Archive for the ‘innovation’ Category

Google whiteboards its way to the future

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Google DrawingsIf you ever need to create a semi-decent flowchart (woo hoo!) or perform a similar white-boarding exercise with your colleagues, Google Docs now allows you to do this a bit more seamlessly with Google Drawings.

The nice thing about this is that you can chat with everyone you’ve invited to view the Drawing. That being said, the phone (or video chat) seems to be a more practical form of communication when discussing images.

In addition, Google revamped the entire Google Docs foundation, “all built with an even greater focus on speed and collaboration.” What this means is document collaborators should see edits in real-time now, which is a huge advancement for the suite.

As Google Docs relentlessly marches deeper into Microsoft Office’s territory, the smart people in Redmond seem more and more oddly out of step with their static desktop apps.

If Google were to take the same approach to data creation and syncing as, say, Evernote (offline and online), the game would already be over.

iPad, The Day After

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Now that the dust has settled after Apple’s big “smartbook” iPad show-and-tell, I’ve had a little time to reflect on what we all saw and read the praise or scorn across a “few” sites.

My incorrect assumptions

I was expecting an inwardly facing camera, but I also assumed the iPad would run iChat (which it doesn’t, just like the iPod touch and iPhone).  Since there is no iChat, the iPad really isn’t first and foremost a communication device (iPhone) or horsepower machine (MacBook), so the camera isn’t really necessary. There is a “camera adapter” to plug in whatever camera you already have, and this likely syncs to iPhoto on your regular computer.  I would expect a camera to be added in future iterations, however, but only if Apple ever makes the iPhone OS capable of multi-tasking (which it absolutely must do).

My justifications for getting one… at least iteration 2

The iPad does intrigue me to use one on-the-go for movies, books, web, apps and some gaming.  This could be a very cool way to play chess with someone, or even larger versions of good iPhone games today (e.g. Fieldrunners, Spore, etc.) but a real directional pad will always destroy this iPad/iPod/iPhone consortium in certain genres.  Regardless, Sony and Nintendo’s current lineup feels quite dated.

Additionally, lugging a 5-pound MacBook onto a plane isn’t ideal, especially when the dude sitting in front of me eases his seat all the way back to where I can’t even open my laptop properly, let alone type.  I can see myself getting one of these, and slipping it into a larger real-wood bamboo case some day.

I currently see the iPad as a very “nice to have” device, where watching a movie or reading an eBbook or getting online is made a lot less cumbersome in many situations, and actually enhances the experience in many others.  I think all iPod/iPhone users were collectively, if not subconsciously, blown away the first time they went from landscape mode to portrait in mobile-Safari, double-tapped to zoom in, and read their favorite site (sans Flash, which was a hit, but which also meant sans most annoying ads).

Which other consumers might also want one of these?

I helped my Dad buy a $600 Dell laptop over the holidays.  He’s 70 years old and basically just wants to be online.  He doesn’t use his DVD player or his webcam, and barely uses the laptop’s processor.  The only time the computer seems to really work is when the machine boots.  Frankly, the iPad would have been a much better experience for him than Windows 7.  He doesn’t need to worry about how to use anything; press 1 button to launch Safari, adjust the font size, read the paper, or his Hotmail, or a book, etc.

I think, because of the relatively low price point, this could seriously disrupt the eBook and Netbook markets – over time. Sony, Amazon, HP, Dell – everyone is in the game.  However, Apple has the entire integrated package across multiple media, not just the hardware solution nor the single application.

“Don’t forget your history nor your destiny” – Bob Marley

We won’t fully recognize the industry impact until a few years from now.  The key to iPad’s success in this new market is its complete and utter integration into the entire Apple suite of products.  Google is scratching the surface of this right now with Android, and it is baffling how absent Microsoft is, and virtually irrelevant.

When you first saw the original iPod back in 2001, where you completely blown away?  Did you consider its potential long-term impact back then?  I didn’t.  It looked a lot like an old Gameboy, and “only played music.”  There were a lot of other MP3 players on the market when it was first released.  But the iPod was 10X easier to use and it stood out design-wise from the pack.  It made buying MP3s less painful via iTunes, and it ultimately single-handedly changed the music industry that was flailing (in vain) at dealing with illegal downloading.  Illegal downloading still goes on to this day, but Apple created a new model for everyone to embrace, and ultimately earn serious revenues.  Over time, the iPod also became a status symbol; it was cool to have white earbuds leading from your ears to your pocket.

250 Million iPods later …

Obligatory pining

Oh! For a 3rd-party Pen Device to let me digitally paint on the tablet in fine detail (like Wacom’s Cintiq 12WX), and actually store the files somewhere… or maybe I can?  If I can run iWork on the iPad, where do the files go?  Is there a rudimentary file system that is viewable with the naked eye, unlike current iPods/iPhones?  Or is iWork going to the cloud/MobileMe ether?

Yes, I want multi-tasking with 3rd-party apps.  I want to store and save files (even if it is in the cloud).  These all strike me as iteration 2 offerings, and is why, for now, I’m going to wait.  But I’m excited about where this is going, and how computing is evolving.

Flip Video Mino Unboxing

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Received June 5, 2008. Sort of a strip tease, really, since you can’t touch it.

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image 2, flip video mino


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8, flip video mino unboxing

Color palette generator, on acid

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

There are quite a few Web apps out there that generate color palettes from photos. Yes, I know.

But I ran across one today that not only works well, but actually looks fairly slick, too. I’m talking, of course, about Color Hunter. Now, if you really want to have some fun, go hunt down the image locations from one of your favorite artists. I chose the brilliant Jeff Soto, from So-Cal.

The nice thing about this update of Color Hunter is that you can now upload images and not simply have to rely on pointing to an image that is online somewhere.

Here’s how my experiment turned out after uploading a JPG into the app:

Color Hunter test

Now, obviously this is pretty cool and fairly handy if you’re feeling a little lazy. And, it is obviously very Web centric as you can see the HEX values under each swatch, but that’s OK.

What I’d like to see, however, are more swatches. Or, possibly some sort of input that would allow for more custom swatch amounts. You’ll notice that there are no blues represented in my test (other than the really dark blue gray). But, it is still pretty cool nevertheless.

Update: Video of young innovators at Demo fall 2007

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Here is a video of the young men who have developed technology to essentially “read your thoughts”.

Prepare to be amazed.