Sunday, July 27, 2008

News about AOL

Yes AOL is still alive but for how long? I think almost everyone of age who has been on the net for several years has had an AOL account. How many of us remember all those CD's in the mail? Well AOL may be up for grabs and one source has said it could be yet another struggling Internet giant (Yahoo). This is an ad by a blogger about what is happening to some of AOl's business as the net changes and revenues shrink for AOL. I hope you like it?

AOL launched what they’re calling the AOL Tech Network this evening. It’s a grouping of existing blogs - the Engadget sites, Switched, TUAW and Download Squad, under a new tech content group.

Unike AOL Games, AOL Entertainment and other sub brands, AOL Tech is being branded without “AOL.” A new link on the AOL home page links to Switched, which will now syndicate in content from the other blogs in the network.

This is partly a streamlining of the organization, but it’s also a way for AOL’s sales team to pitch a tech brand to advertisers that has a big footprint. The combined blogs bring in nearly 5 million combined monthly visitors, making it about twice the size of Wired and in the same ballpark as Yahoo Tech.

Of course, 100% of the Switched content is coming from blogs, unlike those other sites.

Engadget has more, and talks about a new design as well.

Friday, July 25, 2008

On line ads for Micfrosoft?

Where is this giant heading? This article gives some insight:

Microsoft gives little insight into online strategy
The Associated Press

REDMOND, Wash. | Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer defended the software maker’s decision to invest heavily in its unprofitable online business.

But he shed little light Thursday on specific steps it will take to challenge Google after the failed bid to buy Yahoo.

Analysts arrived for a yearly meeting at Microsoft headquarters hoping for new details about the software maker’s online strategy following Wednesday’s news that Kevin Johnson, a key executive in Microsoft’s pursuit of Yahoo, was stepping down.

But aside from an announcement that online hangout Facebook will build Microsoft’s Live Search engine into its site, executive presentations offered more cheerleading than fresh insights.

Ballmer filled in for Johnson, president of Microsoft’s Windows and online operations since 2005, to sketch out how the software maker was thinking about investing in its online business.

Last week the company announced $500 million of additional spending for fiscal 2009, but said little about where the money would go.

Ballmer did not disclose dollar amounts. But he indicated Microsoft would focus the bulk of that investment on search technology, data center infrastructure, Web indexing and marketing, and called search the mission-critical part of the online business.

Search is “a two-horse race” between Microsoft and Google, Ballmer said, making only passing reference to Yahoo’s current position as the second-largest search and advertising provider.

The executive said Google and Microsoft were the only two with the resources to play in what he saw as a $1 trillion market.

However, Microsoft must “ante up” to get in the game, Ballmer said repeatedly, laying out investments of as much as $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion a year, including the $500 million announced a week ago.

As you can see with so much money in the game...if yu want to be on thier search engines it might just take a pro to help you get there! Call me and I can do that for you!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Web search is not as easy as you think!

Web search using the search engines use to be easy but not as much anymore!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why have a blog?

This article is very interesting and it does site many of the items I site when having a blog. You have to have commitment to it and if you do it can payoff!

by Rachelle Money, 22 July 2008
Chris Garrett Q&A

Chris Garrett is a professional blogger and co-author of the recently published ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income. Wordtracker's journalist Rachelle Money caught up with Garrett to pick his brains on how to crack the mini industry of blogging.
Key points

* There are three main ways to make money from blogging – using it to advertise your services, making money from ads, and subscriptions.
* Be unique. Use the Wordtracker tool to discover niche subjects to base your blog on.
* Spend a week commenting on other like-minded bloggers' websites and network your way into the fold. This will put you in a powerful link-building position.
* Make sure your blog entries are adding to a wider debate and are not simply regurgitating content.

Rachelle: On your own blog,, you have said that there's no money in blogging, yet your book title claims that there's a six figure income to be had. What's the truth?

Chris: “The book actually says the same thing. Me and Darren (Rowse) emphasize a couple of times that this is not a get rich quick scheme and although there's money, don't think 'pack in the day job and I'll make a bigger income (from blogging)'. There is money to make but it's hard work and you have to choose the right battle.”

