And don’t vote for the yucky one. Thank you.
UPDATE: Thank you for not voting for the yucky one!
And don’t vote for the yucky one. Thank you.
UPDATE: Thank you for not voting for the yucky one!
“Steve Jobs is leaving Apple. Not tomorrow, but probably very soon. That’s why he started to say good bye today, doing something more important than just presenting new MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and an updated MacBook Air. Today’s event was a play in which he clearly told everyone that the company is more than himself. Since the very first minute, when he immediately sat down to let Tim Cook talk, he was saying: “Hey, look, Apple is more than Steve. These are The Guys, the Goodfellas, the A-Team. They share the same vision I have. And they are going to push the company forward when I change my office chair for a hammock and caipirinhas on my private beach in Hawaii”…..
“A tech support supervisor, from what we figure to be Apple, has stepped forward to break down some behind-the-scenes workings with his underlings who sometimes make both his and consumer’s lives difficult. For instance, one of the reasons you might be on hold so long is agents using fake work codes to avoid taking calls. Also, we know that metrics rule the call centers, but, in one of the confessions, he talks about how not only is it important to not go over your average handle time, you also can’t go too far under. Just strive to be perfectly average, and you’ll go far…
“I am a tech support supervisor for a very well known computer company. (If you must know, this company is notoriously secretive. I think that’s a big enough clue.) I felt the need to respond to the “7 Confessions Of A Verizon DSL Tech Support Rep” article you ran with some insights of my own.
I also started near the beginning of a new call center that was supporting three different product lines for said computer company. Customer service was stressed over and over and over again. I’ve been with the call center for about 5 months, but I’ve worked in other non-call center positions with the company since 2002. I thought someone needed to shed light on the fact that the seven confessions are not the exception to the rule — they ARE the rule in most cases when it comes to tech support call centers.
This particular call center is all “Tier” (or Level) one support. Within this center, we have Quality Assurance to monitor the agent calls in-house. If necessary, these Tier 1 agents escalate difficult calls to Tier 2 — which can be anywhere in the world. It will almost never be the same person twice.
You’re not going to speak to someone’s actual supervisor
There is a specific, direct queue line to “Supervisor Requests” for our agents. I don’t know why most people think they will actually speak to the support agent’s actual supervisor. We’re too…”
Though it started already on the 21st, it’s still not too late to head over to the biggest demo scene event in Europe. (read here for info about what demo parties). Sorry, I was a bit late to post about this.
It’s held in Bingen am Rhein, Germany and for more info, check out the Breakpoint 2008 website.
Charlie Rose (PBS TV journalist) loves his MacBook Air so much so, that when he took a fall, he decided to land on his face, to protect his Mac. Gotta love the guy.
4th Saturday of every odd month, except where holidays conflict.
Premier Event: Saturday, March 22, 2008.
Mac Day L.A.
CBS Studio Center — “Radford Studios”
4024 Radford Avenue, Studio City CA 91604
Website: Macdayla (for details and required RSVP)
“Do you remember Charlie? About a year ago, Apple refused to sell her a computer because she had “too many gift cards.” The story became very popular (thanks, digg!) and Apple eventually let Charlie buy her computer.
If you thought this meant that you could use as many gift cards as you wanted in order to buy a computer from Apple, you’d be wrong. Rather than correcting the problem, they simply changed their gift card FAQ. It now reads:
Can I use multiple gift cards when making a purchase?
Yes. You can use up to six cards when making a purchase at a retail Apple Store and up to four cards at the online Apple Store
That’s too bad for reader Rhys. Rhys, like Charlie, has 7 gift cards and no access to the Apple Store.
I have exactly the same problem.
I have 7 gift cards totaling $1250. Apple refuses to sell me a computer despite having $1250 upfront.
As soon as I found I could not enter more than half my gift cards on the Apple website, I used their online chat facility. That didn’t work out so I rang Apple and was passed from Sales to Customer Service and told “no” all the way. I have filed a complaint against them with the Better Business Bureau.
