“Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”—Steve Jobs - Thoughts on Flash
As regular readers know, the role I assume here and aim to fill is that of a Curator. My stated goal of this site is to find interesting items that fall under the stated topic area and gather them together along with some commentary that will hopefully provide interest, context, and cause you, the reader, to investigate further.
While I think I am doing a fine enough job of this for the site, I am horrible about it when it comes to aggregating all of my online projects into one central place where people can find it all. While I am certainly thinking about a way to execute such a place on a more permanent basis, I thought I would take some time out here to post all the places you can find my work:
patrickrhone.com – My personal site where I write essays on just about anything that captures my interest as well as personal topics. The latest post, certainly of interest in this context, is titled Why I Curate.
The Random Post – Where I curate the things that don’t seem to fit anywhere else.
Minimal Mac – Minimalist computing as it relates to the Mac universe and the general topic of what is “enough” when it comes to technology as a whole.
Practical Opacity – Exploring the idea of “enough” as it relates to social media, email, and online interactions and distractions.
Duchess Beatrix – Where I “ghost write” a blog for my daughter, The Duchess of Heckofalot (go read it and it will all make sense).
A Better Freelancer – I coauthor and cocurate this site along with Aaron Mahnke. A place that helps freelancers such as myself become, well, better. If you are a freelancer or even thinking of becoming a “business of one” like me, check it out.
So, there you have the bulk of the places you can find me. Hope this helps. Especially those I have received feedback on doing this very thing.
Note: I will likely cross post this at the other locations as well so do not be put off by visiting and seeing this duplicated.
Those who have been following along here for a while know how much a love Hazel. This magic little pref pane can watch any folder you tell it to and automatically organize your files according to rules you create. For instance, I have it watching my desktop and any file that is on there for more than two days, and has not been modified in the last 3 hours, gets moved to a “Working” folder I have. It can also do other magic little things like auto empty the trash on a schedule and delete all the associated files for an application if you move it to the trash. It like creating smart rules for organizing and cleaning up you mess.
I have only scratched the surface for what it can do though and recently, two things came across my radar that will be of interest to those that use it as well as those that should.
Hazel on MPU 25 – First off is episode 25 of the Mac Power Users podcast that was all about how to get ninja deep with Hazel. Insightful and full of tips and tricks with many step by step instructions. The episode page also includes some handy links.
Quick Tips: 3 Uses for Hazel – The Apple Blog share three quick and useful ways to use Hazel including cleaning up your downloads, creating a zip/unzip folder, and auto launching torrents.
If nothing else these links will give you an idea of some idea of the powerful things that can be done.
Nevertheless, the shortsightedness of punditry is evergreen. Instead of praising the iPad, critics express their disappointment, because they expected more. They expected a genre buster. They expected something they’d never seen before, something beyond their imagination. Something revolutionary.
They’re disappointed that the iPad is so… well… unsurprising.
Therein, of course, lies the genius.
Great post tracing the history leading up to the iPad, the role it fills, and why it’s greatest asset is it’s transparency. Also, love the site design. Everything about this link is wonderful.
Yesterday, I posted a link to a site called Messy Desks, as part of my usual “Not what we believe in.” meme. While it is certainly true I am not a fan of clutter, this particular link and post was all a part of an elaborate practical joke on my good friend Pat Dryburgh who curates SimpleDesks. See, his roommate, John, sent me an email a few days ago that, in part, said:
One of the things that I have been bugging him about to no end is his site:simpledesks.tumblr.com. I keep bugging him about his fascination with clean looking desks… I ask him why he calls it desk p0rn, and ask him if he would ever date a girl that didn’t have a clean minimalist desk… etc, etc ;) all in fun.
Any who… I have decided to take things to the next level by making my own site… which I have called: messydesks.tumblr.com. I have basically copied his exact layout, and wording, but put in my name and pictures of messy desks. I honestly laugh every time I see the two sites side by side.
