Posts Tagged Steve Jobs

Three Great Decades: The Interesting History Of Apple

Apple is the brainchild of one of the greatest innovators of history, Steve Jobs. His passing was unexpected and early; but he has left us with enough wealth in knowledge. Steve Jobs changed the way we listen to music, communicate with people and interact with our gadgets. Apple created a new way of thinking… no, Apple created a whole new way of living.

Humble Beginnings

Apple was founded by the ‘two Steves: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. They were two very different teenagers, but both are geniuses in their own way. Both Steve’s grew up in San Jose, California– now better known as Silicon Valley.

Before they became billionaires and founders of the coolest company in the world, they were teenage outcasts. Three decades ago the two Steve’s were mere college dropouts, Jobs from Reeds and Wozniak from Berkeley. The two Steve’s met at Hewlett-Packard, while Jobs was working as a summer employee and Wozniak as a calculator manufacturer.

The Woz was an especially gifted engineer of his time, making and selling illegal devices that he made. One particular device allowed users to make free long distance calls (which was a big deal in the 1970s  when long distance calls were expensive). Wozniak had done so by hacking into AT&T’s long distance network. An ironic beginning if you think of it, since AT&T is now perhaps one of Apple’s most important business partners.

Later on, Jobs convinced Wozniak to make self-made computers with him. While Steve Wozniak merely enjoyed creating machines, Jobs had always seen the marketability of personal computers. To start their own company, they sold their most precious possessions. Jobs sold his Volkswagen Bus and Wozniak sold his programmable HP calculator. They gathered $1,250 and started their business in Jobs’ basement.

Start of the Great Company

It was in Steve Jobs’ tiny basement that they invented the first personal computer. On April Fool’s Day, 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak released the first Apple I computer and started the company Apple Computers.

The first Apple machine made use of a TV as a display system–a great addition since most machines of the time had no display at all. Text was faster than teleprinter at that time, typing at 60 characters per second. It also had a bootstrap code on ROM for easy start-up. Like a car, the Apple I computer had a hood that the owner could open up and tinker with the machine. Users were encouraged to open and tinker with the computer; to make it better, to make it faster and to add some features.

Byte Shop, a local computer shop, offered to buy 50 of the computers if it came fully assembled, paying US $500 each. The two couldn’t afford to pay for the components, so Jobs approached Cramer Electronics to get components on 30 day terms. With that, the two Steve’s spent days on end building the computers, delivered it on time and paid his supplier with a neat profit for their efforts and for the next order.

Steve Jobs invited Ronald Wayne, a 41-year-old former colleague from Atari to join in their Apple start-up. Jobs offered Wayne 10% of the company, although he kept his job at Atari and worked for Apple at night. The partnership with Ronald Wayne didn’t last long, though. Twelve days after Apple’s release, Ronald Wayne sold his 10% share for US $800. A meager sum if you consider the fact that Wayne’s 10% share would’ve been worth US $35.3 billion today.

1977 – 1980s: Fast Growth

After Apple I, Wozniak now thought about making a bigger and better machine. Since they now had the money from the sales on their first computer, Wozniak moved on and made an improved version, the Apple II. The computer was presented on April 16, 1977 during the West Coast Computer Fair. A Japanese chemist named Toshio Mizushima became interested in the Apple II prototype, and later on became the first authorized Apple dealer in Japan.

Image from Old Computers

The Apple II, also known as the Apple ][, became known as the most popular computer of all time. The TV interface was completely redesigned. It could handle text, graphics, and later on, color. It became more ready-to-use than its predecessor, since the Apple I required you to plug parts together & type the code to run the program.

Image from Tony Olsen

By this time Apple needed more money to grow as a company. The solution came from an angel investor named Mike Markkula, who was referred to him by Don Valentine and in turn was referred to by Regis McKenna. Valentine, after first meeting the young and unkempt Jobs, told McKenna: ‘Why did you send me this renegade from the human race?’ He was uninterested in funding Apple, but recommended Markula. Jobs visited him and convinced the would-be investor the market potentials of personal computers. Markkula invested $92,000 in Apple and a bank loan of US $250,000.

Markkula held a huge influence particularly in the formative years of Apple. Wozniak even credits Markkula for Apple’s success more than himself. He provided the adult supervision to the young Jobs and Wozniak. He served as a mentor to Jobs teaching him the the ins and outs of business and management. Aside from helping the company obtain credit and capital, he brought in Michael Scott to be the first president and CEO of Apple. He promised his wife to stay at the venture for four years, he eventually stayed for two decades. Markkula is responsible for recommending the floppy disk drive, after Markkula discovered that the checkbook balancing program he had written was too slow on the data cassette.

