Monday, July 31, 2006

Sparse news for a reason

There are a few reasons for the sparse news as of late ...

1) First and foremost ... I sold my PowerBook G4 (my main machine) kind of on a spontaneous sale on Friday of last week. I immediately backed it up and delivered it to the buyer. I thought I would be able to boot an iMac G3 with the firewire hard drive in which I backed up my data on ... and I could have - if I had the firmware updated. However, I can't load the firmware because my internet access has been limited (Eternal Charter Cable problems)

2) I have been busy with a lot of things in my life ... moving/removing/moving back in (long story) ... I've also had to deal with a lawsuit (Google for Bidzirk vs Smith) that is consuming a lot of my time and energy. Further, this is my busiest time of year (Back To School) as an Apple Sales and Service Consultant (My Daily Planet equivalent)

3) News is actually slow but there are some interesting things floating around the web:

I'm not going to say any more than this ... but the rumors of the iPod Phone are not rumors ... trust me. I may go mysteriously missing for saying that much.

http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1923 ... kind of interesting info that Apple has let go a lot of the forum moderation staff.

MacBook Pro batteries are being recalled ... already published here.

Apple Makes It Official

Last week FixYourThinking reported that a few were finding that a silent recall had been made for MacBook Pro batteries. Well, as it seems ... a lot of people started calling Apple about their batteries ... today Apple made the recall official:

APPLE.COM page on 15" MacBook Pro battery recall

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Quick Update FOR you

As reported by iLounge:

Apple denies 'four years' iPod report, clarifies 'for years'

According to iLounge, Apple has clarified a quote in a Chicago Tribune article where the newspaper quoted Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris as saying that iPods are designed to last for "four years." What Kerris actually said, notes the story, is that iPods have a low failure rate and are designed to last "for years."


This is a misquote from a professional journalist here. It incited dozens of forums and got "the iPod haters" riled.

Although it won't happen, I'd like to see a retraction and apology to Apple.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Shhhizzle Recall On The Apple Battery Thizzle

Gathered from XLR8YourMac:

Silent Recall of Early MacBook Pro Batteries?

"... found this link indicating a silent recall on MacBook Pro batteries with the serial numbers up to W8608. If a person has a bad battery they will randomly shut down within minutes of running on battery. The onboard indicator will show a full charge and then randomly show different charge levels."

Here is a link: http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/?p=189

From XLR8YourMac: There were some past posts/photos here of bulging batteries and I wondered if Apple would eventually post a battery recall. (There's a post w/photo of a swollen battery down the page here of MacBook Pro owner reports and tips.) There were some very early reports of random shutdowns which some blamed on 3rd party memory. (But I don't think they were seen only on battery power.)


One thing I preach a lot to my customers in my Apple tech biz (My Daily Planet equivalent) ... never buy the first generation of anything.

This will be added to the Apple & Apple Related Recalls Section here on Fix Your Thinking

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What would the typical blogger say?

Recently I participated in a phone survey about "Bloggers being journalists" ...

Here are the results (published yesterday):

One-third of bloggers see blogging as a form of journalism


That's interesting to say the least.

One important distinction that can be made between most bloggers and most journalists is bragging. Whenever a blogger states the obvious or inevitable and then said obvious or inevitable product is released or said event occurs ... the blogger will post on his or her blog about how genius they were with their prediction.

Today, my opportunity to be like most bloggers came along:



Apple introduces wireless Mighty Mouse


And here's where I asked:

Where's the Mouse? Where is the wireless Mighty Mouse from Apple?
* published June 23 2006

Most journalists don't get the opportunity to "follow up" on a news story ... but it is almost certain that if editors and producers would let them - they would. (And brag as most bloggers do.)

Today also marks my similarity to "most journalists" as I bring to you a "follow up" on a story that ONLY this site brought you. An investigation of Bill Palmer and his recent "iProng Name Game Contest"

Did A Popular iPod News Website Fix A Contest?


As you may know I won a prize in this contest. After a long delay in announcing the winners (3 weeks after contest end) and after a long delay (4.5 weeks) of receiving my prize (and being promised said prize within 2 weeks of winners announcements) ... I am pleased to announce that last Wednesday I received my iProng TShirt.

This didn't come without controversy though. Since I feel like the contest was fixed for the top winners to win, I should make a big deal out of it. And while it is statistically possible that I did not win the grand prize of an iPod Nano, it remains statistically improbable that I did not win the grand prize. Further, it appears as if Bill is required by Florida law to publish a list of winners or at least a public notice saying that a "Winners list" is available. I'm not so pleased that FIXYOURTHINKING wasn't mentioned as a winner. (Only as "...and 5 others won t-shirts")





Readers and my own Google searches have provided me with a lot of writing on this topic and I promise a followup with pictures of my new TShirt soon ... I just wanted to wash it first ... for various reasons.

In the meantime, enjoy a snapshot of the email I was sent (that was highly condescending and rude) and a snapshot of the packaging in which my T was received ... professionalism at its finest? Notice the date of the email and the date on the package. (You can click on the pictures to make them full size)



And finally, i'm not getting all Dvorak on you ... I welcome reader corrections and reader insight ... but recently the comments have been filling up with "corrections" that aren't necessarily corrections. See ... the thing is you guys have been used to the normal Mac news outlets only reporting the "fluff" and the "regurgitation" ... usually when I say something I know what i'm talking about as I have researched it thoroughly (as I do with everything on this site). I'm wrong sometimes. Occasionally I'll either mistype a fact or have a date wrong ... and I appreciate the corrections ... just make sure you know the facts before you correct the truth.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Today's History Lesson: Apple AMD ARM ATi & why it could all be a Pain in the "A"



Chips & Technologies made the video chip for the PowerBook Duo ... Apple stopped using C&T when Intel bought them out.

