Rants

appleevent

The prices are ‘great’ for black friday

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As many people will know, I am not a big Apple person. I have been a PC guy since before I can remember. I have admittedly owned an iPhone for the last 5 years and had an iPod since the 4th generation iPod Photo. I have recently changed over to the Android side of things for my main phone and loving it! Now, with all of that out of the way, I want to get to my main point, about my distaste for Apple and their pricing. I will say this on the front end. Apple makes GREAT products, don’t get me wrong there. My problem is, the pricing that they apply to their products, claiming their superiority over all things, based upon their design and quality. I get that, in a sense, but after seeing the latest black Friday promotion from Apple (and many other pricing issues) and seeing their “discounts”, it just disgusts me. They think they are doing the Apple FanBoys a favor by giving them such a small discount on their products, and they are STILL making, I am assuming, a sizable profit off of the product.

So let me show you what I am talking about. Black Friday is suppose to be about deep discounts on items that are either meant to get you in the door or to buy multiples of one item. And when I say deep discounts, I am talking about a 50″ LCD HDTV that is going for $298. I am talking a 32GB SD Card for $15.99. I am talking an iPad 2 for $399 with a $75 gift card. Now the latter is what I was really getting at. Apple is holding their own black Friday “event” as well. Just not as much of a discount. So lets compare the Walmart deal and the Apple deal. You can get an almost 2 year old product for the GREAT LOW price of $399 direct from Apple today, right now with no discounts or anything like that. They just released the 4th generation iPad back a few weeks ago if you didn’t know. So worldwide retailer Walmart has added in a nice $75 gift card with their iPad deal. What has Apple done? $31 off. Let me repeat that. $31 off. Walmart is beating you by $44. Now don’t get me wrong, that isn’t $44 cash, it is a $75 gift card for you to spend more at their store, because the idea is, that you will buy more than $75 worth, and see the gift card as a discount. It’s a psychological thing that they hope that you do after you get the card. Even all of that aside, it seems the place to get your iPad 2 is Walmart. Apple? Why not offer more off and do it as a gift card, or just take more off of your 2 year old tablet, without Retina display, I may add.

There are many more instances I can speak of, but this was the only one that really sparked my interest. Apple thinks so highly of itself, that basically, they don’t allow their retailers to go much cheaper, or give much of a discount in their own store. I just don’ think they should call their sales, a black Friday event. More like a , “hey, we know you want our stuff, and everyone else is doing better discounts, but c’mon, you know you want us” event.

 

Just a thought that I had today on this day of giving thanks.

-Rusty G

4G

We’re really not the Largest 4G or the fastest… At All.

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Ok, I really hate for next blog to be complaining about stupid things, but this is JUST PLAIN LYING. Let me give you a little background here. All of the 4 major cell phone providers have been trying to have a 4G war for the like the last 2 years. It’s the basics of a pissing match, or to see has the biggest junk, is what it all boils down to. Let me first say this, so that you know what TRUE 4G is. Right now in the 48 contiguous states of the United, there is only one true 4G product being used, and this is LTE. LTE stands for Long term evolution. I think At&t actually put it best in this video they have on their website.

Check it out below:

The ironic part of this video being done by At&t is the fact that they are actually telling the truth in this one. ONCE and only ONCE. One more background on the 4G wars. When this whole thing started, At&t was standing it’s ground and keeping with the 3G moniker and saying that everything was still 3G, until January 2011, when out of the blue, someone kicked the CEO and said, hey, we are falling behind in the 4G wars, we need to fix this. So they just started saying they had 4G, and there were no network improvements, no back haul changes or any sort of upgrades. It was if it was magic, and someone had flipped the switch and all of sudden, we were 4G! WHEW! Well what does that mean? Nothing really, because at the time, they didn’t even have HSPA+, which T-Mobile at the time was touting they had for their “4G” devices(which by the way, isn’t really 4G either). At&t was sticking with HSPA (no plus), which is a 3G technology. You can see this right now on their website: http://www.att.com/network/?. Go to the technology tab, and you will see HSPA marked at 3G. HA, so this is where At&t started telling their little white lie. Then, came along HSPA+ and we continued to call it 4G, because At&t figured, well we started with a little white lie, lets keep it going. (Thanks to the marketing department) The funny thing is, looking back, NOW At&t calls HSPA 3G as it really is now, when they were calling it “4G” when it was around.
4G

Enough of At&t, let’s talk about the quiet company Verizon. This company had recently acquired the 700MHz spectrum from the government. Which was soon to be the now 4G LTE that they are selling. Verizon really never had a horse in the 4G race to begin with, they were sticking to their guns with 3G CDMA/EV-DO. They never really had any 4G marketing going on, while Sprint(which is another story), T-Mobile and At&t were all spatting it out. Then out of the clear blue, Verizon had setup their towers in the background and BOOM! Phones like the Thunderbolt, Rezound, Droid 4 (all android based) started popping up with LTE! TRUE 4G! All the while, At&t, T-Mobile and Sprint were falling behind in the race, the REAL 4G race, LTE.
At&t to this day is still touting HSPA+, as well is T-mobile, as “4G” and this is just a LIE. At&t does have LTE service in select cities, as of this writing, and select LTE devices, but NO WHERE near the footprint that Verizon has, because they won the 700MHz auction BACK in 2008!!

