Thursday, April 30, 2009

New comments ...

I've recently had a flurry of comments on older stories ...

Since there's been new interest in Jack Campbell - I've had a number of comments on older stories about him.

My bluetooth pairing codes posts see roughly 3 compliments a month. If you have a bluetooth headset - the pairing codes are usually one of these three:

1-2-3-4

0-0-0-0

0-0-0-1

I've also had some recent activity on my story about Wegener Media:

Scary Customer Service Tales : Attack Of "The Waygoner": Bad Customer Service w/ Wegener Media: An Apple Upgrade & Repair Business in South Carolina

It seems this business remains the same with very poor customer service and a deceitful owner.



I also had a very good question in my Recording Telephone Calls reference section:

Anonymous said...

I'm in California. Recently a large insurance co that carries my auto insurance phoned me and said they wanted to speak to me about a recent accident. When she ask for permission to record, I said no and she hung up on me.
1.By not giving them permission to record; Will it release them to do whatever they want concerning my case?
2.What about calls where people are asking you for personal info? for example a bank?
3.Let's get to nitty-gritty. Idon't like the idea of being recorded at anytime for any purpose. I'm not trying to hide anything but with todays' technology you can be made to say things you didn't say. Further,I consider it an Invasion Of Privacy. Are there consecquences that could come to bare if I say no to recording?

4/28/09 10:56 PM



fixyourthinking said...

You have a contract that most likely says you can be recorded.

You need to act on this as soon as possible as your insurance company can sue you for any amount they are paying out.

Here's how you handle this:

Obtain a quality recording device yourself / call them ... Start recording ... Agree to be recorded if they ask to record you ... Do NOT in any way even hint you are recording them ... They have already consented by recording you ... Make sure they state the date and time of the recording ... If they don't; you state it. Be as general as possible ... Be as brief as possible ... NEVER volunteer an answer or a question ... If yes or no will do - answer that way. You will now have recording. The insurance company will have to take you to court to use the recording against you. You will have your unaltered recording in hand. You will object to anything out of context and object to alterations to the recording. You will also object to your insurance company attorney saying you denied a recorded conversation - on the grounds that you wanted to make sure they had the legal right to do so. (Say this with no further explanation or exposition)

If something out if context is played ... Request that the entire conversation be played.

If they are rude, have altered the conversation contextually or physically you may can get a default judgement in your favor.

You will need an attorney at this point and you will make the counter claim for his fees, your time, the recording device, pain and suffering , and fraud if altering or tampering is found.

4/29/09 6:51 AM

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Some Network Terms As They Apply To Macs

I thought I'd share this somewhat older entry on my eBay blog with my readers:

Ethernet port: this port is boxy in shape and looks like a slightly larger telephone jack. It is also called a "network port" "broadband connection" "LAN port" "RJ45 port" or "10/100" port.

* Higher speed ports are called "gigabit ethernet" and are referred to with the "1000" designation

Cable Modem / DSL modem: Your cable or DSL modem (most likely provided by your service provider) is the box that provides you internet access. Always make sure that your modem is not actually the problem.

Router: Some cable/DSL modems have built in routers, sometimes routers are a separate box. A router has multiple "ethernet ports" for connecting multiple computers. Always make sure that you are bypassing a router to check if the router is not the problem.

USB: The flat end (also called the "A" end) is the connection you will find on your Mac. This "flat end" plugs into a free USB port on your Mac

ISP: Means (Internet Service Provider) This is the company that provides you with internet service - such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Charter, Hughes Net

DSL / PPOE: PPOE stands for Point To Point Protocol Over Ethernet - some DSL (if far away from service provider) and most satellite modems are configured with PPOE. Please realize that these settings need to be written down so you can configure your adapter to work with your ISP. If you need assistance with these settings ... typically your service provider can assist you via their customer service phone number.

DHCP/Cable Modem: DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol is a type of network configuration used by devices (broadband modems, TIVO, Playstation, etc etc ) to obtain configuration information for operation in an internet network. This protocol reduces system administration workload, allowing devices to be added to the network with little or no manual intervention - hence the word dynamic.

Firewall: is a part of a computer or network with the purpose to block unauthorized inbound access while permitting outbound communication. It is also a device or set of devices configured to permit, deny, encrypt, decrypt or proxy all computer traffic between different networks (or domains) based upon a set of rules and other criteria. Typically a firewall is unnecessary on a Mac as other "rules and preferences" can be set within different programs like Safari, Mail, and even the Mac itself. If, as an average consumer you are worried about someone accessing your information - you should get a separate Mac for your financial or confidential matters - I would even recommend one of the original 1989 Mac SE/30 All In Ones. Firewalls can interfere greatly with just about all types of "network connections" - that is unless configured carefully by a knowledgeable network expert.

