Annoucing my own SmartPhone

MG Seigler must have missed my announcement about the smartphone I am creating (since everyone is nowadays).  Thats ok for now I guess – he covers this thoughts on an Amazon phone below. I have to agree with him though why would Amazon try and do it alone.

The Kindle Phone:

The Kindle Phone:

So it looks like Amazon is entering the smartphone space as well — or at least thinking about it, if Tim Culpan, Olga Kharif and Ashlee Vance’s sources are correct.

And they likely are. This is the obvious next step after the Android-powered Kindle Fire. The one glaring problem would be patents — as in, Amazon likely has little or no mobile patents — but the article suggests that Amazon is already hard at work on resolving that potential roadblock.

The entire time I’m reading this news, I’m thinking: if they’re both being honest, doesn’t it seem obvious that Google and Amazon should team up in this endeavor? Think about it: Amazon’s strength is content and distribution — two of Google’s glaring weaknesses. Google strength is in mobile software/services and post-Motorola deal, mobile patents. Both have some hardware experience now, but neither yet holds a candle to Apple in that regard. But perhaps with their combined expertise…

And yet, it will never happen. While the two companies may not outright hate each other, post-Kindle Fire, they’re clearly at odds with one another. Google also just moved more forcefully into the developer cloud space that Amazon owns. And there are about a dozen other rivalry overlaps.

A joint effort by Amazon and Google to make a truly killer phone makes a lot of sense to me on paper. Sadly, that’s where it will stay. 

(Via parislemon.)

Mr. Mobile

This morning I walk into Starbucks for my quad Americano. Another man walks in behind me. He is in his mid thirties, very fit and dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. He looks like he is perhaps in town for a sailing event. He walks in with a large computer bag and a canvas tote. I grab my coffee and sit down to check my email. This gentleman who I will refer to as Mr. Mobile, grabs a nearby seat and opens his computer bag and pulls out what looks to be a large fairly new Toshiba 17″ laptop. Next he grabs the transmitter for his mouse and attaches it to the side before placing that on his lap. He grabs the power supply and plugs that into the wall and into the back of this machine. Lastly an external USB number keypad. When everything appears to be ready he pushes the power button and goes to order his coffee. He orders his drink – something somewhat complicated – and comes back to the seat 5 minute later to check in on things. His laptop is still booting up. He goes to the coffee bar and fixes his drink and returns. Still in process. He watches for a few seconds and decides to use the restroom. At first I was thinking “hey buddy someone needs to watch this stuff” but then I figured who could carry this all. After some time the man returns and sits down. I figure now he is ready to work – important things to get done. Mr. reaches into his large canvas tote and pull’s out a large flat board like device with a built in mousepad and places it on his lap. He relocates all of his computer accouterments to this plank and opens his email.

I a look at my watch – it has been 17 minutes since he walked in and started this process.

No new email apparently for him. So I am assuming he is going to get to the real work. Perhaps a novel, some programming maybe? Nope. Facebook.

I go back to my reading on my iPhone, enjoying the coffee (sorry Marco). I hear a rustling. Mr Mobile is packing up. Ceremoniously recreating his startup procedure in reverse. Mr Mobile was at the coffee shop less than 28 minutes and perhaps had 4-5 min of computing time.

This is exactly the opposite of my preference.

  1. I like to travel light. The more I travel the more this is becoming crucial to me. Carrying all that weight associated with all of that gear would make me crazy. I prefer to bring my 11″ MacBook Air or iPad with me for short work sessions outside of the office.
  2. If I am running into a public space to work or even read, I want to do it. I can not wait forever for a machine to boot up.
  3. Why bring the extra pieces with you – the portable table the mouse and the external keypad. Bring what you need and not the kitchen sink.

As I rework my computing strategy it is more about what can I get done and where. There will be sometimes I am sure that I will not be able to do everything. But I am no longer willing to bring it all with me for that off chance I need to do something odd.

Announcing nothing !

Is it me or does it seem odd that after the announcement of the Microsoft Surface the excitement I read most about is the integrated kickstand and the keyboard?

I am glad to see Microsoft trying to do something different. Competion can force other innovations.  I am also glad the Surface is going to be built by Microsoft instead of left to partners.  But I find it incredibly hard to annouce a product and leave out the what I think are the critical things.  MG Seigler says it best below.

No Price, No Date, No Apps, No Problem. No Wait — Problem.

