Friday, July 31, 2009

About iPhone Voicemail Messages ...

This past week David Pogue initiated a campaign against lengthy (and redundant) carrier voicemail messages.

In this blog piece he states:

"Last week, in The Times and on my blog, I’ve been ranting about one particularly blatant money-grab by U.S. cellphone carriers: the mandatory 15-second voicemail instructions."


It's estimated that this nets the cellphone industry an additional $620 million in revenue.


What I found interesting was this little factoid:

"iPhone owners’ voicemail doesn’t have these instructions — Apple insisted that AT&T remove them."


And now that I think about it ... my best friend asked me a few days after getting my iPhone why it goes straight to my voice message. I told him I didn't know and the topic never came up again.

What's even more interesting to me ... it seems this may be the first time there is concrete evidence of a handset maker (Apple) dictating a term and condition to a cellular carrier.

It's also interesting that Apple noticed this "overcharge/redundancy" and it ends up being a major money saving feature of the iPhone that people just take for granted.

By owning an iPhone ... I'm saving my friends who leave me messages from T-Mobile and Verizon.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Palm re-enables iTunes syncing for the Pre:

Via Daring Fireball:

How Palm Re-Enabled iTunes Sync

Dieter Bohn:

The Pre is now telling your computer that the vendor who made it is Apple. The change here is that with previous versions of webOS, the Vendor ID was “0 × 0830 (Palm Inc.).” So while previously the Pre identified itself as a “mass storage device” called an iPod, now it’s identifying itself as a “mass storage device manufactured by Apple” called an iPod.

[John Gruber] This is a direct violation of the USB licensing agreement. But, in what can only be described as true chutzpah, Palm has preemptively filed a complaint against Apple to the USB Implementors Forum, accusing Apple of misusing the USB Vendor ID.


Wow, so now they have guts to call the Palm an Apple device to TRICK iTunes into syncing. This is extremely low down and dirty. I'm not quite sure of the selling point for users that may happen upon news that this is "dirty" or "not legal". I'm also not sure of the business model Palm is currently in - it's like they're trying to market the Palm to hackers and not to the general public.

The Two Apple Stories I Didn't Report On Because I Knew It Was Being Misreported Elsewhere

Microsoft Alters Laptop Hunter Ads

I knew when Microsoft executive Kevin Turner laughed at Apple's request to take down the laptop hunter ads that it seemed like he was about to have to eat his words.

Here's what Macrumors reported this morning:

In the 60-second spot, called "Lauren and Sue," we watch as law student Lauren shops around with the help of her Mom in the hopes of finding a computer under $1,700.

In the original version, Lauren at one point comes upon an Apple computer and declares: "This Mac is $2,000, and that's before adding anything."

"Why would you pay twice the price?" asks Lauren's mom. "I wouldn't," says Lauren, who ends up leaving with a $972 Dell laptop.

In the latest version of the ad, that portion has been edited out. The original ad has been removed from YouTube and other sites by Microsoft, and replaced with a version in which Lauren doesn't talk about how much the Mac costs, but she does say: "It seems like you're paying a lot for the brand."

Microsoft is quick to point out that the focus of the ad remains unchanged.

"We slightly adjusted the ads to reflect the updated pricing of the Mac laptop shown in the TV advertisement," a Microsoft spokeswoman said in a statement. "This does not change the focus of the campaign, which is to showcase the value and choice of the PC."


* Just a quick mention: Microsoft revenue fell 1 billion (with a "B") short of estimates the last quarter. Apple's recent earnings were ahead of estimates and was their best non holiday quarter ever.


AND THEN ...

FoxConn Employee Reportedly Commits Suicide Over Lost iPhone Prototype [AFTER ALLEGED TORTURE]


Even John Gruber @ Daring Fireball, demanded:

"Apple needs to investigate this, publish the results, and if the man was truly tortured, sever ties with Foxconn."

As reported by The New Yorker:

"A reporter at the newspaper Southern Daily claims to have viewed surveillance footage of two sessions of Sun’s interrogation and says that they show no evidence that he was beaten or locked up. If true, this would contradict earlier reports in the Chinese press alleging that Sun was beaten."


There's so much I would like to report on but the "big names on the net" seem to be racing to report stuff lately - so hurried are they that they're basically making stuff up to fill in major holes in stories.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Secret AT&T Rate Increase In August? Looks like my iPhone plan is going up more than $43.00 a month.



