iPad continued… Article about file access

Ted Landau writes a cogent article about the wackiness of iPad’s document access weirdness, specifically with the iWork suite. I’m in complete agreement.

This goes beyond just files, though. As I mentioned in my last post apps like Bento and Things have to set up their own little “standalone syncing servers” that you run on a Mac to synchronize/save data. This is ridiculous! MobileMe sync and Core Data (the latter of which already exists in the iPhone SDK) are already well-thought-out solutions for data synchronization!
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Murray’s Reaction to the iPad

During the two-week countdown to the iPad release, for reasons I cannot fully comprehend, I was consumed with anticipation and the need to buy one. Honestly, I am aware that I tend to possess a childlike excitement for various things, like the arrival of a movie that I want to see (e.g. How to Raise a Dragon, Julie and Julia) but the iPad launch completely hit my “little kid on Christmas morning” nerve. Worried that the line to pick up my pre-reserved device would be too long, I showed up outside the NYC 14th Street Apple Store at 6:12am. At about 9:20am my purchase was complete, and I was headed home to try the thing out.

48 hours later, it’s time to write down some of my reactions to this device that has generated so much buzz and so many blog posts and news stories. I’m going to tackle this blog posting in a slightly random way: breaking my reaction into small, isolated snippets.
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Apple’s iPad and Murray’s Old Predictions

Well, the veil has been lifted on the Apple iPad and pundits are busy asking whether there is really such a need for a device in this particular “sub-notebook” niche—especially one at this particular price point.

And once again I shake my head; they just don’t get it… yet. To paraphrase Clinton: “It’s all about the UI, dummy.”

I actually blogged about this well over two years ago. Back when OS X Leopard was coming out (yes, I’m talking about “old” 10.5) there was the introduction of the “Core Animation” API that was the harbinger to things like the sleek iPhone UI and elements popping up on the desktop like the animated “Cover Flow” of iTunes or the Finder.

The iPad will usher in a small but steady revolution as small, intrepid programmers find ways to create very targeted, very specialized apps that make the iPad the perfect tool for business solutions. It will be the architect or interior designer who manages to make a lightweight CAD application that can be really portable, allowing floorplans to be quickly entered into the device while he or she walks through an old house; it will be the medical technician or the factory worker who finally has an application with a user interface that doesn’t force and endless stream of window clicking to enter a simple piece of data; it is the cashier or the maître d’ or the dance choreographer…

Anyway, I suggest anyone interested should actually read that old blog article I wrote in 2007. It still applies.

Losing Faith in Banks

I have two banks. One is a credit union that was based in Fort Collins with whom I had been a member since 1988. It’s name was Norlarco but is no more because it died and was merged with another Denver-based credit union. From what I hear, Norlarco’s board allowed someone to make risky investments in Miami property and that essentially killed it. (Ironically, when I was wanting to buy a home in Los Angeles they told me they couldn’t help me unless it was in Colorado. I guess I didn’t grease enough palms!) The biggest pain has been changing my checks and all of the settings for all my various auto-payments, from utilities to Netflix. Ugh.

Last year I opened an account at Washington Mutual because I neede the convenience of a local bank here in New York. As everyone knows, that died and got sold to JPMorganChase.

Now my drama continues with credit cards. I was notified last month by my credit union that due to an internal security breach all their debit cards were comprimised and would have to be replaced. New card just showed up in the mail. New PIN for me to memorize.

Last night I just got an e-mail from USAA (a credit card issuer) stating that there’s been a security breach, and they are going to have to replace my credit card.

This is crazy! I’m just about ready to start stuffing money into my mattress!

Dow Jones: Apocalyptic or Not?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, arguably the most well-known index of Wall Street’s value, has been on pretty much everyone’s’ mind lately. I’ve watched with mixed emotions as it has sunk with no signs of rebound. We hear about how much ‘wealth’ has evaporated, and it seems our collective mood is incredibly sour. I have to admit that I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this, both because I live and work in New York City—where the jobs market is probably more tied to Wall Street than any place, and because of my interest in what this has done to the political landscape in the eleventh hour of election season.
I have one other perspective that I would like to share: that of a mathematician. And using my mathematician’s careful eye I see a way in which this is both deeply troubling and surprisingly calming. For the sake of dramatic tension, let’s start with the bad news.

The Dow Jones Average, as of the close on Friday, was 8378 points. A pretty far drop. And if you look at a historic graph of the DJI (Dow Jones Index) you will see that it first climbed to that level somewhere around 1997. So one could argue that we’ve slashed all the value that we’ve earned over the last 11 years. Depressed? Wait, it gets worse! Yesterday I realized that I hadn’t considered inflation in my historic comparison! If I include inflation (the fact that today’s dollars don’t buy as much as yesterday’s money did) I have to slash another 25% (approximately) from that calculation. Hence, our Dow Jones Average of 8378 points becomes closer to 6283!!

Okay, before you start hyperventilating let me give you the good news. If we’re going to look at numbers, let’s look at a graph of the Dow Jones. Below we have the DJI since 1980.

DJI since 1980

DJI since 1980

I added the red line, and I used the DJI value from 1985 to 1995 as a baseline. If you consider that previous decade’s growth (which I would argue was a lot more reasonable than the crazy Dot-Com-Boom years or the crazy Housing Market years) you might see that we’re now EXACTLY WHERE WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALL ALONG!

You know what we call that? We call it a correction. So get out of your bomb shelter bunker, put down those Valium, and get ready for a lousy recession. I’m afraid that WILL hurt, but every 8-10 years they normally happen, and we always come out of them in a newer age of prosperity.

UPDATE: See Dave’s comment below. Wow! I really should have my Mathematician’s Vulcan Ears revoked for that oversight. Here’s an updated graph (sorry, no time to add the red line, but it should be obvious) :

More accurate (and depressing) graph

More accurate (and depressing) graph

Click on the above picture for a close-up.