Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lost Horizon

"Sometime in the future, you shall have the pleasure of meeting her..."

The clip that follows is from a 1973 film called Lost Horizon. It's about a group of Europeans whose plane crashes in the Himalayas and the survivors are rescued by the people of The Valley of the Blue Moon - some sort of weird clothing based cult as far as I can see. The film features three future Oscar winners, at least one other Oscar nominee and a Burt Bacharach soundtrack. What more could you want?

I especially enjoy the dancing at about 1:40 by a chap who appears to have just walked in on the set, dressed casually in a pink shirt and natty flares. I reckon with about five minutes of practice I could dance as well as that.

The film also features one of the greatest chat-up lines in movie history....

Him: Are you an American?
Her: No, Mongolian.
Him: You'll have to teach me the language some time.

(Sir) John Gielgud, Peter Finch and George Kennedy (the aformentioned Oscar winners), what on Earth were you thinking of?

But you know what...this song is peculiarly addictive...I think I want to see more of this film.

Now, sit back and enjoy, go full screen (double click on the clip) and volume right up please....

Friday, October 07, 2011

The Real Genius of Steve Jobs

Here's one of the more ill-thought out statements to have been uttered in the last few days following the sad death of Steve Jobs. 

"'s hard to imagine a worlds(sic) without iPods, Pads, Phones etc etc."

No it's not. It is extremely easy to imagine a world without Apple products. You just have to visit the huge swathes of the planet where people don't spend their time salivating, slack-jawed at the window of their local Apple store. Only someone deeply embedded within their mostly self-imagined world of Apple would make such an indulgent statement. Some individuals (like our friend above) may be unable to imagine a world without their iPhone but billions of other people have no such problem. Most of the people of the world have to rely on the technology that is available to them at a price that they can afford.

When I have had a chance to use Apple products I've liked them. They are beguiling in their simplicity and elegance and that is their charm and their brilliance, but after that I didn't really feel they offered me significantly more than I could get from other products or at least, not sufficiently to justify the price tag. There's also the uncomfortable feeling that you're buying your way into some sort of clique. Whenever two Apple users meet, their conversation rather easily seems to turn to their gadgets and they are unlikely to emerge and re-enter normal society until they're separated from each other. I really don't want to run the risk of getting drawn into that sort of a conversation - maybe that's just me.

To go back to our friend's original statement, it is actually hard to imagine a world without computers, without telephones, but Steve Jobs did not invent either of these (despite what some people have claimed in recent days). He made exquisitely beautiful, tactile products with elegant interfaces that exploited those inventions. This was his genius and I hope he left enough of his psychological DNA in Apple that they continue to make them and thrive.

There should always a place in the world for people who can make something that is more than just brutally functional and Steve Jobs brilliantly proved that, but if Apple products were removed from the world today, telephony and computing would continue without so much as a hiccup because the brute horsepower that really runs those systems does not rely on Apple technology to perform.