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Gruber's wrong about Apple TV

On Wednesday I posted my article predicting how the future Apple TV will work, and I emailed a link to John Gruber of Daring Fireball, who’s been writing a lot about this stuff (here and here). No problem there, the guy’s busy, super-selective about linking stuff, and probably finds my ideas to be pretty obvious.

But then I listen to him on yesterday’s Talk Show, and holy crap. Gruber believes:

This is insane. Predicting what Apple will do based on what it’s done in the past is a great strategy, except when it’s not. My take-away from what Apple’s done over the last 5 years is that they’ve systematically become more and more realistic about what people need in a product to buy it, and putting that into the product. The obstacles that’ve kept people from getting an iPhone have been systematically eliminated (enterprise support, pricing, more carriers). So why the heck would they create an television that doesn’t work with cable?

Certainly there are people who get by without cable (I’m one), and the numbers are growing every year. But even more people can’t imagine life without cable. (I imagine Gruber is one, sports fanatic that he is.) Is your Apple TV going to connect to a cable box? I think Steve Jobs’ quote, “the simplest user interface you could imagine,” takes that off the table. So I’m sticking by my predictions there: the Apple TV will work equally well with or without cable. For those using it with cable, it’ll abstract away as much of the vestiges of cable — channels, schedules, etc. — as it can.

But the “apps as channels” thing is even crazier thing to me, for reasons that I don’t even think require explanation. Look at the mess that magazine apps have made of navigation. Do you really want every channel on your TV to have its own navigation?!

I usually agree with Gruber, but here I think he’s just as wrong as Marco was. John Siracusa will presumably discuss this today. I think he’ll be able to talk some sense to these people.

Posted: Friday October 28, 2011 by Alesh Houdek · Permalink · Comment [1]


On The Fence episode 3

On The Fence episode 2

In Episode 3 of On The Fence, we talk about Gaddafi’s death and the future of the world, North Korea, the present of Occupy Wall Street, and Steve Jobs. You should really subscribe in iTunes so I don’t have to keep posting these links.

Posted: Thursday October 27, 2011 by Alesh Houdek · Permalink · Comment


“I want you to play like you’re 7 years old at a recital. I want you to play like your mom’s in the room. I want you to play like you’re miles from home, and your legs are dangling from a boxcar. Or play like your hair’s on fire. Play like you have no pants on.”

Stuff Tom Waits says to his musicians to get them to play how he wants



On The Fence episode 2: Occupy Wall Street

On The Fence episode 2

Here’s episode 2 of the On the Fence podcast. Steve and I talk about Occupy Wall Street, and whether there’s any chance at all of Herman Cain becoming president. But here’s the thing: you can now subscribe in iTunes.

Posted: Thursday October 20, 2011 by Alesh Houdek · Permalink · Comment


Main thing I want to --and can't-- do on my iPad

Rate photos. I’m talking about the 0 to 5 score that can be stored in an image file’s EXIF data. I’m talking about getting a batch of photos previously synced to my Mac to the iPad (perhaps in a reduced size), viewing them in a Photos-like app that allows me to set the rating (and maybe make other EXIF edits, but that’s strictly gravy), and then sync the ratings back to the original files.

You have NO IDEA how badly I want this. I’m learning iOS development in hopes of building the app that’ll be able to do this (Filterstorm Pro comes close, but ends up failing I think). The reason: I believe that my photo library will outlast any single photo organization software. Hence the EXIF approach. It’s the reason I use Lightroom instead of Picasa or iPhoto (tho I’m considering just using Bridge exclusively). But for me, looking at photos and making judgements is 100 times more pleasant on the iPad than on a computer. On the Mac, it feels like work — like a chore. On the iPad, it’s practically a game. I don’t know why, but I NEED this. Eventually, Apple will make an amazing iPhoto for the iPad the way they did with GarageBand. But I can’t wait any more. Help!

Posted: Friday October 7, 2011 by Alesh Houdek · Permalink · Comment [3]


“Like a father fingering his Blackberry rather than playing with his kids, Congress shows us that we don’t matter.”

Lessig begins to lay out his arguments for reforming Congress.



Published yesterday, my rant at The Atlantic about text messaging fees and how the new iOS begins to do away with them.



Six things the iPhone and iPad still can't do

  1. Download an image from the internet, crop it, and upload it to a blog
  2. Post a video you find on Twitter to your Tumblr
  3. Download a song from a website and save it to your music app (or generally get music, or anything else, on or off the phone on anything but its “home” computer)
  4. Run Flash (and spare me, the $199 Kindle Fire does it)
  5. Check the weather from the home screen (or display any information other than the date: the calendar app customizes its icon with the current date, but no other app can do this)
  6. Adjust the size of text on a web page

Posted: Wednesday October 5, 2011 by Alesh Houdek · Permalink · Comment [5]