October 6, 2011

I’m surprisingly emotional about the loss of Steve Jobs.  He was a true American visionary and he left an indelible mark on society.  The things he did were excellent and worth it.  It is unfortunate that he could not do more.


I’m surprisingly emotional about the loss of Steve Jobs.  He was a true American visionary and he left an indelible mark on society.  The things he did were excellent and worth it.  It is unfortunate that he could not do more.

(via leibrary-deactivated20140513)

October 6, 2011
"If today was your last day of your life, would you do what you are about to do today?"

— Steve Jobs (via papadimitriou)

3:27am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZlVyHyALIZ_b
Filed under: steve jobs apple tech 
August 18, 2011
RIP webOS: HP kills off its mobile operating system, considers PC spin-off and Autonomy buy

WebOS is still a very well made operating system with a great user interface.  HP was just too slow in rolling in rolling it.  It’s a tough management decision that HP’s staff made, but a good one.  At the very least, it shows they are willing to cut their losses early in a losing game (something a lot of other tablet manufacturers are unwilling to do as the iPad continues running away with marketshare).  WebOS still has value as an alternative operating OS for other hardware manufacturers though (but only if they sell it immediately or start offering it to mobile device manufacturers aggressively ASAP).  It’s close or on par with Android in my opinion in its current state.

(Source: digithoughts)

11:33pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZlVyHy8UxRLY
Filed under: WebOS HP tech tablets iPad Apple 
August 17, 2011
Tech Thoughts (August 17, 2011) - Microsoft is the largest beneficiary of Google’s acquisition of Motorola

If Microsoft plays their cards right, they stand to reap the largest rewards relating to Google’s acquisition of Motorola.  Microsoft can now tell smartphone manufacturers that unlike Google, “We’re not competing with you on the hardware front, we just want to be your dedicated mobile OS provider.”

Microsoft can also play on fears that Google will give priority to Motorola, despite any claims of independence by Google.  After all, since Google owns Motorola, they stand to directly benefit from Motorola gaining marketshare (over other Android based phones such as HTC, LG and Samsung).

Outside of what I’ll call techies, most consumers really don’t have any attachment to specific mobile operating systems at the moment.  They are getting phones that visually appeal to them from the hardware perspective.  This could change, but for the time being, average consumers don’t place a value on mobile OS’s when making purchasing decisions.

If smart-phone manufacturers split mobile OS integration among their products, they stand to gain leverage over both Google and Microsoft.  Up until now, going with the leading independent mobile OS (Android) made sense.  However, things have changed.

If I were Microsoft, I might be willing to even pay the smart-phone manufacturers to use the Windows mobile OS over Android.  This would be the perfect moment to strike.  It would weaken a competitor and broaden the usage of Microsoft’s ad network.  Having a Bing app pre-loaded onto mobile apps by default would also weaken Google’s search monopoly.  If users find the search results useful, they might also be more inclined to use Bing on their personal computers as well.

The opportunity is there, I’m interested to see if Microsoft takes advantage of it.

August 15, 2011
Continuations: Google Buys Motorola: Patent (and UX) Defense


Google buying Motorola is a strong defensive move against both Microsoft and Apple on two fronts: patents and user experience. Apple is vertically integrated and Microsoft controls Nokia (without having had to buy it). Between that and having filed or acquired a lot of patents, these two pose…

Google purchasing Motorola is just a defensive maneuver for patents in my opinion.  I agree with the analysis here.  As for vertical integration, I’m skeptical of the idea as well.  Apple and Google are both better off spreading adoption of their mobile OS (by not competition with carriers) for greater market share at this point in the ball game.  The mobile ad / apps market / mobile data is the prize to be won here.

There might be a point in the future where that changes, but at the current time I think that market share has to be the number driver strategy wise (for both Apple and Google).  Vertical integration to the carrier stage carries too high a risk of losing ground by missing out on users that are on opposition wireless carrier networks (instead of the in-house carrier platform).

August 15, 2011
Apple To Eliminate Printer Drivers


Apple has filed two patent applications that describe an approach as well as file formats and APIs to eliminate the printer driver as a requirement for users to access a printer and print documents.

Software drivers have been one of the big inconveniences in mainstream computing. USB and Windows 98 began to turn the driver installation process from a considerable source of user frustration into what many perceive to be merely an annoyance today, but the original idea of the printer driver is still a barrier that prevents us from accessing printers from new types of devices, such as smartphones.

» via ConceivablyTech

This is what it means to be a user-centric company.  Finding, downloading, updating, and re-installing drivers are several of the biggest nuisances relating to printers.  I can’t begin to imagine to tell you how many printing issues I have had in my prior work experience.  People wonder why consumers pay a premium for Apple products, it’s because of things like that this (which build customer loyalty).

July 24, 2011

This is a video of Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement address at Stanford.  I watch it whenever I need some inspiration; it always seems to work.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

-Steve Jobs

July 7, 2011

This is one telling graph. Guess where app developers are putting their money…

Microsoft is throwing good money after bad at this point with their mobile OS efforts.  They would be better off if they spent the same resources to integrate Office into Android and iOS with optimized custom apps.


This is one telling graph. Guess where app developers are putting their money…

Microsoft is throwing good money after bad at this point with their mobile OS efforts.  They would be better off if they spent the same resources to integrate Office into Android and iOS with optimized custom apps.

