Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The iPad as a System Administrator's Primary Device: Part 1 - The Introduction

How a System Administrator uses an Apple iPad

Nearly a quarter of IT managers are already using iPads, ITIC found in a study of the segment. As many as 23 percent already own Apple's tablet, and 18 percent plan to buy one within the year. While it didn't equate to handing iPads to employees, the news suggested the device would have a "spillover effect" with business as those controlling deployment for it and other Apple hardware knew what it could do for personal use.

My name is Carl Brooks and I am an information technology professional with over 25 years of experience. I have supported UNIX and Window based systems in my career. Short of an iPod, I have neither supported nor owned an Apple product in this same time span. The last time I used an Apple product, for more than a few minutes, was back in high school where I worked in the computer lab. I enjoyed the Apple products back then, but after leaving college and entering the work force, I used and primarily supported Window based systems. I have also supported several UNIX or Linux based operating systems from AIX to Ubuntu, but very little experience with Apple products beyond the occasional friends' laptops or brief visits at the Apple stores.

I have recently started flirting with the idea of getting a Mac Mini because I have often thought of programming for the iPhone and it requires that I have an Apple computer to do so. The truth is they I would have a Mac Mini today if the Apple iPad had not been announced and released. The Apple iPad has become the center of my computing world. It has allowed me to downsize my computer heft. The laptops are left behind on all occasions in favor of my iPad. The desktop have all but been ignored unless they absolutely have to be used like during tax season (tax return program) and football season (no flash makes updating my fantasy football teams a desktop chore).

Even my Palm Pre smart phone has been reduced to simply a phone and texting (SMS) device. My Palm Pre (which I waited even longer for then I did for the iPad after its January announcement date), with its powerful and elegant WebOS, sits in its hip case on standby for most of the day. Occasional I may check a quick email and even less frequently, I may even click a link to launch a web session from an email message. This only happens in the very limited times when the iPad is not at my side; like when my wife is fending off zombies (Plants vs. Zombies HD) or the kids are giggling with Talking Carlicon. But is the virtual keyboard adequate to replace a real keyboard with tactical feedback?  Read Part 2 - Is the Virtual Keyboard is Good Enough?

Analysis Reflex of Apple's Black Friday Price Reductions

Apple looks set to be a big winner of the holiday shopping season kickoff, according to recaps of the Black Friday action from a number of analysts.

Doug Reid, Stifel Nicolaus: “We note strong demand at Apple stores we visited and 24-hour availability for online purchases on all 6 SKUs. Our analysis suggests AAPL’s Black Friday price reductions ($41 price cut on iPad) could reduce by an immaterial $0.01 to $0.03 our December quarter [earnings per share estimate] for AAPL (currently $5.21) due to lower [gross margin] on impacted product. Overall our checks indicate AAPL saw a strong Black Friday weekend leaving us incrementally more positive on the competitive position of Apple products heading into December holiday shopping.”

Rajesh Ghai, Think Equity: We believe the 5-10% discounts offered on most Apple products on Black Friday, considering the strong aspirational value attached to Apple products by most U.S. consumers, could potentially have had the effect of attracting the necessary customer attention and converting the customer desire into the requisite buying behavior for Apple during what is proving to be a stronger-than-expected consumer spending season.

William Fearnley, Janney Capital Markets: We believe the Black Friday winner is Apple, with hot new products like iPad/MacBook Air and their annual One Day sale prices. Sales and traffic appeared strong at the Apple Stores, as we expected … Apple sale pricing: One day Black Friday sale with discounts of ~$100 on Macs, ~10% on iPad/iPods and select accessories. Research suggests traffic was strong and sales were brisk. Apple emailed the promo beforehand too.

Shaw Wu, Kaufman Brothers: Despite modest discounts by AAPL itself, our field checks indicate strong foot traffic at AAPL stores and third-party retailers despite tough Y/Y comparisons. We found particular strong uptake of iPad, iPod and MacBook Air. While the Black Friday weekend typically accounts for approximately 10% of holiday sales, we nonetheless view it as a fairly
important indicator of trends.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Save About $41 on new iPad with Black Friday's special shopping event on apple.com

If you have been waiting to get an iPad, you might get one today online at apple.com
You will save about $41 on most iPad devices. 



