11 am Navigation of PDF’s works just like regular iBooks.
10:11 am Enhancements will be out later this month.
10:11 am Next, Steve moves on to the App Store.
10:12 am Steve emphasizes Apple supports two platforms: HTML5, a fully open uncontrolled platform forged by widely respected standards bodies.
10:12 am Apple’s browsers in the lead with supporting HTML5 standard. “Behind this 100%” – Anyone can write HTML5 apps and have them on iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, and the Mac.
10:12 am Second platform is App Store, “curated platform.”
10:12 am Cites over 225,000 apps currently on App Store.
10:13 am 15,000 apps submitted per week.
10:13 am Often submitted in up to 30 different languages.
10:13 am 95% approved within 7 days.
10:13 am Three top reasons why Apple rejects the other 5%.
10:13 am 1: Doesn’t function or do what the developer says it does.
10:14 am 2. Use of private API’s.
10:14 am Doesn’t allow private API’s because they’re not guaranteed and apps that use them will break if the iPhone OS is updated.
10:14 am “Developers who use private API’s know exactly what they’re doing.”
10:14 am 3: They crash.
10:14 am Emphasizes again that 95% are approved within 7 days.
10:15 am Highlights Ebay app.
10:15 am Released on the iPhone of last year, 10 million downloads since then. Did $600 million in volume in first year and they expect $1.5-2 billion this year.
10:15 am Three new apps being shown from entertainment category.
10:15 am Reed Hastings coming on stage to discuss Netflix on the iPhone.
10:16 am (Netflix CEO)
10:16 am Hastings: “Tremendous success” talking about iPad version. Top 10 most downloaded apps.
10:16 am Netflix for iPhone coming this summer.
10:17 am Netflix being demonstrated.
10:17 am Discusses how a film can be stopped on any device and resumed on any device.
10:17 am Also mentions how the iPhone app shows all the Netflix.com functionality, instant queue, recommendations, etc.
10:18 am Showing how well search works on the Netflix iPhone app.
10:18 am http adaptive bitrate technology utilized in Netflix app to seamlessly switch between networks “even on the go.”
10:18 am Does not specifically mention 3G compatibility.
10:18 am Zynga up next.
10:19 am Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga takes the stage.
10:19 am Introducing “farming for the iPhone.”
10:19 am Farmville is their most popular game, finally coming to the “most popular mobile gaming platform in the world.”
10:19 am More people play Zynga games than watch the season finales of Lost and 24.
10:20 am Farmville has grown to over 70 million monthly active users.
10:20 am Farmville client for iPhone being demonstrated, showing same farm that is played on Facebook.
10:20 am Showing different functionalities of the Farmville client.
10:21 am Client looks optimized well for the touch interface of the iPhone, comes with push notifications for when crops are completed.
10:21 am “Farm anytime, anywhere.”
10:21 am Audience laughing and groaning.
10:22 am Showing how harvesting works on the iPhone, audience laughing still.
10:22 am All Facebook friends can be accessed in Farmville for the iPhone as well as all the same social functionality found on Facebook.
10:23 am Coming by the end of June for the 1 year anniversary of the launch of Farmville.
10:23 am Activision Senior VP Karthik Bala up next to talk about Guitar Hero.
10:23 am “Guitar Hero is a pop culture phenomenon.”
10:24 am New Guitar Hero shows 3D rockstars that are fully customizable.
10:24 am Comes with classic rock like Queen and Rolling Stones as well as new artists like Rise Against.
10:24 am Gameplay is similar to classic guitar hero.
10:25 am Aside from obvious tapping mechanics, new stumming mechanic utilizes multitouch display to “make the gameplay perfect.”
10:25 am Gameplay trailer being shown, looks pretty cool.
10:26 am As you score points, you level up your “rock rank.”
10:26 am Apparently available today for $2.99?
10:26 am Steve back on stage.
10:27 am Crossed 5 billion total downloads on the App Store last week.
10:27 am Next stat is Steve’s favorite.
10:27 am Apple has paid out over $1 billion dollars to iPhone developers so far.
10:27 am “One of the greatest things we get to do.”
10:28 am “Most vibrant app community on the planet.”
10:28 am “Now I’d like to talk about the iPhone.”
10:28 am Steve mentions various marketing studies, says some of them are questionable.
10:29 am Q1 2010: iPhone has 28% of the US Market Share
10:29 am Android at 9%.
10:29 am US mobile browser usage for may, iPhone at 58%.
10:30 am “This may help you put things in to perspective.”
10:30 am 2007- iPhone re-invents the phone.
10:30 am “It’s hard to remember what it was like before the iPhone.”
10:30 am 2008 – iPhone 3G and the App Store.
10:31 am 2009 – iPhone 3GS is twice as fast with other cool features.
10:31 am 2010- Biggest leap since original iPhone.
10:31 am Audience goes wild.
10:31 am iPhone 4.
10:31 am “This is really hot.”
10:31 am Well over 100 new features, not enough time for them all. Covering 8 today.
