The UpStream

Newer
Older

Microsoft Surface RT Pricing Set and Pre-Orders Begin

posted Tuesday Oct 16, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Microsoft Surface RT Pricing Set and Pre-Orders Begin

Ever since Microsoft Surface was first announced, the question that remained was "How much will it cost?" There were some massively different ideas, ranging from Kindle Fire range ($200) to iPad range ($830). I always assumed that they would premiere the RT version of the tablet somewhere in the middle trying to find the balance between the glorified eReader and the overpriced.

Today Microsoft finally answered that question when the Surface with Windows RT officially went on pre-order. As I suspected, the RT models, which are identical in look and feel to the full Windows 8 models without the ability to run standard desktop software, started at $499 and go up to $699 for the top storage model. Let's break down the 3 available models. For $499 you will receive the standard tablet with 32GB of storage, but without the sleek keyboard cover. If you are interested in the cover you can purchase it separately for $119, or you can bundle it with the 32GB model for a total of $599. That takes care of the second price-point. Finally, coming in at $699 is the 64GB model, also complete with the Touch Cover keyboard.

As for the pre-orders, there appears to be no way to purchase the 64GB model without the keyboard, or to bundle the keyboard in any color other than black. What is nice about the RT tablets is the inclusion of Office. For no extra charge, Surface RT will include Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT, which is a pretty nice inclusion. You know the $499 iPad model doesn't have Office on it. For full details on the device you can check out our announcement article or head over to the pre-order page and pick yours up now.

So, are you pre-ordering the Surface RT or are you waiting for the Pro model? Let us know in the comments.

read more...

Best Buy to Match Amazon's Prices to Keep Customers During Holiday Season

posted Sunday Oct 14, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Best Buy to Match Amazon's Prices to Keep Customers During Holiday Season

Back in August, Best Buy had to cut almost 2,500 jobs in order to save costs. This happened on top of the company shrinking to a smaller footprint as well as bringing in Verizon to try and save the company from an inevitable collapse. Online shopping from places like Amazon and CompUSA have put pressure on Best Buy and its associates (who were selling shoes the day before they started working there) to step up and deliver better service to justify its much higher prices, but they have failed at doing so. Because of this, Best Buy will now try a different approach at battling Amazon and will quite literally stoop down to the site's level.

During this holiday season, Best Buy has announced it will match prices that Amazon is advertising in order to keep business in-house. To take it a step further, any product that is out of stock at the physical Best Buy locations will get free delivery to the customer's house. We can also be honest here and say that Best Buy knows a lot of people come into the store to try out the products and then buy them online for sometimes $300 cheaper. This is going to be the company's attempt at keeping the customer in the store to buy, however they may end up losing more money than they gain if they don't get the quantity of sales to justify the new campaign.

It is interesting to note that Best Buy VP of consumer insights, Bill Hoffman, said that the concept of looking and then buying elsewhere, at least for Best Buy, is "material" and the company should "pay attention to it" but said that the number of times that it happens in his stores are "still very low." Perhaps he does not have enough insight about his consumers, because it probably happens hundreds of times a day at my local store alone.

At any rate, this holiday season will be an interesting one for Best Buy, as they are one of the few national chains left still selling out of ridiculously oversized stores. It doesn't help that they have sales associates who know less about the product than the parents of the guy holding a spot for them in the iPhone 5 line. We'll see if this tactic is enough to get them through the holiday season and withstand the next year, but as we've been saying for a while now, it doesn't look good for that big yellow price tag.

read more...

Developers Warned Apple Before Launch that Maps Were not Ready for Public

posted Sunday Oct 14, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Developers Warned Apple Before Launch that Maps Were not Ready for Public

It's that time, again. Time to recap the latest Apple disaster product release, the iPhone 5. Despite the isolated piece of good news, in typical Apple form, the product has been plagued with experience-breaking issues since day one.

All caught up? Great. It is important to note the last story regarding Tim Cook's apology for the new Apple Maps app, which has been a completely broken app since launch, with improvments finally hitting the software this week. It's also important to note the apology because we are finding out this week that developers may have warned Apple ahead of time that Apple Maps wouldn't be ready for the primetime, but Apple rushed along with it anyway.

Learn more on what developers said to Apple after the break.

read more...

FBI Creates Anti-Laser Attack Task Force

posted Sunday Oct 14, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

FBI Creates Anti-Laser Attack Task Force

The FBI sure likes to get their hands involved in a lot of different projects. From raiding accounts of WOW players to seizing your smartphone, they seem to do just about everything. Now, the FBI will make you think twice before ever using your laser pointer for something other than a presentation. The FBI has created a National Anti-Laser Attack Task Force and its purpose is to find, deter and defeat those who like to point their pointers high into the sky from their lawnchair on a random Thursday night.

The FBI says that laser attacks in the United States are actually on the rise and are expected to reach 3,700 cases by the end of the year, compared to only 283 back in 2005, when they first started keeping track of the offenses. Doing some math with those numbers means that the attacks have risen more than 1,100 percent in seven years, and that's for the attacks that are reported only. We know that people getting bored with PowerPoint and buying ridiculously high-powered handheld lasers just to try and blind pilots isn't a new thing, however, the problem is getting so out of hand, that the Bureau has said it has reached "epidemic levels" and must be stopped with this Task Force.

