June 29, 2010

Google vs. Apple strategies

DISCLAIMER: Forgive my ignorance. I realised when I thought of this post's topic that I often write about things that other internet bloggers know so much more about. Others write much more eloquently than me and have far more insight. As such, all I can do for you here is tell you my opinion on subjects that catch my fancy. Hopefully it gets you to read up more on the subject and develop an opinion on the subject yourself. With that, here's what I have to say about Apple vs. Google's strategies:

I get most of my gadget news from Engadget through my RSS feed. Most of their information revolves around cell phones and every rumor of every new piece of hardware or software released is analysed up the wazoo. But they also touch on bigger topics that affect the gadgeting world. One that has greatly intrigued me is product development strategies from an industry perspective. When the major players in the tech world make product decisions it not only affects their company's direction, but also the direction of the industry as a whole. Like I've said before, the tech world is a rapidly morphing industry and an innovative vision is crucial to keeping your company alive in the long term.

By far and away the two most innovative, visionary and influential companies right now are Google and Apple. Both these organisations have a real knack for determining what consumers do want and what they will want. In some ways their approaches are very similar. They both create slick, easy to use products. Their focus is not only on image, but also on functionality and both have excelled in this department. But recently it's the substantial differences between the two CEOs' visions that has the tech world buzzing. While Google promotes open platform systems and encourages independent developers to create an identity for their product, Apple operates a very tightly controlled, ultra-restrictive atmosphere. So which one is better in the long run?

Once again, I'm going to have to side with Google. Not that I have anything against Apple's products. I own several Mac products and love them all! But in my opinion their law suit loving, Adobe Flash hating ways aren't helping the industry evolve naturally and fully. There are a few examples of Apple's excessive restrictions that I'd like to point out here.

1. Adobe Flash
Everything on the internet seems to use Flash. It has become a staple for applications and videos on every site you visit because it is the bet product on the market. However, Apple comes along and says they will not have any Flash compatibility on the iPad and now expects everybody to follow their lead and adopt HTML5 instead. Thankfully, not everyone's towing the line and instead just going with the best product available. In contrast to Apple's hard line, most Google products are compatible with both HTML5 and Flash and the developer/end user gets to choose which one suits their needs. Apple has the whole internet at their beck and call. Is that OK? Are they pretty much running a monopoly of the tech world?

2. iAd
There has been much debate recently about Apple's decision to restrict advertising abilities on the new iPhone 4. The restrictions essentially eliminate any advertising capabilities from the competition (Google, Microsoft and others) and limits the abilities of the independent developers to generate revenue as well. Of course, the iPhone is so awesome and superior to any other phone that developers will jump through whatever hoops Apple presents just to get in on the action. But is this best for the tech industry? Should Steve Jobs alone be controlling and directing the industry?

3. Law suits
It seems like a week can't go by without Apple suing some company or another for infringing on their patents or for thinking about something that might be similar to one of their patents. The worst law suit that I can think of (of the top of my head) was when Jobs and co. sued The Beatles' Apple Records because of their use of an apple as a logo. Steve Jobs presumed that since he was now in the music business (with the iTunes Store) that anybody else in the music industry with an apple logo had to give it up. Even if they were there first. Lame. This is definitely an overuse of power and shows how far Apple will go to monopolize every industry they touch.

All these points combined lead to one main issue: competition. We've seen problems with limited competition in the computer world before. Microsoft pretty much had a monopoly of the personal computer sector since its creation. Their tactics were to buy out smaller competitors and sue the little guys that they couldn't buy out. Granted, that was a very different situation but how did that all work out?

Creating open platforms essentially gives these companies a lot of employees that will work for free. Not being a developer myself, it's hard to comment confidently, but are independent developers essentially that? The developer ends up making money for both the client and themselves, but they're not earning a salary from the client. In other words, Apple or Google doesn't pay someone to create an app for them, it's done pro bono. Apple, of course, is all about developers creating apps, but only on their conditions. Their very strict conditions. And don't make a misstep cause they'll probably sue you!

Anyways, I'm in way over my head here. This stuff is all very complicated and I only learn about it form blogs and other biased sources. As the disclaimer said, I just write about things that interest me even though I probably have no right to comment on them. If you've read this far through my ramblings and not gotten bored, confused or fallen asleep then I'm impressed. Hopefully this blog-writing learning curve is rather steep and I will learn to be more coherent and cohesive for you all in the very near future! ;)

BOTTOM LINE: Apple should stop being jerks and let the tech/gadget/computer world accelerate at its own pace and on its own terms. You're not the boss of me, Steve!

June 27, 2010

Saturday June 26, 9:00 to 23:30

It's a been awhile since my last contribution to The 654 blog... My sister and her boyfriend were visiting this weekend from Edmonton and just headed for the airport not long ago. Yesterday we had as busy a single day as I can remember.

