Thursday, December 28, 2006

How to: Protest & Complain



Another of my articles from this blog made it onto the front page of WikiHow.

How To Protest and Complain

I suppose it was published for the sake of holiday refunds as it mostly deals with getting satisfaction during a return or complaint of a product or service from a business.

Here is the original article from June 2006:

There's a first time for everything

Saturday, December 23, 2006

iPhone timeline


* Photo courtesy of slashphone


Here is a very detailed blog post with a timeline for all things "iPhone":

http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/timeline-apple-iphone-rumors-1999-present

Use it combat any naysayers or anti-Apple posts.

While on the topic of the iPhone, as I was perusing the various Apple related threads at SlashDot ... which most seem to be talking about the "iPhone". Apple haters (read as trolls) are constantly using the recent news that Cisco released a VOIP phone called the iPhone and owns the trademark in the US.

Here is one of my replies to the subject:

Any negotiations over the "iPhone" name with such a large company (like Cisco) that Apple couldn't control all the loose lips would have certainly given away that Apple is indeed producing a cellphone ... therefore ... no negotiations. Has anyone ever considered A) It's only called the "iPhone" as a codename, or B) Cisco/Linksys released an "iPhone" to make the name a lot more valuable. That's what I would've done! Then sell the name for twice as much and divide the extra cash amongst my immediate staff.


Here is a recently released patent from the USPTO:



FIG. 3A shows a generalized device suitable for use as a portable wireless device 305 (non-transfer device) according to one embodiment of the invention. The portable wireless device 305 includes a display 310 used to view text or graphics, and a control panel 320 such as a keypad or touchpad. Additionally, portable wireless device 305 contains one or more of the following (not shown): one or more speakers, a microphone, a headphone jack, a port for connecting with a transfer device (e.g., FireWire.RTM. or USB port), one or more slots to accept flash memory cards (e.g., CompactFlash (CF) or SmartMedia (SM) cards), and one or more antennae or ports used to connect to a local networks, for example, Bluetooth.RTM., infrared (IR), or WiFi (IEEE 802.11). Contained within portable wireless device 305 is system memory (not shown), which may include both volatile and nonvolatile memory and, optionally, a hard drive (not shown).


More on this connection can be found here where a blog commenter also makes a up cool name ... TeliPod

Merry Christmas!

Merry
Christmas

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Donate To The James & Kati Kim Memorial

If you find an extra dollar in your Paypal account this holiday season ... consider donating to the James & Kati Kim memorial.

If you recall, James Kim was stranded and lost while on a trip through Oregon.

I had the pleasure of shaking hands with James at a MacWorld Expo and appreciated his Mac advocacy and reporting while he was on TechTV.

Please see this official website:

http://www.jamesandkati.com/

I hate to have to sound like I am making an insensitive comment here ... but one thing has crossed my mind since this has happened. Why didn't a technology guru have a GPS with him? This tradgedy would have been avoided easily ... since news has come that the Kim family veered off the road onto an ungated logging trail by accident ... apparently due to poor visibility. A voice guided GPS would have alerted Kim as soon as he veered more than 50 feet off of the designated route.

Related:

James Kim found, family rescued

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Brilliant!


* Photo courtesy of slashphone


I just read about this "iPhone" concept for an Apple cellphone and found it to be brilliant ... in fact ... if I was a betting man (which I'm not, but let's say I am for purpose of this post) ... I would say this IS the ACTUAL phone.

The author of this Slashphone blog post indicated that this may be an actual storyboard / ad concept design because of the warning in the right corner. (Click on the pic for more detail) If I were to speculate about the rest of this wording ... I would venture to say it completes like a Mission Impossible assignment - to destroy immediately following the presentation.

I suppose the only argument not supporting this theory is that Apple most likely would have asked for the images to be taken down if they were actual images and the people within this presentation room (which I imagine were a very elite handful) would all be suspect and their job at stake.

However, if you take the time to explore this concept, it is nothing short of genius on Apple's part (if true and I think it is) ... imagine just drawing numbers with your finger on the bottom trackpad, then just spelling out the contacts name. Now imagine how cool it would be to search for a song by the first letter by just forming the letter on the trackpad? Now imagine this as a bluetooth device and being interactive as an input device on a computer as a wireless bluetooth trackpad.

This design and the look matches Kevin Rose's speculation from a few weeks ago. (* Looks like the new Nano, except slightly bigger)

My biggest pet peeve about candy bar telephones is that you push buttons inadvertently ... this concept solves that problem as well. This just appears so very clearly as something Apple engineers thought about.

Out of all the speculation thus far, and from my own personal knowledge of the phone and its existence ... this has been the most plausible and most realistic rumor speculation to come out yet.

* Although the name iPhone is now taken for a communications device ... the name iPhone remains the codename/accepted rumor name for Apple's iPod Cellphone.

Think Secret Doesn't Have Sources? You Don't Say ...



Inner Daemon makes a few interesting observations about recent Think Secret reports:

From Think Secret: December 15, 2006 - As Apple’s entry into the mobile phone market draws nearer each day, Think Secret sources have steadily been gleaning details of the device and its status.

Inner Daemon: Translation: I have been very busy using this:




A few months back (maybe a year) an anonymous “Thinksecret reader” submitted a bogus story and made out like they were a trusted source. This was the rumor about the plasma TV / DVR Mac Mini from Apple … Thinksecret reported all the details as almost assured fact.

The lead writer, Nick Ciarelli, who probably uses Macs, obviously has a vendetta against Apple. I honestly think his site exists for the sole purpose of harming Apple by trying to scoop product releases or in the hopes of being wrong about a great rumor and causing irrational financial analyst speculation or stock rise and crash (when said rumor doesn’t materialize).

This may be true with the “iPhone” … the iPhone rumor is now built into the stock and even the entire 2007 sales figures for it … if it doesn’t pan out … watch Apple’s stock TANK!

Follow up:

Here's why I hate rumors sites

Monday, December 18, 2006

Time Magazine Person Of The Year: Me & You

I truly can say that I am "Person Of The Year" ... a Warner Publication contacted me earlier in the year and said that this was going to be the "Year Of The Blogger" ... they asked for a few of my comments on the topic since my case would essentially seal the rights of bloggers as journalists. Alas my case has been postponed from the courts while we wait on the opposing attorney's appeal of two lower court rulings in my favor. I don't mean to get all grandiose on you ... but my injunction ruling has already been used in 3 cases for reference. MY case may also mean a lot to the future of YouTube and its anonymous, non commercial use of copyrighted material.

