Archive for January, 2010

Future of iPad

January 27th, 2010

iPad1Now that the mysterious Apple device has been unveiled, the techies & opinionated media “gurus” are making their voices heard.  This is my opinion and hunch as to why this will be an important device.

First of all let’s just stop it with the feminine hygiene nonsense.  Yes it is called the iPad–deal with it.  No matter what they called it there would be detractors.  I personally liked “Palette,” “iTab,” or something sexy like “Tabula” with dropping the”i” prefix.  Regardless, that is my last concern with buying the product.  When someone asks you for a notepad in the office do you immediately chuckle and think you are getting a panty shield to write on?  I didn’t think so.

Next there were complaints about the large bezel around the screen.  My hunch is that it serves two purposes: one to let you handle it easily without interacting with the screen. The other is there are most likely components, antennae and chips behind it.  Given the device’s thin profile, i’m sure they needed some extra real estate.

Finally, with regard to 3G–how many people believe someone is not going to come up with an iPhone teathering solution for when you are not at a wifi hotspot?  I can do it with my iPhone and Macbook now.  It is only a matter of time.

iPad2The true import of this device is the delivery of content and productivity.  This device will deliver sharp, watchable movies, podcasts along with your music.  Coupled with something like the Orb program on the iPhone, you will be able to remotely access your home media library.  This is huge!  I do that now on my iPhone, but watching a movie/podcast on the small screen is a last resort (i.e. on a plane trip).  This makes that proposition much more palatable.

Another HUGE difference is iWork on the device.  Having the ability to work on presentations, documents and spreadsheets with a larger sized keyboard and touch screen gestures will take mobile productivity to the next level.  I already do many of these things in a pinch on the phone and on a smaller surface.  I often will FTP into my site and directly edit php, html & CSS files to make quick changes.  I feel developers will be coming up with mobile blogging/webdev apps to run on this device.  I would much rather carry this in my backpack than the laptop knowing I can do most anything with it.

When I say most anything, just think about when the iPhone first came out.  You were pretty limited to what you could do with it.  Now, there are productivity programs for almost everything.  Adobe comes to mind when I think about possibilities.  I could envision Lightroom for iPad to give you photo editing capabilities.  PS has an app for the phone.  Now with extra real estate and gestures, photo editing may be taken to the next level wherever you may be.  Especially since there is an interface to allow one to access photos directly from your camera.  Cool stuff!

Finally, the entry price point for the device is perfect to take on Kindle and the other readers.  Why buy a monochrome “reader” when for a couple hundred more, you can so much at your fingertips.  This is a remarkable achievement.  I was thinking it was going to be $699, which is where the top wifi model is priced.

All in all I feel this iPad will prove to be an important device built on a flexible, established OS which already has millions of apps ready to run.  Developers will be clamoring to design tools, applications and games to take advantage of the increased footprint.  I, for one will be among those taking advantage of what it has to offer and will in the future.

Haiti & Relief Logistics

January 15th, 2010

Red Cross Volunteer

I have been watching some of the coverage regarding the terrible tragedy in Haiti right now and I am beginning to see some “commentary creep” regarding why food/water/first aid is “slow” in getting into Haiti.

Having served with the Red Cross in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I can offer some insight on the type of logistical problems a major disaster provides.  When I arrived to serve the Gulf Coast as a Red Cross government liaison, we could not land in Mississippi.  We had to arrive in Birmingham, AL and get cars to drive to Biloxi, MS.  By the time we reached Mobile, AL it was apparent is was going to be difficult driving the remaining hour or so to our destination.

Bridges were damaged and roads were severely restricted by debris and the masses of trucks of supplies driving westward.  So, it took about 5 hours to drive 1 hours worth.  We even got into a fender-bender with someone slamming on their brakes to avoid debris.  When we finally did get further into MS, it became so frighteningly clear what we were up against.

There was no electricity, no stores, no restaurants open at that time and there was a strict curfew after dark.  It was easy to see why.  The landscape was decimated, devastated and utterly destroyed.  Trying to organize all the supplies to reach everyone along the Coast was a logistical nightmare.  It was not for a lack of effort, or trying.  It was simply extremely slow-going and everyone had to work around broken bridges, debris filled streets to try and get points of distribution set up and mobile relief vehicles on schedules amidst the destruction.

Disaster relief is initially a slow, painstaking process.  And that is in the United States.  This is Haiti, the 4th impoverished nation in the world.  Haiti’s airport was not meant to handle the amount of air traffic it is trying to accommodate at this moment.  In addition, its tower was destroyed and some areas of the tarmac compromised.  So to land a C-130 filled with equipment, unload it/refuel is a not a quick turnaround.

Then comes the problem of getting that machinery over heavily damaged roads in a 4th world country.  One cannot imagine how large a task this is.  Their port is damaged, so that’s out of the equation.  In addition, Haiti is an island.  Our aircraft carrier has just arrived and the USS Comfort is days away.  It’s not as though one can airdrop supplies upon the collapsed buildings.

I say this because I feel so sick about the tragedy and wish I could help out on the ground.  My heart goes out to all the Haitians–struggling to survive, struggling to stay alive, trapped and praying for rescue and for the countless lives lost–and to their families in the United States as well.  My heartfelt thanks to all those on the ground trying to make a difference and help in this Herculean effort.

This is a disaster of unimaginable proportion.  The logistical challenge is immense and I hope the commentary doesn’t turn into a chorus of “why is it taking so long?”  Their government is virtually gone and I am sure everyone is doing everything they can to get in to provide relief.

P.S.  To Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson & Rep. King: Can you really call yourselves “Christians?”  If so, your God has a special place for you.

Keep on Walkin…

January 8th, 2010

Here is another song from my friend Joel Schaan, a Twin Cities based singer/songwriter. The song is called “Keep On Walkin” and if you like what you hear, please check him out on iTunes.  He is also a part of the Twin Cities bands “Test Site 67” and “New Primitives.”  Support local music :)  P.S.  I designed the Test Site 67 site and has some “Easter Eggs” hidden within.

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One of my favorite songs….

January 8th, 2010

I just wanted to share one of my favorite songs written and performed by a good friend of mine, Joel Schaan.  The song is called “Wishin’ The Worst” and if you like what you hear, please check him out on iTunes.

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