Monday, November 2, 2009
But I also got a couple of stories out of covering a Sprint developers' conference in Santa Clara:
Sprint touts 4G possibilities at developer conference
Sprint removes barriers to Google Voice, Skype, Vonage
I also followed the continuing opposition to the Oracle acquisition of Sun when a deal critic came to Silicon Valley from Europe.
Oracle-Sun critic doubts Oracle's 'promises' to support MySQL
I ended the week receiving my demo of the Samsung Moment from Sprint, which I played with over the weekend and posted my review of Nov. 1, the day it went on sale:
Samsung's Moment has arrived
Top Ten things PR people show never say to the media (Part 1):
Top Ten things PR people should never say to the media (Part 2):
Ignore Facebook at your peril:
Twitter me this:
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Apple freshens Mac Book, puts big screens on iMac
in this image on a staircase at Oracle OpenWorld
this month in San Francisco.
Opposition to Oracle-Sun deal grows, Sun layoffs
Friday, October 16, 2009
Here's the initial report on it, updated once with more information.
And here's the second story about how T-Mobile said the situation had been resolved.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
AT&T reverses course on VoIP on iPhone; an analyst doubts its stated motives:
AT&T allows wider use of Skype; urges FCC light touch
Apple quits U.S. Chamber of Commerce over global warming skepticism
Apple takes a stand on climate change
Good news for BlackBerry users
BlackBerry to support Adobe Flash
Palm dilemma: how to price Pixi when Pre prices falling
Prices falling for Palm Pre
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Gadget ideas for the 'Hybrid Mom'
Linux makes headway in netbooks, smartphones
Plantronics Voyager 975 hits the market
Symark acquires BeyondTrust in security access space
Open Table and other mobile apps news
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Then I drove up to San Francisco to cover a launch party for a gadgets Web site:
I also kept up on events related to the release of the Current TV journalists imprisoned in North Korea. I had written about a vigil held for them in San Francisco in June:
Sunday, August 2, 2009
The bad news: Apple is telling developers they, not Apple, should pay back customers whose iPhone applications were banished from Apple's App Store. One of the developers relates an absurd and frustrating conversation with an Apple representative from whom he was trying to get answers as to why his app was banned. The story: "Apple, the unbenevolent dictator."
Saturday, August 1, 2009
A little off the beaten path but not by much. This post, titled "Irish entrepreneurs search for Silicon Valley pot of gold," is about a trade mission to Silicon Valley by some Irish entrepreneurs and economic development advocates. One of them is a guy whose gadget allows people to buy songs to play on their cell or smart-phone via text message.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Also this week I attended OSCON, the Open Source Convention, in San Jose. One interesting session was a tutorial on Symbian, the mobile OS that is little known in the US but the market share leader everywhere else in the world. I was fortunate to run into Laura Merling (see below) of the Symbian Foundation, whom I'd interviewed before when I worked for SD Times and IDG News Service.
Friday, July 17, 2009
There were a number of other interesting panels including this one pictured below in which an entrepreneur (far left) pitches his business idea to a panel of investors and other experts. There were several entrepreneurs who spoke. The panel then voted on who had the best idea. It was hosted by Natali Del Conte (second from left) of Cnet and CBS.
The day before MobileBeat, I wrote about how Apple, as expected, upgraded iTunes in a way that disabled the sync functionality on Palm Pres running iTunes. Asked about it at MobileBeat, Palm's Michael Abbot (pictured here) could only reiterate the company line that Apple is only hurting its own iTunes users by preventing syncing on Pre, but that there are workarounds to continue to add songs to your iTunes library on Pre.
Also, I took a look at SmartSwipe, a credit card reader that someone can plug into their computer to make purchases online. Secure, for sure, but a potential enabler of binge shopping.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Elsewhere, at least one company pays people for their old iPhones and refurbishes them. RapidRepair, in Michigan, was flooded with requests from new 3GS owners to buy their first and second generation iPhones from them for up to $200.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
I went off my gadgets beat for this story on Two Journalists Held in North Korea (right) as I attended a vigil in their honor in San Francisco. I added a slide show of photos I took at the event.
Then I wrote about The Wonderful World of (Gadget) Color about how product designers are using bright colors to distinguish their new gadgets from the basic and boring black and grey of previous models.
Back on the Bluetooth beat, after a couple of stories about Santa Cruz-based Plantronics, I got to try out the new Jawbone Prime (left) from competitor Aliph for a few days.
