Monthly Archives: June 2007

Mac MPEG Streamclip: Editor & VOB FLV Converter Extraordinaire

THIS Post has been updated and moved to our new TakeFiveADay.com – Simply click on the text link or the logo above. Thanks!

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Filed under Apple Mac, Computing, Film, Gadgets, Internet, Media, TV

iphone needs itunes to work properly

PaidContent.org is reporting that for your new iphone to work properly you will need an itunes account.  If you want to sync your video and audio content, you gotta have an itunes account. Period.  No credit card on file – sucks to be you.

For most companies, this would seem over reaching but coming from Apple this makes tons of sense to me.  Do you think any ATT driven interface would be able to seamlessly handle this task?  No – frigging – way.

For me, I sincerely doubt I will ever own an iphone.  And not due to its price (although that IS daunting).  It is due to my own personal experience with ATT’s lemon sucking lack of service.  When I first heard that ATT was taking over Cingular my first reaction was, “Great.  Yet another option gone for a new potential cell carrier”.

Think I am exaggerating?  I had one of their first 3G phones back in 2002 and when I migrated to Verizon I cancelled the account by phone – or so I thought.  Several months later of my wife paying the bill for my non-existent phone, I challenged them on it only to be told that I had to physically go down to the store where I opened the account to close it.  What if I had moved?!  And why did the rep on the phone confirm that it was closed and I had a confirmation code for that conversation?  Tough nuts, said they.
Couple that with ATT not allowing me to merge payment of two bills.  Yes, two bills.  One for the 3G phone and one for my wife’s hardy little Nokia that was on a 2G network.  Why two bills? Because ATT had two separate systems for them and when I paid with one check (merging the two owed amounts) they applied that to just the one phone account which now had a ton of credits and my other phone starting kicking in late fees since it was ‘unpaid’.

How stupid is that?!  Customer service?  Helllllooooooooo?

So, dear reader, you’ll love the new iphone but you will hate the evil minions behind your tricked out new little screen.  Trust me on this one.

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Safari 3.0: Still Missing Features

 

Finally got Safari 3.0 loaded. Let’s cover the good so far. I am on a Mac so I can’t speak of the PC experience but it does seem faster. It took a long time for its first load and I was worried as it was doing some background chugging for a long time but now, it’s now fast and pretty stable – no obvious problems. Okay, one, there are some browser windows that once open refuses to close via CLOSE or clicking in the red button – it does close on QUIT though. The first big notice is java improvements – WORDPRESS’s blogging tools finally mostly loads correctly.

Some people were pointing out there were now TABS but if you were running TIGER and Safari 2.x, we’ve had tabs for a while but Safari is still not up to Firefox par yet. Here are my reasons – it is subjective as none of these are death – just not quite the best browsing experience … 

WHAT STILL NEEDS TO BE FIXED 

1) The “Drive Does Not Qualify” installation warning is one of the few really poor Apple interface error issues. As others noted in the comments and I resolved by reading the forum, it wouldn’t initially install on my machine because I had moved Safari from the APPLICATIONS folder. As someone who has a few hundred (if not more) apps on my machine, of course, I had to better organize my apps with folders – I find it hard to believe that Apple designs SPOTLIGHT which can search through anything … but yet the Apple Installer cannot find ONE GIANT app called Safari in a folder called INTERNET APPS? What’s doubly surprising is that the warning is so badly written – instead of plainly saying, move Safari back to install this update, “drive does not qualify” is incorrect on so many levels. VERY UN-APPLE.    

2) Firefox’s PRIVACY settings are perfect for me. It erases everything when I quit Firefox but keeps a database of my passwords (which are also password protected). With broadband, the only cache I need is a temporary one while I’m at the site. I don’t HISTORY tracking, I can just search in Google if I forget to bookmark a site and while every site places a cookie, I just prefer to wipe the cookie file clean after every quit of Firefox without me having to manually clean it everytime. Safari sort of offers this feature …  

 

The problem is PRIVATE BROWSING which essentially will clear the cache, history and cookies when you quit has to be MANUALLY set every day! Again, very un-Apple like not to have a setting that does “stick” and you have to be the one to remember to do it everytime. How annoying would a major app be if it didn’t have preferences? That’s exactly what it’s like here.Of course, if you don’t mind keeping a history, cache and cookie’s history for websites to take a peek at, that’s your call. I don’t mind letting them know I’m there and where I go when I’m at their site right now but I’m not going to personally tag myself so they know exactly who I am when I return.

In the PREFERENCES>GENERAL, you can set HISTORY to 1 day. 

(In Safari, your passwords are saved if you click YES in AUTOFILL even if you select PRIVATE BROWSING) 

  

3) The PASSWORD “MANAGER” is built for casual browsing and not very powerful. In Firefox, your ‘saved’ passwords are only accessible after you enter another password. In Safari, they are NOT visible at all – which is fine if you only surf to a few sites. (When you click EDIT, it brings up a new window with the url and your sign-in name but not your password visible).As you know now, most major sites require a login – I probably have a few hundred sites with logins listed in mine and invariably, you are going to run into a site where you might have more than one account (like Yahoo or GMail) (Firefox will wait until you key you a sign-in name and then autofill the password), on occasion, you make a mistake and hit YES REMEMBER this sign-in setting.With Firefox, you can go through and delete the incorrect ones because you know which passwords are incorrect but in Safari, your only choice is to guess or DELETE all and start over since you cannot see which might be the wrong password. Again, it’s not horrible but just surprisingly not very powerful. 

4)  CAN I HAS SOME FREAKIN’ LINES? Again, Safari designers seem to think we all have about 25 bookmarks so why would we need line “separators,” after all, you could just put them in a folder? Even if you have 10 bookmarks, it’s much clearer visually to be able to place a line as a break … PLEASE, add that feature.Yes, you can ‘fake’ but by creating a ‘new’ bookmark and naming it with bullet points or dashes but the problem is unlike Firefox where a line is a line and NOT ACTIVE, Safari will attempt to open your ‘blank’ bullet point or dashed url as if it’s a real working url – ANNOYING.

CAN I HAS SOME FREAKIN’ LINES?

5) Related to that is the SHOW ALL FOLDERS WIDE, WIDE OPEN VIEW that seems to be a permanent setting in Safari’s bookmarks. So, if you’re like me who has about 1,000 bookmarks and about 100 folders, Firefox thoughtfully keeps them closed during a scroll down until I get to the folder I want and then it “springs” open … In Safari, it is the most annoying and esthetically unpleasing choice of all – as you scroll through the bookmarks, all the folders are always permanently open several layers deep so if I want to bookmark something in my last set of folders, I literally have to scroll through 99 folders. WTH?