So, that was how it began. John put it together, asked me to link to it, knowing that Pat would see it. Worked like a charm. Everyone had a good laugh.
One of the lessons I have learned, especially in curating this site, is to not take any of this stuff too seriously. This was the perfect opportunity to do just that.
Do this: look at your work area and pick one thing, just one thing, that doesn’t belong there, isn’t helping you with your work, and has just been taking up space. Pick up this one thing and find a place for it – store it, throw it away, but get it off your desk.
The first quarter of my life was spent in a world where there was no such thing as a “personal computer”. The idea of someone having a computer in their home was as futuristic when I was, say, eight years old as a jet pack or rocket car. By the time I was in my teen years, they were as much of a reality, at least for the folks I knew who could afford one, as a toaster. The generation just after mine, has never lived in a word where personal computers were a not common possession of almost everyone they knew. I’ve been thinking recently about the probability that my two year old daughter may hear about something called a “keyboard” or a “mouse” and stare at me just a blankly as today’s college grads would when you mention running programs off of a cassette recorder (“What’s that?”) from a computer you hooked up to the antenna jack (“What’s that?”) on a TV.
When I see Beatrix pick up my iPad and, after some very brief instruction, launch the Photo app, gleefully squeal “Pinch!” and “Swipe!” as she does just that to navigate the interface, I can’t help but think that this is all she will ever need to know about how one interacts with the computer for the foreseeable future. I can’t help but think that one day, we will be down in the basement, and she will see some old system we should have disposed of long ago, and it will have these strange things attached to them, things we never imagined doing without, and she’ll ask “Daddy, what’s that?”.
I want to start off by saying that all credit for the tip goes to Andy Ihnatko and last weeks episode of MacBreak Weekly. On that episode, for his pick of the week, he mentioned that he picked up a pair of rubber stoppers at his local hardware store as the perfect portable solution for holding his iPad at a comfortable angle on a desk.
Today, I ran out and got some and, boy, I’ll be darned if they are not the most perfect thing ever for typing on the onscreen keyboard. The angle is just right for not only typing but viewing in this sort of situation as well. The total cost: $3.44 with tax. These will go in my bag and travel everywhere my iPad does. No need now for an expensive case that does the same.
There are these little myths we often let ourselves base important decisions and major purchases around. I like to call them the “What if” myths. Because of my business I seem to hear them all the time. That said, the tech savvy are not immune either. I myself have fallen prey more times than I care to admit. In almost every case, these phrases lead us to spend more money than necessary, pack more in our bag than we have to, and purchase far more machine than we will use . It also keeps us from truthfully examining our day to day needs.
Here are a couple of common examples:
“What if I need to run Photoshop?”
This is the common excuse I hear from designers as to why they need, in addition to a desktop machine with a large screen and powerful graphics card, a portable machine that can perform with suitable aplomb.
My challenge to this myth is two fold: a) How often do you really need this kind of power in a mobile situation? Can these rare times not wait until you return to your desk? b) Do you really need a desktop machine as well as a portable? Why not sell the desktop and have one machine that is both powerful and portable.
“What if someone sends me a Word document?”
This is usually the myth I hear from people who are convinced they need Microsoft Office. These folks are certain that they run into such situations “all the time” but, when pressed or investigated, I usually find out it is about twice a year and the documents themselves are things like kids birthday party invitations where the information within is far more important than the formatting.
My challenge to this myth is that TextEdit can open any Word document to the extent that you need it to. Most times, it will do so flawlessly. It can even save out in MS Word formats so if you need to make some simple edits and send it back to someone who has fallen prey to this same myth, you can. Even those funky new .docx files all the MS kids are crazy about these days. If push comes to shove, you could get the iWork suite so that you can open Excel files (in Numbers) and Powerpoint files (in Keynote). The bottom line, you don’t need Microsoft Office.
Don’t you mind about the future?Don’t you try to think ahead?Save tomorrow for tomorrow;Think about today instead.