Intel completes purchase of ARM (buying majority of shares from Apple)

Intel sells Chips & Technologies

Apple licenses USB from Intel

Apple gets mad at ATI over leaking the Daisy iMac ... Apple starts using Nvidia as a "dual supplier" for video card technology in both desktops and laptops

... Intel released USB 2.0 to directly compete with (Apple created) firewire

AMD starts to have greater than 50% marketshare

AMD joins Apple in Hyperthreading Consortium

Firewire was dropped from the iPod (around the time it was being rumored and obviously happening) when Intel / Apple teamed up for the new Intel Macs.

Intel sells ARM (ARM made processors for PDAs and for the Apple Newton PDA)

AMD and Intel trade blows over the past few weeks with "My processor can beat up your processor" talk

AMD attempts buy of ATi

Is it just me thinking this or could this be the beginning of a real problem for Apple. I can't see how Apple won't express objections to the merger with the FTC.

Further, I would suspect that ATi holds both Apple and Intel and "combined" intellectual property that is not privvy to the eyes of AMD.

Apple is the only PC manufacturer that is locked into Intel processors.

While I realize Sony makes competing computers against Apple and yet supplies drives and other components of Apple computers, as does Panasonic ... I don't see how the "very public and very backhanded" fight between AMD & Intel could possibly be a healthy one in this particular situation.

Please add your thoughts on the problems this merger could entail in the comments.

For an in depth view of this merger ... visit ARS TECHNICA at this link: ATi/AMD Merger

Friday, July 21, 2006

I was 51% Wrong about Steve Jobs ... but that leaves 49% Right!



In March of 2006, I published the story 5 Things Steve Jobs Has Misled Us About In The Last 30 Years. In this piece I discussed how Steve Jobs was strategically selling Pixar to Disney at an interesting time in Pixar's history ... a time when two of it's least successful films were coming to theaters; Cars & Ratatouille.

From the article:

The Disney buyout of Pixar ...

Personally, I think this merger comes at a different time than say Pre-Incredibles.

I think the merger is dishonest because this will be Pixar's least successful film to date.

This movie (Cars) is geared towards boys - girls have no interest in cars ... I feel it's why A Bug's Life didn't do great ($160 million) vs Finding Nemo ($340 million) (US Domestic)

A Bug's Life

Domestic: $162,798,565
+ Foreign: $200,600,000
= Worldwide: $363,398,565
+ $26 million for 7.4% ticket inflation according to BOXOFFICEMOJO.COM inflation formula

Adjusted total: $389,400,000

While I'm sure it will be a great film --- outdoing anything Dreamworks could possibly think up ... I just think this deal is being made at a time when Pixar stock could take a huge hit because of lackluster box office results for Cars.


I was blasted in the comments for making this statement. I told friends that I doubted that Cars would make more than $200 Million at the US box office. I was obviously wrong, but not completely ;-)

I predicted that it would do less business than The Incredibles ... Pixar's previous theater release.

Domestic: $194,725,110
+ Foreign: $448,116,087
= Worldwide total: $642,841,197


What movie do you think the above totals are from? A Pixar movie? Nope ... Ice Age 2 ... a 2006 release. Interesting ... Cars is an American thing ... a lot of people don't have cars nor are cars as important to foreigners as to Americans. And as I said before ... cars are more of a male thing.

Animals are universally appealing. Toys are universally appealing. Monsters are universally "appealing".

One reason the computer animated movie Robots didn't do as well (and was a really good movie made by same people as Ice Age) is because not many people can identify with robots ... same as Cars ...

It's not going to be possible for Cars to do this box office (below) from The Incredibles (Pixar's last feature)

Domestic: $261,441,092
+ Foreign: $369,995,000
= Worldwide: $631,436,092


Here's Cars current totals:

Domestic: $223,359,127
+ Foreign: $81,450,000
= Worldwide: $304,809,127


Even if each total DOUBLES ... Cars will be the least successful Pixar film to date for total worldwide box office take.

Here is a review of Cars I did at release:

Cars: Pixar's 1st Clunker?


On a different note:



Were the new MacBooks designed because of my article? I doubt my article had any influence on Apple design ... but I am certain higher ups read it. That article was nothing short of my "15 words of fame" for this site ... receiving nearly 4.6 million hits.

In the article I said:

Of all Macs ... the iBook is by far the worst designed computer Apple has ever made. It looks nice, all the fittings and ports have a tight tolerance construction. But upgrading or replacing the hard drive is difficult at best ... even for a long time experienced technician such as myself. Practically any part (other than the keyboard, RAM, and airport card) on an iBook is a 1 hour job to replace ... on most PC laptops, replacing the hard drive is a matter of 2-4 screws ... same with the optical drive (DVD/CD/Burner) Just opening the iBook subjects you to accidentally severing a cable that may cost a lot of money and may take weeks to get in for replacement.


Now ... the new MacBooks have the easiest to upgrade RAM and hard drive of ANY laptop Apple has released. And for that ... Apple ... thank you.

As for the 3 other things:

1) Apple being too far ahead of the curve ... remains true. However ... I think an iPhone release is getting more and more important for Apple. I don't think the market can mature much more before Apple would be too late. The Motorola RAZR, SLVR, and now the new K1 have already started to dominate. Apple needs to jump in now (or at least before the holidays) and I think they will.

Can an iPhone be Apple's Next iPod?


Apple On The iPhone: "We're Not Sitting Around Doing Nothing"


2) Video Content for iTunes - fact is Steve just changed his mind.

" . . . there’s no need for video on devices like the iPod. Video is “the wrong direction to go”, “there’s no content,” “the screens are too small” and competitors to the iPod putting R&D into providing video are “digging in the wrong place.”


Only apologists and Apple fanboys oozed that he said this as misdirection for the competition. He said that he didn't think people wanted to watch video on small screens and now that iTunes video has taken off with immense success ... well ... you know how to complete this sentence. It will be very interesting to see how full feature length movies will be handled with the iPod. I hope that the rumor mill is wrong and that movies will not be "rentals that expire" as purchased from iTunes. Jobs' strongest point about the iPod and iTunes Music Store success has been the fact that, even though the music and video has DRM ... you own it.

3) Overpromising and Under-delivering ... I think Apple has gotten much better at this over the last 2 years ... one way is by having hyped events with small surprises. This way ... media can't alweays expect something revolutionary. (And financial analysts won't take a chunk out of Apple stock the next day either.)

So ... I'm going for 51% wrong and 49% right.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

In The History Of All Articles Written On The Internet

THIS IS THE WORST




You've read a lot of articles on the internet, right? You read BLOGs and other news sites like this one on a daily basis. No matter what rant you've read from Dvorak, from Enderle, from Palmer ... nothing tops this absurdly lengthy, incredibly non factual diatribe on Apple's iPod. Not only is the debate contained within this article non sequitur (a favorite word of mine lately) ... but it is so poorly written that it almost seems the writer Tomi T Ahonen is living in another universe. He's certainly not on the same planet I'm on where the iPod has <76% marketshare.

He claims that because iPod sales are down from the Christmas quarter by 1 million units or so that this is a sign of things changing. What he fails to mention is NO SINGLE cell phone model (not even the Motorola RAZR) sells 8 million units in the average quarter worldwide and that Apple's profit on iPods is close to 34% ... whereas Moto's profit on RAZRs is somewhere around 9%.

*** WARNING ***


What you link to below is mind numbingly long. FixYourThinking suggests you bookmark this for the weekend and read later.

Demise of a Darling: iPod market share crashes to 14% amid management denials


There is so much non factual information contained within the article it's hard to even take the author seriously ... yet he is quite serious.

I hate to even give authors like this press ... it's obvious this guy is trying to promote some book and some strange business concept he and a friend came up with ... just warning those that see this book ... no matter how good the jacket makes it sound ... it contains logic and argument from the same loon that wrote this piece about iPods. My favorite part is how he refers to his own blog as "predicting the future" by making several references to previous posts. Something all of us narcissistic bloggers love to do ... this guy just makes all of the rest of us look bad.

The author has an "Available For Consulting" link in the sidebar ... did Dvorak pay?

Oh ... and don't forget to read the comments that follow the article!

[UPDATE] An email indicated I should read this:

http://www.businessweek.com/print/technology/content/jul2006/tc20060720_479530.htm

From which the email commenter wanted me to know:

With a hit like the RAZR, that is a possibility. Motorola has sold more than 50 million of the sleek flip phones, and it's announcing new upgrades by the month. When the company holds its annual analysts' meeting June 24 and 25, it's expected to unveil the RAZR II, an even sleeker, glimmering update of its top seller.


And obviously the point of sending me this email (which wasn't stated) was to debate my comment above:

What he fails to mention is NO SINGLE cell phone model (not even the Motorola RAZR) sells 8 million units in the average quarter worldwide and that Apple's profit on iPods is close to 34% ... whereas Moto's profit on RAZRs is somewhere around 9%

Again I will say to this reader and to all others:

NO SINGLE cellphone has sold as many as the iPod has with CORE functionality remaining the same. Verizon, Alltel, Tmobile, SunCom, and Cingular all have VARIATIONS of this phone and label them as such as well V3i etc etc. They are physically different in both interface, functionality and core functionality ... whereas the iPod has now sold roughly 63 million units (excluding the shuffle) and kept the dock connector and core functionality and interface for over 3 years! Accessory makers are not making nearly the number of accessories for RAZR's as they are iPods <--- this is the true reason the iPod is so successful.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Absolute Software launches Computrace LoJack for Macs



LOJack For Laptops website

Here's a press release sent to my inbox this morning. This site, formerly known as Jackwhispers was partnered with TrackYourMac software ... but the developer of the software mysteriously disappeared about a year and a half ago and stopped developing and updating the database. This is a welcome replacement. I will try to see if Absolute will partner with this site so I can get readers some good deals on this service.

Absolute Software launches Computrace LoJack for Macs

July 19 - 10:17 EDT Absolute Software today announced the release of its Macintosh version of Computrace LoJack for Laptops, a laptop security tracking solution that locates and recovers lost or stolen computers. The new Mac version can be purchased directly through Apple retail stores, major retailers throughout North America and directly from Absolute Software. In the event of computer theft or loss, Computrace LoJack for Laptops silently contacts Absolute's Monitoring Center when the computer connects to the Internet. The embedded software provides the stolen computer's IP address and other networking information to Absolute's Theft Recovery Team which works with local law enforcement to identify its physical location and recover the computer. If a stolen laptop is not recovered within 30 days, Absolute Software will refund the purchase of Computrace LoJack for Laptops. The price per unit for one year of service is US$49.99.

