October 13, 2014

Horace Dediu

Samsung’s operating model seems to be to invest as a ‘fast follower’ filling in the market after it’s established while leveraging capital intensive components synergies… If the modus operandi does not change then their turnaround will depend on the creation of new opportunities/categories.

I honestly don’t see an opportunity for Samsung to create new product categories. I think they’ve proven that’s not its strength.

This was actually pretty interesting, not only to see what held people up from updating right away, but also how misinformation and rumors affects an individual’s views of features in the operating system.

The Autocomplete Song

Heh. The words to this song were written by an iPhone, using autocomplete. It’s actually pretty catchy.

Superman was created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster in 1933. They sold the copyright to Superman to Detective Comics (which became DC Comics) back in 1938 for $130 and other considerations.

In 1978, copyright law was changed to allow copyright owners to revert their copyrights back after 35 years. Siegel and Shuster’s families traveled a long legal road in an attempt to do just that. But that road just ended last week, when the Supreme Court declined to hear their appeal.

This is a complex and fascinating story.

Jason Snell, longtime lead editor for Macworld, has a new site, Six Colors, covering all things Apple. This weekend, Jason was in Montreal for, sadly, the very last Cingleton conference. Rich Siegel, founder of Bare Bones Software, gave a talk about not selling future versions of BBEdit via the Mac App Store.

Siegel crafted his presentation as a list of reasons that weren’t the reason Bare Bones was abandoning the Mac App Store. It wasn’t Apple’s 30 percent cut, he said, because while that’s a lot of money, developers get a lot of service from Apple in return. It wasn’t the complete severing of his relationship with his customers, even though it’s frustrating that only Apple really knows who is buying the software and it doesn’t share that data. Nor were it the marketing challenges, the difficulty conforming to Apple’s submissions guidelines (including sandboxing and forcing some features in to add-on downloads), or the numerous problems involving the development tool chain—including the one time that a BBEdit update silently crashed the App Store’s submission tool.

Bottom line, it wasn’t any of those things, it was all of them. Is BBEdit leaving the Mac App Store a canary in the coal mine?

October 12, 2014

The Globe and Mail:

Not only had Rogers Communications Inc. wrenched the Canadian national broadcast rights to NHL games from the CBC’s grasp with a stunning $5.2-billion payout over the next 12 years, but the Visigoths were actually at the gate.

Part of the ensuing deal, in which those in charge of the CBC meekly handed over the company’s airwaves for free, was that the Rogers people connected to Hockey Night, along with some people hired from rival TSN, would use the CBC’s studios and take over the show’s office space on the north side of the eighth floor – the plushest in the building thanks to the show’s status as the network’s biggest money spinner.

Truly appalling how Canada’s national broadcaster completely blew the deal by ignoring the importance of hockey to not only their bottom line but to the nation. Thanks to my friend Greg for the link.

Vox:

Instead of Columbus Day, our northern neighbors spend the second Monday of every October celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving or, as they call it, Thanksgiving. As I wrote last year (what can I say, it’s my holiday tradition), Canadian Thanksgiving is a way better holiday than Columbus Day in every way. Here’s how the two holidays match up.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians!

Former Apple CEO John Sculley on Steve Jobs, Apple, and selling the experience

From iHeartApple2, by way of ParisLemon, this video is part of a series of interviews with former CEO John Sculley. In this one, Sculley talks about the importance of marketing experiences, rather than product specs/features, along with lessons learned with and from Steve Jobs.

When we introduced the first Macintosh, we did a commercial, in the Superbowl, which was called 1984. What was remarkable about that commercial, particularly for a high tech product, was we never once showed the product.

Indeed.

Last week, we posted about an article from Vanity Fair entitled, The Empire Reboots. Terrific article on Microsoft, with focus on the current relationship of Bill Gates and Satya Nadella and the longtime reign of CEO Steve Ballmer.

Matt Rosoff, from CITEworld, read the Vanity Fair piece and posted a tweet-storm based on the idea that a time traveler from today went back to 2004 and met Steve Ballmer, filling him in on ten years of tech advances.

For example:

The most valuable tech company–in fact, most valuable company–is Apple. Yeah, that Apple. iPod. Mac.

and

They got there by building a smartphone with a touchscreen, browser, and apps. It was years ahead of the competition.

Here’s a single page that gathers the tweet-storm and some additional thoughts. Nice job, Matt.

October 11, 2014

Salon:

Tyrel Oates, a 30-year-old Portland, Oregon-based employee of Wells Fargo, shot to Internet fame after emailing the company’s CEO John Stumpf (and cc’ing 200,000 other employees) to ask for a $10,000 raise… for everyone at the company.

No way Wells Fargo does this but it’s a great way to put the ball in management’s court.

