Steve, I’m impressed

I have to say, Apple has done an amazing job with the hype around the upcoming iPhone. We are two days before the actual availability of this new device, and it’s the number one topic of interest online and off-line. I only hope that the amazing Cupertino, CA based marketing machine hasn’t oversold a “revolution” in smart-phones that cannot be delivered.

I was a few days in the USA for a user conference and had the opportunity to experience first hand the work done by Apple’s communication and marketing teams in preparation of the iPhone availability at 18.00 local time on June 29, 2007… Blogs and news sites are buzzing like crazy about this new device, Podcasts covering the whole tech world spend most of the show talking about it, and the daily nation-wide newspapers provide in-depth coverage of the convergence between and iPod, a Phone and an Internet device, some even doing so on the front page.

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Continue reading Steve, I’m impressed

A brief history of the Psion organizer

In a nostalgic note, The Register, an online news site from the UK, has written an in-depth history of the Psion organizers. This device was, and still is, an amazing piece of technology with many features modern smart phones can only dream of having. I never became a Psion user myself (I went the Palm route), but a few of my friends where huge fans of these devices (mainly the Serie 3 and then the Serie 5). The Psion OS had features equivalent to OLE links on Windows that PalmOS still is lacking today, amazing response speed and great usability. The OS itself lives on in the form of Symbian, used by Sony Ericsson and Nokia for many of their smart phones.

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Why leave the towels on the rack in hotel bathrooms?

In almost every hotel I’ve been in recent years, there has always been a little card in the bathroom with a text similar to this:

Dear Guest,
Every day, millions of gallons / liters of water are used to wash towels that have only been used once. You can help the environment by putting your towels back on the racks, which will mean “I will use it again”. If you leave it on the floor, it means “please replace”. Thank you for helping conserving Earth’s vital resources.

As a good Swiss who is mindful of the scarce resources on the small planet we all live, I always put my towels back on the rack. But nine times out of ten, when I get back to my hotel room in the evening, I find that all the towels in the bathroom have been changed! This leads me to a simple question: Why did I even bother?

Currently staying in San Diego, California, I guess that the underpaid illegal immigrants who clean the hotel rooms in the region don’t understand English very well, but the hotel management could explain the rule during training. If it’s to make the guest feel he did his ecologically-friendly action of the day to feel better when he steps in his huge SUV as he will have forgotten it anyway in the evening, then don’t bother putting that little card in the bathroom.

OK, I’ll stop my complain. But to all the hotel mangers out there, please stop providing me the impression that if I do this little thing, I’ll help save the planet, and then show me that you didn’t care in the first place and that this little card in the bathroom was just part of the hotel policy to provide a better “experience” to its guests.

Update: Day two of staying in the same hotel… I had to continue my experiment. Well, nothing changed, still got new towels when I came back to my room.

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Windows is the new “Classic” after all.

In a previous blog entry written just after the introduction of the first version of Boot Camp by Apple and of Parallels Desktop, I was wondering if Windows could actually, looking at a potential future roadmap of Mac OS, become the new Classic for Intel based Macs, just like MacOS 9 was for PowerPC based machines. Since then, Apple continued to release updates to the Beta of Boot Camp and Parallels continued improvements to its virtual machine software.

Yesterday, version 3.0 of Parallels Desktop got released, introducing many new improvements such as 3D support (for the gamers out there) as well as even closer integration with the Mac through a method called “Coherence”. This enables users to hide the Windows desktop and have applications made for Microsoft’s operating system run side by side with those for MacOS X. From a user experience, it’s really very similar to the Classic mode on PowerPC based computers from Apple. So yes, in my mind, Windows is the new Classic after all.

In an even more interesting move, Apple chose to release the new beta version of Boot Camp yesterday. The latest version has improved drivers for Windows XP and Windows Vista. But what surprised me is the fact that both Parallels 3.0 and Boot Camp 1.3 Beta got out the same day, just a few days before WWDC. Now, how likely is it that two companies release updates to products that work together (you can use a Boot Camp partition in Parallels) on the same day? I haven’t seen any mention that Parallels requires the latest version of Boot Camp, but part from that, for those who believe in conspiracy theory and love rumors that are made out of nowhere, what if Apple and Parallels where working together for one of the top secret features of Leopard that will potentially get announced next week… :-)

Update: There might actually be nothing between Parallels and Apple, except a big coincidence… If you have Boot Camp 1.3 Beta drivers installed on Vista, you won’t be able to use that partition in Parallels as it freezes your machine.

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