Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A quick review of Ocean's Thirteen. Also a brief rant on the MPAA.

I just watched Ocean's 13. Loved it loved it loved it. Actually I watched it finishing up the trilogy, I've watched all three this week. So one thing I often do after I watch a film is look it up on IMDB or Wikipedia or both.

Did you know critics didn't like Ocean's 13? I can tell you why. It's pretty weak as a stand alone movie! If I had seen it in theatres and I hadn't watched 12 just a day or three before, I probably would have just said "Meh" too.

That's the beauty about it on disc release. You're unlikely to just bust out 13 and watch it. You're going to build up with 11 (Still my favourite), and then 12, and then 13. And when you've built up to it...and when you're watching at home, then 13 is just a whole lot of fun.

MPAA says that Ocean's 13 was rated PG-13 for brief sensuality. Well I have to tell you that that's all off. I mean the -13 rating is probably accurate, but -- well in consulting with Kids in Mind maybe there was more sensuality than I remembered (I guess I'm just trained well to look away?), but the language! I thought the language was worse than the sensuality...and the language isn't even mentioned by the MPAA.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Three kitchen tips everybody should learn. (and one bonus!)

This started as a post about the top 10 stupid things I see people do. Things that never cease to amaze me. By item 5 I had only mentioned cooking errors, and I had plenty more to go. So I want to make this more positive instead.

So here I present what I consider 3 essential cooking tips. Anybody who is old enough to work a microwave should be taught these tips. Nobody should be allowed in a kitchen without demonstrating proficiency in these three things.

You might even think that I've returned to 2008 and this is a rant on roommates. Well to some extent it is, but I see a disturbing disregard for these tips all over the place -- not just in my own home.


1 - Cutting should take place on cutting boards. Not in pans. Not on plates. Not on the counter or the table. On a cutting board. Cutting on a plate destroys your knife. Cutting in the pan destroys the pan. Cutting on either a plate or pan forces you to hold the knife in a way that's unnatural and unsafe. Use a cutting board. You'll find that you have far greater control over what you're cutting, and you'll find it far more comfortable too. Seriously. Use a cutting board.

2 - The dial on your stove goes all the way to "High" -- but "High" is really for boiling water only. Men in particular seem to always want to cook their food on High. Nothing makes me cry more inside than seeing ruby-red burners under a fry pan or skillet as somebody furiously tries to cook a chicken breast of hamburger on top. When you cook on high, the outside of your food burns before the inside gets a chance to cook. Of if you do leave your food on until the inside is cooked, the outside is so dry that it's hardly worth eating. Your food sticks to the pan like 100x more too. Cook on medium to medium high heat. 

3 - The stove has different size burners. Use them. Using a little tiny pan on a big burner doesn't help you cook any faster...it just dumps a lot of unnecessary heat into the kitchen and creates a HUGE hazard. Honestly. Say you're cooking something with a little oil...if some oil splashes out of the pan and onto the porcelain surface of the stove, no big deal -- just wipe it up later. But if it bounces into a hot burner it's going to pop and send little bits of hot oil flying through the air...probably onto your arm. Or what about dropping a utensil? You want to impart a funky flavour into what you're cooking? Drop a plastic cooking utensil into a hot cooking element.

Little pans go on little burners, big pans go on big burners. It's not rocket science.

Admittedly, this is less of a problem with gas stoves, but they usually still have different size burn zones. If flames are shooting up the side of your pan (Instead of contained on the bottom), you need to turn the burner down and/or switch to a smaller burner.


Bonus tip:
MIcrowaves cook food from the inside out. Ovens, stoves, and toasters cook food from the outside in. You can use this to your advantage. Got leftovers and you want to reheat them, but you don't want them mushy from the microwave? Well use the microwave to get them warm from the refrigerator, and then finish the job off on the stovetop or in the oven. 

And those frozen toaster pastries that always seem to come out burnt with frozen centers? (See #2 above) -- try microwaving them for 10-15 seconds first. That will heat up the fruit filling inside. Then drop the pastry in the toaster to crisp up the outside. 



There you have it. What skills do you think are essential for all people?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Streamliner, Day II

I'm just going to quote from the official BYU Streamliner webpage. Since he's having some formatting issues I'll re-post it here so I can add line breaks. I have some comments to add to this, but not right now.

This morning we arrived at the starting line early. We were there at 6:00 to get our car ready for the record attempt run. We were so excited to be preparing for a record after our 139 mile per hour qualifying run the day before. We prepared the car and took some last photos of the car. Unlike every other car on the track we have no engine oil to warm up, no transmission oil to warm up, and no fuel system to double check. In fact, we had so little to prep compared to other cars that we were able to see some of the other cars that were going for a record. There were an assortment of V-8s and a few four cylinder cars and even a two cylinder air-powered car made by a few Frenchmen. It was cool to see the variety.

We got our car out to the starting line and our great driver suited up and climbed in. His son Bo strapped him in to his seven-point harness and two-point helmet attachment system. We armed the fire system and the parachute and verified the electric drive was in forward. We latched the canopy on on the signal from the race official and Jim slowly laid on the throttle.

From this point I get the story from Jim and the on board video. Unlike the run yesterday where he gave the car about 50% throttle during the run, today he left the hammer down flowing maximum power during the first and second miles. The roughness of the track is apparent in the on board video causing the car to ride rough at low speed. As the streamliner accelerated past 100 miles per hour the averaging affect of speed smoothed out the ride and things began to look very hopeful for our record attempt. Somewhere in the second mile at about 170 miles per hour the car caught a groove in the track that caused the car to turn. Jim was almost able to compensate for the unintentional turn, but as he realized that his efforts were not going to save the run he pulled the chute and the car rolled onto its top. On its way over the side body was pressed into the wheel lug nuts cutting a circular hole in the carbon fiber. The side impact also tried to dislodge our canopy, but the capturing mechanism worked well and kept it in place. The car continued to roll and slid for several seconds on its top. We discovered that the design of the car provided stability while on its roof, preventing a continuous pencil roll that could be so dangerous. The chase truck arrived on the scene seconds after the car came to rest and the crew quickly pushed the car over and Jim got out.

To our great pleasure Jim was unhurt and soon smiling again. We really revere him and respect his courage to test a new high-speed design.

We collected the on board video (which I will post soon) and discovered that the on board data accuisition had collected speed, throttle, current and the other data we wanted, but the hard drive would not connect to our FTP client. We will try to extract the data soon and take a look at exactly how fast Jim was driving and all the other parameters at the time of the crash.

We took the car to impound and the safety officials took the car apart piece by piece looking for clues as to what was the cause. We will look forward to their report with much anticipation.
For me, I am headed on vacation for a while.


-=-=-=

It was actually a really special day and one I won't soon forget.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

BYU Streamliner

One of the greatest blessings I've had in recent years is the opportunity to get involved using my media background to document the progress of BYU racing teams. The past few weeks (and especially the past 2 days) I've been working with a group of incredibly talented Engineers who completed BYU's electric Streamliner. (Learn more at www.BYURacing.com). This car has been under development for 6 years, so in addition to the awesome students I've met over the past few days, there are also countless others who have worked on the car over the years.

