Showing posts with label iPod. Show all posts
Showing posts with label iPod. Show all posts

Monday, March 03, 2014

The Natural User Interface And The Differently Abled

English: NASA StarChild image of Stephen Hawking.
English: NASA StarChild image of Stephen Hawking. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I think the Natural User Interface, of which the touch is just the beginning and gesture is the next big step, though not the final step, not by a long shot, is a big gift for all of us, but it might be extra promising for the differently abled. Senior homes can make use of drones and robots. Voice commands would cut language barriers. The Internet is not meant for English only, and should not dump you into your particular language silo. You communicate, let the Internet translate.

The keyboard, if you think about it, does feel unnatural.

The ultimate is being able to command your computing environment with your eye movements, Stephen Hawking style.

At some level we are all differently. A lot of start wearing glasses early on. As soon as you put one on, you have gently stepped into the differently abled zone. Smart, robotic limbs are not a challenge anymore. They are not innovation challenges, they are simply now scaling challenges.

Your brain is one of the last parts of your body to give up on you. Which means the NUI taken to its logical conclusion will allow us to raise the retirement age. And since retirement is voluntary anyways, a lot of us could hope to live long productive lives through NUI.

Education remains the great unsolved mystery of our knowledge age, ironically. The industrial era education engines/structures don't recognize concepts like people learn at their own paces with their own styles. That individualization is now possible. But there are old institutional structures that get in the way.

There are enormous implications on education and health because a knowledge economy puts a major, unprecedented emphasis on human capital. Human capital is a concept much bigger than human rights because it takes human rights for granted.
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Sunday, October 07, 2012

Steve Jobs Revisited

Anyone trying to be or, worse, claiming to be the next Steve Jobs is not the next Steve Jobs. You have to be you. Those trying to be the next Jobs, for one, lack originality. You have to be original to be great.

Why We’ll Never Stop Talking About Steve Jobs
one of those rarefied individuals who had not only a vision but the will and force of personality to execute it through America’s greatest cultural triumph: the public corporation....... Steve Jobs didn’t simply shake up industries; he fundamentally traumatized them ...... There’s not an important mainstream technology product or service out there right now that isn’t a result of or response to Steve Jobs. It’s not so much that we want to keep talking about him; it’s that there’s no avoiding it.
But Steve Jobs was no Thomas Edison. Let's have some perspective here. He was an amazing tech CEO, but he was no Edison.
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Was Mayer's Hand Forced?

If it was, she is saddled with a Board that does not wish to win - (yes, that's possible). If she wasn't, I don't think she is the next Steve Jobs. Giving billions away to shareholders is too big a mistake at this juncture of Yahoo's history. I guess Yahoo will stay in the middle leagues.

I am not writing her off. I am not writing Yahoo off. I think she deserves something like three years before judgment should be passed. What I am saying is this was a bad move. The cash should not have been returned.

