Da Notch

Over at The Verge (from last month), Nick Slatt thinks Google failed to justify the Pixel 3 XL’s massive notch:

You may hate notches, and I may be preaching to the choir here by complaining about Google’s. But I don’t hate them. In fact, I’m a fan if the trade-off is for some features I enjoy, and I’m completely ambivalent to the existence of screen cutouts from an aesthetic standpoint, up until a certain point. I’ve used an iPhone X since it first came out; I never noticed or really cared about the notch when I first switched, and I still don’t today. I’m using an iPhone XS as I write this. But a notch should, at the very least, serve some purpose. It should have a good reason to be there, and Google didn’t really have a strong one to offer yesterday.

This is really simple. The iPhone X immediately made all pocket computers without edge-to-edge displays look outdated.

That’s all the reason any company needs to make a device with a notch and an edge-to-edge display. After I bought my iPhone X last year, I remember going back to my iPhone 6 Plus and being shocked how weird and outdated the old, rectangular screen looked.

In fact, let’s give credit where it’s due to the first device with a notch and an edge-to-edge display: The Essential Phone. It was announced 4 months before the iPhone X dropped in 2017.

Although the Essential Phone was first-to-market with a notch, it’s unlikely its existence would have put much pressure on Apple if they had released a rectangular-screened iPhone X given the Essential Phone’s shitty sales and subsequent folding.

I don’t think many people outside the geek community even knew of the Essential Phone’s existence.

Apple, misunderestimated.

Back on August 5, Jean-Louis Gassée posted, Apple at $1Trillion: The Missing Theory, where he ponders why Apple continues to evade conventional wisdom: 

The broad recognition accorded to last week’s milestone is a deserved mark of respect for Apple, a company that has so often been “misunderestimated” and given up for dead. So dead, in fact, that Michael Dell once recommended shutting down the company and giving the cash back to shareholders. Pundits and competitors constantly predict the death of the iPhone because “it’s the same closed system mistake as the Mac” or “modularity always wins!”. These death warrants were issued by prestigious academics and still carom around the blogosphere’s echo chamber.

Yet, years later, Apple continues to follow its heterodox path and to prosper as a result. There are two reactions to this annoying anomaly. One is to stick to one’s comfortable theories, books and speeches. “Just wait, Apple will meet its preordained fate. Sooner or later!”.

The other approach is to react the way physicists or mathematicians do when they see a crack in their theories. Can’t express the diagonal of certain squares as a ratio between two integers? Let’s invent irrational numbers. And so on to the square root of a negative number, or special relativity.

A huge part of what makes Apple successful is something financial analysts can’t analyze: emotion. People love their iPhones. In fact, aside from the current clickity-clackity MacBooks, Apple has top marks in customer satisfaction.

Android phones have proven themselves more than worthy competitors to the iPhone, yet the iPhone remains the most popular smartphone in the world, both to buy and to shamelessly copy.

I’ve figured out an analogy I’ll probably lose a lot of people on, but I don’t care. Apple is the Conor McGregor of tech companies (and vice versa). Both Conor and Apple continue to be doubted, regardless of how many times they prove themselves.

Categories:

Uncategorized

Tags:

A super-saturation of Instagram influencers

Josh Ostrovsky, aka The Fat Jew, is pivoting from Instagram to his next venture, selling wine. His venture is called Swish and they have wines called ‘Babe’, ‘White Girl Rosé’ and ‘Family Time Is Hard.’ Those are funny names and I bet he makes a killing with Swish.

He’s seeing us approach peak-influencer on Instagram:

“Eventually there will be too many influencers, the market will be too saturated and the value of influencer posts will continue to plummet,” Ostrovsky said. “It’s a very standard value proposition. The more people join, the more options there are for the brands — the less each influencer is worth.”

I was pissed back in 2015 when news broke that Ostrovsky was caught stealing comedians’ jokes. But hey, Robin Williams was also a notorious joke-stealer within the comedy world and he’s beloved, so what do I know?

