It’s amazing how far we’ve come. I can use an iPad to stream the 100th Grey Cup with Toronto Argonauts vs. the Calgary Stampeders using TSN.ca’s app. I can then airplay from the iPad to the large screen TV via AppleTV. That’s called a touchdown in technological terms.
Here’s my football playbook to highlight this amazing strategy. LOL. It looks like I didn’t need to blitz any quarterback but I certainly blitzed the incumbent cable companies and satellite providers. LOL
Apologies for my fat fingers using Penultimate to sketch the winning play. :-D
Also ignore the forward pass. :D
Can you believe this? Dell, the champion of innovation (ahem) would allow a digital advertisement like the one below to run on a major portal like CNN.com?
Thanks for the free advertising to Apple!!
Infamous quote about about Apple:
“What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders,”
Michael Dell, 1997
At the time, I was a very strong Apple advocate given some of the challenges the company was facing and I was personally furious over the remarks.
Dell has only been known for “building” or “build-to-order” which in itself is an innovative methodology that Apple ultimately adopted in its own rebirth. However, simply slapping components together (which IS the market perception, thank you very much) with singular focus on price in consumer/enterprise can only get you so far.
How do you differentiate after that?
Look at Acer which sits at the bottom-end of the PC crap pile?
To see a Dell ad which openly promotes two wildly popular competitor products which is then reinforced with the image of “building” (MERGING) is a faux pas. Any reference to the merging between Macbook Air and the iPad is foolishly stupid since the Macbook Air has its own screen and is designed as a “UNIBODY” — a key selling point beyond the battery life!
Does the MERGING of a Macbook Air and an iPad VISUALLY (“MENTALLY”) appeal to you? Slap a slab here and one there. Eck. What a terrible reference quote and advertisement.
“They’ve been talking about changing the last five years,” said Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach Inc., who has a neutral rating on the shares. “They’re in a very tough position, plain and simple.” — National Post, November 16, 2012
A race to the bottom is not a race. It’s a slow death. That is why the intersection gas station price wars don’t exist anymore. Why compete on price when you can collude upwards? :-)
Anyhow, Apple chose a different course that was focused and allowed them to end up where they are today.
Dell, you may have met Steve Jobs with your Apple II at a user group meeting but I guess you really didn’t see through him well-enough. The first thing Jobs did on his return was kill licensing of the MacOS which was decimating Apple with cheaper prices from “box bundlers” like PowerComputing — no different to Dell, really.
Have a great weekend!
So you’ve been really used to reading your content for free, huh? On your Blackberry, iPhone, Android from media properties like Globe and Mail, the National Post and other Canadian sources? The WallStreet Journal, NYTimes, The Financial Times and the Economist have been successful monetizing their digital content.
Source: The Globe and Mail
If you’ve followed this site for a while, you’ll notice that I try to take a fair and balanced view about all consumer technology products — yes, I have an iPhone and iPad and on the whole, am I happy Apple customer — apps, movies, music etc. However, I also love my Blackberry Curve and Playbook and will be upgrading to both iPhone5 and BB10 devices in the near term.
When I feel the consumer isn’t getting the right end of the stick, I will investigate to the best of my ability until there is a resolution or clear explanation or simply highlight what is wrong and propose changes.
It is based on an interesting exchange I had with Apple’s iTunes Support team. However, the issue doesn’t appear to be Apple’s fault but does highlight something most iTunes buyers may not be aware of.
As we all know, there’s a push in today’s world towards the cloud. There is a myriad of consumer services available for cloud-storing and cloud-sharing services like Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, MediaFire, Amazon, Google Drive, Microsoft Skydrive and Apple’s iCloud. In the corporate world, there are countless enterprise strategy decisions being made every day for cloud architecture and distributed frameworks to support efforts in disaster recovery, cost savings, or efficiency.
The cloud is front and centre and the mass consumer knows what cloud means today compared to twenty years back when that beautiful puffy image appeared on whiteboards as the gateway to the Internet. Times have changed and even my own lady is proud to have her own place “in the Cloud” as she looks at me in a mocking fashion. Thanks Apple for delivering us iCloud for the masses. ;-)
One of the benefits of cloud storage is that the responsibility of organizing and storing your digital life becomes “easy” compared to the physical, real-world act of buying external hard-drives in gigabyte and terabyte configurations and then MAINTAINING your digital life with active organization and filing. That’s the big sell for cloud services but the cloud comes with great danger - both in data loss and ownership.
