Apple have lost the plot

iPad 2 as a Video Camera

I have been meaning to write about those disgusting Apple adverts (yes disgusting, I was almost sick in my mouth when I first saw it) but been so busy, then Maggie reminded me at Hacked.io about what I wanted to say.

Fast Design write up pretty much how I feel

Watch the ad closely for me. As we’re told that products are what matter, we see a series of shots in which people actively turn away from life to engage with their technology.

  • A woman closes her eyes on the subway to soak in electronic music.
  • A room of students looks down at their desks instead of at their teacher.
  • A parent and child cuddle, focused on a screen that’s so powerful it illuminates the kid’s face.
  • A couple kisses in the rain, then immediately turn away to look at a phone.
  • A tourist opts to FaceTime instead of bathing in visceral, smoky yakitori.

In what should be a warm, humanizing montage, people are constantly directing their attention away from one another and the real, panoramic world to soak in pixels. They’re choosing the experience of their products over the experience of other people several times in quick succession. And Apple has a warm voice in the background, goading us on.

Now I’m fully aware most adverts are like this but frankly for Apple, this is bad bad news.

On top of that, the fact Apple are advertising this factor, is worst still. So much for creativity…!

Just to be clear the best adverts in this class were the Orange adverts, which never showed the actual device but rather the effect of the device. Now unfortunately Orange or rather EE have switched to another style which isn’t much better than most.

The technology should be the glue not the end point. However Apple want you to marvel at there devices. I’m not certain when this changed but its certainly changed for the worst.

Have to be clear I’m not against devices, heck if you follow this down the line you can end up somewhere with Sherry Turkle.

Our devices and software are great but I have to echo some of the thoughts about using your mobile while dating and dare I say it, some of the Orange Cinema adverts. Don’t let your device get in the way of a great time. No matter how pretty it maybe.

Its not going to take 20 years… Its outdated and shockingly backwards already…

Getting over the fear of rejection…

Don't be afraid of rejection ~ don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!

There’s something which holds back many people from what they really want. Its the fear of rejection…

As most people know too well, the fear of rejection is a nasty fear… It can be totally inhibiting.

I could wittier on about it being a self-fulfilling prophecy, the nature of fear and what fear is… but frankly I’d rather not.

Personally I don’t claim to have the answer to the fear of rejection, I like everyone also fear rejection but deal with it in a different way.

You can watch me present on stage too but I would like to expand on the later part.

When I was lying in my hospital bed I thought a lot, maybe far too much. It was like my sabbatical (best way I can describe it?). I thought about many things. How my life was, what I had done with it and now I have a second chance what I’m going to do different.

When I finally made it to the next year’s Thinking Digital, I was at one of the workshops with talking about happiness. A couple things really hit me…

Happiest

We have 60,000 thought’s a day 95% of those are the same as yesterday… 80% of those are negative thoughts

Fear is in the mind, we build it up in our mind till its inhibiting and all consuming. Now I understand better than most about what fear can do. I was terrified of needles and I still don’t like them but I faced my fear with hyponosis. I remember years ago people asking me if I needed to have a shot to save my life what would I do… Jokingly I would reply knock myself out and then let them do it, or just take my chances. Generally I was suggesting for real, than I would consider death over having a injection.

Sounds insane but thats how bad my fear was…

Our minds are incredible, we can achieve such great things, ponder infinity, dream about the impossible, conjure technology and spread our thoughts far and wide. Our minds can literally out do the matter.

So whats this got to do with the fear of rejection (if you’ve not worked it out already). The human mind’s capacity is endless limitless but fear holds it back from its true potential.

How I look at the fear of rejection…

One More Thing, Steve!

Death is the destination we all share, no one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be because death is very likely the single best invention of life (…) Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life  – Steve Jobs (2005. Stanford University)

Once again while in that hospital bed, I thought about things and decided on the grand scale of my life. These moments of fear should/will not dominate my life and if so they are purely a blip in the graph. One which I won’t remember in many many years to come. With that in mind, I do things and not worry about the social ramifications as much, just telling myself whats the worst than can happen?. Don’t get me wrong I do wonder (rather than worry) but I don’t let it grow in my mind. If I want something I’ll go and get it, make it happen, make it so.