Well today was race day. It was fun to be out at the Bonneville Salt Flats and see everything going on. Some of the students who worked on the car in the past were there as well. I got to run around all day with a camera trying to keep up with the team and document what they were doing. I was a film crew of one, so I'm sure lots of the audio didn't come out nearly as good as it could have...but that's what voiceovers and interviews are for!!

Anyway, we had some complications today and when I got home I wrote a long, long email to my coworkers about the day. I figured I'd post a modified version here:

If any of this is a little incoherent, I apologize...but realize that we started our day at 5:45 AM, I drove 3 hours out to the Salt Flats, filmed for about 10 hours, drove 3 hours back, and then moved a truckload of movie gear back into my office.

-=-=-=-=-=
This marks the end of a very long day! I wanted to just get these notes out to you so that we can act first thing Monday morning. 


The streamliner did run today. This morning they made the minor safety changes required for the car to pass tech inspection and then qualified to run. The final paperwork was filed and the car was cleared to run! That in itself is a major accomplishment. We got in line to run the car at about 1:00 and by 3:30 or so we made the run. Because it was a brand new car, the organization had track officials follow close behind the car. The car made it about 1/4 mile down the road when -- right after I got my camera focused -- the driver started to lose control of the back end so he pulled the parachute (Which didn't inflate...because the car wasn't going very fast) and that was the end of the run. The driver did exactly what he should have done given the conditions, so driver, car, and BYU pride came out completely unharmed. To have a technical glitch on a first run is completely reasonable, to crash on a first run would have been bad. The car didn't get far enough to get an official time from the track (They start timing at mile 1), and because of a glitch with the data acquisition (Which I can explain in detail if anybody is interested), we really have no clue how fast the car got going. We think it got up to 45 or 50 MPH.

The team pulled the car back into the pits and immediately started troubleshooting. I (think I) have some great footage of this and even though they hit a setback I'm glad, because I think we finally captured some engineering troubleshooting and "aha" on camera! 

At this time they believe the problem stems from the rear wheels. They are solid blocks of aluminum and there is no suspension (Springs) on them at all...they're just mounted straight to the car's body. They believe that as soon as the car starts to get up to speed, with nothing to absorb the bumps, the back end just goes airborne. The team captain, confirmed this hypothesis by running the car in the pits. This problem did not show up when they ran the car at Miler Sports Park because there they ran a rubber wheel on asphalt. Salt is totally different. The rubber wheel they used at Miller Sports park was a wheelbarrow wheel and is not suitable at all for running at the Salt Flats.


We packed up and came home tonight. Everything came home: Car, trailer, generator, team. The current plan is to get some rubber wheels onto the car. The challenge will be to find wheels and tyres that are both rated for 200+ MPH and small enough to fit in the space they have in the car. They are hoping to be able to do that Monday. If they can get some rubber tyres on the car they'll go out again and try it next week. The event runs through Friday, so depending on when they get it taken care of...they could still very well have a chance of setting a record this upcoming week. Even if they don't set a record, they're hopeful that they'll be able to get out out on the salt again and do some testing. 

Today was still a major accomplishment! Out of hundreds of vehicles racing out on the salt, our car is one of only two electric vehicles. The other is the Ohio State Buckeye Bullet, and it is a huge vehicle (Almost 40' long) that comes in a huge 40' semi and weighs over 3x what our car does. People seem very very excited to have another electric racer out on the salt. The car looks great, drew lots of crowds, and is generating A LOT of buzz. The fact that passing the tech inspection required only 2 very minor    tweaks to the car shows the phenomenal amount of work and attention-to-detail these students have put in. 

Unfortunately, todays glitches showed up in part because of the unique challenge of racing on Salt, and it's near impossible to test the car on salt outside of an official event.


Julie: Tom Erickson was out to see the car race. He says hi. Let's talk Monday about how to proceed and what I need to do with the Unicom gear. It's mostly salt-free.

Austin: I took the liberty of canceling our hotel reservation so they wouldn't charge us. Even if the team goes out again this week, it's not going to happen on Monday. I think even if they COULD go on Monday, they'd take the day off and go on Tuesday. It was a long and tiring day for the team. We need to take the keys for that Malibu back to motor pool and figure out if we would need a motor pool car later in the week (Or if we could even get one). I suspect that if they go out later in the week, and if we go with them, we could do it with the 2 trucks.

If the team does go out again we need to work with them and figure out if it's worth us going out for. Now that I've seen the event first hand I can say that the team really is doing groundbreaking work here, and I think taking the time to document it is really a great tool to promote the school and show what they are doing. 

It's days like this that I love doing what I do and wonder if I will ever be a real Engineer. Spending time with these teams as a fly on the wall and watching the work they do is an honor to me and these experiences are some major highlights for life.

Alright, that's probably way more than you wanted to know!! But hey...now you know.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bad month for breakdowns

Well sometimes you just can't win for trying. A few weeks ago my cousin was married in Rexburg, ID. The morning before the wedding I climbed into Leo, my trusty Saab 9000. I didn't make it 1/4 mile from my house before the car lost power. I limped it home, cursed a few times (Under my breath if memory serves me right...and since I was alone that's the story we're sticking to), popped the hood...tapped on some stuff, disconnected some stuff, reconnected some stuff, and tried again. Mercifully the second time Leo fired up and I drove cautiously towards Salt Lake. I didn't make it. As I got to downtown Salt Lake my car stalled and I coasted off the freeway and called a tow truck. Bummer that I ended up towing; but the good news is that the tow was only 2 miles. Over the weekend I read horror stories on the Internet of failed engine computers and throttle bodies...repairs with $1,000 price tags; but when the mechanic called he had good news. A clogged fuel filter which he described as "probably original." yeah, after 17 years and 205,000 miles I think it probably was past time to replace that. So today. Today I joined my parents for a trip to Sun Valley, ID for my grandpas 76th birthday. Just outside of Snowville Utah catastrophe occurred as the worst case scenario unfolded. As we were climbing a hill at something like 85 MPH, my dad lost power and the red oil pressure light came on. This is a light you hope to never see, because by the time it comes on damage is usually already done. (A quick aside: My dad thought the car was overheating. This is much more serious. If you don't know what your oil light looks like, go look in your owners manual now. If it ever comes on SECONDS count and you need to get off the road and get the engine turned off ASAP. Go look. Don't delay.) Well you know it's a crappy situation, but for a catastrophe it could have been a lot worse. My aunt was headed up too and because of where she lives it wasn't too far out of her way to help us. We towed the car to Tremonten and left it with the towns best mechanic. My dad drives a Saab 9-5. It's HARDLY an exotic car, but it's times like these you sort of wish you were driving something a little more common rather than pulling in (or rather, towing in) something the Mechanic has probably never seen before. So there it sits. These cars had a glitch in the engine for a few years, my dads year included. They were prone to oil slugging that could eventually lead to oil starvation. We've put 80,000 absolutely trouble free miles on this car. I hope it turns out to be a minor issue, but with something as serious as an oil light...I'd be lying if I said I'm optimistic on this one. This post composed on the road from my iPhone, which is a pleasure to type on.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Getting out of Provo is about to get a bit more difficult...