– “What’s The Buzz” from Jesus Christ Superstar ‘
The thing with all of this is, why plan for and base such choices on the boundary cases? Why buy something for what you hardly ever do as opposed to what you do all the time? If you encountered such a scenario, is the fallout so costly that you can justify spending more or having more than you need up front and every day? If so, then I can understand such a choice. If not, then why not purchase what you need (or even better, find a way to make do with what you have) when you need it?
I know a secret about you. I know that you have friends who use Linux. In fact, I know at least a few of you have grabbed that old PC you switched away from, blown off the dust, and installed a distro or two “just to check it out”. Yeah, don’t try to front. I see you and your crazy t-shirt wearing friends. No place like 127.0.0.1, indeed.
Well, there is a new site to mention that falls under a little umbrella I am calling “The Minimal Network” – It’s called Minimal Linux. It’s for all of your friends I know about. Spread the word to them. It also may come in handy the next time you wanna breathe some new blood into an old Dell.
Also, don’t worry about this whole Network thing. It’s all very unofficial. In fact, I just kind of made it up. We are not going to start problogging or buying stolen goods for stories or anything.
One day, when I was 8 years old, I found a twenty dollar bill on a city bus. My Grandmother’s house, where I spent more than a few days every week, was at the beginning of a bus route. It was not uncommon, when boarding the bus, I was the only one on. That day, I had just boarded and paid my fare and, on the way to seeking out my usual seat, I saw it. As I remember it, it was the most money I had ever held in my hand at the time. I was, at least for a few seconds, somewhat in awe of it.
Even still, I knew what to do. I walked back up the aisle to the Driver, stretched out my arm with bill firmly grasped betwixt my fingers and said, “Excuse me, mister. I think someone lost this”
The Driver looked down at it, smiled, and said, “That’s very honorable of you kid. But, you know, all money looks the same. I have a lot of people on each ride. Even if I wanted to, there’s no way I could find out who’s it is… Go ahead and keep it. It’s yours now.”
I stood there, a little stunned.
“Go ahead kid. Really, it’s yours.”
I walked back to my seat solemnly. Of course, my first thoughts were to what I could do with that much money. The candy I could buy. The toys. The comics.
Then, not much more than a moment later, I started to think about what the person who lost it was going to do with that money before they lost it. Maybe they really needed it. Maybe it was a single mom, like mine, struggling to make ends meet. To whom twenty dollars represented two days worth of food (perhaps even three if you stretched it right).
Yes, eight year old me really did think about such things because I lived them. I thought about those things because my Grandmother, the daughter of a preacher and sister of a bishop, taught me that is how you treat people – the way you would want to be treated. And, if I lost a twenty, I would want someone to find me, by what ever means necessary, and give it back.
It was a very long time before I broke down and finally spent that twenty. I still feel guilty about it to this day.
In case you had not heard, it was a very sad day on the internet today. I won’t go into details or link to any of them because, to repeat them, in my mind, would make me just as guilty. Suffice to say that someone lost something important, someone else found it, that someone then sold it to another party that decided to not only plaster it all over the internet, but also name and shame the person who lost it. Potentially destroying his name and career for good…
Not what we believe in (and if you do believe in such a thing, please stop reading, unsubscribe, and never return. Seriously.)
I don’t pretend to be a journalist. I have never been invited to any event and provided with credentials that may label me as such. I don’t consider what I do here “blogging” and, therefore, for these purposes, I’m not a blogger. I only recently had to admit to being a writer because of a gig I was honored to be asked to do (and, thankfully to the reader, that gig comes with an Editor).
The role I perform here, and the title I assume is “Curator”. I want to find interesting items that fall under a specific topic area and gather them together with some commentary that will hopefully provide both interest and context and cause you to investigate further. Sometimes, and only sometimes, those items may be original to this site.
That said, here is my pledge to you:
Anything I provide here I will have found through only the most ethical means and with great care and concern for my visitors time and attention.