5 Tips For Reading Mac Security Stories

Rich Mogull @ TIDBITS.COM posts:

Five Tips For Reading Mac Security Stories

Divided into these topics, it's a good read for any Mac owner.

• Is the Story Based on a Vendor Press Release?

• Is the Story Really New?

• What's the Mechanism of Action?

• Does the Story Defend Mac Security Based Solely on History?

• You Can Do It

I'm asked often, "Did you hear about that new virus that's going around on Macs?" or "Do you think I'm affected by that new virus that's going around?"

Trust me ... when a virus or malware hits the Mac platform it will be international news that you will hear almost as much as the OJ trial about ... people think when I say that ... I'm exaggerating. I may be - but only slightly.

* Thanks to Daring Fireball

Monday, April 27, 2009

Testimony

Forbes obtained the deposition of Steve Jobs regarding stock options backdating (which is now settled)

PDF transcript of testimony:


Here's some select tidbits:



Q: First of all, could you describe for us your educational background since high school?


I attended Reed College for six months in Portland Oregon and then I dropped out, but I was a drop-in for approximately another 18 months.


Q: And when you say you were "a drop-in" does that mean you went back to Reed at some point in time?

That means I was a student that couldn't afford to pay, so I was sleeping on floors and in friends' dorm rooms and stuff


Q: Did you ultimately obtain a degree from Reed or any other college?


No


Q: Other than your tenure at Reed than that you have described, do you have any formal education post high school?


No


Q: During your tenure at Reed, did you ever happen to take any classes on business or accounting?


No


...


Q: Can we just sort of briefly go over your employment history, I guess after 1973.


I was employed at Atari, maker of video games


Q: What timeframe?


I don't know, early 70's


Q: Okay?


And then my partner Steve Wozniak, and I started Apple about 1975- or 6. And then I was basically fired from Apple about ten years after that.

Who else on this planet can say I'm a high school graduate, a college clown, and have been CEO of two of the most recognizable names in pop culture AND business.

There's also some really juicy stuff about former CFO Fred Anderson about "meeting with Dell".

Friday, April 24, 2009

iPhone Snaps



I snapped this picture of a guy in family court the other day ... he looked like he was a young Sawyer (Josh Holloway) from LOST. He also had a mannerism like him - keeping to himself mostly - like he was planning something. Is this a sign of obsession over LOST?

Josh Holloway from ABC's LOST --->




This is a picture of two news stories my wife printed out the other day. On the left, the white 19 year old Caucasian woman got a 22 year sentence for STOMPING HER BABY TO DEATH. On the right, the 35 year old black woman received a 30 year prison term for STEALING COPPER. Can you see the irony in that?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How to Manage and Protect Your Reputation Online

The New York Times has an interesting story on "Managing Your Online Reputation" to save business. What they don't mention is that the opposite can sometimes be true ... can a business ruin a webmaster by vicious search engine optimization? I'd say, "Yes".

read more | digg story

As some of my readers know ... I was sued for posting a negative story about the owner of an eBay consignment business called Bidzirk. Over the last two years, he has paid SEO (Search Engine Optimizer) after SEO and it has had a huge impact on my traffic - as in downward traffic. I've posted far more stories that have been on Slashdot, DIGG, and Mac News websites, plus I've been featured in several "Best Of The Web" publications - yet my traffic is down. It is solely attributable to Bidzirk trying to burying my story.

You have to think about the opposite circumstance - the more you try to bury bad comments are you in turn also damaging the webmaster whose comments you are trying to bury?

I’d say, "Yes" to that question.

Who Owns the Rain? Hint: It's Not Always Homeowners

Across the country, resourceful homeowners are embracing rainwater capture as a way of conserving community water supplies while maintaining healthy gardens. Unfortunately, rain barrels are sometimes at odds with the law... by capturing rainwater, some homeowners are breaking the law.

