Category: Am I Evil?


So, here we are, the newest iPhone is out, after so much noise that my head will still ache for a few days, and that I will laugh like a madman from time to time thinking about the die-hards who waited in tents in front of Apple Stores for days just to be the first to get the gizmo.

I’m sure that you’ll agree: nothing in the world is more important than being the first, worldwide, to have the latest iPhone.

Sarcasm aside, there is much more than the iPhone 5 to the latest Apple event at Yerba Buena.

Apple has released iOS 6. So far, so good. Everything is perfectible, and I’m not an expert (because experts don’t exist. Unless you are someone who knows everything and thus has nothing more to learn) so I won’t review it.

What was striking was not Cook’s cockiness. We are now used to it.

No, no, no. The most striking and frankly irritating point was… hardware updates.

Let me clarify:

Apple’s focus on form factors was great as far as the new iPhone is concerned, but it killed one product: the iPod Nano.

The new factor is detrimental to the Nano. The square form factor was absolutely perfect (only considering that hardware can be something near to any kind of eye-pleasing and usability perfection).

There was a potential outlet for wrist-held devices. They didn’t see it, or didn’t deem it worth any effort in this direction. This is playing safe, or being lazy.

The previous iteration proposed many different clock styles as backgrounds, while still being a touch-screen iPod (the wheel is getting old) with all the coolness Apple products may have, and although it could appear more like fun or childish than anything else, it was a step in a direction worth being explored.

Now we see ads for a “square form factor” product in an ubiquitous way. Ever seen this gadget called “i’m Watch”? Google it.

Back to the previous Nano, the gym rats’ best friend.

Let’s put ourselves in Apple’s hardware design teams’ shoes:

What is (was) the Nano?
Is it a gap-filler?
Is it an experiment?
Who’s the target customer, both for function and budget?
Is the Nano another also-ran?

Don’t you think all those questions could have been real questions? I think they could.

Now, if a product has only a short-term appeal potential and oversized ROI, is it worth it? Apparently, it was.

Today, it’s a bit of a messed-up product. Who is really, strongly believing that a 2″ screen and round icons will cut the mustard? Any cheapo spin-off could look and feel like the latest Nano.

Apple never did so bad. Granted, the Newton wasn’t a success, but the OS and programming language used for it proved useful in then future Apple products… Like the first iPhone, like iTunes, too.

Hardware and software are tightly integrated and always were for each Apple product. It seems like the new Nano is an exception to the tradition.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t stick to the past like if my life depended on it. I simply cannot understand the hardware modifications brought to the Nano.

Let’s examine the other risks ahead.

The iPhone’s form factor has reached a limit. Yes, it can still be held with only one hand while having a bigger screen, yet there is no more room for improvement. It will likely be a rectangle-shaped device with round corners for the rest of its life and iterations… The only thing constantly changing is its thickness and weight.

Will Apple make an iPhone as thin as a sheet of paper and as light as air? Is it desirable?

Hardware modifications are not limited to the screen. Apple once again ignores everything and goes its own way.

The new “lightning” plug (a word play with “thunderbolt?) is obviously the one thing irritating returning Apple customers.

While I applaud the reversible capability of the plug, I loathe Apple for making it harder than it ever was to get and stay up-to-date (think MagSafe 2).

I can’t help but thinking that “lightning” is the most shameless way to force customers with older products to buy adaptors, new docks and other accessories. Of course, the new iPhone’s performances couldn’t be what they are if the room needed for the plug wasn’t significantly reduced, I know that.

To me, this smells greed. How many iPhone users have upgraded to the 5? Enough to sell a ton of adaptors and make even more profit.

It is not a secret: Cook and Browett (retail SVP) are bean-counters. If they can maximize profit, they do.

While the whole IT world is working hard to agree on a standard plug size (an issue since times immemorial), Apple brings again its “think different” mindset.

This is stupidly “short-termist”. We’ll see if it is a really bad move. All I can tell is that the Apple communities and forums’ members are already complaining about the issues I brought in this post.

To Apple, I would like to say: “forget this think different slogan and think twice instead!

PS: I am not using form factor and hardware in a mindless way. One determines each other. To me, form factor and hardware are very tightly linked.

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Apple’s shaking the Earth.

Behemoths are bulky and annoying. I don’t blame them. Humans are not much better.

So, what’s happening exactly? Maybe Tim Cook’s Burrito wasn’t spicy enough?
Do you think he was so upset that he trampled the floor, hence the Earth-shaking?

Sorry, Tim, I shouldn’t tease you. Burritos are overpriced, and you’re having serious financial issues.

Over with humor. My inner child is punishing me for having not let him speak for years. He’s now unplugging my self-censoring devices. I should have listened to him. We adults forget play. We’re so busy working, or thinking about working…

Things are getting really gruesome at Apple. I don’t talk about Foxconn. There is really no play and goofing around there!