10:32 am All new design, “A lot of you have already seen this.”
10:32 am “Believe me, you ain’t seen it.”
10:32 am “This is beyond a doubt the most precise things, one of the most beautiful things we’ve ever made.”
10:32 am Glass on front and rear with stainless steel running around the side.
10:32 am “Really thin.”
10:33 am 9.3mm thick, 24% thinner than current iPhone.
10:33 am “Thinnest smartphone on the planet.”
10:33 am Going over external buttons, volume up and down, mute, front facing camera. Micro-sim tray, Camera with LED flash on back.
10:34 am Bottom has mic, 30 pin connector, and speaker.
10:34 am Top has headphone jack, second mic for noise cancellation and sleep/wake button.
10:34 am Pointing out weird line on side with volume buttons, steve says people have asked “WHat’s this?”
10:34 am Three black seams.
10:35 am Shows that the stainless steel band is the primary structure of the phone, “Brilliant engineering, uses band as part of Antenna system.”
10:35 am One side is Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, other is UMTS and GSM.
10:35 am Audience goes “Oooo…”
10:35 am Uses stainless steel for strength, uses glass for optical quality and scratch resistance.
10:36 am “When you hold this in your hands, it’s unbelievable.”
10:36 am Feature #2-
10:36 am “This is a biggie.”
10:36 am Retina Display.
10:36 am New display technology, dramatically increases pixel density. 4x as many in same amount of space.
10:37 am “Really really sharp text.”
10:37 am Retina Display: 326 ppi.
10:37 am “Never been a display like this on a phone.”
10:38 am 300 ppi is limit of the human retina when held 10-12 inches away from the eye.
10:38 am Text like “a fine printed book.”
10:38 am 326 ppi “comfortably over” that limit.
10:39 am Showing examples of the two screens. “Once you use a retina display you can’t go back.”
10:39 am Showing differences in photos now.
10:39 am Doing a live demo now.
10:39 am Firing up both phones.
10:40 am Zoomed in difference looking at home screen is remarkable. Apple had to get special projectors to show just how good this screen is.
10:40 am Loading up NY Times next.
10:41 am Loading slowly, “networks in here always unpredictable.”
10:41 am Steve asks everyone to get off WiFi to help him out, audience laughs.
10:41 am NY Times still not loading on iPhone 4.
10:41 am Switching to backups.
10:42 am iPhone 4 now on AT&T, all kinds of error messages about not being connected to the internet popping up on iPhone 4.
10:42 am Steve goes back to showing photos.
10:43 am Difference is fairly amazing.
10:43 am iPhone 4 slowly barely loads NY Times.
10:43 am Steve apologizing again.
10:43 am Asks Scott for any suggestions.
10:44 am Someone shouts, “Try Verizon.”
10:44 am Steve concludes demo.
10:44 am 3.5″ display, same size, 960×640.
10:44 am 326 ppi. 800:1 contrast ratio also 4x better than 3GS. Uses IPS technology for superb color and wide viewing angle.
10:45 am “You can’t make an OLED display with this kind of resolution right now.”
10:45 am Retina Display has 78% of the pixels of an iPad right in the palm of your hand.
10:45 am iPhone OS 4 – Apps automatically run full size but look even better because iPhone OS automatically renders text and controls in higher resolution.
10:46 am Without developers doing any work.
10:46 am With higher resolution artwork, apps/games on Retina Display “look stunning.”
10:46 am Steve thinks this will set the standard for the next 7 years.
10:47 am Feature 3-
10:47 am iPhone 4 powered by Apple A4 chip.
10:47 am Designed by Apple’s own team, “wonderful to have in an iPhone.”
10:47 am A4 chip in iPhone is incredibly small.
10:48 am Biggest component in iPhone is battery.
10:48 am Bigger battery plus A4 processor, 40% more talk time. 7 hours talk time. 6 hours of 3G browsing, 10 hours of WiFi browsing, 10 hours of video. 40 hours of music. 300 hours of standby.
10:49 am IPhone 4 environmental report card being showed, is highly recyclable and has nothing nasty in it.
10:49 am 32GB of storage, quadband HSDPA/HSUPA
10:49 am Capable of 7.2mbit down 5.8mbit up once carriers support that speed.
10:49 am Dual mics, 802.11n.
10:49 am Feature 4-
10:50 am iPhone 4 has a Gyroscope.
10:50 am 3 axis gyro for pitch roll and yaw.
10:50 am Gyro + accelerometer = 6 axis motion sensing.
10:50 am New CoreMotion API’s for extremely precise location.
10:51 am Doing demo, makes joke about how it won’t require a network.
10:51 am Shows Jenga-looking game with accelerometers not moving when he rotates with gravity.
10:51 am With Gyro enabled rotation is insanely better.
10:51 am Extremely impressive demo, audience going crazy.
10:52 am ZenBound will be amazing with this.
10:52 am Rotation of 3D objects is unbelievably smooth.
10:52 am Steve about to lose at Jenga game demo.
10:52 am Jenga tower falls, audience claps.
10:53 am Gyro joins 4 other sensors, accelerometer, compass, proximity and ambient light sensors.
10:53 am Steve can’t wait to see what developers do with it.
10:53 am Feature 5- New camera system.
