Apple’s vision of the iPhone/iPad… 23 years ago.
Aug 21st, 2010 by scaredpoet

Before cellular networks could even come close to providing high speed data. Before Color LCD and OLED screens were even close to being usable, much less common. Before touch screens were viable… Apple already had an idea of how these technologies would come together and change computing.

Considering the fine gadgets they’ve provided us with today, some people might not find this so amazing. But the interesting twist is this vision wasn’t dreamed up by Steve Jobs.

The year was 1987, and Jobs had actually been ousted by his own corporate board at Apple. At the helm was John Sculley, an individual Jobs had recruited to Apple from PepsiCo, ultimately clashed with, and ended up losing a battle for control of the company to. Unfortunately, Sculley didn’t turn out to be the management wunderkind the board believed him to be: his reign started a dark era at Apple where internal politics, aimless development projects and screwed up product lines may have nearly sent the company into bankruptcy.

And talk about narcissism! If you think Steve Jobs is eccentric, consider that Sculley wrote an autobiography, then made Apple buy a copy for every employee, to promote “excellence.”

But, one concept he DID come up with in 1987, and should probably at least get a little bit of credit for, is this tablet-like device… with a touch screen, integrated video conferencing and messaging, and access to a vast network of data that allows a user to search and retrieve all kinds of information.

Unfortunately with Jobs gone, there was no “i” in Apple at the time, and so it lacked a catchy name. Instead, this concept had the very un-cool title “Knowledge Navigator.” And while no tech conpany could build it in 1987, Sculley figured it would be commonplace around 2010, and even produced a video to demonstrate what it might look like.

For the record: I’m actually glad that current technology didn’t quite evolve this way. I’d be totally annoyed if my iPhone had this priggish, smug bowtied “assistant” constantly nagging me about my appointments and phone calls. And I also noticed something… the professor keeps this thing on his desk, and the thought never crosses his mind that this highly compact device can be picked up and taken with him. I guess nobody’s perfect.

Legislative grandstanding makes for “Sh*tty” TV
Apr 27th, 2010 by scaredpoet

A while back I ranted about the complete and utter usefulness of senate and congressional hearings, and how they just end up being a dog & pony show for polticians to try and look good to the public as they grill the Bad Guys in testimony, while in fact doing absolutely nothing of real use.

Well, they’re still grandstanding. As if we haven’t figured it out by now, after 2+ years of a crappy economy, the Senate is just now “getting to the bottom of” that Big Bad Financial Scandal. In particular, the Goldman Sachs thing.

My prediction: Next week, the Senate will open hearings on indecency and profane language on cable news networks. Because today during that Goldman Sachs Senate hearing, this went out over the airwaves, uttered by a senator. Into people’s homes, into workplaces and offices, in waiting rooms and airports, and certainly within earshot of children…


No, I’m no prude. The profanities spill out of my mouth so often that sailors blush. But these lawmakers are the same people who get all in a huff over indecency in the media now and then. Shouldn’t they practice what they preach? We certainly could’ve gotten the gist of the message without the “s” bomb landing on TV at least 5 times in less than two minutes.

That was a shitty thing for Carl Levin to do, if you ask me.

Just sayin’...

Newton: The iPhone’s grandaddy
Nov 2nd, 2009 by scaredpoet

Newton MP 120 and iPhone 3GS

Before the iPhone, before Windows Mobile, and before Palm, there was the grandaddy of all smartphones and modern handheld computers: the Newton MessagePad.  Back when I was in high school, I wanted one of these so badly. Alas, $700-plus for the MessagPad 2100 back in 1997, was not something I nor anyone I knew at the time could afford.

Over a decade and over a dozen smartphones later, I sit with an iPhone and hear old-timers talk about how revolutionary the Newton is even today.  I would scoff thinking we’ve come a long way from those bulky old things.  Then this Youtube video caught my eye…

Granted, the iPhone now has cut and paste, something it lacked when this vide was made. But there’s a lot of contextual features that modern smartphones still don’t have. Although it doesn’t play videos, take photos, display color or even make phone calls, I have to say there’s stil a few interesting things this video demonstrates that I really wish existed on modern handhelds today.

How did THAT happen?
Jun 17th, 2008 by scaredpoet

No doubt about it: New York local TV news just plain sucks. The production is ridiculous, the content is lacking, the motivation is all about scaring people into watching the upcoming story and “staying tuned…” and then there’s gems like this one.

(Note: the zingers start up around 55 seconds into the clip, but if you’re really interested in the dramatic life of New York slumlords and tenants, by all means, watch the whole thing…)

This isn’t quite the bombshell that Sue Simmons dropped just a couple weeks back, but it’s still damned entertaining watching two old salts verbally duke it out on live TV. 🙂

The F-Bomb drops and suddenly, everyone’s a moralist
May 22nd, 2008 by scaredpoet

So, lots of people with Tivos in the New York City area all got their jollies on Friday when this was dutifully recorded for posterity on their hard drives:

WARNING: Audio is not safe for work. Listen with headphones!

That’s right. Sue Simmons, news anchor for WNBC, dropped the F-Bomb on live TV. The backstory: she thought the segment was being taped, her co-anchor missed his cue, and she got a little… well, punchy.

Naturally, everyone had to get their licks in regarding this incident, including the New York Times, who devoted a whole story to the affair, complete with typical “person on the street” quotes:

Peter King, who works in an architectural office on the Upper West Side, echoed Mr. Villaneuva’s point. “It’s overused, and we are crasser than we were for it,” Mr. King said. “It’s just another indication of standards declining. I mean, I curse like a sailor, but I know how to talk to my dad and talk to clients, versus how to talk to my friends.”

You know, I’m sure Sue Simmons knows how to talk too. Is this a symbol of “standards declining?” Hardly. The standards have always been there, and “Fuck” has been the old’ standby of curse words for ages.

The declining standards, I think, show in how the incident is being reported. The Times comes up with the above “what do YOU think?” drivel. Other news sources immediately raised the question of whether she was drunk at the time. My take: clearly no. This is what being under the influence looks like on-air. And Simmons is not the only one to be caught pissed-off.

Even more interesting is that while all of the reports raise the question of whether Simmons will be fired, almost none have taken heed of the fact that the F-Bomb was dropped at 10:30 p.m., or about 30 minutes after the 6:00 am to 10:00 pm “safe harbor” period that the FCC enforces decency rules. This may be what saves her career, unlike poor Arthur Chi’en.

The shock value really doesn’t come from the word. You simply don’t expect someone as polished and coiffed and classy as Simmons to spout it, and in the way she did it too. Did you EVER dream that someone with such perfect diction would suddenly belt out a straight-from-Harlem “...the FUCK you doin’?”-punch so quickly after flawlessly reading a news teaser?

In any case, I really do hope she keeps her job, and if she does, more power to her. It all boils down to a word. And while people insist that allowing curse words to fly only desensitizes us to profanity, I say GOOD. Ultimately, profanity is profane simply because certain people are sensitive to certain utterances.

What if I Simmons had belted out the word “TULIPS” instead? Would people had reacted so strongly? Probably not. Yet, she would have still been just as angry and the intent would still have been there, right or wrong. So, why would we not have been so shocked or offended?

UPDATE: Looks like Simmons is being moved up to the 6:00 p.m. evening news. A definite vote of confidence by WNBC. But now the pressure’s on for her to watch her mouth!

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