I refuse to live someones life, expectations, fears. Don’t waste your life living someones life

A year that matters

Umair Haque’s blog for HBR is great in a get off your ass and do something different kind of a way…

Let’s cut the crap. Life is short, you have less time than you think, and there are no baby unicorns coming to save you. So rather than doling out craptastic advice to you about Making!! It!! To!! The!! Top!!™, let me humbly ask: do you want to have a year that matters — or do you want to spend another year starring-slash-wallowing in the lowest-common-denominator reality show-slash-whiny soap opera of your own inescapable mediocrity-slash-self-imposed tragedy?

If (congratulations) your unquenched desire to have better than a smoking trainwreck of a so-called life exceeds your frenzied mania for spending another 365 days wallowing in a sea of junk-food wrappers, then — don’t worry, I’ll be gentle — here are a few tiny questions.

If thats not a welcome kick in the groin I don’t know what is….

Then the points which are summarised in these headings.

  • Why are you here?
  • What do you want?
  • How much does it matter?
  • What’s it going to take?
  • Who’s on your side?
  • Where’s your true north?
  • What breaks your heart?
  • What’s it worth?

The first and last three are the kind of questions I asked myself when I was lying in hospital after my brush with death. Ok it wasn’t true north but what really drives me and what really gets me down.

And just when you had enough of this stuff, a little more harsh reality…

I don’t pretend any of the above is revolutionary, or new, or anything less than obvious. Yet, the lessons of a life well lived rarely are: they’re simple, timeless truths.

So let me ask again. Why are you here? Do you want this to be another year that flies by, half-hearted, arid, rootless, barely remembered, dull with dim glimpses of what might have been? Or do you want this to be a year that you savor, for the rest of your surprisingly short time on Planet Earth, as the year you started, finally, irreversibly, uncompromisingly, to explosively unfurl a life that felt fully worth living?

The choice is yours. And it always has been.

Awesome and great to hear this type of thing being delivered at a different level than most times

Living the life of Seinfeld

New York, USA

I’ve been re-watching the Seinfeld TV series and getting a whole new outlook on the series. In some regards seinfeld’s life is very similar to my own and I seem to share the geeky level of critical analysis of the mundane. Maybe because that’s what makes life much more interesting. The analysis of relationships and life isn’t just smart but ever-so perfect…

Anyway I came across important life lessons learned from watching seinfeld

Dating is brutal

An important life lesson from Jerry Seinfeld

The reason that dating can be so brutal is the scrutiny that you put each other through. Because whenever you think about this person in terms of the future, you have to magnify everything about them.

The guy will be thinking “I don’t think her eyebrows are even. Could I look at uneven eyebrows for the rest of my life?”

And of course the woman’s looking at the guy, thinking “What is he looking at? Do I want somebody looking at me like this for the rest of my life?”

Good stuff…

Is death the only way to change perspective?

Recently I’ve been pretty busy and again explain who am I and what makes me tick to new people. A part of the story is my brush with death which people still can’t believe when I tell them.

There is nothing like a life and death thing to bring your life into pin sharp perception.

2 things I saw which are related…

The story of Jonathan Schwartz on Triangulation and Derren Brown’s Apocalypse.

That change of perceptive I can certainly relate to… Just wondering if there is a way to shake people without the actual life and death part?

A age which seemed improbable a few years previously

Today I have reached a age, which seemed improbable a few years previously.

I have made it to 33 years old today and I’m very happy to still be alive 🙂

The fabric of time and space is still a mystery and the string which binds us is still somewhat invisible but becoming more visible everyday. I’m still amazed at how we can inspire each other, even in the depths of despair and such harsh misery. Taking and making opportunities is still very high in my consciousness. I’m very comfortable in my own skin and feel a level of serenity with my abilities and character flaws.

I share my birthday with many people including my late grandma, my cousin Daniel, my old friend Ted and many more people I know.

