Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fanboy Horoscopes for October

Well, there's no news. Even FSJ doesn't have anything going on. It's as good a time as any to cover the Asstrological forecast for the coming month.


This is the month to outfit the downstairs bathroom with an Apple TV, an Airport Express, and that charging station from Pottery Barn. This is not the month to pinch that zit on your forehead in a weekly sales meeting.


Sure, you'd like to run Quicken and Eve Online on your iPhone. We all would. It just isn't time yet. Watch for a sign from Sagittarius; she's in the road crew; it says, "Slow." Do something about your hair.


It's time to give up on bringing the Olympics to Sandusky. The police know all about the bowling ball and the German Shepherd. Also, Leopard will not run on your Newton. Ever.


She isn't coming back, man. Give up. On the bright side, with the extra money you'll have, you can replace the monitor she emptied a clip of nine-millimeter rounds into. In October, call a plumber about the leaky faucet in the kitchen.


You have the coolest computer on the whole block, the nicest desktop picture anyone has ever seen, and the best music selection in iTunes imaginable, and oh WOW, that visualizer you set up is gnarly. Okay? Now will you shut the fuck up?


You have no friends; no social life. You're as dull as dirt. Nobody ever talks to you, anymore. If you'd ever look up from Bookworm Deluxe for five minutes you'd already know that.


If today is your birthday, well la-de-da. In October many Libras will bitch about getting another year older, not getting their whole $200 back on the iPhone they bought too early, and that the dogdamn thing is bricked because they put their T-Mobile SIM in it. Waa.


Oh, stop screaming. Feckin' hell that's annoying. If you really can't live without a Why Don't We Do It in the Road ringtone, go buy some shareware. Also, in October you should start trying to date members of your own species. Because, damn.


You have a booger showing.


No, he wasn't. Get over it. He was more likely a Taurus or a Gemini; maybe Aries. Your lime-green clamshell isn't going to run Leopard. If it does it'll be slower than Paris Hilton doing integral calculus. It's time to upgrade. Take a shower.


Having a dozen 1-900 numbers in your favorites is weird, but it isn't even in the broad spectrum of normal to have one listed as ICE. That's wrong. In October, you will not be watching the Mariners play baseball, creating an ideal opportunity to do that annual cleaning under your fingernails.


October is a good month to forgive old grievances. Move on. Put down the pistol and release the hostages. Honestly, it was only two-hundred bucks. Get over it.

Friday, September 28, 2007

It is to laugh....

TUAW, Wired, and Digg are the three best places to go for punchlines.

I can't decide if the original posts or the comments are more retarded. In each post there is either an absurd assertion or a commentard with less of a grip on reality than Britney, Paris, and Lindsay on a bender. Naked.

Warning: Anyone repeating any of the following on the internet will be called a zombie-cultist-fanboy by dumbasses.

One post today once again pilloried Apple over iPhone 1.1.1 and the lack of approved third party software. It was a Wired fart – linked on TUAW – that has a little table. The purpose of the table was to show that a hacked 1.0.2 is better than 1.1.1 in fourteen WAAAAAAAAYs. The only advantage of 1.1.1 is the iTunes app. Bozos.

When Apple issues an SDK, we'll have third party apps. I'll wait until Apple's ready. In the meantime, hackers are making use of system vulnerabilities to create these cute little apps. Is that how you want your phone enhanced? Via system vulnerabilities? Does that sound idiotic to anyone besides me? I mean, how frigging stupid are these people?

Try this:

Oh please, Mr. Thirdpartyhacker-Totalstranger, spread the legs of my Bluetooth enabled, global-position trackable storehouse of personal information and thrust into it with your hot throbbing malware. I want you, a total stranger to have access not just to my home address, but whether I'm there or not. Please. Take my credit card numbers. Better than that, take my whole database of personal information. I'll set my bluetooth enabled phone next to my computer often enough to make sure you get regular updates. Baby! More! Please!

You go first.

iPhones are not going to be secure when they're treated that roughly. Apple is pretty good at cybersecurity if you haven't noticed. I can count on one hand the number of reported pieces of malware in the wild for OS X – with four fingers and an opposable thumb left over for gripping a cold glass of IPA.

The notion of Macs being secure because not enough hackers are working on the problem is a tired old axiom that isn't just untrue. It's absurd. There are some clever hackers busily working the problem of cracking our beloved OS. Did everyone forget about the Month of Apple Bugs already? It produced nothing. NOTHING. OS X is secure because Apple works their asses off to keep is that way. To paraphrase GW, Apple has to be right 100% of the time; the hackers only have to guess right once. The same is true of the iPhone. With that in mind, if you think it's a good idea to just open the front door and invite the hackers in you're too stupid to be using advanced technology.

The EULA you agreed to when you activated your iPhone was your contract with Apple that you wouldn't hack their system. Apple warned you that you shouldn't let the hackers have access to the iPhone's innards a couple of times after that. Then Apple issued iPhone 1.1.1 to chase the bastards out. Lord knows His Steveness has tried to protect you. Apple's hands are clean.

