Tag Archives: Apple

Apple’s New iPad: A Horse With No Name

Man, I haven’t blogged in forever. I think about it too much. One shouldn’t think, one should just blog. Blog’s aren’t formal.

Do you like the title? I was trying to think of something funny or cute since while everyone was debating whether this iteration would be called “iPad 3” or “iPad HD” Apple decided not to call it anything!
Apparently this represents symbolically that the iPad has entered into the “Post PC” era. Regular computers such as MacBooks aren’t given special names with each new generation, they simply “just are” and simply have upgrades or “refreshes”
every so often. This symbolizes that the iPad, and more generally, the paradigm it represents: Mobile, Intimacy, has reached a point in the amount of power that it has, to do most of the tasks that we “ordinary” people do in our normal “everyday” world:
Edit photos, word process, browse the net, even some simple video editing.

This new iPad certainly is a horse: double the screen resolution, double the processing and graphics. Apparently the screen is so beautiful that it looks better than a photo print. One for a second just imagines a day when reality just sort of leaps out of such a screen.
Every nerds dream. And if John Wheeler’s “It from Bit” physical paradigm turns out to be true, such a wild fantasy may not be as “far out” as one would expect.

The beauty of the piece, everything Apple makes is not only more functional, intimate, and ‘warm” than others, but also an “object of beauty” will sell itself. Everyone who is into technology drools when they walk into an Apple store. Which begs the question, is Apple a Pornographer?
Maybe. True art, according to Aquinas, isn’t supposed to move you to desire, nor fear. But rather put you into a state of Aesthetic Arrest. Which you know, Apple does that too. So maybe it is true art and not Pornography.

I still can’t believe that the amount of disk space hasn’t changed in two years. No component of computing has more price elasticity in ration to time as disk space. Technologically, disk space increases exponentially faster than even computing power itself, at least double every 12 months, yet this very iPad that came out
today has the same disk space options: 16gb, 32gb, 64gb as the original. That’s insane. Where am I supposed to keep all my downloaded movies, especially if they’re in HD? And all that HD video I’m shooting from the iPad itself.

But you’d be hard pressed to find one tech journalist pointing out this glaring omission. Someone on Google+ pointed out to me that maybe iCloud will take up the slack. Perhaps, but I still don’t know what iCloud is, how it works, or even what it’s supposed to do.

Meanwhile, the Google+ app on my iPhone simply uploads all my photos to the cloud without me every having to think about it.

Having said that, for all it’s minuses, the iPad is light years ahead of the competition on software, apps, interface and the X Factor of it making you feel safe and comforting. Apple’s whole eco system may be a prison, but it’s a safe “Country Club” prison.
Android may make you more free, but you feel less safe, as if you are risking having to live your life ‘out on the streets.’

The emotional factor, which seems like a dichotomy when applied to ‘computing’ cannot be over estimated. It’s leading Apple, currently as we speak, to be the most valuable company in the World, with about a billion dollars in after tax profits per week!
That’s utterly mind boggling. And with this release, they are only going to keep growing.

At the end of the day, even with all the things that annoy me about them, at least Apple, unlike say government contractors, are making their money the old fashioned way: They’re earning it.

Why Did My Cycle Region Turn From Solid Green to Candy Stripped Green in Logic Pro?

The normal Cycle Region in Logic is Solid Green

I’ve been working in Logic Pro the last few days. Every once in a while, I’ll hit something or type something and all of the sudden my solid green “Cycle Region” turns into a Candy Striped Green “Skip” Region. And I don’t know how to get it back!

When it turns into a Skip Region it looks Candy Stripped Green

Well, Googling I found the answer. Just hit the “J” key on your keyboard. It turns it back and forth from a solid green cycle region into a candy stripped “Skip” region. So all along I must have been accidentally hitting the “J” key.

Pretty simple, huh? But, dang, I had to dig pretty deep to find the answer. You’d think it would be more straightforward in Apple’s help menu.

