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Archive for August, 2011

It’s like watching two tech reporters having a conversation.

August 29, 2011 4 comments

 

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Don’t tell me how many nipples I need, Gizmodo!

August 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Maybe I want three, you bastards! Did you ever think about that?

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#withoutstevejobs

August 25, 2011 2 comments

I just noticed #withoutstevejobs on Twitter. People are paying tribute to the impact Steve’s had on the world, which is obviously really nice, but, really, some of these people are attributing more to him than he’s done. I didn’t link to their names, because these people annoy me:

My computer would be just another beige box

Possible, but it’s not like Steve’s the only human being in the world that wants things that look nice.

we’d all be too familiar with CLT + ALT + DEL.

We still are, anyway. That’s just nonsensical.

I would still be using my Motorola Razr

Really? You’d be using a five-year old phone?

we wouldn’t be able to buy music online.

Apple didn’t invent the idea of buying music online. Christ. They did a good enough job with it that it became quite popularized, but they didn’t create it whole cloth.

I would have to jog with a discman.

Apple did not invent the MP3 player. Jebus.

the world wouldn’t be as connected as its today.

ararrggghhgh Apple did not invent the internet, mobile computing, nor smartphones.

I would be lost. Literally. Thank god for navigation apps!

Portable GPS devices have been around for years. People bought them before Apple made the iPhone!

I would not have my entire CD collection on my hip when I run.

Oh my Christ, you people have no sense of history. JEBUS.

Macbooks would have started out being pink instead of white…and I would have cried.

This one’s just — really? Without Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, the Macbooks that would never have been invented because Apple wouldn’t have existed, would have been pink? Sweet LORD, lady, do you miss the bed at night?

UPDATE: Remember when I said I wasn’t going to name names? I just saw a Tweet that makes me a liar. It’s by @kristofcreative, whose bio says: “President of Kristof Creative. We create intelligent ideas and profitable marketing strategies for our clients.” His Tweet was:

There’d be no Mouse #Withoutsteve

Are you shitting me? You claim to offer intelligent ideas and you think that without Apple, there’d be no Mouse? Do you think that they invented the mouse? Are you goddamn shitting me? Doesn’t anybody have a sense of history? Jesus sweet Hell, Apple didn’t invent the mouse; it was created at Stanford in 1963 by Douglas Engelbart, and the trackball was invented by the Canadian military in 1952. The work that Engelbart did was extraordinary; you can find videos of demos he did online at Youtube, where he demos a mouse with multiple buttons, and has it navigating a text document in ways that the web still hasn’t reached.

Shut up.

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Now we’ll never know if Steve Jobs had a second idea.

August 25, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m not going to link to any of the eighty-seven million stories — do your own research, nerds! — but my close, personal friend Steve Jobs just announced his resignation as CEO of Apple. He’ll be stepping down, effective immediately, and will become the Chairman of the Board. Tim Cook is the new CEO.

I’d make a Frank Sinatra joke here, but shut up.

I know Steve’s a visionary, and all that, and he really did help reshape the computing world, and aspects of the world at large. He understands that people who want to use computers are like people who drive cars; they don’t want to worry how the goddamn thing works, they just want to use it. Who goddamn cares what kind of transmission it is? I need to go to the store! 

There are changes underway in the Apple ecosystem, many of which I’ve talked about recently, which I’ll be totally proven right about, but those are tweaks, rather than innovations. Making the Mac an iOS device isn’t innovation, it’s a course adjustment. Making iOS, and the iPad it was built for, that was the innovation. That was Steve’s innovation, and it was, by many accounts, the computer Steve’s always wanted to make.

Think about that for a moment: Steve spent something like 30 years building computers he didn’t want before he was able to make the one computer he wanted to: the iPad. Apple exists to make this computer, and when you think about it, that makes Steve a one-trick Pony. I mean, that makes Steve a phenomenally successful one-trick pony, and I’ve made jokes about him revolutionizing industries by accident — these jokes are actually true, so shut up — but he really only had the one idea.

People make fun of Google for being a one-trick pony because of their dependence on search, but Steve, in the long-view, was even more narrowly focused.

The shame of him stepping down, aside from his health concerns, is that we’ll never see if Steve had an idea to follow up the iPad with. The main idea seems to be to make all of their computers like it, but as I say above, that’s not innovation. That’s exploitation of another, tremendously successful idea.

