“But it goes deeper than this. Many reviewers don’t even realize what the product is. They still believe the iPhone or iPad is mostly a hardware product defined by its specifications. Apple has invested 10 times more R&D resources to create the iOS software and supporting eco system than its hardware. Apple didn’t design the hardware to match some feature checklist, they designed it to make their software amaze and delight customers, to create an emotional connection that effects peoples lives. To compare the iPhone or iPad to other products primarily on their hardware specifications is not representative of the quality of experience users are likely to have with the product.
What happens if you lose your phone or tablet or wish to upgrade to a newer model? Will all your applications and data move seamlessly? What if you want to share data with others or between your tablet and phone? Can your tablet be upgraded to the latest OS? Will the software you want be available and work smoothly on your new tablet? What about malware? What if something goes wrong? Is there a store where you can take your tablet to get help? These are important considerations consumers see clearly, but the tech press largely ignores.”
Few “regular” users fully realize this1 but Mac OS apps are just a single contained file that you can run from basically anywhere. This includes your Desktop, a USB disk or any other location of your choosing; but Apple has inserted in your Mac OS a little hidden gem: the User Applications folder.
To use it, you can just create a top level folder on your Home folder, named “Applications”. After you do this, your Mac system will even suit it with the Application folder icon you now see on this post and spotlight will give it a preference on the ordering list of results.
You now have your own Application folder to use. You can simply drag and drop apps into it as you would do with the system level application. And you can drag this folder to the dock and have it appear with the App folder icon.
Some applications might even work better they are on this standard folder than if you just kept it on the desktop or other random spot, although i can’t say this for sure.
The best part of this is that if you are using a shared Mac where you aren’t the admin or simply don’t want to let every other user access your apps, you can simply install them on your User folder and keep them private and non-intruding for your host OS. And if you’re a non-admin user this is pretty much the only way that you can get to install and use applications at will.
And there you go. The shared Mac where everyone gets to have their own System with basically no overlapping regarding ownership of the Applications you use.
” The bigger concern is what happens when these url shorteners don’t exist in 20 years and the internet is filled with archived pages making references like “what you’re looking for is here: bit.ly/0hshi1+”. Fuck.”
Hadn’t thought of this but is actually very worthy of reflection. Shortened URLs are a security risk, a potential jack-in-the-box of bad taste or embarrassing content and now a hazard and contempt to the future historians of the early XXI Century.
Again, a Twitter creation. They sure do have a lot to explain those “Twitters”.
“Twitter was largely based around SMS, and there is no metadata payload for SMS, so those links had to be included in the 140 characters themselves (and yes, SMS is 160 characters, but Twitter set aside 20 for usernames). Yet another reason why SMS needs to die.”
Or, i would add, Twitter needs to grow up and drop the nonsense 140 character limitation.
Is there any logical reason why we should write grammatically incorrect and unarticulated semblances of a sentence on Twitter? If they want to make it short, can’t it be a simple 500 or 1000 character limit? It would probably encompass 95% of the ideas and comments people want to make on Twitter. And we wouldn’t have to go phishing around for the previous comments on a discussion to understand what the hell the person was saying on part 16 out of 25, or something like that.
“When the iPhone 3GS debuted in 2009, critics were similarly unimpressed. Maybe that has something to do with the name. Many people expected Apple to announce a completely redesigned iPhone 5. iPhone 4S sounds much more like a facelift of a current product — which is fair because that’s what it is.”
Let’s start this rant by reflecting a bit about the nice folks who use words as their tool of trade and yet manage to use them the most incorrect way possible.
A facelift, as the word itself implies, is a change in the “face”, and by this we mean the outside, the appearance, the non-fundamental. It came to be known from the automotive industry where roughly at the middle of the expected lifecycle of a car you would change some minor aspects of what the customer saw. And by this we mean both the car body design – such as the headlights design, the bonnet1 or simply a pair of new fins – or the interior – the fabric pattern, some new auto-radio or just some differently positioned buttons.
