Did Anyone Else Get 33% More Likely To Buy An iPhone Yesterday?

Okay, so y’all did see the coverage of Apple’s little shindig yesterday where they announced

  • New iPod Nanos with screen rezzes equivalent to the iPod Video
  • iPod “Classics” featuring 80GB and 160(!)GB capacities
  • The friggin’ iPod “Touch”, otherwise known as “iPhone Without The Phone Part”
  • And a $200 drop on the iPhone’s previously astronomical pricetag

…Cause, dang, son, those are some sexy new audioplayer options. I do think they should have offered a third Touch model with a regular HDD instead of flash so that there was at least a 30GB option for that super-sweet piece of technology, but oh well.
Oh, and there was some folderol about being able to make ringtones out of your iTunes purchases, but I (among others) don’t quite see what all the fuss is about that.
And there was something about overpriced coffee to go with your overwrought pop music, but I kinda quit paying attention at that point.
PS: Congrats to the WordPress.com/Automattic team, as they hosted Gizmodo’s live coverage of the Stevenote with aplomb, skipping nary a beat.

This Town Needs An Enema

This town…Those that know me best know that I am no fan of Philadelphia Mayor John Street’s persona, politics or ethics, but I must object to the current “mini-scandal”
brewing as just plain stupid.
Here’s the situation:
John Street (D, Philadelphia) is a bit of a gadget hound. He wanted an iPhone and so decided to wait outside of an AT&T store, starting at 3 am Friday morning. When people started arriving later in the day, they noticed Street and began heckling him, claiming he should be off conducting the business of the city, etc., to which Street responded by raising his Blackberry and noting that he had handled tens of emails and phone calls flawlessly from the line. Other meetings and the heckling eventually forced Street to abandon his place in line and have a subordinate continue waiting for the iPhone. Street eventually got his iPhone, thanks to the diligence of his aide.
The local media and blogs are in a tizzy, claiming the city is in a “crisis” and that Street exhibited near malfeasance by waiting in line for a few hours. This is balderdash. John Street does not roam the streets of Philadelphia single-handedly wrestling gun criminals to the pavement, busting up drug cartels and handing out parking tickets. He’s the mayor, and, as such, he delegates the day-to-day affairs to others more capable (well, in theory, that is) and thus makes command decisions when necessary.
To fault the man for a few hours in line is simply scandal-mongering and is truly unfair. How else was Street to get ahold of the device? If he had forced an aide to wait from the beginning, his critics would accuse him of misusing city staff for his own personal ends. If he had called the AT&T store and asked for an iPhone to be set aside, he would have been accused of strong-arming a retailer and seeking special privileges. Instead, he sought to personally acquire the device.
His critics should be ashamed of themselves. Give the guy a break and let him enjoy a few moments of peace and leisure — Heaven knows those are in short supply in the Philly city government.

I Wish I Had $600 “Revolutionary” Dollars To Spend On The “Revolutionary” iPhone

I know that Apple always does things a bit differently than their competitors, but the 20 minute iPhone tour they posted today should simultaneously put every single other cell phone company 1) on notice and 2) to shame.
Can you imagine how different people’s experiences with Treos, Qs and Pearls would be if Palm, Motorola and RIM took the time to produce such simple-yet-effective rundowns of their respective devices’ ins and outs? What if the big M actually had a website showing me how to turn off my Q’s radio so that I could play solitaire at 30,000 feet and thus reduce the chances of fouling my transport’s comm systems?
$600 is an awful lot of money, but everything in that video makes me want an iPhone all the more. It looks as though they have addressed nearly every single long-standing nit and annoyance that anyone that has had the misfortunepleasure of dealing with cell phones in the past. It will certainly be interesting to see how Motorola, Nokia, et. al. respond in the months to come.
This thing is going to be big.

