More Thoughts on the iPad

And, when I say more thoughts, I mean other people’s thoughts.  My last post about it may seem like I think its going to bomb or that I don’t see the market for it.  But, that’s not true.  I think I’m just more disappointed in what it’s not than appreciative of what it is.

So, what is it, then?  Well, Gizmodo and Daring Fireball both describe their take on what it is, and more importantly, what it means for Apple:

Gizmodo – The iPad is the Gadget We Never Knew We Needed

Daring Fireball – The iPad Big Picture

(I still hate the name though, but I’m getting used to hearing.  I guess, eventually, it’ll sound as normal as “iPod” does now.)

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iPad? Color me less than impressed

I found today’s unveiling of the iPad to be a little underwhelming.  It’s basically just an iPod Touch with a larger screen.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it will sell well.  I’m sure developers will come up with some great new apps (especially games) to take advantage of the larger screen.

I just don’t see any need to rush out and get one any time soon.

Also, the iPad? Really!? (Where’s Seth and Amy when I need them?)

The Original Apple Tablet

With all of the hype surrounding whatever it is Apple is planning on announcing next week, Gizmodo takes an in-depth look at the somewhat tragic history of the original Apple tablet, and device that started the whole PDA market to begin with, the Newton.

It’s a bit of a long read, but very interesting, especially if you happen to find computer history, not to mention the history of Apple, interesting.

Oops!

I’ve been a little sick the past couple of days.  Yesterday, I was working in the server room (server closet is more accurate), and the air conditioning was blowing right at me.  Being sick, this did not feel good.  So, I turned the air off while I was in there – I wasn’t going to be long, anyway.

Today, I’m walking by the server room (closet), and I think “What is that noise?” Well, that noise was all the fans on all the servers and switches going full-out because someone forgot to turn the air back on!  Oops!

Luckily, everything is still running, and nothing appears to have been affected.  I’ll chalk it up to a “live and learn” experience.

Stupid Adobe

I really don’t need, nor do I want, a shortcut to Adobe Reader on my Windows desktop.  It’s bad enough your stupid installer puts one there without asking, but does the updater really need to keep putting it back every time it runs?  I really hate having to delete the damn thing over and over again.

Adobe’s certainly not the only software install that puts an icon on the desktop without asking, but as far as I can tell, they’re the only ones who insist on putting one there no matter how often you delete it.  Here’s a hint, Adobe, respect the wishes of your user.  Also, to Adobe and every other software developer out there:  ASK the user if they want a desktop (or quick launch) icon!  Is it really so hard to include a dialog that has it as an option?

I am so glad I don’t need Adobe Reader (or Professional, for that matter) on my Mac.

Bad Apple

Every once in a while, Apple does something completely perplexing.  Some software (or hardware) configuration that does nothing but piss off its users.  The most recent thing is forcing Genres and links to the iTunes store while browsing, and getting rid of the preferences to turn them off.  Fortunately, the Apple user base is pretty smart and was quick to come up with a solution.

But why would Apple do this?  I can’t fathom a reason to force people to view genres when browsing their music.  Does any one even use Genres?  I know that in my library the genre assignments are pretty haphazard.  If I’m importing music to my library I usually don’t bother assigning genres.  Most of the music I buy online, whether it’s from iTunes or Amazon, the genres make no sense or are too generic (e.g. “Rock” – gee thanks, that helps).

I’m sure there are people out there who are fastidious with their genre assignments, and that’s great if that’s how they organize their music.  But, I’m guessing (especially with the amount of complaints about this) that it is a small number of people.

And the links to the Apple store?  People complained so much about that the first time Apple did it that they had to add the preference to turn it off.  Why in the world would they go back on that now?  This has got to be some kind of oversight, and hopefully will be fixed in the next update.

In the mean time, if you haven’t already found this info elsewhere, here’s how to fix it:

If you’re on a Mac, open the terminal and type (or copy-paste) the following commands (one at a time):


defaults write com.apple.iTunes show-store-arrow-links -bool FALSE

defaults write com.apple.itunes show-genre-when-browsing -bool FALSE


If you’re on Windows, follow the directions on this blog.  I can’t verify that info until I get to work on Monday, but a quick read through makes me believe it’s accurate.

Chrome

I’m sure most of you have heard of Google’s new web browser Chrome by now.  When I first hear the news, I thought “Does the world really need another web browser?”  Then I checked out their introductory comic (which actually gets fairly technical, but is still readable to non-geeks), and I was intrigued by much of the ideas and technology behind it.  So, I went and downloaded it.

So far, so good.  I’ve been using it all day and haven’t needed to switch to Firefox yet.  I think this may quickly become my default browser.  It’s fast.  It renders pages better looking than either IE or Firefox (like Safari it’s based on Webkit – but sadly no support for CSS text shadows).

One of my favorite things is that it has built-in site specific browser functionality.  (Only they call it “application shortcut”.)  I’ve been looking for a decent Windows SSB for a while to use for the web based help desk system we have at work.  Nothing that I found really lived up to the challenge.  Until now.  A decent Windows SSB, who would have thought?  (It makes perfect sense though, given Google’s focus on web apps.)

If you’re on a Windows machine, it’s definitely worth checking out.  I can’t wait to see how it matures in the coming months (it’s only beta right now, but aren’t most of Google’s offerings still “beta”?).  I also can’t wait to try the Mac version.

Ubiquity

If you haven’t seen Ubiquity yet, go check it out.  It’s only version 0.1 Alpha and it’s already one of the coolest things out there.  It’ll be really great once they move it past being a browser extension to being a system-wide utility.  But, with more and more of people’s workflows being browser-based, it’s extremely useful as it is.

It’ll be an interesting thing to keep an eye on.

WWDC News

Okay, so I’ve got nothing to report that you haven’t already read elsewhere, or didn’t already know before the keynote for that matter.

  • New iPhone with 3G and GPS?  Check.
  • Great new iPhone apps?  Check.
  • Subsidized iPhone pricing?  Check.
  • MobileMe replacing .Mac?  Check.
  • Snow Leopard announced?  Check.

I do have a couple of things to say, however.  First off, my purchase of an iPhone is inevitable now.  All of the new features combined with MobileMe make it pretty much a no-brainer now.  And even though there were no real surprises with anything announced yesterday, Apple (and Steve) still managed to make everyone say “Wow!”  Think about that.  Everyone already knew everything that was announced, but they still managed to exceed our expectations.  We knew what was coming, yet it still was beyond what we had hoped for.  That’s pretty impressive.

On MobileMe.  One thing that I think kind of flew under the radar was just how impressive the web app portion of MobileMe is.  Put MobileMe next to Gmail or Yahoo! Mail and they look silly and amateurish in comparison.  MobileMe is a web app that feels like an application.  Gmail (all of the Google Apps, really) and Yahoo! Mail are web pages that have application-like functionality.  They feel like web pages.  They act like web pages.  MobileMe acts like an application.  Not only that, it acts like an Apple application.

People thought the iPod was going to have a “halo effect” of bringing Windows users to the Mac.  And that was just an MP3 player.  This will blow Windows users away.  I can’t imagine what it’ll be like for an iPhone owning Windows user, one who has never used a Mac, using their MobileMe account.  Eventually it’ll click with them: “Why can’t my entire computer-using experience be like this?”  Eventually, they’ll buy a Mac.

MobileMe was the real Trojan Horse in yesterday’s announcements.  The iPhone will bring them in, but MobileMe will make them stay.