Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

If it doesn’t moderate the weather or advance criminal indictments against Dick Cheney, what possible use could it be?

from ‘Redneck’ on the Textdrive user forum.

Well, exactly. Maybe it’s because it’s so hot. Maybe it’s because we’re having to deal with insurance junk on our old car and add-on games with our new one. But to somehow go through all of this during the apparent extended national holiday known as iPhone week just kinda makes life for me all the more bizarre.

To quickly sum up: yeah, I love the design…it’s easily the most spectacular breakthrough in UI design since the Mac in 1984. The downsides can absolutely be attached to the deal with the devil now known as AT&T that Jobs struck. Charge em up the wazoo for SMS? Sure. Slow cell data speeds? Sure. Stuff like that keeps me away from joining the rest of the world: I think I’ll remain mobile-less a bit longer.

I’d buy a phone-less (and therefore AT&T-less) iPhone in a New York minute, however.

In the meantime, it’s fun to read blogs that discuss the various pluses and minuses of the überdevice, and of course I read all the early reviews, and very much enjoyed, in spite of myself, NYTer David Pogue’s satiric look at the cloak of secrecy Apple drapes over their new baby in the wild—and the video-review manages to get the main points out there as well. It’s, dare I say it, almost Daily Show-ish. Yes, play the video! Sit through the ad!

I just hope we’re not going through one of those silly summers again where our national attention (such as it is) is captivated by something trivial only to to be struck, hard by a fresh, cold, jolt of reality in the fall. You know, like in September of 2001.

Truth is, all those horrors are still out there in the world, happening now, happening daily. D’ja read the four part article on Cheney in the Washington Post? Well, call that up on your iPhone Safari browser and a startlingly cool breeze might just whistle through the halls of whatever branch(es) of government the veep thinks he’s in these days. There? See? iPhone useful.

UPDATE 4:30 PM eastern:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney’s office Wednesday for documents relating to President Bush’s controversial eavesdropping program that operated warrant-free for five years.

Did I mention that Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont, the committee chairman, my senator for a brief moment in the mid-70s, a guy I interviewed in my first newspaper job…did I mention that I’m so proud of how he’s standing up to the Bush administration? Well, give that man an iPhone.

Ms. K, floating on airwaves.

Monday, June 25th, 2007

I’m so heartened to hear Kevyn back on the air this morning, talking about her experiences of the past month, about the change in her life that now adds “breast cancer survivor” to her lengthy collection of accomplishments.

“There are going to be days when this [her radio program] will be the high point of my day,” she told her listeners this morning. She’s looking toward her first days of chemotherapy with something like steely nerve: “This poison will be like golden honey dripping into my veins.” That both gives me chills and a small smile because her resolve—to get through this, to see it through to the other side—is what I’ve witnessed firsthand in Ms. K in the many years she’s been my friend.

The folks at her radio station have made downloadable versions of her last show pre-surgery and the one today available on their website. Hefty downloads, but worth it to hear something way more than a ‘podcast’. Kevyn’s show, at its best, is a testament to the power of radio as a discrete form of communication…a person speaks into a microphone in a tiny room and, nearly simultaneously, people all over hear that voice as if in one-on-one conversation. It’s a personal, intimate, amazing experience when done well…I believe they once called it broadcasting.

…not the kinda sorta jcbD.

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

Well, I can see I have some work to do to capture the eyeballs of all those people walking around looking for design firms near 30306.

Pinch me when all the hoopla is over.

Worldwide developments.

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

Greetings from a quite non-humid, beautiful, sunny San Francisco, quite a contrast from the heat-plus-humidity of (positively) Atlanta. I’ve said I wanted to do this once and so I have: I’m at the Apple WWDC, that would be the Worldwide Developers Conference, and here I am, arguably not a developer.

However, this kinda works because Apple has said they want to expand the definition of ‘developer’ to include (embrace, even) content developers alongside those who write boxcarloads of lines of text like:[jcbView setFrame:thatFrame];Content developers. That would be the people who write and create podcasts and, on a more professional level, work in the creative arts to create what is unfortunately called these days, product.Most of these folks, the actual code developers, are laboring to create new generations of the tools that make the tools, and so mixing them with tool users might be a little awkward. Do they have much to say to each other?I am amidst a polyglot group, wearing a staggering variety of t-shirts festooned with logos of Apple Developer Conferences past and companies present, struggling with laptop-laden bookbags and waiting for the next session or meal (cocoa or pizza?)I’m also in a strange parallel world where every laptop is an Apple laptop, where every computer screen displays the beautiful OS X (Tiger or Leopard) interface, and thus Apple’s marketshare is 100%.

This is, of course, quite unreal.Here’s one more unreal thing. A guy wrote the blogging app I’m using. Another guy owns it now and is making the most of it. They’re both here, in this very room, as I type. The code they slaved over is making these words flow from me to you.This is also a world (maybe this part is quite real) where a group of people can sit in a circle, MacBooks out in every lap, and have a “social” gathering where the sociality is all directed into and out of the screen.

Even at the sessions, there are the “edge sitters,” folks who grab the seats by the aisles so they can stretch power cords over to wall outlets and run their machines for hours without draining their batteries. On their screens are almost-ubiquitous chat windows and web browsers, calling up sites and documents mentioned by the speaker, or, as frequently, working on their own code, only glancing up when the speaker cracks a joke or perhaps, performs a song (this was a great treat to see in person, by the way. That probably says more about me than about the musicianship.)

So I’m here, Odwalla juice in hand, wandering off on day three of this experience, learning a bit, but mostly observing a world that I usually only visit online.

The sum of all ego.

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Well, by now you’ve probably heard the general shudder of revulsion heard round the world over the London 2012 Olympic Logo. It has been called…well, everything you can imagine, except “nice”.

I don’t really want to add to the chorus, except to generically slap my forehead in despair. It brings to mind the transition from the wonderful “bid” logo designed for Atlanta’s attempt to win the Olympics to the more pedestrian logo developed (at considerably more cost) for the 96 games themselves. There is something about the process of logo design for large organizations that inherently creates resentment and ends up reflecting and amplifying the egos of the designers and purse-string holders.

Maybe it’s because we ask a simple mark to do too much heavy lifting. Why is it, for example, that each Olympic games needs its own identity, “brand”, logo? Isn’t that five-rings thing sufficient to sprinkle around the games’ site on banners and number-bibs?

There’s also universally a hue and cry about the money spent to design such a logo (which tends to get muddy because the figures quoted often involve designing a whole system of elements, not just the logo.) Me, I think you ought to get a good chunk o’ change for a logo design—way more than Guy Kawasaki spent on his Truemors’ website logo ($399!? That’s so, so wrong.) but way, way less than the likes of Wolff Ollins and Landor and other fancy firms want to charge.

Something as big as an Olympics? $80,000 US for the logo, tops.
Just the logo. A small logo for a tiny website? Maybe $8,000, no less. There’s a range that probably more accurately reflects the resources available, time spent, and so on.

Maybe I’m just feeling mercenary today. But for that London logo? Not a farthing from me.