A Bountiful Link-Filled Catch-Up

I am fully cognizant of my delinquent blogging — apologies all around. I’ve been in full recovery mode since taking the redeye from SFO to PHL on Friday night. Short observations on that flight? Sucked like a brand-new Dyson 07 with the full pet hair kit. Stupid US Airways.
In exchange for my previous silence, please accept this surplus of links.
This is my kind of math: 1 rainy/icy racetrack + multiple expensive race cars + a massive pileup = millions of USD/GBP in damage, 0 fatalities. Nice.
WordPress converts aplenty: Michelle Malkin moved from an On’B MT-powered site to a brand-spankin’ WordPress one. Jeff Goldstein dumped Emotion Engine for WordPress, while Fred Thompson’s official blog was built from the ground-up using WP.
iPhone-tailored apps (read: websites for the iPhone’s tiny Safari browser) have already started hitting the streets, thus an aggregation site was nigh-inevitable, of course.
The Payback Project — stickin’ it to sucka GOP Senatorz that be all “We’ll vote to let the illegals ignore our laws ’cause then they’ll totally vote for us. Or maybe their kids will.” “Teach the GOP to respect their base again — the hard way” — fo’ sheezy.
Speaking of “fo’ sheezy”: Geek bling keyboard rings. To paraphrase a certain incarcerated celebrity heiress: “That’s Ctrl-Alt-Del hot.”
Life as a videogame character? It has its plusses and minuses.
LOLCODE: taking both the lolcats meme and programming where both probably ne’er should have ventured. LOLBOTS, on the other hand, is the utlimate incarnation of the joke.
John Hodgman as Steve Jobs in the intro to WWDC last week:

Speaking of WWDC, I posted my crappy cameraphone pics from the conference over at my Zooomr page.
UPDATE:
Can’t forget the transforming Transformers cosplayers:

Blogslacking (Or, As I Like To Call It, “Doing Real Work”)

WWDC, baby.
I’ve been very busy here at WWDC these past two days and thus haven’t really had time to post much.
Classes have been interesting and mostly useful. I got a chance to go out and see Ocean’s 13 the other night. My one sentence review: sappy, sentimental, a bit contrived, not much suspense, worse than 11 but better by far than 12.
Also, there was a WWDC bash last night featuring free beer and the musical stylings of none other than Ozomatli, who happen to rock pretty darn hard live. A pleasant night, to say the least.
I’m catching the redeye out of SFO tonight, which should result in all manner of fun-ness tomorrow as my body decides whether to adjust, quit working or stage an active coup.
This week-long conference thing is hard on one’s body — I’m physically beat and really ready to go home. Still, I’m hoping work is amenable to sending me again next year. I’ve had a great time and met a bunch of like-minded individuals, some of whom even happen to work at the same trans-national corporation as Yours Truly.

Conference Observations

WWDC, baby.
There are around 5,000 people at WWDC this year. Excluding Apple and Moscone employees, I think I have seen 25-30 women, total. The ratio of males:females is quite literally 100-150:1.
It’s odd interacting with the Mac geekery, being the old Linux/UNIX head that I am. After attending the “Stump the Experts” session last night, I now know what my wife feels like whenever tech/geek talk comes up. These guys were even more full of in-jokes, bad puns and general geeky weirdness than any of the equivalent Linux/UNIX sessions I’ve ever taken part in. There is a cult of Mac and it became evident that I’m not worthy to even swim in the kiddie pool out back. I’m a Linux user pretending to like Macs.
Apple treats their guests right. There’s always a good supply of food, at breakfast, lunch or snacktime. The drink of choice (at least as Apple supplies) is various Odwala fruit concoctions. Along with the DVDs with the beta Leopard on them, all attendees get Apple t-shirts and WWDC ’07 laptop bags (very nice!). It would seem as though ADC members get a lot for their money.
The WWDC ’07 laptop bags are generally the most commonly seen on the floor, followed shortly by Timbuk2 bags. And here I thought I was going to have some cache, some clout, inspire some envy with my own Timbuk2 bag. Not a chance — Apple users are apparently willing to not only pay for quality, usability and durability in their choice of computing environments but also their choice of computing accouterments as well. They’re like some sort of touchstone, some physical manifestation of a lingua franca for geeks.
Skype rocks! I was able to see my family from 3,000 miles away. Ain’t technology grand?
Skyping the night away…
The 15″ MacBook Pros appear to be the most commonly used Macs here, followed shortly by the 17″ variety. Quite a few people also have the old 12″ Powerbook.
While the crowds and lines have been massive, I have never seen such a large group of people act in a uniformly polite and orderly fashion. Everyone is willing to strike up a conversation on a moment’s notice or keep watch on someone’s stuff during restroom breaks and there was nary a bit of shoving when the pizzas were brought out last evening. It’s rather striking.
The airport offers a most fascinating intersection between the ordinary and the extraordinary — for the airport workers, the departure and arrival of passengers is a part of the flow for a day’s work, while the travelers themselves often experience a sense of adventure, mystery and stress.
Speaking of the airport, SFO is a building in desperate need of some moving sidewalks. The terminals are insanely long. The views are pretty, though.

