Apple Buys AuthenTec ⦿

Related to news that Apple to buy AuthenTec, providing mobile security, fingerprint and touch sensor user authentication technologies:

Where many websites now use our Facebook accounts to cross authenticate, Apple may be more interested in businesses asking for our fingerprints, almost certainly for a fee. Apple arguably has more credit card numbers in their database than Facebook, and their stock price behavior seems to indicate greater confidence. The future concerning who might be brokering transactions via our smartphones seems clearer, if this buyout is not successfully challenged. We haven’t heard from Samsung yet, or have we?

August 6th, 2012

Super Minimal Websites ⦿

This is the core design philosophy behind three new, minimal Olympic sites. They’re the collective antithesis to nbcolympics.com, covering granular information with an unfettered layout devoid of audio clips, listicles and even ads. They’re also a sign of current web technologies. Developers and publications can piece together fun microsites within weeks rather than months–the perfect fodder for our Olympic-level attention spans (which, in fact, last precisely 16 days).

We should be seeing more of these.  For a singular purpose, uncluttered and perfectly intuitive, they may better for mobile devices and easier to build quickly than apps for mobile devices, especially if their expected lifespan is short or window of public interest small.  They’re also platform agnostic.

August 5th, 2012

Death by Powerpoint ⦿

It doesn’t matter how well it’s dressed, or how beautiful it is, your message has to matter. And there are only two conversations that matter. Everything else is just noise. The first conversation is the one that frames or re-frames people’s view of the world. The second is the one that moves them to action.

Of course, this applies to ANY presentation, no matter the tool, a point, well made: Spur action!

June 13th, 2012

Apple LIKES Bloombergs Article ⦿

Apple posted this report in their news feed.

After years of being the also-ran to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) in the workplace, Apple has seen its iPad become a standard business tool. According to an IDG Connect survey, 51 percent of managers with iPads say they “always” use the device at work, and another 40 percent sometimes do. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents use the iPad for business when outside the office.

The company has, since Steve Jobs return in 1996, focussed on the consumer market, allowing their influence in corporate circles to stem from the halo effect of their products in the hands of managers, who have purchased them as consumers or, ‘experimentally’ bought them with company funds. I would be one of the 51% above, in the former category. Apple, while naturally proud that iPads, iPhones and Macs are filtering into big business environments, have yet to develop robust tools and infrastructure (comparable to iTunes and iBooks initiatives) to support broad deployment of their products in companies. There remain many opportunities in the consumer space for Apple to innovate and dominate, where they have clearly been successful. Hopefully, the lessons of the past, when Apple tried targeting the corporate market but failed, will protect the company from distraction by the appeal of this huge market too soon.

The iPad is currently an accessory in the workplace. While I am eager to see vendors of business software, especially in the Healthcare space, develop more applications that put Apple technologies at the core of the user experience, it needs to be done right. Apple’s current strategic direction does not indicate an acute corporate focus any time soon, but they are paying attention.

February 2nd, 2012

Mark in the Sand for EMRs ⦿

From 2009:

On the basis of responses from 63.1% of hospitals surveyed, only 1.5% of U.S. hospitals have a comprehensive electronic-records system (i.e., present in all clinical units), and an additional 7.6% have a basic system (i.e., present in at least one clinical unit).

Why the opportunities for Clinical Systems Analysts, Project Managers and Vendors remain strong. The public should eagerly be looking forward to an updated study soon since Meaningful Use has been imperative.

January 26th, 2012

The Devil in the Hardware – Really? ⦿

There is a strong argument here, but the parallels drawn with Desktop PC hardware may not appropriate. Tablets (iPad or other) are increasingly more likely to be bought for the student, not the classroom, and by parents, since a mobile device with eTexbooks ideally needs to go home and be used for homework. Ownership and maintenance is shifting as many desire an iPad, and not primarily for education. The public at-large will be more willing to bear the cost. Provision of an enabling device will be seen no differently than ensuring children and students have clothing, stationary and buses.