* The keyboard (in the picture on the cover) is an Apple keyboard

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Will it Blend: iPod

AWESOME!
I'm a Mac, I'm a PC -- ZUNE REMIX

This inadvertently points out the biggest single problem with the sharing feature of the Zune: who are you going to share your Zune songs with if all your friends have iPods? 80 million iPods are out there, less than 180,000 Zunes have been placed into retail and from what I see only maybe half of those have been sold.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Apple Headquarters flooded

As reported by The Unofficial Apple Weblog:
This morning a major water leak left a foot of water on the floors of an Apple Computer Inc building in Cupertino. According to a Santa Clara County Fire Department dispatcher, "more than 100 gallons of water per minute were pouring into the building from a leak under the first floor." ...


The article is continued:

We here at TUAW are the first to admit that we think Apple goes overboard in worrying about leaks, but it seems like the one this morning wouldn't have been plugged even with copious nondisclosure agreements.


I don't find this funny ... It's one thing to make funny headlines ... another to add insult without any notion of seriousness or poignant satire.

As of late, I have been missing a lot of the drama that I usually cover due to my depression over a legal matter which makes for a lack of interest in posting a lot of stories here any more. I didn't want another headline that I usually comment on slip by.

A new feature story coming soon....

Apple Customers Rejoice As Apple Techs Lose Revenue!


* Photo courtesy of Engadget


As reported by Engadget:

If you've been tempted by Panasonic's new HDC-DX1 AVCHD camcorder seen heading our way, then check this DVD drive from Japan's Logitec (no, not Logitech). The LDR-PMC8U2 is said to be "an industry first" to slot load those 8-cm mini-DVDs used by Panny's 3CCD recorder. It also supports standard format CDs and DVDs with an on-the-go bonus Y-USB cable for drawing power off 2x USB ports when 5V just ain't enough to support the unit's max read/write data rates: 8x DVD±R/+RW, 5x DVD-RAM, 6x DVD-RW, 4x DVD+R DL/-R DL, 24x CD-R/-RW 24, and 8x DVD-ROM and 24x CD-ROM. It also touts Labelflash support for burning custom motifs or images onto compatible media. All in a slim, portable drive measuring just 17.5-mm (0.69-inches) thick. Hitting Japan at the end of December for ¥22,050 or about $188 should they ever come this way.


As an Apple Tech ... I welcome this "innovation" ... I have fished 5 8cm mini CDs (from Sony CD digital cameras) over the last 5 years out of slot drives.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Zunes ... being discounted already???


I noticed this in an email flyer I got last night ...

The Zune ... now $229.99!

Has Apple ever discounted the iPod? *

*for anything more than a retail storewide black Friday sale

I don't think the iPod has ever been discounted at retail because ... gasp ... it hasn't needed a discount to generate interest.

From a quick survey of the various office stores which I frequent for parts and supplies on a weekly basis ... only Office Depot had sold ANY since their debut.
While cruising through Flikr to find the last two pics from the previous post ... I found one of my favorite Holiday images:



I forget who originally showed this to me.
I used to point this kind of thing out all the time here on this blog, but I think these two instances are particularly noteworthy.

Best Buy advertises a lot of "Windows stuff" using pasted over Mac OS laptops with XP screens . . .


Saturday, December 09, 2006

That $100 is more like $970



Slashdot linked to an interesting article this morning:

"The '$100 laptop' Negroponte is hoping to put in the hands of millions of kids in developing nations may actually be more like the '$900 laptop.' From the article, 'Jon Camfield says...once maintenance, training, Internet connectivity, and other factors are taken into account, the actual cost of each laptop rises to more than $970. This, he says, doesn't even take in to account the additional costs associated with theft, loss, or accidental damage. Camfield contends that such an expensive undertaking should at least be field-tested in pilot programs designed to establish the viability of the project before asking countries to invest millions, or perhaps billions, of dollars.'"


I have to give myself the typical "self-backpatting" as many bloggers tend to do and say, I saw this from the very beginning when the One Laptop Per Child program was announced.

This sounds cruel ... but I have always thought:

How many calories does it burn to crank the laptop (to power it) ... how much more food will we have to send in aid to make up the difference?

Another thought:

Even if Negroponte decided (unethically) to skim $1 off of each "$100 laptop" and sold the the proposed 1 million ... you do the math. This has sounded like a scam from this perspective from the beginning, but from a "forced support and training" perspective as well. Volunteer IT workers AREN'T EVEN CONSIDERED for the OLPC program. They are ALL paid! This has had scandal written all over it.
Geek Squad Fraud

Interesting news report on Computer repair fraud.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The "Actual" Transcript From The Upcoming Negotiations Between Apple & Universal Music


While I try to avoid John Gruber's Daring Fireball website as much as possible since his true colors really came out before, during, and after the most recent mid-term elections, and for the simple fact he joined the ranks of Bill Palmer for not sending me my dang T-Shirt ... I have to admit that he's still a great writer - although I still despise (not in a jealous way mind you) that he's the darling of the Mac editorial/blog world right now.

Anyway ... yesterday, Gruber published a feature titled, "A Conjectural Transcript Of The Upcoming Negotiations Between Apple and Universal Music". It was a great read, but since I have a real crystal ball and can actually see into the future ... the ACTUAL negotiations I think will be much shorter ... although I feel the conversation will start in the same way so I will just quote Gruber to start.

[Place & Time] Early 2007. The Executive Boardroom, Universal Music Group Headquarters; Santa Monica, California

A large table dominates the room. Seated on one side is Universal Music CEO Doug Morris and six Universal attorneys, three on each side of Morris. On the other side sits Steve Jobs and one Apple attorney. On the table in front of Morris and each of the Universal attorneys are various neatly stacked folders, contracts, and legal pads. In front of Jobs the table is completely clear; he holds nothing in his hands.

Morris: Steve, it’s great to see you again. I hope your flight was good.

Jobs: It was terrific, thanks.