Like if it was not enough to make sure supply chain workers are underpaid and overworked, now it’s time to have some egregious behaviour with Apple Store employees!

How do we do that? Easy. Train them for a month and pink-slip them. Be sure to give them a welcome letter before! I’m serious, look:

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Having been laid off before even being employed (true story, details available upon request, free to share), I feel their pain.

A few ago, a new SVP of retail was hired. He is “fixing” Ron Johnson’s dying marketing model.
Nothing lasts 11 years in retail. Time for an overhaul! Whoo!

Enter John Browett, a man I never heard of before.

Hell is here: more layoffs, hiring freezes, more reduced hours, promoting following by demoting, more profit-generating tricks.
I’m thinking of the brand new “self checkout”. Anything on a shelf that you can bring home today?
Just scan the product, enter your Apple ID and the product is yours.

That means that anyone can walk away with iPods, iPhones, iPads, without any human interaction. Only laptops and desktops will be considered and human interaction maintained.

No more human interaction = the best reason ever to lay off!

Up for a little Q&A?

Q: Are you telling me that Apple is laying off employees just before a major product release (the new iPhone and iOS 6)?

A: Yes.

Q: Are they crazy?

A: Yes.

There’s much more to the story than what I just wrote. I receive daily Google Alerts about Apple… It seems that they have opened too much stores (so, too much employees to pay) to keep up profit. Above a certain number, growth ceases. It even has the opposite effect! Adios sustainability!

Here are some links to blogs and articles about this issue:

TheNextWeb

TechnoBuffalo

Benzinga

iDownloadBlog

Please let me know your thoughts. There are articles about Apple’s layoffs and new retail strategy everywhere, but I get the best of it.

This is why I’m introducing Pathways, just to add up to controversy.

I’m perplexed, puzzled, baffled.

[Edit (August 16, 2012): Apple has issued a public apology about this. They say “we messed up“. I am sure that the guys who lost their jobs after just one month are really happy to know that.]

 

 

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It isn’t going to be better anytime soon, even though I have some clues about the next-gen earphones: a mix of in-ear and standard earphones.

Hopefully a WAY better sound quality, too! The total lack of feedback from users befuddles me. Are they deaf, or happy with crappy mp3s?

(Google “24/96 recording” and you will understand).

Now…wait for the launch of “The new iPhone”.
(It makes sense to drop the number, as Apple dropped “Computer” from its name the year the iPhone came out.)

Well, back to the white. Back to marketing.

I love black (especially my coffee, and my metal), yet white doesn’t bother me.

It just bothers, then irks, then make me mad when there is too much of it in the ears of full-time bozos (censored version. The original one is too barbaric), barely scratching the surface even with their most impressive efforts.

They’re so superficial it makes me puke!

(Hospital PTSD, perhaps?)

More seriously, what baffles me is that, even though anybody can spot an Apple user a mile away, there is a real failure at going beyond marketing in the mind of those people: Apple users (I plead guilty of being one. Please call me Evangelist, but not “fanboi”).

Just a reminder. An ad is NOT all of the following, namely: spin, buzz, hype, clicks, getting the word out.

It is not, either, community/tribe, story and price. This is where marketers tell a story, and they all do.The WWDC is where communities are built, mostly. Any other Apple Keynote is the same.

NeXT® is another overlooked aspect: usability+support (Apple Stores are great for that, so why the hell do people fail to understand Apple and its targeted marketing?)

And next is the product, and the product alone. That is what I see when I see an Apple product.

Apple products have communication built-in. This is a secret of their success.

“Think different”©. Sure.

If only people could think at all…

The white earphones? Oh, it doesn’t matter that much. People matter… And I have a hard time willingly admitting my human peers’ lack of knowledge and discernment.

Arrogant? Nope. It’s just an Idealist-tempered viewpoint. It is having very high standards of quality regarding oneself. Of course it bleeds off on others.

Sure, you can still bitch about the lack of professionalism in my blog layout and my writing style.

Bitch away. I’m not a blogger for a living.

Well, did you get my point?

Superficiality and hollow minds versus built-in communication and meaning.

September is around the corner. Keep an eye on the product, not the show.

That recruiters (who don’t work for the candidate, but are paid / employed by companies) would obfuscate, deceive, or prevaricate is hardly a new discovery in my experience.

They are essentially hired guns/mercenaries paid by a client to literally steal rock star talent from Company A and seduce them over to Company B.

In no way do they desire to help, assist, or otherwise cater to candidates, and in fact, they generally are trained to avoid anyone that smacks of being:

1) unemployed-underemployed,

2) needy or desperate to leave a current employer,

3) actively seeking employment (everybody knows recruiters are paid to get “passive” candidates, not those actively seeking employment),

4) problematic or with issues.

If you appear as anything other than a highly talented, very happy, totally secure professional, who is only slightly interested in the prospect of moving to their client’s employment, you will often be dropped like a hot potato.

Many, many candidates fail to understand the true nature of recruiters, and thus are often embittered and disappointed in them.

Bonus: recruiters do it poorly and quickly just to get their paycheck and move elsewhere to get another paycheck.

They also run “fake interviews” that may cost you a copious amount of time and energy, in vain, since the choice is made on day one. Yet they may get you through weeks or months to end up with a template rejection letter.

Nepotism can also play a role. Not a minor one.

Be smart and if you feel that your interview is a “fake”, quit.

If you are misled or wronged during an interview, it is a sign that the company will behave in an even worse way if you are hired.

Interviews are a two-way street.

You don’t need to feel or act inferior. Afterall, you choose the company in the first place, don’t you?

Two mandatory reads:

“Screw the Recruiter” -Mark Teller will tell you how to survive a recruiter.

“Headhunter” -Skip Freeman will teach you how to think like a recruiter.

I highly recommend reading the two books alternatively. If you are still alive after that, you’re incredibly tough and mentally stable.

Hey folks!

It was about time for me to come back and write a post!

I admit it, I have no excuses for not caring about you, since I blog from either my iPhone or iPad. I always have them with me.

Please forgive me. I was experimenting.

My way of living is backwards and upside down. Where one would say it’s being a caveman staying alone at home, I think that the opposite is the truth.

Real cavemen are in the streets, not in their houses.

Sounds nonsensical? Think harder.

When you’re outside at Starbucks drinking a coffee with a friend/colleague, or when you’re dating, or just socializing out of the well-known online networks, what are you doing?

You’re feeding your lowest instincts. You’re in a passive behaviour. In your comfort zone.

Conflicts erupt way more often inside than outside.

There are exceptions, of course.

Well.

I experimented a long period doing what the average Joe does: being a caveman.

Let me put it simply: it sucks.

Nothing will ever beat a good bed and utter simplicity in furniture and food.

I am not made for hunting. I don’t even eat meat.

What struck me during my experiment is how dulled and shallow relationships are when we human beings are not in small groups, and within the same room.

Stay in small tribes. Interact often, meaningfully and deeply. Care genuinely about each other.

Solace is perhaps the less used word, of late.

Yet it has never been so actual.

How can we explain this paradox?

My take is that, in our perpetually fed cycle of hype, our race to the bottom, we just have lost the senses we were born with, but developed other ones. I believe that our 5 senses are a thing of the past, yet I don’t rejoice in thinking so.

I’m deeply saddened. Who are we now but meaningless drones? What is the purpose of our lives? What do we stand for?

Do we ever think about leaving a legacy?

NO.

We care about our ROI, about SEO, about a gazillion acronyms that I can barely remember.

Is it that, being human?

It seems that the definition of the human being has changed forever. It didn’t change by itself.

Everything is profit-driven.

We are no more social animals.

We are zombies. We are what we will never be anymore.

How do I find solace in this drama?

I am living offline. That sets me apart. What’s online is an alias, an avatar. It is not who I am.

Who wants to unplug and join me?

No excuses, no apologizes

That is the easy way out.

Don’t make excuses. Admit and embrace failure. You’ll feel great after.

Don’t apologize. You were wrong, and it was a chance to learn.

Everyone is on the right track, as long as they can do those aforementioned simple things.

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It’s not about my girlfriend, even though I consider Music to be my muse.

It is about a myth I want to kill and bury forever. Alas, the human race is desperately stupid and enjoys it. Meh.

I’m going thermonuclear on this, and I’ll exhaust myself to death ingraining the truth in consciously ignorant brains… If I can call this ugly slime that way.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE ABSOLUTE PITCH.

Come on, do you really think a newborn can spot a G flat? If so, die, useless being (you, not the newborn)!

This fucking “absolute pitch” is not innate. It is acquired!

How?

With a pitchfork. Ha! Where’s the “absolute” part of this shit? Tell me!

It is RELATIVE. Want it or not.

Notes are learnt according to this pitchfork. The pitch is usually set to 440Hz for a reference A.

In the western tradition, there are 12 notes, each spaced evenly… Or so you may believe.

Wanna jump back to Bach’s era, when each land had two reference pitches. One for the Church, and one for the profane.

How many Länder in Germany? How many references?

It was a mess. Though, Bach managed his way through.

Add to this that not all instruments are tuned in a 12-tone system, equally divided. Especially not the organ. Silbermann and Bach clashed often about it.

Dividing the octave into 12 tones is called tempering.

