Toaster Fridge! Toster Fridge!

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For at least a year, I’ve extolled the virtues of Surface:

I love that Microsoft is sticking to its vision despite the doomsayers. Surface Pro 3 is meant to be both iPad and MacBook. Comparing it to just one device is skating to where the puck never was.

The Surface Pro 3 has the potential to become the device we all really crave: both a tablet and a laptop.

That column of mine actually spurred a rebuttal column from the very same site! Apple would never dream of copying Microsoft!

It gets better.

Earlier this month, I wrote two posts here noting that Surface was the correct vision for the enterprise, not iPad. I noted that Apple “fears” the Surface and told you to expect Apple to contort the iPad into a Surface-like device.

The only reason for an iPad is for some lean-back fun. A video, a game, a crude sketch. Which is fine — but not at the crazy high prices Apple expects. The value simply isn’t there.

To justify these ridiculous prices, Apple aggressively promotes the iPad as a device for creativity and productivity. Marketing works, but it can’t overcome reality forever. For creativity, iPad’s fine, though certainly lesser than a laptop. As for productivity? Not even close. People who are getting work done are *not* using iPads. Those who say otherwise are lying to you — or have flunkies doing the actual work on their laptop.

Apple knows this.

I am repeatedly excoriated by the Apple Echo Chamber whenever I dare suggest Apple got the vision wrong — or note that Apple has or will copy another company. When that other company is Microsoft, the howls are piercing.

And yet…

Just today, the echo chamber is all a-twitter with anointed members of the priesthood demanding a Microsoft Surface. From Apple.

 

Heh.

They hate it when I’m right.

Apple Because Apple Doomed Apple Insanely Great Apple Click Click Click

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Because the blogosphere sees that the Apple Echo Chamber gets *millions* of clicks every single month, and *millions* of dollars in monthly “sponsorships,” they want in on that action.

Nom nom nom!

Which is why to them, Apple fanboys are not sheep. Apple fanboys are pigs. Pigs at the trough! Feed them! Stuff them! Nom nom click click.

Few practice this as religiously as Business Insider. Thus, we get this bit o’ stupid:

Right Now, Apple Risks Missing Out On The Next Big Thing In Technology

Microsoft’s 2.5-hour event on Wednesday was suddenly enlivened by the surprise introduction of the HoloLens, a new piece of hardware that will run on Windows Holographic, Microsoft’s new platform for virtual and augmented reality experiences.

The initial reactions to the HoloLens have been overwhelmingly positive.

By all accounts, it sounds like augmented reality devices like these are “the next big thing.” And at this point, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Samsung, and others have invested hundreds of millions — even billions — of dollars into these new virtual and augmented reality experiences.

Apple, meanwhile, is nowhere to be found.

How dare you! Apple nowhere to be found! This is outrageous!

Stop.

I will not! I am outraged by this! Microsoft just demo’d vaporware! Apple will have an even better virtual reality glass — when the technology is ready!

Seriously, stop.

You’ve been played. The Echo Chamber feeds on your outrage. I stand corrected. You are not the pig, but the pig’s feed.

Here’s the truth: Microsoft showed off some great products — for now and for the future. This is what great tech companies do. Later this year, Apple will do the same. There is absolutely no reason for you to feel a need to choose sides between two massive, hyper-rich for-profit corporations.

But as long as you do, the echo chamber and the wannabes will happily consume your time.

Click click nom nom.

Um, Apple. Is This Safe?

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OS X Daily has this handy tip for locating the rightful owner of a lost iPhone:

When you find someones lost iPhone, if it’s a fairly new model, you can almost always find the owner and the owners contact information simply by asking Siri. But you do have to phrase the question carefully.

Summon Siri by holding the Home button and ask exactly: “Whose phone is this?” or you can ask “Who owns this iPhone?”

Awesome!

Thing is, we oftentimes don’t ‘lose’ our iPhone. Rather, we forget it.

