Saturday, December 1, 2012


On occasion, while listening to a podcast or reading an article, I cannot help but wonder if the orator or author is actually hearing what it is they are saying.  I am astonished at how far they sink into their own perspective that give the appearance they have lost all sense of objectivity.  The most distressing aspect to all of this is that they actually believe what they are saying is the truth.

To illustrate, let us conduct a little experiment.  Open up your web browser and head on over to your favorite search engine to have a look at the sites that come up when you search on "ipad too heavy".  For your convenience, I'll provide you with a few of the quotes I found which I am simply presenting in alphabetical order sorted by the author's last name.
The iPad is also too heavy to comfortably hold in most ways for long periods, and its wide range of software capabilities can be distracting. 
Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper
Unveiled Tuesday, the 9-inch HD Nook is 20% lighter than the iPad, a difference that is instantly noticeable after lifting the two tablets, but feels even more pronounced when holding either device in one hand for prolonged periods. The iPad feels overweight by comparison, experts say. 
Quentin Fottrell, MarketWatch
This thing is neat, they think, but isn't it kind of heavy? Yep! Heavier than a book, heavier than a Kindle. Too heavy to hold with one hand for more than a few minutes. 
John Herman, BuzzFeed 
For a device that attempts to change the way we consume content, the new iPad is far too heavy and thick. 
Brandon Miniman, pocketnow 
The iPad Mini is half the weight of the big iPad (0.7 pounds versus 1.4), thinner (. 28 inches versus .37), shorter (7.9 inches versus 9.5) and narrower (5.3 inches versus 7.3). Those specs add up to one towering meta-change: you can comfortably hold this iPad in one hand. 
David Pogue, The New York Times 
The iPad is just too heavy for reading for extended periods, I find. 
Danny Sullivan, c|Net 
I already had a great iPad. It's big and heavy, and hurts my arm to read in bed. It's my primary bed computer, and also the second screen when I'm watching TV. When I read in bed it leaves impressions on my arm where it rests. I can't imagine this is good for the circulation in my arm. 
Dave Winer, Gizmodo 
For the first time, Apple has been focusing on the wrong problems: how to cram 4x more pixels and a better antenna. Worst, this came at a cost that is impacting the 3 points above; The device is heavier.
Xavier Damman, the co-founder and CEO of Storify 
After reading through these missives, I found myself wondering if any of the authors recall what it was like to read BEFORE the proliferation of the World Wide Web.  The humble beginnings of the modern book started with the discovery of papyrus back in the third century BC.[1]  For millennia, the sum of human knowledge has been handed down from generation to generation on sheets of paper bound together into books.  After reading these authors lament about the weight of the iPad, I begin to marvel at how I was able to survive a college education.

Given you have made it to this point in the article, I am certain this admission will come as no surprise -  I am not a writer by trade.  Neither, as you will see, am I a photographer.  But as the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words and by now I am certain you would appreciate some brevity.

iPad mini - 10.7 oz

iPad 2 - 1 lb 5.5 oz

"LINUX Server Hacks" by Rob Flickenger (222 pages) - 11.5 oz

"The Design of OS/2" by H.M. Dietel (389 pages) - 1 lb 8.5 oz

"Component Development for the Java Platform" by S. Halloway (222 pages) - 1 lb 10.3 oz

"Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture" by M. Fowler (533 pages) - 2 lbs 2.7 oz

"SOA Design Patterns" by T. Erl (814 pages) - 3 lbs 15.2 oz

How were those who bemoan the weight of the iPad as oppressive able to muster the stamina long enough to read anything before the inception of the iPad mini, Kindle or Nook?

I have loaded the same collection of 556 books and magazines in ePub, Kindle Format or PDF format on my iPad 2 and iPad mini.  I can comfortably hold a device in each hand simultaneously.  I feel like Hercules.


Arment, Marco. "The Kindle update". 29 Jul 2010. 1 Dec 2012.

Fottrell, Quentin. "Is the iPad too Heavy?" 26 Sep 2012. 1 Dec 2012.

Herman, John. "Why Isn't The iPad Getting Thinner? Mar 2012. 1 Dec 2012.

Miller, Brandon. "New iPad: What We Love, What We Hate (Video) 19 Mar 2012. 1 Dec 2012.  

Pogue, David. "This Year, Gift Ideas in Triplicate 30 Oct 2012. 1 Dec 2012.

Sullivan, Danny. "iPad Mini or iPod Touch Maxi -- it may not matter 6 AUg 2012. 1 Dec 2012.

Winer, Dave. "Is the iPad Mini the Beginning of Apple's Decline? 12 Nov 2012. 1 Dec 2012.

Damman, Xavier. "Why the iPad3 is a step backward  March 2012. 1 Dec 2012.

[1] "History of Books 24 Nov 2012. 1 Dec 2012. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A New Media World

Six years, two months and thirteen days.