Rachelle: How do you blog for dollars?

Chris: “For Darren, he made money out of things like AdSense and Chitika, (a blog advertising company which Rowse claims has made him more than $250,000).

"My approach is that I made money because of blogging and not from it. I sell consultancy and services from my blog, and then there's Brian's - Brian Clark of [] - ( - approach to sales. He makes money from content through membership and gaining audience and then selling them products.

"Blogging is a tactic and a route to an audience, it's not a business in itself. We would rather think of it as focussing on your own audience and finding ways of pleasing them and paying your bills too.”

Rachelle: What are your blogging tips for someone starting out?

Chris: “You have to ask yourself, what have I added that's new? If all you're doing is adding content or editorial and not commenting on it then what's the point of reading your blog? You might as well just go to the original source of the link.

"Linking out is important too. If you are linking out then you need to stick to a theme or know what you're talking about. You have to continue the conversation and take it forward so your audience will feel inspired - they will want to contribute to the conversation, they will be entertained or get some value or information from it.

"Be unique. There's not a lot of it around because people are writing for themselves or want to write to make money rather than ask themselves 'What does my audience want?' 'Can I deliver that content?'”

Rachelle: With millions of blogs out there how can I make sure mine is unique?

Chris: “Keyword research is great for locating a niche market and is also really important for working out if a niche has legs. If nobody is interested in the niche then you've gone too narrow and if there's too many people in the niche then you've gone too wide.

"The niche could be 32 to 40-year-old professional women or a demographic, a topic, or even an attitude. You have to find a way to connect the audience and keyword research will tell you not only what niche to go for, but what topics to write for that niche.”

Rachelle: Do you do keyword research before you write your blog entries?

Chris: “I don't do keyword research for my own blog but I do do a lot of it for clients. The funny thing with my own personal blog is that I want to keep talking to my small but engaged audience. It's not about traffic but people who really want to hear from me and buy my services. I'd rather have 10 people that really want to hear from me than a million that I kind of miss.”

Rachelle: Do you think business blogging is a waste of time?

Chris: “I think corporate blogs can be useful but I have advised companies in the past not to do it. Some businesses are not set up in a way that they can blog, but they do have article sections. If you go to a corporate website it's me, me, me and it's a picture of the chairman - and the chairman's wife has probably selected the color scheme.

"They are not going to be able to blog very well but they will be able to get the benefits of Wordpress content management system. They will get the benefit of having articles and getting links to those articles, but there has to be the right culture to successfully blog and get an audience.

"A lot of businesses look at blogging as a silver bullet but a good company blog is a symptom rather than a cause. I think it's a shame that companies think, 'we need a blog' but don't really get what that means and the commitment that it brings.”

Rachelle: How do you manage comments?

Chris: “I always say that the comments area is like your home and it's your house, your rules. If people are being plain nasty and not adding anything to the conversation then don't publish the post. You aren't deleting it, you're just not letting it go live. Provide a comment policy so you can set out the ground rules and if someone breaks those rules the comment doesn't go live.

"I see comments as being vital because of the engagement aspect.

"If you really take care of what you write then other people's opinions are just other people's opinions. Your reputation will grow from it rather than be damaged.

"Comments can be good for search engine rankings too but I have a feeling that Google downplays the comments section because it attracts so much spam.”

Rachelle: On your blog you said the 'Build it and they will come' theory is crap. Why?

Chris: “Content is King but without an army guarding him he's just a man in a funny hat. You have to have great content because that's the foundation that everything else is based on, but people have to know about that content. You could have the best invention in the world but if you lock it in your cellar who's going to know about it?

"You need good quality traffic and that comes from fellow bloggers. I link to somebody else who's writing about online marketing or blogging and send people who are interested in that subject to them because I get the same in return.

"In terms of converting to regular readers then links from other bloggers is the way to go.”

Rachelle: How do you get other bloggers to link to you?

