Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Early Post

If you take a few minutes out of your busy schedule, you can go read ComputerWorld, and PC Magazine online. I did. The August research quota is officially exhausted.

The interesting thing about reading them is that the columnists are starting to sound less and less like Microsoft apologists, and more and more like jilted lovers. All these years of singing the Microsoft company fight song; all the promises of a better day coming; all the endless months of waiting for a technological breakthrough have come to what? Vista? Windows Genuine Advantage? Fecking ZUNE?

The PC guys are switching to Macs, Linux, anything but Vista. And these are the old-school defenders of the flag. They're beginning to notice that Microsoft's top brass wouldn't look up from a fresh dog turd on the lawn to address the preferences of Joe Consumer. They've discovered that WGA is one of Microsoft's ways of saying,"We don't trust a one of you thieving bastards. Do you think anybody in Redmond gives one half a shit whether you personally live or die? No sir. You unshowered grunts will buy our software because it's our software and because we say, 'That's what you get.' "

The Linux freetards still hate Apple too, but they bitch that Apple isn't much better than Microsoft. That's telling. They aren't saying Apple isn't any better than Microsoft; just not much better. The school of thought championed by the hygienically handicapped hirsute hacker is drifting in a Macintosh direction.

On a totally related note: I now own an iPhone. 4Gb.

If you haven't got one yet, I'm completely sympathetic. I don't want to seem like a poor sport or anything, but....

Neener. Neener. Neener.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Test

For the last few months, everybody in the tech press has been all stirred up about all the companies that are trying to compete with Apple.

It's kind of interesting to look at the companies that are on that list. On the hardware side is Dell, HP, Sony, Toshiba, Gateway, Acer, Nokia, Motorola, TiVo, Creative, to name but a few.

For software there's Microsoft, Linux, Adobe (sort of), all the browsers.

In the realm of online media sales, there are a host of companies vying to compete with iTunes, including Wal-Mart, MTV/Real, Yahoo, Amazon, Napster.

Now here's the test. Which other company competes in two categories? Which company competes in all three?

Each one of those companies competes with one aspect of Apple's ecosystem. No one company competes with more than one aspect, much less the entire system. Plus, each of those companies is in competition with the other companies on the same list. The Windows-machine builders are all in competition with one another. The only things they really have to differentiate their computers is price and service. They get potluck for an Operating System – whatever Microsoft is selling or the best Linux build they can find.

Each new product Apple builds is designed to work well without the ecosystem of a Mac, and better with the whole system surrounding it. Each new product Apple builds is – from the ground up – a fully integrated piece of a Macintosh system. That means the OS gets tweaked to support the new gadget, too.

The wireless phone guys are at the software companies' mercy for that, too. They can't innovate too far ahead of someone else's software.

Here's a football analogy for you: Think of Apple's technology as a football team. The Mac is the quarterback; the OS is the offensive line; the iPhone and AppleTV are the receivers; the applications form the backfield and defense. Every time one part of the team changes, every other part of the team adjusts as needed.

There are other players on the field, to be sure. Is there another team? Nope. All the other guys want to play quarterback. Everybody else wants to take the snap and throw that touchdown pass, but there's nobody willing to block or go long.

Tell me if you will, in the comments, how Apple can lose this game.

I'll bet a freshly prepared pan of Jiffy-Pop Apple is the biggest computer company – in sales, revenue, profit, market cap, and Employee of the month parking spaces – by the end of 2008.

Oops. It's a school night.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dammit.

I forgot to mention Verizon, didn't I.

Verizon is involved in the whole iTunes/iPod/iPhone sand-in-the-vaseline thing.

I hope that doesn't upset anyone.

Another round over here, please.

Sorry, all.

I just couldn't get here to post for a few days. Sorry all around.

I was just reading that Apple's market share for everything just keeps going up.

Additionally, every company on the planet with access to a server is going to try to compete with iTunes. MTV, RealMedia, Floyd's All-Night Laundromat and Motorcycle Repair, Piggly Wiggly, Lowes, The Golf Channel, Pottery Barn, Duke Power, IKEA, Spiegel, Exxon-Mobil, Hammacher Schlemmer, Amy's Hallmark Shop in Fargo North Dakota, and Wal-Mart are going to duke it out with iTunes.

The interesting part of the whole thing is that not a single one of them can get a press release out the door without including "iTunes," "iPod," or "Apple" somewhere in the text. They're doing Apple's marketing for free.

All over the world, literally dozens of people are saying, "Ohboyohboyohboyohboy! I can finally download stuff to put on my Creative Zen."

How much money are how many companies going to have to throw down the toilet before they figure out the blatantly obvious. The Motley Fool doesn't get it. The Fool warned against over-confidence on the part of Apple investors. These guys are gonna take a bite of Apple's market share, they warned.

How?

Feckin' Hell, Kids, it ain't gonna happen.