The “inside” of a car, the thing that actually makes a car would remain essentially untouched. And by this we mean the engine, the chassis, the suspension, the electrical components, all of the things that are highly complex to design, test, produce and put together. You see, designing and producing a car takes some hundreds of million dollars just to get the first unit out of the factory, so you don’t want to keep doing that every two years because you would be bankrupt before your second model even got out of the paper.
On the other hand most of the consumers like shinny new things (as you apparently) so a balance must be obtained. And that balance is the “facelift”. You, the consumer, get an almost-new shinny exterior and some minor nuisances corrected; We, the car manufacturer, get to keep the parts that takes the paycheck of every idiotic CNN journalist (for life) combined to produce.
Now compare this to the “dud” iPhone 4S that you call a facelift. The appearance of the previous model? Check. The inside of the previous model? No. See any contradiction here?
It’s the same old phone!
There was some disappointment among the tech “pundit” blogosphere and news sites regarding the iPhone 4S. Apparently it’s not new enough. OK. Walk with me through the changes:
What the iPhone 4S has new:
new system-on-chip: new dual-core processor and graphics;
twice the RAM memory of iPhone 4;
new antenna design;
new antenna chip with dual GSM/CDMA and other communication management goodies;
new camera sensor, lens system and other weird optical stuff;
a additional module ISP in the processor for face recognition and other image processing algorithms;
1080p video with image stabilization;
probably a new battery – the specs have changed a bit so, additionally to the new hardware and power management, a battery with some sort of modification is likely.
Siri – the personal assistant – which unlike iOS 5 you can’t get in any other previous iPhone.
What the i4S Phone shares with the previous iPhone 4:
The glass and screen on the front;
The glass on the back
Maybe the sound control buttons;
Oh! And the dock connector.
Yep. It’s just the same old iPhone. No difference whatsoever… (face-palm)
You just get 3 or 4 parts that come from the previous generation – because it lowers the cost of manufacturing it to something like a quarter of the price of a totally redesigned case not to mention the ability to produce large numbers of it in almost no-time – but yes, “it’s just the same old iPhone”, just a “minor facelift”…
Don’t let that glimpse of Reality and facts get in the way of your complaints of course. How more blind and futile can you get? If it doesn’t have something shinny and new i don’t want it! Even if it is a totally new beast where it counts…
We want fins. And humps.
Most of the techno-pundits apparently want something with a bigger screen (because bigger is better!) and with the so called “teardrop design”. What’s the teardrop design you ask? Well, it’s a great innovation from the Apple rumor mill that no one actually has seen but it sports a *aircraft wing” profile, with one end thicker than the other. Which makes a “lot of sense” in a device that is supposed to be hold either in profile or portrait, and you can turn it in any direction…
You see, this will mean that: first, you will have a thicker object to hold on one hand than on the other; and second, that that thicker part can either be on your right hand or your left, depending how you turned it. Which i seriously doubt is currently on anyone’s mind when they use any iOS device. But apparently it would be a really great innovation and no new iPhone is complete without it. I guess you can easily find some Samsung Android replica phone with it in no time.
Does it make any ergonomic, economic and design sense? Absolutely none whatsoever. But do the so called “tech experts” want one and complain loudly because they weren’t given one?? Absolutely. Because we all want a hump on our iPhone. It makes all the difference. You will never know when you’ll cross the Sahara desert and it might come in handy.
You also know what “we” want in the new iPhone 5? Fins. Yeah, Fins. Because they really look cool. And we don’t really need anything remotely similar to logic and good design. And it worked so great in the past. And if doesn’t carry fins, then: I. Don’t. Want. It. Even if it is finally called the iPhone 5. Because that’s all that matter. The @€£‰‰§ number on the model name.
Appleinsider (and some other sites that tune to the same song) are trying really hard to get on my “i will never open this site again” list.1
There’s an indescribable article about S.Jobs death certificate and cause of death there, first page and center.. Really. I won’t even provide you with the link as i find it a most definite proof of contempt, plain rudeness and simple lack of politeness. And please don’t go there looking for it.