Again, 10 bookmarks, it’s fine or if you have a few folders, I could see where a newbie might wonder where things are but it’s time to upgrade the folder views from IE 1.5 to something more closely resembling the 21st century for power users.

 

6) It would be nice to have the Bookmark Manager as a popup window versus inline. Yes, you can open it as a sidebar but I’d much rather be able to open in its own separate window so I can keep both active instead of having to switch from one to the other (or open two windows with one as my bookmarks). Above is Firefox’s popup bookmark manager. 

  

7)  It’s also time to retire this hokey feature which is also amazingly un-Apple like – the DEFAULT WEB BROWSER setting (it’s also in MAIL). While it’s not as onerous as the MS versions, it is still fairly bizarre to have the setting HERE. I understand you want a main app assigned to open HTML files or “launch browser” links but this is just about the most ineloquent way of asking people to choose. It should NOT be stored here – it should be a question asked on the first launch and then in SYSTEM PREFERENCES, not embedded in the middle of an Apple app.

SUMMARY

So, nice speed and java improvements. It’s a fine browser but it’s not world class yet because there are some portions of Safari that need to be improved for user scaleability. Right now, as you need more out of Safari, eventually it becomes unmanageable. So, if you prefer speed over user filing prowess & privacy needs – then Safari is a great choice, certainly on the Mac side – I guess we’ll hear more PC users coming on and their take on it … but if your needs are closer to mine, Firefox is still the best of all worlds.

Really there is an 8th missing feature – no real plug-ins like Firefox (the few available are plug-in like or workarounds or just plain hacks). It’s not a huge reason why I use Firefox. For me, it’s just a nice add-on but I know for many others, plug-ins are essential.

LITTLE TIP FOR PC USERS

BTW, unlike other companies, even though the Safari 3.0 download page looks like you need an email address, if you untick the SEND ME EMAIL NOTICE, you are free to download without any email info.

AND FOR MAC USERS, while you can still keep Safari 2.x on your machine, Safari 3 seems to “take over” and implement its java changes on top of 2.x so keep that in mind.

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Hold Off Installing Safari 3.0 Beta

A slew of problems, error messages and just plain sobbing …

“big problem with safari 3 beta”

“Same problem here. Installer crashed, can’t launch any Cocoa app. iTunes, Coda, Adium, etc… all fail to launch …”

“Safari 3 Beta for Windows – app text not showing”

“I dont meet the requirements?”

10.49 is the only listed requirement for Mac users but I couldn’t get the installer to work on mind … maybe that’s a good thing … :-(

Apple Discussion Forum Link.

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What’s the Buzz, Buzz, Buzz on the Internet? (A Guide)

It was not that long ago a weekly magazine was considered the perfect compilation of all that was buzz worthy, trend spotting and worth noting … and then came 24 hours news and sports – man, how were we ever going to keep up with that info overload … and now, you can track trends, buzz, blog-worthy and news as it sweeps across the globe to the minute … much like the Star Trek Genesis device, worlds and ideas can be terra-formed, created or destroyed in just about 65 seconds.

THE FOUNDATION

Of course, you want to start at Alexa.com and drill down as they like to say to find where all the people are on this internet thing …

Who’s Hot or Not? The Top 10 Sites moving up or moving down in the traffic rankings, as measured by the change in the number of users visiting the site are at Movers & Shakers

Or the Top Ten in hundreds of categories … including WHIPS … uh, the cowboy & sled dog kind.

The main kahuna list – the ALEXA GLOBAL 500. Unlike the Fortune 500 or the Forbes 400 where you can work all year to make the list, this list, you gotta earn your 750,452 page views EVERY HOUR of EVERYDAY.

Or maybe it’s good enough just to be in the Top 10 of Moldova, or by country. Or by language.

On Alexa’s front page is also a fun (or sad or heartbreaking) feature allowing you a very detailed look at your competition and how you stack up in terms of traffic in and out … here is Apple.com’s page. Just type yours or any url to get a closer look in. And of course, why not buy a t-shirt with your web stats – that should be the perfect shirt to wear on a speed date :-) You also get a glimpse of “Sites Linking in” and who your visitors also visit.

Or from PINGDOM, how often are the Top 20 websites down/offline – pretty impressive YAHOO – ZERO downtime. Also from PINGDOM, for the truly geeky, what kind of servers are your favorite websites running? (PDF version).

There’s also useful overall data on web usage at Nielsen Net Rankings (yes, that Nielsen). They also offer a BlogPulse with dozens of cool features and charts.

Bloglines Most Popular Feeds/Blogs.

Technorati, of course has been re-designed to encompass more than just blog rankings but now videos, movies etc are on their “POP” page – and of course, still keeping the list of Top 100 blogs and the list of user-decided “Top 100 Favorites.

A great feature from popuri.us lets you “check at-a-glance the link popularity of any site based on its ranking (Google PageRank, Alexa Rank, Technorati etc.), social bookmarks (del.icio.us, etc), subscribers (Bloglines, etc) and more!” Just type in an url, any url and see where they rank – very interesting …

Adobe Labs also tracks the Top 100 feeds.

For the best free research, hard to beat the Pew Internet & American Life.

TRACKING THE BUZZ

Google Zeitgeist has become Google Trends/Hot Trends but you can still access 2006 data or the archives. Though they are still tracking Zeitgeist by country. You can also drill down each HOT TRENDS search for detailed info. Note, the trends tracks the hottest new searches – not necessarily the most popular searches in sheer numbers that day/minute.

Or get a live look. If you go to Google HQ’s, there is a second by second monitor* showing you search queries (with ‘adult’ words stripped out) but no live feature of that on the internet. The next best thing is MetaCrawler’s METASPY … every 15 seconds, you get an insightful or puzzled glimpse into the queries straight from the minds of fellow netizens. Or NOT SAFE FOR WORK, their EXPOSED queries.

(* WIRED story from 2003)

Not only is Lycos still around, they are still in the Top 1000 – here is their weekly Top 50 searches.

I’ve heard that MSN/Live also offers a trends list but I couldn’t find it … it also doesn’t help matters when the first contact they have with anyone is this request:

“Would you like to set Live Search as your default search provider?”

I guess it’s progress in some small way, the NO isn’t grayed out … but still, when will MS learn to stop annoying people in the guise of being “helpful.” Why not just be straightforward and sell me some Viagra and offer me a 59% home loan in fell swoop?

Ask.com’s Top searches by week.