My wife received this letter two weeks ago regarding "changes" to our AT&T account. The "changes" appear to be rate increases due to dropping discounts. Here's the text of the letter:

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
Regarding Changes To Your Wireless Account

Ref. Account Number(s):
XXXXXXXXX

Dear [MY WIFE],

We'd like to inform you of an effort we're making to help us better serve you. Effective August 2009, we will be converting your wireless account(s) to a new national billing platform. You can continue to use your current device(s), features and services. The following explains the changes which will impact your account:

• You will see some slight differences in how charges are displayed on your invoice.

• You will be assigned a new billing account number. It will appear on your first bill after conversion.

• You will receive a new payment remittance address (known as a "lockbox"). Your new lockbox address will appear on your first bill after conversion.

• Accounts Payable information may need to be updated, particularly if you use an automated purchasing system.

• Your Monthly Service Discount which you receive due to a qualified company affiliation will apply to the monthly service charge of the primary wireless number only. It does not apply for add-a-line plans.

• If you receive a Monthly Service Discount, it will be applied after all other discounts have been processed.

• Some features, discounts and promotions may no longer be available after conversion.

If you have any questions regarding this notice, please call 611 or 1-800-331-0500 and mention conversion letter code SE6CONVL3. Thank you for choosing AT&T as your wireless provider. We appreciate your business.

Sincerely,
AT&T


If I'm reading this correctly; this will effectively increase my bill $43.80 a month and my bill will rise to $247.70 after taxes.

[UPDATE] CONFIRMED: My bill went from $198.70 (last month) to $240.67 this month - no extra charges for anything else.

Monday, July 20, 2009

iPhone Website Render Simulator


Don't have an iPhone and wanna see how your site might render on an iPhone if you don't have a mobile web optimized version?

Defintion 6 iPhone Simulator

iPhone Snaps


I saw this piece of jewelry at the flea market this past weekend. Does this infringe on the Apple logo? LOL. Are there really diamonds inside each Apple?

Awesome eBay iTems Up For Sale This Week!



I'm trying to get out of the eBay business and I have slowly been selling my collection of Apple inventory (and cool gadgets) - mostly to local sellers. But there's a few items that ONLY eBayers will appreciate.

[UPDATE]

Vuzix Personal Cinema Glasses SOLD

iBook G4 DC ports/jacks SOLD

Collectible Apple Leather Cases SOLD

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Trip To The Moon or A Day w/ Steve Jobs: An Idea About How Steve Jobs Could Take One Small Step As A Man To Help All Of Mankind.


July 20, 2009 ...


marks the 40th anniversary of a man landing on the moon.

We all know the famous first words quote from astronaut Neil Armstrong,

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."


________________________________


If someone were to ask me, what would you rather do, go to the moon or spend a day with Steve Jobs ... I'd honestly have to think about it a day or two ... then I'd most likely take the day with Steve Jobs. Let me take that back ... I wouldn't even hesitate ... I'd take the day with Steve Jobs.

To me, that day, would be invaluable ... to witness just one day of his life - to learn even the smallest of things that makes him unique in the business world would be a dream come true to me.

I'm a guy who's a capitalist and salesman by nature, but not a used car salesman. I think integrity and compassion are integral to the personality of the salesman. I also think knowing what people want is key to being a great salesman. I've always had that knack. It's one of the things that keeps me involved with Apple Computer products. I know that it's what most people want - all of them just don't know it.


Steve Jobs:

"A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."

________________________________


There's an opportunity here ... for a man (Steve Jobs) to make as huge an impact on mankind as the moon landing.

Warren Buffet has auctioned off a day with him for charity for the past years.

Here is a link to this year's auction for LUNCH w/ WARREN BUFFET auctioned off on eBay.

* eBay auction link available until September 25, 2009



I propose that Steve Jobs auction a day with him, no holds barred (only the signing of a non disclosure agreement) for charity. Highest bidder gets the day - the National Center for Cancer Research gets 100% of the money - and 100% of that money focuses solely on pancreatic cancer.

At first I thought eBay would be the best venue - like Buffet's auctions ... then I considered all of the media attention this would get - it would be best for bids to be placed directly on APPLE.COM. One could use their AppleID to bid. It would be relatively simple to set up something such as this. Apple (& Jobs & NFCR) should get all of the attention for this - not eBay or anyone else.

It shouldn't be sealed bid - it would be awesome to see who was bidding and how much and to see the bid increase exponentially during the process. It would be interesting to see well known CEOs and small business leaders get publicity - telling the world (through the media) how much they'd love to do this. Maybe there will be some enterprising CEO that would win the bid then give the opportunity away to an uncommonly wealthy person, maybe an employee, or a customer, for their own publicity.

