It started snowing early this Morning but, thanks to the Winter tires on my front wheels, I was able to leave the hill for breakfast with Jon. It ended up snowing for most of the day, the biggest snowfall of the Winter so far.

During rehearsal yesterday we took a couple of breaks to check out what Apple was unveiling in San Francisco. Since then I have had a chance to reflect on the new iPad (((I think MacBook Touch would have been nicer, followed by a MacBook Pro Touch, perhaps with a wider screen in a year or two. iPod Touch and MacBook Touch…))) and especially the reaction it has been getting. Here is my take on the tablet:

When the iPhone was first shown in 2007 many rival smartphone manufacturers didn’t think it would gain much of a market share. I don’t think that was PR, I think they probably genuinely didn’t get it, meaning they didn’t understand the appeal of such a phone without buttons. Now Apple, on the strength of the iPhone and the App store, has become the largest mobile devices manufacturer in the world.

Hm, maybe like playing Nouveau Flamenco for a traditional Flamenco fan – they would have said (((did say!!))), what on earth is that???

It seems nerds don’t like the iPad, because it doesn’t do multi-tasking, doesn’t have a fast enough processor, doesn’t have a camera (((and I would like to be able to attach the tablet to my studio computer and use it as an input device – instead of using a mouse – for editing…))) yada yada yada, but once again there is a misunderstanding here, a rather big one. Apple did not design the iPad for me or for nerds. Nerds can fiddle with Linux or build their own computers from spare PC parts. Nerds are also a rather small buying group overall and, I imagine, not very brand-loyal. I think Apple is going for a much larger audience than that.

To put that in perspective again, if I had written and produced NF to impress Flamenco afficionados and Flamenco guitarists, the album would have been a failure. Not only would the album not have appealed to them, they would also have been too small of an audience to sell a decent amount of records. Not that I imagined to sell more than the initial 1,000 copies Frank Howell made, but in hindsight it is pretty clear that the album would not have sold over two million copies if it had been more traditional. In that case I would still have a day-job somewhere in Santa Fe, and would perform at local restaurants and bars. Nothing wrong with that, naturally, but my life would have been rather different.

In fact, I don’t think there is a more traditional sounding Flamenco album that has sold even half a million copies in the USA. Go to the Grammy website, start a RIAA Gold or Platinum certification search and plug in the most famous Flamenco guitarists you can think of, say Paco De Lucia or Vicente Amigo… and you will come up with… nothing, zero. Their music, although very beautiful, appeals to a narrower slice of the public.

Back to the iPad, maybe Flamenco afficionados and guitarists are similar to the nerds who hate the iPad. But the public, I think the public will love it and buy it. I think my dad would have loved it. Even in his nineties he would have grasped the brilliant concept and the simplicity. The iPad is for people who are intimidated by a computer, by people who look at a computer’s desktop and wonder how one can get started. I mean, you could leave an iPad in your living room and everyone who comes for a visit would play with it. Getting around an iPad is child’s play, in fact every pre-school should have several. Imagine interactive lessons for grade-schoolers on the iPad.

Yeah, I do want one for our bus this Summer! And that gives me another idea: hm, wouldn’t it be great if you could create separate accounts on every iPad, so that I could sign in to check my email, then Jon could sign in to read his book, then Michael could sign in and watch one of his movies… and then combine that with the concept of storing music and movies and data in the cloud and the tablet would become an empty container, a furoshiki to be used by anyone with a login!! That would mean that every hotel could have a bunch of these slates lying around in their lobby or the restaurant, for anybody to grab, sign in and use while they are visiting, to read the news, check their email, message their friends… Oh, well, in ten years maybe? Twenty?

Other stuff that caught my eye today:

Running barefoot may mean fewer injuries than wearing trainers
Harvard professor Daniel Lieberman has ditched his trainers and started running barefoot. His research shows that running barefoot generates less impact shock than running in trainers. This makes barefoot running more comfortable and could minimise running-related injuries

– with video. I have written about barefoot walking versus wearing shoes before – here, and here.

Ferran Adria is closing El Bulli. It’s time to tackle his cookbook
So, Ferran Adria has announced that El Bulli – the best restaurant in the world – is set to close for a couple of years, and jaws have dropped wide enough to shove a whole tasting menu in. “No meals will be served in El Bulli in 2012 and 2013,” Adria told the Madrid Fusion gastronomic conference on Tuesday. “With a format like the current one it is impossible to keep creating. In 2014, we will serve food somehow. I don’t know if it will be for one guest or 1,000.”

Looks like Stephen Batchelor’s new book will be published in March. Here is the publisher’s website, which contained this quote at the bottom:

The human thirst for the transcendent, the numinous—even the ecstatic—is too universal and too important to be entrusted to the cultish and the archaic and the superstitious. In this honest and serious book of self-examination and critical scrutiny, Stephen Batchelor adds the universe of Buddhism to the many fields in which received truth and blind faith are now giving way to ethical and scientific humanism, in which lies our only real hope.
—Christopher Hitchens

I just sent him an email, wondering whether he used one of my photos of him.

Gut symmetries
Now that physics is proving the intelligence of the universe, what are we to do about the stupidity of mankind? I include myself. I know that the Earth is not flat, but my feet are. I know that space is curved, but my brain has been cordoned by habit to grow in a straight line. What I call light is my own blend of darkness. What I call a view is my hand-painted trompe-l’oeil. I run after knowledge like a ferret down a ferret hole. My limitations, I call the boundaries of what can be known. I interpret the world by confusing other people’s psychology with my own. I say I am open-minded, but what I think is.
— Jeanette Winterson, Gut Symmetries
(Via Nikola Tamindzic)