Apple’s New Tables

Apple’s new campus is large that it requires super long tables. 500 of them. 18′ each. The Apple Store tables are nice, but the Apple Campus tables are nice and suitable for a game of shuffleboard.

They’re being made in Europe, with wood from Belgium and German. And then shipped to California, which is what turned out to be the most fascinating part of the story for me:

The order of Pod Island Tables is currently in transit inside capacious 40′ x 40′ shipping containers, each piece carefully protected within large aluminum wrap, each piece vacuum sealed to keep the wood protected as they journey across the Atlantic. Eventually each of the 500 tables—alongside 300 Essenza tables, and 200 other benches—will be installed by crane and dolly within Apple Campus 2, where the company’s nearly 13,000 employees will come into contact with a table that began its life nearly 6,000 miles away, each as unique as the towering trees with which each was made.

The mind boggles… I just love the picture of something being vacuum sealed inside of aluminum foil, too. I never buy bigger than the 75′ roll when it’s on sale. I can’t imagine the size of the box they use for these tables. Maybe they’re available at CostCo?

Also, it would likely drive me nuts to work at a place like Apple or Pixar which they design to make sure more social interactions are forced to happen. Ick. I hate cubicles as much as the next guy, but I hate those rows of computers in open planned offices that Silicon Valley seems to love so much, even more

Apple Computers are Cheap

Apple iMac box

My first computer was a Commodore 64. I used it for 12 years. (OK, it was the family computer, purchased around Christmas of 1983, I believe. After a few years, I was the only one using it. I used it up until 1994 for all my school work, amongst other things.)

Then I bought a series of Windows machines. Every two years or so, I’d spend another $1500 -$2000 on computer, usually from Gateway (and then Gateway 2K).

In 2004, I switch to Mac and bought a Power Mac. In 2010, I picked up an iMac. In 2016 now, I bought a new iMac with a Retina Display.

Everyone’s first reaction is, "Whoa, that must have cost a bundle."

No, actually, it’s cheaper than those Windows computers ever were. These Macs have lasted, on average, two to three times as long as the PCs, for just slightly more than what I was buying a PC at. And this 2010 Mac is still a viable machine, and will be handed down so it can continue to be used far into the future.

Zynga: Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

Zynga is floundering, and I’m here to jump prematurely on its grave a little…

Zynga logo

A year and a half ago, I appeared on a morning show on CNBC to talk about a comic book auction. While I was in the green room, a segment was airing that talked about Zynga and its rising fortunes. 1

I fumed a bit, because I knew that the person reporting this had to be tech illiterate to not see how bad an investment Zynga was. How Zynga relied on games it copycatted, if not outright stole. How it survived only because it preyed on weak game players and those who are stupid enough to spend money on disposable digital assets.

In a follow-up email with the producers of my segment, I mentioned that if they even needed someone to appear to talk about how ludicrous Zynga is, let me know and I’d be happy to come on.

I said it half jokingly, because I knew nothing would come of it. I have no status in the tech or financial world. I’m just a computer programmer who followed Apple too closely, right? Why would they put me on air? At least with the comics, they can credit me to “ComicBookResources.com“.

It took a little longer than expected, but the Fall of Zynga is well underway. Besides losing its CEO again (and paying the new one close to $2 million), it’s astounding losses have mounted to a billion dollars. The inertia of its early successes carried it this far, but it’s not going to last much longer.

Schadenfreude.

  1. The segment likely also featured King of Candy Crush fame. My opinion is much the same. Zynga is just more evil about it.

iPhone Security as a Feature

I thought about this also, but have one rather large, big “but” to add after it:

I don’t think Apple would succumb to that and stop improving their device security, but it shows what an untenable position the government is trying to put Apple in. The only easy way out for Apple, if they lose, is to stop making iPhones truly secure.

But: Apple Pay. That’s the big selling point of a big feature that Apple can’t afford to just walk away from right now. Well, I guess they could, but I’m sure they don’t want to. They just rolled out in China.

China. You know, that place President Obama wants to stop hacking American technology companies, while now asking those companies to make their products less secure and easier for foreign countries to hack…

The Best Apple News of the Decade

AppleInsider reports:

A series of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings reveal activist investor Carl Icahn and David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital both shed Apple stock in the fourth quarter of 2015 after bullish prospects

Apple has to be relieved. Those who are most likely to amount an aggressive attack on the company just weakened their own positions.

Tired of Earnings

Apple will announce its quarterly earnings tomorrow.

These events used to be fun. Sadly, the realities of Wall Street, disconnected as they are from reality, make these events ultimately frustrating and sad. After a solid month or two of analysts doing everything they can to tank the stock, there’s no numbers in the world that Apple could realistically come up with tomorrow to make them happy.

And, if they did, the stock would tank because the analysts would say there’s no way they could top it next quarter, so sell, sell, sell.

