The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

touching base with Apple and Google and why they may think different but are the same

July29
Apple and Google may appear to think different. however, soon enough, they will be the same.

Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt …”

lets have you privy to a recent exchange with the unrepentant Nicholas…

Going back to 1998 Apple retooled its core operating system and adopted UNIX. https://www.apple.com/opensource/ That is what made OS X so profoundly exciting at the time. What most will never know is that OS X was almost a flavor of Ubuntu. Steve Job’s NeXT (Jobs was fired by Apple. He created NeXT. He was rehired by Apple. They used the Next OS as the foundation for what is now OS X), had several versions under test that were LINUX.

I don’t know anything about the back door issue and the NSA. That would be so contrary to Apple’s overriding philosophy I suspect they would realize a mass exodus from every aspect of leadership. Standing against that sort of thing is part of their collective DNA. Back when Apple and Google were aligned, part of the pact was to create solutions for people, not against them (I understand Apple is sort of viewed as, “the man”, now). That was the underlying effort to, “do no evil” on Google’s part. Jobs helped them form that philosophy. In fact, I asked ______ ______ [Apple executive] about a pact with NSA directly, and his simple response was, “seriously, Cork?”. So, be at ease over that misinformation.

The LG G3 does have Google Now. And, in-line with your insight around Sergey Brin, the only thing I can’t find is Assist (that might be a Motorola thing). However, some of those features are found buried in Settings, anyway. By the way… You say that, “Brin wants Google to give users the information they need before they realize they need it…”. That vision is what many say Steve Jobs offered us all when he gave us products we did not know we could not live without until we had them in our hands.

I’m not biased towards Apple any longer. Your point: “For everyone who isn’t an Apple investor (read: almost everyone), revenue is pointless”, is a good one. I am a shareholder to be sure. But, the big play there (by my terms) is long over. I’m quite pleased with the dividends. If I have a bias today, it leans towards the latest champion. I’m not sure who that is. But, I am having more fun with Google-centric products, partners, and related services. My daughters and all of their friends only want Apple products. For me that makes them boring (kind of ironic, huh?). So, I guess today I am mostly infatuated with LG. The LG Ultra-wide monitor screen made me investigate larger versions for my homes and offices. I also like Samsung products and appreciate how they are helping Google with its own form of eco-system. That said, I am very suspicious of any Korean company. In any event… Something to ponder is that I’m reasonably certain Apple could have put much of the technology many take for granted with Samsung devices, and those developed by LG (Nexus, right?) into the iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and 5S. They tend to be a bit stubborn and wait until those technologies “fit” best. Their vision is to (mostly) offer a very finished feel to their products and services The screens are perhaps the best example). And, that is why I loved Apple; the finished eco-stem that worked easily for me. Meanwhile, start looking for some pretty interesting things to pop up from them based on fairly long-standing patents. Apple genuinely is an innovation company. But, they know when and how to acquire companionable technology. They play the press like a cheap accordion. And, they have a clock in their collective heads that frustrates people outside of the inner circles. But, I do agree that most people around the world need (even more so than want) cutting-edge technology at a certain price-point. Android will probably be the most used operating system for a broad range of technology for quite some time. That said, there is a company in China that might open some eyes with their own Operating System. And, I don’t really care about perception of market share. Despite that Apple keeps making more money every quarter despite packing their products with better technology and still incrementally reducing the price (iMacs, MacBooks, etc). Also… Today devices like the Lg G3, Galaxy S5, and Nexus 5 are more expensive than an iPhone. There is a Chromebook on the market for over $1600 (its all about the screen [I can relate because I found the LG ultra-wide just so I could make the images pushed by my ASUS Chromebox better]). Some how that tid-bit has managed to stay out of the press, and our reporting consciousness. What I think will be interesting is to see what happens when we have price convergence. Meanwhile, I certainly agree with you that Google delivers. Its just that each market seeks its “happy spot”, and Apple can still scratch an itch that satisfies both users and shareholders (thats their “job”). Today, I don’t really see much difference between an iPhone and my LG. I actually like Sunrise Calendar better than Apple’s iCal. Verizon’s cross-platform messaging is on-par with Apple’s. LG’s keyboard is about as good as Apple’s (for the first time I am comfortable texting on an Android device).

I’ll wave a caution flag for you, here… When the next iOS is released, and people see how it is integrated with OS X Yosemite now, they are going to be stunned. In closing on this part of the exchange, and despite all of our theories and opinions, a clear advantage that Google has over Apple today is the founders still live. I’m once again a Google supporter.

And, Nicholas, I have you to thank for that because I always, always, valued and appreciated your conviction and passion over the company.

