Friday, April 29, 2005

Don't Hitch This Ride

...

I went to see the midnight showing of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy last night.

It was boring and dumb - what made it even worse were the geeks behind me that snortled and said, "That's so funny" - these same geeks walked out of the movie saying, "That was the best movie ever!"

I didn't read the book by Douglas Adams, so I'm not sure if the book is the same or not but, it had no focus. Some things could have been exploited for more story value and yet other things looked out of place.

For a movie that took almost two years of production - the scope was VERY limited for a movie about the galaxy. Everything looked set based rather than location based. There were things in shots that obviously were cut down elements from a larger story. That said, I couldn't have taken even 10 more minutes of it!

I'm only reporting this because Douglas Adams was a HUGE Mac person. At his death many Mac websites eulogized him.

...

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Tiger Direct Is Just A Pole Cat



It appears distributor Tiger Direct is trying to sue Apple over the Tiger brand name.

Tiger is the code name and promotional name for Mac OS x 10.4 - to be released April 29 2005.

Here is the link to the MacMinute story.

A couple of notes:

This codename has been floating around for almost two years now. It was confirmed by Apple that the next OS would be titled Tiger in July of 2003.

I don't see anywhere on the Tiger Direct website - a similarity to anything in the Apple marketing campaign. In fact, what I do see is a poorly laid out site (just take a look at their site map page) - it is difficult to navigate to say the least.



I once had a problem with a Tiger Direct order - where I paid for overnight shipping and the product didn't ship for 4 days. Then, at that, it was shipped 2nd Day. I did get a refund on the shipping, but had to purchase the item locally at a higher price to appease my customer. They advertise ... Same day Shipping as a site feature.

I have read many stories about Tiger Direct refurbs and customer service being sub par.

Apparently the biggest complaint Tiger Direct has with Mac OSX Tiger is that in the last few weeks, Apple has replaced them within Google searches for the word "Tiger". Tough! If Tiger Direct, a computer distribution company, who makes no products of their own original design, is making money off of the name Tiger then they are abusing and manipulating Google searches with keyword spamming. Keyword Spamming is such an internet bad boy tactic that eBay will suspend sellers that purposely try to mislead buyers by using unrelated terms in their descriptions.

From the dozens of forums that have popped up that I have read and from what seems to be the most accurate posts at Slashdot - Tiger Direct may be doing this for the publicity - as a stunt to get relatively free advertising. (Just the cost of the attorney to file the paperwork)

Tiger Direct issued a press release stating to be a long-time seller to both "PC & Mac users."

Tiger Direct's "partner list" does not include Apple, instead the following companies:

AMD, Creative, Intel, Microsoft - the one that sticks out in that crowd is Creative. Sim Wong Hoo - Creative's CEO - declared a deathmatch with Apple for the MP3 player market. We all know about Microsoft and Apple's recent revival of minced words. Intel's most recent blast against Apple is here. Conspiracy theories abound ... in the back of my head ... even the reseller lawsuit and Think Secret being behind this come to mind - it's so inconceivable that Tiger Direct thinks this has merit that I don't consider this 100% out of the question.

Don't forget that the Jackwhispers parent site maintains a complete list & link of known Apple related lawsuits. This section can be found here = Your Rights, The Law, & Litigation

I decided to turn this in to a feature story: More details can be found here or by going to the parent site's front page at http://www.jackwhispers.com

Webiste MacMerc posted the full set of court docments in PDF form:

HERE



...

The Enemy Of My Enemy is My Friend

...

I submitted this [reworded and formatted] as a post to SlashDot, hopefully it will make it.

I'll let this speak for itself:

Apple Supported in Online Publishing Dispute

By BLOOMBERG NEWS

Published: April 28, 2005

Apple gained the support of Intel and Genentech in its effort to make online publishers disclose their sources of confidential information about new Apple products.

...

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

...

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

Did you guess which thing was not like the others?
Did you guess which thing just doesn't belong?
If you guessed this one is not like the others,
Then you're absolutely...right!

from Sesame Street

Yesterday ... Apple announced a price $200 drop for it's LCD displays. Instantly, the net lit up with comments that Apple's displays were still overpriced and that comparable Dell displays were 40% cheaper.



A popular tech website called Anandtech fueled the argument against Apple when they came out with a comparison of the Apple 20" LCD Display vs the Dell 2005FPW 20" Display.

The article mentions that both diplays use the LG Philips 20" display panel.

__________________________________________________


In yesterday's comments to the Are You Calling Me A Dummy? BLOG entry, a regular reader accused me of being an Apple apologist and fanboy. Read this reply to relate to the post above:

"I'm not an Apple fan boy. Apple does a lot that is wrong. BUT, and this is a big BUT ... Apple is probably the best run company in the world ... as far as management skills. They are unparalleled in business sense and corporate integrity. Most people who disagree with them don't have the facts, aren't businessmen (and women), are ignorant, are Apple haters, or just flamebaiters.

