Tag Archive | "fantasy romance"

RIP, TouchPad. Can any non-iPad tablet survive – ever?


By Julianne Pepitone | CNNMoneyTech

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — In the pre-iPad world, skeptics predicted that consumers would have no need for tablets. Then Apple unleashed the iPad — and immediately sold millions of them.

OK, the critics acquiesced, there’s a tablet market after all. Apple’s rivals raced to get into the hot new space. Most of those devices flopped critically and commercially, culminating in HP (HPQ, Fortune 500)’s move last week to kill off its 49-day-old TouchPad tablet.

The assumption all along has been that others will eventually get the hang of tablets, making the field diverse and fiercely competitive. The model here is the iPhone: Apple mastered it first and still holds a lucrative slice of the smartphone market, but lots of vendors have carved off a piece for themselves.

But here’s another scenario: What if the tablet market never materializes? What if it’s an iPad-only market, now and forever?

There’s precedent for that too, as wild as it sounds. It’s what happened with the iPod.

When Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) unveiled its revolutionary music player in 2001, it blew away the competition. Others got to the market years earlier, but Apple’s slick design and vast storage capacity was unmatchable. Priced at a fairly steep $399, the iPod sold 125,000 units in its first two months on the market.

Rivals immediately moved to copy Apple’s playbook. Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500), Sony (SNE) and scores of smaller companies threw tons of R&D and marketing money at building a better iPod — and failed. No one else ever got a meaningful toehold. Ten years after its debut, Apple’s iPod line still holds at least 65% of the U.S. market, according to the latest estimates from IDC’s Tom Mainelli, the firm’s research director for mobile connected devices.

If tablets follow that model, you end up with a field where “the iPad dominates indefinitely and every competitor squabbles over one tiny piece of the market-share pie,” Time.com gadget columnist Harry McCracken wrote the day the TouchPad died.

At the start of this year, more than 100 non-iPad tablets were on sale or in the works. But now the field is littered with outright failures, devices that never came to be — and, at best, a few very mild successes.

“The HP TouchPad is the sharpest example of the huge stumbles in the market,” says Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research at IHS iSuppli. “It was abrupt, and definitely a shocker, but struggles are going on all over.”

The Apple edge: “So far most other tablets are offering a hardware solution or a software solution, but not both,” Alexander says. “Even if each one is good on its own, it takes work to put them together. Apple did that beautifully.”

That approach helped Apple cannonball into the media-player market.

“It was elegant, it was fun to use, and they were very careful about what they put in and what they left out,” Mainelli says of the iPod. “So while there were plenty of MP3 players in the market that were arguably ‘better’ than the iPod, none were easier to use, and none had the Apple cachet.”

That’s what’s happening with tablet market, says Ken Dulaney, Gartner’s vice president of mobility.

“When it really comes down to it, the tablet market had been around 20 years and hadn’t yet sold a million units,” he says. “Then the iPad comes in and changes everything.”

That happened with the iPhone, too — Apple essentially invented the modern smartphone. But in that field, rivals were able to catch up.

So what makes the phone market different than the music-player market? And which one better foreshadows the tablet field?

Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber, a veteran Apple observer, thinks signs point to the latter.

“Most people today still buy phones the same way they did in 2006: they go to their local mobile carrier store and buy whatever the sales staff there convinces them to buy. Over 100 million times, that’s been an Android phone,” he wrote recently. “[But] the tablet market doesn’t today look anything like the smartphone market ever did. The iPad didn’t enter the tablet market. It created the tablet market.”

Apple has sold more than 28 million iPads — and for many tablet buyers, it’s still the only game in town. About 93% of current tablet users are iPad owners, and a whopping 94% of potential buyers are looking at the iPad, according to a report this month from R.W. Baird. Second place for potential buyers, with a distant 10%, is the now-dead TouchPad.

IDC’s Mainelli cites two key reasons for Apple’s iPod dominance: Its design superiority and iTunes. By making it cheap, convenient and easy to get music, Apple created an entire gadget-and-content ecosystem its rivals couldn’t match.

