Owened

by Owen Williams

Perpetually in search of what’s next. Marketing + Code at Hoist Apps and Weekend Editor at The Next Web

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Too busy consuming to create

I tweeted earlier today that I’ve been finding it hard to find things to write about lately because the blogging scene seems to be saturated with so much great content. I’ve been stuck on the thought that just adding to the noise is pointless, so why do it?

Then it hit me. Matt put it eloquently in reply to my grumbling:

I’m sure many that are reading this have experienced writers block at some point in their career. With so many great content creators online and such simple ways to surface killer content it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that the thought/opinion that you have has already been voiced (or perhaps that it’s not worth voicing in the first place).

It’s easy to discard a completely valid opinion that could result in a well...

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Facebook Home hasn’t failed, it’s just getting started.

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As expected when something interesting is released, the posts begin to roll in about how it’s a failure. We’ve already got a ton of articles with titles like “steer clear of Facebook Home”, “Facebook Home suffering from poor Google Play reviews” and in traditional Forbes fashion “Why The Facebook Phone Will Fail and Why It Really Doesn’t Matter.”

I sometimes wish the media wasn’t so quick to jump to conclusions. Yes, historically a Facebook phone hasn’t panned out well. Yes, Microsoft apparently thinks they already did that. The thing about all of this is that none of these people are the target market.

If we look at this from the perspective of the Android community then yes, Facebook Home is a stupid idea because it dumbs down Android. But, for everyone else out there that doesn’t care about tinkering with...

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Windows Blue is how Windows 8 should have been from the start

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Microsoft has a bad habit of releasing an OS to the world – like Windows Vista – that’s rushed and not polished, just to meet deadlines. Vista would be the prime example of a “half-done” operating system that was directly improved on by a later iteration, Windows 7.

When Windows 8 was released, it was met with harsh criticism from those in the news business as well as the technology industry. Early reviews of Windows 8 slated the OS for having many missing features, inconsistencies and general “odd” usability issues. Here’s a handful of examples:

Technology Review:

It’s easy to find things that are wrong with Modern (which was called Metro in developer and early versions). For example, there are no overlapping windows, and there’s simply no way to put three or four applications on a single screen at the same time—even if your work...

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New Zealand finally gets 4G LTE

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That’s right, 4G LTE is now available in one New Zealand city with a few more to follow this year. It’s crazy fast, supporting throughputs of up to 90mbps and already supports LTE advanced devices (for whenever they’re released) with a total throughput of 140mbps. The above screenshot - taken by @johnreader last night on a Samsung Galaxy SIII should be enough to blow your pants off.

Disappointingly, there’s no Voice over LTE yet, but hopefully we might see that eventually. Amazing that Vodafone can release this a full year ahead of Telecom NZ who are only just starting trials.

Vodafone seems to think that the current data caps are more than enough (which are on average around 1GB) for 4G, which isn’t good news. Additionally, the company is charging an additional $10/month for access to 4G. That said, the company is launching with a decent few handsets...

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Visa announces it will preload PayWave technology on next-gen Samsung phones

A press release that hit my inbox this morning caught my eye. Visa and Samsung have announced that they are going to partner, and that Visa will preload their Mobile Provisioning Service on all Samsung mobile phones so that they are able to use Visa’s PayWave NFC technology.

The company says that they will load the PayWave applet onto “any phone with NFC functionality” and this will allow them to make “wave and pay” payments on existing contact-less payment systems.

As far as I know, this is the first mobile provider to come to this sort of agreement - I’ve been wondering for a while now how this would pan out, and it looks like Samsung might have exclusive access to it for now. In the press release, they state something particularly interesting:

The Visa payWave mobile applet will be preloaded onto selected next-generation Samsung mobile devices...

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Chromebook Pixel: Pixel density matters and Microsoft should pay attention

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Today Google announced the Chromebook Pixel, the first Google-branded laptop to feature a massively pixel-dense display. There has been much backlash to the launch, mostly around the price and design that is somewhat reminiscent of the HP Elitebook.

The device is very expensive, I won’t disagree, but that’s because parts like this are not mainstream or even used much outside of Apple’s hardware. Despite the price, the Chromebook Pixel is important because it shows that Google understands the direction that things should be going in.

It amazes me that we’re now in 2013, Microsoft has recently released a new version of Windows and we still don’t have high pixel density hardware hitting the market for PC’s, nor does Windows 8 even support it properly.

Yes, Windows 8 “supports” these kinds of screens, but no, it doesn’t do it very...

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Wearable technology: the next big thing

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, wearable technology like this is going to be the next thing to take the world by storm. This video is evidence enough that if the actual “technology” layer of the device doesn’t get in the way of living life, and is actually natural enough to integrate into every day movements then it is killer.

It may take half a decade for it to catch on, but I expect this kind of innovation to become both socially acceptable and the norm within the next decade. Sure, it might look goofy to have us all talking to ourselves, but it’s also incredibly useful and transparent to the user.

We’re also not specifically talking about Google Glass here. I expect a wave of innovations from smart watches to electronic clothing to become “mainstream” at some point in the foreseeable future.

As with self-driving...

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New Zealand to finally get another submarine internet cable

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Telecom, Vodafone and Telstra have signed a “non-binding” memorandum of understanding to invest in a new submarine cable between Auckland and Sydney.

Telecom chief executive Simon Moutter and Vodafone New Zealand CEO Russell Stanners jointly said:

“The Tasman Global Access cable will also enable New Zealand to better leverage the four additional international cable systems currently serving Australia (with several more proposed or in development), providing important redundancy for New Zealand. Australia also enjoys good connectivity with Asia, which is achieving strong internet traffic growth in line with global economic shifts.”

According to the release, the tentatively named “Tasman Global Access” (TGA) cable will cost less than $60 million and will have a design capacity of 30 terabits/second when completed. This is around 300 times “current”...

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The Surface Pro is an answer to a question asked two years ago, not today

This week, the Surface Pro has hit the street and promptly ‘sold out’. It’s an impressive device, one that I’m very excited about. Not only does it have the best screen on a PC to date (it’s hard to believe we still don’t have anything retina quality), it’s also got the best industrial design we’ve seen to date in the PC market.

Despite this, the Surface Pro shows a lack of understanding from Microsoft of the market as it currently stands. They’ve figured out that industrial design is important, but have forgotten that the software is just as important.

Two years ago, when the iPad was new, people cried out for a tablet from Microsoft. People wanted to work and play on the go with a full Windows PC, and the Surface now 'answers’ that need, but it doesn’t address (or even try to address) the world as it is now.

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RIM rebrands as BlackBerry

As of today, RIM is being rebranded as BlackBerry. “We have reinvented the company, and we want to represent this in our brand,” Heins said.

This move is a bit confusing for a few reasons. First, it seems like a desperate grasp at using the power behind their branding to keep them afloat and well known. Second, I don’t really understand why they didn’t do this already. RIM was a terrible name for a company that exists in 2013, but I guess they figured that part out on their own.

Strangely enough, they decided to chose Alicia Keys as their ‘creative director’ on the product (a title that likely means nothing) despite the fact that she seems to love her iPhone.

So… I guess the company name is the product now. At least BlackBerry can unveil BlackBerries at their BlackBerry events from now on. Meta.

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