July 2011 Archives

Collecting More Than They Spend

By Michael Mulvey on July 31, 2011 9:39 PM

MacNN: Apple has more cash on hand than the U.S. government

As pointed out by several publications, as of yesterday Apple -- the world's most valuable technology company -- has more cash and marketable securities on hand than the federal government does, according to the U.S. Treasury's own daily statement. At the end of June, the iPad and Mac maker had $76.2 billion on hand, while the government currently has $73.8 billion in operating cash balance.

Death Don't Have No Mercy

By Michael Mulvey on July 31, 2011 8:41 PM

Reverend Gary Davis was mentioned during the documentary, It Might Get Loud.

The blues he sings is about as real as the blues gets.

Hear for yourself.

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Serfdom

By Michael Mulvey on July 31, 2011 8:36 PM

Umair Haque: The New Road to Serfdom

Welcome to the new road to serfdom. Here's how I'd put it. Far from innovating our institutions in this time of historic, sweeping global economic crisis and social fracture, the very opposite seems to be happening--our institutions are diminishing, regressing, devolving, sliding back tens or hundreds of years at a time into economically prehistoric practices and beliefs.

Finite

By Michael Mulvey on July 28, 2011 3:33 PM

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via TWoV

Manage the temptation of publishing yourself.

By Michael Mulvey on July 26, 2011 8:53 AM

I came across a refreshing talk to the students of Berklee College of Music by John Mayer. While I'm not a musician and not all of his advice is relevant to me, what he said was great and can be useful to people in other artistic endeavors.

We read a lot about the importance of developing your personal brand and taking advantage of online tools and platforms but Mayer thinks otherwise. At least for when you're still honing your craft:

This time is a really important time for you guys because nobody knows who you are, and nobody should. This is not a time to promote yourself. It doesn't matter. This is the time to get your stuff together. Promotion can be like that. You can have promotion in 30 seconds if your stuff is good. Good music is its own promotion.

and:

You got the distraction of being able to publish yourself immediately, and it is a distraction if you're not done producing what the product is going to be that you're going to someday use the promotion to sell...I had to go through the same thing I'm talking to you about - what you have to go through - which is to completely manage all the distraction. Manage the temptation of publishing yourself
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You're a bit, aren't you?

By Michael Mulvey on July 22, 2011 10:07 AM

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via iwdrm

Free!

By Michael Mulvey on July 20, 2011 2:13 PM

I like the dig at Facebook on the Settings page of Google Plus:

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Golden Rules

By Michael Mulvey on July 20, 2011 10:18 AM

Shneiderman's Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design:

1. Strive for consistency.

2. Enable frequent users to use shortcuts.

3. Offer informative feedback.

4. Design dialog to yield closure.

5. Offer simple error handling.

6. Permit easy reversal of actions.

7. Support internal locus of control.

8. Reduce short-term memory load.

Failure

By Michael Mulvey on July 14, 2011 8:28 AM

Co.Design: Among Six Types Of Failure, Only A Few Help You Innovate

Most of the time, I'm in complete agreement with this sensibility, but what concerns me is that in this counterintuitive embrace of failure we may be conflating different kinds of failure, and doing so at some risk. Perhaps all this is a necessary antidote to capitalism's "success at any cost" mentality. But I have a creeping sense of anxiety that the rise in the rhetoric of failure dovetails in troubling ways with a shift toward esteem building in child raising and general education -- in other words, trophies for the last place team, too. And not to sound like a hard-driving, unforgiving "tiger mother," but I do wonder what this ubiquitous positive vibe surrounding failure really means for a nation in decline on almost every measure of productivity, achievement, and social equity. Coincidence?

All Too Familiar

By Michael Mulvey on July 14, 2011 8:17 AM

Wishingful Thinking gives us 10 Ways the Workplace Crushes Creativity.

One study found that office distractions eat an average 2.1 hours a day. Another study, published in October 2005, found that employees spent an average of 11 minutes on a project before being distracted. After an interruption it takes them 25 minutes to return to the original task, if they do at all. People switch activities every three minutes, either making a call, speaking with someone in their cubicle, or working on a document.

Distractions are not just frustrating; they can be exhausting. By the time you get back to where you were, your ability to stay focused goes down even further as you have even less glucose available now. Change focus ten times an hour (one study showed people in offices did so as much as 20 times an hour), and your productive thinking time is only a fraction of what's possible.

When I read this, my immediate thought was all the external distractions I get (managers, clients), but there's just as many, if not more, self-imposed distractions to get rid of.

Checking Facebook, checking RSS feeds, checking Twitter, seeing if anyone new and cool is on Google Plus, responding to instant messages - these are all potential distractions (not everyone finds them irresistible to check) we have the ability to remove.

Become A Fan

By Michael Mulvey on July 13, 2011 2:12 PM

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Made me laugh for a good five minutes.

via Rocketboom

We want things to work out.

By Michael Mulvey on July 13, 2011 8:48 AM

Great review of a great film over at A Bright Wall In A Dark Room:

Which is why a film like Blue Valentine is so tough to watch. Hollywood, long complicit in the fueling of many millions of happily-ever-after dreams, here slaps us in our collective face: it gives us the whole story. The beginning and the end (and all the highs and lows in between). It's draining. It's painful. It's one of the finest relationship movies I've ever seen. Not because relationships are awful - some are, some aren't - but rather because they are such hard work. And so rarely do we get to see all that hard work - the truly messy and complicated rollercoaster of a living, breathing relationship - onscreen.

via On Display

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By Michael Mulvey on July 12, 2011 11:56 AM

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What Really Matters

By Michael Mulvey on July 11, 2011 10:11 AM

Steven Johnson talks about moving from New York to San Francisco:

But the other reason for the move, in truth, is that I've come to think that this kind of change is intrinsically good in itself, wherever you happen to move. An old friend who did a similar westward migration a few years ago told me that the great thing about moving is that the changed context helps you understand yourself and your family more deeply: you get to see all the things that you really loved about your old home--and the things that always bothered you without you fully recognizing it. Like a good control study in a science experiment, the contrast allows you to see what really matters. Changing the background scenery helps you see the foreground more clearly.

via Noah Brier

News Chaos

By Michael Mulvey on July 11, 2011 9:08 AM

Clay Shirky explains why we need the news environment to be chaotic.

On the difference, or lack thereof, between the new and ad biz (emphasis added):

So long as newspapers faced little competition for advertisers or readers, this was a distinction without a difference, but as papers are being sundered by the internet, we can see how tangled the system always was. Outside a relative handful of financial publications, there is no such thing as the news business. There is only the advertising business. The remarkable thing about the newspapers' piece of that business isn't that they could reliably generate profits without accomplishing much in the way of innovation--that could just as easily describe the local car dealership. The remarkable thing is that over the last couple of generations, those profits supported the fractional bit of those enterprises that covered the news.

On how the news got to be bundled the way it is:

The rationale for creating such a bundle went something like this: "We will print enough content to fill the hole left after we've sold the advertising space. We will include content proportional to the amount and intensity of reader interest, modified somewhat by editorial judgment. Overall, the value of the bundle will be more than the sum of its parts."

And a fun experiment to do with an oldy timey printed news paper:

Buy a newspaper. Cut it up. Throw away the ads. Sort the remaining stories into piles. Now, describe the editorial logic holding those piles together.

Leveling Up

By Michael Mulvey on July 7, 2011 4:56 PM

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via The Vimeo Blog

Brews & GIFs

By Michael Mulvey on July 7, 2011 1:38 PM

From The New York Times Diner's Journal (via PSFK):

Sam Calagione, the founder and president of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, clearly enjoys adventurous brewing. But less exotic crafting has its appeal, too, as Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck's "cinemagraphs" -- photographs with movement on a loop -- make clear. "My favorite days at Dogfish are the ones in which we are brewing a beer for the first time," Mr. Calagione writes from Rehoboth Beach, Del. Instead of only describing the process or using "plain ol' photos," he invited the cinemagraphers, who are also his friends, to document a day of making strawberry beer: "Their amazing cinemagraphs have a mystical effect of bringing the viewer into the moment."

Dogfish Head Brewing

Two of my favorite things - beer and animated GIFs.

Make One Up

By Michael Mulvey on July 6, 2011 9:28 AM

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What did you do?

By Michael Mulvey on July 5, 2011 3:11 PM

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Tangled Web Of Vice

By Design

By Michael Mulvey on July 1, 2011 5:24 PM

So HP says Apple is not TouchPad's target.

So says Richard Kerris, HP's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations, to The Loop's Jim Dalrymple:

HP acknowledged Apple's dominance in the tablet market, but said Apple wasn't its target with the TouchPad.

"We think there's a better opportunity for us to go after the enterprise space and those consumers that use PCs," said Kerris. "This market is in its infancy and there is plenty of room for both of us to grow."

John Gruber over at Daring Fireball agrees:

Smart. Reminds me of that Steve Jobs mantra from the late '90s: "We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace the notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job."

Bullshit.

HP is a company who's senior Vice President and General Manager of the Palm Global Business Unit (formerly the CEO of Palm, replacing dipshit Ed Colligan) helped develop the iPod at Apple as a senior vice president. Apple's influence at HP, through Rubenstein, can be seen all over HP's product design, advertising and marketing. Rubenstein knows the important parts of Apple's business to copy and he has.

HP even based the price points on TouchPad models with the iPad. I can't find the link, but I believe it was Gruber who also pointed out even the name, TouchPad, contains the names of two of Apple's most popular products.

As Sherlock Holmes said, "No, Watson, this was not done by accident, but by design."

Aside from the part about not going after Apple, the other point of bullshit in Kerris' statement was about the "better opportunity for us to go after the enterprise space and those consumers that use PCs". If the iPad has proven anything, it's people in the corporate space love the iPad.

HP is clearlying being smart about webOS. They're focusing on what matters to people - the experience, the software, the Human Experience, but make no mistake, not only are they watching Apple's every move, but Apple's and HP's target markets for tablets very much align.

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