What’s In a Name

ipad-3You know, I think I’ve had enough of the silliness of Apple’s naming if the iPad. Being unpredictable sounds great, but not giving a product a differentiating name is simply stupid.

“The new iPad”. Great, next year we can refer to it as “last year’s new iPad”. Really Apple? That’s as brilliant as Microsoft’s year-naming of software. It was dumb in 1995, and it’s not any better now.

What the hell was wrong with “iPad 3” or “iPad HD”, even though its screen is a light year beyond HD. What about a name that really differentiates it from the iPad 2? Where was the originality that we expect from you? Guess it died with Steve. Why should we get excited about a product that can’t describe itself in its name?

Guess we’ll find out next year when you deliver “the new iPad 2013”.


Windows 7 Slates (Tablets) Will Suck

I really hate saying that, but it’ll be true. Why? Because we’ll all compare them to the iPad.

The real problem will be two fold: Microsoft and Windows 7.

Yes, Win7 is a great improvement over Vista, is too big.  Windows is too many things to too many people, used for too many purposes.  It’s exactly what it needs to be though – a general purpose operating system.  That is the very thing that makes it inappropriate for tablets, er excuse me, “slates”.

Secondly, Microsoft is interested in catching up, but they’re going to hamper the non-iPad tablet efforts in the market simply by being themselves.  For the corporate customers, it’ll be another hardware choice that they get to support – !$@&! yay!

The reality is that a true tablet needs to do the basics quickly, easily, and reliably.  That’s messaging, browsing, viewing, reading, and probably listening.  Anything more than that is overburdening the system.

While we can debate whether the iPad does this well or not, the point I’m making is that Microsoft and their partners can’t compete in this market if Windows and/or Microsoft specifications are in the mix.

By the way, Microsoft has been down the tablet/slate road twice before. Windows Tablet PC was first and Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) was the other one, like the picture above of an Asus R2H Ultra Mobile PC from November 2006.

Photo credit: Josh Bancroft

Why IT Gets It Wrong

= // = by ant.photos I was amazed a couple weeks ago when a younger coworker engaged in a conversation (um… debate) about whether Facebook was a viable business tool.  Now, somehow I got baited into this discussion, probably on a quest to figure out why a Gen Y type would think Facebook didn’t belong behind the firewall.

During the conversation, I started to identify what was really going on.  The problem wasn’t the tool (I knew this going into it), but again was perception.  You see, the corporate information technology industry has done the same thing as every other professional industry.  They’ve put blinders on and have had years and healthy budgets to define what “professional” conduct looks like.  Moreover, because they can point to years of supposed successes in fighting (gasp!) antivirus, malware, and (more realistically) external facing security vulnerabilities, they have the gravitas within organizations to make (dictate) business policies in the boardroom.

Through all of this, the real needs of the business get molded and formed into highly structured processes that can more easily be measured or manipulated.  Of course, I have to admit these methods allow businesses to conform to compliance and regulatory requirements more easily – an unfortunate reality.  Because everything is so structured, the perception is that everything in business needs to be as organized and controlled.  The problem is that communication is not the same thing as information.

Communication needs to happen quickly, getting to the right person at the right time to make a difference.  This need is impeded by too much structure, too much process.   You can see that already on the marketing & PR side of social media.  The traditional release isn’t as powerful as it once was (though it hasn’t been negated either) because of the nimble adaptability of online sharing tools.  This is one of many places where IT simply gets it wrong.  The idea that communication and the sharing of ideas needs to be managed is a sure sign that the organization is fighting itself.

So what was the outcome of that conversation with my coworker?  He still thinks Facebook isn’t a viable business tool.  What it really boils down to is that he didn’t like the idea that his “professional” life could so easily collide with his “personal” life, that people could actually discover he had fun in college.  Heck, who didn’t?

Photo courtesy ant.photos

Gen Y – The Return of Values?

I sometimes refer to myself as a closet sociologist, mostly because I find myself looking at some of the outcomes of social media.  Sure, I’ve always got “SocMed” on the brain!  The past many years, I’ve been observing a few side affects of the evolution of the social web.  One of them appears to be the reemergence of family values.

What kind of took me by surprise, though it shouldn’t have, was that this rediscovery of family and simpler things is mostly from Gen Y.  Interestingly, the technologies that fueled web 2.0 and the social web have allowed us to finally start using computers for solving real societal needs – like those of connecting with family, friends and peers.  Allowing us to share what we’re doing and how we’re feeling and what we think.  Back in the “old days” that required a phone call or a visit.  Think about the power of 140 characters in Twitter and how it can replace a 20 min. long distance phone call from one of those stationary wired telephones we used to have.

The ability of the social web to not only answer that question, but many, many others is mind-blowing to say the least.  That’s the tip of the iceberg too as we continue to have many brilliant combinations of ideas (mashups!) come to the market to offer solutions we only dreamed of years ago – or maybe saw it on The Jetsons.

What I really find facinating though is the return to the simpler pleasures of family and friends by the latest generation.  As they’ve emerged from college and started taking on the daunting role of becoming the largest portion of the workforce in the U.S. today, they’ve been able to show a lot of class in the process.  Sure there are the gamer/slackers among them (and Gen X too!), and some fascinating entrepreneurs as well.  Every generation has them.

However, its these savvy, digital natives that focus on family, integrity and professionalism that impress me the most.  We’ve been told for decades how the Boomers had changed the world, and ushered in a new age of enlightenment.  How the generation before them – the Greatest Generation, as it were, tackled so many difficult issues and problems.  I suggest that the world that Gen Y is entering adulthood is no less troubled and stressed – in many ways we never thought possible even 20 years ago.

The interesting thing is how this youngest generation, has the potential to change the world in ways the Boomers never could, and doing it from a position of integrity, focusing on family, and being transparent.  Its who they are – as natural to them as the iPhone in their hand.

Photo Credit: Maureen Shaughnessy

Is Plain Text The Best?

Some say that plain text is best. Who am I to complain? When something as simple as 140 characters is enough on Twitter to convey a message, or 160 characters for a mobile text message? We can communicate a lot with very little – and a very simple medium: plain text.


So why are there so many contrasting opinions about using rich text in communications? Especially email?

Email has become one of those communications tools that seem to raise the ire of the “plain text is best” crowd. Some folks just don’t appreciate the HTML emails or fancy formatting others put into their signatures. I’ve seen some folks get downright angry towards these emails, and you can always tell who these folks are as their replies always come back in plain text.

While I won’t pretend to understand the controversy, I do think the plain text crowd is more “no nonsense” and just likes to get about their business. Whereas the rich text crowd probably tends to be heavier on the creative side, and likes to communicate with a bit of aesthetic value.

As we move further into the future, of course, rich text becomes easier to integrate into more communications mediums. The utility of plain text will remain though, as the lowest common denominator for any publishing platform as their job is to simply distribute information – and all that really needs is text.

Pin It on Pinterest