Monday, June 25, 2012

@JamesFallows on the state of #SCOTUS today: "Like Chinese courts when I was living there"


"How would you characterize a legal system that knowledgeable observers assume will not follow the law and instead will advance a particular party-faction agenda? That's how we used to talk about the Chinese courts when I was living there. Now it's how law professors are describing the Supreme Court of the John Roberts era."
--James Fallows, perspicacious as always, in The Atlantic

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

@Microsoft's #Surface tablet concept is smart and pretty and desperate and it will #fail.


Might as well go on the record with my prediction here.

MSFT's whizzy new tab will sell out of the gate to the Anything But Apple crowd (a larger bunch than you'd guess) and to people who think they need a keyboard. It will then tail off and flatline, just like the Kindle Fire has. The future of Surface, if it has one, is as a niche player, sustained by huge amounts of Microsoft investment.

The problem is not that Surface is not innovative. It's that it's innovative in the wrong direction -- headed backwards as far as human interface is concerned rather than forward. Beautiful, thin keyboards and slender, hyperaccurate styluses are STILL KEYBOARDS AND STYLUSES.

With Kinect, Microsoft proved that it can pull of disruptive interface innovation for big screens and large areas. Unfortunately, there's really no value prop for Kinect on handheld or desktop devices -- really, are you going to wave at your phone or tablet? So the jury is still out on the future of the mobile computing interface. But we know one thing it's not going to spring from: Better versions of 1980's era technology.

Meanwhile, if you take a look over in Cupertino, you'll see that Apple is doubling down on Siri and adding proprietary mapping/positioning technology to its full line of devices and probably considering what new categories of sensors it should incorporate into its next-next generation of devices -- Apple blazed the trail on incorporating attitude, proximity, acceleration and directional sensors in its handhelds, after all, and there are a few types of environmental data their little wonderslabs still don't pick up...which could make for some interesting new UI solutions.

Add it all up and this is what you get: Apple is springing forward. Microsoft is falling back. 


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