Tag Archives: History

“Courage”, Innovation, and Headphone Jacks

 

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-4-22-08-pmA word about “Courage”:
Phil. Seriously? At this particular date, with all of its significance, the word “courage” applied to the way people use their $600 telephone is a mind-jarring mis-use of English. Is this just another case of pandering to the drama of Ellipticals? They can deal with it. It’s just a freakin’ jack!!

The crazed, emotional rants in advance of the official product announcements were generally from people complaining that they don’t want to give up their wired headphones. You don’t have to give up your headphones. You lose the jack.

Read the details people.

  • The iPhone 7 comes with Apple lightning connector “Earpods”—you connect them to your phone with a “lightning” connector. (The same connector used for your power adapter.)
  • Apple also includes a little “dongle” to connect your current headphones using the Lightning port.
  • This only applies to iPhone 7 and newer Apple devices going forward.
  • For now, you can’t charge your phone and listen at the same time. Wow. Big inconvenience.

iMac 1998—What’s a Big Inconvenience?? The first friggin’ iMac was a Big Inconvenience!
The first iMac was the first Macintosh with USB connectors. Printers? Scanners? Modems? Hey, none of the old stuff worked!! You had to buy all kinds of new cables, adapters, and peripherals. USB was brand new. And mice? Thank you, Jonny Ive, who designed this crazy ROUND mouse (which became known as “the Hockey Puck“) that spawned a whole industry of replacements and add-ons because it was so useless. AND there was no floppy drive to install all the new drivers!! Gone! All those boxes and stacks of 3.5” floppies were now about as useful as…well, nothing. We didn’t call that “courage”, we called that “Steve Jobs fixing Apple”.


screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-4-22-51-pmAirPods?
As for the new wireless earbuds, airbuds, EarPods, AirPods, whatever…those beautifully designed Dyson-style, GI-Joe sized, mini-hairdryers will only work for people who can put them, and keep them in their ears. I can’t. Love the technology. Hate the shape.

Here I am giving away another brilliant idea again: “Pod Shapers”, a special adapter for the AirPod to hold it on your head because it won’t stay in your ear. Especially for the Boomer market, available in a range of fluorescent colors to make them little buggers easier to find!

To The Whiners—If you really hate Apple roping you into its eco-system and “forcing” you to go wireless and buy airbuds, EarPods…whatever, then go on, buy a Samsung. Just, make sure you also buy a fire extinguisher. 😎

—TechWite

 

That VR is so hot right now.

VR3


VR is HOT right now. Do you know why? You probably see those goofy goggles and imagine some gamer shooting aliens. That is WAY off. The whole VR world has changed. TechWite helps you understand how.


  • “Old VR” – Think of Google Maps “Street View”—flat, boring…
    • 2D – although you can “move”, the images have no depth.
    • Viewed through a porthole – big screen, little screen, it’s still like a submarine.
    • Controlled manually – by a keyboard, joystick, or game controller. It kind of works, but it’s not like being there.
    • Still images create the 360 degree “dead” world
    • No interaction with anything “in” the images
  • “New VR” – Think of Star Trek TNG’s “Holodeck”—mind blowing, you are there!
    • 3D – What you see has depth, you can see “around” objects
    • It Devours your vision – that’s what those goofy headsets are for- everything you see is part of the VR world. Add stereo sound, and that’s why it’s called “immersive”. You are in it!
    • Controlled by your movement – Turn your head to the right, you see what is on your right in the VR world. Look up, look down, ditto. This alone is a bit of a shock the first time you experience it!
    • Content can be 3D 360 degree video – Want to go for a helicopter ride over Manhattan? Be sure to hold on to something before you look down!

That’s just the beginning. Size, gravity, time – they can’t stop you. Examples:

  • RTVR – Like drones? Be one. Experience flying, in Real Time Virtual Reality
  • Remember Fantastic Voyage? You are now a tiny submarine inside a living human body. Explore the arteries and veins and organs. You see this, and experience it.

There’s so much to learn about this, to think about. Fortunately, the Tech media is all over it. (Links for you, below.) Start reading about it. But no words can do this justice, you must experience it. Get some Google Goggles, get the New York Times app for your iPhone or Android, and download one of the demos. Then take some time to imagine the possibility of experiencing the impossible.

—TW

via TidBits On the iPhone, Virtual Reality Is Unofficially Real

via AirWatch Blog  5 Epic Examples of Business Using Virtual Reality

via Google Filed Patent For Injecting A Device Directly Into Your Eyeball To Improve Vision – Forbes —Yes, another suggestion that we are not that far from “The Matrix”.

via Augmented and Virtual Reality: A New Vision – Deloitte CIO – WSJ

via Virtual Reality Therapy: Treating The Global Mental Health Crisis | TechCrunch.

via Samsung Announces Gear 360, a New Virtual Reality Camera – The New York Times.

