Goodbye

Posted on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 23:59 by Sven Rafferty
File under: Analysis & Commentary

It has been a wonderful near decade of SvenOnTech. Birthing from a personal b2 blog as far back as 1999 and evolving into SvenOnTech that took me to meetings with amazing people with incredible product. I even was able to watch a private concert for thirty meet a childhood guitar hero of mine. I have had a wonderful time here on the World Wide Web and my little Web Log.

Sadly, time and funding I just no longer have, and so on the even of SvenOnTech’s 8th anniversary, it is goodbye. The site may remain here – or not – for purposes of history. Maybe it will come back alive. Either way, I loved reporting on tech and loved all those I interacted with. I made many good friends and hope to make many more through other “lives” here on the Internet.

Thank you, and goodbye.



The End

Posted on Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 22:29 by Sven Rafferty
File under: Analysis & Commentary

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes…again



Fantastic Camera Just Shy of Incredible

Posted on Monday, July 15, 2013 at 20:24 by Sven Rafferty
File under: Internet, Review, Smartphone, Video, Wi-Fi

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If you are looking for a way to view your baby, keep an eye on employees, or just secure your office when away, and you want an easy set-up with the ability to view it all on your iPhone or Android-based defive, then take a look at our Dropcam review.  You will see what SvenOnTech’s hard-earned money found when it plopped $150 for this little camera that claims to do everything including showing Apple an innovative trick or two.  Sorry, that’s the only Apple punch you’ll find.  Take a read and see if the Dropcam is the right fit for you.



Why Did Copy-cat Apple Neglect the 2 Best Android Features for iOS 7?

Posted on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 12:44 by Sven Rafferty
File under: Analysis & Commentary, Smartphone

A01P01So Apple flaunted it’s Playskool iOS 7 interface to the world at WWDC along with the a slew of new features to the silence of most who cared.  Yes, the first few rows applauded and cheered but those were Apple employees and board members. They’re delusional. While I have already discussed the problems with the update that really isn’t more than a slap in the face to those that love a good and useful user interface as well as desire envelope pushing from Cupertino, I neglected to touch on two important items.  The Big Missing Features. Did you read all the Tweets about the lack of Widgets?  Or the Facebook posts that there is no Active Icons?  There’s a reason for that and I’ll tell you what that is.

First, I do have to touch on the irony about the icons.  For years, Apple plastered a 73 on its Weather icon which was meaningless.  Then it finally updates its old and tired looking home screen with kids Crayola art and even gives us a ticking clock icon…but yanks the number from the Weather icon instead of actually adding the current locations temperature!  What immense irony that is.  Ya, I know, Android has been doing this for years but Apple doesn’t care what user want.  Have you seen iOS 7?

So what is an Active Icon you ask?  This is where the icon actually takes on some life, such as the weather example.  In a sense, Apple does have some activity on icons such as Message, Mail, and Phone with the number badge.  However, being able to simply look at the Weather icon and immediately see some clouds over the sun and 78 for the temperature beats tapping the icon and waiting for the app to refresh for the same bit of information.  For some reason, Apple doesn’t get that.

The most blatant omission from iOS 7 are Widgets.  Widgets are objects found on the home or lock screen that give you access to an application; however, these widgets also tap into the app with information such as a blip of emails, some posts in Facebook, or trending tweet,s and oh yes, some weather, too.  Widgets basically make your smartphone, well, smarter.  If you’re curious what your missing, take a look at TechRepublic’s 15 Android widgets that will make iPhone users jealous.  Again, Apple doesn’t get it.

Why?  The home screen is the first thing a person sees of a phone. With the two-to-one margins of Android to iPhones in the wild, most are familiar with the Android screen.  So, imagine – even with the hideous child’s play art – Apple placing widgets in iOS 7.  What would be the first response from users? “Oh, it looks just like the Androids screen.”  Can you envision what that would do to Apple’s pride?  Sure, 99% of iOS 7 is already Android features but the average user doesn’t know that but the Widgets are immediately identifiable to Android even to the casual user.  If customers uttered the comparison to Apple’s mobile rival, I’m pretty sure Steve Jobs would jump out of the grave and strangle that person!

