The Greater Fool

Posts for Tag: AAPL

25 years of HyperCard—the missing link to the Web

I grew up in a box-centric culture at Apple. If I'd grown up in a network-centric culture, like Sun, HyperCard might have been the first Web browser. My blind spot at Apple prevented me from making HyperCard the first Web browser.

As the 25th anniversary of HyperCard approaches, ars technica takes a look back at the cool little program that could. I remember being a college freshman with my first Macintosh (Classic) in 1990 trying to figure out this desktop and GUI. HyperCard was instrumental in helping me understand this computing paradigm. Being able to put media and content on each Card and linking them into stacks.

Of course, as a comic book geek at the time, my first task was to catalog my collection. After some two months of effort, in between lectures, parties, and sleep, I finally had my first HyperCard array of my collection of New Mutants, Batman, and Grendel. I had fields for issue number, date, condition. How I longed for a way to capture an image of the actual book!

So on August 11, 2012, please join me in pouring one out for HyperCard which died in 2004 and its creator Bill Atkinson lamented the above-referenced quote to what it could have been.

Is FaceTime a Killer App?

FaceTime demo

photo courtesy Mathieu Thouvenin

FaceTime, nee video chat, is, at best, a niche product and not a killer app.  It's a great tool for parents and grandparents to see their loved ones but it won't replace traditional voice-only communications or even Instant-Message style chats.  Why? Because human nature won't allow it, that's why.  

Jules and I chat with Grandma and Grandpa

photo courtesy Joseph Erlewein

Human nature allows us to multitask while we communicate and, in general, that's how we do it.  Whenever we're talking to someone on the phone, we do something else whether it's balancing our checkbook or watch TV or clip our fingernails or worse.  No one wants to see those activities on the other side of the conversation, but we all know everyone does it.  On business.  It's one of the best things about parts about our current communication schemes, allowing us to be productive while we chat away.  Video chat, however, demands our full attention.  Sometimes, that's a good thing.  Oftentimes, it's not.

Embracing a Slogan (286/365)

photo courtesy Nathan Johansen

So unless we radically change our behavioral habits, video chat will remain a niche product for those special times when we want to devote our full attention to our conversations.  Do I need to have in on a mobile phone?  That remains to be seen but I think FaceTime is a neat kfiller feature, I don't see it bringing a whole other demographic to the iPhone platform.

The future of mobile development


I am more and more convinced with each (iPad) passing (iPhone 4.0) day (Twitter/Tweetie) that developing on any mobile platform that is vendor-specific is a waste of time and resources.  Apple believed this, Palm believed this, Google still believes this.

Native code is sexy for sure but unless you're ready to bond yourself to an entire ecosystem it will all come crumbling down at the first sight of monetization.  Either you'll have to recreate for each platform or play inside the walled gardens.

In the mobile arena, this means HTML5, WebGL, and WebSockets will be the power players.  The browser is the gateway.  My advice to any would-be mobile developers is to learn those technologies and flourish.

I'm Really Worried About What Apple Is Trying To Do With The iPad

the iPad a fatal distraction for publishers. They are deluding themselves into thinking that the future lies in their past.

Will the iPad start a consumption-oriented revolution? Part of what makes web content so enticing, especially over the past few iterations (web2.0, anyone), is the interactive nature of it. Will the iPad push us back to sedentary mode again? Is that why the publishers are so willing to embrace it? It gives them control again.

Google is pushing in that way too, with Google Reader Play, which resembles channel surfing at its best. Deliver me rapid fire buckshot of content in the hope that some of it sticks (and gets shared). Google is in bed with the advertisers so I can see their interest in keeping that cash cow well-fed and comfortable. I hope we don't see a big fracture of content producers again. Just as blogging, both traditional long-form and high speed micro-tweets, have caught up (and some say, passed) old-media outlets. Now we'll have iPad vs the current new media.