Tim Cook’s Style is Working, Bloggers Are Not

| Particle Debris

Tim CookIt seems fashionable to fuss about how Tim Cook can’t cut it and how Apple will slide into mediocrity under his leadership. Let’s look at the facts instead.

Let’s face it, Steve Jobs could often be hard to work with. The facts are that he could be abrasive and arrogant, and that sometimes made it hard for Apple to work with other executives. Mr. Cook’s style is very different, and while he’s demanding and tough, he’s also able to negotiate with other human beings in a more amiable, corporate style. We saw that first in the Verizon deal in 2011.

I wrote about the new CEO’s performance to date awhile back, “Apple CEO Tim Cook: a Report Card.” Now I’d like to add another item to the list of apparent achievements. I point to this story at Infoworld by Woody Leonhard that details some of the behind the scenes work done by Apple to get Oracle to take on ownership and maintenance of Java for OS X. The title, appropriately enough is, “Apple’s Tim Cook wins where Steve Jobs failed: On Java.

Mr. Leonhard references a comment Steve Jobs made about Java. “Java’s not worth building in. Nobody uses Java anymore. It’s this big heavyweight ball and chain.” Despite the friendship between Larry Ellison and Steve Jobs, one had to imagine how corporate managers would react to that comment. Java is a major, believe me, major tool for enterprise code development (along with other related technologies) in the U.S., having supplanted C++ in most circles years ago. So when you rub everyone involved the wrong way, even friends, you can hardly expect them to do you any favors.

Let’s look at it another way. Tim Cook has been through a lot in his short tenure. As I mentioned, he was responsible for sealing the deal with Verizon and the iPhone, a big test of his negotiation capabilities long before he took over as CEO. He’s passed every test since then. Can anyone point to an on the job failure that would result in questioning his capabilities? I cannot.

Tech News Debris

Charlie Stross is one of my favorite SciFi authors, ever since I read his Merchant Princess series that launched with The Family Trade in 2005. Recently, Mr. Stross wrote an epistle, which I forgot to include last week, on the subject of DRM and e-books. His argument, from an author’s perspective, is that DRM is bad. Here is his very persuasive article “More on DRM and ebooks.

Corporate executives think that because they get paid a lot and are running a big company that they know the fundamentals — while they also think that the SciFi author is a grouch who lives in his mom’s basement and pleads for crumbs from the publisher. In fact, authors like Mr. Stross are the thinkers and the experts. CEOs should listen more to the people they pay to influence, inspire and entertain us with their writing talents.

For as long as movies have been shot, the frame rate has been 24 fps. It was a trade between the expense of film and the persistence effect of human vision. That’s about to change, and the driver is apparently 3D. Here’s some interesting background in this likely seachange in the industry. “Why movies are moving from 24 to 48 fps.”

Star Trek: First Contact

Star Trek: First Contact, Image Credit: Paramount

You know I love charts that tell a story visually. This week, Peter Bright at ars technica did a bang up job of telling the browser story and the rate of adoption of various browsers, IE, Firefox and Chrome with charts It was also interesting to see the mobile browser market share that shows how mobile Safari is gaining on Android. The highlight of the story is that “One third of Firefox users vulnerable to known flaws; IE and Chrome continue to gain share.” But every chart tells an interesting tale.

Corporate size brings power. Power corrupts.

Earlier in the week, I wrote a news story about how Target plans to discontinue the sales of Amazon- and Kindle-branded products in its stores. Those were the essential facts. However, it’s always fun to dig a little deeper and find out why things like that happen. A plausible story is laid out by the New York Times, and the story also does double duty as it introduces a new technical term (to me anyway): “Showrooming.” Check this one out. “Target, Unhappy With Being an Amazon Showroom, Will Stop Selling Kindles.”

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10 Comments Leave Your Own

Lancashire-Witch

Another view on the subject of why the death of DRM would be Goods News for readers, writers and publishers.

iJack

“For as long as movies have been shot, the frame rate has been 24 fps. It was a trade between the expense of film and the persistence effect of human vision. That?s about to change, and the driver is apparently 3D. Here?s some interesting background in this likely seachange in the industry.”

Not quite.  Early filming and projection used a 16 fps rate. not 24.