If you want to bend over and invite a stranger in, well, go ahead. Don't blame Apple if it hurts.

Can you believe it? I'm out of Cheez Its again.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


There is some major news regarding the iPhone. Apple released an update for the software. Version 1.1.1 is out there. If you're one of the intrepid few who decided to hack your phone, well, you'll need to remember where you put that AT&T SIM.

Well, for all you hackers who just had to hack away your AT&T connection, think about this:

You bought an iPhone knowing that the deal included an AT&T account. Apple provided an EULA with the phone. You agreed to it when you turned it on. Then you decided, on your own, to break your part of the contract with Apple. Now you think, after you broke your part of the bargain, that Apple owes you software updates that don't break your hacks.

No, dumbshits. Apple just owes you software updates that don't break the software that is within the terms of the EULA, and which they provide to those of us who live within those terms. You broke your frigging phone, and your word; not Apple. Apple could, if they wanted to, write an update that detects hacked phones á la Microsoft and permanently disables them.

Quit your damned sniveling. Get a grip. Apple is not the bad guy in this scenario. I don't know how anyone can expect Apple to produce an upgrade that doesn't break a hacked phone. Is Apple supposed to assume responsibility for the compatibility of every piece of code hacked into one of their machines? That's just stupid.

If you're an experienced hacker, safe and snug in the knowledge that you can get away with it, well have fun. You're on your own, though. Apple owes you squat. Don't try to fool the rest of the world that you're a good guy trying to help them out. If you're putting your hacks on the web for Joe Orthopaedicsurgeon to naively and trustingly install, you're lying to him. You're telling him that Apple is the bad guy for having rules you don't like. You're telling him that the terms of the EULA don't really apply. You're not the good guy. You're an asshole perpetuating dishonesty.

Dammit. Now I'm hungry.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dear Dumb Asses

Hey! Sony-BMG! EMI! Universal! Warner! All of you frigging retards pay attention for a few minutes and I'll tell you – right here – how to take back that nasty old money from Apple.

Ready? Take good notes there'll be a quiz. If you flunk, you're outta here. Toast. You know – bankrupt.

1. Get together and do this as a team. As long as you guys keep trying to go it alone, you are – not to put too fine a point on it – fucked.

2. Agree on a price structure that makes sense. Not to you; to the people who you want to buy the music. It doesn't matter if it's cheaper or more expensive than Apple; it just has to make sense to the rank and file music purchaser. If you want to know how not to do pricing, go ask Microsoft about the success of that weird-ass system they have for the Zune.

3. Put everything (do you understand the concept of "everything?") up for sale all at once. Every album by every artist since Edison recorded farts; from Frank Sinatra to Frank and the Beans. If you have a recording of your dog barking, make an mp3 and sell it. If it's on an LP, EP, 78, 45, cassette, 8-Track, or reel-to-reel, get it in the digital music store. Sift through the lint in the back of your sock drawer. Don't leave anything out.

4. Hire some high dollar developers. Build a music store that's easy and intuitive to search and download from. Reduce the mouse clicks and keystrokes per transaction to the absolute minimum. Make the interface so easy that even you can operate it, like iTunes is.

5. Stop running around accusing everybody of being a thief. We all aren't pirating your precious soundtracks. In fact piracy is the habit of the minority of music downloaders. Most of us like believing we're honest. Apple gets that. Until you do, you just can't beat them. If you honestly believe we're all ripping you off, get therapy. You're dicked up pretty bad.

Those steps are not prioritized. Every one of them is critical. You'll have to accomplish all of them and do them all very well to stay in the game. Fail to accomplish any one, and the rest don't matter: Apple wins.

In case you're wondering the hit and miss selection on Amazon had better improve really quick. Right now the selection alone makes it a non-starter. They might sell some tracks on price, to people who care about price. They might sell to some people who really care about DRM.

The iTunes store locks me into an iPod if I use the iTunes store for my tracks. I have about 100 songs from the iTunes store, no big. 70-something percent of the mp3 players in use are iPods. So we don't really notice the restriction. The DRM is invisible to most of us. The price is pretty invisible to us. It's a buck or two a month on the Visa bill.

So what do you have left to try and offer? Massive selection, a comparable or better interface, and a pricing and DRM structure that is at least no worse.

Personally, I think you won't get #1 done before it's waaaaaaaay too late. And I don't think you have balls enough to put it all out there at once. Steve Jobs does. That's why he's kicking your weeny asses.

Somebody answer the phone.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Have Been to the Desert

Okay. I can report now. I have the Amazon music store open in another tab. I've been playing with it for a few minutes now. It's more like browsing Amazon than like using iTunes. That's a huge difference. The site is not as eye-pleasing as iTunes either. Clunky interface, by comparison. Very 1999.

It has albums ranging in price from under five to over nine bucks. I might buy a few albums at that price. Except that trying to find something I like amidst all the dross is a tough slog. There are big pictures of the albums with little hard-to-read type underneath on a vast page of bright white. That's hard work; very un-iTunes like.