Chris: “To get on to their radar you have to comment and email them and get some sort of relationship going or use a service like Twitter to get into conversation. It's not self-promotion you're after at this stage, but networking. I think everybody, even if it's just for a week, should comment on as many blogs in their niche as they can. Commenting is great for getting to know other bloggers, it helps your writing, and helps you develop your own thoughts and ideas.

"The main thing is to have content that is linkable, and things like top tens always seem to work well. The other thing I'd say is that formatting is important too, so when you have a picture, bullet points or quotes it makes it more 'skimmable'. Dense blocks of text are off-putting and people won't bother reading it.“

Rachelle Money is a freelance journalist based in Scotland, UK. She graduated from the Scottish School of Journalism in 2005 where she was awarded an internship with two national publications -

Friday, July 18, 2008

Remember when you could get help in a store?

This is a very interesting article. Since I have been in computers since 1978, I often have worked with companies that have consider a personless store. I have developed Kiosks years ago to guide traffic in convention centers. I believe with soaring costs this article will catch your imagination. For one I hate the thought!

The end of human help in stores?
Posted: Friday, July 18 at 03:45 am CT by Bob Sullivan

Imagine standing in a retail store desperately looking for help from someone, anyone, and being directed to … a computer screen.

“No one here can help you," a clerk might say. "But someone 1,500 miles away probably can."

This just might be the future of customer service. Two companies, with products named Live Agent and Live Support, hope that consumers who today wander aimlessly through store aisles looking for help would be happy to use videoconference kiosks instead.

Already, shoppers in 34 Canadian Staples Business Depot stores all around the country have the option of getting video help from operators based in Toronto, according to Seattle-based Experticity, which makes the video kiosks for Staples.

Stores that are strapped for cash and have trouble hiring knowledgeable employees can offer better customer service through videoconference kiosks, says Chris Woods, chief technology officer of ClairVista, which makes Live Expert. Companies can also save money by leaning on a centralized staff, he said.

“Everybody who goes into a retail store today and walks away frustrated that they could not get their questions answered can get the help they need,” Woods says.

Experticity's kiosk.

But won't customers lean on the exit doors after realizing the store has no plans to provide live human beings to help? DL Baron, CEO of Experticity, says just the opposite has occurred in trials at Staples.

"We found that consumers are lining up to talk to the person on the screen because they know the dopey kid behind the counter can't answer their question," he said. "When consumers start using it, it becomes their preferred mode of engagement."

Long-distance, video-based help has a number of obstacles to overcome, both companies concede. Chief among them is the impression consumers might get that the machines are there simply to replace humans and cut costs. If companies can't even bother to greet store shoppers with in-person smiles, why would consumers bother to go to the store?

Why help from afar might be better
But Baron counters that consumer help in many large retailers is already poor, and long-distance help will actually be an improvement.

"How many times have you walked out of the store because you knew more than the kid who was helping you?" he said. Floor clerks have an impossible task in trying to "keep up with and explain increasingly complex products." With a centralized set of agents, each one can specialize in a product area and provide better advice. Agents can also use interactive screens to show consumers how to complete challenging tasks such as electronics installations, and even print out instructions for consumers, Baron said. Buyers with Web cams can connect to customer service again from home for additional help.

That's assuming the video conference technology works, of course. Web cams are notoriously flaky, as anyone who's tried home video-conference tools can attest.

And of course, the advice will only be as good as the operators who are hired to give it. A home improvement store might convince fantastic kitchen remodeling experts to answer video questions 24 hours per day. But it's easy to imagine a firm hiring ill-equipped $8-an-hour operators to read off poorly written scripts instead.

Customer service expert Robert Spector, author of "The Nordstrom Way," said companies should tread carefully when making fundamental changes to the way they treat in-store shoppers.

"A lot of (companies) get enamored with the technology and lose site of the consumer," he said. "Many companies don't think like their customers, they think in ways to make (the company's) life easier, rather than ‘how do we make the consumer’s life easier.’ "

Replacing real customer service with discount gimmickry never works, he said. In one personal pet peeve, Spector said he's had several frustrating run-ins with live chat supports offered by Web sites.