The first barrier is cost, and it’s an obvious one. Public schools in California, where I live, face such gigantic budget cuts that even if books cost only $15 apiece, it’s more likely that any given school will choose to stick with a 10-year-old textbook than buy an entirely new library.

This mindset may not be applicable because the factors will be different. In the current ‘computers in education’ model, desktops in classrooms do not replace textbooks, so computer costs are an overhead. Also, as school systems have adopted online tools for distributing schedules, notes, homework and grades, families are already forced to have a home computer to keep up. The cost is duplicated in the old model though, requiring a device in the classroom (1 computer:1 student – ideally) and at home. The mobile/tablet and eTextbook model requires only one device AND replaces books.

Therein lies the problem with iPads in high school: devices break.

This is true for both desktops and tablets, however the cost of maintenance and replacement may shift for tablets. Contingency plans will have to be in place, for both teachers and parents, since breakage or malfunctioning of a device will stop a student in their tracks. Rather than costly troubleshooting and tinkering by IT staff though, a model that allows quick replacement will need to be in place. It remains to be seen how Apple will support this, either for individuals or families.

January 21st, 2012

Influencing Decisions ⦿

This interesting talk by Dan Ariely has implications for us all, but can be particularly illuminating for Project Managers and Analysts. As Dan points out, when reviewing options in order to make a decision, if we are presented with an inferior version of a ‘high priced’ option, we are more likely to accept the latter than if we weren’t presented with the inferior option.

PM’s beware if you are the decision maker, or be alert if your are presenting options. You could easily be fooled into making a poor decision, or drawing a decision from your client that might come back to bite you.

Try the experiment yourself.

January 19th, 2012

Apple – Tools for Textbooks ⦿

First music, then movies and books. Apple continues to pressure old school media distribution models into the digital age. While eBooks are not new, they are really only now emerging from a relatively experimental phase. Images have more recently accompanied text in ebooks for Kindle and iBooks and the case for digital novels has been strong, yet the beautifully crafted paper and ink objects we know and love for deeply stimulating our senses have not nearly seen strong digital analogs. Barnes and Noble is still a wonderful experience, mostly because we are assaulted by rich color, detailed art and palpable variations in weight, size and texture.

The richest learning experiences for the very young are still centered around print media, however, the iPad has begun to change that, being a device that every three year old can learn to use as quickly as a book. The only limitations are price, parents unwillingness to risk an expensive device in the hands of a toddler, and the relative lack of children’s books available in electronic format. Today there are more iPads in homes than in schools, therefore more opportunities for exposure and adoption.

School children, college students and educators have no choice though. Although alternative audiovisual learning media has become more accessible and easier to produce, textbooks remain the core. Publishers and the print industry are heavily invested in keeping textbooks as they are, dense, heavy, expensive and sleep inducing. Today’s toddlers are going to expect something different tomorrow.

Apple made tools available today to tip the book printing industry even more, perhaps enough to create a sea change similar to the recent evolution of music distribution. Only one more step towards a future that has been imagined for decades by many and tried by some, yet is big and may be successful this time in the light of unprecedented popularity of the iPad.

Seymour Papert, an advocate for computers in education since the 60’s, frequently related computers to pencils and suggested that, to be effective tools in education, computers, like pencils, need to be ubiquitous and easy to use.

We’re getting closer.

January 19th, 2012

Newton 15 years too early ⦿

John Sculley  – BBC Interview

“…so when we were creating Newton we also co-founded a company called Arm. …ARM not only was the key technology behind the Newton but it eventually became the key technology behind every mobile device in the world today including the iPhone and the iPad.”

In 1993 I considered the Newton to be the most innovate computer technology since the desktop computer.  I got to touch it at a computer show in Johannesburg, then again in a Chiropractors office in New York two years later.  Believing it could revolutionize healthcare computing, being a Physical Therapist experiencing the inneficiencies of paper, I was obviously quite disappointed when Apple axed it.  It’s good know that the DNA in all ARM based tablets and handhelds can be traced back to Newton.

January 14th, 2012

ZamBikes ⦿

Bikes made out of bamboo, for africa, for the world … organic, sustainable….

October 20th, 2011