Sadly, Apple has built this self-loving empire of pride, just look how long CEO Cook spent on the stupid pie chart of how many Android users were still using an operating system from 2010.  Apple is repeating the same ills it did with the original Macintosh and it is headed down the same road of bad fate.  While the rivals have taken Apple’s incredible idea and pushed it to its limits, Apple simply keeps telling the world, “Look how cool we are!”  Eventually, even the clueless consumer grows tired of this and sees that competition really does have more to offer.  Apple has decided for the third straight year to offer the public nothing substantial in the next iPhone operating system and this long-time Apple fan is already looking to move from iTunes Match to Google Play. I’m tired of living in Androids past. Good luck, Apple.  You’ll need it with your current corporate strategy.



iOS 7 Leaves Innovation to the Competition

Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2013 at 16:00 by Sven Rafferty
File under: Analysis & Commentary

iPhone5-PF-Pyramid_Features_PRINTIt took a horrible user interface and ripped-off features to draw me back to my technology blog.  Yes, Apple’s update to the iPhone’s operating system is such an irritation that I just couldn’t keep silent.  Unlike a spec of sand inside a clam, this irritation sadly will not produce a pearl.

Bowing to pressure on an old a tired interface, Apple finally previewed its first significant update to the mobile phone that changed the smartphone world at its developer conference WWDC last Monday.  No one was surprised by the announcement but the lack of excitement was obvious when it was unveiled. Aside from the first few rows of Apple employees and friends of the company, such as Board Member Vice President Al Gore, smiles were far and few in between.  Shock was a more common expression.  Ironically enough, the acclaimed designer Sir Johnny Ives seemed to have let some elementary children create the icons for iOS 7 as simplistic was used to the extreme.  Like a sixth-grader confined to his or her world, one finds the need to inquire with the little chap to solicit what the four bubbles icon represent.  Oh, that’s for Game Center?  Yes, bubbles totally convey that message.  The petaled color wheel for Photos is not much better.  This is from a company that prides itself on the principle that anyone can pick up its product and start using it.  I’m not sure how many people are going to tap a compass icon expecting Safari or that other compass icon expecting Safari.  What a mess.

Gone is any depth, though Ives is quoted as saying iOS 7 has more of it.  The shadows and texture are all gone – characteristics of depth – leaving flat bland colors.  There is more blinding white backgrounds than ever and baby blue all over the place.  Tappable items such as “buttons” are simply now just text and one just has to assume tapping the word will execute the command.  Again, not a feature any computer illiterate could figure out on their own.

Speaking of features, where were the new ones?  I mean the real new ones and not the stolen ones!  Every feature Apple mainstreamed on the big screen at the Moscone Center could be found on an Android device, today.  Not this fall.  Today.  SVP Schiller came out introducing the newly radically designed Mac Pro shooting off a comment about not innovating any more, “My ass!”  Granted, the new cylinder super Mac is pretty amazing, but were was that same type of attitude with iOS 7?  It’s lacking was because of the clear absence of Apple innovation.

Control Center, the ability to do things like disable Bluetooth, adjust brightness, and select Wi-Fi, is nothing new but something iPhone users have begged for ever since seeing it in Android’s Notification Center.  In fact, when Apple announced its Notification feature last year, many thought this ability would be found in it.  Nope, users will end up waiting another 18 months from that release for it.  Almost two years!  That’s crazy.

True multitasking comes to iOS 7 and the ability to see running applications looks just like it does on an HTC device.  An Android.  If you’d like, you can go back even further to 2009 when Palm first introduced the “card” concept with webOS.  It’s nice to have real multitasking on iOS – in the Fall – but again, this is far from a new feature.

