I’m Suing AT&T. And So Can You!

If you’re not an AT&T customer sick of their dropped calls, you probably grin gleefully every time you hear about it and repeat your mantra “I’ve never had a problem with Verizon.”

Well I have. I can’t be a Verizon customer using what is still, oddly, the most advanced mobile phone in this country…if not on the planet.

So I, like 40% of all of AT&T’s new customers in 2007, decided to bite the bullet and switch carriers in order to get my mitts on this wonderful device only to discover that AT&T is the biggest phone company in the world, and still figuring out how to…umm…make their phones work.

But there’s good news.  Now you can be a part of a class action lawsuit against AT&T from the privacy of your own home.

The website worstiphoneever.com will provide you with a simple, downloadable utility in order to collect data relating to calls dropped from an iPhone.

So far the website has gathered information from over 16,45,372 calls from 859 people and discovered that the total percentage of dropped calls is around 5% (over 85,000 dropped calls total) which I thought was actually surprisingly low.

If your phone can’t successfully complete phone calls, it’s broken.  Which means, according to their data iPhones are broken 5% of them time…at least.  It’s like the original Nintendo…it COMES broken.  Only you can’t take the SIM card out of an iPhone and blow on it to make it work.

Is this really the best we can do?

Apparently, yes.


Don’t Judge a [Face]book By Its Cover

If you do not have a Facebook account and are complaining about one of a plethora of things that have recently become quite trendy to complain about, please shut up and go away. It’s not your battle. As a matter of fact, it isn’t a battle at all.

If you do happen to be a Facebook user, and have also succumb to the vogue that is ridiculing Zuckerberg’s notorious kin, please delete your account (preferably on May 31, which happens to be my birthday!)

Then shut up and go away.

To sum it up, here are the main tenants of the most recent complaints:

Do any amount of reading about any one of these popular complaints, and you will discover that there is only one real issue: privacy.  Thus, I refer you to the following brilliantly written article entitled Facebook Privacy?  Who Cares? (it’s long, skim through later when you’re bored)

I submit, as did Mr. Cuban, that the Facebook privacy issues are none other than trendy headlines, and bandwagons for a generation that had no Woodstock to jump onto faster than you deleted (or at least stopped using) your MySpace account.

No, we don’t really care about how our data is shared any more than we care about identical privacy issues in our non-digital lives.  And let’s not forget that this is an optional service that posts or shares only what you feed to it.

“How dare this free, voluntary service not live up to my own personal, rigorous standards!”

It’s time for personal responsibility to trump issues like this.  It’s time for the complainers to decide how they really feel about Facebook, and do something about it.  Most of all, it’s time to stop giving Facebook so much credit, whether positive or negative.  Facebook isn’t insensitive and irresponsible, people are.  We’re flawed.  Sorry.  I mean, is this really Facebook’s fault?

But the sooner we become comfortable with whose fault it really is, the sooner we can all update our statuses and spread the word.

Steve Jobs argues with drunk guy at 2AM

The iPad has been marketed vigorously as ‘revolutionary‘.

A lot of folks think this is a pompous overstatement, and that the artistic and musical icons that Apple claims to love and respect would be appalled at the moves the company has made in recent years.

Haven’t you ever wondered how Steve Jobs would react if you emailed him after a couple drinks late at night and called him out on all this?

Well that’s exactly what Gawker writer Ryan Tate did last night. Here’s what Ryan wrote in an email directly to Jobs last night:

If [Bob Dylan] was 20 today, how would he feel about your company?

Would he think the iPad had the faintest thing to do with “revolution?”

Revolutions are about freedom.

Now, Jobs has been very tersely replying to emails like this for months now. His email address, sjobs@apple.com has been public for years but his responses have only begun popping up in the blogosphere recently.

But this time he took it a step further. Actually, like 5 steps further.

Ryan and Jobs exchanged heated emails from 9:30pm until 2:20am arguing (quite aggressively at times) over the current state of Apple, and its approach to general open-source-ness.

Jobs’ response to some of Tate’s (admittedly) drunken, unorganized criticisms are priceless.

Click here to see the entire e-mail exchange between Jobs and Tate.

This just in: Apple is a whining, screaming child

Nothing warms the soul like a child throwing a fit.  And that’s what Apple has done.

