Categories
Devices Mobile Tech

When your iPad is your computer

The recent iPad updates are pretty interesting. I wouldn’t consider using an iPad as my primary computer for various reasons. At the same time, I can see the latest iPad, along with the keyboard and mouse (?) support as a primary computer for people with pretty straightforward or general requirements.

iPads are like netbooks

In many ways, the iPad seems to be in that place laptops were in back when they were under-powered netbooks, and weren’t quite at a stage where they could act as desktop replacements, like they commonly are now.

Simon Woods has been exploring this option over at Micro.blog too

I wonder if I would be able to avoid the PC chores even if I went with MacBook Air instead of iPad Pro, and just keep the Mac super lightweight.

Simon Woods

If you’re looking for a lightweight setup, then something like a MacBook Air (or similar lightweight laptop using another OS) is a good choice. Sure, it lacks the portability, and convenience of a tablet, but it makes up for that in support for more apps, and use cases.

On this topic, I enjoyed Marques Brownlee’s review too –

The Linux option

One option I’d love to see is an iPad-like tablet that runs a Linux distro like Ubuntu. It would need to have really good touchscreen support that enables you to use the UI with similar fluidity, and also support external peripherals so you could have a desktop experience when you need it.

I doubt we’re far from that sort of experience either. It could be a really interesting iPad alternative because it could offer more of a desktop experience (with all the app choices that brings) on more portable hardware, and using an OS that can support lower powered hardware.

I haven’t used Microsoft’s Surface devices, but they seems to be pretty capable already, so perhaps the future has already arrived, just for Microsoft users.


Reasons

I wouldn’t use an iPad as my primary computer for a couple reasons:

  1. I prefer using a different browser, multiple browsers even, and you’re basically limited to Safari for your browser experience on iOS (I understand that even if you install other browsers, Safari is basically the underpinning of other browsers too).
  2. I need more flexibility when it comes to apps than iOS would offer me. I don’t think that the apps I’d want to use there are available.

Still, I feel like it could be pretty close to meeting general, daily requirements.

Categories
Film Mindsets Television

Giving audiences what they want, when they want it

I’m slowly going through my growing “Watch Later” list on YouTube. I finally watched Kevin Spacey’s speech at the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture in 2013 and it is well worth watching.

Kevin Spacey is one of my favourite actors and has been since The Usual Suspects. He spoke to the audience at the Edinburgh Television Festival about the overwhelming importance of creative professionals in the entertainment industry and about giving TV audiences what they want.

Give audiences what they want, how they want it

He highlighted a theme that has seemed so sensible to me for years and that seems to escape entertainment industry executives. This theme applies equally to music as it does to TV and movies:

The warp-speed of technological advancement – the Internet, streaming, multi-platforming – happens to have coincided with the recognition of TV as an art form. So you have this incredible confluence of a medium coming into its own JUST AS the technology for that medium is drastically shifting. Studios and networks who ignore either shift – whether the increasing sophistication of story telling, or the constantly shifting sands of technological advancement – will be left behind. And if they fail to hear these warnings, audiences will evolve faster than they will. They will seek the stories and content-providers who give them what they demand – complex, smart stories available whenever they want, on whatever device they want, wherever they want. Netflix and other similar services have succeeded because they have married good content with a forward-thinking approach to viewing habits and appetites.

While we are accustomed to distinctions between movies, TV and online video, these distinctions are largely irrelevant to younger generations. Our kids certainly don’t see much of a distinction between TV series they watch on Netflix and the channels they watch on YouTube.

Movies are distinctive primarily because watching big ticket items involves a trip to the local movie theatre and having that big screen experience. At the same time, we have a pretty decent HD TV and surround sound at home and we routinely watch movies on weekend afternoons with our kids there too.

The distinctions between formats and devices are blurring all the time:

If you are watching a film on your television, is it no longer a film because you’re not watching it in the theater? If you watch a TV show on your iPad is it no longer a TV show? The device and length are irrelevant. The labels are useless – except perhaps to agents and managers and lawyers who use these labels to conduct business deals. For kids growing up now there’s no difference watching Avatar on an iPad or watching YouTube on a TV and watching Game of Thrones on their computer. It’s all CONTENT. It’s all STORY.

While I understand that regional broadcasters have deals with studios and publishers that probably block global distribution of movies and TV series, this approach to distribution doesn’t serve audiences. It only benefits the broadcasters who lack the will and imagination they need to take advantage of new opportunities.

The sooner entertainment industry executives come to terms with the fact that audiences want those stories on their terms, the sooner the market as a whole will benefit. Again, as Spacey pointed out:

And the audience has spoken: they want stories. They’re dying for them. They are rooting for us to give them the right thing. And they will talk about it, binge on it, carry it with them on the bus and to the hairdresser, force it on their friends, tweet, blog, Facebook, make fan pages, silly Jifs (sic) and god knows what else about it, engage with it with a passion and an intimacy that a blockbuster movie could only dream of. All we have to do is give it to them. The prize fruit is right there. Shinier and juicier than it has ever been before. So it will be all the more shame on each and every one of us if we don’t reach out and seize it.

You can read Kevin Spacey’s full speech here.

Netflix wants to take on movie distributors and theaters

Netflix’s Reed Hastings recently spoke at recode’s 2017 Code Conference.

One of the tidbits that emerged from his interview is the possibility that Netflix is doing to do for movies what it did for TV. What could well happen if Netflix’s approach gains traction is that those trips to a movie theatre to watch a new movie may become less prevalent.

Just as Netflix releases its own movies directly to audiences through Netflix streaming, we could start seeing other major movies being released to streaming long before they are currently.