 

Apple, Hogwarts of Tech, w/o Headmaster Jobs, no longer a “growth” stock??

via Looking for Signs That Apple’s Runaway Growth Is Waning – The New York Times.

Sure, Steve Jobs called the iPad a “magical device”, and if you listen to the press, Apple is the Hogwarts of Technology. Here’s the old and new evidence compiled by the Ministry of Magic:

  • “Reality Distortion Field” – The perception-bending mind trick of the late Headmaster, Steve Jobs, notorious for making Apple employees, industry pundits, the press, and anyone else who was close enough to listen, believe that something, some new product, some new idea, that wasn’t that hot, was really going to be the next big thing. 
  • “Halo Effect” – Attributed to the iPod, said to lift the sales of Apple’s other products, as if riding a broom, making even the Ron Weasley of the corporate desktop—the humble Macintosh—look good!
  • “The Apple Effect” – Now, after decades of attributing rises and falls in the whole stock market to Apple’s price, and the company’s “inability to maintain the pace of innovation“, the analysts have coined this magical influence over the stock market, the “Apple Effect”.

Do not doubt that Apple is responsible for the rise and fall of the stock market. The New York Times has a cool graphic to prove it! (See Big Data Analysis, below.) I guess if you’re Tim Cook, it’s better than being “beleaguered”.

theAppleEffectNYT

This is bad news though, because Apple stock has traded down this past week, causing the pundits and analysts to waste lots of ink (or these days, electrons) pontificating on the unlikely future of the most successful business in history. Oh, gosh, is it no longer a “growth stock”? Is it now become one of those boring old “value stocks”? This is a strategic question that must be answered! (At least for someone at Goldman Sachs.)

But does it matter to most of us? When Apple stock is selling at $100+ a share? Can Amir Average afford a few hundred shares when he is still not in the “one per cent?” Is it Growth? Or is it Value? And does it really matter?

You won’t hear this often from TechWite, but, I DON’T KNOW.

-Techwite

Apple and Ive Flat Design Assault

via Former Apple Design Gurus Criticize Apple’s Current Designs.

via “Flat Design”? Destroying Apple’s Legacy… or Saving It.

Apple-hockey-puck-mouse

Wake up, Tim! Many years ago, Apple used a great deal of research and creative thought to revolutionize, popularize, and consumerize “Personal Computing” by creating interface rules and guidelines that made most Macintosh applications work consistently, regardless if the application was written by Apple, Microsoft, or one of the hundreds of other software companies that have passed into obscurity at the hands of change and monopoly. (Remember WordPerfect? pfs:Write? ThinkTank? Aldus Pagemaker?) It wasn’t always that way.

The power of this innovation is lost today because—like so much of technology—it is taken for granted. Apple designers, most notably Jonathan Ive, have placed form far above function. The result is inconsistency in the interface, hidden interface elements, huge assumptions about users knowledge, or perseverance, or desire to explore, and the capacity of users to remember invisible elements and features.

If you struggle figuring out how to do something on your iPhone or iPad or Mac, especially something that ought to be simple and obvious, then you’ve encountered the new design philosophy. Learn more about how it ought to be – read the articles linked at the top of this article. And, heck, you could tell Apple what you think! (Maybe they’ll hear you.)

http://www.apple.com/feedback/

Happy Birthday Windows 95

I Love Working on a Macintosh.

Does that sound weird? After all these years? To me it doesn’t. But to people who have never worked on Macs—or for some reason that I cannot fathom—have worked on Macs but just not liked it, let’s face it, it sounds weird. Because even in this enlightened new millennium, most computer users use Windows, and sure, they eventually get work done, but honestly, how many Windows users love working on Windows?? Seriously? Even the geekiest of Windows Weenies, the hottest Windows programmers, the most talented of Windows technicians, how many “love” working with Windows? I’d wager, very few. Very, very few. And Mac users? When they switch, when they get their first Mac, what do they say? You’ve probably heard it too: “I love my Mac!”

This is not just hearsay or advertising. I’ve been in this business so long. For years people would tell me their sob stories about their Windows computers, their malware, viruses, their crashes, and slow downs, and on and on. As a consultant I refused work on Windows. There was plenty of work; Windows is a job-creation-machine. But to me, it was always the same nightmare, helping with the same stupid problems. It was no challenge; it was an affront to my creativity. It was “stone knives and bear skins”. Friends, relatives, and potential clients whose business I refused all got the same answer: “Why don’t you get a Mac?”

The price difference was often the reason, and that has diminished over the years, but even deeper, the answer, in the old pri-mac-evil days was pretty basic: “If I get a Mac, who will help me when I have a problem?”