Morris: Well, let’s get right down to it. I’m sure you heard, together with our friends at Microsoft, we created a really interesting arrangement for their “Zune”. What it is, is that for each hardware unit Microsoft sells, Universal gets a small fee. A nominal fee.

Morris uses his fingers to indicate the quotes.

Jobs: Yes. Very interesting.


Gruber continues by saying that the conversation ends with Jobs telling Doug Morris to stick the Zune up his Wazoo (in more dramatic gross detail as Gruber tends to write).

I say the conversation picks up here:

A brief pause in the conversation ...

Jobs: I heard through the DIGGvine that it was "$1 per Zune sold" ... I agree ... done deal. Apple will pay Universal $1 per iPod sold ... starting in July 2007.

Jobs turns to the Apple counsel and indicates arched shoulders with his hands on each armrest of the chair

Jobs: So that's it guys ... great meeting!

Morris wide eyed

Morris: So that's it ... you ... you agree?

Jobs and Apple counsel leave the room and as he reaches the doorway says,

Jobs: You betcha.

While on the way to the limo waiting just beyond the turnstyle entrance to Universal Headquaters

Jobs: That was great. Lets wait a week or two into August to announce new pricing at the iTunes Music Store.

Apple Counsel: I follow you, I think

Jobs: Since we don't have to pay them on a per song basis any more we should effectively be able to reduce all Universal titles to 49 cents per song

Apple Counsel: I'll draw up the formal agreement Steve

Jobs: Gosh, I hope the other labels want that deal ... we're going to make millions! I feel like we just walked out of PARC!*


* Legend goes that Jobs and Wozniak first discovered the Graphical User Interface and Mouse interaction at Xerox's PARC facility and integrated it into the Mac GUI.

Monday, December 04, 2006

By Spending ... You Are Actually Saving!

Not that any of you would find this interesting, but I thought this was funny. One premise I built this website on was to root out marketing scandals in the Mac World. I have always been intrigued by the "speech of the salesman" ... mostly because I would consider myself a pretty decent one. In my days as being an Apple Sales Rep I was often praised for being top salesman.

Well, anyway ... this past weekend I was flipping through channels and briefly stopped on HSN (The Home Shopping Network). The item up for sale and hyped and hocked for the current 5 minutes was an el cheapo MP3 player. The announcer, a female, was careful not to mention the word "iPod" and very insistent that readers know that the majority of music is in the WMA format and that THIS PLAYER played WMA.



But the best line to come from this sales pitch was this:

"You're actually saving more than you are spending with this gift"


While I know what she was saying, logically that was sales talk to brainwash a buyer into thinking they are actually saving money to buy the item. Fact is ... if you spend ANY MONEY you are not saving money. And the kicker is that this same MP3 player (512MB flash MP3) can be found at 3 of my favorite retail sources for 25% less and some with free shipping which the HSN sale was not offering.

Of course, a common line used on HSN was also used in context with this MP3 player:

"HSN is offering this for the lowest price you can find any where!"

Friday, December 01, 2006

Zap the talker, the crying baby, or the rowdy teen!


Engadget links to a post on TechDirt about Regal Cinemas starting to offer "Tattle tale pagers" to select Regal Crown Club Rewards customers.

The idea is simple ... the pager has 4 buttons:

Button #1: Alerts management to a disturbance
Button #2: Alerts management about a projection problem
Button #3: Alerts management about a temperature problem
Button #4: The "everything else" button

If you recall, I posted this article on movies back in April of this year - a 3 part series on movies and movie theater chains. While I'm sure my article had little to no impact on this decision, I did print the full article out and mail it to Regal Cinemas - since they were the main focus of the problems I have experienced with movie theaters.

See that article here:

Do you like movies, but hate watching them?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

5 prototypes we never saw ... 1 that was never really made.



The Apple Gazette published a great look at "5 Apple products that never made it" - all focusing on mobile or office communications.

One of the products (all taken from The Apple Museum website) was mentioned as the Apple PenLite - Apple's attempt at a tablet computer based on the PowerBook Duo line.

Here is the mention from the Apple Gazette website:



I wrote a book about the PowerBook Duo called, Think Duoffrent (sold over 5000 copies through my website, promotions, and eBay) ... so I feel I can speak on this particular item with confidence.

The Apple PenLite was never actually a real product for testing or prototyping ... that picture was simply a Duo with the screen detached and turned over. Although the Duo was the most prototyped of any Apple computer ... it was also most of the guts of the Paladin. (pictured at the top of this post)

I also wanted to add:

The PowerBop (mentioned in the article) was not a prototype. It was sold in France for a few years. There was some sort of cellphone called BiBop -- that was sold by France Telecom before GSM existed there. Apple developed The PowerBop with France Telecom and sold it there. It was merely a replacement for the internal modem card.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Tale Of Two Companies ...


I'm working on a new feature story called, "A Tale Of Two Companies" ... to be be posted soon. It involves finder's fees for company equipment.

The good: Pitney-Bowes
The bad: Charter Cable

I should have it up by the end of the week.

Stay tuned...

The ZuneScene Forum ... reminds me of a Mac Forum

The ZuneScene forums


This forum, on the Zune (Microsoft) website reminds me of a lot of Mac Forums that are completely biased about everything Apple.

This forum thread is titled: Some theories about Innovation, Quality and the Zune...and Apple

Here's my favorite quote pulled from this forum thread:

[Macs] Used to be industry standard. Not any more. Many of the companies that produced software to do the things you stated are now making and selling more software on the PC side. Video editing and control is ever more dominated by the PC, photo editing is almost 99% PC now, and the music industry has all but given up on the Mac. They are finding out that PCs run faster at less costs to buy and maintain. Many reviews have come out lately with the Mac intel switch and bootcamp showing that even with native Intel apps on the Mac, Windows XP will run many tasks faster than OSx will on the same exact hardware. PCs are by and far the standard for main stream education and business purposes.


I particularly love the line ... "...photo editing is almost 99% PC now

As a matter of fact, I think Apple has grown the most market share as of late in the area where it was already a dominant player - the photo and video editing industry.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Law passed making an iPhone legal



... legal on any GSM Network* that is.

A law was passed yesterday stating that it is within the rights of a customer who owns a phone to unlock said cellphone for use on a competitor's network.