I'll give you two good examples:

I think Apple made a big mistake in the pricing of the MacMini: The unit would sell (in my opinion) 2/3 more if they would price it at $399.99 and $499.99 respectively. I also think they should bundle airport and bluetooth inclusive. The Mac Mini is one of Apple's highest profit margins EVER ... at 42%!! Apple's typical margin is 27% - they do 22% on the iMac and 19% on the eMac. These margins are too high (in my opinion).

Now, yesterday ... Apple was criticized for having overpriced displays, eventhough they dropped the display prices by $200. Several comparisons were made between the Dell 20" and the Apple 20" - Dell's display = $450 Apple's =$800. They both use the same LG/Philips panel. But here's the difference.

The Apple display has an elegant aluminum bezel with both firewire and USB hubs built in. The Dell display is plastic and black with no hub. The Apple display has a much more expensive and better quality custom controller from Samsung - this increases overall color gamut and response time -- the Dell's is the generic controller that comes standard from the factory. Apple Displays also have a better film overlay that makes Apple displays look like a magazine or a CRT display ... while Dell monitors look a tad washed out - just like any other stock LCD display"

Besides, the Apple displays match the G5 towers and Aluminum Powerbooks - that is important to some and worth the price!


...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Are You Calling Me A Dummy? Apple Is Right To Pull All Dummy Books From Its Store Shelves



You know, I don't see what people see heavy handed about Steve Jobs telling Apple Stores to remove all the titles by Wiley & Sons press... because it plans to come out with an unauthorized & inaccurate biography on the life of Steve Jobs.

Many are stretching this into a pattern that is growing at Apple about being "Big Brotherish" like Microsoft - referring to the Rumor Site lawsuits and to the crackdown on the peer to peer network distribution of OS 10.4 developer prebuilds.

Wiley & Sons is the popular publisher of the Dummy Series of books. I have NEVER liked the demeaning titles called [SUBJECT] For Dummies

Believe it or not, quite a few people have never heard of such a book ... I have always found it insulting to a customer for them to find a book in a store that implied they are a dummy!

______________________________________________

As reported by MacMinute:

Apple Stores pull Wiley books over Jobs biography

Tech book publisher John Wiley & Sons says Apple has removed all of its titles from the company's retails stores in retaliation for an upcoming biography of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The author of "iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business," Jeffrey S. Young, said Wiley's books disappeared from Apple Stores last week after "a month of increasingly contentious discussions about publication of the book," according to the Mercury News. "It became increasingly clear that Apple was not happy with the publication of the book," Wiley executive Kitt Allan said Monday. "Recently, the meaning of that became clear when Apple told us that our technology books were immediately being pulled from their Apple retail stores. But, of course, Wiley stands behind our authors."


______________________________________________

As for the San Jose Mercury News being the source material for this interview in the report above ... what the heck has happened between Apple and The Mercury News? They are becoming as bad as TellOnApple.org about insulting Apple and Apple Fan intelligence. Apple fans in the area should cancel their subscriptions. Besides, a relative of mine says it's more bias than the LA Times and isn't a good paper anyway!

Recently, the San Jose Mercury News was one of the first papers to side with Think Secret and The PowerPage - by writing an open letter to the judge in the case - stating that bloggers are journalists and have the 1st ammendment right to publish Apple Trade Secrets.

Of course, Jackwhispers readers know the facts:

1) Neither Think Secret or The PowerPage are BLOGs - they are full blown commercial websites

2) Think Secret cannot, by law, report SPECIFIC information due to the UTSA

3) Think Secret is partnered with the former Apple resellers who are filing suit with Apple

4) The PowerPage & Think Secret are related in some way

5) The 1st Ammendment was originally meant as a law for redressing the goverment and does not truly grant free speech

6) The Think Secret lawyer at the EFF has a longstanding beef with Apple over iTunes and is the lawyer for an Apple hating website called downhillbattle.org

____________________________________________

Honestly, I wish Apple would have pulled the Dummy Series of books a long time ago and just kept David Pogue and O Reilly's How To Books.

I forsee a lot of customers in the Apple Retail Stores this Friday - possibly the biggest crowds EVER for an OS launch event. I'm glad none of the potential shoppers will have to look on the shelf to see the word "Dummies"!

UPDATE: A post on Slashdot also brought up an interesting point ... the title conciously and subconciously portrays Jobs as a con man with the word "iCon" as the title.
...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Vintage Rumormongering! Amazon's PowerMac G5 Specs Leak Just Brings Back Good Memories



Before Think Secret, before AppleInsider, before The PowerPage made up rumors ...

things like Amazon accidentally putting PowerMacs up for order happened.

These were the good ole days - where we found out about products in advance the right way. We didn't coerce Apple developers and design partners. We didn't break non disclosure agreements. We didn't go against state and federal law by breaking the rules of the Uniform Trade Secret Act.

Occasionally, we can be reminiscent of such days when someone finds code buried deep inside the HTML of the Apple website



Yep, just like the good ole days of rumormongering - like when MacMall or MacWarehouse would accidentally release a sales catalog with an unreleased Apple product. Amazon released the as yet unreleased PowerMac G5 specs.

