Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thank you, John Gruber.

I just had the best laugh of my day from Microsoft, via Daring Fireball. Followed a link to the Microsoft tech support page for opening the Vista box. No wonder Vista is so popular. You need instructions to get to the instructions. I don't care who you are, that's funny.

On to the further lame reports of Apple's imminent demise.....

The Garmin nüvifone. It's the next iPhone killer. Nobody has demonstrated a working model. Nobody has tested it. Nobody has taken one apart to see how it works – if it works, if there are any available. There are pictures of something claiming to be a nüvifone on a few websites. It will be for sale later, like September or something.

Keep in mind that the iPhone was – according to the tech-press a few short weeks ago – just a silly SJ ego trip. So, here we have the dogdamn tech-press and the finance blogs blathering about a device that does not exist as a threat to the iPhone. A LETHAL threat, no less. Repeat: the device does not exist. There are no reports of a working model in the field. No keynotes with someone demonstrating a working model. There is more and better documentation of the existence of space aliens at Area 51 than the nüvifone.

Read my lips: DOES. NOT. EXIST.

There are none. Nil. Zero. The empty set. Zune. Squat. Nada. Zip. Point. Shit. The damn things are nothing more than a picture on a web page. Garmin probably has a few to show to friends, family, punditbots eager to write something, anything negative about Apple. But there ain't none in the pockets of regular meat and potatoes Americans. Please, please, please get a grip on reality people.

In case you hadn't thought this through – an actual shipping product, with one of the most recognizable trademarks in the world stamped on it, that has sold 4 million units on two continents in sixteen weeks has a modest advantage over a non-existent, fantasy, PhotoShopped nothing from a company that is making it's first plunge into mobile computing beyond GPS and has never sold a phone.

Dear Dumbass Punditbot,

RE: The nüvifone.

iPhone killer? First, that is beyond unoriginal. Okay? It has been done already. The whole iSomething killer genre thingy is over. It's lame. It announces to the world, "I have nothing to say, but I have to turn in 500 words by Wednesday at 5 pm." Second, the fecking thing is ether. It's Santa Claus. The Tooth Fairy. The Easter Bunny. It's Vista SP2, for crying out loud. If you absolutely must call something an iSomething killer, could you at least make it something that can actually be purchased?


Your One and Only Functioning Brain Cell.
P.S. While I was busy dictating the letter you peed your pants.
Anybody out there have Lexis-Nexis at work? Look up "iPhone killer" and "nüvifone." Find out who used it first. Whoever it was should be pimp-slapped until every fanboy with his OS 9.2 proof-of-purchase seals has bloody knuckles. The guys who used it second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, too. I'm thinking I'm about the forty-third blog to use it today, but I was being sarcastic, belligerent, and an asshole, so that shouldn't count – right?

Note: I have nothing against Garmin. I'm sure they make fine products. Garmin didn't issue the phrase "iPhone killer" in their press release. You can't make great products and be that stupid. They said it will compete with the iPhone. Nothing wrong with that. Apple can only benefit from a lively marketplace.

iPhone killer. Pfft. Dorks.

Hmm. I wonder if the gnocchi had too much parmesan. I'm a little cranky.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Oh the Humanity

Wow. Have you been watching the presidential campaign crapstorm lately? We have three Socialists pretending to be Republicans, and two Communists pretending to be Democrats. I saw a great email today. A soldier with Chelsea saying, "I'm only afraid of three things: Osama, Obama, and Yo' Mama." Well, that would sum it up for me if we had any Republican candidates.

And Ron Paul is still in the race.

My Mom – who does a great imitation of a bobblehead doll on a dashboard on a long stretch of unpaved road when Rush Limbaugh speaks – is considering voting for Ron Paul.

I've read his web site. I'm not sure I agree with him across the board, but I think he could keep things from going too far the wrong direction. He would at least have veto power to slow down the slide. I'm thinking he's probably the best of the available alternatives.

That isn't exactly a ringing endorsement (damned by faint praise), but then, who the hell am I anyhow? I have to vote, and I sure can't vote for any of the "mainstream" choices. The communists are out. They don't even hide that they intend to socialize everything. From the standpoint of honesty, they're preferable to the "Republican" candidates. The "Republicans" won't even come right out and tell you that they're about to redistribute your wealth and appoint liberal judges.

So you can put me down as a Ron Paul supporter as well as an Apple fanboy. Doubly damned.

Moving right along......

Was over at the Macalope today. He beat up some poor goober named Sven who thinks he's going to be hunted down and killed by Apple for saying he talked to an anonymous Apple employee at MacWorld and got the following leaked piece of vital top secret eyes only from the deep dark dungeon information about cut'n'paste on the iPhone....(remember: if you read this you have to immediately destroy some brain cells)...

"We're working on that."

I think picking on Sven is kinda like giving the grandkids Coco Puffs and Mountain Dew just before Mom comes to pick them up. Mean, cruel, thoughtless, inhumane, and downright fun.

More bad news....

The iPhone is doomed again. Can you believe it? Some retard says that Apple is going to really have to struggle to meet their 10 million phone goal by the end of the year. Probably right, too. If you figure that they sold 4 million in two quarters, and expanded their market late in the first two quarters and they continue to sell at that rate for four more quarters that's two times six, carry the one, that's only 12 million. Plus they still aren't even officially being sold in Canada, China, Belize, Afghanistan, Liechtenstein, Japan, Mozambique, Norway, Holland, Guatemala, Uruguay, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, Mexico, or Greece. That adds up to several percent of the world's population (I could do the math, but frankly I don't care.)

So you can see that the iPhone is doomed. DOOMED. Apple is just totally hosed again. Damn you, Steve Jobs.

It never ends....

The MBAJ is doomed. DOOMED. Is that repetitious? Should I have said something else?
..cubed. CUBED.

At least the third horseman of the Apocalypse...

Over on Roughly Drafted, it seems that John C. Dvorak has received some kind of testimonial for saying something demonstrably true.

And finally....

Dell is closing all 140 of its mall kiosks. The question that surely must plague us all, upon hearing that sad news is, "Dell had mall kiosks? Who knew?"

The last peanut butter cookie is MINE.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

MBAJ - Explained Again

Listen. Trust me on this, okay. The MacBook Air Jordan is going to be teh popular. You'll be seeing them in all the popular coach and business class seats by the end of summer. Why?

They're thin and light and they look bitchin'. They're Macs. Macs are the new cool computer.

They'll do what most people need a computer to do. An MBAJ will check email, play iTunes movies on a biggish (for business class) screen, and shop Amazon. Most folks don't pay much attention to things like megahertz and rpms and benchmarks and refresh rates. They just don't care.

Once upon a time, a lot of restaurants served steaks on stainless steel inserts on bakelite shells. They would put the steel insert on the grill. When they served the steak on that plate, it would still be sizzling. Hence the old business axiom, "Sell the sizzle, not the steak."

The MBAJ is another case of perfect timing on the part of His Steveness. Macs are cool. The Apple logo is tres chic. The MBAJ has the combination of being thin, light, new and groovy, and adorned with an Apple logo. The fact that it is slightly more expensive than other laptops is actually a selling point. There is a cachet to carrying around something that costs a little more than the garden variety corporate utility.

It bestows a bit of prestige to be carrying the very latest and coolest technology. If it was cheap, nobody would want it.

Now, us blogospheroids who get hung up on all the technical numbers and features and architecture and throughput and all that jazz aren't the target market. Who is? Oh, lots of folks.

  • Salesmen.
  • Business consultants.
  • People who travel for a living for non-technical careers.
  • Actors and musicians.
  • People who travel a lot for pleasure.
  • Doctors and lawyers.
  • People who don't need massive processing power or piles of storage.
  • Insurance adjusters.
  • Human Resource managers.
  • Small business owners.
  • College students.
  • People who could get by quite nicely with a PowerBook G4 but can afford $1800.
That's not a complete list – just stream of consciousness rambling – but it's a start. It isn't about the spec sheet. The cachet of carrying a MacBook Air Jordan is the sizzle. People coming over from the land of XP and Vista are going to dig the computing experience. Whatever else the MBAJ is, it's going to be a hell of a lot better than a comparably equipped generic machine running a turn-of-the-century OS.

The sizzle will sell the steak long enough for the word to get around about the quality of the meal.

There. Do you think I've kicked the shit out of an analogy enough for one night?

Good. I have to teach tomorrow.

Has anyone seen the cat lately?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Interesting Phenomenon

Is it just me, or is the internet getting more anti-Apple lately?

First, let me put this in perspective. I'm listening to Mark Knopfler and Chet Atkins. I just had a couple of IPAs. Also, we had a site closure because of snow. I just had a paid day off.

Life is good.

