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Apple is being taken apart by Capitalism

I’m right, right of center that is. I love capitalism’s quirks. But I despise consumerism. That being said, Apple sucks!

I’ve used Apple products since 1980 and they stood for something. But I believe what made Apple great was precisely what Tim Cook has come to destroy…it’s passion for being different, just like its 1984 ad!

I started programming for Apple in 2009. I had programmed for Windows and I even got into Android and it just blew! Crappy IDE’s, multiple, unstable, buggy SDK’s galore, sluggish, unresponsive hardware to go with it.

Well I’m sad to say that’s what Apple is now in 2014. I’ve lived through 6 major versions of the IDE Xcode and 5 versions of their iOS. Not to mention the minor versions in between. All this time of course, I have needed a Mac to program for iOS. Throughout this time I’ve seen all three: iOS, Xcode and the hardware, literally go down the drain.

Who is to blame? Capitalism of course. Capitalism is great, a great broth for innovation and re-invention. But let’s simplify what happens with any new ideas in our capitalistic ‘free’ market nowadays.

1. Someone has a great idea. Jobs had one. Although it was technically Woz’s idea. Jobs idea was to market it to everyone.

2. To have that idea take off, you have to put some money into it. Takes money to make money, right?

3. Now the idea takes off. People say: “Hey, that’s a great product! Do you sell other stuff? Do you sell those in Europe? Will you have a new product next year? Man, your products are so good I’d buy anything from you!”

Sound like anything that crossed your mind after buying something from a good company? Be it computers or great coffee.

But let’s take those each in turn cause this is where things go awry. (1). You don’t sell other stuff. But now those very few consumers who made you $100,000 profit this year, want to buy something else from you. Let’s make a new product, we need money for that. So take those 100k and put them into a new product division. (2). You don’t sell anywhere else but from your garage. So we need to expand, so we need money for that. Oh and since we need to ship things now, we not only need more overhead but also more things to make our product last more, be it packaging for products or chemicals for food (oh yeah, your product is looking really nice now). (3). You hadn’t thought about a new product but now your customers asked for it. The lure of money is too strong.

Add to all this that you may take your company public to make money and grow. This makes other people have a say in your company. You might think taking a company public just brings in money, but it does something worse. It brings in pressure from shareholders to squeeze more out of every revenue dollar or even worse, spending cuts or re-engineering investments which basically take a wholesome product like Corn Flakes and adds carcinogenic preservatives; or a great burger into a pitifully sized cardboard filled meat pie; or a truly different iOS/OSX software into a bug-laden, unstable-multi-versioned beachballin nightmare!

Capitalism might be great in a free market. The problem is Adam never really defined ‘free’. The forces acting in the market today are as dark and sinister as any Sith or politician.

Tim Cook took over a great company and is riding it’s innovation wave. Unfortunately he is the perfect sequel to an original innovator like Jobs. The innovator set the wheels in motion and creates a truly unique product and possibly a few aggregate products around it. But then a calculating suit takes over and starts growing too fast, investing in non-value adding projects and divesting resources from wow-factor generating winners.

Yes, Apple is making but loads of money. But It’s not very innovative. And it will run out of steam eventually.
Sure, Cook may have gauged just how much momentum Apple has and could be waiting until he really needs umph. He might even get his calculations right. But it’s just not Apple anymore…it’s more like IBM! Looks like Apple’s 1984 was actually 30 years later ūüė¶IMG_4561.JPG

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Facebook Found my iPhone

Facebook Found My Lost iPhone

My mom was always asking me to help her out with her crappy phones. She always had trouble with emailing pictures, posting to Facebook, everyday phone configurations or even keeping her phone charged. She even decided to get an Android phone to be able to so all those things herself. This was even worst because then I had to actually learn how to use an Android phone in order to help her.

So I finally got her an iPhone 4 and she loved it. One day she tells me in a breaking voice:

“I lost the phone”

It hurt. Perhaps more than it should, after all, its just a phone, right? I’m an Apple fanboy so it meant a lot to me. But what’s so special about iPhones after all? Maybe my zeal for Apple stuff was after all, overrated.

I did what I could to recover it. I visited the last place she remembered having it and even offered $500 reward for it. You might think that’s overdoing it, but you’d be wrong. We live in a country where information is worth a lot more than a piece of hardware. When you lose your phone with contact information and access to your emails and other online resources, you are exposed to kidnappers, extortionists and such. And not being very techie, my mom hadn’t added a Passlock, much less configured FindmyiPhone on the device.