Not many people download a lot of music from the iTunes store. Most folks load up their iPods and music libraries from their CD collections. If all these companies sell mp3s without DRM, the music will work on iPods, no? Apple only sells billions of songs because there are a lot of people with the iTunes store on their computers.

Apple makes money because people buy iPods. Lots and frigging lots of iPods. Not Zens and Zunes, boys and girls – iPods. Apple won't miss the few customers who download from Wal-Mart's most recent attempt to conquer the internet.

Apple can only lose in this scenario if two things happen:

1. Somebody builds something as cool as iTunes that fuels the sale of a player as cool as iPod.

2. Apple stops innovating.

It's more likely that Mike Vick will play in the next Pro Bowl and get an endorsement from the American Kennel Club. I don't think I'll sell any shares.

Not to mention the iPhone is still out there making the mobile phone industry feel something akin to reaching for the K-Y and getting Ben-Gay by mistake.

Popcorn's ready.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sports Analogies Run Amok

I was just jumping through links over at Daring Fireball. I like reading Mr. Gruber's take on things. I don't get too excited when he talks nerdy, but his opinion pieces are interesting. I rarely find myself disagreeing with him because he knows the nerdy things about computers that frankly baffle me.

So anyway I clicked a link on his page to something about journalists. I think they were beating up some guy for being a tech journalist who doesn't know his ASCII from a Helvetica.

The premise of the whole thing is that a journalist who writes about a given topic should be just as knowledgeable on that topic as we expect a baseball writer to be.

I didn't really figure out John's take on it. This is partly because he didn't explicitly state his position. Also, if I knew his take on it, I might be arguing with him. I'd hate to do that because frankly I don't know what the hell I'm talking about which would make it easy for him to make me look like an idiot. If he and I worked together on it, making me look like an idiot would be pretty easy.

So, at the risk of demonstrating my own full-of-shitness on the whole thing: Who gives a rat's ass?

Tech journalists are a mixed bag. The real, honest-to-goodness, unbiased journalist is largely a myth. They're people. They are likely to be biased for any number of reasons; some honest personal preferences, some paid opinions, and somewhere in between.

Now to say that they need to be knowledgeable enough about computers to outstrip the expectations we have of the average sportswriter is setting the bar fairly low. If you can't get an honest job, have no aptitude for politics, and can't even report the weather on EyeWitness News, you have to become a sportswriter. The only remaining alternative is a cardboard sign and a bottle of Thunderbird in a paper bag.

I'm all in favor of the current system. Knowledgeable journalists might be able to make up better lies than the ones we currently deal with. Idiots say idiotic things. George Ou and Rob Enderle have popped into my head for no apparent reason, here.

These guys are Windoze apologists. They believe that Windows Media Player is just as good as iTunes. They believe Vista is just a better operating system than Tiger. It is impossible for them to make anything up that's dumber than what they believe.

I would prefer my tech journalists to remain at their current levels of knowledge. It's pretty easy to separate the wheat from the chaff. There's a lot more of the latter out there.

I would like to note here, for anyone who might accidentally end up reading this, that no actual journalism takes place on this blog. Even though I've been using Macs for twenty years, and logged on to Compuserve with Red Ryder, I don't know any more than I need for making fun of people who disagree with my ill-formed opinions.

My opinions, briefly:

Vista sucks.

Zune is crap.

Macintosh OS X is the only platform worth talking about at any length.

The only reason to EVER run Windows is that there are a few games out there that require it.

Steve Ballmer makes me nervous.

I want an iPhone.
Serious research and analysis is hard work. I already have a job to fill that need in my life. If my day job leaves me with enough energy for anything, I have a wife to catch the overflow – which generally takes the form of moving the trash out of the house and mowing our dandelion crop.

Fortunately, we have John Gruber and the Macalope to handle analysis, which I can liberally and leisurely steal for my own inane rants.

Thank you.

If I was a muppet, I think I'd like to be Oscar.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Buy More Apple

Really. I'm serious. I know things that most people don't know.

The atomic number of Uranium is 92.

The Capital of Oregon is Salem.

43 is a prime number.

Deglazing is the use of meat sediments in a pan to make a gravy or sauce.

It takes 10 gallons of fermented corn to make a gallon of moonshine.

The average rainfall in the Amazon Basin is 80 inches (about two meters) per year.


So, when I say you should buy more shares of Apple, I'm not just talking, dammit. I'm typing, too.

Here's something else to keep in mind: The most common fiber used in carpet is nylon.

These are all better reasons to buy Apple than any of the reasons (0) that I've found for the big sell-off yesterday.

Now, if you'll all excuse me, I'm going to see if I can beat my old Bookworm score.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The End Of The World (as we know it)

Apple's stock price went down today.

I'm so depressed. I'm on my third 25 oz. bottle of Perrier. So excuse me if I'm a bit incoherent. Dammit.

I've been all over the web trying to find out why. WHY?

In other news, Steve Jobs just bought a bunch of Apple shares at the same price I paid for mine – a little over $5 a share. I'd say that was a pretty good deal. I bought in when they named His Steveness CEO. Me and Steve are doing okay on this thing. You go, Steve.