The App Store faces more obstacles — especially if Apple keeps alienating major content publishers by demanding a big cut of their in-app sales — but it’s already stocked with an unmatched software lineup.

“Apple has built an entire ecosystem to support and enrich the iPad for both customers and developers,” says Instapaper creator Marco Arment. “A successful mass-market iPad competitor needs to be so good that people will ignore all of that, buy it in large quantities, and let it develop its own entire ecosystem.”

Who could challenge Apple: There’s a dark horse in the tablet race: Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500).

The e-commerce Goliath is reportedly working on a tablet expected to debut this fall.

“Amazon could make tons of money selling you the services, which means they can afford to sell you a tablet at cost,” Mainelli says.

The “give ‘em the razor, make money on the blades” business model could be the key to beating the iPad: undercutting Apple on price.

“The conventional wisdom is if you can buy No. 1, the iPad, for the same price, then why would you buy anything else?” Mainelli says. “People will pay more for Apple devices and the Apple experience, period. So to beat them, you’ve got to come in significantly cheaper.”

But until someone finds that secret sauce, analysts are dialing back their forecasts about the tablet market’s diversity. Earlier this year, IHS iSuppli predicted that Apple’s tablet market share would drop below 50% in late 2012. Now, the firm thinks that won’t happen until 2014.

“This isn’t the type of thing where the competition can sit back and say, ‘we’re not going to play,’” says IHS iSuppli’s Alexander. “An initial failure doesn’t necessarily mean long-term failure.”

“Eventually, it will be more than an Apple market,” agrees IDC’s Mainelli. “What’s less clear is when the competitors will start to come in.”

But the real question may not be “when” a real rival will emerge. It’s “if.”

This article was originally published at CNN.com by Julianne Pepitone.

Image credit:  tabletsprice.com

 

Posted in Entertainment, HeadlinesComments (0)

How to go from ‘just friends’ to something more


By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Pretty much everyone has had a close friend who’s fantastic, funny, always there when you need a sympathetic ear… and who also makes our heart do little flips and wonder “What if…?” True, anyone who’s watched a Hollywood rom-com knows that getting passionate with a pal is a tricky endeavor. But if it works, it’s also totally romantic. So if your buddy’s been on your mind all too often of late and you want to see if you can be more than just friends, read on for some step-by-step advice from relationship experts and real people on how to proceed without losing your dignity — or the friendship.

Step 1: Look before you leap
The most important thing you should do before you act is this: think! You absolutely might be on the verge of something wonderful, but then again, it could be a fleeting moment of loneliness or lust that leads you astray. “I have had a few friendships that could have been something more at one time, but I always try to let that first impulse pass,” says Jennifer of Brooklyn, NY. “If it is meant to be, that feeling will happen again. If it was a passing fancy, then there will be no awkward conversation over what happened ‘that night.’”

While waiting for repeated waves of more-than-friendly feelings is a wise idea, you should also ask yourself this: Why haven’t you dated this person before? “Sometimes it’s simply because you met when one of you was involved in a relationship or something else equally distracting, like writing a doctoral dissertation, caring for an older parent or whatever life puts on your plate,” says Joni Mantell, a psychotherapist and relationship coach in New York City. If that was the case and the hurdle has since disappeared, then it might be the right time to redefine your relationship. If, on the other hand, you two have had windows of opportunity to get closer in the past and passed them up, then maybe it was for good reason.

The bottom line is, figuring out what’s triggered your change of heart is crucial. “It might be because your friend comes through for you in a crisis like no one in your life ever has, and this makes you realize how special this person is to you,” says Mantell. If that’s the case, does that necessarily mean a romantic relationship is in the cards? Another possibility is that you have given some thought to your patterns in relationships (in therapy, or by yourself), and you realize you would rather date a “nice” man or woman instead of the more exciting, dangerous prospects you were pursuing before. “In other words, you are growing up and letting go of old baggage,” says Mantell. That’s a good reason to seriously consider giving this a shot.

