When the iPad was announced in April of 2010, the jokes didn’t stop.
Of all the great names to use — “Slate”, “Canvas” (via Daring Fireball), hell even plain “Tablet” is good — I find it amusing how many other “Pads” are on the market now:
MSI WindPad
Viewsonic ViewPad
HP TouchPad
LG Optimus Pad
Asus Padfone
The advice you usually get when launching a new product is to set it apart from the competition. This isn’t the case in the tablet market because none of the iPad competitors have a value-add or anything they do better than the iPad (OK, the TouchPad looks good, if it ever launches).
So instead of making themselves unique, even if it’s on the surface, they’ve all decided to blend in with their main competitor.

The Death Of The Expert

The Awl: Wikipedia And The Death Of The Expert

Experts, geniuses, authorities, “authors”–we were taught to believe that these should be questioned, but until now have not often been given a way to do so, to seek out and test for ourselves the exact means by which they reached their conclusions. So long as we believe that there is such a thing as an expert rather than a fellow-investigator, then that person’s views just by magic will be worth more than our own, no matter how much or how often actual events have shown this not to be the case. For us to have this magic thinking about “individualism” then is pernicious politically, intellectually, in every way. That is not to say that we don’t value those who can lead the conversation. We’ll need them more and more, those “who are able to marshal the wisdom of the network,” to use Bob Stein’s words. But they might be more like DJs, assembling new ways of looking at things from a huge variety of elements, than like than judges whose processes are secret, and whose opinions are sacred.

I think about this idea of experts, DJs and curation in relation to current events in technology like Drudge Report’s continued success (on page of curated links) and GroupOn (curated products and events with quality writeups).

Trying To Create A Great Product

Interesting piece at the NYTimes on how GroupOn distinguishes itself from on the copycats that are cropping up in the hundreds:

Any Web site can offer a daily deal, and in the wake of Groupon’s success just about everyone is. There are hundreds of knock-offs and imitators, some of them trying to undercut the original by charging the merchant less than Groupon does. Others try to cater to specialized audiences (babies, gay people). Groupon’s closest competitor, Living Social, is backed by Amazon, the retailing giant that has a history of winning.

“We’re not at all concerned any competitor is going to come in and start writing like us,” says Mr. With. “They try but fall flat.” (Living Social declined to comment.) In other words, words will save Groupon. Many more words. Mere words.

Like all the companies that have copied the iPhone over the last 4 years, the companies copying GroupOn are copying surface qualities. To other companies, GroupOn showcases deals, when the reality is owners of GroupOn adds value beyond the ‘group coupons’ they offer.
I respect GroupOn for trying to create a great product.

I always try to create danger.

NYTimes: Lionel Messi: Boy Genius

Tall and lean, Busquets jogged languidly from the circle into the space between Madrid’s central midfield and defense. Messi’s return pass was sharp and direct. Busquets received the ball, pivoted and tapped it lightly. What seemed unthreatening a few seconds earlier now became a menacing give-and-go.

“I saw some options,” Messi said. “I always try to create danger.”

During the careers of the greats to whom Messi is most often compared — PelĂ© of Brazil and Diego Maradona, a fellow Argentine — the pace of the game was slower, with more space to operate and more chance for flamboyant playfulness in the flowing dribbles known as gambeta.

Today, soccer increasingly relies on size and muscle and speed. The best players must be able to operate in claustrophobic spaces. That is the mesmerizing skill of Messi, slithering through these airless openings in top gear, changing direction, providing as well as scoring, his left foot tapping the ball on each stride with blurred and evasive touches. At such moments, the ball becomes an extension of his foot.

I need to start watching more soccer.

The press love to instigate some fights

ComputerWorld: Amazon challenges Apple with Mac app download store

Amazon today launched a Mac-specific application download store that will compete with Apple’s nearly five-month-old Mac App Store.

The new subsection of Amazon’s massive online store, dubbed “Mac Software Downloads,” kicked off quietly Thursday. Amazon has long offered software downloads for both Windows and Mac customers, but this was the first time that the company called out its Mac-centric “store.”

Yeah! Take THAT, Apple! We challenge you!
. . . by providing people with another marketplace download software for your operating system and help increase it’s popularity.

Doing Just Fine

Jason Oberholtzer defends his Lost Generation over at Forbes:

I reject any notion that my generation is afraid. However, I think it is fair to suggest that a generally mistrustful view of adulthood has become more common, and for defensible reasons. One can make a case-by-case argument that every institution we have been taught to hold in esteem has, in the last decade, given us ample reason to question their integrity.

The Church (already struggling to connect with progressive youth) is still dealing with the fallout of widespread pedophilia scandals; The Military is stuck in two unpopular wars (to be clear, the general opinion is that this reflects on the leadership and on the institution itself, not on the soldiers) in which a decisive victory seems to be impossible; The Government is viewed with such cynicism that being able to “run as an outsider” is a more important quality than “being literate,” -corruption is expected, fidelity is antiquated and politics play out like a gladiatorial event where campaign promises are “moves” and “countermoves” to which no elected official is held accountable; and finally, The Market has been handled so irresponsibly that we now have Amanda M. Fairbanks writing about us as The Lost Generation.

Well fucking said.


Electronista: Acer stalls 7-inch tablet after realizing UI is too small

Acer’s decision to delay the Iconia Tab A100 may have come from learning a hard lesson from Apple, sources hinted Wednesday. The tablet was moving from its June target to either August or September as Acer had discovered that Android 3, an OS designed primarily for 10-inch tablets, wasn’t working properly on a seven-inch design. With many apps not working properly, Acer was waiting in the hopes Google will have solved the problems later, Digitimes heard.

As my father and John Gruber like to say, measure twice, cut once.

Downward Spiral

NYTimes: As Lenders Hold Homes in Foreclosure, Sales Are Hurt

Over all, economists project that it would take about three years for lenders to sell their backlog of foreclosed homes. As a result, home values nationally could fall 5 percent by the end of 2011, according to Moody’s, and rise only modestly over the following year. Regions that were hardest hit by the housing collapse and recession could take even longer to recover – dealing yet another blow to a still-struggling economy.