If for whatever reason that doesn’t work for you, you can also click in the top half of the ruler bar, anywhere outside of the existing candy stripped cycle, drag from left to right with your mouse clicker still held down, and that will create a new solid green Cycle Region and automatically the other stripped green Skip Region will disappear.

*One other neat thing I realized is that you can create a cycle region wherever you are at in the song by simply clicking the top half of the ruler and dragging from left to right. The saves a lot of frustration because before I realized this I would always think I’d have to search for the already pre-existing one and drag it to the place where I was now working.

 

Google+: Everyone Seems to be Missing the Big Picture

Young people already having fun in "Hangout" the killer video app that will drive mass adoption to Google+

My introduction to Google+ was by way of watching  yesterday’s episode of TWiG, which featured Bradley Horowitz and Vic Gundotra, the two leaders of the Google+ project.

But what caught me,  got me really excited about Google+, happened in the minutes before the show actually started.  Leo jumped on a feature of Google+ called “Hangout,” an instant video conferencing application that is automatic, and which can include up to 10 people from your various “Social Circles.” What immediately jumped out at me was how FUN, spontaneous, and effortless it seemed (as well as being productive). You don’t have to place a call to someone or schedule a video chat. If you see someone “hanging” out you can just jump right in, sort of like the serendipity of jumping into a Twitter or Facebook conversation (known as dipping in and out of the “stream”).  But those are text,  and this is VIDEO, and that makes a big difference. Leo’s first friend who “popped” into his video hangout was Trey Ratcliffe, noted photographer, and for some reason, watching it, there was this surreal feeling that Trey (who happened to be in Chicago I believe) was actually inside the computer, like behind a cardboard cut-out, instead of being thousands of miles away. It made me think of all those hundreds of avatars I see each day on Twitter or Facebook, if they could suddenly come alive, instead of being frozen as they are in still photos. Suddenly the internet had “come to life,” as it were. A marvelous feeling. Among other things that are great about Google+, it seems more “alive” than the other social networks. More living, breathing. And “Hangout” is a big reason why.

Leo said it himself, almost spontaneously,  that Hangout was one of the coolest things he’d seen in a long time, and I agree.

The rest of Google+ is beautiful, engaging, and full of potential, but Hangouts is the killer app, I believe will drive mass adoption.

So the conversations around Google+ were inevitably “Will it kill Facebook? Will it Kill Twitter?”

That question remains to be seen, but I think folks nitpicking this feature compared to that feature, and on and on, are missing the BIG PICTURE.

The big picture is what Google is after, and I would argue has the most vision about, and the most resources to execute.

The Key here is that the Whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

If you take the individual pieces, you could say Twitter is better at what it does, Facebook is better, and Apple is better with it’s mobile OS. I think it’s fair to say that each of their individual pieces is better than the individual pieces of Google’s platform, albeit, just from one evening with Google+ it seems to be every bit as good as Facebook and perhaps better especially with the Hangout feature and the Social Circle feature, which makes it FUN to create lists. No one wants to create lists, but everyone likes to have them. And one more thing about creating “Circles” Did you notice how “Applely” it feels to drag so easily your contacts into the circles. It has the same feel as dragging things on OSX. A prime example of how an operating system can execute with the same feel as a desktop system. One little nudge in Chrome’s direction (Another piece of the puzzle)

But the key here is that Google has all the pieces. Think about it. Neither Twitter or Facebook has a mobile OS. Google does. Apple has an OS but doesn’t have a Social Network, nor the back end Cloud Syncing Data capabilities that Google has. This is why Apple and Twitter are having a “shotgun” wedding in iOS5 and why Microsoft is engaged with Facebook. But these types of “bolted” together arrangements rarely work. Two different companies, two different cultures. But still you get the point: These other companies don’t have all the pieces to bring together the new paradigm of the Web and Mobile being the new productivity platform. Google does have all the pieces. Their “jigsaw” puzzle type logo is now making more sense.

This isn’t just about a Social Network. This is about a platform of services that are tightly integrated.

