Saturday, July 10, 2010

The curator Steve Jobs and the App store

Just watched the D8 thing (Walt Mossberg and Jobs)
Apple is being accused of being a 'curator' by vetting the application in the app store.
Unfortunately Steve did not do a real good job of explaining the alternative. He mentioned CSS, HTML 5, Java script. He should have wrapped up the point by explaining what a 'web app' can look and feel like on the iPhone / iPad.

My company, Powerbits, is currently developing commercial line of business apps for the iPad / iPhone.
Using CSS, HTML 5, Javascript, Ajax et al and the special Safari - webkit extensions, we can build apps that look and feel completely like native apps. We use fairly simple web authoring tools, like the old Dreamweaver 4.0, and others to do this. We use Safari's 'developer' menu to test and fine tune. We aren't required to use a platform SDK. We use the open jquery, jqtouch libraries to get moving. Webkit and mobile safari provide special meta tags that integrate the web 'page' into a virtual native app.

The people who cry about Apple being a curator are clueless.
You don't need the app store to get really good apps to the platform.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

By Jove I have it!

At last. I have my iPad. It's everything I hoped it would be. All the nay Sayers can go and dip their heads in a bucket of Cow poo!
Whilst the iBooks store is only available in the US, Apple have at least made available free books for the Australian market. Everything else, however, is very good.

So, I finally have an e-book reader. So far my libraries are...
Surely that should cover just about everything I want, and as I mentioned in a previous post, I have email, web browsing to boot.

One app that impresses me so far is Wikipanion. It may be better than safari for viewing wikipedia.

The iPad is a winner.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The HP Way - The Science

"Decisions should be made at the lowest possible level"

Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard at some point decided to try a social experiment when they started their business. The key line of business was building tools. Oscillators, Voltmeters, assorted measuring equipment. They wanted to build better equipment that would allow others to build better things and they wanted to see if you could do this and still make money. They did.
They tried to make the world a better place by doing what they knew best. Making electronic equipment. But there is more to making a better world than just making the best equipment. Bill and Dave believed that a company had an obligation to it's share holders, it's customers, it's employees and the community within which you operate.

The employees.
Bill and Dave encouraged their employees to be creative, innovative and to take responsibility for their actions. They wanted people to be involved in the decisions, to give people a higher level of control than would be normal in business. They trusted their people. This is the secret sauce. Most humans respond well when they are entrusted. They feel worthy, needed, valued. If the company is 'shaped' well, there is almost a 'sacred duty' to do the right thing at work. The company becomes a team, a tribe.
Another thing Bill and Dave tried to do was flatten the hierarchy of command, or at least remove the intimidation and social strata aspects of management and employee control.

The payoff.
There are studies that show if people have control and support in their lives they are less stressed. They function better, their health is better and they are happier. By giving employees control as well as challenges, reward and support they were tapping into the strengths of humanity.

People working in an intimidating work place, rigidly following poor or misunderstood decisions or processes and having no control or worth have much higher levels of stress hormones, norepinephrine, cortisol and others. These affect attention, memory, blood pressure, vascular operation, alimentary function, immune system and endocrine systems. Whilst it may feel good to those at the top, it actually impedes creativity, innovation and efficiency. You are making your workforce dumber, sicker and unenthusiastic. Everyday, science is finding hard evidence of the drastic health effects of stress hormones on human physiology and the link between their work environment and stress hormone levels. The telomeres at the end of DNA seem to be damaged by stress hormones. This increases ageing and contributes to DNA damage. Cortisol has adverse effects on the distribution and metabolism of fat increasing atherosclerosis and other vascular problems. Stress hormones affect the operation of neurotransmitters and cells in the brain. The effects are far more serious than previously thought.

By giving their employees some measure of control, trust, realistic challenges and support, Bill and Dave hit on a natural winner. Everyone benefited. Really benefited. And the company went from a small company to a multinational giant. They started a revolution in science and technology and seeded silicon valley. They produced products, technologies and ideas that made the world richer and safer and in the process made their employees lives richer, safer, healthier and happier.

With so much anecdotal and hard evidence to support the HP way one wonders at the galley slave masters of business today and why business management schools consider the HP way as inefficient sentimental rubbish.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Let down again.

From Steve Jobs during the iPad keynote...
"We've got five of the largest publishers in the world that are supporting us in this and are going to have all of their books on the store, and we're going to open up the floodgates for the rest of the publishers in the world starting this afternoon."

By 'World' he means the US.
Notices on International Apple websites indicate that iBooks is a US only feature and not available outside the US. 

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I want one.
The only dissapointment to me was listening to the pundits. Merlin Mann, Dr. Kirsten Stanford, Leo Laporte etc. Oh, it's too big, it's too expensive, its just another tablet, it has no multi-tasking, it's just a big iPod ... blah blah blah.
Dr. Kiki says she would not buy one because it has no multi tasking - not enough power. Like Dr. Kiki is the average user .. a PhD scientist for goodness sake. Leo collects programming languages for a hobby.
All these experts proffering opinions why it's mediocre or a flop. Every one of them coming at it from a high-tech perspective.  If I said something was written in C they all would understand what I meant. That is not your average user and it is not the sole market for this device.
Merlin Mann hit the nail on the head with his comment on the enumerated shortcommings as ...
'the Protestant Church needs more Roseries'.

I even suffered through the clueless interview with an editor at PCWorld saying it would not make a gaming platform. How many games (units) have been sold into the iPhone market. What a goose.

Because Apple refuse to join the 'race to the bottom' on price and quality, the thing is too expensive for Mrs. Walmart. Phhhht!
When you guys develop a business the size and scope of Apple then maybe we'll pay more attention to your expert proffersies.
Man, I remember listening to the same crap about why the iPhone was going to be a dud.
Dude, the AppleTV is such a dud because it wont build my latest kernal while I watch boxee.

Who were the guys I thought had it nailed? Alex Lindsay from the Pixelcorps and Andy Ihnatko (Chicago Sun Times). They approached it from a normal persons perspective.

...and no I'm not an Apple bigot - fanboy. I'm a Microsoft MVP.
Wintel programming and support is how I make my money.

Now, why do I want one?
First, I want a device for an ebook reader. I have been waiting and holding off for years. I want to have a library at my finger tips. I have an iPhone with Stanza and Kindle but the screen is too small. Despite the experts, I want an iPod with a bigger screen. Do I use the web on the iPhone / iPod - not really... because the screen is too small. Do I use eMail on the iPhone ... yes, but the screen is too small. I also use the 'native' weather app as well as the purchased 'BOM Radar' (Austral rainfall radar). But again, the screen is just a bit small.

For me, an eBook reader that has eMail and Wikipedia is already there. Everything else is cream. I looked at the Kindle and it was almost there. No email or web but the epaper was great. Why did I not buy one? They were not available to the rest of the world. To those who live in the US, the US is the whole world. (that will be their downfall) By the time they were available, it was too late. I decided to wait and check out the apple offering. (Bad luck Bezos)

I know of four other people, not tech heads, who want this device on the Coffee table and to read in bed or out sipping Black Russians in the evening cool.

I love my iPhone for the functionality. I bought it not because it was Apple but because it did everything I wanted. (I had an O2 XDAII for five years.)

The perfect offering would be a dock for the iPhone that had sound, screen, keyboard and mouse.

I am hoping that the iPad will team up with my iPhone to give me all the bells and whistles. It looks on track.