Steve gets computers. He invented the "for the rest of us" thing. Steve J. and Steve W. conceived the Personal Computer for Joe Doughnutshopowner. The rest of the world thought the Steves were completely full of shit in 1976.

It's interesting to read Fake Steve Jobs telling people to "siooma" (suck it out of my ass). RSJ has had to be "with that" from day one. People have been telling him he was stupid and arrogant the whole time. It still hasn't stopped.

So, in light of the fact that Steve has bought some shares, I think it's a good time for all of us to jump on the fact that a bunch of fund managers have shown themselves once again to be short-sighted and ignorant. Buy a few. I am. You'll be glad you did.

A casual search of the web shows two hits for "Vista is the greatest operating system ever." One from Microsoft, the other a satire.

The cat just went upstairs. Yes. The rest of the shrimp is mine.

Guest Lecturer

Everyone please take your seats and shut the hell up. I don't want to miss happy hour just because you have a blond joke you haven't told enough times yet.

Leigh McMullen (at least I'm guesssing that's where the capital letters go) is a regular poster in these parts and has some information you need.

Sorry, Leigh, I just couldn't leave this in comments.

HEY!!! Shut your yap back there.....

Leigh.....

On the subject of “Arrogant & Stupid” and answering the question of “Why Doesn’t Apple market OS X separately from their hardware?”

Okay kids, we’re delving into what I actually do for a living (Business Strategy) so if I lose you, scroll back up and read my lips more carefully.

Lets talk a little about Microsoft vs. Apple. And to frame our conversation let's just stick to the facts, shall we.

As of this writing, Microsoft has a Market Cap of: 262.89B. Big company. We knew that right. But seriously, a quarter of a trillion dollars; that's massive. It’s like bigger than Argentina.

Now the surprising part is that Apple’s market cap is: 99.00B. That's still pretty damn big – and bigger than you’d expect it to be since they’ve only got like 15% of the market, and MS has 85% and yet Apple is about 38% the size of MS from a capitalization perspective.

This story gets better, trust me. Microsoft’s REVENUE (thats actual dollars they made) is 51.12B, while Apple’s is: 22.63B. Thats just under HALF.

Say it with me… Apple is just about HALF the size in revenue as Microsoft. They’re not some little fifteen percent… but are actually about HALF the size of the big bad borg.

So how the heck is that possible? We all thought Microsoft was this big-assed-behemoth threatening to squish our favorite little company when in reality, at the rate with which Apple is growing (avg. about 30% a year over the past 3 years) Apple will surpass Microsoft in revenue in about 5 years.

Apple has already done it to Dell; they’re on track to do it to Microsoft. So lets think about what part of this business strategy isn’t working?

Got anything? Me either.

Now, hypothetically, what would happen if Apple were to license OS X to run on other platforms (and believe me, as a consumer I wish they would, but as a shareholder I’m glad they don’t).

They’d DILUTE the value of the asset.

You see OS X, Final Cut, iWork, iLife, Aperture, Logic Pro, etc… all these products exist for one purpose only, TO DRIVE HARDWARE SALES. And thats the secret behind the revenue. When we look at Gross Profit, Microsoft is like 40 billion, Apple is just 5 billion (which when we think of the two companies is more what we’d expect, that MSFT is like 8 times bigger than Apple from a profit perspective).

WHY?

(Read my lips here; I don’t want you to miss it)

Apple is a H-A-R-D-W-A-R-E company.

And revenues on Hardware are much larger than on software, the margins on hardware are lower. If it helps you think of it in an apples to apples perspective (no pun intended), Microsoft charges you 200 bucks for Vista… Apple charges you 2500 for a copy of OSX and throws in a computer.

But that doesn’t answer the question of why not license OS X? It would help drive profitability, right?

Yeah, but it would cut hardware sales, and take a big bite out of revenue. Which we don’t like. And even though the profitability numbers look attractive there is one more statistic I want to throw at you, to answer the Arrogant and Stupid question:

Earnings Per Share:

Microsoft: $1.42



Wait for it….

Apple: $3.54

*That’s* what I’m talking about. Steve’s only job at that company is to DRIVE SHAREHOLDER VALUE. and from that perspective he’s doing better than TWICE as well as our friends up in Redmond.

So Arrogant, maybe… Stupid, hardly.



Thank you, Leigh. The first pitcher is on me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Arrogant and Stupid

Once upon a time there was a place called Apple Matters.com with a muddleheaded dimwit blogger named Hadley Stern. Even though Hadley was a fourth rate hack, he just knew that he was smarter than Steve Jobs who founded a company called Apple with a market cap bigger than General Motors and Ford combined.

As fools will do, Hadley called Steve Jobs's company, and by association Steve Jobs himself arrogant and stupid. This because Steve Jobs built a phone so incredibly cool that all the developers in the world want to be able to access its kernel and fuck it up as bad as WinCE, and Apple won't let them.

Also, as fools often do, Hadley numbered his reasons.

