September 12, 2014

Here are the steps to pre-order a new iPhone. Be sure to follow this procedure exactly as outlined to secure your iPhone.

  1. Steel yourself at 11:55 AM Pacific time. The battle is about to begin.
  2. Load at 12:00 AM (Pacific time).
  3. Note “We’ll be right back” page in all written languages.
  4. Refresh page.
  5. Shift in your seat uncomfortably.
  6. Check Twitter.
  7. Refresh page.
  8. Look at your clock.
  9. Refresh page.
  10. Post “Sigh… Apple Store is still down :(” to Twitter to let everyone else know.
  11. Refresh page.
  12. Repeat steps 6-7 until 12:35 AM (Pacific).
  13. Observe the “We’ll be right back” page now gives an error.
  14. Post this new information to Twitter immediately.
  15. Refresh page.
  16. Check the Apple Store app on your phone. Observe the same error.
  17. Force quit the Apple Store app and launch it again (this is how you refresh on mobile).
  18. Note the store loads.
  19. Gasp in amazement. (Softly so you don’t wake anyone.)
  20. Post this to Twitter.
  21. Cautiously tap to buy an iPhone.
  22. Acknowledge the error message. And repeat until it works.
  23. Enter the information to check your upgrade eligibility.
  24. Submit this information and wait 2 minutes. Acknowledge the error and repeat until it works.
  25. If your carrier says you can’t upgrade yet, take inventory of items you posses that you can sell to pay for the full iPhone list price.
  26. Select your iPhone size, color and capacity.
  27. Note that the iPhone you selected is unavailable.
  28. Try choosing a different color and/or capacity. Find a combination that is available and add to cart.
  29. Acknowledge the error and retry until you get that sucker in the cart.
  30. Hey, you may just do this. Note that it is now 1:30 AM (Pacific).
  31. Tap the “Checkout” button.
  32. Acknowledge the error.
  33. Cry softly and try again.
  34. Confirm your address and billing information are correct and submit the order.
  35. Fix the error in your address and billing information and try again.
  36. Acknowledge the error message.
  37. Re-evaluate your life.
  38. Search Google for reviews of the latest Android phones.
  39. Close browser.
  40. Reopen browser and check the Apple Store. Note it is still down.
  41. Tap to submit your order.
  42. Pray.
  43. That’s it!
  44. Post your success to Twitter.
  45. Go to bed.
  46. Wake up at 4 AM in a cold sweat. Towel off and go back to sleep.
  47. Wake up at 6 AM and realize you’re not happy with the color choice you made.
  48. Note that at this point, your preferred iPhone size, color and capacity is available for delivery by launch date.
  49. Go to your email and find the link to manage your order.
  50. View order information and take a deep breath and click to cancel the order.
  51. Acknowledge error.
  52. Keep trying.
  53. Confirm cancelation.
  54. Order a new iPhone.

July 16, 2014

Some more stuff about burgers really? I promise this isn’t turning into a food blog.

This is a Storify embed post, so you may need to view it on my site to see it in all it’s iframe’d glory.

July 2, 2014

Here’s a simple, three-step recipe for creating the perfect burger joint:

  1. Great burgers with bacon
  2. Great fries
  3. Great shakes

Few have followed this recipe, and I don’t understand why.

In-N-Out? Great burgers, but no bacon. Let me repeat: you cannot get an In-N-Out burger with bacon. If you ask, they will say “no.” A burger with 20 patties? Sure. Bacon? GO AWAY. Fries are pretty bad (not that great fresh and worthless after they cool off a bit). Shakes are so-so. I get the feeling their shakes and fries are cheap because their prices are sooo low. They could stand to charge more and improve their offering.

Five Guys? Great burgers and bacon (although a little overcooked, typically). Fries are great and plentiful, but no shakes at all. WHAT. They went to the trouble of adding these fancy soda jukebox machines that let you pick from every soda flavor the Coca-Cola company has ever dreamt of, but there’s no milkshake button (I looked for like an hour). Also, what is with mixing Helvetica and Tekton together in your signage? Stop that.

Super Duper? Ah, here’s a contender. A little pricey and boutique-ish (well, it’s a SF-based place, so I understand), but the burgers are good and the bacon is there. Great shakes. Fries are good but could be better.

Shake Shack is great as I recall on all points. But I have to fly to New York to get one and that’s out of my price range. PLEASE COME TO CALIFORNIA I BEG OF YOU.