Reality is unhinged from Wall Street.

Sales go up and down. There are natural progressions of products and product lines. Apple eventually eats its own and moves in new directions.

I’m almost wistful for the days when nobody cared, the numbers were small, and merely surviving was considered a success. Now, Apple is held up to impossibly high standards. And the metrics used to determine success or failure are just plain dumb. “Oh, no, the average price of an iPhone is only $640 instead of $646 this past quarter? Apple is doomed!” “Android now controls 80% of the market? There’s no way Apple can survive that — except for the fact that Apple takes 80% of the profits in that market, but let’s not let money get in the way of a specious argument.”

So I’ll look at the numbers tomorrow out of curiosity, just to see how product lines are faring. Then I’ll fire up the most awesome desktop computer I’ve ever owned — the one with an Apple logo on its front – and go back to creating stuff that makes me happy. I just hope the machinations of Wall Street don’t ruin it for the Apple employees who deserve to be well compensated.

Remember the good old days when Apple would make projections that everyone knew were a joke? They were so far on the low side that Apple couldn’t help but beat them every quarter even if they slept in for the three months. And Wall Street ate it up.

Idiots.

Researching a New iMac

I’m pricing out a new iMac 27” desktop. I’m very excited to update my five year old model and get a retina display along the way. Sometimes, old machines just get slow for seemingly no reason. C’est la vie.

I used to buy a new Windows PC every two years back in the day, but the processors were also jumping to new speeds quite often then, too. Things have slowed down in that regard, but I think five years is still a good run. Apple bloggers and podcast pundits would have you believing you need a new machine every 10 months, at worst, but let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment here: We don’t.

In pricing this new machine out, I came up against one of the usual issues with Apple’s computers. Over the years, people say that Apple has gotten better about the price of its RAM upgrades. Maybe that’s true with the laptops, but it doesn’t seem to hold up with the desktops. With the last two desktops I’ve bought, I’ve always taken the base model and then bought RAM separately from OWC or Crucial.

The 27” iMac comes with 8GB standard, which is just far too low, especially for someone like me who tends to have three art programs open at the same time (Acorn and Manga Studio, for starters, plus maybe Image Well or Image Capture or, heaven forbid, Adobe Lightroom) next to multiple web browser windows and a text editor or two, at the least.

You can upgrade from 8GB to 16GB for $200, which seems almost reasonable, or 8GB to 32GB for $600, which just blows the doors of reasonable, takes the rest of the car body to the junkyard, and has the Hulk do an Irish dance on top of it.

Installing new RAM on an iMac 27” machine is still as simple as it gets. It’s the one remaining hold out for upgradability on a Mac machine. The smaller 21.5” iMacs do not allow for RAM modification without pulling off the screen, which I would never attempt. And it only has two slots, anyway.

I looked it up on OWC (which is MacSales.com), and they have multiple options to replace or add onto those 8GB. You can add two 4GB sticks to get up to 16GB of memory for a mere $63.75. Or, you can replace all four sticks with 8GB sticks for $224. Basically, for just a few bucks more than Apple’s upgrade to 16GB, I can go the whole 32GB. Sold!

From there, the prices jump up a bit. You can add two 16GB sticks to the extant 8GB for 40GB of memory at $359, or go all the way and plug in 4x16GB sticks (64GB, yowza!) for $699. I’m not a pro; that’s not necessary.

(There are a couple options inbetween, too, but I don’t want to split hairs.)

I’m going to go the $224 route and get 4x8GB sticks.

Then, I’m upgrading the 1TB hard drive to a 2TB fusion drive, because I get 4x the SSD memory with it: 128GB vs 24GB. Sure, I’d love to go all-SSD, but that would blow the budget, even for the tiny drive.

I’ll be ordering it in the next month or so, which gives me some time to clean up my current iMac, and start worrying about how I’m going to get everything set up on the new one. I could just copy everything over, but isn’t a new computer supposed to be the best time to clean old messes up? And the current one is bloated with stuff…

The iPad Pro and Palm Rejection

At the iPad Pro unveiling last month, the folks doing demos on stage had one noticeable tic: None of them wanted to use the pencil while placing their hand on the screen.

And in the videos introducing the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil, many of the people drawing did so with a conspicuously raised hand.

I admit it; I was one of those who was worried that the palm rejection wasn’t good on the device.

Recently, Apple sent some iPad Pros over to PIXAR to try out, and the response was positive, along with word that palm rejection was “perfect.”

So I went back to the videos from the original introduction and watched them with fresh eyes. Guess what?

There are plenty of examples in the two videos of people drawing with their fleshy palms on the screen at the same time.

From the iPad Pro introduction video. and the Apple Pencil introduction video:







Even the pinky can’t distract the iPad Pro

Lesson learned? We often find proof to fit our own narratives, when the truth is staring us right in the face.

I think Confucius taught me that.