* I've been looking into this since I plan to have a garden this year and didn't realize that I may have to get a permit.

read more | digg story

USB To 10/100 Ethernet ( LAN Network ) Adapter For Apple G3 G4 G5 Intel Macs



USB Ethernet Network / LAN 10/100 Adapter
For G3 G4 G5 Intel Apple Mac

For iBook Powerbook MacBook Mac Pro Air iMac eMac Mini
OS 9 & OS X


Save a costly motherboard repair for your Apple: All In One iMac, eMac, Mac Mini, iBook, PowerMac, G4 Cube, Powerbook (w/ USB ports), MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, or G3 G4 G5 Tower or Twentieth Anniversary Mac (requires installation of PCI USB Card * not included)

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 w/ 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 & unplugging ruining my laptop's broadband connection port. The USB also stands an intermediary for surges from the network as well.

This adapter works with ALL Apple operating systems (Apple's adapter only works with 10.5.2 & higher & is meant exclusively for use w/ the MacBook Air)

This can be used to replace your surged ethernet/broadband port on your Apple computer that you use for network, cable modem, DSL modem, satellite modem, internet access. Your ethernet port does not have to be bad to use this adapter. Get this in case of an emergency!

USB 2.0 & USB 1.1 standards compatible. One end is a standard RJ45 Ethernet/Network port. The other end is a standard flat end USB connection. You will plug your ethernet cable into this adapter JUST AS YOU WOULD your built in port.

Comes complete with drivers, manual, and instructions that I have worked hard over several years of sales to make as complete & comprehensive as possible.

This adapter works on Apple Operating Systems 9.2.2, 10.1, 10.2 (Jaguar) Mac OS 10.3 (Panther) or Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger) Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) & all versions of Windows that support USB. Apple's adapter doesn't work in OS 9 or anything lower than 10.5.

This is NOT Apple's adapter - it's better. Apple's adapter is software based and may have some compatibility problems even with the MacBook Air. Apple's adapter is designed exclusively for the MacBook Air.

Best compatibility with Jaguar (10.2.8), Panther (10.3.9), Tiger (10.4.11), Leopard (10.5.6), & Windows 2000, Windows Millenium, & Windows XP Windows VISTA.

There is no need to open up the computer to install this. It is not complicated and even the most novice person can do it. I'm happy to provide phone & email support to you to make this work.

In Case You Missed It; Apple Says Netbooks Are Just Numbers

Apple reported their best 2nd Quarter financial results in their existence yesterday:

Financial Results: 2nd Quarter 2009: Apple

So, add another billion to Apple's cash on hand - which is starting to approach 40 billion.

When Tim Cook (Acting Apple CEO in Jobs' temporary leave) was asked about Netbooks and Apple's plan for the market, he replied thusly;

“For us, it’s about doing great products. And when I look at what is being sold in the netbook space today, I see cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens, and just not a consumer experience… that we would put the Mac brand on, quite frankly. And so it’s not a space, as it exists today, that we’re interested in, nor do we believe that customers in the long term would be interested in.”


He also essentially stated that HP and Acer (who are selling a heckuva lot of "netbooks") are doing just that - just selling them. The units carry a 3% average profit margin - this is WITHOUT marketing and WITHOUT distribution costs factored in. They are also shipping with Windows XP - an operating system whose support is limited and will soon be discontinued by Microsoft.

He continued that he doesn't see long term satisfaction with netbooks - but that Apple had a terrific pipeline of products that will address the market.

Apple gave impressive results for any quarter - but considering the economic climate - the results were spectacular.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The iPhone As A Car Key?



AutoBlogGreen is reporting that the new electic vehicle The PeaPod will be using an iPhone as a GPS navigation device, a green advisor, and trip computer (and possibly speedometer), plus the most innovative use of the iPhone yet ... a secure car key!



This is what I'm hoping the Automotive X-Prize entrants (Are you listening Aptera?) will integrate into their cars.

* Both pictures, courtesy AutoBlogGreen

22 Tips and Apps for Your iPhone's Camera

The iPhone's biggest weakness is its 2-megapixel camera. Not to worry, though—we've put together a whopping 22 tips and apps to help you get the most out of Apple's underpowered shooter.

read more | digg story


I saw this on my local NBC affiliate's website:

Dive Into Top 10 U.S. Aquariums


Funny how the Georgia Aquarium with it's "largest tank" and "unique exhibits" aren't mentioned.

Wonder why?

Oh wait ... here's why.

* Thanks to my wife for the tip

Verizon Was Never On The Horizon

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Mr. Seidenberg [Verizon CEO] also addressed the notion of Apple Inc.'s iPhone ever coming to the Verizon Wireless network, saying it is more likely that Apple would be willing to work with the carrier under the fourth-generation, or 4G, network, which follows the same technology standard as AT&T Inc.'s 4G plans. He said Apple never seriously considered making a CDMA version of the iPhone because it didn't have as wide a distribution opportunity.