What became clear to me last night is that this isn’t just about Google+ (as great a product as that is and will be), it’s about the fact that, with this launch Google has, in effect,  reduced or ‘highlighted’ Twitter and Facebook-type functions as mere applications, powerful and important as they are, within a much greater whole, but not platforms. In a sense, they are apps without a platform and Apple is a platform without an App. I know that sounds silly with what all the hundreds of thousands of apps in the App Store, but what I mean is a data app, a cloud app, an app to Data Productivity Services that syncs all of your data immediately in the Cloud, as well as to a Social Network, which I am arguing is simply an “App” of this new Cloud Computing World. Apple Apps are wonderful, beautiful, but they are in a sense isolated islands.

Why is the Cloud so important and why is it considered the leading paradigm? The “Cloud,” as it were, marries the two most important aspects of the data revolution: Automation (Micro Electronic Revolution) + Distribution (The Telecommunications Revolution).  Light and Electrons. Electrons for storing and automating data, photons for delivering, communicating, distributing data. The Cloud is needed to leverage the exponential productivity gains that comes from combining these two separate technologies. Each separately have given us productivity gains as great or greater than even the Industrial Revolution. But together the productivity gains are even exponentially more so. One which both businesses, individuals, governments, and society alike find opportunity and achieve higher standards of living.

Apple is trying with iCloud, but does anyone actually think they have the ability to compete and execute on that front (or maybe I should say ‘back-end’) with all the Data Centers and Engineering expertise in the Cloud that Google does? I don’t. At all.

Last night Scoble scoffed, “Hangouts is kinda cool.” Kinda Cool? What? That’s it? No other company on the face of this Earth could emulate what it takes to make that product happen at scale. Facebook can’t simply copy that feature. They don’t have near the resources or engineering to do it. Not to mention Twitter. Apple has the cash, but I’d argue, it’s not in their DNA. Apple likes to sell things, not connect things. Cloud Computing is not their forte, their passion. They’ll endure it, but I don’t see the product or experience as being particularly promising.

But let’s not get bogged down by individual features. Let’s look at the big picture. Google is the only company that has all the pieces of the puzzle, and as they bring these pieces together, it will invoke a value proposition that users would be depriving themselves of if they didn’t join.

Think for a moment about what I said about Facebook not having a mobile OS. It’s simply an app on the OS that you have to open each time and load your photos manually.

With Android tied to Google+ all of these signals, including photo uploads happen automatically. And that’s just the Social Network aspect, the social signal: Automation.

Google has a plethora of other invaluable services, Maps, Gmail, Location, Search, Music, Video, Cloud back up, automatic effortless syncing, and on and on. And they’ll continue to add productivity and all the categories of apps that people find useful. And with an OS that is tightly integrated with those services, I don’t care how beautiful your hardware is, how beautiful the interface is (I love my iPhone by the way), I’d bet my bottom dollar even diehard iPhone users will think long and hard about what their next phone is going to be, and in a year or two their tablet as well. Google is building and connecting a platform that essentially is the most valuable “content” for mobile computing and experiences. Even when they get around to an iPhone app, the experience won’t be nearly as robust as if one were using it on an Android device.

From this vantage point, Twitter and Facebook are looking a lot like Lotus and Wordperfect did in the 80s. Even though Microsoft Office wasn’t as good when it first rolled out, it iterated and became “good enough” then as good and then better. And the momentum was the integration and trust that came from the suite being tied to the OS.

The same will happen for Chrome, Android, Google Services, and Google Productivity suites all driven by the powerful backend, unmatched backend of Data Centers, the Cloud, and their unmatched expertise in those areas.

Before, Google was the backend that needed Apple for distribution. Now with Bradley Horowitz designing a beautiful front end for Google’s interface they have their own distribution channel, and a way to bring all of their enormous resources to bare in the marketplace.

Is Twitter dead? Is Facebook dead? Or Apple? No, not by a longshot. All of these companies are run by innovative geniuses who are not going to spit out the bit like Myspace. This will be a horserace, and a damn good one, but if I were placing my bets today, I’d say Google will win by a nose at the wire. They’ve always had the best horse. And now they have a winning jockey.

