IS Steve Jobs Coming Back? Ever?

Posted March 21, 2011 by Gerald B
Categories: AAPL, Apple, business, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook

Some time back I predicted Steve Jobs would “retire” across the board (Apple, Disney, etc). Kinda happy to have gotten that one a wee wrong.

Something’s really niggling me about his return though… I just don’t see it happening. It’s time to wonder now… will Steve Jobs return to the office off this most recent medical leave? I love to think he’s coming back. If for no other reason than to tell us all he’s licked the sicknesses plaguing him. To see his home built. To see old and new friends enjoying their lives. To build his “one more thing” that we fall in love with all over again.

Tim Cook has done a MARVELOUS job of showing Wall Street he’s not only capable of running the business. But that he’s capable of LEADING the business too! Which, let’s admit it… we fan boys love Steve for his charisma and chutzpah as much as anything he’s done on the business savvy side of things. In Tim we have another LEADER. Someone who gets the gestalt of design, business, supply-side. Someone who’s had his fill of the kool-aid alongside us. He’s as much a fanboy as the rest of us. He’s one amazingly driven gentleman.

Will the existing leadership take hills for him should his day come? Hell yes. Will the legion fanboy hang on his every word? You know?… I believe we will. It may take some getting used to him. Getting to know him. What makes him tick. But, I think all our love for Steve will be transferrable to Apple’s next full-time CEO. And I honestly think that’s Tim Cook. Retention of the existing talent set will be crucial. Forstall, Cue, Schiller, Ive, ALL the hardware and retail leadership, Serlet… Man, what a phenomenal bench! and that’s just the top of mind crowd. The veeps and directors and engineers and evangelists that bust their humps to get all this magical stuff done. Again, if anyone has the leadership chops to keep the house that Steve built together… It’s Tim.

An Apple, Inc. without Steve is a lesser place. To be sure. But, the Apple we all know and love is chock full of Steve-inspired, Steve-vetted goodness for many years to come. And, there’s no one better than Tim Cook to see that legacy executed and ultimately built upon and surpassed. I can think of no more appropriate homage to Steve Jobs than to take Apple Inc to the next level under able adult supervision WHILE he’s still kicking.

My hope is the AAPL board will name a successor while Jobs has the steam to bless the new Don.

REVIEW: Solio Charger (iPhone, iPad, iPod)

Posted February 19, 2011 by Gerald B
Categories: iPhone, review, Solio, technology

Solio was nice enough to send me a review unit. I have to admit, this one had me excited from the get go.

The Solio charger is pretty darned slick. I like the idea of having the ability to charge my phone in a pinch. Maybe I’m at a ball game. Maybe I’m on a picnic. Maybe I’m at the zoo. No, the REAL zoo… not my house. I can think of a hundred situations where having that extra little bit of juice could be handy. I’m constantly pushing the edge of my charge even though I routinely speed charge in the car. Adding the Solio to my backpack will make a ton of sense (once the sun returns to Oklahoma for a while).

This product is so super simple. Plug one end of the cable into the Solio and the other into your iDevice. Push the powerup button on the back of the Solio. Voila! You’re charging. Daylight required of course.

I, personally, wouldn’t use this everyday to charge my stuff up. It’s slower to charge than I’m accustomed to. And, it’s meant for good lighting conditions. No workie while I’m sleeping at night. But, there’s no denying it serves a great purpose and the green aspect is a definite feel good (even down to the packaging).

Disclosure: gWH!Z was supplied with a review unit only which was returned after evaluation. There was no compensation offered, paid or accepted for this review.

The Quandry: Web App or Native App?

Posted February 19, 2011 by Gerald B
Categories: Apple, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPhone SDK, PhoneGap

I’ve been wrestling a lot lately trying to pick a path forward for my next big iterations of our mobile app strategy at Grocio.

