Wednesday, January 21, 2009


This is why I don't worry about an Apple without Steve Jobs.

Tim Cook responding to an "analyst" about how Apple would be run without Jobs in charge [via mw]:
There is an extraordinary breadth and depth and tenure among the Apple executive team. And these executives lead over 35,000 employees that I would call all 'wicked smart'. And that's in all areas of the company, from engineering, to marketing, to operations, sales, and all the rest. And the values of compay are extremely well-entrenched. You know, we believe we're on the face of the Earth to make great products, and that's not changing. We're constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution. We believe in saying no to thousands of projects to that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollinization of our groups which allows us to innovate in a way others can not. And frankly, we don't settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit where we're wrong, and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job, those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well. And I would just reiterate a point Peter made in his opening comment, that I strongly believe that Apple is doing the best work in its history.
There is no question that Jobs has contributed an enormous amount to Apple during his most recent 11 years there. However, there is also no question that he hasn't done it alone and that he hasn't built up an excellent team around him.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Google Chrome Usage Notes

[Updated as new tidbits arise]
  • Most browsers will resolve items in the address bar such as "yahoo" or "macrumors". Chrome things these are search terms so make sure you add the .com if you want to browse to the site (this can cause some issues with local servers...)
  • "incognito" mode in Chrome warns that it can't protect you from "employers that track the pages you visit". Ha.
  • Gruber has a list of UI Comments here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

[via Android Developers Blog; emphasis mine]
Developers will be able to make their content available on an open service hosted by Google that features a feedback and rating system similar to YouTube. We chose the term "market" rather than "store" because we feel that developers should have an open and unobstructed environment to make their content available. Similar to YouTube, content can debut in the marketplace after only three simple steps: register as a merchant, upload and describe your content and publish it. We also intend to provide developers with a useful dashboard and analytics to help drive their business and ultimately improve their offerings.
Obviously the post here takes shots at the iTunes App Store. No big surprise, and no big deal. It would be fantastic if they could put up anything they wanted. There wouldn't be delays for bug fix releases to be posted. There wouldn't be complaints about what apps Apple allows and what apps Apple denies. It would be great. Or would it be?

There is no shortage of complaints about all the crap that makes it to the iTunes App Store. This is going to be 100x worse with Google's system that provides no barrier at all to entry. The comparison to YouTube is a good one to use. Just think about all the crap that's on YouTube. That same quality to crap ratio will undoubtedly be present at the Android store. Gee, I can't wait for that.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Playing Video Podcasts Vertically on iPhone

So this might be old news to most people, but I ran across it today when I started up the most recent episode of Wine Library TV. I was able to view the video podcast while the iPhone was oriented vertically (and the video didn't play horizontally). Double tapping got it to all fit in on the screen (although tiny). Here's a picture because I'm not sure how well I'm explaining it:

For video podcast content I would much rather hold the phone vertically than horizontally. Feels much better in my hand.

Has this been possible for a while?

On Making Meetings Shorter

There are many occasions where meetings aren't necessary. A lot of times a phone call, email, or quick stop by someone's office will suffice (Does your meeting pass the "blizzard goggles" test?). If by chance you do need to have a meeting (hey, it happens) then consider making it shorter.
After some time, I shortened most meetings to 30 minutes and some to 10 or 15. It is amazing how much important ground you can cover when both parties understand how much time you have to work with and you get right to the important issues.
There is no reason to schedule an hour for something that will only take 15-20 minutes. If a meeting is scheduled for an hour it has a bad habit of getting dragged out to an hour regardless of whether or not there is an hour of content to cover.

Monday, August 25, 2008

OneInfiniteBlog Podcast - 2

Episode 2 of the Official OneInfiniteBlog podcast is live. Check it out now (iTunes Store link). Just over 20 minutes of commentary on topics that matter to, well, me.

Links / Topics from this episode:
  • Kevin Rose's track record on Apple predictions
  • iPhone 2.0.2 Update
  • 37Signals and working less (and better)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

4 Day Work Week

[via SvN] Emphasis mine:
The point of the 4-day work week is about doing less work. It’s not about 4 10-hour days for the magical 40-hour work week. It’s about 4 normalish 8-hour days for the new and improved 32-hour work week. The numbers are just used to illustrate a point. Results, not hours, are what matter, but working longer hours doesn’t translate to better results. The law of diminishing returns kicks in quick when you’re overworked.
People in so many work environments are far too concerned with getting their 40 hours in each week (whether it be pressure from their employer or themselves). Just like they said, it's the results, not hours, that matter. I agree 100% with the statement above. Now, that's not to say that you can do that all the time. There are occasions where more time is required. The flip side is equally true. There are times when less time is required.

You shouldn't be punished for being able to work efficiently and getting you tasks done in less than 40 hours a week. In this day and age we are all far too eager to tell people how busy we are. I hear, "I'm so busy" or "I have so much to do and no time!" all the time. That shouldn't be our goal. We shouldn't brag about how we put in 50-60 hours each week. It's not healthy and it doesn't promote a good work environment.