Everybody seems to be riffing on Apple. The stock price went down. Where are all those iPhones? The MacBook Air Jordan is larger than a Triscuit and less powerful than a Cray. Garbage. Microsoft, LG, Nokia, Qtrax, Universal-NBC, Sony and a host of other companies have introduced iSomething-killers over the past year or so. So far all the iSomethings are selling faster than sugar-free iced tea in Hell. All of the iSomething-killers are in the realm of "What the hell was the name of that thing?"

I was just reading today, too, that the new Windows Mobile 7, due out next year, will be better than the iPhone that came out last year. The interesting thing about that, is that is was said with a straight face. A few reasons why that prediction is just monumentally stupid:

1. The whole technology thing is about making something better than we already have. It's kind of like a plumber announcing on his blog that he's going to unplug a toilet – then waiting patiently for people to kiss his ass. Yo. Hey. Making technology for next year that's better than last year's is supposed to be something you're smug about if you're a technology company. If the garbage men high-five every time they get a load to the dump, it makes me think they're not exactly seasoned veterans.

2. When was "Longhorn" supposed to be out? They renamed it Vista and it came out a long time late. Vista, even though it's years late, isn't widely considered to be better than XP. Microsoft doesn't exactly have a great track record for introducing technology that is a.) better, b.) timely, c.) well received.

3. Raise your hand if you think the current version of Windows Mobile is more useful than this.

4. The concept of the whole riff was that we should wait until next year (at least) for technology carrying the promise of the above company that it would be better than what we can already have.

The part that really baffles me, is that a lot of punditbots are writing that Apple is screwed up.

Here's the thing. The punditbots are largely shouting to the blogospheroids and each other. Apple is selling a whole big bunch of hardware to people who don't know this little blatherfest even exists. They probably wouldn't care if they knew. The lack of being inspired by all this keening and wailing and gnashing of teeth seems to cause no problem for the uninitiated. They just run to the Apple stores and spend their money without ever knowing that John C. Dvorak said they oughtn't. Dang it.

Over the past few years, the Apple stores were doomed to failure; the iPod was "meh;" the iPhone was dismissed by the "experts;" now the MBAJ is an underpowered frou-frou. I'm just guessing, but, um, that's a pretty dismal record. I hope my doctor is better at prognostication than these idiotic analysts and punditbots.

Apple's fine, kids. If you've sold Apple recently, well, it sucks to be you. Shares of Apple are about to get real spendy. By the end of 2009, Apple will have a larger market cap than number two and number three combined. Yeah. Call that a prediction. Of course, I'm no Jim Cramer. Some day maybe I'll get rid of the self-esteem that keeps me from shrieking like a housewife who just won a Kia Rio on The Price is Right for a living.

Time for my pills.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Oh no, not again.

John C. Dvorak and the MacBook Air Jordan have appeared in the same post. You can guess what that means.

He's right, you know, on a few points. His spelling, grammar, and punctuation seem to be pretty good. He used what looks like a nice readable font. He's also correct that the MBAJ is not a powerhouse übercomputer. Aside from that, though, he's pretty much full of crap.

Let's liken an MBAJ to, say, an Audi TTS, and a MacBook Pro to a Ford F-150. A MacPro Dual-Quad 3 GHz, in this scenario is a Mack truck.

If you, on the airplane, need to do poster-sized Photoshop renderings, or pre-production work on a Pixar movie, or a last-minute score for a Scorsese film with FinalCut Pro, well, an MBAJ probably isn't the computer you'll want to carry. Likewise, if you need to haul a cubic yard of bark to your house, you probably won't use your Audi. If you need that sort of thing, get the pickup truck.

In fact, if you're going to do any real heavy-duty computing, you'll probably want to do most of it on that MacPro. The 'book will be mostly for peripheral details.

Now let's say you want to show off pictures of the new baby, listen to music, or watch a couple of movies on the plane. Rent the movies on iTunes, drop the movies, photos, and music library on the MBAJ, get on the plane at La Guardia and annoy the person next to you all the way to O'Hare. You could do that with a MacBook Pro, but it's heavier, bulkier, and not as cool.

In the same way, you could go clubbing in the F-150. If it's all you have, it will do. But if you're a style-conscious trendsetter, and you can afford something slick and sporty and attractive like a TTS, you'll take that instead.

And then, if you want to transport MBAJs to NYC Apple Stores, you'll need a lot of cargo capacity. Use the Mack.

In the way that political humorists and comedians love George Bush, I love John C. Dvorak.

Coffee time.

Friday, January 25, 2008

How to Compete with Apple (Chapter 6)

Hello, corporate-computer-company CEOs. Welcome to the "How to Compete with Apple" seminar series. This is presented as a public service to try to drum up some kind of competition for my favorite company so they don't get all spoiled and complacent.

Well, alrighty then. Since nobody asked, and since I have no real reason to give a big whoop, here's how to compete with Apple. Now let me preface this by saying your company doesn't have a snowball's chance in Guatemala of catching up technologically in less than about five years. By then your computers will be harder to find than a tricked out Yugo. On the other hand, if you're in the computer business and you'd like that to continue, you'd better get started.

As this is primarily a humor blog about computers by an Apple stockholder who can't program a universal remote, I'm pretty sure it will get just about that kind of attention. Also, even if it's widely read, none of this will ever get out of committee. I don't figure to endanger Apple's fortunes in the slightest.

Add in the fact that Steve Jobs has explained these concepts numerous times in the public forum, and you can see that you, as a corporate executive, are just not equipped to gather or use important information. Stick around anyway, though. At least as long as you're busy with this, you aren't doing something dangerous or stupid. Don't run with those scissors, please.

With all that in mind, please pull your heads out of your asses and listen. I'm not going to repeat myself unless I can't think of something to babble about later. That could happen, but I'm pretty good at thinking up asinine topics, so don't hold your breath.

1. Forget about selling computers. Concentrate on selling technology.

Apple took the word "computer" out of its name for a simple reason: It isn't what they're about. The Macintosh is a thing for letting you do stuff. Apple takes care of the computer stuff for me. The Macintosh is a convenient hub for all the other things I want – phone, music, movies, internet, email – and it will also do a spreadsheet (on the off chance I'd ever want it to).

By contrast, a Windows computer is great for rebooting and running all of your cool anti-virus apps. Windows forms the foundation for the bulk of the tech support industry. Your Windows machine will also hold down a stack of loose papers next to an open window on a breezy day.

Note: Most Mac tech support is online. Because generally when our computers aren't working quite right, we can still use them. When your Windows machine heads south, you need to call somebody on the phone. I'm willing to bet you couldn't get a job at Geek Squad with Macintosh as you're only computer expertise. (When I say "generally" it means I'm about to make a broad generalization. Sometimes those generalizations are wrong. I don't care.)

Linux is cool. Linux is good. Linux is for people who like to fiddle around with the computer's innards. Linux is not a valid operating system for Joe Insuranceadjuster's home needs. That is unless Joe is a spare time geek hobbyist. And even if it was, there are too damned many flavors to make it any kind of cogent choice. Oh, yeah. And it's open source. Pure open source is really nice, but nobody is in charge. There isn't anybody to sue when you lose your entire digital life to a keystroke. Accountability and warranties are important.

With a Mac, you don't have to care much about tech support or command lines. If you want to compete with a Mac, you'll have to build a device that just works. All the geek shit has to happen before you ship it. Joe Shoesalesman just wants to watch an episode of Cheers and listen to his Tito Puente albums.

Apple doesn't sell computers. They sell ways to do things I want to do. The computer is just the toy box in which those things are packed. Easy to use toys are "technology."

2. Build the whole widget.

Apple can innovate faster than Hillary can change her mind because they build both the hardware and the operating system. Dell and Sony can't innovate. Can. Not. All they can do is build innards that will run Windows. If you can't change it, you can't improve it.

Then make everything that works with your widget work predictably and well.

For example: People wanted ways to use their cell phones with their computers. Apple fiddled with it's hardware and software to accommodate them. The user experience was incredibly variable – all over the board. Every phone had its own little quirks that needed special care. Enter the iPhone. It just works with Apple's stuff. It's part of the widget. That helps Apple sell the Macintosh and the iPhone, not just one or the other.

3. Learn how to design products that look as good as they work.

Remember you're trying to sell something that Mom won't mind having in the living room. Apple does. Make it look nice.

The industrial design of most other companies' computers is enough to make you weep. Especially Dell's. Damn. Apple's industrial design is about minimalist function that looks classy. Nothing extra or unnecessary. Everything fits tight and smooth. Dell's cases look like they were designed in a particularly rowdy trailer park. They have all kinds of useless pieces and moving parts that fit together wrong and with visible gaps. On top of that, they're fugly. That's not a typo. I mean FUGLY.

