Business, Engineering, General, Product Managment

Apple iPhone, SDK released

First the information you really want to know;

  • iPhone update 2.0  and public SDK will be released in June.
  • iPhone Beta SDK released today for $99.
  • iFund by KPCB VC worth $100,000,000 to be invested into the iPhone dev community.

Now on to the more nitty gritty details.

  • Exchange Support; Email, Cal, Directory
  • Cisco IPsec VPN
  • Cocoa Touch is how to build iPhone applications
  • With the SDK you can debug your plugged in iPhone
  • iPhone simulator also in the SDK
  • Ability to program against OpenGL, 3D
  • EA built a version of Will Wrights SPORE
  • Sega creating real 3D console games for iPhone
  • Aol IM client for the phone (ability to use bonjour for connections, imagine meeting people on the train around you)
  • Access to the iPhones Database SQLite
  • Applications delivered and updated over WiFi or Edge using the AppStore provided by Apple.

I will have more details later… See you soon.

Message to Steve Jobs:

Dear Steve,

Did you wake up one morning and while having your morning Starbucks mocha choca lata yaya decide that it was the perfect day to crumble the once powerful enterprise mobile communication solution known as Rim/Blackberry. If this was how your decision was made then my hat is off to you. Well played Jobs, well played.

Sincerely,

Shaun Gehring

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Business, Engineering, General, Product Managment

Apple iTv, is it for me?

When you look at an Apple product you realize that Apple has though, thought again an then maybe over though the product. With the iTv they have taken something that most of us already have in our home and improved upon it. On Demand content.

Vs

We all love having On Demand content in a world of “I want this and i want it now”. Our cable and satellite providers have given us and continue to give us the largest amount of content at one time but for a price. In the world today with our busy schedules sure having 700+ channels is great but how much of that and our dollars are wasted. To combat that is the infamous “A la cart” cable, great idea, not for the cable companies though. A la cart would allow you to only purchase the channels you really want to watch, that means less money for the cable providers.

What has apple done? Now we have this iTv that without a PC you can buy/rent tv shows and movies (we don’t even need to get into youtube and flickr). So now you have basically a set top “cable” style box. Right now we can rent movies for about the same price as VOD/EOD and buy tv shows for $0.99. But, you know that Apple has something up their sleeve. Think about what apple could do with a mere software update! Let’s play “What If”!

What if Apple finds a way to get as many content rights as Hulu and they start to add some commercials to the content and charge $0.00 for Tv Shows!!! What effect could this have on the Cable industry? Instead of paying $40 – $100 a month for Tv you pay $0.00. Unless you are a Tv-holic don’t you only care about the major shows, so you might miss a Mtv reality nightmare or two but maybe this will force more production houses to supply their content via digital means.

Consumer: Wants Tv/Movies when they want them for the lowest cost.

Show Producers: Wants the most amount of advertising dollars for the show.

So, What could iTv Be?

  • Free Tv Shows (saved indefinitely – ads updated)
  • Movies bought and rented
  • Flickr, Youtube, Trailers, Video Phone???

If Apples wants to they are gaining the ability to rock the cable world as we know it. They have gained the trust of the mass consumer electronic market and are gaining market share at a record pace. Will they do it? Are they already working on it? Call me a Apple prophet if you will but only time will tell.

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General, Workplace Humor

Does your heart rule your mind? GTR (not the Nissan variety)

I usually pride myself on being versed in the ways of the melodic arts, especially the sweet 80′s hair band genre. We have all heard those sweet anthems “To Be With You – Mr. Big”, “Cherry Pie – Warrant”, “Round and Round – RATT”, “Whole Hearted – Extreme”, “Crackling Rosie – Neil Diamond”. One band thou has eluded me untill just the other day, GTR, no it does not stand for Gun’s THEN Roses…

GTR takes the slightly less known members of other well known progressive rock bands and throws them into a melodic blender with some blond hair dye a few bandannas and a ace melting solo. GTR has band members from Genesis, Yes and Asia. You would think that it would be difficult to mix the desires of three separate guitar players and there personal forms of rock, how do you fit it all together? You jam three separate styles back to back in a five min long song…

Three different styles you say… Listen for these in the video below.

(0:00) – Average rock out neck wrenching jam.
(3:20) – What, am i in Egypt because i think a Pharaoh just walked in.
(3:37) – I believe this is what King Arthur listened to at the round table, soothing minstrel music.

Maybe i should give you a moment to recover… Get up, get a drink if you must. How have you never heard of them? Where did they come from? Where are they now? Some questions can never be answer and some should never be.

You will be accredited 20 Gehring bucks if you noticed the timpani drums being played. Now i have heard of Rock bands playing with Symphonies such as the Metallica S&M tour,  but a rock band with these two freakishly huge timpani drums only played during what i have dubbed “Pharaoh’s Entrance”. Touché GTR, Well played.

What amazed me most was this as of this post you cannot touch a used GTR cd for less than $30 USD. Wow that is lasting value, hind sight being 20/20 i would have invested my money in GTR cd’s and forgotton that Enron stock.