– Brian

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brian and Nicholas and the current state of relevant Technology

June11

long-time readers of this blog are quite familiar with Nicholas Johnson.

I’ll share a recent email I sent him (well it was this very daily, in fact) in response to some advice I was seeking from him around a Chromebox. Nicholas is quite the Android afficianado, and technologist:

Good morning Nicholas.

Thanks for the link. I’m getting old in terms of many proclivities. For example I find myself less interested in what most people write, and my tolerance for poor research has ebbed to practically nil.

However, I’m keen for this exchange given our shared passion for technology.

So… I agree with you that the author of the piece you have shared with me strives for objectivity. I have an intellectual understanding of why Apple takes other companies to court. I just don’t like anyone using the judicial system as a blunt-edged weapon. So, I appreciate Apple’s efforts as a shareholder, but resent the ponderousness of it all. Having said that, I’m not convinced that either Apple or Google (or Samsung) are genuinely pioneering new technology. I used “pioneering” because my fingers won’t let me tap “innovative” (rats!) again. All three companies acquire, borrow or utilize technology from other sources. Their “job” (what word would you use?) is to leverage technology in a meaningful way that makes it appealing and useful to improve our quality of life and productivity. So, I guess it comes down to competition or packaging and presentation. All three companies spend a lot of money on R&D. And, it seems analysts are judging companies by their R&D budgets. If you combined the R&D budgets of those three example companies you could probably run economy of Great Britain.

There is a great deal of anticipation around the up-coming Apple iPhone 6. I’ve seen the working prototype and I want it more than I did the iPhone 5. In-fact, I use an iPhone 5C (my daughters have the 5S), and I’ve never really cared about it. The device works fine. As you know, I keep looking for someone else to come up with a device I like more. This includes HTC, LG, Samsung, etc. They make terrific hardware that is probably as good as Apple’s. My ONLY issue with those devices is that Android does not work for me. Its my sensibilities. I want it to work; and badly. Its just not there, yet. However, I know that eventually the Android experience will be on-par with Apple’s. And, the competition is terrific for consumers. Its also endlessly fascinating to me that the iPhone 6 will likely be a singular event that will push the planet off its axis. Its important for technology enthusiasts, shareholders, and people that care about how and why cultures work. A lot of people will buy the iPhone. It will generate record revenue for a company that sets the standard for profits (and margins). Its simply astonishing that a company of this vintage can raise its own bar again and again while setting the standard for best practices (or, perhaps that is precisely the point).

Circling back to pioneering/ innovation/ experience… I’m going to use the iPhone 6 as an example for my entire email thus far. Lets focus on the screen. Apple is finally delivering a device with a larger screen – something Android users have had options for going on roughly three years. I know that Apple could have delivered a larger screen as well before now but had concerns about pixel density, screen quality, and how applications looked on the device. With Apple, form, function and appearance (the experience) drive decisions – not the opinion of analysts. Also, Apple is constantly refining its products and incrementally reducing the cost without dropping quality (the recent upgrades for the Macbook Air and iMac are good examples). And, this brings into sharp focus the vital difference between the three companies I’m referencing in this email… Apple is the only one of that group that combines hardware and software in their unique mobile devices (I’m not counting Google glass in this example; but then, I don’t know who manufactures that hardware, anyway). Google and Samsung have an uneasy alliance that benefits one another. Apple stands alone. And, maybe thats another reason why the Apple eco-system still feels “tighter” and has a more “finished” feel to it. It also makes it easier to identify with a company that brings the whole package to a market. Google is close (I thought (really believed) it might happen with the acquisition of Motorola – maybe it still will given all the IP Google stripped from it), and that will take me to the ASUS Chromebox, shortly. And, Samsung is working diligently on its own Operating System (“OS”). That is going to make things VERY interesting. Combine their breadth of quality products with an eco-system and… well, …wow…

I talk about this stuff with people daily. Most throw the words Google, Gmail and Android about indiscriminately. They are the same (company/products), but different, right? I love Google. They frustrate me. I want the Android Operating System to be awesome. However, the fact is I am one of those people that will barely scratch the surface in terms of App usability (just like I am with Apple). In fact, other than texting, a flip-phone is probably better suited for me. So, when it comes to Google, I focus on Gmail, Google Drive, and related products. They really are “good enough”. My driving complaint with Gmail is I can’t use multiple email addresses and keep the emails separate like I can on Apple’s Mail or Outlook. Otherwise I would probably use it and do everything from the cloud. Mind you, it bugs me that I can’t use Apple’s iCloud version of Mail for other domain email- for example, brian@unsinkablebriancork.com – (that makes no sense to me at all other than realizing they don’t want you to use their mail on just any computing device). I REALLY wanted Outlook/ Office 365 to work. But, you can’t import contacts into it with contact images intact. That is jaw-dropping and a deal-killer. How is that possible in this digital age?  By the way… Despite goofy stuff like that, the company I’m really watching is Microsoft. I respect the CEO, a lot. More on that later. Possibly over beers.