Scientific American:

“When I won this, my grandma, who lives in Fargo, North Dakota, wanted to see it. I was coming around so I decided I’d bring my Nobel Prize. You would think that carrying around a Nobel Prize would be uneventful, and it was uneventful, until I tried to leave Fargo with it, and went through the X-ray machine. I could see they were puzzled. It was in my laptop bag. It’s made of gold, so it absorbs all the X-rays—it’s completely black. And they had never seen anything completely black.

My question is, why didn’t they notice it when he was going to North Dakota?

Businessweek:

The competition between Bose and Beats cost Colin Kaepernick $10,000 this week, when he violated an NFL ban on wearing Beats by Dr. Dre headphones on television after games. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who’s sponsored by Beats Electronics (AAPL), declined to say whether the headphone maker would pick up the tab. But the public spat is probably worth more than that to the company: It projects exactly the attitude Beats has carefully cultivated.

And this:

Apple blog MacRumors.com reported on Friday that the tech giant may remove all Bose headphones and speakers from its stores to encourage sales of more Beats products. If that happens, Bose might want to come up with a way to get Russell Wilson and Clay Matthews kicked out of an Apple Store.

I’d like to see them try. Heh.

Walter Isaacson is best known as the author of the official Steve Jobs biography. His new book is called The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.

The Birth of Pong, an excerpt from the book, tells the story of Nolan Bushnell and the birth of the arcade game.

Here’s a taste:

He was fortunate as well in landing at the University of Utah. It had the best computer graphics program in the country, run by professors Ivan Sutherland and David Evans, and became one of the first four nodes on the ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet. (Other students included Jim Clark, who founded Netscape; John Warnock, who co-founded Adobe; and Ed Catmull, who co-founded Pixar.)

That’s an amazingly rich talent pool.

As they were working on the first Computer Space consoles, Bushnell heard that he had competition. A Stanford grad named Bill Pitts and his buddy Hugh Tuck from California Polytechnic had become addicted to Spacewar, and they decided to use a PDP-11 minicomputer to turn it into an arcade game. When Bushnell heard this, he invited Pitts and Tuck to visit. They were appalled at the sacrifices—indeed sacrileges—Bushnell was perpetrating in stripping down Spacewar so that it could be produced inexpensively. “Nolan’s thing was a totally bastardized version,” Pitts fumed. For his part, Bushnell was contemptuous of their plan to spend $20,000 on equipment, including a PDP-11 that would be in another room and connected by yards of cable to the console, and then charge 10 cents a game. “I was surprised at how clueless they were about the business model,” he said. “Surprised and relieved. As soon as I saw what they were doing, I knew they’d be no competition.”

Galaxy Game by Pitts and Tuck debuted at Stanford’s Tresidder student union coffeehouse in the fall of 1971. Students gathered around each night like cultists in front of a shrine. But no matter how many lined up their dimes to play, there was no way the machine could pay for itself, and the venture eventually folded.

Definitely a fun read.

October 10, 2014

There’s some good advice, especially when he says to leave it alone.

Today, BoF can reveal that the Apple Watch will make its fashion editorial debut on the cover of Vogue China’s November issue, featuring supermodel Liu Wen. We spoke to Angelica Cheung, editor-in-chief of Vogue China, to get the story behind the story.

Ars Technica:

On Monday, GT filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. And today, GT said in separate filings with the US Bankruptcy Court in New Hampshire that it wants to terminate its contract with Apple and close the Arizona facility.

The filing to end the contract with Apple states that the terms of GT’s contract with Apple are “oppressive and burdensome,” and the separate filing requesting to shutter the sapphire plant claims that doing so is the only way to rescue GT’s business.

Anyone have any doubt that we haven’t heard all the details of this story and yet and that it’s going to get a lot uglier before its resolved?

Apple:

Join us here at apple.com/live on October 16 at 10 a.m. PDT to watch our special event live.

Let’s hope this one goes smoother than September’s livestream.

TidBITS:

I fully understand the drive and motivations the law enforcement community has to maintain access to our devices.

But law enforcement needs to understand that technology companies aren’t trying to protect the bad guys, but stop them. That until iOS 8, I had to walk my clients through the iOS security loopholes that made it difficult to protect corporate and personal data. That such back doors are already used to suppress free speech throughout the world, sometimes fatally. That without this encryption, we are all less secure.

As always, I like reading Rich Mogull’s take on these kinds of security issues.

My thanks to Magic Script Creator for sponsoring The Loop’s RSS feed this week. Magic Script Creator lets you experiment with creating custom AppleScripts by just answering a few questions. No prior knowledge of AppleScript is needed in order to use this application. Included in Magic Script Creator are 24 different examples that you can configure hundreds of different ways. Most examples contain UNIX command line tools, combining their power with AppleScript’s strengths.