I'll try searching for individual tracks. Hmm. They have some Eric Burdon and some Manfred Mann, but you can't sort by artist or album or song title, and there's a lot of other garbage in the mix. "Clapton" brings up over 300 entries, a lot of which are Eric Clapton, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Cream, Derek and the Dominoes, Blind Faith; then there are a bunch of tribute and karaoke things in the mix. It's all a random jumble. If you're looking for a song, you can type in a song; you get a bunch of versions of the song in the same random un-sortable order. It would be nice to sort the columns.

There are no Weird Al Yankovic albums. A bunch of karaoke crap and some album with the words "30 years before Weird Al Yankovic" in the title. No WAY. That's a showstopper.

I typed in "The Eagles." 2286 songs. In the first three pages I looked at, "The Eagles" do not show up under artist even one time. Just in case you think it's flukey, a search for "Stan Getz" produced 850 results and in every one of them the artist column included Stan Getz on six different pages. That's cool. I might go comparison shop some of that.

A search for Stevie Ray Vaughan produced a bluegrass tribute album and a couple of "in the style of" SRV karaoke tracks. So far I've done about a dozen searches. Stan Getz is the only success I've had. It looks like the record companies are pussy-footing their way into the game. That's a shame for them. The way they'll discover they don't belong on this playing field is that they will be carried off on a litter.

The Amazon music store combines the convenience of plodding through a huge web site with the visual aesthetic of a t-shirt catalog and a selection that will send you straight back to iTunes looking for a song.

This one is stillborn.

The pisser is that all the people who hope Amazon's music store will succeed are going to blame Apple's "monopolistic practices" for its demise. Nobody will figure out that the reason is that Apple is just doing what consumers want, the way consumers want it, and looking cool doing it, and the Amazon store is just a mediocre FTP site with album art.

I wonder if there's anymore ice cream.

Damn. Sorry All Around

Okay, that was fun. A little foray into politics can spice things up a bit, but let's get back to irresponsible babbling, shall we?

Amazon is getting into the online music store game. They want to take on Apple. Doesn't everybody? They're going to sell some songs cheaper than iTunes. All the songs will be DRM-free mp3s. They'll play on any mp3 player, including the iPod. Some of the songs will be 256 bps.

They're going to free the consumer from that oppressive lock-in Apple has with the iTunes store and the iPod.

People aren't buying iPods because the like the iTunes Store. They're using the iTunes Store because it's awesome and it works really well with their iPods. They're using iPods because iPods are cool. Every other mp3 player is a cheap alternative to the real thing. All the frigging price breaks in the world won't change that.

Apple makes things that just work. They also happen to look pretty groovy. The fit and finish is tight and smooth. Apple worries over little details like eliminating visible seams in product cases. Did you see the box the iPhone came in? It was a work of art. The box said, "You are about to hold something really classy in your hands." Steve Jobs, hence Apple, cares about meaningless bits of aesthetic trivia that other companies ignore.

Apple's obsession with details that other companies don't even consider is what makes Apple products the class of their genres. Steve Jobs brought the concept of proportional spacing and type ligatures to the computer screen. WYSIWYG started on the Mac, and it is still only available on the Mac. Nobody else has ever gotten it completely right. Have I mentioned today that Vista sucks. It's only loosely related, but I like to say it.

This is why Amazon's music store will ultimately fail to compete. They might make some money. They might even gain a little market share if they can differentiate their offering from iTunes in some meaningful positive way, but I don't like their chances.

These things may be positive, but are not meaningful to the iPod using majority:

  • Ten cents a song.
  • 256 bits per second.
  • No DRM.
These things may be meaningful, but are not positive for iPodders:
  • Launching another application to get songs.
  • Using a different (and less elegant) interface to download songs.
  • A reduced selection of songs resulting in multiple searches to find what I can already find in one place.
  • Fiddling with downloaded song files.
  • Not even half as cool.
All things considered, Amazon's new music service doesn't sound too promising. That is unless you're an Apple stockholder. In that case it sounds just wonderful; it will be one more illustration of how really superior Apple's user experience is. In turn the stock price will go up. Again.

While we're on that topic, Apple's stock hit $150/share today. One of these days maybe Rich Kaarlgard will admit that he bum doped everybody last December when he advised Apple stockholders to take their profits and run. I offered a bet right here, then, that Apple would get to $120. After Apple hit that mark, I offered the same bet that Apple would clear $150.

My guess is that Rich Kaarlgard has never read this blog. If he does, I'll extend the same bet for the coming year. One box of Henry Clay Brevas a la Conservas and a fifth of Laphroiag against your favorite scotch and cigars (or rough equivalent). I'm betting that Apple will hit $180 before the end of calendar 2008. In fact, I'll go one step further. I'm not going to sell a single share of Apple. Partly because the capital gains would be murder (my cost basis on the shares I own is practically zero), but mostly to make a point. No. Mostly because I love to look at those five digits under the line "Value."

