Thursday, 25 October 2012

Is the iPhone Screen Scratch Resistant? The Hype and the Reality of Apple Consumer Electronics

The iPhone 4 might settle the point as to whether the iPhone screen scratch resistant features really work. Its Aluminosilicate glass feature is a real bonus. Gorilla glass is all the rage when it comes to mobile devices today. According to Dell Streak, it is virtually indestructible (within reason). Corning argues that their creation can withstand most types of pressure associated with normal usage and the mobile phone market has taken marketing presentation to heart. However we must seriously consider whether iPhones can really stand the pressure of everyday use.

The technical construction of brittle glass
Dr. Donnell Walton is an engineer representing Corning and is responsible for explaining the genesis of this feature. He argues that the strength of the brittle materials used can withstand compression effectively but tend to collapse when there is tension. Unfortunately iPhones manufactured in the last few years have not been able to withstand the pressure when the Apple gadget is dropped. Gorilla glass is a step-up in that respect and offers new opportunities for the manufacturer as well as the mobile phone market in general.   

The iPhone 4 holds the promise of durable screen glass
The Apple brand has put out information to the effect that their new screen is 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than ordinary plastic. In addition they promised a screen that was remarkably scratch-resistant as a consequence of the use of aluminosilicate glass during the manufacturing process. If imitation is the highest form of flattery then Corning should be pleased because that is the same model that Apple uses in their production process. Under consumer testing, the iPhone 4 survived a 3.5 foot drop twice in succession but then cracked when a third attempt was made. Corning argues that they can beat that result.
The iPhone 5 promises even stronger glass screens
The jury is out on the ET Trade Supply leak of the purported iPhone 5 screen. Apparently it measures 0.1 mm thinner than the iPhone 4S. However the yet-unconfirmed rumors point to its superior scratch resistance. The moral of the story is that you should not drop your Apple iPhone more than 3 times or longer than 3 feet. In any case if it scratches, a coat of Turtle Wax will minimize the ugly appearance but leave the screen susceptible to unseemly fingerprint marks. The 3M scratch remover and Displex are some of the alternatives that could be considered. Those with the requisite DIY skills can try buffing using a cerium oxide compound. There is a preventative approach which is achieved by using a screen protector film. 

Some concluding remarks on the iPhone and scratches
To some extent Apple products such as the iPhone 4S and the anticipated iPhone 5 offer the possibility of a scratch-free life. However there is a limit to their capabilities. For example they will crack if the drop is significant or repeated several times. The concept of an iPhone screen scratch resistant feature has its limitations. However there are some remedies that can rescue the situation.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Comparing the Apple iPad to Traditional Android Tablet Computers: Is there a need to change?

The improvements in the Apple iPad specifications beg the question…should we abandon the android tablet computers in favor of this device? There is no doubt that the Apple iPad is a bestseller regardless of the criteria that you use to assess it. However its competitors are also not giving up that easily. They are interested in measuring up to the high standards that have been set. The design qualities of Apple products are never in dispute. They are masters at producing things that are interesting for modern audiences. Why exactly are they the best thing that is happening to the consumer electronics market today?  

  1. Apple’s Numerical Strength: It was reported that the brand had sold about 60 million Apple iPads since the product launch. Those are figures which any consumer electronics company would die for. The consumers tend to buy these babies in bulk because they deliver high value. Pricing may be on the extravagant side but when you take everything into consideration, Apple remains the favored brand. This gadget is a mere two years old but already it is making record gains on a market that is well known for its competitiveness. Meanwhile tablet computers are acquiring that disturbing reputation for being bloated and inefficient. 
  2. A resilient marketing strategy from Apple: When the iPad was announced way back in 2010, the critics got going. They complained that it was nothing more than an oversized iPhone but the brand knew exactly what it was doing. In any case the consumers have embraced the Apple iPad…size and all. It is a testament to the strong marketing instincts that the brand has displayed over the years. Even the practical Netbook Computers failed the practicality test which is absolutely essential for success.
  3. Getting rid of the problems associated with the Notebook: Without doubt the Apple iPad was a revelation for those users who were tired of working with a clamshell-style device that was made worse by the presence of a miniscule screen. The keyboard was too close for comfort and you never really felt that this could ever become a comfortable experience. The general dissatisfaction with the old notebooks has worked in the iPad’s favor because many people see it as a definitive alternative. The responsive and accurate touchscreen is an added bonus. The same trick was used to push the iPhone towards its heights. 