Right now I’m more interested in getting money back on my gift cards than in ever getting an Apple computer, given the stupid nonsense they’ve been giving me. I understand that New York law treats gift cards like cash and states that a refund must be given for them so I might follow that route. Having said that, my next most immediate thing is to look into SC law.
We’re disappointed to hear that Apple is still treating their customers this way, because we thought the issued had been resolved. We know Apple can process this order because they did it for Charlie.
We guess that solution was just to stop all the negative PR.
What a shame! Apple has $1250 of Rhys’ money and Rhys has no computer.
Here’s some Apple people Rhys can send a complaint to:
In addition, he could call Diana at (408 974 6401) or Sam Spoor at 800-676-2775 ext. 46447.”
Sort of like pointilism but instead of using dots to paint a picture, Steve is painted with Apple products.
“Jobs likes to make his own rules, whether the topic is computers, stock options, or even pancreatic cancer. The same traits that make him a great CEO drive him to put his company, and his investors, at risk.
In October 2003, as the computer world buzzed about what cool new gadget he would introduce next, Apple CEO Steve Jobs – then presiding over the most dramatic corporate turnaround in the history of Silicon Valley – found himself confronting a life-and-death decision.
During a routine abdominal scan, doctors had discovered a tumor growing in his pancreas. While a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is often tantamount to a swiftly executed death sentence, a biopsy revealed that Jobs had a rare – and treatable – form of the disease. If the tumor were surgically removed, Jobs’ prognosis would be promising: The vast majority of those who underwent the operation survived at least ten years.
Yet to the horror of the tiny circle of intimates in whom he’d confided, Jobs was…”
“Hot spot: The Apple store
The draw: Most guys are natural gadget lovers, and with sales of iPods and MacBooks skyrocketing, more men than ever are stopping by Apple boutiques. The vibe at the stores is conducive to man meeting too: You can check your email among cuties, take a free workshop on anything from Photoshop to podcasting (a great opportunity to strike up a conversation), or just survey the, ahem, good-looking merchandise.
Find it near you: There are 142 Apple stores in 31 states. Check out apple.com/retail…”
I’ve been de-programmed off Apple for more than a decade now. I’m no Apple fan boy anymore. I’ve learned my lesson. It’s amusing to me to see Apple’s minor resurgence in popularity, or is it more of an anti-vote against Microsoft.
I was an Apple and Mac zealot when there really was a significant difference in technology and user experience between Apple and Microsoft. That was when Windows was a poor substitute for the experience the Mac OS delivered. But around the time of Windows 95, things changed. The Mac became almost as unstable and complicated to run as Windows 95. The gap closed considerably, making the tradeoffs no longer worth the price of being right, or using a “better” windowed operating system. I paid a big price by sticking with Apple for so long, and I learned some lessons about what I value.
My number one gripe, and still is today, is Apple’s attitude towards closed hardware. The PC has so many more options available, whether it be hardware, software or peripherals. The Macbook Air proved again Apple’s arrogance about closed hardware. Same with the iPhone. Who wants to be without their laptop or phone while their battery is being replaced. And we know Apple’s track record of poor batteries in their products. Even the iPhone’s software was closed until Apple finally began opening it up for third party developers.
It think the thing I learned most from those experiences, good and bad, of being an Apple zealot is that I…
Having just watched the trailer for this film, all I can say is – WOW. You have to see this!
MacHeads is a new documentary film that chronicles the lives and experiences of several members of the “Cult of Mac”, including the 2007 Macworld announcement of the iPhone during Steve Job’s Keynote.
From the trailer the film has a very “Trekkies” vibe to it. That documentary is a favorite of mine for chronicling the lives of Star Trek fans who are obsessed with the sci-fi series. MacHeads appears as though its going to follow the same type of fans -but with a Mac focus.
You can view the trailer by clicking here.
There is no word yet on the official release date of the film. I’m hoping to have more information on the project soon.
SteveNote Expo – the game
Imagine being Steve Jobs.
Imagine getting ready for this years MacWorld Expo keynote presentation.
Imagine having to collect all the insanely great stuff you are going to present at Macworld Expo without revealing it to industrial spies and journalists.
Try the game that lets you experience what it feels like to be Steve Jobs just before your Keynote presentation.
- Collect all of the 10 items you need for your presentation (the blue dots)
- Avoid industrial spies and journalists (arrow keys)
- Use your “Reality distortion field” to momentarily stun spies and journalists (spacebar)
Bruce Schneier writes about how he leaves his wireless network open to share a free internet connection with others. He’s so nice!
“Whenever I talk or write about my own security setup, the one thing that surprises people — and attracts the most criticism — is the fact that I run an open wireless network at home. There’s no password. There’s no encryption. Anyone with wireless capability who can see my network can use it to access the internet.
To me, it’s basic politeness. Providing internet access to guests is kind of like providing heat and electricity, or a hot cup of tea. But to some observers, it’s both wrong and dangerous.
I’m told that uninvited strangers may sit in their cars in front of my house, and use my network to send spam, eavesdrop on my passwords, and upload and download everything from pirated movies to child pornography. As a result, I risk all sorts of bad things happening to me, from seeing my IP address blacklisted to having the police crash through my door.
While this is technically true, I don’t think it’s much of a risk. I can count five open wireless networks in coffee shops within a mile of my house, and any potential spammer is far more likely to sit in a warm room with a cup of coffee and a scone than in a cold car outside my house. And yes, if someone did commit a crime using my network the police…”
Well, yaaa. (article here)
PC users have gotten used to all the so-called freebies for all those years of pirating music that they simply continue to do so. And freakin’ expect things to be free for them. The nerve.
Mac users, on the other hand, CAN pirate music but tend not to. Perhaps because they have a conscience.
Of course, I think that’s going to change with all the Switchers to Mac. Cuz. What were those those switchers before they became Mac users? PC USERS! Switchers, you’re gonna give Mac users a bad name. Cut it out, will you?
from left lane news:German car customizer Mattes Interieurtechnik has created a customized Mercedes CLS with a nicely integrated iMac personal computer in the rear seats. The iMac’s compact all-in-one design lends itself to such an installation, and the firm makes sure the integration is complete with slick leather covering around the machine. A wireless mouse and keyboard mean there are no exposed wires to contend with. Of course, the customized CLS also gets a completely revised interior, with some pretty fancy upholstery and trimmings…
From the Economist:
Steve Jobs has twice taken Apple to new heights. With the launch of the iPhone this month he is hoping to do so for a third timeAPIN ANY other setting, it would have been corny to quote from a Beatles song to sum up a three-decade relationship that has encompassed partnership and alliance, rivalry and enmity, as well as defeats, triumphs and reversals on both sides. But not when Steve Jobs of Apple was talking to Bill Gates of Microsoft after reminiscing about the old times on a conference stage last week. “You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead,” he said. And there were moist eyes in the audience.Mr Jobs might have added that the two of them are likely to continue jostling each other on that road ahead for some time longer. In the past they and their companies shaped the era of the personal computer—Mr Jobs as the archetypal pioneer, by building some of the first boxes three decades ago, and Mr Gates as the archetypal industrialist, by being the first to recognise how to charge for software as a separate piece and using that to dominate the industry, at Apple’s expense.
Today, however, at the dawn of a new era of digital lives in which computers are only part of an expanding consumer-electronics industry, the odds are on Mr Jobs and Apple as the winner. In the past six years Apple, with its iPod player and iTunes service, has come to lead the (legal) digital-music industry roughly as Microsoft dominates the PC industry with Windows. On June 29th Apple will enter an even bigger market when it launches a new mobile phone, called the iPhone.Ostensibly, Mr Jobs’s ambitions for the iPhone are modest. He expects 10m to be sold by the end of next year, about 1% of the world market for handsets. Apple has sold ten times as many iPods. But these numbers belie the significance of the iPhone—and Mr Jobs’s ambitions for it. Rather, it represents the latest step in the transformation of Apple, from a computer-maker to a consumer-electronics company, which Mr Jobs made official this year with the symbolic dropping of the word “Computer” from the firm’s name. His success in this transformation so far, and the expectation of a new phase thanks to the iPhone, explain why Apple, one decade after nearly collapsing, is now worth more than $100 billion and is to be included in America’s blue-chip elite, the Standard & Poor’s 100 index.