I’m hoping Orange ship my new HTC One X and I get a good chance to play with it today (unlikely I know). So I’ll be doing not much today, maybe spend the whole day reading and listening to people in cafes around the Northern Quarter. Maybe I might go do some shopping or go for a wonder with my pacemaker. Ether way, I’ll be saving up my total enthusiasm for Saturday’s Roller Coaster rampage and the night of cocktails which I’m sure will follow…

Steve Jobs… what more can I say?

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates

I’ve said nothing about recently Steve Jobs, his death was very sad just like anyone who dies earlier than there potential age. His cancer wasn’t just life threatening it was a killer.

Saying all that, however I do have serious problems with his late view point on the world and I have a lot of agreements.

He was a smart guy and what he did for Apple and the industry speaks for its self but…. there’s some things which I can’t help but remember…

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said.

“I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

What on earth…? Who says this kind of thing and really mean it? Frankly I would suggest rightly or wrongly, a psychopath? This psychopathic nature is something most people ignore or overlook. I can’t, I mean can you imagine Bill Gates saying the same about Linux, with such venom? (I’m assuming not, but I’m sure someone will prove me wrong).

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Yes this is quite spooky but I’ll be honest and say death will do that kind of thing to you.

When I was lying in bed after my brush with death last year, I thought damn hard about my life and made quite a few decisions.

It sounds like Jobs had a similar thing but I can’t understand why he would hold on to his fear about Android?

As Yoda says

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

It pains/saddens me that he went to his death bed worrying about the challenge of Android. Letting go is essential and not doing so, just seems like a very sad thing.

He seemed to have forgotten his own words…

all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

I never want to go to my death bed thinking how I wanted to right the wrong of Apple. Its ludicrous… Yes I’m not a fan but you know what I’m not a fan of a lot of things including crappy fluff filled TV. I would never want to go to my death bed thinking must see a end of Xfactor or something.

Sure some of you are saying, yes but you almost went to your death bed hating Apple? Well not really, even in previous blog posts I’ve expressed happy feelings for Apple. The question should be, if I could stop Apple with all the money I owned, would I do it? Answer is a absolutely NO!

The plan was to buy the Steve Jobs book which was released but frankly I won’t really read it (plus the media has pretty much uncovered most of the book for us all) and as I said before, its very tragic but I’m personally not going to dwell.

He was a genius but also made other peoples lives hell and frankly if he was doing this still after learning about his cancer, he has certainly gone down in my estimations.

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.

I know he strived for perfection but at what cost? The misery of others around him, was it really worth it in the end? Remember the way he treated his child? Once again was it really worth it in the end?

Life is such a precious thing and so many people never face the reality of how precious life really is…

I will remember Steve Jobs as a super smart man who was driven, who even on his death bed loved what he did, and did everything he could to building his own personal dream. I’m still convinced he was nuts to fight the opening up of the world and the more human engagement everyone is finally adopting…

RIP Steve Jobs

On work and life balance

Me and Sarah

Its funny I was reading through Furrygoat the other day, I found this very interesting entry but now I can't actually find it on the live site. I can only assume, it was removed. But its honestly too good to not blog. If I'm asked to remove it, then fair enough but till then…He's the entry titled Work life Balance.

Or lack thereof. And the worst part is that I've come to the realization that I have absolutely no one to blame besides myself.
It sucks – almost every day I go in to the office at 6am and work until 5, then I'm back on email at 8:30 until I go to bed. I check email all weekend long (which, when driving really pisses the wife off) due to the 'convience' of a smartphone. And to top it off, due to my obessive nature, I've realized that in many ways my work defines me. I am no longer the adventurer who went to Everest or the diver that went to Belize to scuba in the barrier reefs, I'm just a software engineer.
Sure, we've been in a super hard push the last few weeks (which is always tiring), but I've been wondering what's it for? In the end, we basically put pixels on a screen. You write code today and in a few years it's gone (unless it's 'Notepad' – that code seems to stick around forever).
After this push, I think I'm going to go back to having 'regular' hours of 8-4. Perhaps I'll start hitting the gym again in the mornings and enforce a 'hard stop' at 4. No more email at night. Liz, Tyler and our new son deserve that. *I* deserve that.