Apart from the impressive hardware that has been extensively reviewed, the Apple iPad benefitted from software that was regularly updated to meet consumer needs. That meant that we were in effect using the same model but it was clear that there were improvements being made to it all the time. The freshness of design was consequently complemented by the modernity of the software applications in question. That is the foundation that has gradually turned this into a bestseller. There will be the naysayers who argue that the Apple iPad is too stylized for the real world but in reality that is precisely what the consumer needs. It is an age of rapidly changing software and hardware. Any electronic device that does not live up to expectation is going to be set aside.

  1. J. Prokazza,” How does Apple's iPad compare with Android tablet computers?”, 17th Jun 2012, Computer Active

Monday, 9 July 2012

Will Integration Make a Difference to Apple Products?

Apple has started the process of implementing Social Media Integration. Specifically the iOS 5 software package was integrated with Twitter. However some consumers were worried about the lack of integration with FaceBook.  Now those issues have been resolved with the iOS 6. They have also added the Siri facility. Likewise developers will be able to directly tap into the apps that are on offer. This has meant that FaceBook is effectively part of the notification center. A case in point is where FaceBook events can be used to populate your contact information and iOS Calendar. 

Some great phone features for Apple consumers

It is all very well to come up with great apps but the real challenge for Apple is to ensure that their electronic products measure up to the consumer expectations. For example the features for a phone must be practical in order to make life easier for the average client. A case in point is the addition of a feature that allows the consumer to politely ignore callers. They have added a facility to send the caller a text message rather than simply ignoring the call. This is Apple at its most thoughtful. Here is what you can do with this specific feature:

  1. Geo-Fencing responses: You can tell the caller about your ability to respond to them based on your location. One of the most interesting capabilities is where you are able to send a person a message based on whether they are within the building or not.
  2. Do Not Disturb:  This feature is very useful if you want to ignore all incoming phone calls, text messages and any other notifications. You can control your phone calls at the granular level with the option of creating an exception for any people who you consider to be particularly important. Another useful tool is the ability to ignore a DND if the person is calling repeatedly so that you can respond. This could be critical in case of an emergency.
The scene has been set for an almighty battle between Google and Apple. For example Google Maps is gradually losing its place as the default iOS mapping app. That position is being fiercely contested by Apple Maps. It is a good development for consumers who get better choices over the long run. The application is vector-based. Up to 100 million businesses have been included in the project and you get to check out real time traffic data. They have added re-routing and ETA elements in order to ensure that you get a reasonably accurate service. 

What about the integration with Siri?
Some of the benefits that accrue to consumers from this development include the ability to ask for directions and the ability to locate amenities. For example you can ask for the nearest gas station. We love the Apple Flyover facility which allows you to view maps as if you were in the air. This is really a development that is akin to the magnificent impact that 3D had on the market. The fidelity is out of this world and is a testament to the strides that Apple has taken in terms of responding to the priorities that consumers have often expressed. 

Working on the Safari Browser

As part of the improvements on the iOS 6, Apple has added an iCloud tab. This allows users to save favored websites to the cloud interface so that they can access them easily when they need them. In fact the integration model allows you to access these facilities even if you are working with different devices. The Mountain Lion is a new complimentary desktop which has become part and parcel of the Safari suite. Perhaps more importantly you get to cache pages so that they can be read even when you are offline. 

The technical updates on the product include the ability to create a screen landscape mode. The smart app banners may have other benefits for those users who are engaged in SEO or SEM activities. Visitors to the website are always notified that there is an iOS app available. It is then possible for them to either ignore the notification or act on it. Ultimately developers will benefit by being given the ability to persuade people to download apps. Furthermore it is possible to post photos and videos without leaving the browser. 

The value of FaceTime integration 

For many iOS devices, FaceTime is an immediate danger. Why is this the case? They have simply failed to adjust to consumer requirements. First of all the facility was awkward in terms of compatibility because it only worked with Wi-Fi. Apple has a solution because they have just announced that it will be able to operate with cellular phones. Consequently users can make FaceTime calls even as they using their iPhone number on an iPad. Eventually Apple may succeed in making FaceTime the video calling app of choice for consumers. That is what is going to challenge Skype and Microsoft. 

Finally we take a look at the iOS Passbook
In some respects the idea of an Apple iOS Passbook was going to be surprising. However the brand has decided to centralize the storage and management of passes/tickets.  This could be very important for those people who are booking a variety of events including concerts, drinks and flights. It will work with those retailers who have been offering digital-based shopping certificates. Likewise those people who shop with coupons will benefit from this facility. The fact that they are making it easier to manage multiple app items bodes well for the future. Passbook is now part of the Apple applications for those consumers who wish to work in this way. 

