Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

The Scarlet Pumperpennny Gets a Mac

2010/12/28 1 comment

A friend of mine just received a MacBook Air for Christmas. I thought this may be an interesting opportunity to follow someone through learning the Apple way which is so “easy an intuitive”. She would probably prefer I not use here name, so I’ll call her the Scarlet Pumperpenny.

Scarlet is a very intelligent lady. She currently uses computers (Windows) heavily throughout the day and has done so for many years. She uses a desktop at work but has a personal laptop so she is no stranger to varied sized keyboards, mice, and touchpads.

She emailed me a bit worried that she would have trouble using it. I immediately replied that she would have nooooo trouble at all based on the consistent plaudits I’ve heard from the Applerati over the years and my own experience learning Macs. Certainly if she could handle those clunky PCs, the Mac would be effortless to learn.

Looking forward to her first story!


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Charlie Brooker on the iPhone

Charlie Brooker (@charltonbrooker) just made a series of tweets about the iPhone that were so good they need to be saved for posterity. I wish I had his ability to capture the essence of a humorous situation in so few words.

(read from bottom up as on Twitter)


# Aw, I’m just messing, fanboys. I’m sure it’s lovely. I don’t know whether to buy one or wait until one gets issued to me by the government.     half a minute ago  via web

# Hey, maybe some of those factory workers tried ringing the Samaritans but couldn’t get through because they were holding it the wrong way? 9 minutes ago via TweetDeck

# You’re right, fanboys. It’s a fuss over nothing. It works perfectly well if you lie it on a desk and jab at the screen with your nose. 14 minutes ago via TweetDeck

# Fret not, left-handed iPhone users: Apple will solve the issue by forcibly injecting your brain with a new OS that turns you right-handed. 17 minutes ago via TweetDeck

# Next week: Apple unveil a toilet you can’t sit on. 30 minutes ago via TweetDeck

# This whole iPhone 4 antenna issue reminds me of Steve Martin inventing ‘Opti-Grab ‘ spectacles in The Jerk. 30 minutes ago via TweetDeck

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Don’t Use iTunes to Design your Next Atomic Bomb

On the lighter side of ribbing Apple, it appears that the company explicitly declares in the iTunes Terms and Conditions (search for “nuclear”) that you should not use iTunes for “the development, design, manufacture or production of nuclear, missiles, or chemical or biological weapons.”

Darn, another Apple restriction, And I and so many others had hopes along that line!


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Hodgman and Long are Funny, Ellen is Not

Remember those great Apple “Get a Mac” video ads with John Hodgman as the PC and Justin Long as the Mac? Boy, those were great weren’t they? Apple approached the situation with a real sense of light humor, poking fun at Windows and the PC. I love humor and am so glad that Apple does too. You can still see all the vids right on the Apple site at

Of course, that only applies if it’s Apple doing the jabbing. Ellen Degeneres made a funny spoof commercial of the iPhone on her show. Mashable reported that Apple was none too happy with the commercial. Ellen says “They thought I made it look like it’s hard to use and I just want to say I’m sorry if I made the iPhone look like it was hard to use.”

I guess under Apple’s humor laws Ellen’s joke was in poor taste for casting a bad impression on the usability of their product, whereas Apple’s own ads casting a bad impression on the usability of Microsoft’s product was witty.

Interestingly, the video on the Mashable story, when played, says “Sorry, this title is no longer available. You can see the original here and Ellen’s “apology” here.

In Britain the ads were done with comedians David Mitchell (the PC) and Robert Webb (the Mac). Charlie Brooker wrote about the ads in the Guardian saying “they are best known for the television series Peep Show – probably the best sitcom of the past five years – in which Mitchell plays a repressed, neurotic underdog, and Webb plays a selfish, self-regarding poseur”. So the ads speak as much about Apple as it does about Microsoft. Now that’s funny!


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Apple, ARM, Lawsuits….Oh My!

So Apple is considering buying ARM, the makers of the processor chip for the iPhone. Their processors are also used in a large variety of devices including printers and netbooks. There’s even talk about it taking the market leader role from Intel’s atom processor.

Two interesting statements in the short article

1) Apple could make the processors more “Apple-ized”.

2) Apple could potentially block ARM processors from being used in rival smartphones,

The first may be unfounded at this point, but does give Apple the option to make changes which not only improve Apple products, but degrade others. The second really requires no further explanation and sounds right up Apple’s alley.