Marissa Mayer Was Not Forced By Yahoo's Board To Return Cash To Shareholders
Mayer wanted to use the cash to buy and make cool products and, thus, make Yahoo a Silicon Valley powerhouse again ..... some tech observers concluded that Marissa Mayer is little more than a popular puppet and that the board is really running the company ..... the decision to return ~$3 billion of cash to shareholders was Mayer's decision, albeit one that was supported and desired by the board..... Later, after conducting the necessary analysis, Mayer decided that returning ~$3 billion of the proceeds to shareholders did, actually, make sense, so she proposed that plan to the board. And the board accepted it...... Even after the cash is returned, Yahoo will have more than $3 billion of cash. It will also likely generate some more cash from the sale of the rest of the Alibaba stake and the sale of its stake in Yahoo Japan. And it's still generating more than $1 billion of cash a year.
It Looks Like Yahoo's Board Kind Of Screwed Over Marissa Mayer This Week
Can Marissa Mayer pull off a Steve Jobs, who began turning Apple around by launching the bondi Blue iMac, and really made things work with the miraculous iPod? .... Mayer, the board believes, is the next Steve Jobs. ..... Yahoo's iPod, by the way, won't likely be a hardware product--it will be software. And it will probably be a bunch of products, all designed to make Yahoo and better content and advertising platform ...... a gadget that disintermediates the smartphone the way Google Glass might. It could buy several startups that make popular mobile applications that have growing engagement with normal, non-techy Americans ...... This particular act of largesse happens to very much benefit one of Yahoo's biggest shareholders, hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, who, incidentally, was instrumental in bringing in Marissa Mayer as CEO....... Loeb happens to also be a Yahoo board member. In fact, by the accounts of several insiders, Loeb is doing the job that a board chairman does, even if that title actually belongs to another board member, Fred Amoroso...... will still leave Mayer with more than $3 billion to work with ..... a lot of cash for a ~$5 billion business ..... still seems odd that Loeb would make the short term cash grab and restrict Yahoo's flexibility. And Mayer might be feeling a little screwed over because of it. It also makes you wonder who is really in charge at Yahoo...... there is a way for her to add about another $2 billion to $3 billion to her cash pile by selling off Yahoo Japan and the rest of the Alibaba stake
Yahoo! Closes $7.6B Alibaba Deal as Marissa Mayer Gets Down to Business
Yahoo! has struggled to come up with a coherent business strategy ..... there are signs of renewed vigor at the company, as Mayer lays the foundation for the “Marissa era.” ..... for the first time in years, Yahoo!’s fortunes seem to be on the rise ...... An accomplished engineer with a sharp eye for design, Mayer joined Google in 1999 after earning undergraduate and graduate degrees at Stanford University, where she specialized in artificial intelligence. At Google, Mayer built a reputation as a brilliant and intense executive with a passion for the “the user experience.” She played a major role in developing Google’s iconic search box layout, and would eventually become responsible for many of Google’s most successful products, including Gmail, Google News, and Google Maps...... a weekly all-hands meeting on Fridays — a classic Google practice ..... Mayer’s real challenge will be outlining a vision and strategy for the company’s turn-around, not to mention actually executing on that strategy. ...... we are still waiting for the new CEO and her team to layout a strategy to revitalize the company
With billions of dollars from the Alibaba deal, what should Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer do next?
By no means has she righted the ship, but she has, for the moment, encouraged critics to hit the mute button. ..... Turn Yahoo into a local commerce juggernaut. .... Local commerce remains the Web's great white whale. It is an enormous opportunity. But no company has fully been able to capture it. The best way for Yahoo to do that would be to use the windfall from the Alibaba deal to quickly gobble up three high-profile companies that could become the foundation of a local commerce strategy: Groupon, Yelp and Foursquare. ..... buy Mayer more time to clarify where she wants to take Yahoo. ..... Rather than chasing something like search or social that is owned by someone else (Google and Facebook), local commerce remains wide open. ..... Groupon's current market value is $3.07 billion. Yelp is currently worth $1.47 billion. Foursquare, which is still private, is reportedly valued at $600 million. That's more than $4 billion, plus the likely need to pay a premium over these prices.
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Monday, July 30, 2012

The Smartphone Is A Frying Pan

You should not be able to patent a frying pan. Like farms are a category. Hand looms are a category. The PC is a category.

The PC Was A Category And Could Not Have Been Patented

There were music players before the iPod. How come Apple did not get sued?

And if it is about "look and feel" like Apple claims, rumor has it the next iPhone is going to have a larger screen and it is going to look like the large Samsung phones. Talk about look and feel.

Key Witness No Longer Works at Apple, Doesn’t Want to Testify at Samsung Trial
Shin Nishibori, the Apple designer whose Sony-infused iPhone designs have become a central issue in the Samsung patent case, apparently has no plans to testify in the upcoming trial. ..... The lawyer said Nishibori no longer works at Apple, and is in Hawaii, “trying to recover from several health issues.” ..... It was Nishibori who created a series of designs in 2006 that show what a Sony-like iPhone might look like, allegedly at the direction of Apple design chief Jony Ive. ..... Nishibori’s designs show that Sony influenced the iPhone design that Samsung is accused of copying. ...... Apple would not make Nishibori available for months, noting that he was on a leave of absence. ..... Samsung submitted Twitter postings from Nishibori, in which he talked of world travel and running 10K races. Samsung eventually took his deposition in May 2012
Samsung Makes Another Case to Have Apple’s “Sony Style” Put Before Jury
Apple’s iPhone was heavily influenced by Sony. ..... the iPhone project changed direction based on things that Apple learned from news articles about where Sony was headed ..... Samsung claims Apple tried to delay Samsung learning about the extent of the Sony influence on the iPhone, and says the California company shouldn’t be rewarded for its tactics. ..... “Apple’s ‘iconic’ iPhone was conceived as part of a study of Sony designs that was ordered by Apple executives,” Samsung said in the filing. “It took Samsung four separate court orders — three from this Court and one from the International Trade Commission — compelling Apple to produce the testimony and documents that are the subject of Apple’s motion before Apple finally disclosed it. ...... Samsung argues that it tried for months to take the deposition of Apple designer Shin Nishibori, but Apple said he was on a leave of absence and unavailable. ..... Prior to the work by the Apple designer, the company was pursuing a separate design approach, known as “extrudo,” while its later work (and the eventual iPhone) more closely resembles the “Sony style” design. ..... Apple hopes to avoid public disclosure of the full, detailed story of how the iPhone in its present form came to be.”

