the definitive daily cultural column curated by stefan boublil.

  • architecture
  •  / 
  • art
  •  / 
  • awesome
  •  / 
  • books
  •  / 
  • celebritart
  •  / 
  • design
  •  / 
  • events
  •  / 
  • fashion
  •  / 
  • food
  •  / 
  • graphic design
  •  / 
  • jesus
  •  / 
  • marketing
  •  / 
  • movies
  •  / 
  • music
  •  / 
  • news
  •  / 
  • NSFW
  •  / 
  • opinion
  •  / 
  • products
  •  / 
  • sucks
  •  / 
  • talent
  •  / 
  • technology
  •  / 
  • television
  •  / 
  • the considered life
  •  / 
  • theaptGUIDE
  •  / 
  • travel
  •  / 
  • tweets
  •  / 
  • watch now!
  •  / 
  • web
  •  / 
  • theaptPORTFOLIO

    theaptSHOWS



    March 2, 2010

    screenwpalette-hialright microsft, you’ve got my attention now… the inexplicably-named project gustav (klimt?) is taking mspaint where it didn’t even want to go… into the realm of actual artists who will, one day, use the ‘puter to basquiat their way out of anonymity. seems far-fetched? just look at the demo, still a mere beta, of what this software might be able to do. and with any luck, microsoft will bungle implementation, surface-style, and let others do it right. maybe that is al ms should be after all, a bottomless well of research money and people which patents out thousands of incredible ideas that it licenses to others. hmmm…

    February 24, 2010

    so unbelievably preponderant have green screen visual effects become that they have found their way into the most mundane of settings, like ugly betty! amazing that it would cost less to film someone coming out of a building and bumping into a bus stop in a virtual studio than on a new york street. well, as long as i don’t see it, and i don’t, why should i care…

    February 4, 2010

    steve-jobs-apple-41171_463_800technology is nothing. what’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them. it’s not the tools that you have faith in — tools are just tools. they work, or they don’t work. it’s people you have faith in or not.

    whatever you think of his unitasking tablet, the quote above i believe is the essence of what we should be thankful to steve jobs for. the man is one of the very few in any industry that understands the design process as foundational and not simply an opportunity for marketing. just read the whole article from 1994 (!) and stop bitching like you did when you thought the iPod would fail within 3 months.

    January 28, 2010

    multi_touch_20100127so excited was i (weren’t we all?) to hear about a new category of product yesterday when apple was due to unveil their game changer. too long, computer-based products have relied on a learning curve, whether light or steep, in order to be used at all. new language always needs to be learned whatever your age, sophistication or operating system allegiances. as opposed to the appliances we use everyday, from the phone to the dishwasher to the car, they just work and are usually operated, even on the first try, with minimal instructions. i was hoping that what el jobso would reveal was such an appliance which would signal the beginning of the end for computers as we now know and hate them.

    as the kidz say, FAIL.

    in the interest of fairness, and to one’s surprise who regularly visits these pages, it is hard to find a more hysterical, one-sided apple apologist than me. this fruit company, whatever their missteps in the past or present, always has, in my nut-sized mind, had its priorities straight in that it does not consider design a marketing tool but a foundational one, in that human interface guidelines are based on behavior that is, as much as possible, existing, in that they understood early, perhaps the first multinational to do so, that design is not how something looks but how something works. from product to product they have astounded us with refined merchandise that, for better or worse, enhanced what we were already doing. from productivity to communication, apple products have provided solutions not simply to technological problems but living problems, leading us to the closest pizzeria when we feel hungry rather than include features because they can. and that is where, in my opinion, the iPad is a surprising and out of character lost opportunity.

    the biggest piece of information we were waiting for from our elected mass futurologists, even before any device was unveiled, was “why do i need it?” or, as a close second, “what is it for?” again, uncharacteristically, steve did not deliver on a crucial point that he never fails to make clear at every keynote: function, the avowed core value of the company, the one that differentiates it from all others. without a clear function, we are left with thousands of people rightfully wondering “i have a laptop, i have an iPhone, why do i need an iPad?” if it were a new product in an existing category, we would then have been told, in the strongest language available, that what had come before could not possibly get the job done. if they are creating a category, as steve claimed to do, we were owed a definition at the very least. if the plan was to let us decided for ourselves, the plan backfired. indeed, the fact that there is no visible file structure, nowhere to put files where they can be retrieved, no possibility of attaching peripherals and no real working apps, makes it impossible for it to be considered a productivity machine. also, the fact that there is very little communication connectivity such as phone capability, sms or video conference seriously scales back its mobile ambitions. so where does it belong?

    mail_20100127

    as i see it, this is a living room product, one that you leave on the coffee table, to share between members of a family that already has heavily invested in media of all kinds and would profit tremendously from a lightweight product to simply play it, not centralize it since the hard drive capacity is too poor. in this light, apple’s investment in lala as an alleged digital locker from which you would stream content that apple knows you own would make perfect sense. in a way, playing the hand that netbooks never correctly dealt. think of it simply as a player, for lack of a better device term, that awaits your content to come alive. but if that is so, why then spend time and money developing iWork for iPad? as a heavy keynote user myself, i do not see being able to program the complex presentations i craft through touch, something that is hard and time-consuming enough with all the handy shortcuts afforded the desktop version. the self-appointed, and badly in need of a new moniker, road-warrior will need to look elsewhere. especially since, from what i can see, no apps currently available allows full-featured work to take place. i guess that could change.