The first few times I drove from Salt Lake to BYU, I followed the route you'd get from Google Maps, a GPS, or any other uninformed routing device: I exited at University Parkway and drove through Provo, past UVU and the University Mall. It's something like 13 stop lights and inevitably you catch more of them red than green.

Imagine my delight, nay, glee when I discovered I could get on and off I-15 at Center Street! It meant driving a little south before I went north (About 1/4 mile) but I could be on the freeway in half as many stop lights! Hurrah!

Well I-15 CORE has begun now...and unfortunately it looks like it will be done about the time I'm done with BYU. Yay for road construction becoming a permanent part of my college experience!

They're rebuilding the Center Street interchange, which for some reason is going to take 2 YEARS!!, and so I've spent the last few minutes deciphering what this means:

Weekend of July 10 -- You can get ON I-15 at Center Street, but to get off I-15 you'll need to exit at University Parkway (Southbound) or University Avenue (Northbound) because I-15 will actually be CLOSED at Center Street

July 14th on -- You can no longer get ON I-15 at Center Street. Best to go even further south and get on at University Avenue by Provo Town Center Mall (Which is awkwardly at the south end, not center, of Provo). You can get OFF I-15 at Center Street, but the beautiful Flyover will be gone, so you'll have to go through a signal. This is probably going to be a nightmare at peak times; fortunately, I'm always coming back to Provo in the middle of the night.

2013 -- We'll have a new interchange, more lanes, and Unicorns will make us Cheesecake on Saturday nights. I'll hopefully be done with BYU.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

FaceTime on iPod Touch

I've been trying out FaceTime on the iPhone 4 with my sister and good friend, the only other 2 people I know with iPhone 4s. It's pretty cool since it requires no setup and seems to work better (More reliably, anyway) than the video calling built into iChat. You know what's going to be insane though? When the iPod touch gets updated this fall with cameras and FaceTime. I'm not sure how they'll do it, seeing as iPod touches don't have phone numbers. Will they register you to FaceTime using your email address? Who knows. THAT, however, will be revolutionary. Also, adding FaceTime to the iPod touch will require the addition of a built in Mic. Will they take it a step further, add an earpiece, and add an option for VoiceTime VOIP calling? That would turn the iPod touch into a sublime VoIP phone. Imagine it...it's coming.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mobile Blogging

With the addition of MacJornal to my phone, I should be able to publish to my blog easily while on the go. Will this increase my blogging frequency? Maybe.

The app is pretty basic right now -- and gathering some complaints because of this -- but I know they'll improve over time. I'd rather start with something basic that actually has features added later than wait eons for an app that never gets finished. (I'm looking at you, MoneyWell for iPhone)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why ARE fortune cookies always positive?

Note: The title should be read the same way you read the title of the little booklet that the Jehovahs Witnesses give out; "What does the Bible really  teach?"-- the one where the really really is in italics.


I like to collect fortunes in my Moleskine. Sometimes I shove them in the acordian pocket. Sometimes I tape them to a page in the back. The other day I came across this one. It was taped to a page in the middle of the Moleskine. At an angle.

I decided that was because back when I taped it in, I really wanted to write some notes about Fortune Cookies on that page...and I just didn't have time right then.

So I did what came naturally: I stopped paying attention in Church, and started writing about fortune cookies.




Here's what the page says: (Forgive the grammatical and style errors -- this is my writing in it's rawest form! If nothing else, this shows that even my terrible writing is salvageable...with a few rounds of editing.)

Have you ever gone out for Asian food & been delt a bad fortune?No. It's not possible. All they give out are good fortunes. Because think about it. If you got a fortune that said "Poverty & Affliction are sure next month." would you go to that restaurant again? Probably not. Let's not even mention the poor sap who falls into a self-fulfilling prophecy...Would he sue? You betcha. Still...fortunes give us hope, so bring on the Orange Chicken...I need more money and luck. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Facebook phobia?

Now that I'm a junior, I'm finally taking freshman english. Here's a paper I just wrote for the class.


Trepidation today towards tomorrow’s technology is typical. Plato feared the written word, claiming that we’d develop a dependance upon written information, and lose the ability to remember things. Thoreau opposed the telegraph, fearing that it’d kill verbal communication. Samual Moorse (probably naive of Plato and Thoreau’s fears) insisted that nothing productive or important would ever take place on the telephone, because there was no record of the conversation. So what about Facebook?  Should we take pause at the idea of openly sharing our lives online? Does Facebook have a detrimental effect on the social lives of those who use it? Or can Facebook, like it’s technological ancestors, actually enrich and enhance our  communications and relationships?
But before we go any further, let’s make sure this deserves our attention. Allow me to explain: Technology, like music, has game-changers and one-hit wonders. You can tell when somebody started using the internet by the one-hit wonders they remember. I could list technologies that never quite caught on, but if you were familiar with any of them...they probably would’ve caught on. Game-changers, on the other hand, significantly change the way we behave, often becoming ingrained in our lives. If Facebook is destined to become just another blip on the internet timeline, than this discussion is no more important than who is dating who in Hollywood this week; but if Facebook will help shape the future, then it’s important for us to decide how we’ll take part in that change -- even if we choose to not take part at all .

So will Facebook make the game-changer cut? Looking at other game-changers provides a clue. Hotmail brought email to the masses. Google changed the way we search. Napster took digital music from obscurity to ubiquity. Amazon.com and eBay pioneered the world of ecommersce. Facebook is currently ranked as the fourth largest site on the internet. Like it’s game changing ancestors, it’s significantly changing the way we work, play, and in this case, communicate. Though attitudes change fast on the internet, it appears that Facebook is here to stay. How, then, might Facebook shape the future? We can answer this question by looking at who is using the site, and how.

A look through Facebook revealed that over half of my extended family are members of Facebook. Many of them even have recent activity on their profiles. I asked my friends -- via Facebook of course -- what they use the service for. Most are using it as a sort of next-generation personal email; that is, an easy way to stay connected to friends and family, both near and far away (On the evolution of email: I infrequently get chain email messages these days, but frequently see chain status messages). 


The most common Facebook usage scenario is the one played out by the most active visitors on the site: The ~33% of Facebook users who visit the site on both their computers and cell phones. While out and about, these users share bite-sized chunks of their day one byte at a time with their friends. Think about it: you’re not likely to email all your friends to tell them that you’re coming out of a movie you really liked, that you’ve finished painting the kitchen, or that you just enjoyed an awesome lunch at a local hole-in-the-wall; but these are precisely the types of things shared on Facebook. These updates, brief and frequent, help friends stay connected far better than a yearly christmas card letter. If you’re raving about a movie or restaurant on Facebook, chances are one of your friends was raving about it before you. 