July 7, 2011
"We often make product decisions based on strategic alignment, partner requests or even legal advice — the end user doesn’t care. We simply have to admit that Apple is nailing this and it is one of the reasons they have people lining up overnight at stores around the world, and products sold out for months. These people aren’t hypnotized zombies, they simply love beautifully designed products that are user centric and work how they are supposed to work."

Open letter to BlackBerry bosses: Senior RIM exec tells all as company crumbles around him (via soxiam)

How management decisions are made at dying companies…

(via soxiam)

June 30, 2011
Apple and Samsung battle escalates: Great opportunity for tech suppliers to win Apple business

Samsung is suing to stop the sale of Apple’s products, products they are core suppliers for.  This seems like suicide for me.  I question Samsung’s brinkmanship strategy.

Apple and Samsung are engaging in an increasingly hostile legal battle.  The conflict stems from Samsung generously borrowing Apple’s iPhone design (while at the same time being a principal supplier of components for the iPhone).

This seems like a great opportunity for outside suppliers to win more business from Apple.  The troubles stem from Apple’s claims about Samsung copying from Apple’s products.  Samsung seems to be imitating Apple products for mobile devices (which is fairly easy considering the help produce key components for Apple).  In retaliation, Samsung is bringing forth its own lawsuits against Apple.  I’m not sure if it’s worth it for Samsung though.  Even if they win the legal battle, they still are jeopardizing their relationship with a key client.

From a strategic perspective:

  • There are multiple mobile device manufacturers creating Android based products.  Can Samsung ever truly get a leading market-share in this space?   Because if they don’t, they just lost out in the mobile market on two fronts.
  • Apple seems to be gaining steam since it went multi-carrier.

The Apple business represents a profitable and reliable stream of revenue and profits given that Apple customers are fiercely loyal. On the other hand, Android based phones are a dime a dozen on a relative basis.  The possibility of losing Apple’s business for the sake of entering a competitive Android based mobile market seems like an incorrect strategic decision.  It’s the equivalent of Intel developing their own operating system to compete with Windows back in the 90s at the risk of getting blackballed out of the Wintel alliance. 

Opportunity for Component Manufacturers

For component manufacturers, this seems like a great opportunity to win business from Apple.  They can make the claim that they are happy to work with Apple and won’t create a competing product that borrows extensively from Apple.

The article I am referencing is below from the WSJ:

Samsung Electronics Co. said on Thursday that it expanded its legal tussle with Apple Inc. by filing a complaint with the International Trade Commission seeking to stop the sale of key Apple products in the U.S.

Samsung also said it filed another lawsuit against Apple in a Delaware district court in the U.S., alleging violations by Apple of patents Samsung holds on telecommunications technology, as well as lawsuits in the U.K and Italy.

The two steps are part of a broader strategy by Samsung to counter a product-copying lawsuit that Apple filed against it two months ago.

In the original case, legal analysts say Apple is moving toward seeking a preliminary injunction that could force Samsung to stop selling its flagship smartphone, called Galaxy S, in the U.S., its largest market. With the ITC complaint, Samsung asked for a ban on the import of Apple’s popular iPods, iPhones and iPads to the U.S.

The fight is one of many that have emerged over the past year in the smartphone and tablet computer markets, new segments of the technology industry where profit margins are relatively high and market leadership is unsettled.

But it has taken unusual prominence because Apple and Samsung, while competing in consumer products, have a relationship in which Apple is the biggest customer of Samsung’s component manufacturing businesses, which make logic chips, memory chips and liquid crystal displays for gadgets of all types.

Since the first suit was filed, the legal approaches of the two companies have exposed their different basic competencies and advantages in the marketplace. Apple is asserting the primacy of its ability to design distinctive products, a skill that enables it to charge premium prices and reap larger profit margins. Samsung is asserting that its manufacturing prowess is equally, or even more, valuable.

The fight has prompted speculation throughout the electronics industry that Apple might try to end its supplier relationship with Samsung, a move that would prove costly to Samsung’s chip business, which has been yielding the company’s highest profits over the past few years.

Apple executives have said they expect the relationship to continue. Samsung has declined to comment on the relationship, but company chairman Lee Kun-hee in late April indirectly criticized Apple’s lawsuit as an attempt to restrain Samsung. “When a nail sticks out, [people] try to pound it down,” Mr. Lee told local reporters at the time.

Samsung responded to the initial Apple lawsuit with countersuits in the U.S., South Korea, Japan and Germany that claimed that Apple violated technology patents it holds.

After all that, Apple last week filed a second suit against Samsung, in Samsung’s home country of South Korea, that repeated some of the product-copying claims made in the original suit in the U.S. and added claims that Samsung was violating some technology patents that Apple holds.

Samsung extended its technology patent suit to the U.K. and Italy on Wednesday and said it may file additional patent suits in Europe.

Samsung’s new complaints to the ITC and in a Delaware court allege different violations of Samsung patents by Apple than Samsung has made in its earlier suits, a company spokesman in Seoul said.

In announcing the latest moves, Samsung repeated its earlier statements that it would “actively defend our intellectual property.”

An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304584004576416653834271060.html#ixzz1QjcgCFXh