Better is NOT Perfect

March 31, 2009

One Week Left for MacHeist 3 Bundle, Cro-Mag Rally Added!

Filed under: I Love Apple Software, I Love Apple Users — Tags: , , — Gerald @ 2:06 pm

I didn’t buy into the first one (it seemed scammish) nor the second (I was only interested in one app), but this time I couldn’t resist the MacHeist Bundle.

Twenty-five percent is going to charity, the developers participating are getting a far cut this go round, and besides… I wanted four of the apps in the bundle. On the surface, it would seem silly to buy a bundle of apps when I couldn’t care less about 75% of them – but the discount on the four I want make it worth it. Everyone I speak to feels the same way: Only interested in a few, but holy cow! What a bargain!

The four apps I’m interested in are (in order): BoinxTV, Kenemac, SousChef, and iSale.

BoinxTV
As of this writing, BoinxTV has not been unlocked. It’s the app I want the most. I have been dreaming of a Video Toaster replacement since the death of the Amiga and have been drooling over BoinxTV since it’s late beta stages. If the MH bundle was only this app and a pile of shovelware, I’d have still bought it.

The thought of not getting this one unlocked seems so disappointing that even the incredible bargain on the other 3 apps wasn’t enough to make me jump at the deal. It wasn’t until 20,000 bundles that I jumped in, and it’s currently @ 29,930. I am sweating the countdown.

Kinemac
I have been playing with Blender because I can’t afford Shake and/or Motion, but the learning curve is so steep on the UI that even if I just wanted to do some simple animations, there’s a wall climb first. The only advice the “experts” ever give is to keep practicing until you memorize all the key combos.

Yikes.

I’d not heard of Kinemac before, but my jaw dropped as I watched the demo. The first thing I did was delete the 500MB of “Blender Basics” training material I’ve been avoiding for months.

SousChef
I’ve been looking for a good recipe organizer since the Apple IIe. I never found one. I played around with MacGourmet but when my hard drive crashed I didn’t reinstall it. SousChef looked interesting to me, but I wasn’t quite sure enough to drop cash on it – and you really can’t tell from demos as much as developers and software geeks like to believe (which is why I never really decided on MacGourmet).

Now I own a copy and I don’t have to worry about how many times I’ve launched the app or how long I have before I can no longer procrastinate putting it through it’s paces.

iSale
I’ve been contemplating an iSale/Agent Craig combo for a while, but I don’t buy and sell enough to justify it. I tried to win a copy of Agent Craig on one of MacHeist’s nanoMissions, but never got farther than finding these pix:

Is that all?
I’m enjoying WireTap Pro and World of Goo. I never would have bought either one of them, but WTP is so useful and WoG is so fun that I will definately look to these developers in the future. I’m also downloading Cro-Mag Rally, which was added to the bundle today. Pangea won me over with Enigmo. I can’t wait to play this game.

What a Bargain!
Just the four apps should cost me $567.95. I’m getting 92% off. Even if BoinxTV doesn’t get unlocked it’s $368.95 for $39! How good of a deal did YOU get? How many apps interested you?

March 28, 2009

Apple: Building gear for less geeky geeks for over 30 years.

Filed under: I Love Apple Hardware, I Love Apple, Inc. — Tags: — Gerald @ 11:11 pm

What made the Apple I unique was that it came pre-assembled. Before then, if you wanted a computer, you had to be good with a soldering iron and an oscilloscope. The Apple I was easier for the less geeky geek to build into a whole computer. They sold it as a way to raise funds for the Apple II.

In 1977, the Apple II was a whole computer sold at a time when everyone else sold kits. It was easier for the less geeky geek to get into software.

The Apple II was the first computer that actually LOOKED like what we now think of a computer as looking like. Every desktop machine that followed took its design cues from the Apple II, much like how all modern notebooks look like the Powerbook 100, all personal music players look like the iPod, all smartphones are beginning to resemble the iPhone, and all GUIs look like Apple’s Desktop Metaphor (Apple didn’t invent the GUI – just most of the elements contained in modern ones, including pull-down menus, resizable overlapping windows, File folders, and the trashcan. MS invented the Help Menu and Alt-Tab.).

The factors that led to Microsoft’s success (incompatible file formats between different programs running on different OSes, different plugs for different brands of computers, and incompatible data disks between manufacturers) don’t exist any more. End users didn’t choose MS because it was better. They got stuck with it because that’s what the person paying for the computer chose. The person paying for it chose it because it was compatible with all the other IBM systems the company already owned.