1. It alienates developers.

Hadley explains this by likening developers to the gods of ancient myths. Then he goes on to mention how much better the iPhone would be with "Transmit, Now-Up-To-Date, and the office suite. I'm satisfied with my ability to get by with a phone that doesn't have an FTP server installed. All of us Mac fanboys know that Apple would like to see the Office suite cast into the fiery pits of Cleveland.

He calls that "Stupid reason number one." I agree.

2. Coverflow.

Apple didn't invent this Application. It bought the company that developed it. Therefore Apple is arrogant.

No, Hadley, Apple is a corporation – a BIG corporation. When someone wants something, and can afford to purchase it, that is called business. It isn't arrogant, any more than it is arrogant for you to buy breakfast at Waffle House when you're hungry.

3. It's like Verizon and people hate Verizon.

Because Verizon has a business model, and Apple has a business model, and those two business models have similarities. Apple is Verizon. It makes perfect sense to anyone who thinks that having the same number of arms, legs, ears, and butt-cheeks as Paris Hilton makes you a brain-dead bimbo.

Hadley promised seven reasons and ran out of ties to reality before he finished number two.

4. Niche markets and use-cases are lost.

Hadley makes the case that Apple is ignoring corporate America, and losing all kinds of money because of it. Then he claims he's concerned as a shareholder.

Hadley, if you grab your left ear with your right hand, then grab your right ear with your left hand, and keep a good grip – you can pull your head out of your ass and see that Apple stock is kicking ass for the last 10 years.

The lack of a corporate presence doesn't seem to be causing much of a problem.

Dork.

5. No one else will come along and do it.
(Whatever the hell that means.)

Hadley says, "Arrogance was the reason Apple didn't have the business vision to do what Bill Gates did, divorce the operating system from the hardware it was running on." (Note: Nobody is buying Vista. Bill Gates's 'business sense to divorce the computer from the operating system' was because he never built a frigging computer in the whole history of the company.) Then he says "...[Windows] provided access to the real innovation behind the Mac operating system, a WYSIWYG interface." Windows has never had, and still doesn't have a real WYSIWYG interface.

Windows has about 97% WYSIWYG, on about 90% of the apps that run on it. You'll still get page breaks, tabs, and indents on the page that aren't on the screen and vice versa. With Mac I get 100% WYSIWYG from 100% of the apps 100% of the time. 23 years after that Mac innovation, Windows ain't there yet. Less than 100% WYSISYG is NOT WYSIWYG.

Then he goes on to say that someday someone will steal Apple's advantage.

Listen to yourself Hadley. "Apple's advantage." It isn't arrogant to press your advantage. It's called competing.

6. It's bad for the user.

Let's see, nothing else on the planet comes close to the iPhone experience. Someday somebody will build a better mousetrap. Don't buy this because someday there will be something better.

That's just stupid.

7. Money.

In this lesson Professor Hadley, who probably has never even eaten in a third-tier B School cafeteria, and probably makes less money per year than El Jobso spends on socks, explains what His Steveness should be doing to make more money.

Hadley listen, just between us girls, if you really knew how to make a pile of money you'd have better things to do than write crap like that.

I forgot to go compare Apple's market cap to GM and Ford. Remind me next week, unless I forget. Then skip it.

I'm not going to wear a hat tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In Defense.

There were comments to the last post to the effect that I made fun of Windows users.

The nature of the comment was that we Mac users should be kinder and gentler towards our Windows-using brethren. I'm a peace-loving troll/fanboy, so I'd like to extend the pimiento-stuffed, vermouth-soaked olive jar. All I ask in exchange is 5 oz. of Bombay gin, chilled.

After carefully re-reading all of my posts since the end of the Carter administration, I have determined that I have NEVER made fun of a category of people called "Windows users." I have made fun of people who have said idiotic things. It is quite by coincidence that those people were Windows users.

What I have said repeatedly is that every product Apple currently sells is "best in class." Ergo, the entire remainder of the computer industry can only struggle to achieve second rate. I don't really want to hurt the feelings of Windows users. The best way to accomplish that is for there to be fewer of them. Because, frankly, there are always going to be a percentage of people who are offended by hearing that their third-rate-cheesy-ass knock-off-crash-prone-security-nightmare of an operating system is a third-rate-cheesy-ass knock-off-crash-prone-security-nightmare of an operating system.

So, if you're a Windows user who likes to point out how offended you are by us Mac fanboys: Please, feel free to hang out. Look insulted. Complain, bitch, snivel, moan, cry, whine, bellyache, sound off, gripe, and kvetch. Because I can't think of anything funnier than people who are offended by insults to a frigging operating system.

Would you break down and cry if I insulted your car tires? Whether you use butter or margarine? How about your brand of frigging toilet paper? Are you touchy about that? I'm thinking that a snide remark about your brand of shoes will drive you off the ledge onto the unforgiving pavement below. Are you that defensive about your dogdamn lawn?

