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Showing posts from August, 2012

The Fall of the Apple Empire...It's the Little Things

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Apple's new Macbook magsafe power connector and it's new commercials:  The beginning of the end.



Simple stuff.  The first is the new Magsafe connector for Macbooks.  Here's a quote from the Apple forums on The Verge website:

"The new MagSafe 2 connector sucks. Apple blew it. It's hard to argue that they changed the adapter for the sake of room when the MBA accommodates it fine. This new adapter is quick to pop out when you are using the notebook on a couch, plush chair or somewhere where it can get forced up while in use."
This is a common complaint.  So what does this tell you?  It tells me Apple is getting sloppy, already.  Do you think Steve Jobs would have allowed something that was badly designed to ever leave the lab to be proto-typed let alone ship?  I think not.

I know this is a small thing, but it's the culmination of the small things that made Apple products great.  It will be the culmination of small things that destroys the 'magic' so m…

Apple's 'Secret' Lab and the Knight Ridder Folks

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Did you know Apple had a secret lab in Boulder, CO for several years?  Yep.  It was called the AEML (Apple Electronic Media Lab) and it was a part of the eWorld division, basically, it's research group.

I know because I started it and, along with my local proxy (a brilliant guy named Dennis Dube)  ran it for several years.
Why bring this up now you ask?  Well, this weekend, I attended a 20 year reunion party with a few folks from the AEML, but the parties main event was to bring together Roger Fidler and his crew from Knight Ridders IDL (Information Design Lab). 

The IDL was a 'futures' lab that ran from 1992 to 1995 and Roger Fidler was it's director.

Roger's IDL was the reason I started Apple's secret lab in Boulder in the first place.  I visited him there shortly after he opened his lab and knew, just knew, this was the kind of thing Apple needed to get's it's head around. .  At the time I was the head of R and D for eWorld (Apple's attempt at c…

Privacy, Identity and Your Local Grocery Store

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If you think Facebook knows alot about you, take a look at what your local grocery store is tracking.  If you want (sometimes significant) discounts, you are likely a member of a loyalty program with your local grocery store.  You get a card you scan before you checkout (or just your phone number) and viola! you save $10-20 bucks.  Who wouldn't?

Imagine how that information (what you - mostly - eat) can be interpreted.  Buy a lot of vegetables fruits and chicken?  How about a medical insurance discount to go along with that?  Oh, you like candy, Nutella and pizza?  We'll pass that along to your doctor and your insurance company for a future checkup and premium increase.

If they have a pharmacy (and many stores do) they're able to track that as well.

I'm not saying that's happening today, but, it easily could.  I mean, really.. did you read that Terms of Service for that loyalty program card? 

And it's getting even more all encompassing.

Now, of course, there&#…

Book Review: Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez

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I can't say this is science fiction so much as a near (actually, really near) future war story.  I know a guy in Boulder, CO. that consults for the military creating a specialized Android OS specific to the US Air Force designed to fly, remotely, jets.  As in F18 type jets.  He told me almost 2 years ago about how they had to have autonomous operations if they were cut off from remote control and much of what I read in this book sounds very similar to concepts my friend told me about over lunch at a restaurant on Pearl street in 2010.

2010.

So, not so 'near future' as 'tomorrow or the day after' future.

As far as this book is concerned.. exceptionally well written.  He's using a Tom Clancy like style and, for a story like this, it works beautifully.  Fast paced, (reasonably) believable characters and an excellent plot line.  It's also all a bit close to home.  Police forces are considering (and in some municipalities, have already implemented) drone techno…