I see the potential for raising millions for a good cause - one that is personal to Jobs - personal to me.

In 2002, my first cousin died of pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately, he didn't have the rare, treatable form Jobs now has in remission. "Little Jim" as everyone in the family called him, once diagnosed, was given the prognosis of only 4-5 months left to live. It was hard on the family to see him get worse - especially his children. He tried a lot of the holostic treatments to extend his life and ease the pain. Being in an upper middle class income as a nurse with a good health care plan and having a wife that was a Pharmacy Technician was a big help to their research and ability to cope with the problem. His funeral was the day after my 28th birthday, on February 24th, 2002. Ironically, this is Steve Jobs birthday - February 24th. Also rather ironically my cousin, was born in 1955 - the same year as Jobs. If my cousin was alive today, he would be 54 like Jobs. He would be able to see his son graduate from college and his daughter graduate with her Masters Degree in medicine this year.

This is one small thing, one man could do; for the better of all mankind.

I see it as a great opportunity for Jobs to impart some wisdom before he leaves us - whether unexpectedly, tragically, or many many years from now naturally. In any case ... it would be the chance of a lifetime and an opportunity to contribute a wealth of knowledge to a lucky someone and a wealth of research funding - increasing the luck for those with pancreatic cancer.

Jim Wells
1955-2002
"Little Jim"
"A Big Heart"

Friday, July 10, 2009

One of the many reasons not to use eHarmony to find a date


* picture of my junk mail box @ yahoomail for July 10 2009

Besides being ridiculously overpriced and extremely awkward for the impatient people like me ... here's another reason not to use eHarmony - their email marketing and email affiliate program is out of control.

eHarmony pays a HUGE amount for affiliates and so the spammers have been overloading my junkbox for the last two months.

eHarmony should be put to task in the media for sending emails out to married people - even if from an affiliate.

One of the things eHarmony prides itself in is not allowing "Married But Looking" matchmaking.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A Brief Hands On With The Palm Pre

I was a little early to a lunch meeting yesterday...

Lunch was at a place called Sushi Hana in Greenville SC (excellent by the way)

It's right next to a Sprint store so I thought I'd try to go hit fixyourthinking to see how it came up on the Pre.

First, the physical keyboard was very difficult to use ... I dunno ... Maybe I'm used to the iPhone touch keyboard now.

Second, in full page view ... FIXYOURTHINKING was very pixelated.

Third ... Many of the features and symbiology for "actions" are not intuitive ... I had to think for a few seconds.

The sales guy warned me that one of the units was in a weird Demo mode that would revert every 5 minutes to "setup mode".

Lastly, the Pre crashed several times.

I brought my best friend in after our meal to take a look at it.

He had a similar impression. He uses the Verizon Blackberry Storm.

We both quipped this about Palm and Sprint:

"If this is their joint cellphone saviour, and this is the best they can do, with no Palm reps in EVERY SPRINT STORE ... then I see Palm (and Sprint) outta business within 2 years.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Some Notes About My Competition On eBay For Apple Compatible USB Ethernet Network Adapters


* PIcture from seller RCube/VamDickyStyle


For the past few weeks I've noticed a number of USB to Ethernet Adapters being listed on eBay by a seller in Hong Kong - listing them as compatible with Vista, Linux, Mac.

He's offering them under a number of seller IDs - but it's all the same guy - as verified through the "contact member" messaging system.

I'd like to clear up a few things about those adapters:

1) First and foremost these DO NOT WORK AS ADVERTISED. I purchased one and here's the compatibility chart - listed in a README on the included software CD:

This Document describes how to install MCS7830 USB Ethernet adapter Driver for MacOS X.

This driver is for Mac OS X 10.X and has been tested on the following Mac versions.

10.4.7 - MAC Mini
10.4.10 - MAC Mini
10.2.8 - Power MAC
10.3.5 - Power MAC
10.4.3 - Power MAC
10.4.9 - Power MAC


2) It is a mess trying to translate broken English and get any support with these adapters. I offer full email and even phone support for my adapters. I've been selling these adapters for 8 years and I stand behind them working 100% with ANY MAC with every Apple operating system 9.2.2 or higher.

