Monday, June 30, 2008

Just wait until he dies, then we can compete.

As noted by John Gruber at Daring Fireball:

Verizon CEO Waiting for Jobs to ‘Get Old’

Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon, when asked about Apple in an interview with The Financial Times:

As handsets become banking tools and games controllers, he argues, mobile operators can up-end other companies’ business models. “It’s very cool. And Steve Jobs eventually will get old… I like our chances.”

What’s particularly odd about this remark is that Seidenberg is nine years older than Jobs.

UPDATE: Here’s another interpretation of the same quote, where by “getting old”, Seidenberg perhaps meant it in the sense of falling out of favor with the public, like that “Who Let the Dogs Out” song or something. Best-of-breed user experience design and affordable high-quality hardware engineering are the next Cabbage Patch Dolls, perhaps.

The shills ...

Douglas McIntyre at 24/7 Wall St:

Apple may eventually end up selling 20 million iPhones worldwide every year. It will be faced with the unpleasant reality that now bedevils firms like Motorola and Nokia. Sales volume is not any good as a substitute for a high yield on each product. Low margins have never been part of the Apple formula for success.


Apple is actually getting as much or more for 2nd generation iPhones as first generation iPhones.They switched their deals with AT&T and International cell carriers from taking a cut of the monthly service fees, to an up-front subsidy. It is projected that Apple would get $400 in revenue over the course of two years from each iPhone customer - now that projection is $440 all at once.

It's stupid comments like this that investors key into without any further research that affects Apple's stock price and perception greatly. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a shakedown in online media soon that reveals that bloggers like McIntyre are paid shills for Apple's competition. This isn't the first time he's made such poor analysis of Apple's business model.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Free Unlimited SMS Messages on your iPhone!

Here's a tip on how to send & receive unlimited SMS messages from your iPhone (assuming you have an unlimited data plan).

The steps are as follows:

1. Create a new email message.
2. In the "To: box", type 10digitnumber@teleflip.com. (1235551234@teleflip.com)
3. Type a message then click send.
4. The message will be sent to the cell phone with the number in the "To: box"
5. All recieved text messages will be sent to you as an email.

A little inelegant ... but free is free.



read more | digg story

Friday, June 27, 2008

The iBook Powerbook AC Adapter Lawsiut post card

Got this in the mail today:


Big Crumbs ... eBay "referral" program is a scam / pyramid scheme



A while back ... I had posted an alert to eBayers on my eBay blog about BIG CRUMBS. Today, I was prompted to do another of my own searches for Big Crumbs The search yielded a few "shill blogs" trying to promote the service. For example, http://www.how-to-make-money-blog.com.

There are hundreds of eBay blogs and thousands of web pages that appear to have an informative story about Big Crumbs ... several of them tell you how they don't qualify as pyramid schemes "because you don't have to pay to be a member". That statement, my friends, is one of the oldest pyramid scheme catch lines. The moment someone has to explain that they aren't trying to get you into a pyramid scheme usually means ... well you know.

So what is BIG CRUMBS and how does it work?

Well, by signing up, you are agreeing to advertise the BIG CRUMBS service as being an eBay search portal. They pay you if you end up buying something you search for and pay people for promoting the service.

Here's a blog entry (below) that seems to be repeated word for word all around the web ... making it appear as if a bunch of people are saying the service is legit. It's either planted by the people at BIGCRUMBS everywhere or a lot of eager marketers trying to lure you into the service.

BigCrumbs is the popular program that allows you to get cash back every time you or any your friends (up to five generations deep) shop at eBay or over 270+ online vendors.

Occasionally people ask me if BigCrumbs is a pyramid scheme or an outright scam. And a lot of BigCrumbs Members get the same question when referring their friends.

Addressing this is HUGELY important. What Big Crumbs doing is new and sounds too good to be true when people don't understand the model (or what a real pyramid is). Couple that with the fact that BigCrumbs believes it's only fair to compensate its Members for multiple generations of referrals, and some people jump to the conclusion that BC must be a pyramid.

So, education is key. Here's a brief link from the Office of The Attorney General in Georgia (where Big Crumbs is incorporated):

Pyramid Schemes

Note the key phrases, "[Pyramid schemes] seek to take your money" and "the perpetrator solicits money from several people by selling them a 'membership' or franchise; however, the members make money only by selling similar 'memberships' to others".

So people's concern with BigCrumbs shows that there's a fundamental misunderstanding of what a pyramid is. The spirit of a pyramid is such that the people joining PAY their money with the expectation that they'll make it back and then some. But, in truth, much of this money goes to paying the people "above" them. So, the new guy/gal must *sell* memberships to others in order to recoup their investment. It's a self-serving system and somebody's going to be left holding the bag (an empty bag).

Obviously, with BigCrumbs, there's NO MONEY PAID! -- so that eliminates that issue from the equation. Their membership is free and they offer a real service that gives you cash back when you shop. There's NOTHING to lose with BigCrumbs.

They simply have a referral program -- plain and simple (but it's a powerful program). It's a way to be compensated for telling people how they can earn cash back at eBay and other places where they are already shopping. Plenty of sites have referral programs. The difference is that they pay members ONE TIME and that's it.

But BigCrumbs says, "Is that fair?" If that referred member is shopping/saving through BigCrumbs and thereby helping BigCrumbs meet their goals for years to come, shouldn't the referrer continue to be compensated? Also, if Sally refers Bob and Bob refers Joe, then isn't Sally at least indirectly responsible for bringing Joe aboard? Shouldn't she be compensated?

It's a bit ironic that BigCrumbs' sense of fairness in structuring the program is exactly what causes concern for some people. If they just said "thanks for the referral" and gave them a dollar, they'd say "oh yeah, that's legit!". It's really funny in a way.

But, it's not their fault. Again, BigCrumbs represents a new concept, so I'd just like to make the above facts available to everyone.





This is my favorite line from this piece:

"...sounds too good to be true when people don't understand the model (or what a real pyramid is).

A real pyramid?



Also, take note of this clever statement:



So, education is key. Here's a brief link from the Office of The Attorney General in Georgia (where Big Crumbs is incorporated):

Pyramid Schemes




Wow! This even gives you a link to a law - even in the state where BIGCRUMBS is in ... it must be legit. All states have laws about pyramid schemes. Georgia's law just happens to be worded poorly enough that it seems like BIGCRUMBS isn't a pyramid scheme.

Here is that law:

Pyramid and "Ponzi" Schemes

Both pyramid and Ponzi schemes are fraudulent in nature, and both seek to take your money by promising big returns with little work or risk. In a "Ponzi" scheme, the perpetrator solicits money from you as an "investment," promising big payoffs in the future, but all he really does is use your "investment" to pay back the people from whom he took money earlier in the scheme. In a pyramid scheme, the perpetrator solicits money from several people by selling them a "membership" or franchise; however, the members make money only by selling similar "memberships" to others. It is sometimes hard to distinguish a legitimate "multilevel marketing opportunity" from a pyramid scheme. For more information on pyramid and Ponzi schemes, go to http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/menus/consumer/invest/schemes.shtm.


Note the picture at the bottom of the "informational piece" - it appears on EVERY story about BIGCRUMBS. It hides an affilaite link for the person posting the "gushing review about BIGCRUMBS - all while making you think the author is just giving you a link to this amazing website/program out of the kindness of their heart.

