Home Automation is one of the most interesting business areas nowadays. This is a list of interesting startups by me.
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For many years, Leica cameras have been spurring strong emotions, both positive and negative. Some people are dying to have a Leica, some actually have it, while others view it merely as a toy for the rich. Why should anyone buy a Leica in the first place?
Now let me have my own little forecast: In a few years time, the web will not exist. At least not in the way we know it today. Your everyday ritual, when you open up a browser and type the address, won’t be here any more.
Well, this is a very quick "comparison" of two worlds. On one side, there is Nikon D7100, 24mp DSLR with great Nikon 10-24/4 lens ($2000 kit). On the other side, there is iPhone 6 ($700) with 8mp camera. Well, Nikon will beat iPhone in almost all aspects - but only if you're a serious photographer. If you want to shoot some photos from your vacation and you'll present it on your computer, web or Apple TV - iPhone is the best compact camera on the market.
Here you can see some photos from both cameras, both on auto mode without any post-processing or HDR functions. I think that iPhone 6 is more capable camera than we all think. Keep in mind that you're comparing 8mp mobile with 24mp DSLR ;-).
Well, this is a really quick "comparison" but try to show these shots to your mother and ask her what photos are better. Think about it ;-).
Also, read my article Why digital cameras will die out soon.
I use my iCloud account for more than 10 years, from 2002 when it was called .Mac and it wasn't very good. I've been paying for this service from its beginning and I've been always quite happy with it. But my companies run on Google Apps so I decided that it’s time to change this 2 weeks ago. iCloud is nice, but without supporting your own domain and with only a little features for sharing your events, I just have to move to Google.
What are the reasons to migrate from iCloud to Google Apps?
- iCloud sharing and working with calendars is quite a pain with people without iCloud account
- My mailbox has more than 25GB so I’m paying for my iCloud account 100USD/year but I’m not using the majority of my space
- iCloud file syncing is a great idea but only few apps support it, so I’m unable to use it for all my documents (another 30+ GB), at this moment, I’m paying 100USD/year for Dropbox for this
- iCloud does not support mapping your own domain
So how is it for Apple user to migrate to Google? Hard. All the process from registering my Google Apps account, setting it up, mapping my domain, paying for this. Google has quite nice services but the UI/UX of their apps is just terrible. Can’t imagine that my father could do this on his own - no way! But he was able to setup and manage his iCloud account in a minute.
I have my old Google account, my friends on Google+ and everything on my standard @gmail address. Is there a way to transfer this to my new account? No! After an hour of searching, I’ve managed how to transfer my Google+ information. Ok, still waiting for the migration at this moment. All other things - you need to export it (documents etc.) and import to your new account.
I had more than 800 meetings in my calendar last year, so my calendar file is quite big. Don’t try to import/export data in your Apple iCal. The only working way is to export ICS file from your iCalendar and then import it in google web service. It worked great. The same with your contacts, export it from your Address Book and import it in your gmail.
OK, 28GB of my e-mails in iCloud. How to transfer it to my Google Account? Google says he can do it! Wow. Now way. Their import filter is an old script not working with current iCloud. I found a service called YippieMove that can do this for you for another 15 bucks. It’s now more than a week ago and still transferring my e-mails from iCloud to Google. But it seems that it works great. Thanks God.
I’ve decided to use web-based Gmail client as my primary tool for e-mails. Apple Mail is not working very good with Gmail and I don’t like other clients (AirMail, Postbox, Mail Pilot). I found that I can turn off my Sane subscription because Gmail can do this for me for free. Great! Another saving on the way.
The main reason for migrating was the ability to share my calendar with my co-workers. I did it. But again - Google, you should really hire someone who will make your products easier to use! The ui/ux of Google Calendar is terrible compared to Apple iCal. Can’t use the web-based service for this. Bought Sunrise for iPhone and iPad and I’m quite happy on mobile devices.
As a long time Apple user, I decided to try Android (again). Now I’m fully transferred to the hands of The Big Brother so why not to complete this with an android phone and tablet. I borrowed a Samsung Galaxy tablet from our office, restore it and setup it with my Google Apps ID. The setup itself was quick and easy - as on an iPad. But that was the end of everything good with it. I’m sorry Android users but your systems is a piece of shit. Working with it for 15 minutes. Found that the Gmail app in it is quite outdated (Gmail app in my iPad is much more better), trying to find where to update it. Failed. Giving the tablet to my son (3 yo) - changed for my iPad in 3 minutes. Gave it to my wife - What the hell is this? Does this have a button? Yes, it has plenty of buttons there. No way. Trying to browse the Google Play Store, trying some apps, contacts, e-mail, browser. I’m sorry but this system us useless. That’s a Linux with KDE 0.9 and not a good system in 2014. Google, you should really do something with this, I’m very sorry that milions of people use this!
