Monday, December 31, 2007

The New iPhone

The new iPhone version (1.1.3) is the hottest new buzz on the street (except for MacWorld, Q108 earnings, and Apple's stock price hitting $200). It's going to have new features which are clearly obvious by looking at the numerous pictures available elsewhere on the interwhatchamacallit.

Of course, as with all of Apple's iPhone updates so far, firmware version 1.1.3 will break unlocking applications. It will put a moustache on pictures of your mother. It will install a laugh track to let whoever you're talking to know you made a joke and remind them to laugh. The "Whoopee cushion" will randomly sound when you sit down with the iPhone in your pants pocket. It will also erase songs recorded by Richard Marx, Kenny G, Michael Bolton, and Kitaro as well as any derivative ring tones.

It has remote refrigerator software that knows you're out of beer and calls you at work to remind you to buy a six-pack on the way home. Alternatively you can stop at a bar, meet a guy you haven't seen since high school, and get the shit kicked out of you for something rude you said to him in the locker room after gym class thirty frigging years ago. Who remembers crap like that? You'd think the guy would get over himself a little bit by now. What an asshole.

The new features of iPhone 1.1.3 are:

  • Drag and Drop
  • Pin Drop
  • Drop Out
  • Drop Kick
  • Drop Back
  • Kick Back
  • Stop, Drop, and Roll
  • French Fry Thumb Print That Won't Rub Off
  • Locate Me
  • Rescue Me
  • Take Me To The River
  • Love Me Do
  • Please Please Me
  • Touch Me
  • Play Me
  • Groove Me
  • Down On Me
  • Don't Leave Me This Way
  • Dang Me
  • Please Release Me
  • You Really Got Me
  • And it Stoned Me
  • You Belong to Me
  • You Still Touch Me
  • Tell Me Something Good
  • Take On Me
  • I'm Gonna Make You Love Me
  • Me And Mrs. Jones
  • Me and Sarah Jane
  • Me and My Arrow
  • I Can't Make You Love Me
  • She Drives Me Crazy
  • Hit Me with Your Best Shot
  • Have a Little Faith in Me
  • Mama Told Me not to Come
There will also be a voice program that auto-calls Rob Enderle, George Ou, and John Dvorak and leaves the word "jackass" on their voice mail. One call will be made to each deservee daily for each iPhone sold for each time the dipshit declared the thing D.O.A./broken/useless/doomed to fail.

Happy New Year.

Don't drink and drive. For that matter, just stay home tonight. It's amateur night. People who never drink except on 12/31 are the scariest people in the world. They're the ones out driving. Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Myths, Reality, Predictions

Thank providence nobody in charge of anything reads this blog. It gives me the freedom to say the following:

Tech analysts are morons. Okay, not all of them but most of them. Enderle, Ou, Dvorak, most of the other writers penning tech pieces for various papers base their writing on something other than observable facts. People write about Apple as though it was just another tech company with the same corporate mindset as Microsoft. Apple is so different from Microsoft that comparisons are not even possible. Let me blather on about some of the idiocy that gets repeated ad nauseam. Not that you could stop me.

Myth one: Apple's strength is its loyal fan base.

Reality: Whoever makes that statement is just plain lazy. The loyal fan base just happened because of Steve Jobs' reality distortion field. That's all. That's it. His Steveness speaks; the masses march like zombies. Your shoulders are staying warm from the insulation provided by your assfat if you believe that. People are buying Apple's products. That is Apple's strength.

Myth two: Apple's growth is largely due to hype.

Reality: Apple's market cap is up like 4000% since Steve Jobs took over in '97. It's all the reality distortion field, right? Wow. It couldn't be the products. I mean, Apple's don't even have Windows installed on them when they ship, do they? How pathetic is that? No. Wait. Why is that Mac thingy gaining market share? It doesn't crash, hang, or ask Steve Ballmer's permission on a daily basis? I don't need to type Ctrl-Alt-Del to make it run? Huh.

Myth three: Leopard and Vista are similar enough for comparisons to be made.

Reality: XP is easier to use and less of a pain in the ass than Vista. Tiger was better than Vista. Leopard has cool stuff that Tiger didn't have. OS X is fun to use. Windows is work. Everybody I know who has spent any significant time with OS X becomes a switcher. Leopard is more similar to a side order of french fries and freshly chilled ketchup than it is to Windows.

Myth four: Apple is the new Microsoft.

Reality: Puh-leeze. Apple tries to figure out what the customer is willing to buy so they can build it and sell it to me. Apple is so confident that they'll sell a lot of stuff that they're willing to take the miniscule losses to piracy. It's working for them.

Microsoft tries to figure out what the customer is trying to steal so they can lock it down and charge me another dollar for it. That worked okay until recently. When there was no apparent choice, the lemmings marched off the cliff. There is an obvious choice now.

Apple sells me stuff and trusts me to be honest with it. I bought the family pack of Leopard. The difference is that I paid $70 extra for a license to install it on more computers. I didn't have to. I could have bought the single user version and shared it with everybody I know. Nobody checks. Why wouldn't I? Apple trusts me. I feel obligated to honor that.

Microsoft sells you (not me) a version of Windows with a 32-digit verification/registration code. It calls the mothership from time to time to make sure you're authorized to use this copy of this software on this computer. Microsoft doesn't trust you – you thieving bastard – and they build in puzzles for you to solve to see if you can beat them. It's a game. It isn't about trust. Trust is discarded at the very outset, long before the product even gets to market. So it's just like any other computer game. If you can do it, it's okay. Screw morality.

Who's going to win this computer game in the marketplace; where people vote with dollars?

I have a guess.

Myth five: Apple is strictly a consumer electronics company and either can't or won't go after the enterprise market.

Reality: The difference between enterprise and consumer is the hour of the day. A consumer is an IT manager's daughter in college, and an IT manager on his day off. The consumer works in enterprise or knows somebody who does.

Enterprise is a new college graduate IT guy who spent his scholastic years running an MB, now sitting in front of XP, wondering why the company's computers suck. Enterprise is people who are consumers in their off time; people who own iPods and iPhones and MacBooks at home. Eventually VPs and CEOs will wonder why they have to use cheesy shit and call tech support continually at work.

Apple will continue to make gains in the consumer marketplace. That will translate to gains in enterprise.

Myth six: Apple is in a precarious place and can't afford to stumble in its competition with Microsoft.

Reality: Apple has no competitors. None. There are people who think they're in competition with Apple, but they're not. Apple is almost completely independent. Apple can change direction on a dime. Apple can redesign every product in the lineup and modify all the software to fit the new design.

Their competition? Hardware companies, software companies, phone manufacturers, phone software developers, mp3 player manufacturers, a few websites, all of whom have to get approval and buy-in from all the others in order to make competitive decisions. All the other companies are so interdependent and bureaucratic that they can't change a frigging typeface or add a feature without coming to a multi-company, multi-committee, multi-board-meeting decision.

Apple can afford boo-boos. AppleTV springs to mind. Everybody is saying that represents a stumble on Apple's part. It failed to set the world on fire on the day it was introduced. Keep watching. One blogger thinks AppleTV is about to be huge.