No. I never make fun of Windows people. But I'll be glad to start. Just show me one.

Dang. We're out of ice cream.

Monday, August 13, 2007

It's Monday

Okay. It's a weekday. Um... Well... I know, I know. I should do something. Shut up.

I got iLife '08. Just iPhoto is enough to justify the whole price. An hour after it was installed, my photo library was almost completely organized. I say almost because that's the point where I stopped and moved on to just fiddling with the rest of the suite.

You cannot get anything like iLife for Windows. Which is not a critique of the Windows experience. There are lots of people who have no urge to express creativity using a computer. Windows makes perfect sense for them, because that option isn't bundled.

In case you missed it – CAN NOT. You could cobble together a set of programs that address roughly the same tasks.

Not knowing the Windows software market very well, I'll make a bet with anyone who'll take it. I'll bet half a tube of Rembrandt® that no one can put together a collection of software for a Windows machine that will:

1. Organize photos.

2. Create and edit HD movies.

3. Build and burn a professional format DVD.

4. Create digital music from loops and midi files.

5. Graphically build and publish a website.

All for under $100 (including tax and shipping).

I can afford to make that bet because a.) I have a half a tube of Rembrandt, and b.) I'm pretty sure that all that software doesn't even exist for Windows. You'll pay a few hundred to get sorta close.

Also, I looked at the iWork '08 trial that shipped with iLife. I just want to say, "ooh."

All I did was open Keynote and look at the templates. That was it. The stock templates in Keynote make the templates Microsoft ships with PowerPoint look like urine stains on a tablecloth.

I haven't even fiddled with Numbers or Pages yet.

A little reading around the internet reveals that Vista and Zune suck. Still. Dang.

Time for my medication.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Continuing on with Zonbu

I got a comment from Leigh ---

Now this whole thing reflects the misbegotten dogma of the Enderles and Dvoraks of the world that Macs are somehow "Simple Computers" for "non-computer people".

And while it's true to a degree that the Macs user friendlyness and intuitive user interface certainly make them accessible to non-technical audience, I would assert that this is no longer the Mac's high growth market.


Indeedy. There's more to the comment, and it's worth a read. But just to build on that part...

The last people to figure out that the trick to competing with Mac is to build something world class – Dell, HP. et al, – are going to continue to try to compete by building boxes that cosmetically look like Macs, without ever figuring out the real problem they're up against until it's WAY too late.

Steve Jobs has at least three things going for him:

1. Apple controls the whole widget, hence the entire user experience: hardware, software, interface – everything. Apple can innovate hardware and software in a completely integrated way, all in house, all at once. For just that reason, nobody in the computer industry is as flexible as Apple.

2. Apple takes great care to ensure that the total user experience is as free of problems as possible. Apple tries to polish every possible boo-boo out of every product before it goes home with Joe Consumer.

3. Nobody else understands the value of the first two advantages; even if they did there isn't much they can do about it. They have to rush their new products out the door to keep the shareholders happy. The more Dell, HP, Sony, Lenovo and such hurry to catch Apple, the farther behind they'll get.

The (non-Mac) tech press is just now catching on. Apple has a ten-year head start; the last seven with OS X.

I'm not a real geek, but I know real geeks like Unix. Apple is going to continue to gain market share because geeks like Unix. And eventually, the computer market will follow the geeks. Geek likes Mac. Boss hired geek because geek is smart about computers. Boss buys Mac for home. Boss's wife likes Mac. Boss orders Macs for office. Other employees like Macs. And so it goes.

Non-geeks are already buying Macs because OS X doesn't need a geek. Linux still needs at least a nerd, although I've heard that's changing. Still, though Linux probably won't go away for servers, it's never going to be a mass-market OS of any significance. It comes in too many flavors, and requires too much computer savvy to be useable by Joe Schoolbusdriver.

As the momentum builds, Apple's market share will grow faster each quarter.

That will leave the Windows Box makers stuck with an ever narrower market segment: The low end users and the government. Of course, since the Government has many transactions with business; eventually Windoze will lose that too.

His Steveness is keenly aware of his advantage. If you pay close attention it's like watching the end of a fight scene in a movie. The guy who is going to win is pacing around his opponent who's lying on the floor bleeding. Every once in a while the loser twitches and the winner kicks him in the ribs. The latest kick in the ribs was last Tuesday.

Tea time.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Universal Disses Apple

Universal is about to teach Steve Jobs a lesson in humility.

They're going to sell their music without DRM on other online stores, but not iTunes. This is going to have a huge impact on... um... well... nothing.

Hey! Universal! Pull your heads out of your asses for a minute. The internet has a thing called peer-to-peer sharing going on. The only people who are affected by your dumbass strategy are the honest customers who are willing to pay for their music.

The people who pirate music are not honest. The people who are honest do not pirate music. These are two separate and distinct groups of people. You are beating up the wrong people.

The dishonest people (the ones who are going to pirate music) don't give a damn what you do with your DRM. You can make it so it's impossible to play any song twice in a calendar week if you want to. They will make copies and distribute them.

