Mental Drizzle

Not a Brainstorm - Just Some Mental Drizzle

Posts tagged Apple

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Take My Money, Please!

I was talking with a couple friends about google fiber recently. Unfortunately, they are only serving customers in St. Louis right now. But we all agreed, we would gladly pay $70 per month to have gigabit fiber-optic internet service at home.

Then I came across this tweet:

@wilto: GitHub and Dribbble are the only two websites—hell, the only two products—where I catch myself thinking “I wish I could pay more for this.”

I have often regarded to myself that how different it feels to purchase an Apple product. I know it costs more, but I don’t mind.

What makes us as consumers want to part with our hard earned dollars? I suppose the cold analytical answer is that the perceived value needs to be greater than the actual price.

Think about Kickstarter… This company has created a marketplace where customers willingly give money to participate in the inception of a product or company. There are gifts, but it is really a gamble. Much like the stock market, thee is no guarantee that you will receive anything for your contribution.

Another example is Amazon Prime. This service gives you free two day shipping on most products, some free books for your Kindle, and some free videos with Amazon direct video. I happily pay the yearly fee.

Why? I suppose it’s because I feel that the return on my investment will be realized after a few online purchases.

Why happily? That’s the big question! Make a person happy to give you their money, and then there is something special happening.

Filed under google google fiber github dribbble apple kickstarter amazon prime money

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Anti-Apple on NPR?

Heard on NPR on 8/6/12:

“Everyone loves Apple. Apple makes nothing in this country anymore,” Bartlett tells NPR’s Steve Inskeep as an example. “But then, look over here on the other side and you have Intel, and their plants are massive, and they are good-paying jobs. They continue to invest in this country. And what we need in this country now are more Intels and fewer Apples.”

To be clear, the anti-Apple sentiment lies with Bartlett, co-author of The Betrayal of the American Dream.

Apple’s outsourcing is no surprise. However, the juxtaposition between Intel’s American workforce and Apple’s American workforce is jarring. Apple, as the company with the highest market capitalization, has about 47,000 employees in the US. This is compared to about 82,000 for Intel.

I like Apple and I like Apple products. I certainly wish Apple would strive to have some production or assembly in the US. In fact, I think I would go as far to say that I would pay a premium to have “Made in the USA” version of an iPhone.

My guess is that there is a very cold analysis to this situation. Apple will make more money making their products in China until their workers demand more pay. Until that happens, or shipping costs rise to unsustainable costs, we will continue to see Apple products made in China.

After hearing this report, I have to admit that as a consumer, I feel much better about purchasing Intel products.

Filed under NPR Apple Intel Betrayal of the American Dream jobs Made in the USA

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Is Apple trying a new approach to social networking? WWDC 3 of 3

At this year’s WWDC keynote, Apple announced further baked-in integration of social networking into both OSX and iOS. This will make sharing to a Facebook and Twitter easier than in previous iterations.

There have been rumors that Ping, Apple’s attempt at a music related social network, will cease to exist aft the next major release of iTunes. This is not a surprise, as very few people have use Ping for much of anything. Does this mean the end of social networking for Apple?

I think that there are new ways that Apple can get into social networking. The announcement of shared photo streams looks like an easy to use solution that will have some impact in the social networking arena.

What makes shared photo streams social? Well, Apple has included commenting and fine grain sharing control. This allows you to share your photos with only who you want to share them with. Then everyone who sees the shared stream can participate in a conversation relevant to those photos. While Facebook and Google+ have tried to get a grip on relevant user sharing, Apple has the edge here because it features it right front he beginning.

Also, Apple’s control of the hardware is a distinct advantage. Instead of signing up for a social network and searching for friends, you already have your entire address book ready to choose from.

The only downside I can see is that shared photo streams may only be limited to the Apple ecosystem. Photo Stream works really well for me between my iPhone, iPad, and Mac. How does it perform cross-platform? My guess is that if it works at all, it will be a slow and frustrating process, much like syncing an iPhone on a windows machine.

In short, Shared Photo Stream seems like a more “Apple-y” way of stepping into the social networking arena. Rather that trying to shoe-horn a social network on top of iTunes, this seems like an elegant way to leverage their hardware advantage into a relevant and useful social experience.