I found the new simple lock screen somewhat comical since Apple has made such a big deal of “Swipe to Unlock” in the Samsung lawsuit.  Now iOS 7 will have a very simple lock screen with a large display of the time…just like Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich.

The update to the music player with iTunes Radio looked so much like Google Music it was comical.  The concept of streaming music isn’t new and in fact the market is crowded with choices.  After Steve Jobs bemoaned the idea of steaming music because, “people want to own their music”, Apple finally enters the game (with four bubbles?) after the dirt finally hardened on Jobs’ grave.

Not even that tricky looking 3-D background is new.  Nope, the feature known as Parallax has been available for Android for sometime in the form of a third-party application called 3D Image Live Wallpaper.  Heck, take a look at it in action from SlashGear’s videon on YouTube.  Yes, fully disappointing that something so cool STILL isn’t an Apple innovation.

I’m sure like the makers of 3D Image Live Wallpaper, other vendors were not happy seeing their hard work and ideas up on the Keynote presentation branded Apple, either. Mailbox campaigned brilliantly for its simple and powerful application with its easy to use swipes that – gasp! – are coming to iOS 7 Mail as well.  Go figure!  Oh, there’s more swipes – pun intended – buried in iOS 7 including one that draws from one the companies Apple has nearly put out of business, BlackBerry.  Like BB10, if you swipe to the left, you’ll be taken back to the previous page.  Amazing.

Now all these features taken from others that are available today on a competing hardware won’t even grace an iPhone until this “Fall”, whenever that is!  That’s three months at best, SIX at worse!  By that time, I guess  there will be a slew of new features for Apple to pick off the tree from Android for iOS 8.

 



Tim Cook and Apple are Delusional About Innovation

Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 11:31 by Sven Rafferty
File under: Analysis & Commentary

Tim Cook told Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco that, ”Innovation is strong as ever and in the DNA of the company.”  This from a company that has been playing catch-up and suing it’s competitors for the past two years other than really innovating. Noting that the smartphones and tablets are the backbone of Apple’s cash cow Cook underlined its “experience” is the true force of Apple’s innovation. ”Apple has skills in software, hardware and services. The model that grew the PC industry where companies specialized. That model is not working for what consumers want today,” said Cook. “Consumers want this elegant experience.” Why service definitely helps pack Apple Stores and customers snap up shiny new products, it’s not the only thing that keeps them buying.  No, true innovation keeps them coming.

Apple brought itself into a new era, and market, with the iPod.  It innovated a product that the founder of the MP3 player, Rio, couldn’t manage. Then again Apple innovated a product that was birthed elsewhere and took away the smartphone market from Palm.  Lastly, it showed Microsoft, the company that first brought the tablet to us in 2001, how to really innovate.

So now Apple has over $100 billion in the bank, packed stores, and enjoys the majority market share for tablets, smartphones (hardware), and even still for audio players.  But all those numbers are slipping and show little sign of reversing.  Sure, Cook can tell worried investors that the market is just increasing in size and it still has a larger chunk than it originally had, but those are excuses, not innovation. Instead of showing the world anything of great significance in the last three years, we simply hear how great Apple is and nothing more.  No talk of the future.  No talk of pushing the envelope.  No talk other than a nice shined marketing speech.

Apple’s last true innovation was the release of the iPad in 2010.  That’s three years ago and in that time, the Android Army has been hard at work chipping away at Apple’s market dominance and even forcing Apple into a product it bad-mouthed later that year.  Steve Jobs famously told investors, “7-inch tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with the iPad. ….7-Inch tablets are dead on arrival.”  Dead, huh?  As not to further damn his himself, Jobs went on to state, “While one could increase the resolution to make up some of the difference, it is meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one-quarter of their present size. Apple has done expensive user testing on touch interfaces over many years, and we really understand this stuff.”  Last I saw in the Apple Store, the iPad mini does not come with sandpaper. No, Jobs didn’t understand that the market actually DOES know what it wants sometimes – another famous saying Jobs liked to quip – and Apple’s own Eddie Cue urged Jobs to his death bed to let Apple make a 7″-ish tablet.  Clearly, innovation was ignored, bad-mouthed, and fought before it was it acknowledged.  Of course, in classic Apple style, it was quick to point out that the iPad mini isn’t really a 7″ tablet and it has “features” that improve the experience of an Android tablet.  Please…