4. Pay attention to details.

In industrial design, how the software and the hardware work together, how the windows look, make it be right – all the time, every time. All the windows should look as close to the same as possible. The fonts should display exactly on an application's page as they do on the printed page and on the web site. Exactly. The same. The acronym WYSIWYG was coined in the early days of Mac. It has gone out of common usage. WYSIWYG is kinda like pregnancy. It's a one or a zero. If it isn't 100%, it isn't real. It only exists on Macs. It has been the standard on Macs since 1984. I still get glitches on the Dell at work where what I see on the screen is different from the print version. That's absurd.

If you think those details don't matter, well, Apple is about to eat your lunch. And steal your milk money. And beat you up. And give you a wedgie and a noogie – in the hallway, in front of the girl you just asked to the Homecoming dance.

5. Listen to your customers.

Apple listens to us. That doesn't mean that every preference is addressed, but if enough of us bitch, things change. I'll bet you the contents of this doggy bag from Applebee's the translucent menu bar is either gone or optional in the next fix of Leopard, just to name one example.

6. Trust your customers.

Most of us are honest folks. If you think that isn't so, you must have missed the news about Ebay. The concept that most people are honest is the entire basis of Ebay. It seems to have worked out okay. Oh, yeah, and you missed the release of Apple's new OS, too. Not copy protected or serial-numbered.

Apple doesn't copy protect or DRM their software. There's a registration code for QuickTime Pro, but other than that, nothing. When His Steveness said he'd drop DRM the second the labels let him rings true. It isn't some karmic altruistic platitude. Most people are trustworthy. Most people will pay the price for the things they want and need. We also tend to resent not being trusted.

When you sell me something that clearly questions my trustworthiness, I'll be as untrustworthy as you expect me to be. I've installed hacked copy-protected versions of software I didn't even want, just to beat the system. Not in the last ten years, though. Too lazy.

The money you'll lose to piracy is nothing compared to the value of the goodwill of trusting your customers. The money you'll save from piracy with copy protection is chump change compared to what you'll lose from resentful customers. Frankly, the piracy will continue. The only people that are really thwarted with copy protection are honest people. It pisses us off, too.

7. Quit trying to copy Apple.

Apple makes stuff up. You have to make stuff up. New stuff. Apple doesn't rehash other people's ideas. Sometimes they buy them, and maybe sometimes they just take them, but then they improve them. For example, iTunes may have started out as SoundJam, but it wasn't a copy. Apple found a piece of software that did what they wanted done. They bought it. It doesn't look like SoundJam anymore. You can still see the resemblance, but iTunes is the grown up version.

There you have it. If your company can do all that, you can compete with Apple on their turf. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Boys and girls, can you say, "pwned?"

Time to throw another log on the fire.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ain't Much Happening

Bernanke panicked. He got a big pee stain in his wool trousers and dropped the Fed rate by 0.75 percent. Instead of sparking a rally, he spooked the critters. Damn fool kids.

Apple's stock price will be up again soon. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Apple's growth is just getting started. The stock might not reflect it in the near term, but if you hold on to it, you'll make money. If it gets any cheaper, I'm gonna buy more.

'Nuffa that.

If you didn't hear, they just love the MBAJ on the Today Show. This may shock some folks hereabouts, but um, the rest of the world doesn't revolve around the Mac-Geek blogosphere or the stock report. There are lots and lots of folks that don't give a hoot in hell about features and specs and hard drives versus SSDs and frigging USB ports. They just want a computer that works and looks cool doing it.

If they can have a computer that's thin and light and works and looks cool doing it, so much the better. These are not stupid people. They're people with money. They're people who make good livings doing something other than worrying about Apple versus PC. Most of them don't know a Leopard from a Vista and wouldn't care if they did. They've seen the Get a Mac TV ads. It's a computer. It looks pretty cool. I want one.

MBAJs are going to sell faster than Cheetos at a Cheech and Chong rally. When the new version comes out, the noobs will buy new ones. Apple isn't evil. They sell stuff. They like to sell hardware and spin off software. His Steveness used to give away the system software in the good old days. They practically do now. They want to sell Macs, and they do.

They don't give a rat's skidtracks about the profit margin at the iTunes music store. They care about selling Macs and iPhones and iPods and Apple TVs. The price is designed to make it easy to download lots of stuff to your iThingy. That way you'll want to make sure you always have the latest iThingy.

Apple will continue to grow for a while. After a while, though, they'll need some competition to keep from becoming complacent. Eventually a couple of companies will figure out how to compete. I could tell them, but that wouldn't be a new post. I've already said it enough times. It isn't all that complex. Hell, Steve Jobs has told them. Nobody's listening.

It's okay. I don't own any of their stocks anyhow.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Market and Other Foolishness

The price of Apple's stock is big news. It went down. Yippee. If you've studied the stock market at all, you'll know that's one of two possible things it can do.

I read somewhere that it's Steve Jobs' fault. I didn't actually go to the story, but I saw a link that said something about His Steveness playing games with his quarterly projections and how that was hurting stockholders. It's true. But it's only going to hurt the really dumb ones.

The intrinsic value of a stock is calculable if you know how many shares there are, and the value of the company's real and liquid assets (cash, real estate, buildings, unopened jars of mayonnaise, etc). Based strictly on the $18.4B His Steveness has in the coffee can buried in his yard, the value per share would be in the ballpark of $21. Cash isn't Apple's only tangible asset by any guess, so I made a conservative SWAG. I don't have all the data in front of me, but my guess is that the per-share intrinsic value of Apple is in the neighborhood of $40-60.

The rest of the stock price is entirely made up of predictions and calculations based on projections based on past statements based on past performance and future anticipated growth, analysis based on those calculations, guesses and mummery. It ain't real. The people who tell you they can reliably pick near-term winners in all that overvalued mess are lying or stupid. The experts are pretty good at hindsight. They can explain in great detail why their last prediction didn't work. Hint: it was somebody else's fault. Ooooh. Let's blame the CEO who refused to fuel our idiotic fantasies with predictions on the very thin edge of plausibility.

The people who think they get some kind of guaranteed continued increase in individual stock prices are the people who make smart investors rich.

If you don't grok the reality of stock values, you should follow El Jobso's lead and keep your money stuffed in a mattress. What hurt Apple investors isn't Steve Jobs; it's believing the soothsay of analysts. Analysts take the anticipation of a possible future molehill, turn it into a perceived mountain of urgent transactions and brokers fees, then report to the believers at the seance. Listening to analysts is what hurts investors.

I'm holding on to my Apple stock. It'll go back up after the moths flock to another lightbulb.

Oh wait. I just checked. Todd Sullivan. That's the guy on Seeking Alpha. His premise hinges on the need for analysts to get their adolescent fantasies fulfilled in projections, so they can make better wrong predictions. So Steve Jobs is a bad man. Huh. Just between us girls, I think Todd's full of used insoluble fiber.

How can we be out of peanut butter already?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Numbers are In, Baby.

Biggest quarter in Apple's history.
The stock is tanking.
Hey. I bought some more. Life was good. Then it went down some more after the bell.
Shut up.
The stock will hit $300 before the end of the year.
Or it won't.
In either case I don't see me selling.


The Yankees and Red Sox are playing in Glendale in a couple of weeks. It's gonna be a slow weekend in Miami. The Phoenix area won't even notice the influx of RVs with the "always on left turn signal" feature. It isn't like they'll stand out from the crowd in February.


The web is still awash in punditbots nattering about the horrible lack of features in the MacBook Air Jordan. A short list of the features it lacks includes:

A cassette player
Passenger-side air bag
A lift gate
Hand rails
FM tuner
Vertical and Horizontal Hold controls
Magic Seal®
Optional Automatic Transmission
A "Dolphin Safe" sticker
Splash guard
Ambidextrous safety switch (heck, even a Beretta 92 has that option)

Also, Apple hasn't even pretended that the MBAJ is free of trans fats, certified organic, and hypo-allergenic.

So, to be fair, the MBAJ is just a total train wreck. It's "the new Cube," according to one punditbot. I'm really depressed. Worse than that, iPod growth is slowing.

If you really need to paint something black – I mean, if what you do for a living is make pessimistic noises – there's the way to do it. Analyze a company that sells more of its stuff quarter over quarter over year after year for ten years, and say, "growth is slowing."

Eighteen point four billion dollars in cash. Apple could acquire Connecticut, treat the whole population to dinner, and have money left over for a massage and a haircut.

Growth is slowing.



I'm gonna crank up some Taj Mahal and Robert Johnson. If you're coming over bring whiskey. Don't worry, I'll share.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Nothing to say. All night to say it.

I was over reading the Macalope and Daring Fireball. Daring Fireball mentioned, and the Macalope discussed at length, a post by some guy named Barton. Gruber mostly just linked the post and snickered at the stupidity. The Macalope surgically opened a new orifice in the lower portion of Mr. Barton's torso – as only the Macalope can. Both are enjoyable reading.

Mr. Barton dissed the MBAJ with all the popular hogwash and poppycock arguments. The only thing notable about the commentary is that it appears as a blog associated with PC something-or-other. The blog post by Mr. Barton is pretty much unworthy of any further discourse. There wasn't anything new in it.

