Posts filed under “Technology”

Apple MacBook Air Design Flaw

Dear Sirs,

I want to bring to you’re attention a terrible design floor in the MacBook Air laptop: Its power switch.

Unlike the MacBoook Pro that it replaced, someone at Apple placed the on/off switch as part of the keyboard. This is a terrible idea. It makes the laptop that much less usable, less efficient and less pleasant to work with. To be blunt, it represents a terrible compromise of utility for the sake of symmetry and appearances.

It is very unApple like.

I don’t care of you are the world’s greatest typist, eventually, you will accidentally brush this key with your right hand pinkie or ring finger. If you are lucky, you can flip the lid closed, wait a few beats, reopen it, and then enter your password. If the silicon Gods are smiling on you, you can proceed normally. Most of the time, however, you must reboot the entire machine, while muttering “WTF was Jony Ive thinking?” under your breath.

Genius? Hardly.

Making the matter worse, there is no software over ride. I cannot program this key to require a “2 second hold” before taking effect, or even a double click – just the merest wisp of an errant touch ends my session of work.

The good news is twofold: Its a solid state machine, so it reboots quickly. And, when the reboot comes up, all of your work seems to have been saved. In other words, this terrible hardware design is made less painful by an excellent software design.

Thank goodness for small favors.

The on/off is immediately above the very commonly used delete/backspace key, thereby making this error all but inevitable, and revealing its inventor as utterly clueless about Human ergonomics. What makes this so stunning is it comes from a company that, since my MacClassic in 1989, seemed to anticipate, rather than thwart, my intentions.

I have two new laptops to buy for work in January, and while my original plan was to add more MacBook Airs, this flaw makes that much less likely to occur.

Note this was typed on an iMac, which means that I actually go to finish it in one streak, without being interrupted by a poorly designed, poorly placed on off key.

Here’s hoping you get your shit together soon,


Barry Ritholtz



Designed in California by people who apparently have never typed . . .




Category: Really, really bad calls, Technology


I read yesterday morning in the Japan Times that the JP Morgan settlement is thought to be a blueprint of future settlements. Some recompense to the Treasury, some putative damages to act a deterrent for the future, but a decided lack of culpability in the veritable errrr ummm culprits. Why, pray tell, is it believed…Read More

Category: Legal, Technology

Everything is a Remix: The iPhone

Everything is a Remix Case Study: The iPhone from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Category: Technology, Video

NASA’s 6-Foot Valkyrie Humanoid Robot

NASA’s 6-Foot Valkyrie Humanoid Robot Will Rescue You From Buildings Source: fastcompany

Category: Science, Technology, Weekend

The Hierarchy of Innovation

I find this intriguing: From Rough Type: If progress is shaped by human needs, then general shifts in needs would also bring shifts in the nature of technological innovation. The tools we invent would move through the hierarchy of needs, from tools that help safeguard our bodies on up to tools that allow us to…Read More

Category: Technology, Venture Capital

Dear Lord, No Cell Phones on Airplanes.

There will be blood. And fights, and cell phones deservedly jammed up peoples nether regions. It is the busiest travel day of the year today. I for one am giving thanks that we are staying local with the sibs instead of flying to Chicago as we typically do. As problematic as the weather is this…Read More

Category: Really, really bad calls, Technology, Travel

The Ballmer Years

The not so terrific reign of error of Microsoft under Steve Ballmer: Source: WSJ

Category: Corporate Management, Digital Media, Technology

Profitibility at the World’s Biggest Tech Firms

  click for ginormous graphic via Pando Daily  

Category: Digital Media, Earnings, Technology, Valuation

History of Audio Apparati

It is missing the Nakamichi Dragon and the Bang & Olufson BEO1500, but other than that . . . click for ginormous graphic via Pop Chart Lab

Category: Music, Technology, Weekend

Google Barges

Google parks a mysterious barge off of San Francisco and shares plans to prolong human existence. Jon Stewart Looks at Floaters The Daily Show Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,The Daily Show on Facebook (05:07)

Category: Humor, Technology, Television