Moving on, let’s look at the iPhone now.  Again, a truly innovative product when introduced, Apple seemed to slow down the gears of innovation and trickled out features year by year. Even though 3G was active in nearly half of AT&T’s network, Apple waited until the second generation to release a phone that supported the faster data speeds.  Outside of that, the iPhone 3G had little more to offer than a new look.  The camera still sucked, battery life was still dismal, and the OS had little advancement.

Apple continued this little-by-little strategy with each release all the way to the iPhone 5.  Instead of caving into the larger screen that has pushed sales of the Samsung Galaxy S III to a market leader and the talk of the town, Apple stretched the screen and chimed about how it was still easily used one-handily. That, was its innovation.  Apple’s previous yearly trickle of innovation was Siri.  Siri, the voice-to-text software, was an application in the App Store for about a year that gained much attention when it first was released.  Quickly scooped up by Apple and re-established as an integrated aspect of the operating system, Siri was reborn an Apple innovation.  No, excuse me, as a beta.  Now as we near two years – in beta – Siri is nothing more than a feature to ask it silly questions and become extremely irritated at its inability to send a text message that is even 40% accurate or – heck – even finish your sentence as it often just gives up leaving a partial text output.  In the meantime, Google released it’s Google Now app for the iPhone with stunningly quick and accurate speech-to-text.  No, it’s not beta, either.

I could go on about how iLife, once considered a stunning collection of multimedia applications for the Mac, hasn’t even been touched in over three years and languishes away or how its extremely expensive Thunderbolt technology two years later lacks a plethora of accessories.  Financial analysts bonked Apple over the head on the market a few weeks ago after Apple produced its best quarter ever.  Why?  Analysts see little in the future to hold Apple up and the numbers are indicating this.  Apple continues to be mute on future product and shows little innovation in the last three years.  Sure, the Retina display has dawned screens across the board, Bluetooth 4 graced wireless devices, and a great camera  in the phones.  But it’s not enough when compared to the competitors.  Instead of really kicking its competitors butt, Apple sues them.  Real innovators respond with, “Top this!”

History shows that Apple is on a four-year cycle of innovation.  The iPod, iPhone, and then iPad.  That gives us about a year before the next big thing.  Many think it’s a TV and I can see that.  Apple’s true innovation is taking something that already exists and making it better.  TV sales have declined and consumers aren’t fooled by bells-and-whistles such as 3-D. The networks are the issue for release just like the labels were for the iTunes Music Store.  I feel Apple can overcome that opposition but without Jobs, it will be tougher.

What after the Apple TV television? I can’t imagine that the road map goes dry after that.  I’m sure what ever it is, it’s already on the books and is being ironed out.  But will anyone care by then?  While the four years worked in the last decade, competitors and patent trolls have changed the landscape accelerating change.  Apple has already shown with the last two iOS updates, iPad mini, and the iPhone 5 – to a point – that it does better at catching up than pushing the competition.  If it doesn’t wish to become the next Sony – one of Steve Jobs’ biggest fears – then it needs to stop this madness of its delusional outlook on innovation and actually innovate again.  Stop riding the gravy train and trickling out features.  Apple had the money to demand LTE chips that are low power consuming a year before it finally hit the iPhone.  Apple had the money to make Siri actually work…upon initial release.  Apple has the money to force new technologies to market quicker than the other guy.  Jobs pushed Corning for a glass iPhone when its own CEO said it couldn’t be done.  Apple shoved a desktop operating system into a handheld device while others said it couldn’t be done.  Apple can do it.  If it wants.  Right now, it looks like it just wants to pats its own back. Ask Sony how that’s working, Tim.



