mac, music, technology

iPod Touch, Ten Million Apple Geeks Collectively Groan

After years of a rumored touchscreen iPod Apple finally unveiled the iPod Touch. Trouble is $400 dollars only gets you a tiny 16gb hard drive. Pay $300 and you’ll get a microscopic 8gb hard drive. The nerds are not happy.

The macrumors forums say it all

only 8gb and 16gb??? come on. I need more than that!!!

16gb?? Not big enough for me….I’ll be going with the 160gb ipod classic

For the first time in my Apple life I am actually angry with an announcement….

Not even going to consider this one until it gets at least 60GB of storage.

You have to wonder what Apple was thinking. Surely there must have been some sort of focus group that would’ve told them people didn’t want something that small. If the technology isn’t there or is the hardware cost is prohibitive a person could understand the rationale, however the thing isn’t going to sell very well considering it’s not any better than an iPhone and comes without cellular service. And some silly wifi music store isn’t gonna be pushing sales, so stop beating that drum Steve.

boneheads, business, mac, technology

NBC Wants People to Stop Buying TV Shows

On the heels of iTunes getting rid of DRM in music NBC says they want more. NBC would also like to re-negotiate pricing and bundle shows. So far NBC has declined to renew its contract with Apple.

First issue: pricing. The pricing is fine. No one else really thinks it is too much or too little. Done.

Second issue: bundling. Users don’t want to be forced to buy a bundle and won’t like a change that removes a freedom of choice that they once had.

Third issue: DRM. Okay, more and more people are starting to agree that DRM is bad for consumers. Just look at Microsoft’s PlayForSure (which even the Zune doesn’t support) and Sony’s ATRAC (which has been dumped, leaving owners of those music file holding the bag). DRM limits how legitimate owners can use their purchased content and creates a situation in which it is likely that users will be locked out of different devices or just plain lock out of ever using the content again. The good thing is that many people just won’t purchase DRM burdened files. A user on one forum wrote a response to NBC’s demands:

Either I can buy a season of Scrubs and the Office when it starts again or I can find it in some other manner that will not benefit NBC at all.

Your call, NBC.

This exemplifies the main issue with DRM, that is that it agitates the problem it seeks to solve. By demanding an increased cost and adding DRM NBC simply pushes customers towards peer2peer sites and of course that will be far worse than unbundled slightly DRM’ed $1.99 TV episodes.

update: NBC and Apple are splitting ways. Apple has announced that they will not carry NBC shows because NBC wanted each episode to sell for $4.99 which is more than double what they cost now. We’ll see how NBC likes it when their own service fails and people turn to the peer2peer networks. It will be especially interesting to see how this effects the popularity of its shows, considering it was iTunes that saved the award winning show The Office from certain death.

mac, technology

Waiting for iPhone Version 2.0

Do I want an iPhone? Of course, it is a neat toy… I mean tool. Seriously, it is cool and useful and sexy which doesn’t always happen all at once. Still it does use AT&T which sucks. In fact, that alone is a deal breaker for me even if people are able to play old Nintendo and arcade games on their iPhones and even if people are hacking them to add new useful features. Not to mention the folks who are dreaming up new apps for the iPhone.

The other thing that helps stave off my iPhone desires is remembering back to my first iPod, which was the first generation iPod. The iPod was a lesson to me, that lesson was that what is small, sexy, and useful today is tomorrow’s fat, clunky, imperfection. So if I do get an iPhone it will be a second generation iPhone (hopefully without crappy AT&T service… even if I have to unlock it myself).

humor, mac

Beta iPhone Rejected

image of old iPhone

The first iPhone design was a little primitive. When given the beta iPhone, early test groups responded that they wanted “less wires, no pen, and something significantly smaller and mobile.” Apple’s designers threw just about everything out and started again from scratch. It took a little over twenty years, but late in 2006 Apple was ready to show off their new and improved design.

