Sunday, September 27, 2009

NOOOOOOOO! Say It Ain't So ... Aptera Production Design Released?

I've commented many times about how Microsoft runs their business like a car company ... throwing out designs and prototypes months (sometimes years) before shipping the actual product. Then that final product usually ends up being radically different from the original concept.

One car company recently went from awesome to completely ugly ... Toyota ... with the 2010 Prius.

This was the concept 2010 Prius:



This is what the actual 2010 Prius looks like:



The wind has been knocked out my sails completely if the following rumor is true ...

Aptera's final production design:



One of the things that drew me to the Aptera was it's radical departure from today's automobile design. This "new design" (if true) is a huge letdown to everyone that has adamantly supported Aptera for the past two years.

I love the original design:



I doubt I'd even take the new design if it were given to me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

iPhone "Liquid Sensor" Faulty ... Yes, but it's not just iPhones


Consumerist: Is The iPhone 3G Liquid Sensor A Filthy Liar?


This is a cellphone insurance/ warranty fraud issue that is perpetrated by EVERY cellular carrier for the strict purpose of not honoring insurance claims. This isn't an Apple issue at all - even though Apple is stuck having to follow the policy.

Last week, my daughter's Samsung Blackjack II stopped charging. I took it into the AT&T store and asked that the $4.99 per month insurance cover the issue ... the salesperson took the battery cover off of the phone and said, "Oopsy the liquid sensor has been tripped, you'll have to pay the deductible." The deductible is $50.00. That makes the total cost of this phone in the 6 moths she's had it $684.20 (unsubsidized).

This isn't the first Samsung (or other cell phone) that I've had this happen ...

In March, I wanted to switch my wife from Verizon to an iPhone on AT&T under my account. She had a nice Samsung Alias phone that was in pretty good condition. I had a number of extra chargers and a Samsung branded bluetooth headset for it. Expecting to get $100.00 + for it and use the money towards the iPhone purchase, I took it to a local "Buy/Sell/Trade/Repair Cellphone Shop" called Hybrid Wireless in Greenville, South Carolina. The first thing they said was, "We can't take this, the water sensor has been tripped." - with the cap on, he pointed with a sharpie marker showing me a tiny sticker just above the battery that he said was suppose to be solid white. Instead, it had little pink crosses on it.


I've had two other cellphones with AT&T; a Nokia flip phone and an HP Smartphone. I never dropped either of them in water, never had them in the shower or in a steamy locker room ... just maybe a normal humid day in South Carolina ... EVERY day! Both stickers were pink inside these phones too - dramatically reducing their value for resale and voiding their warranties.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Together Dating: Let Us Choose You



I've recently had a flurry of activity on my Together Dating article:

Problems With Together Dating: Together: Let Us Introduce You, Seduce You, Bruise You, Refuse You


It's a good read ... especially now that I've finally combined the whole story.

A few notes:

• Remember ... there's NO SUCH THING as a no cancellation policy if the goods or services were never delivered as contracted.

• There have been MANY class actions against Together Dating and they have NEVER WON any of them.

• One of the best things you can do to help others with their problems (and possibly help yourself) is report your local Together to the BBB.

• I have been contacted by multiple attorneys in the 1.5 years since this has been posted ... This is just my thoughts, but I have a feeling Together is about to be investigated by the FTC for deceptive practices.

• Know that Together finds people and chooses people to be involved (they recruit them) ... usually from other low cost dating websites. You will usually do about the same if you pay $15-$30 a month for Yahoo Personals or MATCH.COM. Together actually uses these services to increase their "pool" so to speak.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Fake PR machine @ eBay / Sellers are happy?



Last week, I got an "eBay magazine" in the mail ... sent from eBay telling me how to "optimize my sales".

It had a number of sellers with brief quotes about how they "liked" the new eBay changes.

I emailed one of the sellers "mentioned in the magazine" ... he said his actual email to eBay was far different and that he had sprinkled his posting with positive statements to get his point across - saying, "...a totally critical message usually falls on deaf ears."

What you can read below from SlashDot is what's really going on:

You can read the full article and all the comments here.

One thing that the story mentions is that sellers are complaining about their auction pages not rendering correctly after eBay enhanced its look. A lot of the "problem" is being blamed on sellers browsers - and - I'm sure you can guess - that anything besides Internet Explorer 7 or higher in Windows XP or higher is being blamed for the problems.