This all leads me to the reason why I am writing this article. I was watching free OTA tv this evening and this commercial came on:

 

It really bugged me, in this frame here:

2000 cities?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me say this, this is a flat out blatant LIE. At&t is using “marketing terms”, as it has been dubbed, to be able to say this. Since At&t has been lying since January of 2011, they can continue their charade of saying they have “the most” “4G”. If you subtract the 3.5G HSPA+, which you should, Verizon wins. At&t has under 50 cities that carry the LTE technology, and Verizon has (currently) 230 cities. So SHUT UP At&t.

 

Next on the chopping block: T-Mobile. Why is that you say? Well, T-Mobile has been touting their HSPA+ as “4G” as well. So why are they saying they are the fastest? Well let’s see, marketing has re-branded their wonderful and beautiful Carly Foulkes as no more Mr. Nice Guy and put her in all black and pink leather. I love their idea as to where they were going with this, IF, they had actually had some LTE to launch, but they don’t and they won’t. At&t tried buying them out last year for a record $39 billion dollars, but with millions of people like me, who voted against it, it never happened, and T-Mobile didn’t have LTE on the road map. They basically went on cruise control and thought the At&t buy out was going to happen and they didn’t need to worry about it, because At&t would have to deal with that problem. WHOOPS, we made a mistake! So now sits T-Mobile without any LTE plans, but they need to look like they are still a viable “4G” option. Look, I will say, if you are looking for just voice services and you aren’t worried about data or smartphones, then heck, go with T-Mobile, but they will not satisfy the data hungry smartphones that are coming to market, so keep that in mind. Until T-Mobile comes back with a LTE plan or something else that is true 4G, they have to sit this one out.

Here is my complaint, the commercial that I briefly mentioned above. Here it is:

 

The same thing goes here. The motorcycle is to entice that need for speed feeling and the fact that you want to be the fastest. Well when you put a snail next to a tortoise, then next to a rabbit, this is pretty much what REALLY is happening. Tmo and At&t are the two slower, while Verizon is cleaning house with LTE. Here is the frame I am having trouble with, the same claim that At&t has:

T-Mobile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now how can At&t and T-Mobile both have the largest? Well, let’s see, if you are going to include a 3G and parade it around as “4G”, then maybe, but let’s count how many LTE devices or cities that Tmo has. Oh wait, I can’t seem to find any. Know why? There is no such thing on T-Mobile. So what about this test drive site that T-mobile is showing, they show it IS faster! That is PROOF (right?).

Not really. Let’s go over these test drive pages they have setup.

#1) Sprint v. Tmobile.

What’s the problem here? Oh that’s an iPhone 4S (or 4, it doesn’t really matter here) and Samsung Galaxy S II. Lets go. STOP. You cannot race a 3G device against a supposed “4G” device. Sprint isn’t even on the same spectrum that T-Mobile is. HSPA+ is going to be faster than Sprint’s 3G (EVDO??? – fact check me someone) network, #DUH. Also if you look at the screens, the Galaxy says 4G and the iPhone says 3G.  SCRATCH. MISTRIAL. WHATEVER you want to call it.

#2) At&t v. T-Mobile

Is that another iPhone 4S? Wow, this is a little more close,a  fake “4G” device against a fake “4G” device. (Apple actually wanted to stick with keeping the 3G moniker at the top, but At&t made them change it in the iOS 5.1 update. Read more about that here.) The problem here is, At&t and T-mobile don’t run the same spectrum for their fake 4G networks. This is why if you take an unlocked iPhone to T-Mobile, it will never get on their 3G network and you are stuck on EDGE. It’s really horrible for people that leave At&t with an unlocked device, it is suppose to be compatible at that point, but it really isnt. SO, we really have to scratch this race too.

#3) Verizon v. T-Mobile

UMM.. is that an iPhone 4S again??? (I am really beginning to think that T-Mobile is just really jealous, that it is the last major carrier that does NOT have the iPhone.) Same thing as #1 here. Verizon’s iPhone 4S, in still running on a CDMA/EV-DO 3G network. So again.. NO Comparison.

