I wish more people who work or have worked for large technology companies were as open, honest, and excited as Steve Wozniak still gets over new technology and gadgets. He recently bought a Nokia Lumia 900 - and he’s loving it. So much so, in fact, that he claims it’s better than Android and iOS in many respects.
Wozniak is one of those people I like listening to when it comes to technology. He has the credentials, he’s always nice and kind, isn’t pretentious, and prefers to wait in line for products like everyone else, even though his name alone would most likely net him any product for free without waiting. All this because he likes the experience.
And so, he was one of the people waiting in line for the Nokia Lumia 900 - which got picked up by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who welcomed him into the Nokia Lumia family (yeah, using a certain phone makes you part of a family now - I’m sorry I’m just reporting this nonsense).
We’re a few weeks down the line now, and as it turns out, Wozniak is pretty satisfied with the Lumia 900 and Windows Phone 7.5, detailing his experience in an interview for aNewDomain. Sure, he still prefers his iPhone, but WP7.5 beats both iOS and Android in several ways. He thinks it looks better, is more beautiful, and more intuitive than other platforms. He feels like WP7.5 is more of a friend than just a tool.
In a comment at aNewDomain, he gives a little more detail. “In my opinion, it sets the mark for user interface. I would recommend it over my Android phones given that it doesn’t yet have the breadth of apps,” Wozniak notes, “I surmise that Microsoft hired someone from Apple and put money into having a role in the UI and appearance of some key apps. I also surmised that Steve Jobs might have been reincarnated at MS due to a lot of what I see and feel with this phone making me think of a lot of great Apple things.”
I mostly agree with him on this one. Metro is, by a pretty huge margin, better-looking, more intuitive, and more pleasant to use than Android and iOS. Most OSNews readers are aware of my issues with iOS by now (childish, condescending, messy, inconsistent), most of which can be applied to Android as well (although Ice Cream Sandwich solves many of these issues, application developers aren’t using Holo just yet). Metro feels much more modern and intuitive than either Android or iOS.
The big issue with Windows Phone 7.5 is a lack of applications, and more importantly, a lack of quality applications. Microsoft’s own stuff, as well as the stock applications, are amazing, but third party stuff is often ugly, slow, and sometimes even downright confusing. This can probably be attributed to Metro being a very different UI environment, making it impossible to pull an Instagram and just copy/paste applications wholesale between different platforms. Microsoft would do well to invest in ways developers can get better acquainted with how to develop for Metro - not from a technical standpoint, but from a design standpoint.
Now, Wozniak is not about to give up his iPhone - it’s still his number one choice due to the superior application selection, but WP7.5 getting this much praise from him does mean something.
I’ve had a chance to sit back and think about some of the key factors that will determine the relative success of Windows 8 Tablets when they are released over the next couple of years.
I say relative because this is Microsoft and they will sell units either way - the question is just how many.
I put out feelers to my audience to get their feedback about Windows 8 and I’m getting the feedback now in real time, both the good and the bad.
Based partly on that, here are the 10 factors that I believe will determine the success of Windows 8 Tablets.
Yeah, good old fashioned fanboys and hype. Apple has had them for a while and let me tell you it matters. It helps to have a bunch of enthusiasts who are excited about your platform and will step up and counter the criticism when it (inevitably) comes.
There need to be a lot of developers, bloggers and consumers who are ready to tell a good story about Windows 8 Tablets right off the bat. As the underdog to the iPad, Microsoft can not afford to be labeled uncool right off the bat. They need to rally the troops hard on this one.
That usually requires..
In order to attract fans, they need need to be able to adore something.
The Windows 8 Tablets that come out have to be perceived as high quality devices. They need to be designed well and look aesthetically pleasing. No tacky plastic parts or loud fans or uneven surfaces. They need to be serious, credible competitors.
Keep It Simple
Sometimes it’s easy to forget the massive reach of these Windows 8 Previews. The Windows 8 Developer Preview, Windows 8 Consumer Preview and finally the Windows 8 Release Preview will have attracted millions of users. These users have given hundreds of thousands of comments and emails and opinions about Windows 8 and there is a common thread - It’s too complicated.