    newton

    in fact, per this post’s title, the iPad is on par with all the half-baked devices out there that claim to be Personal Digital Assistants, a category invented long ago by, isn’t that interesting, apple while john sculley was in charge… even though it does so with exponentially more elegance and hopefully more speed, the iPad is a newton. oh shit… the iPad is a newton! and as a newton, i do not see why it should now be easier to find a place for it in our lives where it once couldn’t. as a great straddler of categories, one of which did not exist in newton’s time, the iPad has an enviable form factor to be sure, beautifully polished applications that would make tibor tear up which i hope will eventually find their way to the desktop but without the ability to do something as basic as having two of them open at the same time, how can i ever consider this product essential to my admittedly digital lifestyle? i can’t, this is a luxury product deceptively priced as a bargain, which it happens to be. whereas the iPhone was an important product, first priced as a luxury. and as sure as i am that the good people at apple know what they are doing, i stand here confused. ok, not really, i’m actually sitting.

    more questions pop up the more i think about it… why god why will i have to buy and carry multiple adapters to be able to input stuff in this thing? i understand the need for design purity but then why not include wireless transfer if you will not allow peripherals? you did for the macbook air, didn’t you? also, this was in my mind the perfect opportunity to be a friendship maintainer, as in having the ability to ichat video anyone, from anywhere. why doesn’t it have a front-facing camera? photosensors still too expensive? really?! no, i’m asking because my coffee machine has a camera. no, really. will i be able to send a document to a wireless printer? why, of all things, is handwriting recognition not supported on this device which could usher in a new era of note-taking, of idea-sketching, of sharing hastily written drafts between devices? why is the hd display of my dreams dwarfed by an amateurish-at-best 1024 x 768? why is the standby screen not filled with critical information such as weather, latest email and sms previews as well as iCal events without my having to go through login and multiple clicks to find?! and, finally, why is this just a giant iPhone?!

    ibooks_20100127

    that is perhaps my biggest gripe, which is a conceptual one. this needed to be a “bridge” device, something that didn’t simply replicate features and behaviors from other devices but invented new ones the way the iPhone suddenly let us navigate our world in ways we didn’t know we wanted to. this needed to be able to receive, transmit, allow us not to work but to organize all that we already possess. especially if you live, as i do, in an apple ecosystem, from desktops to laptops to apple tv, i am astounded how little these effectively communicate with each other so that i may watch in hd on my giant tv something i just downloaded on my iPhone. now, instead of a facilitator, we have a fourth device with its own resolution, own problems and own quirky operating system. this needed to be an always-on appliance, as i said in the beginning, that just lets you unite, not further divide, you digital life. is it possible, perhaps too simplistically, that this should have been an os x machine and not and iPhone os? is it probable that the hard and quick working pwners of the world will soon make it possible peek at what might have been?

    that said, i cannot wait to hold one in my hands and for the oft-mentioned magic to take hold. it will, i’m sure of it, compensate for all that it is not. reading magazine looks perfect, email looks perfect, calendars look perfect. maybe this really is the filofax replacement i’ve always wanted… and the fact that this device will come alive with developer involvement fills me with hope. but i sure wish it were different, not necessarily more, just different.

    January 27, 2010

    appletableteventthis is it people, defcon 1, 60 minutes away from taking delivery of information we have been waiting for since that black monolith freaked the shit out of those monkeys and a flying bone turned into a spaceship. due to overwhelming over-excitment on my part, i will not be able to post during the keynote but wanted to share with you the direct livestream links you might have missed and that i will be constantly monitoring on your behalf at 1pm easter standard time:

    engadget
    wired gadgetlab

    apple insider

    mac news network

    gizmodo
    huffpo

    inevitably, i will probably fall victim to twittering incomprehensible words and profanities during the proceedings so i do encourage you to follow now if you don’t already. good luck to you all feature-seekers but do remember that the secret is in what you do with it, not what it looks like…

    monster-cansi’m still unclear on the street survivability quotient of the new beats spin headphones by dr. dré’s monster imprint. not that they don’t “deliver pro-caliber, even response and passive sound isolation, revealing every note with distortion-free clarity,” not that they don’t feature “a light, yet rugged, industrial aluminum frame to endure even the most intense gigs,” not that “the unique flip up ear cups make checking out house noise it a quick flick,” i’m sure they do but with things this large on my head, won’t i get beaten to a pulp as soon as i go part 14th street?…

    January 26, 2010

    what a beautifully horrific way to depict what the world will look like though the inevitably-to-be-released iGlasses. this project is that of keiichi matsuda, part of his final year student in a master of architecture “about the social and architectural consequences of new media and augmented reality.” may the silicon god help us all.

    January 22, 2010

    gw_008i never touch the stuff now but there was a time when i was addicted to video games. specifically, game and watch handheld consoles. sure, there was none of that multi-touch, accelerometer or facial recognition the kids are so fond of today but they hand games and could tell the time. multitasking! and they’re coming out again! you can go to hell productivity!

    December 9, 2009

    monstermilesdavis-lgafter the doctor, monster is settings its sights on the teacher without as much as a mention of the new earphones being able to render gil evans’ strings into butta’ or the smooth backup stylings of chick corea, wayne shorter and tony williams into a neuron-creating experience. no, just a logo on the side, that’s all. and bad form.