Monday, November 1, 2010

Apple doesn't want me. Next?

http://images.ientrymail.com/minipcmag/apple-cry.gif
I had applied for an Apple Solutions Consultant position at Apple some time over the summer. I met someone who worked there and she helped to get me the interview. I guess they didn't think I was so great, but whatever. The only nuisance was having to consent to a drug screening and background check which amounted to nothing. And waiting all of that time to hear back from them. Oh well. And now I have people telling me "Don't worry" and "something better will come". LoL. I have to laugh about that because I am not waiting for something better to come. I am going to make something better happen and it's going to happen now. Going to need to learn a few things to make it happen. Luckily I have the expert help of someone already much more skilled than myself and ideas that have been spilling out of my head like my brain is leaking. Let's do work.

Christmas is already in the air...

So I logged onto eBay today to do some work and on the top of the page is a countdown in days. Apparently, that countdown is for Christmas. 54 days! That's what it says today. Simply an eBay logo with a crimson text that reads 54 DAYS next to it. Clever, some people will probably click it because they'll be thinking 54 days until what? And then they will see and then they will shop and everyone makes money. Amazon has already got their website in the holiday season too. And last night, at the home of my girlfriend's parents, they were already discussing how they were going to organize and meet up for Christmas.

Is it just me or does Christmas seem like its a bigger deal this year than it normally has been? How long before I run into one of those Black Friday sales websites? Are they already up and filled with information for this Black Friday? It would be kind of insane if... I was going to say it would be kind of insane if they did but then I navigated away from this post and googled it to find out what days Thanksgiving and Black Friday fall on and found this: http://www.black-friday.net/ so I guess they are already filling up their databases with info on sales for the end of the month. Crazy... Halloween came and went with almost no attention from the media, which I guess trickled down (or didn't) to everyone else and there were almost no houses with decorations and almost no trick-or-treaters. I don't really care too much, but what is going on with our holidays? I guess we just have to watch the media and act on what they tell us (what's new?).

P.S. Get ready for Christmas!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Spare time or laziness?

I feel like I have all this spare time now and I am not sure if it is because I should be doing something else, like job hunting, but I'm appreciating it right now. I'm all caught up on my TV shows, including Eastbound & Down and Boardwalk Empire (HBO is killing it by the way). I have recruiters helping me to find something to line my pockets with Benjamins, or at least a job with career potential and room for advancement (still crossing my fingers for Verizon Wireless). My girlfriend is busy with her newly started career and preparing for her CPA exams, which would normally leave me to focus my attention on some game, but there are none... I was looking at Left 4 Dead 2, as it has recently been released for Mac, but nah... I don't know what to do :(. And then I remember I own this domain (GoDaddy quarterly updates). So hello world. No MacBook at the moment as it is in the hands of a certified Apple Genius (I hope), so I get to blog from my iMac and listen to music from my iPhone using the new iTunes (it's so clutch, I was listening to my tunes at work on the speakers with a subwoofer). I don't really know where I am going with this post, but if you've read this far, then you obviously don't care either.
I was just thinking, with all this "time" should I do some real blogging? I was commenting on some posts over at Barstool Sports and imparting my wisdom, but it seems like it could be a cool gig. What does a blogger have to do anyway? Find interesting to post, write about them in ways to get people to read it, and provoke discussion in the comments? I think that's the right formula anyway. But again, I am not a professional here, just taking a swing at it. How do you like blogging? Is it rewarding? Let me know in the comments below. Oh, also, even though Blogger is cool, I think I am looking to move this over to WordPress. So many more ways to customize so if you actually visit this page, you'll see some changes soon, as in before-I-go-to-sleep-tonight soon.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fantasy Football [updating]

To host a fantasy football league or not. That is the question. Well really it's a question to you. Are you going to be joining the league or not? It seems like some people are too busy for fantasy football this year, so if you know someone who would like to join, please tell them to contact me (climardo@gmail.com).

Who's in?
  • Geru (me)
  • Ashley (new)
  • Damion
  • Eric
  • Gerrie
  • Giben
Who hasn't said?
  • Hank
  • Wilson
Who's out?
  • Darby
  • Rahian
  • Roger
What's it all about?
It's all about fun. No money involved. There is no "buy-in" for this league. If you have any questions or problems, please direct them to the league manger. The fantasy football league will be held on ESPN.com, as it has been in the past, but a completely new league has been created so all settings (points, rules, etc.) have been restored to their default settings. I am very flexible, so I will listen to your suggestions and change anything that you might want changed as long as it is OK with most of the other owners in the league. The league doesn't even have to be held on ESPN.com, we can move it to Yahoo or NFL or wherever you want; I've never used any of the other sites for fantasy football, but Yahoo was decent enough for fantasy basketball... It's all up to you guys. This league is a democracy. I am running it just to keep it organized. So, below are a list of things you might want to change. If you do, please contact me in whatever way you please, although text messages and emails are preferred.

