Category Archives: Technology

Google & Apple’s iPhone

There is an interesting article over on CNET about Google and Apple outsmarting all of the cell phone companies over the next 5 years. Google is coming out with the “gPhone” (either a phone OS or an actual phone) and Apple has its iPhone. Now, when the iPhone was first coming out Kyle and I talked about how cool it would be to just run Skype on the iPhone over WiFi and just circumvent the cell company. Basically VoIP, but mobile. Super neat!

Well, this now gets more interesting. With Google aimed to bid on the 700MHz spectrum in January, the cell phone landscape could change dramatically. Now we have wide spread WiFi, available at a low cost. You can use your “gPhone” or iPhone to talk to anyone and everyone over this WiFi network. What does this mean? No more traditional cell companies. No more crazy cell phone charges and taxes (granted, there will probably be government WiFi taxes). No more 2 year term agreements that bind you to crappy devices on an even crappier network.

At the end of they day, I think this article has pretty much hit the nail on the head in saying that in the next 5 years, Google and Apple will have snookered the cell business really good. They’ll be the ones left out in the cold.

Apple vs. NBC – iTunes Saga

I’m sure most people are aware of NBC pulling its content from Apple’s iTunes store a few months back. A new article on Apple Insider sheds some more light on NBC’s “position”. Jeff Zucker, Chief Executive of NBC, claims that they wanted to increase download prices for its shows to $2.99 from $1.99. The reason being that they had ONLY earned about $15 million from the service last year. ONLY?!?! ONLY?!?! Jeff, that’s $15 million you wouldn’t have earned on T.V. episodes without iTunes. I’d love to make $15 million without lifting a finger on the back of someone ELSES platform.

You sound like the RIAA claiming that downloadable music is killing the recording industry. Uh, no. Its just killing your profits, so you’re going to take your ball and go home, no matter how much it could affect what you COULD make in the future.

Jeff goes on to claim that Apple made millions by selling its hardware on the back of NBC’s content, money NBC never saw. Uh, yeah, right. Jeff, Apple makes a superior product that people see value in, hence they buy it. Show me some numbers on that claim and I’ll listen. Reading comments such as these only get me more excited that recording artists (and I’m sure we’ll see something similar with film in the future) are taking control of their own content and controlling how its distributed. Tell me Jeff, when NBC can’t make money on commercials anymore, will you take your bat home too and take my DVR away from me?

Disabling Windows Update Reboot Notifications

I generally like to use my MacBook for my computing needs, but I do  need to use Windows XP for my job since I predominantly develop .NET applications.  A great annoyance is Windows Update.  When you update your system it continuously prompts you to reboot, even if you don’t want to.  I found this great article via Reddit about disabling Windows Update Reboot notifications.  This is something that has driven me nuts for years.  Glad I finally found a way to customize how often they pop up or disable them altogether.  The only thing that didn’t work for me in the article was executing gpedit.msc.  To get around that, I just typed mmc at the run prompt and opened the Snap-In for the Group Policy for the local computer and followed the rest of the instructions.


Interesting Story About Identity Theft

I found this one via Reddit today and found it quite fascinating. Karen Lodrick, a native of San Francisco, was a victim of identity theft and had been trying to get herself out of the mess for nearly six months. A regular visit to Starbucks, where she ordered a Latte, saw a familiar light-brown suede coat from a security camera photo she had seen at her bank identifying the person who had stolen identity as not being herself. After a call to 911, a lengthy chase, and finally the police finding her in a Walgreens parking garage, she was caught. I have to give Karen credit for taking advantage of the situation and chasing her down so she could get her life back. Makes you think twice about throwing those credit card applications away in the trash before shredding them or ripping them up.

Why I’ll Never Buy Computer Hardware From Again

Typically you can find pretty good deals on computer hardware online. Usually I check Newegg and ZipZoomfly for what I’m looking for and figure out where the best deal is. This time around, I decided I’d just try ZipZoomfly out since I found what I was looking for at a reasonable price. Both items were marked as in stock and for twenty dollars for overnight shipping and I’d have my new hardware the next day. Yay! When the package arrived, I wasn’t happy. Only one item had arrived.

I call their customer service to ask what is going on. I was told after being put on hold that the second item was no longer in stock. So I ask why I wasn’t notified. She didn’t know. Needing the replacement now, I asked what they were going to do to get me the part. She didn’t offer anything and just said they didn’t have it. So I started to get a little more irate about the whole thing saying I had a hardware failure and this was the replacement I was expecting for my overnight delivery cost. She puts me on hold for 5 minutes then comes back to say there going to swap it out for the next model up. I check the specs, tell her I’m happy with that, and she puts the order through telling me it’ll be put in immediately and I’ll have it the next day (today).

Today rolls around. No email with an order number or tracking number. I call them again. A new rep checks on my order (putting me on hold again for 5 minutes) then tells me they didn’t put the order in due to a “technical” issue and that it was really being put in today. I ask why I wasn’t notified of this and she said she didn’t know. So I tell her I think this is pretty lousy customer service and all she has to say is I’m sorry. I had to basically tell her I wanted a phone call when the order went through so I could have a tracking number. I wasn’t calling them back.

Customer service is all about the customer. Zipzoomfly doesn’t seem to realize that or really care. That’s why I’ll take my business to Newegg or another e-tailer in the future.

Microsoft to Buy Yahoo?

Kyle emailed me about this earlier today. I’m not sure I like this and I hope that Yahoo declines, though I have no solid reason for not liking it. To me, it just seems wrong and not a good business choice for Yahoo. What will Microsoft bring to the Yahoo brand that Yahoo either hasn’t done already or can’t do on their own. I’d be interested to hear other people’s thoughts on this.

Licensing iPhone OS & Multitouch?

I just read this article over at CrunchGear about how there’s a rumor circulating about Apple licensing their upcoming iPhone operating system and multitouch technology. I’m not a Mac rumor expert, I just use their products and keep up on the latest (real) news out of one of my favorite companies.

That said, I have to say I don’t care where this rumor came from, I think its complete bunk. Steve Jobs himself has said that Apple’s success is attributed to the fact that they control their entire environment. Nobody else builds anything for the iPod other than an accessory and nobody else can use the iPod technology for their own MP3 player. If Apple bought into this business model, don’t you think they’d do it with OS X? They’d make a ton more money licensing OS X than they do now selling it on their own (see Dell wanting to license it) and definitely more than they would by licensing the technology that will come with the upcoming iPhone.

The article suggests that this is a HUGE rumor and don’t read anything into it. My educated guess is you won’t see it. Ever. That said, go buy some Apple stock. Make some Mad Money!