But sharing movie recommendations with dear but distant friends is no substitute for connecting with those immediately around you. Self-acclaimed experts frequently find fault with Facebook for supposedly stifling real social skills. Ironically, one thing Facebook excels at is bringing people together for parties and other gatherings. With over half my mom’s side of the family on Facebook (Grandma *and* grandpa included), it proved the perfect place to coordinate our bi-annual Thanksgiving feast. Through Facebook and a shared Google spreadsheet, plans were made, assignments delegated, and schedules coordinated. The result? A delicious full-course feast for over 100 people with minimal fuss. 
This applies to hobbies as well. I dabble in Photography, and part of my dabbling is to participate monthly in Provo Photowalk: a  gathering of local photographers who teach each other, and take pictures together. The group leader coordinates everything via Facebook, which is where I discovered the group. When I wanted to invite a friend, I simply sent them to the Facebook group page, where they were able to join instantly and get acquainted with other members of the group before we even met. By the time the photowalk rolls around, everyone is already good friends. After the photowalk (or family thanksgiving, for that matter), we’re able to share photos from the event online.


Still few, if any, advances in technology come without their pitfalls. True, we haven’t forgotten everything by writing it down, but how many people in your phone could you dial from memory? Thinking about Moorse (and perhaps because of my call-center work experience), I can’t help but wonder how different customer service calls might have been before the days of “This call may be monitored for training and quality purposes.” Facebook has it’s uses, but it’s certainly not all raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Researchers at Ohio State University studied Facebook use by students. Searching “OSU Facebook” brings up an article on their work as the second result on Google -- right below OSU’s Facebook page. Though more research is required for a comprehensive conclusion, they found that students who used Facebook had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5, while those who didn’t use Facebook had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0. Facebook, like many other internet sites, also plays host to it’s fair share of fraud, identify theft, and sexual predators. Does this mean we should turn our computers off and head for the hills with pitchforks and gas lanterns? Hardly.


Like many other technologies,  Facebook is not inherently evil. It’s risks are found in how it’s used. Anybody who spends hours on Facebook each day, rather than doing their homework, is going to do poorly in their classes. The same could be said for those who neglect schoolwork to watch television, play video games, or spend time with friends. Yet many movies inspire, video games can be a great way to relax, and only a recluse ignores his or her friends forever. When used responsibly, Facebook isn’t just a form of entertainment, it can actually be a powerful way to move and share ideas. 


Facebook, alongside other technologies like Twitter, LinkedIn, and text messaging, is part of a rapidly evolving industry of new -- and often controversial -- ways to communicate digitally. While there’s no substitute for real (as opposed to virtual) charisma, more and more business communication is taking place online, through the written word. With this in mind, it’s easy to imagine a day when “social networking” skills are as essential to employers as an understanding email and Microsoft Word. Spending a little time with sites such as Facebook can both help us keep in touch with our friends, and keep us ahead of the curve in the business world as well. To my real friends who I find missing from my Facebook friend list, I say drop your luddite views, and instead learn how to responsibly supplement your personal and business relations through this thriving online community.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

5 More Thoughts

Dang, I jumped in the shower and came up with 5 more thoughts.

$15 Data Plan

The iPad could be -- and I actually hope it is -- a trojan horse to bring a $15/250 MB plan to iPhone. If they offered it, I would take it up in a heart beat. I could then easily justify another $15 monthly plan for my iPad. I upgraded to an iPhone 3GS in the middle of September. That was 4.5 months ago. I have used 1.2 GB of data, or just a hair over 250 MB per month. I am frequently in WiFi range, but because of the hassle BYU's WiFi login, I never ever turn my WiFi on. That usage number also includes some heavy tethering action during CES.

What I am saying is that I could easily get away with 500 MB of data shared between 2 mobile devices for my $30 a month.

What I would /really/ go for, on top of a $15/250 plan, is a setup whereby AT&T would automagically upgrade me to unlimited on any months that I exceeded 250 MB. It could even pop up a notification or something.

Lastly, every time I'm with my sister and brother-in-law, my sister says "I want an iPhone" and my brother in law says "I don't want to pay $30 a month for an unlimited data plan." If they introduced a $15 data plan tier, I think iPhone sales would grow even more.

Excuse me, there's a SIM slot in your iPod Touch

I don't think it would be beyond the realm of possibilities to see a SIM slot *and* a camera show up in the iPod Touch come November. Of course, there's always the chance we'll get a camera and an empty space inside the iPod Touch where a SIM would fit -- but we can dream, right? Seriously though, same SIM slot, same data plans. iPod touch sales have now far surpassed iPhone sales. I'm sure AT&T would love to be making a little REVENUEEEE off that.

Speaking of 3G

If I've read it right, the iPad will do 2100Mhz 3G, which is the frequency of TMobile's 3G in the USA. The iPhone does not do 2100Mhz 3G. This opens the door for TMobile to provide iPad service, if they choose, and potentially iPod Touch data service come November.

In using the new Micro SIM standard, Apple gave AT&T a little bit of lead-time to grab customers, but left the door open for TMobile if they want to join in the party.

In using the Micro SIM standard in the iPad (Which has plenty of room, it would appear, for a larger SIM), Apple is ensuring that carriers all over will be ready to support MicroSIM for the iPod Touch, when it comes out in November.


So I have to pay for everything 3 times now?

I have some apps (Like InstaPaper Pro and LDSScriptures) that are great on the iPhone, and I was happy to pay for them. I'm not sure how the up-scaling works, but I hope that if they make a Pad optimized version of these apps, which are really no different than their phone counterparts, that Apple gives them a way to bundle the iPhone and iPad apps under 1 purchase price. It wouldn't be fair for them to charge for the Phone version and then give the Pad version away free, but I don't want to pay twice for an app if the only difference in the Pad version is that they checked "Compile for iPad" in XCode.

That said, some apps can be completely different with the increased screen space -- like the Brushes app they demoed. For those apps, I'd be happy to pay again. I like supporting developers.

Speaking of gateway drugs...

I wouldn't be surprised to see the iPad sold through the iPod sales channel. This means you could pick up an iPad at places you wouldn't be buying a MacBook at -- like WalMart and Radio Shack.

What about printing?


If I'm running Pages and Numbers, I'd better be able to print

What about loosening API restrictions?

The thought of controlling a Keynote presentation on the iPad from my iPhone kind of boggles my mind, and you know it's coming.


Last but not least...

Take note:

Apple's small touch-screen device, sans phone, is an iPod Touch, not an iTouch.

Apple's large-screen touch device is an iPad, not a big iTouch, not an iTouch Pro.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why the iPad will be a success

As an Engineer, I have come to accept that the design of any product is a byproduct of the tradeoffs you're willing to take to make something. This is a blog post on the tradeoffs Apple made in making the iPad.

First I have to confess, my fingers are motor programmed -- It's nearly impossible for me to type iPad without typing iPod first. Thanks goodness the "A" and "O" are on opposite corners of the keyboard, otherwise I'm sure I'd forever be fighting my iPhone over that one.

So it's here. Like it or hate it, the box is open, iPad is here. I'm already getting some mixed reviews. I've seen some that think it will be awesome, some who think it's lame. Interestingly, this isn't "split along party lines." I've seen Apple fans excited for it. I've seen Apple fans less than excited for it. Same for my Windows-using friends. Some are excited for it, some are not impressed at all. Me? I'm with John Gruber -- the iPad isn't the end all (Which is how the haters are looking at it -- I don't get this thing, so it's stupid), it's just the beginning of something much larger.

So, let me tell you why the iPad will be a success.

