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

Stream of Conciseness

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here or to twitter for that matter. I’ve been going through a dull stage. Not boring to me, more like dreamy. I close my eyes and off I go on some daydream or other. Right now I’m trying to get my act together and to be more creative. So I may start posting again but not so much about technology as that is a field that’s quite stable at the moment and I’m bored with giving tips all the time. You’ll figure it out. I’m not even going to edit this. I’ll just post it and see where I go from here.

If This Then That Cont…

Okay I’m getting the hang of it now. If this happens then do that, or ifttt.
First you choose the service where something will happen and then you choose the service that will act on it.

The first one I set up looks at Apple stock and when it hits $425 I automatically get an email telling me so.

Another one: When I post something new to WordPress a tweet is posted with the title and link. Getting the idea?

Go to and try it out.

iPhone 5 Speculation

It will be the same height as the iPhone 4, but wider to accommodate a screen that will be about ten percent bigger. Flip it over and the sides and back will be one chamfered piece of aluminum. In the center of the back will be a large black plastic insert for the logo and antennas. The volume controls will again be one button. The home button will still be circular. The speaker and mike will be a series of holes instead of openings with grills.

Random Notes on Scheduling

Scheduling | Nov 30th -0001

You have scheduled a meeting for Friday at noon, lasting for one hour. You decide to change the date and time. If you click on the meeting and drag up or down the duration of the meeting changes. If you drag to the right then a new sub-scale appears under the meeting showing several hours either side of the meeting.

Further to the right a sub-scale shows the whole day, followed by the week, month and year. At any stage you can slide through a scale to zero in on a new start date and time. Releasing the meeting over a day causes it to change into an all day event; dragging the all day event down makes it a multi-day event. Details about whether to repeat the meeting or whether to be reminded before-hand are handled by the properties panel.

The document panel is used for the agenda and other meeting notes. Other contacts or groups dropped on the meeting or its notes will be invited. Your moving the meeting will cause the other contacts’ meetings to move as well, and to cause them to flash, prompting confirmation of attendance. Your copy will stop flashing when everyone has agreed to the new time. The planned meeting is now a discussion group that will expire when the meeting starts. Any of the invitees can add to the meeting notes and edit any documents attached to it.

Selected meeting notes could be dragged onto the timeline to make a separate meeting; with all items resolved in time, the actual meeting could be dispensed with!

Projects or tasks are handled in a similar way. A task would be dropped on the expected completion date and dragged up to extend a timeline ending in a start date. Extending to the right of the task is a percentage completed bar. Its length is determined by how many items remain open in the task’s document panel.

If, over time, the task crosses the current date and time on the time line then the task is either carried along with Today or develops a new timeline extending from when it should have been completed to now. Dropping contacts onto appropriate sections of the task’s timeline turns the task into a project.

Any uncompleted object can be handled in the same way – an unfinished ebook, an incomplete document, a website to be revisited. Any of these objects can be dropped into the future to behave just like tasks.

First days with the iPhone 4.

I’m not in love with the hardware and I don’t know why. Just can’t put my finger on it. Something about the flat back.
It seems like it is a perfect evolution of the 3 because everything works about twenty percent better.
Maybe I’m not crazy about it because it doesn’t fit the curve of my fingers. It is sticky in a way so there’s not chance if it slipping out if my hand. I’m sure I’ll adapt. After all I’d been holding the previous one for hundreds of hours and I was tentative with that one at first as well.
I got used to the speed very quickly. The thing that still really impresses is the clarity of the display. The build quality is also sinking in. It’s like a very high quality watch. I’m thinking that I’ll leave it naked. The quality takes the sting out of the price.

Points of View

To loosely paraphrase Steve Jobs:
It’s not about coming up with a wonderful piece of technology and then figuring out how to sell it; it’s about having a wonderful theoretical end user experience and figuring out what technologies need to be in place in order for it to happen.

Some Speculation

I expect the Apple stock price to stutter for a while, now that it’s semi-certain that the new phone won’t be all that new after all. The latest talk is of a phone in the same enclosure but featuring updated hardware in the form of a new camera and CPU.
Also, it could be as far away as September. Perhaps there will be a radical rethink of the iMac in the interim. It’s a real staple in the line up but certainly not as glamourous as the hand held devices.

iPhone 4 is Calling Out to Me

My iPhone 3GS has given me sterling service so far, but I feel the time to upgrade is at hand. Speed is the driving force behind the move. It’s as though every OS upgrade and every app update has chipped a little more off the performance.
Back in the days of the Newton someone said that if it takes more than a second then people will walk away. Well, today some apps are taking four or five seconds to launch, and it does add up. In short, the primary reason I want an iPhone 4 is to get that snappiness back.
I decided that it was within my budget and then I half went back on my decision. It’s a LOT of money for a phone and there’s nothing technically wrong with the one I have. But then on the other hand, I’m utilizing it for literally hours a day—I’m reading and writing and searching and talking with it from morning to night, so in a sense it’s a valuable tool, and nobody regrets paying for the best tools.
Quite apart from the speed aspect, I’ll be getting the super high resolution display which has to be better for my eyes (yes, I do read complete novels on the thing), and there’s the multi-tasking, and the higher quality cameras… What the hey. Why am I stalling? I’m sold.