Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

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Steven Paul Jobs, 1955-2011

October 5, 2011

The “insanely great” Steve Jobs finally lost his battle with cancer. I figure what went on today was something like this:

St. Peter: Hello, Steve.

Steve: Hi! It sure is great to get out of that bag!*

St. Peter (checking Steve’s name off on his iPad): Go on in, man. We’ve been waiting for you. We’re glad you’re here!

*If you don’t get the reference, check just after 3:00 on this:

We’re sure glad you were with us, Steve, and that you brought us so much with your unique talents. I’m writing this on my three-month-old MacBook Pro. My life would not have been anything close to what it is without the vision and passion of Steve Jobs. There are millions of people like me out there now. We should all strive to bring even a little of that kind of vision and passion to bear in our own lives.

I’m sorry to see you go, Steve, but I know that you were in great pain. Now that pain is gone. May God be with you, and may He comfort your family in this time of their loss.

 

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Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple, Inc.

August 25, 2011

Steve Jobs promo photo from the first issue of MacWorld when the Macintosh was introduced in 1984

Steve Jobs, who has revitalized Apple over the last 14 years and made it one of the most successful and most talked-about companies in America, has stepped down from the CEO position. He has been ill for some time, originally from pancreatic cancer. He received a liver transplant and has been treated in a variety of ways but he and Apple have been very close-mouthed about his health situation.

Tim Cook, COO, has been moved up to the CEO position. He had been running Apple since January when Steve took a leave of absence. Steve remains as Chairman of Apple’s board. He recommended Cook for the position in his resignation letter. This ensures a smooth transition and there should be little disruption in the day-to-day operation of Apple.

But day-to-day wasn’t Steve’s bit. Steve is the vision guy. Somehow – and nobody, probably Steve included, understands how – he has an incredible ability to pick winners. Apparently he pushed and pushed the design teams for the iPhone and iPad until he was satisfied…apparently he pushed them far more than other design teams at other companies do, as evidenced by their competing products. Historically he has been very demanding of his people, and very opinionated. He’s been able to do it because (a) he’s been mainly right, and (b) because he’s been right so often they make a lot of money. I don’t think he “invents” in the traditional sense of the word, but he “filters” – taking the ideas of others and determining which of those are the best and most marketable. That is a particular kind of genius.

If you read a biography of Steve Jobs, you will see that he had absolutely no training for such a thing. He’s a college dropout, was kind of a Seventies hippie – slash – tech geek, but he has something – something you can’t learn at Harvard Business School. I don’t know where it comes from.

I want to believe that without his guidance Apple will continue to innovate the way it has for the last decade and a half. The history of Apple from 1985 to 1995 doesn’t support that belief, of course. A parade of poor management almost destroyed the company. When Jobs came back, it was like a breath of fresh air. It wasn’t the design people who were at fault, but those who decided what direction the company should go in. In other words, the leadership. Somehow, Steve Jobs is a leader. He doesn’t fit most of the models that have been thrown out there the last few decades for what a leader should be, but you can’t argue with the numbers. He’s done the job, and far beyond. He deserves some time to rest and recuperate.

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Book Review” “Outies,” by Dr. Jennifer Pournelle

January 21, 2011

Dr. Jennifer Pournelle

Dr. Jennifer Pournelle is an Assistant Professor in the School of the Environment at the University of South Carolina. She is a former US Army Intelligence officer and extensive experience and training in archaeology, especially in the Middle East. In addition to a bundle of scholarly articles, she has now written a science fiction novel. It’s set in the universe created by her father, Dr. Jerry Pournelle, and Larry Niven, in the landmark First Contact novel “The Mote In God’s Eye.”

A Motie Engineer

“Outies” is the term used for those humans who live on planets not yet formally admitted to the Second Empire of Man.The planet of New Utah is one such place, colonized by two Mormon splinter groups from another Empire world, and then also populated by religious groups from a variety of other places. Still, there’s a lot of open space on a planet, and the humans who have been on New Utah for only a few generations don’t all know what’s going on everywhere

The book is pretty well written, especially if it is a first novel. There are a few nagging misspellings and other editing errors that another careful reading would have cleaned out, but nothing that detracts from the story. The main characters are pretty well drawn, even though there are quite a few and at first it’s difficult to keep them straight.

I’d hate to give the story line away too much. I will tell you this – the story not only connects with “The Gripping Hand,” the sequel to “Mote,” (it takes place shortly after the events in that book), but to the events in “Mote” as well. It adds depth to the universe created by Niven and Pournelle the Elder and opens the possibility for more books to come, without this one being a cliff-hanger.

"Outies" cover illustration

The book is only available electronically. Right now it’s only available for B&N Nook and for Kindle, but you can use the Kindle version on a variety of platforms, so that shouldn’t be that much of a problem.I don’t doubt it will be available on print-on-demand eventually through Amazon as well. I’ve purchased several POD books through Amazon over the last year or so and the quality is very good. Any problems I’ve noted came from the original source document, not from the printing process.

By the way, I like the iPhone version of the Kindle app a lot better than the Nook app right now, and on the iPad I think it’s every bit as good as Apple’s iBook app, and searching for content is far easier.