Carl W. Brooks
iAmThereforeiPad, Founder and Chief Editor

iPad News, Reviews and How-To-Dos.  
We help make your iPad experience Magical through information!

Begin forwarded message:

From: Apple <News@InsideApple.Apple.com>
Date: November 26, 2010 5:28:41 AM EST
To: carl@iamthereforeipad.com
Subject: Get ready for Friday's special shopping event.

Shop Online     |     Find a Store     |     1-800-MY-APPLE
Get ready.
The special one-day Apple shopping event is Friday, November 26.
Start making your list now. And on Friday, shop online anytime or visit an Apple Retail Store beginning at 8:00 a.m.
Shop online Find a store
Friday only.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Goodbye Free TV Broadcasting for the iPad - For now?

FilmOn had offered a free TV viewing service that works on conventional PCs (with a downloaded free app), as well as on mobile devices like Apple’s iPad and iPhone (right from Safari's browser).  The service offered viewing of all network channels from LA California.  In addition to the networked channels, it offered independent broadcasts as well, including porn stations.  Filmon offers paid packages that offer a variety of programming options.  It would be foolish to subscribe to them before  the legal issues are are stamped out.  They legal actions have only just begun.

A federal court has put the kibosh on Filmon broadcasting the programming from TV's largest networks for free, without their permission.  The federal judge in New York has issued a temporary restraining order against FilmOn.com, which has riled up the U.S. TV industry for a couple of months. The four broadcast networks–News Corp.’s Fox, GE’s NBC, Disney’s ABC and CBS–had asked for the order on Nov. 9.

FilmOn argues that the U.S. copyright act allows it to redistribute broadcast programming; Ivi Inc., a Seattle-based company that offers a similar service, makes the same argument.


Los Angeles, CA – November 23, 2010 –FilmOn.com Inc. CEO and Chairman, Alki David today issued the following statement regarding the ruling made by the New York Southern District Court, which issued a temporary restraining order, in effect pending the court’s decision on if it will issue a preliminary injunction.

“We respect the Court’s decision in this matter and have temporarily ceased retransmission of free network television on FilmOn. In the few weeks FilmOn provided free access to basic television on consumers’ mobile devices, it received more than 30 million individual users. We also garnered dozens of positive reviews about our free service’s quality and ease of use. We have, in essence, shown full proof of concept of the FilmOn delivery system–proving that millions of viewers will watch our superior television service online, all with commercials, adding millions of extra impressions that enhance network’s value to its viewers and advertisers.”

“FilmOn has succeeded in securing partnerships with several independent broadcast channels to be able to keep a compelling live offering online in the near future. Coupled with our own library of content and that of our partners, FilmOn will remain open for business. “

We do expect to bring the major networks back to our lineup in the near future, all in a legitimate and collaborative business model. We have already begun very positive discussions with TV networks affiliates and other content owners to provide our delivery service and measurement analytics to stream their live content online.

Scott Zarin, Zarin & Associates P.C., legal counsel for FilmOn added:

“In addressing FilmOn’s argument that it is exempt from copyright infringement liability as a cable system, the court indicated that it was not convinced–on the facts currently known to it–which this is the case. Although the court issued a Temporary Restraining Order, it is providing FilmOn with an opportunity to elaborate upon its ‘cable system’ argument more thoroughly in a hearing on the Networks’ request for a preliminary injunction.

“FilmOn will be drafting papers in opposition to the Networks’ motion for a preliminary injunction in the coming weeks, with which it expects to submit to the court the opinion of an expert on FilmOn’s technology in order to demonstrate that FilmOn is indeed a cable system. If FilmOn successfully opposes the Networks’ motion for a preliminary injunction, the court’s Temporary Restraining Order–which by law can only remain in effect for a short duration–will be dissolved.”

