Mar 052010

Here’s a hint: you leave it on the doorstep, light it on fire and ring the doorbell.

Dragon Dictation is perhaps one of the coolest apps on the iPhone. For those not familiar, Dictation is an app that displays a single “record” button when launched. You then speak into your iPhone, and your audio is transformed into text, with some startlingly impressive accuracy. Unfortunately for many users and Dragon, the program uses AT&T’s network to transmit speech to Dragon’s servers to perform the transcription. If you’re in one of those “minor” markets like New York City or San Francisco, guess what happens about 1 out of every 4 times you finish dictating your Oscar acceptance speech?

Best part is having 5 bars

About that package – I hear brown paper dipped in candle wax lights especially easily.

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Feb 192010

In our last installment, I talked about some players in the consumer electronics industry that were left sucking seawater in the wake of the latest launch by the USS Cupertino. Not everyone in business is hating life, however. Let’s see who stands to gain the most from the introduction of the iPad.

Sigh. Multiple choice question. You own a beleaguered wireless network. You’ve gone on record a few times bitching about Apple’s smash hit devices as being the root cause of your shittiness. What do you do?

A. Offer a modest apology to your consumers for spawning stupidity that carries the message “you use too much bandwidth, so you’re creating your own problems” and get to work fixing your shit.

B. Restructure your rate plans to punish evil content hogs while allowing people who use less to pay less.

C. Serve as the exclusive carrier for Apple’s next smash hit device, whose millions of additional customers using a device that’s even MORE data-intensive will further constipate your already piss-poor network.

Congratulations, dickheads.

B&M Book Publishers
For all of those that thought they were going to get $9.99 eBooks on a device that actually did more than read books, sorry. Apple’s eBooks are going to cost more, news of which obviously resulted in a deafening bitch chorus from people who thought they knew the exact value of electronic versions of books and. thought that publishers were happy with the current Amazon pricing.

Apple has zero obligation to preserve anyone’s pricing model, so people blathering on about “defending the consumer” should go out and bang a woodchipper. Apple did, however, have a very good reason to do what it took to line up publishers prior to the iPad’s announcement. This requires them to charge more for eBooks. I would contend that it’s because Apple has far less leverage than Amazon and publishers were pissed about the deal they were forced into by Amazon in order to get into the eBook business. Gizmodo’s Matt Buchanan thinks Apple did this purposely to screw over Amazon with publishers. I’m sure Apple didn’t mind that Macmillan started the avalanche of publishers willing to take Amazon to the woodshed shortly after eBook prices for the iPad were announced, but to assume that the prices were purposely meant to put heat on Amazon is…well…actually pretty consistent with what I’ve come to expect of that shitshow.
The market will decide what people are willing to pay for an eBook. It all comes down to price x units, people. Neither variable means more than the total.

Print Media

Apple knee-capped music sharing sites by offering a viable pay alternative. Print media, which is on a similar path to irrelevance, is losing to free alternatives loaded with eye spam and shoddy content. Everyone who values good journalism is losing out as a result. If Apple can make create a way for newspapers and periodicals to showcase their content, they may be able to create a pay-per issue and/or subscription model that actually works. Whether the Times realizes it or not, this is their best chance for survival.


If you listen to some of the more prominent asshat tech blogs whoring themselves out for hits, you may think that Apple’s newest device is intended solely to line Cupertino’s pockets and lock people into the iTunes ecosystem. Apple’s business model is to lock in customers by providing the best computer and consumer electronics experiences – period.  The real winners with any major Apple release are consumers who benefit from devices that make it easier to access and enjoy their content, surf the web and do their jobs.  It’s really that simple, folks.

Dec 192009

Over the past couple of months, I’ve come to sympathize with AT&T’s infrastructure plight. After trying and trying to accomodate iPhone users, their service is still compromised by the greedy 3% of users who hog 40% of their bandwidth. This isn’t a Marxist state, so people should pay for what they use, right?

Tell you what guys: I support your scary proposition to charge people for what they use and to smash the buffet table of unlimited use you currently grace all of us ingrates with.

Here’s the thing: if $30 represents unlimited use – by your definition – then $30 should be your ceiling.  So those piggish 3% should pay $30 – or more if they account for more than the established average bandwidth of that 3%. The rest of us should pay less.