10:54 am More concerned with better photos than megapixel statistics.
10:54 am 5 megapixel camera.
10:54 am Backside illuminated sensor.
10:55 am 1.75 micron pixel size in sensor.
10:55 am 5x digital zoom in camera app and tap to focus with LED flash.
10:55 am Showing photos taken with camera, look remarkable.
10:55 am Quality is incredible.
10:56 am “But that’s not all.”
10:56 am Camera records HD video!
10:56 am 720p at 30fps.
10:56 am Tap to focus video with built-in video editing.
10:57 am One-click sharing.
10:57 am LED flash can stay on during video recording.
10:57 am Record, edit, and share HD video right on your phone.
10:57 am “It’s pretty remarkable, but we’re going even further than that.”
10:57 am iMovie for iPhone!
10:58 am Randy Ubillos, Chief Architect of Video Applications on stage.
10:58 am 15 years ago he was working on Final Cut Pro, this year he’s working on iMovie for iPhone. Edit with themes, transitions, and titles.
10:59 am Showing how iMovie works, workflow seems very similar to desktop iMovie on a small screen.
10:59 am Can record directly in to timeline or choose from clips and photos on device.
10:59 am Pinching changes scale of timeline.
11:00 am Everything in the iMovie UI has awesome animations. Photos added automatically are Ken Burns effected.
11:00 am Showing titles and transitions now.
11:00 am Again, works just like desktop iMovie on small screen.
11:00 am Themes even look vaguely familiar.
11:01 am Camera records geolocation in to video.
11:01 am Music cam be added, comes with a few tracks but any music from iPod library can be used.
11:01 am Just made a completed movie in only a few minutes.
11:01 am Can easily switch themes, some use geolocation data to show where you are on a map.
11:02 am Can export to 360p, 520p, and 720p.
11:02 am Now showing movie recorded, edited, and rendered entirely on the phone.
11:02 am Looks professionally done.
11:02 am Macro video shots look amazing.
11:03 am Low light video also looks good.
11:03 am Audience clapping.
11:03 am Buy it right on your phone for $4.99. Steve jokes, “If we approve it.”
11:04 am Steve back on stage. 570 WiFi base stations in this room responsible for earlier demo failure.
11:04 am Asking everyone to turn off WiFi to do the demos.
11:05 am Telling everyone to shut laptops.
11:08 am iPhone OS is now iOS 4
11:08 am 100 new user features
11:08 am Going over multitasking now.
11:09 am Quotes Larry Page: “… software running in the background, that just sort of exhausts the battery quickly”
11:10 am The website loaded now that everyone has turned off wifi. amazing amout of a page viewable on high res screen.
11:11 am Showing that you can control audio apps in multitasking bar by swiping left or right. showing unified inbox and threading in mail. Audience claps for both.
11:12 am Going over features we’ve seen before: How to create a folder. Automatically names folder based on category of apps inside.
11:12 am Folders can be renamed and go in the dock.
11:13 am iOS4 has multitasking, folders, retina display integration, enhancements to mail, camera and photo apps, much deeper enterprise integration and tons of new features
11:14 am Adding Bing as a third search option. Google will remain the default still.
11:14 am Gold master of iOS4 today.
11:15 am 100 millionth iOS device will be sold this month.
11:15 am “no one even comes close to this”
11:15 am iBooks coming to the iPhone with iOS4.
11:16 am PDF in a mail message goes right to iBooks in your PDF shelf.
11:16 am iBook Store right on your iPhone.
11:16 am Also coming to iPod touch.
11:16 am Across all 3 devices wirelessly you can:
11:17 am Purchase and download a book.
11:17 am Download the same book to all devices at no extra charge.
11:17 am iBooks automatically, wirelessly, and for free will sync your place, bookmarks, and all your notes.
11:18 am Demonstrating iBooks now on the retina display of the iPhone.
11:19 am Shows how selection, highlighting, and adding notes works.
11:19 am Goes back to library, switches to PDF’s.
11:19 am Flips pages, animates very smooth.
11:20 am “Pretty cool, huh?”
11:20 am Three stores on the iPhone: iTunes, iBooks, and App Store.
11:21 am Over 150 million accounts with credit cards associated to them.
11:21 am Now going over iAds. Doing iAds for one simple reason: To help developers make free and low-cost apps for users.
11:22 am Showing what iAds look like, look very similar to AdMob.
11:22 am “Combines the motion of video with interactivity of the web.”
11:22 am iAds keep users in the app when tapped instead of closing the app, loading the browser, and taking you to a random web site.
11:23 am Built in to iOS4 – You can add them in an afternoon. “Just tell us where you want them.”
11:23 am 60% of revenue goes to developers. Paid via iTunes connect just like apps.
11:25 am Nissan, Citi, Unilever, AT&T, Chanel, GE, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Campbell’s Soup, Sears, JCPenny, Target, Best Buy, DirecTV, TBS, Disney and Geico all signed up for iAds.