When I look at someone who works 60 hours a week, staying late each night, I don't think, "Wow, that's a good employee that I want to be like." I feel sorry for that person because they don't get to go home and spend time with their family or do other things they enjoy. Part of the problem is that many companies would consider this the model employee. It's not. Employees like this get burned out and produce lower quality work in the long run.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

iPhone 3G Class Action Lawsuit

[via Ars]
Smith and the class, assuming the suit is approved as a class-action, ask that Apple be ordered to repair or replace all Defective iPhone 3Gs. Additionally, she asks that the company be required to pay unspecified damages, pre- and post-judgment interest on monetary relief, and attorney's fees.
I hate lawsuits like this, against Apple or not. They are frivolous and a waste of money and time. I bet this woman could get a replacement phone if she contacted Apple and reported her problems. We know the phone is under warranty. I don't know if she has or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if she just thought this would be an easy way to get some extra cash. And yes, I know lots of people are having problems with 3G, but there are other ways to try and resolve these issues besides a lawsuit.
She alleges that she and all members of the class have sustained monetary and economic injuries due to the purchase of the Defective iPhone 3G
Seriously? Monetary and economic injuries? I'm so baffled I'm speechless. Does it suck when your phone doesn't work? Yes. I've had problems of my own. Guess what I've done? I've driven to my nearest Apple Store (or called AppleCare) and done something about it. I don't see why people are so quick to jump to a lawsuit.

Next thing you know someone is going to sue a phone maker because they got hit by a car while texting. Yeah, because that's the phone manufacturers fault.

"Dell's comback machine" analysis

John Fortt has an article on Fortune/CNN about how Dell is going to make a comeback. Let's take a look at this.
Huh? Surely this must be some sort of joke. Everyone knows that buttoned-down Dell (DELL) doesn’t do business pink.
If Dell thinks that colors are going to help them innovate their way out of a slump they are in for a big disappointment. Other changes are being made to their flagship line of laptops, sure, but when you are touting colors you are already 2 steps behind.
For instance, Dell realized its designers can no longer craft Latitude laptops simply to satisfy IT managers. Design director Ken Musgrave tells me that as tech-savvy Gen Y’ers have entered the workforce, they’ve brought a sense of digital entitlement; they don’t want to use equipment that isn’t cutting edge and cool, and Dell’s brand doesn’t have credibility with them yet.
Mr. Fortt makes an excellent point here. Young people who are entering the workforce do want something cool. I don't think colors are going to tip them over the edge, though. Let's see what else Dell shows him.
The payoff: it tips the scales at just a kilogram - 2.2 pounds. (A full range of Latitude sizes is available.)
Finally, some changes that have some substance. I'm sure the 2.2lb machine is lacking of some hardware, but it's a good place to start. Lighter than the MacBook Air even, but weight doesn't really solve the problem of "digital entitlement" that Ken Musgrave mentioned above. It sounds like Dell is wanting to head the right way, they just don't control the whole widget to do it. One of the reason Apple's products are seen as this "digital hub" or "center of your entertainment world" is because of the software. They provide iLife, iWork, etc. Dell needs to realize that these things can't all come from hardware.
There are some surprises beneath the surface of the Latitude line as well. One is an optional Linux-based low-power mode called Dell Latitude On, which boots in two seconds. It offers more than a day’s worth of battery life for basic tasks like web surfing, Exchange e-mail, and viewing e-mail attachments, and runs on an ARM-based (ARMH) chip rather than the main Intel processor.
Most users (Mac and PC) have something close to "One" already. It's called sleep mode. When I wake my MacBook Air from sleep it is "on" in about two seconds. Now I like the idea of a lower power mode that offers extra long battery life, but not when it comes at the expense of so many features. Even so, it is an interesting move and a decent way to differentiate themselves.

Dell says they want to pick up these "Gen Y'ers", but by providing a somewhat intriguing feature
with One they have eliminated what the Gen Y'ers love, their movies, music, and photos. Being able to surf MySpace and Facebook sounds like it might be limited in the low power mode. Will Flash work? Quicktime? Windows Media Player? These things are important to the people Dell says they are trying to gear these new machines towards.
All of which bodes well for Dell’s chances of extending its comeback with the Latitude launch. The company seems to be doing everything right – courting Gen Y, minding design, and still managing to keep IT managers happy.
Doing everything right? What have they done?! They have made them in colors, lighter, and provided a bare bones method to check email and web surf. That's it. While these might be features Gen Y'ers think are nice, they don't make the computing experience better. A lot of what they need to do is out of their hands because it's about the software. I don't think Mr. Fortt or Dell understand. Today, hardware is all basically the same inside. Colors don't provide the user with a better computing experience. Software does that.

I'm not arguing that design isn't important, but changing the color of the case isn't design. Even slimming down a machine to 2.2lbs by stripping some metal casing isn't design, its engineering. Design and engineering are not the same thing.