As part of my continuing coverage of new smartphone introductions, I revisited the Palm Pre for a story on how its sales have exceeded expectations.
AT&T Mobility made some news this week by announcing it's going to start selling netbooks to small business customers who can use the carrier's wireless broadband service.
And lastly, I noted the passing of Michael Jackson in a post noting how social media, on gadgets like smartphones and laptops, spread the word of his death.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Here's a post about a guy who takes brand new tech devices, like the iPhone 3GS, and tears them apart to see what's inside. "OMG! My new iPhone! In pieces!"
For the first time since he went on medical leave in January, Steve Jobs was quoted in an Apple news release, this time about opening weekend box office for the iPhone 3GS. "Steve Jobs back on the job?"
Kudos are in order to the people at the New York Times with a timely report about the culture of secrecy at Apple.
Also, Monday, another entrant in the smartphone wars: "T-Mobile's myTouch 3G smartphone revealed."
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Also, word came out today in the Wall Street Journal that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had a liver transplant. I can't link to the story because WSJ is password-protected, but here's the San Jose Mercury News report on the WSJ story.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
And another Examiner post, this one on one of the cool apps to be available on the Apple iPhone 3.0 OS and the coming iPhone 3G S: "Find My iPhone."
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Just two days after the Pre launch, Apple introduced the new iPhone 3G S. What's worse, for Palm, is Apple lowered the price of the existing Palm 3G to $99, half of what the Pre goes for after rebate. But they're on different carriers. I wrote about the new iPhone for ITWorld.com and then wrote a separate post on Examiner.com about one of the nifty apps on iPhone, Find My iPhone.
I've also written additional stories for ITWorld, including this from JavaOne about an RFID company called Touchatag and another JavaOne story about the proliferation of app stores.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
I've been following with interest the launch of the Palm Pre smartphone.
In reverse chronological order, here's my post on a Pre launch party.
Sprint launches Palm Pre posted June 5
Next is the most-read of my Examiner.com posts, with 22 comments, a personal best!
Controversy about Sprint's Palm Pre plans posted May 22.
And an early preview.
From Palm, a Pre preview posted May 21.
Sun to open Java Store for selling apps posted June 2.
Sony Ericsson needs apps developers posted June 3.
I wrote two other stories for IT World.
Here are a few of them:
Garmin's new GPS handhelds posted May 7
Kindle DX launch posted May 6
Selling technology to women fraught with peril posted May 16
Launch of Voyager Pro Bluetooth from Plantronics posted April 27
You can read all of my Examiner posts on my home page.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I wrote 17 stories that were posted on the conference Web site during the week long event April 20-24. I interviewed keynoters and wrote stories on several of the breakout sessions. Here are just a few:
"Lax security can invite lawsuits" is about a panel discussion, moderated by CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, about legal issues related to e-discovery and company liability for data breaches.
"Innovation Sandbox winner announced" is about a competition among early-stage tech security companies who presented their innovations and business plans to a panel of judges.
"Social networks present new risks for malware, ID theft, etc." is about how people let down their guard when visiting "friends" on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.
"Tackling Cyber Security Challenges Today" was a very interesting panel about how the U.S. government, including the National Security Agency, Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security, are trying to protect cyberspace from attack.
"The 'MythBusters' stars next challenge: Is code unhackable?" Is about the Discovery Channel show whose co-hosts gave a keynote on the last day of RSA Conference 2009.
I had a lot of fun writing about my exasperating experience with Facebook, which I chronicled in the post "Facebook's Catch-22 Rule."
This post is from my coverage of the Embedded Systems Conference about wireless mesh networks: "Wireless networks can help around the house."
Another ESC story about tear-downs, where engineers take apart a product to show you how it works -- or in this case, didn't work: "Nintendo's 'Virtual Boy' undergoes autopsy at ESC."
This was a fun story from ESC about a computer that mounts on a shopping cart handle and organizes your shopping trip. "Now you'll have no excuse to forget the milk."
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Here are the first four articles I wrote:
Plantronics takes 'one giant leap' for managing multimedia audio
Savi Office introduction. March 31
Now you'll have no excuse to forget the milk
Shopping cart-mounted computer. March 31
Nintendo's 'Virtual Boy' undergoes autopsy at ESC
Failed product, April 1
Wireless networks can help around the house
Mesh networks, April 6
Be sure to click on the link "Add Robert to Favorite Examiners" and come back often.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
A bank-owned home being "trashed-out" in Santa Clara.