But in the end, the essence of the web is not a zero sum game. One can imagine all of these companies growing, being prosperous, and what’s more important, imparting enormous benefit and productivity gaines to civilization, all without having to annihilate each other. I’d say Myspace went down for lack of vision, lack of focus. In other words, not because of Facebook, but because of themselves.

John Wooden used to say that he rarely scouted the competition, that instead he focused on he and his team competing with themselves to get better. Twitter, Facebook, Apple, and Google all have this same drive and spirit. And what would be better than one defeating the other, is if they all constantly innovate, are “into” it, and in effect, all win.

Update: 7/2/11: I’m kind of angry. Today Tom Anderson wrote the following on G+, which is my same idea, yet it got an enormous headline on Techmeme via being copied in a post on Mashable. Kind of makes me mad, because I wrote this post on Thursday and sent it to Techmeme. On the one hand they must have put a small link to my post because I did get some traffic from techmeme, but nothing like a big headline they are giving Tom. Well, I guess that’s life. Tom is Somebody. But still, the idea is exactly the same as mine and yet they gave barely notice, but now that Tom said it, it’s the talk of the town, so to speak.

“Google+ seems like a “reaction” to Twitter/Facebook. But are you starting to see the ways that Google+ just makes Google a better, more integrated set of services? Google already has top-notch products in key categories–photos, videos, office productivity, blogs, Android, maps and (duh) search. Can you start to see/imagine what Google+ does for Gmail? Picassa? Youtube? Not to mention search? The +1 system that Google now has control of (unlike Facebook Likes) can really influence and change the nature of their search.

My original vision for MS was that everything got better when it was social–so I tried to build all the super popular things used on the web (blogs, music, classifieds, events, photos) on top of MySpace’s social layer. When Yahoo launched 360, MSN launched Spaces, and Google launched Okrut, I was shakin in my boots. But quickly I saw that it’s really hard to layer in social to features after the fact. At MySpace we had the luxury of having social first, and building the products on top of that layer. Then I choked and Facebook realized that vision. 😉

But Google+ really seems to be primed to make good on that original premise–that everything gets better when its social. And unlike FB, Twitter, or anyone else, Google already has the most advanced set of products. And if I can clearly see where this is headed, then I think what we are getting is a much better Google. Does that kill FB/Twitter? Who cares? I’d use all 3, but more importantly, I’ll be using Google products I never used, or use them in new, better ways I never used them before.

Oh yah and I love my Google TV :)”

Tom Anderson, Founder of Myspace in a post on G+ on 7/2/11

More interesting reading:

Gina Trapani – Smarterware.org – What Google+ Learned from Buzz and Wave

Google+ Everything You Need to Know – TechRadar.com

Finally Getting Google – BigEvidence – Thom Kennon

Ad Free Google Plus 50 – Chris Brogan

The Top Google+ Tips and Tricks – Ranker.com

Is Google Hangouts It’s Killer App? – Nytimes.com

Google+ Improves on Facebook – David Pogue Review for the NYtimes.com

Google+: The Complete Guide – Ben Parr for Mashable.com

10 Things CMO’s Need to Know About Google+ : Chris Brogan writing for Forbes.com

Google+ is the Social Backbone – Ed Dumbill – O’reilly Radar

What to do when your iPad’s Home Button Stops Working


A few days ago my iPad’s home button stopped working. Seems like it happened right after I upgraded to iOs 4.3. The only thing I could do to use it was turn it off and back on. Mine’s a first generation that I got at Best Buy the first day it came out on April 3rd, 2010. I searched the web. There was a blog post where a lot of people who were having the same problem talked about solutions and whether it was hardware or software caused. Some found answers. Most didn’t and ended up taking it back and getting it replaced. Since mine is almost a year old and I didn’t buy any of the warranty from Best Buy or Apple, I figured I would have to take it back, they may send it off and that it would cost me something.

