Friday, June 29, 2007

What's special about the iPhone?

The most hyped phone ever is now available (well sorta) from Apple: the iPhone. What good things can we expect from it? Is this author cynical? (mostly yes, but read through the end)
A critical mind, upon hearing all the hoopla would ask the natural, logical questions:
  • Is there something here that I should be getting excited about?
  • What awesome new innovations will be on this thing?
  • How cool does it look?
  • What are it's strengths? What, if any, are the weaknesses?
  • What types of people was this phone designed to serve?
Well this phone is made for GenXers and younger. It's made for people that wear rectangular frames and clothing from chic, downtown thrift stores. It's for people that wish they could tell other people that they make their own clothes, but probably have limited their sewing experience to making one uneven, heart-shaped pillow in their junior high homemaking course. Also dudes with scruffy beards that wear hoodies will want this device, along with their girlfriends.

It's weaknesses are that it will probably need to be cleaned very regularly (it has a virtual input/keyboard interface), that it won't have any 3rd party software written for it (b/c Apple won't be releasing a SDK), that it can only send email and txt messages (notice--no unlimited instant messages), and so on.

It's strength is in the sexiness of the design and that it is the heir apparent to the mighty iPod. The wave that is iPod will be cruised on by this tiny surfboard-like digital device--bringing near to it's users media of all kinds and from all sources. The one truly new feature that I can see is a multi-touch screen; I'm not sure how awesome that could be--but ok, I'm game. Truthfully, though, the iPod has such a following that this is a minor detail, along with the tiny detail that the screen automatically switches landscape and portrait modes (*cue sarcastic gasps, oohs and ahhhs). Sociologists and marketers should (and probably are) join together and furiously study the phenomenon that is the iPod. There is such a huge amount of momentum behind Apple products right now that if Steve Jobs started his own religion called iChurch, people would line up for weeks and give 50% of their salaries to him--no doubt.

Reading my comments above about the iPhone, I must ask myself why I'm spending a good amount of time researching this device. It doesn't seem to have any functionality to get me to camp in a waiting-line for weeks. So I'm not excited to get my hands on one, really. I'm mostly excited by any device that will open up the USA's mind. People have moved slowly in changing their notions of "what society believes a phone should do." The iPhone, riding the iPod wave will wipe out many peoples expectations and will leave behind a paradigm that will forever change the people's attitudes on handheld computing. Over the past six years, I've adopted several devices that function similarly to the advertised iPhone features; I'm excited to see a fire lit under the feet of United States cell phone providers (the oligopolistic cell phone service providers). See my previous blog-stories here and here.

The iGeist of Apple will take us to new heights, whether we are Mac users or not.

*-great article

Thursday, June 21, 2007

just in case you missed it...

My favorite article in the news recently was one about a missing lake. Yep, that's right, a lake is missing in Chile; slap that wetness on the side of a milk carton, on dulce de leche, or maybe on the side of a kid's t-shirt. Where is the lake? Did it get sad and run away? Is the local school of fish to blame? Is it extreme global warming that evaporated it? What happened exactly? I loved mysteries like this.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

by their fruits...

A fascinating comparison has been made between the so-called "carbon footprints" of two major figures in the Global Warming debate


HOUSE # 1:

A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house all heated by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2,400.00 per month. In natural gas alone (which last time we checked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not in a northern or Midwestern "snow belt," either. It's in the South.

HOUSE # 2:

Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, this house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction can provide. The house contains only 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on arid high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 deg F) heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.

HOUSE # 1 (20 room energy guzzling mansion) is outside of Nashville, Tennessee. It is the abode of that renowned environmentalist (and filmmaker) Al Gore.

HOUSE # 2 (model eco-friendly house) is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas. Also known as "the Texas White House," it is the private residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush.