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About peterweisz

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    Mac Geek In Training

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  • Location
    Carmel, IN
  • Interests
    Graphic design, video, presentations
  1. peterweisz

    The Hand Is Thicker Than The Eye

    The Hand Is Thicker Than The Eye How to make the iPad the “Content Creation” device it was meant to be. As my meaty fingers glided across the touch screen of an iPad for the first time, I found myself thinking about Dr. Patel, the amazing Orlando surgeon. Dr. Patel emerges from the OR four times each day without a drop of blood on his lime-colored scrubs. That is because during surgery, he is in the next room controlling something called the DaVince Robotic Arm. As the founder and head of the Global Robotics Institute, Dr. Patel is the world’s leading practitioner of non-invasive, robotic prostatectomies (surgical removal of the prostate gland). I knew about the many benefits of this advanced medical technique — short hospital stays, rapid recovery, fewer side effects — when I asked Dr. Patel, a few years ago: “What is your major advantage, as a surgeon, in using the robotic arm?” His answer was quick and surprising. “No hands!” He explained that with conventional surgery, his field of vision is constantly blocked by “my big fat hands.” But with a robot arm, he can see the most minute structures clearly and perform his job with an amazing level of precision. Much has been touted about the iPad’s “natural” touch/tap interface. The noble mouse, having served us dutifully for lo these past 25 years, is now being put out to pasture. “It’s so much more intuitive to just point at what you want and just move it with your finger!” This is very true. Even Jewish grandmothers and small children can quickly and easily grasp the workings of the iPad’s user interface. The metaphor is obvious because, really, there is no metaphor. You want it? Push it. Move it. Tap it. Slide it. Flip it. It’s fun and it’s natural — but, I’m here to point out, only on one side of the coin. Steve Jobs boasted that the iPad would not only fill the niche between smart phone and laptop, it would outshine both of them. That means it is in the iPad’s destiny to be not merely a content consumption de-vice, like an iPhone or iPod touch, but also a content creation device, like your trusty laptop, The touch/tap interface is just dandy when it comes to the first, but, alas falls short when going for the second. Flipping album covers to find the song you want to hear, turning pages of a book you want to read, controlling flying widgets in a game you wish to play — all these tasks work great with fingertip control. But what about the article you wish to write? The photo you wish to edit? The illustration you wish to paint? Hmmm? You’ve got Dr. Patel’s “big fat hand” problem to deal with. Can you truly expect your fingertip to be as nimble as an I-beam cursor when trying to insert a letter be-tween the “f’ and the “l” of an onscreen ligature in 12 point type? Can you expect to control fine bezier points in your raster graphic logo you’re creating in Adobe Illustrator? And what about Photoshop? Half of your image will be hidden under your “big fat hand!” Try it and I guarantee you will soon be yearn-ing for that delicate tiny paintbrush cursor. What’s the answer? I think it’s pretty simple. Two words: Virtual Touchpad. Just as a laptop’s keyboard exists in a virtual state when needed on the iPad, a similar virtual representation of a laptop’s touchpad would be a simple matter to create. Positioned in the lower right or left corner of the screen, the artist, writer, photographer will be able to control an onscreen cursor just like he or she does on a laptop. Fingers can still be used for macro movements, like highlighting a paragraph or selecting a slide in Key-note. But as soon as the virtual touchpad is tapped, a cursor appears and the user is able to perform all the fine motor functions needed to create his or her next masterpiece. Many of the questions that existed surrounding the implementation of the iPhone OS as a content crea-tion platform were answered with the developer’s preview of iPhone OS 4.0 on April 8. With the ad-vent of folders (something I had expected at the time of the original iPad announcement in January) and multi-tasking, the iPad is growing ever closer to re-placing the laptop as the dominant personal comput-ing platform. A cursory run through Apple’s iWork Suite for iPad clearly points the direction in which this plat-form is headed. Numbers is a joy to behold, but start finagling a truckload of actual numbers, and you will be hungering for that spiffy little arrow cursor you have known and loved for all these years. While the 4.0 announcement failed to deliver one of the key components needed to turn the iPad into a true content creation machine — mainly, the intro-duction of system-level printing — I still feel that Apple is imagining a future that will allow users to fully deploy their iPads without the need for another computer. I am confident that third party printer drivers will soon come online and make printed out-put directly from the iPad a reality. The bombshell contained in the 4.0 announcement, of course, was Apple’s foray into advertising with iAd. While the media reported this as a shot across Google’s bow in their ongoing “rivalry” coverage, the fact is that this move is simply another front in Apple’s ongoing push to move more hardware. Jobs understands that the success of the iPhone is largely due to the amazingly vast array of apps available for it. He correctly believes that apps will drive sales of the iPad as well. But a bigger and better device needs bigger and better apps. And those cost money to make. Jobs wants to create an exclusive revenue stream that will only be available to developers on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Creating an infra-structure that will allow for ad placement inside of their products will result in more and better apps and that will sell more Apple branded devices. It’s a bold strategy that, quite honestly, may not work. But one thing is certain. Ads on Apple devices will be worlds apart from Google Adsense ads. Look at the differ-ence between reading a book on a Kindle versus iBooks on an iPad to see what I mean. When Jobs spoke about creating ads that are on the intersection of interactivity and emotion, he suc-cinctly encapsulated a brilliant and profound new advertising ethos. Melding the interactivity of cur-rent online ads (which are devoid of any bite or emo-tion) with static, but emotion-laden TV commercials, to create a synthesis that will deliver a one-two punch to the brain and the heart. Jobs made a highly disingenuous comment during the Q & A following the keynote when he said that: “We’re babes in the woods when it comes to adver-tising.” By laying out the iAd strategy in this way, Jobs demonstrated that he is anything but. He and Apple enjoy a deeper understanding and a clearer vision of the true future of advertising than Google or any other player. And, after all, isn’t a clear vision what we are all seeking — be it in the operating room or on the screen of our new iPads.
  2. peterweisz