If you were doing it for informative purposes you would just review the service ...

The affiliate link (that's normally hidden behind that graphic) is like a fox trying to sell rabbits, carrots.

What these stories DON'T TELL YOU is that eBay's OWN affiliate program pays more ... big crumbs is JUST an eBay affiliate ... nothing more. They are at the top of a very big pyramid.

At this point ... with so many people promoting this program, there is little room for a worthwhile income ($100 + a month).

Also ... there is credible proof that they sell email addresses* and that they possibly sell personal information as well to other marketers - they have a very shady opt out program and the company was even started by an email mass marketing company - Integral Technologies.

When you can be with eBay's affiliate program - why get involved with the confusion of a potential scam and have to explain to everyone you want to join that it's not a pyramid scheme?

* I registered a new Yahoo mail address, kept it open for 5 months, as soon as this address was registered with bigcrumbs.com - I immediately started receiving spam email (beyond bigcrumbs emails) - now the bulk/junk/spam email is up to over 20 a day. Yet, ONLY the big crumbs website was used for that address.

** The "crumbsaver application" that is installed as a cookie on your hard drive is somewhat of a spyware app.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It has to be a phone in the middle-tier of the market, not a $500-tier phone.

Whilst browsing the FixYourThinking archives to tag older stories I uncovered this post made by yours truly on December 11 2004 - not December 11 2005 when all of the real iPhone rumor was getting heated up:

There IS credible evidence that Apple is developing an iPhone.

THIS IS, in my opinion, the flash based iPod everyone is rumormongering about. I seriously doubt Apple [Steve] will want to backtrack about "flash iPods" and let the Creative CEO who has pretty much declared war on Apple have any fodder. He's already saying that he's just waiting to make a BIG deal out of Steve's comments if a flash iPod becomes true.

There is also very credible evidence for phone collaborations any way.

If any of you remember, the Cingular CEO spoke two MacWorlds back on stage - nothing has ever come of that other than very tight Sony Ericssson phone integration as far as I can see.

Motorola has started to lose ground with Cingular and only recently been the "cool guy" again with the Razr [a cingular exclusive] - by the way, this phone could easily have an iPod integrated in to it - especially a flash based iPod.

I have also heard that Motorola is working on a cell phone based radio network to be deployed by Cingular/AT&T through Cingular's aquired CDMA lines [of AT&T's] while keeping the GSM towers of AT&T's.

Realize that the merger of Nextel & Sprint was bad news for Motorola as Sprint loves Sanyo and Panasonic. Nextel was exclusively Motorola. I think Motorola sold off their share in Nextel for capital to partner with Cingular.

[UPDATE]

"We've said we have something coming on this in the first half of 2005 and we're definitely on schedule for that. Hopefully you'll be able to see more about it soon," Eddy Cue, vice president of applications at Apple, told Forbes. "What we've talked about is a something that is valuable for the mass market. It has to be a phone in the middle-tier of the market, not a $500-tier phone. It has to be very seamless to use. And we're very happy with the results."

- the website address http://www.iphone.org points to apple.com [for the past 5 years]

-------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY --------




This, of course, actually ended up being the Motorola ROKR - a dismal failure. Coincidentally T-Mobile introduced a new ROKR today.

BUT ... I had been informed by [edited name drops] that an Apple phone was in the works beyond a collaboration.

Interesting comment made by Eddy Cue regarding pricing - it looks like Apple has now hit that pricepoint.

iPhone Snaps



This first set of pictures is from a local Chinese restaurant with a "LOST CAT" flyer in the window. That cat will never be found.


This next picture is of a local "bargain chain store" brand of panty liners - there's humor in "Fred's Pantiliners" somewhere.



I actually didn't get this Apple product reference - so I had to look on the bottom of the bag for the answer. I-BEAN?, SIGHT-PEA? I felt stupid once I saw iPod™. This bag is a part of a kid's meal at Wendy's restaurants.

This letter was written by a 9 year old:



"I live in Liberty South Carolina. The best part about Liberty is my school. It is fun and I get to learn. There are some changes I would make to Liberty. First, I would add more schools. So we can have less people. Next, I would add more restaurants. I think we should add a McDonald's. I love to live in Liberty.

By Sarah Chappell


I found this letter in the city hall in Liberty, South Carolina while walking around during what is called Liberty Idol - a local version of American Idol. I've always thought that schools weren't making individuals anymore - they are just meat grinders. * see below

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NASCAR using Hypermiling to win races?

From AutoBlogGREEN:

Hypermiling techniques are nothing new for people who want to save fuel. Often, these techniques involve avoiding sudden acceleration and slamming on the brakes. So, what do you do if you want to conserve fuel while speeding up and slowing down as quickly as possible? Why not turn to Dale Earnhardt Jr. for some advice.

Dale, Jr. squeezed out a recent win at the Michigan International Speedway by, basically, race hypermiling. He drove his last 110 miles (55 times around the two-mile track) without refueling. At his last pit stop, his crew estimated he'd need to refuel with about six laps to go, but Earnhardt turned the engine off and coasted when the caution flag was out to stretch his distance. He was actually coasting when he crossed the finish line, and ran out of fuel almost immedieately after the win.

According to Earnhardt, hypermiling techniques are not his trick alone on the track: "Everybody's doing it," he told ESPN.


I can't quite remember where I read it ... but I thought Hypermiling was FIRST USED in NASCAR.

Touch This Lawsuit

As reported by Engadget:

Typhoon Touch Technologies ...in December [2007] sued Dell and Motion Computing for infringing two of its patents on touchscreen computers, and armed with favorable settlements from Motion Computing and Electrovaya, Typhoon's gone ahead and joined a host of other companies to the Dell suit.


Engadget reports that Apple is one of those receiving a summons.

From BusinessWire:

“The addition of these defendants is a further step in protecting Typhoon’s IP from being unfairly exploited. Hopefully, the world of potential infringers will take notice that it is the Company’s intent to aggressively protect its intellectual property,” stated Craig Weiner, Esq., from the law firm of Hofheimer, Gartlir & Gross LLP in New York City, Director of Legal Affairs and Licensing for Typhoon. “As alleged in the amended complaint, Typhoon believes that numerous defendants are selling and/or offering for sale -- what could be millions of devices -- which may infringe Typhoon’s patents.”

Typhoon Touch Technologies and its licensee and co-plaintiff, Nova Mobility Systems, Inc., previously reached an out-of-court settlement with Motion Computing, Inc. and recently completed a settlement with Electrovaya Inc., wherein Electrovaya recognized the validity of Typhoon’s patents at issue in the litigation, acknowledged infringement of one or more of the patent claims and made an undisclosed royalty payment of at least 20% on past and future sales of its Scribbler Tablet PC’s in the United States.


20%!

See What? Logitech releases Mac Only Product?




As reported by Engadget:

Logitech, a name long synonymous with PC webcams, just announced its newest, flagship camera which -- are you ready? -- is Mac-only. The USB 2.0 QuickCam Vision Pro works with iChat and Skype and features a 2 megapixel sensor, a quick autofocusing Carl Zeiss lens, and the ability to record VGA video at 30fps while mounted to your display or, redundantly, to your MacBook which of course have featured an integrated webcam for the last few years. Hitting shelves across Europe and the US in July for $130.