I'm buying Ford, too. No particular reason except their stock is at rock bottom. If they don't go bankrupt, the stock almost has to go up. I've spent more on a dinner tab (once - Mom and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary) than the price of 100 shares, so why not?

Now if you'll excuse me, my favorite Carpenters song is playing.

Friday, September 21, 2007

You Say Potato, I Say Broccoli

I guess I need to clarify myself, somewhat. Here on Rip Ragged, conservative has a specific meaning. The meaning it may have had 20, 50, 90 or 160 years ago is of no moment here in the wonderful world of me. Likewise, the term liberal has a "Rip Ragged" definition. These are modern definitions. We don't have any "classical" in office or campaigning, just "modern."

Conservative voter: in favor of lower taxes, smaller government, a strong military, and equal rights for all minorities, including white heterosexual males between 18 and 50. Believes that we should bomb the shit out of the middle east. Secretly worries that the liberals may be right.

Conservative politician: Says what the conservative voter wants to hear. Votes for every pork-barrel boondoggle that comes to the floor of the legislature. Blathers about family values in public; in private has the morals of a goat. Tough talk on defense, record of being a total pussy. Claims to support reducing taxes. Right.

Liberal voter: in favor of giving everybody a flower and a hug. The poor and sick and needy must be attended to, and children mustn't be spanked, and animals should all be happy and snuggy-wuggy. Everybody should hold hands and sing Kumbaya. There would be no terrorists if we just give them a big old hug and tell them how much we love them and their "religion of peace." The government needs to make more laws to make sure everyone is happy.

Liberal politician: Dung heap.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Oh, Crap

I've been taken to task by Leigh.

It seems the Constitution may not support my jingoistic screed about illegal aliens. I just re-read it to check my facts. While I may be full of shit – this is my blog after all – it's the one place on the planet where I can be full of shit with impunity.

At any rate, I don't see anything in the Constitution that says laws can't be enforced.

The Constitution of the United States of America does indeed limit the powers of Government, but not below the threshold of enforcing the nation's borders against illegal immigration. Nor is the government restricted by the Constitution to not enforce laws because Paul Krugman has sand in his crack, or because Ellen Goodman is having a bad hair day.

If our immigration laws are wrong, we need to fix them. If they aren't being fairly applied, we need to address how they are applied. But until we do, we need to enforce the laws. If there are people in the country illegally, they need to find a way to align themselves with the laws of the State. Alternatively, they can get the hell out. If the government wants to grant limited amnesty, well, that's just a stupid way to set an ugly precedent.

As near as I know, the U.S. of A. has about the most open borders of any country on spaceship Earth. And we can't even enforce the liberal laws we have but the left wing reaches for their Vagisil®.

Legal scholars may want to argue about this, but it is clearly implicit to me in the Constitution that it is for the protection of the rights of "the People of the United States," not "everybody who's in the United States." "The People of the United States of America" says "citizens" to me.

The secret to fair trade is open borders? That sounds all snuggly wuggly, but it isn't real-world functional unless the borders are open both ways. Borders open in one direction only is the mechanism for a host-parasite relationship. If our neighbors want the benefits of open borders, they need to open their borders – not just insist we do. Try immigrating to Mexico and pulling the same shit we let them get away with here. You'll find yourself rotting in a jail cell.

I don't align myself with liberals or conservatives or even libertarians, although I'm most likely to agree with a roomful of the latter than the former two. And I sure as hell don't align myself with Pat Buchanan. He's a liberal big government fascist masquerading as a conservative. I don't like illegal aliens in the country because it's against the law, and our piss-ass bureaucracy doesn't have the cojones to enforce the law; our legislature lacks the brains and imagination to change the laws. We're becoming more and more a nation of too many unenforced (unenforceable?) laws.

Tax codes, speed limits, immigration, federal and state regulations that carry the force of law without the burden of legislation or the restriction of jurisprudence, the list goes on and on. Everybody in America is in danger of violating the law by simply not understanding the massive tax code. Never mind sending your toxic Ni-Cad batteries to the landfill – polluter.

Time for my medicine.

One more thing

Oh yes, one thing I forgot to mention.

We speak English, here in the United States of America. If you speak a foreign language, it's up to you to figure out how to communicate with us.

If that troubles you, tough shit.

Vote for me.

Major Revision

One thing I forgot to mention, as Baxtrice pointed out, is illegal immigration.

Illegal means: Against the law.

Alien means: Not from around here.

Illegal aliens are not citizens of the United States of America, and they are here in violation of our laws. The Constitution is written, and the Bill of Rights applies to, Citizens of the United States of America.

Illegal aliens have no rights granted by the Constitution. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Zune.

You're not entitled to a lawyer or a trial before your illegal peers; you'd better not be carrying a firearm. You don't get a vote. You can't have a driver's license. You don't get welfare, food stamps, or access to public schools and free hospital visits. You don't have the right to assemble, and if you're flying a foreign flag in one of your treasonous protests you're toast. If you want to burn an American flag, do it your own third-world backwards country, friend.