Here's quotable proof that Verizon wasn't even considered in negotiations for the iPhone. I do think T-Mobile might have been an option; as was an MVNO [Mobile Virtual Network Operator]. T-Mobile made a number of key acquisitions of smaller GSM carriers like SunCom to be visible in key cellphone markets - such as my own. I live around the Greenville SC area - the largest per capita cellphone market in the country. Until Mid 2008 - we didn't have T-Mobile anywhere in the state with the exception of a small area of the beach. It use to be just AT&T and SunCom providing GSM [sim card] service here. It's my belief that T-Mobile specifically made these acquisitions to strengthen their "phone deals" - one of those deals being specifically to be a suitor to Apple.

All the rumors that have kept saying "Verizon negotiations broke down" and "Verizon may get iPhone after all" - were COMPLETE fabrications with no attributable source. It wasn't even good speculation.

I know of dozens of contacts, including my wife and daughter that specifically switched from Verizon because of the iPhone - I'd imagine with additional features of the new iPhone coming in June 2009 - Verizon will lose a few million more subscribers.

Ch -Ch - Ch-Ch Changes

The change that's been needed for a long time ...

On May 1 2009 I will be switching the blogspot [blogger] name of this website from:

http://jackwhispers.blogspot.com

to

http://fixyourthinking.blogspot.com

Of course, if you've been accessing everything from links that I have placed around the internet or bookmarked links as I've requested ... you can still access content through FIXYOURTHINKING.COM.

This does mean however that some links and content will be broken until search engines can reindex.

You'll understand this change better over the next few days.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

eBay To Unload StumbleUpon & Skype?

eBay, Owner of StumbleUpon, a DIGG competitor that highlights "things on the internet" ... is going up for sale according to BloggingStocks.

I've never used StumbleUpon and since Digg stopped making posting to a blog available, I've visited it less and less. I have started to use Yahoo! Buzz a bit more - another competitor.

See the full story here:

eBay: Spring Cleaning

The story also mentions that ebay owned VOIP service Skype may also be getting primed for sale as well.

Shedding both would be a great idea - eBay needs to focus on auctions and not these distractions.

[UPDATE] eBay has confirmed that they plan to spin off Skype with an IPO later this year.

Geology: The Study Of Time & Pressure & Making The New iPod Shuffle



A favorite line of mine from the movie The Shawshank Redemption:

"In 1966, Andy Dufrane escaped from Shawshank prison. All they found of him was a muddy set of prison clothes, a bar of soap, and an old rock hammer, damn near worn down to the nub. I used to think it would take six-hundred years to tunnel under the wall with it. Old Andy did it in less than twenty.Oh, Andy loved geology. I guess it appealed to his meticulous nature. An ice age here, million years of mountain building there. Geology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes really, pressure, and time."


In this part of the movie, the narrator, Red (played by Morgan Freeman) is giving a metaphor for how long it took for Andy Dufrane (played by Tim Robbins) to break out of prison - digging through the prison wall with a rock hammer over 20 years.

BusinessWeek’s Arik Hesseldahl on iSuppli’s component price estimates of the new voice controlled iPod Shuffle:

"All told, the cost of the shuffle’s components, the headphones, and the packaging it ships in comes to $21.77, according to iSuppli’s estimates. That’s about 28% of the device’s retail price."


Apple engineers and product designers love their jobs I'm sure, but don't do their magic for free. These iSuppli estimates treat Apple engineers like street magicians.

iSuppli estimates and analysts analysis of these estimates always make it seem like Apple is just rooking anyone who buys an Apple product. None of these estimates or analysis account for advertising, graphic design, and most importantly the time and pressure under which many Apple engineers took to make such an innovative and beautiful product. Apple's margins have historically been around 30% - so these iSuppli estimates mean nothing. It only matters in products like the Sony Playstation 3 where component costs are above the retail price - then there's cause for concern to ... stockholders.

Monday, April 13, 2009

iPhone Snaps



This is a picture of old airhorn and warning siren - it signaled tornadoes



This is a tree in Daytona Beach where spring breakers stick their gum in an annual tradition. It is located right in front of the nicest hotel in Daytona - The Hilton.



This picture above is of The Mayan Hotel in Daytona Beach ... I thought it was cool because it has the Mayan calendar on it - which predicts the end of the world in December of 2012 - a movie called 2012 is coming out this summer discussing the Mayan calendar.