The honest people deal with all of this DRM silliness. We're not going to pirate music. We just want to buy it and listen to it. We don't mind paying a fair price for it. If we keep being punished for our honesty, we might start to rethink that.

The reward for honesty and square dealing seems to be that we have to continuously figure out more convoluted processes to listen to our music. That gets tiresome.

The punishment for dishonesty appears to be the ability to listen to anything you want to anywhere you want to for free. That sounds cool.

You record company executives had better figure this out soon, or you're going to need to learn how to operate a deep fryer and a cash register.

Repeat after me: "Super size that for fifty-nine cents?"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Holy Crap

I just did almost five full minutes of research. Let me get a glass of water.

Have you heard of Zonbu? No, it isn't a xaolin sect or a Japanese movie with a guy in a big rubber lizard suit. It's a "computer." According to Rob Enderle, this computer could be a real problem for Apple.

The Zonbu offers free software upgrades, remote file access, unlimited internet support, and Linux – all for only $99.00. Oh yeah, and $12.95 a month. A careful look at the website doesn't show any screen shots. That may be because it doesn't have a monitor. There's also no picture of a keyboard, or mouse. Just a little box with a USB port. Surprise.

I'm struggling to figure out exactly how this is supposed to deprive Phil Schiller of sleep. Didn't we just work out that the subscription model doesn't work? Or did I miss something?

The "words that start with Z are very futuristic" people have proven unable to make a dent in Apple's other market (remember "Zune?").

Apple isn't courting the "stupid people who think they can get something for nothing" demographic; and if memory serves, the "computer for extremely poor and gullible people" is somebody else's business model.

Anyway, Rob Enderle seems to think that Zonbu is the next big thing.

I mean this as a friend, Rob. It's 2007. You're all grown up. All your friends have gone. Find something you know how to do and get a job. They're not laughing with you. They're laughing at you.

Dork.

Bob Keefe's Big Moment

Bob Keefe: Why don't your computers have Intel Inside stickers?

Steve Jobs: We also don't have a sticker that says "air inside" or "metal and plastic inside" or "fucking fans inside." Who let you in?

Bob Keefe: Did I just become the biggest asshole in the history of Mac events?

Steve Jobs: No. But nice try.

At The PC World Recommendations Desk

Baffled Serviceperson: Good afternoon. How can I help you.

Potential Customer: I'm thinking about buying a computer. What should I buy?

BS: You should buy a Dell or an HP; possibly a Gateway or an Acer; maybe a Sony or a Panasonic.

PC: Why?

BS: They run Windows. Everybody uses Windows.

PC: I've heard that Macintosh is pretty good. What about one of those?

BS: Nope. You don't want one of those. Nobody uses those.

PC: Aren't they more secure?

BS: Nope. Just this year there was a whole Month of Apple Bugs on the internet. It was awful.

PC: I've heard there were only five or six viruses that could infect the Mac. And that you have to be stupid enough to install them from spam to make them work.

BS: That's because nobody uses Macs. If lots of people used them there would be lots of hacks, believe you me.

PC: I heard Macs are a lot easier to use.

BS: Sure. If all you want is easy. Easy is for dummies though. People who really know how to use a computer use Windows.

PC: What about Linux? What's that all about?

BS: Well, Linux is kinda like Windows, except it isn't as easy to install. You can get Linux as an option on some of your better computers, like Dell.

PC: Somebody told me I can run Windows and Linux on a Mac. Is that true?

BS: Yeah, but Macs are expensive. You can't a get a Mac for less than $500. The cheap Macs don't even come with a keyboard or a mouse or a monitor. And Macs have almost no software written for them because no one uses them.

PC: What are you using?

BS: Well... I... Um...

PC: You're using a Mac, aren't you. Huh?

BS: Well...

PC: Oh, you flaming bag of shit. You're hoping to ring up my PC purchase on a Mac aren't you?

BS: Well, yeah. I guess.

*click*

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

We Will Barry You

In sporting news this week, Barry Bonds has entered a 16-point bold, italic, underlined asterisk in the sports record books.

Yay, Barry.

If it turns out he's juiced... well... he'll be guilty of about five of the seven deadly sins (lust, gluttony, greed, envy, wrath, sloth, and pride). I think the only ones missing are wrath and sloth.

Not that it matters.

Been reading around the web. PC Magazine gives the Mac high praise but the guy who wrote the article, whose name escapes me, probably because I didn't read his name and don't a big fat damn, says he still isn't ready to recommend only the Mac. He spent the whole article talking about how great the Mac is, how John C. Dvorak recommends them to friends, what a great step forward the new iMac is...

...then he says he wouldn't necessarily always recommend Macs.

There are people in his life to whom he would recommend inferior pieces of crap.

What a butt.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Bigass Media Event

Yay. New iMacs. They're cool.

New stuff on .Mac. 10Gb of storage. I can back up my purchased music to my iDisk. That's cool.

New iLife '08. I ordered it. That's cool.