As reported by MacRumors.com

Amazon specs include:

Mac OS X10.4
Dual 2.7 GHz PowerPC G5 processors
512 MB of DDR SDRAM
250 GB hard drive
16x Dual Layer SuperDrive (CD/DVD+/-RW)

Amazon also has listed pages for the new dual 2.0 Ghz & dual 2.3 Ghz machines with the following specs:

Mac OS X10.4
Dual 2.0 GHz PowerPC G5 processors
512 MB of DDR SDRAM
160 GB hard drive
16x Dual Layer SuperDrive (CD/DVD+/-RW)

Mac OS X10.4
Dual 2.3 GHz PowerPC G5 processors
512 MB of DDR SDRAM
250 GB hard drive
16x Dual Layer SuperDrive (CD/DVD+/-RW)

BillWhispers??

You know ... I have an IQ of 154 - I have tested as high as 170 on some tests, but I don't go around bragging about it.

[ok, ok I just mentioned it ... which seems like bragging, but I'm trying to make a point here]

I hate egotrip websites that portray the sentiment ... this site and my job - are all about me and how smart I am ... how I will make money off of your visit ... see ... I have comments ... see I have advertisers which seem to endorse me.

One web entity that has always rubbed me the wrong way, mostly due to his ego; is Bill Palmer. Bill has been around the Mac Web for some time. He started the sites; iPodGarage, LoadPod, MacMischief, BillPalmer.net and probably a dozen others that no one cares about. Each site has commentary from Bill that is usually nonsensical, poorly thought out, or just recycled generic editorial content that is passed off as original.



These sites are very rudimentary, advertising banner whoring sites. Each site consists of nothing more than advertisements for click through revenue.

These sites offer ads for MacMice, for Free iPods (read as scams), and a few Google Adsense ads (which I questioned here).

When LoadPod first started; I inquired to be the local market affiliate. I was told someone had already filled the position. I called this person and they knew little about the iPod, Macs, and even electronics. I doubt the local affiliate for LoadPod has gotten much business, but I wish him well. LoadPod is essentially a CD to iPod digital transfer service. I decided to develop my own idea based around this concept, but stretching it into an all encompassing digital transfer service. I called it 3sinapod.com. I haven't really done much with the concept due to time constraints. But, it's a great idea. And, like many great ideas, when the inventor is the star of the show, it usually spells trouble.

This is one reason I like Apple. Steve Jobs has a passion for inspiring creativity. This is his main motivation for any decision he makes. He doesn't get behind an invention because it will make Apple or Pixar billions - he gets behind something if he believes in it. He trusts his team of engineers to supply him with the products to make Apple a company to envy.

I consider; Jack Campbell a genius at marketing, Nick Ciarelli a genius at writing, and Paypalsucks.com to be a genius move by the competition - these people are better suited as management. Bill Palmer is such a person.

One thing all of these entities have in common - money is king. Money is their sole motivation. Damned be the way to get it. Each has a drive that is very uncommon. But the motivation is all to common - do whatever, however, whenever ... without forethought to integrity, ethics, or common sense - to get money. Instead of doing things to make people come to you (like Apple does) - these people do things at the expense of others and the very items they promote or the industries they serve.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Cat Is Out Of The Bag Before Reaching St Ives???



As I was going to St.Ives
I met a man with seven wives

Each wife had seven sacks
Each sack had seven cats inside

Each cat had seven kits
Each cat had seven whisks

Kits, cats, sacks, and wives ...
how many were going to St Ives?


A little Mother Goose nursery rhyme favorite of mine. And really, just as confusing as this story:

As reported by XLR8YourMac:

Yesterday a reader said his copy of OS X 10.4/Tiger arrived (far ahead of the April 29th date) - a mistake that a mail order dealer had made. I called that dealer to ask if they had it in stock last night and was told it could not be shipped yet, so apparently they realized the mistake already. Today he wrote saying the dealer requested he return the item. (Name of the dealer omitted to spare them any more grief.)

" I just got a call from XXXXXX who said there was an error in shipping, and that I would have to return the copy I received and have a new copy shipped next week. I told the rep that I could just not install the software and keep it in the box until next week (technically a lie since I've already installed it).

The rep said that Apple will not offer customer support for the "version" that arrived early. I'm curious how Apple would be able to identify my installed "version" from a version I would receive next week. I mean, these things have gone golden and been boxed already. I doubt Apple will release a new build and re-box them in time for next week's delivery. (The only thing I can think of is if you let the "Registration" happen (after the install of a new OS typically if a net connection is active) that Apple might be monitoring for early registrations now that the word is out. Not sure Tiger does that but just a FYI (if you used your real name, etc.) But then I've never had to call Apple for support on any OS that I remember.-Mike)

When I told the rep "No," he reiterated that Apple won't support my version and that I would have to get a version that shipped next week for it to be supported. He then threw in the offer of a free copy of iLife or iWorks for my inconvenience!

... So far, it runs great on my Sawtooth AGP with Mercury Extreme 900MHz upgrade and Radeon 9000 AGP video card. The desktop widgets are novel, if not entirely useful, and Searchlight was going to take a couple of hours to index my machine before I could use it, so I haven't had time to play with it yet.


_______________________________________________



Obviously some distributors fluffed up here, but why tell their customers a lie? Apple will support it or they would have a logistics nightmare and possibly a lawsuit on it's hands if they didn't.

My guess is ... this is an Apple led early shipment so as to quash Think Secret's irresponsible reporting from last week. (About the popularity of downloading 10.4 from LimeWire. The Think Secret article also provided a detailed how to get the OS illegally.)

_______________________________________________

You've Added A Thief To Your PayPal Account

...

Just thought I would make a quick post to alert readers to a new Paypal scam that seems to be circulating ...

Some of you may be getting emails like this:

______________________________________________

Subject: monaresi@yahoo.com has been added as an approved email address

monaresi@yahoo.com has been added as an approved email address to your Paypal account.

If you did not make this change, click here.
______________________________________________

The email looks official and has all the typical Paypal graphics, with blue lines.

One way Mac Users can tell a fake site is how buttons are rendered. In Safari, buttons are generally rendered with an aqua look. Most of the fake emails and websites you see will have a Windows XP appearance. This is one reason I like the aqua interface and Safari over Firefox, Opera, and Explorer.

Paypal is a secure site that is rendered dynamically on the fly, each time you access it. Therefore, buttons are rendered with the Safari look.

Most scam sites, fake sites, and phishing emails are usually graphic representations created in Photoshop to look like the real thing



Another note ... Paypal will never address you generically. They will address you by your first and last name. Never as: Paypal Member, or PayPal User ... and especially without any name at all.

NEVER click on a link in an email that can take you to any financial site - or a site that contains your password information.

It is best to make your Paypal, eBay, and banking passwords different from one another.

Readers may want to follow up with a previous Jackwhispers feature story: Paypal Ain't My Buddy

...

Friday, April 22, 2005

Steve Jobs: Should He Have His Mouth Washed Out w/ Soap

As reported by MacMinute:

Environmental concerns, a lack of women in senior roles, and Microsoft's Longhorn were the hot topics at Apple's annual shareholders meeting on Thursday. At the meeting, which was picketed by protestors, Apple CEO Steve Jobs defended the company's recycling efforts, noting it is leading the industry on environmental issues and that it took back 1,500 tons of products in 2004 through its recycling program. Jobs said the environmental activists want product recycling to be free to consumers, but that Apple's fee is in line with others in the industry. "We think $30 is a reasonable price to charge," he said, pointing out that Dell charges about $20 to recycle a PC while HP charges about $40. He also expressed frustration at Apple being singled out by activists over other companies, calling it "bullshit."

As for women in senior positions, Jobs said there are many women at the company, but said he understands that the company has a lack of female executives. "It is a deficiency we have," he said. "We recognize it and we are trying to solve it."

Jobs also gave his thoughts on Longhorn, the next version of Microsoft Windows. "They are shamelessly copying us," he said during the meeting after being asked about the operating system. He noted that Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger will be available later this month, while Longhorn is still more than a year away. "They can't even copy fast," he said. "Innovation is the only way to win. You just have to stay ahead of people."


_____________________________________________

Just a few notes:

Ask HP what they think about women in senior positions!!

Apple hates copycats!!

The environmentalist protesters are prompted by the reseller litigation prosecution!! And, I couldn't have replied to that comment with any more tact - it's BS that they are protesting ... as Apple Computers are not only recycled - they are never thrown out to begin with - most people I know, still have Macs from 1984-1989.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Would A Fan Site Post This?

...

There's an interesting new article posted on Think Secret or as Jackwhispers properly calls, Trade Secret ...



"A 2.5GB disc image of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger appeared on the servers of highly regarded ripping groups this past weekend, some two weeks before its official release. Details are scarce on where the disc image, which installs Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger build 8A428, originated from but the file is slowly making its ways to more and more servers and will likely end up on file sharing networks later this week."

Why would a site post this for any other reason than to encourage people to illegally download the software ... by peaking their curiousity?

Another obvious reason, Think Secret is out to hurt Apple sales as much as possible.

Note: They also published new PowerMac specs - wonder how many people are holding off on their purchases and what dip Apple will see in their next two weeks in sales.

...

2 Simple Ways To Avoid Being Scammed On eBay

...



If I'm sending more than $50 to someone on eBay I take precaution.

The Apple Category is one of the highest fraud sections on eBay ... mainly because of the retail prices and abundance of pictures that are available for Macs on the internet.

Over the weekend, I emailed a seller that had listed an item in the next city over ...

I sent a question to ask if I could come see the unit in person.

Here is that conversation (spread out over several emails):

To: pecosbill2000@verizonmail.com / Frank Monterisi

Subject: Question for item #5768541126 - APPLE POWER MAC G5 WHIT 20'' LCD

Dear pecosbill34,

Can I come by and see this? I am local



__________________HIS REPLY___________________


On Apr 18, 2005, at 5:51 PM, Frank Monterisi wrote:

Hello,

I must let you know that I am located in London now due the fact that my wife and my kids are here.

You can buy it now for only 2100$.

Let me know your answer asap.


__________________MY REPLY___________________


Then why did you list your location as Clemson South Carolina??

__________________HIS REPLY___________________


Because i live there.I'm in london just for 3 weeks at my family.Are you still interested to buy the g5?Please replay.

Regards!!


__________________JACKWHISPERS NOTE___________________


Notice how he now has multiple grammar errors. He's typing these replies very quickly ... he thinks he has a phish. Be very aware of this pattern ... quick replies, with information that doesn't match the auction should be a red flag. I also know that when I get emotional or excited about sending a reply to someone or responding in a forum, I tend to have grammatical errors too. Usually these eBay and Yahoo auction scams are being perpetrated by foreigners, so it's doubly hard for them to quickly type well thought out English.

eBay had cancelled the auction within a few hours of listing it, so I already had suspicions that it was a scam.

__________________HIS FOLLOWUP REPLY___________________


Do you want to come in london to pay in person.I will be glad because is not going to be any shipping taxes for me.First time I was thinking to shipp this g5 from here to any location whit no charges for the buyer.But if you decide to pay in person is not going to be a problem.please replay and tell me your terms.Regards!

__________________JACKWHISPERS NOTE___________________


That should seal it up for you ... be wise when buying from a non reputable dealer on the internet. There are literally 1000's of sites selling Apple items that are just waiting to take your money. I have been contemplating creating a page of known reputable sellers and eBay sellers. eBay won't allow me to create a list of bad buyers and sellers ... like I used to have on the main Jackwhispers site.


What is MACS spelled backwards?


Followup Jackwhispers feature stories:

How To Avoid An Auction Scam Without Really Trying

Scamming Scammers & The Scheming Scammers Who Scam Them Back

Also see this dedicated section of Jackwhispers about eBay & Yahoo auction scams:

eBay & Yahoo Scams


...

Friday, April 15, 2005

Inevitable ... Death & Macses

...



Today is tax day ... hope you were able to make Uncle Sam happy ...

Or, to those receiving a refund ... I hope you receive the most from Uncle Sam.

We should have a flat tax with a simple postcard that looks like this:



You would receive two postcards in the mail: 1) with instructions and 2) with the form above.

This system is certainly fair to lower income and middle income Americans. Anyone making below $36,000 ($48,000 if married) after deductions would receive 17.7% of the taxes they contributed in their paychecks back as a refund.

In other words: for every $100 paid in to taxes through payroll - you would receive $17.70 as a refund.

For the wealthy, this would be a rather dramatic INCREASE in the amount of taxes paid as most of wealthy currently pay less (after deductions percentage wise) than the average middle class American. The amount (17.7%) is small enough for the taxation not to be prohibitive to their business and investment and encourages grants and charitable action not motivated by tax evasion.

This system treats Americans fairly and pleads to the American public to be fair through it's simplicity.

Here are a few comments I have responded to in the Macrumors forums:

Originally posted by iGary

The flat tax is a joke.

A federal sales tax would be much more useful. Taxes people on whet they spend, not what they earn, and it catches EVERYONE.

Don't clump yourself with me and call yourself a conservative. I know tons of conservatives who think its a stoopid idea.



Jackwhispers reply:

A sales tax would have to be enormous and would have to be on top of state sales tax. The current estimate is that it would have to be around 18-23% + state sales tax.

That would be incredibly regressive on the lower income.

A sales tax is also not protestable by the individual. It would take a revolt on the scale of the civil war to overturn it if it became oppressive (which it would be from the beginning)

A flat tax is controlled by the individual if you go by Forbes plan which is fair in every aspect. See the postcard I posted previously.

A flat tax is exactly what true conservatives and true democrats want - it taxes the wealthy, doesn't tax the low and middle income Americans, yet collects the same or possibly more than the current tax system. It would also reduce the size of the IRS, reduce the complication of taxes on the wealthy, and encourage charity for charity sake, not for tax evasion purposes.


Originally Posted by jayb2000

A flat tax or sales tax are both inherently regressive.
Everyone spends money on food, shelter, clothing, but the poorer you are, the larger the portion of your income goes to that. Ditto for a flat tax, if everyone paid $5000 or $2500 or whatever, then again, a larger percentage of a poorer person's income would be taxes.


Jackwhispers replied:

The flat tax involves nothing like you mention ...

You don't pay this percent if you make below $36,000 if single and $48,000 if married, you still get home, child and charity deductions up to $4,000 each. Then you are taxed 17% on the income above the $36,000.

It would be a simple postcard and people would save MILLIONS every year because there would be no tax prep costs or software to buy!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Not Even Offering iCash Can Make It Right

...



I got this junk email this morning. There's nothing really wrong with doing an ad like this, but ...

This ad is trying to particularly tap in to a certain niche ... the iGraphic Designers in the Mac Community/iPod Community. Many people who KNOW this ad is a scam will still click on it out of curiousity. I did. (But only for verification to do this story)

PC users should note that ... when I tried this from Virtual PC ... adware was instantly loaded into Internet Explorer from the linked host site.

So, to associate themselves with the iPod ad campaign and then load spyware, adware, or otherwise perpetrate a scam ... it is in small ways giving Apple a bad name. Many senior citizens roaming the net will see this ad in their inbox, possibly click on it, and then see the negative affects ... then associate the problem with Apple Computer.