A developer, known only to me as ‘Greg’, developed an extremely slick and useful little App for the iPhone and iPod touch and submitted it to Apple for approval in late April.

The app, called Wifi-Sync, allows the user to sync their device through iTunes via wifi connectivity.  It works exactly the same as plugging your device into the computer, but instead all you have to do is launch the app.  So what you get is wireless syncing.

Brilliant right?

Clearly this is a feature that Apple should have included by now, and clearly someone at Apple is a little upset that Greg finished it before they did.  Because the app was rejected, and Greg is now forced to sell his app underground, to unauthorized, jailbroken iPhones only.  Poor Greg.

Here’s what Greg had to say about the Apples rejection notice:

“While [Apple] agreed that the app doesn’t technically break the rules, he said that it does encroach upon the boundaries of what they can and cannot allow on their store. He also cited security concerns.”

If the app doesn’t break the rules then it doesn’t break the rules.  And if you, Apple, choose to reject an app that lives up to your heavily criticized criteria, what does that say about your rules?  I’ll tell you.

It says your rules suck, and you need better ones.

Security concerns?  Encroach upon boundaries?

This is EXACTLY the type of feature that, had they done the software first, Apple would highlight within one of their self indulgent keynote presentations, lavishly announcing to the masses that they have become pioneers, and are the first to ‘bring to market’ this stunning new feature.

I can see it now; the presentation opens with an ‘Update on the App Store’, throwing out a slew of meaninglessly arrogant and unreasonably huge statistics, once again confirming Apple’s love for the independent developer.

A quote from the film I, Robot comes to mind:

“Um, look, this isn’t what I do, but I’ve got an idea for one of your commercials. You see… a carpenter, making a beautiful chair. And then one of your robots comes in and makes a better chair twice as fast. And then you superimpose on the screen, “USR: Shittin’ on the Little Guy”.

We can all thank Apple here, as the have truly shat on the little guy for getting it right before they did.

Great business model.  “You can’t do it ’cause I haven’t yet, and I wanna be first.”

Visit getwifisync.com to download the app.

App in Review: Guitar Toolkit

Head on over to theiphonetoday.com for my latest guide and review of Agile Partners’ Guitar Toolkit app for iPhone and iPod touch!

This just in: Steve Jobs CANNOT predict the future.

9To5Mac Intelligence has rounded up two rare video interviews between Steve Jobs and Walt Mossberg.   The interviews took place at the 2003 and 2004 D:All Things Digital Conference.

Steve makes some very interesting remarks…some contradictory…some quite perceptive.  Frankly it’s quite refreshing to watch Steve Jobs be flat out wrong about some things, as the web seems to often times be inundated with articles about his charisma, and business savvy-ness.  Here are some choice remarks.

“The iPod might be great; it holds all your music, but we see it more as a satellite device because you couldn’t really do a music store on it because a music store needs more screen real estate…it’s going to be hard to browse music and find the music you want on the iPod itself, even if it has an internet connection.”
-Jobs 2003

No music store on a mobile device?  Oh really, Steve?  I beg to differ.  Steve had this to say about the future of tablets, and Microsoft’s recent (at the time) push for handwriting recognition.

“No plans at the current time to make a tablet”
-Jobs 2003
“I think it’s about handwriting input verses a keyboard…the problem is it’s really slow to write stuff and so it turns out that people want keyboards.  People know how to type now, and if you do email of any volume, you’ve got to have a keyboard.”
-Jobs 2003