A Quick Review Of Every App On (And Off Of) My iPhone: Part II: The First Page



First page

The "FixYourThinking bookmarklet" - I like to check my website from time to time ;-)

The "camera app" ... Out of all the applications other than email, I use this application/feature of my iPhone the most. Prior to my iPhone, I had a Nokia 6201i and an Apple Quicktake 200 digital camera (I also had a Fuji 40i and a Canon s250). I have longed for an Apple digital camera since they were discontinued in 1997. Nearly 10 years later ... my wishes were answered with the iPhone. I immediately sold all of my digital cameras and I use the iPhone camera exclusively. Could it be better? Yes. Would I like a zoom? Yes. But I believe that Occum's Razor also applies to photos. The simplest photo with the simplest camera is usually the correct one. I find myself taking 3-5 photos almost every day. I enjoy being able to post pictures directly from my iPhone to this blog and I specifically created a recurring feature article called "iPhone Snaps" to showcase some of the interesting things I take pictures of with my iPhone camera.

The "photos app" ... I like the organization of the photos app - it is nearly identical to iPhoto. I would like to see basic picture manipulation like cropping and resizing ... maybe the ability to place text on a picture. I realize there are some apps in the app store that probably cover the bases of photo manipulation, but I just don't see paying for something that will most likely be added for free in a future iPhone OS update.

The "Fox News bookmarklet" ... The best source for news without the editorial or sensationalism. Without ever customizing the news it seems like the stories I want to read about are just automatically organized for me - almost like mind reading.

The "What's On app" ... I'm not a very avid television watcher ... but when I am watching I like to know what's coming on and when. This is by far the best "TV guide app". It's well organized, easy to set up, and easy to customize. It is tedious to initially get all the channels in order. In the future, I hope that this app will allow you to exclude categories of channels out of your "guide list" - such as shopping and infomercial channels. Since I have DirecTV I have seemingly dozens of useless channels on my dial. I would also like to see "package view" - where the channels in a given provider's package are the only ones viewable - excluding the hundreds of premium and payperview channels that aren't in my monthly purchased package.

The "iPod app" truthfully I only used my previous iPod - a 30GB 3rd Gen as a music and file backup. Rarely did I use it as a music player. I didn't really think I would listen to my music any more having it on my iPhone. I've actually listened to music more and bought more music in the last year than I have since my childhood. Additionally, I was able to sell my iPod on eBay and make a few bucks. I still use my iPhone as a double backup for important files and the main bulk of my favorite songs in my music library. I do wish initial rumors about the iPhone having an onscreen touchwheel would have panned out. I really like the iPod wheel and just wish the iPhone had it. I like the coverflow view on the iPhone a lot - I'm just disappointed that Apple doesn't have some sort of automatic artwork instead of leaving unknown albums with question mark on them. I also dislike that there is a lot of manual tweaking needed to get the iPod app just right - for storage optimization for instance. I recently found out that I had a lot of repeat album artwork - taking up nearly 30MB of extra space. It took me several hours to fix it.

The "Settings app" ... this is probably my least favorite of anything "Apple included" on the iPhone. This app is essentially the hall closet for the phone and incorporates too many settings. It's really overwhelming. I think each app should have it's own separate settings area within the app. I imagine a lot of people are not realizing the full potential of their iPhone because they've never visited or become lost within this app. In my opinion WiFi and Bluetooth should be an app. There's so much tweaking that needs to be done within an easier to access manner with these two "features". I find myself needing to access "WiFi settings" a lot - and it's just a hassle to have to click through several menus to change or tweak what I need to.

The "Weather app" ... Do I like this app? Hmmmm. Yes. Do I like weather forecasting? No. I've downloaded just about all the weather apps, including AccuWeather and The Weather Channel's app. They are ridiculously complicated and just as inaccurate. Just about all weather forecasting is inaccurate. All the other apps in the app store (that are free) have advertisements within the forecasts. I would love to see a radar view, but I imagine Apple will leave this to third party apps. Again, this is more a gripe with weather forecasting because all other sources usually say the same - but on my recent trip to Daytona Beach the weather forecasts for each day were generally 5-7 degrees off.

The "Shazam app" ... this is my favorite iPhone application hands down. It gives the most impressive demo of the iPhone's powerful potential and well ... seems like magic. Before, I looked up sings in commercials on the internet two or three times a week ... some songs can take a lot of time researching. Artists must love this app as I can't imagine that it's not aiding significantly in their sales and discovery. I've found very few songs that Shazam doesn't pick up. The app works simply. Just launch, hit tag now, let it analyze about 10 seconds of the song, and it will tell you what the song is and provide links on YouTube to the music video and links to iTunes to preview and buy it. You can also sing or hum into the microphone and Shazam will analyze you in karaoke mode - I've had limited success using Shazam in this manner but it does work - I guess I'd have to attribute it to my being "off pitch" and a bad singer.