AOL’s searches are via a blog form as in AOL Hot Searches. And while some of us are quick to sneer at AOL, they still have some 17 million customers/users and they are a glimpse into the solid “middle-class” of the internet. They can afford to upgrade to DSL, they just figure – why futz with something that’s working. Or of course, you can still troll around for the 30-minutes AOL thought it was a good idea to release a giant compilation of their search data … recap at TechCrunch with link to giant file.

And one of the oldest and most reliable – Yahoo’s Buzz. They also offer a blog (on main page) along with more specific categories.

WordSpy tracks keywords searches (some NSFW).

HypeTracker doesn’t offer you any real inputs but their charts might be useful … if you don’t mind that it looks like Circus Circus graphics of 1973.

Title-Z is free during beta testing to track book sales trends at Amazon.

WHAT’S NEWS

In addition to searches, it’s always good to see what people are reading, watching and interacting with on the internet … obviously there’s no way to put together a complete list but popurl.com is a great place to start as it sweeps up the Top 10 from a couple dozen most popular social & news sites (from Digg to furl to YouTube) so you get it all in one sweep plus a nice looking interface that cuts to the core.

Or a newcomer – a college version of Digg … SchoolFizz.

Most viewed on YouTube.

Or Original Signal – the best of blogs …

Google News is interesting because it does an auto sweep of all news sites and going by the theory that the more posts in turn signifies the story is worthy of more attention … You can also switch between 25 languages to get a feel of what’s news elsewhere and sadly, our celebs are the same celebs searches & news worldwide. I like THE REZ for slightly different news feeds than the same old.

Most every site that contains a lot of data will offer a “best of” or “most popular” so there’s plenty of data out there … have fun!

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Western Digital 1.5 TB Storage and Mac Formatted!

wd 1.5 tb drive

Western Digital is listing a new 1.5 TB storage external HD that comes Mac formatted.  One trillion bytes holds a ton of stuff even in this digital age.  This is what this tasty box can hold:

Up to 428,000 digital photos
 

That list is straight from the WD web site so you can take that as being from the source.  The drive accomodates Firewire 400 and 800 as well as RAID striping.

Circuit City has a 1 TB listed for $499 so I imagine the 1.5 TB won’t stray to far past that mark but who knows.  Two more photos for below.  The first is the back of the unit:

And one more for scale:

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iPhone: From Failure to 45 Million Sold, Get Your Scoresheet Here …

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Every real marketer has to appreciate how Apple has garnered about $1 BILLION dollars worth of attention, branding, word of mouth and internet buzz with ONE keynote, a few official interviews and now less than 5 TV spots.

Of course, everyone has to chime in – everything from outright failure to 45 million sold but perhaps we should take names & keep score to see come June 30th or July 30th or July 30th, 2008 to see who was on target and who was Dvorak?

Dvorak – meaning of course – old, ancient, irrelevant and without any understanding of technology since the time when computers actually had to “boot.” (no resemblance to any living person intended, I know he can’t be real).

Thanks of course to MacSurfer who keeps a nice tidy record. We’ll just go back about 45 days to early today to get a general recap of who said what – remember at the beginning of May, no one was really sure when in June yet it would actually be out but it was also enough time after the keynote to not just spout knee jerk reactions. After several months of analyses and fact gathering, it seemed reasonable that everyone could offer intelligent opinions based on competitor info, the marketplace, consumer buying habits and technology.

Well, apparently that was too much to ask of some people. Of course, since nothing is out, and there are no hands on reviews, in theory everyone’s opinion should be valid and yet, it might be time for some to call it a day in the tech field and go into gardening.

Of course, here’s where I stand.

And others …

(sorry – too lazy to link all).

FAILURE:

“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.” Steve Ballmer
“Why Apple’s iPhone is not the next iPod” Saabira Chaudhuri, FastCompany
“iPhone: Apple’s First Flop” Todd Sullivan, ValuePlays
iPhone: Apple Making All the Wrong Moves Todd Sullivan, ValuePlays
“”So it really makes you wonder whether the iPhone, when it finally arrives next month, will be clunky and misguided despite its gorgeousness and slick user interface. Apple could turn off customers if the pricey device can’t really do what it promises because of little gotchas like insufficient bandwidth or short battery life or an unusable virtual keyboard.” Brent Schlender
“But as a first-generation product, and the first mobile phone for Apple, the iPhone could have bugs in any of a number of areas, such as the touch screen, which is unique for such a device; battery life; call quality; and software stability.” Antone Gonsalves, InfoWeek
“The keyboard is a disaster, and people are going to return the phone in droves. I’m guessing 20% will go back.” The D Guy
“Apple’s iPhone Will Fly . . . Then Flounder” Jim Louderback, PC Magazine
“Apple won’t sell 10 million iPhones in 2008.” Lance Davis, The Register

NOT FAILURE BUT NOT HIT …

“It’s usually bad luck to bet against Steve Jobs, but I still find it hard to see how Apple is going to shift 10 million iPhones in 2008.” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNET

CAN’T DECIDE

“Survey: many want, 6% will buy iPhone” (then notes) “highly successful Motorola RAZR after its launch in 2004 achieved a 6% market share at its peak.” Markitecture
“7.6% said that they’d definitely be getting one. A massive 46.2% said that they’d seriously consider getting an iPhone, but only if the available deal was attractive.” Shiny Media, UK
“Business users should probably avoid the first-gen iPhone.” Graceful Flavor
“10 Reasons Why iPhone Will/Won’t Succeed” Noah Kravitz, PB Central
“I keep coming back to one aspect of the device I don’t like – the onscreen keyboard. As much as I think that the glass-topped software-powered keyboard on the iPhone looks cool, I keep coming back the one thing that’s important about a keyboard to me – usability. Do I think that the iPhone’s keyboard is going to be an efficient input device? No. Is this going to mean that Apple is going to have a hard time selling iPhones? Probably not.” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZDNet
“Perhaps everything will go right but expectations for the iPhone don’t allow for anything but perfection.” Larry Dignan, ZDNet

PROBABLY …
“iPhone has the potential for adding a totally new, $10 billion-a-year business” Peter Burrows BW Mag
“I am skeptical on price, but people are lined up to buy it,” Jupiter Research, Neil Strother
“I have never seen as much anticipation for a new product,” Michael Cai, Parks Associates

SUCCESS:

“Why Ballmer is wrong about the iPhone” mad4mobilephones
“Predicts the company will sell 45 million iPhones in 2009″ Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray
“Apple’s iPhone Rocks the Cell Phone Industry” Paul Carton ChangeWave Alliance
“iPhone may double smartphone sales” ARM CEO, Warren East
“4 million in 2007″ Merrill Lynch
“Apple to sell around 17 million for fiscal 2008″ Shebly Seyrafi, Caris & Company
“iPhone volumes will be met” UBS
“Almost half of Europe’s iPod users participating in its 2,000-person pan-European survey said that they are likely to consider Apple for their next mobile phone.” Canalys
“45% of Americans are aware of the iPhone’s existence” Broadband Wireless Exchange Magazine
“9% of 3,500 people surveyed would be buying the iPhone, with another 7% saying they would buy the phone for someone else as a gift, this is “huge” and the iPhone is “going to be a monster.” 79% said they would consider dumping their existing wireless carrier to switch to AT&T to grab the iPhone.” Patrick Seitz, Investor’s Business Daily
“Sea change in awareness of how mobile computing will change after the release of the iPhone.” Tomi Ahonen
“84% of the students surveyed knew about the iPhone and that 25% said that they would purchase one at the standard retail price of $500.” Piper Jaffray
“… Sell-outs and complaints about lack of availability of the phone … Survey of 36 stores showed that 64 percent reporting a waiting list.” Channel Checkers
“It will change the whole category of what people think a phone is.” Richard Doherty, Envisioneering Group
“I think they’ll ship 10 million [phones] this calendar year,” Stephen Coleman, Daedelus Capital
“In many ways, the iPhone isn’t just a phone, but will likely be a cultural icon like the iPod. All of the carriers need some type of response.” Michael Gartenberg, Jupiter Research

WE’RE NOT AFRAID …
(um, what was that line Yoda says back to Luke when he says he’s not afraid? ;-)

“Company is ready for competition from Apple Inc.’s iPhone, “How do you deal with [the iPhone]?” “How do they deal with us?”” Motorola CEO Ed Zander
“Helio Ocean vs. Everything (including iPhone)” Gizmodo
“Sun’s JavaPhone Could Beat Apple To The iPhone Punch” Alexander Wolfe, InfoWeek
“Motorola Inc. plans to introduce a device next week with “unbelievable video capabilities,” a month before Apple Inc. starts selling its iPhone.” Motorola CEO Ed Zander
“Nokia: iPhone will lift phone prices” Electronista
“Samsung aims to one-up Apple: South Korea is a hotbed of cutting-edge cell phones” Business 2.0
“Helio Ocean: Is this the iPhone Killer? (Despite some hardware flaws)” Threebase
“… Decided to pass on the iPhone deal and says he has no regrets: “Time will tell” if he made the right call, he says, Strigl doesn’t think the iPhone will be that hard to compete against. Why? Because, he says, for five long years it will be tied to AT&T’s wireless network. His point: A phone is only as good as the network it runs on, and he thinks Verizon’s is better.” Denny Strigl, Verizon’s COO
“Sony meets iPhone challenge with BT broadband deal for PSP” Sony
“We have several music devices coming” including the LG Prada, “but there are others” Verizon
“Microsoft designs the mobile operating system that can be used on a large range of devices.” Microsoft, Robbie Bach
“Palm is poised to compete with the iPhone” BusinessWeek
“Other Makers’ Feature-Rich Phones Could Benefit From Apple Device’s Buzz” WSJ.com
“HTC Touch is poised to join the ranks of would-be iPhone killers.” PC World
“‘What are you doing in response to the iPhone?’ But because we’ve been doing this for so long, the iPhone is actually a response to us.” Verizon

2+2=11? WTH?

“iPhone is actually driving the market towards Microsoft’s Windows Mobile OS” Sramana Mitra
“Apple Hopes to Infuse iPhone with Wii Windfall” (aka: Apple to learn how to market from Nintendo’s Wii – good analysis for memory span of 3 months or if you’re 6 years old) Gizmo Cafe
“Jobs Gambles Rep on iPhone 1.0″ NY Post
“”Apple has a history of leaving its partners bleeding or bloody in the dust” Rob Enderle
“Apple Should Trash The iPhone” The D Guy
“”It’s way out of line with what the phone is going to do, This is not a great phone. It’s an interesting design.” Rob “IBM PC Unit unlikely to be sold to Lenovo” Enderle
“The introduction of the iPhone implies “the beginning of a long farewell to the Mac as a general purpose computing platform” Paul Thur.
“iPhone to Flop…Then Fly” PC Magazine
“Essentially we’re just Apple’s Guinea Pigs to make sure the each generation of the iPhone is awesome while Apple and AT&T keep up their reputation.” Tanner Godarzi, iPhone Matters
“Why The IPhone Shortages Are Good For Apple And Us” Tanner Godarzi, iPhone Matters
“The iPhone shortage will be due to AT&T. The wireless giant is going to deliberately be keeping the iPhone on a controlled outflow from its stores.” Tanner Godarzi, iPhone Matters
“Meeting Steve Jobs and rubbishing the iPhone to his face … Ok, so it was a dream.” SMS Text News
“Apple planning iPhone shortage” Nick Farrell, Inquirer
“… Experience tells us that nobody really buys anything when it first comes out, it is always the way, because after a while the prices begin to fall dramatically and then we begin to see special deals.” Coolest-Gadgets.com

RANDOM FACTS/QUOTES

“AT&T officials say a million people have put in requests for an iPhone.” AT&T (aka: 1 million people said – please send me an AD!)
“Market buzz: Apple to buy 500 million Samsung NAND flash chips” EE Times Asia
“… Recent survey was that over half the people who had a music phone don’t have a one song loaded on them,” he said. “Not a single one. And mostly it’s because they don’t care, Forty-four percent had zero songs; 18 percent said they did not have as many songs as they wanted.” David Chamberlain, Principal Analyst at InStat
“Just 26 percent of U.K. and U.S. mobile entertainment users are currently satisfied with their services.” Mobile Entertainment Forum
“Many of those who will “definitely” investigate the phone at its minimum $499 price are new to Apple, AT&T, or both. Of the interested respondents culled from the 1,230 total, nearly half — 48 percent — said they didn’t already own an iPod, making the iPhone their only (if not very first) Apple-branded music player.” Solutions Research Group
“…Growing wave of middle-market Americans who are defining a new market segment through their willingness to pay a premium for “new luxury” goods” Credit Suisse
“… Quiet, behind-the-scenes anxiety at Apple. Some Apple executives worry privately that expectations for the one-button phones may be too high and that first-generation buyers will end up disappointed.” Business 2.0

DON’T GOT TO VEGAS

“$10 says the iPhone is opened to 3rd parties on June 11th” David Chartier
“When it Comes to the iPhone Release Date, I Put My Money on June 12″ iPhone Matters

JUST IMAGINE HOW GOOD IT WOULD DO IF IT WERE ACTUALLY RELEASED :-)

“An overwhelming 90 percent of respondents gave the iPhone higher marks than their own handset and over 40 percent of respondents rated the iPhone much better across key functional categories– including music player, web browsing, voice mail, and phone call management–indicating real innovation in designing a user experience” Harvey Cohen, Strategy Analytics

In case you need a map for June 29th to find OFFICIAL AT&T stores (3rd party stores & kiosks will not be selling the iPhone – don’t camp out at the wrong store :-)

You will need Google Earth.