And this was true. With Windows, you could have your brother, father, sister, friend, colleague at work, TOTAL STRANGER, or homeless person on the corner help. The power of ubiquitous monopoly meant that nearly everyone knew someone who could help them reboot their their Pee Cee, format the hard drive, and re-install Windows. (Which was the standard process to fix 95% of the issues with Windows – which, by the way, is why it was called “Windows 95”).

Telling people, “If you get a Mac you won’t have all those problems,” was not enough. Apple support in those days was notoriously hit-or-miss. Apple had a 90 day warranty! (I kid you not! Ninety days!!) There was no Apple Store. There were no “Geniuses”. And Apple had yet to launch a convincing and brilliant Mac vs. PC advertising campaign.

So Microsoft helped. By releasing Windows 95. Ten years after the original Mac, Microsoft embraced the interface so completely, copied the Mac OS so totally, that in the end they won over more users to Apple. “Windows 95” legitamized the Macintosh just as Apple was suffering the “Time of Darkness.”

And here again we have to acknowledge a strategic vision that moved Apple. Maybe it was Steve Jobs—he always gets the credit, for all I know it was Phil Schiller—or someone else at Apple, but they built a comprehensive strategy to address all those objections, one at a time, piece by piece.

Over time, it started happening, they all started to get Macs. For awhile I helped some of my clients move their stuff, but Apple had the tools, and the Apple Store, and the Geniuses available, and soon there wasn’t much work there, and that was okay. It was satisfying to have all these people tell me, “I finally got a Mac! You were so right! It works great!” These days, Macs have become so mainstream, so accepted, so successful, that I don’t even hear that anymore.

Being a Mac user isn’t special or unique. It’s just a good choice. You’d hardly congratulate someone for buying a Mac any more than you would congratulate someone for buying a decent car. And…most people nowadays even understand and accept the emotional attachment that people have for their Macs.

And on this important anniversary, I just want to say, thanks Microsoft. Happy Birthday Windows 95. I love working on a Mac!

Apple Flashback 2002: The Paradox of The Steve

Apple Stores and Employees Under Fire

John Manzione, publisher of “a webzine that professes to ‘Celebrate The Mac!'” writes some OP ED about his less than enchanting experiences with staff at Apple Stores, including comments such as: “Steve Jobs lives in an Ivory Tower and doesn’t hear his customer’s frustrations.” Duh.

This is the paradox of THE STEVE. To keep Apple (in the current non-specific meaningless politic-speak vernacular) ‘moving forward’, Steve can’t look back at the slow Macs that won’t run Oh Ess Ten, or the hundreds and thousands of dollars of peripherals we own that don’t work with TEN, or the frustrations of the HUGE BASE of existing Mac users, at the cool OS 9 stuff that is missing from EX, or some of the really stupid ways that EX bumbles around its interface.

Steve can’t look back. He has to look forward. It’s his job to get us excited about the UNIQUE design of the new iMac, at the freedom and ease of wireless networking, and at the awesome capability of FREE software such as iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto, and iDVD. His is a forward-looking perspective reflecting the words of OUR PRESIDENT (Bush II), ‘I think we agree, the past is over.’

From UnpredictableMac Issue #41, March, 2002,
“It’s a new millennium.”

Apple Flashback 1996: “Powered by Macintosh”

Email_from_Guy

Once upon a time, a long, long, time ago, Apple was a renegade. Corporate IT departments hated Apple because Macintoshes were different. Steve Jobs had been ousted from his own company, and Apple was floundering under a slow parade of unimaginative leadership. The media, smelling blood as Apple stumbled, piled on like a swarming mass of leeches on a fallen water buffalo, never mentioning Apple without also using the word, “beleaguered”.

“Evangelist” Guy Kawasaki, using a new and powerful marketing weapon called “the Internet”, and assisted by a ragtag band of Mac enthusiasts known as “EvangeListas”,  promoted the Mac and kept the spark of life in Apple until the eventual return of “the Steve” and the introduction of Apple’s premier “Think Different” product—the first iMac. Those of you who have only been using Macs for the last ten years or so may find this hard to believe, because Apple is such a successful consumer electronics company and its products are so awesome, but it nearly died, and that’s the truth.

I was an Evangelista, and now and then one of my ideas appeared on Guy’s Evangelist. We fought the good fight!

MadeOn_lime.jpg

Microsoft Flashback 2001: “What’s in a Name?”

“Internet Explorer 3”

Microsoft used to play version number leap-frog with other software vendors. Why? Because everybody knows: the HIGHER VERSION NUMBER is BETTER SOFTWARE.

Nevermind that “Microsoft Word” went from Version 2 to version 6, it was BETTER than “WordPerfect 5”!

Which is why without ever releasing a Mac web browser before, Microsoft introduced “Internet Explorer” as VERSION 3. Because it was BETTER than Netscape’s current version at the time, you guessed it, “Navigator 2”.

As for their OS’s, Microsoft laughed at IBM’s “OS/2”, which was released after “Windows 3.1”, and then they jumped all the way to “Windows 95”. THEN their marketing department had a few too many martinis at lunch and got SO FULL OF THEMSELVES that they decided they were THOUSANDS of times better than anyone else. The result? “Windows 2000”.

From Unpredictable #12, March 20, 2001

Windows 10? Whither Nine?

What’s in a name?  Windows 10

Ironically and coincidentally—TechWite wrote only yesterday about “What’s in a name?” in relation to our favorite OS,  “TEN”, currently known as “Mavericks” and soon to be called, “Yosemite”.

Hey, Microsoft just announced they’re opening a “Microsoft Store” in Manhattan, about two blocks from—you guessed it—the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue. So now, instead of walking by the empty Microsoft Store with the bored Windows Geniuses at the Bridgewater Commons Mall, you can walk past the empty Microsoft Store with the bored Windows Geniuses on Fifth Avenue. This is just part of Microsoft’s long history of imitation. And they’ve done pretty well with it.

Today the TechWite Twitter feed is inundated, maybe obliterated, with short blather about Microsoft’s BIG preview and announcement of the next version of Windows, known as “10”. Does this sound weirdly familiar?

Microsoft decided to restore the “Start” menu, and “Search”, from the Start menu. They’ve decided that desktop users might prefer an interface that lets them use their keyboard and mice, as they have for the last twenty-five or thirty years, and still get to see those “Live Tiles” so loved by the Twix-snapping Microsoft  Surface (tablet) crowd. And, they’ve even added some nifty features like using multiple Desktops. (I know, Mac people, we’ve had that for years. Just cool it, and let me finish.)

Most of the snarky tweets clogging Twitter are about the version number. You know the current version of Windows is 8, and you know that your Windows computer is at 7, because, seriously, has anyone other than real Windows geeks and BDC Microserfs upgraded to Windows 8?? (The answer I’m looking for here, is “No.”)

Which brings us back to, “Where”, you might ask, “Did ‘NINE’ go?” Hence the blizzard of tweets from the confused twittersphere.

Guys, let’s do a quick review. Everybody knows that a “higher” version number is better than a “lower” version number. Right? So clearly, Microsoft is saying that Windows Ten is going to be WAY better than Windows 8. WAY. What’s the problem people? So they skipped Nine? This is not a big deal!!

Next time: Why you should expect the next iOS release to be number…

What’s in a name? The Oh Ess Ex Files

TEN, TEN, TEN!! OSX!

It just doesn’t work guys! Expecting our brains to look at three characters and pronounce one as the letter ‘OH’, and the next as the letter ‘ESS’, and then the third as the letter ‘EX’.  NO! NO! NO! (See what I mean?) The third as the ROMAN NUMERAL ‘TEN’!

Only a stubborn genius like Steve Jobs could have insisted on OH ESS TEN. Even the most simple minded Marketing person at Apple must have foreseen what a royal pain this name was going to be. Did any of them have the cajones to tell Steve? Probably not. Even if they did, he’d say,

“Hey, I was right about disk drives, wasn’t I?”

And they’d say, “Let’s call it ‘AQUA’ Steve, people will like that!”

And Steve’d say, “No. Don’t you get it? Generation ‘X’, uniX. It’s gotta have an EX. It’s a marketing thing!”

And they’d say, “Leave the marketing to Marketing, Steve, that’s what you pay us for!”

And Steve says, “I pay you? Everyone says the worst thing about Apple is its marketing. They’ve said that for twenty years! Have I been paying you for twenty years? I wonder what our market share would be if you were working on commission!”

“Steve, you want them to think EX but say TEN. It’s too complicated.”

And Steve would say, “You bozo, I killed Newton, tell me that was a mistake! We’re profitable!”

And they’d think, “Palm and Handspring, they’re doing well…” but they’d say, “How about we just SPELL it ‘OS 10’?”

And Steve would reply, “Are you still working here? OS/2 is IBM’s Operating System. Do you think I want ANYONE to have the slightest perception that OH ESS EX – damn it! – OH ESS TEN, is in any way related to some antique rubbish code from IBM??”

Well we know who won that argument. The  Steve won. The product was named “OSX”,  and properly pronounced “Oh Ess Ten”. But he lost the battle. Because to this day you can hardly find an Apple-Store-Newbie-scruff, much less a GENIUS, who calls it anything but “Oh Ess Ex”.

From Unpredictable #18, May 14, 2001