Apple Implements App Ratings/Restrictions for iPhone, iPod Touch

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The fact that they included parental controls for games in the 3.0 beta sort of hinted at this, but along with the iPhone 3.0 update today came app ratings, which appear rather inconspicuously under the app’s price and buy button on the detailed info screen. It also appears next to an app’s name in the list view of the iTunes store browser.

Interestingly, all apps appear to be getting a rating, as I checked out even one so innocuous as HP’s MediaSmart Server iStream app and found that it was “not yet rated.” It may be that all harmless utilities will receive this nondescript side-stepping of a rating going forward. Read More about Apple Implements App Ratings/Restrictions for iPhone, iPod Touch

NIMF Backs ESA on iPhone Game Ratings; ESRB Says Bring It on

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Support is growing for some kind of ratings system for the games found in Apple’s (s aapl) App Store for its iPhone and iPod touch platform. Adding its voice to those already calling for ratings implementation, including the ESA and the ESRB, is the National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to “watch[ing] what our kids watch,” or basically conducting research on the effects (both positive and negative) of media on children.

Unlike the ESRB, which, as at least one commenter pointed out in a previous post, may have a vested interest in pushing Apple to adopt its ratings system, NIMF simply wants some kind of ratings system in place to protect children, but not necessarily an ESRB-controlled solution. Read More about NIMF Backs ESA on iPhone Game Ratings; ESRB Says Bring It on

BzzScapes: Brand Tracking Made Social

scapesLogoIf you want to keep up with a specific brand, for whatever reason (they’re a competitor in your space, your job is related to their activity, or you just really like what that company’s doing), to date there’s been no easy way to keep track of all of the sources that might mention it online. Even services like Alltop, which helps to monitor sites for particular topics and pare down the background noise to a dull roar, leave a lot to be desired.

BzzScapes is a new venture from marketing company BzzAgent that groups user-submitted content according to brand, so that you can stay up to date on the company or product of your choice via a variety of different types of web sites and media, with each brand having its own BzzScape. Compared to Alltop, there are two main differences. First, anyone can add any content they want (which means it may or may not actually relate to the brand in question), and second, anyone can vote and comment on things added, which should, in theory, mean that the best sources rise to the top organically. Read More about BzzScapes: Brand Tracking Made Social

App Roundup: 10 iPhone Weather Apps

weatherIn my line of work, I do quite a bit both indoors and outdoors. As such, it is crucial for me to know the weather forecast at the drop of a hat. The weather app built into the iPhone is a simple, no fluff, no garbage, weather app. It does its job well, but any weather app can give you the highs and lows for the day. Oftentimes I find myself needing to know the humidity, wind speeds, or sunrise/sunset times and other nonsensical information.

Below is a roundup of weather apps for the iPhone, with features ranging from video forecasts to airport delays. Read More about App Roundup: 10 iPhone Weather Apps

Working in San Francisco

airplane_plane_117545It’s been pretty quiet here on jkOnTheRun the past few days due to a whirlwind schedule of traveling and meetings for both Kevin and I.  We left Vegas after 6 days of CES coverage on Monday of this week and on Wednesday we both headed out to San Francisco for a meeting with the GigaOM team.

I love San Francisco and always enjoy visiting but this trip is a very fast-paced short one with a full schedule.  We had an all day meeting at the GigaOM headquarters yesterday that saw us leave the hotel at 7:30 am and not returning until 10:30 last night.

Both Kevin and I brought our MacBooks which we used to give two presentations to the group.  The MacBook worked well for giving the presentations since we had access to that special VGA adapter to hook it up to the projector.  Shame on you Apple for not providing that adapter for free.

We created the presentations in Google Docs in keeping with our cloud working philosophy and that worked well to preclude the need to give handouts to attendees.  We just gave them the links to the two presentations in Google Docs and were done with that.

Kevin also brought his MSI Wind and it was nice to see how well Windows 7 runs on the Wind.  I had forgotten how small and compact the Wind is and am impressed anew as I am every time I see it.  On a similar note Windows 7 is running well under Parallels on my MacBook too.

Today will find me working in SF as I head back to Houston tomorrow.  It will be so nice to get some down time at home.  I will post an abbreviated Mobile Tech Manor column later today.  You probably noticed there was not one published last week since I was at the CES all week and not even at MTM but I’ll try to get one done for the past week soon.

Average Betty, Snoop Dogg on Martha: NTV Station Today

Yesterday we gave you tips on turkey; today, we’re all about side dishes. First — nothing says Thanksgiving like Snoop Dogg helping Martha Stewart mash potatoes. By which I mean: Let us give thanks.

And how can you truly judge a recipe unless you try it on your own? And, by the same logic, how can you truly judge a cooking video unless you try it on your own? I put the cooking web series Average Betty to the test in my own kitchen, and documented the process of making her dinner rolls on camera. Check out the video and Betty’s original recipe at NewTeeVee Station.

Stuff iTunes With Videos Using VideoDrive

Are you a video junkie who loves nothing more than stuffing iTunes with videos to watch in Front Row, Apple TV, or on your iPod? If you find yourself spending more time than you should fussing with conversion and the such, VideoDrive can get those videos into your iTunes and iPod quickly and with minimal fuss.


As someone who works in the broadcast industry, I like to load my iPod with videos to refer to as references. Oftentimes, I find myself spending hours importing and sorting videos, which come in a myriad formats, just so I can get them onto my iPod.
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Is Content King Again?

Which is a better business to be in right now: content creation or distribution? The New York Times alluded to this question in a piece about Warner Bros. this weekend. From the article:

For Mr. Bewkes and his team, the core of the strategy is a wager that the media pendulum will swing away from distribution and back toward content.

“The last number of years, all you have heard about is new and better ways to distribute content,” says Mr. Meyer, sitting in his office on Warner’s lot in Burbank, Calif. “At some point, I think distribution gets commoditized,” leaving, he says, content as the more valuable component.

The Times is quick to point out that Apple has benefited more from the digital music revolution than the record labels. But is that an exact parallel? Music settled (for now) on a paid model and Apple quickly set the benchmark price. Even though iTunes and Amazon charge for video content, when it comes to short-form vids and TV shows, there is no price differentiator in the market because everything is free.

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Apple DVR: Will it ever happen?

With Sony announcing a DVR for the PS3, what are the odds Apple will make a similar move?  Sony and Apple are very different companies. What drives Sony may not drive Apple.

These days, Sony seems lost.  They missed out on the digital audio player market after being the dominant player in the portable audio market.  The PS3 has not been warmly received.  The XBOX 360 was given a one year head start and is hitting its stride while the PS3 languishes.  The Nintendo Wii is the darling of the casual gamers with its low price and is the antithesis of the PS3 in styling with its compact white form-factor as opposed to the PS3’s gigantic black curved box.  Sony is trying desperately to make the PS3 the only set top box you need in your entertainment center.  It’s a gaming machine, a next-generation DVD player, and will soon be a DVR.  The PS3 is either a jack of all trades or is having an identity crisis.

Apple hasn’t seemed lost in years.  It is the leader in the DAP market and has quickly become a major player in the cell phone market.  With Apple dropping “Computer” from its name, Apple is clearly focused on the consumer electronics market.  So why would Apple even bother adding a DVR to its lineup of gadgets?  The argument against an Apple DVR is simple.  Apple and studios make money when people purchase their shows or movies from iTunes.  A DVR would diminish purchases from the iTunes store.  Plus, the iTunes DRM locks the content to Apple products like the iPod or the Apple TV.
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