Feature bloat vs. graphics bloat

Apple’s release of the new 15″ Retina MacBook Pro by many has been called a thing of beauty. I have yet to see one and I am sure it will make my eyes envious. I am sure Mac application developers will be working quite hard in the coming days and weeks to improve the images in their applications to take advantage of the absurd [1] amount pixels.

This got me thinking about size in general of overall applications.

When the Retina iPhone was released developers were quickly forced to update their applications to this new format to make them look decent. The apps did grow in size purely from the digital assets alone but it seemed insignificant overall. The same thing was true of the new iPad (3rd generation). This caused for much larger applications to the point that some who were comfortably running on a 16 gig models ran out of space. I think this was compounded with the release of the new textbooks that were created in iBooks Author. Another example was in newstand and other magazine applications. Previous magazine downloads were approximately 200–300 megabyte range. After receiving retina graphics treatments some grew to a gigabyte or more.

The same will be true of the applications for the MacBook Pro. I suspect size will not be quiet the issue but it is telling the direction we are going. Applications are growing much larger to provide a better reading experience and take advantage of these amazing displays without functionality changing that much.

I was thinking about this because I remember watching versions of popular applications like Microsoft Word, grow and grow in size. In this case it was not because they were making them beautiful, easier to read on screen or better for the user but because they were attempting to throw everything including the kitchen sink into these applications. In my opinion this resulted in a lot of bloated applications. But, in this instance it was all code based – functionality. After using Word for years (before switching to Byword exclusively), there are still a zillion things I do not know how to do with the application. You learn what you need to know and all the rest becomes noise. Somewhere down the line you may need to look up another function and learn how to use it for a particular document but that “new” thing usually does not become part of your application vocabulary.

The choice is clear for me. If my applications are getting larger make them better looking. Make them more useable. Take advantage of the technology. Do one thing well. Don’t grow your application by adding feature after feature into it. If it has to grow make it be as beautiful on screen as it can be so that I enjoy working in it even longer.


  1. I mean absurdly amazing !  ↩

Three strikes and your out

How long before we will be saying R.I.P RIM? In the last year RIM has made what I consider to be at three major errors.

  1. Play book with no email: If there is one thing that I think was universally accepted at one time is that RIM has made its name early on in the email space. Given that – it blows my mind that they would ship the iPad Killer, also known as the Playbook, without native support for email intially. You could get it but only by tethering to a phone. FAIL #1
  2. RIM 10: Last week RIM made a big announcement about the new OS for Blackberry devices called RIM 10. Perhaps this is going to be revolutionary (I doubt it) but I found it hard to believe that during the conference they provided developers with not only crippled cell phones (no wifi or calling capability) but they did not even have the new OS on it. Just a few new API calls. In fact no one knows that type of hardware of functionality the new phones will have. But here are a few so you can start developing for something invisible. FAIL #2
  3. Buy me a developer: To get developers on board they have instutued a new program that will guarantee you $10,000 in sales for the first year. There are a few simple stipulations. The application must be certified by Blackberry which makes sense so there are not a bunch of “Hello World” apps out there. If your application only creates $2,000 worth of sales, RIM will make up the difference to get you whole to the $10,000. On one side of things I could see some merits to a program like this. Its a incentive to keep existing developers and brings new ones to the platform. But I think it will fail. If the platform is good I think developers would want to develop for it without the incentive. Developers that already have strong apps I imagine will make more than $10,000 so that is not a big deal. But even for new developers to RIM OS I would imagine that it would cost more than $10,000 in labor. So perhaps you are breaking even. Buying a developer to move people to your platform never sounds like a good idea. FAIL #3

Mexican internet provider offers free Wi-Fi access in exchange for dog poop

Here is an interesting way to recycle waste for energy.  Even if it is really odd.  The short video is in Spanish but worth viewing.  I think my favorite part is at 1:27 in the video where the guy appears to be desperately trying to get his dog to poop by shaking him.

Mexican internet provider offers free Wi-Fi access in exchange for dog poop:

Asmita Prasad:

Picking up your dog’s “business” is not an appealing prospect for owners though this new initiative by called DBB might be able to lure people into cleaning up after their pooches. The new campaign promises that for every deposit made in a special box, the surrounding area will receive free Wi-Fi for a certain period. Created by Mexican internet company Terra, the initiative looks to prompt people to keep public parks clean while generating free Wi-Fi services.

