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I have to chuckle at what passes for journalism when it comes to tech these days.

Such as this "panning" review of the BlackBerry Classic.

Browsing the web is easier on the Classic than on previous models, but it is still a lousy experience when compared to the iPhone or Android devices. By far the biggest problem is still the chronic lack of apps. The range on offer from the Amazon and BlackBerry app stores is still incredibly poor. Want to check in for your Delta flight or work out how to get to your next meeting on public transport? Forget it.

Oh really?

Well, let's dispel a few stupids, particularly the above one.

Why do you want a "Delta" app?

You want one on your Android device because the browser sucks so badly that you can't just use their web site like you would at your desk.

But -- the BlackBerry 10 browser is excellent, including HTML5 compliance.  It therefore works just fine for that purpose, and what's better is that unlike the "Delta" app it works for all the airlines instead of just one!

Never mind not needing to clog up your device with a whole bunch of different apps (for the different carriers.)

But this misses the essential point, which is what BlackBerry has accomplished when it comes to travel, as just one example.

So let's say you do book a flight on your browser using the phone, or get a boarding pass (that's emailed to you, or you save as a PDF.)  BlackBerry Travel will automatically pick that up and start tracking it, showing you the gate the flight comes into on the other end (or where it's leaving from), sometimes more-quickly than the board changes in the airport itself!

Or let's say you're traveling by car.  You book a hotel.  Travel picks it up off the emailed confirmation all on its own and gives you one-touch routing via the mapping software in the handset; push a button and drive with it guiding you by voice.

Neither Android or IOS offers that sort of integration -- the sort that saves you time.

Oh sure, you can punch in the address of the hotel on any phone, but with the BB10 handsets you don't have to because the phone scans your email, finds anything travel related and populates it for you.  When it comes to hotels it will also look in the immediate surrounding area and suggest that you consider changing your reservation if a cheaper option exists across the street -- and it frequently does!

10.3.1, which is shipping with the Classic and will be officially available for the other BB10 devices shortly (it's already available if you're willing to handload it) continues to make major improvements over what originally showed up as "BB10."  Among other things Android app notifications now come through in the Hub and background operation is supported for them (and equally importantly you can choose to disable it on a per-app basis!)  One of the big complaints about Android apps that have a "background" component has always been that they chew up your battery at a ridiculous rate; only BB10 lets you choose to block execution when the app is in a tile rather than having focus -- and stop that.  With Android your only choice is to not have the app at all.

The key take-away to focus on is "why do I need an "app" for each hotel chain and airline when the browser is perfectly competent to handle it?"

I don't.

Or, if you prefer, "What would you say in response if Microsoft told you that you needed an 'app' for Delta to book a flight on your DESKTOP computer?"  I suspect your answer would be a one-finger salute.

What I do need in a PDA-cum-smartphone is a cross-company travel management package so that my flight, rental car and hotel data is all in one place irrespective of which company is providing each service to me on a trip and I get that with BlackBerry as it's built in and has been since the original BB10 launch.

99% of the time when I go somewhere I drive rather than fly, but the point is the same.  I just got back from a 3,000 mile driving trip about a week ago and when I booked each hotel BlackBerry Travel picked it up automatically, offering to route me there with the push of a button -- and when I asked it to do so the phone's nav system flawlessly delivered me to the front vestibule to check in.

Incidentally, this is not unique to the Classic or Passport.  It's been true since the Z10 launched.

Try that with the stock software that comes with your Android or Apple handset.

You can't -- and that's just one of the many examples where the FT article misses the mark.

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You can surrender to terrorists two ways:

1. After they attack you.

2. When they threaten to attack you.

Sony pictures, and the United Stateshave now done the latter.

When did we become spineless?  Was it when we failed to prosecute our conflict in Korea, or was it when we won the Tet Offensive and then walked off the field and effectively surrendered in Vietnam -- after winning, not losing?  Let us remember that it was our media that was, to a large degree, responsible for painting a very false image of what had happened there.

