You know that big press conference Apple is holding tomorrow? The one that’s music-related, and kind of a big deal, we guess, if you like that sort of thing? It starts at 10am on September first, and you can watch the whole thing unfold live on Apple.com. Apple announced as such in a press release today. The release starts: “Apple® will broadcast its September 1 event online using Apple’s industry-leading HTTP Live Streaming, which is based on open standards.” Open standards, you say? That sounds pretty cool!
Joke’s on you, peon.
In a truly breathtaking display of doublespeak, the very next sentence reads, “Viewing requires either a Mac® running Safari® on Mac OS® X version 10.6 Snow Leopard®, an iPhone® or iPod touch® running iOS 3.0 or higher, or an iPad™.”
Continue reading about this tomfoolery after the jump.
Welcome to the first edition of my new column, Top of Mind, in which I’ll discuss a variety of issues percolating at the top of my brain. Some topics will be from the news, others will spring from my life as a tech geek, and many will be related to my day-to-day work as reviews editor here at Maximum PC.
One trend that’s been bugging me lately is the proliferation of products that come with subscription plans attached. I’ve recently encountered three examples where subscriptions are ostensibly optional, but where much of the product’s value and appeal vaporizes if you don’t pony up for the subscription.
It’s odd to write those words, because most of the tech press has been using, commenting and reviewing Microsoft’s new progeny for months now. Maximum PC proclaimed it to be “unquestionably the best version of Windows that Microsoft has ever released, and is the true successor to Windows XP.” I’d certainly agree with Will Smith’s assessment.
Given all the hoopla, Windows 7 almost seems like old hat. (When’s Windows 8 coming out again?) But for normal humans who don’t travel at Internet speeds, Windows 7 arrives on October 22nd. And for Microsoft, Windows 7 is something of a missed opportunity.
To understand what I mean, we have to go back in time.
What is it that makes single-serving sites (a webpage with a dedicated domain name that exists on this planet to serve only one purpose) so damned appealing? Whatever the secret sauce may be, single-serving sites have been around longer than you may realize -- since the inception of the web, even -- although it’s only been in the past couple of years that netophiles (like Jason Kottke) have placed them into a genus all their own.
While there could be some argument about what exactly constitutes a “single-serving site,” a few facts remain true across the board: the user’s “need” (and I use this word loosely) must be met without requiring them to click to any other page or website for more information on the subject at hand. Personally, my favorite sites include nothing more than single word or phrase, which usually directly relates to the URL: examples include Is Twitter Down? and Going To Rain. The less effort one puts into getting the answers to these questions, the better.
Nvidia stands at a crossroads, with two closed, proprietary APIs that have mainstream potential: the general-purpose computing CUDA API, and the PhysX physics-acceleration API, which sits on top of CUDA. These are both promising technologies, but only owners of Nvidia hardware can harness their power. Meanwhile, there are two emerging open standards that mirror what Nvidia is doing with its proprietary development. One is OpenCL 1.0, and the other is a general-purpose GPU computing API, which Microsoft will include in DirectX 11. There are a relatively small number of consumer applications that use CUDA, PhysX, or OpenCL right now, but the possible applications for the tech are endless—grossly simplified, these APIs let graphics chips perform CPU-like functions.
The question Nvidia needs to be asking is simple: Will developers write their general-purpose GPU computing apps using a proprietary API that works on only a subset of PCs—those stuffed with Nvidia hardware—or will they use an open API that will work on every PC on the market?