Particle Debris (wk. ending 7/29) The Future Arrived Yesterday

Some companies think they can do better on their own and don’t need Apple. Observers frequently point out that when these companies defect from Apple’s way of doing things, it’s good-bye and good riddance. I, for one, think that Apple should be promoting a healthy business environment for all partners, but sometimes an Apple partner doesn’t see the healthy goodness of Apple’s way. Here’s a couple of those cases in point: “Sidestepping Apple: From Amazon to Condé Nast, Companies Rethink App Strategies.”

This is just too funny. It’s a story about how McDonalds is rolling out Wi-Fi in its restaurants and has provided a nice quick tip sheet for its customers on how to connect. Compare Windows XP and Vista instructions on the left to the Mac version on the right. I can just see customers thinking to themselves, “Why am I not using a Mac?” Thanks, McDonalds, for the free Apple advertising!

Sooner or later, we’ll all be faced with this dilemma in a household move. What to do with all those darn books. A New York Times writer was faced with just that problem in a relocation to San Francisco and wrote about the agonizing decisions to be made about his collection of books. “Print Books: Should They Stay or Should They Go?

As for me, I’ve already embarked on a project to get all my magazines moved to the iPad, but some titles are lagging — or in a format I don’t like. But I think I’ll be paper free by next summer. As for those old physics and astronomy books from the 1970s? Outdated and headed for the trash.

You would think, off hand, that the enormously popular iPad would be a giant blob on the Netflix radar. That turns out not to be the case. Here’s some fascinating data that shows who the heavy hitters are when it comes to Netflix viewing. I was particularly surprised to see the data for the Apple TV. It just goes to show how global statistics can burst our balloon of Apple provincialism. “Netflix Is for Movies, Hulu Is for TV Shows. Neither Is for Your iPad or Your iPhone.

Agent 007For a company selling a product, there’s trouble and then there’s real trouble: when you have more returns than sales and you take a big loss. That’s what’s happend to the Logitech Revue and Google TV. This is no surprise. We all told Google and Logitech that living room users don’t use keyboards, but they wouldn’t listen. Instead we got the infamous Kevin Bacon TV commercial. Here is the sorry tale: “Logitech shows Google TV’s trouble as Revue drops to $99.” The Logitech CEO Gerald Quielen was forced to step down. Hey, guys, we told you!

Meanwhile, Apple is selling an estimated 500,000 Apple TV’s per quarter, according to AppleInsider.

It’s not like the old days. When a company ships a product that’s crap, millions of people know that within minutes thanks to Twitter pointing to website reviews, so there’s no early launch momentum. The product is screwed on launch day. That happened to Hewlett Packard’s TouchPad, and Jon Rubinstein was quickly relieved of his former duties.

The carnage is not over. Motorola revealed this week that the Xoom is also a flop. The company expects to sell a total of 1.5 million Xooms or less this year. Apple sells that many iPad 2s in two weeks. If you can stand the pain, here’s the story from All Things D’s Ina Fried.

If you thought Google would answer Facebook by delivering a service with more privacy and more warm fuzzies for the astute customer, think again. Here’s a catalog of creepy things that Google+ does that you probably didn’t know about before you signed up. “Why I was banned on Google+ (and how I redeemed myself)” Done reading? Cool. Now tell me why I should sign up. Seriously.

Perhaps Apple should get into this business and do it right. And I don’t mean Ping. Apple is really good at understanding how to use technology and basic human needs to undermine the competition. It would be a good use of Apple’s talent. Mayhap Apple is becomming the James Bond of consumer electronics - the handsome, high-tech slayer.

Finally, here’s a really cool tech story that combines two of my favorite things: computers and chess. For awhile, we had the famous encounters between humans and computers playing chess, most notably IBM’s Deep Blue against Gary Kasparov. That got to be too humiliating for humans, so as I understand it now, computers play computers, men play men, and women, generally (unless they’re Grand Masters*) play women. But what if we change the rules? What if we marry good players with great computer assistance and play them against the most powerful supercomputer programs? If you have any interest in computer chess, check out: “Friction in Human-Computer Symbiosis: Kasparov on Chess.

Technical Word of the Week

iOSification (n.) or iOSify (v.) The process of making OS X more like iOS. Thanks and credit to Ted Landau.


* I don’t recall that exact rule for that.