Read the ruling here: Lawmakers Make Software Unlocking of Cellphones Legal

See this related FixYourThinking article:

"How to get out of a cell phone contract so you can get an iPhone!"

Also see this wikihow entry that I helped create:

How To Get Out Of A Cellular Service Contract

* GSM Netorks are the most common in Europe and Asia. US GSM providers include: Cingular, T-Mobile, & SunCom

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy ...

Happy
Thanksgiving!


I am very thankful for all of my regular readers (and newcomers) ... and "every now and thens". I am also thankful for those that agree and those that disagree with my opinions here.

Journalism and blogs only become intelligent when one person is seen as a dummy ... be that the reader, the writer, or the person being written about.

They're claiming what?

MacRumors tipped readers to a new company with a very "1998 template looking" website called Eneco. Eneco is claiming that they have developed a chip that turns heat into energy. Certainly a revolutionary concept ... but nothing special. But the real claim to fame Eneco makes in the article below is that the chip has a 30% efficiency. Now, my understanding of physics/thermodynamics is very minimal but from what I know ... 30% is a bold claim and is nearly as efficient as high grade gasoline. If this were true, this would truly be the invention of the decade, if not the century as it would have many many applications such as more efficient automoblies. More importantly though, are the applications for increasing the efficiency of alternative fuel sources such as solar photovoltaic and bio fuels/ fuel cells.

Eneco is said to be in talks with Apple Computer about the technology.

Chip produces *energy from heat at 30% efficiency

Energy promises really scare me because it's the buzz word of the moment. Energy this ... Energy that. The energy and energy efficiency business is one of the most corrupt and questionable businesses out there ... if any of you are smart and know the full history of this website, you'll know how I know that first hand.

Those funny negatives!


Here's a negative comment I found on an eBay seller's feedback last night:

[Buyer] Great Packaging and very fast shipping. Packaging could have been better.

Reply by [seller]: Okay now...how could "Great packaging" get any better?

eBay really needs to do something with the way people are allowed to leave negatives. Maybe like an AI (artificial intelligence) that would prevent things like this. This was meant to be a positive I'm sure.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

If this doesn't convince you ... then you might just be one

Last week I asserted that Apple seems to be targeting the "androgenous" in their latest print and web ads for the iPod Shuffle.

Last night a new TV spot aired (it's really cool) ... if this doesn't convince you that the target is transexuals, transvestites, or the androgenous ... then you might actually be one of the three and not self aware.

This is a very creative twist on the old Micheal Jackson Black or White video - where the morphing technology was first showcased on TV and would later be used in Terminator 2.

Michael Jackson - Black or White


* Fast forward in the YouTube video to 3:35

Monday, November 20, 2006

Tips For Buying Apple Stuff This Friday:

Here's a few tips to get the best deals this coming "Black Friday" & for the Christmas Shopping Season. Using all or even some of these tips could save you more than 15% on Apple Computer purchases - items that are rarely, if ever, discounted!

1) Sign up for a MyPoints account at www.mypoints.com

2) Once signed up, use the Apple Store affiliate link from the My Points website to earn 2 points per dollar spent / ie a MacBook for $1500 would earn you 3000 points which is equivalent to $25.

3) If you are signed up for VISA extras (and you have a VISA based debit card) you can earn Visa Extras points (typically 2 per dollar)

4) If you have it use your Paypal Debit Card (which earns you 1.5% back). If you link a checking account with it, such as a Wachovia account and sign up for VISA extras here's what will occur when you purchase from the Apple Store online:

1) Link from MyPoints website
2) Find Apple Product of your choice
3) Add to Cart
4) Pay with Paypal Debit Card that is linked to a checking account as a backup funding source.
5) Paypal will use whatever balance you have in your Paypal account, then debit your checking account as if you used your debit card
6) You will earn 1.5% from MyPoints, 1.5% from Paypal, 1.5% from VISA extras


If you live in South Carolina or have a family member living in South Carolina this coming weekend is completely tax free. The Apple Store will reflect this and you will not be charged sales tax. This could = greater than $75 in savings. This would make even shipping it to you in another state valuable - if you have a relative or friend in South Carolina that you can have your purchases delivered to!

Other ways to save at the Apple Store:

1) Most Apple retail stores will be running specials ... the Apple Retail stores have typically run 10% off sales on "Black Friday"

2) Check eBay for gift certificates - last year I bought several $100 and $500 gift cards from eBay sellers that didn't want them for $87 and $460 respectively.

3) Note any and all rewards programs and make sure you know by which means you receive those rewards. For instance, PayPal rewards you for using your debit card in a CREDIT type transaction, whereas Wachovia rewards VISA EXTRAS for using your card as a debit.

4) If shopping with a smaller reseller ask for a cash discount and pay with cash.

5) Note that stores like Best Buy and Circuit City often have printable coupons that do not exclude Apple Computers (but usually exclude iPods) - Some Best Buy and some Circuit City locations in the US carry Apple Computers. Best Buy also has a rewards program that is essentially the same as above and earns you points towards gift cards and merchandise.

6) CompUSA stores have had 10% off sales in the past and some are opening at 11:59PM Thanksgiving Day!

7) Amazon.com often has rebates on Apple computers.

8) Make sure you remember to check the Special Deals section at APPLE.COM

* If you have any tips please feel free to add them to the comments for us all to share. Thanks!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Don't say the name of this place 3 times fast!

While perusing the MacRumors forums concerning a recent tip that Apple is currently in production of the Apple iPhone, MacRumors "updated with this information":

[UPDATE] According to another report in the China Times (summarized by AppleInsider), Hon Hai subsidiary Foxconn will begin pumping out 500,000 to 600,000 units per month from its Fushikang manufacturing facility beginning in February. The 'iPhone' is also detailed to include a 2 megapixel camera. ThinkSecret has previously reported that the phone will sport a 3 megapixel camera.


The Fushikang manufacturing facility - don't say that too fast!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

More Zune Bashing

Unless anything absolutely necessary to report comes out, this will be my last Zune post for a while. First, feast your eyes on the top of the Zune box. This is an actual picture. Wel-come indeed! This instantly reminded me of the hillarious YouTube video where Microsoft designed an iPod box.





A MacRumors forum member named Jupiter came up with this great commercial idea:

I would love Apple to come up with an iPod Ad campaign similar to to the "Get a Mac" TV ads.