So I proceeded to change email, fb and AppleID passwords. I also blocked the SIM by reporting it stolen to the mobile carrier. I figured at least this way they wont have access to emails, the AppStore and more. But I was still worried that the thief had access to our family’s phone numbers, emails etc. I even decided to change my 9 year old phone number. But there was little else I could do. Oh well, it’s lost…get over it!

Two weeks later a strange post shows up on my moms fb wall. A girl posing for pictures in a known store in our city. The store name in the background of one of the pictures.

My sister calls me and tells me to look at my mom’s fb wall. She also told my mom who was having lunch with my wife. They recognized the store so my dad and my wife drove to the store and confronted the attendant. They asked her if she had seen an iPhone they’d lost a few days ago in that same store. She denied having seen it. So immediately my wife pops up facebook on another phone and showed her how she appeared in a picture with the store name in the background, wearing the same clothes she was wearing that day and with a timestamp of 5 minutes ago. The girl froze up! She was pale! She mumbled to the store guard to come out from the back. She finally admitted he had taken the picture with his phone. After negotiating with the guard who had apparently bought the stolen phone a few days back, we recovered the phone. It turns out he was a bodyguard who didn’t speak English and obviously had never used a phone like this and needless to say, was not the tech savvy. But he was a good soul after all since he returned the item.

Morality aside, what puzzled ME was, how come the picture had shown up on my mom’s facebook account if I had reset all passwords. I even contacted a friend who works at Facebook to ask him about it. After checking out the recovered iPhone, we noticed a Facebook icon with his name under the icon Instead of “Facebook”. It turns out he had created a Safari link on his springboard to his Facebook account. The native iOS Facebook app still had my mother’s account on it. Apparently he had been using his facebook account from the web browser. So when he took the pictures that day at the store, he must have unknowingly gone to the Photos app and posted the picture directly from Facebook, which used the native iOS app configured with my mother’s FB account.

As to why the app let him use my mom’s account to post if I had changed the account password, that’s another story. I thought it was a fb fluke which is why I originally contacted my friend at Facebook. It turns out my mother had 2 accounts. She had opened a second account in order to avoid some unwanted friends a while back. I had actually changed the password of her OLD account. Her new account password was still working and configured on the iPhone. Had he posted to his Facebook account via the web browser, we never would have seen the post.

After all is said and done, the iPhone’s ease of use proved crucial so that a person who didn’t speak the language and had never used such a sophisticated phone was able to post a picture to Facebook. And Facebook’s time stamp proved useful in determining the relevancy of the post.

We are thankful to both Apple and Facebook founders for their ingenuity and drive in the technology realm.


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What does Apple, an iDeathStar and an iSatellite have in common?

It’s a great time to be alive.

Apple’s Own Satellite Network, Space Insurance, A Fully Operational Death Star! What I would give to see what the next 10 years will bring.

It has been proposed that Apple needs to produce a more expensive iPhone (http://www.cultofmac.com/207383/why-apple-needs-a-really-expensive-iphone/). The idea behind this proposal is that Apple has made the iPhone SO mainstream that it is no longer a Quality-Differentiated product but rather a Volume product which makes profit based on Sales Volume rather than high margins.

It makes sense since Apple was a company which stood out based on its high quality Customer Service and High End products. Curiously, as its Founder and CEO took his company through his belief of “giving power to the masses”, he inadvertently made the company produce devices available to the general public. This made the iPhone mainstream as well as its iPad, products responsible for over 50% of its sales and profits! At the same time this made their OS more popular and as such, more vulnerable to hackers. Soon, the famous idea that macs don’t need antivirus become nothing more than a fleeting wish.

Finally it’s popularity may have driven quality control down the drain as devices begin to falter (home buttons, power buttons, LCDs) and its software was not left behind (Apple Maps). Now the company is passed on to a CEO who has always focused on Operational efficiency, as that is what he was entrusted to do in the first place. However the pressure to innovate is higher than ever as more competitors enter the marketplace.

As demand for Apple products surges, both QC pressures as well as Innovation pressures mount over a CEO who so far has not had much to show for either. Thus the theory that Apple needs to go back to producing a high end, top quality product which focuses it back on the road of fewer, richer customers instead of massive amounts of windows-like users.