Some of the old stuff was kind of funny though – stuff I see all the time that makes me spit French Roast all over my cable-knit sweater.

"Apple should license OS X." Because if they don't all the "hackintosh" sites are going to be giving copies away to people who run Acers. Meh. OS X hacked onto a substandard machine isn't a Mac. It won't work like a Mac. You can shoehorn pieces of Apple's widget into another widget if you want to, and that's what it will operate like – a turd being used as a bud vase. If you want a Mac, you gotta buy a Mac. Apple knows that. Besides, people running hackintoshes aren't Apple's demographic anyway. Apple's market specifically excludes people who can't afford Macs. When the hackintoshers can afford Macs they'll buy Macs.

Apple needs to sell the OS X licenses right next to the Zune displays in the Apple stores.

"Monopoly." All you have to do is say it in a serious connotation to demonstrate ignorance. People throw around the word like it means something. If your operating system and productivity software have a huge marketshare, and you leverage that marketshare to exclude competition by locking hardware in to artificial proprietary standards – that is monopolistic abuse.

An example might be including as a default startup application a web browser that has it's own markup language and web protocols that will break other browsers – and refusing to release a standards based upgrade. That would be the next step up from monopolistic. That would be chickenshit.

If you sell superior products and software that operate on open non-proprietary standards and allow competition – even if you kick the pinto beans out of the competition – that is not monopolistic.

The really weird thing is that Apple's supposed monopoly in this case is a monopoly on the Mac OS. Duh. Apple sells the whole widget, including the OS. You can buy a copy of OS X, install it on your Mac, then hack it onto a Sony Vaio if you want to. It violates the EULA, but Apple doesn't keep track of individual copies of the OS. If Apple gives a big rat's ass, they don't make much noise about it. And they don't seem to do anything to prevent it either.

Here's what I think. The Wintards have calluses from years of dealing with Redmond. They're so used to ducking, they haven't even noticed that no one is swinging anymore. Kids, Apple isn't Microsoft. Apple doesn't want to run your life. They don't want to tell you which browser you have to use, or which music format, or really even which operating system. They just want you, Joe Consumer, to buy a computer.

Steve Jobs isn't some mystical frigging guru. Ooooh! I read this on a finance blog, and if you look it's true. When His Steveness showed the pie chart showing smartphone market share at MWSF, the iPhone had a 19.x% market share and a bigger wedge than the 21.x% market share. A noticeably bigger wedge, actually. The financial blogger was in high dudgeon over this. I thought it was a scream. Um, it was a show for the faithful, not a dogdamn court testimony.

Anyway, His Steveness isn't the Mahareeshee. He's not the mighty Oz. He's just a guy who figured out how to sell computers to consumers. And Mark Barton knows it, too. Where the hell are all the Vista fanboys? If I was praising Vista or ripping Apple (oh, and if I had more than 20 readers a week), this place would have a flame war hot enough to toast marshmallows.

I guess I was just in the mood to ramble tonight.

I'm gonna make popcorn. Anybody else want some?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Damn. Damn. Damn.

Been reading all manner of bullshit about the MBAJ. I think I have the synopsis right here.'s underpowered; it doesn't have a replaceable battery; no optical drive; little tiny HD; not enough USB ports; it doesn't come in any flavors except strawberry; there's more to life than just being light and thin; and Steve Jobs is just plain greedy and awful. So, um, if you buy one you're a fanboy and a clown and an idiot.

So, first of all, for those of you who missed it: There is no one-size-fits-all in computers or sport coats. You have to buy your size. Sometimes it takes a little tweaking to be perfect. A properly tailored sport coat takes into account that even though I wear a 46 Regular, it fits better with a little extra room around the middle. Some guys who wear a 46-R find mine a little baggy. Okay? You may not want a MacBook Air Jordan. You may not be able to wear my sport coat either. That doesn't make either one of us stupid. It makes us different.

Another analogy that fits is automotive devices. If you need a 3/4-ton pickup truck, a Celica isn't going to do the job for you. That doesn't mean that people who buy compact cars are getting garbage, or that they have mental deficiencies. It means they are buying what fits their preferences. Maybe I want a bigole baddass MacPro at home so I can run CivIV without hangs; but on the road, where all I do is post to the blog and read email, a MacBook Air Jordan will do the job just fine. In fact, right now my old PowerBook G4 is getting it done without a hitch.

Some people are interested in the lap candy of an MBAJ. I can't say as I blame them. If that's not you, well, let's talk about the machine on its merits and technical specifications like grown ups. If it isn't for you don't buy one. If it fits me and not you, I'll get one you won't. I don't think everyone who buys the other sizes of shoes is stupid. Why should computers be any different? If you need a buggy turn-of-the-century operating system, and you love to run anti-virus programs and watch the computer startup for five or six minutes a day, you need Windows. Far be it from me to make fun of that.

I have read numerous commentards on various blogs and news sites ripping the MBAJ, and insulting the people who want one. Dumbasses.

It's a Mac. It will run Leopard. It will do what most people need a computer to do on the road. So chill. Dumbasses.

Oh, one other thing. If you bought an iPod Touch before the new software was released, everything was there that you paid for when you bought it. Anything extra is extra. It sure would be nice if Apple didn't charge you $20 for the software upgrade, but they are. If you don't want it, don't buy it. If you want it, buy it. Then quit whining. At least if you're going to snivel, form a group off to the side somewhere and snivel to Apple. Try to write a petition at the ninth grade reading level. You know, decent grammar, words spelled correctly, understandable syntax; work on it. If you can't manage that, just shut up. Thank you.

Time for my pills.



'Nuff said.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I'm Getting Plagiarized.

Jonathan Kay is ripping me off, here.

The MBAJ is mine, dammit. I wrote that first. You'll hear from my lawyers, mister. Huh? What do you mean I don't have any lawyers? Okay, well, you'll hear from my plumber and the guy at the small engine repair shop that fixes my lawnmower every April. And Rachel – the girl who cuts my hair, too. Scared?

Okay. Enough of that.

Hey. Listen kids. Take tomorrow off and go see The Bucket List. Fecking awesome movie. AWE. SOME. Really. How can you go wrong? It has the three ingredients guaranteed to make a movie worth the price of popcorn:

1. Jack Nicholson
2. Morgan Freeman
3. A lot of critics panned it.

You'll laugh your ass off. You'll wipe your eyes at the end – even if you're one of those guys who only cries when Old Yeller gets shot.

I'm really pissed off that the one time I want Apple's stock to drop a few more points, it won't. Bastards.

Do these pants make my ankles look big?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

MBAJ Explained

MacBook Air Jordan was coined because it seems so analogous to the shoe.

Nike makes great tenny-boppers. No question. They add the name "Air Jordan" to a pair, the price goes up a smidgeon, and they sell a ton of them on the coolness factor. The coolness factor doesn't make the shoes any more or less great. It's just good marketing.

Apple makes great computers. If you don't agree, please leave a comment so I can be really inhospitable. I need the practice. They made it über-thin and light and called it MacBook Air, jacked up the price a bit, and they'll sell them by the truckload on the coolness factor. It's still an awesome computer (Mac. Natch.), and Apple is learning how to market pretty good these days.

So anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Is it drafty in here?

Oh, Good Grief

The innertubes are alive with the sound of stupid.

If you go over to Forbes you can read Fake Dan Lyons blathering on about how the Zune is better in many ways to the iPod. The interface is cooler. The case comes in lots of different colors. It isn't the same old thing your grandpa has two of. Oh yeah. It's waaaaay better. That's why everybody has one. Damn. Stick to pretending to be Steve Jobs' evil twin.

Read somewhere else that Acer is gaining market share faster than Macs. No kidding. We are going to have to find some way to define the market that makes sense. Just as Ford is not taking market share away from Ferrari, Acer is not taking any market share away from Apple, okay? Ford and Ferrari are not competitors. Yeah, they both sell cars – just like Macs and Acers are both computers. They are for entirely different markets.

Are Fords selling faster than Ferraris? Yeah, probably. And they have SINK from Microsoft, now. So your car can ignore you just like that cute new intern.

Acer is outselling Macs. Wow. Next thing they'll tell us is Easy Cheese® has a bigger share of the snack spread market than beluga caviar and paté de foie gras combined.


My cup is empty. My coffee cup, smartass.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Stock is Down

Boy, did I call that or what? The punditbots and fundtards are just totally hosed. One guy I read, Henry Blodgett over on Silicon Valley Insider has it right. He said, in essence: You clowns are looking at all the wrong things if you're selling Apple. The growth machine is the Mac.

He noted that the year to year growth of Macs in the September quarter was like 34%. That's huge. Answering a 'tard in the comments he said "the iPhone is a rounding error."

I have a buy order in for $150. We'll clean out all the suckers by then and be down to the real players. I'm guessing it'll fill on Friday.

