Category: Software

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You Phone Home, I Hang Up

Tonight, I removed Adobe’s Lightroom 1.3 from my computer. Maybe that makes me part of the so-called “tinfoil” hat crowd. I’m deeply concerned about Adobe collecting information, in apparently disguised fashion, from users of its products.

I don’t buy Adobe’s excuses. Creative Suite 3 isn’t freeware. People buying the software can pay as much as $1,800 (street price), depending on CS3 version. Adobe feels free to mine information from these customers, without even asking their permission? Shame on Adobe. I would remove Acrobat and Flash, if so many Websites didn’t use the software. I’m mad

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Apple Answers ‘What If’

Nearly two weeks has passed since Apple released Boot Camp, and I’ve said absolutely nothing on my personal blog about the software. The reason: I would never run Windows on a Mac that I own.

Boot Camp makes sense for people who think they might need Windows or have actual, occasional need. The software answers the question, “What if I need Windows?” But that’s a psychological more than real concern for most, potential Mac switchers. I’m convinced that most people thinking they might need Windows won’t. I know people who can’t throw away stuff, even if they haven’t used it for years, because of the “What if I need it” question. The barrier, while psychological, is real.

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Bad Internet Explorer

I am just so upset, I won’t much blog tonight. I had just finished a long post on last night’s “24” and decided to put in a photo. When I uploaded the image, I got a warning on the Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Preview toolbar about blocked content. The browser had blocked the image from loading. OK. No big deal. I clicked the option to allow the content, which instead cleared the browser window and my post.

Upset? Upset? There are no words. This is the second time in less than a week where I lost a long blog post to Microsoft beta software—Friday on my work blog and now on my personal blog. 

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Because I’m a Risk Taker

I feel more comfortable hanging myself out in the wind over here on my personal site than my work blogsite. Normally, that’s where I’d put a post like this one, but there is just too much chance my speculation is wrong. So…regarding Apple’s mystery announcement planned for tomorrow, I’m ready to make a prediction.

For some time, I’ve suspected that Apple might have a an iTunes-like video service in the works. And that’s where I’ll place my bet on tomorrow’s announcement, a video service, perhaps with music videos, TV content, and video podcasts. I’ll go further and predict a video-capable iPod and (if Apple is smart) Mac repositioning around digital entertainment. 

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Search as the New User Interface

In my next blog post, I plan to write about good design. As prelude, I offer my May 23, 2005, column for Betanews:

In 1984, Apple’s Macintosh introduced the world to the graphical user interface, eventually changing how people interact with computers. The GUI may not have been Apple’s idea—great credit there goes to the folks at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center—but the company did deliver the first meaningful, commercial product.

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Must Be: Familiar, Approachable, Extending and Better Enough

My prevailing thinking on why high-tech products succeed or fail boils down to four criteria. Editor’s Note 2/8/2014: I expanded the number to eight and wrote book about them: The Principles of Disruptive Design.

A product must:

  1. Build on the familiar
  2. Do what it’s supposed to do really well
  3. Allow people to do something they wished they could do
  4. When displacing something else, offer significantly better experience
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So Would it be Stealing?

My daughter has really gotten into this old “My Little Pony” Hasbro CD-ROM game she’s been playing at a friend’s house. I vaguely remember seeing it on store shelves years ago, but just figured it wasn’t my daughter’s speed. After all, she favors things like Sonic the Hedgehog or The Sims. But apparently, she really likes this My Little Pony game. I would buy it if I could find it. Hasbro doesn’t sell the game online, and no stores anywhere in my area carry it. Sure, there are some cheap copies still available on eBay. Assuming they’re legit.

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The Great Mac-PC Debate

It’s funny how far the protagonists championing either PCs or Macs will go to push their cause. I moseyed into my local CompUSA on Jan. 19, 2003, where I found two ViewSonic representatives showing off Microsoft Windows Powered Smart Displays in the store’s Mac section. As I approached, one of the salesmen lithely snatched two shoppers eyeing an Apple iBook and pitched them on a Smart Display.

I returned later when the salesmen was alone and piped, “Say, you’re going to scare all the Mac customers away.” “That’s the idea,” he shot back. I must have made some kind of brilliant observation, because he gave my daughter a set of promo street style headphones for my troubles. So, now she can wear a Windows logo while plugged into an Apple iPod. 

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Jaguar: One Cool Cat

Mac enthusiasts say Apple is the mother of all invention. Maybe they’re right. Microsoft took six years to deliver the kind of operating system the company promised in 1995. Windows 95 didn’t live up to the hype until Windows XP. Apple managed the same feat in less than two years. Mac OS X 10.0, released in March 2001, lacked fundamental features such as CD burning and DVD playback. Successor 10.1, which debuted in September 2001, delivered better performance but couldn’t match some of XP’s best features. But Mac OS X 10.2, also known as Jaguar, beats Apple’s original promise of a robust, modern operating system and outclasses Windows XP’s handling of multiple programs running simultaneously. Still, many important changes are mere catch up to XP or even Apple’s older Mac OS 9.

Apple delivered my official Jaguar copy on Aug. 16, 2002, about a week before OS X 10.2’s official Aug. 24, 2002 release. Talk about efforts to woo the reviewer: Apple preloaded Jaguar on a PowerBook G4 800. But I already had been working with betas and final code obtained though “special sources”. Before Apple’s woo-the-reviewer package arrived, I had the “unofficial” official release running on three Macs: Dual 1GHz Power Mac G4, 700MHz flat-panel iMac and another PowerBook 800.