Posts Tagged ‘faruk ates’

Podcast #23: We Know You Al

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Last night Dylan Wilbanks and I recorded a new Squirrel and Moose podcast. Here’s how Dylan described it:

Dylan and Kyle delve into Faruk Ates’ idea of giving non-anonymous commenters priority in comment threads. Also, the forthcoming Squoose meetup, an in-passing X Files reference, Dylan and Kyle compare age of their oldest e-mail addresses, and almost no web content.

For those of you who will be in Seattle on Monday,  April 1st (including you AEA attendees), if you’re into hanging with Dylan, myself, and a few other web geeks for a quality evening, I suggest you attend the first Squeetup (Squirrelcon? Squoosecon? Who knows?!)

If you use Facebook, you could even let us know you’re coming, which we’d appreciate.

Follow this link to listen to Episode #23.

Misdirection

Monday, September 24th, 2012
CSSquirrel #100: Misdirection

One word that comes to mind when I think of today’s guest star, Faruk Ateş, is passion. Anyone familiar with his Twitter account or blog might find, from time to time, passionate zeal about many things. Including Apple.

I’m not convinced a company sitting on dozens of billions of dollars of cash needs apologists. I’ve got it on good authority that they’re doing OK. But that doesn’t stop Apple fans (which today Faruk is representing) from swarming to the company’s defense at a whiff of criticism.

So I’ll clinch my butt cheeks tightly as I proceed to criticize.

The iPhone 5 is out. Along with it came iOS 6. And along with that came some interesting software changes. To put it mildly.

Let’s clear things out first. The iPhone 5 is a great, top of the line, modern phone. It’s an unbelievably light and thin piece of gossamer and wonder that represents just how crazy technology is these days. I’m not daring to imply otherwise.

But despite that, it’s also something of a catch-up phone. With the exception perhaps of its surprisingly lightweight and thin physique for a phone with its feature-set, the phone isn’t exactly sporting anything revolutionary. Yes, Tim Cook made it a point to tell us how awesome it is, really pumping it up. Which he should, because that’s his job. But he may have overstated how unprecedented the iPhone’s many new… for it… features are.

Does that make it a bad phone? Heavens, no. It’s a thoroughly impressive, gorgeous, modern phone. But it’s now part of a pack of modern phones with comparable feature sets.

Which is great. I like healthy competition.

What is less great is a few changes to the software that phone (and other iPhones, like my own 4S, that have been updated to iOS 6) have brought upon us.

Exhibit A: the new iOS Maps.

There’s probably a great reason they decided to replace Google Maps with their own self-made app. I’m thinking it involves buckets of cash and super-valuable user data. Also, it’s no surprise that the honeymoon days between those companies ended about twelve seconds after Android was introduced to the world.

But it’s shocking that Apple, who so carefully crafts experiences as mundane as removing their products from the packaging, dumped such a thoroughly substandard replacement with so many glaring errors upon us.

Dylan and I talk about this in detail during our inaugural Squirrel and Moose podcast, in case you want to hear more on that topic. But in short, it’s disappointing, and it’s not the Apple I’m used to seeing, and I’m glad that at least some of the loyal Apple followers are admitting that this is a misstep.

Because no matter how well you dress it up, a turd is a turd.

Despite how public and loud the dissatisfaction is with iOS Maps, iOS 6 presents us with something far worse that we should be paying more attention to.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the new App Store. Read that. Please. Take a gander. Heck, if you’ve got an iDevice of some sort, go look at it yourself. Use it. Try to find new stuff. Having problems? Yeah…

This just doesn’t make sense. It’s not helping the users, it’s not helping the third party developers. It’s just bad. If you want to find a new app, and you aren’t specifically looking for something by name, have fun finding anything that isn’t a best-seller.

I’m not sure how this helps Apple, or help the iPhone user experience.

Apple is a big, rich company with lots of smart, talented employees. These missteps, and there’s plenty this time around, are so uncharacteristic that it’s baffling. Especially at a time when the competition is so strong. I’ve had an iPhone for years now, but despite its sparse app landscape I’m beginning to think about picking up a Windows Phone the next time I upgrade. iOS 6 isn’t helping convince me otherwise.

The iPhone 5 is a great phone, an evolutionary device even if it’s not a revolutionary one. It’s sold millions, and will sell millions more. But iOS 6 is a step backwards, a devolution if you will. And if Apple doesn’t double down on fixing their blunder, they’re going to run the risk of simply being one of many great smartphone makers instead of being the great smart phone maker.

[Update: Here's a new post by Jared Spool talking about iOS6 Maps and the opportunity it provides us to show the value of (and need for) investing in quality content in websites and apps.]

The Year of Hyperbole

Friday, March 4th, 2011
CSSquirrel #82: The Year of Hyperbole

For a man who lives in the heavily hyped, increasingly referenced post-PC era, I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

The iPad is an amazing device. The quality of experience you have when using one borders on the luxurious. Although I personally feel it’s better suited for consumption than production, it’s clear that it can serve the latter task. (I’d prefer some better multitasking support in that regard, however.) Browsing the web with one is a dream (until you hit a flash site), and watching videos feels like a guilty pleasure. Having seen the announced changes for the iPad 2, I can only assume it will build on the experience.

I’ve been recently planning on getting some sort of non-desktop computer. Despite being a tech-heavy individual, the only portable computing device I own is an iPhone 3G, which is a slow and devoted servant that doesn’t quite meet my mobile computing needs. I’ve strongly considered laptops, but would prefer less bulk. Netbooks seem like the right size, but once I get there, I start to think form and function… and after my experiences with the iPads of my co-workers, I can’t help but come to the conclusion that a tablet would serve me far better, most of the time. For my budget, purchasing one is a non-trivial expenditure, but it’s increasingly one I’d like to make. And since the current crop of tablets largely don’t feel right to me other than the iPad, I’m thinking that my money will be going to Apple. (I admit to interest in HP’s TouchPad, but haven’t researched it enough to know if it’s going to be a worthwhile contender.)