9:00am: We caught the bus (three actually) to Deep Cove to meet their friend who is currently living in North Van while he takes English classes (he's from Switzerland like my sister's boyfriend).

10:20am It was kinda funny, we didn't really have anything planned for once we actually got to Deep Cove. I have been there a couple times previously, most recently last year with my parents and we went hiking. But my sister's nursing a bum knee at the moment, so we ended up renting double kayaks for a couple hours and cruising around the cove. It was actually my first time ever kayaking. Fun and relaxing.

12:45pm Caught bus back to Vancouver. Technically Deep Cove is part of North Van, though it really does seem to be a quaint fishing/resort village nestled in the mountains.

~2:00pm We went for a sushi feast at Sushiyama, my favourite sushi place in Vancouver. Nothing beats fresh, cheap West Coast sushi, so my guests needed to get their fill before heading back to the prairies. I always get the dragon roll (salmon, avocado, cream cheese, topped with unagi) and I also chose a Salifornia roll (a California roll wrapped in deep-fried salmon). I had a nasty encounter with a Salifornia roll last year when scalded the roof of my mouth with a piece immediately after it came out of the kitchen and I was too stupid to spit out the piping hot piece. I've avoided it ever since, but I figured it was time to try it again with a little more caution.

~3pm Someone had an ice cream craving, so we walked down to Mario's Gelati near the Olympic Village, then walked around the seawall towards Granville Island. By this point, we were all dead exhausted from all the kayaking, walking, and sushi face-stuffing, so we barely made it to Charleson Park before collapsing on the grass for a late afternoon nap.

6:45pm We made a pitstop at Granville Island before heading to Chinatown for their night market, so it was nowhere near dark out. They had the usual street market fare: tacky souvenirs, questionably cheap clothing, and skewered meats. We hung around and watched part of a showcase of martial arts students, though it was kinda embarrassing to watch. Only the nunchuk guy had some eyebrow-raising talent.

~9:00pm Finally we walked over to the Burrard Red Robin's for a late dinner. I quite like the atmosphere of this particular Red Robin's and I'm also a sucker for their bottomless Freckled Lemonade. Last time, I found out their baked potato soup is surprisingly good, so I had to get it again this time around.

11:30pm ZZZzzzzzzzzzz

Today we took it a bit easier and spent a few hours at the Vancouver Aquarium then a late lunch at Tokyo John, a close-to-home sushi standby.

June 21, 2010

654 top suite goes kayaking

Since we have almost completed our third year of living in Vancouver we are coming to terms on how little we have utilized the beautiful surroundings in easy reach. This also includes the "island" (Vancouver Island that is). My parents have retired out there and they tell us frequently to come use them as a free place to stay and even offer free pick up in Nanimo so we can come across as foot passengers (= much cheaper). Well this weekend I thought we would kill two birds with one stone. 1, visit dad for fathers day. 2, try some kayaking in Ucluelet.

Now Baleener and I have not been Kayaking since high school. Not totally sure if that really counts either since our school was in the middle of the Canadian prairies so it really came down t0 10-15 of us in kayaks paddling in our high school swimming pool. They did teach us to flip over and come out though ( but that is a whole other traumatizing blog post).

So Baleener and I signed up for a 3 hour day tour kayaking around the Harbour. The tour was made up of us, two other Canadians, and a English couple who foolishly decided to go in a double kayak plus our tour guides who were Chileans. Altogether it was pretty awesome, turns out I am a natural Kayaker. Plus I am a big fan of anything that gets me up close to wild life. We got to see a few sea lions! The out fit for kayaking....well you can look at the picture and make your own call. Baleener said I looked cute. We are now super pumped for more kayaking. Next stop is Deep Cove.

June 17, 2010

654 (minus the loner member) go camping

The members of 654 have been talking for the last few months about going camping and inviting our two friends from not to far away to join us. A couple weeks ago this well talked of event was finally accomplished. Planning to make this a reality included convenient giving Fongo a tent and camp chair for his birthday, and a group planning meeting which mainly focused on
what amazing food we would all eat and who would prepare what.

Some of the highlights included getting yelled at by the German forest ranger (turns out you can't go through the brush looking for dead wood for your camp fire in B.C parks). Food. Friend from not to far away ingulfing lamp in flames every time he turned it on. No rain! Hiking Joffre Lakes out of season = falling through melting snow up to our hips a minimum of 5 times to a max of 20 depending who it was (soon we stopped looking back when someone screamed). And of course hand feeding grey jays and chipmunks (also against park rules).

Biggest humiliation was realizing we had camped a five minute drive out of Pemberton....we could have easily gone to Mcdonalds for dinner.

And of course there is always the things you forget, which for our group included: Two camp chairs, hand soap, pillows, and a rinsing bucket for dishes.

Thanks to Baleener for taking these lovely pictures.