I used the website to view NFL football games that were not viewable in my area, complete with commercials. I hope that Filmon is able to improve upon the system to be able to determine the viewer's region and display locally relevant commercials. Whether the networks like it or not, the viewing habits of today's viewers are extremely different and these viewers will demand more flexibility to view this content the same way they have transformed the music industry. Those who adapt will prosper, those that don't will suffer. Since the ruling, Filmon has replaced the missing network channels with some movie channels and additional porn channels, including Playboy. They have just upped the battle and will most likely be heading from Playboy's lawyers very soon.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Beware The Bank Apps On Your Phone or iPad

Online banking is one of the more popular tasks people get done on their phone. Apps tailored to your device can make the process easier, but it seems some of the banks have made some boneheaded decisions in their programming design that opens up a number of security risks.

The Wall Street Journal lists Bank of America, Wells Fargo and USAA applications that are due fixes. Security company viaForensics ran a number of banking applications through their testing process. Every bank they tested failed except for The Vanguard Group. All of the applications tested were either written for Apple's iOS or Google's Android platforms.

Wells Fargo's mobile banking app, for example, is guilty of storing both the username and password on the device in plain text. It also saved account information and balances on the device in an unsecured manner. They updated their application in the middle of last week, so if use that on Android, be sure to get an updated version as soon as possible.

The data stored in plain text is at risk from at least two attack vectors. First, and perhaps the easiest, is to just steal the phone. With the username and password, a thief could just log in to your account and transfer out whatever they wanted to. You could also be targeted via email in an attempt to get you to visit a particular web page. That page could run code that grabbed the info off of your device since it would know exactly where it was stored.

Wells Fargo wasn't the only bank storing data in plain text. Bank of America's Android app is saving the answers to security questions in plain text on the device, but if you use their iPhone app, you should be ok. Other banks had similar issues, which largely seem to boil down to either poor design or just shortcuts taken to reduce costs or get the app out early.

It makes me wonder why they bothered with writing apps at all. Yeah, with an app targeted at a platform, you can dress up the user interface to make it more appealing and perhaps more functional, but if you focused on a well written mobile web site, you let the browser and web server do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to security. You will generally use fewer resources too as web pages are easier to develop than apps are, especially if you are targeting multiple platforms. Besides, people generally prefer web pages over apps for many tasks.

If you are using a mobile banking app, do a bit of research to see if viaForensics analyzed it. If they did, chances are you need an update. If they didn't, you might question whether or not you want to take the chance your bank did any better than those that were tested.


Comcast Announces TV App For Apple iPad

Comcast has announced plans to release mobile applications for watching movies and TV shows on smartphones and tablet computers.

The first device to have Comcast's Xfinity TV app will be the Apple iPad. The cable TV company said Tuesday the app would be available to subscribers at no charge this week through Apple's App Store. However, movies and TV shows won't be available for viewing until December.

The company demonstrated the software Monday at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco. Besides including a video player, the application also has a TV guide and can be used to program a Comcast digital video recorder to record movies and TV shows.

Features not yet available, but coming soon, include the ability to create a MyTV watch list of favorite content and the ability to access social networking sites, so people can share what they're watching with others, Comcast says.

"This Xfinity TV app is part of a much larger effort to reinvent the way consumers interact with their televisions by transforming the way they search, navigate, discover and share entertainment," Neil Smit, Comcast Cable president, said in a statement.

Indeed, the company plans to deliver Xfinity apps this year for as many mobile devices as possible, including Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch, Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones, and tablets and smartphones based on Google's Android operating system.

Comcast is not the only TV service provider targeting mobile devices. Earlier this month, AT&T launched an application to access U-verse TV on smartphones running Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 operating system. The service is available at no charge to people who subscribe to the U-verse U300 package or higher. Others pay $9.99 a month.

AT&T released a U-verse app in August for the iPhone. Like Comcast, AT&T overall strategy is to release mobile applications for as many devices as possible.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Handbrake Does DVD to iPad Conversion for Free

On Nov 16, 2010, at 10:38 PM, "gwtr0940" wrote:

Anyone out there know of a good DVD to iPad converting software for windows?

One of the first questions that new iPad owners as is "How can I view my existing DVD library on my iPad?"  The next question is typically, "How can I convert my DVD to the iPad MP4 format for FREE?"  No one wants to purchase movies again from iTunes that they already own on DVD. Handbrake does the job and for free. 

