Month: September 2014

Life at Apple revisited….

As an ex-Apple person who was there for a long time, a common question I get is “Would you ever go back?” And that’s a complicated answer. My normal answer is “If the right situation came up, yes”. Well, Don Melton and Nitin Ganatra, also veterans of the Apple wars, sat down on the Debug Podcast, opened up bottles of wine, and out poured an episode that talks about what life was like working in the Shadow of Steve on stuff you can’t tell your family about. It’s a fascinating and very accurate look at life being the six color curtains. It is the best, if not the shortest, answer to why I left Apple. It is the best, if not the shortest, answer to why I would return to Apple. I will note however that Apple has never asked me to return, and I’ve rarely gone rattling cages to see if there was anything interesting enough to make me want to try. I think I’ve investigated four positions since I left, and in all four cases, the positions I found interesting enough to call people and make back channel connections with had internal candidates identified from the start. That for some reason didn’t surprise me, either. They’re both great guys who came out of Apple with good attitudes about it and fully understand the culture in all its...

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A first look at the Health app in IOS 8

(9/28, 12PM — edited to add a few notes at the end about some other things the ICE feature needs to do but doesn’t — chuq) One of the things that intrigued me was the new Health app that came with IOS 8. Even before the events of the last week, I was hoping it would be something worth adopting. My initial reaction — it’s a good start. It’s still very incomplete. But I think Apple is on the right track. The first thing I really like: it implements an ICE (In Case of Emergency) contact area on the phone available even if you’ve put in a PIN lock. That was something I called for in IOS 7, and something I argued about when I was at Palm, where the suggestion was routinely ignored. I’m happy to see it here, and I think the implementation is good, and allows for a rational choice of information to display that fits your feeling on the compromises between needed disclosure in an emergency and your privacy the rest of the time. Everyone should set this up. You do so by firing up the Health app and going into the Medical ID area. The other thing it does is track information you feed it. I’ve long kept the data I track about myself in a spreadsheet, and I keep hoping to find a...

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Not Dead Yet #2: Social Media and the Always On Lifestyle

From the time the event started until I settled down in the ER bed, exactly what happened and when it happened became a bit of a blur. I was busy trying to figure out if I was about to die, stressed to the gills and frankly scared out of my head. At the same time, I was evidently thinking about what needed to be, since by the time the medics arrived, I’d put on shoes, stuffed my keys and wallet (with medical ID) in one pocket, my phone in another, and I was taking my blood pressure as they entered the room (in case you were wondering, it was 158/94, with a pulse of 115, but my unit is typically metering heavy compared to when I’m checked in the office — I consider that a positive since I still track it as if it were accurate). I wrote that down in Evernote, by the way. I can guess what my thinking was: if I’m going to the hospital, I’ll need shoes when I leave, keys in case the door is locked, and my wallet for ID when I check in, and I never leave without my phone. Also, I need to let people know what was going on. Note that Laurie is in the room with me and will be picking me up from the hospital if I’m released,...

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Not Dead Yet #1: This wasn’t on my calendar…

Wednesday Night was a normal night. Laurie and I had a nice dinner, polished off some muffins she’d baked, and splurged with an Angry Orchard cider (very nice, good flavor, not just sweet). Next thing I know, this happened. I’m in the emergency room, wired up to a bunch of machines — including the machine that goes ping (and bloop and spung and a few other noises). It’s been an interesting few days. Today was spent running around between my doctor and my tests (okay, shambling between). The stress treadmill showed my heart was healthy and nothing was clogged, and so today my doctor released me back into humanity with no restrictions. If you followed my twitter feed, you might have noticed that I live-tweeted the event. (If you don’t follow it, you should, you’ll never know what appears in there, and the material that shows up on this site is only a small piece of my twitter life). I think there are interesting stories and insights coming out of this, and a message I want to send out to other geeks who, like me, haven’t taken as good care of their body as they probably should. I’m treating this like a two minute warning to accelerate some of the lifestyle changes that I started on when I left Apple, and I hope I can get people’s attention enough...

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How Apple got the U2 giveaway wrong

I’ve been watching the kerfluffle about Apple giving away the new U2 album with some amusement. It’s really easy to say “watch all of these people complain about getting free stuff” and try to dismiss it, but in reality, there are some bigger issues where they have a point, and that shouldn’t be ignored. At the same time, much of what I’m seeing seems to be more about being able to make snide comments about Apple and/or U2 to gain snark points with their peers, because both are easy targets with groups of people who love finding excuses to prove they’re smarter than us because, well, because. So the real issues here get lost in the snark, or dismissed along with it. That said, this isn’t a big issue. As a friend of mine said, “it’s too bad we can’t get this kind of anger about things like police abuse” — and while he’s right, that, too, is an oversimplification, because in reality we did get a lot (and it made a difference), and it kind of assumes people can only get upset about one thing. My initial reaction was that the whole thing was a bit forced, and both Bono and Tim Cook looked uncomfortable and like they were reading it off teleprompters without rehearsing it together, which I’m guessing was what happened. It had the feeling of...

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