Category Archives: New Technologies

Facebook Spartan: Threat to Apple’s Social Media Dominance?

The world lost an ingenious man on Wed, October 5, 2011.  With an average of about two-in-five people owning and using one of his Apple products, Steve Jobs was a Jules Verne-like visionary and a modern tech genius.

He made his power-house company, Apple, from a garage in Silicon Valley to the world’s leading tech company.  His death marks the end of an icon, and leaves a wake in the industry.  With the somewhat lack-luster release of the new iPhone 4S, the next step for Apple’s new management is anyone’s guess.  Can it keep up with Jobs’s technological innovation, or will his passing open the floodgates for a brand new titan in the industry?

Enter Facebook Spartan.  A perfectly timed attempt – albeit by coincidence – to take over a chunk of Apple’s app market.  Facebook Spartan is Facebook’s own attempt at an app store.  Facebook knows that Apple products make up a big portion of the market (remember 2 in 5 people?), and it wants a piece of the action.  By creating a program that piggybacks on Safari, a Mac-based web browser, Facebook would be able to completely bypass the Apple app-store and create its own app-store on the web.  In doing so, Facebook could potentially siphon hundreds, if not thousands, of app downloads away from Apple every day.

The Facebook Spartan project has hurtled numerous roadblocks in its development, but looks to be finally closing in on a finished product.  Rumors are that Facebook intends to launch the program in the coming weeks.  Only time will tell if this is the real rise of Facebook, or just another great way for social media to connect all of us.  Here’s the link with the latest info:  http://www.slashgear.com/facebook-project-spartan-leaks-unveil-tipped-monday-with-ipad-app-29183916/

Don’t Judge an E-Reader by its Cover

It wasn’t so long ago that people would visit their nearest library or bookstore, take a book home, and sit for hours in the world of the stories that filled its pages. There once was a time when people aimlessly roamed the aisles of libraries, picked random books off the shelves, and basked in the delightfully potent smell of an old book. Times have now changed.

People have rapidly begun to trade in their library cards for e-readers, portable devices designed primarily for the reading of digital books, also known as e-books. The popularity of e-books has crashed over America like a tidal wave, capturing the hearts of even the most passionate readers. Before receiving my Nook, the Barnes and Noble version of the e-reader, as a Christmas present, I myself protested the e-reader. I thought, “An electronic device could NEVER replace the cathartic feeling I get when turning the final page of a book, closing it, and staring back at the hundreds of pages I had just read.” But, after reading several books on my gifted e-reader, I have switched teams and become an e-reader advocate.

I am not here to convince the naysayers to cut up their library cards, run to the nearest book store, or jump onto their laptops and purchase their own e-readers, but I do intend on sharing with them the practical advantages of the e-reader. I hope by highlighting these benefits, I can persuade those avidly opposing this new form of technology to take a peek and give these devices a fair chance; like they always say, don’t judge a book by its cover!

So, what’s so great about e-readers?

  • They’re easily readable. Most e-readers offer functions like zoom and letter resizing, which eliminate eye strain. Also, almost all readers incorporate display lighting, which allows you to read whenever and wherever you like.
  • They’re easily portable. An e-reader can carry thousands of books on one lightweight device!
  • They’re much more environmentally friendly. No trees are sacrificed for these e-books! Think of the e-reader as a water filter and the printed book as a bottle of water.
  • They’re much more powerful note-taking tools. You can find and reference notes quickly and easily. You can even highlight passages!
  • They’re a cheaper alternative to traditional printed texts. You can purchase e-books through your e-reader in the comfort of your own home 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Many e-books sport a significantly lower price than books sold in stores.

Although this technology is a fairly new phenomenon and still has quite a bit of developing to do, I don’t see the e-reader going the way of the pager anytime soon. Therefore, I suggest that you protestors lower you picket signs and slowly make your way over to the other side of the fence. You might be surprised at what you find once you look past the cover.