Microsoft leadership

Ben Brooks wrote about Microsoft’s mobile strategy.

My criticism isn’t the easy play that they are firing 12,500 Nokia employees after claiming to be mobile first — it’s that they made these announcements too close together without laying out their strategy going forward clear enough. 1

And that is a problem of the worst kind: it is a leadership problem. A lot of people are liking Nadella, but I’ve never been fond of him being CEO and I think this moment is the most crucial for him. So far, he is not handling it well.

Tim Cook does 80 percent of work on iPad reported about the Apple-IBM partnership.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook says he does 80% of the work of running the world’s most valuable company on an iPad.

“There’s no reason why everyone shouldn’t be like that,” Mr. Cook said in an interview, explaining why Apple struck a partnership with International Business Machines Corp. IBM to develop applications catered to big businesses, or enterprises. “Imagine enterprise apps being as simple as the consumer apps that we’ve all gotten used to. That’s the way it should be.”

As John Gruber pointed out, this is in stark contrast to Google chairman Eric Schmidt who admitted to still using a BlackBerry.

Google to finally fix a 2010 Chrome for Windows battery drain bug

PCWorld reported that Google has finally promised to fix a battery bug in its Chrome browser.

This bug wouldn’t be too surprising if it was introduced in a recent update. But according to Morris, the first report of it popped up in 2010, and a more recent bug report in Chromium has been racking up new comments since November 2012. So if your Windows laptop isn’t getting the battery life you’d expected, it’s possible that Chrome is the culprit.

This comes a few days after a Forbes report highlighted the issue.

A few years versus a few days.

Apple and IBM storm the enterprise

Techpinions reported on the Apple and IBM partnership.

This is not good news for the Android crowd. Google, and especially Samsung, had been on a course to try and get more Android devices into IT. However, this Apple/IBM deal will make that very, very difficult now and, if the deal works as designed, it could pretty much upstage any opportunity Android devices have in any future enterprise programs. This will also have an impact on Microsoft’s quest to make Win 8 tablets and smartphones the de facto standard in IT. That would have been a tough thing to do even if Apple and IBM had not gotten together, but it will be even more difficult for them to gain a lot of ground with Windows 8 mobile devices in IT now.

Samsung Level Headphones

I guess Beats comparisons are on the way.

The lineup, first introduced in April, is led by Level Over, a $349.99 pair of over-ear Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancellation, NFC pairing, and what Samsung claims is “powerful, clear, sharp sound.” They can also be plugged in thanks to a detachable audio cable (with microphone and remote controls for your smartphone). And if you don’t like the way Level Over headphones sound out of the box, Samsung also offers an Android app that allows for EQ customization, or what the company refers to as “SoundAlive.” Hopefully you’d be able to find some way of making them sound great for that price tag.

via The Verge

Apple keyboard

John Gruber wrote about Apple’s attention to details.

Now consider keyboard shortcuts. The basic idea behind keyboard shortcuts on the Mac was and remains that you hold down the Command key, then press a letter key. And the letter keys should, ideally, correspond mnemonically to the menu command they represent — and for common operations, the shortcuts should be standard system-wide, across all applications.1 So: ⌘S for Save, ⌘P for Print, ⌘Q for Quit. But then what about Select All? ⌘S was already taken, so: ⌘A, emphasizing the All rather than the Select. ⌘D for Duplicate, ⌘B/I/U for Bold/Italic/Underline, respectively. And so forth.

They ran into some problems with other shortcuts:

⌘U could not be used for both Underline and Undo; likewise for ⌘C for Cut and Copy. And ⌘P could not be used for Paste because it was already used by Print.

The solution is still used up to today:

So Copy was awarded the mnemonic ⌘C, and Cut the sort-of-mnemonic ⌘X, but Undo and Paste were assigned the semantically meaningless but ergonomically convenient shortcuts ⌘Z and ⌘V. Not only was the idea of Undo a novel invention, the Mac team found a shortcut to invoke it that was as easy to type as possible. And what is the most common thing to do after copying? Pasting. So what could be a better shortcut for Paste, ergonomically, than the key right next to the one for Copy? You remember these shortcuts not by letter, but by physical position.

Even these four commands’ order in the Edit menu corresponded to their shortcuts’ order on the keyboard: Undo, Cut, Copy, Paste — Z, X, C, V. Simply brilliant. Every one of these design decisions has persisted through today.

Microsoft followed suit and used the Ctrl key instead of the ⌘ key.

US National Federation of the Blind on Apple’s commitment to accessibility

The National Federation of the Blind commented on Apple’s commitment to accessibility.

Many of these inaccurate assertions have been fueled by a provocative and poorly reported article from the Reuters news service, linked here only for reference. Reuters has already been forced to correct the article because it reported, inaccurately, that the National Federation of the Blind once brought suit against Apple, Inc. This never happened, although a demand letter was sent regarding the accessibility of iTunes and iTunes U, and the Massachusetts Attorney General opened an investigation. Those actions resulted in a voluntary agreement with Apple that was a significant step in getting us the accessibility we experience today.

Aside from misreporting, Christina Farr also wrote with bias against Apple:

Still, advocates of the disabled want the problem solved by the company at the center of the app world — Apple. Rival Google Inc, whose Android operating system drives more phones than Apple, is also under pressure, but as the creator of the modern smartphone and a long-time champion for the blind, Apple is feeling the most heat.

She then went on to selectively quote Tim Cook:

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook in a 2013 speech at Auburn University described people with disabilities “in a struggle to have their human dignity acknowledged.” He said, “They’re frequently left in the shadows of technological advancements that are a source of empowerment and attainment for others.”

Compare that with the full quote from Cook:

“People with disabilities often find themselves in a struggle to have their human dignity acknowledged, they frequently are left in the shadows of technological advancements that are a source of empowerment and attainment for others, but Apple’s engineers push back against this unacceptable reality, they go to extraordinary lengths to make our products accessible to people with various disabilities from blindness and deafness to various muscular disorders.

Shameful reporting. Unfortunately, there are people who take what they read as the truth simply because it came from Reuters.

Convergence of OS X and iOS

Ben Brooks recently wrote a good article on using an iPad as his main machine, it’s something that has been attempted by many folks in the past, but I like his take on it.

As I said, this is a setup I am likely to use more and more. With iOS 8 extensions coming I think the gap between what most people need to do on a Mac each day, and what the iPad can do well, is closing faster than many suspect. At this point it’s not a person clamoring for better apps, that do more powerful things, it’s just a matter of fine tuning what we already have.

I don’t see that taking very long. In fact, this time next year I may be splitting my time between the Mac and iPad evenly.

One thing that came to mind was the fact that OS X and iOS 8 and being linked closer than ever before. It wasn’t too long ago that people were debating if we needed a full desktop operating system on our mobile devices. Microsoft tried that with Windows 8, and is still trying to fine tune the product. Apple on the other hand is focusing on giving the best of both worlds, but linking them beautifully together with Continuity.

Bloomberg changed Samsung headline to a milder tone

The original headline was “Samsung Profit Misses Estimates as Cheap Phones Struggle“.

For some reason, it’s been changed to “Samsung Sees Phone Rebound After Earnings Miss Estimates”.

Products employee wouldn’t use

John Gruber wrote about why Google employees don’t use Google Glass.

If Glass were a good product, people who have them would wear them. It’s that simple. Same with tablet PCs — the problem wasn’t that Microsoft employees wouldn’t use them and that the product thus lost momentum and didn’t catch on with consumers. The problem is that tablet PCs were crap products.

When your own employees don’t use or support your product, the problem is with the product, not the employees.