Myth seven: Apple is dependent on content providers for iTunes' success.

Reality: The iTunes store is everybody's favorite place to buy digital media. When content owners don't want to sell their stuff in the iTunes store Apple isn't hurt anymore than Safeway would be hurt if Jif didn't sell their peanut butter there. Apple created a successful storefront in iTunes. If companies pull their stuff off the iTunes shelves they reduce by one (hugely successful and popular) venue the number of places they can sell their wares. NBC-Universal didn't teach Apple a lesson by pulling their stuff out of iTunes. All they did was throw away revenue. Apple didn't suffer.

Warner won't hurt Apple by selling their non-DRM tracks on Amazon instead of the iTunes store. Non-DRM mp3s play just fine on iPods. Amazon's selection still sucks. It's still a lousy place to buy stuff – copy protected or not. I have yet to find a track I want on Amazon that I can't find on iTunes. Amazon does seem to have a larger selection of karaoke tracks than iTunes. Yippee.

Here's an experiment. Try to find some of Paul Carrack's stuff from the late seventies and early eighties. Paul Carrack is the Kevin Bacon of the music industry. He's recorded with Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, and Ringo Starr to name just a few. He has a pretty good ouevre as a solo artist, too. He's an excellent vocalist and musician. Some of his best stuff isn't available anywhere. I'd love to download I Live By the Groove, and Mike + The Mechanics Silent Running, but I can't find them at Amazon or iTunes. That's absurd; and it's because the record companies are stupid. Apple isn't making those decisions.

Prediction: Apple's market share will continue to increase. The iTunes store will become even more powerful as an online storefront for digital media. Apple will stage a noticeable incursion into the enterprise market in 2008. Also in 2008, Apple's stock price will at least double. Again.

Apple isn't re-writing the book on how to conduct a successful business, but they do appear to have re-read it.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Dumbest Thing on the Internet This Year

I don't normally like to link Raw Benderly, but this frigging post is so inane, it makes you wonder if the guy was swimming in eggnog when he wrote the dogdamn thing. I mean, you have to read it to believe it.

The clicks won't hurt anything. Go ahead. This guy is losing credibility faster than Al Gore in a blizzard.

The comments are great, too.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

Moving right along

That bastion of ethical journalism, The New York Post, has said that Apple is being forced to offer movie rentals. Apple – with 14 billion copies of George Washington's portrait in the bank – is being forced to eat the movie rental industry. NetFlix, Blockbuster, Hollywood Video – bend over and kiss your asses good-bye. Apple is being forced (FORCED!) to wipe your antiquated business model(s) off the face of the earth. You can't make this crap up, folks.

I can only imagine His Steveness reading this crap. He has to conclude that Frank Zappa was right when he said, "It isn't getting any smarter out there."

Here's proof. Raw Benderly posted another blathering babble. He had too much eggnog. He wrote the first piece before Fake Steve Jobs notified everybody that it was a joke. He figured that if FSJ had it on his blog it must be true. Everybody knows that Fake Steve Jobs would never write anything that wasn't 100% true. Well, everybody with creamed spinach for brains, anyway.

Also he fails to take note that the ThinkSecret deal was a happy outcome for all involved.

Anyway, even though everything he based the first piece on is wrong, all of his conclusions based on that information stand. He thinks Apple should be very careful. A web full of jokes and happy former bloggers is bound to tarnish that carefully maintained image. Raw B.'s biggest conclusion of all is that you can't necessarily trust at face value everything you read.

Thank you Mr. Benderly for clearing that up.

Personally, I think it's wonderful that a site called Business Edge has room for a humor column. I just think that they should announce Raw Benderly as such, so readers know in advance not to take his comments seriously. Here at Rip Ragged, I make it clear that my stuff is just a load of half-assed opinions and hot air. Over at Business Edge, confused investors could lose a lot of money paying heed to that dross.

Time for a sandwich.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Yawn. Stretch.

News you can use:

Fake Steve has run the course. Jumped the shark. It was fun while it lasted.

His last little jibber-jabber about the lawyers fooled everybody. Well, okay. Not everybody. It fooled me. It fooled the /. nerds. I admit it. I bought in. It was easy.

I have to say, though, that I had mixed feelings about the possibility. One side of me was rooting for FSJ to prevail. After all, he has done something pretty amazing with a blogger account. It'd be tough to match that kind of success. His success is inspiring.

On the other shoulder, the little Rip in the six-colored gown and halo was rooting for Apple to cream the guy. He has been, at best, a heretic and at worst a blasphemer in the hallowed halls of the cult of Apple. He has portrayed His Steveness as possessing the very worst traits of an evil tyrant. Spoiled, selfish, lazy, drug-soaked, and cynical are not personality traits of greatness.

It turns out that the whole thing was another joke.

Reading Roughly Drafted, and some of the other stuff under Mr. Lyons' byline has convinced me that he isn't a faithful fanboy. He is another pretender. "I love Apple's products for the most part, but the company and the products really suck because...." I was looking to buy the book, Option$, but now I think I'll wait until it turns up at the used book store.

It's okay, though. I needed to make room for on my bookmarks bar anyway.

Monday, December 24, 2007

How it went down.

FSJ: 'Lo?

RSJ: Lyons?

FSJ: Yeah.

RSJ: Listen wise-ass, if you don't want to spend the rest of your life writing ad copy for the Harriet Carter catalog, knock off with the law suit joke.

FSJ: What joke? The sonofabitch came here and went all Don Corleone on my ass, now you're –
RSJ – Joke, dickweed. You haven't actually met Moshe yet, have you?

FSJ – Merry Christmas.

RSJ – Namaste.

The Golden Rule

Dear Dan (FSJ) –

After reading your recent missives, two possibilities occur to me.

1.) You're riffing on the "Think Secret" takedown thing, and you're making the whole thing up. Testing the credulity of your audience again. That would be quite in character, and if that's what you're doing, it's funny in its own way. Scary, but funny.

2.) Apple is actually trying to take your blog down, and has offered you a nice pile of cash for the favor of killing FSJ.

If Apple is really trying to kill FSJ, and the things you're saying are your real feelings about the issue, Bravo. It seems a little strange though, coming from someone who became a blogger to make fun of bloggers. Now you really are something of a folk hero among us. You've made an utterly implausible blog based on an absurd premise into a successful franchise. Pretty cool.

It seems to me that now you should be taking a moment to examine what drives Fake Steve going forward. If you feel you have something important to say, and that FSJ is the best vehicle for saying it, the blog might be worth fighting for.

If you're just being noble, well, best of luck to you on that. If you're defending freedom of the press against a company a large as Apple, you're going to get creamed. Remember the golden rule of arts and sciences: Who has the gold, makes the rules.

As an individual, you'll get your ass kicked by Apple. But it's a fight Apple can't win. It's like what I tell the occasional twink who says he's gonna kick my ass. The fight can only go one of two ways; you can beat up a deaf, toothless, arthritic grandfather or you can get your ass kicked by a deaf, toothless, arthritic grandfather. Either way, you lose. So it is with Apple taking on a blogger.