* Pictures courtesy of ENGADGET

No word on whether or not it will work full speed or at all with PowerBooks and iBooks that have USB 1.1. I suppose PowerBooks can add a CardBus PC Card USB 2.0 port and use it ... but it may be Intel only.

Although there are other less expensive options out there - this is the first big name to offer a compatible webcam since the iSight camera was discontinued almost 2 years ago.

This may signal that Apple is close to releasing cinema displays with integrated iSights.

Is The Apple Set Top Box A Prototype Or Is It Even Rare?



One of my saved eBay searches is "Apple Prototype" - every now and then I'll get a search emailed to my inbox that looks something like this:



Up for auction is a vintage and rare Apple Interactive Television Box, truly a unique piece of Apple history. This was developed by Apple in the early to mid 90's with a few different telecom firms, but unfortunately the project was cancelled and the device was never mass marketed.

I got this to add to my collection years ago and I have kept it in EXCELLENT condition during that time. There are only a few small hairline scratches on the top, but other than that this is in mint condition. You can barely see them in the pictures! The last time I set this up a few years ago it worked fine, so it should still be fine now. Unfortunately I do not have an Apple ADB keyboard anymore, so I can't do any further testing to make sure that everything still functions. Please bid accordingly.

I am only getting rid of this unique piece because I need the storage space for other things, so hopefully someone can add this to their vintage Apple collection. I have not seen many of these in my years, and certainly not in this good of condition. See the pictures below for the exact item you are bidding on. This will be carefully packed and shipped via FedEx Ground. I have done the best I can to describe this item, but please note that due to the nature and age of this machine, I will not be accepting returns. Thanks for looking!


While I certainly think this is a good item to have in your Apple collection, it was neither RARE nor a prototype ... in fact it was put to use. Disneyland California used these in hotel rooms to provide interactive shopping and television control. I have read estimates that there may be more of these units out there than MacTVs.

I hate it when eBay sellers like this knowingly try to deceive other eBayers as this seller obviously knows what he's selling. And what's interesting to me is that he says he collects computers but doesn't have an ADB keyboard to test it ... hmmmmmmm.

The only RARE thing about these is to find a remote control - the remotes are awesome and control Sony Television sets. They are the only remotes I know of (aside from getting a wireless ADB keyboard) that have a number pad on them - allowing you to go to specific channels on a Mac TV or using one of Apple's TV tuner cards for the 5400-6500 series.

If you'd like to see a detailed discussion of the Apple set top box look at this page on Apple Fritter.

Unlike the people in the Apple Fritter forum, I was able to get one of these working back in 1999 - I basically pulled all the data from a SCSI hard drive that was built into the unit - it was mostly all interactive shopping and park navigation at Disneyland.

A few years back an eBay seller made a killing on these units (having 1000's of them for sale) and marketing them as Apple Prototypes.

This page on Wikipedia will also show you how much even "trusted sources" of information have a lot of misinformation about this item.

* I added some information that I know to the Wikipedia page.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Two more Hypermiling suggestions ...


Buzmania in the comments of Hypermiling ... it's more mental than physical:

Getting a car that has a consumption meter built into the electronics is a great idea. I drive a Volvo that has digital readouts not only for average mpg, but also shows you how many mpg you are getting as you drive. This is great feedback for driving habits. You can instantly see the effects of slowing and easing on the gas and coasting down hills, etc.

There are devices that can be added to your car that can give you this kind of feedback as aftermarket devices as well.

Simply changing your driving habits by driving slower when you can and planning your trips with a GPS or internet tools can save quite a lot of money.


These are excellent suggestions ... I know that Garmin GPS units have a trip computer on them that's easy to read and can help you figure out your miles per gallon very easily.

This will certainly be an advantage of the iPhone 3G with GPS .... maybe someone will make an application for the GPS that is more car specific - meaning that your car's average weight along with your personal weight + gas tank capacity could be filtered into an equation and give the same kind of data.

I also forgot to note the obvious in my Hypermiling guide - it's an easy way to be green. The less gas you use - the less gas you use. ;-)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hypermiling ... it's more mental than physical.

* Note: updated for grammar, added a 2nd mechanic opinion concerning oil additives, added navigating as a hypermiling technique

I know very few people who maintain a strict budget. I know very few people that balance that their check books. I know a lot of people.

The following is based on my personal experience with Hypermiling and should be looked at for informational purposes only. Each technique mentioned here has at least some controversial advice. Integrate these techniques carefully, slowly and sparingly. Use common sense. Discover which of them will truly help you.

One thing I can't stress enough is:

Please be respectful of other drivers around you!


The majority of Hypermiling is really about patience. It involves going slower - which also means having more time to get to the places you need to go. Rushing around isn't just costing you lost fuel efficiency - it's causing you stress. Slow down a bit.

The concept of Hypermiling is mostly a budgeting issue. Just as it's difficult for someone to learn to keep tabs on their finances - it's difficult to start budgeting and dramatically changing your driving habits.

Hypermiling is a buzzword at the moment that refers to a mostly unrealistic approach to saving gas. The main principles behind Hypermiling are coasting, drafting, slowing, weighting, navigating, and maintaining. Because I've studied Hypermiling extensively and tried out a few techniques ... I'll try to tell you which you can integrate into your own driving. Know that Hypermiling, in its truest form, is dangerous and doesn't save you much money in the long run due to added stress put on the automobile used. You can expect 10% - 20% in fuel efficiency if applied as described below. Some Hypermiling aficionados claim 40% increases in fuel economy.

Coasting is the most controversial part of Hypermiling - it's also the most unrealistic. It involves, for the most part, turning off the engine to stop the vehicle and/or to stop at a red light.

Coasting can be used realistically though. You can start by getting a better feel of your gas pedal. If you notice your car going faster than the speed limit while going down a hill; take your foot off of the gas pedal and maintain the car at a safe speed using the brakes very sparingly. When exiting, maintain the speed limit until reaching the point of having to merge off of the highway - coast to the stop at the top (or bottom) of the exit. Let your car's momentum (or lack thereof) control your speed more than your brakes.

Other than these two suggestions, you know what the word coasting means, so I shouldn't have to describe it any further. The best suggestion to take from this part of Hypermiling is to get a better feel for gas pedal and how it is affecting the speedometer.

Next up is Drafting ...

Drafting is also a bit dangerous if applied to the extreme. Use caution when using this practice.

Essentially, drafting is getting behind a less aerodynamic vehicle to minimize wind resistance - such as a semi truck. With no air for your car to fight, your car's efficiency is greatly increased.

Discovery Channel's Mythbusters, in their June, 2008 episode drove a station wagon at 55 mph behind a semi truck with a transfer trailer. Their results ranged from a baseline (no truck) figure of 32 mpg to 35.5 mpg (an 11% improvement) at 100ft behind. Their mileage progressively increased 39% (up to 44.5 mpg) at 10ft behind a semi truck. They strongly emphasized that drafting a big rig at such close distances is life-threatening and extremely dangerous. The recommended minimum safe driving distance from a big rig is 150ft.


Next ... Slowing

Cars have been designed to go the speed limit. They work optimally at those limits. They are the limits that the EPA tests gas mileage. So, in order to get that gas mileage as stated on the sticker on the window when you bought your car, you must go those speeds. Slowing down is the easiest of these techniques, but one of the hardest to do - particularly if you are a habitually late person or just have a lead foot.

