Sunday, October 30, 2011

Perspective Matters

While watching the latest ads for Apple's new iPhone 4s, it occurred to me that in most of the shots only the bottom half of the actor's face is shown. You see their mouth, sometimes their nose, occasionally the eyes. As the ads progress, they show a little more of some faces, but it's clear that the focus is on the person speaking to the phone. This is incredibly important, obviously, as they're marketing a voice assistant feature, but the connection they are able to create is profound.

What I find interesting is that there's nothing to focus on in the shot other than what the person is actively doing. The tight shots create an intimacy with the viewer, as if you're eavesdropping on the people in the spot as they carry on a conversation with their phone.

The ads also begin and end with a POV shot looking down on the phone. The effect of these bookend shots is to place the viewer into the context of using the device, and it's remarkably effective. One can instantly imagine actually using the new feature of the phone that's just been demonstrated.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve's most important lessons

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.
I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
- Taken from the 2005 Stanford commencement speech given by Steve Jobs

Many people have posted one paragraph or another from the speech Steve Jobs gave at the 2005 Stanford commencement. I just wanted to collect the life lessons he learned, removed from the stories he included in the speech. I think it's one of the most poignant assessments of what truly important in how you live your life.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Where are all the Kindle Fire haters?

So here's what I don't get. Why aren't all the Android fans trashing the Kindle Fire? Shouldn't they be dissing this thing with it's gimped feature set? I mean, just look at this crap-tastic spec sheet:

  • Non-HD screen
  • No 3G or 4G
  • Only content from Amazon
  • Curated app store

It just seems like all the people who have been talking shit about the iPad for a variety of reasons would be up in arms over the lack of features in the Fire. In fact, the contrary seems to be true. People are calling the iPad overdone, or too feature-rich. That this is the tablet for the masses. That could be true, but I think it remains to be seen. I think the Fire look a like a fantastic little media device. I'm still on the fence about getting one myself, but I know they're going to sell a ton of them. I just think that the iPad is really a different class of device.

And do people really think that Amazon won't try to make the same experience available to users on iPads too? They already have a Kindle app, and Cloud Player works. There's no reason they can't put it all together to do a bit a more.