Just another semi-personal site related note to say that I am still here. Thanks to last weeks illness, posts have slowed to a crawl. Things may not improve much this week because all of the things I had to cancel last week are now stacked on top of the stuff I already had planned for this week. When you work for yourself, you don’t get to take a day off without some collateral cost.
The other thing is, there is not much Mac stuff going on right now that does not in some way involve the iPad or anything related to such. Not that this is a bad thing, I just have said all that I plan to really say on that subject. To summarize, iPad is the future of computing and perfect for someone who believes in the concepts of minimalist computing and “enough”.
The new Macbook Pro’s were released today. They look like really fantastic machines. Great battery life and fast as melted butter on hot toast. Like everything I preach here, if you really need one and plan to push it to the fullest potential, you should get one. Otherwise, you should stick with what you have. Especially if what you have is serving you well. Even better if you can figure out ways to make it serve you even better. Good things will always come to those who wait, as well as those who get the most out of what they have.
In any case, i’m rambling now. I will post as time allows. Some of that may be iPad stuff because that is all I keep seeing. Keep following and I promise to be back in the saddle soon.
Alfred is a new quick launching application that is in beta but gets more promising (and stable) with each release. If Quicksilver’s mercurial nature and LaunchBar’s price are not your speed, this is worth a look.
OK, I think I have had enough time with the iPad now to share some first impressions. Keep in mind that these are based upon a few hours of sporadic usage and hence they are a lot more jerk then knee. Also, this was written entirely on the iPad in landscape orientation on my lap.
Holy Moses is this thing fast! I mean, the first thing I imagine any iPhone user will think after using this for a few minutes is how BadAss™ the next iPhone will be if they use a similar A4 chip as they do here.
That speed comes with a side advantage that I did not put much thought into before today — making the device disappear. The experience is so natural and reflexive, the only thought that comes to mind is “Yes. This is the way computing should have always been”. After only a few seconds you are suddenly flying around the interface with such speed and grace that you forget the interface completely. It is simply an extension of you.
The keyboard is entirely useable and comfortable to me. Especially in landscape orientation. The whole “lean back a bit and cradle it in your lap” experience works quite well. So does the “hunched over looking down at the thing” experience. In other words, if one is not careful this will produce a whole new range of ergonomically induced syndromes. Keep in mind that I am a “two finger” typist and generally don’t have issues on keyboards of different sizes and types your milage may vary.
Many, many of the apps are far better, more useable and more natural than either their desktop or iPhone counterparts. While that is certainly true of many of the built in ones, it is not exclusive to them. Twitterific for iPad is far better than any other version. The Kindle app is even better than the Kindle itself, let alone on the iPhone or Desktop. Instapaper is an absolute dream. The list could go on. I really believe this is also related to the speed and fluidity of the iPad and how these apps simply behave in ways that are natural and intuitive.
Some short term investment advice – The future is in microfiber! Short of that, if you have been thinking about starting a business that sells cleaner for the iPad screen, now is the time.
In all, I am beyond happy with the iPad. It not only lives up to the hype, it exceeds it.
There is absolutely nothing about the iPad that portends the end of innovation, tinkering, programming, design. If that were the case, there wouldn’t be 150,000 applications on the App Store right this second. So what if you can’t make iPad programs on an iPad. I don’t complain I can’t make new dishwashers with my dishwasher.
Joel Johnson responds to Cory Doctorow with an equally smart argument. (via DF)
"What I needed was greater flexibility and portability — The iPad will serve me well in almost every situation I can think of."
Yep, more shameless self-promotion. Here I am again in The Saint Paul Pioneer Press (my hometown paper) in a piece by Tech Reporter and all around great guy Julio Ojeda-Zapata talking about my move to make the iPad my main daily machine.
I know most of you still think I am crazy. Perhaps. Perhaps like a fox. We will see.