The man’s dead. Leave him and his family alone. Fucking jerks.
also known as “add its web address to hosts file as localhost” [↩]
I couldn’t care less about this Netflix soap opera but there is something very interesting1 at a company that decides to annoy the hell out of its users with a bump and segmentation of price in July; split it’s business into two separate companies in September; and, after stock value plummeting and much public outcry about the obvious faults of their business division, decides in October that there will be no separation of the business lines nor another spin-off company.
Does the current management spend any time reflecting about the impacts of their decisions? Or is this just the “HP Board Of Directors” management style school taking pupils?
I’m not one to usually embark on bandwagon expressions of sympathy when someone dies. The truth is i didn’t knew Steve Jobs, never met him and i can’t say that he meant anything emotionally to me. So i wont shed any crocodile tears for him publicly. That would be an insult both to him and to those that actually knew him and will miss him.
I once read one of those New Age / Zen style phrases that actually had a content and actually meant something; it went like this: “Don’t be sad when someone dies, rejoice because they have lived”.
So, within this frame of mind, I prefer to focus and honor the contribution given by Steven Jobs to the technology & industrial world and the “common Joe”. I prefer to be glad that he lived and actually helped to shape the computer industry into a “rest of us” friendly industry. And, i believe, that is the “first” of the two teachings that Steve leaves as entrepreneur, technologist and visionary.
For the rest of us
When computer technology was going the IBM way, a dehumanized, CLI-only interface, “you need to be one of us initiates to actually use it“, “centralized mainframes are the future and nobody needs to have a device like this at his home”; Steve and the rest of Apple had the vision that it didn’t had to be this way; that Computers could and should be for the masses: the regular joe that didn’t went to the University or wore a black suit and tie, the household mom that just wanted to do a gift list or a recipe cookbook, the kids with their homework assignments.
The graphic interface was until then nothing more than a lab experience. Neat, but ultimately useless and stuck in some closed lab. Steve had the vision to understand that that technology could allow anyone to use a computer and be productive without actually understanding what was below; and that they didn’t or should need to know that. And it did. It truly did. Technology to the masses, a computer in every home, creativity flourishing everywhere. The popularization of the Graphical Interface, the knowledge that you could just pick up a funky looking piece of plastic called mouse and drag things around on a metaphorical desktop, or draw pictures like you were holding a pencil was magnificent. It changed the world around us and the future to come.
Apple wasn’t ultimately successful in bringing these “gifts” to the large masses of the world though. Apple wasn’t ready, Steve wasn’t ready, mistakes and blunders were made. It’s easy in hindsight to point out the mistakes done by those pioneers, but they didn’t had the accumulated knowledge that us XXI Century citizens have, thanks of course to the same technology that they were designing, building and selling. But every other competitor around then, every other IT company that tried to built something to the masses knew then that if they were to succeed in that business they needed to go the Apple way, the easy-to-use GUI interface with its metaphorical desktop and its faithful companion, the mouse.
And that is the first “gift” that Steve brought us. That in a such complicated world as Software and Computers you should strive for Simplicity, Ease of Use, Focus and Clarity on the task at hand. “Gazillion” buttons and options and complicated and endless menus and submenus or “preferences windows” are good on paper and for geeky engineers1 but not for the “rest of us”. If you want to reach to the masses, then that’s the only, and best, way.
Race for quality
The second “gift” Steve brought to IT business world, was a even more different-thinking one. In a industry where every one competes on low cost and crappy hardware, where the quality of the product is measured by random specs announced on a packaging box but where none of them actually work together, where everyone assumes as normal that you should replace your computer every 18 or 24 months (at best), where everyone is too afraid to scare some client aways and so pack every product with every ancient port or subsystem available in the most un-ergonomic way possible; in such a business, Apple was the only one that had the courage to stand up and say We will not make crappy products that we are ashamed of selling. And that, amazingly, was a breakthrough statement for most.