I don't think I'm the MacBook Air Jordan niche. I want one, but I don't need one. That could change. Wifey-poo is about to start a new career as a consultant/road warrior. I might end up blogging from away from the house some as a result. Just between us girls, I don't think you need a supercomputer to blog. I'm reasonably sure that an MBAJ is up to doing Keynote presentations and playing my SRV playlist on the plane.

That doesn't mean the sumbitch won't sell like hotcakes. Did you guys check out the vanity-plate-computer-thingy horseshit they pictured over on busyness-weak a few days ago? They're trying to sell big clunky ugly Windows books with paisley paint jobs for $13.2k. Crap. Pure crap. There is no such thing as a laptop with the technology worth that kind of lettuce. They don't exist.

The point is, people with a very high bucks-to-brains ratio are buying that garbage. As you get closer to a more balanced ratio of smarts-to-simoleons, you'll find the niche market for the MBAJ. Still more money than technical knowledge, but smart enough to spot an elegant decent computer. They'll sell. Any honest appraisal has to include the coolness factor. The MBAJ has it. It's not flashy or paisley or hot pink or self-conscious – just plain frigging cool. Non-idiots who just need a basic machine and can afford one, will buy one. Maybe two.

Which takes us back to our earlier discussion of Apple's long term prospects. Apple is growing the market, not just taking market share. Apple computers are interconnective with PCs because they're standards-based. Macs will infiltrate the enterprise market because of that.

First, one or two, here and there around the office. The boss buys one for his daughter, then his wife, then he buys himself an MBP for travel. Then an iMac for home. Then he wonders why he has to use a turn-of-the-century OS at his desk. Then he gets an iMac for the office. Pretty soon, everybody is standardizing on Apple. It works better with their iPhones and iPods.

Ladies and gents, the growth of Apple hasn't even started – and as I've said here many times, they have no cogent competition. None. Zero. Zune. Zilch. Zip. By the time anyone figures how to compete with Apple, it's going to be way too late. I'm buying more shares.

Note to Leigh: I'm thinking about the same thing. I have about a third of a novel written. I've thought about posting it one chapter a week. If my hit count gets high enough, say, if I get as many hits a day as the blog has gotten in the last 13 months, I thought I might sell some ads. I still have a lot of writing to do before I'm ready to start, though.

What does this button do?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It is already started

Been reading the asshat blogs. Apple did everything everybody expected. It wasn't good enough because nobody actually peed their pants. It was all predicted. So the frigging stock went down. Morons. It was all really cool stuff. Nothing to make you spit your french fries, but cool stuff. Okay, it wasn't much.

I'm as much of a fanboy as anyone, but I have to say this Macworld Expo was only just pretty good. Just sayin'.

The MacBook Air Jordan looks cool, but not particularly awe-inspiring. That isn't to say I don't want one, just that I can probably wait on it for a while without feeling deprived. Not a long while, you know, but a few months. Maybe.

Wow. I can rent movies. Excuse me for saying so, but a selection of 1000 movies is lame. LAME. I don't blame Apple for the pathetic selection, but a thousand movies does not represent a large percentage of Warner Bros catalog. Never mind that there are like nine other studios in the mix. You could just about use up 1000 with nothing but Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, and Gary Cooper flicks. C'mon you wieners. Cut loose with the goodies.

All that pales to insignificance next to Time Capsule. That particular piece of hardware gets my dandruff up. Pardon me, but I think Time Capsule officially crosses the line into Microsoftian behavior. Some of the stuff the asshats say about the iTunes and iPods seems to be actually true about Time Machine and Time Capsule. It looks like hardware/software lock-in that is absolutely unnecessary. I hope I just misunderstood something. Is there a third-party way to wirelessly back up my Mac on using an HD and an AirPort Extreme? This could make me mad enough to learn how to use Terminal or at least change brands of coffee from SBC to Tully's and wear my socks inside out for a week in protest.

I'm serious.

As serious as I get anyway.

Wow. Thank goodness I didn't post before I had time to play with iPhone 1.1.3 for a while. Excuse me for waxing rapturous, but this rocks. Really rocks. Seriously rocks. Rockin' it from the Delta to the DMZ. Majorly wicked cool. Gnarly'n shit. Seriously groovy. Really. I like all of the new stuff. I've done nothing but play with my iPhone for the last two hours. Neat. O.

The coolest part is the wiggly icons. Genius.

Somebody open a window.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Here's one more prediction

The major record labels are selling their tracks without DRM on Amazon, while continuing to sell DRM'd tracks on the iTunes music store.


The iTunes store will sell more DRM'd tracks for $0.99 in the first calendar quarter of '08 than Amazon will sell non-DRM'd tracks in ALL of 2008. I'll bet most of a box of Cheezits and the rest of the Diet Dr. Pepper on it.

Also, in 2008 somebody will put Wildflower by Skylark on an online store. ( Okay, that isn't a prediction; it's just wishful thinking.)

Can I go to bed now?

Absolutely the Last Speculation on MWSF

First of all, I want to go on record that I am not in any way upset with the decision by Apple to not invite me to appear on stage with His Steveness. I relish my position as the world's leading unread, uncompensated, and irrelevant Apple fanboy; I would never cheapen that by sniveling about such an obvious, egregious, and premeditated snub.

Prediction 1

The live blogging will suck. There will be a couple of sites that get it right for a couple of minutes, but bouncing around from one to another to keep up will be a complete waste of time – time that could be better spent on something that my company actually pays me to do.

Prediction 2

I won't drool on my shirt while surfing the live blogs this year. At least not really early.

Prediction 3

The stock price (NASDAQ: AAPL) will close down on the day tomorrow. Because it went up today? No. Because the market is dumber than shit. I could be wrong about the direction of the stock, but I'm empirically certain of the intelligence of the stock market as a whole.

Prediction 4

The assclowns will nitpick every offering and claim that, once again, Apple is doomed – that El Jobso has poked the Pekingese puppy one more time.

Note to smartass lawyers: When I said "the assclowns," I did not mention anyone by name. I would never suggest nor would I ever even drive a pickup truck off of a high cliff on a windy day with someone who suggests that George Ou, Rob Enderle, or John C. Dvorak are ASSCLOWNS. I'm sure that when they report incorrectly about the Stevenote they will do it with all the journalistic integrity they've shown in all their other wildly inaccurate ANALyses.

Prediction 5

Vista and Zune will continue to suck.

Prediction 6

The assclowns will get paid for their stuff. I will continue to pontificate on a pro bono basis. Why? Because this is America. Dammit.

Now what the hell happened to that box of rubber bands? I had it here just a minute ago.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Last Good Football Game

The New Jersey Giants beat the Irvin Cowboys. The San Diego second string offense narrowly edged out the zebras in a hard fought battle.

The Chargers going to New England? Whew. The Geneva Convention should be invoked. This is NOT merciful behavior toward the wounded.

Green Bay in January? Outside? That's just cruel. Should be fun.

I'll bet my last clean pair of white crew socks on the outcomes of next weekend's games. The big roman numeral LXII (That's pronounced ell-ten-eleven) game is pretty predictable, too. I hope I'm wrong.

Here is all you need to know to turn off the sound on the TV:

Ball control: The team that spends the larger part of the game on offense has a better chance of winning.

Running game: You have to have a running game to have ball control. You also must have a running game to support your passing game.

Turnovers are huge. The team that wins the turnover battle will win the game.

It depends on the spot –– In a game where the entire game is decided by the spot of the ball – where ~6000 pounds of grunting, sweating, cursing, injured humanity is engaged in a fierce struggle over the spot of the ball – wise sage former football players who obviously got hit in the head too often will exclaim, "it depends on the spot" at least twenty times per game. They will announce this in the same solemn tone of voice as if they were interviewing survivors from a burning building.

Statistics are huge:

The broadcasters have statisticians on hand for almost any conceivable juxtaposition of circumstances. "Well, Dan, the Packers are 5-0 in playoff games in election years where all of the leading candidates have five or more letters in their names and the temperature varies by more than six degrees over the course of the game and Bret Favre is healthy and they lead by more than 4 points going into the fourth quarter with the wind at their backs and the football inside the twenty."

Another important statistic:

Wise-ass, hot dog quarterbacks who are known boisterous philanderers and scotch drinkers are 1-0 in the big game when they drink and fornicate domestically (See: Superbowl III).

Wise-ass hot-dog quarterbacks who travel to foreign countries in full view of the paparazzi to do the alligator drill with stars are 0-1 in the playoffs.

Anyway. I'm not sure I'm going to have the sound on for the rest of the playoffs.

It depends on the spot.

I also heard that Apple is teaming up with Nike again. The MacBook Air Jordan? If I have to pump up my computer I'm going to be pissed.

Just got my wife a new MacBook. I get the old PowerBook G4. It runs Leopard. A little slow, but it runs. Yippee.