The changes implemented since 2007 have made eBay a miserable place for the "at home seller" ... eBay was more or less an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of thing. The ONLY change that needed to be made was lower prices and a negative feedback escrow that I've mentioned here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Our staff uses IBM computers and digital images must be in this format ... wait ... what?



My daughter is taking out a senior ad in her yearbook.

Part of the "instructions" state:

"Our staff uses IBM computers and digital images must be in this format."


It also says, "... images must be saved on disk, CD, or zip disk" ... okay ... I'll make sure to put it on zip disk.

I just thought this was interesting ... since pretty much day one of digital imagery the format has been .jpg hasn't it?

I mean professional images are in the raw format ... but wouldn't it help to have something saying .gif, .jpg, or .png instead of this?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Launch Of AT LIBERTY TO SAY DOT COM

Today ... I'm proud to announce the launch of my new website:

ATLIBERTYTOSAY.COM


FIXYOURTHINKING.COM will remain in place as my tech news and opinion blog.

I wanted to have a more personal website where I could discuss local issues ... in my hometown of Liberty SC.

I've kept a journal since I was in 5th grade (10 years old) ... when I was told to start keeping this journal by a family court judge at the end of my parent's divorce, I backdated it to when I was 5 with a few stories from when I was younger.

I've always enjoyed writing ... I discovered that it was my true calling during my biggest test ... a federal court case that was brought against my blog (FIXYOURTHINKING) ...

So, I'm going to try hard to make a go of it ...

For the next 6 months ...I'm going to try to write both here (@ FIXYOURTHINKING.COM) and ATLIBERTYTOSAY.COM.

I've noticed that world of tech news and opinion is hard to follow sometimes because so many people are reporting false stories ... just so they can be the first to report them.

With local news that I can observe first hand ... I have my own perspective, my own facts, and therefore my own stories.

I also think publishing my personal stories on a more local website may get more eyes with more "I care, because I know who, what, and where he's talking about."

I'm still in the early stages of launch ... I hope to polish the look soon. I used this site as my template so you may not notice a whole lot different at the moment.

ATLIBERTYTOSAY.COM

Friday, September 04, 2009

AT&T press release about the iPhone & MMS

AT&T announced yesterday that MMS would be on the iPhone on September 25 and would involve a software update - I'm guessing from Apple and I'm guessing this will be the 3.1 update.

The AT&T press release:

http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=1574

I found the press release honest and forthcoming ... but the constant complainers managed to see negatives.

From the press release:

We know that iPhone users will embrace MMS. The unique capabilities and high usage of the iPhone’s multimedia capabilities required us to work on our network MMS architecture to carry the expected record volumes of MMS traffic and ensure an excellent experience from Day One. We appreciate your patience as we work toward that end.

We’re riding the leading edge of smartphone growth that’s resulted in an explosion of traffic over the AT&T network. Wireless use on our network has grown an average of 350 percent year-over-year for the past two years, and is projected to continue at a rapid pace in 2009 and beyond. The volume of smartphone data traffic the AT&T network is handling is unmatched in the wireless industry. We want you to know that we’re working relentlessly to innovate and invest in our network to anticipate this growth in usage and to stay ahead of the anticipated growth in data demand, new devices and applications for years to come.


As I mentioned earlier, my sources tell me that there was a huge network security issue to work out as well.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The difference between sell in and sell through ...

The Palm Pre vs the iPhone:

"... analyst David Eller asserted in a research note this morning that sales of the Pre “are continuing to slow,” and “likely will come in dramatically below” Sprint’s (S) reputed target of 1 million to 1.5 million customers for the year. Eller now sees the company selling 416,000 units in the August quarter overall, down from a previous estimate of 488,000. For the November quarter, Eller expects the company to ship 785,000 units."

The confusion between sell-in and sell-through continues.

In the piece above from Barron's Tech Trader Daily Blog, the terms SELL IN & SELL THROUGH are used interchangeably. Sell-in units are sales by Palm to those who sell to end-users (IE Best Buy/Sprint Stores/Radio Shack), Sell-through units are sales to end-users (IE You, Me, Shoppers, Corporations).

The 416,000 is a sell-THROUGH rate, the 700,000+ is a sell-in rate.

Palm sold-IN somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 LAST quarter ... they sold-through none at all.

Because of worldwide demand for the Apple iPhone - "sell through rates" for the iPhone at retailers are nearly neck and neck with Apple's "sell in rates".

This means there was still a glut of Pre's lying around at retailers.

When I went into a Sprint Store last month, the sales associate, in a dead store, in a busy area, hadn't seen but about 3 sales a week.