Apple’s most famous success is the famed Macintosh. It was the first computer to successfully use a graphic user interface and mouse. The series was thought of by Jef Raskin, an Apple employee who envisioned a low-cost, user-friendly computer for the everyday customer. Macintosh was named after Raskin’s favorite type of apple. Jobs was working on his own Lisa computer during this time, but immediately took over the Macintosh project when the failure of Lisa was clear and the future of Macintosh was bright. See the 1984 Macintosh ad here.

Image from Quality in Print

By 1980s Jobs was still young and unexperienced. He made many marketing mistakes that greatly affected Apple sales. Jobs still lacked the discipline to run the company . Thus Jobs lured Sculley away with the pitch: ‘Do you want to sell sugar-water for the rest of your life or come with me & change the world?’

Jobs and Sculley during their 'friendlier' days

 Sculley was believed to be the perfect choice into bringing business success, stability and management know-how into the company. He raised the Macintosh price from US $1,995 to US $2,495, to use the extra money for advertising campaigns.

There was an internal power struggle in Apple–Sculley and Jobs regularly clashed. Sculley was traditional, but Jobs was more non-linear: he held meetings after midnight, and called new meetings early in the morning. In the end, the board of directors including Mike Markkula sided with Sculley. Jobs left Apple consequently, his pride in tatters.

The Era of Apple without Jobs

Come 1990s, the IBM PC was now dominating the operating system industry. Apple tried to battle the PC threat by introducing Quadra, Centris and Performa. The new Macintosh computers failed miserably, partly due to poor marketing, plus too many models introduced with minor differences in the tech specs. Aside from the computers, Apple released an early personal digital assistant or PDA (they coined that term, in fact) called the Newton. The venture failed, but it would later be the inspiration for future handheld devices such as the Pocket PC and Palm Pilot.

Image from Tony Olsen

By this time, Apple was considered ‘one of the worst managed companies in the industry’. John Sculley was then replaced by  Michael Spindler, and in turn by Gil Amelio. Stock value was low, and the company was losing billions of dollars. There was no visionary to lead them. How could Apple survive when the founders are no longer active?

Meanwhile, Jobs acquired Pixar, a visual effects and animation company. Soon afterwards he founded another company called NeXT. The computer venture did not succeed because of its high price, but it later became the basis for the Mac OS X. It also became the initial platform for Tim Berners-Lee with inventing the World Wide Web concept.

Apple’s Renaissance

Since Steve Jobs’ comeback, Apple regained its former enthusiastic spirit. From 1998 to 2000, their sales were slowly but surely rising. One of Jobs’ first moves as CEO was to develop the iMac, with the integrated CRT display and CPU in a clean, streamlined design. The computer was a huge success, selling one million units a year. There was a resurgence of Apple products and the company started to focus on the design and aesthetics of its products.

Advertisement for the Apple iMac. (Image from Tony Olsen)

Later on, the company would introduce other innovative products like the iBook and the Power Mac G4. It also introduced the new operating system Mac OS X, which had been based on NeXT.

But the boom of Apple’s success today can be traced back to one gadget: the iPod. It was released on October 23, 2001 The iPod can store ’1,000 songs in your pocket’. It was Apple’s first venture in digital music players, a gamble that paid off so well that it led to other innovative products: the iPod Mini, Shuffle, Classic, Nano, and later the iPod Touch, iPhone and the iPad.

In fact, Apple revolutionized the music industry. It created a new music download service, the iTunes Store, with music downloads of only $0.99 per song or $9.99 per album. The iTunes Store was launched in 2003, and garnered 2,000,000 downloads in 2 weeks, all purchased on Mac computers. Apple later released a Windows version for iTunes, further expanding their market base.

The iTunes Store did not stop at that. They later provided free and paid videos and applications for downloads for the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Today’s Apple products are simple, clean and minimalist. Everything is simplified: all the unnecessary features are taken out and only the essentials remain. And because of its style and simplicity, Apple created a huge fan following and has grown exponentially over the decade.

On May 26, 2010, the stock market of value of Apple overtook that of Microsoft. It was the only time in 20 years that Microsoft was lower than Apple, which would’ve seem ‘unimaginable’ 10 years ago.

On August 25, 2011, news went out that Steve Jobs had resigned as CEO of Apple, and would be succeeded by Tim Cook. On October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs passed away due to complications of pancreatic cancer.

The Bright Future of Apple

What are Apple’s most recent plans? The iPhone 4S, the Mac OS 5 and the iCloud, for starters. The iPhone 4S is quite exciting, especially the Siri feature. Siri lets you use your voice to command various functions: send messages, make calls, schedule meetings and more. Siri can recognize your voice, understand what you say, and can even talk back. If you don’t believe us, you can see the video here.

Before Jobs’ death, he recently unveiled Apple’s plans for their new headquarters in Cupertino. The modern and futuristic building allows room for 12,000 employees. It is environmentally friendly and will use renewable energy sources and trees will be abundant in the area. The company hopes to move to the new headquarters by 2015.

