Apple

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A list of various articles and topics of discussion around Apple. Since they're a secretive company, I tend to avoid opining on a lot of things about them, out of respect for their desire and right to control their own messaging. So I tend to only focus on the trivial for a reason.


History


Steve Jobs (2015) -
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A fictionalized drama-mentory retelling of Steve Jobs life, by an ultra-Liberal director (Aaron Sorkin). Reviewers preferred it more than audiences +13% (86/73). While the dialog and story is the best of the rash of Steve Jobs pseudo-biographies, this one captured the spirit of many things better, while getting too many actual facts wrong. It would have been great, if only they were fictional characters.

Steve Jobs - Just some articles about a controversial and accomplished person. It's funny, I met him a few times, was in a couple meeting with him, and he knew me by site, and by name: but I don't think both. I wrote articles for Tech Magazines, and sometimes folks would send me something, "Steve read that, and liked that article", sort of stuff. And then we'd be in meetings (in my day-time / non-writing role), or see him on campus, and I would see recognition that he knew me from other meetings or events (sometimes a nod), but he also knew by site/memory that I wasn't someone he had to sell anything. I was never sure if he knew that I was the same person (writing me, and engineering me).

Mac OS X 10.2 - Jaguar -
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Mac OS X 10.2 - Jaguar. What's cool, and what isn't? The short story is Apple acquired NeXT, Steve Jobs came with it, he had a palace coup and replaced old Apple's Not-Invented-here problems and leadership with NeXT's Not-Invented-here problems and leadership. NeXT did some things better, many things worse, and had even more arrogance and inflexibility than the old Apple. But they did have more competent management, a stronger vision, and a willingness to just ship "good enough for now", fix it later. With Jaguar released, I was pretty happy. There are a lot of improvements in it, and progress is obviously being made. Then I hear the people saying that, "it is a good as a Mac", or that Apple is killing MacOS 9, and I wrote this article to list the things I like, and don't like about the new OS. Where it has caught up or surpassed the old one, or just isn't there and may never be.

Jobs (2013) -
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Hollywood has this attitude that fiction is more interesting than real life. It is more interesting to people that don't care about the truth as much as they care about shallow entertainment and becoming more misinformed about a topic or person. I'm not their audience, and this movie wasn't made for me. Walter Isaacson's book was pretty good, but flawed. This movie omitted the former and exaggerated the latter.

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Graphical User Interface -
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History of Graphical User Interface (GUI). Computers originally started off with users (mostly programmers), having to learn a lot to do anything. Originally, you couldn't even "use" them -- you had to program them before they could do anything. But soon after, the concept of an "Operating System" came about -- an interface for the computer so you could operate it. These used a command line (where you issued commands to the computer). Then we started using Graphical Objects and metaphors for the real world. This article offers some of that history.

Copland -
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Apple's Copland versus NeXT: looking back at what happened, and what might have been. Apple is shipping their 3rd version of MacOS X, and I think we can recap and try to learn from history. NOTE: I think Apple's new management was far better than it's old management. And I'm not saying I could have done a better job than they did. But I'm very into honest post-mortem to try to learn the lessons that life is offering.

Apple's Greatest Misses -
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I'm not an Apple basher, or Apple fanboy. Apple is a company, like any other. The problem is once you're big, you attract attention (good and bad), and the most newsworthy stories are those with the most drama or sensationalism. I hate them both -- the rabid fans and Apple haters. But I do like to document the stuff others aren't. This article isn't into their many revolutions and successes, just a few highlights of technologies or ideas they went *splat*. Not to bash my Fruity Cupertino friends, but any mistake is useful, if you learn from it.

Apple and the Google/Facebook fight - The short version is that Apple Enterprise agreement allows you to install apps directly (without using the store or the store rules), but the requirements are that this is only for internal employees (and can not be used to install on other users machines). As I setup the policy and some enforcement for my company, I'm 100% aware of this and warned internal employees extensively to NOT use this program license to subvert Apple's normal developer or beta program (TestFlight). (Don't side load customers like FB and Google were doing). Facebook and Google both broke those rules, willfully, and had their hand slapped (Apple turned their certificate off) as a warning: breaking all their corporate iOS Apps.

Apple Park -
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I visited Apple Park (Apple's new campus) a few times. I could tell you why I was there.... but as they said in Sherlock Holmes "The Hounds of Baskerville" and Top Gun), then I'd have to kill you. I shot a bunch of shots when they first opened... then later they started cracking down on that. "No Photos please". Um, OK, no more photos. I get that they're trying to control their image.

Apple China Censorship - Website exposes the how much Apple cooperates with Chinese government to censors (blocks) access to: privacy enhancing apps, western news sources, information about human rights and religious freedoms.

