Archive for October, 2008

Passion for industrial design: The spotlight turns to…Jonathan “Jony” Ive

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Jony Ive - Apple Senior Vice President - Design

Yesterday, the 14th of October 2008, Apple had an event titled “The spotlight turns to notebooks”, where they unveiled a refresh of the MacBook Pro, a new version of the MacBook in aluminium and a new Cinema Display.

Clever spin
All of these announcements were already confirmed and leaked days before the event, Apple can’t or won’t, contain the leaks, and the new strategy seems to be to use the leaks to drive the hype.

Remembering how secretive Apple events used to be, I sort of, expected Steve Jobs to pull something out of the sleeves of his turtleneck, “one more thing”, but he didn’t, or did he?

One more “thing”
One notable thing about the event was that Steve shared the stage to such a high degree. This is a trend that has been going for some time, especially when it comes to events that focus on the Mac, it’s a bit like Steve isn’t that passionate about computers.

Luckily others are, and at this event Jonathan “Jony” Ive shined – and I’m not referring to the reflections from his shaved head.

It was simply a thrill to see this low-key, soft-spoken, man talk about the manufacturing process involved in producing the new MacBooks, the attention to detail, the months spend refining the new trackpad etc. etc.

Over the years, speculation as to who might take over the position as CEO of Apple after Steve Jobs, has been growing, and my first reaction was that I’d love to see Ive in that position, he’d be a natural.

But really that would be such a shame, so I’m convinced that Ive will stay in his current position, and there’s many more iconic designs hidden in that shiny bald head of his.

So watch the video where Ive talks us through the manufacturing process of the new MacBooks, it’s simply breathtaking.

Risky strategy?
The MacBooks themselves? To me they ooze quality. Apple has obviously decided that they will not address the current trend towards cheap notebooks, aka. netbooks, when asked Steve called it a “developing market”.

The strategy is risky, it defies the market, but I welcome it, and it will only mean that Apple will grow it’s market share in terms of revenue, instead of units moved. With these new notebooks, there’s no doubt that Apple owns the high-end market, and that’s where it’s the most fun, and profitable, to be.

The old MacBook product line has been plagued by quality problems, hopefully the new MacBooks addresses this, I’ll bet that this is the case, these are, to me, the first true Intel based notebooks, designed from the ground up for the Intel chips.

I’m tempted by Ive’s new industrial sculpture

The picture of Jonathan “Jony” Ive, that accompanies this article, is a frame from the video issued by Apple for the launch of the MacBook Aluminium, it’s Copyright Apple Inc. I hope that my use here is considered “Fair Use”.

Currently the video is available on the Apple Website here, it’s likely to be moved, and it’s a good guess that it’s already on YouTube. The video is produced much like a documentary, really professional marketing on Apple’s part.

One final thing: How do you like them Apples? – The spotlight turns to notebooks

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Applenotebookevent - The spotlight turns to notebooksA draft of Steve Jobs’ presentation for the Notebook Event titled “The spotlight turns to notebooks” scheduled to take place on October 14th 2008 in Cupertino, has been leaked.

Since rumour has it that Apple is softening up to rumour sites: if you don’t like me publishing this rumour: SOSUME.

“Gi’ mig Danmark tilbage” by Natasja is blasting the Cupertino speakers!

Steve Jobs takes the stage

(applause)

Welcome, and thank you for coming.

One first thing:
Apple has realized that we can’t compete with Linux and has decided to make an investment in Linux. So we’re discontinuing Mac OS X in favour of Linux with KDE, all Mac OS X developers will instead be working on contributing to Linux, ending years of, mostly, passive and luke warm support for the open source movement. Apple wants to appologise for this mal-pratice, and all code will be shared back with the community.

The next version of Mac OS X will be renamed Linux Snow Leopard, and it will be licensed under the GPL – meaning that it can be freely copied, and installed, on any computer.

(oooooh)

Linux Snow Leopard is available as a free download from Apple AppStore, and it is available…NOW!

(applause and cheers)

The reason for this change is that captalism, as we knew it is dead, instead of competing to death and the focus on economic growth, that is destroying the planet, human kind will instead work to improve the quality of life for all.

Democratisation of technology will be instrumental in bringing these changes.

Apple wants to be part of this.

(Steve moves the cover on the table, pulls out a picture frame with a picture of Richard Stallman on one side and Nicholas Negroponte on the other side, from this frame he pulls out a beautiful sub-notebook)

So today I’m happy to announce the insanely great TuxBook, developed in coorporation with Asus.