Microsoft need to simplify the UI and OS to take that criticism off the table. In 2012, apps and hardware need to be simple. They need to be easy to use and grow attached to. Less is more.
Thinner and lighter is better
One of the new laws of tablets we can extrapolate from Apple is that thinner and lighter is better. It’s more appealing to the consumer. Is it harder to design? - Yes. Does it cost more? Yes. Does it take more time to get right? -Yes. It doesn’t matter. Nobody wants a heavy bulky tablet.
If we wanted bulky and heavy, we would carry around 17 inch non-Ultrabook laptops. There’s a reason why those are fading away.
Match the Apple Store app for app as much as humanly possible. There needs to be a mad dash to fill up the store with Consumer and Business apps. No apps, no success - thank you for playing.
Price may not matter
I’m the first to admit that I struggle with this one. My cousin and I go back and forth about pricing for Windows 8 and I realized why I was so adamant about Microsoft keeping the price low.
It’s because psychologically, I assumed Windows 8 Tablets would be inferior to iPads.
Yeah I said it. Sue me.
I would love to eat that assumption. If Microsoft can execute the Tablet strategy perfectly, consumers will pay iPad prices and more. It’s a big IF but that’s the way it goes. Ultimately, consumers and companies just want their devices to work well and they love market based price competition.
Screen Resolution doesn’t matter
As an iPad 1,2 and 3 owner, I can tell you that Retina Display is cool but iPad 2 owners are really fine with their non retina display tablets. People who could afford to upgrade did and those who couldn’t (or just didn’t care) did not.
The truth is, Retina Display is just a great nice-to-have. It’s cool to have but you forget about it really quickly. More importantly, it’s not essential for successful use of the device. The iPad is successful because it does everything else well and that’s really all about the iOS Operating System.
Microsoft should focus on the Windows 8 OS and the hardware will be secondary. Not unimportant, just secondary.
Battery Life Matters
8 to 10 hours. No need to say more. Make it happen.
TV Marketing Matters
Microsoft traditionally make horrible TV ads. Yeah I said it and even worse - it’s true. They need to do something different and make better ads. Not quirky but direct and to the point.
I have a degree in marketing and have been a successful online marketer for almost a decade. It’s painful to see a lot of the spots that MSFT try and use to sell their products.
Apple ads have started to jump the shark in my opinion (Samuel Jackson and Zoey Deschanel) and Microsoft need to jump in and take advantage.
There need to be really clear, targeted ads directed at consumers and businesses extolling the virtues of Windows 8 Tablets.
OEM’s will make or break Windows 8 Tablets
This is really simple. Microsoft need to set the bar really high for the caliber of device that will be ceritified as a Windows 8 Tablet.
No cutting corners. No trying to make a profit with cheap devices. No trying to flood the market with cheap knockoffs. Every Windows 8 Tablet needs to be a quality device and Microsoft need to absolutely deny certification to any devices that don’t meet the threshold.
Next, they need to take a second look at the Windows 8 Tablet Requirements and make sure the threshold for performance is high enough. OEM’s will make or break this launch because (perception of) a rotten apple spoils the bunch.
Consumers who see a cheap, low quality CERTIFIED Windows 8 device will tell their friends. They won’t blame the device maker, they will just say “Windows 8 sucks”.
It’s not fair, I don’t make the rules - just how it goes.
One Last Thing
A lot of this stuff is self-evident and Microsoft are probably working furiously to make this launch perfect. I’m looking forward to the improvements in the Windows 8 Release Preview.
A lot of us are hard on Microsoft because we want this to really happen. When Apple and Microsoft clash, the result is higher levels of value and innovation at lower prices.
If they fail, Apple will be free to charge $900 for tablets and we’ll have no credible choices and alternatives.
get theme here:
(Reuters) - China Eastern Airlines (0670.HK) is set to place a $6 billion order for up to 20 Boeing (BA.N) 777 jets, while simultaneously emerging at the centre of an aviation row between China and the European Union by stalling a recent Airbus deal, people familiar with the matter said.
