published Friday, August 20th, 2010

Jenkins: Is a mini iPad in Apple’s future?


by Donnie Jenkins

Several articles are online this week concerning a rumor that Apple is preparing to release a smaller version of the iPad sometime this year. Keep in mind that Apple rumors are as plentiful as blades of grass at any given time, but this would make sense as the company tries to extend its lead in the new tech market it has created.

There are bound to be several good competitors in this area at some point, but Apple has taken a commanding lead.

The cartoon character Homer Simpson is credited on one website with saying, “Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand.” For some reason, I recalled this recently when reading about what is called data mining, a subject I’ve discussed here many times before.

Data mining is basically the process of collecting or buying information on people’s behavior and filtering it to suit the needs of a particular business or goal. This information can consist of purchases, website visits on a particular day, actually any activity online and elsewhere.

For example, Facebook uses a related technique often to show ads that agree with a user’s path on the service. There is nothing inherently wrong or unethical about such activity, but we should always keep in mind that data mining is indifferent to our privacy and other needs. It’s easy to forget this when we are involved in sharing photos and other personal information.

The greatest problem arises when a service such as Facebook fails to show due diligence in protecting our information. This was one reason the service has come under fire recently and had to revise its privacy settings.

It’s up to each one of us to decide just how to deal with this issue, and if we err, it should be on the side of privacy.

Facebook is now the web’s third most popular video source, according to a recent report on msnbc.com. The article quotes a study by comScore, who rated only Google’s YouTube and Yahoo ahead of Facebook. This is not surprising to anyone who uses the service, as video is a huge part of the most common items shared there.

I get a lot of e-mails asking what Internet service I use and how I rate providers in general. I must say I’ve had excellent service with the four broadband providers I’ve used during the last few years, along with a few problems from each.

Briefly: My first broadband provider was BellSouth, now AT&T, DSL service. I had a great experience with it generally and loved the fact that I could talk and surf the Web on the same phone line.

My next provider was Charter cable modem service in Cleveland, then Comcast when I moved to Chattanooga. Again, no major complaints with either as both were generally fast and reliable with only occasional problems.

I now use EPB broadband service and have enjoyed it very much. My primary reason for switching to it was the fact that upload speeds are close to the same as downloads. This is important to me as I do video and audio work for clients, and video is especially large in size to upload.

My one complaint with the service is that there is no Sunday repair service, a fact I discovered when my Internet service died one recent Sunday morning. Still, I’d rather fight than switch.

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