Slowing down isn't just about reducing your speed though. Jamming on the accelerator to merge into traffic or a rev up from a stop sign or stop light can cause an immense fuel drain. The next time you're in your automobile, try to be aware of your driving habits regarding hard accelerating and try to adjust a bit.

Weighting

This is certainly the easiest of any of the Hypermiling techniques. Get rid of dead weight on and in your car. Most insurance nowadays has roadside assistance - all but eliminating the need for a spare tire. Most of the time, I'm uncomfortable changing a tire on the side of the road anyway. Eliminating your spare could be an easy way to reduce some weight in your vehicle. If you don't have it on insurance, check to see if your bank, credit card company, or your car mechanic gives free roadside assistance. If you must purchase roadside assistance - I strongly suggest AAA. I've never known a AAA customer that wasn't satisfied 110% - plus you get free travel maps, travel insurance, and travel discounts to boot.

* Make sure you have a roadside assistance plan before removing any safety or repair items from your car.

* If I'm driving in a downtown setting with narrow roads - it is dangerous for me to change the tire - why would I need the spare. I can just have it in a convenient place and carry on a day that I might possibly need it. Remember - saving money is more about planning.


Do you have an extra cab truck, an SUV, or minivan? Did you know those extra seats weigh a good bit? If you don't need them - take them out.

Are you hauling around unnecessary weight? Do you have heavy boxes that you constantly carry around in your car for no reason other than once monthly (or even yearly) convenience?

Do YOU weigh more than you should? Did you know that for every 15lbs you carry in a car you are having to spend 1% more energy to haul it around. That's 4¢ a gallon with gas prices at $4 per gallon. That's a $400 annual savings average for each driver in the USA.

Navigating ...



A few of you may have heard that UPS has created software for its driver's GPS units that tries to route the delivery vans to the most right turns possible. UPS estimates this saves them 10's of thousands of dollars each year.

You can use a similar technique by not only planning your trips, but using a GPS and getting the "shortest route".

From a reader comment:

Garmin GPS units have a trip computer on them that's easy to read and can help you figure out your miles per gallon very easily. My Garmin c340 GPS had a "quickest" and "shortest" route option.

This will certainly be an advantage of the iPhone 3G with GPS .... maybe someone will make an application for the GPS that is more car specific - meaning that your car's average weight along with your personal weight + gas tank capacity could be filtered into an equation and give the same kind of data.

Maintaining ...

Maintaining your car properly helps with gas mileage, but if your purpose is to save money - make sure you balance premium parts and modifications with the fuel efficiency benefit.

Hypermilers prefer a lower winter* oil - which generally a synthetic and is typically a 5W instead of the more common 10W. This can be achieved in two ways - buying more expensive, more refined oil at your next fill up or buying an oil additive. I use Lucas. I have yet to hear a good mechanic say that Lucas is a bad product - even though there's this website that I found when I researched for this article.

From Bob Is The Oil Guy:

"... add in the Lucas Additive, designed for both engines and gears. This also states "Use Lucas Oil Stabilizer in gear oil to stop leaks, reduce operating temperatures and increase the life of the gear oil. Since it is pure petroleum, it can safely blend with all other automotive lubricants, even synthetics."

Here it starts to climb...Very impressive and is working as it should be according to their ads.

WOW! This I didn't expect! Notice how it has frothed up! I will say this, Lucas works. It is causing the oil to climb as advertised
Ok, What happened here? Well, I think I can give you an answer.

Notice how the color of the right side has turned extremely light? That's because of the higher amount of air trapped in the gear oil. Again, this is the full synthetic. Why'd this happen?, Ladies and gent's, oil has antifoamant additives to reduce air bubbles. In this case, there was not enough Antifoamants to keep the oil from trapping air with Lucas added to it.

Also notice how the oil on the right has settled down to the bottom leaving very little on the gears."


The article is faulty according to one mechanic I spoke to.

Mechanic:

"The test appears to have introduced air into the equation somehow. Once the engine oil cap is replaced; the engine becomes compressed and forces out most of the air - I'm not sure where the author of that article is getting his idea that there would be enough air to "foamate" the oil once the additive is introduced"


And another mechanic:

"The test provided LOOKS detailed but two key elements of the test are missing: compression and heat. Both of these factors not only activate the anti-aerating agents in oil, the compression itself prevents aeration. And as a note; "foamating" is not a word. The correct term would be "aerating". That misuse of terminology discredits the author of that website a bit to me.


* What does the "W" in motor oil types mean?

According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the "W" in oil stands for winter. (IE: 10W30 or 5W30) Essentially what it means is; that on the coldest day of the year, 5w30 will have the viscosity of 5 weight motor oil at that particular temperature. There is no specified temperature. The "30" represents the viscosity at or above 100 degrees centigrade.


Maintaining a slightly higher tire pressure is another way Hypermilers mod their cars. Adding nitrogen to your tires keeps them inflated more stably. Nitrogen is less prone to shrinkage in cold weather, and expansion in hot weather. Properly inflated tires create less resistance for the car. This is why you don't see tread on NASCAR car tires - it is creating resistance. Tire pressure is constantly monitored by the pit crew.

Keeping your air filter clean is also good. I recommend buying a "permanent" filter rather than a disposable one and cleaning it every 5000 miles instead of disposing of it at 10,000 to 12,000. The air filter provides airflow to your air conditioner and to your engine. The less this system has to work (and work around dirt) - the better the performance you get from your engine.

Choosing a better grade of gas has no real benefit to your car. Every now and then, I put 93 octane in my car to clean out the fuel line. The higher the octane the higher temperature the fuel burns at. The same cleaning can be achieved with an octane booster product and may in some cases be cheaper than paying the price for premium gas.

Good spark plugs and spark plug wires are important. If a spark plug is worn it can throw off your engine's timing and cause you to get less performance from your engine and therefore making you have to press the gas pedal slightly more to merge or to accelerate. Spark plugs should be inspected every 20,000 miles and replaced every 35,000 - 40,000 miles.

Do you have any "Hypermiling" techniques not mentioned here or is there something you'd like to add? Tell me and other FixYourThinking readers in the comments.

Tune in Monday for an interview with a large car dealer to see what his thoughts are on gas prices and what his company is doing about it.



* The best resource that I know of that gives great tips and advice on fuel efficiency and hypermiling is; ECOMODDER.COM.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

2 More ...

On Monday, I showed you three of five ways that you can save AND be green. The purpose of this series is to help you to see that now is the time to make a change in your life. If you start now, you'll be able to make any minor adjustments later; easily. You'll be prepared in your budget for energy spikes and maybe even have some spare change to use for a vacation or money to donate to a favorite cause.

4) Use coupons ...

This may sound like an obvious way to save money and may, at first seem like a hassle. There are dozens of websites that offer coupons ... my favorites are Entertainment Book and WOW coupons.

Entertainment Book offers a physical book of coupons. Usually, I wait until the books either go on a 2-FOR-1 special or make it to $20 shipped. I can make the money spent on the books back with just two of the 100's of coupons in the book. Entertainment Books have several of your favorite local restaurants, as well as national chain discounts. Regal Cinemas has fifteen $3 off coupons in the book. That's more than $90 in savings right there; as each coupon can be used for up to two people. I save $100's of dollars a year using the Entertainment Book.