Or was it after 9/11, when we knew there existed ties to Saudi Arabia -- including almost-certainly the government of Saudi Arabia, within days after the attacks -- and yet we not only did nothing in response at the time we continued to ignore the evidence of their involvement since and have bought literal trillions worth of their oil over the next decade and a half?

Whenever our emasculation happened we had better think long and hard about this.  Canceling a movie because a tin-pot dictator over in North Korea got*****ed off and had his minions hack a company's computers (which, I might add, is a problem all on its own; gee, you don't think someone was more than a bit stupid to be leave themselves vulnerable to this, do you?) and then "threatened" attacks if mere speech occurred, that is, the showing of a movie, raises feelings of embarrassment for what is supposed to be a proud nation.

If we're going to be ball-less on a national level then I hope you're ready for the black flag of ISIS to fly over the White House -- and your house.

Let me remind you that cutting off heads is certainly more of a direct threat than anything Kim-Jun-Pig****er could actually pull off in response to not liking a movie that's made about his nation and the rat-bastard conduct it has engaged in over the years.

Got your prayer mat ready comrade?

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2014-12-18 06:15 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 143 references

I have to laugh...

So desperate to stand out in a sea of phablets, BlackBerry went wide with the Passport -- too wide. The Passport sports a very heavy and awkward square design that's pretty much impossible to use with one hand. And while the keyboard is big and cushy, it's simply not worth the trade-off to carry a tank in your pocket. Add in buggy performance and a camera that takes its sweet time focusing and it’s easy to see why I called this device the New Coke of smartphones. The newer BlackBerry Classic, with its more traditional design, looks more satisfying for CrackBerry addicts.

So let me see if I get this right.

A device is a flop if it sells out repeatedly and the company that makes it cannot deliver for a couple of weeks at a time.  That is, unless it's Apple, in which case it's a good thing.  If it's BlackBerry it's a bad thing.

Oh, and as "not worth the trade-off", uh, I disagree, having had to wait for a restock to get one in my hands.  Hands-down it's the nicest smartphone I've ever had, for the first time living up to the promise of reducing the amount of time I spend on various tasks instead of simply tempting me to play Angry Birds Seasons.

As for the Classic, I suspect that's going to be a big hit too; announced yesterday right on schedule.  And speaking of schedule, that's one thing Chen is doing as their CEO since he took over -- he's putting up targets and then hitting them.

We'll see if that continues on Friday with earnings.

I suspect it will.

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Thursday (tomorrow, 12/18), 20:00 ET

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Oh Good Lord....

Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects that, with appropriate policy accommodation, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace, with labor market indicators moving toward levels the Committee judges consistent with its dual mandate. The Committee sees the risks to the outlook for economic activity and the labor market as nearly balanced. The Committee expects inflation to rise gradually toward 2 percent as the labor market improves further and the transitory effects of lower energy prices and other factors dissipate. The Committee continues to monitor inflation developments closely.

Yeah, right.

Transitory energy price factors eh?  We'll see on that one; yes, it may well be transitory but if it is the snapback is likely to be really ugly (although a second-half 2015 or later story.)

I find the Fed and Yellen's press conference amusing in the extreme.  Of course the usual pump squad is all over the release trying to further crank up the stock market -- which doesn't surprise me at all, with the SPX now up 40 handles (2%.)

The fun part of this is that (1) thus far it hasn't done a damn bit of good other than cranking the stock and bond markets and (2) there's no evidence that it will in the future.

So what you have here is basically wishful thinking, but heh, candy-crapping Unicorns are all the rage these days......

Go ahead and believe, if you wish..... the fact of the matter is that the market has been in trouble of late not because of The Fed but rather because of weakening global demand that no longer can be denied as it is showing up in energy consumption.

Folks, it's simple when you boil it all down in terms of actual economic activity and forward views of same, as I pointed out in Leverage:  Behind every unit of GDP is a unit of energy.

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