Steve Jobs and Constraints

Nice article by Matt Gemmell regarding constraints in today’s technology products. As I read it I was reminded of Steve Jobs’ similar philosophy as he described it at the AllThingsDigital D8 conference.

For example, after discussing Flash, Jobs was asked what Apple’s “ultimate goal” is in not using it for the iPhone/iPad.

Jobs: You see our goal’s really easy. We didn’t start off to have a war with Flash or anything else, we just made a technical decision that we weren’t gonna put the energy into getting Flash on our platform… and that was it.

“We just made a technical decision.” A simple statement, but when Gemmell describes the plethora of ports, switches, jacks and other “choices that weren’t made by the designers”, it’s clear those designers should’ve made technical decisions, too.

Later, Jobs was asked what would happen if customers insisted on Flash and thought the iPad was “crippled” in this respect.

Jobs: Well I’d say two things. Number one, things are packages of emphasis. Some things are emphasized in a product, some things are not done as well in a product, some things are chosen not to be done at all in a product. And so different people make different choices…

“Packages of emphasis.” Another simple statement, and when Gemmell discusses various factors — “Performance and power consumption. Size and weight. Noise and heat. Beauty, durability, and portability” and others — he’s listing opposing points of emphasis. Many designers try to cram them all in one box, Apple chooses an emphasis then designs a package for it.

Jobs continues: We’re trying to make great products for people, and so we have at least the courage of our convictions to say we don’t think this is part of what makes a great product, we’re gonna leave it out… we’re gonna take the heat because we want to make the best product in the world for customers. And we’re gonna instead focus our energy on these technologies which we think are… gonna be the right technologies for customers and—you know what?—they’re paying us to make those choices. That’s what a lot of customers pay us to do, is to try to make the best products we can…

“They’re paying us to make those choices.” This is perhaps my favorite statement. When other firms toss every feature into a product and call it choice, what they’re really saying is “here, you figure it out.” But Jobs believed customers expected Apple to make the choices required to build the best product Apple can in a given category. As Gemmell puts it, not doing so results in compromises that “illustrate not only a damaged assessment of the choice that was made, but also a failure to grasp the product’s vision and intended usage scenarios.”

I think Jobs would agree.

Google Hard at Work

Unlike the last time Google handed out goody bags, there was no mention of a loan agreement, or any pretense that these things would be “reviewed.” This was a straight-up giveaway. Free shit. Delighted writers crowded in line to exchange their name tag for a valuable gratis thing.


It’s like one Google rep said, “We’ll take care of you!.”

Just what I want, a weather app that deceives me

Clear Day, the new name of Weather HD, was chosen to indicate that even if weather is gloomy and stormy, a vivid soothing presentation of the weather forecast would provide the user with a sensational and clear-day-like experience full of hope.

Clear Day – (Formerly Weather HD)

Huh? So even if the weather is “gloomy and stormy” it’ll present the forecast in a manner “full of hope”? That seems ridiculous to me. Look at this beautiful, sunny sky in your forecast, oh by the way a hurricane’s coming.

I guess some app updates aren’t supposed to make sense.

Oh Joy, A Firefox Tablet

The Taipei-based Mozilla spokeswoman declined to provide details on the device that the companies plan to unveil on June 3, but Focus Taiwan, citing an “industry insider”, reported that it would likely be a tablet.


Just a couple  weeks away. What’s Firefox OS like? No one really knows. What’s the “tablet” design? No one knows. Battery life? Hardware? Apps? Size/weight? Price? No one has a clue.

I’m buying two.

Dear WordPress

You’re so beautiful… I’m continually amazed and delighted by how you’ve grown. Your awkward years are behind you. Best of all, through it all, you’ve stuck with the principles that got you started in the first place. You’re always changing but that never changes. You’re unafraid to try new things that may seem wacky or unpopular at first.

Matt Mullenweg

Nice piece. The Small Wave went from Blogger to Apple’s iWeb to WordPress to Posterous and then back to WordPress. I also mirrored it on Tumblr for a while.

While iWeb was my favorite from an authoring/publishing standpoint, the sites it created were slow and clumsy. After that, and all in all, I’d have to say WordPress is my favorite.

Apple becomes latest target of the Beltway Shakedown

The grilling of Apple is best understood as a shakedown by politicians upset with Apple for not playing the Washington game that yields contributions, power, and personal wealth for congressmen and their aides.

Washington Examiner

This is no surprise. PACs are becoming little more than legalized bribery. Not sure how long Apple can go without playing at some level.

How Google plans to rule the computing world through Chrome

You can see where I’m going with this but lets take it a step further. Have you noticed that Google recently added the Chrome App Launcher to Microsoft Windows? It’s the same app launcher that’s native to Chrome OS. And Google is working on it for the Mac platform


Great article by Kevin Tofel on moves Google is making—and pieces falling into place—for Google’s play on all types of computers. It’s not just about Chrome OS or having a Chromebook. They’re assembling an ecosystem for their browser that, combined, will run as if it’s Chrome OS regardless of the base OS.