11:25 am Showing Nissan ad now.
11:25 am Fully electric car going to be advertised via iAd.
11:26 am Animated just like a flash ad. When you tap on it, it fills the screen or you can hit a button in the top left to close the ad.
11:26 am Clicking ad loads a brief video to play.
11:26 am All without leaving ad, loading browser, or anything else.
11:27 am After video concludes, a little navigator shows up with the car over it that looks/works just like an iPhone app.
11:27 am Can close at any time by tapping X in top left corner to resume whatever you were doing before.
11:28 am iAds actually seem surprisingly cool.
11:28 am Nissan will be giving away a car, and the contest is entered by using the iAd.
11:29 am iAd demo concludes, audience applause.
11:29 am iAds enabled July 1st.
11:29 am “How successful have we been selling iAds?”
11:29 am $60m committed to second half of this year for iAds from advertisers.
11:30 am Apple expects to dominate 48% of second half of 2010 mobile advertising market after only 8 weeks of selling.
11:31 am Steve encouraging developers to give iAds a try.
11:31 am “Those are the 8 things I wanted to share with you on iPhone 4.”
11:31 am Audience claps.
11:31 am One more thing…
11:32 am Lights coming up in auditorium lining curtains on wall behind Steve.
11:33 am Showing video call with Jony Ive.
11:33 am Quality looks great.
11:33 am Little lagged, Steve accuses people in audience of not turning off WiFi.
11:33 am Mentions how video calling is a dream, but it’s real now.
11:34 am Video and audio quality is great.
11:34 am Call seemed to require WiFi, unclear if it works over 3G as well.
11:35 am Apple calls this “FaceTime”.
11:35 am iPhone 4 to iPhone 4, anywhere there is WiFi.
11:35 am No set up required.
11:35 am All you have to do is make a phone call.
11:35 am Both front and rear camera can be used, switching is easy.
11:36 am Portrait and landscape mode is supported.
11:36 am FaceTime WiFi only in 2010, “Need to work a little bit with the cellular providers.”
11:36 am “Apple will ship tens of millions of FaceTime devices this year so there’s going to be a lot of people to talk to.”
11:37 am Now showing a video of all the ways FaceTime can be used.
11:38 am Father watching kids on business trip, grandparents watching a graduation, two girls showing off what they’re wearing to each other. Guy in a locker room watching an ultrasound.
11:38 am People talking via sign language.
11:38 am Audience claps like crazy.
11:39 am Steve going over the bullet points of FaceTime.
11:39 am Based on many open standards, h.264, AAC, SIP, STUN, TURN, ICE, RTP, SRTP, Apple going to standards body tomorrow to make FaceTime an open industry standard.
11:40 am “That is the iPhone 4. We think it’s the biggest leap we’ve taken since the original iPhone.”
11:40 am Price and availability, comes in two colors white and black just like spy shots.
11:40 am Price with 2 year contract: $199 for 16GB model, $299 for 32GB model.
11:41 am AT&T is making an “incredibly generous” upgrade offer.
11:41 am Up to 6 months of early eligibility for an iPhone 4.
11:42 am On sale June 24th.
11:42 am iPhone lineup slides over, iPhone 3GS will be $99.
11:43 am Canada not in initial batch of countries that will get iPhone 4 on launch.
11:43 am iPhone 4 in 88 countries by end of September.
11:43 am Going over new accessories.
11:43 am New dock, Apple “bumper” case.
11:44 am Case just goes around the outside, back and front are open. Comes in multiple colors.
11:44 am iOS4 upgrades for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G (with not all features supported), and iPod touch (again with not all features and no first generation) for free on June 21st.
11:45 am Now showing video summarizing all the features of the iPhone 4.
11:46 am Various Apple execs talking about how awesome the iPhone 4 is, and going over all the features they talked about during the keynote.
11:46 am Video is put together almost exactly like the iPad video that was released following its announcement.
11:50 am Video shows really cool machining process of the iPhone 4 frame.
11:50 am Screen is a custom glass, video shows it bending without breaking.
11:51 am “This is going to change everything all over again.”
11:51 am Video is over, Steve back on stage.
11:52 am Standing in front of a slide with a street sign that is the intersection between technology and liberal arts.
11:52 am Steve is talking about all the values of Apple, the hardware and software working together, etc.
11:53 am “It’s the complete solution so all of us don’t have to be system integrators.”
11:53 am Steve thanks all of the teams who have worked for the last 18 months to work on the iPhone 4.
11:53 am Teams standing up one by one as Steve introduces them and audience claps.
11:54 am “I’m really proud of all you guys, awesome job.”
11:55 am “This is our new baby, I hope you love it as much as we do.”
11:55 am Steve walks off stage, music ramps up.
11:55 am Audience standing up to leave.
11:55 am Keynote is over!