Imagine this:

Zune (in a brown suit of course): Hello I'm a Zune

iPod: and I'm an iPod

iPod: so whats that you're playing with?

Zune (throwing up a ball and catching it again): oh this is a new song I just downloaded from the zune marketplace, it's really popular at the moment.

iPod: Congratulations, I can see you're enjoying it.

Zune: Oh it's not just me watch this:

(2nd Zune walks onto the screen)

Zune: Excuse me, mind if I zune this song to you?

Zune 2: Yeah sure, go ahead.

(Zune throws ball to Zune 2 who then starts throwing it up and catching it.)

iPod: Wow thats really cool.

Zune: I know, we're great buddies.

(Zune 2 throws up the ball for the third time, but it does not come back down again.)

iPod: Wait, what happened?

Zune: Oh he's only allowed it for a little while.

(Zune 2 walks off with a sad expression)

iPod: So what happend to the song?

(ball falls and hits Zune on the head)

iPod: Oh, right.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Joke O' The Day



An Office Depot manager said the following to me:

There's obviously something up with a product if there is a non working Demo on display

Then he asked me to spell "iPod"

I said "I-P-O-D"

He said, "Now spell Zune"

I said, "Z-U-N-E"

He said, "No, it's spelled "I-P-O-S"

Everyone has been saying it's similar to the iPod - I think this spelling is the only similarity.

Apple Settles Over ADC Displays


* picture courtesy of ENgadget

Apple Settles Over 17" ADC LCD Display Problems In Australian Market

This will be added to the FixYourThinking Reference Section:

Your Rights, The Law, & Litigation

Wrong Yesterday Wrong Today Wrong Tomorrow



I just got through watching a segment on the Today Show on NBC highlighting the launch of the Microsoft Zune.

First of all, I thought journalists were suppose to reveal their affiliations with any product if such an affiliation exists. Microsoft owns a stake in NBC ie MSNBC News Network.

* The Today show also hosts its content on the MSNBC website

* A comment corrected me with a link to a YouTube video showing that Matt Lauer DID in fact mention the Microsoft NBC affiliation - I think my local news interupted right as he said that so I didn't see it. I still see the piece as biased and unethically reported, particularly with the 4G iPod




Second, all the side by side product comparisons showed 4th Gen iPods with monochrome screens with no song selected or playing, while the Zune was playing a video.

The other product comparison was to an iPod Mini.

I know that NBC has "OTHER" stock iPod footage to show - what about the Oprah/Bono press event showing off the (PRODUCT) red iPod Nano?

This isn't the first time NBC has misled its morning viewers with puff pieces about the Zune.

The only advantage offered for the iPod in this quasi press release was that the iPod had 1.5 million more titles in it's song library. What they failed to mention is that the iPod's advantage is getting those additional 1.5 million titles in a much better software interface with less restrictions- the iTunes Music Store.

Related:

Louderback: The Louder Mouth On The Today Show

Engadget: Installing The Zune Sucked!

* It was also mentioned that the iPod had sold 67 million units ... but didn't mention that Apple is expected to sell 20 million this holiday season, whereas the Zune is expected to sell less than 2 million IN A 1 YEAR PERIOD!

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Digg Fraud Campaign For The Zune?


* Photo courtesy of SCIFI.COM blogs


Digg Fraud Campaign Pushing Zune News?

This wouldn't be the first time I have suspected fraud behind one of the "it sites of the moment" Digg. I believe there is a lot of this going on at Digg. I also have a big feeling that Digg developers and webmasters are behind part of it as well.

Daniel Eran, Roughly Drafted writer and investigator in the piece linked has slowly but surely become my Daring Fireball/John Gruber replacement.

It is my personal opinion that Microsoft is playing very dirty with the marketing of the Zune - using several media outlets as pawns for "untruthful news" and statistics.

I'm also a bit disappointed that iPod accessory makers jumped so quickly onto the zune bandwagon without showing any loyalty to Apple whatsoever. I don't blame them for trying to expand their market and profits, but the Zune in my opinion will be such a failure that any product design and even graphic design for box art and packaging will be break even at best.

Related:

A Not So Honest Survey Result

What Happens Near Vegas ...

Reno Apple Store burglarized

The Summit Sierra Apple Store in Reno, NV was robbed early Sunday morning. Thieves smashed a window with a rock and managed to make off with $7000 worth of computers and iPods. Store surveillance cameras caught the robbery on tape. The police are still looking for the two suspects. They are described as Caucasian or Asian males in their teens or early twenties.

Police are asking anyone with info to call the anonymous tips line at 775-322-4900.


Here's a thought ... what if all Apple Store demo units had the script that used was used against an Apple repair facility secretively last week installed on them. I'm sure you could have the script be activated if the wifi signal picked up any other network than the Apple Store where the product was being sold.

Just a thought.

Related:

Flikr page of exploited MacBook iSight pics

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I've found the secret to LOST

I wanted to post this because I really think I've figured it out and I can only hope that this is how the TV Show LOST will play out.

Here is a post I made to a forum discussing this season's episodes:

I have an idea that the island is actually Atlantis (remember the 3 toed statue & now the fact that the islands may be invisible) - being covered up by the government. The interesting thing is that the magnetism of the "crash site island" may have been interupted and it is possibly visible now.

I suspect the black smoke is something similar to "the id monster" from Forbidden Planet and possibly the undoing of the original Atlantis inhabitants just as they were on Valarathon 4 in Forbidden Planet.

ALL of the backstories are tied together - there is a calculated reason why almost every person from the plane is there. It is my belief that there is a plant at the Australian airport where they departed that places people intentionally on planes and the planes are intentionally routed over the islands.

The back stories are all very important. What great writing each of them has been, aye? Ana Lucia (killed off) is tied to Jack's father, which is central for the reason Jack was in Australia. Eko (also killed) is there to add drama - ie introduce the polar bear and explain that the cage that Sawyer is in + explain some of the monster noises. It also shows that possibly the smoke monster is a hallucination and ties that into drugs and the supernatural - but my suspicion is that it's real. (see above)



The Hanso Foudation is more of a web phenonmenon to get interest in searching the web to find out clues about the show ... there are dozens of websites registered by Disney/ABC. Just type "Hanso" into Google and see what I mean. You have to have a lot of time on your hands, but you'll discover that Hanso - is A) a bureaucratic paper trail for a government cover up of military technology B) Still known to the government and NOT a failed psychological experiment

Now, what does a paper trail and the word Hanso remind you of? Hansel and Gretl perhaps and a bread crumb trail?

