Category Archives: Apple

Thinking about AI

It is easy to go deep in the weeds or try to think about the complicated ways that AI can help make life easier.

I have an Alexa at home and apart from telling me bus arrival times, giving me the morning news update or making it easy for the kids to play some songs on Spotify, I don’t use it much. I do think voice and the home will offer a chance for AI to shine but we are not there yet.

I see the subtle things Apple does with iOS and some of their apps and it helps but nothing earth shattering yet. AI is slowly creeping into all things – like it or not.

As a VC I am trying to think of the many ways AI might permeate normal life and find companies to invest in. I will highlight one way that AI is helping me manage my calendar, yes this is a SeedPlus portfolio company, but wanto talk about the broader implications on AI or machines learning and my calendar.

I have been using Evie solidly for over a year and at first it was more novelty than anything but even in the early stages I liked moving the booking of a meeting off to someone else. I assume this is how people feel about their admin but I have never had a human admin. Of course Evie would always reply and ask me more questions, she was learning, but now those questions don’t come to me as much cause she is evolving and getting smarter.

Our team uses it and scheduling a meeting is simply one email. Find a slot. Book. If outsiders are involved than Evie will talk to them but save me from the back and forth of it all.

Generally I book meetings faster this way and use less of my time in doing so. I can tell Evie my preferences and over time she is even inferring some of them. It’s not perfect yet though. I would like Evie to be able to distinguish between time blocked for outside meettings and time blocked for inside meetings. Example – I would block time for people on my team to book but if they don’t use that time then it is still my time, it would not get booked bny outsiders. I would also like Evie to allow me to cap my overall meeting time – example might be setting a high water mark for how much of a week goes to meetings and if she hits that mark she would alert me as such. I know some of this is managed by time blocking but I also might book some of my own meetings but the thought is that Evie would know once I hit my mark and let me deal with it.

I know there is some chatter on the ‘net about how these personal calendar bots are impersonal. Meaning I should talk to the person and manually book it but I don’t see the issue to be honest. I think Evie is faster than my own calendar management and this means I get people booked faster and they don’t have to hear me find a time or discuss it, Evie just offers up the soonest available time. Meaning I still feel that by using Evie my time is better managed and people get the best of me. Maybe others don’t feel this way but to me this is the beauty of a personal AI bot, my own powers are augemted via technology.

This is what I want to see more of. Example I just had to fill out an India Visa form and it would be great if Apple or Google could pre-fill out the form for me and save a bunch of time. I can honestly think of other things I wish “computers” were doing for me – all in the same category of “augmenting me” so that I get more done in the same span of time. Of course this same “augmentation” could mean that some people are put out of work or are needed less – I am not sure how to defend against that but I know that if much of the world is augmented that overall productivity will go up which everyone benefits from.

However this does lead me to think that society will have issues with grappling how to deal with some folks out of work while others are benefiting. The world has always had this issue though and I think about it a lot when I look at my young kids.

For the time being though I will continue to enjoy the benefits of calendar and meeting automation.

🙂

 

 

Don’t listen to Vivek

Vivek, after trying to fix the gender diversity issues in tech, has now turned is attention to bashing Apple in regards to their India business. Here is his latest rant :: http://factordaily.com/apple-fail-india-iphone/

I love the catchy headline.

I was gonna dig into this one but many people beat me to it, but I think this is the best one :: https://nuclearbits.com/vivek-wadhwas-factor-daily-piece-titled-apple-destined-fail-india/

This dude is so full of crap now he is like the boy who cried wolf. No one listens.

Back to the MacBook

My reasoning for originally buying the iPad Pro with the Apple keyboard was pretty simple. At the time it was the latest hardware from Apple – period. The MacBook was too small and not enough ports for me to invest in it as my main machine. I enjoyed the iPad and get could get my work done but for sure I was not as productive as I am with a real mac.

And it’s not just the keyboard but multitasking, real web browsers and apps not refreshing cause they are out of memory. That would happen so much – I can’t count how many times I was using safari to buy plane tickets and the browser would refresh and the form was blank. That just never happens on a mac – never.

So I tend to agree with Marco here :: https://marco.org/2017/01/31/the-wrong-future

iPads are cool and all but I don’t need it and since I got my MacBook Pro I haven’t touched it. Now my wife has it and loves it.

I dig my MacBook Pro and for sure I get more done on it than an iPad – period. I am not sure how Apple will solve the divide between iOS productivity and macOS but for sure it exists.

Magic

Writing this on my new MacBook Pro. So far so good. Nothing earth shattering but a solid upgrade to the line and I think I will be pretty happy with it. Time will tell. My new work habit may be to use a proper notebook in meetings and do my work on the laptop – save the iPad Pro for video and leisure stuff or travel.

What did I also get that are amazing? The AirPods. Wow. Like magic. Easy pairing – great sound. The bass is pretty damn good. Love all the simple stuff like auto pause, one ear listening and just the overall easy use of them is really amazing.

I have a feeling I won’t ever leave home without them. I wonder what phone calls will be like with them but I think the one ear usage will be common which means it would last all day given the amount you get per ear.

Killer. Back to my Hibiki.

Merry Christmas!

Still on the fence…

Another :: http://www.asymco.com/2016/11/02/wherefore-art-thou-macintosh/

More :: http://daringfireball.net/linked/2016/11/01/bjarnason-macbook-pros 

Have to admit – this is a good read :: https://chuqui.com/2016/10/how-apple-could-have-avoided-much-of-the-controversy/

Day to day I use an iPad Pro with the apple keyboard. When I was in the market for a new machine about 6 months ago, I figured the best hardware out there was the iPad Pro. I love the battery life, the true tone display and the always on Internet. Notice I picked the best hardware since I feel that is what you buy – the latest hardware. I figured I could get by with iOS for most of my day to day work.

There are times when this is painful. Crappy websites that don’t handle mobile browsers well, some aspects of file management and Google docs. Google docs tends to just suck on iOS apps and I bounce between iOS and the web version from time to time to accomplish certain tasks. 

However I generally like the ease of carrying around something so small that is always connected. I use it for note taking, reading and just getting shit done. It could be better but I get by.

I was assuming that as soon as apple announced their latest macbook that I would grab it. Now I am not so sure, but there in lies the issue. Apple is introducing doubt among their most ardent fans. I am waiting for the real life reviews to come and to go play with one before I decide. I would like to have a machine at work with a monitor and keyboard and the macbook pro will probably be great for that. 

I would have loved for apple to delighted me so much that I was ready to buy the moment I could. That didn’t happen and apple should see this as a canary in the coal mine.

I also may look for a killer chromebook and force myself to try that world as well since I think it is a glimpse into what the future may look like. For sure I won’t entertain anything from Microsoft cause honestly I think windows still sucks. I spent about an hour the other day making a printer work on windows that just magically works on iOS and MacOS. Microsoft is making some killer hardware and they are getting better at their craft but let’s face it, Windows still sucks hard. No thanks.

I think this post captures my feelings pretty well :: http://mjtsai.com/blog/2016/10/27/new-macbook-pros-and-the-state-of-the-mac/

Adding this link for another opinion on the matter :: http://macdaddy.io/apples-new-macbook-pros/