Well, you can have your fancy futuristic mobile phone folks— give me something I can pug into a wall and sit at a desk with.

mac, technology

DVD Jon Does it Again, This Time with the iPhone

Apple is expected to sell about a million iPhones by the end of the week, but it didn’t even take DVD Jon (named so because he is the one that broke CSS encryption on DVD’s way back in the 02’s) that long to work his magic again. A little while back he messed with Steve Job’s head by cracking the DRM in iTunes, now he has come up with a way to activate the iPhone without using AT&T.

dvd jon

That means that you can use the iPhone as an iPod+WiFi device. That doesn’t mean you can make a phone call from it. This is bad news for AT&T but good news for everyone else. And the news isn’t even that bad for AT&T, the small percentage of people that activate the iPhone without AT&T would probably never get one otherwise. However it is great news for folks who want to test the iPhone and develop for the iPhone. It is also good for Apple because it could mean more sales and increased 3rd party application development.

Nice work Jon Lech Johansen!

mac, technology

Aqua OpenOffice is Shaping up

The Mac OpenOffice team released the second snapshot of the Aqua (X11 free) version of OpenOffice today. While there is more to be done before it is ready for people to use in a reliable and easy fashion, it is really making headway. The big thing is that you can print from OpenOffice now. That’s important. The print dialog isn’t Mac’s so that still needs work, but gosh it’ll be there soon enough.

At this point it is still too early to review the new OpenOffice, but it looks like it is on its way to becoming the same great free office suite on Mac that it is on every other platform. Mac users, get ready to throw your copy MS Office in the trash. You can open and save Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, or use safer open formats.

mac, technology

How Tiger 10.4.10 Killed My Wireless and How I Fixed it

As a seasoned Mac user I know to be careful when updating my Mac. In the five or so years that I’ve been using OS X I’ve only really hit problems once before 10.4.10 came out, so I’m usually not too worried. There are lots of people that claim an update killed their computer— a slightly dubious claim in my opinion— but updates can make some things unpleasant.

After safely updating my iMac I decided to update my production machine, a MacBook Pro. Everything seemed fine until I tried to go onto the internet. What happened was that I could connect to the router, I could even get to the router’s control panel, but I couldn’t do anything else. No internet, no network.

During my troubleshooting I noticed that when I removed the security settings I could get online. But there is no way that is an acceptable solution.

So I downloaded Apple’s airport update from a while back and saw which files it was updating. Then I downloaded the 10.4.9 combo update and replaced the file on my computer with the one in there. In case this happens again, or if anyone else has this problem I’ve saved the file and put in online (to avoid the massive 10.4.9 combo download). Here are the steps to getting wireless back:

  1. Download and unzip the file to your desktop
  2. Open terminal and paste this in:
    sudo cp -R //System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext/ /System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext.backup/;
    sudo mv ~/Desktop/IO80211Family.kext/ //System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext/;
    sudo chown -R root //System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext/;
    sudo chgrp -R wheel //System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext/;
    diskutil repairPermissions / -v;
  3. Restart the computer and hold down the shift key until you see the spinning circle, this boots the computer in “safe mode” which will ensure the permissions are all set correctly
  4. Once the computer finishes booting you can restart it normally

That did it for me anyway, I’m cruising the information super highway again! Of course this is done at your own risk and you should backup important files first. I don’t take any responsibility for anything not working or messing things up.

update: Apple’s latest wireless release (2007-004) broken my wireless again.

mac, technology

reCAPTCHA: Captcha with point

We’ve all been to sites which require a user to type in a word to prove that she isn’t a evil spam robot, well that verification system is called CAPTCHA. I don’t know how I feel about CAPTCHA… actually, I lied, I know exactly how I feel. I don’t like it. But I also know that it is sometimes needed, or at least it is sometimes felt that it is needed.

To be honest, WordPress does a pretty good job of keeping spam out, between the Bad Behavior plugin and the Askimet plugin no one I know has had a burdensome spam problem. I don’t need an extra annoying step for my users. I also know that I’ve decided not to participate in discussions on some websites after seeing the hoops the site owners wanted me to jump through.

Regardless of your feelings for CAPTCHA there is a new type of CAPTCHA and it is being called reCAPTCHA. On the surface it works exactly the same, asking the user to type in the word shown. The difference is that the words being typed in help digitize books. What difference could a few words make? Well, the reCAPTCHA people estimate that “150,000 hours of labor per day” is spent on solving CAPTCHA’s.

So if you are a Site Owner who’s determined to force users to use verification systems like this you can at least make that wasted time useful to the rest of the internet.

There is even a WordPress plugin and an automated email protection system, called mailhide. Oh, and it’s all free.