Archive for September, 2008

Technology: “You’re not the boss of me!”

It’s everywhere. Eat, sleep, breathe it. Technology. Ingrained as a part of everyday life. You can’t avoid it but for now we are still the ones in control. But more often we are choosing to give up control and hand it to microprocessors and circuits and then blame them for the consequences.

Take for example this genius who takes orders from a GPS. Forget that you have eyes or even a brain. If the GPS tells you turn on to train tracks, DO NOT TURN, for God’s sake! Of course this is an extreme example of pure stupidity. Some people should not have access to technology.

Although my iPod is now even getting into the act. The Genius function is making playlist for me and pushing songs in front of me. Yes, I have [insert girly pop artist] in my library, but I do not want that playing when I have guests over. Thank you for embarrassing me, genius.

And in the morning (every morning for that matter) I like to sleep in. I sure do not want my alarm clock harassing me at 113dB. Is it any wonder I’ve gone through a few alarm clocks this year?

Sure technology makes life easier, but just remember who’s in charge. Don’t be stupid and hand over control of your life. That brain of yours IS good for something.

To technology: I bought you and I can smash you, so stop telling me what to do, when to do it, how to do it.

Stop scammers by posting their personal details

A couple of net scammers got their just desserts. Numerous sites charging unwitting consumers with suspicious charges, these 2 scammers made millions. Victims revolted, found out who they were and posted their personal details online, names, home address, photos, license plates, and even information about their girlfriends (I think stepped over the line but then again I’m not the one who got scammed). Shortly thereafter the sites were taken down.

Justice served? Is this the only way to battle scammers? Hopefully there are easier ways but this one definitely works. Maybe this will lead to actual criminal charges rather than a simple slap on the wrist. Looks like their scamming days are over.

Netbooks: why Apple won’t make one

Asus started the ball rolling with the Eee PC. Little did they know they had a hit on their hands. Competitors started rolling out netbooks left and right. Acer, MSI, at first then more main stream brands like Dell, Toshiba, IBM, and LG. Each with similarly priced configurations all jostling for the netbook market. It didn’t take long for the brand name companies to produce a competing device so why is one name noticeably absent? Why hasn’t Apple come out with it’s own netbook?

Apple certainly has the manpower and technology but do they want to make a netbook? The price is an issue because a stripped down Mac isn’t the kind of product Apple is interested in selling. One has to wonder as well if Apple could produce a MacBook for that price point given the demands on the OS, itunes, ilife, iphoto, “isoftware” (because you can’t have a Mac without the software). However it can be done. As well an Apple netbook would compete with it’s existing MacBook Air, which already has been a disappointment.

Perhaps Apple knows that the price point will force notebook pricing down which will hurt profits. Prior to the netbook the cheapest laptop you could buy might have been $800. The surge in netbook sales have put pressure on the pricing and now a $500 laptop is commonplace ($400 on sale). $300 netbook vs $500 notebook, which would you buy?

A Mac netbook is well within the realm of possibility for Apple but not likely. We will just have to wait and see if Apple is willing to make one.

Giving up on Vista 64 bit

I’m finally giving up on Windows Vista 64 bit. After getting everything set up, updated many drivers and tweaked the settings I’m going back to XP. The silly Seinfeld/Gates ads put Vista on life support but I had to pull the plug after several crashes last night. For no reason at all. Whether it was surfing, watching a movie or playing a game crashing became more and more frequent. Next to nothing is installed on my system. I wanted to make sure everything was stable before I started loading up everything and I’m glad I waited.

I got used to the annoying security settings. I got used to the annoying gadgets on the side panel. I got used to the lack of 64 bit support for many applications but I could never get used to the crashing. I have Windows XP 64 on an AMD system and it runs fine. For over a year now and is quite stable. Never experienced a crash on it. But I was wooed by the pretty Vista platform and fell victim to the scam. I learned my lesson.

Stick with what works. Don’t upgrade unless you absolutely have to. And by all means do not use Windows Vista, because it totally sucks.

Fanboys miss the point

Saw this pic on Gizmodo. It’s some guy dressed up in a costume which looks like an iPhone. Reading the commentary most of the Apple fanboys seem to be focused on the comedic value of the costume (ie. ‘typeface and icons’) rather than the actual point. The guy is trying to make the loyal Apple consumer aware of the non-union workers Apple employs. Just some union construction guys who want Apple to use them instead of cheaper non-union workers.

Now I’m actually against unions. I think they make companies worse. But I’m even more against fanboys. Blinded by love for a company (or product in this case) warps all sense of reality. I mean pointing out the look of the poor interface? I guess if the costume was more precise the message might have gotten through. My first thought was, ‘what’s he protesting about?’ Considering the fact that he was dedicated enough to make a full sized costume and go out in public merits some attention to his message.

I guess I’m not ready to devote my life worshiping a company for it’s trendy success. Isn’t that what a fanboy is all about? Excuse me while I got watch some Star Trek.

Text messaging while driving ‘terminated’

Arnold Schwarzenegger has approved a bill making it illegal to text message while driving. Fines are $20 for the first and $50 for each subsequent offense. This should have been a no brainer. Phone usage has increased and it’s hard to find anybody not talking on the phone while driving. It’s hard to believe that there are some people out there attempting to press those tiny numbers on their phone while driving a vehicle.

I dread when my phone rings in the car. Should I answer it, distract myself, and risk getting into an accident? I check to see who’s calling then try to guess how important the call is. Ultimately I put the phone down and focus back on driving. It always seems that I get more calls when I forget my bluetooth headset. It comes down to a decision of convenience vs safety. In the end I will always choose safety.

I blame the younger generation. They have no fear. Growing up with technology all around them it simply made sense to integrate it into daily life. Multitasking is a way of life. However the dangers is some situations are never realized until disaster strikes. Hopefully banning the practice will make the road safer for all of us.

New Zune is great but is it already too late?

Looks like Microsoft has fine tuned the latest Zune (review) offering and has produced a great mp3 player, but is it too late? The MP3 war is over. Apple and SanDisk have been battling for mp3 device dominance for awhile now. The Zune got into the game late but made very little splash. iPods are everywhere. The Zune may be a great device but consumers have already made too many ties to their beloved iPods.

Switching to a Zune would involve buying new accessories (case, car FM tuner, docking station etc), and adjusting to new software to upload music and buy music (itunes has firmly encompassed this market). Also consider your existing library. Are you going to be able to transfer those downloaded tunes?

Apple has put its roots into most consumers and supplanting them is almost impossible. Apple had the right idea. Get your device on the market and into everyone’s hands. Once everyone has it you can be almost guaranteed a revenue stream for life. Just take a look at their plans for the iPhone. Make your product the norm and then count your money.

So yes, it’s too late Microsoft. Nice product but a few years too late.


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