Cursive X

The iPad mini

The form factor and weight of the iPad mini are what initially intrigued me. I never thought I’d be able to go back to a non-retina screen. My fear of the non-retina screen was not justified. I still notice the difference, especially with text, but the weight and size of the mini make up for the lacking screen.

Also of note; the screen appears to be further away from the glass. This isn’t something I noticed when I used a iPhone 3G and it’s not something I noticed when moving to the iPhone 4, though others pointed it out.

By far the biggest annoyance is the volume buttons. Apple has chosen to control volume with two discrete metal buttons. Previous iPads used a single button for volume. I like the aesthetic of the metal buttons but in moving to discrete buttons users have lost a subtle design cue. Previously I could touch the volume button and know if I would be increasing or decreasing volume. Now, without looking, when I feel a button I don’t know if it will increase or decrease volume. This should be viewed as a minor complaint and really speaks to how well thought-out the iPad mini is.

Don't be a dick

Stephen Hackett, writing for 512 Pixels:

While that’s not that unusual for a newspaper, The Journal News also published an interactive map showing the locations of residences whose owners have gun permits. […]

A Connecticut-area lawyer named Christopher Fountain has published personal information about journalists who work for *The Journal News. The blog post — which has grown as readers from the public have submitted additional details, includes people’s home addresses, phone numbers and Facebook URLs, as well as details on what cars they drive.

Like the newspaper’s article, this information was all obtained legally, best I can tell, but one of these lists feels way creepier than the other.

Unfortunately Stephen leaves it up to the reader to guess which list feels creepier. I’d guess Stephen believes the second list is the creepier one and I don’t agree. It can be reasonably argued that gun owners who legally register their firearms did not know that they would become unwitting pawns in an idealogical argument. Their information is public and The Journal News has done nothing illegal. Still it’s dickish. It can also be argued that a responsible editor and author know that they invite the equivalent treatment.

Perhaps all parties involved believe that the journalists, who work for The Journal News in some way, are already public figures and thus the harm is mitigated. Frankly neither action seems particularly justifiable. One action can be viewed as a mirror; if you don’t like what you see it’s not the mirrors fault. Both are equally creepy but the actions of The Journal News were just down right dickish.

This speaks volumes about the fear of firearms and the fear of those who own them.

Heading Downhill

I really want to like Thurrott’s posts. I used to find them a refreshing view. One different from and more centered than what’s commonly found around the Internet. Lately something’s been bothering me and I think I’ve managed to put my finger on it. It’s the non-voice voice. Pretending to be unbiased while simultaneously making snide and underhanded comments.

Apple partisans are now trying to lump iPad sales in with those of the company’s Mac computers, creating a new category of general purpose computing devices in which Apple, of course, is now the leader.

It’s not Apple partisans that do this. It’s those that see the future. Right now the iPad and other devices like it don’t fit the mold of a general purpose PC. It’s a safe bet to say that in the future more people will use devices like the iPad and it’s ilk to do general purpose computing. Those like Thurrott, who let their judgement be clouded by what they want to be true, do not write truth.

But while Apple’s expensive iPad is expected to continue leading the tablet market, it’s share has steadily eroded with the advent of cheaper and the much, much cheaper competitors, and some expect it to be overrun by the Amazon-led Android tablet horde in 2012.

This is unnecessary: Even with a lower share, Apple can continue to grow in the tablet market, and establish the iPad as yet another amazingly successful product line.

I think this pretty clearly shows that Apple’s lead hasn’t been eroded (something that is likely to happen in a few years) and that the product is already amazingly successful.

Crying All the Way to the Bank

Speaking of tablets, after a year of me-too products with Apple-like high prices, Android vendors have finally figured out that beating the Cupertino electronics giant is actually pretty simple: Just lower prices and create more diverse product lines.

I think Thurrott is on to something here. Android manufactures should largely give-up trying to compete with Apple and instead figure out what it is that their customers want.

Focusing on making an iPhone-killer/XYZ-killer amounts to a game of one-up-manship when what’s really required is a focus on your customer. You’ve already lost.