Monday, July 17, 2006

PayPal Pays Out

I got a deposit in my Paypal account today as settlement for the class action against Paypal for not fairly disputing transactions.

In my case, I sent $120 to a guy in Canada for a laptop. After 30 days and no shipment I filed a dispute with Paypal, the next day they received a fedex tracking number and closed the dispute. The next day following, I received a brick in the mail. Yes - a brick. This was the case I used in my claim in part of the class action.

From a previous story I did on Paypal in 2002:

I personally have had 3 losses resulting from Paypal. One I was able to recover $54.50. The other, I applied for a Cyno-sure insurance claim and was just approved two weeks back for reimbursement. It will only be $200 - I paid $303.76, but that's better than nothing. The other transaction I lost on, and well, I learned a lesson ... don't accept email offers. I sent $120 to a "Canadian" - no shipment received in 30 days - I filed a Paypal complaint - he typed in a tracking number - that appeased Paypal - I received a brick via FedEx. Yes folks, a brick!


That said, I have saved COUNTLESS amounts of time and money with the conveiniance of Paypal. I can also instantly refund money with little hassle. If you don't use Paypal, you're an idiot in my opinion.


My total losses from Paypal have been about $170.00 ... the settlement was obviously less than that with the difference going to lawyer's purses.



I wanted to provide a screenshot of the email so you wouldn't think it was a phishing scam.

Return Of The Revenge Of The Attack Of The iPod Strikes Back Menace Wars

Recent headlines have indicated a return to attacking Apple Computer baselessly in the media. It seems Apple has lost and found and lost again it's "Darling Status" with media and financial analysts.

Remember the ..."Apple will be out of business in 5 years" rumors that used to pop up at least twice a year? Of course we now find out that John C. Dvorak was a source of most of these rants and that he was just making it all up. ;-)

Here's an interesting article:

Is 'Apple Backlash' a Media Invention?


I've always made the case here on this blog that when news is slow in the Mac Community ... websites start manufacturing news. News has been very slow and tempers have been running hot at Apple's competition lately ... the main source ( through plants and payofffs IMHO ) of the bad press Apple has been receiving.

***************************


I've found myself reading Roughly Drafted by Daniel Eran a little more as of late. Some of his insight is good, some not so good ...

Here's a good example of "the good" ... a little wordy:

CNET's Charles Cooper Strikes Out in iPod Attack


Of particular "I second that"":

No amount of boo-hooing by Microsoft-aligned columnists changes the fact that the market has soundly rejected Microsoft's WMA. There is nothing "open" about the potential of interoperability between makers of rival DRM schemes.

DRM is inherently proprietary. Collusion amongst proprietors does not make for open standards. The only way Apple could open FairPlay is by allowing others to sell their own brand of Apple's FairPlay. That would be neither open nor free in any sense, nor would it benefit consumers to have access to an iTMS with a different name attached to it.

It's also grossly hypocritical for Microsoft backers to criticize Apple's combination of the iPod and iTMS, because those same lemmings have been defending the Microsoft monopoly for decades. They've insisted that Microsoft's Windows platform has created a stable, standard environment for PCs.

Why aren't they insisting that Windows run Linux apps, and that Microsoft create ways to run Windows applications on Linux? Why aren't they demanding that Microsoft port Exchange Server to Mac OS X? Why aren't they insisting that the Xbox and PlayStation run each other's games? Inane!

Friday, July 14, 2006

A distorted headline: Was Apple "Anti-blogger" or "Anti-theft"?


* screenshot of headline from SlashDot

Apple never had a case that was "ANTI-BLOGGER" - the case was "anti-theft". Apple chose the wrong path to pursue in prosecuting this case. Instead of going after the websites based on whether or not they were journalists or whether they should go after the bloggers or the ISPs ... Apple should have pursued the fact that NO NEWS OUTLET can post trade secrets.

This case was ruled purely on technicality. The courts used to look at all evidence and surmise what was right and what was wrong. Now, attorneys (such as those from the Electronic Frontier Foundation) exploit the law and the system.

Other headlines gathered from MacSurfer:

"Apple gives up blogger fight: Legal battle to reveal sources ends for Silicon Valley giant" San Jose Mercury News

"No Appeal for Apple in Leak Lawsuit: In May, a California state appeals court ruled that online journalists have the same right to protect the confidentiality of their sources just as journalists in the offline world." CIO Today

"Apple halts mole hunt: The search for the Apple insider who leaked upcoming product details has been abandoned" CNET News.com

"Apple calls off employee witch-hunt: Legal attempt to find leaker fails..." Silicon.com

"Apple won't pursue bloggers' identities" Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

In honor of the distorted news a lot of the Mac Web has been posting lately



This is a great optical illusion that tricks the brain temporarily ... it's one of the coolest illusions I think I have ever seen.

Standard disclaimers apply:

1) This did not originate from me

2) If you have epileptic tendencies ... be aware that this is a very intense illusion

3) This is nothing short of incredible.


