Category: Blogging


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.

I’m not sure that you noticed it, but this blog has a new name which fits best its content, and some tweaks were also made for you to navigate easily in a “target-reader free” blog.

Holiday break!

I will be away from today, Sunday, until september 25th, yet I’ll post from Plinky though.

(Feel free to browse through the old entries, and let me know what you would like to read about).

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FYI: this is my hand on the lowest (6th and 7th) strings of a solid-body viol (or viola da gamba)!

Very useful, especially for non-native English writers!

The Daily Post

About a year ago, I wrote a piece about the distinction between the active and the passive voice, but going on the assumption that I’ve had a lot of reader turnover over a year’s time, I thought a refresher might be useful.

When writing in the active voice, the subject of the sentence is clearly the one doing the verb. In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence is sort of buried. So:

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Apple Knowledge Quotient: 100%

An app told me…

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However, that’s just the beginning for me.

Thanks to the developers of the app. I hope you’re on WordPress as well!

(Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated or making money by posting this. I let my inner child call his bragging rights!)

Three Anti-Tips worth a dozen books about beating procrastination (which is postponing decision-taking, and not postponing the actual task)… Read on, and if you dig it, subscribe to Ollin’s blog!

Courage 2 Create

Editor’s note: this post was first published in 2011 on The Renegade Writer.

You’ve tried everything to battle your procrastination, but you still keep slacking off.

So, what’s the deal?

Is it because you’re afraid of rejection or criticism?

No? You’ve already overcome your writing fears?

Ok. Then what’s wrong then?

Oh. You’re bored?

Ahhh! That makes sense. No wonder all those other productivity tips haven’t been working for you!

The only way you can kill procrastination now is if you throw away all those other “tips,” start from scratch, and go against EVERYTHING the experts have told you to do.

Too bad there’s no such thing as an “anti-tip,” right?

Actually, you’re in luck. There is.

If it’s boredom that’s keeping you from staying on top of things, then I suggest trying out these 3 “anti-tips” to help you get back on track:

Anti-Tip #1: Do Nothing

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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.

Apple’s Message Mapping

APPLE’S MESSAGE MAPPING

Product: MacBook Pro with Retina display

Headline: “It’s a whole new vision for the notebook.” (42 characters. Twitter-friendly.)

4 key elements in short sentences:

A. “Stunning Retina display.”

B. “All-flash architecture.”p

C. “Thin. Light. Powerful.”

D. “The rest of the MacBook Pro family is faster than ever.”

Product: iPhone 4S

Headline: “It’s the most amazing iPhone yet.” (33 characters. Twitter-friendly.)

4 Key elements in short sentences:

A. “Dual-core A5 chip.”

B. “8 MP iSight camera.”

C. “iOS5 and iCloud.”

D. “And introducing Siri.”

Product: The new iPad

Headline: “Resolutionary.” (14 characters. 1/10th of a tweet!)

4 key elements in short sentences:

A. “Breakthrough Retina display.”

B. “5MP iSight camera.”

C. “iLife and iWork for iPad.”

D. “Ultrafast 4G LTE.”

For each “key element”, there are (usually 4, sometimes more) “sub-key elements” which go into greater detail (and technical jargon, too).

Here’s for the three most recent “flagship products”, yet ALL Apple messages ( headlines or sub-headlines) are Twitter-friendly (140-character or less).

Why? Because the human brain has a very limited memory and a short attention span, so it is clever (and necessary, in Apple’s case) to cut the amount of facts to be reminded.

Here are some more Twitter-friendly headlines or sub-headlines. Let’s have a look again at the flagship products.

“The world’s highest-resolution notebook display.” (48 characters!)

“It makes quicker work of everything.” (36 characters!)

“There’s power behind every nanometer.” (37 characters!)

“The intelligent assistant that’s there to help. Just ask.” (58 characters…but a fragmented sentence, which is not a smart thing to do, as the brain loves simple, seamless things, without interruptions, even the smallest ones.)

“Even faster everything.” (23 characters! Notice the “everyday-blather” style.)

“It just might be the best camera ever on a phone.” (49 characters!)

“Years ahead and moving forward.” (31 characters!)

“Your content. On all your devices.” (34 characters…but another fragmented sentence.)

“It’s even more than meets the eye.” (34 characters!)

“Take your best shots yet.” (26 characters!)

“And 225,000 more apps from the App Store.” (43 characters. Beginning a sentence with “and” is not academic, if there’s nothing written before… Yet it may be acceptable in the circle of hipsters and hyperbole users.)

“Full speed ahead.” (17 characters!)

There are a lot more examples, but I will stop there. By now, you know what my point is.

Name the product, craft a twitter-friendly headline, highlight 4 key elements (if within your business, only as a “guidebook”, where you might consider “sub-key elements”, more technical) and voilà: here’s the message you always wanted and always needed.

Greats artists steal, so shamelessly steal Apple’s model!

For job-hunting people: consider using this model (you become the “product” in this case) and replacing your whole CV/résumé/cover letter with just one mapped message.

I won’t be held responsible if you follow this advice and don’t succeed. I will try it myself soon, and I’ll tell you in an update how it went. Yet if you are a daring soul, go ahead and tell me how it went. Your feedback is welcome.