Back in 2008, a Laser Strike Working Group was based in the FBI's Sacramento office, but the FBI has now brought the Task Force to a national level. The good news is that the $250,000 fine and 20 year jail time has been revamped as part of this. Now, idiots pointing these things toward the sky from outside their homes will only receive $11,000 fines and up to five years in prison. The difference is that now more people will be watching. George Johnson, a federal air marshal and liaison with the FBI said,

Use a laser pointer for what it's made for. Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft is dangerous and reckless. Just don't do it.

Letting go of the almost perfect environment that must be in place for most lasers to actually blind aviation pilots, this means that ten people are being reported of doing something dumb like this each and every night of the year. You'd think there would be hundreds of other dumb things people could do when they're bored with their friends, but I guess not. What should you do if you witness something being overly bored? First, show them the thing called the Interwebz. Then, the FBI says to call 911, email the FAA or contact your local FBI office. Until then, I expect the sales report to be ready by our 5PM meeting tonight, laser pointer in-hand.

read more...

Hitachi, Others Prototype a Boarding Gate Complete with Bomb Detection

posted Saturday Oct 13, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Hitachi, Others Prototype a Boarding Gate Complete with Bomb Detection

File this one under "nifty gifties" for sure. Hitachi is working with both the University of Yamanashi and the Nippon Signal Company to work on improving security in airports and other venues. The good news here is that it's going to be in one of those less invasive, more efficient, doesn't make you feel like a felon when you paid $400 for a flight kind of way. Instead, Hitachi has created a prototype that builds explosives-detection equipment right into a boarding gate that you would pass through before heading down the ramp to your awaiting plane. The companies say that the process will actually not slow down boarding at all, giving accurate detection readings within two seconds per passenger with the ability to read 1,200 passengers in an hour. The gate will also be able to read a passenger's boarding ticket at the same time.

I know, this is going to add an extra hoop for us to jump through but I'm seeing a positive light in all of this. With as creepy as the TSA agents can sometimes be, along with the differentiating policies from airport to airport and the ability for guns to sometimes not be detected in the naked scanners, removing the human aspect of an added level of security could prove extremely beneficial for the passenger. If the success and efficiency rates soar, perhaps we'll see a more streamlined process on the initial security scanning, you know, without having to remove air tubes from the elderly.

Putting the risk of false positives and other factors aside because this is a prototype, Hitachi and the collective have boasted how portable this system can actually be. The group says that the system is completely mobile and can be set up at sports stadiums, concert halls and other venues around the world. Again, this would remove the human element from the scanning process and save costs on not only payroll, but on overall security costs for the venue.

Check out the source link below for the complete press release and the scientific details on how this whole thing works. I just am pleased to see an attempt at more standard security procedures. We can be sure of one thing on all of this: there would be a lot less "missing" iPads and smartphones if more automated practices are put into place.

read more...

NBC Cancels a Show That Hasn't Aired Yet

posted Saturday Oct 13, 2012 by Scott Ertz

NBC Cancels a Show That Hasn't Aired Yet

NBC executives are either schizophrenic or there are two very different teams deciding what does and does not make it to air. For example, they recently turned rookie series Go On and The New Normal, both very funny and unique sitcoms, into full season buys, while simultaneously airing Animal Practice and Guys With Kids, both uninspired "I want to be on television" sitcoms. Clearly these decisions cannot be made by the same group of people, unless we have returned to the 80s where TV execs are all doing cocaine.

When these two worlds collide, terribly odd things happen. That is what happened this week when NBC announced they had canceled one of their upcoming mid-season replacements, Next Caller. The series was ordered as a 6-episode buy, which is perfect for filler when the eventually cancel Jimmy Fallon's latest disaster (Guys With Kids). The problem: the series stars Dane Cook, which should have been a red flag right from the beginning. I assume someone was trying to regain the honor of making Seinfeld into a hit show without knowing that, while Jerry Seinfeld isn't funny, Larry David was.

Even without Cook, the premise should have been enough to know the series wouldn't stand a chance. Cook played a Howard Stern-type character who is forced to share his show with an NPR feminist host. This is shoe-horning conflict in, with the hope of people feeling awkward and sticking around. The difference between this and, say Seinfeld or The Office is that their conflict comes from unexpected and understood places. The same is true for Go On, where the comedy comes from the awkwardness of a guy being forced into group therapy after losing his wife. There is no way the average person could relate to having to share a radio show with a lunatic, though I can.

It would appear that I am their ideal target audience and even I can't see where the true comedy is. So, the incredibly inept team who brought us Animal Practice also tried to bring Dane Cook to television, and we were saved by the guys who added episodes for Go On. I think this is what the founding fathers meant by checks and balances.

read more...
Newer
Older
PLuGHiTZ Keyz

Email

Password

Forgot password? Recover here.
Not a member? Register now.
Blog Meets Brand Stats