You do not have freedom of speech. If you don't like something here shut up about it. That's your best bet for staying invisible, and you damn sure need to stay invisible. As soon as you're visible you're going home.

There will be places on our borders that have checkpoints where you can show your visa, passport, or some other piece of paper that says you're making a legal entry. The rest of the border will have armed men who will shoot you dead if you try to sneak across. Comprende?

While we're on the subject of Mexico, let me just say this: You guys figure out what America's immigration laws should look like. Pass them in your country. Then come talk to me. In the meantime. STFU.

As president, I will insist that the law be enforced.

Get legal or get your sorry ass back to your homeland.

Any questions?

As a side note, shooting people who are in any way deliberately desecrating Old Glory will be a misdemeanor punishable by a $50 fine, refundable upon publication of a written apology to their families posted in the "Legals" section of the local newspaper.

Vista still sucks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thanks, Bill

Bill Maher has dissed the iPhone early adopters. Bill is a bitter, angry little man. It's too bad he isn't funny any more. I seem to recall he used to be funny. Then he just got to be a strident, harping, politically motivated jackass. I used to think that Dennis Miller was a lot funnier before he came out of the closet and announced his conservatism, too.

Is it just me, or does it seem like more and more celebrities announce their politics these days? Most of them announce they're liberal or democrats; some announce republican or conservative. Clint Eastwood called himself a small "L" libertarian in one interview I read recently. Then you have Susan Sarandon and Rosie O'Donnell – limousine liberals of the first water.

So, I've decided to personally join the political fray. I have useless opinions and meaningless beliefs that are every bit as insignificant as those of a movie actor or a failed standup comic.

Rip Ragged for President

Here's my platform:

Abortion: The Federal government should neither regulate nor fund abortions. States that fund abortions must do so with funds specifically approved by the voters for that purpose. Federal funds for other projects should be withheld as a dollar for dollar equivalent to state money from other sources spent on abortions.

A woman has a right to do whatever she wants with her body. She does not have a right to my money to do it.

Taxes: One flat income tax on everybody. If you earn money, you pay your taxes. The only tax deductions are for charity and a home mortgage. Donations to a church are 100% no-limit tax credits. That's where the poor and sick are going for meals, when the family can't handle it.

Welfare: Done. Gone. Toast. The Great Society failed. The government's job is to maintain the domestic tranquility and provide for the common defense. Feeding the poor and helping the old and sick is what we have churches to do.

Education: The federal government under Rip will get out of the Education racket altogether. All those unemployed bureaucrats will have to find real jobs. That will help reduce the tax burden on productive citizens. If parents want their kids to get a decent education, well, they'll just have to do something a little more proactive than pack a lunch and find the bus stop. Let's face it, the feds aren't doing the job worth a shit now. The per-child cost of education has gone up every year for the last fifty years, while the quality of education has gone steadily down the toilet. You want your kids to get educated, get off your ass and see to it.

Racial Profiling: It's the most efficient method out there for assessing a threat. If you're looking for a terrorist threat, your best bet is to look for men of Middle-Eastern descent between the ages of 18 and 40. With the exception of Timothy McVeigh, they've all fit that description. Statistically speaking, time spent patting down middle-aged white people at airport security is not going to accomplish much of value. The trade-off is that within 2-sigma on our bell curve, middle-aged white people tend to be terribly bland.

The War in Iraq: It's time to end it. In my inauguration speech I will explain that all terrorist activity in Iraq must cease immediately. By immediately, I will mean that fifteen minutes after the very next terrorist attack American warplanes will level Tehran and Damascus. After subsequent terrorist acts we will blow up their oil production, then their cities, then their suburbs.

Israel and Palestine: We will broker a peaceful solution. After that it will be wise to note that Israel is a U.S. ally. The next nation to attack Israel or sponsor an attack against them without violent provocation by the Israeli military will be eradicated. That was the negotiation. If you missed it, sorry.

North Korea: If you look at the land area of the country as compared to the yield of your more popular conventional ordnance, it just seems like less of a problem than all this hullaballoo would lead you to believe. Kim, STFU. Seriously.

As commander in chief, I will conduct as much diplomacy as possible before Americans, our allies, or our interests are attacked. After that, negotiations will be initiated by the leader(s) of the attacking country(ies). The two words that will begin peace negotiations will be "Unconditional" and "Surrender." Hostage negotiations? If you release them and I confirm it before the bombers get there, I might be able to call them off before they level your port city.

We're going to build an independent energy policy involving nuclear power, bio-fuels, solar, wind, geothermal, fat guys riding bicycles, and whatever else works. Screw global warming. I don't believe in it. There's no more hard science behind global warming than there is proving the existence of Santa Claus. We just need to get out of OPEC's checkout line.

We're going to stop paying farmers not to grow things.

I'll have every song ever recorded by The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Van Morrison, Tom Lehrer, and Ray Charles on my iPod. The oval office gets a Mac Pro with a 30" monitor.