The great public voice of the blogosphere doesn't rely on individual heroes. We collectively will win. Individuals will certainly be lost in the melee, but the swarm will consume all who challenge us. Apple will be forever tainted by Fake Steve Jobs if they publicly stomp on you. I don't remember who it was who said, "Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the gallon," but that was in the heyday of print. The innertubes are an even freer form of expression, where even dipshits like me can get a public forum.

That said, after your digital demise you'll be revered among us for your stand, just as we honor Daniel Boone for his last stand at the Alamo.

If "Namaste" changes to "No mas," most of us will understand. For $500k I'd change my name and move to a small town in North Dakota. Hell, Apple could probably buy me off for a six pack of IPA and bus fare home. Not that I think they'd bother.

Merry Christmas.

On another note. Our vacation home doesn't have a Christmas tree. It does however have a silk ficus, on which my wifey-poo has put a few lights. So we have our Christmas loot under the "fake-us" for opening tomorrow morning.


For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. -- Luke 2:11

Friday, December 21, 2007

It's Christmastime

Okay kids. I'm on Christmas (not Kwanzaa, Chanukah, or frigging Holiday) vacation.

Merry Christmas.

For those of you who are of different faiths, Merry Christmas. I won't be offended by "Happy/Merry/Jolly whatever you're celebrating – including Ramadan – you just smile and enjoy a Merry Christmas.

If you don't think it's worth celebrating the birth of the saviour, celebrate the birth of the most renowned celebrity of all time. Celebrate the wisest man who ever gave himself up to brutal death on principle. Celebrate that the guy who said, "Do unto others as you'd have done to you" was born. Okay, it might not have been right on December 25th that He was born, but that's when we have it worked out.

If you don't really believe that He was born in the middle of winter, well, celebrate now anyway, because this is the time of year when we do that.

And if you don't want to celebrate Christmas with us, shut the hell up. Really. A lot of us have rifles and empty beer cans in our pick-up trucks.

Anyway, I'm on the road for the Christmas vacation. Spending it at a time-share resort in Klamath Falls, Oregon. There's a spa, a sauna, a pool, and since I'm not into snow sports and all that is indoors – I'm probably not going to need my long underwear but I brought them anyway. You just never know.

Merry Christmas.

If you're offended by "Merry Christmas," you're on the wrong blog.


Merry Christmas.

And Happy New Year.

It's official

Apple will introduce a 9" diagonal tablet in January. It'll look just like the iPhone/iPod Touch except for the size. It will be about double the width, double the length, and slightly thicker than the iPhone.

It will run the new UMPC chip from Intel.

Other features of the new to-be-announced device:

  • Waterproof to 8.6m (1.2 megapixels)
  • Free of pesticides and herbicides
  • Four-wheel disc brakes
  • Discreetly hidden elastic in the waist band
  • Machine washable (gentle cycle)
  • Financially secure
  • Broadcast in 1080p
  • Fewer calories and more vitamin C than previous formulations
  • Will not contribute significantly to global warming
  • Has had all its shots
  • Never needs ironing
  • Stain resistant
  • Likes long walks on the beach, soft music, and candle-lit dinners
Included software will include:
  • Lotus 1-2-3
  • Tic-tac-toe
  • Sargon II
  • Leather Goddesses of Phobos (Lewd version)
  • Mavis Beacon Teaches Touch Screen
  • Koronis Rift
  • Cosmic Osmo
  • CyberDog

Apple will also announce a megamerger with John Deere and The Gurney Company. The new company will be called Johnny Apple Seed, Deere.

Remember, you read it here first. Then you realized that you have entirely too much free time on your hands.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Think Secret is Dead

Alright? Every other frigging blog on the web that is authored by someone who can spell Apple has discussed the defunctness of Think Secret. Here are my comments: So? And?

It's gone. Nick is going to do other things with his life. Move along.

Over on Mac Daily News, some assclown posted a comment to the story. This guy cut and pasted the First Amendment to the Constitution, like so ---

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
But he decided that it wasn't good enough just like that so he added some emphasis, like this --
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; "or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;" or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Then he added the comment, "And that includes Apple."

Either he was defending Apple's right to free speech and a free press – which I don't think was ever questioned – or he means that Congress includes Apple. The first amendment exists to limit the power of the government in the described areas. It says the government can't pass laws that say, "Shut up." Apple has no responsibilities whatsoever under the first amendment. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Zune.

It isn't a constitutional issue in any way, form, style, or fashion.

Apple wanted TS off the web. It happened. If the principles don't want to talk about it, who are we to make hash out of it.

Speaking of hash, Baxtrice asked an unrelated question on the last post: Is Apple acting monopolistically?

The answer: No.

A monopolistic company might make a browser (like IE 7 for instance) that requires nonstandard commands to operate, and breaks if the rest of the internet doesn't conform to its nonstandard requirements. Then, after deliberately trying to foist a broken piece of software on the planet, a monopolistic company might test a browser (like IE8), and claim it meets one limited set of standards (like Acid2), then declare itself the savior of the web for allegedly creating a piece of software that doesn't suck dog dicks.

Apple builds Safari. Apple doesn't mind if you run something else like Firefox or Opera or iCab or Camino. Apple didn't build a proprietary set of internet protocols for Safari. Safari doesn't break unless it runs across a site built specifically and exclusively for IE. Fortunately, those sites represent a small minority, and they're largely crap.

A monopolistic company would carelessly screw over its partners, knowing it didn't matter. They'd change DRMs ("Playsforshit") in the middle of a partnership, leaving their good friends holding on to useless and expensive hardware with no media to play on it. Then they'd build a music player that wouldn't even run their old files.

A monopolistic company would sell you a crippled operating system, require you to register your copy, and then electronically verify that you registered it. If the program thinks it's unregistered, the computer decides you must be a thief. Then, without offering you a chance to declare your innocence, the monopolistic company bricks your computer.

Why would a monopolistic company carelessly fuck over their customers, partners, competitors? Because they can. Because they're the only game in town. Because people will take it. Because we're so big and powerful that whatever we decide is automatically the new standard so learn to live with it, lemmings.

Apple isn't a monopoly. They don't do any of that crap. If we're really lucky, they never will. With the exception of the DRM on music, I think, Apple's stuff all operates on open standards.

The only way you can call Apple a monopoly is if you say they control the market for really cool shit. I can't see how that's their fault though. All the other tech companies have either been sucking the MS tit or fighting MS for so long that they've come to be largely irrelevant without MS. Whether they're fighting MS or holding on for dear life, their every move is defined by the Evil Empire.

Apple is utterly independent of MS. If MS stopped developing Office for Mac tomorrow, Apple would be just fine. At the same time, Apple doesn't have any job security based on fighting the Borg. Apple's legal department is the only part of the company that needs to give a rat's ass what's going on in Redmond.
Here's the really good part, though. Microsoft isn't a monopoly any more, either. Because, guess what? People are discovering they don't have to pay for overpriced half-assed crap – and then submit to a cavity search at the cash register. Microsoft isn't scary anymore.

Back before the turn of the century His Steveness said, "Microsoft doesn't have to lose for us to win." Earlier this year he said that he thought Leopard represented a "tipping point." Watch for Apple to be a little less secretive about upcoming products soon. The tipping point? Leopard – Just like Mr. Steve said.