My Exchange with iTunes Support
About a year ago, I purchased the remake of Yuma 3:10 with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe. Being a Glenn Ford fan (yeah, a Canadian! And Superman’s father in the original!), I thought the remake of the classic was great! One day, I opted to buy the digital version of the movie. This digital purchase was done well before Steve Jobs announced iCloud in his last presentation for Apple.
In a pre-iCloud world, you were responsible for backing up your digital content to hard drives or USB keys. Messy! After iCloud, all my previously purchased music, movie, and television showed up in an amazing section called “Previously Purchased” in the iTunes client. In AppStore, re-downloading previously purchased apps was already a common practice for iPhone and iPad users. This would also include purchases from iBookstore.
But up until iCloud, music, movies and television content did not have the luxury of allowing customers to re-download so all iTunes customers were left with the task of managing, organizing and backing up their digital content.
Up until this month, everything appeared fine until I discovered Yuma 3:10 was not showing up in my Previously Purchased section (iCloud) within iTunes. I then proceeded to email iTunes Support for an explanation.
I will admit that Apple’s iTunes support is very fast and supportive. I wasn’t able to respond to Victoria immediately due to some commitments and she would check-in each day to tell me she was ready to help once I retrieved the information she required.
Rather than look through my extensive purchases within iTunes’ Account > Purchase History (BTW, a really good feature from Apple but what would be really great is a download or export of the data for easier review), I simply searched my GMAIL (Always use GMAIL for receipts or online purchases) to find the original invoice. I then sent a copy of the invoice back to iTunes support.
This is what followed:
Eych suggested my purchase might be hidden. For starters, I never even knew such a feature existed. I don’t understand the context of “hidden” purchase (might have been tied to Ping) but the support pages don’t describe the root benefit of hiding and unhiding purchases. Does anyone know?
Anyhow, my Yuma 3:10 was never a hidden purchase. So I sent back another note to iTunes Support to confirm to inform them.
What a surprise! The movie was “modified” by the content provider and is no longer available to me via iCloud (Previously Purchased). Wow.
I do thank Apple for offering me the rental credit but I do recall paying double the price for a digital copy of Yuma 3:10. But that’s not the point.
THERE IS A BIGGER PROBLEM.
What the heck is modified even mean to the lay customer? Remember, I PURCHASED this movie from the iTunes store and beyond having my own back-up (no longer retrievable due to an HD crash - ugh), I have no recourse. Can we say b*llsh*t at this point?
I wrote iTunes Support expressing my shock and lack of understanding over this aspect of digital content rights.
It appears this has nothing to do with Apple but rests solely with content owners! Could Apple be responsible for not arranging the proper agreements during content negotiations? I don’t know as I don’t have the granular details.
Then we wonder why Kim DotCom is a thorn in the backside of the mediaopoly in Hollywood. Hollywood and content owners are up to their game once more and the consumer isn’t part of the equation. Just read that last email very carefully. I am surprised that there’s no recourse here besides a rental credit.
ITunes Support also confirmed they could not offer me a purchase credit for the same purchase value as a result of this incident.
THE FINE PRINT:
It means that your digital content purchases are NOT SAFE in iCloud! It means that even if you have purchased your movie from iTunes, and you keep the movies in iCloud, they are not secure. It also means that if a content provider re-modifies the content, after your purchase, you appear lose your rights to it and must buy again if you have no backups.
Can anyone tell me what is wrong with this picture? I have one thing to say. Go to hell Hollywood. The entire reason I opted for digital content was for the convenience of having it stored with Apple’s iCloud so that I can review and retrieve this content from 5 Apple authorized devices at — home, work, friends, or family or somewhere while on business travel. Guess not.
Problem: I thought iCloud could be my domain for “safe storage”.
So as it stands, if you have an entire library of digital movie content sitting in iCloud, back it up as you run the risk of it being removed from the iTunes Store or having it re-modified by content providers. Do any of us remember reading this fine print anywhere?
I do thank Apple for informing me about this issue but to be honest, this issue is such a big one that I feel many consumers could be in a position to lose their right to purchased iTunes movie content simply because they felt iCloud was “safe storage” and as such, do not back-up their purchased digital content to local/personal storage.
Clearly, the content providers are in the wrong here because any logical person would understand that when someone purchases content, they assume they “technically” own it and will have access to it without fail like any physical media.
Suddenly, DVD and BluRay sound hot again. This is another strike against DRM, digital and cloud-storage.
