Posts Tagged “shiny”
Yesterday Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple, presumably due to ill health.
To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.
Apple shares are at $369.94, down 1.7 percent from yesterday’s closing price of $376.18.
While I was living in the USA I was lucky enough to see Steve Jobs present a keynote at MacWorld 2008.
At 3 AM on Tuesday January 15 2008, I joined fifty other mac geeks at the Pre-keynote meet-up outside the Apple Store on Stockton Street, and we walked together to join the line at the Moscone Center, where there were already around fifty people waiting. Despite the early hour and the bitter cold, the atmosphere was electric with anticipation. We spent the next six hours in conversation over breakfast donuts and coffee, reminiscing over past Apple flops and successes, and speculating on what Steve would unveil during the big event.
Photo by Adam Jackson.
Finally, they unlocked the door, and we streamed into the hall to see Steve Jobs striding on stage in front of an audience filled with MacBooks and iPhones. He talked about the four billion iTunes song downloads, the new apple TV, and unveiled the MacBook Air. To conclude the event, Randy Newman – the composer for Pixar – sang a few songs, including Toy Story’s “You’ve got a friend in me”, saying “I always root against corporations, ’cause that’s how I am, but not this one”.
Photo by Tech Show Network.
This was just the beginning. I spent the next two days visiting all the booths, from Adobe to Microsoft to BusySync to Gelaskins, attending presentations on hardware and software, and even purchasing my first iPhone – one of the vendors saw my new box and gave me a complementary case to celebrate. It was exhilarating to be surrounded by so many members of the Mac community in such a dynamic venue.
Photo by smenzel
By the end of the second day I was completely exhausted, trying to fit a lifetime’s worth of Macworld experiences into 48 hours. There were 191 educational sessions, 479 exhibitors, and 47,908 attendees. Luckily, one of the exhibitors was MetroNaps – a company that provides an essential service and which permitted me to trial one of their pods for much need rejuvenation.
Photo by laughingsquid.
I saw my first Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas in February 2008 – Mystère – one of the seven Cirque shows in permanent residence there. It was magical – I loved the fusion of acrobatic talent with whimsical creatures and a spectacular set. When I heard that Cirque du Soleil would be touring Europe, I signed up in anticipation. When Cologne was announced, I hesitated. Could I really go all the way to Germany just for a show? Admittedly, it’s under two hours on the train, but still, it seemed a bit indulgent. I decided to try to act like a European, and buy the tickets as soon as they were available.
So on the 15th of January, I bought two front-row seats for the show on the 5th of June. It was a long wait, but this weekend we finally popped over to Germany to see the show.
It was fantastic. The story was a little confusing – a white bird loses his wings and lands in a forest inside a volcano. He then gives a feather to a lizard, who is captured by blue creatures. The white bird is then entranced by a shiny stretchy creature, and then they get married to the jubilation of fire animals.
However, the acrobats were astonishing, and I often found myself holding my breath in anxiety. As the acrobats soared over us, my heard leaped with their beauty and grace. The sound-track was created with live musicians and a singer. The singer would stand to the side of the action, spreading their arms as they seemed to narrate the actions in a mysterious tongue. Other creatures would also creep around the background, climbing trees or attempting to mimic the acrobats.
Being so close to the performers was great. They would frequently make eye contact with us, and I loved seeing their smiles when they landed a difficult move. After the show ended, they all came out to receive their standing ovation. The same performers have been touring since 2002, yet they still seem to have the energy of opening night.
Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
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My shiny new kindle arrived yesterday by courier. My purchase was inspired by this xkcd comic, as well as my general gadget geekiness. When I left my lab in Seattle last year they kindly gave me an Amazon.com gift certificate, which I had been holding onto for something special, and decided to credit it towards this purchase. It arrived by courier and landed on my desk yesterday in a small brown box labelled with “frustration-free packaging”, with a cute little access strip.
Image from breadslice
I tore open the strip, lifted up the box, and there was my kindle 2 sitting inside the box. I lifted that out, and there was a USB cord that plugs into a US power plug. Amazon did warn me that it would ship with one, but it is still disappointing that they didn’t spring for compatible adaptors for the various countries. I peel off the sticker, thinking that the instructions were printed on them. Instead, they stay on the screen. It takes me a moment to realise that the instructions are actually in written in the e-ink used for the screen. As it requires no power to maintain the ink, the instructions stay on the screen from the factory to the customer. So I am very impressed with the screen. It really does look like the text is printed straight onto it. Whenever I change pages there is a black flash as the electronic ink rearranges itself on the page.
Image from breadslice
I plug it into my USB port to charge, and it docks straight away and acts like a simple flash drive. Unlike the iPhone that requires iTunes to add media, I can simple drag and drop books from any computer. Though, like apple, if you want to experience media from their store, you must use their hardware to do so. In addition to the proprietary .azw format, it also accepts .mobi and .txt files, while other files (such as .pdf) have to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, where they are then emailed back in a compatible format.
Whenever I showed the device to others, my most common phrase was “it is not a touch-screen”. While the “next page” button is easy enough to find, navigating throughout the device is not intuitive. The tiny little joystick is frustrating, and the keys on the keyboard are far too small. If one is going to dedicate one third of the device to a physical keyboard, then one should make it a good one. Instead, there is all this dead space around the screen that does nothing but bulk up the size. It is also surprisingly heavy at 540 grams, compared with an iPhone at 133 grams or a paperback at 300 grams. Lab126 (who made the kindle) are based in Cupertino, so you’d think that they’d be able to channel a little bit of Jonathan Ive when they were putting it together.
It is connected to the internet via the cellular 3G data network, and does not have WiFi capabilities. US customers can access the whole web, but this option is currently disabled for international customers. To remind me of this fact, the bookmarks in the web browser still list CNN, BBC, etc, but when I select them, I get an error message. The electronic instruction manual also has not been modified to reflect this, so it still talks about nifty features, such as google and blogs, even though they are disabled in my region (“due to local restrictions, web browsing is not available for all countries”).
The kindle can hold 1500 books and gives me unlimited online access to Wikipedia without any further charges in over 100 countries in Europe, the USA, Japan, India, Brazil, South America, Australia, and NZ. It comes with an integrated version of the New Oxford American Dictionary. The battery lasts for fourteen days when wireless is switched off, and for four when wireless is on. I can play Minesweeper and GoMoku. I can transfer any of the 20 000 free books from Project Gutenberg via a USB connection with my computer, or purchase any of the 295,865 books, 54 newspapers, or 33 magazines from the Amazon store.
Image from B.K. Dewey
It is depressing that the currently kindle bestseller is a horrid right-wing piece of rubbish by Glenn Beck (“You’re minding your own business, when some idiot informs you that guns are evil… we should copy the UK’s health-care system… or the rich have to finally start paying their fair share of taxes”). Luckily, the others in the top dozen include “Evidence for Evolution”, “Outliers”, and “The Help”. I can browse the entire kindle catalogue right on my device, read reviews, download the first chapter for free, or buy the whole book and have it instantly delivered to my kindle.
One of the unexpected delights of the kindle are the beautiful screen-savers that appear every time the device goes to sleep. From portraits of famous authors to scientific illustrations to illuminated manuscripts, these images remind me the significance of what I am holding. A whole library in my hands, from Gilgamesh right up to Richard Dawkins, as well as the entirety of Wikipedia. No longer needing to trek to specialty English-language bookstores or wait a month for Amazon.co.uk to deliver, I can have nearly any book that I wish in my hands in under sixty seconds.
Image from .Larry Page
Inspired by this list, my current kindle contains the following free e-books from Project Gutenberg:
Dante Alighieri, Italy, (1265-1321), The Divine Comedy
Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark, (1805-1875), Fairy Tales and Stories
Giovanni Boccaccio, Italy, (1313-1375), Decameron
Thousand and One Nights, India/Iran/Iraq/Egypt, (700-1500).