Here is the Google Earth plug-in for AT&T stores.

Good luck!

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How To Backup Your Mac: Not Fun But Necessary

Backing up your computer is pretty much the least fun you can have on your Mac.

Do you need to backup?

All you have to do is answer this question.

“Can I reformat your hard drive right now?”

Your answer?

a) “Sure, whatever.”
b) “I Don’t Think so …”
c) “Noooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

If you answered A

You are either very zen, on too many muscle relaxers or clearly using someone else’s computer at a dorm party.

Or so enlightened, you have moved your life online: email, photos, apps and bookmarks. This computer is just a terminal monitor – you could be online next door, in Wisconsin or Nepal – it’s all the same. You have downloaded your essence into the bit-stream … you are either very brave, very trusting or very bleeding edge.

If you answered B

You don’t think it sounds like a good thing but you’re not 100% sure … Well, ‘reformatting’ means, can I erase everything on your hard drive – emails, photos, text, bookmarks, etc, etc … your answer like most people is probably C.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Followed immediately by choice expletives before and after the shouting, along with heart irregularity and blood pressure of 247.

The question is how important are your files to you and do you care if you lose them all?

I know one person who checks his financial holdings every morning using exactly 2 bookmarks and he saves ZERO files and gets maybe 1 email every 3 days. He may be the only person on Earth using a computer that needs no backup plan at all. If you are him or like him, you can stop reading though honestly, unless Vanguard links to us, this won’t reach him.

CASUAL

If you’re a casual Mac user like many people I know. They send some emails, check the web and copy photos from their camera. There are files on their computer but it’s nothing they would shriek over. For these people, you can go a simple route and just copy files to blank DVD-R’s – that should cover most of their needs. If they prefer something automated, .Mac is a solid solution for casual Mac users as it includes Apple’s BACKUP. It has created “auto” templates you can add or subtract from or select CUSTOM to choose other files & folders to backup.

This is part of your .Mac purchase, you get BACKUP – as you can see, it’s a solid & easy solution for casual users. For some reason, .Mac is loathed by many people all out of proportion but it does a lot of things in a simple manner – again, backing up files is not really exciting or sexy, it’s like paying your water bill. And no, .Mac is not your cheapest solution in the entire realm of things but NO ONE else offers a backup as simple as the screenshot above so if you don’t have a lot of files and you don’t want to plan or think much more about it, .Mac is a fine solution.

However, if you have a lot of iTunes purchases, a lot of mp3 music files or a lot of video files, you might want to use .Mac in conjunction with the next recommendation as you only get 1GB of storage (though you can buy more) with .Mac but more importantly, anything above a couple hundred megs just takes too long to upload.

A HARD DRIVE

A hard drive will let you back up your entire Mac. Most people have Macs with less than 160GB – you can buy an 80GB to 320 GB external USB drive for anywhere from $60-$150 on sale. There are dozens of places to check online for daily pricing specials including: DealNews, or TheFind (just to name 2).

If you are not an advanced user, just get an external drive, you’re paying $20 to $40 more but it’s less intimidating than a raw drive with jumpers and exposed circuit boards. It plugs into the side or back of your Mac.

You have to make one other decision* – USB or firewire. Expect to pay more for a firewire drive but don’t overpay.

If you want to create a BOOTABLE drive and you are using a “older” PowerPC mac, you want a firewire drive. A bootable drive means that if your mac won’t start up for some reason and it’s a software problem (not hardware), you can simply plug in a firewire drive and restart your Mac and immediately hold down the OPTION key. You will launch “startup manager” and be allowed to choose which drive to startup from – in this case, the external firewire drive and if you back up regularly, it’s like everything as it was.

NOTE: PowerPC Macs cannot ‘boot’ from a USB external … however, to be confusing, Intel Macs can only ‘boot’ from an external USB drive so if you have an Intel Mac, get a USB drive and make it bootable (see instructions next section).

*Okay, there are really a couple of another decisions, IDE or SATA, spin rate of 5,400, 7,200 or more … for casual users who are going to employ this drive as a backup, these are not all that important. Advanced users of course, you know what you’re doing.

The best software for backing up single machines? My choice is CARBON COPY CLONER (CCC).

It’s $5 and it’s rock solid – having been around forever. As you can see, it is pretty straightforward. Simple select the drive you want to make a copy of (back up) and where you want to back it up to. Now, CCC does not back up to DVD-R’s or other devices – what do you want for $5? :-)

When you select your two drives, CCC will automatically fill that large empty box on the right with every necessary file to backup. You can manually de-select files you don’t mind but you’re better bet is just leave it alone unless you know what you don’t want copied.

The preferences window can be a little intimidating but for casual users, just select MAKE BOOTABLE and your only decision if you are running it for the second time is whether you want to re-write your previous files or make another copy of THE-TIME-I-FELL-OFF-THE-ROOF video. Then just select CLONE. It will ask you for your admin password (a good thing) and of course, you should “unlock” it so it can begin. This may take a few hours to many hours depending on the size of your drive. You can do it overnight.

When done, you have an EXACT duplicate of your main Mac & hard drive. You can set a schedule or if you don’t mind if you might lose a few days of files at home, that it’s not a big deal, you can unplug it and then plug it back in when you want to backup again (plus you save a little on electricity if you don’t have it plugged in and you don’t use it everyday.)

When you plug in the new drive for the FIRST time, the Mac should ask if you want to format it and it will launch APPLE DISK UTILITY which will help you format the drive.

It will look something like this. It will ask you to name the drive. Then click ERASE. Technically your drive is “empty” but by erasing, it will be formatted for a Mac. Yes, there are other settings there but ignore them unless you know what you’re doing.

Apple DISK UTILITY clearly offers a couple dozen other features not covered here but can be explored if you’re up to it. For instance, you might think about PARTITION when Leopard comes out with its TIME MACHINE feature so you “clone” your hard drive to one partition but you use the other for TIME MACHINE.

For more advanced users who don’t want a backup drive plugged in everyday, you can also get a USB 2.0 to IDE/SATA Cable Adapter. So you can save on buying an external case – just plug this to the back of the drive and the other end to your Mac or USB hub. Of course, if you’re squeamish about handling a “raw” drive, this might not be a good way to go but if you’re comfortable, you can save $20-$30 dollars by not buying an external case.