It goes the same for these companies that offer free "test products" - many people think Apple, in some way, must be sponsoring these programs.

...

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Commentary from Engadget:

...

I don't normally just repost articles from other websites, but I thought this was rather interesting:

Report from Engadget:

Apple's relationship with the record labels starting to sour?

Everyone usually gushes about how brilliant Apple was in being able to corral all the major labels together for the
iTunes Music Store, but is Stevie J.’s insistence on everything being his way or the highway putting Apple’s relationship with the labels at risk? Doesn’t look like anyone is going to be pulling their catalog from the iTunes Music Store any time soon, but CNET does have a story today about the growing tension between the record labels and Apple. Nothing particular surprising—it’s mainly that the record labels want more flexibility in being able to charge more for new hit songs and (supposedly) a little less for older titles and that they’d like Apple to open up its FairPlay DRM to other MP3 player manufacturers because they think it would help them sell more songs (they shouldn’t get their hopes up)—but the twist here is that these dissatisfied labels are taking a good long look at the wireless carriers as alternative partners to Apple.

From the perspective of the record labels, the carriers offer a more secure retail environment (they can DRM all this
stuff like crazy), and since the carriers are also dying to start selling wireless downloads, are probably more likely
to give the labels the pricing flexibility they crave (they think they can get more than 99 cents per song for wireless
downloads, which is probably wishful thinking on their part). Cutting a deal directly with the wireless carriers would
also take advantage of their growing reluctance to carry
handsets like Motorola’s forthcoming iTunes phone
, which they’re not particularly stoked about because it encourages customers to load up their phone with music by syncing it with their PC rather than by downloading it
directly over wireless networks (the carriers are counting on wireless downloads as an additional revenuestream).


So is Apple going to be knocked off its perch? They currently dominate the legal online download market, so it’s hard
to imagine any of the major labels refusing to let Apple sell their music via the iTMS, but it’s also not inconceivable
that they’d use partnerships with wireless carriers (as well as other online stores) to try and gain a little leverage
in their dealings with Apple.

Monday, April 11, 2005

8 Wrongs Don't make 1 Right

...

As reported by MacMinute:

"Eight of California's largest newspapers -- including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News -- and The Associated Press are supporting three online Mac journalists who published details on an unreleased Apple product. The organizations submitted a court brief last week asking that the Mac sites be allowed to keep their sources confidential in the case brought on by Apple. "The media companies said [judge] Kleinberg's ruling, if upheld, could impair the ability of all journalists to reveal important news, from financial corruption to government cover-ups. Before demanding that the online publishers' Internet provider turn over e-mail records, the companies said, Apple should 'exhaust all alternative sources' of identifying the source of the leaks."


__________________________________

"...could impair the ability of all journalists to reveal important news, from financial corruption to government cover-ups."

Umm ... where is the financial corruption or government coverups in reporting STOLEN INFORMATION THAT WAS OBTAINED THROUGH BREACH OF CONTRACT???

...

Too Lazy To Just Take A Picture

...

I've had a longstanding gripe with companies that use Macs in their ads and photoshop layers on them to make them appear to work with a feature product. Usually, they also photoshop out the Apple logo as well.

Microsoft is notorious for doing this. The people that design their ads, all too often, just use stock photographs for advertisements. The reason they do is because PCs are ugly boxes. Macs have almost always had a certain design flare to them, even when they were just beige boxes themselves.

One advertisement, I remember for being a big blunder was for the launch of Windows XP. In this ad, a PowerMac 7600 was featured with an Apple 17" Monitor (no logos erased) - on the screen, was featured Windows XP. The most ironic thing about this ad was that Virtual PC, at the time, could not run XP, nor could it even run at all on a 7600.

The reason I'm entering this BLOG entry is because I found this:



This is just total laziness on the part of the Office Depot ad department and webmasters. Not only did they use a picture of a (two year old) iBook for this thumb drive, but they photoshopped a USB port right on the to the CD bay. They "reversed the picture" to hide the fact they did photoshop work. I don't think I've ever seen a CD bay open to the left of a laptop before.

If I caught that ... there would be a personnel change.

Here's a montage of pictures pulled from different Windows XP Intro Pics and videos:


click on pic to see larger image


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Sunday, April 10, 2005

Pat myself on the back

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If you haven't noticed ... the right hand side bar has started to fill with ads. One of the decisions I have made with this site is to only promote things I believe in, even if it doesn't mean any money. Many Mac websites promote Google ADsense ads that link to very questionable sites, like free iPod scam sites and email harvesting sites that promise $300 for taking an Apple survey.

Some of the sites that are linked in Google ads contain popup and viral/spyware/adware content. It's an easy quick way to make money for a site, but I have taken the high road. I hope you appreciate that.

I will be discussing more on this topic in Tuesday's new feature story: How To Do The Things I've Done: How To Make a Successful Mac Website From Scratch.

I am quite proud of this homebrewed ad I did for Lojack Auto Theft Recovery Devices:



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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Signatures needed ...

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I was just going through the signatures on the Save Nick and Save Apple petitions.