WWDC Blogging

WWDC, baby.
I’m sitting on the floor in Moscone West, waiting for the doors to open to the Presidio and hoping to get some seating for the Stevenote. Ho-leee cow, there are a lot of people here. The line to gain admission was around the block when I got here at 7:10 or so. The doors opened at 7.
Everyone is very polite and well-behaved, though, which is a change from most large crowd behavior I’ve ever observed. Had this been Black Friday at a Wal*Mart, we’d be numbering the trampling casualties in the hundreds, methinks.
I’ll update as to whether I actually get into the room or not — there are a lot of people ahead of me.
[UPDATE 9:58am]
Got into Stevenote. Seated in middle back.
[UPDATE 10am]
Keynote leads off with John Hodgman in a “Hi, I’m Steve Jobs” PC vs. Mac ad.
Jobs speaking now.
Steve leads off with numbers in attendance, Apple Developer Connection, number of Apple engineers in attendance.
Talking about Intel transition right now.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini on stage now.
[UPDATE]
Otellini on stage only to receive award from Jobs.
Bing Gordon from Electronic Arts speaking about games coming back to Mac OS in a “big way”.
[UPDATE]
Coming to Mac: Command & Conquer 3, Need For Speed Carbon, Harry Potter & Order of the Phoenix, Battlefield 2142.
EA employee demoing H.P.
[UPDATE]
H.P. looks okay, all ’08 sports releases are due to have simultaneous releases (well, Madden and Tiger Wods).
John Carmack from id coming out to demo.
[UPDATE]
“id Tech 5” looks impressive.
[UPDATE]
Jobs back on stage, 22 million OS X users, 2/3 of which are running Tiger.
“Move beyond Tiger”, “Leopard will set even higher bar.”
6th major release, since he’s counting Intel OS X as a “major release”.
10 features:
1. New desktop – 3d-looking dock. Menu bar “adapts” to your backdrop. “Stacks” to help clean up desktop. Consistent window look. Prominent active window. “Stacks” – simply folders in your Dock, automatic Downloads stack — definitely what clutters my desktop. [UPDATE] Jobs demoing new desktop. Stacks has “fan” and “grid” modes. Using Applications Stack as an app launcher.
2. New Finder. (And there was much applause.) New sidebar. Search other Macs and servers. Shared computers. “Back to My Mac” via .Mac. Cover Flow — for documents, files, etc. Search in sidebar, definable by users. Shared — looks like only Macs to browse and share. Browsable as if they were on your own computer. [UPDATE] Jobs deming new Finder now. Previews of documents now is nice. Coverflow looks keen, although I don’t know how many non-Mac filetypes it supports. Searches are CF-able. Windows machines ARE supported.
3. Quick View. Live file previews in Finder, no need to open applications. Excel, PDF, Keynote presentations, etc. Zoom feature, full screen view.
4. Leopard fully 64 bit, top-to-bottom. UNIX to Cocoa, soup to nuts. One version of Leopard runs 32 bit and 64 bit code side-by-side. Guaranteed that 64 bit apps will run on any copy of Leopard. Jobs runs a shoot-out between 32 and 64 bit versions of a photo-retouching test. 3x-4x improvement, at least in that test.
5. Core Animation. “Automatic animation.”
6. Bootcamp. Built-in. Runs XP and Vista. No more CD burns. Complement to Parallels and VMWare.
7. Spaces. Group apps by spaces, files by spaces, etc. Jobs demoing it now. Virtual desktops. Drag and drop reordering of spaces. Drag & drop apps in spaces.
8. Dashboard. Meh. Webclip, new Apple-supplied movies widget. Dashcode in every copy of Leopard.
9. iChat. Feedback about video conferencing. Better audio, tabbed chats, Photo Booth effects, backdrops, iChat theater. Jobs and Schiller demoing iChat, works with anything supported by Quick Look. Good for teleconferences. Photo Booth effects, etc. are cool. Schiller appears as George Washington, Steve Ballmer’s mouths (think: Conan O’Brien).
10. Time Machine. Search back in time, back up wirelessly, preview old files using Quick Look. Back all Macs to centralized NAS, etc.
Leopard to be $129 in October
“One more thing” is about Safari. Safari 3 for Windows. Wow. Apple wants to raise Safari usage stats.
Safari iBench tests for IE, FF, Safari on Windows — performance is incredible according to Jobs. JavaScript might not suck in Safari 3? “Most innovative browser”, “fastest browser on Windows — 2x faster than IE”, same tech as Safari on Leopard.
Distribution of Safari: Public beta on Windows and Tiger today.
“One last thing” — the iPhone. Developers? Want to allow for 3rd party apps while keeping platform safe and secure. New way to create apps for mobile use. Full Safari engine inside of iPhone. Route is using Web 2.0 + AJAX, integrate with iPhone services. Instant distribution. Easy to update. A sort of iPhone remote API. No SDK required. “Go live” on June 29.
A bit of a hedge/cop-out on Apple’s part, in my opinion. We’ll see how developers, etc. respond to this. Could be big, could be a flop.