1 - First of all, none of this is new.

I have been in the Mac community for about 6 years now. Some of you have been using Mac's since 1984, to you, I seem like a young-tot -- but Apple has gained a TON of popularity in the past 2-3 years...so even though I have only been in this for 6 years (As opposed to 26), I've seen a few things. I remember OS X before Spaces. Or Exposé. I remember Safari with brushed metal and Finder with Pinstripes. I remember when Bonjour was called Rendezvous, when Airport wasn't extreme, and when a PowerBook G4 with 512 MB of RAM was thin and powerful.

Off the top of my head, I can remember the introduction of the G5, the Aluminum PowerBooks, iMac G5, iPod Mini, iPod Nano. I was on my mission when iPhone came out, but I was back for MacBook Air.

EVERY time Apple releases something, tons of people complain.

At $249, only $50 cheaper than the third Generation iPod, everybody said the Mini was sure to fail. Instead it was a smashing success, quickly surpassing sales of it's bigger brother.

Many people said the MacBook Air was too expensive, and would be a market failure. While I will admit I don't see them often, I see 10 or 20 MacBook Airs for each Dell Adamo (Oh wait, I've never seen a Dell Adamo. Ever.) or Lenovo X-series laptop.

I'm not immune to this. When I first heard about the iPhone, I laughed out loud, and wondered out loud who would want to spend $500 on a phone with a glass front. Just over a year later, I would purchase my first iPhone -- for $249, or a whopping $100 cheaper than my first iPod.

About the only thing I can remember Apple announcing that brought universal praise was the switch to Intel chips -- and I'm sure the only reason I recall that bringing universal praise is that the details have faded over time.

This armchair quarterbacking...it's not new. Apple is not a company motivated by fear, they do what they want, and they only do things that they intend to do well.


2 - But what about the price. For $499, I could have a Netbook, or even a small laptop with some kind of Celery processor.

Have you ever used a NetBook? They are impossibly small, and having such a small computer is something very awesome -- don't get me wrong...but you can't get as much done on a NetBook as you can on a real laptop. This is where it gets very interesting. People want to compare the iPad to NetBooks, saying that NetBooks can do more. To some extent that's true, but I would say that 98% of what a netbook is going to be used for, the iPad can do just as well. If not, in many cases, better. This brings me to my next point.

3 - The experience will be awesome

I'm seeing a lot of people grumbling that this runs iPhone OS. Let's address this, shall we?

I already know what you're thinking, but do me a favor and ignore the fact that iPad doesn't multitask for just a minute. Will you do that for me? Thanks. I promise we'll address that, just set it aside for a second. Apple is claiming 10 hours battery life on that thing. 10 hours! Apple is not a stupid company. Apple had a skunkworks team running OS X on intel chips for years before they decided they had to make the jump. If you think they made a "selection matrix" (Which is engineer-speek for a spreadsheet) weighing the Pros and Cons of running a watered down Snow Leopard vs a beefed up iPhone OS, you can stop thinking that now. We may never know for sure, but I'd be willing to bet the farm that Apple has been running iPhone OS-based tablets side-by-side with Intel/OS X based tablets for months, even years. Obviously they were getting a better experience running a beefed-up iPhone OS.

Remember when I said Apple doesn't intend to do anything unless it can do it well? I know people were wishing for MacBook Pro sized power in a MacBook Air package for iPod Nano pricing. Those people will never be happy.

Seeing the direction they took with the iPad, I can see why a watered down OS X just wasn't the answer. You'd need a more powerful CPU in there, that would mean a bigger tablet, less battery life, more heat, and fans. Even at that, you'd probably be stretching the CPU pretty thin. You'd get an experience that was ok, but with little headroom.

By using iPhone OS, they traded a theoretical better experience (In using Snow Leopard) for a truly better day-to-day experience, and one with a lot more headroom. If there's one thing the press has already noticed, it's the speed of this thing. Quote John Gruber:

But: everyone I spoke to in the press room was raving first and foremost about the speed. None of us could shut up about it. It feels impossibly fast.

I had an original iPhone. It worked great, but they were on the bleeding edge with that thing, and there wasn't a lot of headroom. This was most evident when, say, you'd have music playing, you'd be in Safari, and a new email message would come in. Your music would sputter to a stop (and the keyboard would become unresponsive) so that the phone could muster up the "bling" sound for new email. Then everything would go back to working. The iPhone 3GS has none of that. It's snappy and responsive all the time. Even when your music is playing.

Instead of stretching something to it's limits, Apple put the iPhone OS on a processor that' more than capable of handling it. A snappy and responsive UI is the result.

Finally, as great as OS X is, it's not designed for touch. iPhone OS is. I used some tablet PC things at CES. If you're going to be using touch, you want an OS designed for touch. For example, cramming stuff into corners (Like the spotlight search) makes sense with a mouse interface. You can whip your mouse up there really easy, and even if you overshoot, your mouse is stopped by the edge of the screen. If you don't believe me, just activate the hot corners on your Mac, and then sit a stranger down at your computer and watch them flip out when they accidentally activate exposé and Dashboard.

In touchland, however, corners are a terrible place to cram things. On the crappy tablet PCs running Windows, bezel gets in the way of you touching the inset screen. Apple flush-mounts their touch surface, thankfully, but any kind of case with a lip makes the corners harder to touch.

iPhone OS is already designed for touch.

I am displaying a gross hindsight bias here, but I have to say, iPhone OS just makes a lot more sense.


4 - The experience will only get better

The iPhone went for over a year without copy paste. It eventually got it. iPhone OS will eventually get multitasking. This I am sure of. Apple can only do so many things at once, and to them it was more important to get the iPad out to market than to add multitasking to iPhone OS. Give it time. It will come.


5 - iPad will be a compelling extension of your desktop Mac (Heck, my mom could have one)

At CES we saw a lot of interesting things. One of them is that the iPhone/iPod touch is becoming an extension of everything. It controls TV setup boxes, home automation systems, even your car.

ProRemote is a $149 app that replicates a portion of the functionality of a $1499 control surface on an iPhone/iPod touch. It becomes an extension of your computer when running a program like Soundtrack Pro, because moving virtual sliders on your iPhone is significantly easier than point point point click click clicking on your Mac.

While it would be nice to run Final Cut Pro or Lightroom or Photoshop on the iPad, the computing power just isn't there yet. I can see lots of applications where the iPad becomes an extension of your computer. Imagine having a photo on your MacBook Pro's screen in Lightroom, and all the sliders to make adjustments on the photo down on your iPad. Your MacBook Pro would still be doing all the heavy lifting, but using the iPad would both clear up screen real estate so you could see your photo larger, and give you a much easier way to make lots of minute adjustments.

Imagine having Final Cut Pro running on your Mac, and FCP Remote on your iPad. On your Mac's screen? A split view of the viewer (Where you preview video clips) and the canvas (Where you preview the actual project you're working on). On your iPad? You'd have all your other FCP stuff, like the timeline and clip bin.