For example, you’re a busy 20-something woman who has dinner with friends. You forget your iPhone in the restaurant. Five minutes later, you realize your mistake and rush back. It’s gone. That dude at the table next to you noticed your mistake and grabbed that shiny iPhone.

And now has your address.

I’m not so sure about the safety of this.

This Industry Is Still Completely Self-Unaware

A TechCrunch post that everyone who’s anyone is re-tweeting as quickly as possible to prove just how much they get it:

This Industry Is Still Completely Ridiculous

Since then, as you probably already know, our world has gotten even more surreal. If anything the ridiculousness is accelerating. It’s like the tech industry is subject to a Moore’s Law of weird.

Maybe.

Thing is, TechCrunch has spent *years* writing *everyday* about how super-awesome it is to be in tech, to be an entrepreneur, to get funding, to build your app! They have grown rich and possibly influential by promoting this industry as “completely ridiculous.”

One of the most anti-meritocratic forces in America

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I can tell you this: it is dismaying that whenever I support fully liberating, empowering policy solutions — and a positive culture — I am often shouted down. Small minds fear change. Fact: I have lost work because editors are so shockingly closed-minded and are viscerally repelled by my non-MSNBC-sanctioned values.

I can deal.

Far worse, however, is the fact that Silicon Valley, potentially America’s most disruptive business force, cowardly shies away from anything that smacks of a view the GOP just might support.

There is far too much frightened, herd thinking here. Thus, discovering this Economist article being reprinted in Business Insider was a happy surprise:

Many schools are in the grip of one of the most anti-meritocratic forces in America: the teachers’ unions, which resist any hint that good teaching should be rewarded or bad teachers fired. To fix this, and the scandal of inequitable funding, the system should become both more and less local.

Per-pupil funding should be set at the state level and tilted to favour the poor. Dollars should follow pupils, through a big expansion of voucher schemes or charter schools. In this way, good schools that attract more pupils will grow; bad ones will close or be taken over.

Unions and their Democratic Party allies will howl, but experiments in cities such as battered New Orleans have shown that school choice works.

Finally, America’s universities need an injection of meritocracy. Only a handful, such as Caltech, admit applicants solely on academic merit. All should. And colleges should make more effort to offer value for money.

That leaders in Silicon Valley, who are all so quick to show their embrace of “diversity” and gay marriage and so boastful of their readiness to buy green (or RED), remain too frightened to demand the end to stifling, discriminatory industrial age social policies is one of the region’s biggest failings.

I hope to change that.

Billionaires Versus Bureaucrats Per Buzzfeed

Per Buzzfeed:

Uber Suspends Drivers For Properly Registering Cars

The ride-hailing giant has suspended some drivers in California who registered cars for commercial use. But the DMV says that only cars with commercial registrations may carry passengers for hire in the state.

The “sharing economy” is a lie, a falsehood perpetrated by monied interests to mitigate a host of concerns regarding labor costs, regulations, and cultural norms.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

In this case, however, Uber “drivers” are charging people to drive them about. That is a commercial enterprise. If California says such drivers — and their cars — must be properly licensed, I have no problems with that.

Nor do I fault Uber for playing hardball.

That said, if you’re a driver, know that a few folks with Uber and a few VCs will get very very rich from this service. You remain a driver trying to get by in a tough world. Those rich folk can fight the government a hell of a lot better than you. Remember that.

Apple keeps China happy

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I should not be the only one in Silicon Valley talking about this. It’s much too important for America’s future.

Back in November, I told you once again about my suspicions that Apple/Tim Cook were providing China — what Cook says will be Apple’s biggest market — with special access.

Tim Cook Summoned Back To China

China held up the legal sale of new iPhones until Apple more fully “explained” its security.

Then there was an attack on iCloud from within China.

Then Tim Cook goes back to China.

Meanwhile, the FBI maintains criminals and, yes, child pornographers, armed with Apple’s new security encryption measures will have damn near free reign against the good guys.

Seems obvious that both the US security apparatus and the China security apparatus wants unique access to iPhone (and probably iCloud). This does not make me feel well. That Tim Cook seems to meet more regularly with ranking Chinese officials makes me feel even worse.

