It’s no exaggeration to say I’ve been trying to get my work on Daring Fireball since I started my iPhone development and user experience adventures three years ago. Thrilled to see it finally go down:
…[T]heir custom date picker is simply brilliant. Hipmunk has a good web interface too, but it has nothing on the iPhone interface. This is why native apps matter.
Thanks for the love, John!
I’m especially pleased he calls out the date picker. That was a lot of work to get right and it’s not the sort of thing you can get away with being wrong in something like flight search and still have happy users.
A few weeks ago I got an email from an Intel rep, trying to convince me that I should port my apps to MeeGo, their in-progress mobile platform. I chuckled at this – the thing hasn’t even shipped on anything. In what universe would it be worthwhile to invest development time in an unproven platform I’ve never even used? I didn’t give it much more thought, figuring it was email blasted and my lack of response wouldn’t be noticed.
I was wrong. I got another, more personal email a week later.
And another – right after Nokia announced they were dropping MeeGo for Windows Phone 7. This was more than I could take. With that vote of no confidence, who would be crazy enough to invest in Intel’s non-existent platform? I responded:
I know you’re doing your job, but it’s not going to happen. Intel lost in mobile. Sorry. Putting my money behind horses who have a real chance. Thanks and good luck.
I put it out of my mind. Later that day, though, my persistent friend gave me one last push:
…If history repeats itself, it will be open architecture systems and industries that will eventually dominate. It’s only a question of when. ( I think soon.) Think of where the PC market was in the early days when there was still multiple proprietary solutions competing for the market space of the home computer user. The IBM standard eventually dominated the larger market.
Even if I bought into this (I don’t), wouldn’t Android be the horse to bet on? It’s open. It’s actually in shipping products. It actually has users, right now, today.
I believe that history will repeat itself.
So, this guy, and by extension, Intel, believes that fate will grant Intel perpetual reign over all things computing, despite the fact that they can’t produce a mobile processor anyone wants to use in best-selling products? Despite the fact that they’re late to the party with their self-serving OS? Despite the fact that MeeGo, by all accounts, kind of sucks?
This is a ground floor opportunity akin to purchasing a stock just before it goes up in value.
As if my bullshit detector weren’t already burying the needle.
Keep idly watching this space (open architecture mobile computing) and you will miss the train. Intel is leveraging all it’s 30 years of OEM relationships. The number of distribution channels contained in this network is going to be staggering. It’s not one store or one manufacturer. This is the democratization of mobile computing.
I think the only one who has missed the train here is Intel. They’ve been idly watching mobile while ARM quietly cleans their clock.
Moreover, even Google has struggled to nail down successful, paid distribution. Intel thinks it can succeed by encouraging the creation of several channels? It’s like they don’t even bother studying what works and why. Apple is ruling the day by getting 100 million accounts all in one database and giving the keys for one-click buying to anyone who wants to come over. Several fragmented channels is not the way to match their power.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Translated: Intel is delusional and they’re paying me to repeat their fever dreams.
The mobile computer market is nearing a similar democratizing event horizon as the PC market did 25 years ago. Throughout 2011 Intel chips will turn up in 35 tablets from 15 brands!
How many units are going to be sold of all these many tablets? 15 brands and 35 tablets? Really? Why not just two, really, really good ones? Sounds like a recipe for an instantly fragmented market from a hardware perspective, too.
He ended by encouraging me to hop on the phone with a program manager to learn more. I haven’t taken him up on it.
Now, many of us have been in an room listening to marketing spin a tale of bullshit (“narrative”) to share with outsiders. Maybe Intel knows it’s full of it, right? I’m not so sure. I think decades of being the Processor King has genuinely convinced them that their success is inevitable.
I think they’re wrong. The game has changed. They haven’t.
I just released my first desktop app. It’s a small and focused tool to help you kill your procrastination and get things done. Go check it out.
Developing for the desktop has been fun and an interesting change of pace from iPhone development. A full post-mortem is on the way.
In the mean time, it’s a great feeling to add a bit of OS X freeware to the world.
When I was a kid I had two passions: Lego and the Macintosh.
Lego was an instant bullet train to any world I could imagine. Space ships, robots, lunar colonies, pirate treasures, ancient castles, you name it. These were mine to explore. I could spend days at a time perfecting some imaginary construct made real through the magic of Lego bricks and the exertion of my crude abilities. I treasured the rarer pieces, protecting closely my little snap-on magnet linkages and battery-driven light bricks. Regardless of whatever turbulent nonsense might have been happening elsewhere in my little world, Legos were an inviolable source of joy.
Joy, you know, that feeling that lives somewhere between the pit of your stomach and the tip of your smile. That vague something that builds a simple, contented glow inside of you that’s like a thousand perfect, extra-gravy-save-me-some-pie thanksgiving dinners with none of the bloated aftermath. Maybe you just saw the most beautiful vista in all of the world. Maybe you just fell in love. Maybe you’re ten years old and you see exactly what you were hoping for under the Christmas tree. You know what I’m saying, right?
The Macintosh came a bit later. At age 7, I got my hands on a borrowed Macintosh SE. And the joy was there, too. It could do so many things. It could produce clean, perfect type that was huge! I made a lot of paper signs. It could store all of this information and then show it to me again later. It could show me pictures and organize them into this tidy scrapbook.
And sounds! It made all these noises. I was most enamored with the quacking duck.
It was this whole world inside there that I could barely understand. I knew only one thing for certain: I wanted more. So much more of it.
Eventually, through about three years of begging and cajoling, I convinced my mom to plunk down the tidy sum necessary to secure a Performa 6116CD for our exclusive home use. (The fact that I kept spending a lot of time at the home of a neighbor kid who had his own Mac and whom my mother intensely disliked probably sped things along, too.)
The 6116 was an even greater magnitude of joy. An 8x CD-ROM drive and a huge bundled library of multimedia content like encyclopedias and interactive atlases. Plus creativity applications and, wonder of wonders, Sim City 2000. I had so much fun exploring this new world. I spent an inordinate amount of time learning every piece of software I could get my hands on.
It was joy.
And then, I grew up. Like so many, I lost my capacity for the discovery of simple joy. It became the exception rather than the rule of life. Go to school, then go to work, do your job, go home, repeat.
Then I found programming. It occurred to me tonight, as I struggled, quite happily, to grasp how the hell it is block arguments in Ruby work, that I’d rediscovered a simple, consistent source of joy. Programming languages are infinite bins of Lego blocks, waiting to be assembled to my liking. Programming is a limitlessly fascinating Performa, waiting for me to learn and harness any language for any task I can imagine. There’s just so much to learn and enjoy in programming computers.
Even after a few years of it, programming makes me feel joyfully like a kid again.