It’s possible to move from iCloud to Google Apps, it’s not so easy and it’s quite time-comsuming, but you can do it.
Google is a great way for your business or personal use when you need all of its services. Gmail, Google Drive, Priority Inbox, Calendar. It works. Can’t say “It just works” but “It works”.
Speaking about the design, ui, ux - Google needs to work on this hard. When you’re a long time MacOS and iOS user, you’ll repeat “WTF?!” all the time in the first days.
You can save money with migrating all your stuff to Google. I can cancel my Dropbox account, Sanebox account and iCloud storage upgrade. I have now everything in my Google Account.
iOS and MacOS devices is the best way how to use your Google Apps. I understand why the majority of Google employees uses Mac. Google, your web services (not Gmail) are very complicated and your Android system is simply useless compared to iOS. It’s great for developers and geeks but not for people who wants to work on it or play on it.
Before the migration:
- iCloud for e-mail, contacts, some files, calendars
- Dropbox for document storing and sharing
- Sanebox for a “priority inbox” with my iCloud account
Afther the migration:
- Google Apps with a storage upgrade, everything on my own domain.
- GTD is for people, who don't need it. If you're a really busy person, you're not able to follow the rules of GTD. And if you don't have a problem to work with GTD after some time, you don't need GTD.
- GTD is a cult. It has its devotees who use it and devotees that are not able to use it, but it's still hot if they join the club.
- Inbox is a repository that enables you to do any stupidity that ever comes into your mind.
- Half of all the tags is only a way to procrastination, it allows you to think that you don't have to do this today and that you can actually postpone it.
- GTD is like an analogy photography of our time. It's fine and you like it, but the practical contribution is minimal.
- If you can do something in two minutes, it actually doesn't mean that it's good to do it. It is not important to do anything as far you are doing something, it's important to do things that make sense and do matter in your life.
- We have hundreds of GTD applications on the market and most of the users are still waiting for something better, for something that would finally be the right choice. But if there are so many developers who can't develop the right app for GTD, something is really wrong here.
- Without priorities, there is no direction. GTD helps you clean your head of the important things you don't want to do, but if fills it with unimportant things that you are wiling to do instead. Just keep doing something. Anything.
- It's old. In the year 2002 we worked on absolutely different bases, without messengers and social sites.
- How many really successful people use GTD? Successful people concentrate on what they are doing, not really on the system.
There are good and bad ideas, successful and failed startups. Among the areas that I find very interesting and with huge potential is connecting of paper and digital world. Many people are gradually returning to the written form, whether planning your time or writing notes. Digital devices have many advantages, but the paper is paper and Moleskine is Moleskine.
One of the great ideas from this world is Livescribe. Pen that can record what you write or draw and add to it some additional features (audio recorder, applications, etc.). Unfortunately, it seems that Livescribe has produced an interesting product that wants to kill.
Their pens didn’t bring something new over the last few years, their software was replaced with Evernote (nothing against it), but especially when you look at their range of paper accessories, it is quite dismal. No partner program for supporting 3rd party developers. I contacted Livescribe unsuccessfully several times that we would like to produce a scheduling system that would use their technology. No response. They have a great product that needs some next development, but it seems like they are not interesting in it. Also, look at their website and e-shop – good for year 2002!
Connecting the planning system could move this product to a completely new market. And it would be enough just to create a partner environment.
But unfortunately it seems that Livescribe will die soon. Goodbye, I’m selling my Livescribe pen…
Seven years ago, when I was one of the first to experiment with HDR technology in the Czech Republic and predicted HDR will soon be directly installed in reflex cameras, everyone laughed. Five years later, HDR was in every reflex camera, not speaking about compact or cell phone cameras. Not bad for an amateur. I will therefore dare to predict something once again – digital cameras will soon die out.