It costs a little more but if words like CLONE are a little scary for you from CCC, there’s also SuperDuper – they believe in plain talk.

There are other software choices including free from Lacie, Silverkeeper and there are a couple dozen other shareware apps – good roundup from Pure-Mac.com.

SMALL BUSINESS/INCREMENTAL BACKUPS

For small businesses with a few Macs and for those who want incremental backups (it’s smart enough to figure out which files got changed and only back those up today instead of copying every file again), there are some “professional grade” choices, EMC Retrospect used to be the standard bearer and while they have upgraded their Mac versions, they seem to have fallen behind BakBone’s NetVault. The TollisGroup’s BRU PE for the Mac has gotten a lot of good reviews. Another choice is Atempo though I’ve heard you should know your line commands for this app.

OFFSITE/INTERNET

It all comes down to how mission critical your data is. Even if you backup diligently, if the house/business catches on fire or someone steals the Mac & your hard drives, what’s the point of backing up? For casual users, you should back up family photos or other important documents on a disc or even a hard drive and give it to a friend or family (you can encrypt if you have that kind of family :-)

Is the internet a viable choice? It’s still very early – do you want to spend hours/days uploading your data only to have them go out of business? Or how secure is your data? I know they list a lot of stats about uptime and 448-bit security but what does it all really mean? While that might be an overly pessimistic view, I think that’s how you have to look at them now – they’re worthy of consideration but perhaps as your 3rd backup choice? Most of the more legitimate ones will charge you $5 to $20 a month for storage – while it’s nice that you can in theory access your entire data set with an internet connection worldwide, how useful is that really to you specifically? Aren’t you better off buying an $60 drive, backing up all your files and leaving it at mom & dad’s – where the odds of them plugging a firewire drive into their Zenith tube TV is pretty remote :-) or place in your bank safe deposit box?

For those in a data mission critical business, you do want an offsite backup but you want a legitimate, long-standing remote access site and not a new internet startup with 100 NAS servers and saying they’re ready to handle it all. Trust but verify.

Wikipedia has a basic description of choices and then just do a search for “Backup Service Providers” and see who makes you feel comfortable.

But for most professional businesses, after selecting backup software, your best bet might just be to auto backup to a removable hard drive you can put into a fire-proof vault.

Or find an internet service provider who offers large enough bandwidth and you can encrypt and send files there every night – essentially acting as your own backup service provider.

But whatever you do, BACKUP!

And if you hear grinding noises from your hard drive – that is a death cry – BACKUP, BACKUP NOW!!!

(While backing up might be dull, thee’s no reason not to have a fun hard drive …. from LaCie)

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Goodbye MTI MDA and Hello Dash

mda phone

So I am kicking my T-mobile MDA to da curb. This thing has worked fairly well (especially after updating the bios which was desperately needed) but the dang thing just couldn’t grab a signal with both hands if it was paid to (and it was – by me.)

So, since I have to stay with my daytime employer’s cell plan provider which is T-not-very-mobile), I am exchanging it for one of these – The Dash:

dash phone

Both are Bluetooth, GPRS, wifi, 1.3 megapixel camera resident, web surfing smartphones. The BIG difference is in their ability to snag signal. For example, there I am slurping away on some choice chowder at The Mooring in Newport, RI trying to multi-task with some email and no dice (very delicious food btw…heartily recommended).

Why? No frigging signal. But wait! Two of my colleagues (Dash carrying folk on the SAME T-mobile plan as me) are both getting three bars or more…sitting right next to and across from me! What the @%$#&*?!

There is a good reason the MDA has the shape and weight of a brick because it came very close to being tested for its non-aerodynamics.

So, on to a Dash. Let me know if you think this think should be skipping waves on the pond…

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Why Mac Ads Are Not Like iPhone’s “Demo Ads”

The new iPhone ads are very slick and offer a dazzling demo of why you’d want one.

So, some people wonder (like TUAW) why Mac ads aren’t like the iPhone – why are they of the I’m a Mac and I’m a PC variety and not outright demos of features of the Mac.

For that reason, we have to travel back in time to a distant past … and in case you’ve forgotten all that has changed in 25 years, USA Today has thoughtfully recapped it for us.

First, there is a MAJOR, MAJOR difference in society, households and how people approached technology. For many of us, the 1980’s ushered in an era where our love of gadgetry and technology was finally out of back-room hobby shops and in gleaming palaces (well, okay ‘strip malls,’ but it was still an improvement) but you have to keep in mind, the rest of the people – the mass market would only slowly began to embrace technology but not necessarily for all the right reasons.

BECAUSE WE WERE “DUPED.”

The first Personal Computer selling revolution (1982-1992) was fueled by the ABSOLUTE NEED to have a personal computer on a desktop at home in a prominent location. It meant you were tech savvy, with the “in” crowd of a world order where at your fingertips, you could harness the power of the then REAL high (as in highfalutin’)-technology to unleash your desires. It was much more than just another purchase – it also proved you could afford the best the world had to offer. And of course, you had to buy the best tools for your kids to crush all the other kids.

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Also keep in mind adjusted for inflation, a $2,500 computer would cost you about $5,000 in today’s dollars. It was a major commitment or view it this way, when the average house cost about $50,000 (okay, not in California but it’s a benchmark) and you could buy a rock bottom priced car for @$6,000 – buying a computer was not just a random stroll into Walgreen’s.

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Only problem was that for 65% of people, when they got the thing home, it was really just an expensive thing. Add in some software and what do you really have? Who wants to come home after a long day or week at the office to work on: word processing, a spreadsheet, home budgeting (honey, I’ve spent three weeks inputting all our data, this 4-color pie chart shows that we would be doing great if we hadn’t spend $3,000 on a computer. Come on down and look at it – man, this would look great if we could afford a $1,000 dollar 4-color printer!) or the new category, taxes!

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Pre-internet, your computer was exactly 100% what you bought. If you wanted anything else, you had to buy it – sure, there were more games to play but the computer didn’t just automatically change people’s lives. Unlike a microwave which could now heat you a dinner in 3 minutes, a computer is only as good as the input. When you turn it on, you got the cascading jumble of DOS letters, then it sat with a blinking cursor awaiting your next move (later, of course, graphics were added) but still – what was it? A “desktop” with icons – now what? To most Americans, a computer UI was nothing else on the planet … where geeks saw unlimited power (well, in the tens of megahertz!), the rest of America saw a screen with “icons” that just sat there.

The power of the spreadsheet is immense but frankly, you have to do all the hard work of inputting in numbers, writing macros and formatting it before you get anything back … for most Americans, it just wasn’t that interesting and worse, it was hard work.

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As prices dropped, people kept buying them because what modern home didn’t have a personal computer, it’s was like the 1960’s with TV all over again. You had to prove you could afford a personal computer as a not-so-secret handshake into the middle class … or of course, it’s for the kids – what kind of a parent would deny their kid into the ultra super duper world of computers? What also didn’t hurt were the great American success stories with technology – Steve & Steve, Bill & Paul Allen, of course and dozens of others. Of course, you had to get in on the ground floor of that so your kids would be ready to topple them or follow their lead.

At least prices kept dropping giving the illusion you were just better off so it was an easier buy but really, other than games, how exciting was a PC in day to day terms?

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(Again, I’m NOT talking about the 40% of geeks who were beginning work on the next phase of computing).

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THE AGE OF DISILLUSIONMENT

The years 1994 to 1998 were the years that computers were essentially affordable to anyone with a steady job but there was still a huge gulf. There were the 40% of people who absolutely loved their computer and tried to figure out how to revolve every aspect of their life around. The processing power was weak but people tried to get every last ounce they could. Social communities were formed with this wondrous thing called email and online communities like THE WELL. For that 40%, things were just beginning to get interesting.

For the other 60% of “average” Americans, it was – yea, I’ll buy my kids a computer on their checklist of life (along with BIG WHEEL, CANDYLAND & SAFETY HELMET) because obviously it’s useful for writing term papers but damn it if I’ll spend over $999 (the bargain price of the era). These people used computers at work and frankly, that was it – it was a cash register, it was a jiffy lube terminal or it was yet another TPS report to type (it is supposed to be Old English font?, ah, who cares) – then of course, let’s print it out and put it in the inter-office mail – the network was one HP printer for every one PC anyway :-)

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So after the era of real expensive computers as show and the era of BFD, it’s a computer, the “internet era” just sounded more like marketing hoohah. (and yes, the actual internet era started earlier but I’m talking about the year where it was no longer ‘another AOL” to 60% of Americans).

That’s one reason us computer geeks are/were astounded at the slow speed of DSL/cable penetration – true computer geeks saw the shaft of light from above two minutes after they saw Mosaic or Netscape (I’m saying two minutes because it took that long for the first photo to draw) and while yea, 98% of all the websites were grainy photos with 11 fonts and with the gray background, geeks saw the potential – but the reality is most ‘average’ Americans had given up on computers. It was almost like buying a kit car – you mean I have to buy additional parts and “build it” myself?

I NEARLY LOATHE IT

Most everyone who reads this can tell an USB A plug from a USB plug in the dark. We have never lost our interest and our wonderment at our home computer even before it could connect to everyone on this planet but for most people, after some 20 odd years of the personal computer, the personal computer represented two things to the average American.

MYSTERY BOX taunting them that they they aren’t smart enough to get it.
SCARY BOX that would just stop working.

The mystery box syndrome is that this box is full of stuff I’m supposed to know and yet, I don’t. Yea, I’ve seen people make movies, print photos and do amazing things on their personal computer – THEY MAKE IT LOOK EASY – am I dumb or am I just not putting in the effort? Either way, thanks for making me spend $1,000 on something that makes me feel old and stupid.

The scary box is the experience from using a PC at work (sorry to pick on the PC here but) for every Alienware PC, there are 10 at the jiffy lube, for every PC supercomputer, there are 100 at a customer service center where the workers are timed to complete every call within 4 minutes, and how many people at work have not gone a year that either you or anyone within 10 feet of you have had some HDD die or logic board die? One really bad year, I had three dead HDD’s, one monitor sparked, emitted an odor of death but alas, did not actually catch fire. So, not only is the PC the ball & chain of your desk, watching, recording you and just when you need it most – it dies or it’s just a giant timer or really, it’s just a giant post it frame for kids and notes from your boss to print out that 500-page PowerPoint slide and file it.

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PROMISES, PROMISES

Combine that with the marketing of personal computers from 1980 to 2006 and what do you have? Lots of singing, dancing, shilling and promises, promises.

All software was crazy fun and would make you smarter. And even to this day, what do Microsoft ads promise? The ones with the squiggly lines – that kids who use Microsoft products and dream will become astronauts or whatever, right? Who really believes that today? People know it’s just a computer. If it turns on, it’s a good day.

Even the brilliant Apple Mac ad, 1984 – what did it promise to average computer users? The freedom from tyranny and to crush and topple an oppressive society bereft of pleasure & individuality?

I know it was it was built in my Mac :-) I think that feature was on a cassette drive for the Tandy :-)

COMPUTER DEMO ADS

Why doesn’t Apple use demo ads? Because NO ONE BELIEVES IT.

Because for true computer fans, they don’t really pay much attention to TV ads anyway, they know they’re not going to find the info they really want – what RAM module it takes, what’s the bus cache or how many watts does it suck up?

And for the average computer buyer? Yes, the internet era is so much nicer, it adds huge value to their computer. They don’t have to keep buying apps to extend the usefulness of their computer – they can read the news, they can play games, they can view photos and it’s even fairly easy to load pictures onto websites (though – BROWSE? What am I browsing again?) It’s still a little weird and when it stops working, they don’t really know why this machine is way more finicky than their microwave, alarm clock or TV … and frankly, they feel like they’ve been lied to – part of it is that something like 40% of internet surfers are still on dial-up, yea, hard to believe but to them, that is the speed of the internet so obviously their experience doesn’t really match what’s in the ads but look at a Microsoft ad from 1996. I’m not even sure in 2007 unless you have the FIOS fiber running straight to your house, can you really visit about 40 websites in 30 seconds? Of course, we could see through the hype but for most Americans – this is what MS essentially said was the experience they should expect and people wondered why their actual experience was a disappointment.

When they see a flurry of things people do on the computer, THEY DON’T BELIEVE IT. They see ads where cameras get attached, photos get downloaded, brighten with effects and borders added and on the internet in like 8-seconds in a :30 second TV spot, they don’t believe it. Of course, OSX and Mac apps has resolved a lot of these issues and even XP is way better than before but it all still seems like Hollywood CGI effects. It falls under the category that when I pop open this soda, honestly, I’m pretty sure that not everyone in my neighborhood will turn gorgeous and suddenly start dancing … same with my computer. And frankly, if you pay $399 for a computer, how much magic do you expect?

