Apple has won an injunction to stop Samsung from selling older models of the Galaxy Tab in the United States:
“Although Samsung has a right to compete, it does not have a right to compete unfairly, by flooding the market with infringing products,” [U.S. District Court Judge Lucy] Koh said in her ruling on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The ban marks one of the first major victories for Apple in the U.S. as it continues to bombard rivals with patent complaints. Apple’s win isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, however: Samsung plans to appeal the decision, of course, and this ban only affects the Galaxy Tab 10.1, a tablet that was introduced more than a year ago. Samsung has already unveiled a newer version of the device — the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 — which is not impacted by Judge Koh’s ruling.
The highlight of the case came very early on, when Samsung’s own lawyers were unable to tell their own product apart from an iPad from ten feet.
I’m not sure the injunction will actually mean very much, although it’s certainly a vindication for Apple.
IBM once built the world’s best portable keyboard. Its official name was “TrackWrite,” but everybody called it “the butterfly” because of the way it spread its wings when you opened the computer. John Karidis designed it for the ThinkPad 701 back in 1995, and watch this baby in action.
It’s so well engineered, that there are still butterflies in perfect working condition, even though the last one was produced in 1996. That’s right: although the 701 was IBM’s best-selling laptop, the butterfly keyboard was abandoned after only one year. TrackWrite was a wonderful indulgence for a laptop with a 10-inch screen, but the very next year after it was introduced, 12-inch screens became the new norm — and bigger screens allowed for a full-sized keyboard without any fancy engineering.
Just like a real butterfly, the TrackWrite was beautiful but short-lived.
That’s the first thing I thought of when I watched Microsoft introduce its new Surface tablet computers last night: A gorgeous keyboard without a market. Microsoft has designed what is undoubtedly the best portable keyboard ever… for a touch tablet. In fact, if you go to Microsoft’s promo page, this is the very first image you’re presented with.
That’s how MS wants to introduce you to their new tablet — a tiny little screen with a great big keyboard. Scroll down the page a bit, and Microsoft reminds you that “some activities call for a keyboard.” The description continues:
Surface comes with an integrated Kickstand and a revolutionary, 3mm thin, pressure sensitive cover that doubles as a fully functioning keyboard and trackpad. Your Touch Cover connects to your Surface with a single magnetic click. Now you can chat with friends and respond to emails comfortably.
It’s really a very nifty piece of kit, and it’s included for free. Apple charges you a less-than-nifty $69 for their wireless keyboard, and it doesn’t attach to anything at all, not even with magnets. But you have to wonder if Apple doesn’t still have the right approach.
Somehow, despite the paucity of news this week, our Friendly Neighborhood Vodkapundit found something going on in the Blogosphere:
Here are the links to the items that Steve mentioned in his video:
It took me a few days of heavy use before I finally “got” the new iPad. I was an early adopter of the original model, so much so that my laptop hasn’t once in two years left the studio desk where it runs my teleprompter. When the iPad 2 came out last year, I never even considered upgrading. Sure, it was faster and thinner and weighed less and had better graphics and it could take pictures and make video calls — but it still didn’t really do much of anything my old one didn’t do.
So here’s the new iPad. It’s a little thicker and a littler heavier than the 2, although still thinner and lighter than the 1. It sports even faster graphics, albeit wedded to the same-speed CPU. And both the front- and rear-facing cameras, which I will almost never use, are much nicer.
So why am I so completely jazzed about the new iPad?
It comes down to just one thing: That screen. That gorgeous, lickable, touchable, incomprehensible screen. Every time I see it, I feel like David Bowman in his own personal orbit around Jupiter: “My God, it’s full of stars!”
Apple took the acceptable 1,024 x 768 screen of the previous iPads, and doubled the linear resolution to 2,048 x 1,536. That’s four times as many pixels. It’s 50% more pixels than your 50- or 60-inch HDTV musters. At that density, it’s simply impossible to distinguish individual pixels at a typical reading distance. Perhaps just as important, color saturation is increased almost 50%.
That sounds nice on paper, but does it really mean anything?
That’s what I wondered, too, the first two or three days I used mine. Then, I changed the lock screen wallpaper to a Colorado landscape shot I made a few years ago — and something magical happened.