That is how long it has been since Steve Jobs took the stage on September 12, 2006 to announce one of the newest members of Apple's i-family of products - the iTV.  On the 9th of January, 2007 I inducted myself into the club of Apple TV early adopters.  I was determined to be among the first to experience what the new product had to offer.

Shortly after placing the order for the Apple TV, I came across Handbrake which facilitated the transcoding of physical DVDs in my personal collection to H.264 encoded files which I subsequently added to iTunes.  Over the following year, each of the Macs the household spent their evenings diligently converting MPEG-2 DVD content into H.264 files.  The files were stored on an external hard disk drive attached to our Power Mac G5 via a speedy Fire Wire 800 connection.

At first, there were many skeptics who attributed this time-consuming encoding endeavor to my admitted obsession with products designed in Cupertino.  However, a brief demonstration was generally all that was required to illustrate the convenience afforded by having access to your entire audio and video media collection without needing to leave the comfort of your couch.  The enthusiasm I had for my new toy drove me to give those five minute demonstrations at every possible opportunity.

Fast forward to present day.  When the second generation device was made available, I quickly replaced the three originals that I had purchased.  When the third generation unit was added with support for 1080p video, we equipped our family room television with one.  The original external hard disk drive has been replaced by a Drobo with a 4 terabyte BeyondRAID volume.  Our media library consists of 8,549 songs; 740 movies; 2,810 television episodes; 482 PDFs, magazines, and books, and 324 iOS apps consuming almost three terabytes of physical disk space.

Aside from the local news or occasional award show, neither my wife, our children nor I watch linear programming.  We have become acclimated to the convenience of being able to watch WHAT you want WHEN you want and HOW you want.  Our kids command the Apple TV with ease as they switch between the content available from our local iTunes library and the content available through our Netflix subscription.  From time to time, we AirPlay video to the Apple TV from apps installed on our iPads or iPhones.

When I look back over the continuum of content consumption I have experienced in my life, I am amazed.  My parents are reticent to embrace modern modes of consuming content.  They remain fixated on legacy, non time-shifted cable television model.  They reluctantly allowed their only VCR to be replaced by a DVD player.  If they do watch a DVD, they watch it all the way through because they cannot seem to remember how to un-pause it - in spite of the hundreds of times I have explained it.  Our children reside on the opposite end of that spectrum as controlling the myriad of DVD players, Apple TVs and iOS devices is second nature to them.

I believe the traditional methods content distribution by conventional broadcasting is on life support.  There may still be some members of Generation X that prefer to receive their content in this manner, but it is unlikely subsequent generations will.  The post Generation X crowd is accustomed to being able to consume content on their terms.

The Videocassette Recorder (VCR) introduced the world to the convenience afforded by time-shifted consumption of video content.  The Digital Video Recorder (DVR) paired the convenience of a VCR with the capacity of a hard disk drive and provided a superior, more intuitive user interface.  The content industry railed against the DVR in much the same way as they did when the VCR was introduced.  Consumers, on the other hand, have embraced the technology and ACNielsen estimates that by February of 2011, 42.2% of US households employ a DVR. 

When Apple introduced the iTunes Music Store on April 28, 2003, they redefined the business of music distribution and, in my opinion, dragged the industry kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century.  Consumers agreed.  Within the first week, over one million songs had been downloaded.  By the fifteenth of December that same year, twenty-five million songs had been downloaded.  And in less than five years from opening, the iTunes Store bested Walmart to become the top music retailer in the United States having sold over four billion songs since its inception.

On the twelfth of October 2006, Apple made music videos, television shows and films available on the iTunes Store.  With that act, they have started the monumental undertaking of transforming the business of video content distribution.  They recognized that electronic downloading is the future of video content distribution.  Steve Jobs described Blu-ray a "bag of hurt" and Sony, the principal inventor of Blu-ray, has admitted Blu-ray is the last format for optical media.

Apple, having never embraced Blu-ray, is among the first computer manufactures to eliminate optical drives from their hardware.  Their final answer to Blu-ray came this year on the seventh of March with the introduction of full 1080p HD content in iTunes and the third generation Apple TV.  Google recognizes the future and has been diligently expanding their Android platform with the Google TV software offering which they are making available to hardware OEM partners.  According to The Verge, Microsoft is set to expand their XBox brand in 2013 with the introduction of a low cost, "XBox TV" device.

I can only hope contemporary video content providers demonstrate they have learned from the quixotic efforts of the labels and acquiesce to consumer preference to purchase and consume digital content at reasonable prices in a manner of their choosing.  Apple, in my opinion recognizes this as they have used their industry clout to convince media companies to make their wares available in the iTunes Store at a reasonable price point - $14.99 for standard definition and $19.99 for "full 1080p HD".

And with that, it is time for me to head over to the "Pre-Order" section of the iTunes store to see what movie I'm going to buy this Tuesday!