(You're reading all posts by Mike Elgan) Mike Elgan is a Silicon Valley-based columnist who writes about technology and culture. His work appears in a variety of publications, including Computerworld, Datamation, PC World, InfoWorld, MacWorld, ITWorld, CIO, the San Francisco Chronicle. Subscribe to Mike's e-mail newsletter, Mike's List, and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Digg and elsewhere by visiting http://elgan.com.
About Mike Elgan
My name is Mike and I’m a digital nomad. “Hi, Mike!”
A digital nomad is simply a person whose work is location-independent because of mobile technology and the Internet.
Location independence doesn’t mean travel. If you choose to work from home, but could travel if you wanted to, you’re still a digital nomad taking advantage of your ability to choose.
I’ve been a digital nomad for about a decade, and during that time I’ve lived abroad briefly while working.
Before I converted to all-Apple, all the time — and before Apple launched the App Store, the iPad and had Apple Stores all over the place — the experience of living abroad while working was hard, limited and isolating.
But since Apple became the “New Apple,’ and since I switched to Apple products — and also since a host of great online services came online — digital nomad living abroad has become easy, empowering and highly connected.
A company called Spicebox is showing at CES a hardware-software product called Mauz that turns your iPhone into a mouse that can also read motion gestures through the camera.
The product comes in three parts: a snap-on thing for your iPhone, an app for your iPhone and a driver for your Mac.
Mauz connects with your Mac over WiFi. It works like a regular mouse. But it can also register movement of the phone like the Nintendo Wii remote, as well as register in-air gestures like the Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360. Here’s a video.
The product should sell for less than $70 when it becomes available in June.
When you open a new iPhone and boot it up for the first time, you’ll notice that Apple has already installed a bunch of apps for you.
It’s a great idea, because it lets you use apps right out of the box. Even the newest, most confused user can tap on an app icon and start trying various things.
Here’s the problem: Most users don’t replace the default apps with third-party alternatives. They mostly use the apps that came with the phone.
And this is why Apple should stop making apps: The default Apple-made apps are giving iPhone users a second-rate experience.
How would you radically improve the iPad? You’d give it more powerful processing, enabling more powerful apps.
How would you improve the 27-inch iMac? You’d make it 37 inches.
How would you create an Apple desktop computer for business? You’d make it work like an iPad, but double as a boardroom device for presentations and video conferencing.
And how would you improve TV and make it Applish? You’d build in a computer, Apple TV-like functions and give it a remote.
If you think about it, these obvious improvements are not moving these four product lines away from each other, but toward each other — resulting in a single super product that does it all.
What if Apple’s next iPad, iMac, business PC and TV set are all one iDevice?
You’ve seen iPhone home button cufflinks and on-button Mac cufflinks. Now, at long last, iPhone cufflinks are on the market.
They’re $29.99 on Amazon.com.
(Via Shut Up & Take My Money!)
Some pundits are predicting, and others are advocating, that Apple launch an iPhone that’s much cheaper than the current iPhone in order to keep up with Android phone sales.
This is crazy talk.
Apple doesn’t need a cheaper iPhone. They need a more expensive one — much more expensive. Here’s why.
Microsoft is looking for a handout.
Microsoft told AllThingsD this week that the company has insisted that Apple lower its 30 percent cut for Office 365 subscriptions sold through Microsoft Office for iOS.
Microsoft probably assumes that since they have such an iron grip on the office suite market — in most industries, you’re essentially required to use office, or at least share Office-compatible files — that they’re “special,” and deserve a better deal than tiny software and app companies that aren’t massively profitable corporations.
I think that not only should Apple stick to its current position of saying no to this request, they should go further. Much further. They should try to replace Microsoft Office as the de facto standard for Office software with iWork — to kill Office as the global standard.
The late Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs used to talk a lot about “changing the world.” And he did. But what has Apple done for the world lately?
I’ve got a great new way for Apple to truly make the world a truly better place: Kill Microsoft Office.
First I’m going to tell you why Microsoft Office deserves to die. Then I’m going to tell you how Apple could do it.
Speaking to NBC talking head Brian Williams this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years.”
Cook went on to upgrade Apple’s efforts in television from a “hobby” to “an area of intense interest.”
These cryptic comments support what Steve Jobs’s biographer, Walter Isaacson, told an interviewer, which is that Jobs said off the record that he wanted to “reinvent” TV, that Apple had “licked” the problems associated with said reinvention, and that Apple’s solution would liberate TV viewers once and for all from “all these complicated remote controls.”
If you want to tease predictive meaning out of these two Apple CEO statements, the key is in what each of them said and to whom and why.
Google’s social network, Google+, rolled out a new Communities feature this week. Your favorite blog has already established the biggest and fastest-growing Apple-related community on the network.
You should also circle the Cult of Mac Google+ page!
iPhone cases come in all shapes, sizes and purposes. This has been the case, so to speak, since iPhones first hit the market in 2007.
But the somewhat recent explosion in crowd-funding iPhone case projects has radicalized the available offerings.
Some cases offer aesthetics. Others focus on protecting the phone. Still others extend battery life.
One phone, for example, does it all. The AQUA TEK S for iPhone, a Kickstarter project that has already far exceeded its fundraising goal, makes your phone water-proof, shock-proof, dust-proof and, the piece de resistance, die-proof — it has a solar panel to charge to charge the phone!
One of the coolest or craziest categories of iPhone case, depending on your perspective, is the kind that provide personal self defense. These cases turn iPhones into a deadly weapons.
And almost all these phones do at least one other useful function besides self defense.
So why is an iPhone case a good place to build self defense? It’s simple: You carry your phone everywhere. So anything you want to make sure you have all the time no matter what, you need to attach it to the phone. So if you want to always have a way to defend yourself, build that defense into the iPhone case and you’ll always be prepared.
Don’t try to take these cases on an airplane, though. None of these cases is likely to make it past airport security.
Here are the five best iPhone cases for self defense: