Monthly Archives: April 2016

Patience and impatience in the tech industry

There’s a great line from an iPad Pro article by Ben Brooks, where he’s discussing how Steve Jobs was always conscious of shipping only Apple’s best work:

The key difference between Gates and Jobs isn’t the vision, it’s the patience, or if you prefer the unwillingness to ship something which isn’t great.

I’ve been thinking about the time just before the iPad was announced. We didn’t know what form it would take, how much it would cost, or even what OS it would run. At the time, I even wanted it to run Mac OS X. From one of my blog posts in 2008:

The primary market for a Mac tablet is the millions of people who look at the Wacom Cintiq and drool. An Apple tablet has to run full Mac OS X because it has to run Photoshop, Acorn, and Painter.

It’s easy in hindsight to say how wrong I was, that of course it should run iOS. And today I’d agree; iOS 9 on the iPad is great. But I thought a tablet would be particularly good for artists, and basing it on the Mac would be the only way to hit the ground running with a stylus and mature graphics software.

That brings us back to patience, and how Apple rolls and iterates. It has taken 6 years from the original iPad introduction to the iPad Pros we have today that fulfill what I had hoped a tablet could be. Was it worth the wait? Yes. But that’s a long time, and a more impatient company might’ve taken a different path to get here, and they wouldn’t have been wrong.

I’m not actually thinking about Microsoft here, but Amazon. Amazon is so impatient not just with hardware development but everything else that even overnight delivery for their customers isn’t fast enough.

When I pre-ordered the Amazon Echo on a whim a year ago, I’m not sure that Amazon really had any idea what they were doing, whether it would flop or succeed, or if anyone would understand it. A year later, they own the market for this kind of device and it’s spread by word of mouth because the product is good. If Apple ever makes an Echo competitor it will be years from now and only because someone else proved the idea first.

Patience is good, and I’m glad that Apple has a great balance between innovating on brand new products and perfecting existing concepts. But I’m also glad that not every company is as patient as Apple. I think the industry makes better progress when some companies aren’t afraid to ship something half-baked too early.

Doll house Little Free Library

Doll house Little Free Library

For the 3rd Sunday in a row, I’ve taken a break from visiting a normal library and instead found a Little Free Library to exchange a book at. They’re all very unique, often made by hand. This one was made from a doll house, which opens both from the bottom front and roof for two floors of books.

Sorry it’s a few days late, but Core Intuition 227 is now out. We follow up on the iPhone SE and Typewriter Mode, then discuss hybrid native/HTML layout, producing screencast videos, and Kickstarter.

→ 2016/04/10 6:48 am

Busy day so I’m off my morning routine of getting out of the house to focus on writing. After 20 days, actually a little burned out on visiting a new library every day. Nevertheless, here I am near Oak Hill to work from Hampton Branch. Nice oak tree and gazebo out front.

→ 2016/04/08 2:37 pm

At the Round Rock Public Library this morning, catching up on email and chat with the iPad Pro before I need to run some errands. Realized today that I’ve been using the iPad Pro so much, I haven’t left the house with my MacBook Pro in a week.

→ 2016/04/07 11:39 am

Timetable episodes 19 and 20

I published 2 new Timetable episodes this week, with a shared theme around Kickstarter projects. They’re both just 5-6 minutes long.

Episode 19 is about how I finally sat down to record a video for my upcoming Kickstarter project. I still have editing to do, but I’m already feeling a lot better about actually launching this.

Episode 20 continues the discussion of Kickstarter, starting with my reaction after receiving the art book from Loish yesterday. I was really impressed with how well it was produced. Anytime I see something of such high quality I’m inspired to do a better job with my own work.

Over at the University Hills Branch for a short while before lunch. This library seems heavily used, which is great, but it’s loud and not particularly well-suited for working. Moving some tables to the back or sides of the library might improve the layout.

→ 2016/04/05 12:35 pm

Navigation controllers on the Mac

Brent Simmons has a good post about the pros and cons of bringing UIKit to the Mac. On the differences between iOS and Mac development, though, one point did stand out for me:

And there are things Macs don’t have at all — navigation controllers, for instance, since they don’t make sense in a context where you can just show the hierarchy via multiple panes.

Brent’s right that most Mac apps don’t need navigation controllers. I don’t think I’d have any use for them in my Mac app, Clipstart, for example. But navigation controllers are becoming more common in Mac apps, starting with Twitter apps especially. I expect an important part of Iconfactory’s work on the Chameleon framework to bring Twitterrific to the Mac was supporting navigation controllers.

I’ll always consider myself a Mac developer first, even though most of what I do these days is on iOS and for the web. I’d definitely welcome UIKit for Mac. I’m getting closer to announcing a new iPhone app and web platform, and while I have a Mac version in development too, I can’t justify the time right now to finish it. UIKit for Mac would make that decision much easier.

Tickets for Release Notes 2016

I’m registered for the Release Notes conference, coming up later this year in Indianapolis. This will be the only conference I attend this year outside of another ticketless WWDC week. If you didn’t go last year and want to know more about it, check out the web site or listen to episode 151 of their podcast.

One of my favorite blog posts on this site from last year was my review of the conference, because I think it both described the conference itself and also captured that inspired feeling you get when you’re heading off to the airport and your head is buzzing with ideas. And because it’s a blog, where I allow myself to be informal, it also has the meandering narrative of the everyday — a stop for coffee, a conversation with an Uber driver. My memory of the conference wouldn’t be complete without those things.

I’m looking forward to visiting Indianapolis again. I may also look at flying into Chicago and taking the train down, then flying out. Sounds like some people did that last year, and I think it would make a great start considering the venue at Union Station. We’ll see if the schedule works out.

I’m back southeast to work from Ruiz Branch for the morning. Very nice library, built in 2004, with plenty of tables that look out to the field and trees.

→ 2016/04/04 10:29 am