Friday, November 20, 2009

My Courageous Kids

I went to a church sponsored talent show that my daughter has been preparing weeks for. As I sat watching her sing in front of a couple of hundred people I was predictably filled with parental pride. As I think about it more I am even more deeply impressed with the courage it took for her to get up and perform on a stage. She did not get this from me. I have never and will never grace a stage in front of any amount of people. Here is the video of the performance. It was taken with my phone and the sound isn't the best. Lots of noise from people talking etc. But you can get the gist.

video

As I sat last night pondering Shelby's performance I was reminded of my other child and his decisions and efforts lately. His courage to leave home and live in a college dorm with a total stranger was nothing short of courageous as well. It's not an easy thing to do. I did it and remember how hard it was to leave home. He has also made the decision to serve a volunteer mission for our church and will be leaving for 2 years in Taiwan next March. Giving 2 years of your life in service is a courageous choice.
Today I am proud of and in awe of my 2 very courageous children.

Hallelujah - Priceless!

Found this on my neighbors Facebook post today.
Lovin it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kewl Klok

Check this Digital clock out! Very clever!

UP-Lifting

Here is a short "up" lifting inspirational message. Not a lot of meat or depth but very very good reminders in a clever way. I enjoyed it I hope you do to.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Premature Decoration


Time for another "Rant O the Week". The last couple of weeks I have seen many of my neighbors out hanging Christmas lights and decorations on their house. Makes sense, it's only a couple of weeks till Thanksgiving, the holidays are fast approaching. However. Let me say that a little stronger. HOWEVER. These same neighbors (some, not all) have turned their lights on at night. WHAT THE HELL??? It's not even Thanksgiving yet. Isn't 5 weeks of lights enough to celebrate the holidays? You know, turn your lights on the night after Thanksgiving and off the night after New Years Day. These decorations do not in any way represent Thanksgiving. If they did I would say, "Oh look, how nice, someone has decorated their house to celebrate Thanksgiving!" That would be cool and would be OK with me. But 2 months of Christmas lights is not OK. This drives me crazy. I think these "premature decorators" should be punished. I say we gather them all up and dress them up in Pilgrim clothing and make them walk around the neighborhood singing "I killed Thanksgiving".

Sad state of Microsoft

I don't know if this was a corporate directive or just the employees at the Mission Viejo Microsoft Retail store just trying to spice thing up a bit.



Whatever the case it is totally lame. If this is a corporate retail directive I wouldn't be surprised. What depths has Microsoft sunk to have to have their employees break out into a line dance to try and sell stuff. Maybe the Microsoft "Guru Bar" will start "dispensing" more than just technical advice. Now that could get interesting.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

iPhone App Store Review Process

I have a few things to say about the hubub about Apple's iPhone App store review process. There are a lot of software developers out there getting their panties in a twist over having to submit their work for review and acceptance before an App can be sold in Apple's app store. There was a high profile hissy fit just yesterday that prompted me to finally write about this. Joe Hewitt the programmer behind Facebook's iPhone app quit yesterday. See the story HERE. He says he has finally had enough of Apple's submission process and refuses to work on an iPhone app any longer. This is especially ironic that he is calling Apple out for being a "walled garden" when he works for the largest walled garden on earth. I'm not the first to make this connection. Jon Gruber on Daring Fireball links to a tweet by @counternotions that calls out this irony.
I don't claim to know all the ins and outs of the app review process. I have read a lot about it so I think I know some about it. I am not a developer nor do I have any personal experience with Apple's app review process. That being said with what I do "think" I know I am just getting angrier and angrier at those who are whining and now quitting over this.
There is one comment I can make that I have not seen anyone else make yet. It's possible that someone has said this and I will update this post if I find it or if someone sends it my way. I have personal experience working for Microsoft on Xbox games. I spent 6 years there starting a year before the first Xbox shipped. I happen to know intimately the process for getting a game published on the Xbox. It is essentially the same for Nintendo and their game units including the Wii and the DS and for Sony and their game units including the Playstation and the PSP. You cannot just develop a game and ship it to stores or sell it online for any one of these devices. There is an excruciating review process that takes weeks and months of time before your game is approved for sale and publishing on any one of these platforms. I have yet to see anything remarkably different between the app review process Apple has created and those of Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony. This is why I am so angry at these people that are so indignant and up in arms that they can't have complete freedom to create something and just throw it on the iPhone. There is precedence for this review process and it has been around since the very early days of video games. The console creators had to do this to protect their brand and their Intellectual property. They did it to try and make sure that the experience of using a Playstation or Xbox is an excellent one and does no harm to the hardware and their image etc. Oh, I just remembered one significant difference between the iPhone app review process and this video game example I have just given. When you as a developer submit a game for review to any one of these game console makers you pay THEM for the privilege of having your game reviewed. Yes, you read that right, the developer of the software pays money, several thousand dollars, to have their software approved for publishing. Apple does not charge for this service. There is a small fee to become a developer yes, but that is different in that you may never submit anything for review or you may submit a thousand apps for review. It is not a charge for the reviewing service. How much do you think it has cost Apple to do all the work to develop this app store and review what is now well over 100,000 application in the store? It has to be millions and millions of dollars.
Now, after saying all of this I can see that there have been issues even big issues with Apple's review process. They are fixing them. They are making changes to improve the process almost weekly. Going from zero to 100,000 applications in the short amount of time they have had is remarkable I think. No, it is not perfect and I can understand why some have been frustrated. I have no qualms with a lot of the frustrations people have had, they have had perfectly good gripes and a lot of them have been fixed. I have a problem with those that want the review process to essentially go away. They want complete freedom to be "creative" etc. Bullcrap. Apple is absolutely doing the right thing to protect the iPhone experience and to protect their contracts with the Cell service providers. AT&T has had enough trouble keeping up with the explosion of network usage the iPhone has created can you even imagine what would have happened if the App Store was a completely open garden? AT&T's network would have been destroyed along with their business. Apple should trust you? Hell no. Allegedly, even this Joe Hewitt guy has used some private frameworks in some of his code. Private frameworks that are forbidden to be used by developers in order to protect the device, the network and Apple's and AT&T's brand.
I hope Joe Hewitt and the others like him have fun developing apps for the other mobile platforms like Android, Blackberry and Palm's WebOS. They all aren't completely open either. They are going to run into some of the same issues they are complaining about with Apple. They will miss out on working on a platform that has revolutionized mobile computing. You cannot argue that Apple has done this. The numbers speak for themselves. The last thing I have to say to these whiners is, when you are working on building something great it will NEVER be easy. It is the easy road that had gotten us to where we were pre-iPhone. Your choices were WindowsMobile, Nokias Linux based Symbian and Blackberry. They were going nowhere really really slow, and even now with a clear leader showing them how it's done the rest are scrambling to change and emulate. Some are only now coming close to what Apple did 3 years ago. Personally, I cannot wait to see what year four of the iPhone revolution brings.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sunday Morning Drive

Here is a little video I took during a Sunday morning drive we took recently. The video doesn't do it justice, it was breathtakingly beautiful. This was taken on the Alpine Scenic Highway in Utah, looking back towards Mt. Timpanogos at about 8200 feet in elevation.
video

HP ad = Cool, HP= not so much

I found this directors cut of a unique HP ad. Very cool ad.
Too bad HP is decidedly uncool.

HP "Create Amazing" - Director's Cut from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

On 3D Movies

My rant for this week is about the preponderance of 3D movies coming out lately. First a little background. A couple of months ago I got a note from Delta airlines that my frequent flier miles were going to expire. I haven't been traveling at all for work the last few years so my miles have gone stagnant. They offered me some free magazine subscriptions to use up my miles. Kinda cool of them to do that actually. Although, the list of possible subscriptions was not very long. I was determined to use up every last mile so I subscribed to Variety. It is a trade rag for the entertainment industry. I have really enjoyed reading this every week. It comes with a lot more detail about movies and TV etc. than I ever got in the occasional article on MSNBC.com.

So, about the time I subscribed to Variety I had been noticing that there were a lot of movies being released that were including a 3D format. Like way more than usual. There was some kind of trend going on. Then I started reading in Variety why this was happening. To put it in a nutshell it is about money. $$$. Surprised? Yeah, me too ;) To the press, people like Jeffrey Katzenberg and other big name directors and Hollywood wonks were talking up how 3D is the future and how the technology is so much better than it ever has been. Yada yada yada. The only reason there are so many 3D movies being released is because they can charge you 30-50% more per ticket for the movie. More money. In their pockets. That is "all" it is about. Don't let the psychobabble about technology and 3D storytelling fool you. You still have to wear the uncomfortable cheapo glasses. It is a less than ideal experience for watching a movie. I'm going to go out on a limb and claim that 3D is not the future of movies. There will NOT be a day any decade soon where most of the movies released are 3D. Eventually the movie going public will tire of the novelty of this latest run of 3D movies and will stop paying the extra money. The studios will lose their shorts on the extra production costs and will stop making them. There will still be the occasional 3D release but it will go back to topics that make sense for a 3D treatment. Like a Halloween blood fest or an occasional animated release.