2019.04.19 Apple v Qualcomm - Look, I don't really have a dog in this fight. But according to this article, Apple was trying to destroy Qualcomm through some highly questionable means, and also screwed Intel out of the business and was also possibly behind attacked on Huawei, in a plot to own the cellphone market.

2019.03.14 Apple's App Store Margin - Apple has terms on their App Store that their cut is 30/15% (30% the first year subscriptions or purchase -- 15% on later years of reoccurring subscription). For small companies that have no marketing or facilities for bringing their App to market directly, this is completely reasonable. For larger companies that have their own infrastructure and promotions, and are forced to use Apple's (which they don't need), or those with razor thin margin businesses (like music/content streaming, books, etc), this is monopolistic usery. So it's been a fight since Apple created a one-size-fits-all solution, that doesn't fit everyone well.

2019.01.31 Apple Chairs -
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I regularly visit the Apple Park, and I've noted that the wooden chairs they use in the Café and Apple Store there are comfortable, solid, simplistic, and a nice aesthetic. So out of curiosity, I looked them up. They're by a designer Naoto Fukasawa, called the Hiroshima Chair, and they're $2,500 each. WTF. I searched Alibaba, and found knock-offs for $125 each. I get that a designer needs some money for the time/effort invested (and to subsidize all the designs that didn't make it). But a 20,000% markup seems a wee bit excessive to me. It doesn't really matter, as I'm not buying them. It was just a curiosity thing. But crazy.

2018.10.28 Unbalanced - 27:1 - Bay Area folks are igno-woke, so I wasn't exactly shocked to find out that Apple donated 27:1 in favor of Democrats ($737,003 to Democrats and just $27,005 to Republicans). That's not as bad as Netflix's 141:1, but it still shows a lack of intellectual and cultural diversity. When Facebook and Google are less biased than you are, that's not a good sign.

2018.08.03 $1 Trillion+ - I remember back in 1996 when everyone was declaring doom and gloom, and gleefully claiming the end of Apple was neigh. I didn't think a company with that much customer demand, and goodwill, and superior technologies over the competition was doomed. I bet against the experts, and became a millionaire.

2016 MacBook Pro w/Touch bar -
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There's a lot of whining and complaints about the New MacBook Pro's (MBP2016). Some valid, many overstated but heartfelt. But I think the problem was more about messaging than delivery. For me, and most users, it's a great product.

2015 iPad Pro (1st Gen) -
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A better iPad. It 's better in every way -- bigger, better, faster... and more expensive. OK, better in all ways but price. My Big-iPhone (7 Plus) meant that I was using my iPad's less -- but give me a bigger screen and keyboard that works, and I find that the iPad fills a niche for me, as a great travel/note-taking and entertainment device, when it's not worth bringing out my laptop. And with an App, it works as a second screen for my laptop when I do real work.

2003.05.15 PowerBook Repair -
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Crisis of quality: Apple support on the PowerBook was a pain in the pocketbook. Remember the good ol days? When Apple cared about their customers and valued quality and their reputation? I do; though the memory is fading into the distant past. I have many stories about the "New" Apple. I hate constantly contrasting the "new" Apple with the "old" Apple, but there are differences that are just too obvious and startling not to notice. I have been trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, but they keep letting me down; and I can't seem to lower my expectations as fast as they can lower their realizations of them. The latest example is a long and sordid tale of "how not to manage customer relations" in regards to my PowerBook G4.


Conclusion

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Don't anthropomorphize companies, they hate that. The same goes for companies, and some people. Apple is neither good nor bad: it is a group of people making products and trying to get returns for investors and customers. That behavior can be good or bad (or a bit of both), depending on how they're doing it.

Sometimes the leadership can be good or bad, or making bad decisions. But mostly, I roll eye's when I see things that vilify the leadership for things that they have a responsibility to do. Tim Cook isn't evil for paying as few taxes as legally possible, and using that money to employ people and create great products -- he would be evil/negligent if he didn't do that, and wasted investors/employees/companies money on things he didn't have to.

Honorable mentions

Origins of the Internet
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Government/ARPA research gave us the Internet the same way they invented the car or airplane. By 1976 (founding of ARPA) we had hundreds of computers networked, by 1993 the Internet only carried 1% of the information traffic (and we had plenty of traffic). But by 2007 that had flipped and most traffic was TCP/IP based, because it was free, standard and good enough. However, without TCP/IP, one of the other protocols would have become a standard, and we’d still have had everything we have today (in some areas, more). The government gave us nothing that we didn’t already have (or wouldn’t have). Politicians (as usual) took credit for other people’s work. more...

Information Age: History Repeating
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Alan Kay thought up the idea of the DynaBook in 1968 (which later became laptops, or tablets), by listening to those around him, predicting the same things. History and progress is happening in slow motion. It only seems fast, because we're moving slower. more...