Sunday, 23 December 2007

The Cane of Cold

I'm in Krakow. Everything is frozen and walking in the evenings feels like gliding through a thick mass of a cold white substance. Breathing has become a whole new activity where you have to be careful not to give away too much of yourself to the outside. It's as though everything has become a whole new game of math: you carefully measure how much warmth inside you need to the next destination and try to foresee how cold your destination may be. It's constantly taking measurements of temperature, steps, surface slipping risks, and of the ever decreasing range of colors you get to see. Perhaps this is the underlying cause for Christmas lights and the undecided liking for the strangely colored socks and sweaters we all seem to agree to wear at this time of year?

I see the increasing hunger in people's faces as I ride the tram over the steel gray slopes of the city's curves. They all rush to shop, to see, to catch the sun, even if all it offers are the white canes of its winter rays. The hunger of warmth and light combines with the implicit requirement for the Christmas joy, which is to be felt despite the biting cold and the sly drafts inside the city walls. Waking up has become a race of its own, with the first thought - how much longer before the sun goes down? Will I have enough time to get dressed; how much time do I have this morning? Lured outside to feed your lungs and eyes, you still get hit at the back of your neck with the cane of cold. 'Ah, yes,' we sigh as we breathe out. We stand relieved, fooled again, and still amazed with the small offering of light we all long for.

The saga continues...

My friend Mark just posted a link about another move by Apple, this time to shut down the famous Fake Steve Jobs blog!
Apple is now intimidating Fake Steve Jobs (Dan Lyons, Forbes journo), who I think can look after himself.

I really wonder if this is true or whether it's yet another move by Fake Steve to stir up more drama in the Apple buzz world as Scoble and a crowd of others claim it is?

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Is Apple becoming evil?

Okay, so we all love at least something about Apple. It seems to be one of if not the most successful company at creating customer loyalty that brings big-spending clients back into its stores on a consistent basis. How consistent? So consistent that a good percentage of customers are ready to disregard Apple's electronics' flaws or past failures.

Have you tried Apple customer service if you've not purchased extra servicing time? Not a good idea. The ubiquity of white headphones is startling, especially when going through the metros of Western cities. We've backed away from radio, watching news, and other things - now all you have to do is carry an iPod - a personalized collection of just about anything you may want to hear or watch right in your pocket. Having sold over 90 million of these babies, they've made it a standard device to have if you're into music or just about any other form of cultural entertainment. From blogs to webpages and review sites you can read about how these fry time and again, about battery life expectancy issues, and other tricks they play, yet people just keep buying them. Just to give you some of my personal moan history: my first iPod fried after 2 years, my last iBook's combo drive passed out and the screen ended up having a red line running across the screen. I know two people who've had to send back their batteries and one who's hard drive died.

The iPhone - do we really want to talk about the iPhone again? With only selected network carriers and incredible prices, people still have more than hots for these. My flatmate is still thinking of somehow buying an iPhone in France (as they seem to have a policy again sim-locking) and then bringing it over to the UK. Some more to read here if you like...

Now, I don't really mean to go on ranting. I'm writing this off a Mac myself and can't say I'm not one of the people who spread the word. Despite being a little evil, it's still probably the best thing out there. We can moan all we want - like we did with Google, but the truth is that there isn't much to replace it with. Just to give you some more media coverage on Apple's part in the lawsuit against Think Secret...

Apple Forces Rumors Site To Shut Down

For a few years now, there's been a legal battle going on between Apple and Think Secret, a very popular Apple rumors site for publishing certain rumors. The lawsuit had many people up in arms, as they pointed out that Think Secret should be protected in the same way a newspaper is protected (and noting that Apple would never sue the WSJ the way it sued Think Secret). It made sense to go after whoever leaked the info to ThinkSecret, but going after the publication was ridiculous. While the case has dragged on, unfortunately, Apple won some of the legal battles. Now, as sent in by Jon, comes the news that Apple and Think Secret have "settled," but that settlement means that Think Secret needs to cease publishing entirely. The guy behind Think Secret notes that he never gave up the source, and calls this settlement amicable -- but it sets a horrible precedent for plenty of sites, and may create quite the chilling effect on reporters and bloggers alike. It's really a shame that Apple even decided to pursue this vendetta, and the fact that it ends with Think Secret being shut down completely is a travesty.

More just appeared in Wired...

South Park anyone?

I got my hands on a webpage where you can load any South Park episode for free. Just in case anyone's interested, check it out!

And erm, Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Our mouths go buzz buzz buzz...

So what is everyone talking about these days? For once it's actually hard to tell, since new buzzwords seem to be introduced every time we go online. Everyone is expected to be highly involved in the online life of blogs, facebook, and such. We've come to a time where our online lives more and more often converge with our real realms of life, including work, friends, political movements, art trends we follow, you name it. We all use the new words, even if we're not entirely sure what they mean, which leads not only to language change, but to a constant re-definition of these terms as people continue to use them.

Except for the obvious ones, you can check out the ones infiltrating the business spheres these days...

The online social networks and these new linguistic phenomena have an immense breadth of influence on our lives. The language does not only seep through from user to user on FB and blogs, but also gets picked up by a more and more seductive industry of businesses, which thrive on being able to convince you they are more than just that. More and more brands try to create an experience for their customers, appeal to higher values, try to be eco-friendly, privacy-friendly, whatever it takes. Customer loyalty building and networking have become one of the most visible trends when you navigate the web.