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Microsoft kills Bing cashback

Microsoft I’m very disappointed in you. I’ll no longer be getting my Jellyfish/Bing cashback rebates because you’ve decided to cancel the program. I sort of understand your motives. You spent 50 million to buy Jellyfish in the first place and Bing Cashback has to be break-even at best. If it brought more people to your search engine then break-even might be tolerable.

The reality is Bing Cashback was for technophiles that know how to beat the system. Right before we make ANY online purchase we ALWAYS check Bing cashback, just to make sure we can’t save a few bucks. In case it wasn’t clear, Bing cashback is not where we shop, or where we discover the products. It’s just where we go to save a few bucks when we’re ready to whip out our credit cards. And I suspect this usage pattern is one of the reasons you’ve decided to close the doors.

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Panera: Pay Whatever You Want

Panera is trying something new in it’s latest Clayton, Missouri store. Rather than paying menu prices for it’s food, you order, and then pay whatever you feel is appropriate. The money all goes straight into a donation jar, and the cost of running the store is paid out of the proceeds. They’re running this as a nonprofit.

Sounds like an interesting model. I wonder how it would fare in a community with a high population of low income people. You could literally come in and eat everything on the menu for less than a dollar.

Maybe Apple should open an Apple Store like this? We could all buy iPads for a few hundred dollars.


