The invention of tabbed browsing has made surfing the web quite a bit easier. With screen real estate being a limited resource on our portable machines (and often even on larger ones), managing multiple web pages using tabs provides a convenient solution. After all, browsing is often synonymous with multitasking: we keep our mailbox open while reading an article or keep Pandora on in the background as we fire up Facebook.
Voice control is not new. In 1961, IBM constructed a computer called the Shoebox that could perform mathematical functions using spoken digits as input. But to watch Apple’s iPhone 4S release and to read reviewers’ accounts of Siri, you would think this new generation of voice control is the next killer app. And, as surprising as that conclusion is, it might just turn out to be accurate.
The dust has, for the most part, settled. Steve Jobs’ passing has been covered by every tech journalist from Walt Mossberg to Jon Gruber, each offering his own personal memories and insight into what made Steve special. Individuals have recounted their email exchanges with him, posting his mono-syllabic replies on the internet. I imagine, in other newspapers at other colleges, other columnists have written other articles about just how important he was.
Anyone who has purchased a personal computer in the last decade knows that computers tend to grow more powerful at an amazing rate. Buy a MacBook, wait 12 months and the next model runs at what seems to be twice the speed as your old one. People complain that we all just bought a new machine, wonder if anyone needs this level of speed and ask when the hell that Steve Jobs guy is going to stop telling me I need new gizmos and gadgets and whatchmacallits.
RIM is stuck. The Canadian manufacturer of BlackBerry products released its second fiscal quarter results last Thursday and the numbers fell below even the most pessimistic estimates: gross margin sank from 44 to 38.7 percent, the firm had shipped 10.6 million phones instead of the 11 or 12 million expected and sold a mere 200,000 units of its new PlayBook tablet computer. One bad quarter is not the end of a company, but within the context of RIM’s recent struggles it begins to sound like a death knell.
About two weeks ago, two researchers poking around inside iOS came across a file entitled “consolidated.db” that seemed to be generated each time an iPhone was synced with the host computer. That file, once opened, showed a time-stamped record of the phone’s location (via cell tower triangulation) that spanned back several years. The two researchers, Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan, found a similar file on each machine of theirs that had been synced with an iPhone. If you have an iPhone, there’s a similar file on your machine right now.