There is still a lot to be said for the big screen experience, for sure. At the same time, that may be a generational thing and our home theatre experiences may be happy substitutes.

Losing battle

Whether it is TV, movies or music, industry executives are fighting losing battles. Audiences want this content on their terms and if the industry doesn’t come to the party, people will find ways around their limitations.

This may mean people downloading the stuff they want instead of paying for it or simply opting out of more mainstream content.

The industry isn’t going to shrivel up and die anytime soon but imagine what the industry could achieve if it thought differently?

Image credit: Jake Hills

Categories
Games

Something for my wife and other Pokemon Go fans

My wife sheepishly told me she downloaded Pokemon Go on her phone last night. I didn’t really know what she was talking about so I made some sort of noise that sounded vaguely supportive and understanding.

Today I see reports of people going crazy about this game and I can see why. I’m still debating whether I want to actually install the game and play it but I know that I have temporarily lost my wife to the game for now. It’s probably only a matter of time until our son follows …

In the meantime, I had to share this great xkcd cartoon highlighting a way to have even more fun with fans.

Postscript (2016-07-12):

iMore has published a guide for new Pokémon players titled “Beginner’s guide: How to play Pokémon Go!“. I know this is just feeding the habit (in particular my wife who may be lost to us for a few weeks) but I’m a sharer.

Categories
Creative expression Entertainment

Did you breakdance like this in the 80s?

Did you breakdance in the 1980s? I remember that being huge 30 years ago and I think I even tried to breakdance, once. I thought it disappeared soon after that but it looks like breakdancing is either back or is has resurfaced as a “thing”. I saw some guys breakdancing outside our local mall in Modi’in yesterday and had to smile.

I explained to our kids that this was a big thing about 30 years ago. It took my son a moment to get his head around how long ago that was. He also explained to me that the Hebrew term for it is, predictably, ברקדנס (sounds like “breakdance”).

When I think about it I can’t help but wonder if it has the same meaning for people doing it now that it did back in the day? I mean, it was big before most of the “kids” doing it today were born. That said, when I see stuff like this, it impresses me even more:

And this (really bad audio but wow!):

If you want a taste of breakdancing in the 1980s, take a look at this funky video of Vin Diesel breakdancing back in the day:

I think I remember seeing the movie this next clip came from. It is dubbed, a bit, but it really gives you an idea of the culture back then.

Thank goodness the fashions have changed. I really don’t miss 1980s fashion sense (even though parts of my wardrobe still seem like they came from the 1980s). There is something cool about seeing kids outside a mall with music and mat trying this stuff out and trying to look cool about the attention. Not everything about the 80s is cringeworthy. Well, except maybe these spandex outfits:

Image credit: Vancouver Photo Walk w/ HundredNorth by Kris Krug, licensed CC BY SA 2.0

Categories
Events and Life Mindsets Policy issues Politics and government

South African anti-Semitism means the country is like most others

I came across the Citizen’s article titled “Alleged anti-semitic attack in Rosebank ” on Facebook today. According to the Citizen:

The assailants allegedly hurled antisemitic insults at the youths and physically assaulted two of the three youngsters.

“[The Jewish boys] were wearing kippah [yarmulke],” said Kahn, who stated that the attack was motivated by antisemitism, as the boys were clearly identified, and the statements directed at them included references to religious and political tension in the Middle East.

These attacks are shameful and, as much as they seem to represent an escalation in anti-Semitism in South Africa, they also seem to point to a relatively new trend in South Africa that I noticed last year during Operation Protective Edge in Israel. Before then, anti-Israel sentiment popped up whenever Israel took action against Palestinians but it largely remained anti-Israel sentiment.

Last year that changed and anti-Israel sentiment became thinly veiled anti-Semitism and then not so thinly veiled. What it signified to me was that South Africa was losing its relatively sheltered status compared to much of Europe which has witnessed violent attacks like this for some time now.

On one hand it seems like South Africa is just following the same regressive trend that has gripped Europe, the United States and other developed countries: it has become more acceptable in some sectors to lash out at Jews if the rage is prefaced by some sort of objective to Israel’s actions regarding the Palestinians (regardless of there being any justification for the rage). I’d say that is just progress except it isn’t. It is, however, not unusual lately.

On the other hand, South Africa following this trend means the culture of tolerance and its embrace for diversity which South Africans began to cultivate after 1994 has withered. Surely South Africa, of all countries, should lead the world with a values-based tolerance for diversity of legitimate opinions and beliefs? Instead politics and sensationalism have done away with any real semblance of an enlightened approach based on Constitutional values and a respect for human rights.

What remains, both in South Africa and elsewhere in the world, is the latest version of a seething and ancient hatred for Jews. Objections to Israel’s approach to the Palestinians by the likes of the BDS Movement is just a cover for a deeper hatred and a much bigger threat that faces not just Israel and the world’s Jews but much of the world’s population.

I don’t think this is the last time people who are visibly Jewish will be attacked in South Africa’s malls and on the streets. Tragically, I suspect this will only get worse in time and the sooner more people realize this and do more to prevent it, the better. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be a politically popular option anymore.

I hope I am wrong.

Categories
Mindsets Social Web

Did I jinx Google+

I realised that one of the reasons I am a little apprehensive about getting too excited about Google+ is that I have a history of getting excited about services and how much better they are at certain things than, say, Twitter only to find the services are bought out, fade away or just die. Illustrations of my point:

I am basically the anti-trend spotter so if I decide and publicly declare that Google+ is the best thing ever (since the last best thing) and way better than Twitter (I may have done this already, come to think of it) then that could spell the end of Google+ as a viable service.

Sorry!


Image credit: Sorry We’re Fucked by bixentro, licensed CC BY 2.0