Apple Stumble, maybe not.

Some new numbers are out (Strategy Analytics) which got me thinking.

iPad shipments are down quarter to quarter and year to year for Q2.  Which really means absolutely nothing because at this time in 2012 the short lived 3rd gen iPad was only 4 months old and the iPad mini and surprise 4th gen iPad were still 3 months off.  So the Apple number really can’t be compared.

Interestingly, Apple believes that the iPad mini will out sell its larger brother by over 1.6 times in 2013. (appleinsider).  Its has been stated a lot (iMore) that for reasons of size, weight, battery life the iPad mini couldn’t go retina at the end of 2012. So the mini is non-retina 163ppi, 310g, 7.1mm thick, 9-10 hour battery, and a price tag $329-$529.

Then enter the 2013 Nexus 7.  A 7 inch tablet, with 323ppi, 290g, 8.65mm thick, a reported 9-10 hour battery life, and a price tag of $229 or $269.  New and shiny.

Now here’s where it gets really interesting.  Apple is rumored to not refresh the iPad mini this year, the source is Digitimes so that make it rather unreliable.  Still the rumor is out there.  IF there is no refresh Apple misses the all important holiday season, but more importantly they will also miss out on the mindshare of all the people wanting to buy their first tablets for christmas.  When presented with the option of new, shiny, fancy and cheaper tablet, vs a 1+year old, shiny, fancy and $100 more expensive tablet Apple is going to lose that fight.  These people are not early adopters, they aren’t techy people, they are not going to be swayed by the fruit logo.

That scenario doesn’t seem very Apple like to me.  They don’t have lapses that cause the loss of a holiday season.  They have something up their sleeves. I think that Apple has a plan, but I don’t think it involves a new Retina iPad mini for christmas. It might be a price drop, it might be a cheaper version of the mini, it could be colors, or any number of things.  Will it be enough to overcome the growing sales and mindshare of Android tablets?  I guess we’ll find out in 2014.

Chromecast solves an age old problem

Ever since the “lean in” experience began with online videos someone has been looking for a way to turn it into the old “lean-back” experience of the television.  Many have tried webTV, XBMC, Windows Media Center, Apple TV, Xbox, Playstation and all have been met lukewarm receptions.

The main flaw in all the current solutions to convert “lean-in” to “lean-back” is complexity.  All the current solution are basically a box run some version of an OS which needs to be navigated via remotes, controllers, motion, or other devices that are slow, cumbersome, goofy, and easily misplaced.  They try and recreate the lean in discovery experience on the larger screen.  This is a mistake.  Its adding a layer that doesn’t need to exist.  You already have a an expensive, sophisticated device which you know how to use, why do you need another?

Chromecast eliminates the pain.  There is nothing to be navigated, turned on, or switched so there is no need for a remote.  Just find your content via your normal lean-in way and hit a button.  BOOM, now lean back and enjoy.  No UI to navigate, no controls to learn, no voice commands needed, and no pain.

Icing on the cake. First  the price.  Even without the 3-month netfllix offer $35 is a steal.  One can easliy outfit his home for under the cost of one Apple TV.

Second, its silent.  I’ve been annoyed at how loud my xbox is during a netflix movie, now I don’t even notice.

Third, portability.  Have a large screen at work?  Netflix during lunch?  why not?

Fourth, OPEN SDK.  Less than 200 lines of code and an app is enabled for chromecast, google provides the code.

Fifth, you can view your content socially, with other people.  If you have to ask why someone would want this you need to go outside.

Sixth, it works with any device.  I’ve handed control off to a Chrome Browser to an Android phone, to an iPad mini, back to the Android phone without issue.

Seventh, Roaming.  Started a movie in the living room but you’re tired.  Two taps and its playing in the bedroom, no rewinding, scanning, or transferring necessary.

Finally, once you’ve set it up, you don’t even know its there.  There is no box to look at, no remote to lose, no fans to hear.  Its virtually invisible.

