Oops, they did it again

I’ve been quite surprised this morning to read in the news that HP is thinking about giving up its PC business, shifting its core to business services and products (cloud computing, mostly). You can find a good report of Mr. Apotheker’s interview (Leo Apotheker is HP CEO) on The New York Times. I mean, for many of us (for me, at least), HP is a brand strictly connected with PCs and printers. Actually, the last notebook I bought was an HP.

If you look carefully at some facts, the announcement is yet more “dramatic”. Last year HP acquired Palm to break through into tablets and smartphones business. In July 2011 HP has launched its own TouchPad Tablet. At the beginning of August 2011 HP has placed a permanent $100 discount on its Tablet. And now, HP decides to completely move its business away from PC, furthermore announcing that they will stop manufacturing the TouchPad Tablet which apparently has not met the financial milestones Mr. Apotheker has set.

This is quite a revolution in the PC market. And it’s easy to say that behind this revolution you can spot the happy and smiling face of Steve Jobs.

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How did Marty and Doc became friends?

I found this on Twitter (thanks to anyone who retwitted it). I’ve had a Back To The Future marathon two weeks ago. I’ve seen the first movie maybe 10-11 times. I don’t think number 2 and 3 match up with number 1, but they are nonetheless entertaining and well done.

Back To The Future - How did Marty and Doc Became Friends

Anyway, here is how Marty and Doc became friends before the events described in the Back To The Future trilogy.

Okay, from the horse’s mouth (yes, I’m the horse — er, co-writer, co-creator): We never explained it in the movie. But the history of the characters that Bob Zemeckis and I created is this…

For years, Marty was told that Doc Brown was dangerous, a crackpot, a lunatic. So, being a red-blooded American teenage boy, age 13 or 14, he decided to find out just why this guy was so dangerous. Marty snuck into Doc’s lab, and was fascinated by all the cool stuff that was there. when Doc found him there, he was delighted to find that Marty thought he was cool and accepted him for what he was. Both of them were the black sheep in their respective environments. Doc gave Marty a part-time job to help with experiments, tend to the lab, tend to the dog, etc.

And that’s the origin of their relationship.

This is how Bob Gale, co-creator and co-writer of the trilogy, puts it in an interview at MentalFloss.com. I must admit I never asked myself about it, but it’s quite funny to see how movie and fictional characters has a sort of life of their own that goes far beyond the screen.

Google Doodle

Some people are simply genius. Here’s today Google Doodle.

Google Doodle 17/08/2011 - Fermat

The Doodle is dedicated to Pierre De Fermat, French mathematician, whose last and probably most famous intuition is know as “Fermat’s Last Theorem”. To make the long story short, “Fermat’s Last Theorem states that no three positive integers ab, and can satisfy the equation an + bn = cn for any integer value of n greater than two” (source: Wikipedia). Exactly what you find in the board on the Doodle.

I can hear you all say: “So what?”. Here comes the anecdote. It was 1637 when Fermat wrote his Last Theorem in the margin of his own copy of Diophantus’ Arithmetica.

It is impossible to separate a cube into two cubes, or a fourth power into two fourth powers, or in general, any power higher than the second, into two like powers. I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this, which this margin is too narrow to contain.

And therefore today’s Doodle goes like: “I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this, which this Doodle is too narrow to contain”. I’m sorry if you can’t get it, but this is genius!

Google Plus

In the last 6 years I’ve been working for different companies in Italy as a Marketing Assistant and as a Marketing Manager. The interest in the way people (and companies) communicate and the attempt to understand the impact of technologies on the communication flows dates back to my University years (let’s say 7 to 12 years in the past). This is why in this long period (more than one third of my whole life) I have had an account in almost any web-based social network or social-related feature.

Google Plus makes no exception.

The first time I heard about Google Plus (some three months ago), I didn’t actually heard about “Google Plus”. I read a press release on the Italian magazines and newspapers about 5 new Google web applications aimed at changing forever the way people get in touch: Circles, Hangouts, Sparks, Instant Upload and Huddle. “Great!”, I thought, “Some new items that are quickly going to disappear in the ‘more’ drop-down menu at http://www.google.com”.

Then I tried to gather more information about it and finally the name “Google Plus” came out. I got my invitation from a friend and started to explore the beta. While I was trying to understand how to do things on Google Plus (simple things like adding friends, sending invites, uploading pictures, and so on) there was only one big question in my mind: “Why?”. “Why should I move from Facebook to Google Plus?”. “Why are my tech friends so excited about Google Plus?”. And, most of all, “Why should Google offer people things Facebook already offers, naming them differently and making them more difficult?”.

I really find it difficult to think it profitable for a company to put out a challenge on a widely accepted competitor product on the very same ground. It reminds me somehow of the proliferation of MMORPGs copy-pasted from World of Warcraft that we MMORPG-lovers had to face some years ago. With one main difference: for Google Plus going “free-to-play” is not an option.

There are two major faults that make me feel negative towards Google Plus.

  • Lack of simplicity – Google became the most popular search engine with a white page where the only thing you could do was typing what you were looking for. Google Plus is miles and miles away from this point. This is probably the aspect where Google should have copied more from Facebook, but in the end using Google Plus is quite more difficult than using Facebook when it comes to basic features (sharing photos, adding friends, etc.).
  • Lack of integration with other Google services (reader, documents, etc.) – This is probably the aspect where Google should have taken more advantage from Facebook, since Google is something so huge you don’t even see the end of it. But once again, they failed in this. Why cannot I share with my circles an article I just read in my Google Reader? Why cannot I invite some of my Google Plus contacts to work on a Google Document? Why cannot I share an event in my Google Calendar with the circle I named “Friends”?
Google Plus is still in beta testing, so there’s probably still time to fix and add things, even if the first impression is often very important for these social features that should make your social life easier. I will certainly keep an eye on it while I continue using Facebook for my social web-life … hoping Google Plus will one day become The Social Feature I will finally feel comfortable in!

Back and Forth … Again!

Back to the blogosphere!

This is actually the third time I try to have a blog of my own. First time with WordPress. First time in English. This will definitely be no more than a personal blog, so everything you are going to read here will regard things I care about and it will be my personal opinion.

Since I suppose we are going to know each others as posts go by, I won’t spend much time introducing myself. As anybody who has a blog, I would like to share thoughts and opinions with whoever wants to read them. And most of all, I would like to have your thoughts and opinions shared with me, so you’re welcome to use comments to let me know what you think.

Have a nice day you all!