The order for wide-body 777s follows a fierce but discreet contest between Boeing and Airbus and allows the U.S. planemaker to bounce back after China’s third-largest airline cancelled an order for 24 of its latest flagship 787 Dreamliners last year.
Besides handing the 777 order to Boeing, China Eastern is stalling on the completion of a $3 billion order for 15 Airbus A330 aircraft announced last October, two of the people said.
Boeing, Airbus and China Eastern declined to comment.
The deals took shape at different times and for different plane types, but together they highlight the stakes involved as planemakers court the world’s fastest-growing aviation market under the shadow of a recent trade dispute between China and Europe.
China and more than 20 nations oppose EU plans to force airlines to adopt a carbon emissions-capping scheme that they say will penalize foreign long-haul carriers and infringe sovereignty. Airbus has said some plane sales could be threatened.
The EU says its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is needed to meet climate targets and fill a void left by years of international inaction over airline emissions.
Boeing and its European competitor Airbus (EAD.PA) are betting on new Chinese wealth and government infrastructure spending to bolster travel in the country, where domestic passenger traffic is growing rapidly.
Chinese domestic air traffic is expected to grow by an average of 7.5 percent per year until 2030, about three times the rate in North America, and by around 7 percent on inter-continental routes to and from China, according to Boeing.
In September, the U.S. jetmaker boosted its demand forecast for China by 25 percent, predicting that it would need 5,000 commercial aircraft worth $600 billion over the next 20 years.
China earlier this month reported its weakest quarterly economic growth in nearly three years, but Western plane manufacturers believe the 8.1 percent first-quarter expansion will continue to suck in regular imports of foreign jets.
The first 787 cancellation by a Chinese airline was widely seen as a setback for Boeing, but the U.S. company has also been riding high on record orders last year for the 777, which dominates the market for aircraft with just under 400 seats.
Boeing said last month it was confident of selling China more 777s and was in advanced talks with an unnamed airline.
China Eastern is the third-largest mainland carrier by market value and second largest by domestic traffic, according to airlines body IATA. Its board is expected to meet on Friday.
The company and its subsidiary Shanghai Airlines currently operate a mixed fleet of Airbus and Boeing short-haul jets and over 40 mainly Airbus long-haul aircraft.
The airline said in October it would place an order for 15 Airbus A330 aircraft subject to Chinese government approval, but analysis of the Airbus order book suggests the necessary backing has not yet materialized.
China Eastern said in October would return five long-range A340s to Airbus at the same time as placing an order for 15 smaller A330s. Airbus has stopped producing the four-engined A340, which was heavily outsold by Boeing’s twin-engine 777.
The second-hand A340s, which are less fuel-efficient than twin-engine jets and expensive to convert, may be broken up and sold for parts if Airbus cannot find a buyer, market experts said.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher)
Boeing delivered the first airline 747-8 Intercontinental to launch customer Lufthansa on Wednesday. The two companies plan to celebrate the delivery May 1, with Lufthansa flying the airplane off to its base in Frankfurt, Germany, that day.
Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney first mentioned on Wednesday’s earnings conference call that the company hoped to complete the delivery. Boeing confirmed delivery with a news release a few hours later.
“Lufthansa and Boeing have a long and proud history of working together to bring new innovations to the airline industry,” Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in the release. “We are grateful for Lufthansa’s inspiration and leadership in helping us design a new Queen of the Skies for the 21st Century, and I’m proud of what Boeing employees have accomplished by bringing this great airplane to Lufthansa and the world.”
Christoph Franz, chairman of the Executive Board and chief executive officer of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said: “After working together for many years, we are very pleased to have the newest generation of four-engine aircraft join our fleet.”
Lufthansa plans to celebrate the airplane’s arrival in Frankfurt on May 2.
The 747-8 Intercontinental is a stretched, updated version of the iconic 747. Boeing says it “will bring double-digit improvements in fuel burn and emissions over its predecessor, the 747-400, while generating 30 percent less noise.”
Boeing delivered the first 747-8 Intercontinental to a private customer in February, more than a year after originally planned.
Boeing earned $923 million, or $1.22 per share, in the first quarter, compared with $586 million, or 78 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding a gain from settling litigation, the company earned $1.11 per share, beating analysts’ expectations of 96 cents.