There are clearly industries that have way too many influencers, but in the circles I run in on Instagram I don’t see them.

Sidenote question: What is the name of the industry of hot chicks in yoga pants who only post pictures of their asses and protein suppliments with an inspirational quote in the captions? I don’t think they teach about that industry in business school.

I compare it to my year living in Los Angeles. People — mostly those who have never lived there — love to say that Los Angeles is fake. My response to this is yes, LA is fake if you’re fake. If you’re a dude like me who likes dive bars with juke boxes and pool tables, then you’ll gravitate to and find non-fake areas of town.

I’m also not rich, which shielded me from a significant amount of fakeness in LA. When I start making bags of money from my clothing line, I’ll gladly take on the responsibility of dealing with fake people.

An End to the Road Navigators

I was frustrated after watching the review video of the Tesla Model 3 on Engadget — much like reviewer Roberto Baldwin. The over-reliance on the single, center console touchscreen is a hell of a lot less usable on the road then having a mixture of analogue and digital controls.

Then my astute friend Bryan pointed out to me that we humans are a means to an end as road navigators. As weird as it may seem to us in 2018, eventually steering wheels will be removed from cars. We will eventually, always be passengers.

So why would Tesla waste precious resources making a better car for people?

Categories:

Uncategorized

…you can really only open the door once. It doesn’t need to keep getting reopened all the time.

How the Breeders Finally Learned to Get Along:

Kim recalled making music, around 1999, after taking hallucinogenic mushrooms. “I was never a hallucinogen person,” she said, “but these mushrooms were incredible. And I have a tape of my art that I created and it’s like an hour, 90 minutes, of me going —” She made a low, indistinct moan. Took a breath. Continued low, indistinct moaning.

Kelley laughed and said, “See, if you give that to me, and I smoke a big fat joint —”

Kim finished her thought: “You tell me what the authentic part of it is.” She laughed. It sometimes takes the two of them to piece together one story from their heyday. “Opening the doors of perception,” with drugs, Kim said, “you can really only open the door once. It doesn’t need to keep getting reopened all the time. That was something that I realized.”

They have a new album coming out this week. I was in high school when they first formed in the ’90s but I only ever listened to their big hit, Cannonball.

I decided to remedy this by going back and listening to their old albums over the weekend. Good stuff.

Categories:

Uncategorized

It’s All Made Up

Mashable Sold at Fire-Sale Price of $50 Million to Ziff Davis:

Digital-media firm Mashable has clinched a sale for the company — and it’s not for a price that founder Pete Cashmore or investors including Turner were looking for.

Ziff Davis, a tech, gaming and healthcare publisher, is buying the New York-based company for about $50 million, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous sources. That’s 20% of Mashable’s valuation of $250 million following a $15 million round of funding last year led by Time Warner’s Turner.

People need to remember “valuation” is a euphemism for “made up number”. Companies, like money, have no inherent value. They only have value because we all agree they have value.

Unlike dollars and cents though, company valuations are way easier change.

Then there’s the endowment effect hypothesis that states we ascribe more value to the things we own than the things other people own. Mashable’s investors thought it was worth $250 million last year. Ziff Davis didn’t agree.

Categories:

Uncategorized

Tags:

The Most Liked Tweet Ever

Former President of the United States Barack Obama now has the most liked tweet ever.

It’s not surprising to find out it has a message of positivity in the wake of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Our current Burnt Cheeseface President knows nothing about positivity or compassion. He would rather spend time lamenting the removal of Confederate monuments.

Categories:

Uncategorized

Alvarez on McGregor

“Conor has about three or four rounds to get this done. . . Within those four rounds, if you don’t think Conor can knock this guy out, you’re an idiot or you just don’t know fighting because it can very well happen. If he doesn’t get it done by then, then it could look very one-sided. The technical boxing of Floyd Mayweather is enough to make it look really one-sided for him. But Conor, there is a very real chance that he can put him away.”