A few weeks in, I am convinced that RIM, the Playbook and developers for RIM products have been badly misaligned with unfair reporting by tech media (besides Techvibes - great job guys!) that is screwed tight for advertising clicks, SEO, and other social juice metrics to meet their bottom-line rather than fair and balanced reporting.
For starters, the Playbook is made for gamers. Whereas the devices have lagged until BB10 launches, there’s clearly an appetite for games on the lovely Playbook. Speed of play, graphics, and motion is at par and even better than what I have experienced with my iPad (Gen 1) device.
A demonstration of my Playbook (with the latest O/S) to few folks in my inner circle have apparently changed perceptions…almost instantly. Almost to the point where some are are asking whether they only need a Playbook vs. anything else on the market.
Even more shocking is the user feedback specific to the Playbook experience compared to Android tablets and devices which they already own. Many claimed the U/X to be far superior on the Playbook when comparing Android iterations.
No where is the opportunity greater for RIM than with Android in order to gain new users, customers and ecosystem growth.
Further, anchor brands like EA Games and tier-2 developers are doing a fantastic job with price promotion and support to keep customers happy. A more than peripheral review of user feedback within the AppWorld ecosystem confirms that customers are extremely loyal to developers and remain extremely supportive of the Playbook AND RIM.
I have personally gone out of my way to buy games (and non-gaming apps) that I already own on the iPad (Gen 1) for the Playbook and the experience is comparable and in some cases BETTER compared to iOS devices. Sure, there hardware differences that play into this but my point is that the Playbook is a powerful product packed into a small footprint with game play that is fast and sharp with strong U/X controls.
Anyone in a media position that has reported something wildly different about the Playbook is either a liar or is simply blind (let’s focus on the former ;-)) and we may know the reasons for that. :-)
Sean Paul Taylor, leader of RIM’s gaming team, said it perfectly in a recent Financial Post interview about the upcoming BB10 platform:
Right out of the gate you can see the hardware is very competitive, it’s right up there with what the iPhone 5 is releasing. The games we run here are literally the same source code as what they run off there and we’re seeing very similar results. We do a lot of open source work. We make sure the 98% of the source code is actually common, and there’s a platform that handles your accelerometer, your video, and we make sure that we do good benchmarks on it.
Does this sound like a company that is ready to give up? Mark my words, RIM is going to rebound with BB10 and people I know within the telecom world are rooting for a RIM rebirth. RIM has been the most loyal in terms of vendor-telecom partnerships and I can expect support from them when the new devices hit the market.
I am absolutely delighted with the Playbook.
Everything about it feels strong — solid design, fast and efficient O/S, intuitive U/X (a few times, I caught myself using Playbook gestures on my iPad that just seemed to make more sense compared to the Home Button control)…that says a lot. ;-)
Sources tell me that BB10 is a one sexy pup waiting to find a home in 2013. I smell good news to my loyal RIM and Blackberry clans. Today, my BB curve works seamlessly with the Playbook for Internet tethering and in 2013, my BB10 device will fall pleasantly into welcoming hands. :-) By this time, HP’s Web O/S reboot will be a lost cause and we’ll continue to learn about the growing Android fragmentation that plagues the developer ecosystem. For many, Android has become the new Windows.
I continue to chuckle with media reports that question RIM’s survival, IF BB10 will launch (yes), and IF developers will support it (yes). To the latter point, it only takes a Google search to confirm the obvious. :-) In addition, chatter within my network of mobile professionals simply validates strong support for Playbook and the BB10 platform go forward.
My guess is that future articles from the tech media may fall on DEAF EARS and some….
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I can get quite passionate about things I believe or don’t believe in. Sorry, if I fight for my right to paaaaart—y! :-)
Oops, sorry for the interlude. :-) [Beastie Boys 4ever!]
In the cross-hairs today? Amazon!
This article focuses on two key issues experienced this week.
In earlier threads, I made my case for an Amazon solution for Playbook users. As a happy iPad user, I wanted a smaller form-factor for on-the-go Kindle ebook reading. So I bought a Playbook. Nope, not an iPad mini. While the iPad (Gen 1) has no particular Kindle app issues, I just wanted portability. Not only did the Playbook fit the bill, I have been very impressed by the device for its U/X and Playbook 2.1 operating system.
