Cisco means business, not consumer

Cisco plans an Android-based business tablet:

…will offer multiple networking capabilities, keyboard and mouse support, and the ability to do videoconferencing. Cisco says it will cost less than $1,000, or about the same as an iPad. The Cius will come with a front-facing high-definition video camera that can record 720p video at 30 frames per second and a 5-megapixel camera at the back that can capture high-quality video and still images. Users will be able to engage in live video calls [most likely via WebEx] when the tablet is docked or being held. Some units will be available this fall, though general availability is not expected until early 2011.

This is what I hate about the tech press. Outside of the subtitle, no where in the original article that Slashdot is paraphrasing do they mention the iPad. Everyone loves to instigate a good fight don’t they?
“Hey Apple, Cisco was talking about your mother.”
Next big headline will be something along the lines of, “Cisco Declares Tablet War on Apple”.
Someone also needs to mention to Slashdot the iPad is a consumer product, and what Cisco has announced is a business product, so unless Cisco plans on integrating media consumption and gaming applications, I don’t see competitive factors (Unless, and this is crazy talk, the iPad also appeals to business people).

LinkedIn likes it, Mikey doesn’t

What’s going on with LinkedIn these days?
Can someone tell me what value it brings to the site by allowing people to like and comment on alerts that your connections have updated their profiles?
Are there seriously people out there with enough free time on their hands that after they’re done trolling through Facebook they go over to LinkedIn and say, “Ooooh look! Jimmy updated his Experience to include ‘wasting work hours watching the World Cup.’ I LIKE that! I’m going to click the LIKE link. Big ups, Jimmy! You da man!”
You’re not even seeing the actual Profile update on this screen either. So how are you going to react to something you need to drill down into to understand?
I’m all about the cross-pollination of ideas between different industries and trades, but some things just aren’t appropriate.


Today from Apple:

Apple® today announced that it has sold over 1.7 million of its iPhone® 4 through Saturday, June 26, just three days after its launch on June 24. The new iPhone 4 features FaceTime®, which makes video calling as easy as one tap, and Apple’s new Retina display, the highest resolution display ever built into a phone, resulting in stunning text, images and video.

“This is the most successful product launch in Apple’s history,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Even so, we apologize to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply.”

no more Crowns and Towns

From the (via daringfireball)

The Ford Crown Victoria served as the mainstay of taxi and police fleets. Its close cousin, the Lincoln Town Car, could reliably be found idling outside Lincoln Center or waiting to whisk a Wall Street type home for the evening.


But in a little more than a year, both models will go the way of the Checker cab. Ford Motor Company plans to shutter the Canadian plant that manufactures the cars and discontinue the recognizably bulky frame that gives them their shape.

Adobe and it’s Glory Days

Adobe has announced the Adobe Museum of Digital Media.
From the blog of Stephen Gates:

The mission of museum was stated as showcasing and preserving groundbreaking digital work and expert commentary to illustrate how digital media shapes and impacts today’s society.

I find it interesting Adobe has decided to launch a digital museum at a point in history where we’re seeing Flash lose relevance on the mobile devices and to a lesser extent the desktop web experience (I know, Android is now shipping with Flash).
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, while at the D8 conference, said, “Flash looks like a technology that had its day, but is waning”. There are a few factors contributing to the opinion that Flash is fading. As Jobs said, desktops are becoming the “trucks” of computing, still highly useful but not used nearly as much as smaller mobile devices like laptops, smartphones and tablets – and the desktop era is where Flash hit its peak.
We’re into our third year ‘post-iPhone’ and only within the last few months had Adobe been able to showcase a version of Flash that works well on mobile devices. Not to mention Apple has sold close to 100 million Flash-less, iOS devices (this includes iPods, iPhones and iPads).
So as we move past Flash, Adobe reasserts it’s history of excellence.
Re-living old glory days on the football field, if you will.

Appealing to consumers


Windows Phone 7 apps will be able to send users information, news and offers from their favorite brands, effectively turning Microsoft’s next mobile operating system into an “ad-serving machine,” a representative said.

Way to make consumers feel special, Microsoft.

Vonnegut’s advice to writers explained in some charts

From a lecture Kurt Vonnegut gave in NYC in 2005 called, “Here is a lesson in creative writing.” (via my brother):

Now let me give you a marketing tip. The people who can afford to buy books and magazines and go to the movies don’t like to hear about people who are poor or sick, so start your story up here [indicates top of the G-I axis]. You will see this story over and over again. People love it, and it is not copyrighted. The story is “Man in Hole,” but the story needn’t be about a man or a hole. It’s: somebody gets into trouble, gets out of it again [draws line A]. It is not accidental that the line ends up higher than where it began. This is encouraging to readers.


From John Kricfalusi’s blog (aka John K, creator of Ren & Stimpy):

Some people might wonder what the point is in copying the drawings of others. I’ll tell you. It’s so you can apply what you learned from the copies to your own drawings. It’s not just so you can be good at copying.

I was obsessed Ren & Stimpy back in the early/mid 1990’s when I was in high school. When class projects came up, no matter the subject – physiology, English, chemistry, math – I would create big comic books narrated by Ren & Stimpy. Art and drawing were my entry point into topics I would otherwise be too bored to learn about.
At first it might sound as if I was taking the easy road by creating comic books in all my classes, and while it did come naturally to me, it was still a lot of work.
Before I started a sketchbook, I would first draft up the story I wanted to tell in my comic book. From there I would determine which character I wanted to say what, and what expression/pose they would be making when they delivered those lines.
I transferred these characters in the comic books was by first recording all the episodes and then playing them back on my VCR (yes, I said VCR) and pausing it at the moment Ren or Stimpy made a unique, hilarious expression so that I could draw the image in my sketchbook. If you’ve ever watched the show, you know these moments happened every other second.
(My father would yell at me when he caught me doing this because he said it ruined the tape heads on the VCR. He’s and an engineer and that’s a story for another time.)

Moving Beyond Copying

Back to John K’s quote. Copying is crucial to learning. Whether you’re copying someone’s cartoon characters, CSS files, poster design, acting or music you eventually reach a point of departure. I believe it was Picasso who said that that point of departure, that screw-up in what you copied – that is your voice.
Since my goal was never to become a cartoonist, i never moved beyond copying Ren & Stimpy off of the television, but copying has played a big part in my work as a designer. Whether it’s been code, or style or methodology the first step for any artist or designer is copying.
Once you’ve full absorbed and become one with the subject it’s a natural progression to alter it and make it your own.

Innovating from the Old(s)

During Apple’s WWDC 2010, Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone 4. As is customary at these events, he walked through all the details on phone – both hardware and software, inside and out.
At one point in the presentation (about 33:15), Jobs pointed out breaks in the outer shell of the phone, something that seemed very un-Apple.
He went on to explain that while these pieces did serve as “the primary structural element of the phone” they also were the antennas for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS as well as for UMTS and GSM mobile bands.
This reminded me of my friend Bryan’s 1980 Delta 88 in high school. I was riding in the car with him one day, and I noticed these two wires embedded inside the windshield.
I couldn’t find any decent shots online, but Bryan (former owner of said Olds) did:
I asked him what they were. He told me it was antenna for the radio. Sure enough, he was right, and unlike most cars at the time, his Delta 88 didn’t have an external antenna sticking straight out of hood or trunk.
While these two examples don’t match up perfectly (the windshield isn’t part of the car frame), they illustrate my point that when you’re innovating, it’s not always necessary to solve your problem completely fresh. In many cases someone has solved your problem. Maybe in a different context and industry, but translatable to your product.