    iPad Infinitum

    To: Dophbucs You are certainly correct. Andy has spoken very positively about the iPad on TWIT, MacBreak Weekly on his blog, newspaper column and elsewhere. In fact, at this date (March 24, 2010) he is probably one of the handful of people in the world who have their hands on a pre-release iPad. Look for his hands-on review on April 4. My only reaction is this: "Why did you take my reference to Andy's humorous remark about turning on the iPad by clapping one's hands, to be a negative comment?" I quoted this bit of wit because it illustrated some of the early public reactions to the iPad being an over-sized iPod touch. And also because it was very funny. I don't see why a reader would come away with an impression other than that Andy is one very clever fellow. One clever fellow with a very positive opinion about the iPad.
  3. peterweisz

    iPad Infinitum

    I sincerely believe that those who dismiss the iPad as an “iPod touch on steroids” are being more or less myopic. The look of the thing has led to some of the best (non-feminine hygiene-themed) jokes making the rounds. My favorite emerges from Andy Ihnatko who, noting that the iPad resembles one of those oversized remote controls or calculators aimed at the elderly, quipped "I understand that you turn it on by clapping your hands!” Also, those who bemoaned the fact that Steve Jobs did not pull any bright and shiny rabbits out of his hat and “merely” presented the long-expected device bearing a no-shocker feature set, were just not listening carefully enough. As an old-timer who has been watching Mr. Jobs put on these medicine shows for decades now, there is one thing I have learned about his modus. When he says something that sounds like marketing hype or even tripe...it isn’t. When he announced that the iLife products were going to make your Mac the “hub of your digital world,” I wrote that off as so much pumped up palaver. But guess what? It turned out to be true. My Mac today sits like a bloated octopus at the center of my so-called digital life. In 2001 Steve proclaimed the iPod would enable you to have “a thousand songs in your pocket.” I've got about ten thousand in there right now (that I never listen to since I discovered Pandora). And then in 2007: “The iPhone puts the internet in your pocket" Indeed. Jobs introduced the iPad by again engaging in what many discounted as blather. I could see the tech bloggers fidgeting in their seats, drooling for the thing to actually make its appearance as Jobs first insisted on making a simple, yet rather profound point. “If we're gong to put something in this niche between the iPhone and the MacBook, it's got to be better than both of them...or it has no right to exist.” Very Jobsianly put. Now, it doesn't have to be better than both devices at everything. For example, the iPad will not make phone calls. It’s not a phone. But, in those areas where its abilities overlap with the iPhone it has to shine. The iPad is not intended to allow you to conduct high end video editing as you can on a MacBook Pro (at least I think it’s not), but in those areas where it overlaps, it's got to over perform. Pulling off this feat on one side of the equation is pretty straightforward. You take all the iPhone apps and you give them four times the real estate to play in. Bingo. They are instantly better. No brainer there. But what about the other end of the equation? Apple did not wish to merely replace the laptop with something just as good...this thing had to actually be better. Now how do you do that? Here’s where it gets interesting. Managing media — your photos, your songs, your e-books, your movies — is the natural place to start. Adding touchscreen capabilities creates a whole new dimension that enhances the experience of sifting through your snapshots, for example. Flipping photos across the iPad screen has got to be more fun than clicking menus and sidebars in iPhoto on the Mac. So right there, by letting you use your fingers, the iPad is already better than the MacBook. But it shouldn’t and it doesn’t stop there. The big deal about the iPad, the real shocker and the rocker, was not the iBook store (Amazon knew they were being targeted) or the lack of a camera (that’s coming soon). Nope, here’s the killer feature that got my bacon frying: Unlike the iPhone, the iPad is not only a device for content consumption, it is also a device intended for content creation. That’s right, the inclusion of the outstanding iWorks suite (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) was totally out of left field. I still can’t wrap my mind around it. So many questions: When I create a spreadsheet, where does it go? Does it live inside the app? After all, there’s no Finder or similar file management tool. And conversely, when I wish to get rid of a document, what do I do with it? There's no trash can, right? Do my docs created on my iPad sync back to my Mac? What about the other way? What about integration in a “one app at a time” environment? Will