The reason I am upset about this latest trend is that they are using the guise of technology and creative storytelling to trick us into paying more for a movie ticket. What these people should be doing is focusing on developing good stories. That's what we really want. That is what I really want!!! I see a LOT of movies. Any given Friday or Saturday if you can't find me go to the local Cineplex and shout my name. That's where I'll be. Most of the movies coming out these days are total and utter crap. I must be stupid to keep going in hopes that somehow something good will show up.
So, Mr. Katzenberg and your 3D loving pals, give up the whole 3D thing! Put your efforts into quality content and you will make plenty of money. More people will go to the movies. More people will rent movies. More people will buy movies. You will be able to continue making movies. Keep up this 3D crap and people will vote with their wallets and their feet. Have you heard of the internet? If you're not careful your days could be numbered.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

iMac Genesis

If you're a fan of advertising and design like I am you might enjoy THIS article. It is about the genesis of the name iMac. For those of you who have forgotten your tech history the original iMac was the first major product that came out of Apple after Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997. This product saved the company. This article is about the naming of the product. It's fascinating.
Steve Jobs supposedly hated the name initially, and then,

"He rejected it twice but then it just appeared on the machine,” Segall says, laughing. “He never formally accepted it.”


My favorite part of this piece was:

Segall was still consulting for Apple until a couple of years ago when he started working for Dell.

“Dell and Apple: It’s night and day,” Segall says. “It’s a transactional world Dell lives in. It’s all about numbers. Everything they say about Apple making products for themselves is true. Apple — it’s about changing the world. For everyone else, it’s about the money.”


The rest as they say is history.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

19!

Number One Son had a birthday. Way to go KJ.
BTW, the decoration on the cake is the flag of Taiwan and "Happy Birthday" in Mandarin Chinese.
Sheng ri kuai le!

video

It's Apple Magic!

Those of you who know me know I am very decidedly a fan of Apple computer. Some would call me a "Mac fanboy" some would term it "Mactard". Whatever. Call me what you will, I define it as loving great design. Apple is known for this ability and is consistently great at great design. They don't always hit it out of the park and I will admit to that. I have had some of their products that were stinkers.
Today I'm talking about another home run Apple has hit way way out of the park. It's the new "Magic Mouse".

Apple hasn't always done this well with mice. I remember the God awful "puck mouse" that shipped with the first iMacs. Yikes, those were a big turd. I couldn't use one for more than a minute before I unplugged it and replaced it with another mouse. So, after that experience and my lukewarm feelings for the most recent Mighty Mouse I was skeptical when I heard about the Magic Mouse. The worlds first "touch" mouse. It sounded great and the videos on Apple's website looked fantastic but I wasn't sure it would work for me.
Well, I picked one up at the Apple store last week and I have been smiling ever since. Where have you been all my life? After using probably 2 dozen different mice in my computing life I have found nirvana. This is the mouse God uses on his Mac. Finally, everything I wanted in a mouse.
Here's a little detail about the mouse. It has a surprisingly low profile. I thought it might be too short to be comfortable but it is actually more comfortable than the taller mice I have used. I almost forget my hand is on a mouse and not just resting on the desk. It has a gentle click action for both right and left clicks. This should satisfy all you 2 button mouse freaks out there. It has a very comfortable smooth as glass surface. It's not actually glass but looks and feels as if it were. That's it. No buttons. No scroll wheel. This is where the multi-touch part comes in. The entire surface of the mouse is the touch surface and you swipe and drag your finger/s to scroll and move backwards and forwards. No need for a 7 button mouse any more. The scrolling even has a special feature called "Momentum scrolling." You flick a finger and it will send the screen flying in a fast scroll until it gradually slows down or you touch your finger to stop it. iPhone users will be familiar with this "rubber band" effect. It took me a little getting used to but I can't imagine not having it now. This is where I was skeptical. I was worried that if I rested my hand or fingers on the mouse that it would detect a gesture or something that wasn't intended. This has not happened to me. It feels and behaves as natural as I could possibly imagine. I now look at all the other mice out there and think "Model T" or "Duh." It just feels and performs that well. Why did no one figure this out before?
So, I am over the moon happy with this mouse and the thing that keeps me giggling, (literally, I giggle when I think this) I know that Apple is just going to make this thing better. More gestures etc.
Bottom line is this Apple device literally deserves it's name because it is magic!

Flipping Awesome!

Our new graphic designer here at work just showed me THIS totally cool site. Just bring the site up and it will search your installed fonts on your system and give you a side by side comparison of all of them. You can change the text that will display by clicking the text in the heading on the page. What an awesome idea! I will totally use this. Thanks to Stuart Robison at flippingtypical.com for this! It may not be a 'new' idea per se but it's the first time I've seen it. Bravo Stuart!