MS can't kill a pre-announced Apple product with FUD anymore. Leopard vs. Vista killed MS-FUD's credibility. Apple has the hammer, now, baby. Twice a year – MacWorld and WWDC – His Steveness will almost certainly introduce something cooler than what anyone else is selling. That's a turbo FUD machine that Apple doesn't even have to operate. The fan-blogosphere has it handled.

Think Secret just became unnecessary, boys and girls. That's all.

Remember, you read it here second or third. Or maybe fourth.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A man has to know when he's outclassed.

Go read this, then come back. Damn, that's a great post.

All over the web, there is speculation that Apple is about to become the next Microsoft (Borg, Evil Empire). Let's look at the similarities between the two companies: ( )

I hope you were taking notes. Now let's look at a few differences:

  1. I don't like those ugly, shitty little underlined letters in the menus. I know they're keystroke equivalents, but they're hideous. And they're not the same in different applications. Brain dead.
  2. I've had it with those ass-ugly desktop icons with the ginchy-looking text in a box that's never a compatible color with the desktop picture.
  3. I don't like those goofy boxes in the upper right hand corners of windows. The big "X" one is just nasty looking.
  4. I'm fed up with weird graphical hangs where an Outlook window sorta-kinda-almost redraws itself over an Explorer window and you get the hourglass with an arrow icon that you can move around but it doesn't do shit.
  5. When one application diddles the dachshund it shouldn't take down the whole frigging system. Man, that's a pisser.
  6. I don't like that when I log in I have to look at that scrolling, DOS-looking, last-century window full of garbage that I don't understand or care about while I wait for the computer to decide if I'm logged in or not.
  7. The interface for "Task Manager" is non-standard in its native environment. You can't kill the sonofabitch if you don't know about Alt-F4.
  8. I hate that I have to verify what application is on top, even when I think I know.
  9. Fuck Ctrl-Alt-Del.
  10. When I drag my mouse three deep into menus, I don't need to be asked if I'm sure. Damn.
  11. I want to name my peripherals and drives Cleo and Harvey and Mongo. To hell with letter designations. I don't want to know that crap. Let the computer take care of silly shit like that, and let me live in my fantasy world.
  12. Watching low-res asinine animations of little pieces of paper flying between low-res asinine file folders was kinda neato 12 years ago. Once.
  13. I'm sick to death of that stupid, unoriginal, twenty-year old hourglass.
  14. It's still idiotic to press the "Start" button to turn the frigging thing off.
  15. I hate cutesy-for-the-sake-of-cutesy visual crap that adds second-tier-trailer-park aesthetics without a hint of function.

I've hated all that crap since Win 95.

By comparison, I don't think Apple's OS is fugly or annoying.

So there you have it. Apple is not the next Microsoft.

Any questions?

There's a couple of doughnuts left if anybody wants one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Of course Steve Jobs is a genius. I only questioned that in the last post to see if anybody was paying attention. When the history of the twentieth century is finally tallied up, Steve Jobs will rightfully be assigned a place next to Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford.

He isn't infallible. He's made some mistakes. His big mistake was doubting his own abilities and being unsure of his own judgment. In other words, in the moment where he failed to be sufficiently arrogant, he faltered.

He thought he needed a "marketing guy." He hired John Sculley away from Pepsi. Apple never needed a "marketing guy." Apple needed to continue to push the boundaries of technology. When I bought my shiny new SE in the spring of 1987, it was the bitchingest, coolest computer I'd ever seen. His Steveness had been out of the picture at Apple for a little over a year. Apple managed to stay in business for twelve Steveless years by producing incremental improvements to Mac.

That survival wasn't because the company did anything right. It was because the Mac started out so far ahead of everything else; because nobody saw any reason to compete with Apple's pathetic market share and lousy marketing. Apple was no more of a threat to Microsoft than Commodore or Atari were. Apple took some of the punditbots' advice and licensed the OS, allowed clones, all the idiotic crap they're being called upon by morons to do again now. It almost killed the company. I'll bet half a can of Deluxe Mixed Nuts (I haven't eaten all of the cashews yet) that El Jobso won't make those mistakes again.

Mr. Steve came back in '97 and put the kibosh on all that horseshit. He brought everything back in house and kicked the innovation machine back into gear. He killed the hapless Newton with its ginchy handwriting recognition. He commissioned the original iMac. He brought Unix and NextStep. He commissioned the iPod.

Steve Jobs did things that made the entire rest of the tech industry go, "Huh?." He discontinued the most successful product in the company's lineup, the iPod mini, and replaced it with an unknown quantity, the Nano. The Nano kicked ass.

He replaced the original iMac with a desk lamp mounted on half a basketball. It rocked. Then he discontinued that to replace it with the next generation of iMac, and the next.

He decided to make the jump from Power PC processors to Intel chips. Everybody said the announcement would cannibalize PPC computer sales. It didn't. Everybody said the Intel jump would cause problems for the company trying to support two versions of its OS. They were wrong.

Everybody still says Macs are more secure from malware because they represent a small percentage of the installed base. That isn't just kinda wrong; it's ninety-nine and forty-four one hundredths percent pure bullshit. It floats. OS X is more secure than Windows for the same reason that a locked door is more secure than a man picking a scab on his shin in a prison shower.

Steve Jobs created from nothing the fastest growing business in American business history in the late seventies and early eighties. He left. Apple foundered. He came back, Apple is once again a juggernaut. Coincidence?

Yeah, you could believe that. But if I were you, I'd just leave that scab alone and let it heal on its own.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Setting the Record Straight

Dogdammit, I'm tired of this. Apple is a corporation. Like Exxon and frigging General Electric and all the rest of them. It's a company. It's goal is to make money. Period. Would everybody please stop hand-wringing every time Apple fails to be the Salvation Army?

Steve Jobs does not operate a reality distortion field. Here's what happens. Steve thinks. He thinks about what he would like technology to allow him to do. Then he asks smart people who work for him to make that happen. When they do, he asks other smart people to make it work in a way that is easy. "Why do I have to press three buttons to do that? Could it be two buttons? One? Why do I have to wait so long? Make it quicker."

Steve Jobs is the Henry Ford of the Computer Era, maybe even of the Digital Eon. All he does is push for an increasingly simple human interface on an increasingly complex system of information and entertainment. Is he a genius? Probably not in any measurable way. He has learned a narrow band in which he flourishes. That band is computer technology.

When history writes the final chapter on SJ, in a few years, probably after I'm dead, Steve Jobs will have a glorious place in the annals of the computer age.

The personal computer was invented in a garage by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The Apple I was a bunch of printed circuit boards in a wooden box. The next iteration – the Apple II – was the most popular personal computer in the world until the Macintosh was introduced in 1984.

Steve Jobs in those days was young and tough and full of his vision. He was also gullible. He believed that someone who was well paid by him would be true to his vision. He paid John Sculley well enough to ensure his loyalty, he thought. There isn't a "well enough" to someone who sees a higher pile to attack. Sculley failed. Steve lost. Got his ass booted out of the company he founded.

His Steveness wanted to incorporate Unix into Macs. He incorporated Unix, and PostScript for Display into NeXT computers. If you want to see the sweetest display this side of a Cinema Display, go play with a NeXT. Awesome. Microsoft still hasn't deployed anything even close, graphically, to the coolness of a NeXT box, and they haven't been running for eons.

Sculley was supposed to be a marketing guy. Sculley oversaw the licensing of Macintosh's unique features to Microsoft. Sculley turned the helm over to other who tried to license away everything that made Apple Apple. Sculley marketed the soul of the company. He and his successors nearly killed it. In 1997, Steve came back. He has tried to pull back in what was given away while creating something new that hasn't been given away. Now, he has a formidable pile of technological advances under the umbrella.

There is stuff in Apple's basement that is so cool it'd scare you that they aren't even working on this week because there are cooler things going on; things that would make you say, "Wow. They can do that?" Apple can't introduce all the cool things they have going on in the labs. Nobody would believe it.

His Steveness doesn't milk current technology for a paycheck. He sees tomorrow, easy to use. And now he has $15B cash to work the magic with.

Apple will continue to eat the technology industry like Megatron in a used car lot until the rest of the companies learn to focus on the most important aspect of technology.

Here are not the most important parts of technology:

Slashdot nerds think it's cool.
IT managers are okay with it.
The code is elegant.
Interplatform compatibility.
Microsoft certified.
Windows compliant.

Here is the most important aspect of a given piece of technology:

Joe Policelieutenant can use it easily, and it does what he needs it to do.

As long as Steve Jobs gets that, Apple's stock is going up.

Full disclosure. I bought all my Apple stock in 1999 for less than a mortgage payment. In 2010 I'll be able to sell it for enough to pay off my mortgage.

Neener. Neener. Neener.

P.S. The real reality distortion field is operated in Redmond. It's called FUD. Ignore it. They lost their technological edge a long time ago.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Idiot's Delight

J C Dumbass wrote another asinine column over on CBS Marketwatch.

CompUSA is going out of business. JC Dumbass thinks this is a reason for Apple shareholders to be wary. And he might be right except for one, minor, point. CompUSA is as different from the Apple store as the Apple store is from a grocery store. The only similarity is that both have things for sale.

CompUSA is a discounter that happens to sell computer stuff. Their attraction was the prices.

Apple stores are specialty shops that sell service and a product. Their attraction is the product and service.

Dumbass goes on a tear talking about all the things that suck about big box stores. He's right on all counts. It doesn't matter which one you're talking about, none of them is particularly compelling. Then he screws up by grouping Apple stores in with them instead of contrasting Apple stores to them.

When I travel to a city I haven't been to for a while, I check to see if they have an Apple store so I can include a visit to it while I'm there. I'm probably not the only one. Does anybody do that for Staples or Circuit City? Anybody?

Then he compares Apple stores to Radio Shack. He says of Radio Shack "These are examples of well-run stores, run by knowledgeable staff selling an incredibly broad line of products, within a very small footprint." Knowledgeable staff? Yeah. Okay. Have you been in a Radio Shack lately John? If they know more than you, your columns suddenly make a lot more sense.

He goes on to say that Apple is starting to look like a big-box store. Except the only characteristic he notes is that the stores are getting bigger. The size and selection isn't what makes a big-box store what it is. Discount based on volume makes a big-box store. It's the Walmartization of commerce. Profit is in volume, and in paying the employees shit. If you shop purely for price and you don't give a damn about quality, service, or an enjoyable shopping experience, go big-box.

If you want service, good products, and help getting the right thing based on your needs - good luck. Service everywhere is big-box lowest common denominator these days. There are exceptions, but they're rare. The Apple store is an exception. I would drive to Seattle (300 miles) just to visit the Apple store, even if I didn't need anything. Okay, I'm weird. I can live with that.

So anyway, Dumbass goes all Siskel and Ebert on the big-box stores then says Apple is getting to be a lot like the big-box stores and then goes on to say that based on this entirely contrived and specious comparison Apple may be getting in trouble and pretty soon the stores will be just so much useless real estate and oh my God sell all your Apple shares before it is too late.

Because he's writing for Marketwatch, and he needs to put a stock market spin on it, JC ends his column "It's something investors need to monitor." Yo. I'm with that. I'm going to monitor it the same way I have been monitoring Apple for 8 years: as a shareholder.

And now the part that really stuns me is, how does somebody with even less to say than I do (a considerable statement, that) end up with a gig writing for CBS?

Time for breakfast.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's all over. Apple is toast. Done. Kaput.

Did you read about it? Some expert over a Forrester Research says that the iPhone is just all wrong for the Enterprise market. He even gave ten reasons – according to the headline anyway.

So there you have it. If you work for a company that uses computers, you'll just have to use Win CE. Go fish. You can't have an iPhone. It won't link up to a fifteen year old overpriced piece-of-shit program badly in need of updating. Sorry. Punk. Don't blame me. Forrester Research called it. I'm just passing on the word. But hey, don't take it too hard. I was reading somewhere that Microsoft says the next version of Windows is going to blow away the iPhone. It'll have way better touch interface, a cleaned up and shinier Apple logo, and everything. So, you know, just be patient.

If history means anything, you'll need the patience of a Cubs fan going through airport security with nine ADHD kids and a hearing impaired mother-in-law. As near as anyone can tell, there'll be two presidential elections between now and the next Windows version. Then add a year or two for SP1 to come out and make most of the features actually work without rebooting between tries.

Over on the Forbes site they predicted that Apple is losing momentum, too. They didn't say it like that. They reported that some analyst named "Tim" couldn't see Apple introducing any new hardware for a couple of years. He said their Research and Development resources are limited. And he's right, too. Apple's R&D resources are limited to $15.4 billion in the near term. Based on "Tim" not being able to guess what Apple will do next, Forbes reported that Apple probably won't do anything important in the hardware arena.

I'll bet Steve Jobs read that article, slammed his fist on the table, and said, "Damn. We're screwed. 'Tim' doesn't see a path forward in hardware for us." His Steveness will probably lay awake an extra seven or eight seconds worrying. Damn you, "Tim."

Then Forbes speculated – as blindly as everybody else on the interwebs – about what might be introduced at MacWorld. Here's a partial list of possible products, services, and software that Mr. Steve is predicted to release and/or introduce at MacWorld:

Tablet computer
OS X 10.5.2
New HD-based iPod
New Flash-based iPod
New Flash-based notebook/tablet/subsandwich
Bento 1.0
Tablet for indigestion
iTunes 8.0
Movie rentals
More movies for sale
More TV shows for sale (including "The Newlywed Game" complete 30 DVD set. "That would have to be in the butt, Bob.")
Bluetooth enabled torque wrench
Love for sale
DRM-less music
Steve Jobs' successor (Justin Timberlake)
iPod Pico and iPod Femto
Apple book reader (Kindle knock-off thingy - as if.)
HyperCard, Shufflepuck Cafe, and Dark Castle for OS X

That's only a partial list. Some of the other speculation out there just isn't reasonable.

I'm going to bed now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Post II (I've eaten)

I love reading Roughly Drafted. There. I said it. Daniel Eran Dilger seems to know what he's talking about. He does research. He speaks in measurable data and verifiable facts. Just like I would if I wanted to do something other than poke fun at the whole world. He almost seems like a political conservative sometimes. He doesn't really try to be funny much, but he seems to skewer the Apple-ignorati and the punditbots on a regular basis just the same.

I mention that because of all the Artie MacStrawman candidates out there, he seems like an unlikely candidate. He seems to get picked on that way fairly regularly, though. But he never seems to wax emotional. Just the facts. Not that there aren't some folks out there who do fit the strident, screaming, self-righteous, born-again Apple fan profile – but he isn't it.

Anyhow, this little post is just to set the record straight a bit about what Apple really wants to do. They want to make as much of your money their money as they can manage. In that, they are no different from Microsoft, Universal, or The Hallmark Shop over by Safeway.

Here's the difference between Apple and the media companies. The media companies want to dictate the terms under which you may enjoy their wares. In fact, they want to dictate everything about what you watch and how you watch it. They're against "censorship" in the form of telling you what you're getting when you buy their crap. I remember not too long ago when the war was on about "censorship" of CDs. The censorship the record companies were against was printing the lyrics on the covers of their CDs so parents could know what their kids were buying.

Censorship isn't Mom telling her teenager she can't listen buy Too $hort CDs because he can't get through the intro to a love ballad without saying Bee-Otch. Censorship is the government telling him he can't make those CDs. HUGE difference.

Apple, on the other hand, wants to figure out what system is going to work best for you so that you have an easy and enjoyable time transferring your funds into their bank account.

The media companies (and Microsoft) are sure you're trying to rip them off. To avoid that, they rip you off in obvious ways – DRM, exploding media, overpriced crap, extra money for a special edition that adds nothing of value, outright lies about what you're getting – then they X-Ray your frigging luggage on the way out of the store.

Apple sells you everything with no strings attached. I hear the chorus of "Bricked iPhones" building as a rebuttal argument. Don't even try. Apple sold you the iPhone with no strings attached. If you want Apple to continue to upgrade it free-for-nothing, you have to keep it in a condition that allows that to happen. If you didn't follow the terms of the EULA, and did a bunch of unauthorized things to your device, you boned yourself. It's like going in to Denny's, peeing on your table, and then bitching that the table isn't sanitary or dry.

Apple sold me a Family Pack version of Leopard and put nothing in it that would prevent me from installing it on every Mac on the continent. It doesn't check in with the mothership to see if it's registered properly. It wouldn't quit working if it wasn't registered. Apple trusted me to install it on only five computers. Guess what. I didn't even have five computers to install it on, but I had more than one, so I paid for it.

That doesn't make Apple noble or grand or special. It makes Apple smart. Apple has figured out what makes a consumer company great: Make the customer feel special. I know of few companies that have done that. The only one that springs to mind is Nordstrom's (NYSE: JWN). Look 'em up. The Nordstrom's in downtown Seattle used to (I haven't been there for a while to know if they still do) have a pianist in the lobby. The pianist had nothing to do with their business, except that it gave the place a nice ambience. They charge a bit more for their wares, but people pay it instead of shopping around because of seemingly meaningless little details like that.

All the meaningless little details about Apple's products and service – the seamlessness of Software Update, the clean lines and classy design of their hardware, the easy transition to a major OS upgrade, the simplicity of setting up a WiFi network at home, the excellent customer service at Apple stores, to name but a few of the big obvious details – are what will keep Apple going at the pace and the direction it is.

So, I guess I just didn't want to just sit here and make fun of everybody all the time. I'd like to make fun of people who think that Windows is good enough, but I can't. They're right. It is. I use it at work all the time. It's good enough. It isn't good, though. Just good enough.

As with all things Microsoft, Windows lets me do things after I pay the necessary dues of aggravation at log-in, waiting through an ugly startup sequence, and herky-jerky fits and starts of networked applications looking for servers. Like waking up next to Rosie and getting my own bowl of soggy corn flakes and a slice of white toast. It's good enough.

I'm sure my Mac does all the same things as it wakes from sleep, but it hides the ugly stuff from me. It looks like a beautiful transition from sleep to start. All the hitches and glitches are hidden from view. Like waking up next to Elle McPherson (in make up and all the blemishes PhotoShopped out like in the ads) and being served coffee and eggs benedict before, and a mimosa after a roll in the hay.

If you don't think that sounds better, stick with Windows. Really.

No, I'm not drunk. Dammit.

Oops. One more thing. If you think Apple stock is expensive at $190, wait until it doubles again in '08. And again in '09.

Lifestyles of the Poor and Obscure

I can't imagine anything more fun than writing this blog. With the exception of the DFW intelligentsia, nobody gives a big shit what I have to say. I can say, for instance, that Windows is nothing more than a cheap-ass, poorly-done, shameless knock-off of the Macintosh operating system – not that I would. That would be mean. True, but mean.

I could say, if I wanted to, that owning a Mac in a world full of Windows PCs feels like cheating.

I read an article on CNET, I think, that said we need to quit being such a bunch of diehard, fanboy assholes about our (clearly superior) platform. I think that's right. We should stop trying to convince the rest of the world that they can actually spend all their computer time doing what they bought the dogdamn thing to do. Fuck 'em. The ones who call us names are the worst. Let them continue on in their ignorance. Dorks. Who gives a rat's ass? If you want to use an unstable, security mess of a cobbled-together, piece of shit operating system on a generic compubox, it's none of my business. Peace, dickhead.

Lots of people are saying negative things about Apple TV, too. Mostly the tech sites say it isn't selling as many units as they arbitrarily decided it should sell based on made up numbers and pre-determined multiplication factors. The financial/techblog/punditbot morons basically parrot the same thing, although they always add the word "halo" in there somewhere. Weird. The thing is, I never read anything from somebody who says, "I bought it. I hate it. This thing blows big ones." If it really isn't any good, why isn't anybody writing that somewhere? I want one. Especially now that I have a big screen HDTV. Maybe in February.

I usually don't write this until after dinner, when I'm in a better mood. I think I want to hear something in the key of D minor. Shut up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

MacWorld Expo Preview

The definitive preview:

Steve Jobs will wear a black mock turtleneck and jeans for the keynote address. He will say, "amazing," and "pretty cool" several times, and, "one more thing" at least once.

Product introductions:

iPan: All-purpose kitchen appliance. Fries, sautes, boils, bastes, braises, downloads bacon grease, butter, or extra virgin olive oil with a broadband connection, and has a multi-don't-touch surface.

iBod: Sleekly designed exercise device that fits in a pocket or attaches to a clip designed especially for Joe Boxer underwear. Provides a full aerobic, resistance, and yoga routine. Tracks blood sugar, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, blood pressure, pulse, respiration, perspiration, liver enzymes, and quality of bowel movements using a combination of infrared, ultrasound, and Bluetooth. Sends data to Bento,, and Atkins Online wirelessly. Also tracks musical preference and sends data to Universal, Warner, and Sony-BMG, so they'll know what you aren't about to buy anywhere but iTunes (Neener. Neener. Neener.).

iMod: Men's clothing line, designed by Jon Ive, based on the attire featured on the cover of Who Are You (1978).

iRod: Digital overpaid short stop action figure.

