About Kfir Pravda

Posts by Kfir Pravda:

The iPad Chronicles (1): iPad, Crippled Innovation?

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I got my iPad a week ago, and in this series of posts I’ll cover this device from point of views of a power user, publisher, marketer and media consumer.

iPhone was and still is a revolutionary device. it changed the whole concept of mobile interaction, the way we perceive mobility, and our expectations from mobile devices.
But just like any other device it has its flaws. Two of the most important ones are:

1. Lack of mulitasking – the inability to run several applications in parallel was one of the main points against the iPhone by Linux/Android/Symbian lovers around the world.
2. Lack of Adobe Flash support – well, unless you don’t have internet connection you probably know that Jobs hates all thing Flash with passion. iPhone and iPad do not support Flash. At all.

These two points were really not that important on the iPhone. I found that I have no issue what so ever with multitasking. Whenever I need a background app, Push notification gave me all that I needed. The whole “listen to Pandora while browsing” Scenario seemed a bit stupid to me – or at least relevant to less than 10% of my time. Other issues raised by iPhone users seemed esoteric to say the least.
The lack of flash wasn’t a biggie either. The iPhone screen is too small to watch embedded videos, as you need to watch them in full screen anyway. And besides one case, I never watched long format videos in the iPhone – and this one too was from the iTunes store.

But while these issues are minor when talking about the iPhone, iPad is a totally different story.
The iPad is using the same OS as the iPhone, with both limitations. But while I use my iPhone for limited time in each iteration, the iPad is an actual laptop replacement. I am writing this post on the iPad with a bluetooth keyboard – an activity that takes time. Suddenly, not being able to have my IM client running in the background becomes an issue. I am using IM+, that supports push notifications, but it isn’t enough. Luckily this lacking feature will be implemented in the next iPhone OS, that will reach the iPad in the coming Fall.
But lack of Flash support is a different story. And there is no light at the end of the tunnel here. We know that Apple is in a head to head battle against Adobe, and judging from history, it doesn’t seems like Apple is going to back down. Not having Flash on my iPad means that not only I can’t watch video streaming from most sites out there today (including many of the local official TV sites, that stream full episodes for free). It also means that I can’t access Google Analytics, Livestream Statistics and many other websites that I use every day. Cracking open my laptop just to look at stats seems stupid to say the least.

It might be just a matter of time before HTML 5 will gain more ground and additional sites will support it. And I am still very happy with my iPad, and amazing device that is truly a game changer.
But till then, I feel that my iPad is a bit crippled, and a bit less useful.

Come to ThinkNext2010 (with Promo Codes)

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Image representing Craig Mundie as depicted in...
Image via CrunchBase

Yes, I know, I am an Apple fan promoting a Microsoft‘s event, but this one is different…
Last year, Think Next was an awesome event – covering innovation, startups and keynote from thought leaders. This year the Microsoft guys are planning an even more exciting event, with Craig Mundie as a keynote speaker (Chief strategy and research officer of Microsoft), Moshe Lichtman (President of Microsoft’s Israel R&D Center and a great speaker), a DemoFest AND – Yes, Natal.
So here is the thing – it is a closed event but a little bird gave me several invite codes. Each code could provide 10 invitations.
After 20 RTs of this post – I will publish a code on this blog.
In the weeks leading to the event I will publish additional codes on my Twitter and Facebook profile.
ThinkNext will take place in Tel Aviv Port, Hanger 11, on April 14th.

Open Invitation

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2025- an invitation from Kfir Pravda on Vimeo.

2025 is a free vitrual conference about the future of your living room and cubicle.

For more info check 2025.imtc.org

(Shot on 7D)

The Future Of Publishing (2): One iPad to rule them all?

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Apple_iPad_keynote
Image by cattias.photos via Flickr

As magazine publishers are looking for ways to survive the digital revolution, there is one knight in shining armor – the iPad. At VDZ’s Digital innovator summit, the “magical” device was mentioned every second panel. Booths at the exhibition area showed protoypes of iPad applications, and CMS vendors stated that they are planning iPad support sooner then later.

However, amazingly enough, most of the people I’ve talked with never saw the iPad or held it in their own hands. Most of their knowledge about the device derived from Apple’s announcement and blogs – not first hand impression.

Though seems strange at first, that a whole industry would be betting its future on a device that almost no one  used or seen, when looking t the deatails, the iPad is a publisher’s wet dream:

1.  A sexy device

2. That provide a rich media experience, way better than the black and white Kindle

3. With embedded DRM, billing, and distribution mechanism

Based on iPhone and iPod success, iPad has the potential to become the magazine industry’s savior. However, magazines could not rely on single device or concept to be the answer of  all their woes.

Want to know what P&G told publishers about their future? check out this post.

The Future Of Publishing (1): P&G Explains Publishers How To Survive The Digital Age

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Last week I was invited to speak at Digital Innovation Summit in Berlin, organized by VDZ, the German Magazine Publishing association. In this series of posts I’ll cover some of the topics discussed.

Susanne Kunz, media and communications director, Procter & Gamble, Germany, spoke at Digital innovators summit in Berlin last week, and had some very direct words to say to publishers. She stressed the fact that magazines are facing competition for ad money – and they aren’t necessarily delivering premium value.
First she explained that magazine publishers in Germany are missing the most important value they could provide – customer insight. Publishers are not investing enough in knowing their customers and provide valuable information to advertiser.
Second, she believed that companies and brands should be present on all platforms, cause their customers are on every platform too.
Third, she stressed the fact that with content becoming more and more open and free, magazines should focus on bringing truly unique content to customers.
And last but not least, she mentioned mobile as more than a content distribution platform – but also could be used for virtual goods and product delivery.