But there is a problem. No native Kindle app exists for Playbook. Yes, I “could” sideload Android and yes, I could use Amazon’s browser-based Cloud-reader solution as suggested by Bezos’ executive offices at Amazon Fine. I tried the Cloud Reader on the Playbook but found the experience far worse than when using the iPad. For starters, Cloud Reader responsiveness was sluggish and proper screen rendering was off the mark most of the time. When I downloaded and pinned Kindle ebooks, repeat Amazon Cloud Reader use on the Playbook led me to discover that the downloaded content was missing. Translation: Please re-download.
So, I said enough was enough. I decided download my Kindle ebooks, de-DRM the content and do a few additional things: convert them to ePub format so that I can read them on my iPad (iBooks) and the very useful “Book Reader” Playbook app (for .99c, it’s worth it!). Done!
A second issue inspired me by a report from a colleague in the mobile industry. He posted the following on Facebook (last name withheld):
The Guardian UK story set off a social media storm igniting bloggers and developers to write about the plight of one customer’s experience with Amazon UK. (Full story here) Essentially, a Kindle account was deleted for no apparent reason. The customer, Linn Nygaard, was left without any viable explanation and was locked out of an entire “investment” in Kindle books with the snap of a finger by Amazon. Scary. The good news is that her books and account have since been restored but wow, that incident was an eye-opener!
While convenience always closes the deal, this will turn into a battleground issue for consumers. Let’s be real. How many of you have read the Terms of Service? Imagine investing thousands of dollars in digital content only to find DRM and a “kill switch” turning off your lights off permanently without any solutions.
Linn’s friend, Martin Bekkelund, and Kottke got involved with her plight by posting their own blog posts on the matter:
So both issues really got me thinking. I really need to get my content under my control! I decided that it wasn’t worth losing my investments thanks to Kindle DRM. Plus, once DeDRM’ed, a simple cloud-store for future use in ePub format would suit me just fine — so I backed everything up on Dropbox and Box.
However, deciding to act took a lot more effort than I had initially realized. For starters, if I still had my Kindle Keyboard (screen died after a week out of warranty), I could have extracted all the Kindle ebooks from the /books folder with a device connected to my Mac via USB. The files appear in .azw format.
So I kept thinking. Why not get Kindle Reader for Mac app. So I decided to download and install the Kindle Reader app for MacOSX to download all my Kindle ebooks to the Mac. Sounds easy, right? Wrong! Wouldn’t you believe it? Apple decided to do some tricky stuff with Lion and actually hide the damn folders (naming Kindle folders) so that they were virtually undetectable by Spotlight Search or any other search method. Crazy.
I literally went bonkers searching for solutions with Google and found endless people asking the same questions on Apple and Kindle forums over the same issue.
Where the heck is My Kindle Content Library on a Mac?!
To find out where your Kindle content is stored on a Mac, you need to enter the Preferences setting on the Kindle Reader for Mac app to find the path directory.
Mine showed up like this:
Once you find your directory path, you need to manually enter this information into the >Go to Folder via the Mac Finder on the System Tray. How do you do this? By right-clicking or right-nudging on the Apple’s Magic Mouse to get the contextual menu.
You should see this:
Then simply select the >Go to Folder, enter the directory path for your Kindle Content. Be careful though….as the spaces count!
Once I entered this information, the “hidden” folder magically appeared. Thank goodness! It only took 30 minutes to figure this out!
I instantly created a Mac Desktop alias to avoid re-entering this complex directory path again! Once inside, I immediately sorted my Kindle ebooks by .azw format and backed the entire content portfolio into a nice burrito! Then, I simply uploaded the entire collection to my Dropbox and Box Cloud-based accounts for easy retrieval in the future.
My next steps will be to follow the recommendations from Zachary West (referenced in Kottke’s blog post) - thank you Zachary!
I hope this article is helpful and leads you to do the same. It’s worth the effort to protect your content.
P.S.: Please have a safe and happy weekend if you’re going out for Halloween fun. There’s no reason to drink and drive. Take a cab!
- DRM be damned: how to protect your Amazon e-books from being deleted (arstechnica.com)
- How Do I Get Rid of the DRM on My Ebooks and Video? (lifehacker.com)
- Amazon’s eBook Policing Problems Could Get Worse: Here’s How To Protect Yourself (techcrunch.com)
- Amazon Allegedly Erases Customer’s Kindle, Tells Her To Shop Somewhere Else (huffingtonpost.com)
- Kindle user claims Amazon deleted whole library without explanation (boingboing.net)