Step 2: Test the waters
So you’ve decided that your emotions are the real deal… but what about your friend’s feelings? Are you two on the same page, or is the object of your affection blissfully unaware that you two could click romantically? To determine the answer, ask yourself these questions: Are you the first person he or she shares good (or bad) news with, and vice versa? Is this person jealous or critical of your dates and previous partners? Is your friend possessive about spending time with you alone rather than while along with others? Does he or she compliment you as a date would (i.e., “You look beautiful in that dress” or “Man, you’re looking handsome today”)? Is the amount of time you spend together increasing? A “yes” response to several of these questions could mean the attraction is indeed mutual.

You can also try dropping hints, which can not only help you gauge the person’s reaction — it also plants a mental seed in case he or she hasn’t yet entertained the thought of coupledom with you for a partner. Laurie Puhn, J.D., author of Instant Persuasion: How To Change Your Words And Change Your Life, suggests trying something like: “You know, I date… but none of the people I go out with really compare to you,” or “I was talking to Jane the other night and when she bumped into us she thought we were on a date. Isn’t that funny?” “If the other person says something like ‘Yeah, I was thinking that, too. It does seem like we’re dating,’ or if he or she smiles, it’s a good reaction,” says Puhn. If the person looks uncomfortable or changes the topic, that’s not a good sign — but since your comment was so innocuous, it should easily blow over quickly.

Step 3: Make your move
You’re pretty sure the sparks are there on both sides… now what? Should you lunge in for a lip-lock the next time you’re together and pray your pal doesn’t recoil in horror? Understandably, that prospect can be terrifying — so consider a more subtle move, like taking his or her arm or reaching for a hand during a movie or while walking around together. It’s so innocent that the person won’t likely pull away, and it’ll help your pal get more comfortable with getting closer. “You may have been thinking about this for a year, but your friend may have only been trying to process the idea for 30 minutes,” says Puhn. “Remember that everything in this transition can’t happen in one evening!”

Bashful types might also consider this stealthy move: “Say, ‘I wonder what it would be like if we were dating,’” suggests Mantell. “This style of musing and imagining is good for a safe but playful start, which could lead to a kiss or a conversation about you two dating at the very least.” If he or she does say “Let’s just be friends,” Mantell suggests that you be ready to provide reassurance that it’s OK with you. But recognize that there is always the possibility things may be weird after that. If you decide you can still hang out together, you can alleviate your buddy’s discomfort (and your own) by talking about other people you’re interested in, whether that’s some new coworker or a cutie you saw online.

Step 4: Steam things up
It happened; you two are kissing! While it might be nice to think that you’ll click instantly since you know each other so well, familiarity also can work against you. “The first contact might be awkward,” says Mantell. “Our society is more accustomed to romances built on pure fantasy, and that is harder to do with a friend.” Mantell urges that transitioning couples shouldn’t give up right away if the chemistry is off. “Acknowledge the uneasiness, make a joke by saying something like, ‘Well, we know each other too well to be relaxed.’” Another option is to promise each other you’ll go really slowly until you get used to this new way of interacting.

One major caveat: while sharing a kiss doesn’t have to mean you two are officially an item, the fact that you’re already so close as friends can raise your romantic expectations. So whether you’re interested in pursuing a serious relationship with this person or just out to satisfy your curiosity and keep things casual, it’s crucial that you communicate your expectations and hopes — and have a handle on the other person’s — before getting too hot and heavy. Just say, “I’m really attracted to you, but want to make sure we’re on the same page so nobody’s feelings get hurt…” and explain your stance from there. You two may forge ahead even if you don’t see eye-to-eye, but at least it’s on the table. Everyone you start dating deserves that much, but friends especially do, don’t you think?

Step 5: Announce your new status
If you two do seem to be hitting it off, you may wonder whether to make your budding relationship public — after all, you may be excited, worried, or otherwise dying to talk about it with someone other than the pal you have feelings for! But breaking the news also requires some caution. The rule of thumb here is to find out how your new amour feels about it and always defer to the wishes of the more private party. Keep in mind that as soon as you involve other friends and family, there will be more pressure on your evolving relationship — so it’s OK to give yourselves time to adjust.