Revenue rose 30 percent, to $19.4 billion, topping analysts’ forecast of $18.5 billion.
The company’s commercial-aiplane backlog increased to $308 billion, thanks largely to the more-than 300 orders for its re-engined 737 Max jetliner.
Boeing delivered 137 deliveries in the first quarter, compared with 104 a year earlier and 131 from European competitor Airbus.
ANA originally planned to launch flights between Tokyo-Narita and Seattle using its new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners in the second half of 2012.
But the Tokyo-based airline announced this week that the launch will be accelerated to July 25th in order to capitalize demand during the busy summer season.
Rather than the 787, of which ANA currently operates six copies, the airline will launch the new daily service using the larger 777-300ER aircraft. A switch to the smaller but more fuel-efficient 787 will come “during the course of the fiscal year,” the airline says.
ANA’s 777-300ERs are outfitted with 247 seats: 85 in Business Class and 162 in Economy Class. The 787-8 only has 158 seats: 46 in Business Class and 112 in Economy.
Seattle is still on target to become the second US city to receive 787 service. Boston became the first this past Sunday when Japan Airlines, ANA’s foremost competitor, launched 787-operated flights between Tokyo and Beantown.
ANA also plans on launching service to San Jose, Calif., using the 787 later this year.
Seattle will become ANA’s ninth US city.Schedule
Flight 1078 Departs Tokyo 5:25 pm – Arrives Seattle 10:55 AM
Flight 1077 Departs Seattle 1:15 pm – Arrives Tokyo 3:45 pm (next day)
Microsoft revamped its free online storage service SkyDrive this week (big week for online storage, right?) with new desktop apps and better syncing—but, sadly, a reduced storage limit for new users: from the 25GB previously offered to 7GB. Existing Windows Live account users can claim the 25GB of free space for a limited time. Here’s how.
First, if you’re an existing SkyDrive user already using more than 4GB as of April 1, according to this MSDN blog post, you’re already upgraded and grandfathered into the 25GB storage plan. You’re good.
But if you’re an existing SkyDrive account holder who doesn’t have that much uploaded already, you should log into your account at skydrive.live.com, then click the “Manage storage” link on the left navigation pane. In the next screen, click the “Free upgrade!” button to increase your storage limit from 7GB to 25GB. It’s a quick and painless process.
You may be able to get 25GB of SkyDrive storage even if you’re not a current SkyDrive user. According to a Slickdeals post, if you have a Windows Live account (e.g., @live.com or @msn.com) or Hotmail the upgrade may work for you. Click on SkyDrive from within Hotmail or sign in with your WIndows Live account at the SkyDrive link below for the upgrade.
The new SkyDrive now has a 2GB per file limit rather than 300MB, new paid storage plans, and Dropbox-like single-folder syncing (read more about the changes at MSDN). As before, SkyDrive offers in-browser Microsoft Office document editing and creating capabilities, and if you grab the upgrade before this limited time offer ends (no word on when it expires), a pretty attractive amount of free storage space.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Boeing executive says rollout to validate Boeing expansion in South Carolina
By Matt Tomsic
Published April 24, 2012
The arrival marked a realization for the vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina.
“This whole decision is real now,” Jones said Monday during an interview. “That was the first eye-opener for me.”
“The decision was made not really knowing whether you could truly transfer all that experience and knowledge to Boeing South Carolina and actually build an airplane,” Jones said. “At the time, we had confidence we could do it, but you never really know until you know.”
Jones said he has been around nearly every other program during his tenure at Boeing, and he’s been to the company’s big events during that time.
“This is truly going to be one of the biggest symbolically in the history of the Boeing Co.,” Jones said. “I never even thought of the concept of moving aircraft manufacturing outside of Puget Sound.”
Friday’s rollout is the first time Boeing has assembled a jet outside of Puget Sound since World War II.
Jones said workers finished the first jet on time and met the company’s commitment to have the Dreamliner ready for Air India, the first customer, by the end of June.
“We’re right where we want to be,” Jones said. “This workforce has really pulled this off.”
