Archive for the ‘‘Puters’ Category

The Plot Thickens

Monday, September 22nd, 2008
what are you doing, steve?

what are you doing, Steve?

Over the weekend, a lot of dirty laundry was aired about Microsoft’s anti-Apple campaign, including:

  1. The entire campaign was created on Macs, as evidenced by metadata scraped from some of the ad campaign’s photos.
  2. The ad agency behind the campaign, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, was profiled a few months ago on Apple’s Pro site as being fanatical Apple users.
  3. Microsoft’s Mojave experiment — designed to convince users to take another look at Vista — apparently fudged a lot of its numbers.
  4. The Times quote that Microsoft uses on all of their campaigns, ‘Windows Vista is beautiful,’ was apparently taken out of the context of a highly critical David Pogue article, in which he talks about how clunky the OS is and how most of the interface was ripped off from Apple.
  5. RoughlyDrafted wrote a concise, chilling rebuttal to Paul Thurrott calling Apple ‘the Bad Guys’ and ‘liars’ for exposing Vista’s flaws (which brings up a very good point — could Microsoft possibly make the argument that MacOS has huge flaws?  I’d like to see that one.)

All of this adds up to what looks like a huge embarrassment for Microsoft.

Microstft 0, Apple 2

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Round 2 of Microsoft’s “We’re not as lame as you think we are” campaign aired last night during The Office.  Check it:

Ok.  It’s better than the Seinfeld ads.  I’ll give it that.  But that’s not that much.


iPhone Dev Team

Monday, September 15th, 2008

I just want to take a sec to give a shout out to the iPhone Dev Team — our friends who have come up with the most reliable way to jailbreak your iPhone.  They’re so fast, and so very good.

Case in point: Apple released the new iPhone 2.1 Firmware last Friday.  By Saturday morning, the Dev Team had cracked it.

If you’ve got an iPhone and you’re looking to do some Jailbreaking, accept no substitutes. These guys are the real deal.  I’m seriously looking forward to the point when these guys have a solution for actually unlock the phone for use on any network.

Or the day when Apple makes Jailbreaking (and even unlocking) irrelevant.  Their current pattern of rejecting applications for the App Store without having any sort of clear acceptance standard (AFTER developers have paid $100 for the privilege of being able to submit to Apple in the first place and invested countless hours of unpaid development time) is pretty tyrannical, imho.

I would fully support anyone who wants to Jailbreak their phone  — if it didn’t violate my service agreement, of course.  There are a lot of useful applications out there that, for some reason or another, Apple does not want you to use (iPhone Modem, NemusSync, Snapture, VideoRecorder, BigBoss Prefs, Searcher, WinterBoard, Customize, not to mention Terminal and OpenSSH for the hardcore nerds.  And that barely scratches the surface).

It’s my feeling that —  I paid through the nose for this particular piece of hardware.  Like any hardware that I own, I should be able to control how I use it.  Apple doesn’t dictate to me what color my MBP’s desktop is.  Why shouldn’t I be able to customize what my iPhone Springboard looks like?  The camera on the iPhone can record video.  Why shouldn’t I be able to use an application that takes advantage of that?

For more about how to Jailbreak your iPhone using the PwangeTool or QuickPwn, check out the Apple iPhone School.  Or just jump right in with QuickPwn.  It does all of the heavy lifting for you.

As I said, I cannot condone this sort of behavior.  And I’ve never even considered Jailbreaking my iPhone.  I mean, that would violate my service contract, now wouldn’t it? And I wouldn’t want to piss off AT&T…

Microsoft Has Gone Senile

Friday, September 12th, 2008

The second installment of Microsoft’s pro-Vista (and secretly anti-‘Get a Mac’.  possibly VERY secretly) ad campaign emerged from the bowels of the beast today, after the first commercial came out last week.

I don’t even know what to say.

The uncut version of this one is 4:30.  It’s not really funny at all.  It doesn’t say anything about their product.  It’s a truly awful commercial — one that makes Microsoft honestly seem even more out of touch with their consumers than I had thought before I watched this commercial.

Try it.  See for yourself.

It just feels like watching a train wreck.  Of a train filled entirely with octogenarians.

What on earth are they thinking?

I think we should start placingbets on whether the next one will make even less sense.

Microsoft talks a little here about how these commercials are just icebreakers.  And that they have done their job by just getting even negative attention:

When you set out to create advertising, the thing that keeps you up at night is not “Will some people not get it or like it?”

Rather its “Will anyone pay any attention and notice”? I think we can safely check that box. Oscar Wilde’s quote on the subject may be overused, but it’s good to keep in mind when thinking about marketing products that can get taken for granted in today’s crowded media landscape: “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

So by that logic, McCain’s negative campaign ads are just adding to Obama’s brand recognition!  He’ll be elected for sure!

It just doesn’t make any sense to me.  Really.  Unless this is some super old- or new-school ad campaign philosophy:  ‘If people think your product sucks, make commercials that suck too!  Then people won’t be confused!’  or maybe Microsoft has some secret deal where they make money when people stop using their software.

But in all seriousness… there are a few holes in this argument for me.  Namely — it’s not like people haven’t heard of Microsoft Vista.  They just don’t like it.  These commercials do nothing for me than make me continue hating Vista (before I’ve even tried it, mind you.  I’ve never used Vista.  I know I’m not alone in this sentiment.) and think that Microsoft is out of seriously out of touch if they believe a campaign like this will in any way help their case — even if it’s just getting a ‘tap on the shoulder’

Plus that guy from Microsoft is so smug in his response.  It’s hard not to disagree with him the moment one starts reading.

My answer remains: Get a Mac

iPod Touch

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Steve Jobs announced a whole mess of new iPods at the Apple Annual Autumn iPod Hoedown.

The iPod Touch.  Why?

The iPod Touch. Why?

The new Nanos look pretty sweet.  No argument here.

But can we talk for a second about the iPod Touch?  Seriously.  Why?

Is the Touch’s existence for the sole purpose of making one look stupid for not getting an iPhone?  Why on earth would one pay $400 to get a limited 32GB of disk space and the occasional opportunity to access one of 2 open WiFi points in your general vicinity? (if you’re lucky — thank you “Liberal Media” for scaring everyone into locking their networks… You are all pawns in the ISPs game to make more money.)

So what is the iPhone good for, exactly?  The App store?  Just how many copies of Sudoku do you need?  The Nanos now come with an accelerometer, so that cool feature is no longer exclusive.  It doesn’t come with a camera, so that’s out.  And only the flaky pseudo-GPS.  The touch screen?  Seems cool, but if you can’t do anything on the device it doesn’t really matter what the mode of interaction is.  Silly putty responds to your touch and you don’t have to pay $400 for it.

So I ask again, what good is this expensive little hunk of plastic and metal?  Why does Apple keep it around?


New Microsoft Ads

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Have you seen the new Microsoft ads?  The first one of the nearly $300 million campaign featuring Jerry Seinfeld aired last night (I caught it somewhere in one of the Daily Show’s commercial breaks).

One word: LAME.

Jerry helps Bill Gates buy a pair of shoes.  They mention Microsoft one time.  That’s all that happens.  The whole thing seems like they’re trying to be funny, but it was decidedly not.  No matter how hard Jerry tries, he can’t make the ultimate nerd, Bill Gates, seem anything other than embarrassingly quirky and introverted.

According to an internal memo from Microsoft VP Bill Veghte:

The first phase of this campaign is designed to engage consumers and spark a new conversation about Windows – a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity.

So far the conversation my girlfriend and I have had on the subject was, ‘My god that sucked.’  But we talked about it right?  I guess their plan is working.

This whole thing is part of Microsoft’s new strategy (backed by their pseudo-science ‘experiment’ The Mojave Project) to fix Vista not with innovations and patches, but with an ad campaign:

‘Vista: It’s really not as bad it you think it is.’

I don’t think that’s their actual copy, but that’s the idea.  Win the hearts and minds of millions by convincing them that the best you have to offer is not nearly as bad as they thought it was.

It’s kind of like the platform the Republicans are running on.

My response to all of this?  Get a Mac.


Thursday, August 28th, 2008

I just took a bit of time to jailbreak my iPhone today… and it’s totally and completely awesome.  There are so many applications out there!

To figure out how to do this yourself, read these instructions and get the tools you need from the iPhone Dev Team.

Is this safe? Probably.  I’m sure it violates some terms of some contract I signed somewhere.  But I have to say — given the seemingly unlimited possibilities for application development that are realized in the jailbroken world — the folks at Apple are being incredibly lame in their furious protection of the iPhone App world.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look around to see what applications you can get when your iPhone has been jailbroken.  Like Snapture — that makes the camera acually useful.

I know Apple wants to be careful.  Yes.  If they didn’t have rules for what could and could not make it into the App Store the whole thing would have the potential to turn into the wild west.  But there’s got to be a middle ground.  Right now I’d say about 95% of the applications in iTunes are TOTALLY WORTHLESS.  Who on earth needs another version of Sudoku?  Some of the thigns there don’t even work (I’m looking at you AOL Instant Messenger!).

And I’m sure Apple has reasons behind what they reject from the App Store.  And they have rules for software development that some of these people are bending.  But I wish they’d loosen their grip a little.  Some of the things 3rd party developers are dreaming up are so much more innovative and useful than anything a developer could make given their current SDK rules.

Chill out, Apple.  You’re totally going to win and you know it.  Relax.  And maybe think about letting some of the big kids play in the playground too.