It's best to look at a plant or a very detailed inanimate object when the video tells you to look away. Make sure you stare at the center of the video for the full 25 seconds. Try to stare at the center of the screen and if you have the option ... make the video full screen. If the video starts before fully downloading ... pause and allow it to fully load first ... then resume. The affect will be minimized at best if it pauses in mid-play.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Not A Part Of Portland


AFTER


BEFORE/CURRENT


Final design for unwelcome Portland Oregon Apple Store


Here is a final design of how the "rejected" Portland Oregon Apple store was going to look. What was the problem again? Click on the link for a very interesting read on this drama that surrounded the building of an Apple Retail Store. Apple faced similar "city stupidity"with its Germantown Tennessee location ... the city claimed that food could not appear on exterior or roadside signage ... they claimed that the Apple logo was food!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Microsoft to join the drama?

Maybe Microsoft will discover the "crazy world of iPod developers" as I have. I'm sure this "contacting 3rd party iPod developers" means the top players, like Griffin, DLO, and Belkin.

Be prepared for a lawsuit or two over exclusive contracts. It will be interesting to see if Griffin, in particular, will choose to develop for Microsoft because of their loyalty to the iPod. If they make this "Zune" popular, wouldn't it affect iPod sales and reduce their bread and butter market? If Microsoft gets all the same cool peripherals as the iPod ... doesn't it make the iPod less unique? It will also be interesting in Griffin's case to see if they will develop for Microsoft based on the fact they also produce peripherals for the Sony PSP.

As reported by ENgadget:

Microsoft approaches iPod accessory makers for Zune

It was inevitable: we get confirmation that the Zune is for real, and now Microsoft is already tapping into the device accessories market. They don't have to go far to find a slew of companies ready and willing to pop out goodies for their new DAP; it's presumably as simple as calling up the folks who make accessories for that other portable music player. iLounge has it that apparently the Zune will feature a proprietary expansion port not so different in function from the iPod's dock connector, and Microsoft is reportedly offering contracts which would allow partners to officially accessorize at a lower rate than Apple's "Made for iPod" program. It was fairly obvious that Zune's release would spark another Mac vs. PC embroilment, so it's no surprise Microsoft is likely covering their bases and making sure their own accessory lineup is ready.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Wait a week or two to get the truth behind the Mac Headlines

As usual, the Mac Web reporters who dashed out to get a piece of the "controversial news pie" have been proven wrong again. Just after the 10.4.7 update was released for Tiger, news came that Dashboard now contacted Apple to "make sure you had official widgets". The Mac web was up in arms that Apple was stealing obtaining private information without consent.

A website called MacGeekery has discovered the following:

As summarized by The Unofficial Apple Weblog TUAW:

Mac Geekery debunks Dashboard 'phoning home'

JC, at Mac Geekery has used some UNIX tricks to do some digging into the whole 'Dashboard phoning home' topic that's been heating up the Mac web lately. After all is said and done and JC lays out exactly what is happening, he concludes that not only is Mac OS X 10.4.7 not sending any personal data (which we've already been told), but you actually give Apple more data about yourself simply by visiting Apple.com. Here's hoping those worried about Apple trampling their privacy can sleep a little better at night.


And personally, I'm of the opinion that I trust Apple enough (not to be like Microsoft) ... if they need information ... they can have any demographic information they wish to have from me <--- that is as long as they guard and do not abuse that information by selling it or not securing it on a server from prying eyes. I've seen nothing to contrary - so Apple ... it's ok!

UpDATES

Today is an interesting day ... I have two updates for you.

On June 20th 2006, I received this email from Bill Palmer and responded within a few hours of receiving it:

Hello,

Congratulations, you have won an iProng T-shirt in the iProng Name Game contest. We will need your mailing address as well as your T-shirt size preference (S, M, L, XL). Your T-shirt will ship within two weeks of your reply to this email.


Much thanks,
Bill Palmer
iProng (formerly iPod Garage) Publisher and Founder
http://www.iProng.com


Let's note: "will ship within two weeks of your reply to this email"

Today is July 11th 2006 ... making it 24 days since I haven't received my TShirt and 10 days since not receiving it within two weeks. It's not that I want the TShirt ... it's the principal of the thing.

*****************************************


Tomorrow, July 12th will be a new milestone in Jack Miller missing from the web = 9 months. As an update, it appears that Jack is alive but not well. It appears as if he had gone through some tough personal times and a bout of depression (and may still be). I still think that Jack Miller should have updated his site with just a one sentence update at the 6 month mark, but I somewhat understand if he has had to withdraw from life on the net. Many people, including myself, truly miss him. It's been hard finding a replacement in my bookmarks ... but I think I have moved on with John Gruber's Daring Fireball and I have discovered the hillarity of YouTube.

Even though this blurb below appeared on the very lame and extremely weird site "As The Apple Turns 2" ... Jack has yet to materialize:

AtAT Forum contributors are reporting that the previously dead reruns section of As the Apple Turns web site is back online. One report even said that Jack will begin work on the website again "soonish". That discussion then quickly devolved into the merits of scented candles. He would be so proud. Sniffle.

As many of you guys know, AtAT2 was launched as an AtAT parody in Jack's absence. If and when Jack comes back, ha ha, we're happy to abdicate the throne. And by throne we mean toilet. Like, one of those low-profile Kohler ones, those are cool. Especially if it was yellow. Hey, then you couldn't tell if it had been...

At any rate, Jack's not back yet, so in the meantime, in the interest of extreme crappiness, we're doing 3 episodes, updated once a week.


July 11th is officially titled "Mac Community Missing In Action Day" or McMAD for short.

Follow up stories:

Did a Popular iPod News Website Fix A Contest?

The Continuing Saga Of As The Apple Turns

Monday, July 10, 2006

Louderback; the louder mouth on the Today Show dissing iPods



Jim Louderback, a former TechTV host, was on the Today Show on NBC this morning. He was the "ipod competitor & rumor porn" speaker du jour this morning.

The segment was introduced as "A look at Microsoft's new iPod Competitor"

I'd like to give a little primer about this "news segment":

Its not a competitor until they have a product. This whole segment was introduced as if the Today Show had an exclusive look at a real product that Microsoft was about to introduce. You would have thought by the multiple segment teasers and introductions that the Today Show was going to have a physical device in their hands showing it off to the public for the first time.

The segment, which had lead in credits by MSNBC (that's the Microsoft/NBC liberal leaning FoxNews competitor) featured sound bites from Jim Louderback making comments that finally the iPod will have a competitor when Microsoft rolls out a new player. It concerns me that the segment was not prefaced or footnoted that MSNBC is a Microsoft partnership with NBC. I thought it was a broadcast or news requirement for such a disclaimer.


* Jim Louderback


My two cents about this ... Jim Louderback is still bitter about being "marginalized" at TechTV because of a debacle in covering MacWorld Expo in 2001 for TechTV. He voiced over the keynote and took pot shots at Mac Users during Steve Job's speech. Apple obviously raised a pretty big stink about this, as did a lot of the Mac web. Over the next few weeks, Louderback seemed to have less and less of a role at TechTV.

I'll cover more about this in another segment ... after it's available online ...I'll link to the show.

* The Today Show associates itself with MSNBC for it's news segments

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Apple Market Share & The Tipping Point.

Ever since John Gruber started updating his Daring Fireball website on a regular basis, I find myself quoting and linking to him a lot more. It's very interesting to see him tackle a lot of the topics I have covered here on this site in the past 4 years.

One recent addition he made to his "insights" was this article on "understanding the Mac Market and switching to the Mac OS":



As always John has stated it much better than I ever could.

Here is the piece I did in January of this year:

Just How Many Apple Computer Users Are There Really

Friday, July 07, 2006

Drama that I don't feel needs further editorial



Here's a couple of headlines to keep you occupied over the weekend that I don't feel need any further comment but are interesting & fitting to this site's typical news coverage and commentary.

PayPal executive leaves eBay in management shakeup
An executive, formerly considered Meg Whitman, eBay's current CEO, successor suddenly leaves eBay

Apple explains dashboard "notifying Apple"
Bloggers discovered that a new feature in last weeks 10.4.7 update notifies Apple of what you have installed in your dashboard widgets. They should have just made this clear from the beginning.

Apple and Creative to settle on creative differences?
Creative & Apple Open to settlement ... I think this was more speculation and good will portrayal than actual fact

Apple will delay new iPod release?
More non sequiter from industry analysts about iPods

A guy gets struck by lightening - did his iPod act as a lightening rod?
This story is just bizarre and freakish ... look at the picture!

eBay says "No way" to Google Pay


* image of paypalsucks.com logo


As some eBayers already may know ... eBay created a new help page yesterday called; "Accepted Payment Policy"

On this page, eBay listed PayPal alternatives that are not certified to use for auction payment and therefore will not be warranted for an investigation in any transaction in dispute.

The eBay page listed these services as either scams or unacceptable:

Payment Services not permitted on eBay: AlertPay.com, anypay.com, AuctionChex.com, AuctionPix.com, BillPay.ie, ecount.com, cardserviceinternational.com, CCAvenue, ecount, e-gold, eHotPay.com, ePassporte.com, EuroGiro, FastCash.com, Google Checkout, gcash, GearPay, Goldmoney.com, graphcard.com, greenzap.com, ikobo.com, Liberty Dollars, Moneygram.com, neteller.com, Netpay.com, Nochex.com, paychest.com, payingfast.com, paypay, Postepay, Qchex.com, rupay.com, scripophily.com, sendmoneyorder.com, stamps, Stormpay, wmtransfer.com, xcoin.com



Look at the services I highlighted. First, you'll notice that eBay has added Google's new "Google checkout" to the list. I'm not quite sure why this was added and it might be of value to eBay to place a small description or explanation that reasons why each service cannot be used.

While I love PayPal and think they have gotten better over the last year ... I still want an alternative. Since this BLOG is based on Blogger ( which is Google owned ) I would like an easier way to process micropayments and donations. Plus, Google Payments will eventually offer link revenue sharing. Most of the articles here are found after their posting rather than the day of. Google Payments will allow you to receive shared revenue from ads on the pages that return your site's search results and in turn, if your site is selected as the "preferred result" for the searched topic. Did that make sense?

Second ... notice iKobo and StormPay ... these are two services that used to be advertised on PAYPALSUCKS.COM. Wanna know why they are in the list? For the full story; read here. The short story is ... one of the first articles I did on this site back in 2004 (and remains my 2nd most hit article) is called PayPal Ain't My Buddy ... in that story I brought you the exclusive news and investigation that PAYPALSUCKS.COM was actually created and sponsored by the owners of alternative payment services to Paypal ... sponsored by you guessed it ... iKobo, yowcow, and StormPay.