Do you self a favor and order one today.

Day 71 (con’t)

Day 71 (con’t) 

I watched the three walk around there house till after sunset. The house is just stacked dirt with open air windows and sheet of wood across a doorway. It had been built in the middle of the clearing without any thought of defense. Large craters that were indicative of the exploding creatures lined the clearing and parts of the house. wood and stone was piled haphazardly around the camp. A large fire pit had been dug. After dark they lit torches. Light poured through the cracks in the walls and would blind anyone to the happens outside of the house. These people had no idea of the dangers in this world.

I turned to return to the boat. On my way back I noticed all the trees they had cut or pushed over for fires. The trees were removed more by blunt force injury from stone tools or even hands than the clean cuts or iron or slicing of diamond.

Their mine shaft was dug straight down for the first 10 meters. It appeared that they had piled dirt and stone to create an afterthought stairway. Broken tools, all wood and stone, lay in a discarded pile next to a tree stump.

I returned to the boat and gathered all my belongings on the shore, took the boat into deeper water, and sunk it. I swam back to the shore gathered my things and made my way back to The Bunker.

I returned and all of the lights were out in the house. The doorway for the Bunker was on the other side of the clearing but still in full view of the house. I had built the Bunker to blend into the mountain and its entrance is easy to miss if you don’t know its there.

I walked back into the forest and made my way around to a point in the mountain where the forest grew up to the rock. I spent a few minutes in the dark looking but I found it. A large loose stone and pushed it to the side and revealed a pathway. I crawled inside and replaced the stone followed by more stones until I was sure that no one could possibly accidental find the backdoor. I lit the torches that lined the walls as I went. The narrow cave opened into a larger room and upon locating another stone door it opened to The Bunker.

I drew my sword and stepped into my home. There were only silence, dust, and darkness. It was immediately apparent that no one had been here since my departure. I moved to the front door and piled stone outside of it and sealed the opening. Now they would never find the The Bunker.

I returned to my bedroom and crawled into the warm covers and the soft mattress, glad to be home at last.

Day 71

Day 71
I woke this morning hungry on a cold and windy bay. Luckily for me the bay was fresh water and I still had plenty of meat. After a quick breakfast, huddled under my poorly constructed bedroll, I pulled up my improvised anchor and continued to the north-east at a slow pace. The wind shifted several times from pushing my into the shoreline or pushing me out into the bay. The sky was overcast and time dragged on.

After hours of travel I finally saw a large peak appear on the horizon. I knew that nestled in its shadow would be the door to the Bunker, to my home. I paddled faster.

By the time I arrived at the mountain I was wet, cold, and exhausted. I pulled my boat onto the shore. It was only a half hour walk from here to the Bunker. I ran.

I ignored the tree stumps that used to be trees, I ignored the hill that had been grass but was now wheat, I even ignored a mineshaft. But what I could not ignore, built in the clearing next to the bunkers entrance, was a makeshift sodden house and the three people inside.

Day 69

Day 68
The Ledger was open to a page that held crafting instructions for an item with the simple name of “map.” I had seen it before but had dismissed it because I did not need a book to tell me how to draw a map, but the item described within was not a simple piece of cartography. The Ledger claimed that this item, aided by something almost mystical, would map this world by the crafters experiences.

I had not better ideas (other than wandering around aimlessly). The crafting would be simple. Paper was a necessity obviously, and the only other component was a “Compass”. I scoured The Ledger for any mention of a “Compass” and finally found it in a folded over page. To craft all I needed was Iron, which I had in excess, and Redstone, which I had an excess at The Bunker but I haven’t seen it since leaving 5 days ago. Has it really only been 5 days?

With the daylight already failing (Had I just looked at the Ledger all day?) I set out toward a lake where some sugarcane had been growing. The sun had slipped beneath the horizon and the tell tale moaning of the undead were starting as I returned with my satchel filled with sugarcane. I’d process the plants into paper tomorrow.