I see an iPhone at least 3 times a day and I take notice of just about everyone's phone nowadays and usually even discuss their phone with them if we have more than 10 seconds together ... agree with John Gruber of Daring Fireball from yesterday ...

"Anecdotally, I haven’t seen a single Pre in use in real life."

The Pre isn't stoking demand for Sprint as much as anticipated.

The iPhone, even with the mass attack on AT&T service, is generating an enormous influx of users for AT&T.

T-Mobile Raised Rates on 09/01/09 / Use This As A Reason To Switch Without An Early Termination Fee To AT&T/ Use savings to get an iPhone

T-Mobile Raises Rates


As reported by The Consumerist:

T-mobile [raised] overage rates September 1st.

Customers can use it to cancel without early termination fee.

For single line plans under $59.99 and pooling plans under $89.99, overage rates increase to $.45. All other single and pooling plans increase to $.40. The rate increase amounts to what is known as a "materially adverse change of contract," which, under standard contract law, voids the original agreement, making it so customers can leave their cellphone contract without the usual early termination penalty.

... they may say things to you like, "you have to have had overage charges recently for the change to affect you". Or,"that based on your plan history, the change won't effect you." That's not how materially adverse changes work. It's if it could effect you.

If you need it, here is the relevant paragraph from the T-mobile contract to read:

Changes to the Agreement or Charges. EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT PROHIBITED BY LAW, IF WE: (A)INCREASE THE CHARGES INCLUDED IN YOUR MONTHLY RECURRING ACCESS RATE PLAN, OR (B) MODIFY A MATERIAL TERM OF OUR AGREEMENT WITH YOU AND THE MODIFICATION WOULD BE MATERIALLY ADVERSE TO YOU, WE WILL NOTIFY YOU OF THE INCREASE OR MODIFICATION AND YOU CAN CANCEL THAT SERVICE WITHOUT PAYING A CANCELLATION FEE (WHICH IS YOUR ONLY REMEDY) BY FOLLOWING THE CANCELLATION INSTRUCTIONS IN THE NOTICE. IF YOU DO NOT CANCEL YOUR SERVICE BY FOLLOWING THOSE INSTRUCTIONS, OR YOU OTHERWISE ACCEPT THE CHANGE, THEN YOU AGREE TO THE INCREASE OR MODIFICATION, EVEN IF YOU PAID FOR SERVICE IN ADVANCE. IF THE NOTICE DOES NOT SAY HOW LONG YOU HAVE TO CANCEL, THEN IT IS WITHIN 14 DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF THE NOTICE, UNLESS A LONGER PERIOD IS REQUIRED BY LAW. EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT PROHIBITED BY LAW, CHARGES FOR PRODUCTS, SERVICES, OPTIONAL SERVICES, OR ANY OTHER CHARGES THAT ARE NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR MONTHLY RECURRING ACCESS RATE PLAN (SUCH AS DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE, ROAMING, DOWNLOADS, AND THIRD-PARTY CONTENT) ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE, AND IF YOU CONTINUE TO USE THOSE SERVICES, OR YOU OTHERWISE AGREE TO THE CHANGES, THEN YOU AGREE TO THE NEW CHARGES. VISIT OUR WEB SITE, RETAIL LOCATIONS, OR CALL CUSTOMER CARE FOR CURRENT CHARGES.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

eBay Sells Skype For Loss/Strategy Of Shareholders The Same

In yet another eBay management blunder:




GigaOm's Om Malik:


Om Malik on the news that eBay is selling Skype for a loss:


... eBay paid billions for Skype but didn’t get the crown jewels, a.k.a. the technology. I reported this oversight back in 2005. How then-CEO Meg Whitman signed off on the deal, I still can’t understand. I mean, even a lemonade stand owner who can’t tie his shoelaces wouldn’t overlook something as simple as that. And what about the eBay executives who were shepherding that deal?


Meg Whitman abandoned eBay just as things were about to get bad ... really bad.


eBay, as a friendly online yard sale, is long gone. It's turned into a place where sellers from Hong Kong can fence things through customs without paying duties and a place where hoardes of buyers armed with ruining your business without recourse or complication congregate.


It's obvious that eBay has been making bad decisions for 5+ years. This is one of many things to come.


See where eBay bought and sold another unrelated to its core business called "StumbleUpon" here:




I stay on ebay in limited capacity because it's easy for me to advertise and link to and gives the apprearance of a reputation that I cannot show to the world in any other economical way.