They upgraded the Mac mini; and the Airport Extreme base station without bumping the price. Cool.

Can we all exhale now?

Nope.

We have to wait until Enderle, Thurott, Dvorak and all the other dinkweed critics tell us what's wrong with it all. We already think they're dinkweeds, but they'll write something to refresh and enhance that assessment so we can spend a few weeks calling them dinkweeds.

Then we can spend a few weeks patting each other on the back for how smart we are to be Mac users unlike those smelly, hairy Linux geeks or those capri-Dockered microtards. And, frankly, these days it feels pretty good to be an Apple guy.

By then it will be time to start speculating about when His Steveness will introduce something new and improved. And then the cycle begins anew.

I have a brand new rant, fresh out of the rant orchard:

Rip on disks

Why in the name of all that's decent do I have to wait for iLife to be shipped to me on a disk? I've gone to all the good time and trouble to have a first rate broadband connection. Why can't I just download it?

I'm all ears if someone has a sound technical reason why downloading isn't even an offered option. Wouldn't it be cheaper to sell me the software via the iTunes music store?

In my arrogant opinion there should be no reason for anyone with a broadband connection to ever buy software on a disk. Ever.

I'm no greenie, but if I was I'd be wondering why all the plastic and paper was being used to package a product that could be delivered electronically. Then I'd wonder why all that fossil fuel needed to be burned shipping it. All that just to keep the consumer from using the software for a few extra days? It seems stupid to me.

On the plus side, being pissed about having to wait a week to play with Magic Garageband did give me an easy topic to bitch about, so it isn't all bad.

Pizza's here.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Rip on stuff

Rip on cars

They just got a new CEO over at Chrysler. Ford hired a new CEO a few months ago.

Guys. Listen. If you want to win back the market share, learn to sell to the ME generation. We Baby Boomers want a car. I'm at the tail end of the Baby Boom, and I'm willing to tell you what we want. Get out a pen and take notes. Okay?

1. We want a sports car. We want clean, classic lines. We want a six cylinder engine with a nice growl and acceleration we can count on when we merge onto the Interstate. We want it to look cool. We don't need it to look expensive. We need room for two suitcases in the trunk so we can have enough clothes, herbal supplements, and denture adhesive for a week at our timeshare.

We don't want a shitload of chrome or a bunch of useless features we won't use. The only features we really need are a decent stereo system with an iPod dock and a comfortable ride.

When you have all that, add a price tag less than $20k. We'll buy them. Lots of them.

2. We also might want a station-wagon-like rig for our other chores. We don't need an SUV. We just need room for a few extra things for the grandkids when we take them to the timeshare.

3. If we need a pickup truck, we do not need ├╝bertruck. We just need a place to carry stuff for our weekend projects. We don't need a truck that will pull derailed train loaded with lead bricks back on to the tracks in a hail storm.

4. The people who are not smart enough to see through 4-wheel drive ads should not be allowed to buy cars. When an ad shows a vehicle towing a trailer up the side of a snow-covered cube of butter, we know you're trying to fill someone full of shit. Please stop it. We have to drive among those idiots and we hate it. Sell what it will really do. If what it will really do doesn't sell it, discontinue the Dogdamn thing.

Rip on politics

Shut UP!! Everyone covering politics, really. STFU.

Every presidential candidate is accusing every other presidential candidate of being a politician. The democrats are accusing the other democrats of being democrats and the republicans of being baby-eating vermin. The republicans are accusing the other republicans of being democrats and the democrats of being pond scum.

If we're really, really, really lucky we'll end up electing a president who focuses all of his attention on the job and ignores the polls.

Say what you want about GW. If he was focused on surveys and popularity, things would be a lot different today than they are. For those of us who like not having bombs go off in our neighborhoods, we can assume that different would be worse.

I'm not sure whether I'll vote Republican or Democrat. Really. But I'll write in PeeWee Herman before I'll vote for Hillary. Her history of lies, deceit, self-promotion, public stupidity, and general unsavoriness is frightening. She will say and do anything – anything – to promote herself.

I don't actually detest any Republicans yet. But then, individually none of them have spent as much time in the news over eight years lying and conniving. They each have a year to earn my contempt. I'm sure someone will.

Rip on FSJ

Fake Steve has been outed. Dang. I'll still read the blog. Mr. Lyons is a fun read. Funny stuff. But now it just isn't Fake Steve. It's Dan Lyons satirizing Steve Jobs. The difference is intangible, but quite real. It's like when you realize she really doesn't love you and the fifty bucks is just the price of the service. You always knew, but there was that flimsy illusion. It's still fun, but it isn't quite the same.

Thanks guys. You ruined a good thing.

Rip on the blogosphere

Give it a break, alright? Apple is going to introduce something or other tomorrow. Oh My Dog. The tech press is carrying on like the cure for herpes is about to be announced and it's chocolate-flavored. It's computer stuff. It's cool but DAMN.

