Category: technology

Five days with my Apple Watch

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Five random thoughts:

1. the fact that you can check the time on this thing is as important as the fact that you can make phone calls with the other thing. While it defines their names (Apple Watch, iPhone), the really interesting parts are completely elsewhere.

2. while making my first phone call holding my watch to my face I realised that it’s not really a novelty: we used to do this all the time when we were kids. It’s just that now it works. Which isn’t necessarily a good thing (in any case, I would not do it in public).

3. the wrist movement I make when stabbing a piece of food with my fork is the same I make when checking the time. I think that eating using cutlery significantly reduces battery life.

4. it creates a whole new level of awareness. Because I can glance at notifications all the time, I do feel like I’m more in the flow. The absence of notification sounds (I muted it, I love its gentle tapping) and the fact that once you glance there isn’t much more you can do, makes it less distracting.

5. I do keep track of my physical activity monitors all the time. When Apple introduced Garage Band I picked up playing an instrument again. I wonder if the Apple Watch will get me to move a bit more.

Transparency, transparency, transparency

Crossposted on MwrVld.com

Guess what? Lately I have become obsessed with transparency! The more I work on it, the more I realise that transparency is at the very core of any healthy business relationship.

It works inside an organisation, it works between organisations. It’s the essential ingredient to build trust and understanding. Continue reading

3 things about Apple Watch

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One

I think that the heart rate sensor is the most relevant feature of this product. It’s not just about fitness: with the right software having a constant monitor of heart rate and other activities will soon start saving lives. In a few years this class of products will have an impact on the healthcare budgets. It’s big.

Two

Remember iPhone 1.0? iPod 1.0? iPad 1.0? Holding my first iphone today, it looks and feels like ancient technology. The current Apple Watch looks a bit chunky, but in no time it will become much sleeker. This is a 1.0.

Three

Is it “Apple WATCH”? ALL CAPITALS? REALLY?

Automatic photostream

Here’s a great story about finding yourself in somebody else’s photos.

Today Facebook has access to my timeline on Moves (which they bought), which means that potentially they know where/when I was for the last six month with a good degree of precision. 

They also have access to billions of geotagged photos. Cross referencing this information Facebook could easily generate a timeline of photos taken around me. And this is with today’s technology.

There all all kind of privacy issues to discuss, yet there are quite exciting possibilities with photography. Just ahead.

Life after Aperture

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It has been quite evident for a while that Apple had little love left for Aperture, but now it’s official: the photo editing software will be retired.

I’m sure that Photos, Apple’s new photo management app, will be nice and perfectly integrated in Apple’s ecosystem, but most likely it won’t have the kind of professional tools I need.

Which leaves me with just one possibility: move to Adobe Lightroom.

I have many friends who love Lightroom, and recently I have given up and started paying for Adobe’s subscription plan, so technically I already have Lightroom installed on my Mac.

But unless I’m missing something, once I will have moved all my photo archive to Lightroom I will have to keep paying a ransom to Adobe every month just to be able to access my photos, on my computer.

Yes, I appreciate that all my files are there, but there’s a whole lotta metadata and work associated with those files which depends on Lightroom and will be lost if I don’t pay the monthly fee.

The future of our digital photos is something we should start paying much more attention to. Right now it doesn’t look very bright.

PS: as some commenters pointed out, there is an option to buy Lightroom as a standalone application which I had not been able to find. This makes the whole migration option much more likely to happen soon. Thank you all 🙂

30 years later

On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like “1984.”

It must have taken a few weeks after that famous January 24th before my dad came home from an Apple resellers meeting with a big white box with a colorful logo.

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The first Macintosh of my life was installed in our living room, with a plaid to protect the polished mahogany table. The mouse. The graphic UI. MacPaint. It was love at first sight.

Since then I have used a Mac pretty much every day. I cannot think of any other piece of technology that I have used so much and for so long, and that has had so much influence on my life.

I have used a lot of Macs.

At the beginning it was the 128K. Then the 512K. Then it was the Plus. The first hard disks (what will we ever do with 10Mb of storage?). And the internal ones, which as soon as summer arrived started overheating.

The Macintosh II had colors, the SE/30 was quick, the IIfx was sooo powerful! I worked for years doing graphic animation on a IIfx.