Conclusion: Apple is going to do everything well
The message is being sent that Apple is not prepared to wait for other brands to develop and then catch up. They are going to come up with innovative products that challenge even the very best competitors out there. In effect they are taking a leaf out of the Google book and beating the original multitasking technology company. Good luck to them. 

  1. F.Nelson,” Apple WWDC: 17 Cool Innovations”, 23th Jun 2012, Information Week

Friday, 15 June 2012

Real Estate Tips: Selecting the Best Homes for Sale in McKinney TX

Homes for sale McKinney TX
First time buyers are understandably apprehensive when assessing a house for sale in McKinney TX. Everything from mortgages to building inspections will affect their decision. Realtors typically provide a support package but it is often geared towards making a quick sale. In this article we examine some of the important considerations that first time buyers will need to get acquainted with.
properties for sale
homes for sale in texas
  1. House prices: Given the fragile nature of the housing market at the moment, the homes for sale in McKinney TX are relatively affordable. However it is important for first time buyers to look beyond the quoted price. The intrinsic value of the house for sale in McKinney TX is contrasted with the external factors such as the neighborhood. For example access to amenities such as schools, roads, shopping centers and medical facilities can affect the price considerably. [1] Likewise there are negative factors such as proximity to a landfill site.
  2. Affordable Mortgages: One of the critical mistakes that many first time buyers make in regard to homes for sale in McKinney TX is to become ambitious with their mortgage requests. Although the guidelines recommend up to 5 times the annual salary, consumers should be aiming for something closer to 3 times their annual salary. [2] A large deposit will ensure that the mortgage costs are kept at a minimum. When you are looking for a house for sale in McKinney TX, you should be prepared for some extensive and detailed paperwork. Ignoring this critical aspect of real estate is going to create problems in the future.
  3. Legal support: It is rare that ordinary home buyers will be able to complete the transaction without the support of a qualified attorney. Some estate agencies which list homes for sale in McKinney TX will also recommend lawyers. It is best to check out their credentials as well as the feedback that is provided by previous clients. The mortgage paperwork might be particularly challenging. Checking a house for sale in McKinney TX is not just a question of looking at it; you have to understand the legal technicalities. A smart attorney will save you from being exploited.
Getting to know Texas
texas land real estate
They say that everything is bigger in Texas and they are right. First of all the prices are relatively cheaper than anything you would find in say…California or New York. The people of Texas are (quite rightly) proud of their state and status. Before you inspect the house for sale in McKinney TX, it helps if you get to know the local people first. This is the community where you will be spending the next phase of your life and it helps if you start off on a good note.
Highlighting property for sale in Texas
Currently there is a house for sale in McKinney TX at 1105 Dove Brook Drive (Allen TX -75002). It is an Allen traditional build which was constructed in 1999. For $205,000 you will get 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. The homes for sale in McKinney TX are reasonably priced at the moment but this Allen property is a real gem. It stands on a 0.17 acre lot and provides the buyer with 2,522 square feet worth of living space. [3]
  1. C. Bell, “7 tips for first-time home buyers”, accessed 14th Jun 2012,  Real Estate MSN
  2. Editorial, “The top 10 expert tips for buying a home”, 7th May 2010, This is Money
  3. Hood Realty Property Number 11724724 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The 38 Studios Company Faces Serious Financial Problems