I have used Handbrake as well without any problems. It works on Mac and Linux desktops too! 

"There's an old proverb in the video encoding world: "Speed, size, quality: pick two." It means that you always have to make a trade-off between the time it takes to encode a video, the amount of compression used, and the picture quality. Well, this release of HandBrake refuses to compromise. It picks all three."

HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows.


Supported Sources:

  • Any DVD-like source: VIDEO_TS folder, DVD image or real DVD (unencrypted--protection methods including CSS are not supported internally and must be handled externally with third-party software and libraries), and some .VOB and .TS files
  • Most any multimedia file it can get libavformat to read and libavcodec to decode.


  • File format: MP4 and MKV
  • Video: MPEG-4, H.264, or Theora
  • Audio: AAC, CoreAudio AAC (OS X Only), MP3, or Vorbis. AC-3 pass-through, DTS pass-thorugh (MKV only)

Misc features:

  • Chapter selection
  • Subtitles
  • Integrated bitrate calculator
  • Picture deinterlacing, cropping and scaling
  • Live Video Preivew


HandBrake uses a lot of (L)GPL librairies from the Linux world.




Carl W. Brooks
iAmThereforeiPad, Founder and Chief Editor

iPad News, Reviews and How-To-Dos.  
We help make your iPad experience Magical through information!

RIM gets aggressive with Apple iPad comparisons

Research in Motion knows that it must compete with Apple's iPad at least in mindshare and wants to seize the day with its PlayBook. RIM's Playbook vs. the iPad approach makes sense on many levels since it generates buzz even as its tablet remains largely a mystery.

Since the PlayBook was announced and later demonstrated, RIM has systematically released information in small chunks. For instance, RIM has said that the PlayBook will be competitive with Apple on price.

And on Tuesday, RIM released a comparison video between the PlayBook and iPad. We're not going to put a lot of stock in a company-orchestrated show-and-tell video, but RIM is showing a little aggression.

Watch the video below...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another Reason for the iPad: No Scorched scrotums

When I list the benefits of buying and using the Apple iPad, I often
list: Long Battery life, Instant-On, Tons of apps, and the fact that
it Does NOT overheat.  Well here is another reason to use the iPad
instead of a laptop...

Scorched scrotums: Is your laptop cooking your testicles?

Whoever invented the 'laptop' probably didn't worry too much about
male reproductive health.

Turns out that sitting with a computer on your lap will crank up the
temperature of your nether regions, which could affect sperm quality.

And there is little you can do about it, according to the authors of a
study out today in the journal Fertility and Sterility, short of
putting your laptop on a desk.

The researchers hooked thermometers to the scrotums of 29 young men
who were balancing a laptop on their knees. They found that even with
a lap pad under the computer, the men's scrotums overheated quickly.

"Millions and millions of men are using laptops now, especially those
in the reproductive age range," said Dr. Yefim Sheynkin, a urologist
at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, who led the new

"Within 10 or 15 minutes their scrotal temperature is already above
what we consider safe, but they don't feel it," he added.

So far, no studies have actually tested how laptops impact men's
fertility, said Sheynkin, and there is no bulletproof evidence that it
would. But earlier research has shown that warming the scrotum more
than one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) is enough to damage

Under normal circumstances, the testicles' position outside of the
body makes sure they stay a few degrees cooler than the inside of the
body, which is necessary for sperm production.

"I wouldn't say that if someone starts to use laptops they will become
infertile," Sheynkin told Reuters Health. But frequent use might
contribute to reproductive problems, he said, because "the scrotum
doesn't have time to cool down."

According to the American Urological Association, nearly one in six
couples in the US have trouble conceiving a baby, and about half the
time the man is at the root of the problem.

Both general health and lifestyle factors such as nutrition and drug
use can influence reproductive health.

However, Sheynkin said tight jeans and briefs are generally not
considered a risk factor.

"Clothes should not significantly change scrotal temperature, because
you are moving around," he said.

To hold a laptop on your knees, however, you need to sit still with
your legs closed. After one hour in this position, the researchers
found that men's testicle temperature had risen by up to 2.5 C.

