Peter Petrovski

Mar 05

Hands-on with Apple's CarPlay -

Jalopnik have a hands-on video with Apple’s new Carplay feature in a Volvo, that combines native iPhone apps together into a new Apple-designed UI for your car’s dashboard display.

Ofcourse, it only works with 2014 model cars from certain manufacturers, so it’s going to be a while before this gains any significant proliferation. It’s nice to see an Apple designed solution in place of the usually horrible UI found in many car dashboards.

However I wonder how well this will work since Apple is only designing the software, not the hardware. Many touch screens in cars are nowhere near as responsive as the iPhone’s or iPad’s screen.

Maybe when I upgrade my car sometime in 2018 I can make use of this.

Feb 24

News Media Revenue Matrix: The Bird’s Eye View -

Today there is more complexity in the news business than ever before.

Traditional publishers of print news are enabling pay walls to more effectively monetise their digital assets. Others are focusing on creating viral and "clickable" content in order to drive page views, slapping lots of ads all over their pages. 

News outlets are experimenting, and struggling with, finding the successful revenue model. Balancing the equilibrium between capturing emerging opportunities and sustaining revenue targets hasn’t been easy for any publisher.

Frédéric Filloux provides a great model to dissect and try to understand the revenue matrix for a modern, content-rich news outlet. 

Filloux’s four factors in defining a “modern” news outlet are as follows:

1. A proven ability to produce original content.

2. A cultural mindset to produce contents for the platform with the best fit.

3. A newsroom equipped with the best tools money can buy or, even better, build.

4. A global editorial thinking.

View the entire revenue matrix over at Monday Note

Feb 13

Apple Said to Plan TV Box Amid Time Warner Cable Talks -

Adam Satariano and Edmund Lee:

Apple Inc. is planning to introduce a new Apple TV set-top box and is negotiating with Time Warner Cable Inc. and other potential partners to add video content, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

There has been a lot of smoke about a revamped Apple TV, and it looks like early this year we will see a new device. This doesn’t look to be about a ‘revolutionary’ interface Steve Jobs reportedly talked about in Walter Isaac’s book. Rather, it’s about content.

The big scoop in this article is about integration with Time Warner and Comcast cable. One device that can control all content including free to air, cable and on demand content will be the ‘halo’ device we’ve all wanted.

And no, it’s not going to be an actual TV. 

Feb 03

Paper by Facebook - Improving The Tools For Content Creation

Paper is a new standalone iPhone app by Facebook, it’s a newsreading app in the vein of Flipboard and Prismatic showcasing all the content you already follow on Facebook.

It’s a reimagined interface for the News Feed, with the addition of news categories that users can subscribe to. Continuing their strategy started with Messenger and Poke, Facebook is unbundling core functionality into separate standalone apps.

When Facebook users log in to Paper, they will see a plethora of beautiful content cards curated into news categories by editors. While certainly a fluid and delightful experience for consumption that uses gestures and eschews many of the tired paradigms of the traditional app, the improvements to the creation tools strike me as perhaps the most ‘game-changing’ elements of the app.

Like Medium and Svbtle, Paper dramatically beautifies the way users post content. However unlike those networks, all your friends are already on Facebook.

“It’s no fun to make a bunch of great stuff if no one ever sees it.”

Explains Mike Matas, Paper’s product design lead. While another standalone Facebook app, Poke, was simply a copy of Snapchat, Paper’s ambitions are much greater than creating a Flipboard clone.

“As you start changing the way you’re displaying this content, we hope that it will change the way people think about posting content, because the two are obviously really connected.”

Facebook is at a crucial point in it’s history. It’s continuously being seen as the ‘Walmart’ of social networks with it’s poor quality, often spammy content.

When a user composes a post in Paper, it’s completely different to creating a post in the traditional Facebook interface. Instead, as the user adds content they can see exactly what the final post will look like. This will have the effect of users editing their posts and ensuring their posts look beautiful and rich like the content they’ve serendipitously browsed in Paper.

Just like Facebook’s aim with the Timeline, Paper is a way to get users to improve the quality of their content. People will want to showcase their content in it’s best light. More than just re-sharing cat memes, Facebook hopes people will want to tell deeper stories in the more visual format.

Matas goes so far as to say that:

"it’s a publishing tool, a way of publishing great content, and a way of viewing great content."

And it should work, if the app becomes popular.

That’s a big if, because so far Facebook has a mixed track record of unbundling their core services into apps. Poke and Camera have been failures, though Messenger has been a resounding success. I’m sure Zuckerberg hopes that Paper will find its way onto millions of users home screens.

If it does, then Facebook has a chance of improving the content posted to it’s network. Vital, if it’s not going to be seen as the ugly bloated website that your mother uses. Equally important to Facebook’s financial brokers, more rich content will mean more data for Facebook to use for behavioural targeting.

Nov 15

Pocket adds smart highlights based on reading preferences -

Highlights uses Pocket’s insights to surface the best and most relevant content that’s already saved in your list. Highlights are presented in different ways throughout the app, and are built upon the familiar list of items that is at the core of the Pocket experience.