“Lorem iPad dolor sit amet, consectetur Apple adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua Shenzhen. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud no multi-tasking ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip iPad ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor iPad in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse CEO Steve Jobs dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Windows 7 ha ha ha. Excepteur sint occaecat battery life non proident, iPad in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.”—Lorem iPad (thx Kottke)
Gadgets come and gadgets go. The iPad you buy today will be e-waste in a year or two (less, if you decide not to pay to have the battery changed for you). The real issue isn’t the capabilities of the piece of plastic you unwrap today, but the technical and social infrastructure that accompanies it.
In the midst of all the iPad hype you need to hear another point of view. And no one delivers a more persuasive counter-argument than Cory Doctorow. Unsurprisingly, that argument centers around freedom, openness, fairness, consumption and waste. Paradoxically, it is just as much What We Believe In as What We Believe In.
I have been struggling for a while how to write a post to tie these things together but just can’t seem to get there. These things are all related to my pure conjecture, speculation and general feelings about some of Apple’s short and long term strategy moves so they are pieces loosely connected in that respect. Then, I had the dilemma of whether or not to post this today, a day when the internet is rife with fake news and clever pranks. I was afraid that no one would take me seriously. But then, I had an epiphany – This is exactly the reason to post this today.
Therefore, without further ado, here are just some random thoughts, observations, and, in the words of Arseno Hall, things that make you go “hmmmmm”:
If I were Apple, and I was considering creating an App Store for the Mac, I might start by making the Mac Developer program the exact same price as the iPhone program (and by “iPhone” I mean any iPhone OS based device). It would certainly be the step I would take before I merged the two programs. In fact, perhaps the best reason for doing so would be that, eventually, the tools would be in place for developers to write one application and have it behave in device specific ways. In other words, install it on an iPhone and it looks and runs like an iPhone app. Install that same application on a Mac and it magically works and feels like a Mac application.
I don’t think enough emphasis has been placed on the real and advantageous reasons (in their mind at least) Apple might have for creating a Mac App Store and making that the only way to install Apps on a Mac as it is with the iPhone/iPad. This is not only about control for the sake of control – which they clearly prefer. It is also about control for the sake of quality and security. The Mac OS only remains fairly secure and virus/malware free mostly through obscurity. The folks who would want to exploit the many known security holes just don’t see enough money in it for it to be worth the time. That said, as Apple’s marketshare increases, so does that metric. Certainly, if the only way to get any executable on the Mac required going through the App store, or installation of a specific Ad Hoc Profile that requires the user supply their UUID, and then that had a forced expiration date and creating such required Developer Program membership… I think you see where I am going. The system in place for the iPhone is an incredibly secure one in comparison to the Mac OS. There is a lot of value in that – especially from a marketing perspective.
The fact that Tim Cook has been increasingly more visible as a public face of Apple has not escaped my notice. Also, I have noted that so many of the times he has spoken at some event, he goes well out of his way to talk about the “culture” of Apple is what allows it to perform at the level it does. Not any one person and, in a sense, not specifically people at all. It is, in his mind, the culture that powers the success machine. Good ideas develop at one end and magic comes pouring out the other and it is the culture that drives that. Once thing that a lot of people don’t think about is how incredibly flat of an organization Apple is compared to most others like it. By flat I mean that the number of people between, say, a retail store employee and Steve Jobs himself is quite a bit less than say, at Microsoft. Such flatness works very well for maintaining and instilling a unique culture. Simply hire the right people that fit well into that culture and the machine will keep churning out successful products.
The subtext of the above: Everything will be fine when Steve leaves and Tim Cook takes over, it is the culture that drives Apple’s success, not any one individual. So every time you hear an Apple executive mention “culture”, this is what they are saying.
Pixar is a good example of a post Steve Apple. Put the good stories at one end, let the culture develop them, watch the magic happen.
Yes, we are being literally buried in iPad coverage, unboxings, hands ons, and breathless excitement. I have spent most of the past 24 hours adding through it all. Of everything, this review by Xeni is still my favorite. Andy Ihnatko’s is a close second.