Happy Birthday Macintosh !!!

When I was a junior in college, Apple launched the Macintosh.  Our local computer store in York, PA had a “Try at Home” policy and I was able bring it home for 2 weeks to try it out.  It had a single 3.5” floppy drive and I was constantly swapping between the boot disk and the program I was currently using — but I loved it.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford it and was resolved to buy a Compaq luggable.  But the 2 weeks I worked on a Mac changed the way I viewed computers and what I could do on them.  As a CIS major I spent most of my free time in the computer lab working on a Burroughs 1900 computer learning how to code in Fortran, COBOL and a few other now dead programming languages.  While the school also had Apple II’s (on which I learned C and Pascal), III’s (which is where I first used a word processor), none of the computers I had worked on really were “FUN” to work on.  Looking back over the past 30 years it is easy to see how the Mac changed how the world viewed computers.

That leads me to when I actually received my first Mac.  I say received because 2 years after my 1st experience with a Mac my parents opened a $10,000 CD at the Bowery Savings Bank.  This is back when banks were so happy you entrusted them with money they’d offer depositors a gift as a way of saying thank you.  My parents gift for opening the CD was a Mac Plus.  It became my 1st Mac.  While in college in 1985 I had saved up enough money to purchase my 1st personal computer; a Compaq luggable running DOS. But when I got the Mac I found myself spending hours figuring out how it worked and learning new ways to do things on it.  I bought an external SCSI 10MB external hard drive, 300 baud modem, ImageWriter printer and a few choice Mac programs.  I would spend HOURS creating and storing information in HyperCard.  Even with all the things I can do today in HTML, I still miss HyperCard.

Apple Macplus

 

I sold that Mac back in the early 1990’s and I learned how to get by in the real world on a PC.  First using DOS, OS/2, then Windows and finally Windows NT, but none of those computers were as fun or as supportive a computing environment as my 1st Mac (even with all the frustrations we all experience back then).  Finally in 2000 I got an Apple Powerbook and OS X and things started looking up again, but it wasn’t until 2006 when I bought my MacBook Pro that I finally ditched my IBM Thinkpad (issued by my employer of the same name) and switched to using a Mac 100% of the time.  I am now at Deloitte Digital and happily use a MacBook Air.  I couldn’t imagine working on anything else.

So Happy Birthday Mac and congratulations Apple!

Looking forward to see what the team at Apple develops next!

 

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Chromecast vs Apple TV – The in-home test

Installed and configured Google’s new Chromecast content broadcast device on my 8 YO Sony 1080i HD TV tonight. Installation was fairly straightforward with only a minor process glitch when saving the WiFi login info during setup. [Note: The web app accidentally switches your WiFi connections back to your WiFi network before completing the setup. You need to switch it back to the Chromecast WiFi network to complete installation.] Once the device is configured I was able to easily launch Netflix from either my iPhone or iPad and send the show to the TV by clicking the new Chromecast broadcast button. OOTB I was able to use my Netflix and Youtube apps with the device but did not see the broadcast icon when browsing content via Chrome.

The biggest differences between Apple TV and Chromecast are that, 1) Apple TV is a standalone device, and 2) Apple TV has infinitely more content options available to you. With iCloud you can stream all your purchased Music, TV Shows and Movies to Apple TV. You can also “mirror” anything on your Mac, iPhone or iPad directly on your TV via Airplay.

Chromecast’s immediate advantage is the price and to some degree, size – although none of the Google ads show that you need to two connections to make the device work; HDMI for the image and USB to power the device. Over time Google will update more of their apps and others with the ability to broadcast content to the device. They are also rumors that HBO Go will soon be available (but don’t quote me on that).

The Google Chromecast offering is a good initial attempt but if you are invested in the Apple ecosystem (via iTunes) then Apple TV is still a better way to go. You can even pick-up a refurbished Apple TV for only $75 on their website.

Chromecast Broadcasting Screen

 

 

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Wait … I’m on the wait list?

iPhone 5

New iPhone 5

Just goes to show you .. you can’t believe the naysayers. Even with all the rushed reviews of the iPhone 5 and countless speculators indicating that the next version of the device does not contain significant enough improvements to warrant an upgrade – Apple sold out the 1st batch in less than 1 hour. Important lesson learned — don’t believe everything you read, go with what you believe.

BTW — getting 1 week after launch (and not standing in line in the rain for 3 days) .. I’m OK with that.

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Letter to Steve Jobs

To Steve Jobs,

Of the millions of people in the world who in some way have touched me – you will alway be someone whom without you ever knowing it has had a tremendous positive impact on my life and my career.  Through your vision, drive and unwillingness to compromise you have inspired me.  Through the products you developed at Apple you showed me that it is OK to lead instead of follow. To think differently and to want more from yourself and those around you.  You demonstrated through your example that if you believe in what you are doing and continue to encourage yourself and others to keep trying, you can accomplish great things!  I will always look upon your contribution to the human race and raw strength from your example.

Thank you Steve for being an inspiration to us all.

Sincerely,

Oliver Siodmak

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Fox Sports Mobile App — #1 Free Sports App in the Apple App Store!

It’s hard to believe but in only 3 short days the Fox Sports Mobile app my IBM team and I developed for Fox is now the #1 Free Sports app in the Apple App Store – displacing ESPN!  Additionally — the app continues to receive exceedingly high ratings from new and existing users!  If you haven’t downloaded the app yet, check it out at http://itunes.com/foxsportsapp.

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Additionally, the app is now appearing as #118 of all the free apps in the App Store!

UPDATE:  App is now #99th in the Top Free Apps category in the App Store!

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