As much as I love where I’m working now, extending my contract just isn’t in the budget. I’ve done a little of everything in IT, but my passion is helping users directly. If you know of any openings, please feel free to pass my résumé along. Thanks!
It’s hard to run a company the size of Microsoft from a jail cell, and the more I think about the Nokia deal, the more I think that’s where Elop is inevitably headed. His entire tenure at Nokia is starting to look like a massive, multi-billion dollar scam.
A high ranking VP of a corporate giant becomes the new CEO of a company in a different business, in a different country. He doesn’t sell his home in Seattle, nor does his family move with him, even though he’s ostensibly going to be there permanently. Over the next three years, he makes counterintuitive decisions that abandon his new company’s core strengths, and their value plummets to a tiny fraction of what it was. Meanwhile, he maintains close ties to his former company and many of his decisions benefit them, arguably at the expense of the company he’s supposed to be leading. Then, with the market cap on his new company as low as it can get before bankruptcy, his old company swoops in and buys them, allowing the executive to “return” to his original company with resources they couldn’t have afforded before his tenure.
How does Elop not get sued into oblivion by Nokia shareholders, even if he manages to avoid criminal charges?
During his tenure at Nokia, Elop had an option. Symbian obviously wasn’t going to be a contender in the modern smartphone market. He could go with Windows Phone, from his buddies at Microsoft, or Android, which was free. He went with Windows Phone, “differentiating” Nokia damn near into bankruptcy.
But here’s the thing. An honest and competent CEO would have gone with Android. Why? Because of what Nokia was good at. Nokia’s strengths, historically, were build quality, distribution and design. If those are your strengths it’s to your advantage that everyone (except Apple) run the same OS. Then everyone has a level software playing field, and you have the better hardware. You win.
Elop threw those advantages away by locking the Lumia line to Windows Phone, a sad mess of a platform even after the botched transition from Windows Phone 7 to the completely incompatible Windows Phone 8. How many times do you see an ad or billboard with little App Store and Play Store logos near the bottom to download the app for whatever they’re pushing? Do you ever see a third logo for the Windows App Store? No, you don’t. There’s a reason for that.
Simply put, Elop did not fulfill his fiduciary responsibility to Nokia shareholders. He prioritized the needs of Microsoft over Nokia, and I think that’s because he never really stopped working for Microsoft. I think he was a Trojan horse, and the plan going in was to soften Nokia up for acquisition. There should at least be an investigation before the conquering hero returns to Microsoft.
So if Elop isn’t going to be the new Microsoft CEO (and he shouldn’t; if my supposition above is wrong then he was at best grossly incompetent), who should be? I have three suggestions that I’ll get to in another post.
The Next Web has a piece up about how horrid the battery life is on the iPhone, and by extension, all smartphones. While I’m sure this is a very real problem for some, it isn’t for me. Why? Because as Clint Eastwood once (almost) said, “A man’s got to know his (phone’s) limitations.”
Turns out, the iPhone 5 has amazing battery life if you know how to use it properly. I almost never see my iPhone 5 drop below 50%. But I plug it in to external power when I’m listening to Pandora or using navigation while I drive. I keep the screen brightness just high enough to be comfortably readable (25-50%), not retina-searing full brightness just because I can.
I’m fortunate to have really good LTE signal throughout most of Denver on Verizon, so the radio uses less juice than is probably average. I also keep it on WiFi at home, work and my best friend’s house, the three places I spend most of my time.
In my experience, Bluetooth uses almost no power when not in use, so I generally kept it on (I stopped doing this only recently when I realized I’m really not going to be using the BT keyboard).
I am careful about location services. Any app that keeps active GPS on constantly just because gets deleted. Geofencing and occasional location pings don’t bother me at all.
Lastly, I should mention that this is on, by far, my primary computing device. I use my iPhone for everything, and I’ve been nothing but impressed with the iPhone 5 battery life.
Your mileage may vary.
I posted on various social networks around New Years that I was going to try to avoid buying any new apps or gadgets this year, instead resolving to make do with what I have.
So useful, in fact, that now I’ve decided I really need to buy an iPad mini, and the sooner the better (if I wait until it ships with the as yet unreleased iOS 6.13, I might not be able to jailbreak it as well).
I have an iPad 4, but that doesn’t cut it. My big boy iPad is supplied by work, so I can’t jailbreak it. And some of these tweaks are too good to live without. So I need my own. And there’s no point in having two large iPads, so the mini seems like the logical choice.
I only need the WiFi version, and 16GB will do since most of my stuff is cloud based. So as soon as I cobble together about $350 (insert Chef’s dad’s bit about the Loch Ness Monster on South Park here), I’ll have a new gadget to welcome into Chez Kirvin.