Currently, PAYPALSUCKS.COM is sponsored by Card Services International. How can anyone take a website that is sponsored by the competition seriously? PAYPALSUCKS.COM is filled with lunatic rants. It is my belief that the majority of the content on that website is contrived by PayPal's crooked competition.



I got the picture above from the Card Services International website, which also resolves as 995merchantaccounts.com ... it is ironic (to me at least) that the title of this picture is CSI-Header-3.gif. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks anything on a scam site being titled "CSI" is funny.



Also of note is nochex ... this is a favorite of many international scams ... particularly from buyers in India, Malaysia, and The Philippines ... although I have been directed to pay using this service by many scammers based in the UK as well.

It is a shame though that eBay is placing Google Checkout amongst the thugs of the "ePayment World".

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

An Apple Store Or An "I Pooted" Sign: Which do you want in your town?

An Apple Store in Oregon

From The Portland Architecture BLOG:

In April ... an Apple Computer store on NW 23rd Avenue had seen its plans significantly altered by the Historic Landmarks Commission. A stainless steel facade had to be changed to stone. The logo had to go. And so on. The point of the previous post was to raise concern about how the Landmarks Commission may be over-stepping its bounds, judging a work of modern architecture that seems to have little to do with historic buildings. Moreover, I argued against the larger principle that modern buildings can't complement different older architecture. In fact, I think it's the juxtaposition of two different forms, each true to its era and aesthetics, that makes a neighborhood and a city all the richer.

Now an update: If you haven't already heard, the project is now dead. Even after Apple and its local architect, Holst, agreed to the Landmarks Commission's changes, the commission as I understand it, still told Apple that more significant changes were needed. So Apple pulled out of the deal.


OR

A billboard campaign for an upcoming Cartoon Network cartoon:



* Billboard on I-85 and 385 in Greenville SC & Atlanta GA & seen on I-40 in Knoxville Tennessee

Which would you rather have in your town? Apparently the people in Atlanta GA and Knoxville TN would rather have both a new Apple Store and the "I pooted" billboard, while people in Portland Oregon won't accept either. (The Cartoon Network campaign hasn't reached Portland Oregon as of this writing.) Here in Greenville SC ... I just want an Apple Store and wish there was a public outcry about the offensive "I pooted" signage.

Did A (cough cough) Popular Apple & iPod News Website Fix A Contest?



Well ... it's been 16 days since I received and responded to this message from Bill Palmer concerning my winnning a prize in a contest at his iProng website:

Hello,

Congratulations, you have won an iProng T-shirt in the iProng Name Game contest. We will need your mailing address as well as your T-shirt size preference (S, M, L, XL). Your T-shirt will ship within two weeks of your reply to this email.

Much thanks,
Bill Palmer
iProng (formerly iPod Garage) Publisher & Founder
http://www.iProng.com


A long time reader and commenter on Fix Your Thinking pointed out to me the following conversations held on the iProng website:

It appears as if Bfluid is one of the designers of the iProng website, making his winning A) "insider" and B) "illegal" according to Florida law.

Comments indicating bfluid ( a grand prize winner ) didn't comply with contest rules:

billpalmer
iProng Founder
Posted: Sat May 13, 2006 1:31 am  

bfluid, your new blog doesn't seem to have a link to iProng anymore.

you do want to win this, right?


Comments indicating bfluid ( a grand prize winner ) is an insider:
Fix Your Thinking comments in [ ]

bfluid
iProng Grand Master [ Note Moderator status ]
Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 3:44 am

Now we need a cool logo. Though I like the logo we have now.

 
billpalmer
iProng Founder
Posted: Sat May 06, 2006 3:49 am [ Note 5 minutes apart from comment above ]

bfluid wrote:
Now we need a cool logo. Though I like the logo we have now.
[Note: WE ]

Don't worry, we have an iProng logo. You'll see it on Monday


It's hard to tell 100% but it appears as if Bfluid had a hand in designing portions of the iPodGarage and iProng websites.

Comments taken from these two pages:

http://ipodgarage.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=48709&highlight=#48709

http://ipodgarage.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=48991&highlight=#48991

I also want to point out that the contest was over on June 1st (running the entire month of May) Winners were to be announced within a few days of contest end and shouldn't have been too difficult to tally. Winners were not announced until June 19th. Neither of the grandprize winners FULLY COMPLIED with having the iProng logo and referral link on their blog for the entire month of May. The grand prize winners also no longer have the logo displayed on their sites. Futhermore, both of the Grand Prize Winners removed the logo before May 30th, therefore disqualifying both of them.

Interesting note about Bfluid ( a grand prize winner )

From his "winning" blog:

Name:Ty Maier
Location:Rincon, Georgia, United States
I am a christian who is very active in my church. I love playing and reading music. I also enjoy my iPod.


Interesting ... a professed Christian and knowingly participating in a fixed contest.

Wanna read the contest rules:

- Place a permanent link to www.iProng.com in the sidebar of your blog or website, visible from your site's front page (even though we haven't yet changed our name, the iProng.com domain is already active).

- You don't have to let us know you've done it; we'll see your site in our referrer logs as soon as someone clicks through on your link.

- Leave the link in place from now through the end of May.

- Then on June 1st we'll count of the number of unique click-throughs from each sidebar link and perform a weighted random drawing to determine the prize winners. Sites with more click-throughs will have greater odds of winning, but even sites with a single-click through will have a chance to win top prizes.