I think I can do one more cup of coffee.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Playoffs (part deux)

Well, that's over with. The snowball fight in Wisconsin was won by the locals. No surprise, really. I'm a little down, though. Apparently, the equipment guy for our side didn't bring enough O.B. Ultra "Heavy Days." That can really affect the team's confidence.

The New England Clam Chowders beat the Florida OS X 10.2s in a game that almost didn't look scripted.

Note to the television advertising community – I am sick to death of the following ads, and I'm probably not alone:

  • The furry woodland creatures singing "Rock Me Gently." I hated that song enough in 1974 to last 34 years.
  • Every ad by Verizon, Sprint and AT&T – especially the one with the pony eating the doghouse.
  • All the IBM ads except Innovation Man and Buzzword Bingo – and I've seen those enough. If I hear "ideate" one more time I'm going to have to do something irresponsible.
  • Anything related to Subway. The one with the referee was funny a couple of times, now I've about had it with that one, too.
  • Sven.
  • Toyota Tundra. For that matter, all pick-up ads that have an announcer who sounds like he sterilizes his hunting knife in the fire before he digs a bullet out of his own ass with it. Please. We know that full-size pick-up trucks are sold as over compensation, but do you have to be so damned blatant?
  • ED medications. Every single ad has reached the nausea stage. The jam session in the deserted antique shoppe singing Viva Viagra gets my thumb to the mute button faster than Rosie O'Donnell.
I don't know if it matters, but the best professional football sportscasters currently on the air are John Madden and Al Michaels. That's quite an achievement for the broadcasting community. I mean, the competition includes the team of Chris Collinsworth and I'm-Gumbel-Dammit. I think after this season I'm going to experiment with watching football while listening to music. I'm guessing there's probably enough information on the screen to eliminate the need to listen to dipshits babbling.

Go Chargers.

The Playoffs

Early second Quarter. Brett Favre meets Patrick Kerney.

The Microsoft Report

It has come to my attention that this blog hasn't mentioned the Zune or Vista for a while. They suck. There. That takes care of that.


If you haven't been reading the news, I should let you know that there is a Mac thingy going on somewhere in the Oakland area next week. There are banners all around the place that say, "Something in the Air." This is an obtuse reference to the iRoll – Apple's new aerosol flat tire repair system. It's somewhat inaccurate because the fill gas isn't actually air, but rather a mixture of organic resins, inert gases, and halides. But face it, this is advertising after all. If accuracy was important, the Ford/Sync ads would be a LOT funnier.


They had that CES whatchamacallit thing in Las Vegas. I was going to find something funny on the CES web site and write about it, but the only thing I found on their site is that their site was put together by a Windows programming committee (probably the same committee that designed the "Control Panel". I couldn't find squat.

Washington, D.C.

The President of the United States of America announces that he will seek peace in the Middle East, have salad with his tuna sandwich for lunch, and read the comics while he takes a crap.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The MacWorld Keynote: Revealed

That thing on Wikipedia was so lame. LAME.

I'm not at liberty to give away the entire keynote address. I promised I wouldn't. But here are a few tidbits that you need to know about.

The iLamp

It turns on only when you want it. The moment you don't want it, the light goes out. It just knows. How does it know? You just reach up and turn that little knob, and somehow the system translates that into changing the light intensity. The very first iLamp will have three different levels of light intensity controlled by one knob. Multi-touch on steroids, baby.

The Lockdown is over.

Starting Tuesday, you can buy, rip or download a non-DRM mp3 or AAC encoded audio track from any source and play it on your iPod or iPhone. Also, starting Tuesday, iTunes will offer full compatibility with tracks downloaded from Amazon.

New Macs

Continuing another long-standing exclusive Apple tradition, this year's Macs will have faster processors than last year's. These are dizzying times for a fanboy.

Other New Hardware

I'll bet you the rest of the bacon-and-onion dip there's something about something that isn't a Newton, but looks a lot like a Newton would look if it had been evolving in Apple's dungeon for 14 years.

Upgraded Software

As if faster processors and new hardware weren't enough, Apple will be upgrading all of its software. Including OS X 10.5 and iTunes. Again. I know. This one is hard to believe. Wow. I mean, didn't they just do that? Man!

Something about the iPhone

This keynote Mr. Steve is going to talk about something related to the iPhone. Sure it's "MacWorld," and sure everybody is getting just a little burned out on all the "iPhone" talk, but hey, there's a whole new world of fanboys out there. Can't just leave 'em hanging, can we?

New and Improved iPods

Yeah. Duh. Don't forget, you'll be able to fill 'em up with the mp3s you bought from eMusic and WalMart online now that the big lock-down is over.

The Last MacWorld

Next year it will be the Apple Expo. Let's face it, this is the "one more thing" after CES, anyway - this year's technology. This is the stuff that everybody will be trying make last year's technology look like at next year's CES – and failing. Think I'm kidding? Check this out.

Take that, Cringely.

Seahawks: 42
Packers: 13

Remember: you read it here, first. Unless, of course, you had something useful to do with your time like bathe the cat, or dust the trophy case.

John Kerry did not endorse this post.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Forgot to mention one other myth.

Sorry about the omission. Hey there, punditbot.

That won't actually make you go blind, but at least go to a private room and shut the door.


The Lock-in

I am so sick of this crap. Some noodle over at business-weak did it again today. He was talking about iTunes and movies and iPods and DRM and dragged in the tired, lame-ass babble about Apple not wanting to give up its iTunes lock-in and have to compete with other mp3 players.

People, people, people.

The man in the moon is not made of green cheese.

Toads don't give you warts.

The earth is not flat, nor does the universe revolve around it.

Sneezing three times in a row does not mean you're pregnant.

There is no Apple lock-in. None. It does not exist. The roughly 3% of songs on iPods that are downloaded from iTunes have DRM on them. That leaves ~97% of the music on iPods NOT CONTAINING DRM OF ANY KIND. That is not lock-in.

The frigging innertubes are chock-a-block full of music with NO COPY PROTECTION.

It is possible to download a recording of any singer, instrumentalist, barking dog, and random fart-like noise on the internet for free – without DRM. Right now. Anything you want is just lying there waiting for a home. All you have to do is pick it up and take it. You have to be illiterate, blind, and crazy not to know that infinite free music is available. You almost have to kick free stuff out of your way to move about the web. Yet right there, on the corner of Free and Unencumbered, the iTunes store has sold 3+ BILLION tracks. Who bought those songs?

The punditbot made the suppository that Apple wouldn't be in a hurry to drop their DRM because of wanting to keep the non-existent lock-in. The very first record company that offered to sell unencumbered tracks on iTunes is doing so. It's called EMI. Have you heard of them? Reluctant to give up DRM? Based on what? The voices in your head? Get a frigging grip, man. The facts are pretty easy to see. Apple eagerly dropped DRM at the first opportunity. They haven't been offered another chance. The measurable data says Apple will drop DRM like a hot turd from a high horse as soon as the RIAA decides to stop shooting themselves in the foot.

The other part of that assertion is that Apple is afraid of competition. Shit. The only thing Apple has to worry about is that they'll become a real monopoly by default. The rest of the tech industry doesn't seem to be able to get any of their innovations out of committee – and just for the record: A yellow, paisley, leather case cover on a cheesy-ass laptop is NOT innovation. Successfully selling a piece of shit like that for $13.2k is innovative in a P.T. Barnum sort of way, but there sure as hell isn't any technical advance involved.

So, hey there! Business-weak! Are you not looking at facts? Too stupid to get facts? Or are you deliberately lying?

Okay. One more cup of coffee. But that's it. I get edgy.

Okay. Now.

Is that right?

I didn't like it either

The old comments format should be back, now. The results of the straw poll are unanimous. Every blogger on this account didn't like the Disqus thingymabobber.

Normalcy is restored.

I hope.

More later.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

One more thing...

If I was doing the MW keynote, I'd want to introduce something so cool that it made CES look like a toilet installation seminar. Wait. No. That's too easy. The campfire scene in Blazing Saddles? Nah. Still no challenge. Anyway, I'd want to introduce something earth-shaking.

I'd like to announce the death of windows (Not Windows, although that would be fun, too).

I want to announce the death of the "windows and icons on the desktop" 20+ year old paradigm. It's time to move on. OS X is cool and all, but I'd like to see the next interface; the user level that makes everything else look absolutely like a caveman's ass by comparison.

I have a faint picture of it in my head. It's smooth and fluid. The monitor screen area is meaningless to the work. The computer can tell whether you're writing the Great American Novel or an email to Aunt Minerva or designing a spreadsheet or writing a song.

A complete entry-level set of applications (iLife, iWork, internet apps) are embedded in the OS. You can run those old windowish-looking buggy-whip and wagon wheel applications if you want, but you don't need to buy anything at all to make your machine do the basic stuff you do.

