Ipads, College and Self-Fulfilling prophesies

I had a fairly interesting conversation with a friend yesterday. He was walking around with an Ipad.

Me: That’s an Ipad? Hmm…smaller than I remember it. (Aside: Ignoring the entire tablet product category is a patented personality trait. I’d last paid attention to any Ipad several months ago)

Friend: Yes. Yes it is.

Me: Smaller than I remember it. I thought the Galaxy Tab was this big. (Aside: I remembered them being ‘larger than a mobile’, and little more)

Friend: Nah, the Tab is smaller,

<other minor talk about the merits of Tabs and Pads. Apparently, they are different>

Friend: The Ipad is awesome, it’s designed at the perfect size for people to read digital magazines.

Me: (Confused) Who figured that out?

Friend: Steve Jobs said that its this size.

That got me thinking about the power of suggestion, especially when coupled to massive stature of the suggestor. The IPad may or may not be the perfect size for reading digital publications. Whether it is or isn’t is irrelevant. Steve Jobs, leveraging his (well-earned) stature as a technological prophet, said that it is so, and it is so. Would the other bald Steve (Ballmer) be able to pull off something like this? Probably not. Actually he’d probably ending ensuring the diametrical opposite of his prophecies.

Scene shift to college, both old and new. I’m studying at the Indian School of Business. The School prides itself on its intense, 1-year, “roller-coaster” program that compresses the value and learning of a full 2-year program into 12 months. This is true. The last 2 months have been a furious maelstrom of classes, parties, sports, assignments, projects, clubs, more parties and a chance to breathe every once in a while. However, I can’t help but wonder if maybe the schedule is suboptimal, and the powers-that-are have set up an intentionally roller-coaster schedule because the program is a roller-coaster? Or am I, under the power of potent suggestion, looking for ‘roller-coasteriness’ where it is no more than a normally hectic schedule? Previous college, which shall go unnamed, had built up, and was proud of, its reputation for being absurdly hard. Were things hard because they were hard or because they needed to live up to that reputation? I can’t answer that.

Uncomfortable flights, inertia-laden bureaucracy, wild-driving New York Cabs and rude new yorkers, stoned Jamaicans. Effect causes reputation or reputation causes effect?

Power of suggestions. Self-fulfilling prophecies. Directed willpower. Call it whatever, they certainly make the colors of reality a little more saturated.




1984. Revisited.

1984 Plaset


1984. An Orwellian year. The year of my birth. It was also the year in which Apple Computer released the original Macintosh Computer, heralded by this now-legendary advert:

The computer too was momentous in the history of personal computing, for being the first computer ever to use a GUI instead of a CUI, (in English – Pictures instead of text).

Fast-forward 26 years. From the days when Apple was the upstart against Big Brother (then: IBM), the savior from “Information Purification”; to being the upstart against Big Brother (More recent then: Microsoft) and the maker of computers for ‘discerning consumers’; to the maker of the Ipod and Master of Itunes; and dare I say it; comptroller of the media-music-internet consumerist ecosystem.

Things have changed from 1984. Apple is now known for operating a vertical-locked monopoly of device, software, and internet portal for media and applications. They are known for hilarious, and certainly arbitrary, control over who and what are deemed worthy of of a place in their reality.

Now, Apple has gone on to tell artists how to behave on their new social-networking component of iTunes. Fast Company summarizes the hilarity of this idea well enough for our purposes.

So now that we’ve established Apple’s Big Brother-esque true colors, who is the Upstart?

Are you thinking Microsoft? We’ll come back to them.

If there is any company that can give Apple pause, it is probably Google. The android mobile platform, with its classical little-guy pitch of openness, and the army of phones that are running it, are actually managing to put pressure on the Mighty Iphone.

Apple. Dominant. The closed book and controller of right.

Google. The agressive upstart. Winner of some fights, but not The Fight. Not yet.

The big question, where does the Elder Big Brother stand in all this? What happened to Microsoft? While they’re around, nobody, least of Microsoft, seems to have a full idea where they stand on the entire battle.

Take, for instance, their strange idea of banning user ringtones on Windows Phone 7. Very Apple. Very Big Brother.

But there can be only one Big Brother. Microsoft does not control the ecosystem. They are not open-alternate-ecosystem-emablers a la Google. So what are they? Also-rans? I hope not?