May 25, 2014

Here’s another Storify collection of a personal favorite set of tweets.

If your reader doesn’t show this content, you’ll have to view it on my site directly.

May 18, 2014

So recently, the FCC ruled that it’d be okie-dokey for the Internet to create tiers of service. What follows is a bit of fun about this very serious issue, one that may very well change the nature of the Internet. I urge you to educate yourself about the real threat of this decision after you read and favorite each of these:

(If you’re viewing this through a news reader, the Storify content may not come through; if not, you’ll have to visit my site to see it.)

January 29, 2014

Here’s a small innovation I could use from my smart phone (yes, an iPhone): personal hold music. Cause, who likes muzak? Here’s how it would work.

You make a phone call to some customer service center. You navigate their tree of options and end up being put on hold while waiting in line for a person to pick up. They then start playing something hideous while you wait. Personally, I think this is designed to encourage people to hang up, reducing their call volume. But: you have a secret weapon… you’re calling with a smart phone equipped with Personal Hold Music™®.

So, here’s what you’d do: you’d take the phone from your ear and on the screen, there’d be a convenient button to play your music. What would this do? Well, once playing your music with an active phone call, your smart phone would pay attention to the line… since you won’t be able to hear it (cause you’re listening to your sweet, rockin’ beats). If the sound from the phone call changes to voice communication (versus music), your music will be paused and what the person on other end said will be replayed. That’s the tricky part— making the phone recognize when to switch back to the active call. I suppose it would need to do so even for periodic “there are n people waiting ahead of you” prompts, but I could live with that.

This is an idea whose time has come.

November 15, 2013

I crave minimalism. So, Coin interests me, but I don’t think it’s for me. Here are some quick thoughts on Coin.

  • If you have more than one credit card, the easiest way to get down to carrying one card is cancel the other ones. I have two active1 cards: a debit card from my bank (which is accepted like a Visa card) and an American Express card which has a yearly cash back bonus (and important: I don’t carry a balance month-to-month, period).
  • If you use Coin and you find yourself at a place that has to imprint the credit card, you’re out of luck. Hope you brought some cash.
  • $100 or even $50 (the pre-launch sale price) seems high for this convenience. Especially if the card has to be replaced every 2 years because it runs on a non-rechargeable battery.
  • I’ll still need to carry my driver’s license; this isn’t for that.
  • I’ll still need to carry my transit card. It has a chip on it, so I don’t think it can be mimicked by Coin.
  • I’ll still need to carry my HID building access security card.

So, even if I were to buy one of these — effectively (at launch sale price) a $25/year (due to the battery lifespan) convenience fee — I’d still need a decent wallet to hold everything. I couldn’t get away with a slim phone card pocket case, for instance.

No, I think the future looks something more like using Passbook or even NFC… so, no physical cards. Bluetooth LTE identification for building access. A federal and state-approved method for presenting your identification through with phone. Maybe then you could just carry one card; one that serves as a backup in case you lose or damage your phone.

  1. I also carry a Simple card right now. I’m looking to switch from Chase, so either the Simple or the Chase debit card will be taken out of rotation depending on whether I switch or not. And I love Simple, but so far they don’t support a joint account very well. 

October 9, 2013

This is a response to this.

Sure, our smartphones can have a lot of personal information in them and much of it is shared with “the cloud”. Sometimes that’s the device manufacturer that is supplying services. Sometimes that’s a third-party company that makes a social network you want to participate in. Whatever. Let’s talk about Apple, in particular.

Your identity

Apple asks you to sign in or register an Apple ID during the setup process for iPhone, but you have the option to skip this step entirely. Doing so will limit certain features of the phone. But if you want to create an Apple ID, Apple asks that you supply your name, your birthdate, a valid email address, telephone number, zip code, city, state, country and home address. But you can about these things. Apple doesn’t verify any of this information, save for the email address. And having an email address doesn’t really identify you— there’s no credit card involved in getting a Gmail or Yahoo mail account.

Your credit card information

Apple will have your credit card information if you give it to them. There are avenues for buying the phone itself with cash. And if/when you sign up for an Apple ID, you’re asked for a credit card, but you can decline to fill that in. For app purchases, you can always buy iTunes credit from any number of retailers and redeem them for use in the App Store or the iTunes store.