Apple needs a new product to drive its product offering into a niche market again. Yes a new product such as a more expensive iPhone could do the trick. A shiny new service however could also work wonders. How about a space project? Some have proposed a Death Star (http://mashable.com/2012/12/13/death-star-petition/). Why not? iDeathStar? Or iSatellite?

The US has the best space program in the world, at least right now. The Chinese, Europeans and Russians are biting their heels. Its something the US has excelled at and other have failed so far. It’s engrained in the American way of thinking, doubling and tripling up on everything. It has led the US this far and now they are losing everything (jobs, money, ideas) to their competitors oversees. As suggested in this article (https://quique456.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/usa-nasa-mars-exploration-global-recession/), the US is in the unique position to offer their greatest service to humanity so far. The iDeathStar would be a perfect coalition of ideas. Or what about Apple’s own iSatellite?

Apple has a load of cash and some of the best technological engineers on the planet. The US has the unique knowledge. What better combination to save the US economy, save the planet and save the human race! ūüôā

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USA, NASA, Mars Exploration & Global Recession

Did anyone read this?

http://mashable.com/2012/12/13/death-star-petition/

;

The US is in dire straits indeed. Once the beacon of innovation, freedom to create and quality standards creator, the USA has now taken a backseat…all the way to the back, behind developing countries who mass produce anything the USA produces faster, cheaper and without so many obstacles.

CHEAPER

The USA spent the last decade automating every one of there production processes, not as a means of cutting costs so much as a means of improving quality control of their final products. Along came China with a huge starving workforce and put the US machines out of business.

FASTER

US employees are highly productive but quality controls and export politics slow down the produce-export machinery. The USA is a country of honest people and hard workers that respect the detail to their jobs for the sake of respect, not because of the laws. Developing countries have a workforce which has to be controlled in order to produce a high quality product. The end result is an economy that produces faster and has fewer steps towards exporting than does the USA.

OBSTACLES

The US has so many agencies checking imports and exports it really slows the economy down. As efficient as checkpoints are, there are always delays. Think about how many compliances an exporter or importer in the USA must meet just for the Dept of Homeland Security, not to mention FDA, Customs, BATF etc. Not to mention the human rights groups.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Long gone are the days when the USA was the factory of the world. A service economy is fine, but it won’t solve unemployment issues, internal debt issues, deficit issues, medicare issues etc. There is a large population in the USA who cannot solve their labor, credit, health and education problems unless the economy provides for them in someway.

If you consider 100% of the workforce stretched from one side, the white collar workers to the other side, the blue collar workers; the USA has lost a great deal of jobs right in the middle of that spectrum. Now they have immigrants taking up the bottom, blue collar part of the spectrum and a very small amount of people in the upper tier. So the only jobs left are the extremely white collar, service oriented jobs, most of which are stuck in R&D and the USA has no way of monetizing it. Kinda sounds like Facebook. Facebook has 500 million clients not buying anything at the moment. If they could just figure out how to sell something, anything! The USA is stuck in pretty much the same place. NASA’s Mars program is the perfect example of this. Its amazing! Who the heck would have thought we’d be planet hopping by now? No other country even comes close to this.

The amount of knowledge and not just knowledge:

(how to send a rover to mars)

but the mental-rational pre-emptive problem solving expertise engrained in NASA personnel:

(how to send a rover to mars and do it in such a way that we document every step along the way, recording parameters for just about anything, with double and triple backups in most cases, considering all the options and then some, paving the way to future missions while executing the current mission, overshooting goals and expectations in every way and all of this in the greatest of public scrutiny which directly impacts their operating budget every 4 years!)

OMG, if only the US government was 1/100th that efficient.

WHAT CAN THE USA DO?

Well, that’s just it! The USA is sitting on a pot of gold. They just don’t know how or who to sell it to! How do you put a value on the space knowledge the USA has gained over the past 40 or so years!?

Could you sell insurance? World Space Knowledge Insurance which gives the countries the right to access ELE protection when the time comes?

Could you sell raw materials? Space mining will be quite profitable since the US was the first to get to Mars and the Moon and thus will probably be the first to get to other planets and moons, they can claim them as their own…just like ancient super powers claimed colonies and land all over the Earth way back when.

Could you sell the knowledge of how to get to a planet with the desired characteristics and how to populate that planet in the name of your own country should you desire to do so?

I dunno what the answer is, but whatever it is, the USA is sitting on something huge. I hope they stop bickering with the Chinese over cheap computer chips and patent infringements and set their sights much higher, high into the sky!