"I always feel like I could do much better actually talking to someone than just comparing typing skills," he said. Live video help could work he said, but only if it’s nothing like live chat help.

And there's always the bottom line
But even if the videoconference service tools aren't perfect, and the customer service benefits are dubious, remote assistance may be attractive to major retailers because of the potential cost savings.

Home improvement stores face a crush of ambitious project builders every Saturday morning, but by 2 p.m., the panic has died down and many highly skilled employees are stuck stocking shelves, Baron said. If stores could "load balance" customer support by funneling all questions through a central support team, they could keep top employees occupied with higher-skill tasks.

Woods argues that centralized video service would both cut costs and make customers happier. "If you could take the top 50 associates you have and take them off the sales floor and make them available chain wide, that's the ideal situation," Woods said.

In Baron’s perfect world, there’s a customer service video screen at the end of every store aisle, with a top-tier expert ready and willing to answer your question. What’s the worst-case scenario? Think about toll-free hotlines. When was the last time you preferred waiting on hold and talking to someone half-way around the world to getting help in person?

Friday, July 11, 2008

You think you have spam?

Well it is at least some relief that we are not the most spammed nation on earth!

The most spammed country in the world? Switzerland.
By Wolfgang Gruener
Wednesday, July 09, 2008 14:57
Chicago (IL) – You may be complaining about the number of spam emails finding their way to your email account every day, but it may come as a surprise to you that the U.S. is actually not the most targeted country by spammers: According to a report released to today, Swiss users receive 10% more of spam than the average Internet user – and 23% more than U.S. users.

If we believe the numbers released by MessageLabs, then we are on a slight upward curve of spam that is sent globally. 76.5% of all emails in June were found to be spam by the security firm, while the global average over the past six months was 74.5%. However, there is a huge difference in spam that is sent to different countries and industries.

MessageLabs said that 84.8% of emails in Switzerland were spam, surpassing the traditional leader in this category, Hong Kong (82.6%). The top 5 is rounded out by France (82.1%), Israel (80.1%) and Austria (79.6%). The share in the U.S. was 68.8%, Canada’s 77.8% and UK’s 74.3%.

Manufacturing is apparently the most targeted by spammers (82.9%), followed by education (80.4%) and retail (80.1%). The financial sector’s share was at just 71.5%.

MessageLabs also found virus distribution rebounding to one virus in 133.9 emails and the phishing was flat at 1 in 277.2 cases.

Another new Google product? Maybe yes..maybe no

I think Google is going to take over the world! Here is another new product:

Hey Google, Get A Real (Second) Life
Google has just unveiled its free Lively service -- a virtual reality program that competes with the older and more mature Second Life. It's new, it's cool. Well, that is, if you like to waste an hour of your life fumbling around crude graphics that seem to load forever, messages that are cut off from view, actions that don't work, and sounds that are loud and obnoxious.

It took the Test Center over an hour for graphics to load to a point they could work with a mouse. And we have a fast and dedicated network in the lab, so there was no excuse for Google to build something so slow.

Like Second Life, users can enter the fantasy life of computer-generated rooms, avatars and 3-D Worlds by entering Lively. We chose a Porky Pig look-a-like character and jumped into some of the popular rooms. Right now, everything is free. The shopping button might lead to charging for more functionality.

Lively is more like DOA (as in dead on arrival.)

The site brought our system down to a crawl every time we switched rooms. The rooms needed considerable time loading whenever we jumped from place to place. Sound effects kept working well after we shut down IE. And that's was just the beginning.

One neat feature is that Lively can be controlled from any Web page. Anyone can stick a Lively session on any site. But that's about the only good trait we found. The rest was just a waste of time.

Google -- go back to the drawing board on this Web application because it isn't going to attract the "real" corporate World.

(We're not alone in this sentiment, either.)
Posted by Mario Morejon at 4:22 PM

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Latest keywords searched

This is a quick blast of the top 300 keywords searched on teh net!

