Online and offline newspapers

Posted: February 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: apple, Estonia, media, thoughts | No Comments »

Last Saturday I got in my regular mail for free the paper edition of the Estonian daily Eesti Päevaleht. That same morning I had already looked through the same newspaper in its iPad version. I also am aware of the launch of U.S.-only newspaper for the iPad, The Daily. I have also read/used on iPad and on paper the Estonian weekly Eesti Ekspress and the U.S. men’s magazine GQ. Here is what I think about them:

  • The iPad editions of all of the items I read seemed shorter. They actually had in general the same content, but in paper form I had the impression of getting more. I believe it is due to the fact that people are used to associate physical printed material with more content than electronic versions. The Internet seems vast and there is a lot to it, but the individual pieces are usually shorter. The paper edition also allows you to see the whole article on one page, zoom in and out of different parts of the article, whereas the iPad’s 10” screen requires you to scroll down to find interesting stuff in a single piece.
  • There seems to be more value in a physical product. Although the amount of content is the same, and there are even some nice extras like music and video, it is difficult to pay the same amount (or more in Eesti Ekspress’s case!) for essentially the same product, but in an electronic format. GQ is a nice exception as it costs here in Estonia significantly less than the physical copy. There is also the notion that information should be free online and therefore any kind of paywalls are undesirable and fragmenting. My suggestion is to sell the iPad editions of newspapers in a subscription format.
  • The current system of downloading the whole newspaper to the iPad and then reading it is tedious (especilly as it seems that it cannot download in background). Therefore I am stuck looking at the downloading screen for a signficant amount of time. The GQ solves the problem partly by starting already to display textual content before all the ‘heavier’ stuff has been downloaded, but it still is cumbersome. The ideal solution in a subscription world would be that the electronic edition would be delivered not on-demand, but immediately when available so that I do not have to wait for the hundreds and hundreds of megabytes to download. There must be a better technical solution to this waiting. I can get to the website instantly, but have to wait for 30 seconds or so each day before the newspaper downloads (and installs!).
  • My last gripe about the iPad versions of newspapers is payment and pricing. Surely the reduced costs of not having to print the newspaper and the added benefit of targeted and smart ads should lower, not raise, the price of the newspaper. I think a small weekly or monthly subscription fee for a bunch of newspapers bundled together is the way to go. I am especially disappointed with Eesti Ekspress who sells their iPad edition for significantly more than their paper version. Who was the idiot who came up with this?

I think that media has an ever increasing role in today’s world and as a watchdog of democracy. New technological advances, such as the iPad, open new ways of delivering high quality content instantly and with added value. This means that journalism must adapt to these new realities and also alter the business model accordingly, not simply create paywalls for content that was previously available for free. I think that the podcast model suits news media better than the music store model…

iPad in Estonia, finally

Posted: January 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: apple, Estonia, promo | 3 Comments »

Apple’s iconic and gamechanging iPad is finally officially available in Estonia. The reception has been full of sneers and irony as the new version of iPad should come out in a couple of months. Hopefully it will be here quicker. There are also a number of people in Estonia who probably due to jealousy or some sort of conformism are quite anti-Apple, so their disdain for any kinf of iProduct is also directed at the iPad.

Having used the iPad rather extensively since last July, when I bought myself a 32 Gb Wi-fi only iPad with the Apple iPad Case from the Apple Store Opéra in Paris, I can share some of my thoughts about what the iPad can and what it cannot do. I have to say that I have not really taken the iPad out of the case so my experience is limited to using it with this incredibly brilliantly designed case. So my first suggestion is to definitely get the Apple iPad Case with your iPad. Also, the iPad benefited a lot from the iOS 4.2 update which brought multitasking support along with other neat features, which added a lot of utility.

The iPad is perfect for (what I have used it for):

  • casual web surfing and watching web (non-Flash) videos, either on your couch or during meetings
  • reading and responding to e-mail,
  • using it as a personal organiser (calendar),
  • making notes and viewing online or e-mailed documents during meetings (it is so much quicker and lighter than a laptop),
  • quickly checking something on the web (for example a recipe in the kitchen, it is difficult to have a laptop next to the stove, but the iPad fits everywhere)
  • travelling for work or pleasure (lack of 3G does not harm as 3G roaming tends to be expensive and most conferences and more and more places in Europe do have free Wifi),
  • playing games (I got completely addicted to Need For Speed Hot Pursuit, and I also like to play Scrabble on it from time to time, as a simulation-addict I also recommend SimCity and the Settlers),
  • attaching speakers and using as a music machine at a party, because it also has a fully functional iPod built in.

What the iPad is not for (for me):

  • replacing your work (or home) laptop,
  • writing longer documents for which you need to easily drag and drop stuff or make links,
  • editing photos or video,
  • using instant messenging services (Skype or MSN), it is somewhat cumbersome to chat realtime with other people because of the lack of windows (so you must always switch between the browser and your messenger program.

What I would like to try with the iPad is to use it with a projector at the university for my presentations to students. It seems the iPad dock connector to VGA adapter is finally for sale here so I will get that and try it out with my classes.

I have found the iPad very useful, it is so quick, intuitive and light. And it is clearly the best device for those specific purposes I use if for.

P.S. My current tech set-up includes three MacBook Pros (one 13” with the Apple Cinema Display at one workplace and an older 15” for the other, one 17” is for home use), the iPad for meetings and travel, iPhone 4 for twitter, mobile e-mail and web surfing. All of these devices sync Calendars, Contacts, Bookmarks etc with each other over MobileMe and I keep a documents folder with documents that I work on on my iDisk (this is the weakest link, and tends to not function from time to time, so improvement would be useful).


