October 8, 2007 2 comments

I’ve heard many buzzwords in my life, but over last 10 years I couldn’t point my finger at what exactly bothers me. I still can’t – however, at this point I’m convinced that any company that uses too many of these words – has no idea what they are doing, and lost (if ever had) its direction:

A good friend told me once: if you can’t explain a concept to a 7 year old, you don’t understand it yourself. I don’t think 7 year olds, know any of the words above.

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Apple and Innovation

June 18, 2007 Leave a comment

If I would ask you: which is the most innovative company in the world? I think majority would reply: Apple.

It is pretty fascinating how Apple turned around from being a sort-of-cool-but-nobody-cares to de-facto standard of innovation in recent years.

Clearly, major part of it is Steve Jobs, and his marketing skills. I always was of the opinion that it does not make much difference if you have the best or coolest technology in the world, what matters is how good can you sell it.

Microsoft has been dominating not because of solid technology platform, but because of Bill Gates’s monopolistic marketing tactics.

Apple products are beautiful and easy to use (oh though not the best from hardware perspective), and Job’s selling skills are second to none.

I also think, that Apple is very good not only at inventing cool products, but identifying interesting ideas outside of Apple world, and quickly embracing them. NIH (not invented here) – is really not part of their DNA.

And that is in my opinion – the trick to a successful company.

Many people can come up with good ideas once in a while, but very few can have a consistent combination of own ideas, other people ideas all melted into single vision and consistent execution.

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Visualization of Information – new Web?

April 26, 2007 1 comment

Over the last couple of years there has been tremendous push to present information in visually appealing way. All new technologies like AJAX, Flash, WEB 2.0 web services etc, are all trying to address this in various forms. I think Google was really an early adopter of this trend, despite that Search is purely text based. AdWords was brilliant in a way it allowed advertisers to manage their campaigns through AJAX interfaces. Gmail took email to the next level in terms of ease of access to your emails, which is part of visual presentation, in my mind.
Google Earth, Google maps are other examples of presenting information in much more appealing way. Recent acquisition of Gapminder also points in the same direction.

However, the web is still a very textual environment. But all recent trends point out that new generation of users is looking for much more than just text. Youtube, Myspace are all examples of that. Explosion of Photo management sites like Flickr, slideshows online like are all attempts to visualize users life, and present it for quick consumption.

I think the next evolution of the Web will be around connecting visualization dots across the web, and automated ways to present information in visual ways.

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Acura Music Link IPOD Adapter – review

March 8, 2006 10 comments

I got sick of listening to my iPOD through FM connector. The quality is really poor, constant interference, I’m sure I’m not alone.

So I was very excited when I read about Acura Music Link iPOD adapter. After trying to research it online, without much success, (I guess not many people out there use it), I gave up and made my way into Acura dealership.

Some number of years ago, I would just buy and install it myself. But the guy at Acura informed me that my warranty would void – so I decided to let the dealership do it. It was probably a wise decisions – since in new cars, installing a component like that, requires opening up the all of the front console, connecting and reconnecting a bunch of XM radio wires etc.

After I got my car back ($490 later, including installation) – I found a nice clean wire inside my glove compartment. The guys in the dealership couldn’t really explain to me how this iPOD connection works – so I had to figure it out myself.

After using it for 3 days – my feelings are mixed. On one hand – the quality is great! Can’t even compare with FM transmitter.
On the other hand – seems like Acura really tried hard to make this not a user friendly experience.

First – when you connect your iPOD, all the buttons on the ipod stop working. You can only control it from the Acura radio console. That wouldn’t be so bad, but the problem is that nothing is being displayed on radio screen! Nothing! The only thing you see is a word “Extension”. So you have to navigate your ipod blindly. Even that would be OK, if there would be some logic to it. However, the only 2 options you have – random shuffling between albums, or random shuffling between songs. Really lame.

Second – Acura provides you a way to control your ipod through voice commands. You need to install a software on your computer, and it goes through your iTunes library, and creates voice prints of all your playlists, songs, albums etc. Then it moves those “voice prints” to your ipod as special playlists. You suppose to click on a button on you radio, and it “voice scans” through first letters of playlists, songs or whatever. Terrible way of looking for your songs. I went through the whole process, but couldn’t make it work. Somehow, my radio ignores those “voice prints” all together.

Was it so hard to leave the controls on the ipod workable, or display ipod information on navigation screen and allow the user to choose songs and playlists from the screen?!

So my current solution is, before I connect the ipod, I put it on a playlist that I want to hear, push Play, and then connect it to the cord in the car. Then I can control from the console songs withing that playlist or album. If I want a different playlist, I disconnect, select it, and reconnect again.

Bottom line – this is a very expensive way to have “Line In” for your car radio!

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