The dilemma for us is a little unique. Most of what we produce (locally aggregated store circulars) are fed today to the iPad only through the NATIVE client over http. So, we can afford to be agnostic in our approach forward at this point. We’re actually in a great position to deliver a web app experience that for the most part is consistent across all devices. And, I’m excited about that truth be told. The nice thing about the web apps route… EVERYONE has the same point version release. No lengthy delays for approvals. As it turns out these are compelling cases for choosing the web app route. The dilemma comes down to one of monetization.

Shoppers are paying for the “Store Circulars” app today via the iTunes App Store. It’s important to continue making revenue from the app. So, do we hook a web app into this new Google subscription doohicky and charge that way? I’m adamant that we’re NOT going to rely solely on advertising/sponsorship. CPM and CPX is all fine and good. But, having made my living by the fickle ups and downs that way a few times before. It’s not something I’m excited about doing again.

Conversely… do we remain on the native path? Supporting multiple platforms (even within the same OS). The emerging App Stores give us some super distribution and reach. But, with it comes the expense of some % of revenues that are split with the hosting App Store. Not to mention the ugly need to actually develop distinctly different apps for each of those platforms. I don’t dispute the value of what the App Stores provide or the % of revenues for each sold app they take. They earn it. No argument there.

The problems are compounding for app developers though… More platforms means we face more choices which ones to develop for and which ones we’ll forego.

It’s the reason I like the idea of wrapper software frameworks like PhoneGap. I’m not savvy enough yet to build a universal app from the ground up. I still hire out some parts of the app that are beyond me. Anything that gives me a leg up on building once and deploying across multiple platforms AND app stores… I’m going to like a lot. Even to the point that’s a pure web app.

Are you other mobile developers facing similar issues? How did you solve for your situation? And, of particular interest, how did you manage to monetize your apps?

When School Boards Fail

Posted January 30, 2011 by Gerald B
Categories: Apple

Imagine this – Your State Legislature takes a bill through to signed law. Happens all the time. It’s controversial to the point of being called “unconstitutional”.

This new law requires your (elected) state school boards to do something specific. Most comply but seven in your county don’t. In fact, they VOTE not to follow the law.

Scores of affected families get together and try mightily to persuade the districts to recognize what they’re doing is willful misconduct. These districts maintain what they’re doing is trying to figure out which law to follow – the constitution of the state or the recently passed law. State precedent is clear though – All state laws are considered constitutional until adjudged otherwise AND that only courts have the jurisdiction to adjudge in such a way.

At this point the school boards are dug in past the point of reasonable dialogue: They are intent on interpretting laws. The families recognize this can’t stand and sets a bad precedent.

The families float a little known, little used statute they call “Writs of Ouster” which simply requires a number of signatures equivalent of 1% of the last election for the office(s) in question or 15 signatures, whichever is higher. One such Writ of Ouster is filed against a district and immediately three of the districts rescind their positions because it’s certain the board members are personally responsible for their own legal fees. It has now become a personal liability the districts can’t cover. They’ve lost their shield.

Shortly thereafter the remaining four districts are told by the State Attorney General, “We’re taking similar action. You have four days to rescind your positions.” The boards do so. But, not without also belligerently voting to sue the Attorney General ASAP.

The parents have had enough of the rogue and defiant behavior of the district boards and file Writs of Ouster against them all.

At this point you have no idea what law these boards are objecting to. At this point you simply know they’re doing things they ought not be doing on principle alone. There is no legal position to support their actions. They’re simply rogue elected officials who won’t respond to reason.

Can you blame the parents for taking drastic measures to reel in their education system?