Oh yeah, baby. Give me that FM wireless mic.

Let's jam.

Oh, and also the featured musician is Weird Al Yankovic, or possibly David Gilmour.

The New and Improved Rip Ragged

Dang. I'm starting to actually attract new readers. I'll have to clean up my act some. No more references to JC Dumbass. From now on, I'll just refer to the whole motley crew of Windows shills as "Those assclowns." So when Dvenderlou publishes some dross about the Mac or Apple having some insurmountable problem, the author will be simply, "an assclown." As always, no links to the assclowns unless they've published tripe so utterly inane that you have to read it to believe it.

There is an asshat – whose work appears on the web today – wondering if Steve Jobs days as the king of digital media are numbered. Another lazy shill on another site opined that the death of DRM will hurt Apple because the record companies aren't selling their unprotected tracks on iTunes. Boo feckin Hoo. It doesn't matter to my 'pod as long as it isn't some archaic DRM format like WMA or PlaysForShit.

I'd just like to say, to anyone who has been reading those assclowns – please ignore them. They are either paid shills or just dumb. By which I mean they either know better (liar) or they don't (ignoramus). Either way their opinions are tainted. Look at Apple's cash on hand. Look at the market caps of the movie studios. Apple could buy the movies. Not a few frigging DVDs; I mean Apple could buy "The Movies."

First, Apple didn't cave on movie prices in any real way – and they're not going to cave on music pricing. Ninety-nine cents a song is a fair price and everybody gets to make money at that price except the artists, who are going to get reamed in any case. The only artists that aren't getting screwed are the ones who no longer deal with the record labels. Radiohead springs to mind.

Movie rentals are going to make AppleTV. AppleTV/iTunes is going to redefine movie rentals. Apple's profit per movie will be a pittance, just like their profit per song. Apple doesn't care. They want to sell hardware. The movie companies are the greedy selfish pigs in this particular scenario. El Jobso just doesn't want a business model that will fail to attract customers. You know, like Vista.

I just got my new copy of business-weak. They have pictures of computers that are going to compete with Macs on style points and flashy looks. Really. I haven't been to the website to look, but if the pictures from the magazine are there they'll make a real fanboy pee from laughing. I swear on a stack of pancakes and pork sausage – there's a laptop pictured with a yellow paisley leather case. Yellow. Paisley. Leather. That isn't the funny part. The funny part is that the sumbeech sells for thirteen frigging grand and change. Honest: $13,200. The article says the target market is wealthy women. We're talking about women who have flat EEGs and rich sugar-daddies who keep their brains behind their flies. There's another one with a pink leather-covered case and (I swear this is all true) a pink leather mouse. The pink one is for young women who know nothing about computers, but must have a pink leather one.

How about the HP Touchsmart. There's a picture of that, too. It's going to compete with the Mac on looks. It looks like it was designed for the helm of the Seaview. I don't know about you but I don't really feel the need to reach out and touch my screen, except maybe to wipe the little spit and snot specks off of it from time to time. Anyway, the Touchsmart looks like butt to me. I think I'd hire the screen cleaned on that one.

Never mind that all of those computers will run best with a six-year old operating system and a regular update to the anti-virus software. I mean, they're so darned cute. Just darling. You just want to make a cup of hot cocoa and cuddle up to them.

There's one other noodle I wanted to mention. I don't even remember where it was, but some punditbot said that Apple must feel really threatened by CES if they have to announce new hardware a week before the MacWorld Expo.



His Steveness noticed during rehearsal that his keynote was running a little long – so he had to find some stuff to eliminate. Dual-quad 3.2 GHz processors and a slight internal reconfiguration of the badassest desktop on the planet didn't need to be gift wrapped. That's the whole motivation and it doesn't mean anything other than that. Well, except that now we REALLY want to shake that package under the tree. It's only a few more days, kiddies. Be patient.

There. That's enough.

Waitress. We're out of ketchup, here.

Monday, January 07, 2008

I bought in.

When Alan Mulally came to Ford, I bought shares. The man's resume is impeccable. He's the guy I would have picked to turn around a corporate behemoth like FoMoCo.

Until now.

Dogdammit all.

What in the name of all that's good and true and right is he doing installing a Microsoft system in perfectly serviceable cars? Damn.

Microsoft SYNC is going to SUCK. People are going to buy cars expecting them to be responsive to commands. Good frigging luck, suckers. If you want to see proof that Microsoft can't handle a consumer market, look no further than the utter failure of SYNC.

Driver: Call home.

Car: Nome Alaska Chamber of Commerce. How can I help you?

Driver: Wrong number. Sorry. *hangs up*

Driver: Call home.

Car: Jim Rome's radio show. What is the subject of your call?

Driver: Sorry, wrong number. *hangs up* Motherfucker. I said CALL HOME!

Car: Directions to the mall. Turn left on Elm. Proceed 6.8 miles. Turn right on ---

Driver: OH! You useless piece of shit call my fucking WIFE. WIFE. WIFE. WIFE. WIFE.

Car: Life threatening emergency. Dialing 911.

Driver: You suck. You suck. You suck. YOU SUCK! *drives into bridge abutment*

Car: Accident location: 25th Street and ...

I can't wait. I just wish I'd sold my Ford at eight bucks a share. Now I'll end up sitting on this loser for three years waiting for it to break above my original purchase price so I can minimize my loss.

More bad news.....

Apple is compromising to the dogdamn studios on rentals.

Bahwahahahahahahaha. Apple played the studios. Played them. They set the bar low. Maintained that they wouldn't go below x. X was bogus. X was a better deal than they really wanted. Apple was looking for the best deal they could get. They bet the ranch. Now Apple will get movies at close to their baseline. They might get somewhat less than optimal in all cases, but it will be about what His Steveness thought was right from the beginning.

Wow. Apple won't get an unreasonable deal. They will get a deal at the high end of reasonable at prices that consumers will be willing to pay. That sucks.

The studios will accidentally deal fairly. The record companies will follow suit. Eventually.

Even more bad news....

John C. Dvorak thinks Bill Gates will be back to MS after his CES farewell. JC Dumbass is predicting that Bill's swan song is just a shuck and a jive. He's full of shit. Again. His reasoning is specious at best. If you want to go to PC Magazine online and read it you can. I did. I don't recommend it unless there isn't a football game on TV that you want to watch. Or maybe you need to trim your toenails or feed the cat or water the ficus. There must be something important you have to do.

Gates is a rat leaving a sinking ship.

More bad news. I mean it never ends...

Apple's stock price went down. Again, today. It's still just a shade more than double what it was this time last year. Damn it all. I'm almost ready to cancel my membership in Fanboys Anonymous.

Depressed yet? More to come...

Apple hired the frigging Avon Lady onto the BOD. Ding-dong. The iPhone-shaped bottle of iSmellgood (filled with Aqua-Velva) can't be far behind. I am depressed.

Are we out of beer?


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Alrighty then.

Okay. I think I did it this time. I believe my inner geek tore his ACL and continued playing in spite of the pain.

Let's see if this works.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Okay. How about now?

Is it working?

Okay, Let's try this

Well, maybe I'm not completely over FSJ yet. I'm giving DISQUS a try based on what I saw over there. See what you think.

If DFW doesn't like it, I may go back, but what the hell. I'll try almost anything once. Not octopus, though. I don't care how you cook it. I ain't eatin' it.

Friday, January 04, 2008

One more thing on monopolies....

If you want to talk about really creepy, closed-system, monopolistic, market-domineering assholes, there's this company up in Redmond that doesn't even support all of its own frigging music formats. The technical business term for that particular strategy is, "stupid."

The fact that their music players aren't even selling as well as attractive paperweights shouldn't be considered entirely a coincidence. At least you know you'll be able to find music that will work on the iPod, and where to look.

Stacie in SD – Don't be too upset. You don't seem quite as stupid as the lawyer who took the case. Really. It's close, but the lawyer has you by a narrow margin.

Is that Alka-Seltzer ready yet?

The absolutely ultimate guide to the MacWorld keynote address

Or possibly just some rambling bullshit. We'll see how it goes.

Before we get to the keynote thing, I want everyone to think about Apple's music monopoly.

iTunes will let you burn tracks in AAC or mp3. Both open source formats.

The iPod will play AAC, Fairplay, and mp3 formats. All but FairPlay are open source.

iTunes will let you download all your tracks to any player that supports the format. It isn't as easy with a Zen as it is with a nano, but you can do it.

Every last note of music is available in any format you want it in. If you buy a CD you can save your music as .txt files if you want to.

So Apple is basically a monopoly because they sell the only cool mp3 player.

Stacie in San Diego – Don't worry. We're not laughing with you. We're laughing at you.

More music news

The record labels are releasing their tracks elsewhere on the web as DRM-free mp3s, but not on iTunes. At first blush, this looks like a loss for Apple, but really Apple can't lose. Look at the permutations for a moment.