Through the 80s and 90s MS survived on inertia and lock-in. That time has passed. Now, communications protocols (802.11), file formats (XML, HTML, OpenDocument, TXT, etc.) and connectors (USB, IEEE1394) are all standards-based and buyers no longer have to stick to one platform to ensure compatibility. A USB plug on a cell phone is the same as one on an MP3 player, which is the same as on a PC. Your data can move freely.

In the 21st century, America saw a shift in purchasing – end users were making purchasing decisions in greater numbers than ever. IT departments, no longer burdened by a monoculture, allowed people to choose their own machines.

And because the rise of the internet, more people were buying a computer for “personal use” and spending their own money to buy them.

…and studies have shown, when paying for a computer with your own money – 2 out of 3 choose a Mac.

Apple corporate culture has always put END USERS over builders, IT departments, developers, and even over it’s own team. This ticks off people in tech, because most of them are builders, in IT departments, or want to develop for the platform (which explains why they see Apple as controlling and secretive, because from their perspective it’s the truth). However, if you are among the 97% of the population who has never built a computer, formatted a hard drive, or knows who made their RAM – Apple, Inc. is a breath of fresh air in a geek-controlled environment.

Mostly from I’m in Love With My Own Comments @ Prospere

March 25, 2009

Thinking Different is Sometimes just Dumbness

Filed under: I Hate Apple Users, I Hate Apple, Inc. — Tags: , — Gerald @ 9:34 pm

Aaron Hillegass writes:

Every other conference in the world announces its date and location at least a year in advance, but year after year, Mac developers wait around to hear when Apple’s World-Wide Developer Conference will be held. WWDC is usually held in the summer, and the date for this year has still not been announced. So I have an announcement:

I will be at the beach Jun 6 – 13. If Apple decides to hold WWDC that week, I will not be there.

We reserved a big beach house for that week with another family six months ago. I would have worked around WWDC if I known when it was to be held, but it is too late to change my plans now.

My advice: If you ever plan a conference for thousands of people, I suggest you announce the date and location a year or more in advance.

I disagree with the “year or more” portion, but 4 – 8 weeks more lead time would be an improvement.

( Via possible/probable)

March 9, 2009

Addiction, Not Lock-In, is Apple’s Motive [UPDATED x3]

[NOTE: This article was originally posted on January 5, 2009 on my personal blog.]

Addiction, Not Lock-In, is Apple’s Motive

I was reading Sean Devine’s thoughts on the App Store. I believe he is correct in Apple, Inc.’s actions, but not the motive.

Apple clearly is giving no preferential treatment to “quality” apps, just making it easy to get at the quantity of them. Sean believes the purpose of this Large Selection focus is to lock people in via a large investment in native apps.

I disagree.

I think that as a hardware-sales-based-profit-model organization, every software related action Apple, Inc. takes is to increase the disability of the hardware it sells.

The KEY to maximizing iPhone profit is to create very high switching costs for users, just as they did for the iPod via the iTunes Music Store

The iTunes Store (both apps and music) run on the slimmest of margins, and (according to Apple) exists only as a perk for their hardware customers and a “value booster” of their hardware.

The fact that native apps (DRM’d or not) cannot be moved to another platform is a technical barrier and to blame it on an attempt at lock-in is assigning malice without cause. Yes, Apple benefits from this, but they benefit equally every time an iPhone specific web site shows up or an iPod user pirates a song off bittorrent.

DRM on music can go away tomorrow and while it would wreak havoc on AAPL’s stock price, it would have zero negative effect on Apple’s bottom line.

Likewise, if all iPhone developers pulled their App Store app and put it on their web site recompiled to run on Android – the iPhone 3G would STILL be more useful than the original iPhone, which people loved.

I’m not suggesting a mass developer exodus wouldn’t hurt Apple or the App Store, I’m just suggesting that Apps are not the gotcha in a customer snare-and-trap scenario.

I believe Apple is snaring customers, just not by locking them in. Apple is snaring customers with the out-of-the-box gadget itself and keeping them happy (and compliant) with apps.

It’s the apps, but then again it’s the object itself.

Unlike a game console, the outer shell of the hardware (and not technical specs or benchmarks) is more important to the vast majority of the people slapping down their cash (aka the non-geeky).

The non-geeky lust after the gadget itself first, THEN what apps you can get for it.

The only ones who are even aware that you can add features to phones is the 7% of the population that knows how to install hard drives in their PCs, the 2% of the population that have downloaded an app to their existing phone, and developers.

The iTunes Store purchases that “locked people in” to iPods never seemed to erupt into an issue, even after hundreds of millions of iPods and billions of DRMed songs. Why? People were addicted to the iPods, not the store purchases.

I doubt App Store purchases are tying people to their iPhone any more than iTunes purchases tied them to iPods.