Also keep in mind that there’s a difference between keeping your relationship private and keeping it a secret. In other words, you may want to let certain people in on the news — especially those who feel close to you both. Those are the people who might feel deceived or left out if they learn your coupled-up status later on. In those instances, one of you (both people doing the talking may feel like you’re ganging up on the person) should take that individual aside and say, “You know how John/Jane and I hang out all the time? We kind of both realized that we liked each other, and now we’re dating.” Answer hsi or her questions, but keep in mind that you shouldn’t spill all the details; when in doubt, ask yourself: “Would I talk about that if my new partner were in this room?” If the answer is no, keep your lip zipped.

Also recognize that while you may try to be discreet, people will probably start getting an inkling that something has shifted — and it can be damaging to deny it, says Joyce Catlett, coauthor of Fear of Intimacy. “Don’t try to hide the status of your new relationship by holding back physical expressions of your tenderness and affection when other people are around,” says Catlett. “Protecting yourself this way can have negative consequences and can make you feel more self-conscious or awkward, even during those times when the two of you are alone.” The bottom line is, you and your pal-turned-partner should be ecstatic that you’ve found a soul mate so close to home. Who cares if you’re fodder for the gossip mill for awhile?

Kimberly Dawn Neumann, based in New York, has written for Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Health and many other publications. She’s also the author of The Real Reasons Men Commit: Why He Will – or Won’t – Love, Honor and Marry You. To read more of her work, visit KDNeumann.com.

This article was originally published at Yahoo.com by Kimberly Dawn Neumann.

Image credit: firmfamilytips.com

 

Posted in Dating, LifestyleComments (0)

Grounded Guidance: A New Journey


by Shaman Durek

Welcome to my column—I’m excited to take you on a journey where we confront issues on myriad spiritual levels—a pragmatic exploration into areas that are not typically spoken of in the LGBT community.

I want us to look at why we were created, what our purpose is and what God is, while breaking down the dogma, fairy tales and distractions that block you from a direct connection to the source. My goal is to provide you with tools, ideas and stories that will inspire and awaken you and bring the traditional practice of shamanism to modern day in a way that’s accessible, yet free from the bullshit of fluffy bunnies and flying angels.

When you read this column, you’ll get support and information in a way that you can relate to. No new age-based, hocus pocus—just my blunt, down-to-earth, smartass way of delivering knowledge and truth. My publicist, Chaton Anderson, is helping me, since she’s a professional writer and a client who I’ve helped achieve success. She knows me well, so she helps me articulate my thoughts accurately and eloquently, while maintaining my true flavor.

I was born into shamanism; I’m not some guy that took a weekend course on becoming one. My lovely great grandmother had deep Haitian roots and my mother is a powerful oracle who has guided me from birth. Since my early childhood, I’ve been able to talk to spirits and intuit things about people. But that alone does not make one a shaman. Rather, it’s years of cultural study, practicing letting go of judgment, extreme analytical thinking and learning to trust your inner voices and those from the spirit world. It’s being able to walk in both worlds simultaneously, read signs, see past illusions and translate information so that the masses can digest and use it.

Most shamans base their knowledge on their tribe or cultural background. While my lineage stems from Haiti, Oslo and the West Indies, I’ve studied as many practices, religions and modalities as possible. I traveled the world, lived everywhere from the jungle to Monaco and worked with wonderful masters from diverse backgrounds, both male and female, and clients from nearly every social group.

Walking this path was a struggle for many years. I partied, or should I say raged, did drugs, drank like a lush and almost killed myself doing so. I now know I needed to go through all of this so I could truly understand human suffering and addiction. I also had to make a choice to walk the walk, so I gave up the debauchery, stopped resisting the path of shamanism and invested in working with teachers across the globe. It was a challenge and a true test of willpower. If anyone knows how difficult it is to transition to a spiritual life and bring balance to the one you’re living, it’s me.

I’m doing this because I love being a part of the LGBT community and recognize our power as a whole, and the colors, passion and sparkle we bring to the world. Our potential is unlimited. I also know that it’s time for us to step it up big time. No more excuses—no matter how you choose to live your life, if you take the time to digest my shamanista skinny, you will grow in immense ways. I’m not asking you to give it all up—just to meet me halfway. The journey will be amazing.

