Contrarian on Apple

As Apple approaches the unbelievable $1 trillion mark in market value, I am going the contrarian. 


Historically, I love Apple products–truly. 


But since Steve Jobs, Apple has done virtually nothing!


They are losing the battle for common sense priced products. 


They are losing the battle on innovation. 


Think for a second what has Apple come out with that is “WOW” in the last few years–either in terms of new product or design. 


Do you care anything about Siri?


Are you in love with their Apple Watch? 


Do you think much of their new iPhone X?


What about the computers–same old, same old?


I am still using the iPhone 7plus and have no intention to upgrade anytime soon. 


See the picture above, this is Apple’s idea of innovation. 


It’s the new Mac Pro — virtually the same as their iMac Pro, as their store rep explained to me–except it’s shaped like a tall and weird version of the Amazon Alexa personal assistant. 


BTW, you still need to attach a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc. 


Are you impressed NOT? 


Apple as a brand used to mean the latest and greatest. 


Even now, I am still drawn to Apple products, just because I am conditioned to think of it as the best!


But is it still the best and is it worth the premium price?


Apple still has me as a customer and I am still a big fan of what they have done in the past.


But they better do something amazing again and now, because I think their stock is in for a mighty big and painful tumble if we don’t see the old Apple again soon. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Computer Sentiment 1984

So I found this book in an IT colleague’s office. 


It’s called: “The Unofficial I Hate Computer Book”.


It was written in 1984, and like the George Orwell’s book by that name, it is a dystopian view of technology. 


The back cover says:

Computer haters of the world unite: It’s time to recognize and avenge the wonderful advances we’ve made thanks to computers–excessive eyestrain and headaches, irritating beeping noises, a one-ton printout where once there was a six-page report, a “simple” programming language you can’t understand without five handbooks, a dictionary, and a math degree.

The book goes on with illustration after illustration of unadulterated computer hate and associated violence. 


– Dogs dumping on it (see cover)

– Contests to smash it with a hammer

– Hara-kiri (suicide with a knife) into it

– Skeet shooting computers that are flung into the air

– Shotput with a computer

– Tanks rolling over them

– Sinking it in water with a heavy anvil

– Boxer practicing his punches on it

– Setting it ablaze with gasoline

– And on and on, page after hate-filled page.


So in the last 34-years, have we solved all the annoyances and complexity with computers and automation?  


Do the benefits of technology outway the costs and risks across-the-board?


How do security and privacy play in the equation? 


I wonder what the authors and readers back then would think of computers, tablets, smartphones and the Internet and apps nowadays–especially where we can’t live without them at all.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Space-Age Mouse

Just wanted to share my new futuristic ergonomic computer mouse. 


Thumb sits on the left.


Rest of the hand sits fully supported and swoops down towards the right. 


No wrist movement up and down. 


Left and right clicks buttons are at the top.


No bending of the fingers and no reaching.


Mouse helps protect against repetitive movement disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome. 


The HandShoe Mouse fits like a glove. 


It’s made by Hippus in the Netherlands. 


Comes in wireless or wired. 


Choose right- or left-hand model. 


And make sure you order the right size: small, medium, or large. 


Until we have full voice recognition or gesture control like in Minority Report, I like this space-age mouse. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Who You Calling Ugly Baby?

So in multiple organizations, I have heard systems referred to as ugly babies!


Whether or not it’s true, it certainly doesn’t make the IT folks that develop, run, and support that system feel very good. 


Are some of these (legacy) systems ugly?


Well, of course, they are. 


Many of them work despite themselves. 


What I mean by that is they are awkward to navigate and use. 


The functionality is flawed or outdated.


The workflows are unnecessarily complex.


The user interface is inconsistent and sloppy. 


The user experience is punishing. 


I told someone recently in using a particular system that was so convoluted:

“Is this system what they give to prisoners and make them use over and over again to punish them for hideous violent crimes?”


Seriously, that’s how it felt, even as I knew it was still lightyears ahead of what a paper process still used in other organizations looks like.


Generally better than the waterfall methodology for the systems development life cycle, I understand that one dilemma with agile development is that requirements can be spotty from sprint to sprint and instead of doing the hard work and thinking it out upfront, users are made to expect a nearly endless series of enhancements and tinkering, which isn’t practical functionally or financially either.


Even an ugly baby is still ours, and we love it and nurture it, and even help it change for the better–that’s part of our responsibility. 


Whether we parented a real baby or an IT system, we have pride of ownership and a sense of accountability to the person, system, and future. 


My father always taught me never to throw out dirty water until you have clean water. 


Similarly, we shouldn’t throw out the (ugly) baby with the bathwater. 


We need to work together–technologists and system users–to make truly functional systems and a user experience more like gaming where the players are so happy, attached (and even addicted) to it that they sometimes don’t even get up to eat or go to the bathroom. 


We should love what we have and use, and we should, therefore, work hard to make these things great.


And an ugly baby can be made gorgeous again. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Valentine’s Day Fashion Wow!

Now, how perfect is this guy’s suit?


I can’t imagine who would make such a thing, but WOW!


This guy is a walking Mr. Charming. 


Forget the sales job in the jewelry store, I would put him right on the “The Bachelor” season whatever. 


Who isn’t going to fall in love with this guy?  

“Matchmaker matchmaker make me a match.
Find me a find.
Catch me a catch.”

Love wins over hate…


Happy Valentine’s Day!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)