A lap pad kept the computer cool and also made sure less heat was
transmitted to the skin. But it didn't do much to cool the testicles,
and might give "a false sense of security," according to Sheynkin.

"It doesn't matter what pad you use," he said. "You can put a pillow
beneath your computer and it still won't protect you."

As it turned out, leg position played a far bigger role. When the men
sat with their legs spread wide -- made possible only by placing the
computer on a large lap pad -- they could keep their testicles cooler.
But it still took less than 30 minutes before they began overheating.

"No matter what you do, even with the legs spread wide apart, the
temperature is still going to be higher than what we call safe," said

Belkin International, Inc., which sells lap pads and other electronics
accessories, did not wish to comment on the new findings.

Dr. James F. Smith, a urologist at the University of California, San
Francisco, cautioned that a clear impact of laptop use on fertility
had still not been shown, and that it probably didn't play a big role.

Still, he added in an e-mail to Reuters Health, heating up the scrotum
is likely to be bad for sperm production. He often asks patients that
he sees for infertility if they use a laptop and, if so, suggests that
they spread their legs periodically or place the computer on a desk.

Dr. Smith said the consequences of continued overheating of the
testicles -- so-called scrotal hyperthermia -- probably weren't
permanent, but might take months to go away.

"When interested in maximizing fertility potential," he advised,
"minimize harmful exposures, eat a healthy diet and exercise

Copyright 2010 Thomson Reuters



Carl W. Brooks
iAmThereforeiPad, Founder and Chief Editor

iPad News, Reviews and How-To-Dos.  
We help make your iPad experience Magical through information!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

FilmOn Joins the Growing Trend to Use the Internet to Change Content Broadcasts

Interested in watching broadcast television for free on your iPad? Just point your Safari browser to http:\\www.filmon.com site, pick a network affiliate and enjoy. I'm watching Law and Order on my iPod Touch as I type this on my iPad.

FilmOn is streaming broadcasts of several network affiliates in the Los Angeles area, including those of NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox, in an effort to entice users to purchase subscriptions to their service. The basic package costs $9.95 per month, while a premium package that includes movie channels and pay-per-view movies costs $24.95 per month.

A number of other feeds are also currently available for viewing, including audio-only feeds from Sky News, BBC News, CNN International, and Dubai Sport. The XXX stations, in English and Spanish, are blocked from free access.

The quality of the stream is very good; however, results may vary based on your Internet speed. As you may expect, there are commercials to view and you can't skip any of the commercials in the programming. When viewing Filmon.com on any device other than an iPad, the streamed selections are limited to only the four major broadcast networks. I was able to view these four networks without any problems on my generation one iPod Touch. 

FilmOn is the brain spawn of U.K. financier Alki David.  "Our platform is designed to be easily customized for broadcasters and advertisers that wish to get into the online broadcast business quickly and with minimal expense," David said in a statement. "FilmOn is currently in negotiations with all major cable providers and plans to provide complete syndicated cable television services throughout the U.S. in 2011."

If you're wondering how the networks feel about all this, well, they're not very happy with FilmOn; nor are they excited about ivi TV, which streams live broadcasts from network affiliates in Seattle and New York to desktop devices (ivi does not stream to iOS devices).

The Big Four networks and their associated studios have filed suit against online video streamer FilmOn in a New York District Court, saying its conduct has caused, and is causing them, "irreparable harm."

The effort follows on the heels of many of the same parties -- plus others -- to block streaming site ivi TV from doing essentially the same thing, which is streaming local TV stations signals, as part of an online pay package, without having negotiated retransmission-consent payments with the stations.

The broadcasters and studios say the company does not have the right to stream the stations or the underlying copyrighted content and has asked the court for a declaratory judgment that that is the case, as well as a preliminary injunction against the conduct.

FilmOn has been streaming the stations since Sept. 27, according to that company, and Friday was planning to launch HD versions.

As with their arguments against ivi TV, the plaintiffs allege that the timing of the launch was to coincide with the beginning of the fall season, thereby "misappropriating some of the most important copyrighted content at a critical time of the year."

