A Life Untold

Ranting while I’m Raving; Technology News and Views

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Frequency of Posts

Posted by titusferguson on February 8, 2008

Nothing of much interest has grabbed my attention over the last few days so I haven’t really published anything on here. Which I’m sure may have gone undetected by many of my readers, since the majority of my traffic seems directed towards archived posts.

But this slight hiatus got me thinking about what and why I write, about my readers and the resulting daily statistics. I know that its good blogging to write daily, but is it worth turning out some half-assed post just to check “blog post” off the daily to do list?

I’d  much rather write something relevant with insightful commentary every other day then one mediocre post every day. What do my readers think? Not just on this blog, but would you rather wait to read something longer that makes you think, or just hear a few words from your favorite blogger regardless of quality? I a quick link or video on occaision enough to ensure a return visit?

Don’t worry, I have a couple of longer posts that I’m working on. Ones that actually require research…

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Posted in blabing, blogging, ideas, life | Leave a Comment »

London Podcast and Blogger Meetup

Posted by titusferguson on February 6, 2008

Tonight is the monthly London podcast and blogger meetup at Molly Blooms. Its held on the first Wednesday of every month and gives Londoners the chance to talk about all aspects of new media. The attendees come from a variety of backgrounds; programming, podcasting, blogging etc. Molly Blooms has free wi-fi and they don’t seem to mind us hanging around for several hours. I’d encourage anyone in the area to make a stop by tonight, I’m sure you’ll have a good time!

Time: 7:30 pm
Place: Molly Blooms (map)
More info : BlogLdn, Facebook

Posted in ideas, internet, technology, wi-fi | Leave a Comment »

Apple Announcements

Posted by titusferguson on February 5, 2008

So today two new items appeared on the online Apple store, the typical way Apple announces things.  A 32 GB iPod touch and a 16 GB iPhone. The iPod touch is now $519 CAD which compared to the USD price of $499 is not really all the bad. The iPhone is $499 USD.

This is a pretty cool announcement. When I bought my latest iPod I decided not to get a touch because of it smaller size I decided against it. I’m sure Apple will see an increase in sales as a result.

I’ve delayed getting an iPhone here in Canada because of the costs and lack of full features due to the high data costs. But if the cost of the phone would drop even further, I might considered getting a hacked phone.

Posted in apple, internet, iPhone, iPod, technology | Leave a Comment »

I Was Screwed Over by iTunes

Posted by titusferguson on February 4, 2008

I am a big fan of the iTunes music store. I purchase a lot of my music there, individual songs and full albums. I’m willing to live with the lesser quality and high DRM for the convenience of desktop music purchasing. Up until now I have had no problems, that all changed last week.

Over a year ago I purchased a song, it never ended up on my computer and I totally forgot about it for quite some time. Last week I was browsing through my purchase history and saw this song. Since I did not have a copy of it on my system I emailed the service desk to ask the song be added to my download queue so I could download it again.

This is what I got back:

Thank you for purchasing music from the iTunes Store. I apologize, but I am unable to place this item back in your download queue.

We encourage you to back up your hard disk regularly. If a song needs to be replaced, you can restore your music and other data from the backup and avoid the need to purchase replacement copies of your collection of songs.

Well that didn’t really solve the problem. So I email them back telling them that this was unacceptable. Since I had purchased the song I wanted a copy of it. I thought I had purchased the rights to the song not just one copy and therefore saw no problem with a new copy. And because of their DRM, it would be almost impossible for me to violate the copyright law.

Another reply:

“I’m afraid that there may be some confusion. When you purchase a file from the iTunes Store, you are purchasing a specific copy. This is like purchasing a CD. When you do so, you own that particular CD rather than all copies of the album.

While I can appreciate your frustration, a new copy will not be provided. I understand that you have seen a new or modified version of the file on the iTunes Store. You are welcome to purchase this item but the payment for a previous copy of the item cannot be applied toward the purchase.”

I was shocked to say the least, I was not aware at all that I only had rights to one copy. Their ridiculous false analogy about CD sales aside, there seemed to be nothing I could do. Checking the user agreement though reveals this gem “Once a Product is purchased or rented (as applicable) and you receive the Product, it is your responsibility not to lose, destroy, or damage the Product, and Apple shall be without liability to you in the event of any loss, destruction, or damage”

I knew that there was strict DRM on all Apple media purchases I didn’t know that it went this far though. But what do I do now? Amazon’s music store is not available in Canada yet and eMusic only has a limited stock, most of it independent labels. It looks like I’m either back to brick and mortar or I resign my self to poor service and high DRM.

