Flash for Android 3.0 tablets is no “iPad killer”

Adobe Flash iconWow-weee! It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this site. Other than the RSS feed for my Fatal Exception column (to the right), I haven’t posted an update in nearly a year. I guess I must have been distracted.

To rectify that, then, take a look at my latest work for InfoWorld. This time it’s a review of Flash Player 10.2 for Android 3.0 tablets, and the results were hardly inspiring. Although Flash is still technically in beta for Android 3.0 as of this writing, it’s available on the Android Market for any Android 3.0 device owners to download. I did just that on a Motorola Xoom — the first Android 3.0 device to hit the market — and set out to see how it worked in real-world situations browsing Flash content. I was almost universally disappointed (though Flash Player certainly does a good job of displaying animated ads)! Click on over to read about the various frustrations I encountered in my trial run with Flash on a tablet, and why I think Apple’s decision not to support Flash on iOS devices makes a whole lot of sense.

Office 2010 Web Apps disappoint

Boy, was I ever let down when I saw the final version of the Office 2010 Web Apps, the Web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote that shipped with Microsoft Office 2010. My early impression was that they were amazing — they could display Office 2010 files flawlessly, something no competitor could do. But I should have been more suspicious when Microsoft seemingly kept showing half-finished versions of the products as the ship date approached. I realize now that Microsoft was toying with us; the reason it wouldn’t show reviewers a full version is because the final Office Web Apps aren’t that impressive. Click through to read my full review at InfoWorld.

Two technology showcases from InfoWorld.com

I realize I’m way behind on my shameless self-promotion, so I thought this time I’d better double up!

First up, an article that addresses the old saw that open source software only imitates existing proprietary software, rather than innovating new concepts. Microsoft loves to throw that idea around, but it really doesn’t hold much water. To prove it, I dug around to find a collection of active open source projects that really don’t have any proprietary software analogues. Click through to learn more about innovative open source in 2010.

Next we turn our gaze forward. Considering how far we’ve come since the beginning of the PC era, it’s always hard to predict what will come next. Rather than presaging any massive tech revolutions, then, InfoWorld decided to look to the near term, by examining up and coming technologies now in the labs. Are you ready for seven-gigabit WiFi or racetrack memory? Read on.

Eee PC 901 fan noise fixed

Some of you may remember my adventures disassembling my BlackBerry 8120 to repair a cracked LCD screen. I decided to dive into amateur electronics repair once more this morning, this time to address fan noise on my Eee PC 901.

The problem had been growing for some time, to the point that a loud, very noticeable buzzing would commence whenever my Eee PC’s fan kicked in. A Google search revealed a possible cause: a piece of plastic tape dipping into the fan blades as it spun. After cracking the case, disassembling, and reassembling the netbook, I can confirm that this was in fact what was happening. » More... »

Are you ready for HTML5?

The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) is hard at work on HTML5, the new revamp of the Web markup language that promises unprecedented multimedia capabilities and better support for Web applications. Some developers even hope the new language will free them from reliance on proprietary plug-ins such as Flash and Silverlight. Are they right? Just what are the advantages of HTML5, and equally important, when will it be ready to use? My latest feature for InfoWorld, “What to expect from HTML5,” covers all this and more. Take a gander and let me know what you think.

How Microsoft plans to beat Google

In 2007, venture capitalist Paul Graham declared “Microsoft is dead.” He later posted a clarification of his comment, but the gist remained the same: Microsoft, far from being a driving force for innovation in the technology industry, had become a lumbering dinosaur. It wouldn’t disappear — it was far too big for that — but it had become an irrelevant company.

Bold words, but I hear them echoed a lot lately. Microsoft, people argue, has made most of its money through underhanded business dealings and by driving its competitors out of the market. Its products aren’t competitive because it doesn’t need to compete. It’s the largest company in its industry today simply because it was the largest company in its industry yesterday; no other reason.

I’m not sure I agree. There’s a new challenger in town — Google — and there’s every sign that its presence in the market has given Microsoft a much-needed kick in the pants. Ray Ozzie, Bill Gates’ successor as Microsoft’s chief software architect, has put in motion an ambitious plan designed to beat Google on every front — and it just might work. Read my complete analysis in my latest article at InfoWorld.com. This one’s a biggie (single-page version here) but I think it will be worth your while.

Search OneNote 2010 Beta in Windows x64

An old bug seems to have resurfaced in the current build of Office 2010 Beta. Normally, you should be able to use Windows Desktop Search to return search results from your OneNote notebooks. But on 64-bit versions of Windows, while the search results show up, they have generic Explorer icons and clicking on them doesn’t do anything. The problem is that the system isn’t seeing the right version of the OneNote Search Connector DLL. If you’re seeing this problem, read on to find out how to get your searches working properly on Windows x64. » More... »

Chrome OS demystified

Confused about Chrome OS? You’re not alone. Ever since Google announced its new OS for Web appliances, I’ve heard the wildest theories about it — everything from Google being the savior of desktop Linux to Chrome OS being available for download now. In a new short article for InfoWorld, I debunk the top five myths about Chrome OS and offer some guidance about what to expect next. Google’s OS may not be what you expected it to be, but it certainly bears attention.

Google gWater: By invitation only

Google gWater glassGoogle’s Mountain View headquarters — the Googleplex, as it is known — is a wondrous place. The various little perks and bennies enjoyed by Google employees are legendary. Whether it’s free laundry service, a loaner umbrella when it’s raining, a loaner bicycle to get from building to building, or a help-yourself bucket of gummi worms, Google provides everything for you.

Visitors to the Googleplex are invariably stunned by these displays of Larry and Sergey’s nigh-prodigal largess. At most of their own offices, they’re lucky to score a free newspaper for the train ride home.

But there is one thing Google is less willing to provide, as I learned this week while covering the Chrome OS announcement. Next time you have a chance to visit the Google campus, just you try getting a drink of water. » More... »

What is Chrome OS, anyway?

Chromium logoGoogle’s at it again. Surely no company is as adept at generating buzz for something it hasn’t actually done yet. It’s already well-known for keeping products in perpetual Beta until its marketing department decides the time is right to drop the label. This time, the “news” is all about Chrome OS — a product that isn’t in beta, isn’t ready for anybody to use, but will be changing the nature of computing itself real soon now. (And by “real soon now,” Google means no sooner than next year.)

InfoWorld was invited to participate in the press conference, so they sent me down to check it out. You can read my coverage at InfoWorld.com (and on various other sites, via IDG Syndication).

I can’t say I’m totally convinced. The idea of an instant-on Web browser appliance is interesting, but Google isn’t the first to propose it. After all, don’t a lot of people use iPhones for that? And while Apple has backed away from its stance that all iPhone apps should be based on the Safari browser, Google continues to insist that the future of all computing lies on the Web. Sorry, but I just don’t see the trend being as “very, very clear” as Google’s Sundar Pichai claims it is.

Nonetheless, I’ll be following this project with great interest, and you can expect more coverage from InfoWorld as details emerge.