Being married myself and look forward to a kid at some point within the next 5 years, I think about the balance of professional and personal life (i hate to seperate them like that, but it will work for now). Me and Sarah were watching a Panorama documentary about the right time for a baby. I'll say little more, but its all about women choosing to work longer and not have babies till very late, sometimes too late. Its all stuff we've heard before, the middle classes waiting long and having less babies, while the lower class are have lots of babies. Nothing new here but interesting anyway.

But back to now, that work life balance is hard to get right. I'm always readjusting depending on events and how happy Sarah is. Its important and I don't have a rule or any wisdom to give in this area except to say its damm important. Those who get it wrong really risk screwing up more that they can ever imagine.

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The rise of geekery in all shapes and forms

Every time you download music god kills a kitten

Just posted to Slashdot and Digg is ZDnet's The essence of a Geek by Matthew Broersma.

A general rise in technical literacy driven by gadgets such as the iPod could be evidence that 'geekery' as a personality trait is becoming more pervasive.

You're right about that, geek is no longer a bad thing. It's actually a very good thing to admit now. I bought a range of Tshirts from Jinx recently and I get tons of comments on them. The one which seems to get the most comments is the no one reads my blog one. The most interesting thing is actually who I get the comments from. As you'd expect most of my friends just laugh but I get really nice comments from non geeky people. Its actually tempting to buy more because their really nice on the skin and a good laugh. I mean who would have thought, Not even norton can protect you tshirt would raise a laugh from a very senior manager at the BBC?

Anyhow back to the article, before I start talking about the amount of recent interest from non geek people about setting up their own blogs. Some choice quotes…

For a few years, an interest in computers and technology became inextricable linked with wealth and power – geek became chic. Technology companies suddenly became the focus of the kind of attention that had been reserved for the music or fashion industries. In the UK TV makers even went so far as to create a hip series, Attachments, based around the antics of a tech start-up

Funny you mention Attachments, I was just talking about in this post about Geek sitcoms.

IT industry analyst James Governor of RedMonk, claims that while it may not yet be cool or trendy to admit, a degree of technical sophistication has become expected. He claims that increasingly, “we're all geeks” – even if a lot of people don't care to admit it.

To illustrate his point, Governor recalls a recent conversation involving his wife and some of her friends – mostly women who would probably describe themselves as non-techies. One of the women pulled out a new Windows Mobile smartphone while protesting that she wasn't “a geek”. Governor then politely enquired whether she had her email sychronised to the device – she did. This then initiated a conversation about mobile phone design – the last thing the technical analyst was expecting given the company. “You expect to have that kind of conversation with guys, but not with women,” Governor says.

Although I'll leave the obvious sexual stereotypes alone for now (the women I know are equally geeky and I'm sure to meet even more at the girl geekdinner), James is right. It still makes me smile when I hear non self described geeks friends talk about their mobile phone and it's features in a way which would be frowned upon by their peers if it was about a car. Geez even my mother was giving it the big geeky one about her next washing machine over christmas.

A recent survey by the Sci-Fi channel discovered that an increasing number of women could be included in the ranks of a new demographic it nick-named “New Geek”. The research revealed that a third of the UK's total 6.9 million geeks were actually female. “Whereas once geeks were seen as solitary, embarrassing and uncool, the statistics show that New Geek is chic, popular and hugely influential,” the researchers claimed.

Enough said really! Hey and lets not forget that third is growing all the time. Don't forget the findings of this survey recently.

Somewhere along the line, geek also seems to have lost most of its negative connotations — unlike nerd and anorak, which still tend to be used as insults. The word's reclamation was probably a more or less deliberate effort on the part of geeky technology types who began using it to refer to themselves, say some. “It's a taking-back-the-language thing,” says Jez Higgins, a freelance developer.