Asus is bringing the change, and since our old notebooks really weren’t anything but repackaged Asus products anyway, we’ve decided that Jonathan Ive will now be working full time making Asuses look cool.

The TuxBook comes with 2GB RAM, 32GB SSD, WiFi, Bluetooth, a 3G modem and A-GPS. It sports 8 hours of batterylife, and can, optionally, be solarpowered.

Demo:
(The splash screen is a Penguin holding an Apple)

Isn’t that beautiful? KDE 4.1: BOOM!

The TuxBook will be priced at $99, and it is available…NOW!

Thank you all for coming, and Karl Marx was right.

(applause)

One more thing:
Since you can’t make money on stock, APPL will be unlisted from the stock exchange, Apple will in the future be a Section 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charity.

One final thing:
How do you like them Apples?

(standing ovations and wild cheers: T-U-X what’s that spell? TUX!, what’s that spell? TUX!)

DrupalCamp Copenhagen 2008 – Drupal Danmark: You’ve come a long way, baby

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Drupal.OrgRegular readers might know that I’m a big fan of the Content Managment System Drupal. I’ve been actively promoting this system for 3 years, and I was active when Drupal Danmark, the Danish Drupal community, was established in the spring of 2006.

Despite this, I’ve never really managed to build anything useful using Drupal!

It’s not that I haven’t tried, actually I’ve ventured into a number of projects where I’ve tried to use Drupal as an application framework, because I, strongly, believe that Drupal is so much more than a CMS.

The projects haven’t failed completely, and I’ve learned valuable lessons, but I never really managed to finish them.

As a developer trying to work with a CMS for development is rather frustrating, since you get to spend most of your time configuring the system, and you constantly run into limitations, that mostly are related to the fact that developers and non-developers alike, has to be able to configure the system.

Why did the projects fail? Was it due to lacking skills on my part, or is Drupal not suited to use as an application framework or are there additional factors?

I’d like to explore this, so I’ve signed-up for the very first DrupalCamp Copenhagen, that will be held November 15th and 16th 2008 in Copenhagen.

I’ve also proposed a session: Using Drupal as a Web Application Framework, let’s see if that is accepted, but for sure I’m not going to be a tourist, and I’m going to actively pursue an answer to my questions.

You’ve come a long way baby
Like I mentioned, I was present when we took the first steps trying to establish the community back in spring of 2006, but since late 2006 I’ve been mostly absent from the community.

Since then Drupal, and Drupal Danmark, has grown stronger and stronger, and if you take a look at the sign-ups for DrupalCamp Copenhagen 2008, you can see how strong the community has grown.

The fact that there’s a significant number of international attendees is impressive. This has a lot to do with Drupal Danmark and evangelists like Morten DK’s and Mikkel Høgh’s very active participation in the international community.

So thank you all for growing the community, and having the guts to go ahead with DrupalCamp Copenhagen 2008. YOU ROCK!

Drupal Danmark: You’ve come a long way baby.

Hope to see you at DrupalCamp Copenhagen.

See also:

Planning for Kulturnatten 2008 (Copenhagen Night of Culture) despite elitist selection practices by organisers

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Kulturnat2008It’s time for the yearly Copenhagen event “Kulturnatten”, or “Night of Culture”, and I’m basically done planning for it.

At the bottom of this post, you’ll find a list of events I’ve saved to my profile on kulturnatten.dk, unfortunately they don’t have a RSS feed or a URL that I can share, so I had to copy/paste/edit the list :-(.

I’m planning to attend the events below, but I usually stray, and end up in strange places, my recommendation is to just go with the flow, and stay in places longer than you originally planned for, if you feel “good vibes”.

Last year the high point for me, was a visit to the old shipyard crane on Holmen, which is back this year, and Ars Nova in Marmorkirken, which isn’t :-(.

The events hit by elitism
I’ve been a huge fan of Kulturnatten for several years, but this year the organisers has decided to limit the official program, and has weeded out some events that had been running, successfully for several years, for instance the event by IT Politisk Forening.

I’ve been noticing that Kulturnatten over the years has become more and more like a carnival, and that was somewhat annoying, but I think that the strict selection of “relevant” events is an example of elitism.

This being said, the Kulturnat is an impressive show of strength, and I’ll keep on attending, even though I strongly disagree with the new policy of the organisers.