Even though I’m increasingly sitting in the pews, however, I’m still not ready to drink the kool-aid with Apple’s more enthusiastic supporters.

The comic today, featuring Faruk Ateş as the stand-in for Apple lovers everywhere, pokes fun at the hyperbole surrounding the iPad 2 and hints at some of my reservations regarding our alleged post-PC era. To listen to some of Apple’s more outspoken fans speak, this device is ushering us into some sort of golden era where we’ll recline on couches like ancient Romans, being fed grapes as we laugh about the old days where typewriter-like devices called computers chained us to desks.

We’re not in a post-PC era, folks. We’re not entering one, either.

We’re not witnessing the first automobile in an era of horse-drawn buggies. We’re in an era of cars and trucks looking at the first motorcycle.

Why?

Because the iPad and all other tablets are personal computers. Period.

Although they vary in form from a desktop computer, so does a laptop or netbook. This is just a more extreme change in form, with the keyboard disappearing altogether. But if my mother owned an iPad instead of her desktop computer she’d be using it for the same thing: checking email, browsing the web, watching and sharing videos of cats and sending me messages on Facebook asking me if I’m wearing warm-enough clothes and eating properly.

How she’d interact with the computer would be novel for her, admittedly. And to an extent, where she could do it would also be somewhat novel, but as a person who’s used a latop frequently she’s not going to find the iPad used in too many spaces she already hasn’t had computer access.

Now, for me, if I owned an iPad, I’d use it for much of (but not all of) my home computer experiences. Watching videos. Making notes or casually browsing the web, figuring out where I last saw an actor on a program I’m watching on television. But it won’t replace my desktop altogether just like the motorcycle didn’t make the truck obsolete. Complex graphics-related tasks, multitasking the many programs I use in my daily job, or any situation where I need two monitors to do the same task all represent situations where the iPad wouldn’t be the idea computer to use.

These sort of use-cases are far from ordinary. Most people, like my mother, don’t need a desktop over a tablet. I agree 100% with this assertion. But I’m going to argue that the iPad and its ilk are evolutionary products, not revolutionary ones. What Apple did was take a preexisting form factor for the computer (albeit, a largely unused one) and make it hotter and more relevant. Apple changed the public’s perception on what is a desirable form for their personal computers, they did not create a different category of device that replaces a computer.

Let’s celebrate the iPad 2. Let’s celebrate tablets. But let’s also recognize them for what they are. Personal computers. In this regard I agree with John Gruber. I don’t know what revolutionary device will replace the computer; however I bet that we’ll fail to predict it, will initially fail to recognize its impact on society and application, and that it will completely change our world.

The iPad’s impact is big. But it isn’t the kind of impact I’ve seen people describing it as.

As a parting request: Apple and any other tablet manufacturers out there… please, please, please unchain the tablet from the desktop. Let me activate and sync and use my tablet without any need for a laptop or desktop computer. Only then will tablets be practical replacements for desktops in a home.

Comic Update: Define “Evil”

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

I’m not always comfortable with labeling technology-related positions as “evil” or “good” considering the difficulties of applying morality to anything in the 21st century without being told that it’s all subjective. However, considering the importance of the Internet and equal access to its content in today’s society, I think I’ll ask you all to excuse me when I say that net neutrality is a good thing.

Unless you’re a greedy content provider corporation interested in your bottom line. Then it might be a pain in your ass.

But since I’m not a greedy content provider, I’m going to go ahead and say that the recent joint proposal for an “open Internet” that Google and Verizon have made public is them knowingly abusing terminology, trying to falsely claim support for a neutrality their actions oppose, and are therefore being “evil”.

Today’s comic provides a desert-themed metaphor to my opinion on the topic, featuring Faruk Ateş and Manu Sporny, who stumble through the dunes with the Squirrel before encountering a familiar-seeming water merchant.

Let’s break down the timeline

  • The New York Times publishes an article claiming Google and Verizon are nearing a web tier deal, which Manu Sporny tweets about here, tying it into a threat to net neutrality.
  • Web citizens share their thoughts. Faruk’s pretty clear on his opinion here, which I think sums up how a lot of us feel.
  • Google and Verizon jointly announce a proposal for the “open Internet”… sort of. An open Internet for those with wired connections.
  • Web citizens share their thoughts. This blog post by Jeff Sayre indicates some serious problems with it, specifically in their fifth and sixth elements of the proposal. In particular, they feel that “additional, differentiated online services” should be exempt, and explicitly are stating that net neutrality shouldn’t apply to the wireless Internet, but only the wired one. Other people, like Faruk, are more brief but share their thoughts clearly like he does here.

I’m aware there’s plenty of idiots on the Internet. But it’s absurd, and childish, to claim you’re not threatening net neutrality when you’re in fact doing that exact thing and actually expect us to buy into the lie. They can try to pretend that how you access your water matters, but the fact is that water is water, regardless of whether you’re drinking with a straw or a spoon.

The op-ed piece that Google and Verizon put in the Washington Post today is just more attempts at obfuscation, claiming without any effort at being convincing that somehow the wireless access to the Internet makes it somehow a different Internet that should be subject to unique rules (or, better yet for them, no rules.)

I’m willing to say that manipulating the public through intentional deception (aka lying), especially on an issue as important as net neutrality, is evil. And it’s clear that Google and Verizon are (badly) attempting to do this for a mutual financial gain.

Welcome to being evil, Google.