I be able to copy a photo from Safari and paste it in to a Pages document? Will I have to open and close both apps as I move back and forth? Will my Photo Roll pictures be available in iWorks apps? Does copy and paste even exist on the iPad?? Evidently someone — or a lot of someones — have hashed all this out and have all the answers ready. The idea of not only projecting a Keynote presentation from my iPad, but actually creating one from scratch, is something I find very exhilarating and truly unexpected. The implications are pretty mind boggling if you let yourself get carried away a bit. Not to be overly dramatic, but it’s almost as though we are witnessing the first amphibian mud slugs emerge from the sea and begin to evolve on land. Could the iPad represent the next step in the future of digital integration? I was struck by a comment made, only half in jest, by one of my favorite Mac pundits, Ken Ray, who wryly observed: “It took many years to convince people that everyone needed a computer. So it’s going to take a bit of time now to convince them that they don’t.” So am I making too much of this? Is the inclusion of productivity software — good, functional productivity software — on this device simply a gimmick that when investigated will not measure up to the desktop or laptop experience? There's a very good chance of that. But, I’m something of a dreamer and one thing is for certain. The iPad with iWorks has fired my imagination so that just maybe we are being afforded a flashforward into our own futures. Futures where ThinkPads and NetBooks gather dust in the garage junk box as we go about our sunshine-filled lives accompanied by our omni-wonderful iPads. If you recall the debate a few years back about evolution versus “intelligent design?” Well, paradoxically, I regard the iPad as an example of both. Very intelligently designed to enable us to take the next evolutionary step. And for only $100 more than a Kindle! Whether the iPad turns into the next Avatar blockbuster or a 2012 disappointment, there is no turning back. Apple has again staked out the direction the industry will be moving in the months and years ahead. And that, my friends, seems like a pretty big deal to me.
  4. Win7 Tech Support: Hello, my name is Jasmine. How may I help you? Customer: I just installed Windows 7 and I have a problem. Jasmine: Shoot. Customer: I have no web browser. Jasmine: Windows 7 does not include a web browser. In order to get your free copy of Internet Explorer you need to go to our website and download it. Customer: I can't do that. Jasmine: Why not? Customer: Because I have no web browser. Jasmine: Windows 7 does not include a web browser. In order to get your free copy of Internet Explorer you need to go to our website and download it. Customer: I can't do that. Jasmine: Why not? Customer: Because I have no web browser. Jasmine: Windows 7 does not include a web browser. In order to get your free copy of Internet Explorer you need to go to our website and download it. Customer: I can't do that. Jasmine: Why not? Customer: Because I have no web browser. Repeat Ad nauseum.
  5. Hats off to Adam for reaching this milestone and taking the Maccast to a new level. He is indeed wise to reject all other revenue schemes (i.e. donations, subscriptions, etc.) in favor of the only proven and sustainable method of online economic survival: Advertising. But, just as Google has developed new advertising models to conform to the needs of the online universe (i.e. Sponsored Links, etc.), so too must Podcasting fashion a new advertising framework that fully exploits the advantages of the medium and, at the same time, remains effective at advertising's main mission: stimulating product sales. Learn by example When I first began listening to Podcasts, one of my first subscriptions was to "Inside Mac." While I enjoyed the content, after a few weeks the constant repetition of the same cheesily produced 30-sec commercial spots was getting under my skin. It got so annoying that I made up my mind never to purchase any products made by the companies whose wares were being touted. When I had to stop myself from pitching my iPod out the window of a fast-moving car because I was forced to endure the "Smith's Robot Repair Shop" spot once too often, I knew it was time to make a change. I cancelled my subscription, as I'm certain others have also done. This is an example of what happens when you try to support today's media with yesterday's advertising paradigms. It simply doesn't work to plug cutesie AM Radio-style 30-sec. promos into a Podcast. First of all, standard placement rotations don't work. An advertiser can't do a "morning drive" buy, for example, because the Podcaster doesn't know what time of day his audience will be listening. There are many such examples. Suffice it to say: Traditional radio campaigns do not work on Podcasts. But, and here's the good news, the Podcaster knows so much more about his or her listener than does the AM radio station