What do you want to change?
  • There's no buy-in, no money involved... what's the point of that?
  • Do we have to use ESPN.com? I prefer....
  • ESPN.com is fine, but you should change some of the settings, like... (scoring, roster settings, teams and divisions, etc.)
  • Why do you (Geru) have to host it?
  • Can I invite...?
  • I don't want to do a live, online draft, I would rather...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Verizon iPhone rumors continue to stack up [UPDATE]

http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com/media/2010/06/verizon-rule-the-air.jpg
The series of events goes like this:

[December 14, 2009] http://www.fakesteve.net/2009/12/operation-chokehold.html
AT&T's network problems become a very public issue. Some AT&T customers even plan to rally together to take down AT&T's network through the use of a denial of service type of attack, organized by Fake Steve Jobs. Maybe it's time for the iPhone to go to a network that hasn't been threatened by its subscribers... Read on.

Chinese blog, Digitimes, says that an order for 10 million CDMA iPhones has been placed by Apple (CDMA is the cellular technology currently used by Verizon Wireless; AT&T and most carriers around the world currently use GSM).

[March 29] http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/03/29/wsj_apple_working_on_two-new_iphones_including_one_for_verizon.html
Wall Street Journal also reports that a source has told them that Apple is developing not only the iPhone 4 (as we now know it), but a CDMA version as well. Now that WSJ has thrown their hat into the rumor ring, the rumor becomes a bit more credible.

Digitimes further confirms specifications of the new iPhone, describing its higher resolution display, front facing camera, and redesigned body. This, in retrospect, lends them more credibility now that we have seen that the new iPhone does indeed include all of these new enhancements. 


[May 22] http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2010/05/22/atts-open-letter-to-customers-explains-etfs
AT&T increases their early termination fees. Customers would be more reluctant to cancel their AT&T service (and go to another carrier) if they had to pay a higher ETF. Oh, AT&T says it is to cover the cost of expensive cell phones that are subsidized when sold with one and two year contract agreements. Whatever, either way this is going to help AT&T to retain customers.

[June 2] http://gizmodo.com/5553139/say-goodbye-to-unlimited-data-on-the-ipad-3g
AT&T then changes their smartphone data plans. This affects potential iPhone customers, as they may be intrigued by the new, low-cost data plans. AT&T went from offering all-you-can-eat, unlimited data for smartphones for $29.99 per month(iPhones) to $15 for 200 MB, $25 for 2 GB, and $45 for 2 GB + tethering per month. Some could argue this doesn't increase any possibility of a Verizon iPhone, but if people are switching to AT&T and the iPhone for cheaper data plans, then you can see where I am going with this.

[June 7] http://www.macrumors.com/2010/06/07/atandt-moves-up-iphone-upgrade-eligibility-on-eve-of-wwdc-keynote/
AT&T then changes customers' upgrade eligibility dates to coincide with the iPhone 4 launch. Allow customers to upgrade and extend their contracts, *check*. Lock customers into a two year contract with a $350 termination fee, *check*. Make these customers think really hard about their wallets before switching carriers, *check*.

[June 17] http://www.macrumors.com/2010/06/17/pegatron-to-deliver-cdma-iphone-4s-to-apple-in-q4/
And then the whole reason I started writing this post about a week ago is that yet another rumor came out stating that Pegatron has indeed received an order to manufacture millions of CDMA iPhones.

So at this point I don't know what to think. Maybe it is happening. Maybe it isn't. Reasons to think it won't happen:

[May 10] http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/10/confirmed-apple-and-atandt-signed-five-year-iphone-exclusivity-de/
Apple and AT&T originally signed an exclusivity deal for five years in 2007, making their relationship legally binding until 2012. Sure, the terms of contract are subject to change for a number of reasons, including AT&T's aforementioned network problems, but so far AT&T has been the sole provider of the iPhone in the United States. This contract, which is an actual legal document that you can find through the link above, is almost reason enough to dispel all doubts but let me give you some more reason for doubt.

[June 25] http://www.droid-life.com/2010/06/25/rumor-verizons-big-sunday-meeting-means-name-change-and-no-iphone/
Verizon had a big meeting for employees in which they announced a rebranding, from Verizon to Verizon Wireless, and a new campaign with a slogan that goes: "Verizon, rule the air".  In the more relevant part of the meeting, they also said they were not interested in the iPhone 4 and that they will put all of their effort behind DROID and new Android devices. They say it's "Summer of Droid".

SOOOO, I still highly doubt an iPhone for Verizon (yes, I am ahead of the game so I'll be dropping the Wireless right here) is coming this year, but I don't have any insider info or anything. Without any sources to back me up, I would say that it makes little sense for Apple to create a CDMA iPhone when they are already having so many manufacturing problems with the iPhone 4 (Read, Read, Read). I would tell Steve it might be smarter to wait for LTE, Verizon will have theirs mostly ready by next year and by the time the exclusivity deal with AT&T is over, Verizon will probably cover most of the United States with 4G LTE, mmmmm (Read). I just wanted to put together one post with all the information someone would need before they keep telling their friends that they *know* that Verizon is getting the iPhone. I put all those links up there so that you don't have to take my word for it. These guys are professionals and they blog for a living. Leave me some feedback if there is anything you wanted to add.