One of the “rival smartphones” companies is, of course, HTC. If you follow the industry at all, you’ve heard about Apple’s lawsuit against HTC over it’s Nexus One product. The lawsuit is still going so we’ve yet to see the long term outcome. However, we’ve already seen the short term outcome in a delay of the Verizon Nexus One. Think of what delays mean in this competitive fast-paced industry. And Apple was able to deal that to HTC without a conviction.

Now think what Apple could do to HTC with control over ARM whose processors power the Nexus one and others in HTC’s line. Not that Apple would ever dare to actually cut HTC off. But the wildly popular iPhone could start using most of ARM’s capacity, and it would not be unreasonable to say that the owner of the company has first dibs on output. So Apple controls both the amount of product, and the distribution of the product, but it would never use it to unfair competitive advantage. If you believe this I have some ocean-front land in South Dakota I’d like to offer you for sale. Think Microsoft buying Intel.

One of the great things about being old is having the benefit of history. Many of the people in the tech industry today may not remember when Apple was producing its first Macintoshes. At that time Apple filed suit against Microsoft for having a Graphical User Interface. To read the article now is funny, with Apple claiming sole ownership of “the existence of windows on the screen, the rectangular appearance of windows, windows could be resized, overlap, and have title bars” because together these were more than the sum of the parts. But back then Apple was as serious as it is now about the HTC suit.

The funniest part of that episode was that the idea for the GUI wasn’t Apple’s! Xerox’s PARC had done a huge amount of work in the Dark Ages. Xerox said they “had invited the Macintosh design team to view their GUI computers at the PARC research lab; these visits had been very influential on the development of the Macintosh GUI”. In a fun turn of events, Xerox in turn sued Apple as a defensive move. If the court ruled that the Mac interface was copyrightable, then Xerox wanted if to be clear the copyright was theirs.

I hope enough anti-competition concerns come up to block the ARM sale. And as far as the HTC lawsuit, I hope the results are similar to Apple vs Microsoft. Apple got claims to very few items, amongst them the trash can icon. Very useful for storing their strategies.


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The not so Theoretical Heavy Hand of Apple

2010/04/20 4 comments

Those of you who know me in real life know that I’ve been disappointed by the launch of the iPad. I was at least as eagerly expectant as the general public at the beginning. But the product that came out was almost the opposite of what I’d hoped.

The product itself has many cool features. The form is nice. The interface is great, though I would have very much liked a stylus. I’ve heard complaints about the weight, but really the weight is very reasonable for what it delivers.

But the Apple policy on the machine is incredibly autocratic and arrogant. I don’t care how pretty it’s worded or how much concern is expressed over performance and stability, the intent is very simple. As an user, Apple has full control of what you can install on your machine. And as a developer, Apple has full control over what you’re allowed to publish.

So is this control theoretical? Is it just Apple leaving its options open in case it has to clamp down on real problem software? I found these three articles to be of interest taken together

So the first article is a completely expected story of Apple clamping down on an application that most would say is perfectly ok. This is Mark Fiore, a Pulitzer prize-winning political cartoonist whose app was rejected because it “ridicules public figures”. Imagine that. A political cartoonist poking fun at public figures. The story is kind of scary if you follow some of the links to other incidents.

But Apple is no so tough, is it? In this story Apple backtracks and says that the Fiore app banning was a mistake. Just a bit of confusion. Oh, it’s not Apple’s intent to censor in this way.

But in the third article we see the real Apple. Here Steve Jobs says both that banning Fiore’s app was a mistake and would be in the app store soon and “However, we do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy and Android phone.”.

That porn statement is powerful. It says that Apple can badmouth any applications it does not like. And it says it’s not apologizing for having the control to treat any application it does not like as garbage.

Well, Apple, I want my Porn. The first piece of Porn I want is Firefox. And Chrome. And, by the way, Internet Explorer if Microsoft would make it just because  you opt to install Safari  on Windows. And the reason why I want these specific pieces of Porn is because another piece of Porn you block is Flash. It’s one of the most widely used pieces of software on the web, but you feels it’s your role is to singlehandedly banish it.

When Microsoft bundled Internet Explorer with Windows, the Internet community was up in arms because that gave MS an unfair competitive advantage. I hope the community rallies twice as strong against Apple for not only bundling Safari by default, but making sure the user cannot change that choice.

So yes, Steve. I do want my “Porn”. I will not be getting an iPad. And I will be trading my iPhone for an Android phone soon.


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