Before I tell you, I want you to take a look at the picture. That’s up at 11 Mile Reservoir on one of those perfect Colorado spring mornings — when the winds pick up and the clouds suddenly roll in.
It’s a very pretty shot. Now I want you to click on it, because the file I’ve uploaded has been cropped and resized to match the iPad’s screen. You will probably have to click on it twice to view it full size, because unless you’re running a massive 30-inch monitor, this picture is bigger than your desktop computer screen.
This picture — the whole thing, all three million pixels of it, all in one glance — fits perfectly in the palm of your hand on the iPad’s 9.7-inch Retina Display. And unless your monitor has a pricy, LED backlit screen that’s been professionally calibrated, then even the colors look deeper and more true-to-life on the new iPad.
The magic of it is, anything you can put on that screen, whether it’s a photo or a game or a productivity app — can look as sharp and as colorful and as breathtaking as a high-quality, glossy photo print. There’s even an illusion of depth, as icons scurry across the screen, which Hollywood has yet to match with all its million-dollar 3D movie projectors.
There was an uncomfortable moment the other day, when Ed Driscoll asked me if I’d review the new PJ Media app for your iPhone and iPad. I mean, I work here. I’ve been getting a paycheck from PJ Media since it launched way back in 2005 — and I’m not exactly known for keeping my mouth shut. But then I figured, that’s kind of what they hired me for, so if it’s a review they want, it’s a review they’ll get.
Now, longtime VodkaPundit readers know I love Apple. It started with iPod lust, then quickly blossomed into an all-consuming affair, including an iMac, more iPods, a Mac Pro, an iPad, three generations of iPhones starting with the very first one, and it’s a sure thing I’ll order an iPad 3 just as soon as they go on sale next month. What you also need to know is, I have also mercilessly ripped Apple products when necessary. Sure, I’m a fan — but I’m no fanboy. I won’t let my biases get in the way of honest criticism.
Keep that in mind when I tell you: The PJ Media app is pretty darn good.
The iPhone version is especially sharp. There’s a bottom row of buttons to your favorite places — the home page, the Tatler, columnists such as yours truly, the Lifestyle page, and, of course, Instapundit. Clicking on each gives you a list of stories, with blurbs. And you have the now-traditional pull-to-refresh feature to get the latest items. Ads are minimal and unobtrusive.
Yes, there are a few banner ads. Did I mention the app is free?
I’m a little more conflicted about the iPad version. It looks sharp, but the small navigation buttons look a little lost on that 10-inch screen. Maybe they just need to be higher-contrast. The story scrollbar is on the left, giving you access to links even while you’re reading an item — that’s something you can’t do on the tiny iPhone. Best part? Unlike every single other news app out there out there — at least in my experience — our app allows you to copy text for pasting elsewhere. In other words, the PJ app is actually useful to people who write or blog for a living — or who just like to share. Blogging is in PJ’s DNA, and it shows.
I only see one major flaw. For existing readers like you, it’s great. Easy navigation, so you’ll know what to expect and where to find your favorite writers. But when going to each page, the default “big panel” is just a blowup of the PJ logo. You have to kind of hunt through the scrollbar, and then click on something, before that giant logo gets replaced by something useful. New readers should get a little more direction, more great stuff to read, without having to work for it. Our top stories of the day should be right there in their faces, each time they navigate somewhere new.
I talked to our managing editor, Aaron Hanscom, about the Big Staring Logo, and he tells me I’m not the only one to think it’s a flaw. Hopefully we’ll get that fixed in an update before too long.
Overall, though? What a handy (and free!) way to put a little VodkaPundit right in your pocket.
You can download me — er, it — right here from the iTunes App Store.
(Thumbnail on PJM and Lifestyle blog homepage shows apps composited into an image from Shutterstock.com.)
It’s President’s Day, so let’s celebrate by talking about something a little less vital than presidential politics, but no less dear to my heart: Steak ‘n Shake.
If you grew up most anywhere in the Midwest or the South in the last sixty years or so, you probably know about Steak ‘n Shake. Growing up in St Louis, the Brentwood Blvd location — it seems to be gone now — was the high-school hangout spot. Good food, reasonable prices, and a staff with saintly patience enough to deal with wall-to-wall hungry, horny teenagers.