Three more airplanes are on the assembly line, following the initial 787. Jones said the Dreamliners are “in varying degrees of completion.”
After the first rollout, the company will focus on streamlining the manufacturing process and keeping the planes moving down the line consistently.
“This is going to be very euphoric, very exciting,” Jones said. “And then 15 minutes after it’s over, everybody’s got to get focused on making sure that we start to crank the rate up.”
Boeing South Carolina will make 3.5 Dreamliners each month at full capacity, and Jones said employees aim to be at that rate in the last quarter of 2013 or first quarter of 2014.
“We’ve got some time,” Jones said. “But in airplane manufacturing terms, that’s not a lot of time.”
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Test Version of Orion Arrives at KSC
A test version of Orion arrived at KSC’s Operations & Checkout Facility on April 21, 2012. This test model will be used for ground operations practice in advance of Exploration Flight Test-1, scheduled for 2014. Photo credit: NASAThe Orion Ground Test Vehicle arrived at the Operation & Checkout (O&C) Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on Saturday, April 21. The vehicle traveled more than 1,800 miles from Lockheed Martin’s Waterton Facility near Denver where it successfully completed a series of rigorous tests that simulated launch and spaceflight environments.
› View more images
The ground test vehicle will now be used for pathfinding operations at the O&C in preparation for the Orion spaceflight test vehicle’s arrival this summer. The spacecraft is currently being fabricated at NASA’s MIchoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and is slated for NASA’s Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) in 2014. The Orion team is nearing completion of welds on the Orion flight test crew module using the innovative self-reacting friction stir weld process.
Orion will be fully assembled and integrated on site at KSC, a new capability that provides significant time and cost savings. The O&C’s 90,000 square feet of air-bearing floor space and specially designed air-bearing pallets enable a small crew to effortlessly maneuver spacecraft across the factory floor.
After pathfinding operations are completed, new backshell panels will be installed on the ground test vehicle at the O&C prior to the vehicle’s trek to Langley Research Center in Virginia for splash down testing at NASA’s Hydro Impact Basin.
If you have not unzipped the today’s google doodle yet, then it is suggested that you spare a minute and play with it before Google takes it off. This is because the today’s zipper doodle is not only highly interactive and innovative, but it is also the best doodle (yet) of the year 2012.
To mark the 132nd birth anniversary of Gideon Sundback, the man who invented the zip, Google posted an interactive doodle on the home page that features a giant zipper running down the centre of the global search engine’s home page. And if you drag your mouse down to unzip the zipper, it will split the screen, including the search textbox and reveal the relevant results for the name Gideon Sundback.
The doodle is highly attractive that it cannot be ignored. Grabbing visitors’ eyeballs, the zipper doodle has been trending on the micro-blogging site Twitter since morning. In the afternoon, the Gideon Sundback Google doodle, out of the top 10 trends on Twitter, was trending in three different positions (with different names - Google doodle, Gideon Sundback, Zipper) simultaneously.
This particular doodle became the hot topic of discussion among some circles in the early hours of the day. Besides, many stories about this particluar doodle have been coming out since the doodle was posted by Google on the home page.
Though many doodles were posted by Google this year, but there are only three doodles that emerge as the strong contenders to compete against the zipper doodle - the music video doodle on the Google home page this Valentine’s Day (Feb 14, 2012), Google logo in the form of electromagnetic waves (Feb 22, 2012) and the series of galloping horse images on the Google home page (April 9, 2012).
This Valentine’s Day, a music video doodle was posted on the Google home page. The Valentine’s Day Google doodle was in the form of a short animated love story of a boy trying to woo a girl set to Tony Bennett’s rendition of Hank Williams’ classic blues ballad Cold, Cold Heart. The default image of the doodle was of the boy holding a Valentine with the Google logo in the background. Clicking on the play icon on the Valentine played the video. Hovering over the doodle displayed the message, “Happy Valentine’s Day! ‘Cold, Cold Heart’ performed by Tony Bennett courtesy of Columbia Records and Sony/ATV.”