The "Stocks app" ... I don't know why it matters to me as I don't really buy and sell securities and stock often ... I suppose I like to look at the stock market as a mood indicator. I like to watch the steady rise of Apple stock while other tech companies fall and since I have Coca Cola stock - I like to pay attention to it. This app is perfect in my opinion - and does it's job. It is easy to customize and use.

The "Maps app" ... I used Google Maps a lot before I had my iPhone and I use it even more now. I sold my GPS and use Google Maps as my exclusive means of navigation now. I really hope the iPhone OS will add true GPS to the iPhone or Apple will allow TomTom to release a nav app.

The "Merriam-Webster Dictionary bookmaklet" ... why would you buy a dictionary app when you can just bookmark a dictionary website? I use this here for this website and quite a bit during my day.

The "Wikipedia bookmarklet" - I use Wikipedia a lot. I add to Wikipedia often. This is one of the top uses of my iPhone - a constant instant education.

The "HP iPrint app" ... I reviewed how to use and configure this app here. I only wish it would print more than photos (or screenshots).

The "Contacts app" ... perfect - what I have always wanted on a Phone - and integrates perfectly with the Mac OS Contacts. This single application has helped organize my life and time tremendously.

The "Calendar app" ... I use this app quite a bit ... I just wish it were easier to sync multiple calendars amongst iPhones and Macs.

The "iGoogle bookmarklet" - this saves me from having almost a dozen other bookmarklets on my iPhone and wasting screen space ... it just aggregates headlines, stocks, movies, and other things that interest me. Perfect!

The "Tetris app" ... I wanted to avoid having games on my iPhone ... but once Tetris came out and I played it on a friend's iPod Touch ... I had to have it. The best version of Tetris is still on the original Nintendo NES followed by the original Gameboy version. It's really in the controllers - the iPhone touchscreen just isn't the best interface for Tetris.

Here's some really short reviews for you:

Phone app ... perfect!

SMS app ... perfect but I wish I could send MMS (picture messages). I will explain why AT&T has placed this limitation on the iPhone later in this review. I sent more text messages the first month of owning my iPhone that I have ever sent in my whole life.

Mail app ... perfect / couldn't be better has saved me $100's if not $1000's

Safari app ... perfect ... I just wish the iPhone had Flash support but I understand why

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Getting Even With GetSatisfaction!

So, the other day I read about this "newish" website called GETSATISFACTION.COM on John Gruber's Daring Fireball website. He was co-ranting about their new bullying user agreement ...



Get Satisfaction, a third-party customer service app/community, allows customers to offer feedback, make suggestions, get their questions answered, and generally get help with a product or service.

He was essentially nodding about this Jason Fried article at 37Signals:

Get Satisfaction Or Else

From 37Signals:

A good idea

Building support/community infrastructure is a pain point for a lot of companies. The help section, forums, FAQs, and whatever else you have to build to offer comprehensive customer support is a big undertaking. It’s often the last thing you want to do after you’ve just worked for months on a product or service.

So for those companies that would prefer to outsource this infrastructure to a third party, or use an alternative sanctioned support outlet in addition to their own, Get Satisfaction is a handy service.

But…

But if you prefer to provide great support on your own site with your own forums and your own help section and your own feedback mechanisms and your own FAQs, well, Get Satisfaction doesn’t play fair.

If you fail to subscribe to Get Satisfaction’s way of doing things, Get Satisfaction suggests to your customers that you’re “not yet committed to an open conversation.” That’s unfair and unreasonable. Just because we don’t team up with Get Satisfaction it doesn’t mean we’re not committed to an open conversation.


After reading this, I decided to search for a few things to read some reviews. I found this one on Apple's MacBook Air Ethernet Adapter so I decided to add my two cents ...

The original review/question was:

Macbook Air USB ethernet adapter is unreliable and so is the system software

The Macbook Air USB ethernet adapter doesn't reliably work on older switches, routers, or DSL modems.

When connected to many of these devices (including linksys wired routers), it doesn't properly detect the speed.

Not only is that annoying, but when the speed is manually set, it doesn't retain the settings often until you reset it multiple times.

