today is your last day at Oracle. I cannot belief that retirement is an alternative to designing software and improving products for decades. I might figure it out myself in a couple of years.
Our ways have crossed several times. And I am extremely thankful for that. I still remember my first session on an Apple Lisa. It must have been around 1985. I was still in school, and we were visiting the University of Hamburg to get some orientation on the departments. When I started I chose Informatics. And I suppose the Apple Lisa played a significant role in my decision. Is it fate that I later wrote about Apple Lisa?
I’ve attended your presentation and public demo of the Lisa System at CHI ’98 in Los Angeles. Maybe a video still exists. I should look it up and publish it somewhere.* You had also booth duty for Sun Microsystems – presenting HotJava Views, a user interface for a network computer. And you were handing out VHS tapes (!) of Starfire. I still have mine – but no player anymore.
I was asked why I retweetmy SocialChats en suite. It clutters the Twitter stream. Well, microblogging imposes a special style on text that cannot be represented properly otherwise. It is a medium of its own with a unique set of rules. Maybe I break expectations as I am not sending haikus every half an hour. Tweets are very condensed statements. Some are poetry. Some are fun. Some are hard facts and bear deeper insights. I try to ignore the rest.
Microblogging is also a special form of hypertext that comes close to (one aspect!) of Doug Engelbart’s NLS/Augment, i.e. each sentence can be referenced. In Twitter each tweet gets an URL and you can quote and retweet it easily. This is not possible with any other widely adopted hypertext system. What’s missing though, are display clients, that merge and revert the order of tweets that come in flocks. Then the reader does not have to twist her head around to read in sequence.
But hey, instead of talking about hypertext and the good old times, I wanted to post my OraTweets from today’s SocialChat on Apple’s hegemony. Read bottom up:
Insights On Innovation. Apple thinks good design is a present. Pixel-perfect mockups are critical. 10 to 3 to 1. Paired design meetings. Brainstorm meeting. Production meeting. Pony meetings.
What else does Apple do differently? 1. Apple does not do market research. 2. Apple has a very small team who designs their major products. 3. Apple owns their entire system. 4. Apple focuses on a select group of products. 5. Apple has a maniacal focus on perfection.
So is it possible for you to innovate like Apple? You need a leader who prioritizes new product innovation. You need to focus. You need the right people, and you need to reward them.
Complete article at: You Can’t Innovate Like Apple — By Alain Breillatt
A couple of new window management features of Windows 7 are quite remarkable. First of all the shake of windows, that hides all other screen clutter. Shake the window again and the other windows come back. This is an excellent, fun, and easy to remember gesture to remove distractions and focus on the current task. For me on Mac the shortcut Cmd-Opt-H has a similar effect. It hides all windows from other applications. But I suppose it is not as much fun, and not consistently implemented across all applications. Back to Windows’ gesture, I would expect just one caveat: The trigger MouseDown-RapidSmallMouseMovements works best with a mouse — a trackpad is not the best graphical input device to perform this gesture.
Two other gestures grabbed my attentions. Move a window against the upper border of the screen and it maximizes. Move it to the right or left border to use the right or left half of the screen. These gestures simplify the task to compare two documents side by side. A small, yet powerful aspect to work with windows.
There is another shake gesture that becomes fashion. Shake Apple iPods and you get a new random song. I would like to see this feature for iTunes as well. Shake the iTunes window to randomize to the next tune. Alt-Click on the forward button is my most used function in iTunes anyway.
No one would defeat that Apple’s iPod is a new lifestyle device that became a tremendous success in the market. Yet, the success of the iPhone is not a given; esp. if you keep in mind the failure of Apple’s Newton a decade ago. Read more about the Newton in RoughlyDrafted (Dec 2006): Newton Lessons for Apple’s New Platform.