Your outdoor location

The GPS and location services on your phone are activated during the setup of the device. If enabled, location services can report the phone’s location to Apple. If that bothers you, then don’t enable location services, or turn it off under the “Privacy” section of the Settings app.

Your indoor location

Again, location services are an opt-in feature. Micro-location still falls under location services which are easily disabled.

Your behaviour

If you make purchases in the App Store or iTunes store, Apple can build a purchase profile about you. But no one is holding a gun to your head to buy these things. If you’re really worried about Apple relating your love for Phish, then you can load your entire CD-ripped collection onto the device through a computer. It’s also possible to jail break most iPhones and load software onto it through “alternative” sources (not recommended, but there you go).

Your movement

This part of the article assumes you’ve bought an iPhone 5s. Well, the A7 processor does track your spatial movement through an accelerometer but this information is only shared with applications that have been given your permission to use it. If you are wary of those apps, then don’t grant them permission and simply delete them.

Your face

Apple will store photos you take with your phone on iCloud in a personal Photo Stream if you have enabled iCloud and Photo Stream to begin with. Apple cannot, however, force you to take selfies even if you do use iCloud.

Your fingerprint

The iPhone 5s does use a sensor under the home button to allow you to unlock your device using fingerprint identification. The process for enabling this is simple, but requires a training process that is user initiated. The iPhone will not scan your fingers without enabling Touch ID.

What Apple Really Knows About You

So here’s what Apple can really know, for absolutely certain. That a device of theirs with a particular serial number was purchased and used with a SIM card with a specific serial number and phone number (this is communicated during the phone activation process). That’s it.

As for any of these other things: Apple will only have them if you give it to them yourself. Your identity, credit card, location, behavior, movement, face and fingerprint are all safe from Apple. Now, your wireless carrier might know more information about both you and your location (based on cell tower usage), but that would be the case regardless of what phone you’re using.

In short, there’s nothing to fear here but fear itself.

May 21, 2013

Marissa Mayer made the inaugural post to Yahoo!’s Tumblr blog, announcing they were acquiring the service for $1.1 billion dollars (all cash). By modern measures, this seems like a pretty good deal. Remember, they also bought GeoCities for $3.6 billion in 1999 (valued at that amount, it was a stock exchange).

But, what gets me is this bit of her post (and echoed in the official press release). It reads, and I kid you not: “We promise not to screw it up.”

That’s in there because Yahoo! has a poor record of not screwing up things. GeoCities, for one. Flickr was on life support until only recently (I think Instagram and the Facebook buyout of that service for $2 billion had something to do with it). was another victim of their embrace, languish and shutdown strategy. The Archive Team folks are still backing up that service. Maybe Archive Team should get a head start on Tumblr. Just in case.

But the worst part about that particular sentence is there’s no way for them to live up to it. No way. Cause, let’s face it, “screw it up” is a pretty subjective measure. And the folks measuring it have a very fine measuring stick:

  • one advertisement, anywhere on Tumblr… even a whiff: they screwed it up.
  • a Yahoo! logo brandishing the site… even in the footer: they screwed it up.
  • switching authentication from Tumblr login to Yahoo! login: they screwed it up.
  • changing terms of service in any way that materially benefits Yahoo! or restricts users: they screwed it up.
  • repurposing content without permission on another Yahoo! property: they screwed it up.
  • removing user content for newly adopted content policy: they screwed it up.
  • one additional promotional email for Tumblr users: they screwed it up.
  • adding features that promote other Yahoo! services (even if beneficial): they screwed it up.
  • adding any sort of posting/upload limit for free users: they screwed it up.
  • introducing any paid level of service while reducing features for free users: they screwed it up.
  • changing the period at the end of the “tumblr.” logo to an exclamation mark: they screwed it up.

So basically, they can’t touch it at all without breaking that promise.

Literally, she said “we promise.”

May 16, 2013

Can you imagine an Apple exec, taking the stage at a main Apple event, promoting a Dell computer that has been optimized for running OS X, and sold exclusively through Apple’s own store? Well, that’s basically what Google did yesterday at Google I/O by announcing they were to sell an unlocked, no-contract Samsung Galaxy S4 running the stock Android OS and sold through Google’s Play store, for $649.

Why did Google buy Motorola for $12.5 billion? And what a slap in the face to all the other Android hardware companies.

The Android ecosystem is truly amazing. And mind boggling.



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