Sunday, December 11, 2011

Scripta volant, verba manent.

A very interesting situation: the Latin proverb everybody knows is (supposed to be) verba volant, scripta manent, which means, the spoken words fly away, the written words remain.
This conclusion is probably false. I remember what my Latin teacher told me more than 30 years ago, and the exact proverb was exactly the opposite. Scripta volant, verba manent. The exact meaning being: written words (on parchment) are ephemeral and literally fly away (many texts have been lost that way) while the spoken words (very often, the legends, the stories being told) are kept through generations of people. I remember my teacher explaining the details based on a very serious thesis. This explanation seems much more logical to me, considering the context (Antiquity). Amazing to see that one of the most popular proverbs in the world might be completely wrong.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My last magazine

, originally uploaded by gugs.

I don't know about you, but since the introduction of the iPad, a huge revolution has taken place and I fundamentally changed my behavior. I don't buy magazines anymore, I mean paper magazines. The last one I am interested in and I CANNOT get electronically is Le Chasseur d'Images, a French photography magazine. All the rest I get electronically on my iPad, Popular Photography, Newspapers, Capital (French), Wired, iCreate, and many others via Zinio.
So far, so good. BUT, if you think of it and extrapolate on recent data, 180.000 more people read the NYT on the iPad a few days after the introduction of the Newsstand app, you can conclude that whole industries will just disappear in a matter of years. This will be a disastrous move on top of what is probably becoming the worst economical crisis in history. Worldwide, hundreds of thousands if not millions of people might lose their job just because of this paradigm shift. I am convinced, that on relatively short term, there will be no need anymore for the printing industry, the press shops, the book shops, the distribution, warehouses and transportation industry active on this market. Their market will shrink and will just vanish because their cost will become unaffordable. Just like videoshops are just disappearing slowly. Another strange paradigm shift nobody is talking about is the change in the financial model. Until now, when I bought a French magazine, all the money went to local people, and supported local jobs in the chain. When I do the same eletronically, more than half the money goes to US companies !!! And almost doesn't create any job at all.
Food for thought.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ice cubes ?

BE7_4646, originally uploaded by gugs.
For whisky fans, an interesting way to cool the glass without having to use ice cubes (a shame to add water to good whiskies). An example of a creative/innovative solution to a (not so) simple problem (cool down without using ice). You have to keep the (cleaned) stones in a bag in a freezer, and put them in the glass when needed to lower the temperature. They are neutral and don't alter the taste.

For geeks only.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Surprise your customers

IMG_0097, originally uploaded by gugs.

A special experience in one of the best restaurants in the world. During a visit to "Troisgros", among the top 50 gastronomy locations in the world, the waiter overheard a discussion about Apple, using iPads...  One of the people at our table didn't like cheese and asked if he could get a replacement. This was the result, a wonderful combination of caramel, light cheese, apple. The lesson learned: if you want to make an impression and increase your customer experience, having your customers talking about it (recommend you as a supplier), surprise them, by listening to their needs and giving them added value they don't expect. This might seem evident, but so true.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Quality control

IMG_0147, originally uploaded by gugs.

This is an interesting example: a product made by a well-known european manufacturer. I bought this lamp with a few others and noticed the problem when I was back home. The glass is not only damaged (probably due to shocks during transportation, but also has signs that it has never been completed (melted edge)). There are no small glass pieces inside the package. This could mean that there is no basic quality control, not even a check if the lamp is working on the production line. This seems very strange to me because this is the first time I see such a problem (I must have use/bought hundreds and hundreds of lamps from the same manufacturer without a single problem). Anyway this shows the importance of basic quality control before selling products...

The iPad2 and iOS4.3

So, as everybody knows, the new iPad has been launched, and people are lining up all over the world to get one. Again, I wanted to post my personal view about the evolution.

First the very good things:

I already was very enthusiastic about the iPad as a consulting device and I really think the iPad (and maybe some competing tablets) is a bigger revolution than many suspect. Most computer users in the world are relatively passive (i.e. they typically use a PC to consult information, and sometimes to send a mail, to tweet or to type a short document, but they basically don't use the computer as a creative tool or a production tool). The iPad is a MUCH better device than anything else in the history of computing for those users. That is the reason why I think that some manufacturers could start worrying, because the iPad is a disruptive innovation as big as the CD replacing the LP, or the DVD replacing the VHS. Outside the consumer market, the potential is just huge, many industries starting to see the possibilities of simple apps to handle business processes. In other words, launching the iPad has probably been one of the smartest moves in the history of computing. Another fact is that the iPad has been the first one on the market with a very attractive business model (with iTunes, the available apps, the relative ease of access for developers), and it will be difficult for others to really compete with that eco-system. I don't expect real competitors in the coming two years.

The iPad2 is even better: to me the most convincing elements are the form factor (thinner) and the weight. Even if not exceptionally lighter, this does make a difference. The webcam is a major plus, I have been frustrated with the iPad1 after some months, because I couldn't show my face in skype for instance. More memory is also very welcome, the upper limit being reached very quickly on the original iPad. And an improved speed is also welcome, surfing being a bit slow on certain sites.

The good things:

iOS4.3 brings a few improvements (and a few bug corrections: I would expect MUCH more transparency from Apple about this, because even if we don't have to complain to much compared to the Windows community, the Apple products are definitely not bug free). Improved speed (surfing), the return of the orientation lock button. This was an UNBELIEVABLE basic design flaw in iOS4.2. I cannot understand how the Apple engineers could make such a stupid decision. I have been extremely angry with them after I installed 4.2. Problem solved in the meantime: they seem to listen to their users !

Some other improvements have been made available: Garageband app for iPad, Airplay improved... and a very interesting possibility to use your iPhone as a Wifi router if you don't have the 3G option on the iPad.

The not so good things:

First of all, for original iPad users, wifi problems are still there: wifi perfectly works at home on my router, but when I am traveling, the same HUGE design problem shows again: in every second hotel (approximately) during my last trip, I couldn't get a connection: this is a general problem with all first generation iPads, while other devices (PCs, telephones) could connect without a problem. I really hope Apple has redesigned wifi in the iPad2. I cannot understand why the Apple community is silent about this because every single iPad user I have met (a bit more than 20) had the same problem at the same locations ????

An important update on the wifi issue: after traveling even more, and even going back to one of the places where I first discovered the problem, it seems that the problem has been solved (could it be in the last intermediate release ?) I don't know. I had a few iPad2 users next to me. None of them have experienced the same issue as the iPad1 users. The only remaining small issue is that the iPad needs a stronger signal than other devices. My PC and Macbook were still detecting the network and could get a connection while the iPad was lost (when moving away from the antennas).

The camera on the back of the iPad2 is a nice gadget but I really didn't find a need for this. The iPhone camera is better and I don't see myself holding an iPad in front of me to take pictures... In fact it is a nice gadget to show where you are when chatting, but this was no "urgent" feature we needed.

My conclusion:
The iPad is not without flaws but it is by far the best information consulting device in history and has even improved with this second release.
And just for info: you can now find find cheap first generation iPads since the introduction of the iPad2: don't hesitate to buy one: they did't stop working :D !!!