The other thing that really makes sense for these is that, in both cases, doing hours of photo or video editing while looking down in your lap would strain your neck. Having a touch-screen desktop screen sounds nice, but would strain your arm. This dual-screen setup, where the iPad becomes a literal interactive extension of your Mac, gives you the best of both worlds. You're still looking where it's comfortable -- at your computer screen -- for the most part, but you can pull the iPad down into your lap where it'd be most comfortable to use.

If I had $3,000, I could drop $1,500 on a Mackie Universal Control to help speed things up in editing in Final Cut Pro and another $1,500 to drop on a Euphonix to help in the color correction process. In the scenario I've outlined above, I'd need nothing more than an iPad. What's more outside of Final Cut the Mackie does me no good, but outside of Final Cut I can still do a lot with the iPad.

6 - It really does make a compelling desktop alternative.

Also, thinking back to CES, I took my 15" Laptop -- and what did I use it for? Practically nothing. We didn't want to pay $17 a night for WiFi, so we just used our iPhones instead. The iPhone worked great, it just felt a little cramped after awhile. An iPad would have felt even better, and instead of paying $17 for hotel WiFi, I would have just fired up $14.95 for a month of 3G service.

As a student, I still do way too much mobile to give up my MacBook Pro. For example, just this morning, I was editing video on campus, in the library, with my MacBook Pro and a 2.5" FireWire hard drive, which is powered from my laptop and needs no extra power brick. It was a beautiful thing. That said, under normal circumstances -- that is, when I'm not a full time student -- I hardly ever use anything close to the potential of my MacBook Pro when I'm away from my desk. A MacBook Air and an iMac is too expensive of an alternative for me, but an iMac and a iPad? That's a combination I think I could (eventually) pull off.

Especially, the iPad will work with any Bluetooth keyboard. I keep having these visions flash up in my head. Something like this (Hopefully a little cheaper though!), but with room for my iPad on the right, and a bluetooth keyboard build into the left side, with a stiff hinge in the middle so that, if I want, I can use the iPad just like a 9" laptop.

My mom has my old computer, a PowerBook G4. She does eMail and Web. She does word documents sometimes. She doesn't understand how to use a filesystem. For mom, I can totally see her using an iPad as her primary computer. I'd give her the little camera hookup thing so that she could bring her photos onto the iPad when she was on vacation, and we could sync her iPad to my dad's MacBook for backup.


Did I mention that the $99 iPhone 3G sells like hotcakes, even though you can do a lot more with the $199 iPhone 3GS? Did I mention the iPad 16 GB is only $20 more than a Kindle DX.

Frankly, I think this thing is going to be a huge success -- if not in it's first revision, in it's second revision for sure. You can count on it.

Apple's January 27th Event -- my running commentary.

Today at 11 AM Mountain time, Apple's big event was starting. I had Book of Mormon. AS much as I love these events -- half the fun is to have Steve Jobs guide you through the journey, all RDF style. If I can follow a live blog, that's fine -- you're refreshing every 20 seconds and stuff, and getting the info spoonfed to you. But getting it all at once? That's anticlimatic.

So since I was already missing the opportunity to watch it happen in realtime, I decided to camp out, live in a bubble, and do *NOTHING* until I could watch the Apple event.

The funny thing was, when I camped myself out in the Library, I felt ok -- but when I made a run to Target and out for dinner, this thing has been so hyped, I thought for sure there would be a billboard or something spoiling the fun. Thankfully, there was not.

If you haven't watched the video yet, and you plan to, and you want me to watch it along with you...open my running commentary here and we'll watch it together.


12:20 PM - I'm sure the whole world knows by now. It is starting to kill me all the sudden. Maybe I'll cheat and look on Apple Rumors after class.

12:55 PM - I'm walking to the Library, and I'm trying not to look at people's computer screens in case they are on Apple's website.

1:02 PM -- Are you kidding me? The stream isn't up yet? I don't even dare venture out onto the internet. Hopefully I can get some homework done…but make no mistake…my attention is already shot for the rest of the day. (I planned ahead and got ahead on my homework. I knew this would happen.)

1:03 PM -- Still not up.

1:18 PM -- Still not up. Must have been BIG. Maybe they're waiting for their servers to recover from people visiting Apple.com

1:38 -- Still not up. I'm calling 3:00 my official "Uncle" time. Of course, now that I have a value to erode...

1:49 -- Still not up. The trading day closes at 3:30. I wonder if there's some relation to their stock price and when they let the video it. I'll extend my "uncle" time to 4:00. That should be enough time for the market to close, and Steve to appear on CNBC. He always appears on CNBC.

1:52 -- I kind of wish there were a way to send out a flare, but I know if I turn my phone on or anything like that…the surprise will all be over. I've waited this long for the surprise, I can wait a little longer.

1:52 -- PS -- Still not up.

2:04 - Still not up. But this Ray Charles is pretty bomb.


2:14 -- Come on Apple web team! Stop playing with your tablet and get the stream posted!

2:15 -- I saw a red badge in my task switcher and thought I had Mail.app open. It was the number of overdue tasks I have in OmniFocus (4)

2:15 -- Turns out I already completed 2 of the 4 tasks.

2:15 -- Still not up.

2:22 -- Listening to the Apples in Stereo off somebody's shared iTunes. Googling to see what' on Wikipedia. I'm listening to Apples in Stereo post the departure of their longtime drummer. I'm sure long time fans don't like the band with the new drummer, but it sounds good to me.

2:23 -- UP! Ok it's not, but I thought maybe if I wrote that before I actually checked…


2:29 -- Exploring this person's library some more. Note to self: Make sure that if iTunes library is shared, the Voice Memos playlist is not shared. Somebody uses their iPhone to record concerts…too bad it way overloads the Mic. What's up with the Dead Cab For Cutie in here? Does he think this is a regular playlist to put songs in?

2:30 -- No Miley Cyrus in this library. That's too bad. How am I supposed to have a party in the Library-U-A?

2:31 -- Still not up.

2:32 -- Unfortunately his rip of this CD breaks up at this point. Apparently this is one that somebody ripped and never got around to, you know, actually listening to. Time to find a new album.

2:34 -- Architecture in Helsinki? Sounds interesting…

2:42 -- Still not up.

2:51 -- SNU

3:03 -- Still not up, but I notice -- looking at my dashboard -- that AAPL stock is just slightly ahead of the market. Up .94% vs .79% for QQQQ. That's good…but I'm not sure how to read it. It could either be really good -- people were so impressed that Apple's stock didn't drop -- or really bad…people responded with a "Meh"

3:18 -- Nothing

3:32 -- Nothing. 28 more minutes…

3:52 -- Nothing…


3:55 -- Oh dear. It's not going to be up by 4. I have come so far though…I'm sticking this one out. I'm afraid that when I turn my phone back on…the whole world will have ended, and I will have just been chilling in the library the whole time.


4:55 -- I just did a lap around most of the whole floor of the library. This is a big place. Still nothing.


5:25 -- I give up. Phone is on (But notification for SMS is off…so hopefully that won't spoil anything). I'm going to dinner and run some errands.

5:26 -- 14 emails. I should take a communications holiday more often.

7:12 -- Back on campus. Let's see what's up.

7:13 -- YUSSSSS

---From this point the time will refer to the time into the movie.