The White House chef will know how to prepare a Ribeye steak exactly medium rare. It is served alone on a plate; on the side is salt, pepper, a sharp knife, a fork, and a 16 oz. glass of India Pale Ale.

The National Night-Cap will be Islay Scotch, neat.

Monday, September 17, 2007

So anyway....

It seems there's this guy who said that Apple is in trouble. They've missed their big chance to expand the market share of the Mac. Vista stumbled, and Apple failed to capitalize on the opportunity to fill the breach. Stross. That's his name. I'd go back and read it again to get my facts right, but it isn't worth it. Near as I recall, there's a business professor involved in all of this somewhere, too.

Anyway, according to this business professor, Apple is in deep feces. The only way they can save themselves is to start selling Macs at bazillions of retail outlets – Best Buy, Circuit City, Macy's, J.C. Penney's, Radio Shack, Lowe's, Piggly-Wiggly, Hallmark Shops, UPS Stores, Toys ʁ Us, and 7-11.

So Apple is in trouble here. They have a Market Capitalization of 120.4 billion United States dollars. They sell the four-letter answer to the crossword clue, "portable music player." All the posing you may have heard about the iPhone raising consciousness about smart-phones and benefitting all the handset makers is hogwash. The iPhone only benefits one handset maker: Apple. In a few hours, when Apple announces the European deal for the iPhone, the stock is headed straight up. I'm willing to bet the last beer in the fridge that when Apple releases fourth quarter numbers in a few weeks they have over 20% of the laptop market. Just about then, Leopard will hit the streets. When students at Gonzaga and Boston College and USC running Vista see their friends running Leopard they'll be screaming for Mom and Dad to buy them new MacBooks.

Then in just a couple of months all those Shuffles and Nanos will be stuffed into all those stockings.

Yeah, folks y'got trouble. With a capital "T;" That rhymes with "B;" And that stands for bullshit.

Microsoft and all of the other hardware and software companies are developing independent strategies for competing with Apple, but none of them can do anything about the pieces of the widget they don't build. Let's keep in mind that Vista is getting worse press than Windows '95 ever did. All the boxmakers can do to improve their products is shoehorn in the new Intel or AMD chips and hope like hell Vista will run okay on them.

No other company owns the whole widget. No other computer maker owns an operating system. No other handset maker owns the software upgrade pipeline. No other media player maker owns the bridge to content (unless you count ∅). There is no other phone built for a specific computer/OS combination. There is no other computer/OS combination tuned in to specific phone and media player. Apple has all of that.

Just between us kids, I'd trade my favorite pair of jeans and both cats to be in the kind of trouble Apple is in. (Okay. You caught me. I'd trade both cats for a root canal and an ingrown toenail. But my favorite pair of Levi's 550s is sacrosanct.)

I just love to read the gloom and doom guys. They're all such bozos.

Don't do that. It tickles.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Oops. Almost Forgot

Damn. I forgot to mention ringtones. Everybody is wailing about ringtones like there's some constitutional fecking right to annoy people with low fidelity noise just because you already paid for the song seven times (45, LP, cassette, 8-track, CD –twice, counting the soundtrack – and iTunes). Put on your headphones and enjoy it. Nobody else is nearly as interested in your favorite song as you think they should be.

It doesn't matter what you use. Your cacophonous ringtone is irritating someone unless you're in your car alone, in which case you shouldn't be talking on the phone anyway. Turn it off and drive.

Move on people. Go waste bandwidth bitching about the price of gas and the weather.

Weekend Snapshot

The weekend is upon us. I'm recovering nicely from my bout with the satan-stomping-on-my-head flu. In my free time I've been reading all kinds of junk all over the web.

Here are some things I've found out that you didn't even need to dust the crystal ball to see coming:

The iPod nano kicks ass. I mean, seriously. There were doubts? People have been bitching for months about Apple not updating the iPod, now they're all surprised that Apple updated the line up. Here's the part that has all the guys really wetting their BVDs: The new iPods are (wait for it...) different than the ones they're replacing. Pretty scary if you think about it.

There are software unlocks for the iPhone. Apparently lots of them. The new firmware Apple should be introducing soon might or might not break the unlocks. With all the whining and crying going on you'd think the Messiah was on the web tossing souls into the lake of fire. Boys and girls, listen, please. The iPhone/AT&T thing is a package deal. It's just how the thing frigging works. If you don't want the deal, buy a feckin' Razr. If you want to noodle around with the guts of the iPhone be prepared to have the machine, the software, Apple, and AT&T crap all over your user experience.

There are still some people sniveling about the price of the iPhone coming down.

Waaah. It was only five weeks. Sniff. Oh, I just get angrier and angrier every time I think of it. Snuffle. The $100 rebate is only half of the money they owe me back. Blubber. And I can't even buy iTunes music with it. Sob.
We all feel your pain. Really. But if this is causing you ongoing discomfort seek therapy. Your problem is entirely located between your ears. You are not injured. You could afford $599 for a phone. You didn't buy it because you liked the price, you bought it because it was cool. It's still cool. You are an early adopter. There's a price for that. You paid it. Things are tough all over. Shut. Up.