The Save Apple Petition was started by your Jackwhispers editor and is found here:

http://www.petitiononline.com/0515opts/petiton.html

The Save Nick Ciarelli (editor of Think Secret) petition is located here:

http://www.petitiononline.com/tsisok/petition.html

While reading some of the signatures I noticed this on the Save Nick petition:

Entry 5156. Alex McLarty

I find it a good sign that Nic has nearly 5500 signatures and the Anti-Think Secret petition has 92! Ha! Power to the people. Apple seem more like Microsoft nowadays...a real shame.


If you haven't read the Jackwhispers story: Save Nick vs Save Apple, make sure you do. It is an educational read. I have managed to dig up a lot more concerning this issue than just about any website. After reading it and it's associated BLOG entries found here, you should see how Apple is in the right.

Honestly, the lack of signatures on the Save Apple petition illustrates how many ignorant people there are. It also shows a lack of wisdom and knowledge of the law most people have.
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Friday, April 08, 2005

Powerpage has its PMS

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Powerpage has its monthly PMS

The PowerPage is down again.

You didn't think PMS meant ... shame.

PMS means PowerPage Monthly Service.

The PowerPage is down once more for "maintenance"

This is becoming a trend that happens every month. Since January, it's quite possible they've only been up 60 of the 120 days of this year so far!

See this Jackwhispers feature story for more details:

The PowerPage Loses Power

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The iRaq: an anal insert iPod???

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eBay Auction for Aple iRaq iPod Replacement

This has to be one of the most offensive and blatantly stupid auctions I have ever seen.

Interesting viewing to say the least. You'll have to (cough cough) read the auction to see what the title to this post means by; anal insert ipod.



I've saved the text of the auction for posterity because it will most likely be cancelled. If you didn't see it before it was taken down and would like to ... just post a comment here in this thread.

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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Continental Promotion Group Isn't On This Continent

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I just had a rebate postcard sent back to me in the mail telling me my rebate for $40 could not be honored due to the fact I did not submit the proper UPC code.

The card reads like this:

Viking 512MB SD $40 MIR

Dear Consumer,

Thank you for participating in this promotion. Unfortunately, we could not honor your request because of the following reason:

The UPC symbol or proof-of-purchase tab you submitted is not valid for this promotion.

To resubmit for this offer, please return this card or letter, with the items mentioned above, to the address shown. Deadline to resubmit is: May 13, 2005.


For status please visit rebatestatus.com


_____________________________________________

Let's analyze this and the customer service procedure I followed for educational purposes, shall we?

First of all, this rebate was NOT for a (SD)secure digital card; it was for a (CF) compact flash card, so of course it was the wrong UPC (if this is how they incorrectly processed it)

I noticed right away that there was no phone number on the postcard.

I had never dealt with rebatestatus.com or Continental Promotion Group before.

Typically, the best way to get a rebate issue resolved is to call the rebate company. If that doesn't work you call the company that sold you the product.

9 times out of 10 calling the rebate processsing company gets the issue resolved.

Of course it helps to have a cell phone plan if it's long distance or if the company has a toll free number.

Because I saw no telephone number on the postcard I received, I went to www.rebatestatus.com to try to find one.

If you want to be interactive with this story, just go to the website and see if YOU can find a phone number easily!

After digging through an unrelated privacy policy page ... I finally found a phone number.

I called it and unlike many other rebate processors I have called a customer service agent answered on the 1st ring.

I couldn't understand his 1st question and so I asked him to repeat it.

He was basically making me deliver all the details associated with the card. (I had to figure that out because I never understood a single word he was saying)

After he got all of my information he proceeded to tell me that I had submitted the wrong UPC. At least, I think that's what he said.

I interupted and told him that I submitted a rebate form for a compact flash card with the UPC from a compact flash card.

He continued to repeat about the secure digital card.

I interupted again and said, I don't have a camera that takes SD cards, mine takes compact flash cards. I wouldn't have even bought an SD card, NOR have I EVER bought an SD card, at least within the last 6 months.

After repeated requests for him to speak more clearly and to assist me. He clearly stated in his best Indianized English voice:

You need to reubmit the right UPC for this SD card and fax us the receipt

I angrily said, I am not resubmitting anything, and I don't have the time and am unwilling to spend the money for a fax or additional postage.

He continued in unintelligible Indlish ...

I hung up.

I called again. This time I got a female (with an East Accent, but much clearer voice). She greeted me with, "Hello, may I have your name and phone number", Before I replied with the requested information, I asked her where she was located. She said rebatestatus.com headquarters. I said, where is that She said Scotsdale Arizona. I said, "They have all Indian customer service reps in Arizona?"

Her reply, "How can I help you?"

You can tell me where you are physically located please.

She said, "I am in the Continental promotion Group building"

I said, "What is the next city over from Scottsdale?"

silence and confusing murmurs ensue

"I am in India. I do not know. How can I help you?"

I said a thank you, gave my information, told her my situation and she said they will correct the rebate immediately.

The problem with this process is that Viking apparently has a rebate processing center in Scottsdale Arizona, yet the customer service is handled in India.

