jump to navigation

Finally – Keynote Remote works with iPad July 4, 2011

Posted by fredillies in Communication, Gadgets n Gizmos, Presentations.
1 comment so far

Nice surprise today. While updating my Keynote app on my iPad, I discovered that Keynote remote now works with the iPad. Finally I can remote advance slides in a Keynote presentation on iPad. It works great over wifi, but not every client office has readily available guest wifi. Apple says you can pair the iPhone & iPad via BT, but I haven’t be able to get it to work yet.

Unfortunately, even when it does work, it means I have to hold my iPhone (which is far bigger that modern presentation remotes) to advance – and I can’t just tap… I need to swipe, which is cumbersome with one hand.

At least this is a step in the right direction… FINALLY!


An Open Letter to Steve Jobs October 29, 2010

Posted by fredillies in Communication, Design, Gadgets n Gizmos, Presentations.
add a comment

Dear Steve,

Glad things are going so well for you and Apple these days. I’ve been a big fan(boy) for many years, and have been an unpaid evangelist for Apple and your wonderful products. I had been waiting for so many years for an Apple sub notebook that I cried tears of joy when you launched the iPad. And yes, I drove from Toronto to Buffalo NY so I could line up and buy one on the first day.

I travel a fair bit for work, and the joy of ONLY carrying this svelte little beauty put me right over the top. For 6 months I’ve travelled light like a Ninja with my iPad… until I had to give a very important presentation recently. But, let me backtrack a minute. I’ve loved Keynote for a long time, and used it excusively over the last 5 years to create presentations. And I’m one of the few people (aside from you and your team at Apple) who really GET why creating a touch-based version of The iWork suite will prove to have been such a significant accomplishment in the software world.

OK, back to my big presentation. Like you, I walk around when I give a presentation, and rely on a small remote control (way smaller than iPhone) to advance my slides. Being untethered is so important to me as a presenter, I carry two remotes and extra batteries just in case… I will never give another presentation without a remote.

While its GREAT to show presentations directly on the iPad for one or two people, and it’s great that you can output directly to a projector, IT MAKES NO SENSE TO ME THAT YOU WOULD CRIPPLE IPAD KEYNOTE PRESENTERS BY NOT SUPPORTING REMOTE SLIDE ADVANCEMENT. You generally show a deep love for your customers and their experience with your products. How is it possible that you missed this important aspect to giving a presentation (even though you acknowledge this need by offering Keynote Remote app)? I can only assume that you did it on purpose.

For a company that says “its better to cannibalize yourself than have the competition do it” you better not have done it to force me to replace my aging MBAir with a shiny new 11″ MBAir (which I did). If you did, shame on you. What i really want is to walk into a presentation, hook up my sleek iPad, and proceed to wow the crowd with both my brilliant presentation and your brilliant technology – WHILE I WALK AROUND THE ROOM.

Please correct this injustice immediately. If you haven’t done so by the time of the next Annual General Meeting I may just show up to ask you in person.

Fred Illies

Learning from a Master June 12, 2010

Posted by fredillies in Communication, Design, eBusiness, Gadgets n Gizmos, Presentations.
add a comment

While you may be tempted to pass over this post because I’m an unabashed fan of Steve Jobs and Apple, doing so would mean that you might miss out on a great learning experience…. from the Zen Master and Black Belt in Kung Fu of Business… Steve Jobs. Invest the time to watch the full Keynote address at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (http://tiny.cc/tfzsj).

You’ll see why Jobs is the master of presentation zen (ie. one of the world’s great communicators). How he lays out his story and articulates the “why they did things this way” and what it will mean for the human beings who will use their products. Notice his grace as a presenter. You can do that too – IF you break your gagillion bullet points down into the essence of what you want to communicate. You see, if you do all THAT work during your preparation and have your message broken down into a few key ideas, you’ll find you are much more relaxed giving your presentation… because then it can be truly conversational.

T4G is a great place to work because we have passionate leadership and a culture of thinking different and doing the right thing. Sound familiar? Watch this video and see if you can list some of the Apple Values. Listen to the way Jobs describes they didn’t include some things in the OS right off the bat (like Copy & Paste or Multi-tasking) because they wanted to wait until they got them to work “just right”. And the way Apple doesn’t just release a feature, but also creates software to make a delightful experiential benefit of that feature for humans (cases in point: iMovie for iPhone & Face Time Video Calling).

Oh, and for those of you interested in seeing the future of mobile advertising, check out the incredibly engaging iAd from Nissan. (oh yeah, and the part about how Apple has sold $60 Million worth of iAds to some of the biggest brands … in 8 weeks. That’s 48% of the expected worldwide expenditure for mobile advertising for the second half of 2010… and they still have 6 months to sell more)

Jobs is famous for using the term “remarkable”. IMO that word aptly describes what he has done with Apple – by having an incredibly focused vision (To make insanely great products) and to have had such success in creating an organization that lives by that mantra, delivers on it in spades, and for having truly created what our friends at Harvard call the “Virtuous Cycle”.