Indeed, the passing away of Jobs was too early and too unexpected. But the timing couldn’t have been more right–the iPhone and iPad were a huge success that it surpassed the company’s expectations in revenue and profit. Apple can finally stand on its own, ready to conquer the future without the help of Jobs’ regular involvement. After Jobs, Cook is now the CEO as design genius Jonathan Ive and marketing mastermind Phil Schiller, and they will continue to surprise and inspire us.

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Tags: iphone, steve jobs, apple, history, mac, inspiration

Remembering the Unparalleled Visionary that was Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was a creative visionary and innovator. There is no doubt about that. Jobs changed how the world live their lives, from how they listen their music to how we communicate with people, and how we interact with technology as a whole.

The date was October 5, 2011. Apple released the news through press release that Steve Jobs has passed away. Although they didn’t say why, it was later found out that he succumbed to the complications of pancreatic cancer.

At first, his death was met with disbelief as people shared the news through blogs and social networking sites. The Steve Jobs, deceased? It’s hard to imagine the world without the spectacled, black-shirt-and-jeans genius that he is. What will the world do without him?

One anonymous fan immortalized Jobs with the quote: ‘Three apples changed the world: one that Eve ate, the second one that fell on Issac Newton’s head and the third one that Steve Jobs built.’

Photo by: Noah Berger

 Photo by: Noah Berger

Image by Pietro Zuco

Photo by Pietro Zuco. Apple fans in Ginza, Tokyo pay their respects with digital candles–on their iPhones and iPads, what else?

Photo courtesy: Jonathan Mak

Upon the release of the news, a visual tribute with the classic Apple logo and Steve Jobs’ silhouette in the apple bite. It had a simple, short caption, saying ‘Thanks, Steve’. It was designed by a 19 year old Hong Kong based artist Jonathan Mak. It quickly went viral, spreading across the whole blogosphere.

Things You Didn’t Know About Steve

Steve Jobs is almost like an open book to us. He created the coolest company, Apple. He is also a major stockholder for Pixar. He brought to us the generation’s gamechangers, such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Despite Jobs being a public figure, he has some well-kept secrets. Here are some things you may not know about Steve Jobs:

On the Company’s Name Apple

The story of how Jobs’ and Wozniak’s company became known as Apple is actually a funny one. Steve Jobs was three months late to filing its trademark, so Steve Jobs threatened his colleagues that if they couldn’t come up with a better name by the end of the day he’d have to go for his favorite fruit, Apple. He did, and the rest is history.

His Annual Salary as Apple’s CEO is…

Jobs has an outrageously low salary of only $1 a year since 1997, the year when he became Apple’s CEO. Jobs once said ‘I get 50 cents a year for showing up, and the other 50 cents based on my performance.’

The meager income seems unnecessary because of his 5.5 million shares of Apple, which are now worth more than Apple and Intel combined–at $388 billion and showing no sign of slowing down. He also sold his shares of Pixar that’s now worth $7 billion.

Steve Jobs being Fired from his own Company

Steve Jobs, founded Apple with Steve Wozniak when he was 21. He became a millionaire by 23, and was fired from his own company by 30.

He hired Pepsi-Cola executive John Sculley to help the then troubled company. Soon after it was found that John Sculley and Steve jobs didn’t get along, and the two great minds clashed. Sculley had trouble with increasing the low Macintosh sales and the creative chaos Steve Jobs had unleashed. Sculley decided Jobs had to go, the board sided with him, and he was out.

It’s devastating to be fired–and tenfold when you’re fired from the company you created and built. It was a humiliating public defeat, but Jobs was adamant all throughout the rough years and returned stronger and wiser from the experience.

On How He Lied to Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak

Image from Gizmodo

This happened back in the day, when Steve Jobs worked for Atari as a programmer. He was appointed to create a game called ‘Breakout’, with the agreement of $700 and additional $100 for every chip eliminated in the machine. He promised Atari to submit the design within four days. Jobs has little interest or knowledge in it, so he recruited Wozniak and agreed to split the money 50-50. The deadline was met for Wozniak didn’t sleep for four days straight. Wozniak reduced the chips by 50, and Atari gave them US $5,000. Jobs however lied to Wozniak and gave him only $350, half of $700 (instead of the real bonus $5,000).

On Steve Jobs’ Trademark Fashion

Image from FastCompany

The trademark of the great Steve Jobs is his everyday uniform: the black turtleneck, Levis 501 denim jeans and New Balance sneakers. In fact, Jobs revealed that he has over a hundred of them. But not many people know the back story of it. Isaacson’s biography of Jobs ‘Steve Jobs’ reveals:

On a trip to Japan in the early 1980s, Jobs asked Sony’s chairman Akio Morita why everyone in the company’s factories wore uniforms. He told Jobs that after the war, no one had any clothes, and companies like Sony had to give their workers something to wear each day. Over the years, the uniforms developed their own signatures styles, especially at companies such as Sony, and it became a way of bonding workers to the company. “I decided that I wanted that type of bonding for Apple,” Jobs recalled.

