IMRAN's In My Humble Opinion

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Posts Tagged ‘Innovation’

Driverless Cars Better Than Brainless Drivers – IMRAN™

Posted by imrananwar on December 10, 2016

Michigan is about to approve cars without drivers or steering wheels on its roads. Some people will worry. But a driverless car is better than cars with moron drivers, especially the ones I see everywhere in the USA, but especially in Florida or in NY on the Long Island Expressway.

You know the types of drivers I am talking about. The ones with a genetic inability to turn their fat neck to look over their shoulder, the ones without a brain capable of processing moving over from the fast/passing lane, or the ones without a decent upbringing to know now to be @a$$#0¬3$ on the road.

At least driverless cars will signal when turning or changing lanes, not hog the passing lane like a fat stupid obnoxious pig, or drift between lanes while texting. And I am being polite. LOL

IMRAN™

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Posted in Automobiles, Cars, Humor, Imran, Long Island, New York, Opinion, Safety, Society, Technology, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Workloads Should Or Shouldn’t Move To The Cloud? – IMRAN

Posted by imrananwar on May 30, 2016

Posted in Cloud, Cloud Computing, Fortune 500, Imran, Imran Anwar, Innovation, Management, Opinion, Strategy, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

To Achieve Greatness In The Digital World, Respect Intellectual Property & Innovate, Or Be Irrelevant! – IMRAN™

Posted by imrananwar on December 23, 2014

The article (Tech In Pakistan 2014) in the reputable Pakistan newspaper, Dawn, makes good points lamenting the mind numbingly stupid, and self-destructive, policies and factors that make for such “tepid performance” in Pakistan. The author, Y. Brohi, points how one does not need an army of people to launch a startup. My personal experience proved that, indeed, even one person can start a revolution or entire industries for others to build on.

In the end of the 80s and early 1990s, I was fortunate and blessed to pioneer and launch Internet email service in Pakistan right from my home in Gulberg-III, Lahore, while I was studying for my MBA at Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York City. Together we, my partner & friend Ashar Nisar and I, were able to launch the .PK ccTLD, literally putting Pakistan on the brave new digital world’s map.

I later also had the opportunity to make another, less known but also important, humble contribution to Pakistan’s economic progress, by bringing and launching global credit cards in Pakistan, starting with issuing the first MasterCard license to a Pakistani bank in the early 90s. The availability of credit to the middle class can be a major driver to drive economic activity and the creation of products, services and related jobs.

Both of those industries were launched with no government funding (actually, we succeeded despite resistance and other tactics of the authorities of that time that I will not mention), and without venture capital, which at that time was near impossible to get in Pakistan.

My reason for writing this is not to boast on past achievements but to exhort the dynamic and hard working Pakistani entrepreneurs to learn from what the article says and what my experience shows.

You, one person, can start anything you want. There is nothing stopping the next secure identity and privacy solution to be created in Pakistan. There is no reason that artificial intelligence or secure cloud computing methods cannot be pioneered by Pakistanis.

If there is one thing that I have been frustrated by, and feel is a core reason for Pakistanis not creating world changing new things, is the disregard for intellectual property rights and concepts. From people ripping DVD movies to kids ripping games without payment, to the shameless way so-called respectable newspapers (excluding Dawn) steal and reprint others’ creative output, theft of intellectual property is commonplace, and almost something people boast about.

How then can people think in terms of creating intellectual property if they are themselves busy stealing someone else’s? That attitude is embedded in our culture and needs to be addressed. Without that, all the creative capabilities of Pakistanis will continue to be wasted on copying or reverse engineering others’ work, not creating brave new IP to change the world. 

I would love to see that topic get discussed at a national level. There are few nations that have so much creative entrepreneurial talent than Pakistan, as I have seen in my ~30 years of traveling the world.

Let us find ways to stimulate that and channel that and guide that for the greater good of the creators and the nation. That is why, in speaking to groups of Pakistani entrepreneurs and technology professionals, I say, “To Achieve Greatness In The Digital World, Respect Intellectual Property And Innovate With Your Own, Or Be Irrelevant!”

IMRAN™
http://imran.pk

Posted in Cloud Computing, Innovation, Intellectual Property, Internet, Media, Pakistan, Security, Technology, Venture Capital | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Questioning Rotten Apple Not Approved In PC (Politically Correct) Fawning Media? – IMRAN™

Posted by imrananwar on November 24, 2014

I have been an Apple user for 30+ years, and a Mac bigot since 1984. Even though my day job is at Microsoft and I use Windows laptops, Surface, Windows Phone Lumia, my personal life’s work is invested (and sort of locked) in the Apple ecosystem.

Even my MS colleagues know, I would often be the only guy at an airport with a PowerBook laptop in a sea of Windows machines, which I was no fan of. But the decline in innovation and quality at Apple has been shocking. I’ve had MacBook laptops that had manufacturing defects that Apple hid and then stopped patching after warranty. I had to replace my iPhone 4S (a great device) three times because of static noise issues.

I cannot even buy an external fingerprint reader for Mac OS that would work while I have it built in my PC laptops. I have no touch on the latest Apple MacOS devices. The gorgeous near perfect keyboards of previous MacBook Pros now have been replaced by plastic types that even PC users match or exceed.

iOS and its boring icons are still brain dead and have not evolved since iPhone started. I barely have to life my WindowsPhone screen and still can see who emailed me, what the weather changed to, what the latest news are, what someone said on FaceBook, see my photos rotate, ALL on the home screen without touching the phone. Yes, the Apple ecosystem still has a million more apps but after my initial craze which led me to have 1100+ apps on iOS, I have been aggressively deleting apps since only a handful are actually used. Of those about 80% are available to me on WindowsPhone too. 

My latest iPhone 6 Plus has a lousy 8MP camera while my year+ old Windows Phone Lumia 1020 has 43MP that runs rings around it. But worse of all is the sheer number of painful experiences I have had and seen people report on Apple’s own boards is mind boggling.

I used to complain about Windows control-alt-delete but with Windows 8 and now Windows 10 coming plus Windows Phone and super cool Live Tiles the user experience is far more innovative than Apple’s. Samsung users tell me even on hardware that company is beating Apple in new features. But the latest shocking defect in Apple hit me today.

You know how Bluetooth connects different vendors products for 15 years but can you believe Apple’s latest MacBook Pro & iPhone 6+ fail to connect to each other even with latest Yosemite and iOS 8.1.1 !

In the old days all media did was predict Apple’s death and I would argue against it. Now I see Apple non-stop defect laden launches but hardly any media express outrage or show coverage over it. I am not hating on Apple because someone at MS wants me to. After all, as I said, I have been invested in the Apple ecosystem and even my most used Mac apps are from Microsoft, including Outlook, Office/Word/PowerPoint/Excel and especially OneNote.

It is a pretty incredible switch of roles that I did not have any mail loss, data loss, issues moving from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and even Windows 10 Preview but I lost days of effort to resolving about a dozen separate known bugs and defects in upgrading the MacBook Pro to Yosemite and the iOS devices to iOS 8. That is definitely not how the yesterday’s gold standard of user experience and quality, Apple, worked. Is anyone a clear winner in that user experience war. Not right away. But at least today Apple’s clear lead in that area is gone. 

That is why the next personal devices I am lusting for are not Apple gadgets but the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, an Xbox One and a Microsoft Band. Hint, hint, if you really love me, and of course you do 🙂 , Christmas is around the corner. Just kidding!

What do you think?

Posted in Apple, Imran, Imran Anwar, Microsoft, Technology, Windows | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Keep A Finger On The Pulse Of Fingerprint Readers In Gadgets

Posted by imrananwar on September 12, 2013

By now everyone has probably seen the news about Apple‘s recently launched iPhone 5S. Even as an old time iPhone fan, I had stopped buying new ones since the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 had not given me any compelling reason to buy one either. Ironically, in that period of time, even as an old time Mac user and past critic of old versions of Windows, I joined Microsoft

I did not immediately get a Windows Phone (even though I was losing out an employee discount) and waited until the phone I really wanted came out….. The Nokia Lumia 1020 WindowsPhone 8, with its 41MP mind-blowing smartphone camera, which I bought without a discount or employee rebate. I still kept and use my iPhone 4S, because of the many apps I had bought over the years, and music that is tied to iTunes/Apple at present.

I was very hopeful for a truly innovative iPhone 5S, because, even though Apple’s phone is now a direct competitor to my employer’s recently acquired smartphone business, I believe innovation at one leading competitor benefits us all, as others have to work hard, invest in innovation and build great devices and services around them.

But, try as I might, despite being eligible for the new iPhone 5 upgrade from AT&T, I did not see any compelling reason to buy this one, at least yet, while my 4S is working fine. The only thing that I found of some interest was the fingerprint reader Apple built in, based on a company it had bought not too long ago.

I have always been a fan of natural interfaces or input devices. 

Ironically, my first fingerprint reader was actually a Microsoft branded one I bought for one of my PCs in the days I was a big time Mac fan.

A few years ago I discovered Authentec‘s USB readers and bought several, especially as they could work on my Macs and my PCs.

Some time later their prices dropped drastically and I found Apple had bought the company. So, predicting that the next generation iPhone would have fingerprint capability was not a leap of genius. 

However, I have to say my experience with the Authentec USB pluggable fob readers was frustrating, to the extent I do not use them anymore. Sometimes it would take half a dozen attempts of aligning the finger, the reader and Jupiter with Saturn before it would accept the print. I found simply typing in my complex password took less time and frustration.

Ironically, now that my current position is with Microsoft, I am happy that the technology is becoming more mainstream even if launched by a competitor. Such wide distribution of technology features leads to a greater pressure on everyone to improve the technology. (Remember how frustrating BlueTooth was early on?).

I have a fingerprint reader built into the new Lenovo Windows 8 (now. 8.1 🙂 ) laptop I got earlier this year, and it works smoothly, quickly and without trouble (so far!).

So, I am hoping to see more of that technology in other laptops and smartphones. Let the new game begin…. Touch And Go (Innovate!).

 

 

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Posted in Apple, Imran, Imran Anwar, Innovation, Microsoft, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

From “Apple Forever” To “Apple? Whatever…”

Posted by imrananwar on April 18, 2013

A contact of mine commented on my light-hearted FaceBook post about it being time to stop using Apple products like iPhone etc. 

She wrote, “Apple til I die”.

That made me think how in 1996Apple was written off for dead, and my web post (before it was called blogging) Imran Anwar’s Opinion on The Future of Apple Computers told Apple users not to give up hope as Apple would survive. Yet now I have no love for Apple now, which acts far more monopolistic than Microsoft was accused of with its Internet Explorer domination back then. 

Today, Apple is steadily losing people like me. I’ve been a Mac user since Apple created them, and have been a loyal user ever since. There was also a certain exclusivity to Apple products, the same market share as Mercedes Benz and BMW was not a bad thing to have with a company that was still profitable and made really cool stuff. But, even before I joined Microsoft, I had been getting fed up with Apple.

In the interest of full disclosure, since last year I have been working with Microsoft, on a strategy consulting project at the Department of Defense. But, my frustration with Apple, which began a few years ago, and has reached total disgust levels, is easily seen from my posts (many even deleted by the criticism-rejecting-content-Nazis at Apple’s discussion boards) on the Apple customer fora. 

More and more often flakier and flakier services (including being ripped off by the class-action lawsuit worthy Music Match that never worked, and the promised refund that was never delivered), major bugs Apple idiotically tried to ignore (antenna gate, the known but never acknowledge static noise bug in iPhone 4S), stupid ugly apps (like GameCenter, PassBook, etc. that you cannot delete and can’t even push to end of apps lists off the phone screen, Apple deliberately shoves them to front screen on reboots), the Maps app that various police departments have called LIFE-THREATENING-TO-USE, Apple’s total lack of variety in phone models, making iPhone 5 a bit longer and with no truly desirable new features, … the list goes on.. would be enough. But even the air of exclusivity is gone… on top of the actual ability to deliver major innovation.

I am not a fan of Android at all, but, I have to give credit to Samsung for really shaking things up in more and more categories, while Apple is playing defense even in segments it made commercially successful.

So, I am not dumping my dozen old Macs and MacBook Pros, iMacs and tens of thousands of dollars in Mac OS based software I bought. But even as an Apple tech (not company) fan, I did not buy the iPhone 5, I did not buy the iPad mini, I did not buy the MacBook Pro Retina, etc. {Though I apparently will need to spend money because the 2010 MacBook Pro I use is apparently one that has a known manufacturing defect. Apple will quietly replace the logic board on it — if you can afford to part with your machine for nearly a week — but I can’t do that as I had since then upgraded to a larger hard drive and do not know where my original drive is). 

I am not the only one from the core Mac loving Apple customers who find the company is due to be kicked off its high horse, that has been limping even more noticeably since Steve Jobs’ passing.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Apple will right itself, go back to innovation, and actually building quality products again?

PS Note, these are my personal opinions. I do not even work on any products or software for Microsoft but do strategy consulting for one of its clients.

Posted in Apple, Innovation, Microsoft, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Blind Emulation Of Industries Like Technology & Entertainment Can Kill Pharma Firms & People!

Posted by imrananwar on August 24, 2012

McKinsey Quarterly, a business and strategy  journal I respect and enjoy reading, did a recent article “Pharma manufacturing for a new era: The sector can restore lost value by focusing intently on manufacturing innovation.” This was one that I found logical sounding, but also found difficult to completely agree with.

It is an interesting analysis of what pharmaceutical industry players need to do, to be more like other big industries, in manufacturing operations. But therein lies the rub… pharma cannot completely be like other industries. The writers give examples of how it can learn from archetypical firms like Intel and Disney…. and the steelmaker, Nucor, which left me completely amazed.

Pharmaceutical firms face existential threats not because they do not have cool manufacturing plants like Intel, but when they spend billions in what can sometimes be nothing more than a scientific educated gamble. They can come up with something that “seems to work OK” and  then be denied the right to sell the resulting product — as it may have side-effects no one can predict — because the ultimate recipient, the human body, is still such a mystery. 

Keep in mind, I am no defender of pharma, much less any big industry. But, I want them to get a fair shake. Like many industries that get too big, and can (seem to) make “obscene” profits in the eyes of people, pharma gets the worse of both words compared to banking, oil companies, etc.

On the one hand people accuse them of exploiting suffering and on the other hand complain about the lack of more blockbuster drugs. That is not even counting the conspiracy theorists and others who suggest governments and pharma companies conspire to sit on cures for things like cancer “to make more money.” {How NOT selling a cure and sitting on it makes more money they are unable to explain}.

We want firms to fund billions in research at their own risk, but ask them to throw it away the minute one patient in a trial dies of a heart attack (as happened just this week with a major drug trial). We put them through onerous processes that can take years, if not decades, then we complain about the time to market for new drugs. We look the other way when they lose billions on a failed drug, but then complain when they finally make a profit on something that (seems to) work… at least until some unknown side-effect pops up years later.

Much that we like Utopian ideals of only launching drugs that have no side-effects, and cost very little, we cannot forget that we live in the real world.

Intel can design a new version of a chip, usually based on an existing architecture, or even a new one entirely, but most likely targeted at one of its usual areas… e.g. CPUs for PCs, or cell phones. Pharma does not have the luxury of saying, we will keep redesigning and launching new versions of a drug every 90 days going after the same sore-throat market as the existing product.

Intel can decide to enter a new industry, say, chips for car entertainment systems, but using almost all the same core knowledge, with the same known laws of physics, electronics engineering and manufacturing, that they use for their other chips. Even if they decide to go into some new type of ASIC (application specific integrated circuit), they can use existing knowledge, skills, processes, people, manufacturing and some levels of innovation to quickly bring the chip to market, seed it to OEMs, see how it works, and go back to designing the next version improving on the last one. They do not have to wait for a trial of 100,000 devices over 2-5 years while they await approval from a government authority (like the FDA in USA) before they can actually “launch” or monetize the product. 

The writers’ giving the example of Disney in a discussion on pharmaceuticals left me even more puzzled. Yes, DIsney went from a movies-based business into an entertainment conglomerate, but how does that relate to pharmaceutical manufacturing? Should pharma firms start selling soda, chocolates and cigarettes to move from being a medicine-based business to a “conglomerate of products that go down people’s throats“?

The final comparison the article above makes is to the steel industry, mentioning Nucor. I am sorry, but which one of us would like to have our medicines, that go into our mouths, stomachs, hearts, brains, and bloodstreams, be made by pharma companies that somehow emulate (no disrespect to steelworkers) the steel industry!?

Yes, pharma firms need to focus more on strategy (all industries do), and learn from every other industry what makes sense to learn and emulate. Yes, they need more innovation (all industries do). Yes, we all know, almost any known product or manufacturing process in the world can be improved. NO, you cannot emulate Disney, Intel and Nucor to somehow become more successful in creating, manufacturing, and delivering safe, reliable, inexpensive, drugs that will win approval, of authorities, doctors and the rest of us.

Such blind emulation of other industries like Technology, Steel & Entertainment can kill not just the Pharma industry, but real people, like us!

Posted in Imran, Imran Anwar, Innovation, Intel, Strategy, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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