Once you get used to using coupons ... it will be like carrying cash and be just as convenient for you to use them.

WOW coupons offers more of the kind of retail outlets I visit and doesn't just focus on grocery store coupons like COUPONS.COM.

Before you print certain coupons, check to see if the merchant will just accept a code to save on paper and ink.

5) Be a part of rewards programs.

To me, this goes hand in hand with the suggestion above. If you are not getting at least 1% back on every dollar you spend, you are losing a huge yearly savings. On average, when I combine all of rewards programs I am earning roughly 5% back on all my purchases. I also consider a rewards program as an interest bearing checking account.

For instance, a program that I promote often is MYPOINTS.COM I have a MYPOINTS VISA. Each purchase, even gasoline, earns me 1 point (which is roughly 1%). With MYPOINTS merchants (which include Apple, iTunes, and eBay) it earns me double points + bonus points on occasion. On average, I earn 4% back from this program. When I go to pay my MYPOINTS VISA bill, I transfer from my banking account at Wachovia. Doing so earns me 1% back in a Wachovia Rewards program. All of this is automatic and requires little maintenance after the initial setup.

On top of all this, my money in my checking account is earning interest and my savings program at Wachovia called WAY2SAVE. During the next 3 months my WAY2SAVE account is earning 16% interest. Yes, you are reading that right, 16%!!!! At the end of my first year of WAY2SAVE - Wachovia will match my savings up to $300 as a bonus.

Tune in Friday ... I'm going to talk about Hypermiling. On Monday, I'll have an interview with a prominent US car dealer and his feelings about gas prices, car sales, and where he sees the Auto industry going. I think his answers will surprise you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Solar Power For The MacBook Air = 16 HRS Of Battery Life!

QuickerTek announced the Apple Juicz - a new way to power the Apple MacBookAir using solar power. Three models are priced from $500 to $1,000 USD. Eachfolds to a convenient 10.5 size & come with a Element carry bag. The solar panels charge the MacBook Air while in use.

* requires a modded MagSafe adapter and is an unlicensed Apple product

read more | digg story

iPhone 3G: Upgrades & Eligibility

MacRumors has an excellent writeup with all the known details (so far) regarding the contract model for the iPhone - including what to do and what to expect.

The Original Apple Macintosh Classic

[via DIGG] The Apple Mac Classic: 1 of the most famous & easily recognizable personal computers ever manufactured. Introduced in 1990, the Mac Classic was Apple's low-end under-$1,000 computer, which made it very popular in the education market.

read more | digg story

Monday, June 16, 2008

Stan Winston

The father of the dinosaurs in JURASSIC PARK, of THE TERMINATOR, PREDATOR, and, of course, ALIENS, has died. He was the creature design and build expert behind dozens of films. His creature close ups made many movies seem real to both movie goers and to actors - providing awesome close-up scenes.

read more | digg story

5 Things You Can Do About High Gas Prices

On Friday, I suggested that only Apple had the capability (as far as I can see) to transform the automobile industry. Today, I want to tell you from my own experience 5 things you can do now to transform your life to offset high gas prices ... if you follow all of these suggestions, it will be like gas prices never rose at all ... you'll have the extra funds available. I believe these suggestions are realistic. Most "green" suggestions tend to be unrealistic. These are things I do that I don't consider frugal, freaky, or absurd.

1) Reduce. Recycle. Reuse.

Look, I don't believe in global warming ... I see it as a cycle. That being said ... I don't believe in littering the environment with pollution ... I consider polluting the air nothing short of throwing a bag of trash out of the window of your car. You should consider it the same as well. The area where I live started a campaign last fall called, Breathe Easy. While much satire has been written about it ... I like it. It's not really a "green campaign" as much as it is a way of life.

I believe the #1 thing you can do to reduce, reuse, and recycle is to turn off and turn down electronics. One thing I have been proud of over the last few years is how I've been able to manage to keep my electrical bills for my house under $40 a month.

1) If you can ... dim the screen on your television, on your laptop, and on your monitor. This not only saves energy, but prolongs the life of your screens.

2a) Turn off the lights EVERYWHERE you can and ANY TIME you can ... if you or no one else is going to be in a room turn off the lights and the fans and close the doors. Many people have the misconception that lights don't consume a lot of energy. The best way to test this is to shut off all the power in your home except one circuit. Go to your power meter, then have someone turn on a 100 watt light bulb ... you will be able to see the energy spent with your own eyes. If you have a problem with doing this ... at the very least try dropping down a few watts on your light bulbs and if you can switch to fluorescent bulbs. I buy my fluorescent bulbs from the flea market because there's a huge price differential ... "going green" doesn't have to cost you extra if you find the right places to buy. Don't have a large flea market near you? Try a close-out or discount store. Combine a trip to a flea market with a large grocery store trip. Most flea markets have fresh vegetables and good deals elsewhere - go for those deals and get the things you need too.

2b) Unplug anything you don't use every day or that doesn't have a settings memory. Anything you have plugged in to your wall outlets sips electricity - even if its not on. It's hard to know who has the right statistics on how much energy it would save if everyone just unplugged their electronics and appliances that aren't needed.

3a) Reuse bath water if possible ... soon I will be routing the bath drain in my home to fill up a tank under the house that I can use to water my plants. Currently, I take my nice soapy water (which plants love and bugs don't) and water my plants and bushes outside. Just a few pitchers do fine. It may sound slightly gross or inconvenient ... but it's not. Of course, if you wash toxic chemicals off of your body every day ... this may not be a good idea.

3b) Take baths and showers together with your soul mate more often. Not only is it romantic but it really does save water. Saving water isn't just about saving you money in the short term ... saving water puts less stress on the local water system and therefore there is a slightly less chance of water bills rising or facing a drought in your area. You can also install a water restricting shower head and take shorter showers. A purchase such as this should pay for itself within a year.

4) Cut back on luxuries a tiny bit. I've all but stopped getting my nails manicured and my feet pedicured. It was nice while it lasted. I've been doing it for almost 8 years - usually once a month. I may treat myself at my birthday and maybe before a special event each year now. I've got my own clippers ... but something that puzzles me ... most of my girlfriends have enjoyed clipping my nails. Go figure. I also used to get my hair cut every 4 weeks ... usually on the 15th of the month. I've extended that to every 5 weeks. One other small luxury I've I've cut way back on my budget - dessert. I eat far less desserts and chocolate than I used to. This has been one of the hardest adjustments I've had to make.

5) Recycle ... but know that a lot of recycling is not beneficial to the environment or to your budget. I recycle two things: Aluminum cans and organic kitchen scraps like egg shells, rinds, onion peels, hulls etc for compost. The organic compost makes great fertilizer for the garden. I recycle aluminum cans only because they make me money. Plastic costs more to recycle and pollutes the environment more than making it from raw materials through collection, remolding, etc. Plus ... many don't know that the majority of plastics cannot be recycled into a new product. Most plastics company use a 25% recycled / 75% raw materials mix. Recycle whatever you wish ... it's all a good thing ... but recycling aluminum drink cans can actually be profitable. I also pick up cans when I walk or run.