I’ve seen countless videos of people explaining why Conor McGregor has no chance against Floyd Mayweather on August 26th, but I agree with Eddie Alvarez. Sure, the odds are against Conor winning, but there is a clear window of possibility for him to take down Floyd.

People also tend to either downplay or simply not acknowledge the role psychology has in affecting a fighter’s performance. Floyd has never had to deal with someone with as much genuine swagger and bravado as Conor.

When you break a man’s spirit, or get them acting off emotion instead of calculated thought, you’ve got ’em. I think one of the best examples of this was McGregor’s fight against Jose Aldo. Aldo came out swinging and within 13 seconds, Conor had caught him with his iron left exactly as Conor had predicted.

I can’t wait for for August 26th.

The Elusive Laptop Replacement

iOS 11 on an iPad Pro still won’t replace your laptop:

The complex gestures we see in iOS 11 will only get more tricky in the future as Apple continues to build them out instead of supporting a mouse. If Apple does want the iPad Pro to be considered as laptop contender, then it will need to refine its keyboard hardware and its software gestures and features. Apple still needs to prove that the touchscreen can truly replace a keyboard and mouse for professional productivity, so get used to remembering lots of gestures and swiping around on an iPad display instead of simply pointing and clicking for the foreseeable future.

In other news, your motorcycle still won’t replace your car.

John Gruber explains it well:

Again, Apple is not trying to convince everyone to replace a traditional Mac or PC with an iPad. Apple executives say that the Mac has a bright and long future because they really do think the Mac has a bright and long future. Any review of the iPad and iOS 11 from the perspective of whether it can replace a MacBook for everyone is going to completely miss what is better about the iPad and why.

While the nerd community is busy listing all the ways they can’t do their nerdy work on an iPad, millions of everyday people are being productive on iPhones and iPads without ever having touched macOS or Windows.

Categories:

Uncategorized

Tags:

 /  / 

What Swatch Should Do

John Gruber on the Swatch Group deciding to make their own watch OS:

  1. Developing your own OS is hard. Most such efforts never really get off the ground (e.g. Samsung’s Tizen). Some get off the ground but never get anywhere (e.g. Windows Phone). It’s especially hard for a company that doesn’t already have experience developing software platforms.

  2. A third-party watch OS is never going to have tight integration with phones running iOS or Android.

  3. “Around the end of 2018” is a long ways off. I expect Apple to ship major updates to Apple Watch in September 2017 and again in 2018. So whatever Swatch is planning isn’t going to debut competing against WatchOS 3 and second-generation Apple Watch hardware — it’ll be competing against WatchOS 5 and fourth-generation Apple Watch hardware. Good luck with that.

Gruber is totally right. This is not going to work.

What would be super cool is if Swatch sold custom watch faces and bands for Apple Watch. Kids are all about retro fashion and the 90s is back, but Swatch could also offer more sharp, modern designs. There’s tons of possibilities. I’d love some funky Swiss faces and bands for my Apple Watch. It could roll out much the same way the Hermes partnership did.

Is this likely? No.

I would guess convincing Swatch to “collaborate with” Apple would be asking them to go against their watch philosophy. It’s very much like Nintendo. What makes Nintendo what they are is just as much about their fun hardware as it is their fun games.

Remember, it took 8 years for us to get just one Nintendo game on iOS.

Categories:

Uncategorized

Tags:

New Norwegian Currency Design

Back in 2014, Norway announced they would be putting newly designed bills into circulation in 2017.

It’s 2017 and they’re here.

Below is the front and back of the 500 kroner note:

The bills were designed by two different Norwegian design studios. The front (top image) by The Metric System and the back (bottom image) by Snøhetta.

The decision to use two different design styles on either side was a mistake. Without a unified design style the bills lack cohesion. In isolation each bill is gorgeous, but when viewed together it just doesn’t work.

So close. Sigh.

To end on a slightly positive note, these bills are still light-years better than what we have in the States (although that’s not a very high bar).

via kottke

Categories:

Uncategorized