Apple is (maybe, possibly, we think, according to someone who knows a guy who talked to somebody else whose cousin's best friend hangs out with a blogger who runs an Apple rumor site) going to announce something about the iPhone in England. Nobody has concrete information or company announcements. The lack of facts did not discourage reporting, opinions, rumors, or flame-wars about reporting, opinions, and rumors.

Microsoft went into peoples' computers and updated Windows without asking their permission. They apologized. Excuse me for being cranky, but if I was a Windows user, I think I'd like a little more than a pat on the hand and a kind word after having my privacy invaded that bluntly. If Apple had done that, Steve Jobs would be staked in the desert naked on an anthill. The Borg gets away with, "Oops. Sorry."

Microsoft's customers are willing to put up with shit like that. If they aren't, they have options. So go ahead and pick on your friends who own Windows boxes. They're into that.

Well, that's enough for now. I think I'll go kick a cat.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I believe we have a quorum. Everyone seems to agree that the new meme for zero should be "zune." I propose the the symbol "∅" be pronounced "zoon," henceforth.

I further propose that from this moment forward the word, "vista" should be pronounced TERD-ber-ger. It may also be pronounced shit-SAND-wich.

I'm writing the blog entry early today because I took the day off from work sick. I feel like a vista.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lessons Learned

Boyoboy. Apple sure is taking an ass-whipping in the press the last few days. Just reading all over the internet can only lead you to one conclusion: Steve Jobs is an imbecile studying hard to pass his moron test to he can graduate from idiot school.

Also, if you're one of the mentally deficient worms who is still hanging on to Apple stock you need to wake up and smell the Starbucks. Get a grip.

As near as I can tell, His Steveness is a buffoon because......

Apple just sold in the ballpark of 100,000 iPhones a week for the last ten weeks. It was a brand new product at the end of June. Now they've sold a million of them. Dumb ass.

They just dropped the price on them. You can get one for $399. Feckin' Hell. That was stupid. Now everybody will want one.

iPods are still selling by the boxcar load. Loser.

The market share for Macs is growing three times faster than the rest of the computer industry. No kidding. This guy is certifiable.

Macintosh OS X is the standard against which operating systems are measured. You see where I'm going with this. Jobs is just an incompetent putz.

There is still no malware for the Mac in the wild. Remember the Month of Apple Bugs in January? It produced exactly zip point zune. What kind of a computer manufacturer allows shit like that to happen?

So. Yeah. Go read another frigging analyst. Personally, the only reason I'm not buying more stock in Apple is because I'm busy spending my disposable income on more Apple toys.

Over at The Street there's a guy named Scott Moritz. He's one of those guys who feels qualified to criticize El Jobso. Anybody who is qualified to criticize Steve Jobs has better things to do with the time. Conversely, those who don't have anything better to do with the time, criticize billionaires. That tells you all you need to know about the value of their opinions.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Dateline Cupertino

Apple sold its millionth iPhone today. Last week Apple announced new iPods (which everyone knew they would). The new iPod nano is significantly different from the last iPod nano (surprise!). Apple discontinued production of the 4GB iPhone and reduced the price of the 8GB iPhone by $200. Leopard hasn't been released yet. Apple did not announce upgrades to the Macintosh line of computers last week, so clearly they are abandoning their flagship computer. Apple may be considering bidding on the 700 MHz frequency band and an Underdog lunchbox with the original Thermos® bottle. The shuffle is now available in harvest gold and avocado so it will go nicely in a '70s retro kitchen. Berkshire-Hathaway has never paid dividends. Steve Jobs announced today that he is considering the ranch dressing and a few extra croutons. Apple's stock rose $4.94 on the news.

I have to go rehearse. Aaargh!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Stupid People

Well, the foolishness has carried all the way to the weekend. The big Apple selloff continued all day today.

Apple just introduced a whole slew of redesigned iPods, and the fundtards are running scared because the price on the iPhone went down. Dumb asses. Apple is about to consume the entire tech planet. It no longer matters that Apple's stuff is technologically superior.

Dan "fakesteve" Lyons has a thing in Forbes where he says that MediaCenter is superior to Front Row. He might be right. Who gives a shit? In order to run it, you have to use Windows. Let's say Microsoft made the best lasagna in the world, better than Apple's even. Apple serves their second rate pasta in the dining room (OS X). Microsoft serves their delicious lasagna in (Windows) the second stall of the men's room in an all-night diner. At least there's a whole fresh roll of napkins.

Front Row will do fine for me.

Apple's going to announce earnings for this quarter in a few weeks. I am seriously pissed that I don't have cash to buy a few more shares right now.

A few more notes on the iPhone:

My daughter has one. Her boyfriend has one. I have to get one for wifey-poo soon.

Arthur C. Clarke once observed that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Well, the iPhone isn't quite all magic. I've been in the front row at a David Copperfield show. That's magic, and it's cool. The iPhone is just technology. Wait. I don't know how they do that touch screen thing any more than I know how Copperfield makes the license plate appear in the box.