A Not So Honest Survey Result

As reported by The Unofficial Apple Weblog:

... According to Blogging Stocks, ABI mentions only that it compared the picture of the Zune to "other competitive media players," with no specific mention that the iPod was actually given as an option.

... The fact that Apple essentially has control over the MP3 player market combined with early reports from multiple tech journalists that the Zune is flawed in more ways than one, led many to believe that perhaps the ABI hadn't been truly upfront when conducting their survey and reporting the results. I too would choose a Zune over, say, a Creative device; it would probably be a neat little device to hack; but that doesn't mean that I, nor likely 80% of the population would choose the brown device from Redmond over our beloved iPods.


I would also like to know if they asked 1000 people in different regions of the country (supposedly the only true way of conducting a fair survey)

Remember ABi is also the company that perpetuates the FUD of Apple marketshare - confusing the less insightful of financial analysts and computer industry pundits to say Apple has insignificant market share - when the figures ABI publishes are simply quarterly sales share. The word marketshare implies total penetration, which I have always asumed is actually somewhere slightly above 11% worldwide.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cingular: Having to dial area code prefix as of last week

If any of you live in the southern part of the US and have Cingular wireless you may have noticed that sometime last week you started getting a message that says, "You must first dial the area code and then the number in order to make this call" or "Your call cannot be completed as dialed"

Well, as some of you may know BellSouth owns Cingular. Until recently, before the merger of AT&T wireless and Cingular were complete, Cingular strictly relied on cell tower to cell tower transmission of all of its calls. Starting on October 25th, Cingular starting using VOIP in conjunction with their cell service to ease traffic and reduce cost. This means that when you call now, you connect with a cell tower that connects to an "internet terminal computer" and this transfers your call over broadband land lines for most of the journey.

Just as you have to use the 10 digit number (with area code included) within Skype or say Charter telephone, you must also dial the area code now with ALL Cingular calls.

It's a real hassle to have to go in and add the area code to the 100's of local contacts I have. I just thought I would give you a heads up if you've been getting this message.

Vote!

Please
Vote!


If you live in the USA - please take the time to vote - you have no excuse not to!

The iPod Shuffle: Targeting The She-Male In Advertising?



I saw this advertisement on the front page of the APPLE.COM website. I think it's kind of hard to tell the gender of the "human being" wearing the newly released iPod Shuffle.

Also, why did they clip it like that with the "she-male's" shirt bundled up like that?

I liked the "jacket or jeans" picture better.



Yet still ... the gender of the wearer is unknown.

I got an email from a friend that said the top picture is "definitely a female".

Here's a link to one of the MyDreamApp Judge's profile page - this could very easily be him.

Austin Sarner - MyDreamApp Judge

Monday, November 06, 2006

Apple Extends PowerMac G5 Power Supply Replacement Program


November 6 2006 Apple extends PowerMac G5 Power Supply Replacement program

This information was added to the Fix Your Thinking Recalls & Safety Warnings Page

Affected systems will exhibit one of the following power-related symptoms:
* System will not start up after the power button is pressed
* No LED activity

Note: If your Power Mac G5 is not experiencing any of these symptoms, you do not have to contact Apple or any Apple Authorized Service Provider.

The affected Power Mac G5 computers have serial numbers where the first 5 digits fall into the ranges noted below. The Power Mac G5 computer's serial number is located inside the case directly below the air deflector, along with other configuration information.
Serial Number Ranges
CK539xxxxxx - CK608xxxxxx
G8539xxxxxx - G8608xxxxxx
YM539xxxxxx - YM608xxxxxx
RM539xxxxxx - RM608xxxxx

Profits Low At Symantec; Virus Threat Hyped ... Again

As some of you may be aware Symantec released a press document at the beginning of the weekend claiming that a new virus threat could strike Mac OS X users called OSX.macarena

Amit Singh writes a very balanced response to this news

Here is a good summary by MacFixIt on the issue:

OSX.macarena a non threat/non issue

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Walmart not at all part of WalmartWatch.com's agenda?


As reported by The Unofficial Apple Weblog:

Wal-Mart Watch, an independent organization that keeps tabs on what Wal-Mart is up to, isn't happy that Apple is considering a partnership with the big W.

Recall, if you will, that Wal-Mart wasn't so happy about the iTunes Store potentially biting into their share of the movie business. The solution? Buy a coupon for that download at Wal-Mart and everyone wins (at least according to the possible partnership).

Wal-Mart Watch wants you to tell Steve not to enter into a deal with Wal-Mart. They have created a page contrasting the two company's, and Wal-Mart doesn't do so well.

I, personally, refuse to shop at Wal-Mart but I know I'm in the minority there. Let your voice be heard!


I personally love to shop at Walmart - low prices, clean stores, everything I want with the exception of ... not enough Apple Computers ... make that ... no Apple Computers. They do carry Apple Front Row Remotes though!

Friday, November 03, 2006

MyDreamApp: Rigged From The Beginning



A new post appeared on the MyDreamApp website last night. Apparently Philip Ryu (MyDreamApp organizer) is a bit ticked off by some commentary that a copycat website has put up. Read the post then my followup commentary.

They Say Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery...
October 31st, 2006 at 10:40pm • Posted by Phillip Ryu
[Philip Ryu] My Dream Windows App has just opened its doors, created by one Stefan Miganowicz of Leominster, Massachusetts. Stefan praises My Dream App as his source of inspiration, and gives “kudos to MyDreamApp for pioneering an innovative way to bring applications to market”, then immediately rips into the creativity of the Macintosh community, calling our submissions“second rate and unsatisfactory garbage”:

[From MyDreamWindowsApp] “We have created this site to show the Mac users how a community application should be designed, built and distributed. I say we start this community from scratch; no pre-selected biased judges, no emotional absurdity… just real ideas that actually have a possibility of usefulness to the sane human being.”