As a phenotype, the iPhone displays the best of Apple’s DNA in design and simplicity. Where other handsets are cluttered with mechanical buttons, the iPhone has exactly one. For its functionality, it relies on a new technology, called “multi-touch”, which lets people use their fingers—as opposed to, say, a stylus—to move, resize, swivel, or select things that appear on the screen. As with other breakthroughs to come out of Apple, multi-touch was not invented at the company, but spotted by Mr Jobs as his key to unlocking the next advance in gadget design. Nor is Apple the only firm to have thought of fingers as navigation tools—Microsoft has similar plans for a “surface computer” that uses a table-top as the interface. These will be vastly more sophisticated than the touch-screens already found on devices like ticket machines. But Apple is among the first to tie the hardware and software together and make it available for sale.
At first glance, the iPhone appears to be an unusual device for Mr Jobs to launch. Tim Bajarin, who has covered Apple as an analyst since the early 1980s and runs Creative Strategies, a consultancy, says that Mr Jobs is usually attracted to devices that define new categories, rather than compete in large, pre-existing industries such as the handset business. But Mr Jobs knew that mobile phones were becoming music players, and thus rivals to the iPod, says Mr Bajarin, so entering the handset industry became a “defensive” imperative.
Since he could not invent the category, Mr Bajarin says, Mr Jobs decided to reinvent it. He did this by making the iPhone not only a phone, but also a fully fledged iPod (“the best yet,” says Mr Jobs), as well as the first device that can really claim to bring the full internet into users’ pockets.The iPhone has plenty of drawbacks, such as its battery (see article). But these criticisms miss the point, argues Ben Reitzes, an analyst at UBS, just as scepticism about the original iPods in 2001 was misplaced. The iPod introduced a new technology (the click wheel) which made possible better and cheaper successor versions (the “mini”, the “shuffle”, and the “nano”) that now collectively account for nearly half of Apple’s revenues. Similarly, the first iPhone and its multi-touch technology should be seen as a new “mega-platform” that will support other products—ultra-portable computers, say, or new TV sets—besides better and cheaper iPhones. Hence the iPhone launch, says Mr Reitzes, provides a “logical chronology of new products for years to come.”
How did he get here?This prospect makes Mr Jobs arguably unique “in the Silicon Valley pantheon,” says Paul Saffo, a veteran forecaster in the industry, since it suggests a rare ability to reinvent not only product categories, but also himself. A new launch trajectory based on the iPhone would mean that Mr Jobs will have pioneered a third technological revolution after the graphical user interface, with the Macintosh in 1984, and the legal digital-music era, with iTunes and the iPod in 2001.The first of these revolutions—the original Macintosh—is now perhaps less famous for its technology than its marketing, especially the memorable TV spot during the 1984 Super Bowl which announced it. An unsubtle allusion to George Orwell’s “1984”, it featured a Big Brother, understood at the time to be IBM, indoctrinating the numbed masses, until a colourful rebel, understood to be Apple, literally smashed the oppressor, liberating those who dare, as an Apple slogan would in later years have it, to “think different”.Its name an intentional misspelling of the McIntosh apple variety, this Macintosh was the first commercially successful personal computer that allowed users to point and click with a mouse. Beginning a pattern, Mr Jobs had spotted the technology outside Apple, grasped its potential, developed it and made it easy to use. Microsoft wrote software for the Macintosh, but then copied it with Windows, thus determining the way people everywhere would encounter PCs ever since.
Mr Jobs’s success with the Macintosh, however, soon gave way to a personal and professional nemesis. He had brought John Sculley, an executive from PepsiCo, to help him run Apple. But in 1985, when Mr Jobs was only 30, he and the 46-year-old Mr Sculley fell out and Mr Jobs, in a Shakespearean boardroom drama during which all the directors voted against him, was ignominiously ousted. “What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating,” he would later recall.With hindsight, however, the next 12 years in Mr Jobs’s career were the crucible in which today’s innovator and better businessman was forged. “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me,” he said in 2005. “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”Outwardly, this took the form of two companies. One was NeXT, which Mr Jobs founded to create, yet again, a new kind of computer. Its first product, unveiled in 1988, was the NeXT Cube, an absurdly powerful and expensive box that nobody, as it turned out, wanted to buy. After that dud NeXT turned to software and focused on its state-of-the-art operating system.
The other firm was Pixar, an animated-film studio that Mr Jobs bought from its founder, George Lucas, in 1986, largely because he loved its stunning graphics. But Pixar struggled until Mr Jobs struck a deal with Walt Disney in the 1990s. Using Pixar’s creative flair and Disney’s marketing and distribution clout, Mr Jobs oversaw an uninterrupted string of blockbusters, starting with “Toy Story” in 1995.During this time, Mr Jobs matured in other ways. As a character, he had always been a bundle of contrasts. Aesthetically and outwardly, he started as a Californian hippie, a “fruitarian” and a Zen Buddhist. At the same time, he habitually and gratuitously parked in handicapped spots and was capable of decidedly un-Zen-like outbursts of anger and ruthlessness towards friends and colleagues. Employees at NeXT lamented their “hero-shithead roller-coaster”, as Mr Jobs oscillated between doling out profuse praise and public humiliation. These traits did not disappear in the 1990s, but did seem to subside.A similar evolution took place in Mr Jobs’s business instincts. Until his ousting from Apple, recalls Mr Bajarin, Mr Jobs was a purist and idealist in matters not only of design, technology and marketing, but also of strategy and tactics. In his exile—and while watching Mr Gates score one victory after another to make Windows a virtual monopoly—he became a realist in matters of strategy, while remaining an idealist in other ways.
Mr Jobs’s career and life took another dramatic turn in 1996. His former company, Apple, was by now so marginal in the computer industry and losing so much money that analysts debated whether it would implode or be sold. Instead, Apple’s boss, Gil Amelio, gave it another roll of the dice by buying the best available operating system at the time, which happened to belong to NeXT, and thus Mr Jobs. So Mr Jobs found himself back at the company he had started 20 years earlier.Now it was Mr Jobs’s turn to stage a boardroom drama, except this time he made sure he would prevail. In 1997 he became Apple’s “interim CEO”, only to drop the word “interim” from his title in 2000. Culturally, he returned Apple from its free-wheeling Silicon Valley ways to a benign dictatorship and enforced a cult of secrecy that employees began to call omerta, because it resembled the code of silence that keeps Mafiosi from ratting.
Gradually, all the threads of Mr Jobs’s life over the past decade would converge. Out of his new strategic realism—and to the horror of his cult—he invited Microsoft to invest in Apple. This removed the immediate doubts over Apple’s survival. Technologically still an idealist, he used the NeXT operating system as a foundation for a new operating system, Mac OS X, and its later versions (called Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther and Tiger, with Leopard coming this year).
Aesthetically still a purist, he worked with Jonathan Ive, a British designer, to launch the iMac, a provocatively candy-coloured line of computers and the precursor to all Macs since.The iMac marked the start of a string of “i” products (for “internet”), from software such as iLife, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and iTunes, to hardware such as the iBook, iPod, and now the iPhone. Underlying them was a vision about the emerging digital life. Mr Gates and others may have shared it, but only Mr Jobs already understood how it would differ from the PC era, when office-worker productivity was the priority. The digital life requires more simplicity for home use and much tighter integration between hardware and software.