Steak ‘n’ Shake exists on a simple concept: a diner that makes “steakburgers” and milkshakes — and a pretty decent cup of chili. The kitchen is open for the world to see. The interior is all black and white tile and gleaming chrome. In fact, the concept is so simple it led to the two simplest (and maybe worst) slogans in restaurant history. “In sight, it must be right,” and “It’s a meal.”
I’m not sure you could possibly say less about a restaurant’s food than, “it’s a meal.” But, man, what a meal.
A triple steakburger with cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mustard, with large fries, a cup of chili, and a chocolate shake was nothing less than a way of life for my first 20 years.
But in 1989, I moved to California. From there, to Colorado. It’s been almost a quarter century since I’ve had reliable access to Steak ‘n Shake. Whenever I’d drive back to St. Louis, I’d always stop in KC — even if the tank was full — to grab a steakburger. Visiting North Carolina a couple years ago, I had lunch, then dinner that same night, at one of the restaurants in Charlotte. My order was the same both meals: A triple steakburger with cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mustard, with large fries, a cup of chili, and a chocolate shake.
We have a Five Guys. We have an In’n'Out. Both are good. But neither really compare. I’m not fat only because I have an overeager thyroid and no local Steak ‘n Shakes.
Only… that just changed, and I don’t mean my thyroid.
The late, great Etta James singing “I’d Rather Go Blind” with B.B. King & Friends, live in 1987 at the Ebony Showcase Theatre in Los Angeles. That’s Dr. John on keys and then joining in the singing at the halfway mark. What a performance.
Somewhere between Billie and Ella lies Carmen McRae. Here’s she is from a 1962 television performance of Thelonious Monk’s “‘Round Midnight.”
Brother and sister gadget freaks, by now you’ve seen the news: Amazon has introduced four new Kindles — one of them a 7-inch tablet for the low, low price of $199. Is it time for Apple to start crapping itself? Let’s take a look.
At the low end you have the new Kindle, much like the old Kindle 3 I love so dearly. The cheap-ass “keyboard” is gone, replaced with a simple-looking row of controls under the screen. You can get it for as low as $79, if you’re willing to look at ads instead of book covers on your screen saver. Or you can pay $109 if you aren’t.
This one is WiFi only — and that’s fine by me. Melissa has the WiFi-only Kindle 3 and I have the one with 3G, but I’ve found that for most people, it’s probably a convenience not worth the extra fifty bucks. I think 3G connectivity is a must for a tablet — but we’ll get back to that in a bit.
My one complaint about the Kindle 3 is that the page-turning buttons are much too easy to hit by accident, especially if you like to read laying down on your side. The new buttons solve that problem. It’s also quite a bit smaller and lighter, more than I’d even hoped.
Amazon is getting wonderfully close, I think, to the time when they’ll give out Kindles for free with some kind of “Kindle Prime” book-buying subscription. Two years sounds about right.
For another twenty or thirty bucks — $99 with ads, $139 without — you can buy a Kindle Touch. It’s not quite as small and light as the new Kindle Untouched, but it’s still smaller than your Kindle 3. Bring the price up to $149, and you’ve got 3G added to the soup.
But the Touch still features an E Ink screen, which is great for reading, but lousy for manipulating. E-Ink can refresh the page only twice each second. To me, adding touch to E-Ink is like adding an aquarium to the dashboard of your car. Sure, it looks pretty — but what is it really going to do for you? However, if Amazon has given the interface enough Ooh-Pretties, maybe this will be a show-stopper. For me, though, I’d stick with the $99 model.
And what’s with charging $20 to get rid of ads on the Untouched, but $30 to get rid of them on the Touch? That silly kind of pricing signal tells me that Amazon has developed the Touch for status-buyers, and not because touch ads anything vital to the user experience.
If you need a keyboard, you can get the “new” Kindle Keyboard for $99 with ads, or $139 without. Near as I can tell, it’s last year’s Kindle 3 with a new name and a lower price. Nifty, if you can’t live without the World’s Worst Keyboard™. This is old news — don’t bother.
