Archive for the ‘General Thoughts’ Category

Gruber on Mobile Phone Keyboards

July 7th, 2009

Gruber, writing about what he calls the Apple Way (emphasis added):

Are software touchscreen keyboards good for everyone? Certainly not. But this is another aspect of the Apple Way. Apple tries to make things that many people love, not things that all people like. The key is that they’re not afraid of the staunch criticism, and often outright derision, that comes with breaking conventions.


That the iPhone — or specifically its software touchscreen keyboard — does not appeal to everyone is not a problem. Nothing appeals to everyone. Even if you try to make something that appeals to everyone by adding every single clamored-for feature, you wind up with something like Windows that does not appeal to people with a taste for the elegant and refined.

And so Apple demonstrate mastery of yet another classic showmanship tactic: know your audience.

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On Expectations

June 8th, 2009

Comedian Louis C. K.’s piss-take at human behavior when our expectations are not met.

Although he amusingly paints the behavior of folks annoyed with unmet expectations with absurdity, his insights actually led me down a different path of reflection: the importance of the art of managing expectations.

Nearly any undesirable situation can be dealt with more gracefully, with the application of effective expectation management.

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Introducing the Palm Pre: Emerging From Hype, It’s Now Time for the Pre to Shake Out the Kinks

June 5th, 2009

Thankfully, the Pre has been received with some great reviews, and it’s truly something that its team can be proud of. But now that the mysterious device is becoming available to the masses, the nitpicking will begin (which is actually a great thing, incidentally).

From Walt Mossberg’s review of the Palm Pre:

In fact, during my testing, one of my downloads from the App Catalog caused my Pre to crash disastrously — all my email, contacts and other data were wiped out, and the phone was unable to connect to the Sprint network or Wi-Fi. Palm conceded the catastrophe was due to problems it still has getting the App Catalog to work with the phone’s internal memory, and explained that this is one reason it hasn’t widely distributed the developer tools. [Emphasis added]

Now, in all fairness, the Pre is a brand new device whose software was written afresh, from the ground up. While this makes it very modern, its WebOS software stack has not as yet been run through any ringers, and it is most definitely a very complicated stack of software. As such, stories like this do not surprise me. In fact, I’m actually anticipating a number more to surface in the coming months. I do not say this disparagingly, by the way — it’s simply a very ambitious piece of kit that Palm are putting to market.

My greatest “doomsday scenario” fear for the Pre is that some disastrous bug in its immensely complex Synergy API is found that starts eating up or corrupting people’s address books all throughout the cloud.

O, Palm — my fingers are crossed that you’ll find (and patch!) any Synergy bugs before the rest of the world does.

And, by the way: congratulations!

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Exploring Google Wave as a Social-Enabled OpenDoc

June 2nd, 2009

In thinking about Google Wave since last week’s announcement—and thinking through its extendable document model (particularly its Gadgets API)—I began to realize that it reminded me of something I’d seen before; something from the past.

Then I realized what that something is: a modern re-imagination of Apple’s abandoned OpenDoc component software technology that has been social-enabled and lives in “the cloud.”

Read more…

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The Running Man Prophecy Scorecard

May 30th, 2009

So after a false start a couple of nights ago, I’m finally getting to watching the 1987 Schwarzenegger classic, The Running Man, which I believe it fair to describe as a movie that foretold modern culture’s infatuation with so-called “Reality TV”. For those unfamiliar with it, the movie is basically Survivor meets ancient Roman gladiatorial event.

Credits on that one go specifically to Stephen King, who wrote the book upon which the movie was based.

I would simply like to add that — apart from predicting the whole “Reality TV” fad of our time 15 years in advance — the very first sentences of the movie’s opening titles happen to read:

By 2017 the world economy has collapsed. Food, natural resources, and oil are in short supply.

One dead-on prediction is enough, thank you.

General Thoughts