Tomorrow’s the big day, and boy, are people fired up: There’s the Siri co-founder who’s convinced Apple's announcement will change the world, the company willing to fork over billions for a (big) piece of the action, and the familiar face that may make an appearance. I don't know about you, but the remainders for Monday, October 3, 2011 have fallen prey to the hype.
Could Apple’s (supposedly) forthcoming Assistant feature change the very fabric of our world? The co-founder of virtual personal assistant software Siri certainly thinks so. Norman Winarsky told 9to5 Mac in an interview on Monday that he not only thinks the feature will be nifty, it’ll be “a world-changing event.” Why? Because, says he, “if the rumors are true, Apple will enable millions upon millons of people to interact with machines with natural language.” Yes, yes, I know I should be scared about the doomsday potential of intelligent AI, but that fear is being shouted down by the thought of having an R2 unit inside my phone.
I’m a huge fan of good trackballs. I started using a Kensington TurboMouse back in the early 1990s as a remedy for a mouse-induced repetitive-stress issue, and I’ve never looked back. Even today, on a Mac running gesture-heavy Lion (Mac OS X 10.7), I use Apple’s Magic Trackpad () along with a trackball (now a Kensington ExpertMouse)—the trackball for moving the cursor and clicking, the trackpad for gestures. For me, a large trackball is both better ergonomically than a mouse or trackpad and, because it doesn’t need space for moving around, a more efficient use of desk space than a mouse. Your mileage, of course, may vary.
I also appreciate the ergonomic benefits of using an external pointing device with a laptop—as good as Apple’s trackpads are, they’re still located in the middle of the laptop below the keyboard, requiring an unnatural hand position. In fact, the Magic Trackpad is a great accessory for MacBook owners who like trackpads, because it gives you a larger, more-ergonomically placeable device that’s still easy to pack in your bag.
Trackball fans, unfortunately, have never had a good option for portable “mousing,” despite the fact that a trackball is, in theory, an ideal portable accessory: It can be used on almost any surface, and it needs only as much space as the base of the device itself. But the best trackballs are too big for portable use, and every mobile trackball I’ve tried has been at best disappointing, thanks to cheap construction and inferior hardware, and at worst an ergonomic nightmare, thanks to a too-small trackball or a design that forces you to use your thumb to roll the ball.
This week sees an end to our long-running game, “Is It Competition Yet?”, as we welcome the Amazon Kindle Fire! Then we turn our gaze to Wall Street, where it’s like a bell sounded and a hundred monkeys rushed to their keyboards to type idiotic naysaying pieces about Apple (one of Pavlov’s lesser-known experiments). You know, there’s against the grain and then there’s against the brain. These guys are doing both.
Psystar is determined to drag its court case all the way to the top before failing; the Apple TV may be about to kick off its continental tour; and we bid a fond adieu to a bygone era of gaming. The remainders for Friday, September 30, 2011 would like to ask for a moment of silence.
No, no, no. Don’t you realize, Psystar, that by threatening to appeal your case to the Supreme Court, you’ve totally ruined my “psyonara” joke from earlier this week? Also, when a district court and an appeals court have already ruled against you, you probably have a better chance of getting heard by the Supremes than, you know, the Supremes.
Steve Jobs apparently tried to talk to Samsung before going nuclear, Apple takes home a victory over one clone maker, and fake iPhones aren’t what they used to be. The remainders for Thursday, September 29, 2011 are groovin’ on a Thursday afternoon.
No less than former Apple CEO Steve Jobs tried to get Samsung to check itself before it wrecked itself. As the two companies engage in their legal patent wrangling in Australia, it has come to light that Jobs had initiated contact with Samsung before Apple launched legal proceedings, apparently in an effort to give the Apple rival and supplier “a chance to do the right thing.” This was a step up from Apple’s previous effort, which consisted of FedEx-ing Samsung’s entire executive team and board of directors DVDs of the influential 1989 Spike Lee joint.
Deciphering Apple’s intentions is even more challenging than figuring out the Kremlin’s, though there’s definitely some similarity. Elsewhere, the Thunderbolt Display is ripped to shreds, iTunes movies surface around the world, and is it finally time to bid adieu to some venerable Apple products? The remainders for Wednesday, September 28, 2011 promised themselves they wouldn’t cry.
TUAW’s Steven Sande has cracked this whole Apple invitationwide open. I’m just surprised that nobody’s noted that the four apps in a 2-by-2 grid clearly summon to mind the latest iPod nano. COINCIDENCE? I think almost surely.
Any potential buyers of TV-streaming site Hulu are going to have to play by its terms, it seems. Elsewhere, Facebook seems to have re-friended Apple, and you’ll soon be able to multitouch your Android phone as much as you want. The remainders for Tuesday, September 27, 2011 are just touched that you thought of them.
Among the bidders vying for video-streaming site Hulu, it seems that the most valuable came from Dish Network. But none of the potential purchasers were apparently willing to offer as much as Hulu wanted—with the conditions that it set. Google offered more than Dish, but it wanted more rights in exchange. That’s Google for you—always standing up for people’s rights!