I’ve just taken a pause, here, and am trying to come up with a reason for focusing on the three companies I have and just realized I’m at the risk of ending-up in a rabbit hole. Now I just had the comforting thought that I actually like and appreciate all three (really, four) of them (the companies). I value Google’s pioneering spirit; I appreciate the breadth, quality and visceral nature of Samsung products; and, I fervently love the Apple experience. Each company satisfies something in almost everyone. However, I have a feeling Microsoft and its evolving Windows is going to get cool (again). They are going to rise as a big turnaround story of relevance.

In any event, I discussed my recent experience with the ASUS Chromebox on Linkedin yesterday. I’ve cut-and-pasted below:

“I remain an Apple loyalist if not evangelist. Earning the mantle of “Apple Fanboy” is no easy task. It means you are expert. And, being expert includes understanding other company’s products. So, I’m exploring the ASUS Chrome Box. This is a VERY inexpensive desktop computing device with a small footprint with an all-Google eco-system. I connected it to a dated HP monitor with an HDMI cable and it fired up in roughly five seconds. It found my internet connection, bluetooth keyboard and mouse easily. I plugged-in my gmail information and I was set-up and in-motion. I recommend it. That said, I think the Apple experience remains superior.

There are several manufacturers of Chromebox. ASUS appears to have the best model. Samsung is getting involved. HP will. Dell did it with a very impressive fob-like device called WYSE Cloud Connect that is similar to the Google Chromecast, but gives you the same result as a Chromebook or Chromebox. Just plug it into a monitor or TV via USB. Very cool. Possibly innovative if part of the definition is usability, mobility and possibly the word, practical.

NOTE: I had a neighbor recently ask me what computer he should ship his daughter off to college with. I told him to purchase an HP Chromebook. She probably has a Gmail account and will use Google Docs for school work. Many/ most colleges leverage the Gmail platform. The Chromebook is sturdy and very inexpensive. Chrome as a browser and OS is fine. Its about a quarter the cost of a Macbook Air.

I am constantly trying to use Ubuntu. I have an Ubuntu box. I have a Lenovo Yoga (stupid name, but terrific hardware), and a Samsung all-in-one desk top. I spend a great deal of time banging around on all of them. But, I always go back to Apple products because they “just work” for me. Some how that is Apple’s differentiator. Others will say its advertising and marketing. But, I do think its our native ability to recognize quality. And Apple has figured out how to make the experience simple and elegant. As soon as someone else – probably Google, Microsoft or Samsung – can match the experience, the devices will all play nice together and all we will care about is the color of the device. But, as I just finished that last sentence, I realized the same argument exists for automobiles. I drive a rigged-up Jeep Wrangler (because I’m a poser) and tell everyone that in Milton, “the Wrangler is the new Porsche”. I also drive a bad-ass Ram 1500 (“El Rojo Grande” to my Lacrosse players). And, we could compare and make the same argument for technology devices as we do for high-end (or, any-end) automobiles. It comes down to style, taste and expectations. There is not a lot difference between cars by class. It comes down to performance and taste.

By the way… I add this with nothing but respect and admiration as my intention… The best strategy Google has deployed today is its mythology around recruiting people. They have created a desire for Google as a cultural phenomenon that is cult-like and unprecedented – creating a associative brand that is awe inspiring. Its cool to work at Google. Its hard to work, as in difficult, at Apple. Soon, its going to be important to work at Microsoft (maybe it always has been – Balmer was just a problem).

More later.

I appreciate you. Oh… And, I miss you as well.

- Brian

The aforementioned email from the indefatigueable, and certainly, redoubtable, Nicholas Johnson:
AreyoureferringtotheChromeBookortheChromeBox?  I believethereisonlyoneChromeBox – which is specifically designed for business.

As far as the Chromebooks go, I have the Samsung and love it, and I’ve implemented the HPs for a couple friends who have nothing but good things to say.  My wife had the Acer and hated it. The trackpad was all screwy. What’s the purpose of the device?
Also, I thought about you recently when reading an article about iOS and Android – http://www.androidauthority.com/real-secret-apples-success-389676/
I think it is fairly well done in terms of maintaining objectivity (difficult on a blog called Android Authority), and it highlights the reason for Apple’s success – unmatched marketing and promotion, not technical prowess.
I hope things are getting better for Joanne. Take care.

Thanks,

Nicholas T Johnson

[REDACTED] mobile
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evidently God was the first Blackberry user

January21

Why Alan Missroon Still Uses a BlackBerry

Bible writers Mark and Luke each refer to the historical account when God spoke to Moses through the burning bush.

in each instance, both Mark and Luke use the Greek word for blackberry when referring to the burning bush.

the inference is that God was the first Blackberry user.

and, since some have speculated that the Devil used an Apple; and everyone knows Android was created by man, Alan Missroon is sticking with the BlackBerry.

while out’s interesting and fun to me, it may not equal any of that with you. however, Thursday I wrote a post titled, Did God give us English or does the language help us define Him. here is a excerpt.

that said, one of my favorite example might end-up “being” the evolution of Artificial Intelligence” (“AI”). at what point will the mote in Gods eye transect with other creation? will AI (or androids, for example) develop independent or unique thought? can you imagine one day a robot writing poetry? would you listen to a robot serve-up a sermon from the pulpit?

so, when I met Alan Friday, and he told me the story I felt providence was once again playing it’s impish role in my life. And, God.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

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Microsoft Outlook reminds me AGAIN why I love Apple

January10

Background:

I’m looking for a platform-agnostic email, contacts and calendar solution that I can use on the web that is ubiquitous. so, for example, if I wanted to use a Chromebook (I love this concept), I could have just about the same utilization of my business emails, contacts and calendars using Chrome (browser). I was hoping that I could also do that on Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, etc., using any internet capable computing device I could get my hands-on.

the closest solution is Google’s App environment. while Gmail remains inelegant and can’t cleanly differentiate between email accounts, it’s really the only (only closest, to be fair) solution out there that suits my objectives.

I’m really pulling for Google these days. Larry listened to Steve Jobs and it’s showing as he matures into a heckua leader.

NOTE: the contacts issue alone regarding Outlook is a deal-breaker. If you are accustomed to using vCards (i.e. Apple Address Book or Gmail Contacts) you are hosed because Outlook.com and Outlook 2013 (PC) strip the pictures out of contacts when imported. this is ridiculous in the digital-age.

meanwhile…

outlook messageI feel like I got hood-winked into purchasing Outlook 365. as I’ve mentioned above, I have been looking for an web solution for calendar, contacts and email. I paid $99 to Microsoft for an annual subscription for the Office 365 Home Premium package. information offered throughout Microsoft’s website is very misleading. so is their sales team.

there are mixed reports from a variety of sources that state Outlook.com syncs with Outlook 2013. however, it evidently requires work-arounds to accomplish that objective. straight answers do not abound. I can’t even get Diane Poremsky, a legendary Microsoft evangelist, to help me in any meaningful way.

it took me three hours last night on the phone with escalating levels of expertise and accents (why in Gods name [Tosha Marks, is this blasphemy?] are companies still subjecting their customers to this insanity?) for Microsoft support to FINALLY admit two important things:

  1. 1. Outlook 365 is really just Outlook.com and an option to download Outlook 2013 to a PC or Outlook 2011 to a Mac. If you want to use Word, Excel, etc., you can’t do so via the web. They can only be used from the desktop. that’s stupid. it really is. I’m told that for the same $99 you can get a reach-around and a nickel bag off Peachtree Industrial. all of it’s trouble.
  2. 2. Outlook.com and Outlook 2013 (for example) don’t synchronize, easily simply. in other words, while you could reasonably expect the calendars and contacts to sync, they don’t. you can MANUALLY import calendar events from Apple’s iCal, and Google calendars, for example. but, no syncing. that is ridiculousNOTE: Getting Google calendars and iCal to sync is not perfect, but it works and appears fairly reliable.

[...sigh...]

I’m going to Linkedin this morning and posting a $1000 reward for the first person that can solve this puzzle for me. I am also contacting Microsoft support again this morning and requesting a refund of my $99. As I type this message into existence I’m wondering if someone is going to contact me and say, “oh… all you needed was the Office 365 BUSINESS Premium account. The MSFT elves were just being mischievous while they were insidiously undermining Steve Ballmer and making a mockery of refined software development and quality control.

I wish Microsoft went to the same level of effort and expense to refine their software as they do in putting misleading content on their website and in training their support staff to compound the problem when engaged. the Andy Kauffman inspired Latka lives, I’m telling you, here.

look… all this said… if I’ve missed something; or anything, I’m happy to admit my failings, and am very open to using Microsoft products. however, this morning I am reliving my conviction to be an Apple evangelist (while maintaining very high expectations for all the other platforms).

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

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What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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