That’s what you had in mind, right?

Jun 232009

A lot of Apple fans are whiners. I suspect that spoon-fed sense of entitlement gets reinforced when your computer does what it’s supposed to do without having to have an advanced degree in comp sci. It breeds a sense of getting what you think you deserve‚ even when the average company would tell you to get fucked. That’s why Apple wins customer service awards every year. It has to appease some of the bitchiest customers on the planet.

I try not to whine about things like the AT&T subsidygate (I know the Macalope thinks it should be called a loan. Love for the horny one‚ but I’m going with convention here). When the first torrent of hellfire was unleashed by the panty-knotted crybaby contingent‚ my first reaction was “get fucked”. You got a subsidized phone while still in your 2G deal‚ ergo you should get one every time one’s released? AT&T said I’d get my $199 16GB model in December. I shrugged and moved on.

Then AT&T backtracked on their upgrade policy and the tear-soaked halls of Bitchhalla rang with song. I gave myself the mandatory facepalm.


Then I thought to myself: “I think they’re retarded‚ but I’m all for cheap shit.” Being the Apple lemming I usually am‚ I got a 3G the first day it was available. Despite what the Apple upgrade site said‚ I was sure a call to AT&T would rectify my status as a loyal‚ upstanding AT&T customer (via their exclusive agreement with Apple‚ but being enrolled in autopay = loyalty‚ so shut it). I’ve been with AT&T/Apple since the release of the original iPhone and I’ve even been able to inflict an Apple product on my wife. The straightforward exchange between myself (TMA) and AT&T:

TMA: “Hi. I’ve been an AT&T customer for 2 years and purchased the 3G the second day it was available. There seems to be a mistake regarding my eligibility for a fully-subsidized 3 GS”

ATT: “I see here you’re not eligible for the full subsidy until December”

TMA: “I too have the knowledge required to navigate the pages of your arcane web presence‚ hence my use of the word ‘mistake'”

ATT: “The full subsidy is available to people whose upgrade would have been in July‚ August or September”

TMA: “We’re apparently both familiar with the nomenclature. I’m not sure how much earlier I could have bought the 3G‚ given that it was the second day it was available. Is there another population who would benefit from your company’s revised upgrade policy that I’m missing?”

ATT: “You also have to spend over $99 per month on the line for which the full subsidy is requested.”

TMA: “Ah. Well‚ thank you. Now‚ it’s time for something I call ‘manager time’. It’s where you and I agree to disagree and you hand me over to someone with more power. Nothing personal.”

At this point I was put on hold for about 5 minutes. Instead of a manager (apparently they were all engaged with other loyal‚ satisfied customers)‚ I was transferred over to a “Resolution Specialist” who would “clarify the policy” for me. My immediate thoughts were 1. This person was diverted from the Gaza Strip just to deal with my issue? How flattering! 2. “Clarify policy” means “use smaller words on you and regurgitate the same thing”. Hang up now and spare yourself the surge in blood pressure. So now you know I’m sticking around‚ because I’m stupid.

ATTRS: “Hi TMA. I see here that you’ve been a loyal AT&T customer for 2 years and we appreciate that.”

TMA: “What can I say? I’m very brand loyal.” I explain briefly that both my wife and I are with AT&T and have spotless payment histories. If we’re doing the math‚ we spend close to $200/month with AT&T. LOYALTY.

ATTRS: “As a consumer‚ I understand where you’re coming from with the upgrade issue‚ but as much as I’d like have latitude on this‚ Apple provides zero wiggle room. You have to spend $99/month for the fully subsidized price”

TMA: “Why does Apple care how much I spend for service?”

ATTRS: “It was part of the revised subsidy agreement.”

TMA: “Oh. Thanks for clarifying. For a minute there‚ I thought you were trying to lay off a monthly minimum on the party in the agreement that couldn’t care less about how much I spend a month for service.”

With my understanding now complete‚ and my desire to insert a couple of gratuitous sarcastic comments satisfied‚ I concluded our call with kind words and thanks for the explanation. And a feeling that even though I had not thought that AT&T was the fucktarded company that everyone was bitching about before I talked to them (aside from the obvious stuff like shitty call quality‚ lack of tethering or MMS)‚ a firm belief that they were once I hung up.

If only they hadn’t double-clutched in the first place.

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