List of events I’m planning to attend:
Kultmusik og magiske videoinstallationer
Kultfænomenet Snöleoparden fylder gården med sin særlige equilibristiske nordiske version af østens musik, alt imens den verdensberømte kunstner Yang Fudongs magiske videoinstallationer tegner billed…

Time: 18:00 – 00:00
Place: GL STRAND, Gammel Strand 48

Lasershow illuminerer facaden på Charlottenborg
Facaden på Charlottenborg er hele kulturnatten illumineret med klassisk italiensk billedkunst. Lasershow arrangeret af den romerske kunstner Livia Canella.

Time: 18:00 – 00:00
Place: Danmarks Kunstbibliotek, Kongens Nytorv 1, Postboks 1053

Konspirationsteorier fra Tempelriddere til 11. sep
Konspirationsteorier er som en virus, der angriber, når immunforsvaret er svækket. Med benhård historisk kildekritik afmonterer Dan H. Andersen nogle af nutidens mest populære myter og konspirationst…

Time: 20:30 – 21:30
Place: Frederiksberg Bibliotek, Falkoner Plads 3

Polkageist Power Party
Nyd energifyldt koncert inspireret af salsa, calypso, funk, rock og balkanmusik sammen med “cool” øko-snacks.
Generel info: handicapfaciliteter, bespisning

Time: 21:00 – 22:30
Place: Det Europæiske Miljøagentur, Kongens Nytorv 6

Social networking /foredrag
Kim Sneppen, Models of Life, NBI

Time: 22:00 – 22:30
Place: Niels Bohr Institutet, Blegdamsvej 17

Herredømmet – Lykke, Thordal, Trier & Zahle
Carsten Lykke, Kenneth Thordal, Tobias Trier & Oliver Zahle pisker stemningen helt i vejret med en vittig, varm og swingende koncert om den moderne mands genvordigheder. Sangenes tema “Mænd forstår a…

Time: 22:00 – 00:00
Place: Frederiksberg Bibliotek, Falkoner Plads 3

Salsa Loca – Kulturnattens hedeste danseaften
Traditionen tro spiller Salsa Loca op til dans. Kulturnatten afsluttes på denne måde med et brag af en fest med livesalsamusik af bedste kvalitet og dans til den lyse morgen.

Time: 22:00 – 03:00
Place: Krudttønden, Serridslevvej 2

See also:

The financial crisis: a control mechanism?

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Ted Spread Chart - Data To 9 26 08For 10-years the Danish housing market has enjoyed inflatory growth rates, backed by changing administrations in an unholy alliance with the credit-unions, and a seemingly never-ending, and historically cheap, credit, the average to upper middle-class financed their escalating consumerism by “eating bricks” (i.e. taking out mortgages).

Everybody knew it would end at some point, but what is the solution suggested by our politicians? Bail-out packages of historic proportions.

We can’t afford that people loose faith in “our” financial institutions.

Suddenly they’re ours? What has happened the last 10 years is that credit-giving has been based on the premisses that housing-prices will keep going up at super-inflatory rates, and when credit was running thin, we’ll just boost it by allowing people to take out mortgages where you only pay the interest.

This has led to the following:

  1. Higher prices, effectively baring first time buyers from owning a house
  2. No-one can afford to move, because the prices have skyrocketed, seriously limiting the flexibility of the workforce
  3. Now that prices have dropped, you’re left with huge monthly payments, that you can’t afford if you loose your job

Our financial institutions
The Danish financial market has undergone the biggest changes in more than 100 years over the last 10-20 years.

The Danish credit-unions was based on solidarity and they were owned by the mortgage-holders not the big banks, if you look at your mortgage payments, you’ll notice that you pay something called “bidrag”, these days it’s simply a fee, but it used to be called “reservefondsbidrag” (“reserve-fee”), and it was paid back to mortgage holders if the credit-union did have to dig into the reserves, read was running a healthy business.

Why the focus on stock prices?
Personally I don’t understand the huge focus on stock prices. The stock-market is highly volatile, and what is reported in the news is the stock index, which is an average based on a selected few of the major companies, the Danish stock-exchage index is called OMX-20, the 20 refers to the fact that only 20 of the listed companies are counted in the index.

The market cap of these 20 companies does indeed represent a huge percentage of the total market, but they’re also carefully selected based on the performance of the stock, and if one or a few of the 20 companies sneezes the market catches a cold.