Of course everyone knows His Steveness will introduce a tablet computer, an upgraded iPhone, a new iPod, and iTunes 8.0 Ultra (for extra body and shine).

The new tablet will run the same OS X version that runs on the iPhone. Besides the apps on the iPhone it will also have Microsoft Word version 5.1 (the one that didn't suck), Talking Moose, Crystal Quest, and Easy Envelopes.

The new iPhone will have 3, 4, 5, and 6G capability, 32 Gb of storage, WiFi syncing with any device programmed in binary and not running Windows, and a universal remote control. The remote will control any electrical device including kitchen appliances, power tools, Christmas lights, hearing aids, instrument amplifiers, radio controlled models, lamps, cars built since 1997, and heated socks. It will also have, available as an option, a handset from a Western Electric dial phone.

The new iPod will do everything the new iPhone will do except make phone calls and function as an adjunct to foreplay.

iTunes 8.0 will have content from everybody who recognizes the best digital media storefront on the web, and is smart enough to use it. It'll be cooler than 7.x, of course.

I'll just bet Bento 1.0 hits the street, for real.

Also, I think I heard something about a new Intel processor. There'll be something about Macs in there someplace, too. Bound to be.

Did you hear a noise? No? Hmm. Must be the voices again.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

FUD Patrol

Been reading around the innertubes. I'm desperately frightened. Apple is in terrible trouble.

Hackers have written Trojan horses targeting Leopard. I'm serious. If you go to a porn site, download a video, then download a special program from the porn site to run it, then enter your administrator password to give that porn site's program access to the root level of your system, you could get infected.

You might not know about the Robert Scoble OS X virus. I've imbedded it in this blog.

Your computer is now infected with the Robert Scoble virus. Please reformat your hard drive and forward this to ten friends.
The FUD machine is alive and well.

Here are a few things I've read lately about Apple's precipitous position:

  • The iPhone may cause rabies in unvaccinated lab rats.
  • The Macintosh is now popular enough that smart-ass punks who couldn't hack it before are trying again.
  • The iPod touch is a Nazi war criminal.
  • Leopard causes cancer.
  • iWork may not outsell Microsoft Office, in spite of being almost 20 years younger.
  • You must own an iPod if you download iTunes.
  • You must download iTunes if you own an iPod.
  • You are not allowed to play anything on the iPod that wasn't purchased on iTunes.
  • The Zune has an FM tuner and is, therefore, a far superior technology to the iPod.
  • Macintosh is not invulnerable to hacking. This one really scared me. There are like 150-200 variants of the Trojan horse thingy. Just thinking about it made me almost wet my pants.
  • Okay, maybe it was that third glass of IPA.
  • Drew Peterson may own an iPod Classic.
  • The proper garnish for a martini is a pimiento-stuffed green olive.

While all of that may be true, I'd just like to note for the record that I'm using a Mac Pro running Leopard whilst most of the FUD-spreaders are using XP. Neener. Neener. Neener.

Friday, December 07, 2007

How I'd Spend 15 Billion Smackers

Somebody decided to speculate how Apple should spend all their money. It's hard to figure out who was first if you don't care to look. Since that would constitute research, I'll skip that part. Anyway, the first time I saw it was on MacDailyNews. They have some sites linked. I think it was on, like, 67 or 68 different sites. Everybody has a different idea how El Jobso and company should unload all that dirty money.

First, let me say that if I knew what to do with $1.5 E10, I probably wouldn't spend my weekdays trying to explain nuclear radiation to a roomful of yawns and half-closed eyes. All these other folks, dirt-poor schlumps by comparison, are just sure they have the best answers for His Steveness. If I was a co-inventor of the personal computer, running the most innovative consumer electronics company on the planet with a market cap approaching $2.0 E12, I believe I'd listen to exactly none of those assholes. But that's just me. I'm kind of a maverick.

So anyway, I did some figuring about what I'd do if I was running Apple, and if I decided that I should spend some money out of an available pot of $15,000,000,000.00, after getting me and wifey-poo a couple of new cars and paying the rest of my kid's college expenses. I probably would, as a minimum, stop writing really long run-on sentences.

Somebody suggested Apple could buy Universal or 20th Century Fox or Warner or maybe two or three of them. Not me. Why on earth would Apple want to buy up another corporation's bureaucracy. Especially a Hollywood bureaucracy. Every dog-damn secretary and janitor and their rotten kid has a fecking agent in that town. Useless and smarmy. T'hell with that.

I'd buy the digital distribution rights to every movie ever filmed, including the Super-8 of Uncle Pete and Aunt Gladys at the 1966 Shriners' convention in Minneapolis (the one with the really hard to see ice carvings). Silent films, early talkies, porn – you name it – even non-Star Wars stuff with Mark Hamill. I wouldn't rent 'em. I'd buy 'em. Pay the greedy bastards an outlandish price. Then I'd put them all in H.264, 720p, 1080p, QuickTime, .wmv, NTSC, and any other non-DRM format anybody wanted. Then I'd put them on a brand new freshly designed iTunes Movie store with a five-view price and a purchase price. Buy it or rent it. Your choice.

I wouldn't put up a single barrier to piracy except one: I'd make it easy and reasonable to use the system honestly. Since that's what most people want, I'd use the considerable profit from the movie cash cow to pay dividends.

Other people suggested buying Adobe, whoever owns AutoCad and a few other software companies. Nah. Apple's market share is increasing. Everybody thinks it's going to attract the hackers and the viruses. I doubt it. Hackers, like most criminals, are lazy and not terribly bright. If they were smart or industrious they wouldn't be criminals. The lazy and stupid can still make a lot of money hacking XP Trojan Horses.

Apple's growing market share will attract good programmers looking to make money selling software for a successful platform. I wouldn't waste a dime on buying a software company.

Nor would I buy NetFlix or blockbuster. Hard media is dead. The HD/BluRay war ultimately doesn't matter. How hard would it be to order a movie on iTunes and stream it on demand? Right now. If I had 1.5 E10 USD, I'm pretty sure I could make that happen. I'm also pretty sure I could make it profitable at $0.99 per viewing. Who the hell needs a DVD?

Those are just a couple of ideas.

I'd also buy a Stratocaster, a Les Paul Custom Deluxe, take piano lessons, hire somebody to rake my leaves, and get a Thank-you card for Lofa Tatupu. After three interceptions last week, it seems like the least I could do.

We're out of peanuts. I hate it when we run out of peanuts.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Nokia and Universal. Jen and Brad. Jessica and Nick. Brit and Whatever. Who Gives a Rat's Ass?

So Nokia and Universal are getting together. Now that every music consumer in the world has had plenty of time to figure out what a DRM-laden, piece-of-shit, subscription music service looks like; now that everyone in the music-selling and tech businesses knows that consumers aren't interested in a DRM-laden, piece-of-shit, subscription music service; now that everybody knows that the only functional business model for paid music downloads is called iTunes – Universal and Nokia have combined their years of technical and marketing experience to devise a DRM-laden, piece-of-shit, subscription service. They think music consumers will be stupid enough to buy it because they gave it the double-entendre marketing monicker, "Comes with Music."