Geneva WorldRadio Brings Old School Radio to Internet Streaming

Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 14:28 by Sven Rafferty
File under: Accessories, Audio, Bluetooth, Gadget

Remember that classic look of radios from the late 80s and 90s? Relive the past in three colors along with the ability to stream from your Bluetooth device.  That’s right, the Geneva WorldRadio lets you listen to FM, wakes you up, belts out Pandora via your smartphone, and even supports DAB+ if you are in Europe.  It’s a bit on the pricey side at $300 but it sure is versatile and stylish.

View Press Release »

Boston, MA – November 29, 2012 Geneva, unveils the WorldRadio, a contemporary take on the classic world receiver; a radio that could receive all available radio stations using the broadcasting technologies of that era, such as FM, long, and short waves. Today, most popular local radio stations are broadcast over FM, by DAB digital radio in some European countries and thousands of others are available on the Internet. The new Geneva WorldRadio offers access to the complete offering of today’s radio stations, as the classic world receiver did for previous generations.

 

Geneva WorldRadio features a powerful audio system, digital color display with touch controls, digital FM tuner, Bluetooth receiver, and alarm clock, all contained within an elegant, streamlined chassis with aluminum handle and tuning controls. This high-performance amplifier and full-range loudspeaker play mid and high frequencies with absolute accuracy, and produce warm, rich bass below 80Hz.

 

 

 

WorldRadio can receive both FM and digital (DAB+ version, Europe only) radio stations, and can wirelessly stream your favorite Internet radio stations from any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, tablet or laptop. Other audio sources can be connected via the 3.5 mm line input.  The rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery provides 6 hours of music playback.

 

The Geneva WorldRadio will be available December 2012 in a choice of 3 metallic finishes: silver, red, and black for $299.95 MSRP at www.genevalab.com and select retailers.

 

For more information on how you can tune in to the world with the new Geneva Sound System World Radio visit www.genevalab.com.

 

 

About Geneva:

Geneva is the Swiss firm that revolutionized home audio, with the first high-end audio system for the iPod generation. On the outside, Geneva Sound Systems are deceptively simple – the handcrafted, piano-lacquered exteriors seamlessly integrate into and enhance any interior setting. On the inside, the engineers fuse advanced electronics, patented acoustics, and the best components to project three-dimensional sound from a single, all-in-one furniture-grade cabinet. Geneva products have garnered accolades from leading audio and design publications, including a 2011 What Hi-fi? Sound and Vision Award for Product of the Year. Geneva Sound Systems are sold by the world’s leading fashion, design and electronics retailers.

 



iBattz Gets Its Mojo on With First Snap-on Battery Case for the iPhone 5

Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 14:18 by Sven Rafferty
File under: Accessories, Gadget, Wireless

If battery life has got you down on your new iPhone 5 and you’re looking to extend it, now you can while protecting it as well.  iBattz brings the first-ever battery case that is also a snap-on case for your iPhone 5.  According to iBattz, “The Mojo Hi5 case is a two-part protective case that features a detachable 2500mAh aluminum battery to keep users powered up on the go.”  You can use it to charge other USB devices as well.  The unique thin case will set you back $80 but for extra juice in a “…minimalistic design…”, you are getting off with a pretty good dea.

View Press Release »

RAMSEY, NJ – November 29, 2012 – iBattz, creators of intelligent power solutions, introduces their first protective battery case for iPhone® 5 with the Mojo Hi5 Powerbank Case. The Mojo Hi5 case is a two-part protective case that features a detachable 2500mAh aluminum battery to keep users powered up on the go. The battery is thin, lightweight and complementary to the iPhone 5’s minimalistic design. In addition, it can also be used to power other USB devices.