This is both a software and a hardware problem, apparently, but could likely be remediated with a software fix.


I replied thusly:

Try this one instead:

Apple’s adapter is a software based bridge - you’d be better off using a hardware based bridge such as this one:

http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/theapplepeople_W0QQ_nkwZQQ_armrsZ1QQ_fromZQQ_mdoZ

Apple, could (at any time) disable their adapter because it has a specific firmware chip on it. While they can’t and won’t disable the chipset used in their adapter - they COULD disable their adapter any time.

A hardware based USB Ethernet bridge is more stable, reliable, and faster.

My adapter sells for $25 shipped to USA. $33.00 International shipped


So, the same guy who originally made the comment (someone named Alex) under the GETSATISFACTION user ID: xavier replies:

No offense to the user above, however, go check Walmart they have a SMC Ethernet to USB adapter which is compatible with the mac for $ 9.99

I got one a few days ago...


So ... after making this reply [below] I reported the comment to GETSATISFACTION.COM:

That is completely false.

1) Walmart does not carry SMC USB Ethernet Adapters.

2) There is NO USB ETHERNET ADAPTER at brick & mortar retail under $30.

3) The units available at retail are ONLY compatible with 10.4. & 10.5. and are software based. My adapter is a hardware bridge and compatible with every operating system 9.2.2 and higher. The ONLY adapter outside Apple's (that includes Mac OSX drivers) that I am aware of is available at Radio Shack and is made by Trendnet. Because I sell an Apple Compatible USB Ethernet Adapter I shop everywhere OFTEN. Some outlets like Fry's have MacAlly's adapter ... but the first part of #3 applies - less compatibility & software based TCP/IP interpolation.


4) Even if you did find it, which it is next to impossible that you did at Walmart - it would have been a Belkin brand and at that the clearance price for the adapter would have been somewhere around $27.88 and would have had NO Mac drivers whatsoever.

I went to WALMART.COM, 3 local Walmarts, and 1 in Daytona Beach Florida while on vacation before making this reply ... no WALMART source carries them. So, this morning I called 1-800-WALMART ... they do not currently have a USB Ethernet Adapter in stock in the USA nor have they had such a device in their system for more than 450 days - the maximum they track discontinued items that have not been recalled.

I have asked getsatisfaction to review this comment account for shill reviews.

Anyone reading xavier's replies or reviews should be aware of this.


I can also add one important caveat to buying a USB Ethernet Adapter at retail for use on a Mac - not all brands carry the same uniform chipset throughout their retail lifespan. This is particularly true of SMC adapters. Here's two USB Ethernet adapters made by SMC with the 2208 model designation:



This model [above] works with very limited out of the box support for Macs. It is labelled MODEL: SMC2208. If you can find one of these - you will find it is USB 1.1 and has outdated firmware which may cause some compatibility issues.



This model [above] DOES NOT work out of the box and DOES NOT HAVE ANY support for Macs. It is also labelled MODEL: SMC2208.



This model [above] is labelled MODEL: SMC2209 and looks like the first illustration. It too has no out of the box support for Macs and has a different chipset in it - identical to Apple's (which is based on the software interpolation AX8817X chipset). So if you managed to find this one at retail - not only would you be paying MORE than Apple's adapter, but you will get the same caveats of software interpolation - plus you run the risk of Apple breaking the driver. This adapter can still be found at retail in some areas for $39.99 - $49.99.

____________________________


For those wondering ... apparently Apple caves into GETSATISFACTION.COM's racket:



[UPDATE] GET SATISFACTION & Co has replied interestingly in the comments section of this post ... they have also removed one of my posts from their website claiming a policy violation - the post was removed by "Eric" of GS but my removal notification email said "Apple" removed it. There's something strange going on here with the people behind Get Satisfaction - their idea of damage control is handled like a verbose teenager with a nanny nanny boo boo attitude. Why can't businesses on the net just accept criticism or offer publicly to address or fix issues?

Apple: Countdown To 1 BEELYUN Downloads In The App Store Contest



Apple is holding a "1 Billion App Store Downloads" Contest ...

Prize:

Download an app or visit here and you’ll automatically get the chance to win a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card, an iPod touch, a Time Capsule, and a MacBook Pro.

Friday, April 03, 2009

A Quick Review Of Every App On (And Off Of) My iPhone



Part I: Jailbroken And Worth Notin'


I thought I'd give a quick review of all the applications on my iPhone. I consider myself an advanced but typical iPhone user. I have tried very hard over the last year and a half since I've had my iPhone to consolidate and simplify a lot of my life. The iPhone has literally changed and improved my life with better organization, instant education, and control and management of my personal information.