Sony, with its appreciation for style, had gotten the famous designer Issey Miyake to create its uniform. It was a jacket made of rip-stop nylon with sleeves that could unzip to make it a vest. So Jobs called Issey Miyake and asked him to design a vest for Apple, Jobs recalled, “I came back with some samples and told everyone it would great if we would all wear these vests. Oh man, did I get booed off the stage. Everybody hated the idea.”

In the process, however, he became friends with Miyake and would visit him regularly. He also came to like the idea of having a uniform for himself, both because of its daily convenience (the rationale he claimed) and its ability to convey a signature style. “So I asked Issey to make me some of his black turtlenecks that I liked, and he made me like a hundred of them.” Jobs noticed my surprise when he told this story, so he showed them stacked up in the closet. “That’s what I wear,” he said. “I have enough to last for the rest of my life.” (excerpt from Isaacson’s ‘Steve Jobs, quote courtesy of Gawker.)

His Future Plans for Apple

One of Steve Jobs’ last presentations was the unveiling of his future plans for the new and state-of-the-art Apple headquarters. The new HQ will sit on 150 acres close to Pruneridge Avenue and Wolfe Road. There is no single straight piece of glass in the building, noted Jobs.

Image from Yahoo News

Parking will go underground, and Jobs plans to increase the 3,700 trees to double. He also wants to add apricot orchards, a nod to his neighborhood when growing up. Structure will be fueled by natural gas. Construction will commence in 2012 and open by 2015. The structure looks spectacular, like a picture out of science fiction novels. It’s sad that Steve Jobs did not live long enough to see his dream become reality.

Inspiring Words from Steve Jobs


  •  “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Image from Digital Media Academy

  • “That’s been one of my mantras: focus & simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
    – BusinessWeek interview, May 1998

Image from Addwater Agency

  • “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.”
  • “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” - Stanford Commencement Speech, June 2005
  • “But Apple really beats to a different drummer. I used to say that Apple should be the Sony of this business, but in reality, I think Apple should be the Apple of this business. “
  • “I want to put a ding in the universe.”

  • “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.” - Stanford Commencement Speech, June 2005

Other Inspiring Tributes to the Late Steve Jobs

 Aside from Jonathan Mak’s inspiring tribute, many fans have produced wonderful artworks from all over the world. This is a great testament to how Jobs inspired millions of people to be creative, to think differently. Here are a few creative tribute from various fans with the same voice: ‘Thanks, Steve!’

Steve Jobs and Apple’s DNA by Charis Tsevis

Illustration by Charis Tsevis (Tsevis Visual Design)

Illustration by Charis Tsevis (Tsevis Visual Design)

Steve Jobs Tribute by Federico Mauco

Tribute to Steve Jobs by Federico Mauco

Steve Jobs by Bryant Arnold

by Bryant Arnold

Steve Jobs Iotacon by Andy Rash

by Andy Rash

Steve Jobs 1955-2011 by Simona Marino

RIP Steve Jobs by CandyExplosives

Steve Jobs Portrait by Genis Carreras

Special Thanks to Steve Jobs! by MENGAD

Steve Jobs: 1955-2011 by Kristian Hay

Steve Jobs by seyhanargun

Steve Jobs in Pop Art by setobuje

Steve Jobs Tribute by Materialize 127



S
teve Jobs by ThatCrookedMind


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Tags: tribute, apple, steve jobs, inspiration

What is the Future of Adobe Flash?

The fate of Adobe Flash is in a stir lately. Who wouldn’t talk about it when two Steve’s are out there to get it by the neck? Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer have decided that Flash’s reign is over. At least in the sense that Microsoft and Apple and other major technology companies have started shifting from Flash to different platforms.

What’s in store for developers and users? Users would wonder if they’re affected by this change. Depending on what they use their devices for, it might make or break a lot of things. Take for example gamers. There are major gaming websites that focus on Flash like Kongregate and Newgrounds, I guess Apple users won’t be able to play games anymore. For developers, this might be a problem (or a business) as they will have to rewrite their products.

Apple is a behemoth that does not support Flash. Two Steve’s are actually moving away from Flash, the other Steve is Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO. Imagine that? Two huge industry giants versus Adobe Flash!

Is the future of Adobe Flash grim? Before addressing the real issue here, let’s first look at why Flash is a target and not others.

Why is Flash Widely Used?

