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by: Bernard Teo






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Copyright © 2003-2012
Bernard Teo
Some Rights Reserved.

Sat 12 Nov 2005

Prescience?

Category : Commentary/prescience.txt

I was following a particular hit, looking through my server log. It's a search through the weblog for the keyword "Wheelock", and it returned three hits, a couple of which I found interesting given what's happening now.

First, "Will we get an AppleStore?". I said it's a no-brainer (in a phrase that's already dated). Plus, what are they waiting for? Well, we still aren't going to get one, not the ones run by Apple anyway, but we are going to get the largest 3rd-party-run Apple retail centre in this part of Asia, in about a week's time. That store will open at The Orchard Cineleisure, which is probably the best place in Singapore to open such a store, and that's something to look forward to.

Next, "Dull as Dell". Well, Dell's looking not too bright these days, but what caught my eye were these paragraphs in the article:

I was at the Sakae Sushi joint next to the AppleCentre at Wheelock. My favourite table is where I can just look across at the action.

It was the iPod Live launch. And I'm thinking of the comment by Richard Lim ("Got Singapore") on Sunday that these hand-held devices are going to get ever more powerful and the next natural progression we're going to see is video.

Now who's going to be able to build that? Not the kids at Sim Lim Square snapping up their own PCs, looking for the cheapest deal. Not even Dell.

I believe that the future favours makers of integrated products. Products that show a tight integration between hardware and software. In all the dark years of Apple's troubles, I still believed they were right. They were criticised for not licensing out their operating system, leaving the field open for Bill Gates and Windows. But what if, having known all that, Apple would still have done what they did. It's in their DNA to build the hardware with the software, as one indivisible whole.

So they did. The video iPod has now come to pass. Should we be surprised? Let's move on and look at the next paragraph,

Now back again to Dell. Just what have they done? They've not made the pie any bigger. Instead, they've just grabbed more and more slices to themselves, bleeding the competition dry in a painful price war. What the PC user loses is the innovation that Andy Grove talked about that would have made more out of the processor.

So what did Andy Grove talk about?

In "Co-opetition" by Brandenburger and Nalebuff, Intel's Andy Grove made a rather surprising comment about the other half of the Wintel duopoly, "Microsoft doesn't share the same sense of urgency [to come up with an improved PC]. The typical PC doesn't push the limits of our processors ... It's simply not as good as it should be, and that's not good for our customers."

So, who then has been pushing the limits, and what could that mean?

But we all know who's always been pushing at the limits of technology. Perhaps it should not be surprising if, one fine day, Mac users are going to be using Intel chips. After all, by several accounts including Andy Grove's, he and Steve Jobs have kept up a rather friendly dialogue all these years. When the migration to OS X is complete, soon, things may get even more interesting.

That sent a chill down my spine. Written on 16th June 2003. Am I clairvoyant, or what?

We're looking ahead to the first MacTels - Macs on Intel chips - probably as early as January.

We're probably going to be able to run Windows at native speed on these machines. They're going to be the only machines that cover all the bases (Mac OS X, Linux and Windows). They're going to be sexy as hell. They're going to be cheaper even than Dells, or in any case, provide unprecedented value for money.

And, when we're done crossing over, we'll get to run Mac OS X on those other ordinary PCs.

No, I'm not dreaming. Or being inconsistent. Because, by that time, things are really going to be different...

Posted at 1:20PM UTC | permalink

Sun 20 Feb 2005

Will we get an Apple Store?

Category : Commentary/applestorequestion.txt

Will we see an Apple Store (a physical one, that is) in Singapore? I was at that AppleCentre at Wheelock, above the Borders book store, during lunch. It's right next to the sushi joint, where my wife likes to take the kid, and I think you can get a feel for how well the Mac market is doing from watching the size of the crowd.

By a lot of accounts, this place isn't synonymous with good or pleasant service, but still, the crowd's pretty big. Huge, actually.

So, I think an Apple Store in Singapore will do very well. Note that this is only conjecture. I don't have too many friends in Apple's sales team and I'm definitely not privy to any plans. But to me, it's a no-brainer. What are they waiting for?

Posted at 10:09AM UTC | permalink

USB Flash Drives & The Little Mac Shop That Could

Category : Technology/USBFlashDrives.txt

I bought a couple of USB Flash Drives yesterday from a Mac shop called SGL Marketing at Sim Lim Square. It's a little, hole-in-the-wall, almost impossible-to-find niche near the overhead bridge between Sim Lim Square and Albert Complex across the road. But Mac users in the know will make our way there because you get the best deals and the most pleasant Mac-like service.

I actually bought one 1 GB drive first but I found it was slow and, at that rate, I'll never be able to fill it up. So S. G. Lee allowed me to swap it (even though I've already tried it) for two 512 MB versions, which turned out to be cheaper, and she surprisingly returned me the difference with a smile. (Now where else would you get that? At that AppleCentre at Wheelock? Don't make me laugh). Don't let that dingy, worn carpeting fool you. They're the real class act.

I'm really behind the curve with USB thumb drives. I realised that it's great for copying over the course materials quickly when people turn up for our courses. I believe that a very high percentage of the attendees actually own iBooks or PowerBooks. So it's possible to see the day when we don't have to set up the lab machines. Everybody will bring their own.

Also, while copying over stuff to the thumb drives, I kept getting errors and I realised that application bundles couldn't be copied over. So something must be wrong. That's when I found that you can re-format the drives to OS X Extended format (they were originally in the old OS 9 Mac-PC Exchange format, I think). After that, things speeded up a lot and the copying errors went away. So the 1 gig drive should have worked well, after all.

Posted at 9:34AM UTC | permalink

Mon 16 Jun 2003

As Dull as Dell

Category : Commentary/dullasdell.txt

I was at the Sakae Sushi joint next to the AppleCentre at Wheelock. My favourite table is where I can just look across at the action.

It was the iPod Live launch. And I'm thinking of the comment by Richard Lim ("Got Singapore") on Sunday that these hand-held devices are going to get ever more powerful and the next natural progression we're going to see is video.

Now what does it take to do that? Even higher capacity drives. A little bigger screen. In colour, definitely, with very fine pixels and sharp picture quality. A litte bigger form factor, but not too much. Needs to be still slim. And still weigh not more than two CDs. And FireWire 2 or 3 or its equivalent, to keep the data transfer times short. And tight software integration with the mother ship, the personal computer that was used to create or edit all the video.

Now who's going to be able to build that? Not the kids at Sim Lim Square snapping up their own PCs, looking for the cheapest deal. Not even Dell.

I believe that the future favours makers of integrated products. Products that show a tight integration between hardware and software. In all the dark years of Apple's troubles, I still believed they were right. They were criticised for not licensing out their operating system, leaving the field open for Bill Gates and Windows. But what if, having known all that, Apple would still have done what they did. It's in their DNA to build the hardware with the software, as one indivisible whole.

Now back again to Dell. Just what have they done? They've not made the pie any bigger. Instead, they've just grabbed more and more slices to themselves, bleeding the competition dry in a painful price war. What the PC user loses is the innovation that Andy Grove talked about that would have made more out of the processor.

Let's say Dell succeeds in totally annihilating the rest of the PC makers (and they may because, for PCs, I've also only bought Dells lately). They're the only ones left standing. Now what do they do with all that power? Will they suddenly know how to innovate and build great products. Not if they haven't spent all of their lives trying to do that in the first place.

Posted at 1:31PM UTC | permalink

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