Back in a 2008,2 Steve said this: “We don’t know how to make a $500 computer that’s not a piece of junk; our DNA will not let us do that.” Now here is something amazing and that you don’t see often. A company that chooses not to go to the “hot spot” on their industry because they don’t believe that they can do a good work on it and refuse to do a bad one. If only all companies were like this.
Steve called computers “a bicycle for the mind”; i really like that definition as that is how i feel about computers: a mental training and workout tool. When you build a product with so many possibilities and uses, then don’t run to the bottom. Don’t settle for the cheap commodity status. Someone might make a quick dollar from it, but it doesn’t have to be you. Go for a goal. Do products for “someone” not just a vague “consumer target” or “research group”. Design a computer for the graphic artists; or for engineers; or for household parents. Choose a target for (from?) your vision and do a product that they need to have. That improves their life, their productivity, their leisure. Build with quality, design “i care with you” on your products. Try to think like your customer to figure out where you are making them adapt to your product instead of the other way around.
Good ideas spread around
I’m no business man unfortunately. Haven’t had that great idea from where i can start building up. I’ve learned and grown a interest for these aspects of business and usability both by formal education and some experience listening to regular people around me. Currently i’m researching and looking at some completely unrelated features/usability issues and thinking “This current proposal is insane. The common joe can’t, nor should have, to go through these hoops to use this. There has to be a better way, a simpler, more direct way, that allows the regular user to use this product to his benefit with a minimum mental effort. Something my grandmother could use.” And so, i’m looking for it, avoiding the “if everyone proposes or is using this then it must be the only solution” trap. Because it isn’t. And if it is then it’s just wrong. Strive to find a better one.
This mental quest for simplicity and usability i actually learned from using Apple products and seeing as everything was simple and “just works”. When Steve said “for the rest of us” he was talking about the Computer industry, but his approach, his Vision, could and should be applied everywhere. And that’s magical!
So, for these two gifts Steve, thank you. I’m very glad that you have lived.
“Design is largely about making choices. The PC hardware market has historically focused on three factors: low prices, tech specs, and configurability. Configurability is another way of saying that you, the buyer, get a bigger say in the design of your computer. (Bright points out, for example, that Lenovo gives you the option of choosing which Wi-Fi adaptor goes into your laptop.)
Apple offers far fewer configurations. Thus MacBooks are, to most minds, subjectively better-designed — but objectively, they’re more designed. Apple makes more of the choices than do PC makers.”
I remembered this text again when i was playing with the UI mess that is Windows 8.
How to access the “classical control panel” on Windows 8 if you’re on the “classical Desktop”?
Go to Start Menu
Result: Enter Metro UI
Select Control Panel
Result: Enter Control Panel on Metro UI
Scroll down, select “More Settings”
Result: Enter Classical UI Control Panel
It’s not that Microsoft can’t design good UI, it’s just that they refuse to choose one solution among their several options.1
Just as a final nitpicking, Windows “Classical UI” is traditionally Blue and Grey. Metro UI on the other hand is based on a strong Green. And then they overlap. Or exchange sequentially. Or have some combined parts of both on the same window. It’s a feast for the eyes i tell you… [↩]
“That is the mindset of the U.S. Government and its followers expressed as vividly as can be: we can spy on, imprison, or even kill anyone we want — including citizens — without any due process or any evidence shown, simply because we will tell you they are Bad People, and you will trust us and believe us. That was absolutely the principal justification offered by Bush followers for everything their Leader did — I know they’re Terrorists because My President said so, so no courts or evidence is required – and that is now exactly the mindset of Obama loyalists to justify what he does[…].
That mentality — he’s a Terrorist because my Government said he’s one and I therefore don’t need evidence or trials to subject that evidence to scrutiny — also happens to be the purest definition of an authoritarian mentality, the exact opposite of the dynamic that was supposed drive how the country functioned (Thomas Jefferson: “In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution“). I trust My President and don’t need to see evidence or have due process is the slavish mentality against which Jefferson warned; it’s also one of the most pervasive ones in much of the American citizenry, which explains a lot.”