Here’s an ad for Intel Pentium’s from 1994 which again promises BLAZING speeds in browsing and video … 13 YEARS ago …

ALL FOR ONE LOW, LOW PRICE

The other problem is that the branding for 99% of computer makers consists essentially of – WE HAVE THE LOWEST PRICE! That was a seductive pitch during the time when every sale meant more profits so why now shave a little here and there and next week, some more there and then later, some more over here. So after 10 years of this, people switched from Packard-Bell’s to eMachines to Gateway’s to HP’s to Dell’s at the drop of a trucker hat. The PC industry is the only one that could craft a name of out of essentially nothing (Packard Bell was a license of a mostly dead 1950’s transistor radio company but soundly vaguely like an long time brand like Motorola or Zenith and or a confusion with Hewlett-Packard, of course). Only in the PC industry could you go from a name plate on an assembled bunch of plastic to a billion dollar conglomerate and then back to zero in about 5 years – because while the PC makers talked customer service, innovation and cutting edge, all they really sold & delivered was on price. Now, there’s nothing really wrong with that but the problem is that once you build a customer base 99% based on price – you have the least loyal audience possible (no matter what you are selling). If they are ready to buy again even if they were happy with their last purchase, a cheaper competitor might just sway them – that’s not really marketing or branding, that’s just sales promotions – great when things are great but when overhead goes up & you are not the low cost leader anymore? Your customers switch and of course, since they all ran Windows, to the consumer, Windows is the brand and the manufacturer is nothing – sort of like buying Cheerio at the Piggly Wiggly instead of Safeway.

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What an elegant showcase for your brand! It’s enough to make your CMO officer weep like a 6-year who just dropped his Otter Pop down the storm drain.

Sales promotions works of course – only problem is you tell potential customers, our products are only worth buying on sale as the auto makers also found out when they tried to raise prices – sales dropped. Your whole marketing or branding message & takeaway is that we are cheap this weekend and this weekend only!

The 1% BRANDING

So when PC manufacturers aren’t shouting it’s the lowest price of the season, they waste money with branding to please marketing and their corporate ego but these ads don’t really work because they don’t have the money to run a whole long term series of them so they try to cram in every message under the Sun in the few spots they can afford to run.

“We’ll make your kids smarter! The best customer service! The lowest prices! The best quality! It’s so easy to use!”

ALL In :30 seconds.

And after the singing and dancing, were they ads for laundry detergent? baked goods? or some perfume?

An effective ad can only embed so many marketing messages to a consumer as part of your mindshare. Whether you are selling chocolates or trucks or personal computer, you have to decide on one message and stick to it. Too many messages just cloud the issue – that’s one reason even showing iLife in action is much less effective than just saying it – when people see photos, videos, music, etc, they’re just confused – what am I seeing again and then back to … am I just being snowed again by some fake special effects?

(PC manufacturers had the extra problem of not only overcoming Microsoft’s giant startup screen but also Intel telling everyone every 2 minutes on TV during the 1990’s that it’s not a Dell or a Compaq, it’s an INTEL PC.)

I’M A MAC

That’s why the I’M A MAC ads are closer to the target because of three reasons:

a) It is about trying to say – hey, you know, you’re not so dumb. It’s not you – maybe it’s your PC? Like choosing a PC, that it’s not that he/you is NOT a hard working guy but who maybe is a guy concentrating on the wrong things … that maybe your computer choice is a little too buttoned up – there is a more easygoing choice.

b) The I’M A MAC at least strips away all the rest of the singing, dancing and effects. It is at least straightforward and in plain sight. Two guys. White room. One talks. The other guy talks. Hopefully you can hear through the clutter.

The setting of the ads also serves as Apple’s branding. That it is quiet, straightforward and not an oversell – so even if you don’t hear the message of that particular one that’s airing this instant, the take away is that Apple is being straightforward and open – that even if you can’t quite articulate the “mindshare,” position that Apple is attempting to stake out, your takeaway perception is that Apple’s position is that they stand in plain sight. You don’t have to buy the ads and its message 100% right now but that each steps makes you more receptive to the overall final message.

c) And lastly – as Apple is smart to focus on the long term, they don’t cram EVERY selling point of the Mac in every ad. They try to sell you one or at most two points. And then repeat in a different way a few months later as a reminder or they add to it. But each I’M A MAC ad is another rung in a glass stairwell to their ultimate goal – you adding them all up and walking on them to buy a Mac. And in one sense, when you run a long term ad with “benefits” of your product (and with a consistent look & feel), even if the sound is off at a store or bar, and you see it’s them in a “new” scenario, you automatically conclude … yet another benefit for the Mac? Even more? They’re still at it with how the Mac is better?

Now, you add the benefits of a, b & c …

Is it effective? Can you tell it’s an Apple Mac ad? Are you intrigued? Can you spot an HP or Dell ad? It’s effectiveness is different because it’s a branding & marketing campaign for the long term path and not a path of desperation. Apple can afford to tell you their story – :30 seconds at a time over a year, two or longer. Because Apple has the luxury of time (and money) and no real need to shout “ON SALE,” they can take this measured approach where it is real marketing and real branding and that there’s more to buying a personal computer than price.

Their goal is not necessarily world domination. With the internet, it really hardly matters what computer you use since as we have covered, there are literally hundreds of fully functionally apps online that only require a web browser (plus java & flash). Apple’s only goal is to stake out the premium position and make sure they stay there by reminding people why they should choose a Mac or why they did chose a Mac.

(My choices as the best of the I’M A MAC ads? Genius, Stuffed, Get a Vista, Gift Exchange, Accident, Out of Box, & Security (more for computer geeks).

THE CELL PHONE MARKET

The cell phone market is at a completely different place. The bottom line is that a phone is disposable – even at a couple hundred bucks or more – because we have it on, we have it on us and we’re holding it to our heads everyday (or if you prefer something less subtle – vibrating in our nether region :-), it’s easily dismissed as something we’ve derived max value from pretty quickly and like the very early days of the personal computer, because it’s so visible, it is a status symbol – hence the interest to switch to show off … so the iPhone ads merely point out how quickly you can show off the iPhone dazzling features to others and of course, dazzling true phone geeks with its ease of switching from voice to mail to browser … and of course, why it’s worth an upfront price commitment of 2 to 10 times what you might normally pay for any old phone.

And in case no one has noticed – each Apple division’s ads gets a different background?

WHITE: Simple, Open, Nothing Hidden – the MAC.

BLACK: Elegant, Luxurious, Stylish (always in season) – the IPHONE.

COLOR: Fun, Vibrant, Young – the IPOD.

That’s how you brand every detail.

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Filed under Advertising, Apple Mac, Computing, Gadgets, Internet, Marketing, Media, TV