The video game company issues a bad check and faces financial ruin
38 studios game
It has been reported that a check worth $1.125 million issued by the 38 Studios video game company has been returned unpaid.  The reason given by the bank was that there were insufficient funds to cover the payment which was accumulated as a result of a fee owed to the state of Rhode Island. The news has seriously damaged the credibility of the company in question.
The company officials had made inquiries about the possibility of sending the money electronically but instead a check was hand-delivered. Governor Lincoln Chafee of the state said that the company had defaulted on the payment the month before. Curt Schilling (a former Red Sox pitcher) owns the troubled company. The state is demanding settlement of the debt with costs.
Early warning signs that the video game company was failing
In June 2011, it became clear that the company was in trouble. At the time the company had moved from Massachusetts to Rhode Island. It was offered $75 million in loans as an incentive. In return it was expected that 38 Studios would bring hundreds of jobs to the state struggling with unemployment and the national recession. A regulatory filing made in March indicated that the video game company was still compliant.
38 studios
By the 24th of June the company had issued a warning to the effect that they required more funding in order to implement future operations. According to the report “the company will require additional financing to fund future operations… [there is] substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.” [1]Critics argue that this should have sent warning signs to the Governor and his team.
The loan scheme was controversial and on the 17th of May Keith Stocks (the Rhode Island State Economic Development Corporation Executive Director) resigned. A payment of $1.1 million on the loans was due in May 2012 but the company defaulted. They asked for more emergency assistance. Governor Chafee did not support the loan in the first place indicated that there was an emergency meeting to determine a way forward.
Corporate indiscipline and state regulation is on trial
The issue for the state at the moment is to save the situation and the governor summarized the concerns: “How do we avoid throwing good money after bad — that’s the crux of the question”. Taxpayer funds are at stake and many people remember the Wall Street Crash which virtually debilitated the American economy. How could a private company get over $100 from the state without sufficient guarantees?
38 studios games
There are some people who argue that regulation kills business and that the state has no role to play. This is the result of such a paradigm. If a company is getting a ‘bailout fund’ then they need to be answerable to the state. Moreover there have to be guarantees of the payment.
Companies that are unable to raise sufficient capital should not be in business and they should certainly not be relying on the state to prop them up. The 450 jobs promised to Rhode Island are probably going up in smoke. It is ironic that Curt Shilling is a famous Republican who does not support state bailouts. Hopefully the company will follow that philosophy in the future.
  1. G.J. Remal and F. Quaratiello ,” Schilling’s company didn’t have money to pay the check”, 17th May 2012, Boston Herald, 
  2. A. Groberman,” Republican Curt Schilling Needs a Bailout for His Failing 38 Studios Company”, 18th May 2012, Opposing Views
  3. The author recommends articles about used cars and prescription medicine.  

Monday, 11 June 2012

Three Things to Look For When Buying Second Cars

Three Things to Look For When Buying Second Cars

A Simple Guide for Buying Used Cars

I personally never restrict my options when buying used cars. Why should you? Everyone is looking for a great deal. Why restrict your choices to the local dealership which has been exploiting your community for years? I would recommend that you visit trade-ins as well as browsing the internet for private sales. Some sellers also put up notices at the community center or in the department store. Of course you should not forget the power of the dealerships because they have the purchasing power to give you some really great deals.
  • What about purchasing a new car? I would not recommend this. My personal experience is that the value of cars will deteriorate rapidly by up to 15% every single year. In fact some people are of the view that you start losing value the moment that you leave the parking lot at the dealership! That brand new BMW that you bought for $90,000 could end up losing $30,000 in value within a mere 12 months. No thank you…I would not risk my money on a brand new car. However some people are happy to take the plunge partly because it gives them the chance to show off. Of course the brand new car will almost always pass the MOT (Ministry of Transport) test (in the UK). It is less likely to break down and that can save you loads of money. It is also more likely to be environmentally friendly when compared to an old banger. I personally choose a car that is between 3 and 5 years, subject to a detailed test. It must be said that I have sometimes bought cars that are older than 10 years and they have invariably given me great pleasure. It is all part of the magical inconsistency of buying used cars.
  • What about the mileage issue? I have had so many run-ins with used car salespeople about mileage. Invariably they will play about with the odometer. Therefore I recommend that you check the records and compare it with the digital reading. Of course ‘manual’ ones are easier to manipulate. Do not trust that smooth salesman. They are trained to tap into all your emotional and psychological weaknesses in order to close the deal. I would recommend that you buy a car than is ‘younger’ than 3 years but has a mileage of not more than 15,000 on the cloak. If the mileage is less than 10,000 then you have to make further inquiries about the accuracy of the reading. Likewise if the mileage is over 20,000 for a relatively new car then you should run a mile. Do not take on company vehicles or public transport write-offs. The seller is merely passing on their mechanical problems to you at a price. Cars that are driven hard are going to collapse at some point. You just have to ensure that you are not behind the wheel when this happens.
  • What about luxury? Trust me, there is absolutely nothing as pleasurable as driving a luxury car. I once owned a Jaguar XJS and it often made me forget that I was still very much in this world. There are two schools of thought on this. You can either have a blast and repent at pleasure or live sparingly and never enjoy driving. Generally speaking the medium saloons and small cars are much easier to maintain that the convertibles. The hatchback will cost you almost $10,000 less per annum than a fully fledged luxury car. Even the standard service alone can set you back at least $1000 for each session if you are dealing with a Rolls Royce.
These are my top tips for buying used cars. There is no guarantee that you are going to get it right. In fact the chances are that you will get it wrong. The trick is to persevere and get as many options as possible going. If you find a good dealer then you must stick with them. It is nearly impossible to replace them in the future.
  1. Extract,” Hints and Tips When Buying a Secondhand / Used Car”, accessed 28th May 2012, H&T
  2. The author recommends articles about Used Cars and the Samsung Chromebook Series 5 550.