Wednesday, July 30, 2008
The Story of Stuff
Watch the Video: “The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.”
Sunday, July 27, 2008
I DROVE BY THE FIFTH AVENUE APPLE STORE this morning and noticed the iPhone line was a short one. I pulled over and they gave me a coupon to come back at 5 — when I went back a minute or two after five they immediately took me downstairs,where I was ninth in line and waited less than ten minutes for a new 3G. I think the only way to get one with less waiting up until today was either to live outside the US (they could order online before the phones were available in stores), or to be a celebrity (they can just walk in and get one right away).
I don't know about other cities, but in NYC only the midtown Apple Store is making the lines so short. Lines at the downtown stores are still one to five hours.
PS: I took the photo above while I was waiting in line. Except for the fact that I turned the photo sideways for this post, all the rest was done by the phone when it wasn't supposed to produce a picture like the one below. Maybe I bought my new phone just in time.
PPS - And Apple Taketh Away: Mobile Me was working fine on my old iPhone. The 3G seems to have caused a lot of problems with my Mobile Me settings, including somehow making iTunes think that my Macbook was a new Macbook with the same name as another Macbook (all wrong). Then Mobile Me deleted my contacts and calendar from my Macbook and the iPhone.
Some are willing to accept this as normal when dealing with computers. I think computer companies need to grow up and act like adults. Cars are very complex today, with lots of electronics, but we wouldn't accept our BMW 2.0 routinely shutting off and "crashing" while we were speeding down the interstate. Plain and simple, Apple has not assigned enough resources to Mobile me to get the job down.
I've wasted a lot of time and money on Mobile Me. My wife has spent 12 hours dealing with their inadequate online (only) support. In return, Apple gives a one month ($9.90) credit. That's 83¢ per hour.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Cogito Ego Sum II
“I woke up to discover that I had a brain disorder of my own. A blood vessel exploded in the left half of my brain. And in the course of 4 hours, I watched my brain completely deteriorate in its ability to process all information....”
When this Harvard researcher lost much of the function of her left brain, she also lost her ego ... and found bliss.
Those mystics and poets who said everything is connected were right. While Descartes went down an important Western path, with important limitations. Watch the video.
Egonomics: Materialism & the Ego in the Twentieth Century
No religion teaches that Greed is Good. No one in touch with their Higher Self of the transcendent believes that Greed is Good.
DAY SEVEN: APPLE & ATT CUSTOMERS HELD HOSTAGEUPDATE: And The Problems Keep On Coming. 1) Mobile Me still has bugs and Apple only provides "chat" support — so my wife can't get her mail working. She's waited on the phone more than 2 hours and has been cut off twice. 2) Ever since the software update to 2.0, my iPhone has had long delays when starting in some of the programs. Aaaargh. Only computer companies think it's okay to sell things that don't work.
I WENT to the Fifth Avenue Apple Store this morning, after an appointment in midtown Manhattan. At 10 am, they had a 3 hour wait in the sun, standing next to Fifth Avenue. The weather forecast for today is a high of 92°, with strong sun and 55% humidity. At the same time, every AT&T store in New York is reporting a 10 to 21 day wait to get an iPhone in the hands of people who haven't ordered and paid before today.
There are two fixable reasons why iPhone customers are unable to buy a phone without waiting a long time (and of course most people don't live within 30 minutes of 3 Apple stores, as I do):
- Apple is hogging most of the current stock for its own stores, thereby eliminating what must be at least 90% of the potential outlets. More outlets = shorter waits.
- AT&T is insisting that online registration of the phones be done in the store, rather than at home, thereby making the process more than 20 minutes long, instead of less than 2 minutes long. (A fix for that is described here.)
Put those two things together and you have no phones at AT&T stores and long lines at Apple stores. I spoke to the store manager at the Apple store, and said that because Apple was keeping such a high percentage of the phones for its own stores there's a 10 to 21 day wait at AT&T stores. He said that AT&T stores were getting shipments every morning, implying that you could buy phones there if you went at the right time. But I spoke to 4 AT&T stores, including 1 the manager specifically mentioned, and they all said there's a 10 to 21 day wait.
Apple has already said nostrum culpum after their server mistakes As I mentioned here, allowing us to buy iPhones online as they do in Europe would also solve many of these problems.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
iPhone 3G redo - B+ Apple & ATT customer service - F
Last year I got an iPhone around 10 pm on the first night they went on sale, with no waiting. This year, on the sixth day, the Apple stores still have five-hour lines, and the all-night store where I got my phone last year stops the line around 5 pm. Meanwhile, AT&T stores sold out the first morning, and my local store is offering to deliver a phone in 3 weeks. And here in the US, we can't order online, unlike the rest of the world. Why?
Well, last year AT&T didn't subsidize the price of the phone, and it turned out that a significant number of the expensive phones were never activated with AT&T: presumably they went to Dubai or Leningrad or somewhere like that. This year AT&T is subsidizing the phone, and they want to make sure you use their service (which they're charging more for, because of the subsidy). So instead of last year's two-minute process, in which the Apple or AT&T rep ran your credit card and then handed you a boxed iPhone, the rep now registers your phone, which reportedly takes around 15 minutes — or up to 5 hours on the first day.
That first day delay had three causes, all caused by bad planning on Apple's part. First although they had the new iPhone software online the day before the new iPhone went on sale, Apple chose to release the new software and the new iPhone on the same day. So millions of old iPhone users were trying to download the software at the same time that hundreds of thousands of buyers worldwide were trying to register their phones and download information on to them. The unsurprising result was hours of error messages and crashes.
Second, Apple's .Mac service frequently acted like a troublesome Beta service the last few months, while Apple worked on getting its replacement (the unfortunately named "me.com") ready. But when the big day came, they weren't ready. A lot of jaded .Mac users weren't surprised.
Third, AT&T stores ran out of phones the first morning because Apple greedily kept the lion's share of the phones for themselves. There are many more AT&T stores than Apple stores, and the long lines could have been quickly reduced. But noooooooooo.
All in all, it doesn't seem like Apple and AT&T gave much consideration to what their customers wanted — namely phones in their hands without waiting in line. In England, my brother ordered a phone online that came the first morning. And there in London, which costs twice as much to live in as New York, the local provider charges the same price that AT&T charges in the US, and gives more minutes and data download with their standard plans.
So why didn't Apple and AT&T do something like this: use the same speedy sales process as last year, and let customers get an automatic refund when they register with AT&T; and let AT&T stores have a fair share of the sales?
Last but not least, I did briefly use one of the new phones at an Apple store. It seems better than the phone I have, which is a great phone. But problems like the battery life for 3G use are a problem, just as Steve Jobs said a year ago. I give the basic phone an A, but wish Apple had done more with the upgrade — hence the B+. The biggest reason for buying the new phone is the 3G service, and in another year Apple will have another phone with better battery life, along with the cut and paste that eveyone wants.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
My 15 Minutes
FOR 15 minutes yesterday (literally), I was Google's first listing when you searched for iPocalypse. Now I'm down to number 20 or so. Neither has produced many hits.
I once was number one for weeks for "Red Sox quotes." That got a lot of hits.