Via Jeff Jarvis, I read a disturbing post on Amanda Palmer’s blog today. A 15 year old girl named Amanda Todd killed herself after years of online and offline bullying and persecution. She made one error in judgment (flashing a guy online who egged her on) and that began a trail of blackmail and harassment that she felt she could never escape.
My first impulse was to try and figure out who to blame. The creeper who convinced a 13 year old girl to flash him on her webcam and kept harassing her for more? The kids at school after school who refused to let her live down a youthful mistake? The kids online who, shielded by not having to say it to her face, said she should just die and get it over with?
And inevitably, being both a thriller writer and someone raised on Batman comics, began thinking about how to protect the victims of cyberbullying by punishing the guilty. Of armies of chubby boys making life miserable for people who said mean things online (spoofing online purchases in their name is a start, drawing the attention of Homeland Security and getting these people disappeared as domestic terrorists is possible).
But really, that’s fantasy. The reality is that human beings are primates. We are hard-wired to lash out against the “other.” Tribalism is in our DNA. And policies of deterrence can only go so far. People do what people do, even if we say it’s not okay.
I don’t think people hate any more now than they ever did. In fact, they probably hate a lot less, in total, in our increasingly multicultural society. But ironically, because we don’t have a socially acceptable Other to demonize anymore, we increasingly turn against ourselves. Kids like Amanda Todd are hounded, ruthlessly and 24/7, for stepping out of line.
I probably wouldn’t be here today if Facebook had existed when I was growing up. As it is, I barely made it out of 1983 (seventh grade, Pershing Middle School, Houston, Texas) breathing. And if I hadn’t been able to go home and get away from my tormenters in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, high school might have killed me just as it did Amanda Todd.
So what can we do?
Instead of punishing the guilty, we can support the victims. We’re never getting rid of the cruelty and hate in the world. But we counteract it with love and acceptance. We can call out bullies when we see them, and make sure their targets know they’re not alone. No one has to feel the hopelessness Amanda Todd felt, that I’ve felt myself.
Because life is never hopeless. And you’re never as alone as you think you are.
This is the best review I’ve seen of Windows 8. I’ve said before that Windows 8 is a failure, but this explains why it’s a failure. The video is longish, but worth watching. In short, though:
- There are no visual cues to tell users what they can click on, what they can’t, and how to get to things that aren’t currently visible. Like DOS, you can only really use Windows 8 if you already know how to use it. It’s not discoverable at all.
- The split between the Modern UI and the Desktop gives you a schizophrenic, completely inconsistent user experience. Worse, certain functions are only available in one environment or the other, so you have to learn both.
- The Modern UI has absurdly low information density, which is ironic when you consider Microsoft has always been the champion of “glanceable information.”
First off, no, I haven’t already blown my “no new crap” resolution. The Paperwhite was ordered last year to replace my badly cracked Kindle 3, and was supposed to arrive on New Year’s Eve. It’s not my fault UPS is worthless.
I got my new WiFi-only Kindle Paperwhite Wednesday night, and I was on the fence about returning it. After all, even though my Kindle 3 is clearly ready to give up the ghost, I still had my iPhone and iPad, right? Was there really a difference between reading on the Paperwhite and reading on crazy sharp retina displays?
Turns out, yeah. There is.
I’ve had my Paperwhite for about 36 hours now, and it is by far my preferred way to read anything long form. There are three reasons for this.
The size really does work. After reading on my Paperwhite, my iPhone 5 feels small and cramped, and my iPad 4 feels like a brick. The size and weight are important. Granted, the iPad mini would probably fulfill this requirement just as well.
The screen makes a difference. Technically, the Paperwhite does emit light through the optic fiber diffusion grid layered over the touch screen. But it’s so diffuse and gentle that it produces no eye strain at all. I used to scoff at people who made the eye strain argument, because I spend probably 12-14 hours a day looking at an LCD. I’m used to it. But the Paperwhite screen really does feel better. It’s kind of like the old gag about how great bashing your head into the wall feels when you stop.
The Kindle Paperwhite has a feature the iOS Kindle app doesn’t have and it’s insidious. In the bottom left corner, you can choose to display your current location in the book, the time left to read the book (based on a sample of your reading speed; it takes a little while for this to show up), or the time left to read the current chapter.
The last one, of course, is the killer. Because each chapter, especially in the thrillers and non-fiction books I read, is relatively short, this is always a small number. So you end up saying, “Well, it’s just another 3 minutes.” Then, “Well, it’s just another 5 minutes.” And before you know it, you’re saying, “Crap, I was supposed to go to work today.”
I’ll post a fuller review once I’ve spent more time with it, but so far, I can see the Paperwhite becoming my constant companion over the coming year. I’m serious about reading more. I’ve got a list in TaskPaper of 100 books I want to read in 2013. I have these books loaded on my Paperwhite, and I’ve already finished 2.