1 4175 how high
2 3800 youporn
3 3419 fireworks shows
4 2781 redtube
5 2778 funny videos
6 2511 white pages
7 2416 florida a
8 2396 music downloads
9 2273 free e-cards
10 2252 myspace
11 2221 artist
12 1895 youtube
13 1825 gambar pemerkosaan
14 1675 google
15 1496 ebay
16 1470 videos
17 1424 yahoo
18 1403 air
19 1361 cheat planet
20 1255 game cheats
21 1244 pedoland bbs pthc
22 1229 satellite view of home
23 1224 facebook
24 1188 craigslist
25 1164 kristen archives
26 1138 new
27 1095 you tube
28 1085
29 1060 coupons printable
30 1054 police radio frequencies
31 1035
32 1009 mapquest
33 951 fireworks show
34 943 red tube
35 925 events
36 887 contacts
37 877 printable sheet music
38 875 property
39 866
40 862 robb's celebrity page
41 854 cheapest
42 852 webkinz secret code
43 850 cars
44 839 on line
45 834 free fta satellite keys
46 831 free lady sonia
47 824 xtube
48 815 christian
49 783 parts
50 781 pinay scandal
51 763 youpron
52 742
53 732 the rack
54 716 ink
55 699 heat
56 684 desks
57 684 girls
58 678 local firework shows
59 642 home depot
60 614 hotmail
61 607 free
62 606 music
63 588 weather
64 563 pornotube
65 563 craigs list
66 560 personal injury
67 558 hearing loss
68 554 walmart
69 550 weights
70 548 carribean
71 548 photos
72 540 elweb bbs
73 539 ikia furniture store
74 538 download songs
75 535 lowes
76 535 tube8
77 531 texas a
78 530
79 530 printable sudoku puzzle
80 529 filter
81 523 robb's unofficial celeb
82 512 meeting people
83 512 holiday gifts
84 511 angelina jolie
85 510 machine
86 507 jobs
87 507 one night in paris
88 504 carmen electra
89 502 discount
90 491 gas scooters
91 483 green day
92 478 checks
93 476 audio
94 472 relocation
95 471 mujeres nalgonas
96 470 cholestrol
97 465 __bfc_off george bush
98 464 storage
99 447 strivectin
100 446 school loans
101 444 yahoo mail
102 444 fireworks
103 440 mob nickname generator
104 438 contracts
105 437 anti-aging
106 434 covers
107 432 sears
108 430 bikini
109 429 glass tables
110 427 msn
111 427 miley cyrus
112 425 serpentine belt diagram
113 424 canyon
114 422 miami edu
115 420 calcium
116 420
117 418 vacation in hawaii
118 414 nudist
119 414
120 411 time
121 410 brazzers
122 409 medicare
123 409 gout
124 407 law
125 406 best buy
126 404 carts
127 402 products for hair loss
128 401 primal
129 400 email hosting
130 398 cards
131 397 jessica alba
132 397 solitaires
133 395 wikipedia
134 394 dental health
135 390 princess
136 390 relationship dating
137 385 jessica simpson
138 385 test
139 383 www.gadis bugil
140 383 inventory software
141 382 free galleries
142 380 oils
143 378 camp rock music
144 377 open bras
145 377
146 377 home builders
147 375 target
148 371 mediterranean cruise
149 366 cheap homes
150 365 games
151 363 women
152 363 spankwire
153 361 kim kardashian
154 360 video clips
155 360 free ringback tones
156 359 grilling corn on the cob
157 359 amazon
158 357 gmail