Prowlers 2009 World Masters Video April 4, 2010

Posted by fredillies in Basketball, Travel.
add a comment

Well, it’s only taken about 5 months to put this together, but you know – things have been busy ūüôā We had an awesome time in Sydney, but came up short of our goal of bringing home a medal. We came 4th of 16 teams in our division. We played 14 games, and we lost in the Bronze medal game to team from Estonia. It was a heartbreaking loss. After 6 months of intensive training and practices, it was a huge disappointment. The feeling of failure stayed with us for a long time. Watching this video reminds me of what a great trip we had, and makes me excited about Turino in 2013!

Australia here we come! October 6, 2009

Posted by fredillies in Basketball, Travel.
add a comment

Screen shot 2009-10-06 at 9.56.37 AMAfter 6 months of training (and 4 years of anticipation), I’m off today to Australia to play in The World Masters Games. You can follow our exploits through my Facebook status updates and Tweets (fredo22 on Twitter). GO PROWLERS!

World Masters Games Here We Come! September 15, 2009

Posted by fredillies in Basketball, Travel.
add a comment

Screen shot 2009-09-15 at 9.34.12 PM

Well, less 4 weeks until the Opening Ceremonies of the 2009 World Masters Games.  This is the largest multi-sport event in the world, far bigger than the Olympics in terms of the number of competitors.  There are 28,000 people competing in Sydney.

This will be my second World Masters Games. Our team¬†(The Prowlers) played in the 2005 Games in Edmonton as well. ¬† Although many of us play together in various Men’s Leagues, we’ve been practicing as a team since April. ¬†It’s been a great ride so far… learning a system and having a coach (…my wife Ali- ¬†a renowned coach in Ontario high school basketball). ¬†Running suicide drills and pushing ourselves has been extremely rewarding. ¬† We have some VERY dedicated players on this team, and are expecting to bring back a medal this time. We’ll certainly have our work cut out for us… in our division we’ll play teams from the Russian Federation, Estonia, USA, Australia and Guam. ¬†I’ll twitter (fredo22)¬†during the Games so you can follow our exploits if you’re interested.

The following video gives you a glimpse of what the experience of the World Masters Games is like. ¬†If you’re a competitive athlete over 30, do yourself a favour and enter the Games in 2013 (Germany).

iPhone App Creation + Marketing … A Great Learning Experience August 6, 2009

Posted by fredillies in Communication, Design, Gadgets n Gizmos, Life Balance, Simplifying your life.
1 comment so far


I’ve sure learned alot throughout the process of designing and building an iPhone app, and now about marketing it. Thought I would post about what the process has been like so far. Ours is a very simple app, but there are still many steps to go through.

I’ve been envisioning a simple role-based to-do list for the iPhone since the day that William Bakker & I sat in a meeting and followed the real-time blog coverage of Steve Jobs now famous iPhone launch presentation at MacWorld. ¬†I had previously created a desktop version of this kind of tool (called “Overview”) using FileMaker, and was subsequently very disappointed that FileMaker (an Apple company) didn’t create a simple version of their software for the iPhone.

When the iPhone SDK was released, I toyed with the idea of trying to teach myself iPhone programming (the hype around the SDK made it sound easy… and hey, this was Apple after all). I soon realized that the SDK made things easier for people who KNEW C+ Programming! ¬†That definitely counted me out ūüėČ ¬†Eventually Mark Fraser suggested I talk to Andrew Little (one of the programmers from our halifax offices). ¬†I provided Andrew with specifications for the functionality and user experience (including pixel-accurate digital artwork of each screen). Andrew said he was eager to learn iPhone programming, and he said he would have a look at the spec and let me know what kind of effort it would involve. ¬†2 days later he had a working prototype, and from then on we worked back and forth together to perfect the app. ¬†Because we both have day jobs it has taken about 5-6 months to get a finished and fully tested version submitted to the App Store (at the time of this writing we’re awaiting approval from Apple).

MyRoles is another entry into a VERY crowded niche in the iPhone app world. ¬†At last count there were over 50 competing products, most of which essentially do all the same things. (Some more elegantly than others!). So why would we enter such a crowded market? ¬†Well, for starters, our motivation was not financial. For me, it was a chance to bring my task management vision to life in a tool that *I* could use on my iPhone. ¬†In addition, I could learn about all aspects of iPhone development and marketing, which would come in handy when working with our clients on mobile strategy. For Andrew, it was a chance to learn iPhone programming so he could create a new service offering for T4G. If it didn’t really take off maybe Andrew and I could earn enough for a vacation or two.

And how would MyRoles compete in such a crowded market? ¬†Well, we have 3 things going for us: A legitimately unique differentiator (MyRoles lets you easily manage your tasks by the various roles you play in your life); Extremely focused functionality (does ONE thing and does that extremely well); and we have a simple and very intuitive user interface. ¬†(Others claim to be simple to use, but they do so many things that they require a lot of instruction about how you use it. ¬†Many of the competitors have modeled their systems after David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) system/methodology. MyRoles takes a different (more zen-like path), by stripping away everything that wasn’t CORE to simply managing tasks by role. We intentionally did not design it for the diehard GTD fans, cause they love to spend time on details and tweaking their systems. ¬†MyRoles was designed for busy people who don’t want to waste time maintaining a complicated system.