0:22 -- Woah, that chair looks worn out. I think it must be the chair right out of Steve's office. They don't usually put big fatty leather chairs on stage…and I don't see a computer at all. very interesting.

1:00 -- Woah…no beating around the bush. Right into it. Oh, updates first. Of course.

2:21 -- Apparently Steve admires his stores empty more than full.

3:48 -- $15.6 B of revenue is a lot of money. It's cool that Steve says he doesn't think about that. I'm sure he thinks about it a little.

5:00 -- I don't know if I'd count Laptops as mobile devices…but ok Steve. I'll give it to you.

5:15 -- Are they going to change their name to Apple mobile?

6:00 -- PowerBook on the screen. I wonder if they had that photo lying in the archives somewhere, or if somebody had to go dig that laptop out of the archives so they could take a Keynote-worthy photo.

6:45 -- "Everybody uses a laptop and a smartphone" HA. It does feel that way sometimes.

7:00 -- He's talking about what lies in the middle. I'm curious too -- it seems like some people I have talked to want MacBook Pro power in a package smaller than a MacBook Air. With a touch screen. Oh there he goes *watching* videos he says.

7:15 -- Oh interesting. "Reading eBooks."

8:19 -- Uh oh…Steve's gonna rip Netbooks apart big time.

9;00 -- iPad. That's kind of a ugly name I think, but I'll take it.

9:12 -- Woah woah woah…it's got a HUGE…MacBook dispay-style bezel. I wonder if it has a rubber bumper around the front so you can lay it down face-down.

10:00 -- I'm not sure about this iPhone OS thing. I guess we'll see.

10:13 -- "Unbelievably great…"

10:50 -- Oh hi giant onscreen keyboard. "It's a dream to type on" -- that's what he says about the iPhone's keyboard too…I don't know that I'd call the iPhone a dream, but it's quite nice.

11:30 -- "Maps works with Google's back end…"

12:00 -- Youtube -- I wonder if iPad does flash.

14:00 -- There's a big "Plugin Missing" thing on part of the NY Times. That's not a full web browsing experience Steve…

14:38 -- "Want to buy some tickets…? Grab the pad that's in your kitchen…" -- Apparently he dreams of multiple Pads in each home. I don't think that's exactly far-fetched.

15:25 -- He sure is saying "and again" a lot

16:25 -- Metro paris map…because nobody on the Metro is going to mug you for /that/

17:11 -- I wonder how much practicing he's been doing…even after close to 2 years, I still can't type on my iPhone when people are watching!!

18:00 -- I finally just noticed how they're running the display off this thing…he hid a charger cable in his comfy chair. I didn't know Apple made black cords!

18:40 -- The audience is just eerily quiet. That's the only thing I'm not liking at all. Maybe we need the german guy on stage to talk about "Snow Leopard"

19:00 -- Griffin (and every other accessory company) is already working on a wall-dock for this thing. Show your photos while it charges! In that respect, I think it's actually more practical than a digital photo frame.

20:40 -- Hey, we see a shot of the control booth. That's cool.

21:15 -- To tell you the truth, I can really envision this being like another iPod. Nobody quite gets it right now, and it might not even take off for a year…but I think several years from now it will be big, and I also think EVERY manufacturer will have "Pad devices" on the market.

22:10 -- Still waiting for week calendar view in iPhone. Please please please.

23:30 -- Sushi Boat better double up their staff for lunch today! I'm sure they'll be sending Steve a TY card after the event.

24:30 -- WHY is nobody clapping or excited?? Did the RDF wear off, or do we just have a lame audience?

25:50 -- Don't show this sequence from UP -- I'll cry.

26:20 -- Audience: When Steve says "Isn't that wonderful?" you're supposed to applaud.

26:40 -- Tons of screens and backlit keyboards visible on the audience floor. Ha.

27:20 -- IPS -- super happy about that.

27:50 -- Hello FA Semiconductor.

28:10 -- I wonder how much they'll charge for each memory step up.

28:40 -- What is the battery life of this remarkable device?

29:00 -- The REAL good news is, with a dock connector, it'll be painless to add a little extra battery capacity if you need to. I'm looking at you Monoprice…

30:00 -- I don't know…I'm not sure the walled-garden approach of the App store is the right way to run the iPad. I want to do whatever I want on my iPad, not what Apple wants me to do.

30:35 -- "Right out of the box." -- Audience…that's another missed cheering cue. Gosh this audience is LAME. LAME LAME LAME.

32:00 -- This "Play the game tiny in the middle of the screen" is vaguely remnicient of all those years in PC gaming when display technology was far outpacing graphics card technology.

33:50 -- WE give you this GIANT screen, and STILL only 16 pixels per screen :-D

34:45 -- "Today!" silence…….clap clap clap…they were a little slow, but at least they didn't totally miss that clap cue.

36:06 -- Man, if you're a developer and Apple calls you…better clear your schedule for 2 weeks and hope you're all caught up on your sleep.

36:50 -- Apple is demoing a FPS game. Wow.

37:40 -- Whoops…that 2-finger swipe didn't quite work for the first grenade. Good thing the game is in demo mode!

40:03 -- I'm wondering if they'll make "Fat Binary" apps…iPad apps that work on iPhone too. I wonder if they'll be priced higher.

40:30 -- This woman is a little stiff and rehearsed. She should loose the heels…then she'd be more comfortable on stage.

41:00 -- "And it will save them to my iPhone, so I can read them whenever I want." That's way cool…but wasn't the point of the iPad a better reading experience?

41:51 -- "And everything you expect from the times." -- Another VERY LATE audience clap cue. Steve, just invite me next time, I'll help them know when to clap.

44:35 -- "You can also undo" -- I think they should make a left thumb tap and hold, followed by a left index-finger tap a gesture for undo. (Hit command+z on your keyboard and see what I mean)

45:41 -- Apparently suit-coat, untucked shirt, jeans was the required wardrobe for this event.

46:50 -- You know, they still haven't mentioned what the screen resolution is.

48:00 -- you know, I wonder if they're all sharing 1 sports jacket just off stage.

48:43 -- The shared sports jacket was too big for the baseball guy. He was able to borrow one of Scott Forstall's shirts though. I imagine it's tough when Apple tells you to report to Cupertino immediately, but won't tell you for what or for how long.

51:12 -- I have to tell you, it is pretty cool that they let developers develop and not have to worry about running a business so much. The brushes guy is probably able to support more users since Apple handles most the money, collecting taxes, etc.

52:00 -- "Amazon's done great job…now we're going to stand on their shoulders…" is that Steve's nice way of saying "We're grateful for the little people we are stepping on to get here…"

52:55 -- Books are cool, but -- like music -- I don't want to be locked into the iPad with books. I want my books to be able to go wherever I want. Then again, maybe Apple will make an iBooks app for Kindle. Hmmm….

55:45 -- You know, they are going to charge $1000 for this. They'll be successful because an Amaon Kindle DX costs close to $450 or $500 I think, and this does so much more. I really wonder how the reading experience will stack up to eInk though. Better is some ways…but it's a LCD, which is really a lot different.

56:40 -- ePub books, open format, he didn't say anything about DRM. That's delicious.