First, I suppose I should disclose that I have my iPhone "jailbroken". I will expand on the reasons why in this review.

Instantly you'll notice something quite different about my iPhone home screen in the picture above ... I have five columns and four rows of icons for apps on each page. This is accomplished with a jailbreak app "FCSB Toggle". This has reduced my pages of apps from five to two and a half (with the last 1/2 page being very unfrequented apps). You might think it's crowded on the screen, but I like the accessibility ... particularly first page access to frequently used apps. I have 5 more apps that I use regularly - getting four of them on the first page saves an ounce of hassle.

Second ... you probably notice that I have an AT&T logo instead of just the words "AT&T" next to my signal strength meter. This is small touch that I really like - I missed that from my Nokia days.

My wife, a recent iPhone convert, is currently using and loving several apps like CardStar and Ledger that I don't use ... but will most likely get soon. Cardstar is an "on iPhone" loyalty and membership card consolidating app. This eliminates the need for key fobs and discount cards from grocery stores, libraries, etc - reducing clutter and accidentally forgetting the cards. She also has a checking & savings account balancing app called Ledger - so far she's really enjoying it and has started to use it in conjunction with the Mobile Banking App - ridding her of the need to carry a bulky checkbook ledger and allowing her to execute bill paying services right from her phone. She can pay most of the utility bills this way and all credit card balances with this app.

Contained within the first two rows of my home screen you will see two other jailbreak apps.

On the first row (in the picture above), you can see an app called "Cycorder" - this is a FREE video recording application for the iPhone - this is one of the enticing apps for jailbreaking your iPhone and is specifically made free TO PROMOTE jailbreaking. I honestly haven't used it that much, but I have used it. In my opinion, pictures say a thousand words, but video is understood by millions more. It does a decent job recording video at 15 frames per second. Standard definition television is 24 frames per second. The video doesn't look choppy at all and the iPhone (if held properly) records audio during video recording very well. There is also a paid "jailbroken app" called 3G VideoRecorder that has YouTube upload options and no advertisements. It is also very polished - while Cycorder is kind of crude in appearance and contains in-app advertisements. I used 3G VideoRecorder for the 30 day free trial, but didn't think it was worth the $30 for a full license.

On the second row, you will see another jailbroken app called "Modem" - this is the second application enticer for jailbreaking one's iPhone. I don't have this app to access the internet as my sole means - I rarely use it. I do like that I can have it in case of an emergency - and I do have internet access emergencies. I bought a license for "Modem" from the Addition website for $9.99. I have to say that this application is the worst application I have on my iPhone. It crashes, it has a very inconsistent connection, and is totally unreliable. I'm a very advanced network manager - I know how to tweak the Mac OS - this app just flat out sucks! That's putting it mildly. Last month I asked for a refund and got it the same day with no response other than a refund to my Paypal account. This only strengthened my desire for a refund as there is absolutely NO TECHNICAL SUPPORT and if I were a betting man I'd say the devloper doesn't even read customer service emails - he just pays attention to refunds so as not to draw ANY attention to himself or have any scuffles with Paypal, Apple, or AT&T. According to various sources around the internet - iPhoneModem has pulled in over $500,000 for its developer.

I also have a version of MadLibs for jailbroken phones that downloads free Madlibs from an online database. These are fun to have as a time waster while waiting in line or in a doctor's office.

The last jailbroken app I have is SpoofApp. This application allows one to spoof or fake a caller ID. It comes with 5 free minutes of usage - which I used a minute or two to test and pretend I was a different person. I thought this app might come in handy one day - for what other person than a practical joke remains to be seen. It's kinda scary that one could do this.

I'm currently at the beach ... I'm working on the rest of this review and a review of my beach trip. More soon.

Yahoo App For iPhone / iPod Touch

I know a lot of my customers have Yahoo Mail and I'm sure a lot of readers do as well.

If you don't have a business account ... you may have a few problems checking your email on your iPhone. This application
has a direct/web based interface
to Yahoo mail.

You can also access all Yahoo services through the new iPhone app:

Check it out here:

Yahoo! App

* Link above will open iTunes, or allow you download directly from the iPhone / iPod Touch

Thursday, April 02, 2009

A Look Under The Hood Of An Aptera



* Thanks to AUTOblogGREEN for the tip

I think it's interesting that Aptera uses PC laptops for diagnosis and Apple computers for design.