If you’ve never read the other two books, I recommend you read them first, in the original order. “Mote” is not a short book, but as I said, it is considered one of the definitive First Contact novels, if not THE definitive one – even Robert A. Heinlein said so! There is an essay Niven and Pournelle wrote called “Building ‘The Mote in God’s Eye'” that can be found in Larry Niven’s short story collection “N-Space.” In it they explain how they created the Moties, and how the Motie biology dictated much of the plot of the story. They even talk about how a model kit of a fictional spaceship, the Leif Ericsson, was used as a starting point for the INS MacArthur in the book.

Chris Doll's magnificent "MacArthur" scratchbuilt model

As I said, it’s a deep and rich universe. The Second Empire of Man is a part of Jerry Niven’s future history series, which includes many of his novels describing the time leading up to the First Empire of Man. It’s all worth reading, but you don’t need to read all those to get the storyline of these books. “Mote,” “Hand,” and “Outies” work together very well to give you a very satisfying picture of a spacefaring civilization by the best hard-science fiction writing team (and now, daughter) in the business. The book, like the two before it, is very much recommended.

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WordPress iPad App Update

January 11, 2011

I have to mention that the new version of the WordPress iPad app, which I just downloaded today, seems to work much better than the last. Embedding images is easier, but resizing them gives unpredictable results at best. Italics and bold are still not supported and I don’t know how to embed a link, but the rest is at least improved a little.

I’m using the on-screen keyboard tonight as well. I tend to hit the wrong keys occasionally because of the lack of tactile feedback, but on the other hand the autocorrection function is a useful tool, most of the time!

Update January 29, 2011:

I tried to do the Chris Christie post (above) with the iPad and when trying to type the last paragraph, the app repeatedly crashed. I don’t know if there is a word limit (if so, why?) but it’s really frustrating. It’s still not ready for prime time, folks. Sorry. I love WordPress otherwise, but I would really like an app that made it easier to work with on the iPad. The iPhone, not so much…too small. WordPress guys, please? I’d pay for it! It doesn’t have to be free!

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Technological Irony

August 5, 2010
ST PADD

Apple is way ahead of Starfleet!

Maybe I mean “Technological Aluminology,” or something like that, because I’m writing this post on the Apple Wireless Aluminum Keyboard paired to my iPhone 4. I should be swallowed up in a geek hole about now.

I have a hard time with the on-screen iPhone keyboard, even rotated to landscape mode. I just can’t type on it. I find the iPad keyboard OK to type on – I’ll never be Lt. Commander Data with it, but the lack of tactile feedback doesn’t bother me much. I’m not that good a typist!

I have a case on the iPhone that was pretty much all I could find right away, and it has a raised edge all around the face, to protect the glass. This is a good idea, but it makes the P and Q keys and the delete key almost impossible to hit successfully on the first try.

I need a thinner case but I like the fact that this one is protecting the glass faceplate on the phone. Other than that, it’s one of those silicone cases and it’s a little loose. It also attracts pocket lint and transfers it to the glass screen quite handily.

Anyway, back to the the keyboard. Sometimes I have to go places where there is no wifi (horrors!) for my laptop and all I have for internet access is my phone. I have four email accounts I have to monitor and respond to – two are for businesses, and one is for the school where I teach. I find responding to emails at any length on the phone to be tedious at best.

iOS 4.0 has support for bluetooth keyboards. I had forgotten that. I bought this keyboard when I had some Apple store credit, sort of by accident. I didn’t read the information closely enough and was kind of upset when I discovered it wasn’t just like the aluminum wired keyboard – no numeric keypad!

It was my own fault. Still, I wanted it becauseI work with Sibelius a lot and I need the numeric keypad to work with Sibelius efficiently.

So it’s been sitting there gathering dust. Now it has a use! It’s four times the footprint of the phone, but thats necessary because it has full-sized keys. I love the key feel of the Apple aluminum keyboards – in fact, I will have to buy another wired one because my wife just stole mine for her 13″ Macbook.

But this little puppy will make travel more efficient when the only internet access I have is my phone. I travel to a lot of rural places when I judge marching bands in the fall – places without 3G, perish the thought!

Update 8/12/2010: Here’s a story about how Star Trek imagined the iPad before the iPad. (Hat tip to Mark Whittington.) And I got another Apple Aluminum keyboard. This Mac Pro my son has loaned me is great, and I found a 1.5 TB Seagate drive at Micro Center for 90 bucks!

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iPhone 3G and Apple Bluetooth Headset Tip

March 19, 2009

I finally dragged out my Apple Bluetooth Headset, the one my son got for me. It was a power-eater with the original iPhone and so I never used it much – about the time I needed to, it was out of juice. I thought maybe it would be different wi the new phone.

First, I couldn’t find the travel cable that charges the headset and the phone. I knew it wouldn’t work with the new phone anyway, but that’s how you are supposed to pair them – plug them both into the cable and the USB end into power, and they should automatically pair. Since that didn’t work I had to do some research.

Here’s the deal: Set the phone to bluetooth mode. (Settings> General> Bluetooth.) Then switch it to Airplane Mode, then back off of Airplane Mode. (I don’t know why.) Then hold the button on the headset down for 8 seconds, until you hear the “power-on” ascending notes and five quick beeps. That puts the headset into discoverable mode for five minutes. It should show up on the phone, and the green light should be blinking on the headset. After the phone finds it you’re good to go.

Why that is the procedure, I don’t know. I put this together from an Apple Tech Note and the Apple forum…two separate answers, taken together, worked.

Good luck out there!