Christopher Kalos

Technology, Hobbies, and New Ideas

An avid techie since childhood, I've finally decided that it's time to establish my own presence on the web, as opposed to outsourcing it to a bunch of social network pages.

Here you'll find musings, my professional history, and anything that catches my interest.

As will become obvious as this page grows, I'm an Apple user, through and through:  When I work, I use the best tools for the job.  Sometimes that's Microsoft-based, sometimes it's Apple-based, and often, it's Linux-based.  Once I'm at home, though, I find that comfort, simplicity, and ease of use trump all of the flexibility in the world.   

Cool counts for a lot.  Simplicity counts for a lot more.


WWDC 2014

I'm just going to open with this:  Every single Android proponent who claims that the iOS 8 announcement is a reaction to Android, and an unimpressive copy of everything that Android's been doing, is wrong.

It's not copying Android.  Not even a little.  Yes, there are features that were clearly in Android before they were in iOS.

Palm would like to have a word with all of you.

Improved inter-application data sharing?  PalmOS.  Multitasking via cards?  WebOS.  Customizable input methods?  PalmOS.  Pop-up notifications?  WebOS.  Interaction with notifications without leaving your app?  PalmOS.  iOS/OS X Handoff?  VERY late WebOS.  You can claim that Apple didn't come up with it, but you can't claim that Android did it first.

Now that that's all out of the way, there's a simple fact that Apple's integrated these pieces much better as technology caught up to support it.  Sure, they waited.  TouchID is, simply, the most reliable fingerprint scanner I've ever used.  iOS devices have insanely long battery life, even with a 4G/LTE radio running.  Siri isn't remarkable, but it's functional, and improves incrementally.  This has been Apple's game since 1984, so complaining about it now means you've ignored three decades of development.

So, what does that mean?  Well, not much.  iOS 8 has some neat improvements.  So does OS X 10.10.  The two combined are where it gets interesting, because Handoff lets you rapidly adapt your workflow to suit your needs.  Mail Drop cuts the bullshit of sending large attachments.  Swift sweeps away a decade-plus of Objective C cruft.  AirDrop will work the way we've all wanted it to work.  iCloud file storage is finally uncrippled.  Per-app battery usage is a power user tweak that's been long overdue.  HealthKit gets something right that S Health didn't:  Apple's connecting it to one of the most prestigious medical centers in the country, in addition to the biggest Electronic Medical Record vendor in the USA.  This isn't just a fancy user interface, this is connectivity.

OS X 10.10 unifies the user experience, which I think is going to upset some people, but it's also going to ease adoption of OS X for iOS users, and vice versa.  Things will be familiar, and that's not a bad thing, though I suspect it will bring detractors just like it did when iOS 7 came out, or when Microsoft introduced Vista, or Windows 8.  That's a minor detail, compared to the continuity features, and that's where things get interesting:  No one else could have pulled it off.  Google could have made it function, but how many people are swapping between Android phones and Chromebooks?  Microsoft could as well, but likewise:  How may users swap between a Windows 8 system and a Windows Phone?  Apple's just in the right place at the right time, owing to a massive iOS user base and the use of iOS as a gateway drug into OS X.

This is some Star Trek-level stuff coming around, and while I expect Microsoft and Google to answer in kind, I'm okay with that:  It just means that everything's going to get better, and it probably won't matter much who "wins," since the real winners are us users.