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Archive for April 3rd, 2010

I’ve had a good time messing with this iPad. The hype is justified I’m afraid….

It’s true many of the ideas coming to life in the iPad aren’t new but like so many apple products they just put them together better than anything we’ve seen before.

Touch screens
Manipulative interfaces
Long battery life
Tablet format
Simple, controlled ui
Virtual keyboard
Wireless connectivity
Spelling correction
Universal access features
Ereader
And so on…

Bits and pieces have been tried before. This is just a whole different package.

Sure it’s got some things that can be improved… I keep pressing the caps lock key, sometimes the screen mode gets weird, and the screen gets dirty quickly like the iPhone (dorritos aren’t a viable snack anymore). This are things that can be refined overtime.

One major concern I do have… The iPad doesn’t seem rugged. It’s so pretty and so smooth but I fear moving it out of my lap. Reminds me of holding our children during their first week of life…

Apple takes a lot of criticism for lack of multitasking and closed os. Frankly though it flat out works. I think if you don’t have constraints on a system it gets sloppy quickly. My droid phone has all sorts of oddities that my blackberry and iPod touch do not. I’m not saying one approach is better than another on os and devices… Different devices different needs. I want the iPad to work well on my most common tasks and it appears to do that. I will take some loss of functionality for a great experience on key elements. Also I noticed that most good apps include the right functions so that multitasking in the os isn’t really that important. E.g. Code editors including a browser an FTP function in app.

The economics of the ipad will change the industry. The hardware is so functional it’s hard to believe you can get one of these for 500 bucks. And this is gen 1. The software In the app store is already very good. And it’s easily 80% cheaper than typical laptop / desktop apps. The fact that you can attach a bluetooth headset to this and run Skype pretty much could do in landlines and typical voip. When the 3G models ship with their decent data plans the cellular economics have got to change.

I played a few of the games. They are very fun and very good looking/sounding. Beyond being a very big threat to other gaming machines like the ds and psp, I think the iPad will do what the Wii did – bring about a whole category of gaming and a whole new category of gamers. Board game dynamics are going to be much more interesting on this platform than in any other platform. At the controller less experience with a screen as part of the interface is very enjoyable. And unlike the iPhone the experience is bigger in every way.

My favorite apps so far are Wolfram|Alpha, iWork, brushes, word press, AIM/life stream, and Theo Grays The Elements.

Civ revolutions and Tap Tap radiation are awesome games.

And my ultimate test for whether this will be a long term device for me… Can I type fast and in great enough quantity to be able to write emails and script/program? Yes! Both the keyboard and the text editors are very functional.

By Christmas time the consumer software, gaming and computer industry are going to look very different. New companies, new economics, new approaches…. Yes, it will be that fast of transition…

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CNN has a very unnerving report about some crazy loophole, government meets private sector dealings.

First, doctors as PR people:

Internal company documents show that Pfizer and Pharmacia (which Pfizer later bought) used a multimillion-dollar medical education budget to pay hundreds of doctors as speakers and consultants to tout Bextra.

Pfizer said in court that “the company’s intent was pure”: to foster a legal exchange of scientific information among doctors.

But an internal marketing plan called for training physicians “to serve as public relations spokespeople.”

According to Lewis Morris, chief counsel to the inspector general at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “They pushed the envelope so far past any reasonable interpretation of the law that it’s simply outrageous.”

Pfizer’s chief compliance officer, Doug Lanker, said that “in a large sales force, successful sales techniques spread quickly,” but that top Pfizer executives were not aware of the “significant mis-promotion issue with Bextra” until federal prosecutors began to show them the evidence.

By April 2005, when Bextra was taken off the market, more than half of its $1.7 billion in profits had come from prescriptions written for uses the FDA had rejected.

Second, fake companies to get through legal issues:

“We have to ask whether by excluding the company [from Medicare and Medicaid], are we harming our patients,” said Lewis Morris of the Department of Health and Human Services.

So Pfizer and the feds cut a deal. Instead of charging Pfizer with a crime, prosecutors would charge a Pfizer subsidiary, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc.

A couple of thoughts.

If the federal government ever wonders again why the public doesn’t trust them/listen to them the officials need to review this situation.  It’s just crazy that the bailouts of all these financial entities went against major popular opinion and really didn’t end up solving problems (I know, that’s debatable…).   In the aftermath the government came out and said how tough they were going to be with people that abuse taxpayers.   So, now in this case….

“If we prosecute Pfizer, they get excluded,” said Mike Loucks, the federal prosecutor who oversaw the investigation. “A lot of the people who work for the company who haven’t engaged in criminal activity would get hurt.”

Did the punishment fit the crime? Pfizer says yes.

It paid nearly $1.2 billion in a criminal fine for Bextra, the largest fine the federal government has ever collected.

It paid a billion dollars more to settle a batch of civil suits — although it denied wrongdoing — on allegations that it illegally promoted 12 other drugs.

In all, Pfizer lost the equivalent of three months’ profit.

It maintained its ability to do business with the federal government.

The Obama administration should take a stand on this because all the new health care reform is likely to stimulate more of this type of activity – strange dealings with the government.   This situation is exactly why I want either a completely private health care system OR universal one.  This hybrid system is just terrible.  We’ll see more of this as long as their are big government programs that use private companies with profit incentives.   I don’t think it’s bad to profit driven, I just think it’s dangerous when it’s the government handling the relationship, and not the customers.

And maybe the fed prosecutor was right in that a lot of people will get hurt for holding Pfizer accountable… but I just don’t see how that’s a justification for letting them off the hook.   Ends don’t justify the means and all that.

And this is the zinger:

“I worry that the money is so great,” he [Loucks] said, that dealing with the Department of Justice may be “just of a cost of doing business.”

Oh, I’m sure that’s already true.

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