Filed under Apple iOS6 Shared photo streams Social networking

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iCloud enhancements - WWDC 1 of 3

After the WWDC keynote on 6/11/12, there are many new features to talk about. One in particular has the potential increase sales in an unexpected place.

iOS 6? 3D maps? The next generation MacBook Pro?

For every day consumers I think there is going to be real value in the mobile documents integration into Mountain Lion. Pages on an iPad is a great way to produce written content. However, moving your documents to a desktop or laptop computer for editing, storage, or printing has been a difficult to describe, multi-step process.

You could email yourself the documents, or open up iCloud in a browser. But these solutions were time consuming and clunky.

I feel pretty confident saying that many professionals that rely on office productivity apps have been reluctant to use an iPad for mobile document management and editing. However, I think the ease of typing up a document on your iPad, then easily finding it on your laptop when you open Pages is going to encourage more reliance on the iPad as a productivity tool rather than a consumption device.

Also, your great-aunt with an iPad? Could you imagine trying to explain to her the steps necessary to download a Pages document from iCloud to her windows machine? Now imagine saying “here auntie, just open up Pages on your MacBook Air and your see your document right there.” For those consumers that dipped their toes into the Apple waters with an iPad; they might now feel more comfortable replacing their windows machine with a a sexy new MacBook Air.

Stay tuned - this is the first of a series of three blogs that are related to the recent WWDC. Next up, why tab view in Safari and tabs in the cloud are major improvements in the life of a Mac Web developer or Power user.

Filed under WWDC Mobile Documents IPad Pages ICloud Apple

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iOS 5.1 - The Good and the Ugly

One thing that apple got right - over the air update. I don’t think I have ever seen my settings icon with a numbered badge on it before. It made me curious when when I saw it.

I set my phone to update itself just before dinner, and it was completed right after dinner. Nice!

I can honestly say that if it were not for the over the air update, I probably would not have upgraded yet.

The ugly part is the 4G logo that sits next to my AT&T indicator (this was part of the update). I wouldn’t complain if the speed was better. Using the speedtest app, I have yet to see a speed over 2 Mbps. I believe that HSPA+ is advertised at up to 7Mbps.

For me, acceptable implementation would be to show me the 4G indicator whenever speeds are at or above 3Mbps. Otherwise it should show me the 3G indicator.

AT&T could say “Sir, the 3G and 4G indicator does not indicate the speed of the connection. Rather it indicates the technology used to relay your cellular data.” My reply would be - if you are using technology capable of 7Mbps, and shoving that in my face every time I unlock my phone; then why not increase the bandwidth? More succinctly, “Put up or Shut up.”

Filed under apple update ios 5.1 4G

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Amahi Time Machine

In getting ready for my talk for the Mid-Hudson Valley Linux Users Group, I found Amahi Time Machine.

If you don’t know what Amahi is, check them out at  Amahi is a robust, open source, home-server solution that has a ton of useful functions.  Aside from data storage and media streaming, Amahi can also be used with Apple’s Time Machine, an automated, incremental backup solution.  

Apple sells a Time Capsule that is intended to be a transparent backup solution for casual users.  The unit is a standard 802.11n wireless base station with four wired ports.  However, it includes a 2TB or 3TB drive to backup your Macs.  

Amahi Time Machine was easy to install on a running Amahi server.  (1) Buy the $0.99 app at Amahi’s application market.  (2) One Click to install from your Amahi Dashboard.  Once you install the app, you are ready to turn on Time Machine on your Mac.

One word of warning:  Time Machine will eventually use all the disk space made available to it on your server.  Amahi’s wiki provides a solution that allows you to limit the amount of space available for backups.  Be sure to do this before starting Time Machine on your Mac. 

Filed under Amahi Apple Time Machine Time Capsule MHVLUG

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Did “This American Life” Scare Apple?

First I hear a calm and well reasoned report on This American Life that talks about the employment practices of Apple’s suppliers.

Then reports that Apple has released a “Supplier Responsibility progress Report.”

Then reports that “Apple is the first Tech Company to Join the Fair Labor Association.”

Looks like somebody at Apple is worried…

Filed under Apple This American Life Mike Daisey Fair Labor Association