[UPDATE] Now Bloomberg is saying it has credible sources that suggest the iPhone will be coming Verizon in January 2011. I guess this puts this whole iPhone on Verizon thing back in the news now...
Read

Friday, May 21, 2010

What's the deal?: Early Termination Fees (ETFs)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EhQitYGuBk
So today, AT&T has decided it will raise its early termination fee for smart phones (iPhone) and lower ETFs for feature phones (dumb phones). ETFs are just a way for service providers to keep their customers as their customers for a longer period of time. It's a form of lock-in, something I learned about this past semester. "In economics, vendor lock-in, also known as proprietary lock-in, or customer lock-in, makes a customer dependent on a vendor for products and services, unable to use another vendor without substantial switching costs" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vendor_lock-in). Well, this definition could use some tweaking to fit this post, but I like it as-is. Anyway, Verizon Wireless was the first major US wireless carrier to do this months ago and now AT&T is following along. When Verizon first did it, I thought, "Well, if a customer cancels and keeps the new $500+ device that s/he obtained for free with a rebate, then Verizon needs to recoup that money and an ETF seems fitting."

But then I started to think about it, and it's not right. What if a customer doesn't want his service after over a year? Verizon Wireless' $350 ETF decreases by only $10 each month. After 23 months, the customer would still be in contract with VZW for another month and be subject to a $120 ETF, whereas a customer who purchases a simple/feature phone, would only be subject to a $60 ETF. So, for customers that pay Verizon Wireless, and now AT&T, at least $30 more in regular monthly charges for data than their dumb phone using counterparts, they are being penalized at a higher rate if they choose to terminate a contract before its full length. Not cool guys, not cool.

When Verizon Wireless did it, I thought it was to cover their asses when they sold all those phones through their Buy One Get One promotions. But now AT&T is doing it, and I don't remember the last time they have had decent promotions at all. I think AT&T's reasoning has a lot more to do with losing iPhone exclusivity and wanting to keep customers. It's all about keeping the customers, but AT&T has a lot more customers to lose if they lose iPhone exclusivity.

Maybe with all major carriers (Sprint excluded) switching to LTE, phones will be sold unsubsidized and unlocked. I actually respected Apple for selling the iPhone for $400 when it was first released. I didn't like that a contract was still attached to it, but at least people saw the real value in a smartphone when they paid $400 for it. Hey people, these $200 iPhones and Incredibles cost about $500 retail (read: no contract) and when you sign a contract, you are getting it for that contract price, contract included, contracts that state there will be a $350 (or $325) ETF for breaking said contract.

Anyway, I am not siding with the customers nor the corporations. Customers are signing into a contract and they should be able to uphold their end of the contract if they agree to its terms and conditions. Corporations need to recover their losses if a customer does decide to terminate service and can do so with ETFs that customers agree to. I can't think of the solution that would benefit both parties equally, but maybe companies should be nicer to their customers? Please?

Read:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704852004575258511180204610.html

Android should be everywhere

http://www.valiantica.com/ado/img/android-logo.png
I don't really know what is holding developers back from releasing Android OS on so many platforms that already permeate our everyday lives. Google has been smart enough to bring Android flavor to the TV, with its announcement of the... drum roll please... *drumming sound*.... Google TV! Not too much imagination in naming this service, but it does the job, and is actually pretty descriptive of what it offers: Google on your TV. It should be awesome. Google's recommender service should be great for channel surfers and viewers with low attention spans. But that is a new, major product that Google put a lot of work into. I am talking about putting Android into our vehicle's multimedia systems, or any other device that runs on a crappy OS. I am sitting here at work, looking at a nice aftermarket head unit by Eclipse, and I am thinking, "This user interface is horrible. You would think this navigation system came from the days of Windows 95. Where's the Android?!?"

1. Android is open source, take it and compile it for any device you can think of. Seeing the way all the phone manufacturers are adopting Android, I would assume that Android (or Google) isn't charging or isn't charging much for the use of their OS on your device.

2. People like Android,  and its following is growing tremendously. Verizon can't even keep the DROID Incredible in stock. Think about all of the apps and hardware developers might create for an Android car stereo system. I am talking about a full-size head unit, basically an Android tablet in your car. Make it safe by adding a layer of voice control and gestures to control the device... You see where I am going with this, right?

3. Your interface sucks. While the stock Android UI may not be the most appealing, nobody said you had to stick to that either, but you might be able to

4. It should be cheap. The iPad costs less than $300 to manufacture each unit. And that's with its expensive, super sexy IPS LCD screen. Come on HTC, or Pioneer or Alpine, let's make this happen!

5. Why not?

Number 5 is for the manufacturers to answer or readers to fill me in on the things I have overlooked. Tell someone to make this already!