In an interview with Multichannel News last week, David said that he has not negotiated individual carriage deals with the broadcasters, though for some other content he does have deals.
He argued that his service fits the definition of cable system when it comes to the statutory license to retransmit broadcast signals over the air per U.S. Copyright law, but that it is not a cable system when it comes to the Communications Act requirement to obtain express permission from a station before such retransmission.

He said he saw the site as a business-to-business aid to broadcast and cable programmers, but was not shying away from a fight. "If somebody wants a fight, bring it on," he said.

On my Jailbroken iPad the device, I could only view a few minutes of Filmon before my iPad would reboot; however, it streamed flawlessly on my iPod Touch. 

The networks are fighting these efforts today; however, they will find that broadcasting has changed and will continue of the next few months and years.  The viewing habits of today's and future content viewers are rapidly changing and the old way of broadcasting in following in the footsteps of newspapers (catering to the past and those who are still holding on to it).

The future of content delivery is not blind broadcasting on a fixed schedule created by programming managers and studio executives, but content availability providers that make the content available to an audience that can pick and choose their content and the time that they want to view said material. Filmon, ivi, Netflix, Google TV and Apple TV are just the beginning of the change.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Brookstone's New Case with Bluetooth Keyboard is Cool

Today, I stopped by the Apple store to replace my Pogo stylus.  While I was there, my wife visited the Brookstone store across the aisle.  I had stopped my ritual visit to Brookstone because they appeared to not be keeping up the level of gadgetry that had expected. Since Apple, I had been waiting for iPad related accessories. My wife appeared in the Apple store to ensure my activities did not include making any purchases.  When we left the Apple store, she handed me the new Brookstone catelog.  To my delight, it included some iPad accessories like a speaker add-on that caught my attention. I decided to make an appearance at Brookstone.

The speaker add-on was only available from their website, so I was not able to see one in person, but to my delight they had a new iPad case with a Bluetooth enable keyboard built right into the case. 

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The Brookstone Bluetooth Keyboard Portfolio is a leather iPad portfolio case with a built-in rechargeable Bluetooth QWERTY keyboard. Just flip open the case and the keyboard is right there. The case also can be used as a stand to make your iPad more like a netbook or laptop. The keyboard comes with a charger and can be used for up to 90 hours on one charge.

 Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The case has a couple of flaps to hold it together. The first flips around the edge of the iPad after you slide it in from the top.  This ensures that the iPad does not slide out. The second flap has a magnetic enclosure that holds the entire case shut when not in use.  I whipped my iPad out of my own case and slid it in.  I launched the Bluetooth settings on the iPad, tapped the pairing button on the case's keyboard and typed the pairing code when prompted and was in business within seconds.  After typing for a bit, I closed the case to test the magnetic closure.  At first it feels as if the case is too thick to close, but it does and feels very snug and secure.

The iPad's built-in keyboard is cool but there are times when typing on glass, with no feedback from the keyboard, just doesn't cut it. I have a small portable Bluetooth keyboard from Logitech, but this one is much more convenient since it's always there and ready to go.  The keyboard keys are rubber so they do not harm the screen when the case is closed.  The built-in keyboard will adds some bulk to your covered iPad, coming in at 1-inch thick when the iPad is in the case.  I think the case is well done and affordable at $79.99.  

My Logitech diNovo Mini keyboard, which I am using to type this story, is over $100 and has no case with it - plus I have to have something to carry it around in.  If I bought the official Apple Bluetooth keyboard and the official Apple carrying case, I would be over $100 again and still need a bag to carry the keyboard around in.  Just as I was thinking about giving up on Brookstone as a relevant source for my gadget needs, they came through with flying colors.  Now to start hinting to the wife for a Christmas gift, even though I will be getting my new Wallet case from Happy Owl Studio soon.  You can never have too many options for looking cool.

Picture of Brookstone iPad case with Bluetooth keyboard


Carl W. Brooks
iAmThereforeiPad, Founder and Chief Editor

iPad News, Reviews and How-To-Dos.  
We help make your iPad experience Magical through information!

Is Your Mac protected? Orbicule's Undercover for Mac

Hey gang, many of you have Macs so I'll share this with you. I know Kris recently had his iPad stolen and most of you already kno...