Guys. Listen. People have been sharing music for free for about 10 years. People are still sharing CDs. Your music is not copy protected. Some of your digital files are copy protected. That's it. We don't have to pay for a dog-damn thing. You can't sue everybody. You just can't. DRM is the technical equivalent of the toll booth on the William J. Le Petomane Thruway.

You can't make the music hard to copy. You can't prevent people from sharing the stuff freely. Read my lips: CAN Frigging NOT. What you CAN do is make it harder to use your music files honestly and legally. That means, it will be freely shared dishonestly and illegally. If you want to sell it to us honestly, treat us like we're honest. As long as you treat us like thieves, we're not going to do business with you. Apple trusts me. I'll give Apple my money for what they'll sell me.

Joining up with Nokia and adding a lame, transparent label to a DRM-laden, piece-of-shit, subscription service won't make money. It will fool a few techno-illiterate bozos, and piss off anyone who knows anything at all about digital music, which, with the popularity of the iPod, is a lot of people.

Full disclosure. I'm an Apple stockholder. I have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, Apple needs some competition in order to avoid complacency and arrogance. I'd love to see Apple get some real competition. I don't see any at all. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Zune. The empty set. Nil. Scratch.

On the other hand, it sure is fun watching my favorite company standing like Superman in a rain of bullets from the clueless. If the music industry is going to give Apple any competition, you're going to have to pull your heads out of your asses.

Click here for detailed instructions on how to accomplish that.

In case you haven't kept up with the news, subscription services aren't giving Apple any competition. Screwing the public is no longer a functional business model. The free ride is over, boys. You're going to have to become consumer oriented. Your other option is to watch your business go straight down the commode. Radiohead was the first major act to take their income from direct sales and cut you completely out. Do you think they'll be the last?

For the record (no pun intended), there was music before the birth of the first A&R guy. Mankind flourished. We can manage without you. Can you manage without us?

I think I ate too much fudge at the Christmas luncheon. Indigestion makes me cranky.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Fun Never Stops

No time for web browsing at work today. I had to actually go do my job. Okay. You caught me. I actually just went out and watched other people working. But it took all day.

Somebody is suing Apple. Again. About. Wait for it. Patent infringement. This time it's Visual Voicemail. If there was video of His Steveness on the crapper, somebody would sue him over their patented method for folding toilet paper. It's beyond stupid. I'm guessing any day now the inventor of the letter "i" is going to get a lawyer and start a class action suit.

There's a new Get a Mac ad. As near as I can tell, it's about the Mac's ability to run Windows viruses more efficiently than a similarly equipped Dell.

In other news, Apple is selling lots of stuff. Analysts all over the place are saying, "Apple is selling lots of stuff." It's really good to have analysts.

Steve Jobs will be the keynote speaker at MacWorld in January. Whoa. Pinch me. Really? What is that, like, ten time in a row? What are the odds?

I don't care what the tastemakers say, Bad is Bad by Huey Lewis and the News is still a great tune.

Okay, some real blogging.

Yesterday on Fast Company, Michael Fitzgerald announced that he is utterly ignorant of all things related to Apple by writing a column. He said the iPhone has all kinds of shortcomings. He picked on the virtual keyboard (a challenge), no 3G support, voice dialing, or stereo Bluetooth headsets.

Money quote: "Fashionistas may buy 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008, as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) predicted. But the iPhone's lead in interface technology won't last long, and it lags behind other smartphones in many ways. Unless it closes the gap fast, it's destined to be a niche product."

Translation: People who have more money than me are buying iPhones. Apple has the lead in interface technology. It lags behind other Smartphones, although I can't think of specific examples of anything significant or new.

He failed to mention that the iPhone has already grabbed 27% of the smartphone market share. That's a big fucking niche, Mikey.

Then he beats up the iPod touch. Yeah, that's a niche product. It's the price/feature niche Microsoft is hoping to fill with Zune 2.0. Oops. The difference is, the iPod Touch doesn't look like a 1966 Sears Silvertone transistor radio with a skin condition.

Then he talks about the Mac. It's compulsory if you're going to analyze Apple. By way of riffing on the Mac he says, "Apple has greatly improved its Macs over the past few years in ways obvious (its move to Intel chips), and less so (adding support for the Samba protocol, which allows the Mac to share networks with PCs)." So far, so good, right?

Then he jumped up and down on the table and screamed, "I'm a dumbass. I'm a dumbass. I'm a dumbass." No. Not really. He wasn't that subtle. He said, "Still, it will be a challenge for Apple to be a mass-market player because of its pricing." Translation: "I don't read, I just write."

He called Apple TV a flop. He might be right about that. His reasoning is faulty, though. He says there isn't any HD content available from iTunes. I think downloads from iTunes are 720p, technically considered HD. Fricking ESPN thinks it's HD, anyway. Okay, it isn't 1080, and it kinda sucks, but it's HD.

Finally, he says Apple's biggest threat is Google. This is based on comments from "One executive close to Apple." Does anyone else think that sounds exactly the same as, "I'm about to make some shit up and blame it on a nameless entity who may or may not actually exist," or did I miss something important? Anyway, this one executive close to Apple says, "On the web, I don't need a computer." I can't afford enough hallucinogens to make that leap, so I'll stick with using some hardware with an OS. Thanks.

Michael goes on to say that once the interface is entirely the Web, Dell and HP will be able to use their scale to undermine Apple's share in mp3 players and PCs. Well, maybe. There is one minor glitch to that. HP and Dell are quickly losing their scale. They're crippled with an inability to innovate beyond Redmond while Apple is free to do as they please. Meaning, in the not too distant future Apple's stuff is the definition of modern (sleek, pleasurable), while everything else is the definition of obsolete (clunky, annoying).

Also, if Dell and HP were going to undermine Apple with scale, they would have done so by now. Companies in various market segments of the vast, sprawling, amoeba-like mishmash we call "tech" are finding that when it comes to competing with solid, consumer-focused innovation, scale means exactly dick.

So, Michael, I needed something to make fun of. Thanks for being a good sport. Or, if you don't want to be a good sport, damn.

Time for my medicine.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bye, now...

NBC has left the iTunes lineup of TV shows.

NBC, you might remember, is a broadcast television network. Their ratings (4th out of 4) put them just behind Pluto in terms of visibility on a clear night.

So, if you're looking for quality entertainment at the iTunes store, you no longer have to stumble over NBC's crap to get to something you might want to watch. They have a site (I think it's, but I'm not sure) where you can watch Chuck, with commercials. No thanks.

There is one good thing I can think to say about NBC. Although Football Night in America is by far the most tasteless, forced, and contrived non-professional-wrestling sports program I've ever watched, at least NBC has the common decency not to let Chris Collinsworth and Bryant Gumbel into the broadcast booth at the game.

The Seahawks play the Eagles, in Philly, in a little over two hours. I'll bet on the Hawks, but I'm taking the spread.