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Feature Thursday, November 14, 2013, 12:40 pm PT (03:40 pm ET)

Former Microsoft CTO creates beautiful culinary app exclusively for iPad

Microsoft's former chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold loves both science and food, a combination that resulted in Modernist Cuisine, a six volume foodie encyclopedia that's now available in a digital form exclusively as an iPad app.



After applying his interest in science and technology to the culinary arts to create the original Modernist Cuisine, Myhrvold created a distilled "At Home" cookbook, featuring the same beautifully illustrated focus on expert cooking technique in app form.

However, despite his high profile background in tech (Myhrvold founded Microsoft Research in 1991 and spent 13 years at the software company) he "wanted nothing to do with digital," avoiding any eBook or PDF version of his cooking reference,
stated Mark Wilson writing for Fast Company.

"His concern was around usability," explained Matt MacInnis, the founder and CEO of Inkling, the publishing platform used to deliver the iPad app. "He has an insane attention to detail. The notion he'd do this on a normal ebook reader wouldn't do justice to the work he'd put into it."

After an initial rejection of the idea by Myhrvold, MacInnis outlined a project to do the cookbook justice on the iPad as an interactive app, a project that would involve a development team of 10-15 people working over nine months.

The result is a interactive work that includes 37 technique videos, 416 recipes and 1,683 photos. Recipe cards dynamically adjust the measure of ingredients you'll need to yield a given number of servings, then add these items to a shopping list.

Myhrvold targets iPad despite scathing tablet market press releases



Myhrvold


In addition to crafting culinary literature, Myhrvold cofounded Intellectual Ventures, a patent acquisition and licensing business that's earned him the pejorative of "patent troll" from his critics over the past decade.

Last summer, AppleInsider covered Myhrvold's defense of intellectual property in a conversation with Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal All Things Digital conference.

Myhrvold's decades of background in business and technology, combined with his master's degree in mathematical economics, led him to publish his book on iOS despite grave warnings from IDC, Gartner and Strategy Analytics announcing that Apple's share of the tablet market is falling, has fallen and will possibly continue to fall.

Microsoft says apps don't matter as Surface fails to sell



Microsoft itself is still struggling with the concept of mobile apps, despite originally being one of the first companies to recognize the commercial importance and potential of software back in the 1980s.

Last year, Cameron Evans, the chief technology officer of Microsoft Education, tried to explain to the The Denver Post that the limited number of apps for Windows 8 wasn't really a big deal.

"Why do we have so many apps in the first place? The reason why we have so many apps is because when the first smartphones were created, they didn't have enough processing power to run the full Web," Evans said. He then demonstrated a "a popular iOS game" running within Internet Explorer "on a Samsung tablet powered by Windows 8."

"Instead of something that looks like a website, it's functioning and moving for me like an app would," Evans said. "The Web is there, it's open, it's free, so why do you need 700,000 apps?"

Andy Vuong, writing for The Post, added, "even so, Microsoft is making a push to bolster its lineup of Windows 8 apps."



Since then, Microsoft has spent over $1 billion advertising Windows 8 and its its own Surface tablet, then reported writing off $900,000,000 in unsold Surface inventory after sales flopped.