Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Computing Devices

I wonder if the iPad is a new paradigm in computing - a true internet appliance - an essentially sealed box.

As with all things Apple, it has beautiful design and a cult like following that seems to overlook the flaws in the device which would not be forgivable if the same flaws existed in a device made by - say Microsoft for instance.

There are many things interesting about this device, not least the apparent unobtrusiveness of the operating system. The OS is passe as it were. No one cares about it any more. I felt that acutely when I upgraded my pc to Windows 7 and enjoyed the OS feel for all of 5 minutes before launching the browser. Apple seems to have recognized this. People want the device to start up and load the apps they want to use as fast as possible. They don't want to defer to a pompous OS as it creaks itself to an on position.

In a perverse way Apple has bested the initial OS and app launch designs first introduced by the makers of PDAs' - remember the Palm Pilots anyone? The design is not groundbreaking in any way but the look and feel and handling definitely is. It is unsurpassed.
Now comes the billion dollar question. What does Microsoft have in response? One hopes it is a completely new and tiny OS that runs on devices like this rather than Windows light. As it is Android and devices that use it like the Adam tablet ( are already in the wings.

It will be a very interesting era in computing to have a match with three heavyweights competing.

Apple has done a great job but customers benefit from competition.

Friday, January 22, 2010


So things have moved on since 2009......or have they?
  1. The Fed interest rate is still at 0%.
  2. Somalian pirates still make cameo appearances.
  3. The DJIA (~ 10,200), NASDAQ (2,200) and S&P 500 (1,092) have improved some, though are still prone to wild swings.
  4. Gas at $2.50
  5. The Madoff scandal has been replaced by Tiger Woods. Madoff has been consigned to a US federal prison where some reports seem to indicate that other inmates are awed by him.
  6. Obama's first year has passed and even to his most ardent supporter it has been a mixed bag.
  7. Teddy Kennedy died and the Republican challenger who won the election to fill his seat has upset the Democratic 60% filibuster proof majority.
  8. Sadly though:
    Money, job and home value worries. No change.
    Uncertainty about the economy - will it get worse or will it get better? No change.
    Ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. No change.
  9. Health care reform still in limbo though insurers are breathing freer because there is almost no likelihood that the public option is still in play.
  10. Toyota is making the news for all the wrong reasons. Unintended acceleration has caused several deaths and they don't seem to have a definitive fix.
  11. Earthquake in Haiti has destroyed a third of that country and killed untold thousands of people.

One wonders when we will get past the excesses of the past years, wrap up the wars we are fighting and devote more energy to whom we admit into this country.

One hopes that the two parties both Republican and Democrat move past divisive politics and politicians. One hopes that in the coming year they don't just act like sheep but show some spine and have opinions that may differ from their party's leadership.

One wishes Mr. Obama well but hopes that he focuses on things that are closer to Americans' hearts like jobs and health care and not continue doling out largesse on projects while important have receded from our collective consiousness due to more pressing worries.

I wonder if 2010 will be like 2009 - a drudgery of a year. One hopes not, but signs portent that it is going to be more of the same.

  • Live within your means.
  • Pay off all your debts including mortgage.
  • Save a year's worth of living expenses. This should include estimated Cobra payments, home, car, flood, umbrella insurance, car and mortgage payments, school/activity fees for children, any estimated co-payments, food and clothing allowances and up to $10K as an emergency reserve on top of the other estimates. This is a tough goal and may not be achieved in one year but we need to get realistic on what a year's living expense really means.
  • Hold on to your job in any way possible.
  • Don't cave in to impulses small ( a new cellphone) or large ( a car or a pool).
  • Stop looking at ads. You are not helping the economy by spending, you are only hurting yourself. The economy will find ways to adapt.

Happy belated new year!