[Philip Ryu] Well, Stefan, I certainly would like to point out that we were about providing something cool and new to the Mac community, and not about showing the Windows community “how to do it”, but hey, we each have our own motives, right?




I vied for a spot to be a guest blogger judge and got beat out by the heavyweights like Daring Fireball's John Gruber. Personally, I'm glad I didn't get the honors. I would be embarassed by the finalists that were chosen. If anyone interviewed me and asked me what I thought of the competition, here would be my response:


IT WAS RIGGED!!

It's almost blatant it seems. Seriously, it looks like to me that the 3 most easy to program, most already overdone niche ideas were chosen. I find it hard to believe that any of the judges actually had input into the finalists - especially seeing what got chosen - a Cookbook/Grocery shopping app ... a screensaver application ... a syncing app that is nothing short of iSync w/ Eye Candy. Nothing new, nothing innovative, nothing that more than a niche is going to be interested in ... but definitely all three are easy to code.

The contest was rife with cheating - some contestants paid for votes, some contestants ran bots for votes, some contestants actually campaigned within their workplaces for votes. I wouldn't be surprised if some contestants gave a BJ to some of the judges. Philip Ryu allowed some "member" called "statmonkey" to bash contestants with meaningless statistics and forum quotes and promote others. This was nothing short of the Presidential election debacle in 2000 with the major networks reporting that Gore had won prematurely, using exit poll estimates and quotes from Democratic election officials while at the same time demeaning Republicans and not giving meaningful statistics like actual results!

But the catch is that a lot of innovative apps weren't chosen to begin with and even more interesting is that the truly innovative apps that were chosen (but possibly difficult to code) were thrown out in the first two rounds.

I honestly don't see why more Mac blogs aren't pointing this out and or calling this out.

[UPDATE] As of this post MYDREAMWINDOWSAPP.COM is not responding:



* Editor notes: Note that the message here isn't to be misunderstood that Philip Ryu, the contest organizer, rigged My Dream App - I think it was a combination of manipulation between contestants and judges and very poor execution for choosing apps and eliminating them from competition.

A little navigation assistance through the recent iPhone information


MacRumors reports the following:

Latest On Apple's Phone: Cingular Out, MVNO In?

Cingular officially announced its new mobile music service, deciding to partner with Microsoft, Napster, Yahoo! Music, XM Satellite Radio and eMusic for a subscription-based service model.

Many have seen this event as an essential death-sentence to the rumor that Apple would be launching the 'iPhone' as Cingular-only initially. However, the possibility still exists that Apple could operate as a "mobile virtual network operator" (MVNO) on Cingular's network.

Early this year it was discovered that Apple was seeking RF engineers with EDGE experience (EDGE is a relatively high-bandwidth mobile network for GSM carriers such as Cingular). Around the same time, Apple acquired a large datacenter in California that was originally designed for MCI WorldCom.

A release date concerning Apple's phone has notoriously been a moving target for rumor sites to pin down. The latest consensus has appeared to pin down early 2007 with an introduction perhaps at MacWorld San Francisco, however some unconfirmed rumblings from MacRumors sources have been indicating that a spring release may also be in the cards.


I made a comment in the forums associated with this topic:

TCMCAM said: "Cingular is not the only GSM carrier in the USA.

T-Mobile is pretty big too. They have just purchased a ton of bandwidth for new high-speed services.

Remember the T-Mobile CEO saying "we have a similar vision as Apple" ?

That's why Cingular went with Microsoft, they know they didn't win over Apple. So, this is most likely going to be a T-Mobile partnership (whose corporate parent has a HUGE presence in Europe)."


FixYourThinking reply:
T-Mobile is actually pretty small when compared with the top 3:

Cingular
Verizon
Sprint/Nextel

The top 3 comprise 78% of cell phones in the country.

I doubt the comments from the T-Mobile CEO had much to do with the decision.

Cingular is currently is the only major carrier that does not have an MVNO based on it's lines. (As far as I know)

Verizon has Alltel & Virgin Mobile

Sprint has some Virgin Mobile, some TraCphone, & other prepaid offerings

AT&T wireless used to have SunCom as an MVNO, but when they merged with Cingular they went independent - putting up their own towers and leasing some towers from Cingular.

It's my opinion that Apple will be a Cingular based MVNO and that the phone will work on TMobile and SunCom - but just won't be supported - just like Cingular phones are now. IE - I can buy a TMobile Sidekick on eBay and use it on Cingular, I just don't have the same plan or all features available to me.


The only alliance that I see Apple may have with T-Mobile is that Danger - which makes the semi-exclusive T-Mobile SideKick has Steve Wozniak as an investor.

Now, you can look at that coincidence from two angles:

1) It's just something Woz saw promise in
2) He's been there (at Danger) as a technology partner/development partner for Danger all along to be able to assist Apple first hand with their own Phone efforts. A plant, if you will.

Personally, I see the iPhone as being something very very similar to a Sidekick ... but better.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween ... I haven't decided if I am going to dress up or not. What about you?

Friday, October 27, 2006

iLoad Is No Longer Eye Pleasing

I caught a glimpse of the iLOAD website the other day and noticed this:




It used to be thin ...and it used to be listed as shipping this summer, which slipped to this fall, which may have slipped to Spring 2007 ...or perhaps never.

This doesn't surprise me:

An iLoad Of Drama

I also wonder if iLoad got permission to use the Madonna song, CD, and artwork found in this video:

http://www.iload.com/video_demo_iload.html


UPDATE: Turns out THEY DID NOT GET PERMISSION OR LICENSE TO use the song from Madonna in their demo video

More evidence that blogs are a step ahead of the mainstream media

Here's an interesting story from MacUser's Dan Moren.

In the article, Moren argues the specifics of a story posted in The Washington Post.

The story (from the Post) called "iPod Jeers" was poorly researched to say the least.

The story was written by Neal Mueller who is associated with/sponsored by/advertises for Creative. The Washington Post has the duty to disclose such.

This story was about Apple's iPod, but it does make you think about the sources of other articles or the motivation of other news the mainstream media reports.

[UPDATE] The post made this retraction: An article in the Oct. 22 Sunday Business section on Creative MP3 players failed to disclose that the writer, Neal Mueller, received a free player from the company to use on his 2005 expedition to Mount Everest. He is not officially sponsored by Creative. He received that player after writing to the company to say that he is a fan of its products.