It’s interesting that market share is conflated with “beating” Apple. Apple holds the top three spots in smartphone sales, their margins are higher, they’re making the most money and the Android handset makers are largely killing each other. Ask yourself which position you’d rather be in Apple’s or one of the manufacturers using Android?

This strategy will enable both Ultrabook and tablet makers to do to Apple what PC makers did before to the Mac and smartphone vendors did to the iPhone: create a wider, more diverse system of devices that are all compatible with each other (i.e., use the same software and services) but aren’t compatible with what Apple sells.

I would point out that this strategely largely has not worked for handset/tablet manufactures running Android.

And by cutting prices to a more reasonable level than Apple can sustain, they’re guaranteeing that Apple’s market share in each market will only fall in the current year.

Gruber says it best in The Church of Market Share. I’m sure Apple will be crying all the way to the bank this year.

An Introduction to Linkbaiting

Look I fixed the title of Lyon’s post! It’s not made clear who is bashing Samsung; apparently Gruber is?

To hear Apple and its fans tell it, Samsung is the high-tech equivalent of those factories in China that crank out fake Rolex watches and Louis Vuitton bags to be sold on Canal Street in New York.

The latest example is on Daring Fireball, a blog penned by John Gruber, a hardcore Apple fanboy. 

Gruber’s point is, of course, that Samsung commonly apes Apple. To conflate this opinion with fanboyism. The only people who still can’t accept this are themselves fanboys.

Gruber and people like him really believe that Samsung just sits around making copies of Apple products.

They don’t *just* do this.

Sure, Apple fans make a pretty good case that some Samsung products look a lot like Apple products.

Note the “pretty good case” a sure sign of a failed promise to readers. It’s less a matter of opinion and more a matter of not having a voice. This is done on purpose because agreeing that *some* Samsung devices, products, packaging, etc. look like Apple’s negates the point Lyon’s attempts (and fails) to make.

But when Apple scored a victory in Germany against the Galaxy Tab, Samsung quickly made a minor change that a judge indicated would be sufficient to get out from under Apple’s complaint.

If Lyon’s lived in the 60’s he’d agree with the courts with racial segregation on its public transit. My point is that courts have nothing to do with this and it’s disingenuous to mention them (not that Lyons is racist; he’s not).

Samsung must also love it when Apple, which can’t manufacture its own chips, or any components for that matter, has the chutzpah to slag off the engineering prowess of the company it relies upon for microprocessors.

Wait, I’m confused, who is slagging Samsung’s engineering prowess? This is beneath Lyons and it’s utter crap. I wish him better luck next time.

The Armed Services and the DIY Culture

I spent the formative years of my adult life as an Airborne Ranger. Since I’ve had little contact with the “regular Army” I’m not sure if the DIY culture is as pervasive there. While serving in SOCOM I learned to sow, grind, tape, tie and destroy with the various tools available. Demo has always struck me as especially DIY because of the nature of our missions. It was impractical to carry every piece of equipment necessary to accomplish a mission. We’d create water impulse charges with C4 and an IV bag. Breaching Concertina wire was accomplished with a metal stake, 100-mph tape and C4. We had our own variation on the stay-behind; strap a Claymore to a rucksack.

With "Open" Arms


In other words, Kindle Fire, Nook, etc, don’t count as Android devices by this metric. Seems a bit odd, no? Android is an open ecosystem, but Google only counts you if use their services. 

For what ever reason Google doesn’t want to fully open the kimono. By doing this they lends strength to the argument that the number of Android handsets sold outstrips the number of iPhones sold. Android might be open but Google certainly is not.

Thurrott: Kindel: Yes, Windows Phone Is Superior, But […]

"I would like to believe that at the end of the day the superior end to end experience for the end user matters more than anything."
So would I, so would I. But if I’ve learned anything in 18 years of covering technology, it’s that the best products don’t always win. In fact, if anything, they rarely win at all.

If Gruber wrote the article; this is what it would look like.