Apparently, the tech press is abuzz with controversy about Mike Arrington’s continuing success at actually saying what he thinks. Disclosure: I am a big fan of everything Mike does, and particularly his skill at reinventing the media. I should be considered completely biased in that regard, and you should discount everything I say accordingly.
Looking back over the past week of TechCrunch, several themes emerge. First, there’s an amazing amount of nothing going on by Apple, Google, and that company up north with the Windows thing. Apple is apparently moving toward going cloud big time. Disclosure: I love everything Apple does, and therefore am completely biased toward its products, strategies, and even idiosyncrasies like auto-replacing “its” with “it’s” even when it never means “it is” approximately 97 percent of the time.
Google is apparently getting ready to not announce anything about its social media strategy at its developer conference this week. Disclosure: I love Google and everything it does, just not as much as Apple. So when I say Android i’m really thinking iOS, and when I say AirPlay I’m really meaning AirPlay. We gave my brother Dan an Apple TV for his birthday, and are enjoying his attempts to integrate the box into his all Android all the time environment. Particularly amusing is his conjecture on the availability of the Remote app in the Android marketplace.
This past week was the first week where I literally never took my laptop out of its bag. Instead, I lived non-stop with the iPad, using the WordPress app to edit a typo in last week’s column, the Concur app to make a meaningless dent in my expenses backlog, and doing amazing work at salesforce.com throughout the rest of my waking hours. FaceTime and Skype kept me in the loop with family and friends, and yesterday I rented the episode of Grey’s Anatomy my father in law erased while taping Jeopardy.
A word about renting: I love renting shows for 99 cents and having them never touch a hard drive except for the brief caching period where Apple TV uses its “storage” to stage the show locally. I also love how Apple TV does the same thing when I use AirPlay to push a recorded show from my iPad to the big screen, saving battery time on the iPad once the show is cached. As more and more of my media consumption flows through the iPad, every little bit of battery conservation makes an increasing difference.
Somehow in the last few months of iPad living, my years of aversion to renting and preference for “owning” have inverted. I used to value the illusion that a book was mine to control, where the digital version was constrained and ephemeral. Disclosure: I’m about to make a Beatle reference. I love the Beatles and so does Apple. If I type beatles on the iPad it autocorrects to Beatles; try typing android and see what happens.
So I bought or was given the John Lennon autobiography by Philip Norman a few years ago. I read it in fits and starts, right up until someone (maybe me, maybe not) spilled coffee on it and saturated the first third of a very long book. I spent an hour separating the pages and drying them individually so as not to lose too much of the narrative. Then the iPad arrived, I downloaded the book from the Kindle app, and never touched the paper version again. Moral: you own the print version as in You Break It You Buy It. I own the coffee-stained stuck-together pages where John met Paul and decided to bring him in even though he would ultimately take over and spend weeks on Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. I read about this on the iPad.
Today the world is about catching up and staying connected. Push notification is the mechanism that controls our access to information, defines the state we left ourselves in when last we connected, and maintains the new illusion of ownership — of ideas, trends, responsibilities, and commitments. In a world where bandwidth is the new gasoline, we rely on graceful failover as something more secure than the physical reality it used to emulate. Today the cloud is more real than the services it wraps. When the cloud breaks, we realize it becomes more secure as a result.
Every tweet is a disclosure of who, what, and where we are. Every @mention, a disclosure of who we care about, and why. Every time I see somebody doubt 140 characters is enough to communicate, I laugh. Disclosure: I am the sum of my conflicts of interest. My biases make me who I am. People who live in glass houses should invest in Windex.