Every frigging computer-centric site and blog on the whole civilized planet (including Asia, Europe, Australia, the British Virgin Islands, and parts of North Dakota) is echoing one another reporting absolutely NOTHING.

Dear fellow bloggers: You aren't going to get a scoop on an Apple event. If you do, you won't be able to type fast enough to capitalize on it. So don't waste your talent (assuming you have any). Write humorous crap that no one cares about. That way, while no one is giving a shit what you write, at least they'll be laughing with you instead of at you – you hope. Okay. I hope

I have to teach tomorrow.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Forget About That Macho Shit...

I have a new granddaughter. With this one added, I now have a grand total of one (1) grandkid.

So don't be looking here for a lot of stuff. Okay? I'll be busy.

It should be alright because there isn't any significant news about anything even remotely related to Apple or the computing world in general.

Nothing is happening. Go have a beer and take a break.

Pardon me. I have a date with a feather pillow.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Another Post, Because It's Thursday

It's a really slow news cycle. All over the web, people are talking about all the big doings coming for Apple. And since there isn't a single useful snippet of actual information to draw from, they're making shit up.

So, with all this reading I've been doing, which, since I did it at work on company time, on a company computer running Microslop, will not be counted against my strict policy against research, I can report the following:

Apple is going to introduce a new iMac next Tuesday. Maybe.

The iPhone still, a fecking month after it was introduced, does not allow third party apps. Can you imagine?

If Steve Jobs doesn't select a successor pretty soon we're all going to die and Apple's stock will eventually go down. If Steve Jobs does select a successor pretty soon we're all going to die and Apple's stock will eventually go down.

IT guys disagree about whether switching to Mac for enterprise is a good idea. This actually is news. Up until just this week everyone in IT knew that Macintosh was strictly for the computer illiterate and those in jobs that encourage alternative lifestyles.

You can still read web pages in Arial, Verdana, and Times New Roman because Apple and Microsoft extended their contract on fonts. I know. I had to adjust the package, too.

Did you hear? The Macintosh is only securer than Windows because it isn't as widely used. Hackers aren't interested in hacking a Mac. The nice thing is that people (MS MVPs) are still stupid enough to fart that piece of information into cyberspace. I'm actually starting to believe that Apple is hiring bloggers to spout that cockamamie argument, just for comic relief.

You can buy a Windows machine for less money than the cheapest Mac. It's true. You can also buy a Chevy Impala for less money than the cheapest Porsche. That Chevy will take you to your job at JiffyLube and back for WAY less money, and get you there just as well as the Porsche would. Dammit. Don't waste your money on a Porsche. They get flat tires too.

I forgot to mention in last night's post why I'm not going to talk about the Zune anymore. It's so unimportant, I even forgot to explain why I'm forgetting about it. There are two unique things about Zune: 1. It comes in brown; 2. Nobody gives a flying fuck.

I'm craving peanut butter.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Another Short Post

That's what she said just before the bed broke.

It's Wednesday. In all my reading, all Apple has said this week is, "We're having a media event next Tuesday."

Other news based on absolutely no real information has driven the stock up to $145+, then down to ~$131. Remember: Absolutely NOTHING REAL has happened, or even been said. Tech pundits, analysts, and fund managers working in concert could fuck up the phases of the moon.

What a bunch of morons.

I will no longer report news of Vista or Zune. I read a site today where dueling geeks compared OS X to Ubuntu as alternatives to Vista. Sort of like Disneyland or Marriott's Great America as alternatives to a cell in Guantanamo Bay. Vista is the sound of a dying dinosaur.

Let me repeat something I said earlier in the year. When a new operating system is five years in the making, it must ROCK when it hits the street. It must leapfrog all the other technologies out there. It must be better in every respect to everything that could compete with it. Vista does not meet those criteria. Vista may be just as good as OS X; depending on who you talk to, maybe it is. It might be somewhat more stable than Linux. But it doesn't rock. Therefore...

Vista sucks.

Linux and OS X are all there is for right now boys and girls -- and Linux is just too geeky for most of us. It requires way too much computer brains for me to use it, and I've been a computer hobbyist for almost 30 years. John Q. Paralegal-Actuary-Dieselmechanic, who just wants the frigging thing to access email, the internet, and the laser printer does not want to spend time tweaking things in the command line.

The August 7th Thing

I'm betting Apple will introduce a real entry-level Mac at next week's media event. Something they can sell at an Apple kiosk in Best Buy. They've already stolen Dell's "custom built at the factory" strategy and improved on it. The individual Apple stores are making more money per square foot than any legal retail operation outside of Nevada.

Now if Apple starts selling computers outside of Apple stores – in places like Best Buy – Sony, HP and some of the lesser brands will start to feel the pinch too.

This time, though – having learned the lessons of partnering with Sears and some others a few years ago – Apple can put some Mac savants in the building to make sure their stuff gets marketed and sold. Then if they put a low-end home machine in the store... Oh yeah.

That's as serious as I'm going to get this month.

Time to brush my teeth and put on my jammies.