Source: Adobe.com

To begin, Flash has been used for a very long time and has widely revolutionized multimedia both online and on handheld devices. Why is it so? Because Flash has solved several problems that people experienced. From handling videos to fonts, to animation and cross browser compatibility, and adding to that the set standards on the web that are always changing. Cross browser and cross-platform compatibility with Adobe Flash is not an issue, unlike many web technologies like HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.

Another reason for its success is that Flash is mostly used for gaming and entertainment. The majority of internet users use the internet for entertainment.

Is it the End of Flash?

No. To say that it will die off because a new challenger appears is too sensationalist. Since the majority of PCs use it, websites with animations including those pesky advertisements, and thousands of Flash games, it won’t go away easily. It has served thousands of devices and websites; taught in multimedia classes and has produced a lot of creative content without even knowing scripting. Adobe Flash is still evolving, trying to keep up with the fast paced technology.

During college I took a multimedia class. There we used Adobe Flash and created several 2D animations and Flash games. I can say that even if I’m not that good with graphics and design, I can sure as hell create a Flash game and animate your stick man. Is it a useful skill? Maybe it can get you a few ladies to drink with, still it is a very useful skill especially for designers.

So, what can turn the tables? I, for one, loathe the bulky Flash websites (especially those Hollywood film promotional websites), but when it comes to interactivity I’m the first one to worship it. A lightweight competitor like HTML5 will do the trick; CSS3, HTML, PHP5, JavaScript and others would win when it comes to creating dynamic websites.

The problem with these technologies is that the standards aren’t really that standard for everyone. You think you know everything about CSS and HTML and now you can create a super website? Think again. In a few months or years you’ll have to read another manual telling you that there’s another standard. Even if they’re called standards, developers from all over the planet are having difficulties with cross browser and cross platform compatibility.

Websites including YouTube have began using HTML5. There has been a spur of HTML5 games and they are really lightweight.

The question now is, is HTML5 (and others) easy to learn? I can teach a 13-year-old to animate using Flash, but not HTML5 just yet. It still has a long way to go but I’m pretty sure that someday people will come up with drag and drop applications to create rich and dynamic content.

As said, Flash is well-established and can be used by almost anyone.

What about the people saying that Flash is already dead? Are they too optimistic about HTML5? Maybe, since HTML5 still has a long way to go and still has to establish credibility. Something which Flash has. But HTML5 has the ace up its sleeve, and that is the potential to grow further.

What Apple says vs. What Adobe says

When it comes to Touch

Apple claims that Adobe Flash wasn’t made to support touch screen devices. Any other Flash applications and websites will then be rewritten.

Adobe says that the Adobe Flash Player is actually made for the purpose of supporting tablets with multi-touch. And that Flash developers need not worry because mouse events are automatically converted to touch events for touch devices.

When it comes to Battery Life

Apple says that Flash uses too much battery life to be used on mobile devices when playing high-definition videos or games.

Adobe says it will not be an issue since Flash Player 10.1 supports hardware acceleration across mobile and desktop devices.

When it comes to Security

Apple takes a hold of Symantec’s word about Flash being one of worst in security.

Adobe says it is also important to note that Flash is one of the most widely used systems. Comparing it to a discussion I had during college, Microsoft OS is mostly targeted by computer viruses and crackers because the market is in there, many people use it as compared to Linux and Mac OS X.

(see links at article’s end for an in-depth explanation from Adobe and Apple)

Should You Learn Flash?

HTML5 is the next big thing after Flash but do not expect a wide support group for it just yet. If you want to do complex animations, Flash is your way for now. By all means learn how to use Flash, it is widely supported and has lots of features that anyone can use.

But if you are thinking of creating a website with animations and things, you might want to wait just yet. Flash websites were superstars of the past, now they’re just divas that want attention and many people loathe them.

Flash is compatible with almost any browser. You don’t have to worry about cross browser and cross platforms. Of course, we’re not talking about iPhone and iPads. Kidding, Adobe Flash Player 10.1 supports them now.

Now, if you are thinking of creating an HTML5 game, you might not find a very good marketplace for it. Flash still has the biggest audience and established marketplaces for games like Y8, Newgrounds, and Kongregate.

Should you learn HTML5? Well, you can start now. It has a bright future, but don’t expect it to come in a sweep anytime soon. People, like an immune system, are resistive to change. HTML5 is still far from achieving what Flash can do: games, videos, applications, flexibility, and audience.

Weighing Things Up

Photo by darktaco

Adobe Flash wins at:

  • Used by almost every PC user.
  • Creation of simple to complex animation.
  • Bundled up; learning curve is easier because it’s not as diverse as learning HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript and other things.
  • Several thousand Flash games that can’t be played on Apple products.
  • Devices that allows Flash usage, in my experience, are more fun to deal with. My team and I once created a “hack and slash” game using Flash and we were stunned to learn that our professor saved it on his Nokia and played it there. Fully running. My point is, Flash is great with cross-platform compatibility.
  • Cross-browser compatibility too.

HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript wins at:

  • All of these are open standards, no more relying on third-party products like Flash does.
  • Can be used by most browsers without updating anything.
  • When YouTube was still a baby, I usually would see a page asking me to upgrade my Flash player. I haven’t seen it in a year now.
  • Adobe Flash wasn’t really built to support touch screen devices. With today’s technology, almost every surface is a touch screen. It doesn’t stop there; the juice of this all is on the web. Little by little desktop applications are leaving the mainstream and are replaced by web-based applications. Lightweight and accessible almost anywhere. This includes games, videos, and other applications.

Conclusion

It is not certain if Flash will be replaced, but it is certain that in the years to come there will be other technologies that will be on par with it. Flash was, and is still, hot because of PCs. In an era where PCs are common household items, Flash sure has found its place. But with today’s rise in mobile devices, lightweight devices, the hassles of using Flash applications will be its own funeral. Even though its future is gravely marked, it doesn’t mean it will fall overnight. There’s still hope for Flash developers out there.

Sources and for Further Reading:

Adobe - The truth about Flash

Apple - Thoughts on Flash

Tell us what you think!

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Tags: web technologies, internet users, flash, platforms, target, web, future of flash, fate, css3, apple users, technology companies, major technology, behemoth, adobe flash, steve ballmer

The Evolution of Internet-Enabled Devices

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The Evolution of Internet-Enabled Devices

The Internet is a wondrous thing. It’s an unrivalled source of knowledge for its users, and as web designers and web developers, it keeps many of us from becoming homeless with "Will code for food" signs hanging around our necks!

As the Web matures, the devices that provide access to it have evolved along with it. No longer are we limited to "surfing the ‘net" on a 28.8 kbps dial-up modem. These days, we don’t even require a computer to go online — we have smartphones, tablets, e-book readers like the Kindle, and more.

Let’s look at the evolution of the hardware that gives us access to the Internet.

Computers and Laptops

We can trace our digital ancestry back to devices we still use today: traditional desktop and laptop computers.

In the formative years, designing and developing websites wasn’t much to write home about. Web standards were in their infancy, browsers were firing bazookas at one another from the rooftops of the digital infrastructure, and a "feature" of many websites was a counter that told everyone that the website had "000002" visitors (one of those being you, the person who built the site). Isn’t nostalgia fun?

They’ve been on earth longer than some geeks, and we still love ‘em! Image source: TehBoris

Screens started in the 800×600 range, grew to 1024×768, and then a few others fell into the mix as resolutions became something of a "whatever works" issue for users.

That, and browser windows used their fair share of monitor screen real estate, what with the unnecessary Ask.com and Alexa.com toolbars and sidebars people installed.

Smartphones

Then everything changed. There were rumors of cell phones gaining Internet access, whispers about how this would change everything.

One little smartphone, powered by hearsay, Steve Jobs and unicorn blood, broke open the doors on a new range of devices to design for. Smartphones came onto the scene.

What made things even more fun was that other rendering engines joined the fray, too!

Some are fully featured, and others… not so much. Image source: Guy Schmidt

No longer were cell phones powered by WML (a special markup language intended for portable devices). No longer did we need to access the Web on scaled-down user experiences through PDAs if we wanted to browse on the go. Touchscreens were the next big interface movement. Displays got smaller, and imaginations got bigger.

For the cell phone makers that didn’t put radioactive glowing apples on the backs of their products, the need to build something competitive grew — as did the number of mobile-friendly browsers for us to test our stuff on.

Tablets, Netbooks and eReaders

The switch-to-mobile excitement was a giant leap for mankind, but the third Internet device evolution was a small step for many of us.

Sure, mobile devices were cool; we could research Angry Birds cheats on some website while sitting on a train. We got a taste for the Mobile Web and wanted more.

So touchscreen smartphones scaled up to become tablets, PCs scaled down to become netbooks, and printed books are being replaced with Internet-enabled reading devices.

Thus came the next wave of devices!

They need to boot, but you’re less likely to have them thrown at you. Image source: kodomut

Tablets aren’t exactly new. But when they became popular, and then ubiquitous, they gave us designers a reason to pay attention. The Web was no longer bound by one of two device types; we all wanted to pretend we were in Minority Report, with thin yet full-featured gadgets.

Netbooks, being cheap, also became popular, and resolution consistency became something designers could only dream about.

Television and Game Consoles

So many things are becoming web-enabled that we’ve arrived at the next era of device types — one that is set to blow the wheels off the tablet surge in terms of widespread appeal.

Our old friend, the television, and its time-eating sidekick, the game console, are becoming web-enabled faster than you can say "Oh no, not something else to design for!"

They present a new range of issues to address. (Try navigating a website with a TV remote.)