Besides on Feb 22, 2012, the Google logo took the form of electromagnetic waves (in Google colours - blue, red, yellow and green) to pay tribute to German physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz on his 155th birth anniversary. Hertz was born at Hamburg on February 22, 1857.
its premiere tour. On May 5, the aircraft will arrive in Karachi, Pakistan. Naypyidaw, Myanmar, is the next stop for May 7. Two days later, on May 9 the aircraft will land in Jakarta, Indonesia. And on May 11 it will arrive in Vientiane, Laos. The final destination point of the “Welcome Asia” tour is Hanoi, Vietnam, where the aircraft will be shown on May 14. During the overall tour the aircraft, piloted by SSJ100 Chief test pilot Alexander Yablontsev and his co-pilot Alexander Kochetkov will have covered 8375 nautical miles (15510 km).
Sukhoi Superjet 100 is designed for transportation of 98 passengers and possesses a number of technical and economical advantages allowing to compete successfully with products of leading western regional jet manufacturers. Sukhoi Superjet 100 has an essential efficiency advantage on cash operational cost if compared to competitors. The aircraft enjoys unique piloting characteristics and controllability.
“Having performed commercial flights for almost a year our aircraft has shown remarkable results both in safety and operational efficiency. The recent European certification confirmed full compliance of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 with stringent safety requirements. It opens up new perspectives for this aircraft in the international markets. We believe that the SSJ100 with its excellent operational economics and mainline level of comfort for the passengers is the best choice in the70-120seat segment for many airlines from the region. We already have customers in Asia, so for us the road show is a good opportunity to demonstrate the aircraft and the Program progress and to enhance our presence in the Asian market”, said Vladimir Prisyazhnyuk, President of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft.
Sukhoi press release
A 50-year-old man who said he felt that airport screeners were “harassing” him stripped naked at Portland International Airport, police in Oregon said.
Police charged John E. Brennan with disorderly conduct and indecent exposure after he disrobed while going through the security screening area at the airport Tuesday evening.
“When interviewed about his actions Mr. Brennan stated he fly’s a lot and had disrobed as a form of protest against TSA Screeners who he felt were harassing him,” a police incident report said.
He was not intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time, police said.
Brennan was scheduled to fly on Alaska Airlines from Portland to San Jose, California.
Police said screeners asked him “numerous times” to put on his clothes, but he refused.
“Mr. Brennan’s actions caused two screening lanes to be closed and while some passengers covered their eyes and their children’s eyes and moved away from the screening area, others stepped out of the screening lanes to look, laugh and take photos of Mr. Brennan,” the police report said.
Space shuttle Discovery flies past the Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Scott Sutherland / MCT / April 17, 2012)
It was an extraordinary sight, even for Washington — a space shuttle flying over the nation’s capital atop a modified 747 on the way to its permanent new home, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
Crowds gathered on the National Mall, office workers peered out windows and motorists pulled to the side of the road to catch a glimpse of the retired Discovery orbiter, which made a sweep of the capital region, over the monuments, before landing at Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia.
“There was cheering and applause across the Mall,’’ someone tweeted on #spottheshuttle.
At the U.S. Capitol, Adrienne Watson, an aide to Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove), said that a cheer arose from the congressional staffers who ran outside to see it.
“Folks were pretty excited. It was a pretty special moment and a great show,’’ she said.
It was such an event that the Mid-Atlantic AAA issued a warning to motorists: “Don’t let anyone or anything — even a space shuttle overhead — distract you’’ and “For safe shuttle-spotting, pull off the road and park your car.’’
A similar flyover is planned for the New York City area next week and perhaps Los Angeles this fall before those cities receive their shuttles.
The test shuttle Enterprise flew into the Washington area atop a plane in 1985 for delivery to the Smithsonian. The Enterprise now will be flown to Kennedy International Airport and moved by barge to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in Manhattan.
The Endeavour is due to be flown atop a 747 from Kennedy Space Center to Los Angeles International Airport this fall and transported through the city streets to the California Science Center in Exposition Park. The Atlantis will be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center visitor complex.
A splashy ceremony is planned Thursday at the National Air and Space Museum annex, the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center, featuring Discovery crew members and space pioneer John Glenn, who returned to space in 1998 aboard the Discovery at age 77.