The session was meant to be a wake up call to publishers – it seems that at least in some cases it worked…

It Isn't The Features Stupid!

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Google Nexus One vs Apple iPhone

Image by Yang and Yun's Album via Flickr

Last night I had a wonderful dinner with good friends. Between the wine and the steaks, we started talking about technology and gadgets. One of my friends was boasting about how his Nexus One is awesome, and I have to admit that I admired this slick phone. But I was puzzled with his comparison to the iPhone. He was talking about pixels, resolution, camera capabilites and so on and so forth.

And I ask you – who cares?

Call me strange but I don’t buy a bunch of features. I don’t buy screen resultion. I don’t buy camera’s pixel number.

I am one fo those strange guys who buys A PRODUCT.

You know, the whole thing. The packaged synergy between different technical abilities that create a user experience, coupled with UI and brand. I buy the ability to be a part of an ecosystem that makes my life easier, more productive, and more fun. I couldn’t care less about the technical details.

GPS is useless without maps application or location based applications. Camera is just a hole in the back of my device without a good picture gallery and the ability to easily share these pictures with my friends and family.

Or maybe I’m missing something here….

Apple, Adobe, HTML 5, Flash and Standards

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Ahava ('love' in Hebrew), Cor-ten steel sculpt...
Image via Wikipedia

Apple doesn’t like Flash. We know that already. Steve Jobs recently called Adobe lazy, and we all know that iPhone and iPad doesn’t support Flash. But the story is a bit more complex than that.

Apple’s opposition to Adobe is linked to HTML 5 – an open standard that would enable developers to use open formats to deliver rich media experiences. As such, this format is a threat on Adobe. And as Apple Insider analyzed in a great post about Flash vs. Apple:

By not putting Flash on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, Apple is creating a significant installed base of affluent users who simply can’t be reached via proprietary binaries like Flash and Silverlight. That has successfully shifted attention both to Apple’s own App Store platform for mobile apps and to the open web, encouraging developers to embrace standards-based rich web apps and multimedia delivery based on open specifications.

Yesterday, I quoted this post on my Facebook profile, stating that Apple are promoting open web standards, by supporting HTML 5 over Flash. This created an interesting thread of responses, that you can see here.

I’d like to better explain why I still believe that Apple are supporting open standards in comparison to Adobe. More

Buzz, Blogsphere and Serial Killers

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not your everyday serial killer - dexter
Image by missresincup via Flickr

The blogsphere has more killers than American Maximux Secutiry prison.

Twitter would kill Facebook. Facebook would kill Google. Friendfeed would kill Twitter. And now, the latest addition to the new-product-that-only-geeks-use-and-bloggers-shout-that-it-would-kill-the-frigging-internet – Google Buzz. Last week the blogsphere was plastered with those statements, as if Facebook’s millions of users, Twitter’s proven power to create addiction with hyper connected individuals, and the need for many just to write emails, without sharing their photos all over the place, doesn’t exist.

It seems that there is a routine in our world:

1. A new hyper-connected-social-network-that-sends- your-pictures-and-status-all-over-the-place-but-is-not-exactly-Twitter-or-Facebook is launched

2. The echo chamber rejoices, and writing zillion posts, all quoting the same Techcrunch/GigaOm/Financial Times/Fox News article – competing with hysterical headlines.

2. Tons of users logging in. Scoble‘s among them.

3. The homepage is filled with Scoble’s remarks about how great the tool is, and changing the way we think about communication.

4. All the cool kids logging in and saying – hey it is like Twitter. Err Facebook. Err something. But with pictures. Myself included.

5. Slowly people see that it is another network they need to maintain, another profile, and another level of noise.

6. Porn starts, Viagra merchants, and so called “power networkers” that are spending most of their days in friending total strangers, are taking control of the platform and start spamming everyone. And Kevin Smith.

7. Privacy/usability/stability are not what they seem, and users are starting to realize that it might not be the best thing since sliced bread

8. Scoble leaves the platform, saying it is useless.

9. A new hyper-connected-social-network-that-sends- your-pictures-and-status-all-over-the-place-but-is-not-exactly-Twitter-or-Facebook is launched

Yes, Buzz is awesome, but I left it after couple of days. I am still on Twitter and Facebook, cause they provide me enough value – and my friends are there.

Let’s stop diminishing user base, and actual usability of platforms, and wait a second before we hail a new online platform as the new king. Life is way more complicated than a headline in a  blog post.

42 Seconds of Visual Beauty

42 Seconds of Visual Beauty
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I came across this video on Vimeo’s top videos group. Some of the others are interesting, but this one is a combination of excellent visual storytelling coupled with some basic human sensitivity.

Last Day Dream [HD] from Chris Milk on Vimeo.

What's HD-DSLR and Why Does It Matter

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Canon EOS 7D with EF 28mm f/2.

Image via Wikipedia

Canon EOS  7D, Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D90 – if these models sound like a foreign language it means you weren’t paying attention. These are models of hybrid video and DSLR cameras called HD-DSLR. And they are changing the industry as we know it. Canon 5D Mark II, full frame high end Canon DSLR Camera, had one small feature, that looked like an after thought – the ability to shoot full HD videos. Like many other ground breaking products, this feature was severly crippled. In the first version of these cameras, the video mode was fully automated – which means that the photographer couldn’t control ISO and frame rate among other paramters – making it very limited for serious video shooters. But Canon released a new firmware with the ability to fully control all video parameters besides frame rate. And this is nothing less then revolutionary.

Why? More