How do you think the USA could monetize their space knowledge?


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USA – NASA – MARS – GLOBAL RECESSION

Did anyone read this?

http://mashable.com/2012/12/13/death-star-petition/

;

The US is in dire straits indeed. Once the beacon of innovation, freedom to create and quality standards creator, the USA has now taken a backseat…all the way to the back, behind developing countries who mass produce anything the USA produces faster, cheaper and without so many obstacles.

CHEAPER

The USA spent the last decade automating every one of there production processes, not as a means of cutting costs so much as a means of improving quality control of their final products. Along came China with a huge starving workforce and put the US machines out of business.

FASTER

US employees are highly productive but quality controls and export politics slow down the produce-export machinery. The USA is a country of honest people and hard workers that respect the detail to their jobs for the sake of respect, not because of the laws. Developing countries have a workforce which has to be controlled in order to produce a high quality product. The end result is an economy that produces faster and has fewer steps towards exporting than does the USA.

OBSTACLES

The US has so many agencies checking imports and exports it really slows the economy down. As efficient as checkpoints are, there are always delays. Think about how many compliances an exporter or importer in the USA must meet just for the Dept of Homeland Security, not to mention FDA, Customs, BATF etc. Not to mention the human rights groups.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Long gone are the days when the USA was the factory of the world. A service economy is fine, but it won’t solve unemployment issues, internal debt issues, deficit issues, medicare issues etc. There is a large population in the USA who cannot solve their labor, credit, health and education problems unless the economy provides for them in someway.

If you consider 100% of the workforce stretched from one side, the white collar workers to the other side, the blue collar workers; the USA has lost a great deal of jobs right in the middle of that spectrum. Now they have immigrants taking up the bottom, blue collar part of the spectrum and a very small amount of people in the upper tier. So the only jobs left are the extremely white collar, service oriented jobs, most of which are stuck in R&D and the USA has no way of monetizing it. Kinda sounds like Facebook. Facebook has 500 million clients not buying anything at the moment. If they could just figure out how to sell something, anything! The USA is stuck in pretty much the same place. NASA’s Mars program is the perfect example of this. Its amazing! Who the heck would have thought we’d be planet hopping by now? No other country even comes close to this.

The amount of knowledge and not just knowledge:

(how to send a rover to mars)

but the mental-rational pre-emptive problem solving expertise engrained in NASA personnel:

(how to send a rover to mars and do it in such a way that we document every step along the way, recording parameters for just about anything, with double and triple backups in most cases, considering all the options and then some, paving the way to future missions while executing the current mission, overshooting goals and expectations in every way and all of this in the greatest of public scrutiny which directly impacts their operating budget every 4 years!)

OMG, if only the US government was 1/100th that efficient.

WHAT CAN THE USA DO?

Well, that’s just it! The USA is sitting on a pot of gold. They just don’t know how or who to sell it to! How do you put a value on the space knowledge the USA has gained over the past 40 or so years!?

Could you sell insurance? World Space Knowledge Insurance which gives the countries the right to access ELE protection when the time comes?

Could you sell raw materials? Space mining will be quite profitable since the US was the first to get to Mars and the Moon and thus will probably be the first to get to other planets and moons, they can claim them as their own…just like ancient super powers claimed colonies and land all over the Earth way back when.

Could you sell the knowledge of how to get to a planet with the desired characteristics and how to populate that planet in the name of your own country should you desire to do so?

I dunno what the answer is, but whatever it is, the USA is sitting on something huge. I hope they stop bickering with the Chinese over cheap computer chips and patent infringements and set their sights much higher, high into the sky!

How do you think the USA could monetize their space knowledge?


3 Comments

Apple Revolutionized the Airline Industry?

A stewardess with an iPhone 4, which sports one of the best cameras available on mobile phones, saved a flight from being delayed and my mother was proud to share the story.

Having worked for AA for 25 years, my mother has seen her share of delayed flights. She knows the lengthy and complicated procedures involved in speeding a flights safe departure and the consequences of a delayed flight for the passengers, employees and the airline. A delayed flight also wreaks havoc on other flights, airlines, passengers and even the airport since its passengers must be moved to other flights, planes re-scheduled and luggage re-routed.

