Arjuna Soriano

Journalism student at Medill covering tech in the downtown newsroom

Jan 12
Winter has finally come to Chicago.  (Taken with instagram)

Winter has finally come to Chicago. (Taken with instagram)

Nov 17
Best tag ever. (Taken with instagram)

Best tag ever. (Taken with instagram)

Nov 13

Mobile Flash in the pants

Well, it is official, Flash for mobile is no more.

It sounds like a big deal but Flash was really a nonstarter on mobile hardware. The amount of phones able to play flash media is quite low as only a few Android phones and tablets actually had the plug-in installed and working. And by all accounts Flash interactive content not designed for small screens is practically unusable on small screens.

While Flash Video was the dominant streaming video format before the iPhone, most major streaming services including YouTube, Netflix and CNN began simultaneously providing h.264 video which plays natively on the iPhone and other mobile hardware without the negative performance hit associated with Flash.

What is perhaps most notable about this announcement is its historic place in the relationship between Adobe and Apple. The biggest break in the relationship came after Apple unveiled the original iPhone without the Flash plugin. Steve Jobs refused to include the plugin because of poor performance and battery drain.

Adobe responded with an advertisement campaign that blanketed the tech world with the message: Adobe Apple hoping to force Steve Jobs, into including the Flash plug-in on the iPhone.

Well that strategy worked about as well as the plug-in and now they are both history.

Nov 7

Children and technology

I write about tech for school and I am an admitted lover of technology and gadgets. Well, I guess I love what technology allows me to do.

They are tools and I want the best one for the job. On the other hand they can be used to entertain and, let’s face it, numb.

I used to enjoy video games and watching a little television, but as a father I find that there is so much more to be done.

That goes for kids too. I realize it is very convenient to plop a kid down in front of some Yo Gabba Gabba, but what do the kids gain from that.

My family has been living without a TV for the past 3 years and it works out great. I can’t lie and say we never sit down to a movie or show on Netflix but I think it is more in moderation.

And if you are worried about the kids, they find things to do. Boredom is the greatest tool as parents to foster imagination and creativity in young children.

Oct 21

The Fed

Just got back from the Federal Reserve of Chicago for a field trip for my class. Yes, I am a grown man. Yes, I go on field trips. Anyways, I was taking a rest next to the spinning cube of one million $1 bills after having my picture taken with a $1 million stack of twenties, and getting my picture overlaid onto a $1 bill, when I noticed the ball physics toy that was supposed to represent the life of a bill. The balls which represent bills, ball-bills if you will, are carried up to the top in a contraption that resembles the water system at the Swiss-family Robinson tree house. They then fall onto metal glockenspiel bars and then traverse all sorts of obstacles until they either fall off, we’ll just say they were decommissioned, or they make it back to the beginning where they start all over again.

I thought to myself, “Jesus , what the hell goes on in this place. Is it all just a big game.”

That has been my general feeling for a lot of this quarter in learning about financial systems and how the economy and stock market works.

To those who are really in it, they are for the most part playing a big game and it is

Oct 12

Early iPhone 4S Reviews

The chosen few who have been granted time to review the new iPhone 4S before us regular joe’s get our hands on it have started to come out with their reviews and they all seem to agree that the hardware upgrade is nice but the most compelling feature is Siri.

What’s that you say? You haven’t heard of Siri? Well, you are going to hear about it now. Siri is the iPhone 4S’s voice recognition/AI/personal assistant.

So what does that all mean? Basically it means that a user can speak into their iPhone as an interface to a limited set of features. The kicker is that you can speak using the same kind of language as you would speaking to a person. You can ask Siri, “Do I need an umbrella today,” or you can tell Siri, “Set an alarm for 6 am.”

But, you probably want to read a review from someone who has actually used it so here you go:

John Gruber of Daring Fireball

Walt Mossberg for All Things D

Joshua Topolsky for The Washington Post

David Pogue for The New York Times

Oct 9

More bad numbers for RIM

RIM continues to bleed market-share losing another five points to end August at 19.7 percent while both Android (43.7 percent) and Apple (27.3 percent) continue to grow according to comScore Inc.’s monthly survey.

Horace Dediu over at has some great charts and analysis.

I am always surprised when someone pulls out their Blackberry and they do anything but email. I saw someone on the Red Line trying to use Facebook and it just seemed like more effort than it was worth.

She not only had to scroll down the page by moving the cursor all the way to the bottom of the page and then scroll one line at a time, but she also had to scroll from side to side with that little touch sensitive nub. Once she scrolled all the way to the right to finish reading one line she had to move the cursor all the way back to the left in order to read the beginning of the next line.

iPhone presales

Ina Fried at AllThingsD reported that AT&T sold over 200,000 iPhone 4S preorders in the first 12 hours of availability making it the most successful iPhone launch on AT&T yet.

Sprint was also reportedly very happy with sales but I wish they would have given revealed how many they actually sold. Sprint’s plans are cheaper than AT&T and Verizon and I will likely switch to Sprint when my contract is up. If there are enough people like me Sprint’s gamble (paywall) may pay off.

How can an iPad + MacBook Pro = Windows use?

I love my MacBook Pro. It is my 4th Mac and I can’t imagine having to use a Windows box as my main machine. I have however been experimenting with using my iPad as my main computer. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to carry it around rather than lugging my laptop and charger around.

I charge it when I go to bed and don’t have to think about battery life for the entire day. Last week I went out and covered a story with only my iPad. I shot photos, recorded interviews and wrote the first drafts of the story on the bus ride back to the newsroom.

In an ironic twist, relying on my iPad as my main computer has forced me to use a Windows box. In the newsroom I cannot print from my iPad and it is easier to post to the CMS using a windows (little w) computer of which only Windows (big W) PCs are available.

Sep 30

AT&T forgets the iPhone

In my reporting on technology for the Medill News Service, I have been reading a lot of AT&T press releases and they almost never mention the iPhone or the iPad. The statements do regularly feature Android smartphones and tablets though.

The iPhone was even absent in a press release touting a Nielsen study that found AT&T customers more likely to be satisfied with their smartphones than customers of other carriers.

AT&T has the most iPhones on their network and the iPhone is consistently and overwhelming rated the highest when it comes to customer satisfaction. This must have had a huge impact on the study and yet the iPhone is never mentioned.

Here is AT&T’s smartphone selection according to the press release:

AT&T offers award-winning Android smartphones - including the Motorola ATRIX™ 4G (named the best smartphone at CES) and the LG Thrill 4G (among the best smartphones in the CTIA E-Tech awards) and the largest lineup of BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices. Since February, AT&T has introduced 10 Android smartphones and two new Android tablets, including the first smartphone with a 4.5-inch display and dual-core processor, with more planned in 2011.

I can think of a few possible reasons (These are just guesses with no hard evidence):

  1. The iPhone doesn’t need help getting sold (Well this one is a bit more than a guess)

  2. AT&T receives less money per iPhone sold than they do for each Android phone.

  3. AT&T does not like the terms that it has with Apple. Most Android phones come preinstalled with AT&T software and they have a bit of control over the handset whereas Apple refuses to have logos and preinstalled bloatware to mess with the user-experience of the iPhone.

  4. The iPhone is actually classified as a smart-smartphone.

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