The very next day, in “Apple Versus The United States of America,” I wrote:

Apple is placating China by (allegedly) doing whatever China asks for re security — why do you really think Tim Cook had to rush back over there and China mysteriously held up the launch of iPhone 6?

Just my crazy anti-Apple conspiracy talk?

Today, months later, in Quartz:

Apple is reportedly giving the Chinese government access to its devices for “security checks”

“There were rumors that Apple built back doors in its devices, and let third parties have data and access those devices, but that was never true and that we would never do that in the future either,” Cook reportedly said. Lu Wei responded, according to the Beijing News, by saying: “It doesn’t matter what you say, you should let our internet safety department do a safety assessment. We need to reach our own conclusions to put the consumer at ease.”

What would “security checks” entail? Apple hasn’t provided any information on the matter and did not respond to requests for comment. But analysts said the most likely interpretation is that the company is giving Beijing access to its operating system source code in return for being able to continue to do business in China—arguably Apple’s most important market, but one that has been imperiled by regulatory obstacles.

What, exactly, is Tim Cook going to hand to China to make Apple even richer?

I fear: everything.

Oh, and remember: your iPhone is made in China.

UPDATE: China People’s Daily proudly tweets:

Be afraid.

Stop It! Stop It! Apple Is Good! HomeKit Is Perfect!

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A year after Apple announced HomeKit, and, well, nothing. Per Recode: “Apple HomeKit Automation Gear Sees Slow Ramp

The first products to take advantage of Apple’s home automation technology won’t likely reach stores until this spring.

That’s nearly a year after Apple announced HomeKit, the software that allows consumers to use their iPhones like remote controls to activate various automated appliances, during its keynote last June at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Hardly happy news for the instant-gratification crowd, intent on creating their very own versions of the Jetsons home.

Among the reasons for the delay, the launch of HomeKit-enabled hardware certification efforts that sources tell Re/code began later than Apple had hoped.

None of this is surprising. Apple is making a fortune off iPhone and while controlling our TVs, appliances, lighting and heating via our phones would be cool, at least for the next few years there’s no big money in it. And Apple’s all about that big money. Priorities.

Move along.

But, no…

Because the Apple Echo Chamber goes into a crying tizzy the very moment anyone anywhere says anything at all, no matter how true, that may in any way diminish Dear Mother Apple.

Thus, we have iMore, a couple hours after Recode, with the headline: “HomeKit ramp isn’t fast or slow — it’s arriving exactly when it means to

That’s right. Exactly when. Exactly!

The HomeKit framework was announced at WWDC in June of 2014, or just under 8 months ago. It was released in September of 2014, or just under 5 months ago. The full spec went live in October of 2014, or just under 4 months ago. Made for iPhone (MFi) certification started in November of 2014, or just under 3 months ago. Approvals happened through December of 2014, or under 2 months ago. Vendors showed off the first generation of HomeKit-compatible accessories in January of 2015, or earlier this month. So, shipping this spring doesn’t seem out of line with previous accessory rollouts, including AirPlay-compatible speakers or iOS-compatible game controllers.

Fucking embarrassing.

The world’s richest for-profit corporation doesn’t need you to be their toady.

Edgar Froese. Tangerine Dream.

Nice write-up of Edgar Froese of Tangerine Dream (and various musical scores).

Froese founded Tangerine Dream in 1967 and remained the band’s only constant member through its six decade existence. The band is well known for its mammoth creative output, having released over 100 albums in addition to scoring countless movie film scores and soundtracks.

Alongside fellow German outfits like Kraftwerk and Can, Tangerine Dream was a torchbearer of the Krautrock genre. In the 1970s, Froese began experimenting with new studio techniques, including sequencers and the Moog synthesizer. It was during these years that Tangerine Dream experienced the height of its critical and commercial success, as 1973’s Atem was crowned album of the year by influential UK DJ John Peel, and 1974’s Phaedra reached No. 15 on the UK charts.