Honore de Balzac, France, (1799-1850), Old Goriot
L. Frank Baum, USA, (1856- 1919), The Marvelous Land of Oz
Geoffrey Chaucer, England, (1340-1400), Canterbury Tales
Anton P Chekhov, Russia, (1860-1904), Selected Stories
Joseph Conrad, England,(1857-1924), Nostromo
Charles Dickens, England, (1812-1870), Great Expectations
Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881), Crime and Punishment
George Eliot, England, (1819-1880), Middlemarch
Gustave Flaubert, France, (1821-1880), Madame Bovary
Gilgamesh, Mesopotamia (c 1800 BC).
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany, (1749-1832), Faust
Nikolai Gogol, Russia, (1809-1852), Dead Souls
Homer, Greece, (c 700 BC), The Iliad and The Odyssey
Knut Hamsun, Norway, (1859-1952), Hunger.
Victor Hugo, France (1802-1885), The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Henrik Ibsen, Norway (1828-1906), A Doll’s House
James Joyce, Ireland, (1882-1941), Ulysses
Franz Kafka, Bohemia, (1883-1924), The Trial
Kalidasa, India, (c. 400), The Recognition of Sakuntala
DH Lawrence, England, (1885-1930), Sons and Lovers
Giacomo Leopardi, Italy, (1798-1837), Complete Poems
Mahabharata, India, (c 500 BC).
Herman Melville, United States, (1819-1891), Moby Dick
Shikibu Murasaki, Japan, (N/A), The Tale of Genji Genji
Ovid, Italy, (c 43 BC), Metamorphoses
Edgar Allan Poe, United States, (1809-1849), The Complete Tales
Francois Rabelais, France, (1495-1553), Gargantua and Pantagruel
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Spain, (1547-1616), Don Quixote
Laurence Sterne, Ireland, (1713-1768), The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
Sophocles, Greece, (496-406 BC), Oedipus the King
Jonathan Swift, Ireland, (1667-1745), Gulliver’s Travels
Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910), War and Peace; Anna Karenina
Virgil, Italy, (70-19 BC), The Aeneid
(I am very sure that there will be some trashy vampire novels mixed in there soon to contaminate all that literature)
So, while the kindle 2 feels like a chunky 1990’s device, it delivers on its main promise. It has a paper-equivalent screen and instant access to multitudinous books. It is the first internationally-available transbook. One day, an object like this will be the portal into every library in the world. That is why my kindle is called Atlas.
NB: As an added bonus, I just got an email from Amazon today saying that they had dropped the price of the kindle by $20, and they were retrospectively refunding me the difference via a transfer to my credit card.
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They told us that it would take three days. Seventeen days later, our kitchen is nearly complete. The sink and the dishwasher were connected yesterday, so now we no longer have to wash our dishes in the bathroom sink. This was our kitchen before the renovation. Note the lack of: extractor fan, dishwasher, freezer, oven, power points, and counter-top space.
This is our new kitchen, 90% complete and finally functional. We actually have space to cut, chop and prepare on the granite benchtop. We have plugs for our toaster. We have lighting to see our food.
To give us some more bench space, we shifted from a four burner ceramic stove to a two burner induction stove. I really like the new induction stove because it heats liquid a lot faster than the old one (and also because it uses magnets).The kitchen lady seemed a little judgmental that I wasn’t the type of wife to cook my husband a dinner requiring four different pots, and as I was trying to justify my decision, Adrian quietly reminded me that I was not actually mandated to supply an explanation. Now we can also proudly display our toaster that we won betting on the ‘pigs.
The dishwasher, fridge, and freezer are all nicely hidden away. As we have been living with a bar fridge for the last six months, the fridge and freezer seem cavernous in comparison. And for the first time in my life I have a dishwasher, small enough so that we can run it with dishes from just the two of us.
Where is the microwave? In the oven. I didn’t believe the kitchen people when they first showed me this dual oven-microwave. On one setting, we put in metal oven trays and it acts as a perfectly normal oven. On another setting, we use a ceramic tray, and it is a fully-featured microwave. It is very strange to put a plastic container into an oven, switch the oven on for three minutes, then open it up to find my meal bubbling away.
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