Thus it was Apple, not Microsoft, that became the early leader, thanks again to Mr Jobs’s new realism. While the first iPod, in 2001, was beautiful, it worked only on Macs. But the following year Mr Jobs—again shocking his cult—made iTunes, the iPod’s sister software, available to Windows users, which was “like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell”, as he joked last week. With about 300m copies of iTunes in use, Mr Jobs now influences the music industry as it gropes for a new business model. Partly at his urging, EMI, a British label, has now begun selling songs on iTunes without copyright protection.In video, Mr Jobs used his other company, Pixar, to gain preferential access to Hollywood. Mr Jobs had fallen out with Pixar’s partner, Walt Disney, because he clashed with its boss, Michael Eisner, who liked to control everything around him and was thus too similar to Mr Jobs for collaboration. But when a new and more convivial boss, Bob Iger, took over at Walt Disney, relations warmed again. On behalf of Apple, Mr Jobs struck an alliance to turn iTunes into a seller of video as well as music. Then, last year, he sold Pixar to Walt Disney outright and joined its board, thus securing for Apple a reliable partner in Hollywood for things to come.During all this, Mr Jobs never forgot his original passion, his Mac computers. At their nadir, Macs fell to a world market share of a couple of percent; now, benefiting from what Wall Street calls the iPod’s “Halo effect”, some people are switching from Windows PCs to Macs, and their market share is near 5% and rising.
Once again, Mr Jobs displayed his new strategic realism by switching from processors made by Motorola and IBM to ones from Intel, whom he had once considered part of the “Wintel” axis of evil. Now that all Macs run on Intel chips, users can, with so-called “virtualisation” software, run both Windows and OS X on their Macs. This removes—for Mac fans who need to use Windows at work, for instance—the largest single obstacle to gaining converts.To market the digital life, Mr Jobs took another iconoclastic step and made Apple a retailer. This defied convention, but it worked. With more than 170 shops across the world today, characteristically temple-like in their design, Apple’s stores are more efficient (in sales per square foot) than such established retailers as Tiffany, BestBuy and Neiman Marcus.
There have been setbacks during this decade, but they have been manageable. The G4 Cube, launched in 2000 (and harking back to the old NeXT Cube), flopped, but was conveniently forgotten. More frightening was a brush with pancreatic cancer in 2004. It was cured, but it was a reminder that, even though Mr Jobs has competent lieutenants—Tim Cook runs operations, Philip Schiller marketing, and Mr Ive design—the identity of the company is dangerously intertwined with one man.This concern has been reinforced by a financial scandal that briefly threatened to engulf Mr Jobs himself. Since returning to Apple, he has received a salary of only $1 a year, but his share options made him the highest-paid boss in America last year. Two grants of such options—one to Mr Jobs himself, the second to other executives—in 2001 have aroused the interest of America’s financial watchdogs. Both times, the options were “backdated”; that is, the dates of the grants, and thus the relevant share prices, were artificially moved back to a more convenient time.Technically, such backdating is legal, although it has accounting implications that Apple initially ignored. Last December it had to restate its earnings. Apple insisted that Mr Jobs didn’t know about the accounting implications. But Fred Anderson, a former finance director and board member who resigned last October, and who in April paid $3.5m to settle a lawsuit by America’s regulator over this issue, has said that he warned Mr Jobs that backdating would incur extra expenses. Moreover, according to regulators, Apple’s former general counsel, Nancy Heinen, told staff to prepare fake paperwork to cover the backdating, including board minutes from a meeting that never occurred. Ms Heinen is now fighting these accusations in court.None of these issues has yet interrupted Mr Jobs’s astonishing second act in music, or his preparations for a third with the iPhone. Far from being defeated by its old foe, Apple is now building alliances against Microsoft with friends such as Google, with whom Apple shares two board directors. Conceivably, Messrs Jobs and Gates may yet take the stage again in another three decades, to reminisce about even more revolutions pioneered, and to look toward the road still ahead.
I've been a Mac fan forever. This blog is a supplement to my main website Mac Games and more for a weekly selection of mac software, freeware, shareware, games, apple products and related websites. Thanks for visiting and feel free to send me tips. I'll thank you with a link! ~cate