I don’t say that to attack Steve. I’m deeply in love with him, and have sent him lists, on many occasions, explaining why he should have my babies. They were all good, convincing lists. I say that because I would’ve liked to see if he had a second idea.

Now we’ll never know.

Shut up.

The real reason Scoble didn’t take 500K to start a company

August 24, 2011 4 comments

So Robert Scoble, the bafflingly still employed — shit, you know what? I don’t even know what the bastard does. Is he a pitch man? He’s not selling anything, other than that grating laugh of his, which I’m honestly surprised hasn’t killed anyone yet. Have you heard it? It’s like the sound of a rabid water buffalo buggering you when it has a head cold, and your head is jammed inside a church bell and quasimodo is just hammering that son of a bitch like there’s no tomorrow. To be fair to Scoble, he’s not selling that suicide-assist of a laugh; he’s acting like Google and flooding the market with it, for free, possibly in some bizarre effort to reduce the market for sitting-in-a-running-car-in-your-garage suicides. Maybe he should be investigated for anti-trust violations, or have a baby with Fran Drescher that would have the capability to laugh once and end the world.

Anyway, it’s not that. He works for Rackspace, which is a hosting services company, and his entire day job seems to consist of talking to people who actually do work, then honestly taking credit for it. The smug little fucker actually said that since Flipboard, the pretty fun magazine-style newsreader app, started doing really well after he saw an early build and made a brilliant, totally unimaginable suggestion like “integrate it with Google Reader,” or some such thing, that he was responsible for its success. (He subsequently edited out of the blog post he wrote it in, which some might say was because he realized how it sounded, but I’d tended to attribute to his head being so far up his own ass that he poked up through his own neck hole, and saw daylight again) This is something that he actually thinks; he actually thinks that by making suggestions that are so obvious that the chipmunks who live in my front yard would make them — “Hey guys, I think you should make your product better!” — that he’s contributed to the project on a level that’s comparable with the engineers and developers who actually built it. This is staggering to me. Now that I think about it, I wonder if Microsoft’s “Windows 7 Was My Idea” campaign was all an elaborate inside joke, telling their former evangelist that he can go fuck himself.

Rackspace obviously thinks his videos, which aren’t at all laughably, with a host who doesn’t at all think that his commentary and fucking laugh are better than the comments of whomever he’s interviewing, are worth his salary, though I can’t imagine how. I mean, yes, he’s a startup evangelist — maybe? — who works for a hosting company, so theoretically when people starting their own startups start their own startups, they’ll get hosting with Rackspace because that guy with a laugh that makes me feel like I’ve just shoved a drill in my eyeball works for them? It’s pretty muddled.

One time on Twitter, I asked aloud why Rackspace felt Scoble’s paycheque was worth it to them, and Scoble himself responded to me, sending me a link to a discussion of “The Scoble Effect,” which is supposedly like The Digg Effect for startups, only sweatier and I want to punch it more. Unfortunately for Mr. Captain of Industry, he sent me a link to a blog article where the author concluded that there was no Scoble Effect, and that he really wasn’t worth his paycheque.

Sweet Lord, Scoble, I hope your kids weren’t home-schooled.

So, anyway, at some “500 Startups” thing, Loic Le Meur of Seesmic asked Scoble about $500K that Bill Gross offered him for a startup. Scoble turned it down, choosing to remain at Rackspace. This is Scoble’s Google+ post about it, where he says this:

I told him that I didn’t want to do the hard work of building a company. Raising money. Doing HR (hiring and firing). Keeping the books. All that.

That led to a conversation where he said “what if I do a lot of that for you?”

That led to a months-long internal conversation with me, my family, my coworkers, my bosses.

Today I turned down the money and told my bosses I’m in at Rackspace.

Why turn down an opportunity like this?

Because, well, I just didn’t have the passion for it. I was already being derailed from what I love to do because of it, which is helping entrepreneurs, not being one.

I call shenanigans on this. Hell, I’ll even call bullshit on it. Sure, Scoble probably didn’t want to do the hard work of building a company. But what would that company have been? What could that have been? Take away the steady paycheque that Rackspace provides, and Scoble’s an unemployed Youtuber with a miniscule audience. Scoble couldn’t be on his own; he needs a sugar daddy.

