Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Beauty of it all Working

Hold your breath guys - it's yet another Casey blog about the greatness of Apple.

But really - it's not just about Apple, but rather the idea of high end companies and how their products are supposed to work.

See the thing is - companies like Apple, Sony, even Mercedes release a myriad of products which on their own are unbelieveably good - yet they design with the bigger picture in mind.

Now granted - not everybody, in fact not a lot of people have the money or time to spend on stocking their house with every product that one of these companies release - but nonetheless, my hat goes off to the designers.

See the thing is, the designers in these companies don't really design a product - they design a lifestyle. In software engineering its called use-case design. Instead of designing a product and giving it features and such - the people at these companies design an activity, and then build products around it.

For example, when Apple designed the AppleTV v2 - I have a feeling they thought to themselves - alright, I come home, I turn on the TV and I want to watch whatever movie I want right now, or listen to any piece of music I want. How am I gonna get a product that does that.

And companies who pay attention to these scenarios really soar. Yet, it takes some part on the public to understand these amazing designs. That's why Apple's keynotes are so good. Steve Jobs always go through typical scenarios.

Actually, come to think of it - the greatest demonstration of what I'm talking about are the first iPhone commercials.

Here, Apple had one of the most coveted electronic products this world has seen - but to really prove just how cool it was - the commercials went something liek this:

"Let's say your watching your favourite movie, Pirates of the Carribean, and then you think - hey, I feel like some seafood. Just simply browse to a seafood restaurant, and google map it."

Those typical use scenarios really shine for the product. I mean the product can do all these amazing individual things - but its these use cases that prove to the public - that hey - it's not just cool, the product actually makes a lot of sense to use in our life.

The same goes for OS X Leopard - things like Spaces, Expose (albeit Tiger), Quick Look just make the workflow so much better.

I think more companies should really base their designs around use cases - rather than just introducing new technologies. The iPhone had nothing brand new - it was all borrowed technologies - as was a lot of Leopard - but its how its executed where Apple succeeds. Bringing it to the mass market with a real use behind it.

Why did I bring this up?

I recently set my place up with streaming music, a wireless hard drive, and a nice TV. All Apple and SOny - and it all just works so perfectly together. It all just makes sense.

And coming home every night from work is such a pleasure as I can sit down and really enjoy my place.

So do yourself a favour. Building an "electronics foundation" is no different than furnishing a house. You can't just buy a bunch of random things here and there. Think about the big picture and how it'll all integrate with each other- and slowly build that up. Chances are, you'll enjoy your electronics so much more.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Unbelievably good.

Has to be seen in the theatre.

Won't say more.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Plug Off

Alright, so I don't know if this is just because I'm tired and hungry and in a bad mood - but something's been bothering me recently.

So I had an amazing Christmas gift-wise. My family went all out this year and got me amazing gifts, one of which was a 1TB Western Digital MyBook. What a sweet drive. But there's one thing that's off.

The first time I plugged in the hard drive in - I noticed the unique shape of the plug. Rather than a down facing ac adapter, the ac adapter actually points to the side when plugged in. Pretty clever right? I mean when you plug it into a standard two socket wall plug, the other socket is free - pretty clever right? Wrong.

Let's think about this for a second. When do you use a hard drive? When you use a computer. And the average computer has how many plugs? 2. Right. And most computer users who would buy a 1TB drive would probably even have more. Save a router, or a modem, or both, plus maybe some speakers.

When you add it all up, a 1TB external drive will almost always be used near more than 2 other plugs. So enter the power bars that us techies spent so much money on. You know, the ones where the sockets are aligned side by side to allow for many AC adapters. Well guess what - this new MyBook Sideways style AC adapter now makes no sense on these expensive power bars. UPS's either - I mean the most expensive power bar you can buy now doesn't make sense with these new plugs.

Well, whatever. I thought I'd live with it. But then lightning struck twice.

I went to my post office today to pick up my Vonage package, and low and behold - the Vonage phone adapter uses a sideways power adapter! (which for those paying attention has to be used beside a modem and a router) What the hell!?

Now if the world was ideal - all these devices would have internal power bricks (take a hint from the AppleTV or the Wii). But the world of electronics seems insistent on producing these power adapters for things that clearly are used beside a bunch of other electronics.

Ah well - whenever they iron out the scary defects (and thoughts) or wireless power - we'll be flying.

Thanks for reading.