To some degree “geek” overlaps with “hacker”, a word used as a badge of honour to mean a particularly adept programmer, though “hacker” has some extra moral implications that “geek” lacks. Most would agree that Bill Gates is a geek, but few would class him as a hacker, due to the perecieved quality of his company's technology and his taste for world domination. “He doesn't have the hacker's ethos,” Higgins says.

Indeed, one of the best things a culture/movement/community can do is take back a negative word. Its what black rappers and gay people did in the 90's. I'm not saying taking back geek is on the same level but it shows a certain maturity in the culture that it's able to do that. Hence things like Geekdinner, Geekcamp, etc. I'm a self described geek and have been caught saying that x is so geek recently. Instead of that x is so cool. Geeking out is another word which use to be quite negative and now has been reclaimed as something good. Even Geekhag is a concious thought that being a non geek but hanging aroudn with geeks is a good thing. I expect that word to circulate more, and remember my wife was always a self described geek hag.

This shift isn't a one-way street, however — we may be coming to resemble geeks a bit more, but through the growing importance of design, technology is also changing to be a bit more human. Strangely enough, many have found the emerging crop of digital video recorders, such as Sky+, far easier to use than the traditional VCR. Gadgets such as the iPod employ complex technology — it's even possible to install Linux on one — but they employ very simple interfaces.

The iPod's success was crowned at the end of last year with designer Jonathan Ive receiving a CBE, and many see such products as the direction geek culture will take next. A new crop of influential programmers, such as 37 Signals' David Heinemeier Hansson or Ubuntu Linux's Mark Shuttleworth, are not even particularly geeky.

“These kinds of people are where the next great successes are coming from, they're great designers and great coders, and also uber-communicators,” says Governor. “Great design is a way to create huge new markets, and that is a lesson IT is learning.”

And a good point to end on. Geek isn't limited to IT. I can argue that Dj's, Designers, Chef's, etc are some of the most geeky people I know. The fact remains that being smart and knowing your stuff is now a good thing. And honestly thats a good thing. I just hope it translates down the line to children in school who sometimes act dumb with their peers so they can fit in (unless they are very strong willed). Can you just imagine a school where not know your stuff will turn you into a outcast? Yeah I can't quite see it yet. But hey I can dream…

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I watched brokeback mountain, and enjoyed it

Brokeback mountain

I'm sorry but any man who can not sit there in a cinema and watch Brokeback mountain and not feel something for the characters in the film, has no heart. I've been hearing people saying, oh no could not go to a movie about gay cowboys. Sorry you what? Who gives a rats ass! Quoting Alex from Diggnation. Its got like 1 min of man on man action out of 130+ minutes. And even if it had more, who would give a crap? I just can not understand the narrow mindedness of people who wouldn't even see a film simply because its got a few gay kisses and is about 2 men who actually love each other. I just dont see what the problem is. Actually tell a lie I do see where the problem is, its with little minded people. I mean do they think going to see a movie about 2 men who love each other will turn them gay or something? Do they think people coming out of the cinema will be flying rainbow flags? Geez, get a grip people.

Sexuality is not simply black and white, its a spectrum of grey like most things in life. Do not be put off by the fact this movie is nicknamed the gay cowboy movie. Its a good movie and full credit to Ang Lee for pulling off something which the ignorent few still can't get there head around. I mean come on this is what film is all about right, Storytelling? Just because I watched Crash does not mean I'm into the sexual thrills of car crashes. Just as watching American Psycho does not mean i'm interested in killing people. Storytelling can be powerful and open your eyes to a whole world which you've never seen or thought to deeply about. Take another film I watched on the weekend. Memoris of a Geisha. Really interesting and well told even if not true to the book on which its based. Real eye opener and made you realise how highly regarded Geisha's were. It really put another view on the usual story of abuse which these women recieved and lived with for beauty and some would say vanity. Yeah storytelling is good and should never stop short of some of the most alarming things we can imagine as long as there told in a way that does not alieniate the watcher. Another great example comes to mind. Lolita. Another conversial movie but only for its subject not its actual substance. Good movie by the way, really gets under your skin and makes you realise how dangerious love can be. Go see all the movies I've mentioned…

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