There are adaptors for everything, so users can browse with almost anything! Image source: Plinkk

A whole new type of web browsing could arise: the ability to browse websites by re-enacting the YMCA song by way of a HAL-9000-style geek-mocking device called the Kinect (i.e. with gestures and movement).

And the ways we code, design and use the Web could change as well. Personally, I’m all for learning to code for all kinds of devices. Nothing seems cooler than waving a Wii-mote like a ninja in front of a webcam that’s attached to a 100-inch LCD display while telling clients, "Yes sir, it’s all part of my job."

Vehicles and Home Appliances

Another advancement in our consumption of the Web, beyond TV, has been the inclusion of web-enabled devices in trains, planes and automobiles. The ability to watch your favorite YouTube clips while on the move is quickly becoming standard — though we still need safety devices bolted on to ensure that we don’t get distracted by the hamster dance video while driving and crashing into a lake.

Having web access in your car makes you wonder whether you’re addicted. Image source: battlecreekcvb

Yet with this next area of expansion, the web-enabled movement gets still more bizarre.

You may think the kitchen is one place that will remain Web-free, but I’m sure you have household appliances with some degree of cleverness.

In the past, we had glimpses of Internet-enabled appliances, but at the Consumer Electronics Show and other technology expos this year, companies announced that ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers and microwaves would get "webified."

The prospect can be terrifying as well as exciting. I’m sure your immediate thought, like mine, is of an oven crashing like IE6 and setting your house on fire.

Conclusion

From the early days of computers and laptops to the Mobile Web movement to the feature-filled tablets, watches, MP3 players, netbooks, e-book readers, radios and other digital goods becoming Web-friendly, the way we access the Internet has come a long way.

Yet, even as you read this, the gap between devices is increasing, the range of platforms is increasing, and, before we know it, we might be living in houses of the future powered entirely by Rickrolling and troll-hunting.

As web designers and web developers, we need to account for a wide range of platforms in order to make our users’ lives convenient.

The Internet is a grand social platform with nigh-endless possibilities for applications and services. We need to rethink what we choose to (or choose not to) support.

Luckily, there will always be cool new stuff for designers and developers to wrestle with, and thankfully, few of us will go out of business!

Related Content

About the Author

Alexander Dawson is a freelance web designer, author and recreational software developer specializing in web standards, accessibility and UX design. As well as running a business called HiTechy and writing, he spends time on Twitter, SitePoint’s forums and other places, helping those in need.

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Tags: rooftops, fair share, formative years, toolbars, sidebars, browser windows, web developers, web design, e book, traditional desktop, steve jobs, web standards, web designers, infancy, evolution of internet

Create Your Dream Workstation: Popular Computers And Gadgets For Designers (PC/Mac)

I spent several hours scouring the internet for designers’ workplaces and their specifications. Now, this will seem biased towards Apple products since almost everything I have seen on Flickr, Dribble, and other communities for designers indeed favor Apple products. But don’t worry here you’ll see all the most popular alternatives and everything else you need to build your dream workspace!

From what I have noticed the number of displays needed for a designer is always one more. You have two? Add another one. A good combination I have seen is a laptop and a cinematic display from 24” to 27”. Wireless mouse and keyboards are also favored.

Popular Displays


Dell UltraSharp U2711 27”–  Best Choice

Dell27

According to CNET this is one of the best monitors to use today. If you’re considering buying it you can read CNET’s official review and the user’s reviews.

It boasts amazing color accuracy, 2560 x 1440 resolution, 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. Not to mention the price, okay, it’s a bit expensive at $987.00 but surely this is worth every single buck.

Best Alternatives:

1. ViewSonic VX2250WM-LED 22–Inch

2. NEC MultiSync PA271W

3. Samsung PX2370 23”Apple LED Cinema Display 27–Inch

4. ASUS VH198T 19–Inch

5. Apple LED Cinema Display 27–Inch

6. HP 2710m 27–Inch Diagonal HD Ready LCD Monitor

7. ASUS VW193TR 19–Inch Wide LCD Monitor

8. ViewSonic VA2431WM 24–Inch Widescreen LCD Monitor with Speakers

9. Acer V223W EJBD 22–Inch Wide LCD Display

10. Asus VH236H 23–Inch Widescreen LCD Monitor – Black

Sample Workspaces:

Popular Laptops


Apple MacBook Pro 15.4” Laptop –  Best Choice

Apple MacBook Pro 15.4” Laptop

Good choice for gamers and designers who love hopping from one place to another. With 15.4” display I’m pretty sure you won’t miss anything that should be in sight. Surely, this won’t make Steve Jobs blush of embarrassment.

It also now comes with Intel Core i5 or Core i7, giving near-flawless processing power. Something that even non-gamers and non-designers want to have.