I now live in Silver Lake with my supportive partner, Hank Greenberg, where I lead clients down the path to self-expression, creative freedom and a solid, core relationship with the source. I love to see people step into their power, live their truth and shine bright and big. I’m in production on my own reality show and finding ways to reach more people. Sure, it would be easy to just live in a cave and have you come to me for knowledge—not! I don’t want to be in a cave and I’m sure you don’t want to visit one either. Instead, let’s meet here in every issue, at the club, at home, in your bathroom or wherever. It’s about where we are now, here in the present.

This article was originally published on FrontiersLA.com by Shaman Durek.

Posted in Lifestyle, SpiritualityComments Off

Obama says U.S. remains ‘AAA country’


By Peter Nicholas

August 8, 2011

With markets rattled by the downgrade in the U.S. credit rating, President Obama sought to reassure the public that America remains a “Triple A country” and voiced hope that the news will prod the two parties to reach agreement on a long-term plan to cut the nation’s deficit.
Obama, in an afternoon speech that was part pep talk, said the country is still a safe bet for investors.

“That doesn’t mean we don’t have a problem,” the president said, speaking from the State Dining Room.

He said that rising deficits can’t be ignored. In the second round of deficit reduction talks that will play out this fall, he recommended an approach that would combine spending  cuts with tax revenue increases along with what he called “modest adjustments” to popular entitlement programs like Medicare. Obama could not persuade Congress to adopt that formula in the debt negotiations that were concluded last week.

“I realize that after what we just went through, there’s some skepticism that Republicans and Democrats … will be able to reach a compromise,” he said. “My hope is that Friday’s news [from Standard & Poor's] will give us a renewed sense of urgency.”

He mentioned that various commissions and congressional leaders have put out plans that mirror his own.

“So it’s not a lack of plans or policies that are the problem here,” he said. “It’s a lack of political will in Washington. It’s the insistence on drawing lines in the sand – a refusal to put what’s best for the country ahead of self-interest or party or ideology. And that’s what we need to change.”

Obama’s remarks on the downgrade were the first he has delivered since S&P’s surprise announcement Friday that it was bumping the U.S. credit rating to AA+.  U.S. stocks swooned in the wake of the downgrade; as Obama spoke, the Dow was down more than 400 points.

In a blog post earlier in the day, Vice President Joe Biden’s former economic adviser, Jared Bernstein, wrote that the Dow “is bouncing around like a manic depressive on a bad acid trip.”

With the economic recovery stalled, Obama also reiterated his plan for jump-starting job growth and kindling consumer spending. He called for a renewal of a payroll tax cut that expires at the end of the year. And he also said he wants to extend unemployment benefits.

If Congress fails to take these steps, he said, the consequences would be stark: 1 million fewer jobs and half a percentage point less growth.

He also recited a familiar litany of economic proposals, including repair of roads, bridges and ports.

“I know we’re going through a tough time right now,” he said. “We’ve been going through a tough time for the last two-and-a-half years. I know a lot of people are worried about the future.”

A new poll shows the worries run deep.

A CNN poll released Monday shows that 60% believe the U.S. remains in a downturn with conditions continuing to worsen, compared with 36% who believed that in April. Only 24% believed things are going well in the U.S., compared with 75% who believe things are going badly, the poll showed.

In his remarks,  Obama opted not to bash S&P. That represented a change in tone. Over the weekend, White House officials denounced the rating agency, accusing S&P of basing its decision on political grounds that are open to question. Yet at the same time, they also seized on a helpful thread in the S&P analysis, a suggestion that revenue increases should be part of a deficit reduction package.

Each party used the downgrade to score points against the other. David Axelrod, an Obama campaign strategist, described S&P’s action as a “tea party downgrade.” For his part, Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney said the downgrade reflected a “failure” in Obama’s leadership.

Still, the downgrade will do nothing to arrest a growing public pessimism about the state of the economy.

This article was originally published at www.latimes.com by Peter Nicholas.

Image credit: latimes.com

Posted in Headlines, PoliticsComments (0)


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