Thursday, July 24, 2008

The iPhone Is Not A Phone

And this is not a radio station.

Old media is dying; their electronic toll roads and controlled distribution have been usurped. I don't watch news at 11. I can't bear the false drama and carefully timed commercial breaks. Controversy replaced Journalism in order to sell more advertising.

Technology renders Technology obsolete.

The cloud will not be downloaded. There's little need. The cloud can be streamed. And the millions upon millions that record companies paid to the RIAA to sue the parents of kids raised on Tivo would have been better spent finding the next Dylan/Zepplin/Stones/Doors/Joplin/etc/etc/etc.

But the record companies realize that this is not about controlling the revenue due to their artist. It's about controlling distribution. They make money because they stand between what is wanted and those who want.

Their control over distribution is being usurped.


Radio is ubiquitous - but you have control over genre, not specific content. And the advertisers were clever enough to stand between the content and the listener.
Satellite radio simply generated revenue by charging the listener rather than the advertiser.
The iPod allowed you to control content without advertisers - but you paid ( honest) to get the content into your little white box, that still limits selection to around 25,000 songs. Sure, that's a lot of selection (figure 3MB per song = 300 per GB = 25,000 songs on an 80GB iPod). But who has the time to rip and burn that much content? Figuring 1 minute per song for 25,000 songs? Over 400 hours. Over 17 days. Fugettaboutit.

But what if content was ubiquitous, you could control it, there were not advertisers and it was free? What if everyone just played their music and everyone else could just listen?

Well. That would make record execs shutter. They'd say things like, "The internet has opened a 'Pandora's Box'." Because they think the moral to the story of Pandora's Box was that all this bad stuff got out that could never be put back in. Because they're motivated by fear.

But the moral of Pandora's Box was a single word: Hope.

Monday, July 21, 2008

World's Greatest BIM Manager

Pat even bought a new shiny 16GB 3G iPhone to celebrate.

But he won't let me anywhere near it.

Happy Birthday sir. It's an honor working with you. Keep kicking arse and taking names!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Thank You Thomas Carter! Dev Team!

More info here. Hunter - don't panic. Smooth sailing ahead. :) Basically - don't take the easy path. It's all pretty pictures but doesn't always work. Well it didn't work for me. After I took the expert route it all clicked.

Check out the very useful comments by Frederick231 in the comments section here. I had used Zibri's Ziphone hack up until 1.1.4 (this morning). There were some warnings on his page about upgrading. The iPhone Dev Team's comments section removed that concern.

Instructions start off by upgrading to official Apple 2.0 software. This will lock (but doesn't brick) your phone. By the time it was finished I was able to re-sync and recover all settings, music, photos, etc.

Earlier 3rd party apps and games are gone. The one really useful tool: "Search" by Polar Bear Farms - has been replaced by actual functionality.

1Gen iPhones only (for now).

Mac only (for now).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thank You Thomas Carter!

My disdain for AT&T goes way back. I'd sign up for a home phone plan with an agreed upon international calling plan. Then after a few months a phone bill would arrive for $300. Somehow - the calling plan to New Zealand had "reset" and I'd been charged $1 a minute for overseas calls - for a month. And after four weekends of calls, it added up.

Then the dance would begin. I'd call AT&T, tell them about our calling plan, they'd tell us we canceled it, I'd tell them we didn't, they'd admit they couldn't prove I canceled the plan, and credit the charges and reset the calling plan. I'd do this 3-4 times a year. Waste an hour or so on the phone. Great way to spend a Saturday morning.

An associate of mine is the technology manager for an architecture firm in Charlotte, NC. He had the misfortune of sending a 6MB (not GB) file to his office, using his cell phone as the modem. With no data plan - care to guess how much AT&T charged him?

$360. Yep. $60 per MB.

Good thing he didn't download a Podcast. At that rate, an hour long episode of The Totally RAD Show (180MB) would have set him back nearly $11,000.

My friend called AT&T and tried to negotiate. A monthly data plan was $25. But the AT&T rep told him they didn't care since they were being bought by Cingular. No negotiation. He needed to pay the $360. Oh - and did he want a $25 data plan?

He canceled his AT&T account that month. Paid the $150 penalty. Moved to T-Mobile. Never looked back.

And yet, my distain for AT&T has recently subsided. While I have a first generation iPhone (wait for's unlocked with the Ziphone hack) I've watch scornfully from the sidelines while others upgrade their official AT&T iPhone and now have Exchange support. On the other hand, I can't upgrade mine (yet) because it'll brick my phone. I need to wait till the updated hacks are released.

But then - just as I was about to hold my nose and move to AT&T and buy a new iPhone, I found out something interesting. The Exchange support already works with the $30 a month data plan with a first generation iPhone. BUT - if you buy a new (3G) iPhone and you want Exchange support - your data plan is now $45 a month. Nice.

The AT&T rep told me that AT&T didn't realize that Apple would automatically support Exchange on the first generation iPhones. D'oh! And AT&T isn't too happy about this little factoid. So it seems AT&T haven't yet learned their history lesson of working with Steve Jobs. Yes, the same Steve Jobs who ironically, was helping college students hack AT&T payphones so they wouldn't have to pay for long distant charges. Did I mention that you can use VOIP (like Skype) with the iPhone? D'oh! D'oh!

Anyway, if you already have an iPhone and you're considering upgrading to a new 3G iPhone for the Exchange support:

Don't buy a new iPhone. Upgrade your first generation iPhone and Exchange support should already work.

I really don't understand. Does anyone enjoy being an AT&T customer?

And here's the kicker: if you bought the first generation phone, and AT&T wireless plan, and now want to upgrade - he new iPhone is cheaper, right? "Twice as fast, 1/2 the price", right?

"If you are not currently eligible for the upgrade price, but your account is in good standing, you have two uptions: wait until you are upgrade eligible or pay a discounted early upgrade price of $399 for 8GB (black) and $499 for 16GB (black or white). A two-year contract is required. Additional discounts are not available for iPhone 3G."

$399 for a phone that costs a new customer $199?

I'm staying with T-Mobile. As for AT&T? They've been screwing their customers long before the Carterphone Decision.

Speaking of the Carterphone Decision, July 2nd was the 40th anniversary.

Thanks Thomas Carter.

Dear AT&T: Bite Me.