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Secretive Apple (2)

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBaseSecretive Apple
Apple: $10 Billion To $400 Billion In 10 Years
The Significance Of Eating An Apple

The Next Web: This is how Apple’s top secret product development process works
Every product at Apple starts with design..... Instead of the design being beholden to the manufacturing, finance or manufacturing departments, these all conform to the will of the design department headed by Jony Ive.

A start-up is formed....... Once a new product has been decided on, a team is organized and segregated from the rest of the company by secrecy agreements and sometimes physical barriers. Sections of the building may be locked or cordoned off to make room for the teams working on a sensitive new project. This effectively creates a ‘start-up’ inside the company that is only responsible to the executive team, freeing them from the reporting structure of a big company.

Apple New Product Process (ANPP). .... a document that sets out every step in the development process of a product in detail .... maps out the stages of the creation, who is responsible for completion, who will work on each stage and when they will be completed.

Products are reviewed every Monday. ...... no product is ever more than two-weeks away from a key decision being made

The EPM mafia. ...... The engineering program manager (EPM) and the global supply manager (GSM). ...... executives that spend most of their time in China overseeing the production process.

Once a product is done, it is designed, built and tested again. ...... a 4-6 week process that ends with a gathering of responsible Apple employees at the factory. ..... The EPM then takes the beta device back to Cupertino for examination and comments, hopping right back on a plane to China to oversee the next iteration of the product. This means that many versions of any given device have been completed, not just partially prototyped. This is an insanely expensive way of building a new product, but it is the standard at Apple.

The packaging room. ...... A room in the Marketing building is completely dedicated to device packaging. The security here is matched only by the sections of the building dedicated to new products and to design. At one point before a new iPod was launched there was an employee who spent hours every day for months simply opening the hundreds of box prototypes within in order to experience and refine the unboxing process.

The launch is controlled by the Rules of the Road....... a top secret document that lists every significant milestone of a product’s development up until launch. Each milestone is annotated with a DRI (directly responsible individual)
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Apple: $10 Billion To $400 Billion In 10 Years

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBaseAnd with most of the growth happening once the Great Recession hit.

CNN: At $400 billion, Apple is worth more than Greece
Only Exxon Mobil has a higher valuation, at about $420 billion. PetroChina (PTR) is Apple's closest competitor, at $270 billion, and Microsoft follows at $235 billion. ..... Apple's market cap is higher than the gross domestic product of Greece, Austria, Argentina, or South Africa. ..... Despite its size, Apple is still one of the fastest growing technology companies...... a $15 price cap for e-textbooks
This is a remarkable story. It came from the company inventing one new category after another. There were digital music players before the iPod, but I remember a Time or Newsweek front cover that said: iPod, therefore I am.

The iPhone was the gizmo that really did it for Apple. This was truly a trailblazing product. It shook the landscape.

And now Apple marches into TV and textbooks. TV is a hard nut to crack.

I stay fascinated as to how Apple manages to keep its startup culture. It still acts like one.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Sean Parker's 2009 Email To Spotify

The Napster corporate logoImage via WikipediaImage representing Spotify as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase
----- Original Message -----
From: Sean Parker
To: Daniel Ek; Shakil Khan
Sent: Tue Aug 25 13:49:35 2009
Subject: thoughts


I've been playing around with Spotify. You've built an amazing experience. As you saw, Zuck really likes it too. I've been trying to get him to understand your model for a while now but I think he just needed to see it for himself.

Facebook has been in partnership discussions with various companies to fullyintegrate music download with the Facebook profile. Most of these deals would have resulted in the wrong user experience and I've done my best to stop them where they didn't make sense. In particular, there's no way that iTunes could enable the right experience on Facebook. Business development teams have a bias for working with the top player in a given market, especially when they don't understand that market. Unfortunately, partnering with iTunes would not only have created the wrong user experience, it would have had disastrous consequences for the emerging digital music industry.