3) These adapters are bulkier than they appear in the picture and there are no included instructions. These adapters also use the same chipset as Apple's adapters. I've written on the many caveats to using Apple's adapter here:

eBay Blog: USB TO ETHERNET ADAPTERS FOR MACS


4) This adapter's drivers are unlicensed. You may be breaking copyright and licensing regulations if you use them. You most likely won't be prosecuted and I don't want this particular caveat to scare you - it's just something you should be aware of. If your driver ever becomes broken by an OS - say the new Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard - I usually have a patch within a week to ten days. You will most likely NEVER get a patch from a seller in Hong Kong.

5) The seller is in Hong Kong - this means the FREE SHIPPING included will take 10 - 14 business days from payment to reach you. My FREE shipping is 1st class international and usually take 2-5 days US and 4-10 days international. Customs hold ups in your country and weather can sometimes extend those times - but that applies to Hong Kong sellers too.

6) Hong Kong sellers cannot obtain tracking or delivery confirmation. Once they've mailed an item, in their minds, you've received it ... end of story. With patience, I always make sure my customers receive their adapters either by tracking in USA or tracing internationally. If a problem with delivery arises, I send another out immediately!

Thank you for reading ... I hope this helps in your decision to purchase an adapter if you need one.

iPhone Snaps



Last year, my father-in-law planted a seed. He didn't know what it was from... he just wanted to plant it to see what would come up. This year it came up and here it is. From looking on the net, it appears to be an avacado or a mango (which are related) ... Do any of you know what it is?

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum


Above image © Stephen Sondheim

On Friday ... I noticed a small uptick in traffic. I investigated.

Apparently, The Cult Of Mac Blog @ WIRED had linked to my "3Gs prototype on eBay" story.

My normal daily totals are usually around 5000 hits these days. Some days I see 8 or 9000. On days where I have a good story, I can see as many as 40,000 visitors. My highest one day total is 540,000 - yeah FIVE HUNDRED FORTY THOUSAND!

I did a story on Steve Jobs and a story about a MATCH.COM date gone wrong in 2006 - both of those stories got quite a bit of attention around the web. Mostly - I get a spike when a large website picks up one of my stories and properly links here.

I've had Google Adsense and Amazon affiliate links set up for almost three years now. My average off of both of these sources of revenue is about $100 a month.

On the day my infamous court case got on the front page of Slashdot, and recycled around the web - I received $1482.17 in Adsense revenue, $118.00 in Amazon affiliate revenue, and had two "offers" for advertising on my blog.

At that time, I wasn't advertising my USB Network Adapter.

Over the years - I've had a number of stories DUGG, Slashdotted, etc etc - I have yet to get "Grubered" - but I would expect the traffic would be significant if I ever do.

I was upset to find that on Friday afternoon two of the top 50 websites for geeks on the net - Engadget & MacRumors - had linked to the Cult Of Mac entry - that linked to me. Engadget, took it a step further and linked to an obscure website called Electric Pig, which linked to Cult Of Mac, which linked to me.

* Engadget's improper crediting almost seemed blatant

I wasn't receiving any recognition from a story that I had reported on A WEEK PRIOR and already been aggregated in MacSurfer for - due to my own article submission.

MacRumors:Prototype iPhone 3GS on eBay? (No, No Matte Case)

Engadget: iPhone 3GS prototype scooped up at airport, now on eBay

Both Engadget AND MacRumors didn't properly credit me for the story - which I posted within 23 minutes of the auction being posted and had up on several mac News feeds within a few hours. It may sound like I'm whining - but we're talking about possibly thousands of dollars that I was cheated out of because news sources THAT KNOW BETTER didn't properly footnote their stories.

I tried to salvage some of the hits by commenting more than I could here in the forums of the two websites regarding this "prototype" - the trail of lies and vitriol spread by the eBay seller (which commented in both forums) is quite the spectacle. Hit the links above and read the story.

End of rant ...

If any of you feel sorry for me (ha ha) click on a Google adsense ad to help make up for this!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Bottled Water: Why Does It Have An Expiration Date?

via DIGG:

Have you ever wondered why that bottle of Poland Spring has a “drink by” date on it when common sense dictates that water doesn’t go bad? You can thank the great state of New Jersey. A 1987 NJ state law required all food products sold there to display an expiration date of two years or less from the date of manufacture. Labeling, separating and shipping batches of expiration-dated water to the Garden State seemed a little inefficient to bottled water producers, so most of them simply started giving every bottle a two-year expiration date, no matter where it was going.


Just a little tidbit I found interesting ... I'm sure it applies to a lot of things. I've read that canned goods stored in a moisture free/UV ray free room can last up to 10 years.

Link to full story here:

http://blogs.static.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/26866.html