So how do we get the word out? ¬†Well, first we built a website that clearly communicates our unique selling proposition (what makes MyRoles different than all competitors) and what’s in it for people who chose to use it (simpler task management and the promise of more balance in their lives). Next we send out an announcement about MyRoles to *everyone* we know, followed by individual personalized emails to the scores of iPhone app review sites around the world. ¬†We created a Facebook page for MyRoles, a Twitter feed you can follow, and I’m writing this blog post to tell our story. All of this to start to build a buzz around the app, so that it gets some momentum… and then we’ll see where it goes. ¬†Oh yeah.. we have a couple of videos in production which we’ll post on our website and YouTube. It’s anyone’s guess how this will do in the AppStore, and if anyone will buy into the idea that “less is more” when it comes to finding a task management system that you can adopt and keep using over the long haul.

Palm Pre: From the ashes comes their saviour? June 8, 2009

Posted by fredillies in Gadgets n Gizmos.
1 comment so far

palm-pre-1Amid the buzz of the launch of the Palm Pre and Apple’s WWDC this week, I’m reminded of Steve Jobs’ historic introduction of the iPhone back in 2007. ¬†Jobs took centre stage with that breakthrough device, and set the bar so high that it would be difficult for anyone to even get close for a long while. Shortly thereafter, in what is surely one the biggest let-downs in the history of product announcements, Palm’s Jeff Hawkins announced the FOLEO which he had hyped an exciting new product category. ¬†That announcement was followed by a loud thud (market and industry reaction). ¬†A few months later Palm CEO Ed Colligan cancelled the Foleo project before it was even released. ¬†(Would they have even sold a single one??) ¬†When the Foleo was announced, I figured that was the death knell for Palm…. which had experienced a long slide from innovator to dinosaur.

Fast forward to today. ¬†Palm’s Pre is an elegant device with an all-new OS, with a UI, software and industrial design that is Apple-class. ¬†So how did Palm get from the depths to the point where they could release this kind of contender? Well, for starters they hired Jon Rubenstein, former Apple executive (the PodFather”). ¬†The rest of the story involved THROWING OUT the Palm product roadmap and starting from scratch. ¬†Check out the second video on Walt Mossberg’s recent post about the Pre. ¬†Not too many CEOs would be willing to go to those lengths… do you know any? ¬†(that said, when you’re already on the skids you need to do something dramatic ūüėČ

It’ll be interesting to see if Apple can steal back any of the buzz at WWDC or with a suspected Jobs appearance later this month….

Kosmix – Nice Content Aggregation April 4, 2009

Posted by fredillies in eBusiness.
add a comment

picture-103¬†Although it’s not new, I just discovered a site called Kosmix. It’s a web search that aggregates all kind of relevant information on your search topic and presents it to you on a one page “dashboard”…. wiki info, videos, images, products, tweets, news, opinion, forum comments, etc. I really like it. Very impressive technology, and REALLY useful.

[the following from wikipedia entry] For a key word or topic that a user enters, “Kosmix gathers content from across the Web to build a sort of multimedia encyclopedia entry on the fly. By scouring the Web, the company has built a huge taxonomy, a set of nearly five million categories on topics from people and locations to car models, music groups and types of cheese. The taxonomy includes millions of connections mapping the relationship among those categories.

Another FAIL for aircanada.com February 17, 2009

Posted by fredillies in eBusiness.
1 comment so far

picture-13So last night I attempted to book a flight on aircanada.com. ¬†All the direct flights were full, so I booked a flight that had a connection in Chicago. ¬†I got through the¬†arduous¬†process only to be told at the very end that they could not complete the transaction… gave me som website error code, and told me it was a credit card issue. ¬†(they even thought they would help by saying that if the transaction failed due to insufficient funds it may go through in a few days if the account was cleared up). ¬†Only problem is I knew there was no problem with the credit card. ¬†When I called Visa, they said the transaction had gone through and they even gave me the authorization code.

This morning I called Air Canada and after about 30 minutes (and a call to Visa), they admitted that they took my money but that the reservation failed because there was not enough time between planes @ O’hare. ¬†What they said was “the system won’t let you book that flight because there isn’t enough time between the connecting flights” (like this was MY fault). ¬†When I asked why their website DISPLAYED THAT AS A FLIGHT I COULD BOOK, they said that they ‘were only the reservations team’, and ‘they don’t program the website’. ¬†Talk about a grade of FAIL. ¬†Oh yeah.. and when I asked them who I could voice my disatisfaction to, they pointed me to a link on the site that wasn’t even there.

Now I get to start again and hope that the connecting flight I try and book is bookable in Air Canada’s system. Sheesh.