Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Simple, But Not Easy

In recent weeks, my friends and I have enjoyed something of a renaissance with "The Beautiful Game" of Tetris. I'm a sucker for Nintendo-era games, anyway, but there is something very unique about this one. It's addictive and it's fair to all combatants, even if you've never held a game controller. I consider it to be my generation's Rubick's Cube--except a lot less frustrating. The beauty is in the simplicity. Though the goal is simple, and the challenge is fair for anyone who plays.

Anyway, it wasn't until my friend Dave Warner pointed me towards this BBC documentary that I learned the tumultuous history behind the game. It proves to be an amazing story.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I’m many things to many different people—we all are, and it’s that unique blend of passions, personalities, and predispositions that adds up to who you are and what you’re all about (your ethos). Today, the sum of my being is assuredly pointing the barometer towards "technodork", and it’s all Apple’s fault.

In today’s keynote presentation at the Macworld Conference in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled two products that mark significant steps towards the sort of digital convergence that makes all of us who consume and create content a little bit giddy. Each of these devices truly has the potential to change the way we consume and create content while communicating about our lives. Individuals in our society are becoming increasingly comfortable with interacting with screens. Screens are the windows through which we experience entertainment, knowledge, and even social interaction. In the past, the screen defined the content that could be delivered. Today, Apple moved its focus from the computer screen to the two other screens that help shape and define our communicative existence—the television and the phone. In so doing, they have become the first major player to provide the hardware and software to provide seamless convergence across all three screens and moved us closer to an era of instant accessibility to "what I want, when I want it"—whatever that may be.

AppleTV wirelessly connects your computer to your television, making every bit of music and video content you’ve found worth of dumping into iTunes accessible for viewing on the big screen. Not only can you watch the television shows and movies you’ve downloaded, but it provides equal access to every podcast posted and every bit of user created content that you can toss into iTunes. It’s a huge step for the democratization of content—allowing the short films your neighbor’s kid produces just for fun the same ability to be seen as the latest iteration of CSI. Obviously, the dollars involved in promotion and production doesn’t exactly put little Timmy into direct competition with the major television networks, but the opportunity to have your voice heard has never been greater.

The all-star of the presentation was certainly the highly anticipated iPhone, a hybrid device that reinvents the Smartphone and provides a completely new dimension for the iPod. The iPhone is the all-in-one device that brings your entire digital being to your hand. Music, movies, email, camera, contacts, calendar, full-versions of websites—it’s all here, and it runs on the same operating system that makes all Apple computers so robust and yet, easy to use. The biggest difference is that in lieu of a keyboard, stylus, click wheel, or mouse, the iPhone embraces simplicity by making the interaction with the screen completely touch-dependant.

Whatever the screen and whatever the content, Apple is positioned to be there to help define your experience. I, for one, am ridiculously giddy about it.