The golden arches in Times Square.


Candle in a New York City Italian restaurant.

what’s in a name

Last week I asked my twitter followers what tweets are called in Google Buzz. Buzzes? That’s a lame term if you ask me. Today I stumbled across the Wikipedia entry for Twitter, and found this interesting quote from Jack Dorsey on the naming of Twitter (emphasis mine):

The working name was just “Status” for a while. It actually didn’t have a name. We were trying to name it, and mobile was a big aspect of the product early on … We liked the SMS aspect, and how you could update from anywhere and receive from anywhere.
We wanted to capture that in the name — we wanted to capture that feeling: the physical sensation that you’re buzzing your friend’s pocket. It’s like buzzing all over the world. So we did a bunch of name-storming, and we came up with the word “twitch,” because the phone kind of vibrates when it moves. But “twitch” is not a good product name because it doesn’t bring up the right imagery. So we looked in the dictionary for words around it, and we came across the word “twitter,” and it was just perfect. The definition was “a short burst of inconsequential information,” and “chirps from birds.” And that’s exactly what the product was.

Coincidence? I doubt it. It looks to me as though Google lifted the name for Buzz, it’s new status update engine, from Twitter’s discarded table scraps. You lose 3400 points for lack of originality Google.

ipad possibilities

Sean just posted some links to a few blogs about how churches might be able to use the iPad. He also suggests we “imagine all the possible ways a company or organization can take advantage of the iPad.” I couldn’t agree more, and I think this is where people fail to see what a breakthrough device this could be.

These blogs merely mention a handful of applications of the iPad to churches specifically, and the potential there is revolutionary. But if you extrapolate this kind of thinking to education, business, medicine, government, industry, etc., the possibilities are nothing short of mind-blowing. This an area where I really see such promise with the iPad, not necessarily in all the every man uses of the device: your email, your music, your books, and so on, but in the sum of all the niches that the iPad could fill in a beautiful and simple way.

pixel resolution

Earlier today I became curious about the pixel density on the iPad. I ran some numbers of today’s Mac product line.

Device Pixels Per Inch
iPhone 165
17” MacBook Pro 133
iPad 132
13” MacBook Pro 113
15” MacBook Pro 110
27” iMac 109
21.5” iMac 102

The iPad compares favorably for pixel density with the entire Mac lineup. The iPhone is definitely ahead of the pack, and it shows in the smoothness of rendered text.

There is an important note for developers to remember, especially before you have your hands on the device. Any given graphic on the iPhone will already appear with more than 1.5 times the physical area in 2 dimensions when it’s displayed on the iPad. So they will already be easier to touch, for what it’s worth.

ipad round four, printing

My friend Chris and I were having a discussion about the iPad this morning. We hadn’t talked about it yet as he’s been out of the country for a few weeks. He brought up a question about printing. I just so happened to come across this article from the Macalope today for the first time.

The iPad is something different. The iPad is small and cheap but not weak. It’s focused. And yet it fills a hundred niches a crappy plastic laptop never could. One of the complaints in Wilcox’s piece is how do you print from iWork? Who needs to print? Good lord, if Apple could kill printing they’d be doing us the single biggest favor in the history of all mankind. But here you have a device that a salesman and a customer, a doctor and a patient, a lawyer and a client, an Indian chief and a Pilgrim can sit down at together. They can pass it back and forth. This device is intimate; it brings people together. And if someone needs a copy, you e-mail it to them. Printing? 1997 called and it wants its ink cartridges back.

It’s funny, it seems that the issues that we all (myself included) keep bringing up about the iPad eventually fade into the idea that maybe we ought to be shaking off how we used to do things. We’ve spent decades building all these assumptions about computing that we forget to step back and look at the problems they’re solving. This happens to me in programming. I get so focused on my current issue, that I forget to widen my view and see the beautiful solution that’s way further up the pipeline.

Maybe I don’t need to print. I have a printer at home, but really all I use it for is printing pictures size 8″x10” or smaller. I could actually send those to Costco, and have them done cheaper (ink and paper are expensive) at significantly higher quality. Where can I take a paper “hard” copy that I can’t take my iPad? Maybe we have been cutting down too many trees. I don’t know. These are just a few of many new ideas to think about. And to me that’s one of the intriguing things about the iPad. It shatters preconception; it holds no de facto rule about computing as sacred. I think it’s high time we rethought some of these things.

that’s a lot of games

Scribblenauts Sells A Million

ipad round three, getting it

There has been no shortage of talk about the iPad. I wanted to collect some of the more meaningful, pointed, and influential blogs concerning the device. John Gruber has been posting lots of links to some great reading about the iPad at Daring Fireball. In line with his posts, I thought I’d make a list of some blogs that “get it” and some that don’t get it. Most of these were found at DF, but I have thrown in one or two that I’ve came across digging around elsewhere.

don’t get it
get it

This isn’t to say that those who don’t get it are all wrong, or even way off base. But their vision of what the iPad will change is incomplete, and in many cases inconsistent with what has happened historically.

When the first Mac came out, it didn’t obviate the usage of more traditional command line computers. At the time these text based computers were the sole domain of the geek elect. In fact, if you still know one of these people, chances are that to this day they still spend a good part of their computing life at the command prompt. No, the first Mac didn’t preclude these earlier devices. What it did do was introduce computing to a larger circle. People who realized the practical benefit of computers, and were less intimidated by this new desktop/keyboard/mouse interface. The accessibility drew them in.

This is the space we’ve been living in for the last 25 years. The fundamentals of computing haven’t changed. Computer usage has still grown despite the lack of a major user interface revolution, but there are other reasons for that. Namely, the uptake of the Internet vastly increased the “practical benefit” that people saw in computers. And as computers achieved relative ubiquity, people had a growing support system for computing in their friends and family. In fact, you’re probably one of these people yourself. Your expertise has probably at some point enabled someone to use a computer where otherwise they would have been lost.

Now here we are. On the cusp of a new generation of machines. Will the desktop go away? Have command prompts? No, and yes. As the scale tipped toward GUI operating systems, the command line has faded more and more. They’re still around, but terminals and prompts have been relegated to fewer tasks to which they are best suited.

And this is what I see happening again. These new touch computers will slowly absorb the usefulness of the older traditional desktop. As technology improves, as the platforms mature, as competition begins to drive advancement, we’ll see the successors of the iPad become the more relevant computers. I’m not throwing out my MacBook just yet, but I sure left DOS behind quite a long time ago. I’m looking forward to the day when I edit photos, author a website, and yes, even write my first program on a tablet. Bring it on.

third revolution

This article from Macworld is one of the clearest and best I’ve read on the iPad.

The iPad isn’t a third device, but a third revolution

@skoda on @technochocolate on