The Apple iPad - My First Impression

Like so many I looked forward to the Apple announcements of today. Expectations where unrealistically high, and there is now after the event a sense of disappointment. I do believe the geeks and feature freaks will be surprised. This is a device for the masses and is gonna change home computing.

I think it's a very slick device, it has the usual Apple simplicity and styling, but most importantly it opens a whole new world of computer usage. Just image:
1. When you are having your breakfast, it's just next to you updating you with the latest news in the world.
2. When you are watching a movie, lay on the couch and retrieve some additional information about the cast, setting etc. It will enrich your experiences with ease of just a few touches.
3. In business where most people drag heavy laptops in meetings to surf the web, punch out some emails etc.. Now you show style when making your notes.
4. In the summer you like to be outdoors, have a drink or two on a nice terrace. You forget the time and still have the ability to keep up with you social networking, news and ordering some groceries.
5. When traveling we now carry along either a under powered netbook or a bulky notebook, just to keep the home front informed about our whereabouts. Now you have an eye catcher travel buddy

In short, it's not going to be about the device, it's going to be about the experience it will deliver to you. I'm excited and can't wait to add to my collection of computing devices.

Stop, Pause and Observe Progress

The world is constantly changing and we call this progress. Often we don't even realize or observe the progress, just because we are too busy living our lives, or completely the opposite is happening and we think progress isn't going fast enough.

About a week ago I participated in a 'Wampex', lets call it a survival thru the night. It was not the first time a participated, but the previous time was a few years back. At the start you are given a booklet with puzzles that you need to solve in order to find the correct route thru the woods, fields etc. Everything happens in the dark and the participants need to take care of their own flashlights. These lights take bulky batteries and are not very energy efficient so spare batteries are a good thing to carry. During the night you could easily spot other teams by the yellowish lights they were carrying.

This year something was different. The light weren't yellowish anymore, but very bright white. It was so obvious that the forrest was full with white dancing lights. What happened? The answer is very simple, everybody adopted to LED lights, because they are very energy efficient and take smaller batteries making it easier to carry the light on your head, causing the dancing lights.

A few years ago you would see the occasionally LED headlight, but those were pricy and only a few early adopters would use them. These LED lights have gone mainstream and only a few laggard still carry traditional flashlights. I'm pretty sure that during the few years I didn't participate the 99% change took place. Most people probably didn't even notice it happened, because it went very slow.

I was able to spot progress, because I took a break and had a better reference checkpoint to the past. In our daily lives we can do the same. When ever you think nothing is happening and you and your environment got stuck. Stop, Pause and observe. You will be surprised!

Image credit: steve.grosbois

Why are we all feature crazy and forgetting the user?

Recently I've been reading quite a bit of reviews and comparisons. For instance the heated debates on the Apple iPhone versus the Google Nexus One or the Microsoft BPOS versus Google Apps and I can only make one conclusion: Everybody is completely feature crazy and completely forgets about the user.

The reviews do a great job listing the differences into the smallest details. This is of course important, but only should be a small part of the review. In the end it should be about the end user, its behavior and how it best fits with their emotional being.

I'll give you a few examples
1. If you want to brag towards your friends on mega bites, pixels, MHz, processors go for the Nexus One. If you just want to pick up a nice girl in a bar go for the iPhone
2. If you use one laptop and think Microsoft Office is the best productivity tool since sliced bread. Go for Microsoft BPOS. However if you use multiple devices from many different vendors the web based Google Apps might be a better solution for you.

Software and devices should be more like fashion. Some clothes keep your warm, while other allow you to show off. We personalize what we wear and dress for the occasion. Let the end users decide!

Image: Photochiel

280 Slides - More Online Presentations

A while ago I wrote about Online PowerPoint and shared some experiences. Feedback on the post was a suggestion to have a look at 280 Slides. Since I'm still searching for the perfect online presentation tool I took a shot.

Give it a try and the first thing you will notice it looks awesome, especially for the Mac fanboys out there. This is not very strange because it's made by 280 North Inc., on a mission to create rich internet applications using their Cappuccino framework, by some referred as Cocoa on the web.

It's simple, intuitive and feels rock solid. Often when using click, select, drag and drop in the browser you feel some lack, but in this case it really feels robust and you really forget you are working in the browser. The functionality is simple and definitely enough to make professional presentations, it could get a place in my online toolset to regularly work with. It supports in and export of PowerPoint 2007 presentations, what also fits good with the corporate standard of my employer.

I did of course also had some glitches and as always I've a very simple feature request.
1. When I tried to upload my original 9Mb Predictions 2010 presentation it stopped after 25% and nothing happened.
2. When I uploaded a smaller presentation I didn't have this problem, but all my layouts got messed up. For each slide I again had to select the right template slide.
3. It doesn't allow me to maintain a slide master, what is an absolute minimum requirement, because the build in templates are too limited.

Like what I saw with Online PowerPoint you can only have 1 presentation open at the same time. In practices this is not how I work. I frequently create presentations, but never start from scratch. I reuse 70% of the slides from other presentations and create 30% new content. Quite often this 'assembly' process requires me to open 5-6 presentations at the same time.

Sharing and collaboration are the key differentiators for an online presentation tool. Microsoft, are you also listening? 280 Slides offers native publish to SlideShare and embedding into other applications (you find the demo here if it doesn't show up below). However I've not found how to work on the same presentation with multiple people and how to have others reviewing the presentation without having to download and email it around.

I'm very curious to learn where 280 Slides is going. Unfortunately I'm not very confident, because the 280 North blog and Get Satisfaction are not very active. Does anyone know more about this?

2010 is well on it's way.

20102010 is all business again, most of us have had their first working days and we have dealt with most of the best wishes for 2010. It's time to look forward... wait... not so fast.

If I had to recap 2009 in one word it would be 'Twitter'. This is very well reflected by the best read post of 2009: 'How to create a Tweet This button in a blogger blog'. Everybody was interested in getting their blog posts on Twitter and it works, because 'Twitter' was also the biggest refer of this blog after the 'Blogs of Note effect'.

It's difficult to predict the word that is going to describe 2010, it is probably the name of a new hot device we all want to have. I already explained in my predictions for 2010 that various devices will drive the demand for more real-time information delivered thru cloud services.

In a year we will see which of my 2010 articles you choose to define the word for 2010.

'2010' by doug88888