Maccast 2008.02.28 – Interview with Avram Miller

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Podcast

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A podcast about all things Macintosh. For Mac geeks, by Mac geeks. In this special episode of the Maccast I sit down with Avram Miller. Avram is a tech industry pioneer probably best known for his time spent at Intel where he helped cofound their venture capital arm. Through his work Avarm has been influential in shaping the face of many of the technologies we use and continue to develop today. Most notably Avarm Miller played a key role in the development of the cable modem and other broadband technologies. In 1984, while president of Franklin Computer Corporation, Avram and his team developed an Apple clone and challenged Steve Jobs & Co. over their right to produce and sell the product and bring it to market. Recently Avarm became a Mac switcher and I had the privilege to sit down with him and chat about his experiences, history, and this latest chapter in his tech life.

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Avram’s picks:
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There are 5 comments on Maccast 2008.02.28 – Interview with Avram Miller:

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  1. Donald Townsend | Mar 01 2009 - 09:15

    Great interview! I really like the insight Avram Miller offered and his perspective on the history of computing and broadband. He is absolutely right when he characterizes netbooks as miniaturized notebooks/ laptops. The ultimate mobile web device is still missing. Maybe it’s kind of a web tablet but who knows?

    Thanks Adam and keep up the good work

  2. Chuck Watts | Mar 03 2009 - 08:32

    I agree with Donald on all points. A web tablet with kindle type connectivity and bluetoothable to a keyboard (in addition to a softkeyboard a la iphone) and hdmi/mini dv monitor connetivity.

    I also was impressed by how typical his cross over experience. His claim that mac users don’t remember restarts but pc users do and the number of such instances is not different is just so typical of folks that have converted physically but not completely. He wants to use windows software like quicken and office. Too bad those pieces of software aren’t as good as they should be but running them will make your over all experience more pc like. He should have a virtual machine running (fusion or whatever) and run the native office and quicken programs there instead of trying to use their mac counter-parts. It shouldn’t be that way but unfortunately it is.

    Uptime=35 days . . . ever seen that on a windows machine. Last restart was for a system software update which is fairly typical.

  3. Chuck Watts | Mar 03 2009 - 08:20

    Oh . . . also meant to ask about the difference between broadband in the US and Japan/Korea. In light of the new effort for infrastructure upgrade in the federal stimulus package, any chance for certain tech focused areas (silicon valley, hwy 128, RTP, Alston, tx, etc) to get there soon?

    I really enjoyed the interview and appreciated his dept of knowledge on broadband and the cloud. I have every confidence that he’ll get there on the Mac too some day.

  4. Phil Haigh | Mar 06 2009 - 01:06

    Adam, just to let you know I really enjoyed listening to the most recent podcast with Avram Miller, just a shame that there was so much potential material that couldn’t be covered.

    Anyway, as I listened to the discussion about the gap in the Apple product line I had a few comments to make. First and foremost I agree that there is a gap for a Tablet. Netbooks are, as Avram pointed out, just a shrunk-down laptop and IMHO they suffer from usability issues. Quite aside of the fact that most feel really cheaply made.

    I think there are two key aspects to the product that could fill this niche better. First, it should not be a clamshell design with a keyboard, it should, if you like, be more in line with the iPhone format and with a 16:9 screen – here I will drop to using European paper sizes – smaller than A4 but not less than A5.

    Second, the UI metaphor needs like the iPhone to be largely gesture based and the UI really carefully worked through so that it feels natural to use the touch screen to control it. That for me is where netbooks fall down, they try to be small but still expect the user to interact primarily via a keyboard and mouse/trackpad.

    Of course I have a long wishlist for such a device – fully functional bluetooth to support keyboards and mice if the user wants them, wifi, 3G, and, yes, wired ethernet as well. In fact I imagine that the innards of a tablet would be very similar to a netbook, including a large capacity SSD. In addition it would be nice if you could ‘dock’ the tablet in a monitor-like pose into a cradle that both charged and provided USB ports for keyboard and mouse, and an alternative wired network port etc… I could go on but I won’t.

    The other point I wanted to touch on briefly was Avram’s comment about the AppleTV and the Mac Mini. Yes, you could combine the two into one hardware package but fundamentally AppleTV works well because it has an interaction model that is designed to work using a very simple controller – the Apple remote – and a user interface that is designed to be viewed from a long way off, whereas OS X in normal use expects the user to have a mouse and keyboard and be able to read what they are typing on the screen. One hardware device yes, but two different variations of OS X.

    Keep up the good work, I’ve just downloaded Freeway Pro and intend to purchase…

  5. Seo Singapore | Jun 25 2009 - 08:01

    I would call Avram Miller the Father of Networking. He is one awesome inventor.