manager. This enormous advantage represents the fundamental appeal of Podvertising. So why not use it? Well, in a certain sense, we haven't fully arrived yet. Eventually technology will catch up, I'm convinced. When a Podcast is downloaded to my computer in the future, it will be tagged based upon my geographic location, age, political and sexual orientation, etc. Likewise the ads that accompany the downloaded episode will be tailored to appeal to me. The most significant impact of this breakthrough will be the ability to support local advertisers, long the lifeblood of radio advertising. While enjoying Adam's informative content, I'll be invited to visit one of the Pizza parlors in my Indiana zipcode where, by mentioning the Maccast, I'll receive three free toppings of my choice. At the same time, a subscriber who has opted to receive such ads and has indicated his Nebraska zipcode, will learn of a similar promotion placed by a Pizzeria in Omaha, for example. But until the technology for delivering tagged ads arrives, there is still much that Adam can do to avoid the horrible mistakes committed by other Podcasters who venture into this unfamiliar realm. What makes a Podcast appealing is the intimate relationship between the Podcaster and his audience. This aspect can be employed — but not exploited — to expose advertisers in a non-traditional manner. First of all, call them sponsors which implies that the company in question is investing more than just money into your Podcast. An advertiser buys exposure in an agnostic fashion. He or she doesn't care who's delivering his message as long as it gets delivered. A sponsor offers support because he or she, to some degree, believes in the mission of the program or the medium itself. A sponsor could be offered the following support opportunity deal by a one-hour Podcast that is produced twice weekly, let's say: For a specified sponsorship fee, the Podcast will feature your company at least once each month during its "Sponsor's Showcase" segment. The segment is a five-minute discussion of anything and everthing having to do with the sponsor. Topics would include: New product announcements, corporate news, history of the company's founding, trade show presentations, interviews with top management figures, testimonials by satisfied customers, analysis of the company's financials (if publicly traded) — the list goes on. The Sponsor's Spotlight would be fully researched and the content based on information supplied mostly by the sponsor. It will be conducted by the regular Podcast host. Listeners (and viewers) will be fully informed that the Podcast is being made possible by XYZ Company's sponsorship with messages like: "As you know, XYZ Co. is an underwriter of this Podcast. Since they are making it possible for me to share the latest information from the Mac scene with all of you, we'd like to reciprocate by featuring XYZ Co. in our Sponsor's Spotlight segment this week." It's not ads posing as news. It's podvertising, and it's all done above board with no attempt to mislead the audience. Consumers are smart and Podcast listeners are very smart. They will soon discover if there is nothing more than a financial relationship between the sponsor and the Podcast. Hopefully, by selecting sponsors wisely, there will be something more involved. In order to avoid even the hint of a conflict of interest, products or services marketed by a sponsor are never featured in any sort of product review segment. Editorial integrity, of course, should be a guiding policy — as it should with all forms of information media. If bad news erupts involving the sponsor, it should always be reported in the same way as if the offender were not one. The concept I've outlined above is merely one idea. There are many others out there that will match the unique nature of the Podcast with effective strategies and will, at the same time, avoid alienating and annoying your listener base. The key is to make the ads almost as enjoyable as the regular programming. Sure, the easy method is to produce some flaky 30-sec faux radio announcer pitch and edit it into the feed every day with a couple of clicks. But such a program is short-sighted and ultimately counter-productive. As I'm sure that Inside Mac's advertisers, and other similar clients are learning, this is no way to run a revolution. Placement without performance is worthless. And I would be willing to bet that none of Inside Mac's sponsors could make a compelling case that those pathetic ads are doing them a bit of good. In fact, they're probably doing just the opposite. Thanks for reading this quasi-rant. I hope you found something in it of value. The main message is this: Go for the ads — there's really no other way — but do it the right way. No endless unchanging radio spots that drive listeners up the wall. I love the Maccast and don't know what I'd do if I found myself tempted to pitch it out my car window at 70 mph. Best regards, Peter Weisz Weisz Marketing Services Carmel, Indiana