Thriving in a wet environment
Seth Godin makes an apt analogy about how things go fascinatingly wrong when wetware (now there’s a term I haven’t thought about in years) gets involved:
That’s one reason why the web is so fascinating–it’s a collision between the analytic world of code and wet world of people.
No software design survives a collision with the user.
Dr. Terry Wahls’ TEDx Iowa City presentation is the best TED talk ever. Take 18 minutes out of your life to watch; you won’t regret it.
“Between the unexpected, unpleasant events in our lives and our response to those events is a space, and in that space we have a choice in deciding what our response will be. We can either give up or get up each day and do our best.”
Today, John Gruber linked to an article at PCMag by Eric Grevstad, and quoted this bit:
That’s because, for all the talk about whether the iPad 3 will have a quad-core processor or a retina display or a VW Beetle bud vase, we already know one thing about it: It won’t be a laptop. And we know, if we’re honest, that the iPad is no substitute for a laptop. Never will be. Isn’t supposed to be.
Gruber’s comment was this:
That the iPad is not a substitute for a laptop for everyone does not mean it is not a substitute for anyone. That’s the key to the iPad’s success. Many people don’t need a laptop for their away-from-the-desk computing needs.
Which is a good start, but doesn’t go far enough. Apple’s goal is pretty clearly to replace your laptop in as many use cases as possible. Hell, Tim Cook even said as much just recently at a Goldman Sachs conference:
We started using it at Apple well before it was launched. We had our shades pulled so no one could see us, but it quickly became that 80-90% of my consumption and work was done on the iPad. From the first day it shipped, we thought that the tablet market would become larger than the PC market and it was just a matter of the time it took for that to occur.
Anyone calling bullshit on this whole post-PC thing already sounds fairly out of touch, and Grevstad doesn’t help his case when he goes on to say he wants a VGA port on his next laptop). But it’s early yet. Keep watching; this line of thinking is going to seem even more backward in the near future.
Click the link to see a sterling example of how to sell a snowblower.
Do you like shoveling snow? Then stop reading this and go back to your pushups and granola because you are not someone that I want to talk to.
(Via Shawn Blanc)
I can hardly wait for our upcoming daughter to be old enough to appreciate Mark Twain’s Advice to Youth. It’s some of the best advice I’ve read in ages. (I really do want her to read it, along with everything Oscar Wilde ever wrote, for starters…)
Be respectful to your superiors, if you have any, also to strangers, and sometimes to others. If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. That will be sufficient.
When Bigger Isn’t Better: Samsung Galaxy S II Preview | Apartment Therapy Unplggd
First, WTF is up with that name, Samsung?
I find it interesting that Apple’s devices appear to be considered untouchable by so many reviewers. This review might as well read, “Well, it’s ugly, not as good as its 18-month old competitor, and clearly designed and built by chimpanzees, but it’s pretty much better than the rest of the also-rans.”
(Are there really no kick-ass Android phones on the market? What’s the problem, here?)
My two favorite quotes:
It’s still no Retina Display, but Samsung’s Super AMOLED is a category leading display otherwise.
If we were just considering specs on paper and were in the market for an Android based phone, this would be a frontrunner. However, after our short demo with the Samsung Galaxy S II, we weren’t wowed by the ergonomics, and to a lesser extent the material build, finding it best suited for those with larger hands and a blind eye to UI clutter.
ongoing by Tim Bray · Good News-Biz News
Tim Bray’s latest blog post, discussing TPM, is well worth a read. It also contains a little side note on the current Republican party, who are largely (and, I believe, correctly) considered by the rest of the world as crazy fucking nutjobs:
Possibly the Republicans are right that homosexuality weakens marriage and tax cuts don’t cause deficits and imprisoning a world-leading proportion of your population increases public safety and deregulating the finance industry is good economics and invading large Middle-Eastern nations (then staying) improves America’s security, as does spending more on the military than the rest of the world put together. And maybe the rest of the world is wrong on these things. I doubt it, though.
But I digress.
The Seed of Apple’s Innovation is almost seven years old now. And it’s still entirely relevant today. Maybe even more so, since it’s clear that many of Apple’s competitors still don’t understand why the fuck they’re getting their asses kicked.
Steve Jobs: Look at Microsoft (MSFT ) — who’s running Microsoft?
Interviewer: Steve Ballmer.
Steve Jobs: Right, the sales guy. Case closed.
(Microsoft’s stock price has now been stagnant for over a decade…)
And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.
From Fast Company’s design outpost: Paddy Harrington, of Bruce Mau Design, talks about 3 Conditions That Set The Stage For Blinding Insight. A bit over-the-top title-wise, but the project (a new website for Studio Gang architects) is interesting, as are the conditions.
Here’s the short version, lifted from the middle of the article:
Surround yourself with both the problem and with inspiration. That means drawing on the field of study itself, and gathering all the information that you can. It also means drawing on inspiring, but unrelated fields. Insight can come from anywhere.
The differences between things are one of the surest ways to find insight. Just as biodiversity is a hallmark of a healthy ecosystem, cogni-diversity (let’s call it that) is the sign of a healthy creative environment. That can come from a diverse set of collaborators, or simply leaving your office and talking to different people at the supermarket in your neighborhood. Seek difference because insight lies in the space between.
As Einstein says, we’re slaves to our pre-frontal cortex. The rational centre of our brain controls the vast majority of our conscious thought process. Designers have always known that you have to stay up really late sometimes to find insight. You have to distance yourself somehow from the world. These techniques are simply ways to escape the tendency towards purely rational thought. The trick is to get to a short hand. If you can calm your thought, the chances are much better that that moment of insight will simply emerge from the deeper recesses of your mind.
Jean-Louis Gassée takes a look at Apple’s Q2 numbers in his latest Monday Note column. His columns are almost always interesting and insightful; this one’s no exception.
To me, one of the most interesting numbers is the Asia-Pacific growth (76% growth, vs 28% overall) of the Mac platform, accompanied of course by overall 151% revenue in the region. Also interesting, but unsurprising, to note that desktop sales are still going down by single-digit percentages every quarter — 6% this quarter — while laptop sales grew by 59%.
Is any other company having as much success in Asia at the moment as Apple? Seems like a huge growth opportunity there, and touch interfaces lend themselves very well to multi-byte character sets. Very, very interesting times are ahead.
Regard Asia. In China the iPhone is +250% year-to-year (vs. +155% in the US).
The number is especially interesting because this ought to be where iOS goes to die, snuffed out by a swarm of locally produced cheap handsets running Android or its mutant cousins Tapas and Ophone. You’ll recall Stephen Elop, currently Nokia’s CEO, cautioning against aggressively priced MediaTek based Android devices in his Burning Platform memo.
Instead, Chinese customers appear to insist on The Real Thing. We now hear that the Shanghai Apple Store does more volume than the historic 5th Avenue location, with a new store, China’s largest, in the works.