If Google Made A Car

Posted December 31, 2010 by Gerald B
Categories: Apple, gAuto, Google

By now, most people have heard Google is testing cars that drive themselves. Which, is kinda cool. But, consistent with my earlier post on “If Apple Made a Car” I’d like to explore the allegory of a Google Car. So, here goes:

  • You don’t buy a gAuto. It is strictly by referer only.
  • Right off the bat, the gAuto is a stark white box. No visible seams, tires, nothing and only one very plain point of entry. Also worth noting, there are no Windows. Just lots of Chrome.
  • Don’t be fooled. The gAuto is deceptively complex. Only PhD’s can tinker under the hood.
  • The only known mechanic is one “Matt Cutts”. Identifiable by the “I’m not Matt Cutts” t-shirts he wears.
  • On the inside is wraparound seating with one BigTable in the middle.
  • The ignition starts with one of two buttons “Drive” or “Feeling Lucky” (I strongly suggest the “Drive” button for most occasions)
  • The gAuto goes from stock still to your final destination (no matter how far) in 0.24 seconds. They’re constantly working on acceleration. (It’s the breaking they have a problem with.)
  • The navigation is simply Voice activated. Arriving at your intended destination is dependent upon how specific you can be with your input.
  • Insurance for your gAuto is provided on a daily basis by whoever has bid the most for the privilege.
  • Traveling outside the magic triangle is discouraged.
  • Don’t forget to plug your gAuto in at night… it’s an all-electric jalopy after all.
  • Mileage is all relative.
  • The Owner’s Manual is quite specific, “Objects in the mirror are nowhere as big as we are.”
  • And, every gAuto has the same license plate: “B.E.T.A.”

REVIEW: StarTech DS128

Posted December 30, 2010 by Gerald B
Categories: StarTech DS128, technology

I receive a LOT of product review requests and I turn down the majority of them. I just don’t have time to evaluate stuff I either won’t use or couldn’t possibly recommend based on my own lack of interest. But, once in a very long while, a PR rep will be uber persistent and slip one by. That’s what happened with the StarTech DS128.

So, let this be a warning to other PR folks out there… When I tell you I’m more interested in something specific (iPhone related kit or such) please just move on to better bloggers out there who can and will give you a fair review – the kind you’re looking for.


The DisplayPort to DVI Dual Link (USB powered) converter connects Displayport to DVI, HDMI and VGA at some rather impressive upper end resolution (2560 x 1600). I’d never know though: with my older MacBookPro I couldn’t muster the components necessary to put the unit through the paces. Despite asking the PR rep if I should simply send the unit back… I kept getting a persistent “Do you plan to review?” line of questioning. As if I hadn’t asked if I could send it back. So… here’s the nut of the review. It’s neither good nor bad because I couldn’t adequately test it.

On the PLUS side… the catalog is friggin AWESOME. You thought RadioShack had all the goodies? Oh no, my friend, StarTech carries some pretty exotic stuff that I’d wholeheartedly suggest you geek out to when you have a chance. (At least I found something positive to offer, right?)

Enable Airprint for ALL your shared printers

Posted November 23, 2010 by Gerald B
Categories: AirPrint, iPad

Apple ROYALLY pissed me off with this AirPrint feature in iOS 4.2.1 release. To only support a dozen wifi printers out the gate is just plain asinine. Oy vey!! C’mon guys! You’re better than this. I have no clue WHY you chose screw up your precious USER EXPERIENCE (oh, make no mistake, you screwed up the user experience royally!). But, here’s the work around your users came her for. It’s blissfully easy:

1) Remove your existing printers via System Preferences.

2) Launch Applescript Editor

3) Cut and paste these two lines and then run the script (you’ll need your admin password):

do shell script "echo '# enable AirPrint
image/urf urf (0,UNIRAST<00>)' > /usr/share/cups/mime/airprint.types" with administrator privileges

4) You can either REBOOT your mac -or- you can kill the CUPSD process via Activity Monitor. It’ll revive itself after a few minutes. Your call.

5) Once CUPSD is running again you can re-add your printer(s) and then SHARE the one(s) you want via System Preferences.

And guess what!? You can now print from your iPad or your iPhone. Oh, hell YES!… you just did what Apple should have enabled from the get go. Congrats.


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