Archive for July, 2010

Time For The iAttorneys

In the old days, if you didn’t like a product you returned it and got your money back.  These days, I guess you just file a class action lawsuit. Apple is getting both barrels, first for Antennagate and now for the iBook, er um, I mean the iPad.


The Impersonal Nature of Social Media

We’ve all heard the social media horror stories – pedophiles on MySpace, away-from-home Facebook clues to entice burglars, etc. The typical security advice is to carefully control (and periodically review) your privacy settings and be very diligent about what information is offered up.

But there is another more obvious measure…

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“Real World” iPhone4 Antenna Experience

An interesting post about the hysteria over the iPhone4 antenna flaw. The author’s real world experiences are actually of better call performance, *despite* the “death grip” problem that has exposed flaws both in Apple’s design and their customer service savvy.

Now that I have upgraded my iPhone, I must concur. East San Diego County residents may be well aware of the dead zone on Highway 52, going over the Mission Trails Summit between Miramar and Santee. It’s not a tall ‘mountain’ (sic) by any stretch of the imagination (only 821 ft), but obviously the carrier antennas are on the downhill sides rather than at the peak, because it has been a long-standing problem area not just for AT&T but for Sprint/Verizon as well.

Going eastbound, you can predict the drops on an iPhone3 with an incredible degree of accuracy – there is a specific spot near the Adopt-A-Highway sign that is as consistent as Old Faithful. Going westbound, calls actually survive over the peak, but usually drop during tower hand-off as you head toward the Santo Rd off-ramp.

It is rare, but the only time that trans-summit calls seem to survive is when there is a thick blanket of fog/clouds. One would assume that the signals are bouncing just perfectly off the atmosphere…

With an iPhone4, no problems whatsoever – even on cloudless days. I can hold eastbound calls all the way into the valley and clear to the El Cajon foothills. Westbound, the transfer to Miramar cell towers has been totally seamless. I can now make a 40min commute from El Cajon to University City with an intact call. The Avocado/Horizon Hills dead zone between El Cajon and Rancho San Diego is also no longer a drop factor (though a bit clippy).

So even with the antenna issue, the performance of the phone still seems superior to previous models. In the “AntennaGate” press conference, Steve Jobs said that there is actually a less than 1 per 100 call drop increase compared to the older models, but I just haven’t seen it. Yes, the seam between antennas can be bridged and cause attenuation for some. But most people I know use protection anyway, and there are plenty of options even for the biggest tightwad (from Apple, StealthArmor, Antenn-aid). Techies swayed by on-paper arguments can forego the iPhone4, but real-world experience seems to say that most people will be happy and the design flaw is nearly a non-issue.

Consumer response does seem to bear that out, as Jobs also said that only 0.55% of the customer complaints were about reception, with the return rate 70% less than the 3GS (so far). Is this a ‘crisis’ only for the media? I’m just not grokking how Consumer Reports can take such a stand against a phone that they readily acknowledged was far superior and seems to have better real-world performance than previous recommendations (despite the flaw). At this point, AntennaGate is less about the technical design and more about marketing. Apple must realize that media opinions like these can sway a public that may not be taking that leap of faith. I heard a sports-radio host say “thank God I didn’t get an iPhone4″ without any clear understanding of what bullet he dodged. And now that opinion was broadcast to his listeners, spreading the (arguably) false perspective.  Apple needs to tone down the hubris and crank up the marketing engine by at least pretending to care rather than blowing off the issue. The free bumpers may not be enough.

All in all, I’d just like the Antennagate problem to fade away. I’m guessing so would Apple.

PS: I actually have bigger concerns elsewhere… Namely, I wonder what future implications this new design holds? As of yet, there has been no link between cellphone use and brain cancers.  But is the iPhone4 radio more ‘powerful’ than others? Is the new antenna alignment more radiative than the conventional cell designs? 10 years from now, are iPhone4 models going to be the first to have a proven link to an increase in brain cancers? I’m not about to give up my iPhone based on paranoid concerns. But that thought did cross my mind. Right before it was zapped by the RF!

Counting Down To The Top 3

Ouch. First Microsoft unceremoniously kills the Kin device, and now the press buries the first Windows Phone 7. If sales will tank as predicted, is MS long for the mobile market?

Lackluster Windows Phone adoption will ultimately reduce the smartphone competition to Apple iOS, Google Android, and the forthcoming BlackBerry 6.0. As for WebOS? HP does not plan to focus on smartphones and will instead push for it as the embedded OS on all their future appliance platforms (particularly tablets).

Soon there will be three. (And quite frankly, I am seeing RIM wilt quickly under the weight of the  iPhone/Droid onslaught. If Corporate America ever concedes their love affair with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server as a means of Draconian IT control, BB is toast.)

If Fanboyism Were Rampant…

Mac vs Windows. Android vs iPhone. Intel vs AMD. Nintendo/Playstation/XBox. Fanboyism of any flavor is just nuts. Why can’t people accept consumer choice for what it is? Why does everything have to be a competition about what is or who uses the best? It’s a good thing this extreme brand loyalty is mostly limited to the tech world. Can you imagine if everyone felt the need to argue about everything?

I just bought some “Dove MEN+CARE” body wash. It’s pretty cool.

Feh. “Gillette All Day Clean” is far superior.

Gimme a break. Even the packaging is inferior. The label is upside down when the bottle is standing on its cap.

You’re just an idiot mesmerized by fancy design. Everyone knows it’s what’s inside that counts.

Utterly hopeless. I suppose you mean something like “Odor Shield Technology”? Please. That’s not an ingredient, just glitzy marketing. If you want to talk features, consider the actual engineering, not just the product management spin.

Then how does Green #3 strike you? Yup, that’s right: Version 3. Dove only has Blue v1. Talk about being obsolete before you even bought it.

You’re clueless. That has no effect on performance.

But the Methylchloroisothiazolinone is key.

OMFG. Do you even know what that is? The patented MICROMOISTURE technology is clearly what blows Gillette out of the water.

Hah! Those are probably just air bubbles. When I pay for 12 ounces, I want to know I am getting the full 12 ounces.

Sure, 12 ounces of crap. That stuff oozes out like some bad combination of Jello and the BP oil spill. If you put your tongue on it, nothing actually sticks. What’s it made of, Teflon? I’m surprised it even makes a lather.

Who the &%$# tastes their soap? What’s wrong with you? The important thing is that it provides a superior experience that lasts long into the day.

Well sure, that’s fine if you want “16hr protection”. Obviously there is an engineering problem because “All Day” is not 16hrs. There are 24hrs in a day, my friend. Maybe if they gave away free deodorant it would make up for the design flaw.

STFU. It’s your conclusion that is flawed. Other products suffer from similar limitations. And in the real world, 16hrs is fine. Besides, I like to be clean and fresh. With Dove, you have to actually choose between “Extra Fresh” and “Clean Comfort” models. As if they are mutually exclusive?!? Sorry, but I want something that does both. Why give people so many options?

Right, like Gillette doesn’t bombard with confusing choices also. Are you forgetting their Hydrator product line? And I like how you completely ignored their Hydra-Scrub debacle. “Power beads” my ass! I felt like I just came back from the beach and had sand stuck in all my crevasses.

You are such a l0ser.



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