Anyway on this blog post I know one guy mentioned that his would work in Portrait mode. I tried portrait mode, still nothing. So I let the thing sit for a day. I’d thought about a hard reset, but how are you going to do a hard reset if the home button doesn’t work?

Anyway, yesterday, even though it was still not working, I found something funny: I noticed that when I held it in landscape mode, pushed the button, held it, then rotated it to portrait mode, then released, it started working, maybe half the time. I thought, “OK, I can live with this for a few days until I take it up there.”

Then later on, I had the iPad sitting flat on my wooden desk next to my desktop. I pushed the button. It worked every time. I thought, “Hey this is cool. OK.” I thought maybe it had something to do with the hard surface. Now my iPad is not in a case, so I don’t know if that may make a difference.

Now, a day after that, it seems to be totally working again like normal.

This could be totally anecdotal and have nothing to do with my exercises. Maybe it was just a glitch in the software that some how “healed” itself. But its worth a try if you find yourself in this same situation.

So try this:

  • Hold the iPad in front of you in landscape mode
  • Push the button and keep it held while you gently rotate it to Portrait mode, then release.
  • See if you get any response: 1 out of 2 times, 1 out of 3, etc.
  • If that works, or even if it doesn’t, lay the iPad gently on a hard, smooth surface, so there is even resistance. (If its in a case, I’d recommend taking it out) Push the button, hold it in a second longer than normal, then gently release.
  • This may be totally anecdotal but it “feels” like it started responding when, after I pushed, I kept it pushed for a second, and then gently released.

Well maybe this is totally luck and yours still won’t work or maybe there’s something to it, and either the maneuver or the slight resistance somehow put it it back in place (assuming it is hardware related) or somehow fixed the “glitch” if it is software.

Either way, what I’m describing above is in no way harming the iPad. I wasn’t pushing any harder than normal or trying to shake it or anything like that. No need to push harder. Although it did seem, at first, that when I would hold it pushed in for just a second longer than normal and then gently released, it started to respond.

Don’t do anything that could damage your iPad, but try the above and see if it works for you. Give it a day or two. Maybe you’ll have the same “luck” that I did, and it’ll start working again.

If not of course take it back to the Apple Store. But either way, if you are one of the unfortunate ones like me that this happened to let me know how it works out. I’d love to hear your experiences. And learn.

 

Neither Twitter, Facebook, nor Apple Will Survive the Open Web

I was thinking about this subject tonight, that there is no way such closed systems as Twitter and Facebook can survive the force of the open Internet in the coming years with the price of data, storage, and bandwidth all marching toward near zero cost, much less be an Eco System or “Platform.”

As these communication and computation costs lower each
year, it will drive so much innovation, the walls will be torn down.

See, what is exactly the value proposition of a closed network such as Twitter or Facebook?

A) The Network Effect.

The Network Effect, or “Metcalfe’s Law” says that the value of a network equals the number of users it has squared. Obviously, the more users the more exponentially the value of said network increases. Facebook has 400million users. Twitter around 50million. You might think Facebooks network effect is tremendously greater than Twitters, but Facebook is a much more closed network. On average a typical user may have 100 “friends” or network connections. On Twitter you can connect to virtually anyone on the network simply by “following” them. It doesn’t have to be a reciprocal agreement. Everyone on the network is accessible to you. This means Twitter’s more open Network is of far greater value than Facebook’s larger but more closed Network. That’s why Facebook is in a tremendous frenzy to open their network more through “Pages” “Facebook Connect” and changing the default privacy settings.

So if Twitter’s vastly smaller, but vastly more open network has more Network Effect value what does that mean? The more open a “network” is, the more valuable that it is. This means there is an incentive to build a completely open network. So one will be built, or shall we say, not built, but merely “facilitated” because the act of building one implies some degree of closed. The completely open network already exists. It’s called the Internet.

We all know how many users and how much traffic Facebook has every month. They say its like an upward hockey stick. But how much value are Twitter and Facebook giving off each month?

And how much traffic and how many users does Internet, Inc. have?