Okay. It's magic.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think there are a few more Pringles in the kitchen.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Brief iPhone Review and Some Other Stuff

First of all: The iPhone rocks. It isn't perfect, but it rocks.

The battery life is acceptable. It lasts all day if you use it all day, then you have to plug it in. It's okay. I work about the same way.

Yesterday I spent the entire day on airplanes between Boston and the Tri-Cities, playing with the iPhone as much as I could. Listening to tunes, downloading email on WiFi, watching YouTube. As soon as I got home, it needed to be plugged in. I needed to fall down. It worked out okay.

This morning at six a.m. I turned it on and carried it through a boring work day. I kept up with my wife and daughter, rumors of impending disaster, and a letter from His Steveness patting us all on the hand saying it's okay. He won't let the big bad bogeyman get you. Then I fumbled through my daughter's nineteenth birthday party, dinner, and a two-hour choreography rehearsal for Peter Pan. I'm a pirate. Shut up. Now the iPhone is plugged in, synced up, and charging. I'm going to bed soon. The iPhone has kept up with me for another day.

As for features, well, it does just what it does on TV. It does everything I reasonably expect it to do. It times eggs and prime rib roasts. It finds useless things to noodle around on. It tracks stock prices. All that crap. It does it all very well.

It doesn't walk the dog, clean the toilet, or take out the trash. I can't use it to buy pop at a vending machine. It provides no protection against sexually transmitted diseases. It requires additional help to form the necessary incline for use as a doorstop, and it's too light to be a paperweight near an open window on a breezy day. It cannot play the Minute Waltz in fifty-two seconds.

Alright? It isn't the be all and end all. It's a very functional communication device, and a slick toy.


Steve Jobs just announced the iPhone price reduction yesterday. I haven't heard so much keening and wailing and gnashing of teeth in my whole life. Damn. I can only assume that all the whiners are a bunch of tech-noobs.

Let me explain.

Early adopters pay for Research and Development. If you buy a brand new piece of technology you are paying for others to get better technology cheaper later on. If you're not a noob, you know that.

As an early adopter, you are PART of the Research and Development. Your comments complaints will help the company build the next version. As an early adopter, you will get the beta version of the product at a higher price than the mature versions will cost.

This is an immutable law of computer technology. The iPhone is from Apple. Therefore it is computer technology. All but the rawest of tech rookies should understand that this is just the way it is.

If you don't want to pay a premium to be the first kid on your block to have the coolest new toy – only to watch the neighbor kid get it next year cheaper and with more features – don't be an early adopter. The people who are whining either don't know this rule, or they think they're special.

I bought my iPhone recently enough that I was able to get $200 back. I would not have been pissed off if I couldn't have. If I didn't think it was worth the money, I wouldn't have paid it. I agreed to the price I paid. If somebody else gets it cheaper, well good for them. I made a bargain. Nobody owes me anything if they change the deal. On the other hand, there's no sense in turning your back on $200 if Apple is willing to refund it. That's just good business.

The price drop on the iPhone was early, sudden, and huge. No doubt. But if you agreed to the price and bought it, shut up. That is how commerce, particularly in the digital world, works. All that whimpering about how Apple fucked you is noise.

If you want to be the first guy at the office with the coolest toy:

  1. You will pay a lot for it.
  2. Somebody else will have a cooler one soon.
  3. They will pay less money for it.
  4. They will wag it in your face and taunt you like a bully on the playground. Just like you did when you brought in your cool toy.
  5. You will have to buy the next expensive cool toy to restart the process.
I like having all the other boring old men in the office jealous of my toys. It makes me feel (ever so briefly) like a somewhat less boring old man. I spent that first week wagging my iPhone in everybodies' faces.

  1. Neener.
  2. Neener.
  3. Neener.
Time to let the cat out.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ack. Thpt.

I'm taking a moment to use my good friend Bob's HP to type a quick note. doing this blog from a PC just feels wrong.

I've discovered that I cannot blog from my iPhone. I mean, I probably could, but it's difficult to type on that little keyboard sober. It's my birthday, so sober is hardly an option. I'm reasonably sure I could not even produce my normal low quality of gobbledy-gook with the iPhone within the confines of the battery life. Not after several glasses of locally brewed IPA, anyway.

On the other hand, I am finding it more and more difficult to remember what life was like before my iPhone. I'll catalog it's pluses and minuses in a few days, but I can tell you right now - after only using it for a week - it's worth the money. It lives up to the hype. I don't do text messaging. Never have, so I won't miss that part anyway. The thing does everything just like on TV.

I've noticed that it generates a fair amount of heat. Although I don't think you can substitute it for a can of Sterno under a chafing dish. It gets warm in my pocket, but not uncomfortably warm. Okay. That's enough.

Homemade meatballs, homemade pasta, and marinara made from home grown tomatoes for dinner. Happy birthday to me....

Ooops. Beer's empty.