Webconsuls Blog

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Steve Jobs Clarified Just What We Can Expect From Apple's iPad

Apple's latest creation will be in your hands in 60 days and may revolutionize the way you or I compute. Steve Jobs clarified just what we can expect from Apples iPad, a device that appears to be an iPod Touch on steroids. The iPad platform is very similar to the iPod Touch but its capabilities are far more advanced. "It's the best web experience you've ever had. Way better than a laptop, way better than a phone," Steve Jobs said.

Here are the Specs:

  • only 1.5 lbs
  • only .5 inches and a 9.7-inch LED display
  • powered by Apple's own silicon technology, a 1 GHz Apple A4 chip
  • available in memory configurations of 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • 802.11N WiFi
  • speaker
  • microphone
  • accelerometer
  • compass
  • 10 hours of battery life and over a month of standby time
  • on-screen keyboard


Apple has already released an SDK program so that after market developers can create amazing new applications that are befitting to a device like the iPad. Apple is launching a brand new service called iBooks (and the corresponding iBookstore). Apple has reached an agreement, similar to the deal struck with record labels, with all the major publishers to market their content on the new iBookstore. Reading on the iPad will be very similar to Kindles, giving the reader the least strain possible on their eyes. There will be an external keyboard available for when you're in the office, something that we begged Apple to provide with the iPhone. One of the most important features on the iPad is the fact that you will not need a contract with AT&T to access the 3G network; $30 a month will give you unlimited access.

I have saved the best for last, "The Price is Right"! Only $499 for 16GB model, $599 for 32GB, and 64GB for $699. Models with built-in 3G (like the iPhone) will cost more, adding about $130 dollars to the price of each unit. I could make a pretty long list of what the iPad is missing. However, there is no sense in getting worked up about the 1st generation iPad; naturally as the product evolves and is tested by consumers more advancements will find their way to the iPad. I would much rather marvel at the sheer potential this product has to revolutionize the work place as well the classroom than complain about what the device lacks - which seems to be the trend with all the critics. The iPad is scheduled for release in April 2010.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Use the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine to Completely Scrub Your Internet Presence

Web 2.0 and social networking may not be for everyone! Living in a world of "avatars" and mood status updates is not as important to some people as it is others. One finds this out after they have already taken the time to set up detailed accounts about themselves. Thousands of people have found that closing a Facebook, Myspace, or LinkedIn account isn't the easiest task. Sure you can turn your account off or deactivate it, but all of your personal information and pretty much everything you have typed in is archived somewhere along the vast information highway. Killing one's virtual self has been quite a burden, almost equal to the burden of living it. So then, how does one commit virtual suicide?

Now, you can use the Web 2.0 suicide machine to completely scrub your Internet presence. The program will use the log in information you provide and go through all your social networking accounts deleting your existence. "Suicide Machine has assisted more than 1,000 virtual deaths, severing more than 80,500 friendships on Facebook and removing some 276,000 tweets from Twitter", according to TIME Magazine. Suicide Machine is so popular that thousands of people are waiting their turn for their own "cyberoffing". "Our server is so busy handling the requests," says Suicide Machine co-creator Walter Langelaar. Whether for a good or bad, there is no turning back or second chances at life; once you have committed to the deletion it will take nothing short of an act from God to reverse the procedure. When the suicide process is complete you'll receive a "cybermemorial" on the site. "RIP, 2.0. We'll miss you".

Facebook, so far is the only social network in up in arms about this new service and feels that the company is breaking the law "citing violation of users privacy", which is impossible because the individuals voluntarily submit their information to Suicide Machine; LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter have not yet publicly made a comment about Suicide Machine. Earlier this month Facebook blocked Suicide Machine from accessing its site. However, that has not slowed down Suicide Machine's creators, the euthanasia goes on. "Compared to the more than 350 million users [on Facebook], we think deleting a few hundred is not very impressive, but they picked up on it as a potential threat", says Langelaar.

If people are waiting in line to have their Internet lives deleted for good, then it will be interesting to see if the trend continues. So many people open social networking accounts and never once go back online to use them, so then deletion makes sense in that they would no longer want their information out there.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Twitter is a Free Social Networking and Microblogging Service

Wordmark for Twitter logoWordmark for Twitter logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is it about Twitter? A simple question, a simple program, a complex answer - maybe even unexplainable. If you were to type "twitter" into a Wikipedia field you would find this: "Twitter is a free social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications". If you have a basic understanding of the World Wide Web today you probably understand words like blogging, add a micro- to the beginning and you have tiny blog posts, called Tweets. Simple, Right! What isn't so simple is why one would ever want to broadcast short transmissions about their day-to-day activities; why would I want to ask questions, and take interest in what a total stranger is doing with their life?

Twitter has been around since 2006, it quietly gained steam at first while people figured out its potential and spread the word. Twitter grew exponentially worldwide and although it has slowed down in the last year, its user numbers are in the millions! Twitter is a tool for the 21st century speeding up the flow of information, allowing people to tap literally into the resources of the entire world. Twitter has no time zone, no deadlines; it is not bound by conventionality! We don't have to check our favorite news websites to know when a story has "dropped" anymore, no more one sentence emails either - Send a Tweet! Web 2.0 is about life, interaction and feeling like the impossible is possible; the World Wide Web is alive and constantly expanding, now it even has a voice.

Can anyone explain why Twitter has been so successful in such a short period of time? Maybe not, but I do know that in general people want to feel like they have a voice; now, everyone can guarantee an audience, hopefully a full house. The fact the Bill Gates signed on board yesterday says a lot. In eight hours he had over a 100,000 followers!
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Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 Investing In Review

At the beginning of the year we set up some hypothetical portfolios. Rather than review them in individual detail, lets just look at some performance.

One S and P 500 index fund, symbol spy, was us up 25.48% for 2009.

Fortune Magazine picked 10 stocks for 2009.

Here is how it did:



Name
Symbol
Last price
Mkt value
Gain
Altria Group, Inc.
MO
19.79
1290.476
289.1662
Annaly Capital Management, Inc.
NLY
17.41
1082.293
82.293
Dell Inc.
DELL
14.54
1388.325
388.3248
Devon Energy Corporation
DVN
76.57
1107.645
107.645
Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc.
DO
101.17
1653.456
653.456
Fluor Corporation (NEW)
FLR
46.01
993.5824
-6.4176
Johnson & Johnson
JNJ
64.68
1065.986
65.9855
Medco Health Solutions Inc.
MHS
65.11
1509.554
508.8442
Pfizer Inc.
PFE
18.93
1016.821
16.821
Potash Corp./Saskatchewan (USA)
POT
112.2
1466.92
466.92
Cash
397.26
12972.32


So we are 29.72 % which beats the S and P Fund by 4.24% which is impressive. Notice that half of the stocks beat the S and P and half did not. So you can see the risk.

This was the best of our portfolios. The bond weighting in the others pulled them down. International exposure was great.

Now we will see what 2010 will bring.