I watched the Apple new stuff presentation yesterday and the “scenarios“ would inevitably depict some racially obscure trans girl in an impossibility hip apartment with a yoga mat on the floor and a bicycle hanging from the wall, playfully working on a poster promoting sustainable jute production, using “their” iPad, MacBook, whatever.

The bit that made me laugh out loud was some graphic about saving the planet or whatever that said: We’re now using 100% recycled rare earth elements in our (get this) lid closure magnets.

Given a Choice

There’s a new thick glossy coffee table book about the making of the movie, 2001. It looks fantastic. I did the math and it would cost about $83 from Amazon.
Do I want this? Yes, no, yes, no.
I used my famous watch dial test; if I look at my watch right now and the seconds hand is in the top half I’ll get it and if it’s in the bottom half I won’t.
It was in the top half, but here’s the trick: My immediate reaction wasn’t “Yay,” it was “Oh,” so I won’t get it. Simple as that.
The way I see it, rather than making a choice, this way I’m reacting to an order from the dial. My immediate reaction to that order, my gut, will tell me what to do.
Besides, if I got the book I’m sure I’d pore over it for thirty minutes and then stash it away somewhere (I’m done!).
Red or Blue
Takapuna or Devonport
Takeout or cook at home
I do the watch dial test every time; of course I could flip a coin, but who has coins these days?

A Budgeting Tip

Get yourself a budgeting app and as well as setting up your real accounts, set up some virtual ones to cover recurring expenses. As an example, figure out how much you spend over a year on Internet and phone bills. Divide that by how often you are paid and then automatically “transfer” that amount from your real account to your virtual Internet and Phone account on pay day.
After using this system for a while you will find that you’re ignoring the total amount that’s actually in your account and instead making spending decisions based on what you have to spare.
This way when the time comes to pay your bills there should be no scary surprises.

In 2006 I Said This

The bell curve is a graph that shows distribution with a result that looks a lot like — you guessed it — a bell.

I think it was in WW2 when the US government asked for helmets for its new soldiers. A study was done of hat sizes; thousands of heads were measured and the result was the famous bell curve. It showed that the vast majority of Americans had heads of a fairly standard size (the meaty part of a bell in profile), while about five percent (the lip of the rim on the left) had unusually small heads, and about five percent (the lip of the rim on the right) had unusually big heads.

It turns out that this pattern of distribution turns up everywhere — about five percent of movies are remarkably bad and five percent are remarkably good; about five percent of employees are inept and five percent are exceptional…

So, getting back to Apple.

Their hold of the personal computer market world-wide is around five percent, and their pricing, build and packaging are at the high end. If the distribution of the makeup of computer buyers results in a bell curve as well, then Apple probably owns that top five percent.

In other words, they aren’t struggling against Dell and HP — they actually totally dominate their target audience.

Looks like it worked out pretty well for them.

A Good App

A Good App
It needs a good icon
The main functions should be obvious or at least easy to learn once
It needs to look finely crafted
The secondary functions need to be out of the way but easily accessible
There should be minimal nagging
It would ideally work everywhere
It doesn’t hurt if it feels cozy or fun

Timeless Design

This may sound corny, but I really do get just as much pleasure looking at my Mac as I do using it. I can understand now why people would pay a lot of money to own a piece of art. This I my idea of art.
It’s not the newest iMac, in fact it is the first of the aluminum models, but when I first saw one I thought the design was truly perfect. I still do.
In another category, I’d always appreciated the Hasselblad medium format film camera; this is going back to the ’60s. Only recently did I have the chance to actually hold one in my hands and when I did I found that it was exactly as gorgeous as I expected it to be. Great to behold, handle, and to use.
Now, suddenly, I understand what is meant by Design.
And, what is meant by Timeless Design.

Thoughts on Steve Jobs

He wasn’t right all of the time but all of the time he was absolutely sure about what he decided was right. And, most importantly, he had no problem at all with the concept of changing his mind.

This certainty gave the whole of Apple a collective certainty about their message and their vision.