More Links:

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Business, Engineering, General, Product Managment

The great Chumby debate!

For those of you that havn’t seen it you can find a chumby here Chumby

The lowdown

  • Wi-fi connectivity • access to the free Chumby Network • 3.5″ LCD color touchscreen • two external USB 2.0 full-speed ports • 350 MHz ARM processor • 64 MB SDRAM • 64 MB NAND flash ROM • stereo 2W speakers • headphone output • squeeze sensor • accelerometer (motion sensor) • leather casing • AC adapter included
  • The dimensions are: 5 1/2″ wide, 4 1/4″ tall, 3 1/4″ deep at the base, and 2 1/4″ deep at the top. Here’s the chumby next to a regular size coffee cup.
  • Plug it in, connect to your wireless network, and use your computer to choose a playlist of “widgets” (the bite-sized applications that run on a chumby)
  • Because it’s always on, the chumby must be plugged in to an AC outlet.
  • The chumby costs $179.95.

The Functionality

Widgets, Screens and Power cables, Ohhhh my! So they are marketing a Widget panel. That’s cool so you can take your widgets with you right? Wrong! it has to be plugged in at all times because it NEVER goes into sleep mode. Not like the pesky iPhone or Nintendo DS. So as long as you are near WiFi and an outlet you will always have weather and email, unlike your laptop. On there website one of the selling points is that it can hook op to your iPod and be a boombox, ony one problem, the songs shuffle and you cannot choose what to play.

The Look

It’s beautiful…. I mean i look at it and see a Lexus Headrest with a LCD mounted in it, don’t you.chumby with mug
It looks so soft you probably want to hold it while you watching Tv on the couch (i hope there is an AC outlet close). The screen is slightly smaller than the iPhones.

Saving the best for last

More amazing than the device itself is the company that produces it. They will defend the product to the ends of the earth, here are some quotes the Chumby senior team;

the chumby is always in a state of continuous improvement — that’s the real innovation here — and it challenges the point-in-time judgment model (”Am I glad I bought this product or not?” “Was it worth the money?” “Here’s what’s good and what’s bad about this product!”) With Chumby, you’re buying into an “open development vector.” Huh? How in Hell does someone review or pass judgment on that? There’s the rub.

Anyone who got one of our early alpha prototypes, and complains that it was very limited, ummmm, didn’t we mention at the time that it was *alpha* hardware? — should be judged on what works, not on what doesn’t work, i.e., it was an early “proof of concept,” not a finished product. And, by that standard, people who understood what this stage means *loved” it.

Carping about the limitations of a free prototype seems ungrateful at best. But…whatever…wait until all the teenagers in your neighborhood have one, check it out, and then let us all know what you think.

Don’t want to belabor this, and sorry if I’m grumpy and “un-PR” about the topic, but the prototypes were expensive for a start-up and were offered with the very specific and stated quid pro quo that people who took them o requested them needed to be willing to do something of value for us in return — hack it, write widgets for it, play with it and blog about it, provide *informed* feedback after some reasonable expereice with it, whatever.

My Thoughts

Chumby is trying to compete in a niche market, they are a very small San Diego startup. Microsoft has tried the same thing with there SideShow devices at a $80 price and still hasn’t been able to make it work. I love the line that said “wait until all the teenagers on your street have one”, well, on my street everyone has iPhones, the funny thing is they have a battery, there always connected to the internet, they play video, they have widgets and ooh yea, i almost forgot, IT’S A PHONE!!!

Links

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Business, Engineering, General, Product Managment

Industry Software Shift

I started out programming with VB and ASP. Over the years i need to expand my skills to Java, PHP, Etc… The marketplace for a long time seemed to be embracing Open Source with “Open” arms. Over the last few weeks though i have heard of multiple large companies shifting to or even back to Microsoft for their solutions. Some that i know of have even gone as far as getting rid of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Sun servers. What is sparking this? Microsoft had not announced or released a new “Messiah” of business suites.

Well, my humble opinion is that my “VB/ASP” generation of developers is now moving into those once coveted VP and CTO positions and they want to got back to what they are comfortable with. If this truly is the case, what will happen when generation AJAX takes the helm?

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General, Workplace Humor

Where do they come from?

Sometimes I believe that companies scour the sewers of human depravity to fill their lower ranks. To keep myself from going on another interoffice safari I periodically walk the call center area of our fine establishment to clear my head. Today I noticed someone quite odd.

Now step back with me for a quick minute. When you have a call center you do have the distinct advantage of keeping your employees hidden from view, shielded behind miles of copper telephone cable lost in a veritable maze of cubicles. They strip your identity and assign you a number, as if your name wasn’t good enough. These employees are nothing more than another coppertop, another 9 volts powering its self-contained capitalistic machine.

With this being said does that validate our hiring methods. Do we feel the need to just hire anyone to keep our cost down? Why brings me to this tangent?

Yesterday on my walk I noticed an older gentleman. His entire job every day is customer interaction. Imagine him as our company’s personal ambassador to YOUR home. Now picture him if you will.