I'm looking forward to meeting you guys sometime in early September, though I'm pretty excited about what you've done and I can't resist sharing some of my thoughts with you here first.

Your design is clean, elegant, tight, and fast. While it's clearly lacking some important features (the social stuff you alluded to, etc), I think you've done a great job with sequencing. You nailed the core experience around which everything else can later be built.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Rest In Peace, Steve Jobs

Sean Parker: Mystery Man

The New York Times: Apple’s Visionary Redefined Digital Age
worth an estimated $8.3 billion ..... A Twitter user named Matt Galligan wrote: “R.I.P. Steve Jobs. You touched an ugly world of technology and made it beautiful.” ..... the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad ..... transformed not only product categories like music players and cellphones but also entire industries, like music and mobile communications. ..... Starting with “Toy Story” in 1995, Pixar produced a string of hit movies, won several Academy Awards for artistic and technological excellence, and made the full-length computer-animated film a mainstream art form enjoyed by children and adults worldwide. ....... was neither a hardware engineer nor a software programmer, nor did he think of himself as a manager. He considered himself a technology leader, choosing the best people possible, encouraging and prodding them, and making the final call on product design. ....... In his early years at Apple, his meddling in tiny details maddened colleagues, and his criticism could be caustic and even humiliating. But he grew to elicit extraordinary loyalty. ...... “Toy Story,” for example, took four years to make while Pixar struggled, yet Mr. Jobs never let up on his colleagues. “‘You need a lot more than vision — you need a stubbornness, tenacity, belief and patience to stay the course,” said Edwin Catmull, a computer scientist and a co-founder of Pixar. “In Steve’s case, he pushes right to the edge, to try to make the next big step forward.” ........ Mr. Jobs was the ultimate arbiter of Apple products, and his standards were exacting. Over the course of a year he tossed out two iPhone prototypes, for example, before approving the third ....... To his understanding of technology he brought an immersion in popular culture. In his 20s, he dated Joan Baez; Ella Fitzgerald sang at his 30th birthday party. His worldview was shaped by the ’60s counterculture in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he had grown up, the adopted son of a Silicon Valley machinist. When he graduated from high school in Cupertino in 1972, he said, ”the very strong scent of the 1960s was still there.” ...... He told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life. He said there were things about him that people who had not tried psychedelics — even people who knew him well, including his wife — could never understand. ........ Decades later he flew around the world in his own corporate jet, but he maintained emotional ties to the period in which he grew up. He often felt like an outsider in the corporate world, he said. When discussing the Silicon Valley’s lasting contributions to humanity, he mentioned in the same breath the invention of the microchip and “The Whole Earth Catalog,” a 1960s counterculture publication. ........ In an era when engineers and hobbyists tended to describe their machines with model numbers, he chose the name of a fruit, supposedly because of his dietary habits at the time. ....... He was offering not just products but a digital lifestyle. ...... Great products, he said, were a triumph of taste, of “trying to expose yourself to the best things humans have done and then trying to bring those things into what you are doing.” ....... Jobs’s genius lay in his ability to simplify complex, highly engineered products, “to strip away the excess layers of business, design and innovation until only the simple, elegant reality remained.” ....... It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.” ....... Mr. Jobs developed an early interest in electronics. He was mentored by a neighbor, an electronics hobbyist, who built Heathkit do-it-yourself electronics projects. He was brash from an early age. As an eighth grader, after discovering that a crucial part was missing from a frequency counter he was assembling, he telephoned William Hewlett, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard. Mr. Hewlett spoke with the boy for 20 minutes, prepared a bag of parts for him to pick up and offered him a job as a summer intern. ......... a whistle that came in boxes of Cap’n Crunch cereal was tuned to a frequency that made it possible to make free long-distance calls simply by blowing the whistle next to a phone handset. ........ When Mr. Draper arrived, he entered the room saying simply, “It is I!” ...... They raised a total of $6,000 from the effort. ....... decided to leave college because it was consuming all of his parents’ savings ...... “I didn’t have a dorm room,” he said in his Stanford speech, “so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned Coke bottles for the 5-cent deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the seven miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.” ....... He returned to Silicon Valley in 1974 and took a job there as a technician at Atari, the video game manufacturer. Still searching for his calling, he left after several months and traveled to India with a college friend, Daniel Kottke, who would later become an early Apple employee. Mr. Jobs returned to Atari that fall. In 1975, he and Mr. Wozniak, then working as an engineer at H.P., began attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club, a hobbyist group that met at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Menlo Park, Calif. Personal computing had been pioneered at research laboratories adjacent to Stanford, and it was spreading to the outside world. ............... “What I remember is how intense he looked” ... “He was everywhere, and he seemed to be trying to hear everything people had to say.” ...... Wozniak designed the original Apple I computer simply to show it off to his friends at the Homebrew. It was Mr. Jobs who had the inspiration that it could be a commercial product. ...... In early 1976, he and Mr. Wozniak, using their own money, began Apple with an initial investment of $1,300; they later gained the backing of a former Intel executive, A. C. Markkula, who lent them $250,000. Mr. Wozniak would be the technical half and Mr. Jobs the marketing half of the original Apple I Computer. ........... In April 1977, Mr. Jobs and Mr. Wozniak introduced Apple II at the West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco. It created a sensation. Faced with a gaggle of small and large competitors in the emerging computer market, Apple, with its Apple II, had figured out a way to straddle the business and consumer markets by building a computer that could be customized for specific applications. ....... Sales skyrocketed, from $2 million in 1977 to $600 million in 1981, the year the company went public. By 1983 Apple was in the Fortune 500. No company had ever joined the list so quickly. ...... The Alto, controlled by a mouse pointing device, was one of the first computers to employ a graphical video display, which presented the user with a view of documents and programs, adopting the metaphor of an office desktop. ...... “I remember within 10 minutes of seeing the graphical user interface stuff, just knowing that every computer would work this way someday. It was so obvious once you saw it. It didn’t require tremendous intellect. It was so clear.” ....... In 1981 he joined a small group of Apple engineers pursuing a separate project, a lower-cost system code-named Macintosh. ...... “I don’t wear the right kind of pants to run this company,” he told a small gathering of Apple employees before he left, according to a member of the original Macintosh development team. He was barefoot as he spoke, and wearing blue jeans. ........ Jobs also established a personal philanthropic foundation after leaving Apple but soon had a change of heart, deciding instead to spend much of his fortune — $10 million — on acquiring Pixar, a struggling graphics supercomputing company owned by the filmmaker George Lucas. ....... In 2006, the Walt Disney Company agreed to purchase Pixar for $7.4 billion. The sale made Mr. Jobs Disney’s largest single shareholder, with about 7 percent of the company’s stock. ...... He had a number of well-publicized romantic relationships, including one with the folk singer Joan Baez, before marrying Laurene Powell. In 1996, his sister Mona Simpson, a novelist, threw a spotlight on her relationship with Mr. Jobs in the novel “A Regular Guy.” The two did not meet until they were adults. ....... his daughters Eve Jobs and Erin Sienna Jobs and a son, Reed ...... Eventually, Mr. Jobs refocused NeXT from the education to the business market and dropped the hardware part of the company, deciding to sell just an operating system. Although NeXT never became a significant computer industry player, it had a huge impact: a young programmer, Tim Berners-Lee, used a NeXT machine to develop the first version of the World Wide Web at the Swiss physics research center CERN in 1990. ...... In 1996, after unsuccessful efforts to develop next-generation operating systems, Apple, with Gilbert Amelio now in command, acquired NeXT for $430 million. The next year, Mr. Jobs returned to Apple as an adviser. He became chief executive again in 2000. ...... Shortly after returning, Mr. Jobs publicly ended Apple’s long feud with its archrival Microsoft, which agreed to continue developing its Office software for the Macintosh and invested $150 million in Apple. ..... The music arm grew rapidly, reaching almost 50 percent of the company’s revenue by June 2008. ........ In 2005, Mr. Jobs announced that he would end Apple’s business relationship with I.B.M. and Motorola and build Macintosh computers based on Intel microprocessors. ...... Afterward, he said he had suffered from a “common bug.” Privately, he said his cancer surgery had created digestive problems but insisted they were not life-threatening. ....... by the end of 2010 the company had sold almost 90 million units. ....... he was found not to have benefited financially from the backdating and no charges were brought. ...... his ability to blend product design and business market innovation by integrating consumer-oriented software, microelectronic components, industrial design and new business strategies in a way that has not been matched. ....... “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”