159 355 golf
160 354 mujeres eyaculando
161 352 maps
162 351 naruto
163 347 free satellite t v
164 346 skin
165 345
166 343 paris hilton
167 343 free games
168 340 sporting goods
169 339
170 336 hot
171 335 internet
172 333 glucosamine
173 332 pthc
174 332 accessories
175 327 hampton
176 326 honeymoon travel
177 326 search engines
178 325 tamil kama kathaigal
179 324 dictionary
180 324
181 323 fiberglass leg cast
182 320 satellite live
183 319 webkinz
184 318 vipzax
185 318 celebritycruises
186 315 kid rock
187 312 tampa florida
188 312 prank phone call voices
189 305 megarotic
190 305 barbeque dry rub recipes
191 304 honda motor bikes
192 302 printable guitar tabs
193 301 mujeres%2bcalientes
194 301 song lyrics
195 301 sand game
196 300 madonna
197 299 companies
198 299 rihanna
199 298 we live together
200 298 porntube
201 294 motorcycle line rider
202 293 printable certificates
203 292 southwest airlines
204 292 cars auctions
205 291 ecards
206 291 software
207 288 limewire
208 287 talambuhay ni jose rizal
209 287 boysfood
210 283 hardware
211 282 dogpile
212 281 georgia university
213 280 futons
214 280 lingerie
215 278 handmade soap
216 277 wimbledon
217 277 earth maps satellite
218 275 hammocks
219 274
220 272 lindsay lohan
221 272 iron telepost
222 271 chochas de nenas
223 271 free desi stories
224 270 babes
225 269 bbc weather
226 269 play super mario
227 268 map quest
228 267 costco
229 267 fotos homens transando
230 265 cruise america
231 265 bratz free games
232 264 camp shoulder support uk
233 262 home construction
234 259 anime
235 259 cnn
236 259 glasses
237 258 tila tequila
238 258 travel
239 257 play race car games
240 257 pumas
241 256 blogs
242 256 xhamster
243 255 hair treatments
244 255
245 254 flash your rack
246 254 jennifer aniston
247 254 wall-e
248 253 yuvutu
249 253 free live cricket
250 252 my space
251 251 log home kits
252 251 youjizz
253 251 newyork
254 249 dry rub recipes
255 249 circuit city
256 248 cleavage
257 247 nudists
258 246 lil kim exposed
259 246 skinny dipping
260 246
261 242 music and
262 242 google earth
263 240 play driving games
264 240 google maps
265 240 hampton bay
266 240 baby
267 239 wwe
268 239 coldplay
269 239 myspace layouts
270 238 listen to songs
271 238 queen
272 237 haitian music
273 237 drink recipes alcoholic
274 236 in home gym
275 235 corn on the cob recipes
276 235 mp3
277 235 free celebrity fake list
278 235 shufuni
279 235 people search
280 233 download directx 9
281 233 furniture
282 233 health insurance quotes
283 233 pamela anderson
284 231 wall-e wallpaper
285 231 aol
286 230 play war games
287 230 uk weather forecast
288 230 cheats
289 229 mature
290 229
291 229 highlander
292 228
293 228 free online games
294 227 movies
295 227 protocol%2btcp%2b23
296 226 satellite free
297 225 printable word puzzles
298 224 home warranty
299 224 gardening supplies
300 224 golf accessories