Enhanced by Zemanta

3 opinions I COMPLETELY agree with…

The internet is going the way of real life. Forget those old notions of freedom and anonymity. The new internet will be a place of narrow public areas which get from 1 piece of ‘private property’ to another, and no more. Its just more profitable, in the same way a skyscraper of leasable office is space is more profitable than a public park.

Analyst James Governor at Redmonk toots that horn in a much more sober fashion, even ending on a positive note. (linkage courtesy slashdot)

The 3-strikes law is literally like sentencing a person to house arrest for jaywalking.

Cory Doctorow has his own rant. Makes perfect sense,but not good corporate-bottom-line economic sense. (linkage, again, courtesy slashdot.)

I was annoyed when the Iphone came out. I still am. A little. The hype and hoopla was just that. A marketing blitz that suddenly put this maker-of-all-things-cute in a consumer device segment that even the dumbest of dumb blondes and meathead-iest of meatheads could use with ease. 0mgz0rz!! Apple’s making a phone. How cute will that be!!

Yeah, well, it does say PHONE. and the phone part of it sucked. It still does, but not so much. But full, deserved credit where it’s due, Apple made sure people knew that the Iphone was never about the phone. and that they never forget that. From the actual product to the nice walled garden that is the App Store to the genius of tying up with AT&T to take the heat on mobile issues (in batttle parlance, AT&T is what would be called a meat-shield), Apple pulled it off.

And now we come to the ISlate. It’s on its way. The hype on the net right now is eerily familiar. It’s the Iphone. bigger. with no phone part for even me to crib about. It has absolutely no competition. at all.

MG Siegler has a similiar view on TechCrunch. He also makes the good point that the cool-factor of being like the dudes in Avatar with the portable screens will play its part here.

A last point I’d like to make here is that the iSlate may have enough horsepower to run the graphic design, audio / video editing applications which have such a strong home in regular Apple PCs.  If Pro Tools, Final Cut and iMovie find a new home in iSlate, all I can say is: “Whoa”.

New Ipod Shuffle only works with Apple earphones (updated)

Via BBG and Techcrunch.

The earphones of the new super-small Ipod Shuffle contain a DRM chip. Without which the shuffle won’t play music through the earphones. Now the old “in-line” (whatever the hell that means) adapters no longer work with the shuffle. Now only manufacturers who have a licensed chip (from Apple, of course) can make shuffle compatible earphones.

Way to go arseholes Apple.

Update: The latest on BBG is that 3rd parties will need to license the chip from Apple to get the ‘Made for Ipod’ tag, but equipment will work without it as well. so they say. not as crass as originally thought, but very RIAA nevertheless.

Pwn to Own is back!

After the very-awesome Pwn to Own 2008, DVLabs is back with the next episode, set for March 16-20, 2009 at the CanSecWest Security in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Pwn to Own is a 3-day hacking competition run by DVLabs’ Zero Day Initiative Team. Last year’s objective was for teams to break into Operating Systems – Ubuntu 7.1o, Vista Ultimate SP1 and Mac OSX 10.5.2. Day 1 – teams had to penetrate vanilla installations of the OSs. (they all failed). Day 2 – they could use browsers (and their vulnerabilities) to break into the system. (Macbook air was pwned, courtesy a safari vulnerability. Vista and Ubuntu survived). Day 3 – teams could use 3rd party apps. (Vista was pwned. of course. Ubuntu survived all 3 days. OF COURSE.)

This year’s contest, interestingly, is going to focus on cracking browsers and mobile devices. I can’t wait.

Apple and their patent – Part 2

Apple vs Palm. Only on pay-per-view.

Or not, if engadget’s analysis is to be believed. While it may be true that an Apple lawsuit may not have a leg to stand up unless someone mimics Apple’s scrolling system, everyone who thinks Apple will try anyway raise your hands.

It provides me pleasure that Palm’s got even more ammo on Apple (apparently) than vice-versa. Maybe they’ll leave each other alone and actually spend money on new products for us instead.

posted via Scribefire

Apple patents multitouch tech

As reported here on Slashdot and BetaNews. Apple has a propensity of IPR overprotection. How is this going to bode for touch? we’ll know soon enough.

My take: This is stupid. beyond stupid. what’s apple going to patent next? use of the color white with respect to consumer electronics? How about the letter ‘I’? Innovation is dependent on completely exploring the scope of a concept before moving on to the next. Processor were pushed to their limits before multi-core processors came out. Anyone who thinks Apple retarding progress on touch technology (which they assuredly will do) is a good thing say ‘I’.

Oh wait, saying ‘I’ is probably ripping IP.

posted from scribefire.