Saturday, June 18, 2011

Marco Arment & Instapaper’s Reading List

Marco Arment & Instapaper’s Reading List, article.
I would love to read on the train with this thing — I had a train commute every day — but the screen was really small, it wasn’t that fast at downloading things, and on a train commute you sometimes go under ground and don’t always have good reception. So what I needed was really something I could toss links into during the day, sort of a temporary link bucket, so I’d have stuff in there for the ride home.

His solution was Instapaper, which I along with many other enthusiastic readers absolutely swear by. Hit a bookmark in your web browser, and the article you're looking at is saved to a server, is formatted for much easier reading, and if you download it on your iPad or iPhone, for which there are apps, you can read all the saved articles offline too. A huge amount of my article-reading is done with the Instapaper app on my iPad, because it's so much more comfortable than reading long pieces sitting at my workstation.
I think there's a free version of the app (... nope, not any longer it seems), but even if the full version cost $20 instead of $5, I'd pay it happily.

He doesn't make Android apps, but others are contributing them, and at least one is not bad.

Report: Apple Store Secret Sauce: Control + Attention to Detail

Report: Apple Store Secret Sauce: Control + Attention to Detail, article.
Of course, Apple’s own retail operations are anything but low-margin. Apple commands US$4,406 in annual retail sales per square foot, and that excludes online sales. Compare that to Tiffany’s$3,070, Coach’s $1,776, and Best Buy’s $880, and you can see that Apple’s retail performance exists in a league of its own. Apple’s profit margins are 26.9% for its retail operations, according to Needham & Co., compared to 1% for Best Buy.

That's astonishing! $4,400 per square foot of store! This company continues to astound me.

Don't get me wrong: I don't love Apple, and I don't even admire it or its profitability.
Firstly: I love many of their products, but you can't love a company, at least not a big one, for almost by definition they are soul-less, a machine.
Secondly: the more I look into it, the more it seems to me that making lots of money is totally incidental to... well, to anything really. Incidental to intelligence, to "goodness", to quality... Even skill and sheer work, which would be my best bets as causes of big-money-making, seems sometimes to be bypassed by some people/companies.  So that by itself is not admirable, nor really important, actually. I'm just saying this kind of extremity is astonishing, that's all. It's just so unique a company, no matter if one "likes it" or not. (Another thing is I don't really see why some people seem to dislike Apple so much. Seems to me that's like disliking a... cloud or a rock or a frontloader. It's just there, doing what it is doing by its nature.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lock screen art

Lock-screen art or message.

Malware on Mac

Finally after 15 years I got my first malware attack on my Mac. Or would have if I hadn't known better. It downloads by itself, and claims your computer is infested and you need the app to clean it up. Then it puts up it's own porn spam which disappear when you pay them to "clean it up".
Don't set your browser to open "safe" files automatically. And don't install anything you don't for sure where came from and what is.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Windows 8, is that a tablet OS??

Why Windows 8 Is Fundamentally Flawed as a Response to the iPad, Daring Fireball article.

But I think it’s a fundamentally flawed idea for Microsoft to build their next-generation OS and interface on top of the existing Windows. The idea is that you get the new stuff right alongside Windows as we know it. Microsoft is obviously trying to learn from Apple, but they clearly don’t understand why the iPad runs iOS, and not Mac OS X.
[...] Consider the differences between the iWork apps for the Mac and iPad. The iPad versions aren’t “touch friendly” versions of the Mac apps — they’re entirely new beasts designed and programmed from the ground up for the touchscreen and for the different rules and tradeoffs of the iOS interface (no explicit saving, no file system, ready to quit at a moment’s notice, no processing in the background, etc.).
The ability to run Mac OS X apps on the iPad, with full access to the file system, peripherals, etc., would make the iPad worse, not better. The iPad succeeds because it has eliminated complexity, not because it has covered up the complexity of the Mac with a touch-based “shell”.
I think this is a good observation. Building Windows 3 and '95 originally as a shell on DOS gave Windows users a decade of constant headaches. And now Windows 8 may do the same for Win tablet users. You don't eliminate complexity by throwing a tarp over all the buttons.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What is this "Cloud" really good for?

I am not entirely sure, beyond the companies' need for finding new sources of income, why this "Cloud" thing is becoming so big. What is it really solving for us, apart from forgetting to bring your laptop? Apart from convenience, what important issues does it solve for us? There is probably things I haven't gotten yet, it's been known to happen.
... Mossberg talks about how the vision is that basically the data, the computing power, most of the Operating System, will be left to the cloud servers, so what we we, we can do on very compact and cheap terminals, because they don't need all the storage space and computing power. Well... it sounds great, but... it demands an awful lot of trust, doesn't it? Several huge companies recently have had big breakins where they lost personal data for millions of customers. Not to mention, can we trust our internet connections to be up and fast enough when we need it, ten minutes before a deadline or meeting? Can we trust our documents not to disappear? I think these things need years and years of development and also getting-used-to once they do work, for it all to become a real alternative way for serious work.

Ironic: I have been paying Apple $100 every year for ten years, first for .Mac, then for its replacement, MobileMe, all the time waiting for some feature which really made it worthwhile for me. (I got my .mac email address when it was free, and then they started charging...) And now with iCloud it seems like it may actually begin to become useful to me, and now they make it free! What a friggin' weird world.