Best Alternatives:

1. Samsung RF510-S02 15.6-Inch HD LED

2. HP G62-340us 15.6-Inch

3. Acer AS5253-BZ684 15.6-Inch

ASUS N53JQ-XV1 15.6-Inch

4. ASUS N53JQ-XV1 15.6-Inch

5. Lenovo G560 Series 067999U

6. Alienware m15x 15” Gaming Laptop (Cosmic Black)

7. Sony VAIO VPC-F133FX/B 16.4”

8. Toshiba Satellite M645-S4065 14.0-Inch LED

9. ASUS G73JW-ROG Limited Edition Republic of Gamers 17.3-Inch Gaming Laptop

10. Dell Inspiron Mini Duo 3487FNT Convertible Laptop/Tablet

Sample Workspaces:

Popular Desktops


Apple iMac 27” Desktop – Best Choice

There is all this talk about gigahertz, cores, RAM, HD, and relevant technical things. Knowing these will help you choose your dream computer. My take on all of these in six words: “the higher the number, the better.” Note: pricing is a different matter. There are products that closely resemble each other in terms of features but greatly differ in price. Is it about quality or the name? In the end we’ll just have to trust people’s reviews and ratings. What comes to mind? Apple iMac. 27 inches!

Best Alternatives:

1. Acer AspireRevo AR3700-U3002

2. Apple Mac Mini MC270LL/A Desktop

3. Sony VAIO VPC-J11BFX/B 21.5-Inch Desktop

4. HP TouchSmart 600 23”

5. Dell Studio XPS 7100(Piano Black)

6. Gateway DX4831–05 Desktop (Black)

7. Lenovo Ideacentre H405 77231AU

8. iBUYPOWER Gamer Extreme A537SLC

9. HP Pavilion p6720f PC

10. Apple Mac Pro MC561LL/A

Sample Workspaces:

Best Mouses


Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse (Black)

“BlueTrack Technology ensures that the Arc Touch Mouse works wherever you need it to, on a range of difficult surfaces – be it a rough wood bench, glossy granite countertop, or soft carpet.”

And hey, if you are thinking that the “curve” stops it from being easily portable then you are wrong.

Alternatives:

1. Apple Magic Mouse

2. Logitech Wireless Trackball M570

3. Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX for PC and Mac

4. Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 3000

5. HP Wireless 3 Button Mouse

Sample Workspaces:

Best Keyboards


Apple Wireless Keyboard

Technical Details:

  • Anodized aluminum enclosure
  • Extended layout with document navigation controls, a numeric keypad, and special function keys
  • Low profile keys
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • Ultra-thin design

Alternatives:

1. Logitech Cordless Desktop Wave Pro Ergonomic

2. Microsoft Sidewinder X6 Gaming Keyboard

3. Logitech G19 Programmable Gaming Keyboard

4. Logitech Keyboard K120

5. Microsoft Natural Ergo Keyboard 4000

Sample Workspaces:

Best Selling Graphics Tablets


Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch

It takes time to get used to using a tablet but it sure will help for illustrators, graphic artists and designers out there. If you have a fat wallet and can afford a much better version of this, you might want to go for Intuos4 or Cintiq 21UX.

Alternatives:

1. Wacom Intuos4 Medium Pen Tablet

A great example using graphics tablet!

2. Wacom Cintiq 21UX

3. Genius MousePen 8 x 6-Inch Graphic Tablet

4. VT 12-Inch Touch Screen Graphic Pen Tablet

5. Wacom Intuos4 Small Pen Tablet

Sample Workspace:

Best Tablet PC


Apple iPad – Best Choice

Touchscreen computers and smartphones have taken over the world today. Wherever you look there are always people fiddling with their touchscreen devices (except poor me). Is there a tight competition in the market or is a certain brand the definite leader? Can’t really say which product is leading because it all depends on how good advertising and PR is. Anyway, here’s a short list of fantastic tablet PCs to complete your workspace.

Alternatives:

1. Motorola XOOM

2. Dell Streak 7

3. Coby Kyros MID7015 7-Inch

4. Archos 70 – 8 GB Internet Tablet (Black)

Sample Workspaces:

Popular Books in Web Design


1. Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML

2. CSS: The Missing Manual

3. The Web Designer’s Idea Book: The Ultimate Guide To Themes, Trends & Styles In Website Design

4. Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

5. Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 on Demand

6. Serif WebPlus X4

7. Introducing HTML5 (Voices That Matter)

8. Convert!: Designing Web Sites to Increase Traffic and Conversion

9. The Web Guru Guide

10. Website Design and Development: 100 Questions to Ask Before Building a Website

Anything you would like to add on this article? Would love to hear your feedback!

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Tags: lcd monitor, workstation, workplaces, dream workstation, designer, computer, steve jobs, inch widescreen, wireless mouse, aspect ratio, web design, apple products, blush, lcd display, workspace