It may be a revelation to you, but there are countless ways of tempering, not to mention that the western 12-tone equal temperament is nothing but a mediocre compromise.

I won’t go too deeply into that, but upon request (use the contact form), I can send you examples of other tunings and temperaments.

There are modern turkish makamlar/ persian maqamat (systems of scales, beyond the scope of this post), which contain 24 notes per octave. With slight variations, it builds up to 79 notes for makamlar.

It can be called infra-chromatic Music. It can be called microtonal Music.

To me, it is Xentonal or Xenharmonic Music.

Back to the pitchforks.

Haydn and Mozart were taught using a 430Hz A.

Bach was taught using a 415Hz A.

Marin Marais, Antoine Forqueray, Couperin used 392Hz As.

Only the late Rameau used a 415 and a 440 (harpsichords had transposing mechanisms). As much as I love Rameau’s Music, I can’t help hating equal-tempered Music (it is limited, no key has any “colour” or “mood” anymore), though it allows anyone to play within the 12 keys equally (i.e without Bach’s issues when going further and further from the overused C major. Again, explaining in detail why we western retards chose to compromise our musicality is beyond the scope of this post).

Note:

A scale is not a temperament. A temperament is how notes are set within a scale.

Pythagoras made thorough research about temperaments. His works show two versions. The ideal one, with 53 notes per octave, and an extremely theoretical one, with 665 notes per octave.

How absurd is it to ever imagine that anyone can spot 665 discrete notes…

Recap:

3 things to remember:

-pitchfork (reference)
-scale
-temperament

I leave you with an (oversimplified, so you can still understand) diagram of what I just overlooked here. Do your homework and don’t fall prey to ignorance. Learn to discern, question and shun mundane, narrow thinking.

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Even though the word entrepreneur is french (no matter what this bloody ignorant Bill Clinton said about it)… France is really in short supply of entrepreneurs.

I’m afraid the upcoming presidentials will only make things worse…

Look at this before reading further:

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The main issue is not that there are not enough people not afraid to fail a thousand times, take insane risks…

The real problem is that France is stuck in a 1925-like mindset. It wants employees. It wants factories back in the country! It wants lazy and fat corporates.

Obviously, mad creatives (problem solvers) is a threat to this outdated model!

Being an entrepreneur, I can confidently tell you that it is not something I’ll do again if I had the chance (?) to change something in my past life.

The question is: why are the USA the “entrepreneur’s dreamland” even though the word entrepreneur and the verb entreprendre are french?

Silicon Valley is the epitome of entrepreneurship. Especially in a web 2.0 era.

Questions: the Worst Wild Web is still young. 20-something. It is just the beginning, and it’s a mess. What will it be in 40 years? Would it still exist?

This entrepreneur issue is again an example of a “transposed cultural scheme“.

I once again coined a sentence. It happens all the time!

It doesn’t matter where you were born. It matters where you achieve your goals.

Any comments?

As usual, I love to address topics I find overlooked, if not ignored.

So many people feel awkward when asked if they are self-taught or if they spent a colossal sum of money into an Ivy-league school curriculum.

The perennial battle of the successful (or not). It is lame.

I’ll kick in –after this little intro– by merely stating that being self-taught is not to be mistaken with being a self-made man.

Sure. You didn’t even need parents to give you birth. You made yourself out of nothing…

More seriously: no one is a self-made man.

Everyone, at some point, asked for help, guidance and advice. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Death of the self-made man myth!

What’s dirty with having been trained, taught, coached, mentored? (let me know by commenting)!

What’s striking, –and serious studies show it– is that both grad PhDs and “self-taught” people reach the same level of competence, cleverness, happiness, and confidence.

Keep asking for help.

It shows how much you care. It shows how much you want to reach your goals, even at the expense of having your self-esteem a tad hurt. It even shows leadership abilities!

I openly hate the term “leadership”. Yet, face it: all of our Greats were a kind of leader. Quiet leaders or loud ones, it doesn’t matter.

What did you learn today?

Did you learn by making a mistake (a great way to learn, if you can understand what went awry), or by asking?

Keep asking. Just don’t be a pest… And ask the “right” people!

Help is the most effective and inexpensive word I know.

You first have to know what your goal is. If you don’t find it outright, it’s perfectly OK.

Let your mind wander. Read my previous post: Shower Power.

By now, I’m sure that you know that I asked for help today. I don’t have any reply yet due to the asynchronous nature of e-mail.

Yes, I don’t use Skype. I don’t use any IM. I don’t use my phone. I still use paper and send letters the old way. I have one friend only, and he doesn’t live in Europe, but in the USA.

I digress, but I’m fine with that.

Again: ask for help, and offer your help everytime you can.

By the way, may I ask you something?