This really just ticks me off to no end, that both companies are really lying flat out, just because they know they are losing the 4G race, and now they are just making outlandish claims and throwing stupid punches. At&t, T-Mobile, Please stop. You are confusing the average Joe, who doesn’t do their research like I do. It is people like me that have to call you out on it, and you need to be corrected.

 

-Rusty G

 

UPDATE:I just saw this BS… wow T-Mobile is still straight up lying…

 

UPDATE: I even liked reading this article on Digital Trends calling “4G” a meaningless term!

The Free Open Network Documentary

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This is a good documentary on the idea that we need to build a FREE OPEN network that is accessible to anyone anywhere that is not government controlled. It does involve some of the Occupy Wall street movement, but the idea of the OPEN network is AWESOME!! Please watch and spread.

via The Verge

ipad2-hero

iPad 3, the future classroom textbook?

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With the iPad 3 on the imminent horizon, there are plenty of rumors floating around. A new Sharp screen and some new case leaks. The only problem I have with this new release is, we just watched Apple talk about iBooks 2 and how they are going to revolutionize the text book industry and start keeping the educational system up-to-date with these interactive books and signing on the 3 BIGGEST producers of these textbooks. The other thing that seemed to be revolutionary was the price, with “most being priced at $14.99 (USD) or less. This overall is a wonderful idea in my opinion, and helps compact the 40 pound backpack that these poor kids have to lug around. This is great as far as the weight it relieves from the kids and how quick these text books can be updated. The two fold problem as far as the consumer and the educational sector will have to deal with, is price and availability/upkeep.

Price

Will the price of the iPad hinder many school systems from being able to use this great technology? The cheapest iPad is $500. Just imagine, that is one per student. Can you imagine sitting in a budget meeting for oh say, 2014 and there is a new sector: iPads (I would hope that it replaces hardback textbooks part of the budget all together though). This would be expensive! Let’s just say we have a school of 1200 kids.

The next step for me, would be, how do we implement this? Does every student get one for the school year? ($600,000) Do we add this to the school fee? Do we buy these and keep them in the building? Do we have one for every teacher? There are many more questions that come along with implementation, but just imagine trying to get all of these questions answered and then seeing how much it would cost the local school system. Then whether or not they could afford it!

My thing about it, would be: Why isn’t Amazon capitalizing on this market? They have a $200 tablet and it works! They could kill Apple in the educational market. Plus, the Kindle Fire doesn’t have any cameras on it or 3G, which helps keep down the cost of the final product. So for this fact, kids aren’t trying to use cameras in class or able to use these things on the go. It would only be useful around wifi, which for a typical kid (not all) these days is at home, school and the library, and the occasional restaurant.

I see Apple taking over this market, because no one has really come out with the “iPad killer”, but the Kindle Fire, I would say has given it a run for its money. The money issue just seems to hinder some of these schools that need technology like this, from being able to chime in on this. So if Apple works out a deal where the schools get a discount for ordering so many for their schools or even districts, then I would be more prone to say that price isn’t an issue, but who’s to say, it will be many, many years before we see iPads as the norm for textbooks.

Availability/Upkeep

The other problem I foresee is Apple has historically updated these things every year. Can the school systems keep up with that? What’s my opinion? NO! Schools like to make an investment and see ROI. I just don’t see the school systems trying to keep these things up to date. Apple on the other hand likes to keep the new, old. By that, I mean, they are constantly updating, the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPads have all been somewhat close to a yearly refresh rate. Most schools and businesses are either on a 3-5 year plan. They like to see more use out of the product than they are worried about refreshing it. I could see in the future that like iPad 7 is out and some schools still using iPad 2.

As far as a bleeding edge consumer is concerned, this is great, get a new toy every year. Even the non-bleeding edge, because they are usually right behind the bleeding edge and getting last year’s model at a reduced price. Schools and businesses are not worried about being on the bleeding edge. Shoot, the business I work for currently still massively supports Windows XP (original market release 8/24/01) and have a very little amount of machines on Windows 7, which coincidentally is almost 3 years old. (original market release date 10/22/09) This is how companies work, that are not technology based. They want to be able to use their investment for a very long time, which Windows XP has proven to be.

In Conclusion

Will Apple be able to keep these iPads up to date with just software? Will they pressure these school systems (and businesses) to have to update every other year? I have found personally, that every other year is good with Apple. For example, I bought the iPhone (2G), then the 3G, because of the speed increase on data. I skipped the iPhone 3GS, a year later, and look what I got for an upgrade, the iPhone 4! As previous, I skipped the iPhone 4S, and who knows what is coming for the iPhone 5. Again, historically, the iPhone has been good for me, to follow this pattern. The pattern may not always be that way, but for the last 5 phones that Apple has produced, I have stayed with it and it works for me. Will the schools have to start following that same pattern? Will Apple always follow an AWESOME Product then a speed bump, no hardware changes, then AWESOME Product change format? Who knows? Only time will tell, but these are just my thoughts and musings.

stupidiPhone2

Stop Cluttering my Screen with CRAP Apple!