And the program has something for the eco nuts too. According to Terra, the DBB has the capacity to convert feces receptacles into methane digesters that would allow these poop collection bins to generate electricity that can be reused to power lights etc. in the very parks they are installed in.

Via: Inhabitat

(Via Designbuzz)

terra-poo-wifi

Marley

This weekend I had the opportunity to watch a new film called Marley about the life of Bob Marley. As a fan of reggae I have seen quite a few short movies on his life and music. This movie is in theaters as well as on iTunes now. The film is probably the most extensive film I have seen in a long time and weighs in a little over 2 hours 24 min. The film was put out by Magnolia Pictures and executive produced by Ziggy Marley and Chris Blackwell of Island records.

The documentatry is shot beautifully, combining current intereviews and past footage together. Of all of the stories I have seen or read on Marley this is the one that describes the mans lifes the best. Starting in his early years as a youth and the struggles he had with a white father he really did not know, all the way through his career and how those things in the beginning which caused problems brought him full circle. Wanting to escape Trenchtown he turned to music as a way out. Later in his life he came back to Jamica to help reunify the country even if it was just symbolically.

As the film unfolds you can also see the transformation of the man through his words and religion to something much greater. Marley was far from a perfect man, having 11 children with 7 partners. But the importance of his music seemed to outweigh any wrong doings.

Bob died in 1981 at the early age of 36 from Melanoma cancer. His music touched many and continues today as a powerful reminder of what an impact music can have on our lives. As a musician myself there is one line from his music that has always rang true for me -“one good thing about music, is when it hits you feel no pain”.[1]

This movie is worth it !

Idiot Statement of the Day

Rush Limbaugh Says Obama’s Minions Hacked Siri:

Rush Limbaugh’s iPhone 4S has been hacked. Maybe it’s Obama, maybe it’s those pesky Anonymous guys, or even that teenager down the street who just wants the lulz, but one thing for certain is that Rush Limbaugh, one of America’s most polarizing political figures, had some crazy stuff happen to him while using Siri on his drive to work this week, and he thinks the main culprit is Obama’s minions trying to give him the spooks.

(Via Cult of Mac)

One word: Douchebag

Violated Trust

Everyone has trusted people and sources in their life they go for information. A recommendation by a friend, a family member etc. You seek out places and people who have reliable and preferably unbiased knowledge For years people have placed Consumer Reports on that list as well. This was really where Consumer Reports made their mark. I need a new air conditioner–> check out Consumer Reports. I am looking for a new car–> check out Consumer Reports. But what do you do when a trusted source goes away?

Over the last several years I have seen a general decline in the magazine. Products that were reviewed were outdated or not available. Testing seemed to be different – although I can not tell you what changed. It felt different.

A year ago Consumer Reports tested the iPhone 4 and would not give it a recommendation due to antenna issues. This became know as “Antenna Gate”. While your particular issues with the phone varied based on your location and case and grip it was deemed unacceptable. As a result of the report there was a lot of coverage and PR generated by the story. Some accurate some a little less so. Regardless of the report I believe was the biggest selling phone.

A couple of weeks ago Apple released the new iPad (3rd generation). It has chip in it with a Quad Core GPU and a beautiful retina display. A few people noticed that it could run a little warmer than the previous model. This was quickly picked up by the magazine who did a review of the product and basically said it runs HOT. In fact HOT was mentioned several times during the review. It does run warmer in certain situations (none that I have ever experienced) but it is not nearly as HOT as my 15″ MacBook Pro used to run. That machine ran so HOT that if you were wearing shorts you ended up with a burn on your thighs.

9to5mac posted an article titled “Consumer Reports: Forget what we said before, new iPad is the best we’ve ever seen” – while not a retraction it certainly backs away from the initial comments that made all the press.

Responding to consumer comments on the new device, and to coverage from other reviewers, we also carried out further tests that confirmed the new iPad is warmer in its hottest spots than the iPad 2. But we didn’t find those temperatures to be cause for concern. In addition, further tests of observations we made that the new iPad was not recharging when playing a demanding, intense video game, showed that the problem was limited to times when the device was playing a demanding game with the screen fully bright.

Again more press was generated from this statement. But the cynic in me feels that this was more of a PR ploy and page view grab for the website. So is this still a trustworthy site? Was this merely an attempt to generate ad revenue from the web site? Did they get a lot of new subscriptions? Did they violate your trust? What do you do when that person or service makes you not want to go to them anymore?

I know based on the the earlier points I made I am no longer a customer.