The record labels release all their tracks on other online sources without DRM, while continuing to hold Apple's feet to the fire on DRM. This is currently happening.

In this scenario, as bad as it sounds, I'll bet a cup of lukewarm French Roast and the rest of this doughnut that the iTunes store is still the number one place on the web to download music.

The iTunes store is easy to use, search, and download from. The other sites are not. Amazon requires a bunch more work than I'm willing to do to save a dime a song. If people are going to do that much work anyway, they might as well use Bittorent and save a buck.

Seriously, I'm betting that for the most part people go out to download one or two songs. Some people may be looking for more than that, but not the bulk. Why would I open a web browser, drag down to a bookmark, find a link, search for a song, download the file, move the file to a folder, import it to my iTunes music folder, and THEN PAY FOR IT, TOO? Because it's DRM-free? Ten cents cheaper? Balls. Not to put too fine a point on it, but FUCK THAT. If I'm going to work as hard as a pirate, I'm keeping my money. The same effort gets me the same song off LimeWire for free.

If it's going to entice me away from iTunes it has to be SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper if it isn't easier. I'm sitting here playing with iTunes anyway. Finding a song I want is as easy as clicking the store and typing a search term. If it isn't that easy it has to be a LOT cheaper. When the baseline is $0.99, there isn't much room for being a lot cheaper. If I have to open another application, it can't be any easier.

So, in order for the RIAA to beat Apple, they'll have to find some other inducement to make me want to leave iTunes for my music. The RIAA will be a defunct entity by the time they figure that out – destroyed by lawyer fees and apathetic former customers; deserted by artists.

The other thing that could happen is that the record labels might release all their tracks with DRM through other channels. This is not too likely. They haven't learned much, but they know DRM isn't getting them anywhere. In this scenario, Apple could say, "See? They're the assholes. Not us."

They could also start to make DRM copies of CDs. This would give CDs – which are currently not exactly in huge demand – about the same value per pound as a fish shit.

One other possibility; this one would be about five sigma – the record companies could release everything that has ever been recorded as DRM-free mp3 and AAC files to iTunes, Amazon, Google, eBay, FaceBook, Rhapsody, eMusic and Napster and collect a few cents a download for all that stuff. It would be fair. They would make a decent buck on their catalogs. They'd sell the same shit over and over and over again to honest folks completing their catalogs. They could use the money to hire some developers to build a competitor to the iTunes store.

The odds against that are really long. The record companies would need to actually give a shit about customers, grow something other than mold on top of their brain stems, and understand some technology more recent than the ballpoint pen.

I was going to mention MacWorld. Okay. It's gonna rock.

You throw anything smaller than a quarter you get your ass kicked. Dig?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

More MacWorld News

Has everyone been keeping up? Just got back from MacDailyNews. They found some joker who thinks the big news from MacWorld is going to be Microsoft Office 2008. He says EVERY Mac user MUST own a copy of Office. Dang. The only reason there's a copy of Office on my current Mac is because my daughter's college library only sold the multiple-license version when we bought it for her. She HAD to have it for one of her idiotic liberal – and I do mean liberal AND idiotic– arts courses last year. So I installed it. The updates are so not Mac-like. What a pain in the ass. I never use the dogdamn thing, but every time Microsoft issues an update it nags the piss out of me to upgrade.

The only way Microsoft will ever be the headliner at MacWorld will be if Apple absorbs the company. It will happen, eventually. It won't make headlines, though – not unless it means something for some other reason. You know, like if at that moment Microsoft is making some software that you actually need or something really earth-shattering like that.

Currently Apple needs Microsoft products like a monkey needs a slide rule.

In other news....

Some idiot has convinced lawyers to file a lawsuit against Apple because they won't support WMA files. It really isn't fair to the lawyers. It would be more reasonable to just take them out to a quiet, uninhabited place and shoot them humanely.

WMA files are THE digital analog to feces. Everything in WMA has exhausted its usefulness. Now it stinks. Nobody wants it. Apple supports all the non-proprietary (open) formats for almost everything. Pretty soon Apple will stop licensing .doc file formats. When that happens, Microsoft will have to open its standards in order to stay in business.

Apple is winning. Apple will continue to win until there is – as a bare minimum – some form of cogent competition. By the time the other team gathers, formulates a game plan, and takes the field, Apple is going to have a BIG head start.

The scary thing is that the punditbots and fundtards will sell based on crap like that. That's bad for my retirement fund.

More great news...

LG and NetFlix are going to – someday – introduce a direct to TV video rental service that will be just like iTunes only better.

Someday Microsoft is going to introduce something that's even better than the iPhone. The next version of Windows is going to just blow away that whole multi-touch whatchamacallit.

RIM has a cooler thing in the works, too, I'm sure. And Dell.

Have you seen the new ad for the Dell XPS notebook? The engine block and the naughahyde for the girls' dresses were both removed from a '67 Chrysler Imperial. The frigging ad doesn't mention Dell until the very end. It advertises Intel and perky breasts for roughly 85% of the ad, then it says, "Dell. You'll get yours," right at the end. Or something like that. It shows a picture of what appears to be a profile shot of a notebook computer, or possibly an aerial view of an outhouse door closing.

I'm not sure what the driving motivation of the whole ad was. If the point was to show skinny girls with cute little titties, well, yay Dell. I guess I don't know enough about marketing to know how that sells computers – but I'm sure a company with over one fourth the market cap of Apple must know more about demographics than some silly blogger.

I just know that I found the girls to be interesting only as a study in the creative use of synthetics, and they were the most interesting part of the spot. Nothing about the ad made me in any way interested in Dell, except that I got something to make fun of without having to get up from the couch.

The noodles are done.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

MacWorld 2008 is Coming

Okay, kids. This is it. This is the moment you've all been waiting for. Steve Jobs will take the stage at Moscone Center and Bicycle Repair and introduce another CEO. One year it was the guy from AT&T, another year it was that Intel guy; last year it was that coffee guy – or maybe that was the WWDC. Who can keep all this crap straight. I could look it up, but where would the fun be in that?

At any rate, all the punditbots are out there echoing each others' speculations about what Apple is going to introduce. It's all just silly. You know. If enough different things are predicted, somebody's bound to guess something right. I mean, somebody out there in the narrow part of the bell curve is predicting that the Chargers and the Giants are going to be in the Superbowl. Right?

I actually know – KNOW – some things that His Steveness will announce at MacWorld in a few days.

  1. All the fundtards who've been selling their shares of AAPL shouldn't have. The analysts, no matter how optimistic, are low-balling. Apple isn't leaving any inventory laying around anywhere. Invent it, build it, sell it, invent it about as fast as you can watch it.
  2. iPhone is eating the mobile phone market alive. You can hear the scream and see the bloody limbs of the mobile marketplace flailing between the crushing jaws of technology implementation and design they can't overcome. RIM has the good name of the Blackberry to keep them in the game for a while, but face it. The Blackberry is old technology, and it looks it. The Palm Treo? Feh. Their ads are el-lame-o, and the devices look like wooden sidewalks and hitchin' posts next to iPhones.
  3. The movie industry is going to learn faster than the recording industry that the way to profit in the 21st Century is through technology. At least at the moment, that means you go through Cupertino.

If you've been reading or watching TV, you'll know that the RIAA is now declaring it illegal to rip your legally purchased CDs to your legally purchased computer. Yo, RIAA. Are you guys really that fucking stupid? Your business model has cancer. Buttfuckthecustomeroma is cureable. Pissing off the last vestiges of your dwindling customer base to cure it is the same as using a pistol to cure a headache. The ailment will go away, but so will the patient. If you guys want to survive in this century, you're going to have to come to the tech table. You're going to have to learn how to play nice with us computer users, who – not to put to fine a point on it – will decide whether you ding-dongs stay in business.

If you want to see how it's done, watch Steve Jobs treat the customers like he needs them. You guys act like we need you. We don't. The artists don't. The listeners don't. Pretty soon A&R will be accomplished on blogs, for a pittance. Band promotion will happen in Google and Yahoo! and email between friends with similar tastes. Your business model only made sense when we needed trucks and stores and a roomful of Hi-Fi equipment to appreciate music at home. Now all we need is our internet connection and a handful of WiFi equipment.

Why can't you guys get it? You're not just biting the hand that feeds you; you're spitting in the face and stomping on the foot of the owner of the hand that's already a little sick of feeding you. Y'all better start treating us nicer, or you're going to lose it all.

Every audio recording worth a shit is on the internet and can be had for free. You can't put that genie back in the bottle. Honest people, that's most of us, prefer to buy and pay for our music so we feel like honest people. But if you offer us no alternative, we'll get the music however it's available.

You can't dam up the river. If you're really smart and really lucky, you can continue to make money selling bottled water. If you keep pissing in the stream like that, though, well...

Hey! Who brought the dog?