Also, Scoble loves helping entrepreneurs? That’s nice an all, but has he ever? Yes, he talks to them, but is he somehow the only way for word to get out for companies or their products now? Has the entire internet been rerouted through his ass? Scoble finds companies that have an amount of buzz — because if they didn’t, would Scoble himself even hear about them? — and then talk to the founders. And laugh on camera and make the founders’ ears bleed and baby Jesus cry. And then puts the videos up, which virtually no one watches them. Who’s being helped by this? Scoble’s ego? I’m sure it’s large enough to qualify as a distinct organism, but is his grey goo worth the sanctity of the entire planet?

Also, because I haven’t said his name enough this post: Scoble Scoble Scoble. Scoble? Scoble!

Scoble acts like the choice was between continuing to do what he loves at Rackspace, or do what he loves on his own, while also doing front office stuff. I say the choice was between him getting paid to whip out a portable video camera and chat with people who are actually making things, while sipping wine on the company dime in ridiculously nice places all over the world, or starting a company with zero hope of ever repaying the money because how the hell could he earn money doing what he does? Sure, there’s the Google Ad money for his videos, but with his viewership numbers, it’d only take him 481 years to repay the money.

Yes, I did the math.

Scoble’s basically like a trust-fund baby, rambling on about how great he is, and how valuable his presence is. People only talk about him because people talk about him, and everyone seems afraid to stop talking about him, as though something worse would happen than people no longer talking about him, as though there’d be some consequence to the entire tech world goddamn waking up and realizing, like in so many terrible sitcoms, that no, nobody knows who invited that weird guy standing in the corner, I thought you did, someone call security.

I’d make a joke about Scoble being the snake who eats himself, but I think we all know he’s not that flexible.

I know what Apple’s new product line will be.

August 22, 2011 1 comment

There’s a rumor that there’s going to be a brand-new Mac line soon.

My money — by which I mean I’ve used the things for months, so yeah, sure, I’ll be on it — is on a multitouch enabled iMac-ish device with a swivel screen, that slides down to go over your keyboard when you want to interact directly, then goes to its normal position when you need to type. You’ve seen rollup desks, right? The cool wood sheet that covers the desk area? It’ll be like that, but with a touch screen you want to have sex with. (You *can* have sex with it, but there’s minimal app support at the moment)

This new iMac-ish line will represent the next step in the iOS-ification of the Mac, AND the impending closing of the platform.

Just to keep you all from getting your panties in a twist, when I say “closing,” I mean that Apple’s going to lock the Mac down to only allow Mac App Store downloads. Because it’s what people are used to with the iOS devices, and also it’s more secure, and Apple will make even more money. This will either come in the next version of the OS, or a point release. If point release, it’ll be first quarter 2012. Believe that shit, you bastards!

Anyway, the swivel Mac: Apple’s goddamn comfortable having monitors that move around freely, and this is like an evolution of that idea, but with sexy multitouch. This just makes sense, in the same way it made sense for me to pour honey all over myself when I was waiting for the light to change, despite what those goddamn prudish cops had to say about it.

Shut up.

Concrete evidence I’m right about the Apple feature phone

August 19, 2011 3 comments

Apple is about to sell a feature phone

August 18, 2011 3 comments

Forget the iCloud Phone, and all that other crap; I’ve got the goods on Apple’s next move. I have it from a trusted source* that, contrary to really idiotic reports that Apple’s working on a “cheap” phone that will simply cost less upfront, with no change in the monthly costs, Apple will be unveiling what can only be referred to as a feature phone.

What, exactly, will it be?

This new iPhone — which I’ll refer to as the iPhone Nano, for sake of convenience — won’t simply be a smaller or less memory-laden version of an existing iPhone, because that would be idiotic and wouldn’t meet the goals of “cheaper.” No. No! It will be something completely different. It will be a whole new product, for a whole new market.

The iPhone Nano will be physically smaller, in line with the Candybar iPod Nano. It will have a less powerful processor than the iPhone 4, and probably even than the 3GS, but that’s okay, because it won’t run custom apps. It will be Apple’s response to a feature phone. Remember when the iPhone 1 came out, and it was just the core apps? Remember how my close, personal friend Steve Jobs called making phone calls the killer app? It’s exactly that. It’s the iPhone 1 without a web browser.