But the real showstopper is the Kindle Fire. Imagine: A full-color, multitouch, 7-inch Android tablet for just $199. Has the iPad killer finally arrived?
If you thought President Obama’s sales pitch Thursday night sounded familiar, well — I think he stole it from Tom Waits.
That’s “Step Right Up” from Small Change. Recorded in 1976, it’s more relevant today than ever.
“But Not For Me.” Music & lyric by George & Ira Gershwin.
Pretty much everybody has taken a stab at this one — AllMusic lists 1,873 occurrences. But none will equal Billie Holiday’s breezy, up-tempo take on a bluesy classic.
Now can anyone tell me who that is on sax? Because, wow.
New photographic evidence reveals that the Libyan dictator’s crimes against humanity even include raiding Michael Jackson’s wardrobe.
I think this photo of Lady Gaga done up as a “man” should finally dispel those nasty rumors that she’s really a drag queen.
Poncho Sanchez’s Afro-Cuban Fantasy isn’t one of the best Latin jazz albums of the ’90s — it’s one of the best jazz albums, period. There’s just no need to limit the scope or genre to define the greatness of the performances on each track.
For Clare Fischer’s “Morning,” Sanchez brought in guest vocalist Dianne Reeves, whose energy and exuberance matches the band’s — and for the Sanchez Octet, that’s really saying something. Throughout, Reeves switches from the lyric to a scat, which is heavier on the Afro than the Caribbean. It makes for a scorching vocal you won’t soon forget, without ever overshadowing the band.
But when Poncho Sanchez is playing, what could?
When Bob Dylan released “Things Have Changed” over a decade ago, it earned him an Oscar for Best Original Song. Back then, its decadent fin de siecle vibe matched our own worries as the Dot Com Bubble went pop.
Today, the song is even more appropriate than ever. But as something of a closet conservative, maybe Dylan already knew something the rest of the world is only now learning today.
The ultimate saloon song, sung by the ultimate saloon singer. Quiet, spare, timeless — perfect.
If all you know is the version George Benson made famous, you’re missing out. Here’s how Carmen McRae performed “Masquerade” in the early Seventies. That’s Zoot Sims on tenor sax, and he’ll make you hurt.
Really, everybody here is understated and lovely.
Yesterday we got our first look at Henry Cavil as Superman, even though Man of Steel isn’t due to hit the theaters until 2013. Here he is — and do please click to embiggen.
My instant reaction was: Great Superman, iffy costume. But I wanted to take a full day to let it soak in before making up my mind. And after 24 hours, my take is: Great Superman, iffy costume.
Cavil really looks like old-school Supes, the hypermasculine comic book character of the ’30s and ’40s, and that’s a big plus. And his pose amid the twisted steel demonstrates the title perfectly. The darker colors are an appropriate decision, too. With Zack Snyder (300, Sucker Punch, Watchmen) directing, Christopher Reeve and primary colors just wouldn’t, well, suit.
That said, what’s with the all texture? Did Superman’s mom make his suit out of actual shark skin? Ever since X-Men and Spider-Man, Hollywood has gone overboard, trying to make live-action superheroes look like oversized action figures. Something more than ’70s Spandex would be nice — but too much really is too much.
But it’s the casting that has me really excited. Look at this list of who’s who:
The film also stars three-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams as Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane, and Oscar nominee Laurence Fishburne as her editor-in-chief, Perry White. Clark Kent’s adoptive parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent are Oscar nominee Diane Lane and Academy Award winner Kevin Coster [sic].
Lane and Coster as Ma and Pa Kent? Fantastic! That much better casting than Sally Fields as the new Aunt May in next year’s totally-unnecessary Spider-Man reboot. Amy Adams will give Lois the spunk Kate Bosworth lacked in 2006′s Superman Returns, and Fishburne as Perry White is an inspired choice.
But it gets even better. Read on:
Battling against the superhero are two other surviving Kryptonians, the villainous General Zod, played by Oscar nominee Michael Shannon, and Faora, Zod’s evil partner, played by Antje Traue. There is also Superman’s native Krypton, Lara Lor-Van, Superman’s mother, played by Julia Ormond, and Superman’s father, Jor-El, portrayed by Academy Award winner Russell Crowe.
