With Surface, Microsoft shows it’s out to kill the future of its own OEM ecosystem.
Jun 19th, 2012 by SQ

It’s pretty obvious at this point that Microsoft is working hard to wrest control of their hardware ecosystem and become what Apple’s always been. When I look at Surface I see a highly intended category wedge between the tablet (which we might as well call iPad) and tinybook, ultrabook, thin laptop, or whatever you want to call a small computer in 2012 to market it.

Microsoft knows where the market is going as well as Apple knows how to drive where the market is going. The difference is that Microsoft has to engineer a product like this to build a catch basin for all those would-be buyers of third party developed, modern Windows lap form factor products.

Compete with Apple? No, and Microsoft isn’t even trying and they shouldn’t – this is where the writers have it all wrong. Microsoft has numbers the prove there’s still a massive addressable market – not the tablet minded buyers of the last 2-3 years, rather all those late adopters that are still spooked over the last disruptive personal tech punch they took. It could be having to accept the Windows 7 interface, trying to use wifi, or even typing (texting? emailing?) on a phone. This is the crew that’s going to replace the white box they bought at Wal-Mart or had handed down to them by a son or cousin or kind co-worker.

This is a play for control over the future oriented segment of Windows-minded buyers, plain and simple. Apple’s created the end-of-life for the common PC as we know it, and Microsoft can use that as the ultimate disruptor to end-of-life the dozens of surviving hardware manufacturers that have made their old Windows platform more fragmented than Android (at least for now).

Surface by Microsoft.

What performers can learn from Louis CK and Radiohead about selling their works.
Jan 8th, 2012 by SQ

There’s been a lot of talk about Louis CK directly marketing his recent concert online and how he made a million bucks at it in little over a week, and I think it’s well deserved. I paid 5 bucks for a video that at times is fantastically funny and other times (much fewer and further between) is just “pretty funny” and I have zero regrets whatsoever for the purchase. And I get to keep it forever – no rental approach here.

It’s funny, though: if I’d paid ten bucks perhaps I’d be a little ticked, I don’t know. What I do know is when Radiohead let their customers choose the price I bought In Rainbows off their site, and then I turned around and bought it the full definition bits from Amazon in CD form when they were released. In other words, Radiohead got paid twice by guys like me for being incredibly flexible in their approach to selling and distributing their works.

And I think that’s the point to take away from all this. I hope more performers remove the middleman and simply sell their performances at a price that empowers their audience to be truly empowered and connected. Fifteen or twenty bucks from Best Buy isn’t that solution, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say Apple’s fairly high and inflexible pricing might not be the complete long term solution either. For most of us competitiveness and elasticity drive secondary purchases like these, and frankly we’re the “gravy” that makes the entertainment market lucrative.

Why Day One will be the first journal/diary you keep using.
Jan 6th, 2012 by SQ

There are only two things that matter in the consumer software business: making an app that (1.) does precisely what’s needed (no more, no less) and (2.) makes accomplishing the primary task so easy it seems like no thought is even required. My week with Day One seems to confirm both of these have been easily accomplished for a task I’ve always wanted to do but dreaded: writing my personal online journal.

I don’t come to this assessment lightly: I’ve tried again and again to start and continue writing my innermost thoughts in a fashion that was easy, felt useful, and was easily manipulable in the past. Sure, a simple text document does the trick but there’s something almost “too loose-leaf” about journaling in a plain old document. First, the discipline of marking up the date information will wear over time. It’s funny, but that extra 30 seconds of typing virtually the same information at the beginning of an entry just becomes a dreaded task. I used to blame my own thoughts for this before I realized we pretty much all think like this.

Secondly, just having enough structure to the entries to easily review them over time is a highly appealing part of the process. We always want to look back on particular periods from time to time, and there’s nothing inherently “attractive” about searching non-visually through a plain text document.

Finally, and likely most importantly, adding an entry anytime should be no more than one click away and all that time and date stuff I mentioned should just get added. If the computer already knows the time then why should I have to enter it?

Click, type, done. That’s the most important part. The rest should be simple, and it is. The calendar interface is a beautiful, logical way to view past entries and they can all be easily exported to text – including time and date stamp. Grab it at the App Store today and give it a short. There’s a reason it’s won so many awards already.

It’s that ‘my weather’s better than yours’, rub it in everyone’s face time of year.
Jan 5th, 2012 by SQ

I’ve always wondered if it takes me longer to get past clichéd thinking than others, or less time. I was thinking about this because I read someone’s response to a Facebook post that went something like “I’m wearing shorts today. I don’t think I could handle the weather in [place x] anymore.”

Seriously? Do you honestly believe that? Moreover, do you think any of us believe it? You lived in a colder place your entire life and now, after a tiny percentage of time in this new ‘better place’ you suddenly have no ability to stand the cold temperatures the rest of your friends so stupidly suffer through, year after year (you know, those people with which you associate yourself despite obviously being of superior intellect because you think the only true measure of a person is to identify a warmer climate)?

When I read stuff like that I find myself getting irritated a little; it really seems like a blatant attempt at thumbing one’s nose at someone because they live somewhere colder, as if the writer has really done some amazing thing by simply moving to a warmer place. Let’s face it: it’s far easier to drive your car and your crap to Florida, for example, than it is to toil away in a lab and win a Nobel Prize for physics. So why the open allusion to some amazing accomplishment for which one feels some massive need to take credit?

Why doesn’t anyone ever call out that person and say, “Well whoop-de-do for you! You moved to a warmer place that quite possibly sucks in every other way, yet you think we’re all sitting here simultaneously jealous of you and wondering how we could just hope to be more like you.”

Isn’t it funny how we’re all just too nice to (or perhaps too passive) to respond to this person?

White Staples
Dec 8th, 2011 by SQ

I just took a quick gander at an old Apple iPhone Service Guide that was sent to me, along with a replacement phone, when I called with problems recently.  I never noticed before, but the staples on the white booklet are also white.

Who cares about details like this?  Apple, that’s who.  Despite receiving tons of multipage white documents in my life I don’t think I’ve ever seen a white staple in my life and I doubt I ever will again unless it’s on a document that comes from Apple.

HP, your generosity is incredible!
Aug 30th, 2011 by SQ

HP deal of the century

Thank goodness we all have 600 bucks lying around to spend on a pile of soon-to-be-dumped HP products within 24 hours of receiving a super deal like this one.  Thanks a bunch, guys!

Philadelphia taking the sports ‘titletown’ mantle from Boston?
Aug 30th, 2011 by SQ

Philly Flash Mob

With all the hype surrounding Philadelphia Eagles season, from the Dream Team conversation to Michael Vick’s new contract – and Cole Hamels returning to the Phillies for the stretch run – it got me thinking: is Philly about to take the torch of big-winning sports town from Boston?

Then a realized there’s no way the Sixers or Flyers both show up this year.  Guess you’ll have to wait a while longer, you awesome Philly fans, you.

How to Calculate Your Target Heart Rate
Aug 27th, 2011 by SQ

Here is the best article I’ve seen to accurately determine your Target Heart Rate – critical for anyone who’s active or getting active.

Groupon traffic drops by half while LivingSocial surges | ZDNet
Aug 27th, 2011 by SQ

Living Social

DC’s hometown boys make good.

My Experience with Jobs and Apple
Aug 25th, 2011 by SQ

Who carves an Apple symbol into their head when most kids would probably prefer a mohawk?
Steve Jobs and the Apple-haired boy

This kid.
I love this story.

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