When we started working together, the first Mac Monica and I bought was a Quadra 700. And a LaserWriter 12/640 which lasted for almost 20 years.

There were some dark times. System 7. The Power Macintosh 8500. Some friends moved to Windows. I stubbornly stuck with my Mac. I even bought a 20 anniversary Macintosh.

Then the light again (Jobs was back) with the colored iMacs, the translucent G3 desktop. And the beautiful G4 Cube.

And all the laptops. Starting with the fantastic PowerBook 100, which was simply amazingly small. And then the sophisticated, black and cool Lombard and Pismo. And the first G4 Titanium. Can you imagine? Titanium!

And then all the Aluminium MacBooks, and the incredible light Air, and… it’s today.

Thanks for the ride Apple. And what a ride!

Multi language stream using Facebook Lists

I have been playing with lists on Facebook lately. Initially I considered them reading lists (a way to aggregate stuff from a selected several sources in the same page), and they are, but you can use them also as distribution lists, and this is much more interesting. Thanks to lists I think I have solved one of my long-standing problems on Facebook: multiple languages.

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I don’t have a huge number of  friends on Facebook, I have tried to keep my social graph consistent, and while I cannot say I know personally every single contact I have, I can say in most cases I’m connected to people I know of. Overall I’m pretty happy with the content I find on my Facebook page, my real problem is posting: considering that about 20% of my connections are not Italian, which language should I use?

My solution so far had always been posting everything in English (wrongly assuming that all my Italian contacts can read some basic English). This approach kinda works as long as I’m posting original content, but it did prevent me from re-posting all the interesting stuff I found in my stream which is in Italian. And with 80% of my contacts being Italian it’s a lot of stuff.

So I finally decided to go through all my contacts and manually create a list of my Italian friends, so now I can easily post in Italian for my Italian friends and in English for everyone else.

The UI to do this could be much easier, and probably Facebook could be doing this automagically, but still, it’s a nice step forward.

Google: a lousy evil empire?

I’m a fan of every conspiracy theory as any other geek, but this whole narrative about google gaining control our whole life has a big flaw: Google Plus.

I mean: I have 4 active email addresses that I use every day, and they are all on gmail. I use google for every search, google maps, google calendar, google docs both on my Mac and my mobile devices. I use Chrome for most of the time when I’m on my Mac. And then they shut down the aggregator I was using, they force me to have a G+ account to comment on YouTube, in other words the pretty much have full control of my digital life, and still…

…they haven’t managed to get me interested to Google Plus. Nor any other of my friends, who in most cases have pretty much sold their own souls to Google like I did.

Now, I’m not saying that they are not evil… but surely so far it doesn’t look like they are very good at using all the power we gave them in order to control us.

Games of Drones

So, with PrimeAir Amazon is planning to deliver goods to our doorstep using drones in 2015.

By 2018, PrimeAir will reach us wherever we are, even walking down a street. In 2020 GoogleMaps RealTime will be deployed in major cities, and Facebook extensive network of drones will keep track of our friends like it never happened before.

A tiny blue Twitter drone will flutter a few feet behind us, giving a whole new meaning to the term “follower”. Some of us will deploy personal WordPress drones, which we will be able to customize with all kind of widgets.

I’m not sure about Apple drones… But you can bet that they will be über cool, and everybody will want one.

Here’s why I unfriended you

Recently you posted something along the lines of:

“those who post about food/cats/running/kids/… must have some kind of problem”

Now, I get it: it’s a kinda funny cheap shot, and yes, your post did collect a bunch of likes by some other looser.

But, to answer your question, I actually enjoy pretty much what my friends post on Facebook. I like their food and cats pictures, and I post plenty of those myself. I secretly envy every run they make in the park and every time the blaze through the city on their bicycles. I enjoy keeping up with their life. There’s people I have hardly every met, yet I’m keeping up with their adventures day by day. And quite often I learn something from them.

Whenever I get bored with the content that somebody posts I just hide it, or unsubscribe. It would probably be a little less shocking if they would call it unsubscribe instead of unfriend.

But my point is: you are entirely responsible for what appears in your stream on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social network out there. If you don’t like it, change it, don’t bitch about it.

I don’t like people bitching about it. Here’s why I unfriended you.