6) Use less paper, use less paper towels, use less napkins. If you can ... print out less ... store and back up files on your computer. If you have to pack things ... such as I have to do with eBay - shred paper and use it packing material. Use a nice towel in the kitchen draped over the oven handle ... have a few towels to spare to wipe up messes and spills. Use dark cloth napkins whenever possible.


Many people listen to the hype by the car companies and oil changers - that we must change our oil every 3000 miles and our air filters every 10,000 miles. They say ... if you do these - you'll get more engine life and better gas mileage. The truth is knowing the proper maintenance for your car can save you a lot of money. The important thing is not to neglect your car. Your car is as close to a living thing as man can make ... you should treat it as kindly as you would a dog.

2) Know your car ... know the difference between marketing & making do.

1) Most cars can usually go between 5000-7500 miles before an oil change. Most oil additives don't help your engine. I have found that adding ZMax every 3 to 4 oil changes does help. With ZMax I have a smoother sounding engine and slightly better gas mileage. The $40 cost of ZMax should be balanced with your gas savings.

2) If your car has one available - get a reusable air filter. Clean it every 5000 miles. These filters typically cost about $60 - the cost of 3 or 4 air filters. This may seem like a long term savings ... but if you live in a city your air filter most likely becomes dirtier faster. A clean air filter saves you gas mileage <--- its the air that goes into your engine. It's also the filter for the air that enters the cabin of your car. A clean filter can make the air quality better in your car and put less strain on your air conditioning system. A clean air filter also has the advantage of better filtering out bad smells such as those from roadkill.

3) Clean your car and empty your car of unnecessary weight. On the season finale of LOST; the passengers of the rescue helicopter had to throw excess weight overboard in order to be able to have enough fuel to get to safety. So ... think about that logically ... if you are carrying around a whole bunch of boxes and a lot of dead weight - you are having to spend extra fuel to carry that weight around.

Keeping a clean car with a smooth exterior. If you don't wash your car at least every two months - you are making a mistake. Not only are you potentially ruining the resale value ... but you could be causing slight aerodynamic problems. Having a car with missing pieces and/or hanging metal or plastics from accidents that weren't fixed also dramatically reduces aerodynamics and reduces gas mileage.

About six months ago, during an oil change, the mechanic accidentally ripped a seal strip that sealed my hood to the grill of the car. For months I noticed that my hood was bumping up a bit at higher speeds. Then I started monitoring my gas mileage. I used to get around 30 miles to the gallon ... now I was averaging 27mpg. I waited another month and still noticed the lower gas mileage. Finally, I replaced the seal and after my next two fill ups I noticed my mileage went back up. Something as small as a $5 fix was causing me to get 10% less gas mileage.

4) Read up about hypermiling - I will have a whole article dedicated to this topic later in this series.

5) I know these next suggestions may be unrealistic for some of you and I'm sure you've all heard them before.

• Plan your automobile trips.
• Try to combine trips.
• Walk if you possibly can.
• Get a bike.
• Carpool with neighbors.
• Visit local stores.


3) Start doing more stuff for yourself. One example: Try to grow your own tomatoes or peppers. These are two of the easiest things to grow and don't require much of a green thumb. Growing your own is easy even if you live in a high rise apartment. Vegetables can live in window boxes. I used to have kiddie pool full of dirt on my condo roof. It was a full garden that yielded over $300 worth of vegetables for about $40 cost (including the kiddie pool).

Stay tuned ... I'll share two more things you can do on Wednesday.

The Me Generation ..

Found via Daring Fireball:

With the MobileMe unveiling (and that of its complementary domain me.com), it’s looking like a shift is afoot for Apple—a shift that may be every bit as significant as the shift from PowerPC to the Intel processor, but a shift in ideology whose signs may be found in the simple grammatical switch from subject (I) to object (me).


The article concludes:

... ambiguous concepts that appeal to the ego like ‘I’ and ‘me’ are typically put into play haphazardly by marketeers trying to sell you stuff. But in the case of a company as ideologically solid as Apple, the concepts used in marketing the products we wait for and lust after can often be the clearest signs of what is to come.


-------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY --------


Interesting ... the article alludes to the shift from home computing to distributed computing ... things will stream to your devices in the future - you will rent; not own. Owning only the device used access the rentals. "I" implies ownership that it belongs to "me" - yet "me" implies my stuff is somewhere ... here's me online on my MYSPACE page - contrasts sharply with here I am.

* I watched with interest as Intel introduced their new "Interactive 3D Streaming" technology to control and view a complex game like World Of Warcraft or Second Life remotely. This will be promoted as a way for all devices to become both power of CPU and operating system agnostic - what it will mean is beginning of "renting your applications".

I noticed a few weeks ago how my life has shifted dramatically in the last 10 or so years - from a completely mobile person - always on the move ... to a completely stationary person who's always navigating my virtual space and the internet. Then ... I paid for gasoline ... now I pay for internet access. Losing my internet connection is the same as losing my car at this point. While I've adapted quite well and seem to have more free time to love, be loved, and find love ... I'm not sure I like being anybody but who I am.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

You thought larger was better ...



... of course if your date thinks paying more money for popcorn is impressive you're still outta luck.

Medium Bags Of Popcorn Often Hold More Than Large Tubs

If you buy the large tub of popcorn at the movie theater for the free refills, go for it, tubby. But if you're buying it because you just want the biggest size available, UC Irvine professor and author Richard McKenzie says to watch out if the medium is a bag while the large is a tub:

If you're [at a movie theater concession stand] which gives you a choice between buying a medium bag of popcorn and a large tub of popcorn, there's a greater-than-50% chance that the medium bag will actually contain more popcorn than the large tub.


~ from The Consumerist

Saturday, June 14, 2008

USB To Ethernet Adapter For Macs That Have Lost Ethernet Port Functionality / Save A Costly Motherboard Repair



** NOW W/ FREE SHIPPING IN USA **

THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GET WIRED ETHERNET ON THE NEW MACBOOK AIR! (That will also work on any other Mac!)

EXCLUSIVE USB To Ethernet Adapter


Save a costly motherboard repair for your Apple All In One iMac or eMac Mac Mini or your iBook & Powerbook, MacBook or MacBook Pro

I personally use this adapter on my MacBook so I don't have to plug in my ethernet cable ... I just use a USB hub with two of these adapters so one can be hooked to the internet and one cable can be hooked to a network printer. I don't have to worry about IP addresses or the constant plugging and unplugging ruining my laptop's broadband connection. The USB also stands an intermediary for surges from the network as well.

EXCLUSIVE - I also offer this adapter for OS 9 (Classic) * PLEASE email me for details

This is for your surged ethernet/broadband port on your Apple computer

USB 2.0 ... backwards compatible with USB 1.1

Another great use is for network printers and NAS storage - have this plugged into a free USB port while accessing your network or broadband connection on your Ethernet port.

Your ethernet port does not have to be bad to use this adapter.

Get this in case of an emergency!

Comes complete with drivers in pack with manual/instructions

PLEASE EMAIL ME with any questions or for OS 9 compatibility ...

This adapter ONLY works with all updates applied on Mac OS 10.3 (Panther) or Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger) Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) and All versions of Windows that support USB

Note: this adapter does not work with OS 8.6 - 9.2.2 or 10 , or 10.1 , or 10.2

Best compatibility and guaranteed to work with Panther, Tiger, Leopard, and Windows 2000, Windows Millenium, and Windows XP ... all other operating systems are not guaranteed ... but please email me for details.