Take this into account before doing a Viking rebate or a rebate that requires you to process though Continental Promotion Group.

Cherry OS Stands for Cherry Open Source ??

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As reported by Slashdot:

CherryOS Goes Open Source
from the curiouser-and-curiouser dept.

"The CherryOS website now acknowledges a forthcoming alliance with Open Source Software! After going 'on hold' recently, a re-release of CherryOS is purported to be coming in May according to the site. This is great news on the surface, but let's see how it pans out. This move is probably a result of the many reviews of their product that set out to prove it was bogus.

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This seems to be a bogus PR stunt to avoid litigation. MXS (behind Cherry OS) is a very shady company. It seems MXS has experience with this type of PR - they had to back off in a similar way with their java based video product a few years back.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Cherry OS "On Hold"

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The amazing programming team (cough cough hack whoop cough ack kack kack) behind the Cherry OS Mac on PC Emulator have decided to place the emulator "on hold" for now. Jackwhispers was one of the first websites to bring word about this software.

Check out the original Jackwhispers article: Why The Cherry Or The Pear may Be Apple's Next Lemon

Here is the information as reported by ENgadget:

So there's been trouble a-brewin'; for the CherryOS camp since its release. If you're just tuning in now, CherryOS, which bills itself as an OS X emulator, has been accused by multiple sources of outright stealing code from the PowerPC emulator PearPC. There's been talk of mounting a lawsuit, and it looks like either something has come of that or CherryOS is being beset by a different party who is fond of lawsuits. But whatever the case, a note on the CherryOS developer’s website now indicates the project is on hold; until further notice; which surely means the dogs of law have come out in force from one front or other.



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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A Clever Theft Or A Clever Thief ???

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I just read an interesting article on MacSlash


The post involes a macslash reader asking for help on how to obtain a serial number for PowerBook he had stolen ... apparently Apple wouldn't give it to him.

_________________________________________________

Here is the original post:

Cloudscout writes "The office I share with a friend in Orlando was broken into last night. They stole his PowerBook. The problem is, he doesn't have the serial number written down. I'm thinking, no problem... he bought AppleCare on it so Apple should have no problem helping him out by giving him the serial number so he can report it to the police and his insurance company, right? Wrong. They refuse to help unless the request comes directly from law enforcement. Is there any way to find out the serial number of a product you have purchased AppleCare on? It's not like he's asking them to replace the computer, he just wants to know the serial number."

_________________________________________________

And here is a very interesting and perceptive reply:

_________________________________________________

Not that he did, mind you, but, just for a moment, for the sake of discussion, suppose that he did. (Notice that I'm also supposing that Cloudscout is male.)


He could play the part of "helpful guy" and solicit ideas from MacSlash contributors as to how to get the serial number. Along the way, he would be discouraging police involvement. Once he helped his friend get the SN, he would probably also know it. He could then conveniently use the SN to register a change in ownership, I guess, and then his friend would not get the kind of serial-number-related notices that has helped track down units in the past. Of course then Apple would have Cloudscout's real name... assuming that Cs didn't turn right around and sell the PB to someone else, whose name Cs would have conveniently associated with the SN.


At this point, the only other supposition I could make (and this one is far more likely) is that Cloudscout will share with his friend at work the excellent advice already offered -- that of getting the police involved.


In other words, Apple's policy sure makes sense to me...


_________________________________________________

I see what this post is trying to get at. If the original owner had the serial number, he could buy a tracking program, enter the number in and track the laptop. Therefore, if Cloudscout was the thief, he would be busted. So, it's in his best interest that Apple policy be as it is, and to also solicit help from the Mac Community to make it appear like "he's hunting for the killer just like OJ"

Just something to think about.

See these Jackwhispers articles on theft of Macs:

Scamming Scammers & The Scheming Scammers Who Scam Them Back

Stealing Macs Just Got A Lot Harder

World's Craziest Mac Crimes Caught On Camera

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Monday, April 04, 2005

Growing problem over a small issue

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Several Jackwhispers readers have alerted me to eBay auctions that sell Apple logo merchandise.

Such as this auction:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=8182950641&ssPageName=ADME:B:SS:US:1



Here is one example.

This seller happens to be less than 50 miles away from my home town. I have emailed toyz74 several times now; asking if the products they distribute are Apple licensed. In other words, do they have the right to reproduce the Apple logo?

My answer, in their abscence of one, is; most likely, "No".

While items like these may be cheaper on eBay - there is usually a reason. It's not fair to businesses like redlightrunner.com that do sell licensed/authorized merchandise.

There is a way around this - it's shady, but I have to admit I have done it myself. You could reproduce the Apple logo if it didn't totally look like the Apple logo or if you were not profitting directly from it's use.

In my case, I used to sell Apple logo like antenna toppers. I have thought about starting to sell them again.



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Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Day After Two Days Ago

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April Fool's Jokes have never been that funny to me ...

Last year's Jackwhispers story on April Fools Day, Resisting The Temptation To Be A Fool is very poignant and a recommended read to anyone who publishes on the Mac Web or posts in Mac Centric chat rooms and forums.



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