Basically you trade your identity and your content for their network effect. Also they throw in their bandwidth, storage, and programming. As of now this has value, plenty of it and that’s why you see the spike in these “networks'” traffic.

But now the process of them selling you down the river begins. They figure they’re giving you network effect, bandwidth, and storage for free in exchange for them selling your content. Sounds fine, right?

But the problem is innovation will drill a hole into any walled garden. Quickly, innovation will fork around sand boxed networks and find ways to connect people without them giving up their identity or their content. Each day, storage and bandwidth prices drop. They are heading rapidly to zero. So that part of the economic proposition is losing weight very quickly as well.

Twitter isn’t the network. Facebook isn’t the network. The network is the network.

Even the mighty Apple, as much as I am blown away by this iPad I’m typing on, can’t survive this onslaught of the open web. For instance, tonight I was watching a TV show on the wonderful ABC app and it occurred to me that I was being forced to watch the commercial because I couldn’t minimize the browser. it felt Pavlovian to me, being trained by the nature of the device, forcing me to behave in a way I didn’t want or like.

I don’t think the user will put up with theses strategies for long, and I’m sure the open web will come to the rescue.

It also occurred to me tonight that Gmail keeps 5 years and 25,000 of my emails forever available and searchable and yet Twitter only let’s me go back and see a few weeks of my Tweets, with a substandard if not plain archaic search system.

That’s just plain lack of innovation. And Facebook is hardly better.

Technology, driven by innovation as it is, is a poor place for a lock in business model. Technology doesn’t want to be trapped, and will eventually fork around it’s captors.

Sent from my iPad

Painted on the iPad

I haven’t attempted to draw or color anything in 20 years, but the iPad feels so natural and unintimidating that you allow yourself to play. And then when I was reading TUAW, they highly recommended an app called Art Studio that’s like as good as Brushes but only .99! Pretty unbelievable. I jumped in.

So I just finished painting this on the iPad. Mondrian anyone? Hhehehehehehehehhe. But the point isn’t whether this is much more than a grade school coloring. It’s not. The ego is out of the way, just as in the paradigm of the iPad, the technology gets out of the way.

Rather, the important point is, and I don’t know if you can tell this from the photo, but: it felt like coloring or painting in the real world. I had fun doing it. Yes it’s possible to have fun with a regular computer using Photoshop or Illustrator or some such creative tool. But the experience isn’t as intimate, warm, and human like. Even with applications that excite me such as Garageband for producing music, I tend to leave the project more stressed than when I began. The 2 foot chasm between the person and the screen, with keyboard and mouse guarding the passage, is an even larger psychological gap, it seems, leaving a lot of emptiness on the table and more than a little reticence at trying something new.

But with the iPad that experience changes. The intimidation and distance, both physically and emotionally, seem to melt away.

That’s been one of my main take aways from using the iPad: It’s a marriage of the digital and analog worlds. I have never had this kind of “human” or “emotional” experience interacting with and creating on a computer or piece of digital technology.

That’s one of the many reasons that I think this is the most important, interesting, and will be the most popular technological device in history. I think virtually everyone on the planet will have one in a few years. It’s as revolutionary as the internet itself because its a way to engage and interact with the internet, and the digital world in general, in a human way.

And its just the beginning.


The iPad seems to manifest the archetypal spirit of a continuum.
In all myths heroes and heroines have a single purpose, the power of a committment.

In the spirit of that committment the iPad seems to unobtrusively and intimately be able to be one’s delightful companion in seamless experiences of both entertainment, inspiration, productivity, and creativity.

And it does this in a way that is an aesthetically pleasing experience, a natural experience symbolized by it’s most important interactive gesture: that of human touch.

Technology that is inviting and fun to use gets engaged. And the marriage helps both the technology, as a more diverse group of talents come in contact with it, and society as a whole as it interacts more harmoniously, and receives the benefit of both knowledge and emotional support.

And finally the individual, who is freed by a system whose power now works with and for him, after so many years in the dark where cold, unenlightened systems were imposed upon him and his Spirit.