I would love if just for a day, most of the “tech-world blogosphere” that has million of websites and views on endless Mac vs Linux vs Windows discussions or other insignificant issue, would read this and republish a bit of it on their blogs. Maybe then some of it would reach the American population1 who stands idly by this kind of deterioration of their Republic and Human Rights.
and us Europeans too, we are not so far from this nightmarish behaviour… [↩]
Apparently We, the US Gov, don’t need to have any proof. We just need the President to say so.
Never mind the Constitution.
I’m “sure” that there is plenty of evidence proving that Anwar Awlaki had blood on his hands. A judicial case proving it would be swell, but, because we trust Nobel Peace Prizer Winner Barack Obama so much, can we just get a simple document? A powerpoint presentation?1 You know, just a draft of something stating that he was heard discussing something, somebody on the field identified him, his communications were intercepted and something on it was self-incriminating?
Just something that the rest of us can look upon and say, okay, the US Gov. is not just randomly killing his citizens without due process on the orders of its President.
or even better a Keynote presentation, they are much stronger in the reality distortion field… [↩]
There’s a comic supplement of a portuguese daily paper which carries the motto “if it didn’t actually happened, it could have”. Somehow that was my first thought regarding this comic and the present state of the Patents system in the US and, therefore, most of the IT world.
After i finally installed Vmware Fusion 4 yesterday, today i installed another Windows 8 Developer Preview.1
After a one hour tortuous labyrinthic experience with it, i can safely bet this with you. When it is launched it will come with so many user options to revert behaviour and appearance features to “classical mode – windows 7 style” that it might as well simply come with 2 options on the install screen:
windows 8 UI mess of 2 systems;
old, sane, “the one you’re accustomed to”, Windows 7 UI;
Yes. I know it’s a developer/alpha preview. And again, i just played with it for an hour, and i intend to try it out much longer during the forthcoming year. But if i think by the eyes of the “regular joe”, the folks around me that always ask me to install things like printer drivers or that really don’t understand the whole concept of a file system and user Home folders, then, by those eyes, it’s going to be a slaughter…
Prepare for another “Vista leap” kind of thing. The one where folks ask to downgrade to Windows7 even before leaving the store. Guess the pattern for Microsoft now is a nearly-a-decade dominating OS, with several aborted trials in between.
previous was running on VirtualBox and VB really doesn’t work that well… [↩]
The charts above, from Horace Dediu at Asymco are amazing and pretty much a paper written proof of what everyone already feels instinctively. Microsoft is in deep trouble, their “evil empire” is crumbling and they haven’t manage to grow any enthusiasm or momentum (upwards i mean) in a long time.1 There is a lot more reflection on Asymcos original post so be sure to check it out.
The obvious joke at Steve Ballmer in the title of this post could have been forgotten or not used at all. But then again it’s just too easy to aim at him. That’s what you get for being a blind arrogant incompetent jerk most of your stage time.
and no, i’m still playing with Windows 8 but i don’t think that it will save the ship. In fact i’m starting to think it will just sink it even more, because it tries to be everything to everyone while failing at it for every one. But let me play with it a little more… [↩]
“Update: I have been bombarded by readers asking to make this request into a petition to present to HP, so a poll has been added after the letter. Please indicate your desire to have HP revive either the TouchPad line or all webOS products. I have been promised that HP executives will see this petition.”
1000 battery charge cycles and counting. One month before “he” actually turns 3 years old. My faithful work tool, entertainer and “companion” if such a term can be used for a machine. But it endures with me, on my ramblings on the state of the world, of tech, of my country. It allows my work pursuits, my social chatting with distant friends and the satisfaction of my endless curiosity.
A purchase from which i have absolutely no regrets. As a gift “he” received last week a RAM upgrade. It is now carrying 8 GB due to the “unofficial” firmware upgrade from Apple and no problem whatsoever. Only wish SSD drives would be more affordable, but then again, i’ve been wishing that since i’ve purchased this little fellow.