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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Information Is Power

Just wanted to share something I heard and liked about data and information:

“Everything is a record, record, record
in a table, table, table.”

Can everything in life really be reduced to lines of records, with fields of data in tables of information?


This is the information age!


Analytics and Big Data rule!


Knowledge is power!


In any conflict, we seek information dominance and supremacy!


Artificial intelligence is the future!


Records are unique with their own sys.id.


Creativity and innovation are also records in the table–even if they are the one in a million. 


The more records and tables–the more dots and connections between them–the more intelligence we can glean. 


Yes, everything is a record, record, record in a table, table, table. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Sugarloaf Crafts Festival

I love this time of year when the weather gets nice and we can do more outdoor activities. 


Today, we took the opportunity to go to the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival. 


There were so many vendors with artistic works in metal, glass, art, jewelry, leather, photography, pottery, and more. 


Everyone seemed to be looking for those one-of-a-kind special pieces.


I did manage to find a very special colorful menorah, which I had my eye on since last year, and which I was glad that I waited for because the artisan made it even better and more beautiful than before. 


Again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and most things were an easy pass on, but some things definitely caught my eye and attention. 


The photo here was one of them where the artist was selling pots, and he set up this plastic chicken–as if the chicken was set and ready to go into the oven. 


Creativity can definitely get weird, but everyone likes a standout. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumethal)

Understanding Genius

So working in a place with scientific geniuses and even a history of Nobel Prize winners is serious business. 


I see things that I don’t know what they are. 


I meet people that I don’t understand what they do. 


But in all cases, I am in awe of the smart and good people and the work they are doing to advance us. 


Here was an example this week in randomly meeting someone and starting up a conversation:

Andy:  Hi. I’m Andy.  What do you do here?
Him:  I’m [so and so].  I do neutron scattering.
Andy: [Gulp followed by big smile] I know absolutely nothing about that.
Him:  Well, what do you do?
Andy:  I’m doing process engineering and enterprise service management.
Him: [Smile] I know absolutely nothing about that. 

Get the picture.


One for the books right.


In another instance, when asked what their group does, someone leans into me and goes:


“We fix sh*t.”


I could tell he meant it. 


And you know what–I absolutely believed him.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Net-Zero Energy House

Today, I had a wonderful opportunity to explore the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Net-Zero Energy House.


As its name implies the residential home makes as much energy as it uses. 


It is run by one of NIST’s 7 laboratories, the Engineering Lab’s Energy and Environment Division.


The 2,700 square foot home is super-insulated and hyper-energy efficient.


It runs on only 12,000-13,000 Kilowatt per year compared to a typical home that guzzles 40,000 KW. 


You can see the array of solar panels on the roof and there is a two-way exchange of energy to/from the grid as available/needed. 


There is also solar thermal water heater. 


The home simulates a family of 4 living there cooking, bathing, watching TV, etc. 


There are 600 sensors inside the house that monitor everything. 


The garage maintains the computers and controls for the research. 


Overall, I was very proud to see the wonderful scientific research being done here. 


It was truly impressive and good for the nation and the planet.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Measurement And Standards Are Our Friends

So I learned that Metrology is the science of measurement. 


And measurement is the foundation of scientific research and creating standards. 


Scientific research and measurement are about exploration, discovery, and innovation.


Further, it is about finding the facts; it is objective; it is truth; it is essential to maintaining integrity. 


Standards also help to ensure dependability, because there is a common reference and you know what you are getting. 


A great true story that demonstrates the importance of measurements and standards is the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904.


This was the third worst urban inferno in American history. 


It destroyed over 1,500 building across 140 acres. 


Fire engines responded from as far as New York and Virginia. 


But the problem was that they invariably could not help. 


Why?  


Because their fire hose couplings could not fit on the Baltimore fire hydrants–they were not standardized.


Without standards, we don’t have interoperability. 


We don’t have a reference that everyone can go by. 


It’s as if we’re all working on our own desert islands. 


This defeats the power in numbers that make us together greater than the sum of our individual parts. 


Science and technology help us advance beyond just ourselves and today. 


Measurement and standardization help us to build a better and stronger society. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Not Every Problem Requires A High-Tech Solution

So I thought this was pretty smart.


Yes, it’s a “Smart” car.


But more important is this guy parked his car in a very smart way. 


The spot was too small even for this micro urban car.


So he just parked it sideways–and poof it fits.


Also, look how easy it is for him to drive out of the spot when he’s ready. 


Now, I’m not one to say whether this is legal or not (his rear wheels are on the sidewalk, of course).


Still there is something refreshing about this solution. 


Nothing high-tech about it — he didn’t need to move the cars further apart or shrink his own vehicle, rather just think out of the box. 


Frankly, it works, and I think this guy deserves the parking spot–so right on dude!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)