Many people will say that you need a camera to take photos and that all those mobile phones have bad quality, they are not easy to hold, they are flat and have no flash or lens. That is all true, but cell phones also have one major advantage – we have them on hand at all times. And so some of our most precious pictures are taken using cell phones – moments, that are of the greatest value to us.
When I lost some data many years ago (not completely, as it turned out, but the situation seemed bad for a few days), what was most vital for me was my family photos. You can always climb the hill to take a snapshot of the sunrise once again, but how would you recapture your son's first birthday? That would require a lot of organization and retouching and possibly even borrowing another child for the shoot.
And it is for this very reason that more people are using cell phones to take pictures, myself included. It is useful to note that the quality of cell phones has already surpassed some compact cameras. I would say photo camera producers have missed out in this area a lot.
In my opinion, it will take no more than 5-10 years before compact cameras will disappear off the market completely. And within 20 years, even digital reflex cameras as we know them today will be different. We will still have professional instruments (such as large format), but most of us will be using our mobile devices (this is not limited to just cell phones). So Nikon and Canon will likely have the same fate as Kodak if they do not conform.
On the other hand, the area that is expected to boom is photograph post-processing. Using technologies like those presented by, for example, Lytro, we will be able to collect a load of data that we will later process and with a click of a button be able to fix a photo's sharpness and color. You will be able to create a photo that will have GPS coordinates that are similar to the original snapshot. This could lead to more interest in using analogy photographs in art again, but that remains to be seen.
I don't consider myself a specialist on this topic, a professional analyst or a professional photographer, but I think my predictions will eventually come true. Perhaps it is a bold proposition but maybe not. Only time will show whether I am right.
The new iOS7 may be the biggest design change in iOS history, but it did not bring around all that many innovations. I feel that Apple and innovation are somehow dying. To be clear, I have been using Apple products (from Apple TV and computers to cell phones) for more than 10 years at home and at work. I was a satisfied user of OS/2 and Linux before trying Apple. One could say that I've always looked outside the mainstream. But now I have decided to take a look at Microsoft, Google and Blackberry. Simply put, life is change.
I am surrounded by quite a few people who have been using Blackberry for many years and are satisfied. I tried out the Z10 and a new operations system, and I have to say that I was quite excited about it. It has new functions, new ideas and a good elaboration. This could be a solution for me! However, some key applications for me are simply not made for Blackberry, and its Playbook also does not seem like the best substitute for the iPad. This is really too bad, because in every other way, Blackberry seems like the best choice for me, although there are rumors that the company could shut down in the near future.
Android and Google
This was quick. I spent just a few days with a borrowed Android phone and can report that this system is totally off. Many applications are pretty good, but the system itself, from the design to the user's experience, is simply a catastrophe.
And what about Gmail and other applications? The situation is better, but I guess I am simply not the right type of person for Gmail. I have never been very fond of using labels and even a short trial period did not change my mind. So this is not an option for me either.
Windows Phone and Microsoft
I have never liked Microsoft. I always fought against it and never liked using its products. (perhaps excluding HW). Microsoft has a weak design and is full of bugs. I had the feeling that the system as well as its applications sort of live a life of their own. Well, OK, the last time I tried Windows was 15 years ago.
Hmm, is this really the final version? This surely must be some kind of a beta version: Half interface Metro and half standard Windows? WTF? Anyway, one can live with that, and Microsoft will surely finish this up within the next 10 years.
Windows Phone 8
Very nice design, at least at first glance. After a longer period of use, it seems similar to Windows 8, partially. My overall impression was pretty good, I could use this. However, I would be missing some vital applications that I am not willing to be without.
I like Linux, and I have supported open-source for many years. But again, I need some applications that are, unfortunately, simply not made for Linux.
After testing these platforms, I quickly realized that although Apple has not sparkled with new innovations over the last couple of years, it is still ahead of its competition. This is mainly thanks to great applications that exist for the Mac and iOS. So I won't be making any changes at least for now, but we shall see how long this will last. The competition is catching up quickly, so unless Apple starts rolling out new innovations fast, I will likely start looking elsewhere again, and may end up switching.
I would like to wish Blackberry success, because its current efforts are very cutting-edge. Even Microsoft is trying, and I must admit I am a fan of that company, too.
Note: In regards to the term “innovation” I do not mean just watch, glasses and similar items but also smaller application enhancements. If you look at Apple Mail, for instance, it is beginning to lag behind Windows and Gmail. This is just but one example where Apple can improve.