Pro Versus Amateur

Apple and Sony both announced new technology products on the same day last week.

Both companies are high tech powerhouses. Both are throwing lots of new core technology into the electronic guts of their products.

One plays like a pro. The other seems like an awkward teen trying to play like a pro.

This is a marketing difference, a message difference, an integration difference, a user solution difference, and a product line difference.

Apple, having done this for decades now, is the polished pro.
And that's where the camera makers are amateurs. They just aren't connecting to customer needs. Yes, it'll take great tech, and Sony's sensors are certainly great tech. But that soccer mom that Sony probably would like to target with an RX10 Mark IV: just how easy was it for her to get their child's goal captured and posted on Facebook? Please don't tell me that she had to browse through 300 images in the sequence to find the right one, then toggle into another mode on the camera, chant some mumbo jumbo correctly so that it works, and then...oh wait, PlayMemories doesn't have a Facebook app. Which means that she'll have to learn how to use PlayMemories to send the image over to her smartphone and do the heavy lifting there. Oh, and since she's got Wi-Fi enabled on the RX10 Mark IV to do that, there goes the battery...

Come on guys. Apple is designing the pants off you. And presenting their offerings better. And solving real user problems.Thom Hogan

Reading List - Cameras, Robot Barista, Sleep

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Thom Hogan ranks camera manufactures on their willingness to listen to customers.

Nikon falls at the bottom of the list. I don't see them doing a lot of listening. Indeed, the last two trade shows I was at, Nikon went so far as to hide their corporate attendees and make them mostly unavailable. I walked up to one Japanese executive I know and he immediately said, "Hi Thom, I have to go." And left. That's kind of the opposite of listening.Who Listens Most?


Cafe X is a startup that use robot barista’s to wring efficiencies out of the cafe. While Noah Sanders marveled at how quickly the robots makes a good cup of espresso he felt that something was missing from the experience.

… it dawned on me that there may be hope for us yet. The one human you can’t pull out of this equation is the consumer—I’m the one depositing credits, after all, and I can spend my money how I wish. And so it stands to reason that I go to my corner coffee shop ostensibly to get a cup of coffee in the morning, but I also go because I enjoy chatting with my barista; knowing what they’re reading, or who they’ve been dating, or if that dreadful regular we all wish were a little less regular has been back in recently. This human interaction makes the coffee taste better. It’s good for my brain. It’s a UI quirk in this vast human public beta we call life, something that draws us to one another to connect, talk, socialize, fall in love, and pick fleas off each other’s fur. Perhaps it’s a design flaw; perhaps it’s our species’ greatest triumph.Do Androids Dream Of Electric Flat Whites?

Photographer, Michael C. Johnston, asks if lens tests are testing the right things.

… each test describes what the testing protocol tests. I stated this crudely years ago when I mentioned that guys who liked to test lenses by taking pictures of sheets of newspaper taped to the wall are testing how good their lenses are at shooting newspapers taped to walls...i.e., small-scale flat-field subjects at near distances with detail of a certain frequency.A Few Further Complications In Lens Testing

What is the purpose of dreams? What is the mind doing while we sleep?

Despite differences in terminology, all the contemporary theories of dreaming have a common thread — they all emphasize that dreams are not about prosaic themes, not about reading, writing, and arithmetic, but about emotion, or what psychologists refer to as affect. What is carried forward from waking hours into sleep are recent experiences that have an emotional component, often those that were negative in tone but not noticed at the time or not fully resolved. One proposed purpose of dreaming, of what dreaming accomplishes (known as the mood regulatory function of dreams theory) is that dreaming modulates disturbances in emotion, regulating those that are troublesome.Rosalind Cartwright via Farnam Street