Evil Apple, Inc.

All of the negative stereotypes (Selfish. Greedy. Smug. Control Freak. Superior. Arrogant. Secretive.) about Apple, Inc. as a company or Steve Jobs as a person can be boiled down to four basic corporate policies:

1. Apple writes their own machine-level code rather than outsourcing it.
2. Apple designs their own baseline hardware rather than using snap-together pieces.
3. Apple writes code that it doesn’t license to others.
4. Apple follows the model of Loose Lips Sink Ships.

These four policies put Apple at an advantage with all their partners, vendors, developers, and customers – and a lot of them complain loudly. Others carry it farther and assign dark motives for these policies and attempt to predict future actions based on those dark motives.

Lock-in is a dark motive, as it keeps you prisoner. With Apple products you aren’t a prisoner as much as you are an addict. (Getting people addicted is also a dark motive, but in manifests itself differently than a lock-in motive.)

Once they’ve locked users in, they’ll shift focus to mine as much profit as possible from each of those users each year.

Like how they’ve constantly raised prices on music in their 75+% marketshare music store, and pushed prices higher with their 90+% marketshare of a TV/Movie store? Like how they won’t allow any non-DRM’d material on their hardware? No, wait… they’ve never done any of those things.

What HAVE they done? They’ve fought with music studios against raising prices. They’ve waged a public war against DRM and used the RIAA’s instance on it as a bargaining chip to get the least restrictive copy protection in the industry.

They’ve prioritized HTML5 and h.264 over proprietary extensions and plug-ins.

Do you think they were doing it for the benefit of all mankind? No. Open file formats and communications protocols puts all platforms on a level playing field – and Apple believes that when all things are equal, their physical/tangible gear is more desirable than the gear sold by other hardware makers. (The arrogant bastards.)

Their existing customer base agrees. They become rabid at the release of any new hunk of plastic, glass, and metal that gets the Apple Seal of Approval.

What Addiction Looks Like
Jeremy Horwitz had to go 24 hours without his iPhone.

What hasn’t been publicized as much is the iPhone addiction factor—the “you couldn’t pry this thing out of my hands without a gun” survey question—which will be the key to understanding whether, as a key Palm investor claimed last week, the first wave of iPhone users are itching to be free of their two-year contracts come July and ready to won over to Sprint, or rather, that they’re just waiting for the next big iPhone release in order to make another Apple purchase.

My gut feeling is that, absent some really big screw-up by Apple come late June, there will be no tidal wave of departures from the iPhone’s existing userbase—at least, to smartphones at similar price points.

[…]

Yet from (a) my wedding day to (b) the birth of my daughter to (c) the day when I went from the original iPhone to the iPhone 3G, an iPhone hasn’t left my side—or been out of use—for any significant length of time since the original day of release. It has become something close to indispensable for keeping in touch with people, pretty good for music and movies, and even more of a draw since the launch of the App Store.

I don’t think Jeremy is even considering getting a phone from a different maker any time soon, do you? I don’t think he’ll even be seriously looking at them.

Apple’s M.O. is simple:
Phase 1:
1. Build a Better Mousetrap, then make it gorgeous.
2. Let the world know about your better mousetrap in a Spectacular Fashion.
3. Remove all barriers to your door, then make more doors.
4. Profit!

Phase 2:
1. Addict them with something new and shiny.
2. Release something newer and shinier.
3. Repeat and Profit!

As long as you are hooked on their gear, you won’t even LOOK at anyone else’s. If you don’t look at anyone else’s, Apple can convince you they invented fire and the wheel.

And you’ll be happy to believe them.

March 3, 2009

OMG!! Apple killed the numeric keypad!

Filed under: I Hate Apple Users, I Hate Apple, Inc., I Love Apple, Inc. — Tags: , , — Gerald @ 4:29 pm

The Apple Blogosphere panicked today as Apple introduced a wired keyboard with no numeric keypad.

To make matters worse, it’s the default keyboard that comes with iMacs and Mac Pros.

The Horror! The Horror!!!

My Take: Apple is killing the keyboard, period.
I think this is the last physical keyboard Apple, Inc. will produce. I believe we are being groomed for a multi-touch virtual keyboard (which will not have a numeric keypad) and this is one of the final steps.

My Pipe Dream(s)
I hope Snow Leopard-equipped desktop machines come with Apple’s Patented Multi-Touch Mouse, or even a glass trackpad.

I hope Snow Leopard will be the bridge between a mouse-based interface and a touch-based interface and 10.7 (or “OS 11” or “OS X Touch” or whatever the next one is called) demotes the Finder and brings Springboard to the Mac.

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