Posted: January 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: apple, cool | 1 Comment »

I think the Apple iPad will be amazing and that most tech critics just don’t get it, because they are too distant from the needs of the casual users. Therefore I trust Steve Jobs on this rather than anyone else. Time will tell who was right and who was wrong.

Some quotes from the respected tech journalists on Apple devices in the past:

The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things.

(John C. Dvorak on the introduction of the original Apple Macintosh in San Francisco Examiner, 19 February 1984)

No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

(Slashdot editor CmdrTaco comments on the release of the iPod, 23 January 2001)

The original iPhone was also almost universally criticised for lack of many features (some of which have appeared in iPhone 3G and 3GS). So with Apple it is best not to listen to the reviews, but try these things out on your own.

App Store in Estonia

Posted: April 4th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: apple, cool, Estonia | No Comments »

Apple has finally extended the reach of the App Store to Estonia, allowing my to legally buy applications for the iPhone. It is pretty cool, but of course I’d also like to see Apple allowing Estonians also to buy music and film, and to order photobooks and calendars.

So far I think I’ve spent more than 10 euros at the App Store, and it has been open for two days only…

Corporations for Human Rights

Posted: October 25th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: apple, cool, human rights, politics | No Comments »

Usually when large multinational corporations are referred to in the area of human rights, it is mostly related to abuses of these rights (or rather businesses putting their immediate profits ahead of other issues). However, in this instance two companies have publicly come out in support of human rights in the matter of gay marriage in California, where a vote will be held together with the presidential elections on whether to amend the State Constitution to eliminate the right for same-sex couples to marry gay. On Friday Apple announced that: 

Apple is publicly opposing Proposition 8 and making a donation of $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign. Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employees’ same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a person’s fundamental rights — including the right to marry — should not be affected by their sexual orientation. Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8.

Google had announced their opposition to the constitutional amendment last month. 

By conventional wisdom, it is usually a tricky thing for corporations to be involved in what may be perceived as political matters, as there is the worryl that potential customers may be put off by this. However, I think that this paradigm is changing and people want to consume products by companies that have a positive brand value. Apple and Google have generated a lot of good karma for themselves, hopefully more companies will follow suit and step up for what they think is right. In the long run it brings more loyal customers and therefore also profit.

Omg iPhone

Posted: August 26th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: apple, cool, mobile | No Comments »

I got the iphone today and it is amazing. The price does not matter, the 24 month EMT contract does not matter, the phone is simply amazing. There is nothing close to this that exists, it truly is a do-everything device. I had quite high expectations, but it is unbelievable.

Unlucky Friday

Posted: June 14th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: apple, things that suck | No Comments »

Yesterday was Friday 13th, so naturally some things had to go wrong: in a global scale the Irish said no to the Lisbon Treaty, but in my personal level my MacBook Pro refused to show any video (the screen was completely blank). At the local Mac service I was told it was the motherboard which was faulty and there would be a 2 -3 weeks wait until a new one arrives.

Fortunately I can borrow another MBP at work and restore my documents to that one until I get it fixed. Also, my MacBook Pro was within warranty period, so I do not suffer a financial setback, just an inconvenience.

3G iPhone will be in Estonia this summer

Posted: June 9th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: apple | No Comments »

Apple to says that iPhone3G is coming to Estonia.

UPDATE: EMT has uploaded a page where you can sign up for updates.

Barack’s Commencement Address at Wesleyan

Posted: May 25th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: apple, obama, youtube | No Comments »

I like that in US universities there are these commencement addresses, where notable people talk to students. 

Now Barack Obama, filling in for Ted Kennedy, made a commencement address to Wesleyan University graduating students. Some highlights:

Each of you will have the chance to make your own discovery in the years to come.  And I say “chance” because you won’t have to take it.  There’s no community service requirement in the real world; no one forcing you to care.  You can take your diploma, walk off this stage, and chase only after the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should by.  You can choose to narrow your concerns and live your life in a way that tries to keep your story separate from America’s. 

But I hope you don’t.  Not because you have an obligation to those who are less fortunate, though you do have that obligation.  Not because you have a debt to all those who helped you get here, though you do have that debt. 

It’s because you have an obligation to yourself.  Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation.  Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition.  Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role you’ll play in writing the next great chapter in America’s story.

There is more:

We will face our share of cynics and doubters.  But we always have.  I can still remember a conversation I had with an older man all those years ago just before I left for Chicago.  He said, “Barack, I’ll give you a bit of advice.  Forget this community organizing business and do something that’s gonna make you some money.  You can’t change the world, and people won’t appreciate you trying.  But you’ve got a nice voice, so you should think about going into television broadcasting.  I’m telling you, you’ve got a future.”

Now, he may have been right about the TV thing, but he was wrong about everything else.  For that old man has not seen what I have seen.  He has not seen the faces of ordinary people the first time they clear a vacant lot or build a new playground or force an unresponsive leader to provide services to their community.  He has not seen the face of a child brighten because of an inspiring teacher or mentor.  He has not seen scores of young people educate their parents on issues like Darfur, or mobilize the conscience of a nation around the challenge of climate change.  He has not seen lines of men and women that wrap around schools and churches, that stretch block after block just so they could make their voices heard, many for the very first time. 

Here is the full video:


P.S. There was another commencement address I liked a lot and tried to heed to. Apple CEO Steve Jobs had a commencement address at Stanford in 2005 where he talked about his struggle with cancer, what drives him, etc:

MacBook Air

Posted: January 15th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: apple, cool | No Comments »

Incredible machine from Apple.