I am the EXCLUSIVE eBay seller of this item! Look at my feedback (I have each item labelled). I have sold nearly 1500 of these over the last year!

* Item may vary slightly in appearance, but warranted for functionality

I now also warrant this to work with the Playstation 2 and Tivo! (you MUST mention that you need this function when ordering)

These adapters are NEW!

Advertisement for iPod Touch Integration with VWs

The day I post about Apple making a car ...



... AutoBlog posts this ... at least I posted mine first.


As reported on AutoBlog:

Last August speculation began to swirl about a joint collaboration between Apple and Volkswagen to produce the unofficially named iCar. All the rumors were based on a report by a German publication that claimed Apple CEO Steve Jobs had met with Volkswagen chief Martin Winterkorn. Volkwagen confirmed the meeting, but provided no specific details about what was discussed. Topics could have ranged from Apple assisting the German automaker with the user interface of its new touchscreens, as Engadget had discovered that the VW had used a touchscreen UI very similar to Apple's Cover Flow UI in its up! concepts, to a full blown collaboratively developed car, aka the iCar. As is often the case with Apple rumors, the iCar was likely more a product of what people wished for rather than what the facts suggested. The newest issue of Autobild, however, features a never-before-seen VW concept joined on the cover by an iPhone. Is this the iCar? Who knows. It will likely pop up at some point during the next auto show season and all questions will be answered, but the Apple rumor machine will likely provide us with some outrageous explanations in the meantime.


Innnnnteresting.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Apple: The Only Company Capable Of Revolutionizing The Car Industry



What resources does Apple have?

The other day, I started researching to see what others had to say about Apple's $20 billion in cash on hand* <-- an awesome corporate feat.
* Cash is also increasing at roughly $1 billion per fiscal quarter
[UPDATE] 3/15/09 Apple's CASH ON HAND is now 30 BILLION


Most have said that Apple should reinstate a stockholder's dividend, some have said to buy Adobe; while others have made the case to buy Sun Microsystems. Apple makes +/- $60 million a year in interest from this cash stock on an annual APR of 3%*

* I suspect Apple receives more than this, a lot more, but this would be conservative


After checking the likes of Chrysler, GM, Ford, Exxon/Mobil, and even WalMart and Coca Cola on Yahoo! Finance for cash holdings and debt; Apple was the only company with NO DEBT <--- in fact it looks quite weird to see a zero figure on any stock analysis.

Location, Location, Location!

Apple is headquartered in California <--- most automotive innovation is currently going on in California; especially concerning electric, electric hybrid, and alternative energy research and development. Aptera, Venture Vehicles, Tesla Motors are each located in California*.

* There are dozens of other companies, located in other states and around the world ... however these 3 companies appear to have the largest buzz, most realistic production model, and most comprehensive financial backing.

California is the only state bold enough to impose huge gasoline taxes and encourage alternative vehicles through incentives. The state of California has one of the only economies in the world with a "large environmentalist millionaire" population.

California is also headquarters to Google - a company who is very interested in solar arrays to power its facilities and currently has one of the largest (if not the largest) corporate carpooling mechanisms in the world.

* I suspect Google would be very interested in a joint venture if not seed capital.

I picked three companies (Tesla, Aptera, Venture) after my year long research in alternative vehicles ... I specifically avoided the likes of GM (and the Chevy Volt), Toyota (and the Prius), Honda (with the Civic Hybrid), Mercedes (Smart Car), and Think Motors. These cars feel like band aids more than problem healing solutions. The Prius gets 50-55MPG at best. The Smart Car and Think are jokes and rated accordingly by Consumer Reports. I have been specifically looking towards alternatives that get 100+ miles to the gallon.



An important part of the car already?

I was surprised a few years back when I opened up "the computer" on a Chrysler PT Cruiser to discover a PowerPC G4 Chip at the heart. Apple's recent acquisition of PA Semi - a PowerPC chip designer and chip architecture firm is interesting in this regard. The "computer" in a car controls airflow, fuel injection, battery management - and does pretty much everything but turn the steering wheel.

The iPhone 3G's addition of GPS is also important. I sold my GPS unit, a Garmin C350, in order to be able to afford my iPhone 1.0 - I've sorely missed it even though I've been able to manage pretty well with the Google Maps application. The addition of GPS to the iPhone finally makes it my complete dream phone <-- as there will be no need for any other electronic device. The iPhone 3G can now serve as my email checker, emergency Apple laptop replacement, cellphone, digital camera, iPod, and GPS.

Currently, I have a DLO Transpod that charges my iPhone and sends the audio to my stereo - perfect not only for listening to music, but getting turn by turn directions.

Apple already has several partnerships in place with the automotive industry regarding iPod integration and I have seen firsthand the awesome potential of bluetooth iPhone/cellphone integration with a Prius already.

The iPhone has the potential to also be an in-car TV (via Slingbox integration), an in-car DVD player, and a trip planner.

The Apple-Tera?



I would propose that Apple revolutionize the car industry by utilizing their extensive plastics research*, their awesome design prowess, and their innovative approach to simplicity and user interface.

* Steve Jobs use to brag about plastics & composites research during keynotes in the CRT iMac years.

I'm aware that Apple is a computer and technology company - not an automobile manufacturer. But ... Apple wasn't an audio equipment manufacturer, not a music retailer, and not a cellphone company either.

Aptera, to me, has the most innovative design with the most unique approach to automobiles. They have a production model ready to go now that will be able to make a 1200 mile trip on one 10 gallon tank of gas.

Venture Vehicles approach is a stretch although just as interesting an approach ... but would require a dramatic shift in driving as their vehicles corner on turns with the entire cabin dipping left and right.


* Venture Vehicles e50 2nd generation concept


Tesla Motors approach is unique only from the standpoint that it uses a battery array of 30,000 AA batteries - very similar to what you would buy in the store rather than any sort of special battery.

I believe that Apple could afford to risk $5 billion and start a automobile manufacture company or simply buy Aptera for $2 Billion and spend $3 billion in research and development and production facilities.

If the whole project failed ... Apple would be out 1/4 of its cash reserves some interest ... something that could be easily replaced by a sale of assets or just 1 year of sustained or rising profits. I'm sure Apple could get a pretty penny for the liquidation of the whole automotive division. Again, what's to lose?

Apple Apple Everywhere

Think about this ... it's a given that most every Mac User would buy one ... it's probably a given that most people who own an iPhone or iPod would be interested. Microsoft may have the SYNC ... but Apple could have the whole car!

* Ford's integration of Microsoft SYNC works mediocre at best in my observation.

As with the iPhone ... Apple would advertise it with terrific television and print ads, but most likely wouldn't need to ... the iPhone had an unprecedented amount of free advertising ... this venture would certainly enjoy the same (and probably more).

Apple is the only company capable of revolutionizing the car industry.*

* I do not believe Apple is willing to go any further than iPod integration on a licensing scale. I doubt they would ever do something like Microsoft's SYNC and I certainly don't think they would let another manufacturer make an automobile for them.