I read the article, and quite frankly, it isn’t very good, nor written by a person that uses or understands either cinematography or videography.  The author states ”..high-end, camera makers like Red, Canon has added support for frame rates up to 60 fps to its upcoming Canon EOS C500..”

This is nonsense.  Video cams started with 60 interlaced frames per second (60i) decades ago.  It was the standard for soap operas, sports, Johnny Carson-type shows, and recorded news, not to mention the single standard for those big lumpy consumer video cameras we early adopters used.

I don’t agree for a moment that 3D is going to drive a “likely seachange in the industry,” by boosting frame-rates.  Persistence of vision in humans is part of the magic of movies, which is why the first prosumer camcorders with 24 progressive frames per second (24p) that came on the market eight or so years ago, flew off the shelves.  The digital revolution we’re in the middle of right now is based on professional-grade 24p camcorders.  The reason for that is to emulate the 24 fps cinema experience.  Do you really want to watch say, ‘Shakespeare in Love’ if the “look” is the same as ‘Sports Center?’  I damn well know I don’t.

3D isn’t driving anything.  It reappears every dozen years or so, then rightly disappears.  It’s fine if you’re 15 and the movie is ‘The Avengers,’ or the latest Batman reboot, but what about the thousands of serious films that get made every year?  Is ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ worthy of 3D?  Not going to happen.

The only ground I would be willing to concede, would be a shift in theatrical films to 30p.  The progressive (the “p”) nature is still needed for the big screen for the sharp, clear, individual images, and the 30 frames would represent a sensible convergence with what you see today on your TV sets, although I personally prefer the system used in PAL broadcast countries like the UK.  They shoot movies at 25 fps (50i/25p on video) and broadcast at 25p.

immovableobject

@iJack: While I appreciate that some have a sentimental attachment to the esthetics of older technologies and standards (silent films, black and white movies, 3:4 aspect ratios, and yes, 24fps).  That is no reason to stop pushing the boundaries toward increased realism. I want to eventually be able to watch holograms that are indistinguishable from reality.  That will require very fast refresh rates among other improvements.

Terrin

Jack main grievance seems to be the view that 3D is driving the change in frame rate and the accuracy of the article he is commenting on.

While I appreciate that some have a sentimental attachment to the esthetics of older technologies and standards (silent films, black and white movies, 3:4 aspect ratios, and yes, 24fps).

iJack

Jack main grievance seems to be the view that 3D is driving the change in frame rate and the accuracy of the article he is commenting on.

The accuracy of the article to some extent, but more than that, it’s obvious lack of any background knowledge of how movies are made, including what goals are set for the “look” of a film by the director and cinematographer, and how technology is employed to achieve that look.  The deep, rich, moody reds and blacks of ‘The Godfather’ didn’t happen by accident.  Basically, this isn’t a tech article, which considers all angles, but a breathless puff-piece better suited to an airline’s in-flight magazine.

I also dispute that there will be a change in frame-rate at all, 3D or no 3D.

I didn’t even address the industry-wide upheaval that high-frame-rate-all-3D implies.

craigf

This frame rate question is going to be very devisive. The fact is we are all accustomed to the deficiencies of 24 frame projection, especially motion blur and artifacts like backwards-rotating wagon wheels. Higher frame rates eliminate these issues but many peoplle think the resulting images resemble TV, aka the glossy “soap opera effect.”

This reminds me of an apocryphal story I heard years ago that a major ketchup manufacturer worked very hard to preserve the flavor of fresh tomatoes and eliminate the flavor contributed by cooking the product in copper kettles. The project failed because consumers reported the improved product just didn’t taste like ketchup.

craigf

I doubt anybody has done more research into movie frame-rate than the legendary Douglas Trumbull.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpZd-UoYWCY

iJack

“This reminds me of an apocryphal story I heard years ago that a major ketchup manufacturer…”

Confusing.  Did you really mean “apocryphal?”  It would be more in line with the point of your first paragraph if the story was true.

apocryphal
adjective
(of a story or statement) of doubtful authenticity

John Martellaro

craigf: I had the pleasure of meeting Douglas Trumbull once at a conference. I was in awe.

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