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Carlo Blackmore
Planted in Brooklyn. Grown in Philly. Pruned by Love.
Planted in Brooklyn. Grown in Philly. Pruned by Love.
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Carlo's posts

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From my office window at 54th street and 12th avenue, the first thing I see as I walk up to the window is: big blue sky, then the edge of Weehawken NJ, then the Hudson River, then the long strip of NYC Hudson river park and piers that now flanks most of the western edge of Manhattan. 

Even on cold days this strip will attract several die-hard runners and bikers. But today... it was empty! Empty curves of concrete and grass bordered by the river's layers of ice floating into the piers. On mornings like this the heaters near the window are a good spot to quickly thaw from the sustained wind that tries to push you back to 10th ave. as you get closer to 12th ave. and the river. 

And then like a lost snowflake in a desert, a runner came into my view from the south running briskly north. I blinked. I was like "Damn." Looking down, my view of the running path is a little more than 1 km. For that entire distance, almost 3 minutes, I watched them run in their bright ice blue jacket... completely... alone. I stood watching for another minute or two and aside from the cars on the Henry Hudson parkway, not one other runner or biker or walker entered my view.

Someone—their efficient physique and my distance made age or gender unknowable—is running north along the Hudson river with no one behind or ahead of them for a mile. Someone is forging new steel into their spirit!
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My favorite quotes of the year so far...
Jony Ive proposes...“So much of our [world's] manufactured environment testifies to carelessness,”
Paola Antonelli, of MOMA, described Apple’s design thoughtfulness as “a sign of respect,” and added, “Elegance in objects is everybody’s right, and it shouldn’t cost more than ugliness.”

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I think commenters are raising excellent issues about the upcoming changes to Apple stores under Angela Ahrendts—issues that sound like they could be the exact disagreements Ahrendts and soon-to-exit Bob Bridger might have had with each other.

To me, it seems up until now Apple stores have gone out of their way to maintain a seamless one-family (almost communal) feel regardless of what new device gets introduced to the family. With every new product Apple creates, most people would probably understand the impulse to add on a different zone or experience, but Apple stores have mostly stayed true to their original concept—which on is valuable and has deep meaning for a brand.

I would also argue, I think I have noticed the threads starting to pull apart in the seamlessness. For example, stores having to triage and create make-shift zones within the store whenever a new phone launches, one table or wall or line dedicated to purchase, then you move to another table or line dedicated to wireless service activation, etc. At first glance when you walk in everything is just a blur of people and blonde wood and you can't quickly tell what the heck is going on or where you should even stand. It still rises way above most technology store experiences, but it feels like something is not quite genius enough for Apple standards. I think Ahrendts might wisely be anticipating that Watch could be the product experience that finally tears the threads apart if the stores are left as is.

I doubt they would give the watches such an exclusive experience to make them feels as if watches are all of a sudden Apple's flagship product. But they also can't ignore that a gold-colored phone vs. an actual gold watch, mean very different things to a shopper. A phone, people can easily pick up and put down with one hand even when it's tethered (I applaud Apple on raising the standard on how to minimally tether and secure devices). However, a watch, people want to attach to their wrist, take off, re-attach, see how it looks an outside perspective with a mirror, etc. This is not the case with any other device currently in an Apple store. The clip-on iPod shuffles/nanos came close to this, but that's child's play compared to what the Watch means to Apple.

Ultimately, I think it will speak volumes about Apple's vision when we see the store changes going into effect; it should provide yet another excellent study into retail experiences on top of the world-famous standards Apple is already credited with. I'm almost looking forward to that more than the watches—almost.

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If only Brooklyn could have witnessed the lovely rose moon full eclipse without the veil of clouds. But such is nature, there is beauty in a veil too. I was lucky to catch the earlier penumbra phase though.
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After a couple years now the maps component in Apple apps like iPhoto and Find My Friends, still wrongly insists that my neighborhood in Brooklyn is "Long Island". Even though I'm the most western part of Brooklyn. Not until Apple fixes this will I believe their geo/mapping team has stepped up to usual Apple standards. 
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http://www.electronista.com/articles/14/04/03/touch.id.more.reliable.but.s5.swipe.reader.able.to.be.used.with.more.merchants/

Theses are the nuances of Apple design showing long-term genius. 
First, Apple choosing the elemental shape of a circle as the home button which best matches the shape of the input device - our fingertip. Second, Apple prioritizing that users should be able to reach as much of the iPhone screen as possible with their thumb using only one hand.

The minute even Samsung, who copies Apple more than anyone, deviates in the slightest from Apple design choices – like the shape of their home button, or size of their screens – the consequence has ripple effects and things start to degrade. 

These are the designs "most" companies choose when left to their usual instincts. These are the mistakes we used to just accept as the normal trade-offs with technology. These are the clumsy choices that Apple has an instinct for shaving away and proving technology can be more natural and intimate and delightful. 

This is why Apple defends and patents even the most elemental parts of their design. It seems so simple an obvious when Apple makes certain choices, that it understandably feels un-patentable. But when you repeatedly see how easily other companies veer off into bad design choices, we are reminded that Apple does bring to the market a unique design wisdom and genius that is not commonplace. 
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Apple CarPlay today. Hopefully AppleTransit tomorrow?
The news of Apple improving their car dashboard display for iPhone made me think if Apple can spend so much effort and collaboration with automakers towards CarPlay, Apple should also spend time collaborating with mass transit providers to improve those interface experiences. There are obvious applications for CarPlay in air travel – perhaps 'PlanePlay' for the back of airplane seats, but I'm thinking more about improving how people navigate subways and buses.

Of course cars have a more controlled, sophisticated display experience, for a higher-income audience. But mass transit is a planet-friendly, community-scale experience that deserves Apple's collaborative muscle. Public transit authorities are working harder on their data aggregation and delivery. Rather than resign to just 3rd party development and partnerships, Apple could bring a new level of sophistication and delight to navigating the usually dark and messy experiences we have become accustomed to for public transit.
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2014-03-11
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Siri, Her and Star Trek: The New Frontend

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