Another issue though. As far as I was aware when I purchase a CD, at least in Canada, I own any copies of that album. I can rip it to my computer and I own the mp3s. I can burn another audio copy and I own that. I know this is not what the RIAA in the U.S. wants but as long as Digital Millennium Copyright Act style laws stay out of Canada I can still do that here.

More then ever now I’ll be supporting Michael Giest on his crusade to protect Canadian consumers from unfair copyright laws. I’d urge everyone else to do the same.

Posted in apple, copyright, internet, technology | 2 Comments »

Audible, Apple, and Amazon

Posted by titusferguson on February 1, 2008

It was announced yesterday that Amazon is going to acquire Audible.com for $300 million.

I wonder how this will effect the relationship between Audible and iTunes. They have always had a strong relationship,  and Audible purchases are synced seamlessly into iTunes and onto iPods.

Since Apple and Amazon are competitors in the music market, I don’t see how they will want to cooperate the spoken book market. TUAW thinks that there must have been provisions made for Apple in the deal. I’m not so sure Amazon would want to do that. I think that Amazon wants to move into the web based  music store market. Now they have DRM free, cheaper-than-iTunes, music, as well as audiobooks, they could really threaten Apple’s dominance. Their plan might be to cut off Apple’s access to all their audiobook subscribers and force them into their service.

Posted in apple, internet, iPod, iTunes, news, software, technology | 1 Comment »

Really Outdated Apple iPod Site

Posted by titusferguson on January 31, 2008

So I was doing some research for an article of iTunes and Audible when I stumbled upon this really old iPod site, on the Apple webpage:

http://www.apple.com/lae/ipod/

I don’t exactly know what the lae directory is, or what country its for. Update: lae is Latin America, apparently they get to read outdated information down there. Reading the specs on the products, this site is from around September 2003. The iPods are generation 3’s, which was the first iPod I had.

Oddly enough, its only the iPods that have this old information up. Looking at the OS X link is all about Leopard. I wonder what mistake was made?

Update: hehe its been fixed. I wonder if I have a cached copy?

Posted in apple, internet, iPod, iTunes, technology | Leave a Comment »

Shopping Experience

Posted by titusferguson on January 31, 2008

I am a student at the University of Western Ontario, in London Ontario. Like all schools in North America, the administration is more concerned with making money then learning and development. For this reason space is often rented out in the University Community Centre (UCC) to retailers. The UCC is like the hub of the campus, the cafeteria, bookstore, printers, gym etc is all in there. The majority of the student population shuffles through there at least once a day, its a high traffic area.

So it was no surprise on Tuesday to see a bunch of clothing racks and decide to browse through them. I found a shirt I liked as well as a hoodie that was kinda cool. I bought the shirt and put a $5 deposit on the hoody so they would hold it for me. I specifically asked about returns and they said only exchanges. I was fine with that since I had seen other items I liked.

When I got home I tried the shirt on a bit more and looked in the mirror. I came the conclusion that it wasn’t quite the item for me. No problem, I was told I could exchange it if I didn’t like it. Thankfully I hadn’t lost my receipt this time, so everything was in order.

The next day I’m back at school and I head back to the UCC to browse through the clothing. I eventually find an item I like. The whole time that I am shopping, I might add, all sorts of “employees” are coming up to me and telling me how great everything looks on me. I can tell they are just being patronistic and only care about making a sale. I can *kinda appreciate that, I have worked retail. I take the item I want up to the girl at the cash, tell her I want to do an exchange. She says no problem, then asks what I had originally bought. I showed here and she walks over to another guy, and confers with him for a moment. He starts shaking his head no. He walks over and tells me that they can’t really do the return because its from a different vendor, blah blah blah.

At this point I am really pissed off. I was already tired of being patronized and coddled. I had been told on numerous occasions by these people that there would be no problem exchanging. And on top of that, as he told me he wouldn’t do the exchange he was bagging the other item, as if he thought I would still want to take it. I had to raise my voice at this guy to get him to stop. He was not appologetic, all he cared about was to make another sale.

To make things worse, I then had to tell him I wanted my deposit back, and I know for a fact that he knew I had paid it, because it was the same guy I had talked to yesterday. He looks in the cash drawer, sees only $20s and asks me if I have any change. Since I didn’t have any he went off to go get some.

