Monday, May 17, 2010

Shit my dad says...

If you can really use a good laugh, then you gotta read this book. Honest. Definitely don't read it in bed while your partner's trying to sleep because your effort to contain your giggling might send you to your grave. It almost happened to me. I chose to burst into laughter eventually and wake her up instead of passing away. No shit! You got to be some place where you can laugh like your life depended on it. And where that wouldn't bother anyone in the neighborhood. Honest.

I have known about this guy soon after he got a few thousand followers on Twitter as a @shitmydadsays, from hear say in the blogosphere, I don't remember where from exactly. His name: Justin Halpern. He became a Twitter celebrity overnight (he's got 1.33 million followers right now). When I started reading his tweets first time I couldn't stop laughing. I even collected them all up to that point and printed them in a PDF file to send them to friends and enemies.

Justin's tweets are about what he heard his father say to him, thru the years, under a large variety of situations. You gotta understand. His dad is a serious scientist, successful career in Nuclear Medicine, a doctor and a Jewish American. The way Justin (the son) makes him sound reminds me very much of Walter Matthau, the famous comedian (Odd Couple and Grumpy old men are classics).

You see, Justin's dad is very special. He's got a foul language that you'd never expect a normal person use, let alone a scientist of his caliber. But, at the same time, he's got phenomenal principles in raising his children to the point that if one in ten of the world's dads were anything like him, this world could have been a much better place. This dad's got an extremely simple but honest way to place matters into the right context and say things the way they really are. Without being pretentious or sophisticated. One of the most difficult tasks in life is to see thru the noise, to see clear and state your opinions simply and to the point. Justin's dad can do exactly that. And he always spoke in ways that make you piss your pants from laughs, but I'm sure he must have been dead serious when he was busy saying the things he said.

I like his personal beliefs and principles a lot though. Many of them are mine too, I found out reading thru the pages: Support your children when you have to, but don't spoil them. Encourage them to learn to be self-confident and advise them on everything they'll come against in life, but don't treat them in Nepotist ways. Help them financially when they need the money and don't let them wait until you kick the bucket to inherit your assets, because they might not need them by then. It's now they need help. Teach your children integrity and to be righteous and good. And teach them not to worship religious Gods and attend their churches. I wish I had a dad like that...

Of course, you can find this book everywhere. I bought it on Amazon (Kindle format) and read it on the iPad with the free Kindle app. First book ever I read like this. And woke up the spouse many times with my sudden laughters, to the point she almost threw me out of the bed at one time...

Think Different

I found out about this today, something that probably the entire planet already knew for many years... never mind. In 1997 Apple launched a campaign under the title "Think Different". That much I knew... I even saw their so many campaign posters in so many places. My favorite was the one with Maria Callas, me being a (non-corrupt) Greek of course... one of the few left! And a music lover.

Link to the hyperlink I gave you above and you'll find all those posters they used, and also hear someone reading the following text in its complete version (authored by Rob Siltanen of Chiat Day, the company that managed the campaign for Apple):

"Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

Splendid content that couldn't be associated with any company I know other than Apple Inc. What I never realized though, and I found out from the Wikipedia article, was that I must have stared at this fabulous text millions of times already, and couldn't tell even if it hit me in the face. What the smart developer cookies from Apple did, you see, in their limitless sense of humor is to put the text (the shorter version that appeared in the campaign) in the application icon of TextEdit, the standard Mac text editor that is supplied on every Mac sold, as part of the OS X software bundle. It is presented as a letter from the famous by now Apple software demo avatar John Appleseed (dude kinda like J6P) addressed to Dear Kate,  referencing Katie Cotton, I suppose, Apple's Public Relations Manager...

Google "think different" just for kicks. You will be amazed to find such a large number of URLs dedicated to that campaign event. It seems that everything Apple does becomes a cult symbol for Apple aficionados worldwide. I won't be surprised to see churches raised in the name of His Jobness after he kicks the bucket, hopefully in no less than 50 years from now... ;-)

Friday, May 14, 2010

'Curated Computing' !!! WTF is that?

I just read this article by Sarah Epps of Forrester Research and I highly recommend it to any person dealing with software or (PC) hardware product design.

For a long while I've been trying to figure out in my mind the key elements of the actual shift in the consumer computing paradigm that the iPhone and iPod Touch brought about, which the iPad amplified even more. Sarah just gave the answers I was looking for! Well done, lass!

She claims, among other, that 'less is more' is the key element of that paradigm shift. User experience is enhanced but at the cost of imposing additional constraints to end users. Come to think of it though, in fact, there maybe not as many constraints as users might fear they'll get. When the iPad was announced many 'experts' complained about the absence of a camera, USB ports and explicit filing systems like those that Windows (File Explorer) or Mac OS (Finder) so readily offer... This is total BS. Take the camera issue for instance. Did anyone ever think that the iPad might be a wee bit too clumsy to hold 'n shoot pictures with? Yes? I thought so! Why should there be any camera at all, then? In order to VC with Skype, a backbencher screams! OK, fine! Imagine you're busy Skyping with a friend holding his/her iPad. By design, unless the darn thing sits mounted on a docking station, your friend's iPad is bound to make you nauseous! It'll move your correspondent's Skype live image all the time, in and out of focus, unless your friend's hands are either dead paralyzed or nailed on his/her belly!

The iPad is a media consumption device that won't do as well the things you do with common personal computers or netbooks, at your (home) office or on the road. But it will do much faster than anything available out there, and with unsurpassed quality those things that you usually have fun doing. Watch family movies, YT clips, Flickr and your own photographs, read books, newspaper and magazines articles, watch TV, listen to music, even sketch and 'paint', and do some focused surfing without bothering about where did I put that darn URL I was pointing at a few minutes ago.

As I mentioned on another blog, the iPad paradigm is ringfenched, first by Apple and its "enforced disciplined" ObjC programming and component libraries, and then by each app supplier (especially news agencies and online sellers) who want to keep you nailed inside their ecosystems. With plain vanilla browsers 'loyalty' to any given supplier remains subminimal. You 'surf' like a dolphin from one wave to another (replace wave with URL). Once you launch an iPad app though, you'll feel more like a dolphin in an aquarium, confined within its pools far from the wide open sea... His Jobness and his iPads/iPhones condemned all general purpose browsers to an inglorious death. Like he's now trying to do with Adobe's Flash.

OK, am I suggesting Jobs is an oligarch trying to constrain my freedoms? Well, yes... maybe, but, personally, I feel like the Utopia fatso's in Wall-e's world; in other words, as long as I get what I want, and I like what I get, then screw my e-freedoms! This is what Sarah calls 'curated' computing. Suppliers offering you a great experience and holding you to it by shutting off other computing escape 'ports' like a firewall would do. However, I strongly believe that the vast (90% and above) majority of all of us in the end user community feel exactly the same! We just don't care. PC freedoms are a sacred 'thing' only to those Open Source fanatics who spend 18 hrs a day in front of their monitors. Whereas, us, and the rest of the world go on living our lives. So, again, who cares what Jobs does to our e-freedoms? Or whether he's being a monopolistic swine? As long as I can hold his magic gadgets in my hands and can do the things I could only dream of not too long ago... who gives a sh#t?