First prize is a 1 GB iPod nano in your choice of white or black, delivered directly to your doorstep. Second prize is a $50 iTunes gift card. Third prize is a $25 iTunes gift card. Five other winners will receive a new iProng T-shirt.

Remember, all you have to do to win a an iPod nano is post a link to www.iProng.com in your site's sidebar and keep it there. Create your link today and help us celebrate our evolution into iProng!


* notice no disclaimers

Read more about contests and contest laws:

Hosting A Sweepstakes or Contest

or contact your state Attorney General

Followup reading:

I've Been Pronged!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

More News Corrections From Trusted Sources Of News?

Worth noting ... many popular websites ... even John Gruber's Daring Fireball reported that Apple had admitted to white MacBooks staining ...

Well ... looky at what came out today ...

As reported by MacRumors:

Jason O'Grady posts on his ZDNet blog that Apple has acknowledged and identified the cause of a staining issue that was affecting a small but significant number of MacBook owners.
It appears that the original MacBook plastics were too porous which led to staining after oils become embedded in it from prolonged use.

Apple changed the formulation of plastics in the production line already, so the newest models arriving in retail stores shouldn't have the same problem. The newer top case is reportedly much smoother to the touch than the previous MacBooks which feel slightly rougher.

While Apple typically does not support cosmetic issues that does not affect the operation of the computer, users that have the issue can contact AppleCare to arrange for a replacement of their top casing.

Update: Macworld.co.uk claims that the above report is incorrect, and says that according to Apple representatives that they have talked to, the staining is still under investigation by Apple, and Apple is not officially recognizing the issue as of yet. Still, Apple is encouraging users with the issue to contact AppleCare.


Two notes ... this proves yet again that Jason O'Grady makes up whatever news he can to generate hits without regard to the truth, thorough investigation, or promotion of "hope this isn't true".

Also, I have read in several places that the new matte finish on the MacBooks gets dirtier easy ... it's not staining as much as it is oil from the skin getting deep down into the plastic, getting hot, and appearing to be discolored. From what I have read, it's easy to remove with scratch remover ... and has the side benefit from protecting the MacBook from scratches and future staining. I do think Apple should look into this, but it's more an issue of dirty user's hands than faulty Apple product manufacture.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The New York Times Should Be Yanked For This New Story



The New York Times shouldn't just be censured by the Federal Government it appears, but possibly by the SEC or FTC:

The New York Times has no business detailing the costs and profit margins Apple receives for its products:

As reported on Slashdot:

The New York Times ran an article entitled Apple's Got a Secret. The article discusses the cost behind making the ever-popular iPod ... a secret the company is keeping close to its chest. As a result of the company's signature secrecy and antiquated way of tracking profits, analysts are beginning to question the 'trust me' nature of buying Apple stock.

From the article: "Geographic disclosure was adequate when pretty much all Apple sold were computers, Mr. Renck said. But the iPod has changed everything. Sales of Macintosh computers now trail those of iPod, which last year made up 46 percent of revenue. 'Apple clearly has its feet in two separate and distinct business models, namely computer manufacturing and software creation, and the consumer electronics industry," Mr. Renck said.


I'm with Bill O'Reilly on The New York Times ... they are about to sink. They support very biased editorial, aid ill sentiment towards the military, and often publish hyperbole just to boost sales or recognition.

You could "mad lib" the following to apply to the Apple story. From OReilly.com:

Talking Points Memo & Top Story

"In a rare display of directly confronting his opponents in the press, President Bush is condemning the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal for exposing a covert money-tracking program designed to pinpoint terrorists. The editor of the New York Times, Bill Keller, defended his decision to print the stories, saying there is not enough oversight of what President Bush does in the terror war. But the bottom line is this - the committed left media believes the Bush administration is damaging the country and is using the war on terror as an excuse to do it. That kind of extreme thinking is putting all Americans in danger. There's not one valid reason to expose a covert operation that is by all accounts entirely legal and designed to track money going to terrorists. The New York Times may have reached the tipping point. The paper is chock full of far-left columnists, and now its news pages could be damaging national security. So what should be done? I don't want to see these people prosecuted, and I don't think they will be - that would send a terrible message about freedom of the press. But in the court of public opinion, each American should make the call - who's looking out for you? Media that expose anti-terror secret programs that are legal? Or the government that is instituting those programs?"

The Factor was joined Republican Congressman Peter King, head of the House Homeland Security Committee. King actually called the Times "treasonous," and explained why. "This was a program about international financial transactions. Al Qaeda did not know we had a program of that extent and with that level of international cooperation. In a time of war you don't want to make the enemy's job any easier." King urged the Justice Department to charge Times executives with violating secrecy laws. "They should be prosecuted because we are talking about American lives here. This was a program that is entirely legal, effective, and is saving American lives. I'm calling on the Attorney General to launch a full investigation and prosecution of the New York Times."

From the other side of the ideological divide, Democrat Congressman Edward Markey accused President Bush of overstepping his legal authority when monitoring suspected terrorists. "The administration did not go through a federal court, and that is a very serious Fourth Amendment violation. We want the President to be as aggressive as possible in fighting Al Qaeda, but this debate is whether or not the Bush administration has to go through a federal judge. There have to be rules and guidelines." The Factor defended the anti-terror program as effective, necessary, and legal. "I'm an aggressive reporter and I don't want to hide anything from the American people they need to know. But I don't know one American who needs to know how the government is surveilling wire transfers to suspected terrorists."