Fogey Friday
7th September:
iPhone 5
Kindle Fire HD
QR Codes get Grave
Nokia Lumia Camera Cock-up

Sep 07, 2012 No Comments by


A selection of tech waffle from as many news sources as we had the energy to read.  Which isn’t many.




Apple COO Tim Cook post makeover, sans specs

So, Apple is launching a phone that will be a lot like the last phone they launched but different enough for many millions of slavering nerds to part with over £500 or tie themselves to spending £40 a month for two years to acquire one on contract. Commentators have been speculating what the improvements might be – a bigger screen, perhaps, or an integral music-streaming service along the lines of Spotify or Pandora. But unless the streaming service is equivalent to Spotify’s £9.95 a month premium offering it won’t be worth having and as for screen size; pockets are only so commodious. Some of us still want a phone – rather than a glass/alloy slab – next to our faces when making those quaint ‘call’ things.

There has also been suggestion that Apple needs to innovate to beat off competition. Realistically, though, Apple’s only genuine competition is from Samsung and they are not the greatest innovators. The iPhone begat all other smartphones as the iPad begat all tablets. Sure, there were examples of both before the iPhone or iPad but none created the then wondrous user experience of the Apple devices. Consumers need to be seduced and Apple has always been top dog at getting jaws hitting floors.  So when Apple’s post-Jobs head honcho Tim Cook takes the stage in San Francisco on Thursday a lot of young, single men who still live with their mums will feel a familiar rustling in their boxers. Do it to us Tim.  You know you want to.

What Apple could and should do, though, is become the go-to default location for content. Right now iTunes is a retail operation selling the illusion of ownership, be that of music tracks, movies, TV shows, audiobooks etc. But since what they’re selling is relatively intangible – a digital download can’t compete with an LP or even a CD for creating a sense of ownership and identity – they need to trade on the ephemeral nature of downloads and cleave to the ‘access everything; own nothing’ ethos that tech pundits have been espousing for at least the last five years. The big issue, and the one that drives piracy, especially in the visual arts, is rights; content creators want to squeeze every last cent from their product and so try to control who gets to see what, where and when. Apple is uniquely placed to persuade content creators that a little bit of something is worth more than a fat load of nothing. Give the punters what they want, how they want it, when they want it. Like Freddie Mercury, we want it all and we want it now.


Fogey on Fire!

Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD. Yummy.

Well stap me vitals, no sooner do we suggest that ‘imminent’ needs to be reinterpreted to mean ‘some time before the next ice age,’ than Amazon makes up for lost time by not only introducing the Kindle Fire to us cross-pond proles but also throwing in the utterly new Kindle Fire HD. Our cups runneth over. If you think of the Kindle as merely an eReader, these new devices will change your perceptions somewhat, not least because they do their thing in colour and pretty much everything you can do on an iPad can be accomplished on a Kindle Fire.

For this Fogey the Kindle’s principal draw has been its free 3G wireless connectivity. This means you can download a book from a sun lounger in Tahiti just as easily as you can from your kitchen table and it won’t cost a penny more. You can’t surf the Web on a standard black and white Kindle or check your emails but you can decide to buy a book and be reading it on your device within minutes; any time anywhere. To do the same thing on an iPad you’d need to have a 3G + WiFi device, pay for the 3G data download if you’re out of WiFi range (it would count as ‘roaming’) and have paid through the nose for the iPad in the first place. In the UK, a 3G + WiFi iPad with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of storage retails for £499, £579 and £659 respectively. By comparison, a 32GB capacity Kindle Fire HD costs £199 and the 16GB variant £159. Admittedly, the Kindle’s screen is smaller – 7 inches against the iPad’s 9.7 inches – but that’s still a huuuuuuuge price difference. And in the US there is a Kindle Fire HD with an 8.9 inch screen (see, we Brits still don’t get all the sweeties…).

And Amazon is banking on its ‘content ecosystem’ swaying consumers. Sell an attractive access device at an affordable price and Robert’s your mother’s brother. Apple needs to wise up to this before it’s too late. What are we saying? It is too late. So even if the new iPhone comes with announcement of a ‘mini iPad’ that would compete with the Kindle Fire HD that in itself misses the point – it’s not the device, it’s what the device can deliver. Content is king.

If you think you might like to buy a new Kindle – and why wouldn’t you? – click on this link


QR for Eternity

How to live for ever online. God help us.

Cute story about a Poole funeral director etching QR codes onto plaques that adorn gravestones which can then be scanned by a smartphone to get the dead person’s life story.  Not an original idea but one hi-jacked from the US where they have less shame than us buttoned-up Brits. If you think about QR codes simply being a variation of barcode technology it soon becomes apparent that such codes could be added to pretty much anything, thus allowing the swiper to ‘read more’. Ever wondered who those people were who have park benches dedicated to them? Or how about QR codes next to names on war memorials? Pretty soon the Hollywood Walk of Fame will have QR codes to supplement the hand-prints. The headstone story from the BBC website is here.


Nokia Cockia

Damn that pesky trailer window

Eagle-eyed geeks at noticed something awry with a sliver of video footage used to show the wondrousness of the new Nokia Lumia 920’s camera. The ad for the PureView feature on the new smartphone suggested it had been shot using that very same device, it being soooo pro and hi-tech. However, the video also showed the reflection of a professional video camera with man attached. Ooops. Complete screed of smug hilarity here.