The focus on stock-prices will only hit you if you sell, if the companies are healthy they will make a profit, and you’ll receive dividends

Mortgage 101: Why I sleep tight at night
My own mortgage is made up of 60% variable rate, and it’s refinanced every year. Right now it looks like I’ll have to pay .5% higher interest next year, but I think this might change and probably to the better. Why do I think so? The variable rate mortgages are financed by selling of bonds, and since we have a financial crisis that hits the stock market, bonds are in higher demand which means higher prices and thus lower interest rates.

The financial crisis also means that short-term bonds should be in higher demand, making the variable rate mortgages more attractive. But since the short-term bonds are less attractive for the credit-unions, they’re trying to convince the mortgage-owners to refinance or take out insurance, which will make them more money.

I’m keeping my variable-rate, short-term, mortgage.

Take back your financial institutions
I suggest that we go back and look at how the credit-unions originally were organised, owned by the mortgage-holders, based on solidarity and healthy loan giving.

The idea of people being able to finance their house is instrumental in improving the quality of life, a lot of people haven’t been able to afford this due to the inflatory prices and rampant mortgage-giving using creative and unhealty offers.

It’s time to take back our financial institutions and our lives, but also to stop the rampant consumerism and the irresponsible behaviour, that is helping destroy the planet.

The financial crisis: a control mechanism?
Personally I feelthink that the financial crisis is a “control mechanism” on the scale of “The Matrix”. It’s meant to scare us into fearing the future, and since we’ve taken out loans we can’t really afford to pay, driven by irresponsible lending politics, we’re forced to work even harder, and even remain active in the workforce for a longer period.

Hmm, this sounds exactly like what the OECD and The Danish Economic Council, and thus the Government, has prescribed.

Sources:

The image that is used above is taken from WikiMedia Commons and it shows the “TED spread”.

The “TED Spread” is a measure of credit risk for inter-bank lending. It is the difference between: 1) the risk-free three-month U.S. treasury bill rate; and 2) the three-month London Interbank Borrowing Rate (LIBOR), which represents the rate at which banks typically lend to each other. A higher spread indicates banks perceive each other as riskier counterparties. The t-bill is considered “risk-free” because the full faith and credit of the U.S. government is behind it; theoretically, the government could just print money so you will get your principal back at maturity.

From WikiMedia Commons (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Image:TED_Spread_Chart_-_Data_to_9_26_08.png&oldid=243108019)

Ba-Ba-Ba-BarCamp Copenhagen 8.2-Hum-A-Nah-Nah-Hum-A-Nah-Nah

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Opdateret den 10-oktober-2008.

Vi har nu fundet stedet vi skal være. Det bliver på Københavns Teknisk Skole på Lygten 16, 2400 København NV. At vi har fundet sådan et fantastisk sted, betyder at vi udvider antallet af deltagere fra 50 til 100.

Så skal vi til det igen, for tredie gang i alt, og for anden gang i år, bliver der afholdt BarCamp Copenhagen (applause).

Det eneste der er helt klart på nuværende tidspunkt er at dDet kommer til at foregå i på Københavns Tekniske Skole, Lygten 16, 2400 København NV (doh!), og at det bliver lørdag den 22-november-2008 fra kl. 10:00 til ??.

Hvis du ser videoen nedenfor så lover vi i øvrigt at “blyanterne vil vende tilbage”, hvis vi ikke finder nogle sponsorer. Vi vil gerne holde BarCamp gratis, men også på et vist niveau, så hvis vi ikke finder sponsorer, så må vi skrue ned for ambitionsniveauet, og i januar var vores prop altså nogle blyanter – fine, jo vist – men vi vil så gerne give jer noget endnu bedre.

Reglerne kender i vist efterhånden, ellers kan i læse dem her.

BarCamp handler om deltagelse, så det der gør BarCamp interessant, er DIG. Vær parat til at dele!

Til de første to BarCamp Copenhagen handlede det mest om præsentationer, men i år håber vi at kunne få mere gang i nogle diskussioner, og måske vil vi forsøge os med et mere workshop eller open space lignende format, smid evt. en kommentar hvis du har nogle ideer!

Vi regner med at have plads til 50 100 mennesker deltagere, og vi har allerede nu 31 tilmeldinger.

Så skynd dig at melde dig til ved at redigere wiki-siden på BarCamp.org, eller ved at bruge vores Facebook gruppe.

Ses vi? Det tror jeg nok vi gør!

Læs også: