Monthly Archives: January 2012

When “Productivity” Apps Hit a Wall

According to Wikipedia,

Productivity is a measure of the efficiency of production. Productivity is a ratio of what is produced to what is required to produce it.

Usually this ratio is in the form of an average, expressing the total output divided by the total input. Productivity is a measure of output from a production process, per unit of input.

As of today, there are 4 762 productivity apps available on iTunes for both ipad and iphone. I have downloaded a few of these including “pages” and “numbers”. The expectation was, that I would increase my output and efficiency of production by because I would be able to work in more places with my ipad than I would with a computer. In turn, this implied that I would carry my ipad to more place because it is lighter and generally speaking, more easy to transport, store and switch-on.

However, it became clear that these apps offer only theoretical productivity gains. I have used these apps a few times and then stopped.

The problem was not the apps themselves, the problem was the keyboard; I can deal with answering emails (if they are short) using the virtual keyboard on the ipad. But when you think of text-editing and productivity, it generally involves long sentences, moving around text or cells and extensive edits. All of this becomes prohibitive with an ipad keyboard and therefore always reverted to using my heavier but more user-friendly computer when it came to these activities.


Yet, the productivity apps have been resurected, at least as far as I am concerned due to a very low-tech event. I was offered an ipad case with a bluetooth keyboard. Though the keys are still a tad too close for fast typing I am comfortable writing the equivalent of a few pages without much frustration.

The key insight of this experience is that sometimes a given set of products or services rely on third-parties upon which they have no control. In this case, the apps themselves may be faultless in terms of features, stability and user experience but to express their full potential they need keyboard manufacturers to create a symbiotic eco-system.

Post Scriptum, the above article was written with the use of my new ipad keyboard.

Morning in London

Morning in London (

Debate: How much would you want to know?

How much would you want to know?

This question was prompted by several reports which highlighted how cheap DNA tests (or personalised sequencing) have become. It might have taken months, if not years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in the early 2000’s individual can now buy their own tests for a few thousands dollars and obtain the results within weeks.

A Caffeine Break for all iPads


This prompted us to ask ourselves whether we would want to take a test which would tell us which terminal diseases we might carry. (Would you like to know the likelyhood of your developing Alzeihmers?) Furthermore, how would you deal with these questions when it comes to your progeny?

The difficulty in considering these questions is that the answers usually come in percentages. “You have a 75% chance of developing this disease”. What does this mean exactly when it comes to one person? Should you treat this as a “yes” and therefore start writing your will? What if you are told you have a 25% chance? Would it be business as usual? Lastly, you know that there are false positives (diagnosed with a disease but not actually having it) which very in their recurrence depending on what is being diagnosed.

The human brain, it turns out, is not well equipped to deal with one estimate at a time (what is the likelihood that you share the same birthday with one of 25 other guests?). So when it comes to dealing with a battery of these in the medical field (false-positives etc…) the public at large lacks the ethical and mathematical tools. (Insert here a call for the medical profession and statistician to come-up with guidelines).

In the winter of 89/90 I was invited by my brother to go trekking in Nepal. I

A personal high

looked at the map and thought that with extra training (I was quite fit for sea-level purposes) I would be well-prepared. It turns out that by 3 000m my brain was blanking-out. I could not l beyond a few steps. The magnificent Nepali and Tibetans were zooming by me (barefeet) as if I had been standing still.

I entertain two contradictory notions from that experience:

1) If I had known how difficult it was going to be, I would not have agreed to it

2) I am glad I did it

So far, there is no system that I know of, which might tell you when “there is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action” and when “knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven”.

Sunset over westminster

Sunset over westminster (

Formalising our Blogging Sessions

The big news from today’s blogging session is that it has been decided to give the following structure to our meetings: 20120105-174613.jpg

1) Newsround. We will take the first 20 minutes for a round-table news and apps update. We will share which news and/or new apps caught our attention and would be worth mentioning.

2) Main topic. We will then move on to discuss one main subject. Each will make a proposal and we will as a group select the most interesting one. If your subject is selected, be ready to lead the discussion; you will be become the host of the discussion.

3) Each of us will then be encouraged to write about this topic.

Branding our sessions

We have decided to brand our meetings so that it will be easier to refer to them across social media.

The two contenders so far are:


please vote “through this google doc” you will be able to make a suggestion as well.

I will announce the results on Monday evening so that we can start using the brand-name for our next blogging session.


Morning in London

Morning in London (