Version 4.0 contains two new major features. First, you can choose to compile your scripts with line by line remarks. This will help you understand what each line of code is executing. Second, for those examples containing UNIX command tools, you can export the MAN (or manual) page in an easy to read PDF. No more trying to read these manuals in a tiny terminal window! To learn more about Magic Script Creator, watch an instructional video, purchase the application, or try a demo version, please visit our homepage.

Digg:

While comics may have started as disposable entertainment, it’s no secret that many books can fetch a hefty sum based on their rarity, CGC grade, illustrator, and/or characters that may have first appeared in them. We talked to the people working every collectibles booth at this year’s New York Comic Con and asked them what their most expensive item is, and what made these items so astonishingly valuable.

Makes me wish I had kept those comics I had as a kid. Some of them might be worth something today.

New Republic:

In confronting what to do about Amazon, first we have to realize our own complicity. We’ve all been seduced by the deep discounts, the monthly automatic diaper delivery, the free Prime movies, the gift wrapping, the free two-day shipping, the ability to buy shoes or books or pinto beans or a toilet all from the same place. But it has gone beyond seduction, really. We expect these kinds of conveniences now, as if they were birthrights. They’ve become baked into our ideas about how consumers should be treated.

These expectations help fuel our collective denial about Amazon.

I don’t know that I agree with the central premise but the consolidation in Amazon is something to be concerned about and keep an eye on.

Type more with less effort on your iPhone or iPad! Expand custom keyboard shortcuts into frequently-used text snippets. Grab your favorite snippets from your Mac.

Such a great app made by a great company that cares about its users.

Interesting choices to carry the larger iPhone 6 Plus. Mine fits in my pocket, but I’m a big guy, so I suppose that’s not an option for everyone.

It’s a crime that it took them so long to nominate Stevie.

The incredible craft of David Fincher

David Fincher is a phenomenal talent. If all he ever did was direct The Social Network, that’d be enough. But he directed Se7en. And He directed the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. And Fight Club. Oh, and the first two episodes of the Netflix series House of Cards.

You get the idea. The video below is an incredibly well put together, detailed look at Fincher’s craft. If you love film, this is se7en and a half minutes well spent. (via ParisLemon)

From Apple’s press release:

Apple® today announced that iPhone® 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the biggest advancements in iPhone history, will be available in China beginning Friday, October 17 from the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores, and an expansive network of retail stores through all three major carriers and Apple Authorized Resellers. With support for TD-LTE and FDD-LTE, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus provide customers access to 4G/LTE networks from China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom across mainland China. Customers can pre-order iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus from the Apple Online Store beginning Friday, October 10. Beginning Tuesday, October 14, customers can reserve the new iPhones for in-store pick-up starting Friday, October 17.

“We are thrilled to bring iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to our customers in China on all three carriers at launch,” said Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. “With support for TD-LTE and FDD-LTE, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers will have access to high-speed mobile networks from China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom for an incredible experience.”

Bummer. She was comedy glue, helping hold together some wildly irreverent and complex sketches, giving them a center.

Satya Nadella was speaking at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference on Wednesday. He was asked to offer advice to women who are uncomfortable asking for a raise. His response opened up a viral firestorm of criticism. Before you move on, take a minute to listen to what Nadella actually said, starting at about 1:33:56 in the video below.

Even better, go to about 00:28:00 to learn about the BRAID initiative, launched by Harvey Mudd College, “an initiative to work with computer science departments at 15 universities across the U.S. to increase the percentage of their undergraduate majors that are female and students of color”. BRAID is sponsored by Facebook, Google, Intel and Microsoft. Anyone at Apple pursuing this? If you are interested but need contact info, ping me, I’ll be happy to connect the dots.

But I digress. By now, you’ve watched the Nadella comment. Ham handed, but I don’t get the sense from context that this was meant in the way it came across. To his credit, Nadella followed up with an apology, sent it out to the entire company and posted it here for public consumption. From the letter:

Toward the end of the interview, Maria asked me what advice I would offer women who are not comfortable asking for pay raises. I answered that question completely wrong. Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programs at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap. I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved, Maria’s advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.

I take him at his word.

October 9, 2014

Om Malik:

The combination of Facebook and anonymity is as awkward as the marriage of Michael Jackson and Lisa Presley — farcical, comic and an act undertaken for the express purpose of deceit. Anonymity and privacy are not part of Facebook’s DNA.

Boom!

Kyle Russell has a nice article about Jony Ive’s panel at the Vanity Fair Summit talking about design. It’s a very interesting process. Then someone asked Jony about Xiaomi:

When a member of the audience came up to ask a question about Xiaomi and their unofficial tagline of “the Apple of China,” Ive was very straightforward with his response: “I’ll stand a little bit harsh, I don’t see it as flattery. When you’re doing something for the first time, you don’t know it’s gonna work, you spend 7 or 8 years working on something, and then it’s copied. I think it is really straightforward. It is theft and it is lazy. I don’t think it is ok at all.”

Fucking right!