2011: Year of The Media App

This is my weekly Loose Wire Service column. By Jeremy Wagstaff I predict this year that we’ll settle on a way to make people pay for stuff they so far have proven reluctant to pay for—namely information. This won’t be done by pay walls, exactly, but by what we’re now calling apps. Apps are applications …

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Still Sneaky After All These Years

I still retain the capacity to get bummed out by the intrusiveness of software from companies you’d think would be trying to make us happy these days, not make us madder. My friend Scotty, the Winpatrol watchdog, has been doing a great job of keeping an eye on these things. The culprits either try to …

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Sleazy Practices Cont.

Fired up by Google’s move into the crapware domain by foisting an “updater” on customers who want to install (otherwise great) programs like Google Earth, I took another look at what was happening in the updater sphere. Apple drew some heat for its own bit of underhandedness recently, when its own Apple Software Updater automatically …

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The Leopard’s Spot (On)

Just gotten back from a demo of the new version of Mac’s operating system, Mac OS X Leopard (must confess I don’t like the names. It’s slightly better than Vista, but still a bit lame in my view.) But that’s not the point. I arrived halfway through the demo and so missed a lot of …

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Podcasting Is Big, Led By Mac Lovers

Podcasting is big. Well, not as big as paying bills online, but almost as big as blogs. According to Nielsen//NetRatings (PDF file), 6.6 percent of the U.S. adult online population are downloading audio podcasts. That’s more than 9 million people. But in case you get all excited about that, compare it with viewing and paying bills …

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Apple and Google AdWords

Further to my piece about Apple going after web sites using “iPod” somewhere in their name, is the company Apple going after third party developers using Google AdWords? A piece in TidBITS (“Apple Cracks Down on Google AdWords”) paints a worrying picture of trademark protection gone mad: some recent unsettling events indicate that Apple may …

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Apple, Nano, and the Cost of Silence

It’s been nearly a week since the first stories about problems with the Apple iPod Nano screen started to surface, and, according to The Register, they’re spreading: More importantly, the post on Apple’s discussion boards discussing the issue has grown from 188 posts to 583 (at last count), and now includes people who have cancelled …

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Why Does Apple Take So Long to Bite?

Apple is again protecting itself, as Wired News reports: E-Tailers Get Apple Nastygrams Apple is ordering several online iPod accessory vendors to stop using the word “iPod” in their names or URLs. Apple has sent legal notices to accessory vendors everythingipod.co.uk and iPodlife. “I’m very nervous that this whole affair will hurt our business financially,” …

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This week’s column – Software To Change Your Life

This week’s Loose Wire column is about software: IT’S TIME TO GET PERSONAL. Here’s a list of software I–and a few folk I know–can’t live without. These items may not be for everyone, but some of them could change your life. (Unfortunately for Apple and Linux users, they’re all for Windows.) Full text at the …

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Apple Excites, Disappoints With iPod Mini

As expected, sort of, Steve Jobs has unveiled a new Apple iPod — smaller, more colourful and cheaper (but not as cheap as people thought). About 3.5 inches long and just half an inch thick, the iPod mini looks a bit like the old iPod, with the same jog dial, but comes in five colours, …

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