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No Flash For You

We’ve known for a long time that Apple hates flash. Hell, flash is pretty much the only thing that ever makes my Mac crash, so it’s understandable that Apple would dislike the technology. The web is overridden with flash, and Apple didn’t have a choice but to include it with Safari because 99% of all browsers have flash. And well, if you’re trying to convince people to switch platforms it’s best that you’re web browser displays the quintessential media format. But times are changing. With the iPhone and now the iPad we’re going through a transition where flash goes away in favor of standard technologies like HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. Why is Steve able to do this? Well because with these devices he’s starting from scratch. Sure, many webpages don’t work perfectly on an iPhone/iPad but it doesn’t matter because the ones we really care about (YouTube, Facebook, etc) have created apps that deliver a richer experience.

Here is Steve’s “Thoughts on Flash” manifesto.

Update: Literally as I was writing this blog entry one of my other Safari tabs had a flash movie in it that crashed my entire Safari app. Luckily wordpress has an autosave feature.

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Intel X25-M Replacement

I got my replacement X25-M from Intel the other week. My first generation X-25 burned out after about 9 months of use. I had re-imaged it several times when swapping it into different computers, which probably didn’t help keep it alive. I was really excited to see Intel replaced it with a X25-M G2 which has TRIM support. But I’m pretty sure OS X doesn’t have TRIM support, so really not sure what the point is.

Oh, I put the replacement X25-M in my quad core Mac Pro 2.66 Nehalem. I had a 640 GB Western Digital as the boot drive before this, which is a really speedy 2 platter drive, but the SSD is amazing in this machine. There were a few times when the old machine paused for a second or two (opening terminal, photoshop, etc), and with the SSD everything opens immediately. I’m keeping good backups though, because I’ve learned that SSDs aren’t necessarily reliable.

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Apple Ready to Release New Mac Pro and/or MacBook Pro

Any day now we should be seeing a replacement Mac Pro based upon one of the new Intel processors. At the same we’re long overdue for a MacBook Pro update. It’s possible both products could be released together, in kind of a show of force by Apple. Or we may see one or other. It’s a little weird because normally Apple gets to use the latest Intel processors before they’re widely available to other system builders. Yet we’re running out of time and Apple may get the processors at the same time everyone else gets them. I think the Apple-Intel honeymoon might be about over.

The only thing that might screw up the Mac Pro/MacBook Pro updates is the damned iPad. I can see Steve not wanting to steal the iPad spotlight, and delaying the Mac Pro/MacBook Pro release dates. Steve that would be dumb. Don’t do that shit.

The Mac Pro update was first reported here.

The MacBook Pro update was noted here.

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NoSQL: Scaling beyond traditional relational database systems

The latest trend for highly trafficked websites is to move away from MySQL in favor of distributed storage systems most commonly referred to as NoSQL databases. Google been in the NoSQL camp for quite a while with Bigtable. Digg recently announced their plans to use Cassandra going forward. Amazon uses a similar distributed storage technology called Dynamo for Amazon S3.

The problem with MySQL is that it’s difficult to scale up and you have to rely on patches from Percona and Google. It’s also not the ideal solution for storing terabytes of data. Scalability, availability and backups all become big challenges.

The challenge with NoSQL systems is ad hoc query capability is generally left up to the imagination of the engineers. Meaning it doesn’t really exist without building special systems on top of the data store. Google addresses this with MapReduce, which is their model for applying a set of functions to a huge dataset. The result being a derived dataset.

It’s a very interesting problem. As the internet grows and the quantity of information increases, we’re outgrowing our traditional relational database systems.

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Amazon: Very Intelligent Shipping System

The other day I ordered some new rechargeable batteries from Amazon. I chose a couple different items and put them in my cart. At some point during the checkout process I noticed the estimated ship date was a few days different between the products. Both items were more than $25 so I could order them separately and still get free shipping on both. I didn’t want one of the items to hold up the whole order, so I decided to place completely separate orders. The batteries arrived the other day, except Amazon had actually combined my orders into a single shipment.

While this probably isn’t that difficult from a technology standpoint, I thought it was a pretty cool optimization. Though I as the customer tried to outsmart Amazon and get the fastest possible shipping, they still crunched it down to one shipment.

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