Friday, July 4, 2008

FireFox going mobile?

I use FireFox and love it and now comes a mobile FireFox!

Firefox Goes Mobile

Mozilla's chairman explains why mobile devices need an open-source browser.

By Kate Greene

smaller text tool icon medium text tool icon larger text tool icon
Firefox for phones: Mitchell Baker is the chairman of the Mozilla Foundation, an open-source software organization responsible for the Firefox browser. The foundation is building a browser for mobile devices.
Credit: Mozilla

There's no doubt that it's getting easier to access the Web on a mobile device. Thanks to the iPhone and Apple's Web browser, Safari, millions of people feel as though they finally have the Internet in their pocket. But there's still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to allow for the kind of innovation on the mobile Web that is possible on the traditional Web, says Mitchell Baker, chairman of Mozilla, maker of the Firefox browser.

Baker has been instrumental in building the open-source software community that gave the world Firefox, a popular alternative to desktop browsers such as Internet Explorer and Safari. But now Mozilla has turned its attention to the mobile Web. Last October, the foundation announced an initiative to build the first, fully open Web browser for mobile devices. As an open-source software project, the browser will be built using code from software programmers from all over the world. The hope is to spur innovation in an industry that's famous for locking out software developers.

Technology Review's information technology editor, Kate Greene, caught up with Baker at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco last week to ask about her vision of the mobile Web.

Technology Review: What progress have you made since you announced a mobile Firefox initiative last fall?

Mitchell Baker: The first thing that we have done is make sure that the size and memory requirement of our code are more suitable for cell phones and related devices. We hadn't actually focused on that in the past years. We focused on building the user experience, and the [software developer] ecosystem, and making a browser that's flexible. So the performance characteristics of the code that runs Firefox are dramatically different than they were six months ago. They are equal to any mobile browser, and better than some, depending on the tests. We've done a lot of the hard basic engineering work that needs to get done.

We've also started the prototype development. There's a project called Fennec, which is another type of fox. We've released prototypes of this, not products. This is the classic Mozilla way of development: release early and release often.

TR: When do you expect a mobile Firefox to be available to the general public?

MB: We can expect to see things that the general public can play with sometime this year. I'm not sure it'll be a completely polished product, but it'll be within a range that's usable.

A bit of news for MAC users

I am not a Mac user but this is an interesting article from Mac>

Hello: Macs Are About to Get Interesting Again

July 2nd, 2008, Pete Mortensen


I’ve been alluding to this for a few months now, but let me repeat: The Mac is poised for innovation over the next few years on a scale that we haven’t experienced since the initial move to OS X in the previous decade. After five years of focusing on new categories like the iPod and the iPhone while gradually improving its Mac product line, the company has now freed up the resources to strengthen its core and highest-revenue business: Macs. And at the same time, new technologies are emerging to take the Mac to the next level. To read why, click through.

The Future of the iPod and iPhone Are Incremental Improvements
When Apple released the first iPod in October 2001, the company’s future was very much in doubt. Despite years of cool Mac designs and the roll-out of Mac OS X, Apple’s market share was worse than ever, and the PowerPC roadmap was already starting to show signs of trouble. Initially seen as a desperate, niche product, the iPod went on to save Apple, establishing it as a media powerhouse. But Apple didn’t sleep on its success, immediately beginning work on what became the iPhone, and in the process creating a new platform for its portable media devices. With the iPhone 3G just more than a week from release, this platform is stable and just starting to take off. Multi-touch works great, the processor is plenty fast, and storage is getting cheaper and cheaper. Most of the complaints that remain about the iPhone and iPod touch are software related. Apple can easily get another two years out of both devices doing little more than increasing capacity and developing new software. They need maintenance, not innovation. At most, an iPhone nano or touch nano might come, but these devices won’t require nearly the development effort that the original iPhone did.

Implication: Apple’s best hardware and software teams have time to work on Mac stuff. Really interesting Mac stuff.

The Architecture of Computing is Changing Dramatically
As you might have noticed, the era of the megahertz myth died a long, long time ago. Four years ago, the fastest chip that Intel made for desktop computers ran at 3.8 Ghz (Never quite got to 4 Ghz.). Today? The high end is just 3.2 Ghz. While, I would gladly take a Core 2 Extreme over a Pentium 4 any day of the week, it’s clear that the way to greater performance these days is not through clock speed but in more efficient use of lots of processors. Intel has led the way with its Core Duo and Quad lines of chips, but things are about to get really weird. First of all, NVIDIA, the graphics chip leader, now claims that the CPU has become irrelevant, and future performance advances will come through optimizing the GPU. Intel, for its part, is introducing Larrabee, an integrated graphics platform that can natively execute CPU x86 code. That means that when note rendering 3-D graphics, it can also add a few dozen processing cores to pump up performance in all regards. Even more amazingly, Intel will, in late 2009 or early 2010, introduce the Sandy Bridge platform, which is expected to integrate Larrabee onto a single die with Core 4 (or whatever Intel calls them) processors, leading to lightning-fast performance.