He’s older, 60-65. Salt & Pepper hair combed over to mask the top of his head, which can only be described as a personal solar panel. His hair is long enough to touch halfway down his shoulders, and looks to be practically dripping with an amalgamation of Bril Cream & Olive Oil. Powder blue turtleneck under a sports jacket, you know the kind with the fake suede elbow patches. The ones designed to convince you friends that your more sophisticated than you really are, like they are going to believe that you actually ride horses and go on fox hunts during the weekends. His eyes actually mildly point in separate directions when relaxed. You never really know if he’s looking at you or just over your shoulders. Both of them at the same time! His beard is constantly in the 1.75-day’s unshaved stage. Finally the “coup de gra”. The first thing you notice about him. The reason you can find him in any maze of cubicles. Why I can trail him down any hallway and always be just out of sight. Around his neck hangs dangling, gaudy, platinum, shiny, oversized, replica of Jesus. That’s right, in complete anguish with full crown of thorns.

This is why companies have call centers. Shielding these people from view. Think about it. What would you do if he showed up at your door to discuss your next bill?

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General, Workplace Humor

You touch you mom with that hand?

Work again was knawing at the back of my head, projects stacking up like that infernal Jenga game. The risk taker i am i pull the bottom outer block and close my eyes. My work day crashed uncontrollably, allegations flying, fingers pointing and excuses in more abundance that babies at a Rabbit convention in spring. I never claimed to be a fortunate man.

That’s it, i need a break, some solice before i strip down to my boxers, climb atop the cubical walls and hunt my co-workers with makeshift Bolas fashioned from Cat 5 cable and thoes soft foam stress balls. Yea you got it, i hang in the shadows of burnt out florecent lights picking out all thoes people who think the network color printer is their own personal Kinkos. Leaving me as the underpaid minimum wage monkey clearing their paper jams.

** I am Shaun’s loathing of human contact **

Sorry for the tangent. Anyway, i go to the only place i can be comfortable the men’s room. Didn’t you guess it? The men’s room is like a special club, complete with it’s own secret handshake. ;) In the men’s room you can be yourself. People don’t size you up, put on facades. There are certain fact’s you must face while you are there though. Every man passes gas while at the urinal, it’s just accepted.

For instance:
Man A Leaves cubical B going 1.76 mph down Hallway Z to said Mens Room Q. Man A approaches urinal at 1:38 EST. Man C already at urinal E enters conversation G with Man A. Man A winded from Distance Z – B * 1.76 mph passes gas ** I am Shauns contempt for word problems **. How long is the pause in A and C’s conversation?

ANSWER:
0, all men fart at the urinal

Anyway i am standing and releasing all my built up stress, OH and about 64 oz of Mt. Dew. The guy next to me is what i like to call a Urinal Rainman. He won’t talk or even react, just staring forward at the soothing white tiles, probably muttering, “Woppner at 4:30, Gotta se woppner”. So he Pee’s and imitates a OCD laiden nut job. To each their own. But, my point. Yes there is a reason for the rambling.

His cell phone ring’s, during his secret handshake. At this point i am at the sink, as the gem i am i go to the end to leave him room. After he finishes he answers the phone and leaves tha mens room. NO WASHING OF HANDS!!! LIVID.

He walked around all day, meeting and greeting. Basically saying, “Try my secret handshake”. Nobody wants to shake his pants. People like that make me want to vomit, except im not that self centered.

** I am Shauns complete cleanliness **

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General, Workplace Humor

Proper Introduction

Hello, my name is Shaun and i am 28.

You’re name is? ____(insert name here)____

Well __(inserted name)__, it is very nice to meet you.

Let me take you into my life a little.

I work day in and day out in a cage. No I’m not one of our illustrious city employed zoo keeper nor am I the hunter of all things reptilian. Unlike an animal cage my cage is three and a half walls. Three and one quarter walls are Extruded metal with a fabric face, The last quarter wall is solid frosted glass. Instead of a Bronze plaque with my Name, Latin derivative and complete history of my Kingdom, Genius, Family, Etc… I have a small paper printout velcro’d to the outside of my cube with my name and cube number, ready to be replaced at a moments notice.

Most animal’s in the zoo are better taken care of then me, at least at the zoo the keepers TRY to emulate the animals natural environment. I am in anything but. In front of me is an old PC. Now, in my job I am intended to “Think outside the box”, kind of ironic. I am supposed to come up with new ways of doing things, program computers. The PC in front of me is so old; I actually believe it was purchased at the Watergate closing sale.

At work they try to satiate our desire to go home or be outside by tossing us another t-shirt. Hey, who’d of though? That’s how you make your workers happy. Give them a branded t-shirt to wear around. As if I didn’t feel that work owned enough of me, now when I finally escape I have to be a walking billboard.

I like my job I just don’t like my job. In school they give us that aptitude test. Remember they ask if you have a million dollars what would you do for work. What a crock. If that test worked then I bet there is some fry cook at the local McDonalds kicking himself for giving the answer he did. I mean really if we all just did jobs because we loved them, who would clean our toilets? Who would be that guy that has to check the Ph levels at the sewage treatment plant?

Just think about it!!!

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