 

Functionality and design were key components in the development of the Mojo Hi5. This is evident in the sleek outer case which fuses flawlessly with the slim form of the iPhone 5. The user has the option to use the battery or just protect their phone with the thin yet protective case. The 2500mAh battery effortlessly attaches to the case for charging on the go, and is removable for charging other USB enabled devices.

 

Included with the Mojo Hi5 Powerbank case is the 2500mAh battery, matte black and gloss white cases, USB to Micro USB charging cable, Velcro strap and a short flex USB cable for charging the iPhone 5 when connected with the Apple Lightning to micro USB adapter, available at the Apple Store and online, sold separately.

 

 

 

“Attention to detail is key for us at iBattz. Staying true to the sleek design of the new iPhone 5, we made sure to create a case that would perfectly complement this stunning phone,” said Richard Martin, President, iBattz North American operations. “The Mojo Hi5 provides immediate snap-on power and quick charging capability — it’s a must-have accessory for people always on-the-go.”
 

 

The Mojo Hi5 Powerbank Case is available at Amazon.com and usa.ibattz.com for a MSRP of $79.90

 

About iBattz 

iBattz creates award-winning products through innovative design to enhance the technology essential to our lives. We offer a full line of power accessories designed for Apple® iPhone® and other intelligent mobile devices.

 

With over 10 years of experience in R&D, industrial design, and manufacturing of battery technology, you can trust the reliability and performance of all iBattz products.

 

For more information about the Mojo Hi5 and full line of iBattz products visit the website usa.iBattz.com

 



The Most Innovative and Clean Dock for Your iPhone 5 Yet

Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 13:24 by Sven Rafferty
File under: Accessories, Gadget, Wireless

The dearth of iPhone 5 docks is disappointing and the few – literally – that do exist are complete nonsense. Sorry Belkin, I do not wish to advertise your company when docking my phone. Fortunately, within sixty days, you can have a truly fitting dock for your iPhone 5, or older, that not only looks killer but compliments your Mac and as a magnificent bonus, keeps things tidy!

The OC Desk Display Stand ingeniously removes any hint of cables by placing a super thin cable under your Mac’s stand. Routing the cable up the rear and through the wire hole of the stand allows the cable to never be seen by the casual user. Even looking behind the Mac reveals a clean cable connection. The stand itself sticks onto the lip of the stand but is easily removable, leaving no evidence of stickiness once removed. The adhesive is strong enough to allow you to remove your iPhone single-handed without any fear of the stand coming up with your device. If you like to protect your investment with a case, no worries, as the OC Dock even allows for you to dock the phone inside the case. For those that prefer to show the beauty of your iPhone, you can purchase the more slim OC Dock for naked iPhones.

This is a Kickstarter project, so I would strongly recommend helping the boys out and donating to the cause so we can all clean up our desk and dock it right!

View Press Release »

For your new product/tech/organization features, please consider OC Desk – revolutionizing the workspace organization industry, OC Desk iPhone docks eliminates excess wire with a wireless appearance due to its paper-thin cable connection that runs underneath the stand. Often referred to as “Obsessively Clean Desk,” OC Desk has a missive to clear wasted space – allowing for a minimal, simple workspace, which results in performance efficiency.

Today, launches the official Kickstarter campaign to raise awareness and funds before the e-commerce launch set for mid-December.

Affordably priced at $79 to $98, OC Desk has the capabilities to fit iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 (upgrade kit is priced at $98) and will be available for purchase at www.ocdesk.com.



REVIEW: TuneLink Home

Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 14:51 by Sven Rafferty
File under: Accessories, Audio, Review

Looking to spew music, audio from your video off your Camera Roll, or even from your Netflix app on your iPhone or iPad? Well, dude, you’re in luck because TuneLink Home is here and it’s pretty much amazing. More than just a way to get audio from your iOS device but also an amazing universal remote the TuneLink Home is very much worth a look and a purchase if not finding high placement on your Christmas list. Read the review and find out why.