ACTUALLY He accepts free products from companies (Creative is one of them) specifically for the purpose of promoting them. This retraction is still inaccurate as to the true intent of the original story. Mueller is biased against iPods and therefore shouldn't be allowed to report on them in any forum other than his own.

Jackass Of The Year: Daring Fireball's John Gruber

Three years ago, I emailed Rob Malda (Commander Taco), co founder of Slashdot. In the email I asked that he stop the moderators from posting liberally slanted Bush and Republican jab stories on his site.

Not only did he not listen, but my moderation priveleges were suspended indefinitely. Previously I was getting 2 story submissions a month on the front page. After this email exchange, none of my stories were accepted from that point on.

He did respond to my email. He said (contradictory to his action):

"I agree, but it's sometimes hard to catch." ~ Rob Malda

Over the next few months before the Kerry/Bush election Taco himself posted stupid stories inciting the reader base (which is very communistic and liberal) to the point it looked like a forum for the Unibomber or support forum for Osama Bin Laden. That's hardly exaggerated!

Then Slashdot was pretty much responsible for this story getting popular about Bush:



This is a stupid conspiracy theory that the extreme left was putting out as propoganda that Bush had a box on his back and was essentially cheating during the debate. Several websites are now dedicated to the controversy, when it has been explained time and again that the box is simply a secret service communications device and the particular night in question (the Presidential debate) was allowed to be monitored for transmission by the Democratic party. However, the Slashdot story really made this insane theory popular. I tried to submit a story to Slashdot that countered showing that Kerry pulled out a pen and placed it onto the podium. The rules of the debate were very clear that one could not bring anything with them - they must use the pen and notecards on the podium. My story submission took the angle of "home video editors helping with election conspiracies by doing frame by frame analysis and multiple camera angle comparison".

Now, on to the subject at hand. At the beginning of the year, the well respected, often quoted John Gruber decided to take his blog full time - to actually make money. He sells ads, T-Shirts, and memberships that give you a "woohoo whoop-ti-doo" RSS feed. For months I have been following his site and been enjoying the read. For months I have been quoting him often.

Well now he joins the ranks of Slashdot - it's obvious Gruber is a liberal leaning Democrat and so as such, he choses to alienate a portion of his audience that is Republican or Conservative. In the past week, he did a story called: "Jackass Of The Week: Rush Limbaugh" - lambasting Limbaugh for questioning Micheal J. Fox speaking about Parkinson's Disease. When the truth is that Fox himself said that he doesn't take his medication before speeches.



Gruber takes a jab at Republicans every few weeks or so. He lumps Republicans in the "extreme right" of Limbaugh. While not defending anything Limbaugh said, he isn't politically correct. That's his niche. For Gruber, who calls people without 100% complete knowledge of the full story - Jackass Of The Week - I think that's being a bit hypocritical. Calling someone a jackass isn't a politically correct thing to do. I thought Gruber prides himself in being much as this site is; "Not PC about Mac news". In the case of this story, if you don't agree ... don't agree amongst your friends. Leave it at that.

I don't watch CNN News because I know I'm not getting the whole truth, or the truth I'm getting is slanted or bias.

Gruber links to evidence to back up his political stories with websites like THINKPROGRESS.COM


* At last check, Congress is made up of Democrats too!

Furthermore, Gruber has jumped on the bandwagon of absurdity over Diebold voting machines. So the theory goes; evoting is problematic due to the ability for the voting machines to be hacked. The truth behind this story is that it is much easier for cheating in a paper election. The truth is that there would have to be a mass conspiracy to hack voting machines nationwide. And the truth is, no one would have to be caught for it to work on a mass scale. Such an organization of crime couldn't possibly affect more than a percentage point. Besides, it seems like the only people hacking these machines are liberal hackers so they can get press and have some claim in the upcoming elections that the democrat lost because of voting machine fraud.



More examples:

Gruber quotes the Washington Post a lot more often than The Washington Times - so it's obvious which news he reads
* I'll let you Google to see which paper is considered Liberal and which is considered Conservative

Here's a quote from Gruber's latest Jackass Of The Week column:

"...the Sunday Washington Post has a circulation hovering around 1 million, and The Post is widely regarded as one of the nation’s finest newspapers."


Next, for your consideration for making John Gruber; Jackass Of The Year:

I ordered a damn DF T-Shirt in August. I paid 30 FREAKIN DOLLARS! I still haven't received it! I had big plans for this T-Shirt. I was going to take a picture of me wearing it and waxing a Pinto with my iProng T-Shirt. So ... readers who've asked me about a follow up on my iProng T Shirt - this is it! Gruber ruined my gag!



Next, I emailed Gruber about the problem I am having over some litigation concerning this blog. I received no response. It's not that I didn't receive a response, it's that I've actually had responses from Gruber before about small quips about his articles that he's posted on Daring Fireball.

Exchanges such as this:

Philip Smith wrote on 9/19/06 at 8:35 AM:

No other MP3 player manufacturer has to worry as much as Apple about
clones, copyright infringers, and legal issues surrounding the two.
Maybe a tad bit of that 100 million to Creative is built in to iPod
pricing. For the consumer this has actually been a matter of prestige
that Apple has done a pretty good job of handling.

Philip

John Gruber wrote on 9/19/06 at 9:40 AM:

And don't forget the TV commercials! I don't see any other MP3
players spending that kind of money on marketing.


-J.G.


So, I say John Gruber is Jackass Of The Year. He has successfully become unreadable in my eye for politicizing his blog to the point of alienation and ridicule. (Not to mention an obvious bias and disrespect for a good portion of his audience who respects him.) Funny, I thought Jackass Of The Year was going to be dual honors for Maynor & Ellch.

I'll put him under the bookmark folder called "Sometimes", and remove Daring Fireball from my "Must Read" bookmarks folder.

I made a new logo for the site:



In my opinion, a great author is like a great girlfriend: balanced but exciting! Therefore, John Gruber is a jackass for ruining his blog.

[UPDATE] I got my TShirt - postmarked the day following the post date of this article.

* Ends up that I'm not the only one that pokes fun at Gruber's hypocritical "jackass blog entries"

* Grammar corrected, link added

* Ends up that I'm not the only one that pokes fun at Gruber's