Monday, April 30, 2007

Apple TV - Not impressed

I've been using the Apple troika (iMac, iPod and Apple TV) for a few weeks now and I have to say I am not really impressed by the new toy: Apple TV. I am not bothered by the low quality or a small hard disk. The former is the result of limited bitrate and the latter will probably increase with the next version.

What really doesn't work for me is the extension of personal music management (iTunes/iPod) to the home entertainment. What I am missing is some form of video/music back-end. Here is why:

At this moment I can either stream videos to Apple TV from multiple computers or sync it with one of our iTunes libraries. But streaming requires to log-in into a computer and run iTunes. It is not really convenient since nobody else can be using that computer. And syncing is not good either. I have a large NAS in our basement and I don't want to keep copy of the music and video library in the living room.

In the ideal world I would be able to point Apple TV to my NAS and access the files directly. Or there would be a server side component (something like SlimServer) that would stream files to the Apple TV. Unfortunately SlimServer was acquired by Logitech recently. That's too bad since Apple buing SlimDevices would get very close to an ideal world for me...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Quote of the Day

Digital photography is slowly being accepted by photographers for some applications, and we at Leica AG believe that by the year 2025, even many consumers will have digital cameras in their houses.

Leica's Chairman, Hanns-Peter Cohn, 2/24/2002

Friday, April 27, 2007

From Java to SportsTalk

I usually speak to journalists about Java, WSDL and other computer languages. But a recent interview with USA Today was very different. Here is the story...

Thursday, April 26, 2007


My friend Jerry needs to remind himself of some very basic activities. He puts a “Eat me!" Stick-It note on an apple that he plans to eat, “Take me home!” on a PDA and “Switch me off” on his computer screen. I feel like Jerry these days. Every time I go to my office there is this logo next to the office door:

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Czech fugitive nabbed at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg

When I landed on Saturday afternoon at OR Tambo Airport I didn't have any idea what was happening over there...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Pictures from Cape Town

I posted some of my pictures from Cape Town on Flickr earlier today. And here is the link.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

No good Vistas?

I am waiting for my flight from Johannesburg to London and I came across this very interesting article/discussion: Dell's Move Raises Question: Will Windows XP Compete With Vista?

I was really disappointed by Apple's decision to focus on iPhone and delay OS X Leopard but this article made me to think again. What if Apple is right? What if big OS upgrades like Vista don't deliver any real benefits to the users. It is actually quite ironic - Microsoft worked so hard and for so many years to deliver a system that nobody seems to need. Features like GUI and DRM must have been considered so critical a few years ago and now they seem to be too intrusive and overdone. It is difficult to manage product with such a long time-frame and still adapt to a changing landscape - such as DRM-free music from EMI.

So maybe Steve Jobs is right at the end. iPhone might bring more value to Apple and that's where the resources should be spent. It would also mean no good vistas for Microsoft...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Strategy tax

Working for or with a large company involves so called "Strategy tax" (see definition here). I came across a nice example recently in the field of photography. Here is the story:

Back panel of a high-end camera is a very expensive real estate. There are so many camera functions and so few buttons available. And that's why only the most important functionality of the camera is accessible directly via buttons and the rest of camera is operated by complex and slow on-screen menu system.

If you look at the picture above you will see a back panel of Canon 5D. It has only 10 buttons but one of them (left of the viewfinder) is reserved for printing. Who would ever print directly from this camera? Every serious photographer has built some picture processing workflow and printing is usually the last step of this workflow.

It would be much better to associate this button with some more useful function of the camera. But given that Canon wants to sell printers to photographers the ability to print directly from a camera was given a very precious piece of the camera back panel. And this is what is called a strategy tax...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

South Africa Trip

I am in Johannesburg today and in the Cape Town for the rest of the week and I am enjoying this trip very much. And the best part of my travel over here is that there no time difference between Prague and SAR and so I have no jetlag!

I've been traveling between Europe and the US for the last 10 year almost every month and every single time I cross the ocean I feel tired and exhausted. But not today. I landed at 7am after 10 hours flight from London and I feel great. I did not even need to change my clock! Maybe I should be spending more of my time in this part of the world...

Monday, April 16, 2007

First ever

This is my fist post ever written in English. So far I published my thoughts in Czech and it was fun. Reaching a wider audience should be even more fun. So let's push the button...