Category: Beyond the obvious


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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Plus (and minus) human

Modded Bass Overdrive

If it can be called a superpower…

Well, I can recover from anything (including a week in a coma) in no time, or at most 24 hours. This doesn't mean full recovery though (body and mind are not separated: that's my viewpoint), as I am quite often stuck in a rut or bored and need to change something after being hit.

Actualy, if too many days in a row are counterproductive and exhausting, I can fix it quickly (by changing a habit, or starting something new and giving up on the old stuff) and without loads of sleep. sometimes ca. 3 hours are enough to run another 24 to 36 hours.

My superpower? I am not bounded by time or energy!

My "underpower" is that I can be the laziest of men, and I absolutely hate it.

So, why don't I do something to feel better? Because I'm lazy!

My conception of lazy is perhaps different than yours. Many people think I'm an overachiever, and I tend to be one because they think so (even though I'm not alive to cater to anyone). Yet, in the first place, those people weren't there and my behaviour was not different.

To me, "being lazy" is not passive, but active, and it means "feeling emotionally empty and needing to refill the tank".

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I always hear people complain whine because Apple boasts 200 new features per new iOS update, and they can only find a dozen of them: the most visible ones.

I call this being lazy and not giving a flying fuck about the work behind.

Here’s the reason why people fail to understand and see improvements :

Apple does not only cater to individuals .

I attended a live seminar about mobile device deployment and management in businesses.

I realized that the most significant features are aimed at businesses (which mainly already have a mobile device management [MDM] system and their own business-specific apps)

This is where improvements are to be found. Huge effort has been put there to address businesses’ needs. I applaud Apple’s efforts. It is no easy task!

Next time you watch a keynote, or a WWDC conference, think about the big picture.

There is a position at Apple which is “Expert”. It works both for regular people and for businesses.

One more thing: The Software Development Kit (SDK) is always updated and contains more Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

So… There are really 200, if not more new features for each new iteration.

I hope that you learnt something useful.
Please comment if you feel like it.

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?

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.

20120411-231343.jpg

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:

20120411-095344.jpg

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?

For the last two weeks, I have tackled issues, and I’m still tackling new ones.

(Have a look at my past posts to know what I’m writing about).

Needless to say: it is exhausting.

I always find myself awake at 4:30 am, super energetic (it is usually my energy peak) , and I hate wasting energy.

So, I grab my iPad and read books nobody will. at least I think so.  Would you be interested in reading a book called “Inside Apple“? Unless your are a fanboi computer geek which is interested in HR and temperaments/personalities and their pros and cons, I bet you wouldn’t.

Not a safe bet.

My health has never been great, and I don’t want it to deteriorate.

There are a few tricks that I do before giving in (and I gave in once in my life: I had a lung infection and spent a few days in the coma. OK, I digress, but bear that in mind)!

Taking a shower after having triggered my mind with an insanely intricate computer science lecture, or an inspiring TED talk, is what I usually do.

Solutions and ideas appear when you least expect them. It is common sense.

The next Joe would say the same, but I’m not the next Joe.

When you let purposely your mind wander, it will certainly bring you where it wouldn’t if you were hyper-active and focused obsessed.

My weapon of choice is a simple shower, or a bath.

I soak my hands in warm water before playing keyboards or cello. Any tension disappears, and I can warm-up, then play confidently knowing that I prepared myself.

See… This is a borrowed parallel paradigm (a term I coined a few blog posts ago and didn’t use in a blog post)!

I use a “model” totally unrelated to the task at hand to solve it. I transpose it (sorry for the musical pun).

Well, it’s time for a new TED talk and to catch up on my Stanford lectures (I have a strong disgust for the C language, and we are comparing Objective-C and ANSI C. I want to move on to the next step, yet I know that my teacher is doing what we’ll need ten lectures later).

Oh, one last thing: nothing beats a cup of Yunnan tea.

One more thing: this is the post where my 666th tag will appear. I’m an unabashed metal freak, but in no way Satanist. I just find that ending my post with something less serious could release some tension!

Which are your strategies to kick out stress and burn-outs from tearing you apart?

Do you let your mind wander to find solutions, or do you keep working until you run out of gas?

 

 

 

Everything that goes through any of our senses is stored in our memory as a mental picture.

It uses our occipital cortex. So, don’t scratch the top of your head if you can’t recall. It happens behind your head!

Just google “visual memory” and countless search pages will show up with miracle recipes on how to improve it.

This is totally uninteresting to me. However, I often take a quick look at all those self-help things, then discard 99% of them.

What is interesting is how our brain works, and thorough studies, serious stuff won’t appear on the first search page. Go further.

I find it fascinating that our memory transforms everything into a mental image. Vivid, exaggerated, lurid, hilarious… Unexpected ways are to be expected!

One of the most important aspects of it, is that if you aren’t actively participating in memorizing, your “file” (memory) will be lost somewhere into some random place you can’t easily recall, or can’t recall at all. Unlike computers, we have no indexing and search option available to find where our file is.

Actively participating means “abstracting” the (usually) boring stuff. You’ll need to find ways to get mnemotechnic in remembering things. It will take some time and practice, but it is worth the sweat!

If you just absorb, you are not memorizing. You are listening, watching, smelling… but not memorizing.

When memorizing, don’t lay on a couch and repeat ad nauseam the same thing, hoping it will get into your memory. You have to add emotion to it to work properly.
Being on a couch is not what I call an emotional trigger (unless you get laid, but that’s another story).

Stand up. Read aloud. Repeat each syllable many times. Let the music come.

Don’t worry, your music will anyway be associated with a mental image. Not a mere image, but a mental one. Those are discrete things!

I hope that by now, you start figuring out why I called this post “our memory is a GUI”. Yes, it is a graphical user interface. Touch this icon / click on it, and it will react.
An icon is an object which has properties. Exactly like our memory.

I am still studying this overlooked aspect of our memorizing process, so expect an update or another post as soon as I have new and relevant content.

Meanwhile, know that nobody has a bad memory. If you want to have a really hard time remembering faces, events, sounds, etc, keep saying to yourself that your memory is poor, or bad, or that you suck.

I encourage you to do your own search. I want us to discuss and debate around this topic.

Well. I’m going to find ways to memorize five high-level programming languages. I’ll focus primarily on Objective-C.

The meaning, the syntax, the words or signs used all have some potential for visual memorizing. What can I do with @synthesize ? Split it into syllables and repeat them until I find a way to relate what is on my screen to what it means. Make music out of it (“synth” could already be “synthesizer”. Or maybe should I try to merge “sin”, “in”, “the”, “size and visualize a huge cock)?

I told you that the more exaggerated, gory or porn, the better and easier to remember. Summarize it into a vivid mental image (not an image like a photo) and link it to its meaning (meanings aren’t obvious in programming). That is why Stanford has a “programming abstractions” course, in my opinion.

Again, don’t merely absorb, but stand up (to stay alert) and actively participate in memorizing.

In those big “memory contests”, they give you energizing beverages. It is not a coincidence, is it?