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Maybe I am the only one seeing this, as the iOS gets updated EVERY year, but I am seriously getting ticked at the amount of icons that I have to have on the home screen. Remember iOS 1? Those were the simple times. Look at this, my iPhone from stock now has to have 2 home screens to fit everything on it!


What?!?! If you saw my post earlier, you saw I already don’t like the idea of Music and Video being separated into two different apps. They are doing the same function. Playing media, you know what else USED to do that? the iPod app. I don’t want my iPhone looking like an iPod Touch. It looks tacky. The bad part is, even apple groups together the crap you don’t use, under utilities. Voice Memos, which seemed to have turned blue? Did I miss that? Contacts? Why did we ever pull that out of the phone app? That is duplicating what you already have. I guess there was such an outcry to have a one click access to it? Who really uses the compass? The only utility I use is the calculator. I don’t use Weather or Stocks and I hardly use the notes app. Oh wait, we added a ‘new’ app. Reminders. I guess this adds a checklist or some other feature to reminders that are already in the calendar. I just won’t really ever use it. Also, why can’t the iTunes and App store be one icon? When I click on the iTunes store on the PC or Mac, it’s one place, why not on the phone too? I don’t need all this crap filling up my screen before I even get started. I LOVED the folders when they finally implemented it in iOS 4, and I think it was a GREAT design choice. Less clutter is better! Oh, Newsstand and Gamecenter, I don’t like you much either. I use the feature of gamecenter RARELY to find people to play with, but I never actually click on the icon. I don’t think I will ever use Newsstand either. The phone just has too small of a screen to read anything on. ALTHOUGH, the new reader feature in Safari is great! (Another GREAT design choice!) Why can’t I pick a custom install where I get to choose what shows up? Just like iBooks, I don’t have to install it, but if I want to, it is a free download away. Please work on this in the future. Maybe iOS 5.1? Here’s to dreaming.

Ever see my theme elsewhere???

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So I was just a little bored at work today and I was reading the tech news from my Google Reader page, I noticed another website that I was reading had the same free theme that I had. Now I had seen this a time before on VeronicaBelmont.com. I really never paid any attention to this because I just figured it was a popular theme out there because it was free. I remember actually reading about it somewhere on one of the tech sites like Mashable.com. I really liked the theme, so I picked it up and put it on this website. The funny thing is, if you take the little small phrase from the bottom of this page, and google it. You can find that there are a lot of other websites out there with it. So that’s what I did partially at work today, took the phrase “Powered by WordPress and Mystique theme by digitalnature” and looked it up. WOW, I never knew I was going to run into so many sites that have the same theme, or at least a modified version of the same theme. Check out the list that I found:

http://granthuhn.wordpress.com

http://veronicabelmont.com
http://iknowrusty.com (this website)
http://miravox.fmcrowd.com/
http://www.gbcallen.org/ (modified)
http://41minds.com/ (modified)
http://www.dirtyshort.com (modified)
http://jayolsonimprov.com/ (modified)
http://www.tainteamtour.com/
http://odogparks.org/(modified)
http://www.moveablepeace.org/(modified)
http://blogs.dotnetkicks.com/connectsql
http://www.facetray.net/ (modified)
http://clubs.calvin.edu/crew/
http://www.pioneercrew.org/site/ (modified)
http://www.alexxcalise.com/
http://arcommunitybankers.com/
http://eurohealth.ie/ (modified)
http://puppeteersofpugetsound.org/
http://www.chinmaykulkarni.info/blog/
http://ericgoldstein.net/
http://www.ohioview.org/
http://www.calda.org/(modified)
http://michaelwalsh.org/
http://www.levelcapped.com/(modified)
http://repeater.org/
http://www.adminlair.com/(modified)
http://campusninja.nl/test/wordpress/ (modified)
http://www.agentsinspired.com/
http://www.uprdetroit.org/
http://bobdawg.org/wordpress/
http://www.namase.com/(modified)
http://edtech411.com/
http://eye-dropper.kepi.cz/
http://berrythemereview.com/
http://www.elitethemes.net/
http://rha.njit.edu/wordpress/ (modified)
http://www.cmduke.com/ (modified)

The funny thing is, I never knew I had so much in common with so many other websites. Or should I say that only the (modified) ones had any creative smarts about them and changed it up a bit. Now, you can keep looking, because there was something like 8 million hits when I searched that phrase. Have a good weekend folks.. I may end up blogging about the facebook/google+ war here later this weekend…
-RustyG

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