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Showing posts from September, 2012

Where in the world am I?

This week saw the launch of iOS6, the latest in Apple's mobile operating system iterations. For the most part, it's been a decent incremental upgrade, with lots of new little tweaks, such as Facebook integration, and the ability to update applications without inputing a password. However, the big feature that's been getting all the press is the new mapping app.

In Apple's bid to rid themselves of Google "taint", they decided to make their own mapping service, but I think it's become very apparent, that it's not as easy as it looks. Many places are mis-located, or labels are wrong (especially internationally), causing no end to the hilarity of people posting screenshots of mistakes. There's a reason why Google Maps is king, and it's based on why my friend Wes so aptly put forth, that Google is a data company, and Apple is not (yet). Providing good mapping data requires good... well... data. Google has it. Apple, and other competitors don't.…

A crab in the Apple tree

Today, I was among many geeks who, like the high school guy nervously awaiting the prom dance to end and the exit to the hotel room, awaited my semi regular dose of Apple branded technology porn. When the announcement of the iPhone 5 arrived, it was the same drug, administered with all the flourish and expectation of many similar injections of years past. We got to see all the leaked features put on full display, from the larger screen, to the oh so luscious LTE wireless speed. The device had everything we've been asking for, and even a few nice surprises like the new connector that you can insert in the dark, and it doesn't matter if it's upside down or not. The display was beautiful, the design and form factor was polished, and everything was exactly as we expected.

But wait! There was more! The iPod Nano got a complete redesign as well. The Nano is one of those products that can't seem to settle on a shirt to put on in the morning. It's worn the skinny tie, the…

Start a fire with some kindling

Yesterday was a big day for Amazon.com. They announced a whole new lineup of e-readers and tablets for their Kindle line of products. Many a pundit said that they were going after Apple in their latest play, and to some degree I think there's some small truth to that, but I don't think that's the whole story.

In fact, I think the first person that Amazon is trying to take down is Barnes & Noble. B&N's Nook tablet has been their answer to the Kindle for a few years now, and from a technology and feature standpoint, the two have been leap-frogging each other. Before the Kindle announcements yesterday there was the Nook with glow-light, so you can read in the dark. The ad for this device played constantly on TV in recent months, and I'm sure it caught the eye of more than a few customers. Yesterday Amazon answered with a version of it's own, that also upped the ante by including a capacitive touch screen, a step up from the Nook version.

On the high end, B…

Swinging a sack of doorknobs

This past weekend, the traditional Fall ritual took place, of stuffing hundreds of dollars of school supplies into backpacks that will then be placed on my children's backs, giving them a hunchback that would make Quasimodo jealous. As I was trying to cram in just one more 1.5-inch 3 ring binder, I started asking myself... "Self, why in the world are we teaching these kids to subsist on physical media still???" I didn't bother to answer my own question, because that would have made it a 2-way conversation, and I think there's supposedly something wrong with talking to yourself. But, I did start to take stock of all the paper, pens, pencils and composition books, and realized that maybe our education system needs to start embracing technology beyond learning PowerPoint, and playing Math Blaster.

OK, I realize I'm being a little harsh there, but my point is that when I look at how I use technology in my work and personal life, it's very often as a productiv…

Computers as work

The history of Labor Day is one of a celebration of work. For most people, work is a part of our lives, and taking a moment to honor that reality, and the history of how labor has developed is a worthwhile pursuit. But it got me thinking about how what we look at as work has changed in my lifetime.

When I was growing up, the career path for the computer field involved going to school to study Computer Science, and spending a lot of time working with mainframes, microchip design and so on. It wasn't really a field that interested me. With the advent of the internet, suddenly everything changed, and the practical nature of technology started to shape and create a new reality in our lives. Suddenly we were all able to interact with a growing, networked, world in a completely different way than we ever had before, and it was in this practical environment that my love of technology was nurtured.

This wasn't something that only existed for myself, but millions of other individuals s…