One of my favourite apps has just got even better by recommending articles in your Pocket queue based on categories like ‘trending’, ‘long reads’ and ‘best of’. I save a lot of articles into Pocket and this is going to make it much easier to get through my neverending list.

Nov 03

SOUL SL100 On-Ear Headphones Review

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Since the introduction of the infamous Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, the market for higher-end consumer headphones has exploded. Paying more than $100 for a set of headphones used to be the realm of geeks and audiophiles only, but the fashion-forward styles offered by today’s range of headphones has greatly expanded the market for mid to high-end headphones and earphones. For those looking for a quality listening experience at a decent price the market is full of all sorts of headphone styles at various price ranges, I like to dabble and test a range of these headphones in search of the the perfect pair. Here I’m looking at a pair of SOUL by Ludacris SL100 on-ear headphones.

Build Quality

The SL100 is an on-ear headphone, meaning it rests on top of the ear rather than surrounding the ear. Generally this makes for a more compact headphone which is definitely the case with the SL100s. It also seals in the sound meaning they won’t leak what your listening to to the outside world, which is particularly useful if you ride public transport. I found the SL100s provide a very nice seal, they don’t press the head too much which is sometimes the case with this headphone design.

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The look and feel of the SL100 is high quality. The band and headphones feature a continuous plastic finish, not dissimilar to the Beats range of headphones. However the SL100 have a more rounded, glossier design with some nice chrome accents on the headband. The inside of the headband is nicely padded with leather stitching which makes for a very premium feel. Additionally the earcups of the headphone are finished in the same leather-like material, which makes them feel like soft pillows pressing gently against your head. The headphone is light at 212 grams which make them very portable, they would be ideal for those on-the-go. The foldable design is also very handy, SOUL include a nicely padded and zipped carry pouch which means they can easily slip into a briefcase or backpack.

Included with the SL100 is a removable cable with a three-button remote that works with iPhones, iPads and iPods. It’s a shorter cable which means it’s more useful for portable uses when you have a phone in your pocket. If you need to plug it into a reciever and use it from several metres away you’ll need to look for a longer third-party cable. The cable is terminated with a straight 3.5mm plug, which should fit with most iPhone cases.

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Sound Quality

The bass on these headphones is extended and deep, something you would expected when Ludacris is attached to the brand. The pleasant surprise to my ears was that the mids and highs are also apparent. The highs are natural sounding and pronounced, coupled with the deep bass make a perfect combination for many genres of music but in particular dance, hip-hop and pop tracks. The mids are a little more recessed which is slightly disappointing, but I’ve heard much worse at this price range.

In comparison to the Beats Solo these are a class above. The bass is punchier and less sloppy, the highs are clearer and more pronounced and the overall sound signature is more enjoyable for longer periods of time. I wouldn’t say they are the best in class at this price range, Skullcandy’s Aviators have surprisingly excellent sound quality for example. However these headphones are no slouch in the sound department, and combined with the rest of the package make for a very attractive headphone.

Conclusion

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If you’re looking for a pair of sleek, portable, decent sounding headphones at a budget less than AU$200 the SOUL SL100 would be a great choice. While Beats by Dr. Dre have a lot of marketing muscle in the market, you can do better - and the SOUL SL100 are a better buy than the comparable Beats Solo HD headphones.

Some minor complaints I have about the SL100s are the range of colour options, I have an orange pair and they also come in red and blue, I’d like to see the SL100 in a more subdued matte black finish. This is purely personal preference. I’d like a more balanced sound signature with more emphasis on the mids, the SL100 definitely favour the bass like many other similarly marketed headphones.

Overall for the RRP of AU$149 you get a pair of stylish headphones without sacrificing sound quality or comfort. Do yourself a favour and test these out if you can, particularly if you’ve been eyeing off a competing product like the Beats headphones, you won’t be disappointed. If you can pony up another $100 take a look at the Bowers & Wilkins P3 which offer a more refined style and balanced sound, but at this price range the SL100s are hard to beat.

For more details visit Powermove Distribution www.powermove.com.au

Oct 14

Apple Predicted to Release Ultra-Slim 12-Inch MacBook -

Macrumors:

We expect the unprecedented 12” model will boast both the portability of the 11” model, and productivity of the 13” model. The high resolution display will also offer the outstanding visual experience of the Retina MacBook Pro. The offering will likely be lighter and slimmer than the existing MacBook Air to further highlight ease of portability in the cloud computing era. We think the form factor will showcase a much improved clamshell structure, and that it will redefine laptop computing once again following the milestone created by the MacBook Air.

An entry level 12 inch Macbook, and then pro machines at 13 and 15 inches makes perfect sense. Right now you can buy three different Macbook’s at 13 inches, this complicates both the consumer buying decision and also Apple’s production lines.

Apple will also want to increase floor space for iOS products and future post-PC devices, a good way to do that is decrease the amount of traditional Macs that they sell.

Aug 16

Plus7 catchup TV app now live in the App Store -

Proud as punch, a lot of work went into this here at Yahoo!7. It’s a great app.