The thing is, the majority of humanity that uses a phone only wants to make phone calls with it and send texts. That’s is. The iPhone Nano will offer that functionality, plus the ability to listen to music, and pretty much nothing else.

Why, exactly, will it be?

You’re probably wondering why Apple would release an iPhone with a hobbled version of iOS. You’re probably wondering this because you like all of the features Apple’s added over the years, and you wonder why anyone would buy an iPhone without apps and internet access. You’re definitely wondering this because you’ve got you’re head up your butt, and are the wrong market. There are two excellent reasons why this phone will happen:

First, there’s the price. The thing is, when the tech pundits talk about Apple making a cheap phone, they keep confusing what “cheap” means, or what it should mean. Pundits — and lots of folks in the first world, folks who can afford smartphones — keep saying that an iPhone at $49 or $0 would sweep the market and lay to waste all those who would DARE to stand against it, but that argument is stupid, for several reasons.

One: The 3GS is already $49. And when the next iPhone gets announced, the iPhone 4 will probably be sold at $49 while the 3GS won’t be sold at all.

Two: The upfront cost is the smallest chunk of change involved in buying a smartphone. The major cost for a smartphone is the monthly service plan, and when people talk about making a phone cheaper, they need to start thinking about that. Now, presumably Apple wouldn’t be able to convince every carrier in the world to offer data plans at a 90% discount — if they did manage that somewhat miraculous goddamn feat, everyone would want it for every phone everywhere, which would negate the need for a special iPhone with a cheaper data plan. No, the way to go here is to take the data plan out of the equation.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter how much you knock down the initial purchase price of a smartphone if, say, your income is only a couple grand a month, or, say, $100 if you’re in the third world. You need to make it a device that anyone can use without an expensive plan. Apple needs to make the phone cheap to buy unsubsidized, and they need to make it cheap to operate.

Second, there’s the marketshare. The market for smartphone users continues to grow, and even though Android is currently eclipsing Apple in terms of sales, Apple’s doing pretty well, and selling their iPhones hand-over-goddamn-fist. Despite that, the market for smartphones is only so big, and beyond that is the much, much larger market of cell phone users who either aren’t interested in or able to buy a smartphone.

We head-up-our-assers tend to forget it, but those users are the norm.

The majority of the phone using market doesn’t use smartphones, and the majority of featurephones are pretty old-school, in terms of styling. How wonderful would it be if Apple, the only company to design beautiful products, made a stylish, beautiful featurephone?

Exactly.

Not only would it be something magical for people who could afford a smartphone but don’t want to, it would also be wonderful for the majority of the market that simply can’t afford one.

To put it another way: Apple’s already destroyed Nokia’s smartphone market, it’s time for them to destroy Nokia’s dumbphone market.

In case you think this is a silly notion, consider Tim Cook’s recent statement on an earnings call that Apple doesn’t want the iPhone just to be for rich people. They’re going to make them palatable for poor people, which is, in some ways, where the money is.

In case you think the idea of Apple making a version of the operating system which would, essentially, only look like iOS, but wouldn’t offer much of the core functionality, consider the current iPod Nano: it features a simple operating system that looks like iOS, offering a consistency of user experience, without the overhead, or need to support all those features. Apple’s already doing what I say they will do to their new phone. It’s just a matter of time — probably a couple months — before they do this.

The iPhone Nano is coming. It will be a massive success, despite the fact that for the first time, Apple will be exclusively targeting a product at the unwashed masses. You won’t like it, or need one (but you’ll buy several, because you’re like that), but Apple won’t care, because they’re selling it to someone else.

Shut up.

 

*The trusted source is me, okay? Yes, this is just speculation, but my track record of Apple speculation is pretty good: I called the iPhone OS name change, and my prediction about Apple turning its Macs into glorified iOS devices is moving right on track.

Also, I know that this was speculated about over at AllThingsD a while ago, but I was unaware of this until just now, so that makes it my idea, goddamn it.

Why Apple Really Wants to Kills DVDs

August 17, 2011 6 comments

Half the time, I think the reason why Apple’s got such a hard-on for killing optical discs is that they don’t know how to put a good, reliable reader in their computers, and if they convince everyone the format is dead, they won’t have to worry about that particular problem anymore.

Shut up.

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