While it’s interesting to note that in 2003 Jobs said there were no tablet plans, it’s even more interesting for him to talk down to handwriting recognition which, at the time, was thought to be the wave of the future.
But what about the tablet simply as a reading device?  Steve had this quip for Walt.
“If you’ve got a bunch of rich guys, who can afford their third computer; they’ve got a desktop, a portable and now you’re going to have this reading device…that’s you’re market.”
-Jobs 2003
Clearly the iPad, and the popularity of eBooks had yet to be realized, at least by Mr. Jobs.  Walt then shifted the conversation towards a PDA.  Steve’s response is a good one; here’s one I think he got right.
“We thought about this a lot, and what we decided was that for all the universe of people using a PDA, 90% of them just want to get the information out, only 10% want major input on this thing, and so if what they really want is a repository for data that they can put out, occasionally correcting a phone number or address; we believe that cell phones are going to do that.”
-Jobs 2003
Walt then asks the obvious question: Are you working with cell phone carriers to try and make this happen?
“Yes, absolutely.”
Cool stuff eh?  The 2004 interview had some interesting tidbits as well.  When Steve gave this interview, the iTunes store was just over a year old, and growing in popularity fast.  At the time there was a lot of talk among the record industry that songs needed to cost more than 99c apiece.  So Walt obliged Steve, only to get a simple, wry response, that in fact turned out to be a lie.
“Well the prices aren’t going up on iTunes, I can tell you that.”
-Jobs 2004
Everyone knows there are plenty of songs on iTunes now that are above 99c; Apple introduced the tri-tiered pricing plans some time ago.  So Steve flunks the class on this.  Walt then shifts the discussion to products, asking Steve what other products may be in the pipeline for Apple.
“We don’t want to get into something unless we can invent or control the core technology.”
-Jobs 2004
This is a very interesting remark, given that these days Apple is accused all the time of being to controlling and private.  Said in this context it seems like a perfectly reasonable thing for Steve to say, but these days that model seems to be pissing a lot of people off.  Walt then mentions that cellphones are gaining capability, and asks Steve if he still sees the Mac as the center, the digital hub, of ones digital life.  Here is a glimpse into Apples strategy for iPod back in 2004, which we all seem to take for granted these days.
“Oh yeah, where are you gong to put your 5,000 digital photos?  You’re not going to put them on your cell phone for safe keeping.  Where are you going to put your 5,000 songs?  You’re not going to put them on your cell phone.”
“Cell phones haven’t docked with computers.  So every time you buy a new cell phone you’re sitting there putting the new numbers in…it’s crazy!  You want these things to dock with your PC so they grab your calendars they grab your contacts etc.”
-Jobs 2004
Ahead of your time much?  This answer is just a home run, and you can tell that when he introduced the iPhone, and talked in length about how long they have been working on the product, he wasn’t lying.

But of course, I’ve got one more swing and a miss for Steve.  Walt asks “Wont the introduction of hard drives to cell phones allow for more data storage?”

“…you’re not going to want to sit there and edit these things…you’re not going to want to sit there and browse music on these tiny little screens.”
-Jobs 2004
Well Steve, just last year you introduced the ability to edit video on the iPhone/iPod Touch, and the iTunes store has been a huge success on these devices.  Looks like you can’t predict the future after all.
For someone as idolized as him, it can be quite a breath of fresh air to look back at some of these comments and realize that Steve Jobs is just as human as you or I, and while he does have a good amount of valuable insight (and frankly, control) as to where the future is heading, a good part of him has absolutely no idea where we will be in 10 years.

Josh Ritter: So Runs the World Away

Idaho native singer/songwriter Josh Ritter saw the release of his seventh studio album, So Runs the World Away one week ago today.  And the reviews are in.

This record is easily within the top 3 of my favorite so far this year.  Production quality, instrumentation, song writing…all are spot on.  Everything I’ve ever found lacking in his previous albums is realized here.

Rarely do artists get this deep into their career and come out with such a solid, honest piece of work.  And that’s what this record is; honest.

Here’s what the reviewers are saying:

“The result is this quite sensational new album that not only purges the darkness, but marks the finest music he has made.”
-The Boston Globe

He’s not the only one channeling the greats, but he does it better than almost anyone else today.
-Paste Magazine

Ritter’s wordplay can be dense, but his warm, inviting voice makes it a pleasure to unravel.

“…redolent less of the thrills and exploits of exploration than of the sad beauty of the unobtainable. Ritter suggests that the gleaming horizons aimed for by the boldest among us can never quite be reached, and even the effort to approach them comes at a great cost. And yet, we must quest on.”

So Runs The World Away is available via iTunes for the quaint price of 7.99.  It is also being made available at Starbucks stores, as well as other music retailers.  For a free download of the record’s opening track, head on over to JoshRitter.com.

Josh Ritter can also be seen and heard via YouTube.

Go grab So Runs the World Away and you’ll have a good friend for all those upcoming summer car rides.