It turns out the tire on an American Airlines flight from San Pedro Sula, Honduras to Miami, Florida was found to be less than perfect for a new flight completion. This meant the flight would be delayed until a replacement tire was found. Tires wear out as any other part on an airplane does and the physical appearance can tell a lot about a tire’s remaining flights. But in order to evaluate the tire, the technicians must actually inspect it, right?

There is more than one way to skin a cat! That is exactly what this one stewardess thought when she quickly turned to her iPhone and snapped a couple of pictures of said tire! Te pictures the local station had been sending to the technicians were of such low quality that it was impossible to determine with any level of certainty whether the tire was indeed too worn out to complete one last trip. The iPhone’s picture quality however, was just what the technicians needed to inspect it and clear it once again!

And so the delay was averted, reschedules were unnecessary, no reroutings to calculate and no broken family promises to regret!

And Apple didn’t even need an app for that :). Kudos Steve!


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Android vs iOS

A friend of mine recently send me an email with this link from extremetech.com listing the 5 Android features that leave iOS in the dust.  Here are my thoughts in response:

1. ¬†Homescreen/widgets. ¬†These drain battery life, which is why iOS doesnt have them. ¬†I’ve been learning to code in Android and their OS can run as many background services as apps that contain them. ¬†This drains battery and consumes bandwidth. iOS’s solution is APNS or push notifications which a server running on the internet can send to the device instead. ¬†Its not as fancy as Android, I agree, but ill trade it for battery life anyday. ¬†When hardware manufact can come up with a battery that will last for days, Apple’s iOS is a few code snippets away from implementing all those features. ¬†Im sure its probably coded already. ¬†Apple is a very business as well as tech savvy company. ¬†They know how to release features and products when the market is ready. ¬†Take their strategy on iPhones. ¬†They could have left Android in the dust a few years ago but everyone wondered why Apple would limit their iPhone to ATT only. ¬†They know the advantage the first comer has and how long they can make that lead last without it hurting their business. ¬†Which is why Apple is so profitable aside from being so cool and market leader etc…

2. ¬†Flash. ¬†Please, as they say in my country, “y vuelve la mula al trigo”. ¬†Loosely translated it, it means “not that again!”. ¬†I have enough user experience to know that Flash is buggy and causes problems. ¬†You dont need to know anything about coding to know this is so. ¬†Just load a page that is loaded with Flash ads and see how slow i loads, slow it scrolls and often skips. ¬†Flash is nice, but its not that important to the internet. ¬†Moreover, with HTML5 coming round the bend, its clear this “nice feature” & “advantage” will be shortlived at most.
3. ¬†Customizability. ¬†This is true, Android is more customizable. ¬†Apple’s response, it listens to customers and eventually puts things into play, as it has with a lot of features like the flash, twitter integration, notifications and so many others. ¬†Its not as quick to market with these features but they make it into the iOS soon enough to make users think, “Hey, i thought of that!”. ¬†The other side of the coin to me is much more worth it; the OS stability. ¬†I have been coding for Android for about a month and iOS for about 3 years. ¬†Anyone who has done so can easily tell you the tools and debugging and overall stability of iOS is far better than that of Android. ¬†This results in better quality products. ¬†Id rather have a stable mobile device OS than one where programmers can control your device in many ways you may not even know about and have no supervision over what programmer’s apps can do, see, send, delete, create and poke around in your mobile device.
4. ¬†Voice Control. ¬†I have been playing around with Dragon for a while and other apps that give voice control functionality to iOS, including Google’s own Google Mobile App. ¬†Plus with Apple’s move into Nuance, thats just like saying…”I just got the latest Buck Rogers action figure”….”Great, Im gettin mine tomorrow!”.
5.  Google Accnt Integration.  Alas, an actual advantage.  The afore mentioned were comparative advantages.  They dont really represent a core, solid, durable advantage.  Anyone in business will tell you, they are simply features that can be copied and implemented.  This on the other hand is indeed a real advantage because its not easily reproduced.  I love gmail and so does the rest of the world so unless Apple came up with a back-end solution for this in their new Cupertino Spaceship campus, but it would be better to simply buy Google out :).  (Im kidding).  But it would be better to just play nice with Google on that.
In conclusion, far from leaving iOS in the dust with 4 features, the one real advantage Google Android has over iOS is their integration with their own back-end services. ¬†Nothing a little money and an alliance can’t remedy. ¬†Just ask the motown 4 [the 4 major record labels Apple signed up for their iTunes Cloud Service]. ūüôā