Orman? Crowe? Sign me up! Harry Lennix — who I first got to know as Aaron in Julie Taymor’s wonderfully over-the-top production of Shakespeare’s Titus — has a role as a U.S. military man. Perhaps most encouraging, is that Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan is one of the producers.
To me, Chris Reeve will always be the movie Superman. But Man of Steel looks to have all the right pieces in place for a new and daring take on the original superhero franchise.
I can’t wait. How about you?
Charlie Parker with Strings, performing one of the loveliest melodies ever written. And if you’ve never seen Clint Eastwood’s excellent Bird bioflick starring Forest Whitaker, what are you waiting for?
Frank Sinatra spent much of the Sixties trying to maintain his commercial and popular relevance. As the decade wore on, that task became increasingly difficult in a country where the young Baby Boom generation had decided — quite wrongly — that a fiftyish white guy in a tuxedo had nothing to say to them.
Sinatra’s results were, at best, mixed. His 1969 cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” was one of those timeless “what the hell was he thinking?” moments. In terms of quality and song choices, My Way was an uneven affair, but “Mrs. R” tipped the scales solidly toward the dreck side. S&G’s original lyric was about suburban hypocrisy and disillusionment. Sinatra sang it as an upbeat little ditty about a MILF he might have been fooling around with. “Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?” indeed — the most indelible line from the song is missing in Frank’s version.
Two years prior, Sinatra had at long last paired up with Duke Ellington for their first album together as Francis A & Edward K. What should have been magical — like the first Sinatra-Basie album a couple years prior — was mostly a waste of wax. “I Like The Sunrise” was the only Ellington piece on the whole album. The other cuts were contemporary songs of dubious worth. Worse, Sinatra reportedly had a cold during the recording sessions.
In between those two efforts, was Cycles, Sinatra’s take on pop-folk. I’ll spare you any further details than just that.
But Frank did hit gold during this same period, recording an album still considered among the very best of his seven-decade career.
It shouldn’t have worked. It should have been a disaster. It even sounds like the start of a joke: A Kraut, a Brazilian guitar player and a guy from Jersey walk into a recording studio…
…where, somehow, they made magic happen.
Just a few years before, jazz saxophone great Stan Getz went down to Brazil — and brought the bossa nova back home with him. Jazz Samba helped introduce American audiences to the sounds of Brazil — and we went nuts for it. Sinatra decided to make his try at it, by teaming up with the man who had invented the sound, Antonio Carlos Jobim. The arrangements — a mix of Jobim’s original songs and standards long familiar to Sinatra fans — would be handled by German composer Claus Ogerman.
Together they recorded Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim, an album melancholy, lush and wrenching all at once. According to the liner notes, Sinatra himself said, “I haven’t sung that quiet since I had the laryngitis.”
Watch now, and listen, as Sinatra educates his longtime fans about this strange “new” music from Brazil. You might even learn a thing or two.
From PJTV: “The Fast & Furious scandal is bad, but you will never guess what the conspiracy theorists think about it. Wonder why American factory workers are having trouble competing? Find out. Plus, Walmart videos, Lego Porn, scary ass charts, union thugs and more.”
Because you could do a lot worse than come home after a Saturday night out on the town, and put on the phenomenal Phil Woods Quartet playing “I’ll Remember April.”
(Bumped to top.)
I call this one the French Inhale, and it was two years in the making. It’s also a very nice summer martini.
1 jigger Grey Goose vodka
1 jigger Hendricks gin
1 twist of lemon
1 cocktail shaker, with a generous handful of ice
1 cornichon pickle
And, of course, a martini glass
Rub the rim of the martini glass with the lemon twist, and discard — the twist, that is. Plop the cornichon into the glass with an olive fork.
Measure — carefully! — your vodka and gin into the cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously, 50 times. Strain and pour into the martini glass.
That first sip should be perfectly gelid. That last sip should have all the sour tanginess of the cornichon. And then you get to eat the cornichon — and make yourself another.
From the weekly PJTV series, which takes all of the words and images posted on blogs throughout the entire Blogosphere and compresses the best of it down to four minutes of video, which you can now watch…inside a blog post. A post that features links this week which go to: