Transformers – Fallen

Roger Ebert’s review of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen:

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.

Seems I won’t be seeing this flick after all.
…although, my reaction to this review is the same as driving by a car accident.
I have to look, if only for a second.

Intel, Nokia, and their majestic Unicorn

“Trust me guys – it’s going to be AWESOME.”
Problem is, when you make statements like that, ‘it’ usually doesn’t end up that awesome.
‘It’ usually never gets made, or ‘it’ just ends up a piece of crap.
It’s essentially what Intel & Nokia announced in a press release on Intel’s website on their new alliance – Intel and Nokia Announce Strategic Relationship to Shape Next Era of Mobile Computing Innovation.

“This Intel and Nokia collaboration unites and focuses many of the brightest computing and communications minds in the world, and will ultimately deliver open and standards-based technologies, which history shows drive rapid innovation, adoption and consumer choice,” said Anand Chandrasekher, Intel Corporation senior vice president and general manager, Ultra Mobility Group. “With the convergence of the Internet and mobility as the team’s only barrier, I can only imagine the innovation that will come out of our unique relationship with Nokia. The possibilities are endless.”

Of course the possibilities are endless. All the big wigs at Intel and Nokia probably had some great brainstorming sessions on “the possibilities” – imagining all sorts of Minority Report gadgets that can communicate in any medium and control everything from your television to your car to your house, ‘with a push of a button’.
My brother Mark coined a term for this behavior of announcing something you eagerly want and have every intention of doing, but haven’t done – Chimera’s Lens. He introduced this to me many years ago when he asked me, “Imagine something funny …….see? Isn’t that funny?”
This is the same thing as saying “Picture the best mobile device… like, uh, picture something even better than the best mobile phone…. how fucking cool is that?”.
Microsoft is also having a bitch of a time launching real operating system updates, but they had no problem envisioned the year 2019:
Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, Apple continues on it’s upward track of success with the very real iPhone and the new paradigm of mobile software and mobile commerce they created – despite numerous blasts from the media over the years on their evil secrecy. The New York Times just published a new article titled, “Apple’s Obsession With Secrecy Grows Stronger“.
Nokia and Intel would benefit greatly by adopting some of this ‘secrecy’. It doesn’t even have to be secrecy, it could simply be keeping their mouths shut until that have something built to show off. This is what most of the media are referring to when they say ‘secrecy’.
The media doesn’t mind when no-name companies keep their product development under wraps do they? They don’t mind because a lot of no-name companies produce garbage.
Until Nokia and Intel actually produce some game-changing software or hardware products, their press release is really quite pointless.
UPDATE: What I forgot to mention on the positive note is I’m loving the fact that they’ve decided to use Linux Mobile as the software platform.

focus on the experience

Richard Ziade over at has a great post on content owners and their obsession to protect their content:

It wasn’t about getting stuff for free. The iPod/iTunes ecosystem is testament to the fact that people are willing to pay for a quality experience, even if there are fringe alternatives out there for free. The mistake the content owners made was that they believed their content had value in a vacuum. It doesn’t. Content is part of the experience. – well designed

So Adobe has (officially) launched I’ve been playing with this service since last year and I love it (I actually posted about BuzzWord back in November 2007), but now they’re offering business subscriptions and it’s officially out of beta.
I’m going to avoid the hyperbole that’s all over the web right now. I won’t entertain questions like ‘Will bitch-slap Google Docs and Microsoft Office?’.
What I’d like to focus on is the quality of services offered and their attention focus on design.
BuzzWord, ConnectNow, and the rest of the suite are all offered as online Flash (Flex) applications. While a pixel-perfect GUI, smooth interactions and tight engineering aren’t guaranteed with Flash applications, they are certainly possible and Adobe has achieved all of these.
While I don’t consider Adobe a ‘design’ company, I definitely see a distinct difference between Adobe and Google.
It’s the same difference I see between Apple’s iPhone operating system and software and it’s competition – Google Android – there’s a level of sophistication and design that just isn’t present in Google Docs or Google Android.
I wouldn’t quite put Google in the same category as Microsoft, but there’s no question that they’re both engineer-driven, not designer-driven. Earlier this year, we heard from the former Visual Design Lead at Google, Doug Bowman, on what’s it’s like to be a designer inside Google:

When a company is filled with engineers, it turns to engineering to solve problems. Reduce each decision to a simple logic problem. Remove all subjectivity and just look at the data. Data in your favor? Ok, launch it. Data shows negative effects? Back to the drawing board. And that data eventually becomes a crutch for every decision, paralyzing the company and preventing it from making any daring design decisions.

Now I’m sure Adobe is filled with hundreds of engineers as well, but it’s clear from the execution of that there’s much more of a designer-engineer balance.
As there should be.

con tus manos The Case for Working With Your Hands
On the fruits of our labors:

Working in an office, you often find it difficult to see any tangible result from your efforts. What exactly have you accomplished at the end of any given day? Where the chain of cause and effect is opaque and responsibility diffuse, the experience of individual agency can be elusive.

On focus:

Further, there is wide use of drugs to medicate boys, especially, against their natural tendency toward action, the better to “keep things on track.” I taught briefly in a public high school and would have loved to have set up a Ritalin fogger in my classroom. It is a rare person, male or female, who is naturally inclined to sit still for 17 years in school, and then indefinitely at work.

I’m 32 years old and I still have trouble sitting still at work.
And on taking responsibility and having some balls:

A manager has to make many decisions for which he is accountable. Unlike an entrepreneur with his own business, however, his decisions can be reversed at any time by someone higher up the food chain …So managers learn the art of provisional thinking and feeling, expressed in corporate doublespeak, and cultivate a lack of commitment to their own actions.