iPad, iPhone, iProblem

“Smaller iPads Due Later This Year”

Uhh… don’t they call those iPod Touch?

And what’s going on with the “grip of death” problem and possible recall from Apple with the iPhone 4?  Has Apple lost its way?

Would Apple ever do a recall of any of its products?  No.  They are way too arrogant for that.  Heck, they should just give out the “bumper” with every phone and call it good.

One thing’s for sure, someone’s in big trouble in the industrial design department.

Why is Apple compromising product functionality in the name of design?  Oh wait.  It’s Apple.  Dr Ive and the Design Gods rule.

Come to think of it, Jony Ive resembles another evil doctor we are all familiar with…

Not a good month for Apple (except for that whole selling somewhere around 10 million units and making billions of $).

The New MacBook Pro

After four years of loving my old, 15″ MacBook Pro, one of the first Intel machines to roll out of Apple’s headquarters in January 2006, my well-used friend is going the way of all computers – to the recycle bin – to make way for a new era in WhiteEyebrows computing…

…My shiny new 15″ MacBook Pro!

While the computers share the same name, don’t let them fool you.  This is a great advancement in both hardware and software!

Here is my initial design review after using this computer a week.

Unibody: The biggest design advancement in this machine is the fact that the base is carved out of a single, solid block of aluminum.  Its biggest advancement is also it’s best.  This manufacturing process gives the computer an incredible rigidity not found in any other laptop I’ve ever used.  The case will definitely not suffer from the same fate that my four-year-old Mac did, with the various adhesives and fasteners coming loose and with various parts of the case starting to come apart from the others.

Keyboard: Initially, I didn’t think I’d like the new keyboard.  I liked the look and feel of the old one and thought that the new design would prevent your fingers from as easily sliding from key to key.  However, I like the new keyboard.  It feels less mushy that the last one, and is very tightly sealed.  I’m not willing to spill a Diet Coke on it to test the seal, but my guess is I’d have less seep-through with this keyboard than with the last.  Apple has also updating the functions of the F Keys.  The old MacBook had several functions that were missing (music controls) and were poorly labeled.  It looks like they’ve re-prioritized the functions as well as refreshed the icon design on the keys.  Works for me.

Color Scheme: The introduction of black-on-grey give teh computer a slightly more serious look, and is a bit more dramatic than the old grey-on-grey approach.  Also, the black band around the display helps focus your eyes on the screen, rather than the boundaries around the screen.  Nice touch!

Screen: Speaking of the screen… I have a few gripes here.  Glass.  I hate the glass.  A great majority of Apple users will use this computer around a light source, probably a fluorescent one, which is gonna glare like MAD on the glass covered screen.  I know they offer a non-glare screen (which essentially removes the glass and puts a grey border around the screen), and I would have gotten it had my work offered the option.  Matte!  Matte, people!  I don’t want to be looking back at myself every time I look at this computer!

The glass does offer one or two advantages, though.  My old MacBook, over time, saw permanent imprints from the keyboard on the LCD.  It didn’t degrade the actual usage of the LCD, but was noticeable when the machine was turned off.  Also – fingerprints.  I hate when people come and touch their grubby, oily fingers on my LCD screen, and this glass will at least prevent them from poking their pointy little fingers through the backside of my LCD and permanently ruining the color in that particular spot.

Overall, the LED backlit display is brighter than its predecessor.  I like the power-savings from the LED backlight on this display, but Apple has traded off a lot of color accuracy for brightness in the default configuration.  You’d better believe that a graphics professional, such as myself, will have to calibrate the heck out of this thing so that blacks look black and not grey.  It’s a dirty trick to play on users, but one that makes them look awesome.

Ports Plugs and Drives: This one is easy.  I like the DVD drive’s move to the side of the computer, and the slot-load (as opposed to tray load) has always been one of my favorite Apple details.  With the DVD on the left, all of the ports have been moved to the right, which actually helps the user locate the correct port. No more picking up and rotating your computer looking for the location of a particular port!  Even people who own computers forever forget where their ports are when they are divided between sides like that.  The built in SD card reader is a great addition, but I’m no fan of the new MiniDisplay port.  I just don’t like the fact that it now requires me to carry around and keep track of yet another doohickey!  (A doohickey is the technical term for the adapter that allows you to convert MiniDisplay to VGA or DVI)  I love that Apple lives on the edge and is a leader in display technology adoption, but VGA is just not dying fast enough in today’s world!

Odds and Ends: I like the multi-touch mouse pad, but it has taken some getting used to.  I’m trying to master the art of one-handed drag and drop and other new gestures it has enabled.  Ninety percent of the time, though, I find myself clicking exactly where the the mouse button used to be on the old trackpad.  So, I guess it’s good that Apple left the size and proportion of the trackpad area alone so it wouldn’t be as error prone.

My coworker also pointed out the pointy edges near the trackpad (the part that is carved out so that you can lift the lid).  While I have yet to draw blood on this part of the computer, it seems like something Apple could have very easily refined in the aluminum milling process.

Lack of Removable Battery: This is my greatest point of contention with Apple.  Battery technology has NOT advanced to the point that a computer with a life of 3-4 years will not need a fresh battery sometime in there.  In fact, I changed the battery in my old computer 3 times during its lifespan.  Especially for the everyday user and mobile user, a new or extra battery is crucial!

Software: Snow Leopard is great, though it’s nothing to really write a long blog about.  It’s just better in every way, but not in any single way.  I like the inclusion of a native Cisco VPN.  I like the clean break from the PowerPC architecture.  I like the native Exchange support.

Well, I think that’s all.  Happy computing, everyone!

Microsoft Finally Gets It Right

After the miserable failure of the epic “Seinfeld/Gates” ads and their “I’m a PC” ads, Microsoft has finally gotten this one right!

They’ve resorted to using children.  Check it out:

Continue reading Microsoft Finally Gets It Right

Charge me twice, shame on…

There’s an old saying:

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me!

I suggest a corollary:

Charge me once, shame on you.  Charge me twice, shame on me!

Well, Apple and iTunes have done it!

Apple recently announced at MacWorld that the iTunes store is going to start selling only DRM free music.  And – of course – for those who had already bought music – there is an upgrade option!

So I logged into my iTunes account today and this is what I found:


Yes.  This looks like a great deal – for only $15.30 I can upgrade 87 of my songs to DRM free!  No more entering usernames and passwords, and no more Apple big brother tracking my music. (well, except for the signatures they embed in the file still…)

But hey… wait a second… I ALREADY bought this content!  Why do I have to buy it again?  I’m not getting hardly anything different – but somehow they’ve found a way to justify charging me again for the same stuff.

I have written about this before – I think the world and internet should move toward a pay for content approach: any content, any device, any network.  Who’s with me?  Why should I buy the same content over and over again?  (This is for you Disney film lovers who keep buying the xxth Anniversary Edition of each film when it comes out, and who’ll do it again when they release them on BluRay.)

The Future of Digital Media

TV, Movies, and Music have undergone major changes in the last decade, a revolution brought on by high quality digital compression (mpeg 3 and mpeg 4), which have made high quality video and audio a reality for distribution over the internet.

We now store gigabytes of music, movies, and television shows on our home computers. We can micro-target the content we enjoy, while filtering out that which we don’t. This is a far cry from the ‘olden days’ of buying a whole CD, cassette, or LP just to hear the one good song on the album.

We now ‘time-shift’ all our TV programming, watching what we want when we want. We can now download movies on demand through our cable providers or online services.

Continue reading The Future of Digital Media