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Monthly Archives: April 2011


The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

• Let’s get it out of the way, today was The Royal Wedding. Some of us care, some of us don’t care and our London office had to suffer through a bank holiday because of it. It broke streaming records, beating the World Cup. Most significantly, it was a catalyst for a real juxtaposition of the past and the future. I witnessed many people on a train platform waiting to get into New York watching the ceremony on iPads. An event happening thousand of miles away, in very old buildings, was casually watched in real time by people simply waiting to go about their days. We live in the future.

• Those iPads used to watch the wedding, they know where you are. This week Apple responded to an iPhone location-tracking controversy. On their ten part response and on interviews they strongly reiterated “Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.” They admit there are bugs they have promised to fix in a near future update to iOS. But let’s not forget, all mobile devices always know where you are relative to GPS, Wi-Fi and cell towers to provide you with quick service when location-tracking is relevant to your use of the device. Without that constant location-tracking, the use of Maps, Foursquare, Groupon, all the apps that take advantage of your location, would take minutes to launch.

• Issues of privacy and information sharing have to remain in the forefront of conversation as mobile use continues to grow. As of this week, thanks in large part to the millions of iOS devices purchased in the last year, Apple is more profitable than Microsoft.

• Lastly a non-tech thing we are loving this week: a close look at the classic work of Saul Bass for the movie Vertigo. “When Bass worked for film studios he offered them a package: main and credit titles, a symbol or trademark, a screen trailer, posters (half sheets, one sheet, three sheet, six sheet, twenty-four sheet), an insert, lobby cards, a window card, trade ads (six different versions, three colors) and magazine ads (at least 10 different versions). The Vertigo movie poster that’s become a landmark in graphic design and cinema history is the one sheet poster. Bass also designed other posters, each with a slightly different design, to match the proportions of the sheet they were printed on. Below you’ll find the half sheets and three sheet poster. I haven’t been able to locate quality images of the six sheet poster (which features the same handmade lettering as the Vertigo trailer ) or the twenty-four sheet poster.”

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

• Whenever I hear anyone talking about cloud computing I think the cloud is were turbulent weather happens. This became obvious yesterday when an outage of Amazon Web Services brought down many websites and services for most of the day, disrupting social media and your check-ins.

Is the Amazon outage Skynet’s first attack?

iPads are more widely used than Linux.

• An internal review of a project led to a debate on how many characters can the longest possible email address have. Try to guess before you read the answer.

The web goes green for Earth Day.

• And lastly, colorful, eye-popping photos of Easter eggs splattering.

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

Steve Jobs has approved an official biography, written by Walter Isaacson, an ex-executive from Time who has written biographies about Ben Franklin and Einstein. It’s been rumored that Isaacson has been working on the book since 2009. The book, titled “iSteve: The Book of Jobs” will be out in early 2012. This adds fuel to the speculation that Jobs health is not improving. Also, why a book? Why not release it as an app with additional audio and video content? Steve Jobs biography, there’s an app for that?

This week Adobe announced an update to the Creative Suite family of products, from CS5 to CS5.5. No major changes to Photoshop, Illustrator or Fireworks. The whole upgrade is obviously about adding HTML5 functionality to the suite to facilitate the creation of content for smartphones and tablets, a direct response to Apple’s refusal to include Flash on iPhones and iPads. I think most significant is the introduction of a subscription program for the applications, for example you can subscribe to Photoshop for $35 a month, perhaps a way to curtail the large volume of pirated versions of CS because of its perceived high-price.

• While no one was really wowed by the CS update announcement everyone was impressed with the Photoshop on an iPad demo. The way layers are handled is amazing. As if that wasn’t enough Adobe is working on three Photoshop-complementary iPad apps, Eazel, Nav and Lava, that link to Photoshop on a PC or a Mac and greatly enhance functionality. Eazel let’s you paint on the iPad, Nav tranfers navigation elements to the iPad and Lava is an intuitive color mixer. The three apps use Adobe’s new Photoshop Touch SDK. This software development kit lets anyone write iPad apps that interact with Photoshop. This is what happens when Adobe and Apple aren’t fighting about Flash.

• Hard to believe it is still around, but yes, Quark announced QuarkXPress 9.

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

• We’ve been spending a lot of time talking about LinkedIn and it’s place in the social media universe. This week they made public a platform that should bring LinkedIn content, buttons, Twitter-esque “profile summaries” and more to websites throughout the Web.

• Yesterday Facebook launched the Open Compute Project, making public the specifications and design documents that went into creating their customized servers and datacenters. Ars Technica explains why they did it.

• Will Google’s +1 beat Facebook’s Like?

• And speaking of Google, Larry Page wasted no time as returning CEO, implementing a major reorganization of the company.

• All this talk of social media reminds us of a report from last summer. Neuroeconomist Paul Zak has discovered that social networking triggers the release of the generosity-trust chemical in our brains. In other words, using the LinkedIn, Like and +1 buttons affects the brain like falling in love.

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference sold out in less than 10 hours. Two years ago it sold out in 30 days. Last year in little over a week. This year the focus is exclusively software, everything about the upcoming Mac OS X Lion update and the future of iOS. Xcode, the collection of tools needed to develop for both platforms, is easily available to anyone interested, you no longer have to sign up to the developer’s program in order to acquire it, you can purchase it from the App Store for $4.99. Easier access to the tools means more interesting and cool apps in our future.

• It’s time for a Browser Benchmark Battle: Chrome 10 vs. IE9 vs. Firefox 4. Beyond benchmarks, why do you use the browser you use?

Color, the well-funded app of the moment, has gone from heavily hyped to experiencing backlash with amazing speed. Billed as an impromptu location and photo based social network, it sounded like an interesting concept full of potential, but instead the concept is poorly implemented with bad UI. This fantastic review paints the whole picture.

• Twitter succumbed to user pressure and removed the Quickbar from it’s iPhone application. We suspect the return of Jack Dorsey to the company he founded had something to do with the removal. Intended to display trending topics, the Quickbar really was a disruptive eyesore that often displayed topics of little interest to the user. Too much Bieber, Kutcher, Gaga and not enough of the things and topics that the people we actually follow were discussing. Although the Quickbar may have had the side effect of introducing most of the world to, according to reports, the most influential person on twitter: Brazilian @RafinhaBastos.

• Today we’ve been asking ourselves, what the hell happened to Skype?

• Did you know the word gullible is not in Wikipedia?