Here's a YouTube video of the Aptera:



Tune in Monday for a continuation of this series about the automobile industry; including covering myths about alternative fuels,proven ways you can save gas, and what you can do easily to be more energy conscious.



read more | digg story

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sling On iPhone: Video Hands On

Sling showed they've been working on a native application for the iPhone, and gave a quick hands-on with the proof-of-concept. The demo, which also runs on the iPod touch, offers the ability to connect to your Slingbox and control it using the iPhone's touchscreen. * The Slingbox attaches to your cable or satellite box at home to the SlingBox and allows you to watch TV from a browser window anywhere there's an internet connection.

read more | digg story

iPhone 3G's True Price Compared

Since Apple announced they're lowering the price for the iPhone 3G down to $199, people have been rumbling about how the increased AT&T data plan price negates any savings you get up front on the phone. Over two years, the iPhone 3G will cost $160 more over the original iPhone.

read more | digg story

Monday, June 09, 2008

Is My iPhone 1.0 Still Worth Anything With The Price Drop?

I caught this headline and comment discussion at THESMALLWAVE.COM:

What Of the Old 2G iPhone? What of the iPod Touch?

OK, now that the 3G iPhone is only $199, the resale value of the original 8GB model is now in the toilet. Sure, I could hope to snag some suckers on eBay to pay me a lot, but it’s not my way.

Looks like my old phone will be a hand-me-down in the family.

Meanwhile, I’m surprised the iPod touch did not drop in price today. Still shows $299 for 8GB at the Apple store. Surely it will at least drop to $199?

Speaking of the touch, very interesting to see that the massive 2.0 software update is only $9.95 for touch users. That’s a great deal. Maybe Apple figured the $19.95 for the last update was too much? That update gave five new apps and was impressive ($20 was not that unreasonable) and yet [here] the new platform is only $10.



COMMENTS WERE (including one from yours truly):

Laura Says:

They can’t lower the price of the iPod touch until September 15. That’s because this year’s “Back to School” promotion is a free iPod Nano or iPod touch with the purchase of a new Mac — in the form of a $199 mail-in rebate on iPod Nano and a $299 mail-in rebate on iPod Touch. If they lower the price of the iPod Touch before the promotion ends, they will end up giving students rebates for an amount greater than the price of the iPod Touch.

See http://www.apple.com/promo/


Tom Says:

... Since it’s “free”, it would make sense to buy the touch even at $299. Still, any student paying attention should at least wait until after 7/11 and save $10 on the cost of the 2.0 update.


Rus Says:

The iPhone IS ACTUALLY NOT lower ... it is subsidized ONLY at the price. You will still have to pay $499 & $599 if you don’t want an AT&T contract. I actually think this will do very little to the 1.0 iPhone prices.


* Picture from MACRUMORS.COM

New iPhone Commercial

4 Reasons Early Adopters Don't Need a 3G iPhone Upgrade

iPhone 1.0 adopters are already hawking their first-gen iPhones and preparing to line up for the new model. But fear not: Monday won’t just be about the new iPhone, it’ll be about what’s new for your iPhone. Here’s why you should keep your “old” phone (until it breaks, anyway).

read more | digg story

And don't forget that I have an exclusive report on how to get 3G on your first generation iPhone without any hacks - that I already use every day.

I don't think the CPU is changing inside the iPhone - so the 1.0 phone will be no less responsive than the 2.0. AT&T has promised not only expanded 3G coverage but faster EDGE as well

Sunday, June 08, 2008

You're Wrong Dr. Jones ... We've Found It Right Here.


A recent comment tried to say I was obviously wrong about my Indiana Jones IV review because of the revenue the movie has taken in and it's ratings by critics.

Since I really enjoy over analyzing movies ...

First, I wanted to stress how tightly intertwined the critics are with large draw movie productions and with big draw stars - if they continually gave movies the ratings they deserve - the studios would seek out reviewers elsewhere that would give the movie a positive rating ... the critics would lose their jobs.

Also ... take into account that movie ticket prices are up 5% in just the last 6 months and up 20% total over the last 3 years. I'll do some math after showing you this..

Here are the Indiana Jones movies revenue totals if adjusted for inflation.

--------------------


Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981 release)

Production budget: $18 million
Inflation adjusted budget: $50 million

Inflation adjusted box office take: $606,416,000
Actual box office take:$242,374,454

Domestic revenue: 13X Production budget

--------------------


Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom (1984 release)

Production budget: $28 million
Inflation adjusted budget: $65 million

Inflation adjusted box office take: $368,305,800
Actual box office take: $179,870,271

Domestic revenue: 6X Production budget

--------------------


Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade (1989 release)

Production budget: $48 million
Inflation adjusted budget: $85 million

Inflation adjusted box office take: $339,985,500
Actual box office take:$197,171,806

Domestic revenue: 4X Production budget

--------------------


Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
(released international May 22,2008)

Production budget: $185 million

Domestic Total as of Jun. 6, 2008: $236,761,000

Requires $370 million to make back money.

* Would require $740 million domestically just to make back the lowest production budget multiplier as figured above. It is very doubtful that this fourth installment will make $740 million internationally. All figures above include domestic box office only.
* Box office revenue & inflation adjustment from BOXOFFICEMOJO.COM

* Take into account that these are actual numbers, not estimates for inflation


--------------------


This movie has a weak script, a weak premise, and now even has an Urban Dictionary entry related to its outlandish plot:

nuke the fridge

A colloquialism used to delineate the precise moment at which a cinematic franchise has crossed over from remote plausibility to self parodying absurdity, usually indicating a low point in the series from which it is unlikely to recover. A reference to one of the opening scenes of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, in which the titular hero manages to avoid death by nuclear explosion by hiding inside a kitchen refrigerator. The film is widely recognised by fans as a major departure from the rest of the series both in terms of content and quality.

Guy 1: "Wow. Did you see the new Indy movie? What the hell was that? It was like I was having some kind of flu induced absurdist nightmare."

Guy 2: "Yep... did or did not that series permanently Nuke the Fridge?"

Guy 1: "Oh, totally Nuked the Fridge! But I guess Spielberg is happy as long as he has the money of the people who trusted him."

Guy 2: "Guess so..."

Friday, June 06, 2008

eBay asked to cease ALL sales of ivory products



As reported on SlashDot:

"eBay is being pressured by an animal welfare group to ban sales of ivory and animal tooth products on its site. Although eBay is in compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species when it warns users that such postings may be inviolation of national and international law, the International Fund for Animal Welfare is demanding they the go a step further to search for and delete any posting of ivory products."


-------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY --------


Why is this important to people who don't even use eBay? This would be an unprecedented restriction on freedom. Ivory is not an illegal substance to OWN in the US or any place in the world I know of. It has no illegal uses and not all ivory is obtained by poachers.

I recently had an estate that I liquidated at the flea market and on eBay with some ivory rings and figurines - I have no idea how the ivory was obtained (long long ago) ... all I know is that my family who owned it and certainly not I contributed to anything illegal (even if creating a demand for it). I do know that MY SELLING IT placed old (already harvested) ivory back onto the market and prevented NEW ivory from coming onto the market.

I've noticed that my local flea market is essentially following all the bans from eBay and that newspapers have already banned a significant number of items for sale in the classifieds ... yard sales will be next.

If eBay really wanted to stop death, fraud, and destruction in the world they would ban sales of diamonds - a business with a much sinister and evil group; slave trading and mistreating mine workers.