For many, Tangerine Dream is familiar for its soundtrack work in films including SorcererRisky BusinessFirestarterFlashpoint, and The Keep. More recently, Froese scored the video game Grand Theft Auto V.

You will recognize his work.

Now think of what you do. Write, design, develop, build, teach, bake, compute. Now imagine being great at what you do through, say, the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s, 2030s, 2040s.

That’s what Froese did. Absolutely amazing.

Tim Cook’s Apple

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The big news in Apple today is the $73 million Angela Ahrendts received just for 2014. But don’t feel bad, if you make $1 million a year, you could equal that in a mere 73 years of work.

Did she earn that money?

Clearly, no. But, I absolutely expect her to fully earn it (and tens of millions more) in the coming years. Because she perfectly aligns with Tim Cook’s vision of Apple. Which is…

innovation first!

(no)

technical moonshots!

(nope)

the very best technology!

(just stop)

Branding, marketing and luxury status?

Winner!

Look at what Ahrendts did for “iconic British luxury” company Burberry. She got the world’s 5% to shop there — and pay criminally high margins for clothes, scarves, handbags; the kind of stuff that your wife would buy if you were the head of surgery at a university.

Such a sad state of affairs for one of America’s great technology companies. Don’t believe me? Go on, go to Apple.com and look at Watch. Be honest. You know it’s branding and status well before function, usability, personal benefit, empowerment, technology.

This is Tim Cook’s Apple.

1,000 no’s for every yes has now become accessorize!

Stop it, Brian! That’s unfair! The world has changed. Computing has changed. The Apple Echo Chamber says Chinese people love “gold” and so Apple has to modify its efforts to comply with this giant market. Oh, and women! Women all use tech now. You can’t just expect some ugly box to appeal to a woman. Plus, copying is so much more prevalent. What else can Apple do?

Fair enough. You will note that I am not decrying Apple’s profits, nor do I question Tim Cook for choosing profit over innovation, margin before technology. He’s the CEO of a big corporation. That’s what they do. Thing is, you are what you do often and Apple now spends far more effort and far more focus on marketing, branding, luxury.

The best value, the best technology, the best usability, the most functionality; these are no longer Apple’s core strengths.

And that’s sad.

I’m going to work to change that.

Apple Derangement Syndrome. App Store Bigger Than Hollywood Edition.

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In a post entitled “Bigger than Hollywood,” Asymco’s Horace Dediu writes that Apple’s App Store is, well, bigger than Hollywood.

He even has bullet points — and charts! — to prove this!

“This is quite a story,” he declares.

But, wait.

Scroll down.

More…

More…

Keep going…

There!

“In 2014 iOS app developers earned more than Hollywood did from box office in the US.”

And there’s the dumb. The App store is not “bigger than Hollywood.” Rather, it’s bigger, at least in 2014, than the box office in the US.

Except, Hollywood is radically more (and bigger) than the US box office. It is the China box office, the Europe box office. It is Netflix and streaming, iTunes rentals and premium cable, basic cable and broadcast reruns. Hollywood is DVD sales and merchandising and TV spin-offs and rides at Disney.

The App Store isn’t anywhere close as big as all this. It’s outright dumb to assert otherwise.

Only, I’m pretty confident in stating that Horace Dediu is not dumb.

So, how did he get so utterly wrong? How is he being so wall-to-wall misleading?

Apple Derangement Syndrome.

And I am the cure.

Apple Derangement Syndrome is what happens to (potentially) good writers and (presumably) smart analysts who are *continuously* rewarded for slavish positivity over all things Apple.

And it has helped turned Apple into the world’s biggest, richest company. Only, focused radically more, I’m afraid, on getting bigger and richer instead of creating truly the best, most innovative, most user-friendly, most personally empowering technologies.

We must end this.

The Apple Echo Chamber has similarly grown rich off  devotion, promotion, cozy relationships with one another and big sponsor money. All of whom feed on your eyes, your clicks.

I’m going to destroy this. For your own good. And to save a once grand company.