I stashed the plants in the corner chest, ate an apple that I picked up on my sprint, and began to dig down from inside my house. Its not going to be pretty, but I am going to dig for some Redstone.

Day 69
Hours of digging and my Pickaxe has broken. Nothing lasts forever even fortified with magic, I guess. I was out of wood, covered in dust, mud, and gravel, and still had not found Redstone as I emerged from my hasty mine. The sun was high in the sky. I was dirty, I was tired, I was hungry, and I still had work to do. I grabbed my Axe and my final pitted sword and headed outside. I walked into the forest and cut enough wood to hopefully finish the mine and keep me warm. Then i headed down to the lake again for a quick swim.

I took my time returning to the Hovel and walked the long way around. There was still hours of light left and needed food. I found it in the form of a large cow. I returned to the hovel loaded with meat. I at quickly and decided to try for redstone again. I crafted a pickaxe of iron it paled to its predecessor of enhanced diamond, but it should do the job.

I found Redstone only minutes later. I rushed to the crafting table and turned quickly to the instructions for the Compass. I arranged the iron around the redstone crafted the compass. I held it and spun it around. The needle constantly pointed in a single direction. I pocketed it and turned to process the plants into paper. It took time but near sunset I had enough.

Trembling I opened the Ledger to the map page. I placed the compass back on the table with the paper. I began to feel faint. As I hit the dirt floor images flashed through my head. Images of the last few days, my sprint to the lake, the search near the hovel, the trek from the Bunker, my first few days here then darkness,

Day 70?
I lay on the floor, the smell of burning meat, the sound of wind through trees of water dripping onto rock, and the sight of sun pouring through my door. I managed to stand up and walk outside. The sun was lower in the east. I was out all night (just one night?). I had searched, hunted, and worked with barely any sleep running on pure adrenaline for days. Surely collapsing after that ordeal made sense (or was it the map?)

I splashed some water that had pooled onto my face and returned to the hovel. I grabbed a hunk or over cooked beef and gnawed on it was I looked at my new creation. It was largely a blank piece of paper. A scant bit had filled in. The markings stretched in and out of the blank areas like corridors in a mine. I located a small blue field that could have been the nearby lake. Then noticed to the south east, following a corridor was a small brown a grey point that didn’t fit in its surroundings (It that the Hovel?) From that point I found the other landmarks The beacon on the hill, a long winding corridor ending in a sandy shore, a swampy coast, and then a large mountain with the largest mapped area around it. The Bunker?

If the map was accurate I had taken the long way around. I had set out going northeast along the shore line of a large body of water (ocean?) and then turned due south through line of hills. From there I turned west, passed the Bunker and ended up the western edge of the large lake/bay. The pinpoint of grey on a open green field just inland of the bay must be the beacon. Since then I had focused my search to the west thinking (wrongly) that I was still east of the bunker.

I’d have to follow the same path back over land and the thought of traveling through the caves and deep forest again was not appealing to me at this juncture. I decided to travel over the large lake.

I packed up all the food I could carry, the Ledger, sword, pickaxe, and bedroll. I left behind the crafting table, tools, iron, and ruined armor. I had better gear at home anyway and they would only slow me down. I buried the Hovel and did a quick job of camouflaging into the hillside. I left a small marker if I ever would need to return.

I arrived at the Beacon mid morning. I torn it down. The grey point on the map melted into the field of green. An hour later I reached the sandy beach and crafted a boat.

I pushed off of the shore and set out along the shore heading south east. The coast began to curve northwards mid afternoon. According to the map (which is more complete now than when I had set out this morning) I was over halfway through the bay by sunset. I fashioned a crude anchor with my pickaxe and positioned my boat far enough away from the shore to avoid the undead. i’m glad I brought the bedroll. Tomorrow I return home.