Archive for July, 2008

Down with Horatio Caine!

I have to leave the room when someone puts on CSI Miami. David Caruso is awful. His character is the worst ever! Drives me insane! I know this is a departure from both engineering, and politics, but had to share this video from Weebl and Bob. Very funny.

Video here: CSI Pie Ami

Looking good for Obama

Here’s an article that makes some interesting historical comparisons on http://www.centerforpolitics.com .

http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/article.php?id=AIA2008072401

My foray into the political world

Well, with all my talk about engineers in politics, I will be looking at getting more involved. In May I accepted a volunteer position with the Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee (OFGAC). This is an committee that advises City Council on matters affecting the forests and greenspaces within the City boundary. We meet once a month, but have many tasks to complete between then. One of the main responsibilities will be to review development plans including Official Plan amendments, Zoning amendments, and subdivision plans. Other responsibilities include community outreach, and sitting on various City committees.

I have learned much about how the city works already, and looking forward to learning more. I have had some training on development reviews, and will help out with maintaining the website: www.ottawaforests.ca . All in all it should be an interesting experience!

Japanese Innovation

Continuing on the Apple/innovation theme, here is an interesting article from Newsweek about some of Japan’s high tech companies.  Interesting thoughts, although I would like to see them corroborated by some other stories.

Aricle here

Any opinions from any people from Japan?

TechOnline Blog on Innovation

My colleague Patrick Mannion has written an interesting blog on innovation–especially topical with the introduction of the iPhone.  He raises quite a lot of interesting points and has an excellent interview with Andrew Hargadon, the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Energy Efficiency Center at the University of California, Davis.

Check it out here:  TechOnline Blog

Why Apple?? (continued)

Wonderful responses to my original post about why I should consider Apple products, and general comments about Apple. I had two follow-up questions that sprang (is that a word?) to mind.

Is the extra price attached to an Apple product worth the premium?

Why does Apple not sell their Macs through Best Buy or some other big retailer?

Thoughts?

Why Apple?

As we have just finished waiting 5 hours waiting (it rained for part of the time) to get an iPhone from the Rogers store in Ottawa, I wonder again—what’s the fuss about Apple?

Click this link for a video of me and fellow TechOnline Analyst Allan Yogasingam waiting for an iPhone.

I personally have an iRiver digital music player, use a Samsung phone, own a Toshiba laptop, and download my digital music from Spiral Frog (and sometimes buy the odd CD). No Apple there.

Maybe I am a little too old fashioned in certain respects. I use the phone I have for talking to people. I am also starting to use text messaging when in a loud (or very quiet) environment. I am intrigued by smart phones as a way to surf the internet and receive emails, so I might get one eventually. Will it be Apple? Maybe–maybe not.

I view consumer electronics as a tool to help me do things, not necessarily as a fashion accessory. But in saying that, I do have colleagues who are engineers and just love Apple for the functionality, not just the form. Apple is easier to use, and (I’ve been told) breaks down far less. A Mac supposedly unlocks the user’s creative potential with good utilities for video and audio. To counteract that, there seems to be so much more freeware available for the windows environment. Many people are developing for that platform, which helps create a diversified group of software to choose from.

Now, I’m not saying I’m a Microsoft fan–far from it—but it does the job for me right now. I have frustrations with the odd blue screen of death and other issues, but I am considering Linux instead of going to all the way to a Mac.

All this leaves me with some conversation starters.

Why does Apple get all the buzz?

Does Apple make technically superior products?

Is Apple particularly innovative?

Or, is it just easier to use?

Overall, does Apple create a much better user experience?

Please let me know your thoughts on Apple as a technology company. Also, please suggest to me which Apple product I should try first, as I try to discover the famous Apple experience that several of my colleagues talk about.