58:00 -- Again…do I have to buy iWork twice now, or does the Mac version come with the iPad version? That's all I want to know.

59:00 -- A little Apple dock dongle with a VGA/DVI connector and a wireless remote receiver…I can feel that.

59:40 -- I wonder if it's going to make the "Ker-ding" sound every time you plug the dock in.

1:00:00 -- you know, they haven't talked at all about how we get files on or off of the iPad. Am I going to have to get all the photos I want in my Keynote into the photos app? Guess we'll see.

1:01:18 -- Audience…multitouch gestures…that's another applause cue. Yeesh.

1:02:00 -- Oh come on…CLAP you people, CLAP!

1:04:18 -- Phil's line today is: "The most beautiful….you've ever seen." "The most beautiful ruler you've ever seen."

1:05:23 -- I get it. These are obviously publishing people. (They finally clapped…at the auto flow of text around an image).

1:08:00 -- I think the soft keyboard is probably great, but all I'm saying is that the first company to come up with a little soft-folio that's ½ holder for iPad, and ½ bluetooth keyboard wins. Then again…I wonder if they can load a driver in the background, or if that's not permitted on iPad.

1:10:00 -- $9.99 each. So there we go.

1:11:00 -- "Isn't it great?" Applause. Yuss! They're finally figuring this out.

1:12:00 -- With 3G…who? Forget the price! Who is the provider?

1:12:00 -- Aaaaand…we're forced into unlimited data for iPhone, but now we're tired on the iPad. Hmmm….

1:13:00 -- Sorry Steve, I'm not paying $60 for mobile data plus my broadband at home.

1:14:00 -- NO CONTRACT! Ok, I'm sold on that.

1:15:00 -- Yeah, but does it come with a built-in SIM ejector tool?

1:15:30 -- The only bad thing about streaming is I know I have 17 minutes left. What's Steve going to do with 17 minutes? That's not quite enough time for a Verizon iPhone. Maybe John Mayer will show up and do a quick demo of GarageBand touch or something.

1:16:00 -- Pricing time…get ready to scale the RDF up BIG TIME!

1:17:00 -- Ok, for the first time…I'm really on edge. What's the price?!

1:18:00 -- $499 for 16 gig. $999 for the 64, right? Still, that $499 is dang impressive!

1:18:30 -- I don't really want to pay for a 3G radio, but it would probably help resale. Impressive pricing. 6 new SKUs. That's aggressive.

1:20:00 -- Actually, as a iPhone user and lover, I bet I could get by -- hold it, look…they've built a picture frame app in. Ha! Sweet. Ok, I was saying, -- Oh keyboard dock. That's cool too. But how about a portable Keyboard dock? Now, what was I saying? Oh yeah, I bet I could get by with the $499 iPad. If that doesn't prove the RDF is out in full force, nothing will.

1:21:00 -- I love watching these videos. I'll download it and watch it 10 times tonight I'm sure. I'm ready for some white backgrounds, Jony Ive, and a song I'll go immediately to iTunes to buy.

1:22:30 -- You know, he didn't highlight the buttons on the side, or tell me if there was a speaker or Nike+ built in.

1:23:00 -- "Order of magnitude" more powerful. Scott Forsall is such an engineer.

1:23:30 -- Really though, maybe not while I'm at BYU, but the iMac + iPad ecosystem is suddenly a lot more achievable for me than, say, MacBook Air and an iMac.

1:26:00 -- I can see all those grandmas who are tired of squinting at their iPod touch screens going to this thing in droves.

1:27:00 -- A4 -- because the iPad is about as big as a piece of A4 paper. I get it. Cute.

1:29:00 -- "So, let's go back to the beginning" -- I just wanted to point out that these wrap-ups are a signature part of the Steve Jobs presentation style.

1:30:00 -- You know Steve Jobs follows the rumor mill when he takes time to dispel rumors that have been flying around like "It will be hard to use." "75 million people already know how to use it" pa-Jobs says.

1:31:00 -- Steve Jobs is one of the few people I know who can get away with saying the text on his slide verbatim. This is because he does it so infrequently, and only at pivotal moments.

1:31:56 -- I wonder what the significance of 600 and 1500 is on the road sign there.

1:32:00 -- Wow.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Rocky Mountain Drive Inn

I hardly consider myself a food critic, but I do love to try new places. I want to try as many of the hole-in-wall places in Provo as I can over the next few years, as I continue my education at BYU. I spotted 3 near center street just the other day, so when I was a bit hungry driving back to Provo today, I knew that I would wait until reaching Provo, and then try a new place here.

The place that won today was Rocky Mountain Drive In.

This little shack, just off center street in Provo, is your typical burger joint. Burger. Cheese Burger. Double Cheese Burger. Bacon Burger. Double Bacon Burger. Pastrami Burger. You know the menu.

I had a bacon burger. It was drippy and messy (No serious...like Carl's Jr. ad drippy), drenched in what appeared to be thousand-island dressing. It was pretty good though.

The scene was interesting. The place is probably 40 years old, and it looks it. I don't know that it's been remodeled since...ever. It seemed clean though. Whereas the Malt Shoppe on University looks 40 years old and your skin sorta crawls when you walk in, this place just looked ancient, but not in a disgusting sort of way.

They do have some special menu items. They have pretty good looking shakes, but lots of places in Provo have pretty good looking shakes. In addition to the standard fare, they have a Halibut burger, a Sea Food burger, and Fish and Chips -- featuring English Chips, not fries. I will be making a return trip to try the Fish & Chips.

They also have Beef and Chicken Teryaki bowls. I will be making a return trip to try those as well, because if you're not aware, I'm on a quest to find decent and reasonably priced, Seattle-style teryaki outside of Seattle.

Two other real standouts though...one is the scones. You can get hot scones, topped with powdered sugar, and served with a little cup of honey butter. I ordered a 2 piece, and they were delicious. I didn't start into them until after my burger was done, but even then they were still warm inside. The insides were still warm and delicious, and I could have sworn that they were filled...but they were not. These scones are delicious, and I can imagine myself making the trek to that corner of town some time just for the scones alone.

The last thing worth noting -- when I was filling my water glass (No ice dispenser, but they give you a cup of ice if you ask), I noticed that one of the soda dispensers was labeled with a little piece of paper...nothing fancy. It simply said "Iron Port". Wondering what this meant, I went to Google on my iPhone. Cisco, the networking giant, has a division called "IronPort" -- but that obviously wasn't it. I was seriously starting to wonder if that spiggot on the soda fountain was just rusted out or something and they were making a joke -- this is the "Iron Port" but then I found it. Iron Port: "...an old-fashioned carbonated soft drink...somewhat of a cross between root beer and Caribbean spices and is very similar to the Cuban soda pop, Iron Beer." The Wikipedia article then goes on to list the 36 or so places where you can get Iron Port on tap, the Rocky Mountain Drive Inn one of them. If you know ANYTHING about me, you know that I LOVE kind of offbeat, non-mainstream beverages. When I discovered what that "Iron Port" was about, I nearly lept out of my seat and ordered up a soft drink right then...but then again, I have at least 2 or 3 other things I'd like to try at this place, so the Iron Port can wait.


Until next time,