While he was gone, the cashier standing there kept apologizing, but it was so blantantly fake, I knew she didn’t care. Eventually I found out why, since she felt so bad she would give me a deal on the shirt I was going to exchange. Did these people not get it?!?! I did not want more stuff! Once I explained this to her one last time, she just walked off. The guy had been gone for a while and I was starting to think that maybe he was going to make off with my $5. Little did he know that I Scot will wait around for quite some time. He did come back eventually, handed me my money and left.

The whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth, and I realise that I should have trusted my gut feeling with these guys, the whole thing seemed sketch. Now I am not totally against corporations, I’m not anti-capitalistic or hate commerce. I just hate getting shafted and screwed over. I’ll no doubt support a small vendor again at some point, I’ll just think more critically about it before I do.

Posted in ideas, life, school | 1 Comment »

Inside Source: Apple to Release an Ultra Portable Device

Posted by titusferguson on January 30, 2008

Yes, I know Apple has already announced the Macbook air, this is a completely different product. I would describe it as a combination of the air and the iPhone.The device is said to require two hands and be a touch based device. The device could then be a more upgraded iPhone or more developed iPod Touch. Another option is that this device would be more like current windows-based tablet PCs.

As per other Apple products, most of the speculation comes from hardware orders. Inside sources have tipped that recently Apple has been working with a German company Balda to purchase 5.2″ touch panels. This was also the same place that Apple procured their iPhone screens.

For a more in depth analysis check out David Sieger’s Eye on Apple blog. Mac Rumors  has also discussed this device before.

If this is in fact true, it would be very exciting news. Ever since the iPhone came out, Apple fans have been debating, is it a phone or is it a mobile computer. A new device would finally settle everything. But probably not Merlin Mann’s continuing desire for a return to the 12″ Powerbook

Posted in apple, rumors, technology | 3 Comments »

Microsoft Mobile 7 to Destroy Apple’s iPhone

Posted by titusferguson on January 29, 2008

According to Michael Ashley over at NetworkWorld Microsoft’s upcoming (?) mobile 7 will, feature wise, effectively destroy Apple’s iPhone.

The iPhone is certain to fade into history as another cool Apple innovation, that others soon rushed competitive, like-products to market, blowing away any significant lead Apple might have. The iPod mp3 player is an industry Apple essentially created, the iPhone isn’t. Too many major players are in the mobile phone market, who have and will bring iPhone-like products to market over the coming months and years. LG has already done so with the LG Voyager phone, and now Microsoft’s plans for Windows Mobile 7 OS have been leaked and described in considerable detail by InsideMicrosoft blogger Nathan Weinberg.

And:

I really like the thought Microsoft has put into WM7. It’s more than must “iPhone compete” — Microsoft is taking key ideas and extending them well beyond current mobile phone interfaces. I’m encouraged by the depth of Microsoft’s thinking about WM7.

I can already hear all the objections. Here are my thoughts on this article.

1. This is a Planned 2009 release from Microsoft. We already know how far behind Microsoft gets from their planned dates. Witness Vista. And who knows what innovations Apple will develop, they will not sit still and will continue to improved the iPhone.

2. Obviously there are others involved in the wireless industry who will try to release produces similar to the iPhone. Up until now they haven’t released a products as revolutionary as the iPhone, which puts Apple ahead of their competition, including Microsoft.

3. This is a leaked Microsoft announcement about their own products. Of course its going to say they’ll kick Apple’s butt. Problem is, they haven’t yet. For example, Vista, basically a 5 year late, rip-off of OS X.

4. This is Microsoft, they don’t release nice products. They release usable products. And even that isn’t even quit true, its pretty hard to use a product always under the Blue Screen of Death.

In the end? Microsoft might release a better product in 2009, but it will be a better product then a 2007 release. Who cares about that?

Posted in apple, ideas, internet, iPhone, technology | 20 Comments »

A Few Days Off and I’m Back

Posted by titusferguson on January 22, 2008

Yesterday I was up at Blue Mountain in Collingwood ON for a day of skiing. Except for the snowmaking, which produces tiny pellets of ice, the conditions were great. We got an amazing deal on lift tickets which made the day even better.

It was my first day out with my new skis, a pair of Solomon SC equipe, and boots, a pair of Rossignols. It took a few runs to get used to them but eventually they were a great ski. They really helped me keep up my form as well and didn’t let me get to lazy. I spent most of the day improving  my form, and by the end of the day definitely noticed an improvement.

I’m going to take today off as far as tech news, but by tomorrow I’ll have something new to report on.

Posted in life, skiing | Leave a Comment »