While that might all sound like electrical engineering inside baseball, it’s actually revolutionary. The move to hybrid CPU/GPUs is a computing architecture change bigger than any we’ve witnessed since Floating Point Units became standard on-die equipment instead of a nice-to-have add-on. Once hardware truly becomes standard, software becomes optimized for it. In this case, software will become optimized for incredibly high-bandwidth applications that barely function on today’s gear. And Apple has already made it clear in the release notes for OS X Snow Leopard that it will be ready for the advent of GPUs that act like an extension of the main processor before they even ship:

* Fully 64-Bit - If you’re going to be tossing around extremely data-intensive applications, you need a ton of RAM available. Snow Leopard will.
* Grand Central - Having two, four, eight, or, as Intel says Larabee will offer, THOUSANDS of processing cores is nice, but having an OS smart enough to efficiently use all of them is even better. That’s what Snow Leopard’s Grand Central technologies are designed for. It’s a taskmaster, routing jobs to multiple processors and cores in the most optimal way. Better, it allows application developers to do the same.
* OpenCL - Open Computing Language is designed to allow developers to take advantage of all that untapped GPU power to pump up application performance, so even graphics architectures that can’t natively execute x86 code like Larrabee can pump up general processing tasks.

Then, there’s also all kinds of cool new tech, from WiMax and LTE to USB 3.0, eSATA, aGPS, and SSD. It’s time to showcase some great ideas that are ready for prime-time.

Implication: Powerful new hardware coupled with an operating system that’s prepped for it. Start your engines!

The Entire Mac Line is Due For a Face Lift
There is much to be said for a genuinely classic design. Lovers of the ThinkPad still get misty thinking about how today’s models look like ones from 16 years ago. I, and most Mac people, are not like that. We cherish each Mac as a unique icon of its era, and then we move on to the next era. But that’s been hard to do over the last few years. Apple’s computer designs are pretty much where they were three years ago, before the move to Intel processors happened. Today’s 17″ MacBook Pro looks virtually identical to the 17″ Powerbook introduced in January of 2003. Seriously. The main difference between the last generation of iBooks and today’s MacBooks are its latch mechanism and the keyboard. The Mac Pro is literally identical to the original Power Mac G5. The iMac has seen the greatest change, and that was just to put an aluminum finish on an existing design. The MacBook Air is really different, but it isn’t a core product, nor does it signal a new design direction for the rest of the line. Heck, the MacBook that’s available in black is downright revolutionary in this light.

All of which is to say, it’s time for Apple to make a new statement with the design of its computers. The time couldn’t be better. All the kinks and problems that came along with the move to Intel chips have been worked out. People know that Macs are still Macs, and they’re all safe to use, so the designs can get more wild and divergent again. I can’t wait until they take that leap.

Implication: Jonathan Ive, I hope you’re really turning up the heat on the design of the next generation of Macs!

The iPod and the iPhone Have Put the Mac Back in the Spotlight
For years, most experts were skeptical of Apple’s so-called “Halo Effect.” That is to say, the idea that just by hooking people on iTunes and iPods, Apple could convince people to trade in their PCs for Macs. It took a long time, but it’s now clear that this theory was correct (though the switch to Intel chips made a huge difference, too). According to research firm Net Applications, 8 percent of all computers on the Internet now in use are Macs. That’s up 32 percent in just 14 months. In sales of new computers, Apple is doing even better. As of May, NPD estimates Apple sells almost 14 percent of all new personal computers in the U.S., which is the kind of market share the company hasn’t seen since the early 1990s. Apple is actually gaining on the PC guys.

Implication: We’ve got the demand; Apple needs to make with the supply.

Sing it with me: We want new Macs!
The public is ready for Apple to really tear it up with a killer line of new computers. The iPod and iPhone lines don’t need as much attention as they have for the last seven years. Incredible new hardware and emerging standards will push the limits of what we thought Macs could do. The existing designs have been around for what seems like forever. The company’s computer market share is way up. For all these reasons and more, Macs are about to get really interesting really soon. And it’s about time — innovation in new markets is fun, but innovation at the core of the company is even better.

Garmin and Linux!

Here is a neat new product enhancement from Garmin. This really pertains to anyone using or playing with Linux.