Airport Blogging

WWDC, baby.
I’m sitting in PHL waiting for my flight to arrive and ferry me off to Apple’s WWDC ’07 and must admit to a good deal of excitement. Not only am I going to get to attend my first Stevenote (one that should include iPhone and Leopard info aplenty) but, as Matt Mullenweg mentioned, I’ll be attending the bbPress meetup Monday night as well. I’m psyched to get to meet Matt and a few of the people behind the bbPress project.
Heck, I may even attempt a liveblog of the keynote. Might as well — when next will I get a chance to do this again?
SIDENOTE: This Verizon Rev A EVDO card continues to r0xx0r my s0xx0rs. Too cool.

Innovative Business Model: Buy My Product Or I’ll Sue You!

Take off every Zig - for great digital justice!
Now this is a doozy. A company called “MRT” has decided to sue Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and Real Networks because

MRT claims that Vista, Adobe Flash Player, Real Player, iTunes and the iPod have been produced “without regard for the DMCA or the rights of American Intellectual Property owners.” The DMCA, signed into law in 1998, makes it illegal to manufacture products that are designed to circumvent copy protection. Accordingly, MRT has filed Cease and Desist letters against Apple, Microsoft, Adobe and Real to stop production or sale of products that infringe on the DMCA.
MRT’s X1 SeCure Recording Control has proven effective against stream ripping, the company said in a statement, and these companies have been “actively avoiding the use of MRT’s technologies.”

(Emphasis mine.)
Oh that’s rich. That’s real rich. As if there weren’t enough examples that the DMCA is a terrible law, here we have a company essentially claiming that any media company not using their product is, in effect, not doing enough and therefore in violation of the law. It couldn’t be that perhaps those companies took a look at MRT’s offering, found it to be crap and decided to press on with their own copy protection schemes — that would be too simple! Conspiracy! Skulduggery! RICO!
Now, it seems plain to me that MRT is misreading the law and thus should have their suit laughed out of court at the first available opportunity. In order to pass the DMCA’s “anti-circumvention” sniff test, a product must be “designed to circumvent copy protection” (as referenced above). I find it a ludicrous proposition that any reasonably intelligent judge could possibly believe that Real Player, Windows Media, iTunes, Flash and the iPod were in any way, shape, or form “designed” to circumvent copy protection.
But perhaps I speak too soon. Perhaps I could counsel a few traffic light camera vendors to begin suing all cities that “refuse” to place their cameras at all stoplights. I mean, that obviously means that they are not only not interested in enforcing traffic laws but are in fact inviting and enabling drivers to break the law. They’re complicit in the lawbreaking, right? Same argument, as far as I can see.
The only solution I can see to the problem is to round up all lawyers, fire them into space and then lose the whole lot somewhere in the New Mexican desert ala Scotty.
Ars Technica has more on the subject.