I was walking my dog in a light afternoon rain when I came upon this scene: a “Bank Owned” real estate sign planted in front of a modest three-bedroom tan stucco-walled home in the 500 block of Chapman Court, just off The Alameda, in Santa Clara. Parked across the street was a dumpster, filled with a mattress, armchairs, shelves and other possessions that had made that house a home. Shuttling back and forth between the house and the dumpster were three men working in what is one of the fastest-growing jobs in the country: clearing out foreclosed homes.
The crew leader, José, said he works for a Las Vegas company that, despite being overwhelmed with work clearing out homes in that distressed market, dispatched him here where there is also plenty of work. Since he arrived in the San Jose area seven days ago, José said he’s not had a day off and averages 16 of these house-clearing projects a day.
Banks and mortgage lenders hire such companies to clear out foreclosed homes and clean them up so they can be put back on the market as quickly as possible, so the lender can make some of their money back.
A child's school photo left behind
The onetime owner of the Chapman Court house did come back after moving out to retrieve some valuable items, José said, such as TV sets or computers, and what was left behind was rightly headed to the landfill or at best a rummage sale. But I’ve seen cases in which seemingly everything was left behind. A report aired on a recent "NBC Nightly News" but I'm having trouble including the link. But here's another report from PBS’s “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” from Oct. 2008 on clearing out abandoned homes.
In the NBC report, golf clubs, sofas, paintings and some personal items are taken away by “trash-out companies” and while some items are set aside to be given to charities, many were simply thrown out. In the PBS report, residents left behind newer TVs, computers, important documents like a birth certificate and other perfectly good items.
It’s bad enough that people lose their homes. But I find it just heartbreaking that people find themselves in such desperate straits that they have neither the time nor the resources to try to save some of their belongings in order to furnish their next home, even if it’s only going to be a rental.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
The other story was on cars, specifically plug-in hybrid electric cars. I've written a couple of stories of gas-electric hybrids, but this was my first on plug-ins. The story, "Electric Cars Will Need a Fill-up, too," looks at two different business models for developing electric car charging stations.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Here's one I posted recently on the Honda Insight, an upcoming challenger to the Toyota Prius among hybrid cars.
I also wrote this preview of the Ford Fusion Hybrid due in the spring.
Earlier I wrote about other gas-sipping cars that aren't hybrids, such as the Honda Fit.
My neighbor just bought one of these. I'm not sure whether this dilutes my "brand" as a tech journalist or just shows my versatility. In the stories, I do write about hybrid technology so I think it covers both. And according to sage career advice: "Do what you love and the money will follow."
(Photos are courtesy of Honda and Ford.)
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
It's clear that green technology is an emerging field that offers new opportunities for me as a journalist.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Before I was hired, most of Network World's reporters were based in Boston or scattered elsewhere in the U.S. I offered the advantage of being based in Silicon Valley. My editor said this was the type of story they were looking for from a Silicon Valley-based reporter: "Unauthorized iPhone Apps Market Fluorishes" Sept. 26, 2007
Network World has been active in making their Web site more dynamic, with multimedia features such as slide-shows. I covered a conference at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. My story, "Deconstructing the PC revolution," was accompanied by a slide show of photos I took of computers that are literally museum pieces! Nov. 5, 2007
This is a major project story I wrote about an IT upgrade for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system in San Francisco: "Process makeover keeps BART on track" Oct. 12, 2007
One of my main beats at Network World, as well as at IDGNS, was storage technology. This article explored the problem many enterprises experienced of buying too much storage because much of the capacity was set aside for various groups but little used. "When in doubt, buy more storage" April 23, 2007
At IDG News, I was the lead reporter on coverage of the HP pretexting scandal. My experience included being prevented by handlers from trying to interview CEO Mark Hurd about the scandal at an HP conference in Houston. Some of the other stories:
"HP CEO calls pretexting probe a 'rogue' investigation" Sept. 26, 2006
"Dunn to 'set the record straight' in HP case" Sept. 21, 2006
I also covered a federal court hearing over a lawsuit against telecoms for cooperating with the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program. This analysis column was called "Reporter's Notebook: NSA suit like Alice's Wonderland" Aug. 16, 2007
To inquire about Robert Mullins' availability for full or part time work, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 408-243-4302